COACH DANA DIMEL:
On the team's progress
"The things that we are trying to eliminate right now are unforced errors. We also need to try and eliminate special teams mistakes and turning the ball over offensively. We still did all of those things last Saturday, but the positive note from it all is that we found a way to win the football game. We've been striving throughout the season to overcome adversity, to hang together as a football team and to play hard for four quarters. We've been doing those things, but to find a way to win the football game when it is all said and done was a big step for our program last week."
"We have a lot of new starters on this football team. There are probably only five or six starters returning from last year's team. Early in the year, a team like this is going to make mistakes and you hope that with maturity and experience that they are able to overcome that obstacle later in the season. Now we find ourselves in a position that we like to be in and that is the fact that we are playing in late October with a chance to win a football game at home and to be number one in conference."
"We're feeling that our football team has been working towards this and that we are now hitting on all four cylinders. We got a lot closer on Saturday, but we definitely need to sure up some of the kicking mistakes again and do some self-study to try and fix anything that we can control."
On Southern Miss
"They have played some great defense this year. I believe that they have had six defensive touchdowns where they've actually scored. I also think that they've had two other special teams touchdowns. As you look at them, their defense has found a way to control the ball game. Our defense has done a great job of forcing turnovers this year, but our defense hasn't scored the type of points that they've scored. That is why it is very important for us to eliminate some of the things that we've done earlier. We cannot turn the ball over offensively and put them in good scoring situations."
"If I had to draw the whole scenario up I couldn't have put our football team in any better position than the one we are in right now. A win this week gets us to where we have a chance to accomplish all of the goals we set at the beginning of the year. Its is a very good opportunity that we have to have Southern Miss at home, and it just takes 60 minutes of very good football from our team to get it done."
RB LEIF PENN
Playing an opponent so highly ranked (Southern Miss)
"Were really looking forward to it. Last time they came in here and squeaked out a win in my freshman year. The year before that when we won conference, they came in here at No. 23 and we won in triple overtime, which brought us the Conference Championship and took us to the Liberty Bowl. Hopefully this year will have the same results.
"Were finding a way to keep all our games close. But however we get it, well be happy to get it."
What it would mean to the team to get the win
"It will be big for the team. We came off the bye week saying we have five more games and we have to win the five to be conference champs. That was our goal coming into the year, and we really feel as though with hard work and dedication that we would be able to pull them out."
On Coach Dimel and his intensity
"Every day we go into practice and practice is very intense. How you practice is how you play. He (Dimel) preaches that a lot. We had a really good practice leading into the Memphis game, and we didnt let down, regardless of the adversity we faced. Hopefully that will carry over for the rest of the games (this season)."
S EMILE WHITE
What win at Memphis last week says about the Houston Cougars
"It just says that we work hard and pull out the hard victories. The team that practices the best is going to win the games. Weve had close games and weve really wanted to win, and deep down there was no way we were going to lose the game. We figured it out and got it down."
"There really werent big losses. I think the people that we did lose were some key people, but I had confidence in myself and the people that were going to come in and replace them. I really think that we are going to play better as the season goes on and that were going to do nothing but get better. Weve got a number of play makers back there (in the secondary)."
His change in position from safety to corner for the Memphis game
"Going to corner position wasnt a big change. Ive played corner before during my sophomore year when I played safety and moved to corner. It was the same thing in the Memphis game."
What worries most they (Memphis) do offensively
"Probably throwing the ball. They really thought they could throw on us, so we really just stacked it up and put seven defensive backs on the field so that they really couldnt but run the ball. From that, we had run stoppers and we stopped them from running, so they couldnt run."
What he thinks about playing a team so highly ranked in Southern Miss
"We played Texas, which is highly ranked and highly thought of. It will be an emotional game and we dont have anything to lose, they have everything to lose as they are highly ranked. Were just hoping to get a win out of it. Its going to be a big game for us."