Schaefer, William preview top 25 battle

No. 7 Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer and sophomore captain Morgan William preview the Bulldogs’ top 25 road showdown with 24th-ranked Missouri on Thursday.

Head Coach Vic Schaefer

Opening Statement:

“Good afternoon. Glad to see everyone here.  Big week for us, obviously. We have to go on the road and play a Top 25 team in Missouri. They are very well coached. Robin (Pingeton) does a tremendous job, her and her staff. They are really a tough, physical team. They’ve had a season much like ours last year in that they are off to the best start in school history. There are a lot of veterans on that team and they have added some really good, young pieces to that team. Robin has done a tremendous job while she has been there, and we are going to have to go in there and really play well to have a chance to win. They are a unique team, as you know, with great guard play. They have a tremendous player in (Jordan) Frericks who can do so many things at a unique size and position, so we have our work cut out for us. It could be a very tough environment. They had 7,000 for Tennessee, and I am expecting another big crowd tomorrow night.”

On Missouri being a tough team to defend…

“Well it’s very difficult and it’s a unique prep for our kids. There is a lot of communication that has to take place when you are out there on defense and we’ve, in the past, done a fairly good job. In the past,  they (Missouri) didn’t get a lot of credit but they have done well defensively. Robin does a great job with their defensive strategies. It is usually very difficult to have an inside game against them, and their kids really play hard.  Watching film, they are always in a stance and intense every possession, and that is a credit to Robin and her staff. They are a unique team for sure.  If you look at their stats, two-thirds of their shots are from the 3-point range. It is a unique challenge for sure.”

On his satisfaction with where his Mississippi State program stands at this point…

“I think a better word would be proud. I am really proud of our kids. I am proud of my staff.  To be where we are right now at this particular time in our tenure here is really a credit to them, and I have a good group of kids. They work pretty hard, most days very hard, and the commitment level is pretty good. It’s very satisfying and very rewarding, but certainly it’s not where you start but where you finish. I would definitely love to be where I am now in March. That’s my goal, and we are going to keep working toward it.  We are 3-0, two of which have been at home, but I think certainly the Florida win is bigger than what people thought at the time because of what they have done since they played us.  We are pleased, but we aren’t satisfied.  I think we are deserving to be where we are, but nothing is promised or guaranteed from here on out.”

On feeling more comfortable on the road this season compared to this time last year…

“I’ve said it 100 times in here. You can go play bad on the road and if you get beat, you’re going to be embarrassed. I think our kids understand that. I think for us it’s just one game at a time.  You can’t look too far ahead; you just have to focus on one game at a time.

On road games…

“Obviously we have played very good on the road here lately and pretty much all year we’ve played well on the road. I think our kids are comfortable on the road. I think they are confident. I think they have been in those environments, and if we go on the road and happen to get beat, I don’t think it’s because we are nervous or all tied up. It might just be that the other team is better than us that night. I think we have been in those environments enough to know what that is like.  So I think we are comfortable whether we are at home or on the road.”

Morgan William – So., G, Birmingham, Alabama

On how critical the guards are…

“They play hard in transition and shoot 3-pointers where most people go for layups, so it is important for us to make an effort to make it to the 3-point line and not hold back in the paint. We have to be alert.”

On how it feels to be a part of the success the program has achieved…

“I’m proud that all the hard work that has been put in has paid off. You just have to embrace the moment and keep working towards the goal.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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