SAM HOUSTON STATE PRE-CHAMPIONSHIP GAME QUOTES
Sam Houston State Head coach Willie Fritz
On Saturday's matchup: "Each team is different each season. When the ball is kicked off, it's all about preparation. We're focused on playing the very best we can play."
On getting back to the title game: "It's difficult (to get back). That was one of our goals coming into the season. We want to be one of those programs that are in this type of game year after year. We started off in tough fashion (1-2 after three games), and basically we were in playoff mode from that point on. The kids were able to win seven games in a row, and qualify for the NCAA playoffs. We've played four games at home and 10 on the road, so we've really earned the right to be back here."
On quarterback Brian Bell: "He's the winningest quarterback in school history; he's the all-time passing leader; he's a coach's son and his brother is a former starting quarterback at Baylor. He makes tremendous decisions, and we have total confidence that he's going to put us in the right situation."
On the team's mentality going into Saturday's game: "I tell our guys all the time that it's not about being physically tough, but rather about being mentally tough. We need to be able to have playoff intensity in meetings, lifting weights, in practice, walk-throughs or whatever the case may be. Our guys know I'm going to be consistent every day, and we've got a mature ballclub, and they've been consistent as well."
Sam Houston State running back Tim Flanders
On team's attitude heading into Saturday's game: "We know we lost (last year's title game), but we've spent the season trying to figure out what else we need to accomplish to get over the hump and win Saturday. Our attitude has completely changed from last year. We have to play hard for all four quarters, especially offensively, because we were really behind the chains the entire game last year."
On Sam Houston State's offensive balance: "We have a new offensive coordinator (Doug Ruse) and he's done a great job for us. Our quarterback (Brian Bell) has thrown the ball really well, and our receivers get overlooked, but they do a great job getting open and blocking downfield when we run the ball."
On his mentality going into Saturday's game: "I have to remember that every time I have the ball in my hands won't result in a big play. They (North Dakota State) has a very good defense, so I have to be able to be OK with 3-yard gains or 4-yard gains. We have to stay ahead of the chains and we'll be fine."
Sam Houston State wide receiver Richard Sincere
On the layoff from the semifinal game: "It's been tough because we have been waiting to play for a couple of weeks. We are excited to get back there and play."
On playing North Dakota State for the second consecutive year: "In a way, we want to redeem ourselves from last year's loss. We know how good of a team we are and we want to come out on Saturday and prove it."
On thinking about winning a national championship: "I think about it all the time. It is one of the goals we established at the beginning of the year, so you have to be able to envision your goal if you want to achieve it."
Sam Houston State quarterback Brian Bell
On being back in the national championship: "I am just thankful for another opportunity because you never know when the opportunity is going to come again. We are thankful to be here and we are going to make the most of it."
On the layoff from the semifinal game: "It gave us a lot of confidence because we got a nice little break to get out feet underneath us and rest a little bit. But we came jumping right back into to practice and firing off plays and ready to go."
On the rematch with North Dakota State: "It is a game between two great teams just like last year. They are a great team and everyone knows it, and we are going to have to battle for four quarters. Their offense and defense is a little bit different, but they are still a great team."
On Sam Houston State's passing game: "It is another dimension to our game. If you are throwing the ball well, then the running game is going to benefit from that and vice versa. So if we can do both, then it will be very beneficial."
Sam Houston State defensive back Darnell Taylor
On playing North Dakota State: "We are both talented teams and North Dakota State plays a style that is really physical. We know that, and we feel like we are ready."
On last year's championship game: "I feel like the game down to about five plays that decided the outcome. They were a good team last year and I can't take anything away from those guys, but I feel like we could have played a better game."
On making the championship game after a 1-2 start to the regular season: "After we lost two of the first three games, we were humbled a little bit. We thought were good, but once we lost, we knew that we weren't good enough just to walk into the game and win. We knew we were going to have to play each and every week."
On coming into the postseason unseeded:
"Once we found out that we weren't part of the top five seeds heading into the playoffs, we knew that we were as good as those teams and we had to go out and prove it. We knew we were a top team."
Southland Conference, Assistant Commissioner for Communications
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