Willie Taggart media presser

30 08 2010

Just returned from Western Kentucky football coach Willie Taggart’s first gameweek media briefing of the season, here are some snippets from Taggart about this week’s season opener at Nebraska on Sept. 5.

– On Nebraska overall

“It’s a big challenge, they’re No. 8 for a reason – they’re really good, in every area. There’s not a weakness there. In order to have a chance, we have to be on our A-game. They have an opportunity to win a national championship this year. But anything’s possible – we just have to be sharp and we can’t beat ourselves.”

“In the past (during 1-AA days) you’d look at (games like this) as games where you go in there, try not to get hurt and get out of there still healthy. But we’re not that way anymore. We’re looking to compete and try to win a ballgame. We’re not looking at it like they’re the big guy on the block, we don’t have a chance, we just want to stay healthy – if you go in with that attitude, you’ve lost anyway and you don’t stand a chance. That’s what happens to a lot of teams (in this situation). You see it all on TV and then you lose before you even step on the football field. We’re trying (to avoid that).”

“If you don’t believe, you don’t stand a chance and then you’re liable to do things that are uncharacteristic of yourself. We don’t need anybody else to believe. We don’t need to be bigger than them, we don’t need to be faster and we don’t need to be stronger – we just need to be sharper than Nebraska. If we want to stand a chance, and do the things we want to do, we just have to be sharp – if we’re not, we won’t have a chance.”

“We just have to play our ballgame. We want to be physical. That’s us, that’s WKU. We’re going out to play our ballgame and not get caught up in anything else. Sometimes even as coaches you can read up on how good other teams are and then you see things and sort of get away from things you normally do. That’s not good. Then the guys play that way also. Let’s do what we do best. If we’re going to get beat, we’re going to get beat doing what we do best.”

“You hear about how good their (run and pass defense is), they’re good at it all. They’re not changing anything, they do what they’re good at and that’s why they’re good. We can’t go in and try to do anything differently, that’s what the other team wants you to do. We have to do what we know and what we’re good at, that’s the only way we have a chance to compete and a chance to be in the ballgame.”

“Our plan is to go out and have fun and compete and get better. If we do that, and we don’t give up, I’ll be happy because I know that we’ll be in the ballgame. Nobody expects us to do anything, that’s a good thing. As long as our guys know our expectations and what we’re out to do – that’s all that matters. We want to impress Nebraska. When that game’s over with, we want Nebraska to be impressed with WKU football.”

“We’re 120 out of 120, that’s obvious. It doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, we have to take care of business. We have to go out and take it – we’ve got to earn it. The best thing for us to do is believe in one another, believe in the plan and have confidence that we’ll go out and execute that plan.”

– On finally being on the doorstep of kicking off the 2010 season

“It’s very exciting, everything that’s going on, there’s a different pep in the step of coaches and players – it’s my first game as a head coach, so that’s exciting. We’re in game preparation and we’re ready to roll.”

“The true test will come once we get into the fire, once adversity strikes. That’s what I’m concerned with the most, what we’re going to do once adversity strikes. We’ve tried to put our guys in as many adverse situations as we could this offseason, now it’s time to put it to the test and see – that’ll show the true character of our football team. Are we going to fold or keep swinging? I prefer the latter.”

“(I’m not nervous yet), I’m sure come game time there will be. But it’ll be good nervous, not bad nervous.”

“Come game time I’m going to do what I always tell our players, take a deep breath. Take a deep breath, and let’s go get it. I’m excited and I’m fired up, I want to be the best head coach and this is an opportunity to start that all off. I’m doing everything I can, I know I’m prepared as much as I can be for a first game. I’ve been a head coach now since November, now I’m ready to roll. One thing that hasn’t changed, this is still a football game. And I’m still fired up about it.”

– On what needs to happen this week in order to prepare for No. 8 Nebraska

“We’ve got to just continue doing what we’ve been doing – playing ball and focusing on the day at hand. We’ve got to be better today, I have high expectations for practice today, for Tuesday and every day until Saturday. Then, we have to go put it out on the field – the honeymoon is over. We’ve got to go out there and just take care of business. They understand that we have a challenge here, we just have to go out and play our ball – don’t try to do anything spectacular, but just play ball and be sharp. Not beat ourselves.”

On his relationship with former Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier, a player he backed up during his time at Manatee High School

“Tommie was always the guy. Always the guy in little league, always the guy in high school. When you picked teams, he was the first one. It was ‘I got Tommie.’ He’s always been the man, he’s always been a winner. It was same way in high school and he helped me develop an attitude about being the best at my position. When I was backing him up, he wasn’t too happy with me going in because he was that competitive. We talk still, not as much as we should, but when we see each other we talk. When I got the job I got a call from him. … I haven’t talked him (this week), but I have talked with (former Nebraska wingback) Shevin Wiggins (who also prepped at Manatee), he was most famous for that catch (against Missouri in 1997) where he kicked that ball and the other guy caught it. He sent me a text with a picture of (Memorial Stadium) and asked me if I was ready for ‘The Sea of Red.’ He was kind of messing with me about that, saying he didn’t know if we were ready. I had to remind him who I was, and that I don’t bow down to anyone – or any program.”

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One response

31 08 2010
Nick Baumgardner

Couple of major fact errors in that post – corrected now, but five bucks to anyone who caught them!

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