Q&A: 10 QUESTIONS with Head Coach Chris Hatcher

Ryan Richardson/The News Head Coach Chris Hatcher returns for his fourth season at Murray State.

What are you seeing out of your players that makes you excited or nervous?

We’re excited about the opportunity to play on a big stage. That’s always a treat for our guys, to be able to do that early on. It’s a daunting task playing against a team from the SEC. My goal is that we have 11 men on the field, they know what to do, they’re fundamentally sound and they play hard each and every snap.


What are some of your strengths compared with Missouri’s?

They’re a lot bigger, stronger and faster than we are. Their lines are going to be the best lines we play all season. Their receivers are tall and fast. They’ll be the best team we play all season.


How does Missouri compare to Florida State?

Offensively, they’re better than Florida State was. They have a really good defensive line. I don’t know if they have as many on the D-line. I would say their first team is very comparable to Florida State.


How do the 11 guys who have been here four years bring their experience to this season?

They know what’s expected out of them. They’ve been through the league a couple times now. We expect their leadership.


How have the players transitioned into the new defense?

They’ve done a good job. They’ve picked up on the new scheme pretty well. They’ve shown a lot of improvement since spring practice. It’s still something new to them and, hopefully, they’ll continue to get better as we go.


What have you seen out of everyone since naming Maikhail Miller the starting quarterback?

We’ve been doing a lot more against the scouts. It’ll be interesting to see him play when the lights are on. We feel like he’s got a lot of upside and we’re excited to get out there and watch him play. We’ve got some guys that if he can get the ball to them, they can do something with it.


How does the running back duo of Duane Brady and?Jaamal Berry factor into everything?

Both of them are good players. They’re dynamic, and we’re going to lean heavily on them this season, especially early on until we break the quarterback in.


What has been the most impressive part of the team in practice?

We’ve had a really good work ethic. The guys have wanted to learn. They’ve gone out and practiced hard. They’ve tried to do what we’ve asked them to do to the best of their ability and now it’s time to go play and see what kind of product we have.


What are your thoughts on the Mizzou offense?

The quarterback makes them go. He’s a dual threat. They have the one receiver who was Player of the Year a couple of years ago. They’ve got two other receivers that are really good. On the defensive side of the ball, it’s just a matter of can our offensive line hold up to their athleticism on the defensive line. Any time you play a game like this, that’s the question you’ve got. Can you hold your own in the trenches and can you hold your own in the special teams. I do feel good about us. We’re excited about the opportunity.


What positions are the strongest on the team?

I really think our secondary is a big strength. That’s been a weakness the past couple years, but I think our new scheme has allowed them to get more eyes to the football and it’s allowed them to use their athleticism where they’re not on an island all the time. Offensively it’s our backfield. You look at the experience we’ve got with Duane Brady and Jaamal Berry. Those guys have made big time plays for us over the past few years.