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Courtesy: GoBearkats.com
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Courtesy: Gene Schallenberg/Huntsville Item
Release: 12/16/2011
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Head coach Willie Fritz to talk about today's NCAA Division I  national semifinal playoff game against Montana.

    Question - What are your thoughts about Sam Houston being 13-0 and one win away from playing for a national championship?

    Fritz - One of the best things we've done all season is just take it one game at a time. Our guys have certainly done that this week. Our guys are excited about getting the opportunity to play a team that has been one of the top teams in the FCS for a long time. It's a big challenge for us, but we're looking forward to that challenge.

    This is the fun part, you know. I told them to make sure they're living in the moment and to have fun with it. There's not a whole lot of teams that are playing meaningful football in December. We've earned this. We've earned the right to play at home and I'm just really looking forward to watching our guys perform Friday night.

    This is why you play college football. This is why we've been lifting weights all summer and why we ran that hill over there. We don't get to do some things that other students are able to do because we're representing the university. We've got to sacrifice and the guys are willing to do that because they want to do it and it's a lot of fun. There's just more people watching, that's the only difference.



     Question - How does the experience from winning the past two playoff games help in preparing for today's semifinal game?

    Fritz - I just think each game's different. Each game is on its own. We obviously had to play two pressure games in the playoffs. We're a little seasoned now and we've been through a couple of rounds and we've played a lot of meaningful games this year. This is another one.

    Every time you win, you get into a situation where the next game is bigger than the last one. This is going to be a lot of fun.



     Question - What kind of weapons do the Grizzlies have to try and exploit the Bearkat defense?

    Fritz - Their quarterback (Jordan Johnson) has really played well over the last few weeks. We've got to do a good job of containing him in the pocket and not allowing him to get outside of our contain rushers. When we're blitzing, we've got to fit in gaps, so he doesn't have seams to tuck it and run. He's a really good football player.

    They've got quick, elusive backs (Peter Nguyen and Jordan Canada) and they've got a big guy (Dan Moore). You've got to wrap these guys up. They've got a big offensive line. That's going to be an important part of the game.

    On offense, we've got to stay out of those third-and-long situations because they're going to bring the house and they do a good job of zone blitzing. We've got keep them away from doing that.



     Question - How does Montana's defensive front compare to that of Montana State and Stony Brook?

    Fritz - They're similar. They've got big, active guys. They play really hard. They get pressure, not as much with the four-man rush as Montana State, but they like the zone blitz. We don't see as much of that in early downs because with what we're doing with the option, if somebody's wrong or we read it right or block it right, it can really get a rip. On third-and-long situations, that's when it's a little more difficult.



   Question - With what Montana's quarterback has been able to do in the playoffs (16 carries for 122 yards and a touchdowns and 29-of-42 passing for 331 yards and five passing TDs), what is the importance of maintaining defensive discipline and not having breakdowns?

    Fritz - Yeah, we've got to be disciplined. We run a very complex defense. You've got to be smart to play defensively for us because we've got to have our guys in the right gaps.



   Question - What is it that Montana likes to do offensively?

    Fritz - They're running the power-read - I guess some people call it the glide play where they're running the (running) back across. It's a little different. We don't see it all the time. You've just got to fit right. They're hoping we get sloppy and get two guys in a gap and that back finds a crease and goes or the quarterback pulls it.

    They run a little bit of stuff similar to us, as far as the zone-read play with the quarterback, and they have a really good vertical game down the field. They're going to throw a couple of trick plays at us early, so we've got to watch for those as well.



   Question - With both Sam Houston and Montana looking equally matched on paper, how big of a difference could special teams play into the outcome?

    Fritz - It's always a big, important part of the game. They've done a really good job of using that as a weapon for them and changing the field.    They've got a dangerous return guy (Jabin Sambrano) on both punts and kicks. That's going to be an important part of the ballgame.

    We really played well last week in the kicking game. I thought we had exceptional kick coverage. We had a little snafu in our punt team and we missed a chip shot field goal. Other than that, we really did a nice job - we had that big kickoff return and that blocked field goal. That's going to be an important part of the game.

GAME DAY TICKET PURCHASES
The Bowers Stadium West Side Ticket Office (located beneath the press box on the side of the stadium facing campus) will open for sales of $15 general admission tickets and $5 SHSU student tickets at 8 a.m.

The Will Call Window at the Bowers west side ticket office will open at 12 noon for pickup of pre-purchased tickets (and parking passes if applicable).

The gates at Bowers Stadium will open at 5:30 p.m. Kickoff is at 7:05 p.m.

Fans are encouraged to arrive at the stadium and pick up their tickets early to avoid lines. Tickets are still available at the game.

With Sam Houston commencement ceremonies at Johnson Coliseum at 6:30 p.m. and the football game at 7 p.m., special parking areas for each event have been designated.
 •  Commencement/Football Game Parking information

For more information, please call the SHSU athletic ticket office at (936) 294-1729 or visit the athletic web site at www.gobearkats.com .

For great Bearkat Gear "Undefeated Southland Champions" Christmas ideas, go to BearkatGear.com

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