Mocs ready for Eastern Illinois on Thursday at Finley Stadium
(GoMocs.com) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team hosts Eastern Illinois in the 2019 season opener Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET inside Finley Stadium.
Below are excerpts from today's press conference with photos. The full videos are attached to the story. Today's press conference included remarks from head coach Rusty Wright, senior quarterback Nick Tiano and senior linebacker Marshall Cooper.
Tickets are on sale now on GoMocs.com, or by calling the UTC Ticket Office at (423) 266-MOCS (6627).
Rusty Wright, Head Coach
Opening statement following summer camp.
"We had a productive, physical camp. It was long and longer than normal. We brought in 30 newcomers to camp this year between the freshmen and transfers. They seemed to jump right in and they have been doing really well since the start of camp. We've gotten a lot better over the last couple weeks and I've been impressed over what we've done. I'm excited to open up the season Thursday night. It's going to be a great atmosphere and I know the guys are ready. We're excited to match up against a quality opponent in Eastern Illinois and looking forward to get this going."
On process following the camp's first scrimmage.
"I think they understood that night wasn't good enough and nowhere near good enough. I knew it was going to be difficult and I wanted it that way. I knew they were a tired football team at that time and they have responded really well. We push these guys really hard, we have pushed them mentally and physically. I'm excited to watch them play and I'm interested to see how they handle some things Thursday night."
On personal emotions leading up to Thursday's kick.
"I guess I'm supposed to be nervous because everyone has been asking me that question. It'll come. I'm sure by Wednesday afternoon it'll settle in. I'm more excited to just be with these guys tomorrow. We've been through camp, been through spring together. We have a walk-through tomorrow morning and then we're going to eat dinner as a team, go watch a movie together. It doesn't seem like a lot to people, but those things are important. It's important for us to sit down and get away from football to be around each other and enjoy being with each other. Thursday will be long and it'll be here quick."
Marshall Cooper, Sr.-LB
On adjusting to HC Rusty Wright and the new coaching staff.
"Coach Wright is a little more old school. Practices are a little bit more physical and he came in and set his standard. He demands a lot from us to uphold that standard and hold what he believes in. He believes in us working hard every day and success will come by following that. There's new rules, new guidelines, but we're really enjoying it and having a good time."
On pre-game nerves leading up to kick.
"I'm not too nervous this week, it'll settle in either tomorrow or Thursday. I kind of know what to expect so I'm not worrying too much about it. Thursday night games, I love compared to the day games. You sit there all day with the team, eat together, and then you head to Finley and play in front of a big crowd. It's exciting."
On being a veteran leader to the group of young guys.
"A lot of the younger guys ask me questions about football and talk about how to do well in school, or life, just anything in general. There's a lot of freshmen in my group, I enjoy having them around me. They have expanded in the new scheme and everything around them. I'm proud of them and love having them around me."
Nick Tiano, Sr.-QB
On finally being able to face opponent.
"We're ready to go. At this time of the year you have been practicing for a month straight, you're finally ready to strap up and play another team. It's my last season so I only have 12 more of these games and I'm ready to cherish every one. I'm really looking forward to it."
On potential surprises coming out of camp.
"There's always shuffling around in camp with new bodies coming in. We have a great group of guys and I think we have a lot more depth at positions than we did last year. We're excited to see these guys play. There's a lot of new faces and a lot of guys that can make plays for us. I'm excited to go out there and see that for the first time."
On overall feelings leading up to kick.
"I'm just excited to play. There's only so many of these opportunities left and we're going to make the most of it. I'm really excited about our offense with a lot of guys back. We want to go out there and put up some points. Thursday night game, hopefully the fans are excited and come out to support. We're excited to play."