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Say What? Southern Miss. Head Coach Todd Monken

Southern Miss. can go bowling, and make UTEP's bowl hopes even more foggy with a win on Saturday.

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports


"Hopefully our guys got some of the things corrected and are ready for UTEP. UTEP is a team a little bit like us last year when we lost Nick (Mullens) just the emotion of losing your quarterback but the new guy is solid accurate and confident and they are a good team. I think what people don't know is you just can't go to the grocery store and get a new player. Those guys are hard to replace and so they went through a little bit of a lull but coming along after their bye week they have done a great job and that's a credit to Sean (Kugler) and the rest of their team. They played good against FAU who is really a little snake bitten with the turnovers. They are a good team too. We are going to have to be ready to go. We owe them one because we didn't play our best game last year offensively down there last year. So we will have to be ready and fight like heck to get a victory."

"I'm impressed with the quarterback. Not just him, I'm impressed with others but the quarterback is very accurate and has a good understanding in what they do so he makes them go. They lost their running back earlier in the season, which has been hard on them. It's hard to replace a player that is good as he is. They lost a really good safety and other positions but I feel like their defense has done a really great job overcoming those obstacles. They do a great job disguising looks and sending pressure. They do a really nice job on both sides of the ball and I believe they will be their best this weekend. It's the second half of the season, they are coming off a bye week and we will have to be ready."

"Their head coach is an offensive line guy so they are going to be physical. They made a couple tweaks in the offensive line and got them right. They are going to try and run the ball and control the clock. The same reasons we believe in why you win is the same reasons they believe. They have continued to run the football after losing their star running back and they have also been successful with the play action pass."

On the play of the Southern Miss. defense.

"They are doing a great job. We have good players and good coaches. It starts with recruiting good players and developing them. It helps when you can get ahead and get a lead. Just like I say every week, you can't carry over stats. You can't look at last week's numbers and say `Ok, we need to hold them under this.' It's a week-to-week business and every week is different."

The talk of Southern Miss being better was out there this preseason. Are we finally seeing that on the field with the three big conference victories?

"I knew we were better it was just a matter of us going out there and doing it. Our defense has picked up the offense when we needed it and the same for the offense picking up the defense. I think we have the right guys. I think we have talented guys and those are the things you need."

On how to avoid a trap game mentality against UTEP

"I think anytime you win is to think, `hey, we got this,' but that's not how it works. We have to know the threats UTEP poses to our offense, defense, and special teams. Do I think our guys know what is at stake this weekend? Yes. We can't get to the bye week or to win number six without winning this weekend. That would be foolish to plan ahead. It's about each week and how you make the impact one week at a time."