Houston vs. BYU Postgame Quotes

Oct. 19, 2013


Opening statement
“We knew it would be a great game going into it. We talked about it all week. Two great football teams going toe-to-toe. With their size, their stature, with how established I consider their program to be, Coach Mendenhall has done a fantastic job in the years he has been there as the head football coach. We knew it would be a physical game and it certainly was everything. I talked to the kids at halftime and I told them as soon as we got in the locker room, ‘this is exactly how I told you this game was going to be.’ The second half was no different. 

There are no moral victories. A loss is a loss. I give BYU credit. They made enough plays to win the football game. We’ll come in tomorrow, get on to Rutgers, learn from this video. That’s a tough locker room right now. Our kids are doing what we ask on the field, off the field and we’re taking it one day at a time and one game at a time and get back to work tomorrow and get ready for this next conference game.”  

On the Houston defense
“They did give up some points. I thought we put them in a tough position in terms of turnovers offensively, which is something certainly we have not done really for the most part up until this game this season. When I think of our defense, and certainly anyone at home can look at the score of the BYU Houston score and say ‘wow, look at all the points they scored on their defense.’ Derrick Matthews scored a touchdown, our defense recorded a safety, we created some turnovers, we got an interception down there in the end zone. By no means am I saying we played well, but where we are right now in our program is playing as a team. At the end of the day, we did not do enough to win this game in all three phases. We made some plays on offense, defense and special teams, and we blew some opportunities in all three phases as well. We’ll go watch the film and again I think to this point when you look to Taysom Hill as a running quarterback, with the size of their offensive line and the experience they have up front, and their big physical receivers, it was a challenge. They are an outstanding team. I take nothing away from them.”  

On the last offensive drive of the game 
“(John) O’Korn was being aggressive and certainly felt like he had a receiver open up the seam and he was not. So, that was the end of the game.” 

On what Coach Levine says to O’Korn after the game to help him shake off his first loss 
“People here in our community are certainly going to get to know him over the next four years as an individual and a person. I appreciate you starting the question with that respect because when you look out there, I think our fans and even coaches forget he is an 18-year-old true freshman. I had four other coaches come up to me after the game and say ‘wow, that quarterback is special.’ They can be nice and say that after the win but I felt like they were sincere. Did he play perfectly? No, and I’ve said it every week that he is never going to. He’s going to learn from his mistakes and I see improvement in that young man at the end of every week.” 

On what Coach Levine said to Coach Mendenhall after the game
“He’s a guy who I just met today for the first time, but who I’ve followed Coach Mendenhall throughout his career. He’s a guy in our profession who everyone has a lot of respect for not only as a football coach, but as a person. Assistants talk about him when they say, ‘who would you love to work for as a head coach one day’ and he pops up in those conversations. I know he is a great family man. I actually got to meet him right when his team got here. He and his wife Holly were walking on the turf, I met them briefly and we talked prior to the game and then just after. He complemented me on my team and I complemented him on his and wished him the best for the rest of the season.” 

On what Coach Levine was proud of today
“I told them I’m proud of them because of how they prepared this week. There wasn’t a guy in that locker room, player, staff member or coach who didn’t think we were going to win this game through the entire week and the three and a half hours we were out there. They’re going everything we ask them to do. They’re giving a great effort, and I am proud of them, but I didn’t let them know that there are no more victories because they know that. We’re trying to win football games, and everyone felt like we were going to win it going into it and throughout the game they felt that as well.” 

On halftime adjustments on defense 
“Here’s what I think people need to understand: you prepare to play an opponent in a weeks time, and you’re going to change things up. We do it offensively, our opponents always do it offensively and defensively as well through the course of the week. Then you get into the game and in the first half now you really are going to see what they have changed. They’re not just going to show up and run the same plays they ran the week before against the other opponent. The first half, we see how they’re blocking the run play different, how they are utilizing personnel groups a little differently and just maybe a core of six offensive plays. BYU came out and threw a little bit in the beginning and then settled down a little bit and seemed to try to pound us and run the football. When we get in at halftime, we draw up new what they are doing that we had not necessarily practiced or seen them run in all the games we broke down from this season. We make our adjustments and go out there. We’re not going to draw up in the sand a new defensive blitz or front or coverage at halftime necessarily but we tell our kids ‘here’s what they’re doing, here’s how we need to fit it, play it, here’s the calls I’m going to change in terms of down and distance if there’s a tendency or by personnel.”  

