Stew Morrill Quotes - 11-22-13



Nov. 22, 2013

On the schedule of the long week:

"We had a long day coming back. Normally in a situation like that when you get back at 6:30 at night and you don't play until the following Saturday, you'd probably take Monday off. With our schedule the way it is, we felt like we needed to practice a couple days, then we took Wednesday off and came back yesterday. That way we'll be able to go right into the Weber State game and all that. It was a little bit of a different practice schedule, but it's given us a chance to add some things and work on some things. I always like practice time better than the players probably do. It's always good to have a little time. We've actually got a few weeks like this coming up, one during finals week and another one later. It's just kind of the way the schedule fell with only 12 non-league games and with three of those being in our tournament. The other games are spaced kind of differently. It's been good. They came out and practiced really well yesterday, I think the day off helped them. I think they're excited about playing on Saturday."

On the similarities between Mississippi State and USC:

"I think the main thing that is similar is being from one of the power conferences and the types of athletes that those schools generate. I think that's what our guys saw. They run on mades and misses like USC, where they're looking to be aggressive and push the ball on the break. The transition defense is important, but certainly their personnel is different and the preparation is different in terms of how they play compared to USC. There are similar athletes and they're coming in with some confidence being 3-0. 1985 was the last time we had an SEC team here, so it's a pretty rare thing. We're excited about it and hopefully our fans are excited about it."

On this game compared to the last time USU played them during the 2011-12 season:

"They've got a new coach and a lot of new guys. I don't think any of these guys were primary players then. That was a really good basketball game, we just came out a little short. Make a free throw and we win."



On the focus for Mississippi State:

"It's hard to focus on one guy. Their big guy, Gavin Ware, had a great night the other night. He's a load at 270 pounds. He's big and athletic and causes you concern in your preparation, but as you say, it's difficult to just focus in on a guy or two. They have good balance. A lot of these kids are experienced from last year with a new coaching staff. Last year was a brand new staff and new players. I think they have a better feel now for what their coaching staff expects and for how they want to play. I think they feel like they're a step ahead compared to last year."

On how well USU has been shooting from outside, particularly three-pointers:

"I think anytime you make perimeter shots, there's a lot that goes into it. First and foremost you have good shooters. We have some good shooters. Hopefully we know how to get them open in our system. That's what you always hope. It's going to be a challenge because Mississippi State plays a lot of pressure man-to-man. They're going to be well-aware that we're a good three-point shooting team and that we have some shooters. We've got to execute particularly well to get guys open. The interesting thing this year is when you're trying to teach offense, what used to be a normal screen is now illegal. That's a little bit frustrating from a coaching perspective. You watch on film and screens that we used to set, the officials are now feeling that some of those are illegal. For years, coaches have complained about some of our screens being illegal and they might have been, but that's always the edge you live on when you're trying to teach offense. There's a little more cliff than there used to be, so it's interesting this year."

On being surprised by how tight the games have been officiated and how have they been able to execute so far during the start to the season:

"I don't know if it's a surprise. We've got some veteran players and offense is always something that through our years in our program has always been a pretty strong facet with the percentages we shoot and the assist-to-turnover and things. It's something we've prided ourselves on through the years. We'll see if it continues. As you get more games under your belt, people have a better feel for your personnel and what you're trying to do with them. By the time you get to conference, everybody knows everybody pretty well. It will be interesting to see as we go along."

On the team's rebounding:

"We should be a pretty good rebounding team. We've got a number of good rebounders back and we've added Kyle Davis, who's a good rebounder. If we're playing as hard and as focused as we need to, rebounding should be a strength. The level of competition is up from a year ago and will continue to be up, but I still think it should be a strength to this year's team."

On what to take from the UC Santa Barbara game to still work on and improve:

"No, not really. When you have a full week, you try to work on all facets of the game. I would say that is a never-ending concern. In the Santa Barbara game, there were times that we didn't handle the on-ball screens as well as we'd like. It's the trend in basketball, and has been for the last five or more years, is everybody screening on the ball a ton. How you defend on-ball screens is a never-ending challenge. Everybody is getting better and better at those on-ball screens. That's something that we've tried to look at because Mississippi State does a lot of them as well."

On the doubleheader with football affecting crowd for basketball game:

"There's not a lot I can do about that. That's just the way the schedule fell and when Mississippi State could play. Good luck to the football team and I know they'll wish us good luck. If you're a hardcore Aggie, it's a great day. If you tire easily, it might be a little more than you bargained for. Hopefully the stands are filled for our game with the hardcore Aggies. The more hardcore the better."

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