Tony Levine Opening CommentsTHE MODERATOR: We're joined by University of Houston Richie Leon, offensive tackle Rowdy Harper, linebacker Derrick Mathews, cornerback Zach McMillan, and also Head Coach Levine.
COACH LEVINE: I was going to introduce our players and I guess you just beat me to that. But we're excited to be here, and "excited" I think is a word you're going to hear me use a number of times over the course of the next 15 minutes, next four, five, six months.
We have a lot of exciting things going on right now within our program. Certainly we couldn't be happier with our move to the American Athletic Conference. I think most everyone knows about the new stadium. We'll be playing in Reliant Stadium the majority of our games this season as they continue to work on our stadium on campus that will be ready for the 2014 season.
We also have brand new practice fields that will be completed here the next 48 hours, an outdoor turf field and brand new grass field that will be really, really good for our program.
And then last week we unveiled new uniforms for the upcoming season as well that I know our players, our fans, and even our recruits are excited about.
One more thing I want to mention is a few months ago in the NFL Draft, we had the 12th player taken, D.J. Hayden by the Oakland Raiders. Signed his contract a couple days ago. We're certainly proud of him and proud of that accomplishment as well.
So a lot of things going on right now. And as excited as we are about all of them, we're really, really looking forward to our players officially reporting in three days in practice number one on Saturday evening.
So it's going to be a tremendous challenge for us this season. It's one that I've been through before when I was at Louisville almost 10 years ago, making transition from conferences and a successful one. So I draw on some past experiences.
This move is something we've certainly anticipated for over a year now. We've been preparing for it in a number of ways. I mentioned our facilities. We've addressed it in recruiting the last two classes and are currently doing it now as well.
So as we look at our schedule, and it's one that our fan base is certainly looking forward to, it's certainly one that our players and our staff is excited about as well.
Our focus, as it will always be, is on game one, and that's against Southern, our first non-conference opponent. We're excited about everything going on within our program. We're excited about the direction of our program.
I think things take time and what we're trying to accomplish at the University of Houston is build our program into a consistent winner. Everybody certainly remembers two years ago being 13-1 and beating Penn State in the Ticket City Bowl, and the year before that we were 5 and 7. So we want to build in a consistent winner, one that's going to Bowl games and competing for championships every season.
In terms of our players, I've said this for a long time, I'll always continue to say it, is we have competition. And it's regardless of position. Quarterback, kicker, linebacker, we're going to have open competition. We always will. It goes through the spring.
And then when our newcomers join our program in the summer, which the vast majority of them were here at the end of May, they have an opportunity in the first couple of weeks as we prepare for that first game to compete to play for us as well.
So we're looking forward to Friday getting here and getting going Saturday evening. With that I'll open it up for questions.
QUOTESCommissioner Mike Aresco
UCF Head Coach George O'Leary
Louisville Head Coach Charlie Strong
UConn Head Coach Paul Pasqualoni
Houston Head Coach Tony Levine
Cincinnati Head Coach Tommy Tuberville
Memphis Head Coach Justin Fuente
USF Head Coach Willie Taggart
Rutgers Head Coach Kyle Flood
Temple Head Coach Matt Rhule
SMU Head Coach June Jones
Monday, 5 p.m.
We have arrived at Hotel Viking.
HOUSTON PARTICIPANTSJoining head coach Tony Levine at the Summer Kickoff are P Richie Leone, OT Rowdy Harper, LB Derrick Mathews and CB Zach McMillian. For a full list of the players attending, click here.
BROADCAST INFORMATIONCoaches and players from the 10 American Athletic Conference schools will converge on the Hotel Viking in Newport, R.I., July 30 for the league's Summer Kickoff and Media Day, and fans will be able to follow all of the day's events through a broad range of digital coverage.
The centerpiece of the conference's coverage will be a live, three-hour program featuring in-depth analysis and interviews with coaches and players. In addition, a live video feed of Commissioner Mike Aresco's opening remarks at 9 a.m. ET and each coach's question-and-answer session at the podium will be available on ESPN3.
The show is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. ET and will be hosted by John Rooke and Pete Brock. Also available on ESPN3, the program will feature one-on-one interviews with each of the league's 10 head coaches and select players. Rooke is a veteran play-by-play broadcaster with experience on ESPN networks and IMG Radio. Brock is a former New England Patriot who and color commentator on the IMG Radio Network.
For complete digital coverage of the event, fans are asked to visit www.TheAmerican.org/Kickoff.
The official Twitter hashtag for event will be #AmericanKickoff. Fans can use that hashtag to submit questions to be asked of head coaches during the live show.
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