On differences offensively between the first half and the second half
“Again, I give them credit too. They adjusted a little bit defensively. You go back to the first half and we scored three touchdowns, and I may be wrong on this, our first three touchdowns, only one was scored by our offense. We had a kick return and I want to say we had an interception. Our offense, we did some good things, we made some big plays.  We did in the second half as well, but at the end of the day, we didn’t do enough to win the game.” 

On thoughts about putting QB Greg Ward in during the second half to spark the offense
“We think about everything certainly with our personnel throughout the entire course of the game.”

On P/K Richie Leone flipping the field on punts
“It was really important. He’s a young man; everybody knows what he means to me and our program. He’s doing a lot right now. He’s kicking field goals, kicking off, and certainly, I’ve said this for months, he’s the best punter in the country. To pin teams back deep in their own territory, let our defense the way we’ve been opportunistic, creating turnovers, taking the field with our opponent backed up, that turns into points eventually. Whether it’s getting the safety or making them punt it and give it back to our offense in good field position. Those are the hidden things you don’t necessarily see all the time when it comes to special teams. Certainly as the team’s punter, Richie Leone is doing a fantastic job out there.” 

On the affect BYU’s victory lap around the stadium had on the team
“To be honest, it felt to me a little bit like we were playing in a bowl game today. It was certainly a great Houston crown there and then a bunch of BYU fans as well. It was a great atmosphere. We don’t take that. I didn’t even notice it. It seemed like half their side was their fans and I didn’t even notice. I heard them at times, cheering, but I didn’t notice what they did after the game. After they did it, I wouldn’t think it was intentional.”

On a non-conference loss and goals still being alive
“Two things to your question and I agree with you. What I told the team afterwards was this: one, the bowl game we want to play in we can still play in it. Again, in six days we’re going to get on an airplane and fly New Jersey and take on a great Rutgers football team. We have 42 days left of this regular season including today. We have six games left that we’re guaranteed. We’ll be on to the next one with our goals still ahead of us and the second thing is this: What we’ve talked about inside our program, this summer, this August, this season is something to prove. With our guys, what I told them after the game is you don’t prove anything in one game. You prove it over the course of the season, so we’ve got 12 guaranteed opportunities and you earn respect and show people who you really are over those 12 games and hopefully you get a thirteenth. Again, we’ll come back tomorrow. I know they’re taking this tough, our student-athletes, our staff, and our coaches. We’ll come back tomorrow and get ready for Rutgers.”

On mind-set coming into the game
“I came into the game thinking we had to score more than they scored. Whether we won 2-0 or 50-49. Again, we did the couple things in terms of turning the ball over offensively that we had not done the previous five games and gave them some opportunities in it hurt our chances for success offensively. I give BYU credit as well. That’s why they’re one of the top defenses in the country.”

On morale going into next week against Rutgers
“That’s on us as coaches, I believe. We’ve got to keep their morale where it needs to be, whether it’s high low or in between. We’ve done a good job as a staff of being demanding early in the week, making sure they’re focused, regardless of our opponent. Then, as we get towards the game, backing off, making sure we’re executing in practice, being positive, and making sure they’re fresh and confident for our opponent, regardless of who it is. Our kids, you know, it’s been a unique season when you look at where we’ve played. Going up to Philadelphia, a lot of these young men, even coaches and staff members have never been up there before. It’ll be the same for New Jersey, so it will be a great experience and it’s one that our kids will be looking forward to.”




On the overall game
“It was tough because we fought, and the offense wasn’t doing as good. It was a tough loss, but we’re thinking about the next game anyway.”

On the offensive end
“I mean, I feel like the offense played well. They made some good plays, and we made some good plays, and it was just a loss. It was mistakes that we’re making. We had a lot of penalties and that kills drives, kills momentum. I mean, it was really the penalties, it was nothing BYU did.” 

On the increase in play of Maxwell on the offense
“I’ve earned more trust from coach by being more of a leader and by being more accountable in practice. I’ve just been making plays in practice and bringing it out to the field.”

On O’Korn’s performance tonight
“He did good. He played hard. He made some good plays; he made some bad plays. He’s young, and he’s going to get better and develop.”

