Blair Weekly Press Conference
Head coach Gary Blair met with the media on Monday in his weekly press conference at Reed Arena.
MP3 audio is available through the link to the right and video through the link above.
Head Coach Gary Blair
"First I would like to congratulate Softball, Soccer, Men's and Women's Tennis, Track and Field; we had a hell of a weekend at Texas A&M. I know in hindsight we always get caught up on the team or the individual, but the whole thing is pretty doggone good. When we went into the SEC Did they only want us for our academics and our traditions? Or did they want us for the whole? And we've got the whole complete package here as far as a total sports program, and the academics, and the traditions and everything that goes along with it. You can see the historic thing that happened this weekend, and how many times has that happened at any university at any time? And the majority of the things were done on the road...and that just says a whole lot for the coaches that are in place, the leadership we are getting from the athletic department, and Aggies everywhere, believe it or not, care a little bit more than just about football around here; they care about everything... [Johnny "Football"] is such a refreshing piece of news. It's almost like when Justin Bieber crashed the scene or something like that. Johnny "Football" has added a lot to the media; everybody is listening and reading now, and I think it's very special, but it helps all of us in every sport that we're in. Yes we would all like our own coverage and the whole nine yards, but what our football team did this year and what Johnny "Football" gave us, it was almost like he was a folk hero here, and hopefully we will have him for a couple more years, while we also develop the Kelsey Bones, or the Nicole Morgan's in Softball, or the [other special players in all our athletic programs], and I think that's very special."
On maturity of team for finishing close road games
"I think our team has grown, our defense has grown. Here's a couple of wonderful stats: the second to last possession [South Carolina] had to take the lead in the ball game, Karla Gilbert stopped a post player from driving to the middle and force up an ugly shot, that normally somebody would be able to drive on Karla, as they did earlier in the game. She stopped the shot, we got the rebound. We called a timeout and ran the play that won the game and everything...South Carolina's field goal percentage for the season is 38.5; we held them to 28.1. Their 3 point percentage is 24.7; we held them to 14.3. The free-throws they average for the season is 24 a game; we held them to 22. Offensive rebounds, 17.8; they got 18, but we our share too. We held them to 48 points; the last five minutes of the game USC scores one point. USC shoots 0 for 6 from the floor and 0 for 3 from the 3 in front of 10,000 people there, and it was tough, but our kids made enough plays down the stretch."
On comparison to National Champion Team
"Completely different; five new starters and flow. People are not giving us credit that we have four starters gone from last year and Bone is the only one back, and it's like she's been to chemistry class and we've reinvented Kelsey Bone this year because it's not the same Kelsey Bone of last year. And I think we're doing it with four freshmen playing in our top 8. This team does not even compare; that team was a lot more fluid defensively because we were always fronting the post, we were playing passing lanes, we would get more stills and forcing more turnovers. This year, our field goal percentage is lower than it was back then. We're not taking as many charges, but we're contesting shots better. It's a different way to play defense according to the director of defense, Bob Starkey, and due to the personal that we have. So maybe as our kids get a little bit older, we can put a little more pressure on the ball consistently like Kentucky and South Carolina. But when you're playing four freshmen and have to teach them everything from scratch, everything they do, it's hard to be the defensive team that I think we will be next year. But right now, when you look at those stats, we are pretty doggone good. I think we are second in the league in defense and first in a lot of categories, but we're doing a lot of good things on the defensive end."
On playing three straight home games after playing on the road so much
"You cannot have a trap game. A trap game is Florida and maybe looking ahead to Kentucky. Our goal, of course, is to win every ballgame, but our goal is to win the SEC or the SEC tournament, but Florida can be a trap game. And we want to make sure they are one of the teams that is hungry; they have to have a signature win to get to the NCAA tournament. They have to get to 7-9 or 8-8 or they are not going anywhere. And there is a fight for them in the middle of the pack with them and Arkansas and Vanderbilt and LSU, and even Missouri to try to get to that seven wins, or eight will get you in automatically. So it's going to be a dogfight all the way through. We have six left. If we get complacent and lose a game at home; we cannot afford to do it, our goal all year was to go undefeated at home in conference because we knew how tough the road schedule was, but now we have won five and lost one on the road. We still have two monsters to play, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, but we have four here at home."