The following are quotes from Utah State men’s basketball coach Stew Morrill prior to its road game at No. 14/15 Mississippi State. Opening Comments: “It would be a happier New Year for me if I didn’t have to go to Mississippi State. Travel all that way and play a really goodteam, I am not sure how much sense this game makes for us, for our team right now. I think our players are looking forward to it, I think it is a positive in that regard. It is obviously a tremendous challenge right before league starts. We will see how it goes. We were really sluggish coming back off the break. A little better yesterday, second day of practice, hopefully a little better today. You look at playing these guys and obviously their length, their athleticism, their talent all jumps out at you. They are plus six on the boards, which is a big concern for us every night out, weather we can hang in on the boards. They can just keep coming at you with talent. I don’t know if you saw any of the game last night, but it was obviously a very high level game with Baylor. It was a game that could have gone either way, it will certainly grab our attention, that is for sure.” On Guarding Mississippi State’s Size and Athleticism: “It is pretty hard to try and guard those guys without some help and then of coarse you open up a whole can of problems if you double them, how do you block out, how do you rebound? That becomes a big issue. Sometimes it is interesting in zone because you end up one-on-one in the post, which is not necessarily what you want. I don’t know that we can guard them to be honest with you. We are going to try, we are going to double them some, we will play them straight up some, we will play zone like we always do, but they are obviously very talented. They go small and that line-up is as dangerous as any when they play (Rodney) Hood. He was a top 20 high school player in the country last year that they start at the three. When they go small they play him at the four and that really creates match-up problems when they take (Renardo) Sidney out and go small. They have one of the best point guards in the country in (Dee) Bost, they just come at you with lots of weapons.” On The Timeline of the Three-Game Series With Mississippi State: “Actually, the timeline is that we are playing there, we skip next year and then they comeback the following year and then the year after that we go back there. With the two-for-one, I wanted the game at our place in between, I am just more comfortable with that. We haven’t done a lot of two-for-one games and haven’t done a lot of guarantee games, but I’ve done one of each the last two years, so everyone seems to think that it is a hell of deal but me. I don’t think that it is a hell of deal, I think that everyoneshould play on an equal bases, sometimes you do something to try and get home games or try and expose your team a little bit. The Georgetown game last year was positive to go into Washington D.C., obviously getting an SEC team in Logan in the next couple of years is a rarity. There is some merit I suppose.” On Being Able To Get A BSC School To Come To Logan In The Future: “It is not like people are jumping at that. If you look at people’s schedules, especially BCS schools, they are just loading up on home games that pay them the money to get as many home games as they possibly can. We would all like to play a ton of home games, but it is not feasible for everybody. But BCS schools avoid these situations if possible. It was late last spring when this actually all fit together, they needed a game when we could play and the two-for-one thing eventually worked out. They obviously would have preferred a guarantee game but we weren’t going to do it unless we got a two-for-one. So it has all worked out I guess.” On Who The Favorite In The WAC Would Be Right Now: “I have no idea to be honest with you. I have looked at some scores, but I have not watched one WAC team on tape yet. We will start that on Sunday. We have obviously been wrapped up in our own team trying to make progress. So, I don’t really know much about the WAC teams other than looking at some stats, looking at a few scores and I have big concerns for our team when we get to league. Can we do the things to give us a chance to compete? I do not see us as a contender right now. I see us as a team trying to become competitive in the WAC. We have got to be competitive before we can think of being contenders and we have not shown anything to prove that we are competitive yet. Hopefully we will. That is how I see it and I don’t know much about those other teams.” On How WAC Teams Have Done In The Preseason: “You know, when we got into the league I remember the league was ranked 10th or 11th at that time. Our league is not near that high right now, but the wins that you spoke of certainly indicate that we have got some teams that can go out and compete with a lot of different teams. Ithink that road wins are going to be hard to come by and I think that defending your home court comes first and who can get road wins will be the next question. One thing that I am happy about it that we are coming home after the Mississippi State game and will get home New Year’s Eve, if all goes well around 9 p.m. That will give us a chance to regroup on Sunday and start ourconference preparation on Monday in practice. It gives us coaches a chance to work on Sunday and be ready for league and we will know more as we play each of these teams.” Are You Surprised About The Recent Progress of Your Team: “I don’t know if I can answer that. I think that I was pleased that we had four home games in a row and defended our home court. We showed that we made a little progress with some practice time. I wouldn’t call it a surprise, I felt like when we got some practice time that we would make some progress. Rather than surprised I would say concerned. Can we physically stack up as the year goes along from a rebounding stand point, from a physicality stand point and size stand point. All of those kinds of things are concerns. I don’t like surprises any more.”
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