On the second half performance
“We just weren’t executing as well. They made a few adjustments, and we made a few adjustments, and I mean, it just wasn’t going our way. Like I said, we had a lot of penalties which kills drives, so I mean, it was more on us.”

On the offensive performance in the endzone
“Getting down there. I mean, we get down there fast, and get stuck on the five and we can’t go as fast as we want to because there’s not as much open space. But I mean, other than that, it’s on us. We just have to practice harder, and punch it in. Period.”



On the first interception return for a touchdown
“ We were in man to man coverage and I was in the backfield and he threw it right to me. I was in the back; he looked at me and then threw it right to me. I had a great opportunity and took advantage of it." 

On being surprised to see the ball coming right at you
“It surprised me. I thought ‘really, he is going to throw the ball right to me.’ But I was in the perfect position to make a play and that’s what I did.”

On slowing down BYU in the second quarter
“We had to slow ourselves down and realize that this is what we have been practicing all week. As far as the second half we come out there and calmed down and went out there and played how we were supposed to play. But it didn’t work out how we wanted to.”

On BYU throwing the ball early
“I thought they were going to come out there and run the ball, and it did surprise me that they came out throwing the ball.”

On the BYU quarterback’s ability to run
“I knew he was a great player. Obviously I thought he was going to run a little more than he did. It doesn’t surprise me that he has a great arm too. He is a great player. 

On BYU’s 115 plays affecting fatigue
“Going against our offense in the fall and everyday in practice keeps us with the uptempo. As far as the 100 plays, they had a fast tempo and we had to come out there and try to control it the best we can. 

On the coach stating there were no moral victories
“There weren’t any moral victories. They area good team; we are a good team. We still have six more to go. We are only half way through it, and we have a lot more football to play.”




On postgame mood and atmosphere
“We lost the game. No one really wants to lose a game. We are all hurt, but we have to move on to play Rutgers. We have to put it behind us and learn from the film.”

On BYU scoring late
“It’s a hard pill to swallow.”

On the touchdown scored after almost falling
“I just tried to stay up. I got up and saw Maxwell and someone else over there and I took off running that way and luckily I scored.” 

On toughness playing in a game filled with momentum swings
“Every game is going to have momentum swings, this one had a lot. Every time we were out there it was a big time to try to make a play. It was tough but we still had to try to get the job done.” 

On how the teams moral will be this week preparing for Rutgers
“We have to learn from the film. We just lost and it’s going to be hard for them but we have to come out with the same intensity that we still have something to prove. We just have to come out even harder and grind even harder. Nobody wants to lose again.

On O’Korn’s moral after the game
“I don’t even know, I didn’t see him to be honest.”

On the last play of the game
“It was three verticals on the left side with a shallow coming across. He saw that I was open. We are just going to learn from the film.”




Opening Statement
“Houston gave a valiant effort. Those guys tried really hard, and are very explosive and talented. We made plenty of mistakes, enough for a number of games. We were resilient enough to overcome them. That’s really the story line, I think. We hung in there long enough to make up for our mistakes, and win the game. It was hard fought, and I thought we played really hard. Glad we won.” 

On the thoughts after the final interception

“Just relief first, then checking the field to make sure there were no penalties. That was kind of the conditioned response tonight. We weren’t playing the game very clean, so I scanned the field real quick.”

On the defensive call on the last play
“I don’t remember. All I remember is we dropped back eight. They had a lot of fast guys and our guys weren’t running so fast, so our goal was to put more guys back than they had. Alani (Fua) was playing in the nickel spot covering most of the night. He had the key play last week in the Georgia Tech game, and now here tonight.”

On the last offensive drive
“Fantastic, the great part was we finally started to get position. Their punter was money. Parts of the second half we were pinned over and over. Finally we turned the tables, and made a stop on a three an out. Their punter, maybe the only poor one of the night we got the ball on the 40. Skyler Ridley was the play I remember the most. Taysom Hill, I don’t know if you’ll see a gutsier performance than that. Just the mileage on his legs, the wear and tear. Coming back from the interception and the safety just going down the field. He gave us a chance to win. That’s an amazing performance by him, and we’re lucky he’s on our team.”

On the defensive performance
“Yeah I feel good, and it’s like where did all the points come from? There’s just some giant throws, and they change the field so fast. It’s a freshman quarterback, who did a nice job. We take away, which we can’t three or four plays and it’s not even close. They earned those plays, however then there’s these clutch plays they make mixed into the whole thing. If I’m saying what feeling? I’m saying I’m proud of them they played hard.” 

