The Chris Hatcher Show: Sept. 30, 2021

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Each week during the 2021 season, we will release The Chris Hatcher Show. The show, hosted by Kevin Blackwell and featuring head football coach Chris Hatcher, will look back at the previous week’s football game and look forward to the upcoming contest.
Samford played a thrilling overtime game against 15th-ranked ETSU last Saturday, falling in the extra session by a score of 55-48. The game was played in front of a large crowd and a tremendous atmosphere. Hatcher was appreciative of the fan support showed to the Bulldogs at the game.
“I’d like to thank the Samford community, all the parents of our students, the fans, what a tremendous atmosphere we had Saturday,” Hatcher said. “It was the largest crowd I have witnessed in seven years as the coach at Samford. It was just an exciting day; the Quad was buzzing. It was what college football’s all about.”
At halftime of the game, the field at Seibert Stadium was officially dedicated to legendary coach Bobby Bowden.
“It was an awesome day to name the field after Coach Bowden,” Hatcher said. “We had a lot of his family members there. He meant a lot to our community. We know our community meant a lot to him and his family. We just needed one more play and it would have been a perfect day all the way around.”
Despite the loss, Samford quarterback Liam Welch had a tremendous day, statistically. He set Samford and Southern Conference records for passing yards, total yards, completions and attempts. Hatcher talked about Welch’s play, along with the play of the entire offense.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to Liam,” Hatcher said. “We’ve had some offensive struggles early in this season, but he played exceptionally. You throw it 73 times and you’re close to a 77 percent completion percentage, and all the records. And I know he is like me; we would have given up some of that for a win on Saturday. But he competed. He’s just a tough player. More importantly, that’s the best our offensive line had played, our receivers caught the ball extremely well, they ran great routes. It was a case of some guys really stepping up.
Peyton Ringer kind of filled in there for A.J. Toney and Chandler Smith filled in for Ty King, and both of those guys had good days, along with all the other guys,” Hatcher said. “Offensively, other than the turnovers early and then not being able to make one more play in overtime, once they hit their groove there in the third quarter, it was something fun to watch.”
Smith, filling in for King, had a career day Saturday. He caught 11 passes for 124 yards, leading the team in receptions and ranking second in receiving yards in the game. Hatcher talked a little about Smith’s contributions.
“He walked on this football team and early on we thought, this guy had a good chance to be a good player of us,” Hatcher said. “He earned himself a scholarship. He’s a shifty-type receiver, he’s faster than he looks, and he’s a precise route runner. He has not started, we’ve had him playing behind Montrell (Washington), but he’s kind of a guy that can play any position. We had to move him out to the X position with Ty King going down. He’s a very versatile player, and as he showed the other night, a very good player.”
ETSU had a pair of long kickoff returns that aided the Bucs as they came back in the fourth quarter. Hatcher talked a little about those plays.
“The longest period we have at one given time at practice is special teams each week,” Hatcher said. “I have a big hand in that. Coach (Ricky) Turner does a phenomenal job with that. We just had a couple of guys that didn’t use good technique on that team, and you have a good return man who made a couple of guys miss and that put our defense in a really bad position there in the fourth quarter that allowed them to have some quick scores. And then at the end of the game that forced us to have to give them good starting position with 51 seconds to go in the game, which eventually led to the field goal that tied the game. That’s something that we’ve got to shore up.”
Hatcher also pointed out the team nature of football and the need for a little extra from each of the three phases.
“It’s a team game,” Hatcher said. “It’s like I told our team on Monday, defense we need one more good play, offense we need one more good play, special teams we need one more good play, and we win a close game.”
This week, Samford travels to Mercer for a Saturday evening contest. The Bears are 2-1 overall and 1-0 in SoCon play after an impressive 24-3 win at Furman last week.
“You’re at the point of the season, I think a little bit that, nobody really knows who’s the best team and who’s not the best team yet,” Hatcher said. “It’s starting to shake out a little bit and I think we’re in that upper echelon if we could continue to improve. Mercer came into our place in the spring with a chance to win the Southern Conference, we jumped on them early, but the second half was very close. They’ve gotten out to a great start this year. They really played Alabama well early in the game.
“They’re a very well coached team,” Hatcher said. “They run on offense, a little Wing-T, option, a lot of motions that can get you out-gapped quickly. We found that out in the spring a few times. Defensively, their front seven is really, really good. It’s like we say every week, in this league, everybody’s close to the same. We’ve got to go on the road, and we’ve got to perform well.”
Saturday’s game at Mercer is set to start at 5 p.m. (CT) at Five Star Stadium. The game can be seen live on ESPN+ at the following link: WATCH LIVE. Fans can also follow the game online at the following link: LIVE STATS.
For the latest news and information on Samford football, visit the official website for Samford Athletics at Fans can also follow the Bulldogs on social media at /SamfordFootball (Facebook), @SamfordFootball (Instagram) and @SamfordFootball (Twitter).


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