Offense gets coach’s message

Offense gets coach’s message
By RANDY CAVIN
Press Sports
UT Martin’s offense got the message to step it up from head coach Jason Simpson, and that is exactly what they have done the last two games.
The Skyhawks have scored an eye-popping 117 points in those last two games and have amassed 984 total yards. Derek Carr and his talented receivers have been responsible for 812 of those yards.
Carr and his receivers were so good on Saturday against Murray State it garnered him and junior wide receiver Jeremy Butler several honors. Carr received co-Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Week, Madness FCS National Player of the Week, Sports Network FCS National Player of the Week, and his passer rating of 243.78 against the Racers set a new FCS record.
Butler, the transfer from College of the Sequoias, set the UT Martin record for touchdown receptions in a game, catching eight passes for 177 yards and four touchdowns, was named the OVC Newcomer of the Week. The four touchdown receptions are tied for the most by a FCS player in a game this season.
All of the accolades Carr received and UTM’s performance even got the attention of Dan Patrick as he mention both Carr and UTM on his nationally-syndicated sports talk show.
“I got a text while watching film this morning about that, and I’m proud for Derek,” Simpson said at his weekly press conference on Monday. “Derek’s worked hard and has earned everything he’s gotten, and he’ll tell you that it’s all because of the hard work by the line and the receivers helping him out.”
Simpson said there is one achievement that has eluded Carr and that is winning the OVC. With four OVC games left in the season, there is plenty of work ahead of Carr and the Skyhawks.
“There’s one honor that’s eluded Derek so far, and that’s a conference championship,” Simpson said. “And that’s something that we’re all working for.”
Senior defensive back Thad Williams was named the co-OVC Defensive Player of the Week. He got the scoring started for UTM with a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown just 1:29 into the game. His pass breakup late in the game kept the Racers from making a first down and a huge gain. UTM took over on downs and scored four plays later. Williams finished the game with six tackles (five solo) and a tackle-for-loss.
Now that the offense had gotten the message across it is time for the defense to get the message and Simpson addressed that issue at the press conference.
“Statistically, we played bad, and on tape we played bad,” he said. “That has got to be cleaned up. Even if you take the hurt guys out of it there are still things that have got to be taken care of.”
“We did not get that done, but I do want to mention Thad Williams, though. I am very pleased that his is OVC (Defensive) Player of the Week.”
The Skyhawks will look to keep offensive train rolling and get the defense playing like it was earlier in the season on Saturday when the Skyhawks travel to Southeast Missouri State. UTM enters the game at 5-2 and 3-1 in the OVC. SEMO is 2-4 and 1-2 in the conference.
Simpson said his players are cautious about overlooking SEMO because they know what is at stake. UTM is in a three-way tie for second place and just a game back in the loss column of OVC-leading Tennessee State.
“We know we’re not talented enough to just roll the ball out there and go play,” Simpson said. “And we’ve got to keep winning to stay in it for the conference championship.”
Simpson wants this win with an open date coming up the following weekend.
From there, the race is on for the OVC crown with Jacksonville State, Tennessee Tech and Tennessee State remaining on the schedule.
Published in The WCP 10.18.12

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