(Thoughts on the season opener) "The game comes quick every year. This is a really good opener for our team. One of the main reasons is we really don't know what they're going to do offensively. They have a new offensive coordinator and a new offensive line coach. Their offensive line has six returning starters, and their defensive line has five returning starters. That's the strength of the Pine Bluff team. On defense you have to prepare for everything. So instead of preparing for everything, which we can't do, we're preparing to play solid fundamental football. Their quarterback is back, so that's good to be able to watch him (from last season). He's a big, good-looking kid. He's strong, he's a good runner and he's a good passer. They have a big, tall pro prospect in their receiver #86 Raymond Webber. He is strong and athletic. They have a fantastic kicking game. They have a really explosive punt returner, #29 Trey Austin. Their big defensive lineman, Ibraham Abdulai, is supposed to be a pro prospect.
"It's all about us this year. It's about how we play. I want us to go out and play the best that we can possibly play. Our players' expectations are high and we always want to play to the best of our ability, whether it's Arkansas-Pine Bluff or the University of Arkansas."
(On UTEP's injury situation) "Our health is pretty good. (Jeremy) Springer still has a sore ankle. He just warmed up (for practice on Friday) and stepped on a sprinkler head and twisted his ankle. We're not sure how much he's going to be able to play. We're moving Aubrey Alexius in there (at linebacker) and maybe looking at (freshman) DeAndre Little at the middle linebacker position. He's kind of on red alert right now. In the offensive line, Paul Santillan has a stress fracture, and he'll be out for a month with that."
(General thoughts on this year's UTEP team) "Trevor Vittatoe is in great shape physically and mentally, and so is Donald Buckram. Kris Adams has been playing well and Donavon Kemp is catching the ball. James Thomas has had the best camp of his career, throwing the ball and running at quarterback and receiver. Pierce Hunter is in the best shape he's been in. Defensively, we're really pleased with the job our secondary is doing. I think we're going to be OK in the secondary, even though we lost both corners and a good safety in Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith. Going to a four-man front, we think we have five or six guys who can play inside at the tackle position. Three freshmen are going to play for us (in the defensive line) -- Adam Ayala as a defensive end, Marcus Bagley as a nose guard, and Germard Reed is probably one of the best defensive linemen we have on the team. Our kicking game will be vastly improved. Braxton Amy will be returning punts. Vernon Frazier didn't play on Saturday night, but he's getting better every day and we'll be using him on kickoff returns with Donavon Kemp. So that will be nice to see him with the suspensions we have. There are three return guys who we will not have available for this game (due to the suspensions)."
(On the secret to recruiting good punters and kickers every year) "Part of it is kind of like an underground network. They have camps all over the country and if you get in with the guy who runs these camps, he can tell you about all those kickers and punters. And (special teams coordinator) Jeff Banks has an in with that guy. Our kicking game is going to be solid, from our kicker to our long snapper, holder, punter and return guys. We have busted some big returns in practice."
(On the talent level of this year's team) "I think this is one of the best teams we've ever had. Talent-wise, we've had some pretty talented teams. When you put Marcus Thomas, Jordan Palmer, Johnnie Lee Higgins and Thomas Howard on the field, those are pretty talented guys. But I think as a team we're going to play well. The team chemistry is about the best we've had, although it was pretty good with Higgins and Palmer too. They said the right things, and it's the same way now (with this year's team)."
(On Trevor Vittatoe's maturation both as a quarterback and off the field) "I think Trevor has improved in leaps and bounds -- physically, mentally, everything. He's ready to have a great senior year. Everything is pretty much set for him off the field. He has always been a pretty good student. He has the right kind of attitude right now. So do (Donald) Buckram, (Kris) Adams and (Braxton) Amy. Everything is kind of coming together for them in their personal lives."
(On Arkansas-Pine Bluff's new offensive coordinator) "He was at Central Arkansas before he came to Pine Bluff. So we have watched their tapes to see what they were doing. At Central Arkansas, they had a fast QB and ran the zone read. This quarterback isn't like that. So we're preparing for Central Arkansas' offense. The head coach is more of a two-back, I-formation guy. So we're just preparing to take on blocks and wrap up and tackle and do basic fundamentals."