On if he thought he gave Houston too much time at the end
“Yeah I looked up at the clock and thought man look at all that time left. There’s like a minute and something left, and some days it doesn’t matter where they get the ball you think they can score. I looked up and said oh this is probably going to come down to a last second field goal I hope we block it. Then we intercept it, and I’m thinking thank goodness.” 

On winning a shootout-type game
“Yeah I think this has been like three. Oregon State wasn’t close to this a year ago, but TCU 51-50 the Tulsa and this one. Man I don’t even know what the score was but we won. Our guys tried hard, and that’s fun. It’s fun now.” 

On what the team gains from this game
“I think a couple of things, unity and respect. Cohesiveness. Understanding how capable they are and seeing how mistakes can possibly change a game or cost you a game. As coaches we look at our team as opposed to this type of team what does that look like? A lot to learn in a short time because of the Friday game. After how long this one was there should be a bye. That should be a NCAA rule, if the game goes longer than four hours any Thursday or Friday game automatically gets moved to a Saturday. I’ll see if I can get that done”



Opening statement

“Well the reason I started to the other side, I started with Cody and Brett Thompson and they played cover two and they sat on the hitches and Skylar came open and made a good throw and he made a good play and that’s what set us up for that touchdown." 

On excitement of the play

“It was extremely fun. I looked over there, I saw that we had man press and I trust the heck out of Scott and I know I have been saying that a lot but when it came down to it and they had crunch time, I think that shows how much trust I have in that guy and I knew that he was going to fight and he made a play and gave us the win.”

On the way the game had gone

“Honestly coming out of half time I knew that it was going to come down to the team that had the ball at the end of the game and luckily that was us and Alani (Fua) came out and made a huge play again, man he is a great football player, our defense played solid when they needed to again and offensively we came out and made some mistakes, I made some mistakes but we battled back and I think that shows a lot for the character of our team.”

On satisfaction of  putting together a game winning play

“Yeah that was really gratifying to come out and do that. Look I knew that we had the potential to that. I knew we just need the ball and our o-line needed a protector really stepped up that last drive. It was a great team effort all around and I’m proud of those guys." 

On the uniqueness of the game

“It was a unique game and it felt like we had played an entire game by the end of the first half with as many plays that we had run and the time that we had the ball. You have got to credit Houston, they are a good football team, they played hard and then they came out and made some adjustments in the second half and it took us a quarter to adjust to what they were doing and luckily we did, in the fourth quarter we came out and scored and we put points on the board and it eventually got us the win.”

On the game being like high school

“I guess it felt a little bit like high school in that sense. I want to do whatever I need to to get the win and that’s what we saw tonight and I think coach and I put a lot of trust in me and I recognize that and I respect the heck out of coach and I and the coaching staff and I’m grateful to be a part of this win.”

On interception returned for a touchdown

“We ran a little quick game concept and they went man press and my guy was getting walled and I went to throw the flat and I didn’t see the backer peel off so it’s a mental error on my part and I need to clean that up so it’s not acceptable.”

On what to take away from the game

“I think we need to be consistent offensively we started out really well and then we kind of squandered in the second quarter, third quarter and we need to come out and play as we did in the first quarter for four quarters. You know there is a lot of really good things to build off from this game but we need to put an entire game together offensively, we showed greatness throughout the game but we need to show that consistently.” 

On receiver Cody Hoffman

“It’s kind of two fold if you think about it. So one Cody catches everything that you throw to him and he is going to battle for you and he is going to get open but when you are not throwing the ball to Cody the defense has to be wired and so it really frees up the other guys and you know Cody has been a valuable asset to our team and he’s kind of that security blanket. For me you look at the third down I threw him the second to last drive they played two safeties high and he was going to split them and he was going to make a play and it’s nice to have that.”

On the end of the game/adjustments

“Look I think that was their adjustment at half time, they came up and started doing man press from the outside and started blitzing us pretty heavily and you know it’s just you do what you got to do and I was trying my best to make plays and trying to alleviate negative plays and I need to clean that up a little bit. You got to credit Houston for what they did defensively and we’ll get better offensively we actually made adjustments in the fourth quarter in what they were doing that led us to being successful.”



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