Sep 7, 2013
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Tony Levine
"I'm proud of our team. That was a team victory. That's all three phases; offense did enough to win. Again, we have to get seven points, not three. We have to clean a lot of that up in the red zone. But we moved the ball up and down the field, so that's certainly correctable.
Defensively, we came in at halftime; Temple had 13 points, and we made great adjustments. Coach (David) Gibbs and the defensive staff did an outstanding job; the kids were flying around. We tackled well, maybe not as good as we did last Friday night against Southern, but the effort was certainly there, and we created a couple of turnovers, which we need to get points off of in the future and again tonight.
I have said a number of times publicly that Richie Leone is the best punter and kicker in the nation, and I'm glad he's in our program. We needed him today, and he's good. I've been doing this a long time, and he's as good as I've ever been around.
To go on the road in the first conference game in the new conference for our program and to come out in a tight game with the win is something that we needed. We needed a game like this, and it's good to get it early in the season. It's good to get on this airplane, get back, and have two weeks to prepare for Rice."
On what the Houston defense did to keep the game close
"That's something we just talked about privately in the locker room before I came out for the press conference. I was asked a number of times last week and I'm sure (Temple) Coach (Matt) Rhule was as well on his end if we showed everything in our first game, and we did not. We saved some packages for this game. We tried to affect not only what they did offensively; we tried to affect the quarterback.
Coach (David) Gibbs and our defensive staff did a great job mixing up the looks. It was an outstanding effort with our guys defensively. I loved the turnovers. We have to be able to put points on the board offensively, but unfortunately we didn't.
I'm proud of our defense. Any time you go out there and you come in at halftime losing the game, everyone in the country talks about what you have to do at halftime. Adjustments, mentality, and you go out there and hold them. For our guys defensively to go out there and hold them to zero points in the last 30 minutes was big for our confidence in this game."
On the offense's trouble scoring touchdowns in the red zone
"It was a number of things. (Temple Defensive Coordinator) Phil Snow has been doing this a long time. He's an outstanding football coach. I give him and his staff credit. When we get down there, we have to put the ball in the end zone. We gave them some different looks; they adjusted.
A couple of times, we may have had a poor decision in terms of executing a specific play, and we'll get those things cleaned up. We need to get them cleaned up. We can't rely on three points every time. With what we do offensively, we have to get the ball in the end zone."
On the value of freshman quarterback John O'Korn
"I know what we have in him. He's a talented 18-year-old. Again, he's another young man who was highly, highly recruited out of high school. But when you ask me to evaluate John O'Korn at this point, and again I haven't watched any video of this game, but just standing maybe 20 yards away from him for the last three hours and watching him play, he doesn't look like an 18-year-old that doesn't shave and went to prom five months ago. That's big and hard to find."
On whether Houston will use multiple quarterbacks
"I've been asked this a couple times over the last two or three weeks. It's a little bit of uncharted territory for me. You always reference things from past experiences. Ten years ago when I was at Louisville, we had two very talented quarterbacks, one an upperclassmen and one a true freshman.
Bobby Petrino, our head coach [at the time] tried to give the youngster experience as a backup. Our two backups are two 18-year-old true freshmen, John O'Korn and Greg Ward. The ability for us to get them significant playing experience is going to help not only their growth, but our growth as an offense."
HOUSTON LINEBACKER Adrian Bennett
On his "mile run"
"I played high school quarterback and saw the option. I'm a cutback kind of guy. I know defense was blocking hard for me. Just trying to do it."
On Temple not scoring the second half
"We had a bunch of good stops and a couple of field goals. We just try to do what we can do and usually our offense evens it out to put some points up on the board. But it wasn't really working for them so we had to play our game.
"If we put it together (defense and offense) we could be a dangerous team, and that's for any team. But we just played it good today. We might have had a few busted assignments, but we'll get that corrected and feeling good. It was good to come out here and get a win on the road because we've been struggling with that the past few years."
On plays to beat Temple
"It wasn't even a halftime adjustment; we went in Monday preparation week and coach always said the key to beat Temple is no explosive plays, have to tackle good, have to win the turnover battle, and we got a few turnovers."
HOUSTON WIDE RECEIVER Deontay Greenberry
On the frustration of the game
"I wouldn't say it was frustration. Just sometimes things go our way and sometimes it doesn't."
On chemistry with quarterback John O'Korn
"We've been doing a lot of practicing in the summer. I wasn't thinking that he would get as much playing time as he is, but when we came in, we started to connect so I already knew that we're probably going to be playing at times. So we just went out there and executed.
Also, we pretty much knew what they were doing on first and second down and pretty much executed a certain play based on what they were doing. That's pretty much where all my balls came from."
HOUSTON RUNNING BACK Ryan Jackson
On the frustration of the game
"It was just the pressure, throughout the whole game; we were just getting frustrated that we couldn't get it in the end zone. We have to give credit to Richie Leone. He did his job, and he put points on the board when we couldn't put points on the board."
"Defense isn't that bad. There are just a lot of things that we need to clean up on, which we are going to do as far as Monday. Defense held its own. They did their jobs. We just have to give a hand of applause to them because they came out so aggressive."
On the conference win
"There's a lot of excitement. It's just something to push for. We just have to come out hard, no matter who we play or what you're doing. We have to execute, go with the game plan and just go with the flow."
TEMPLE HEAD COACH MATT RHULE
"This is what college football is all about. It was a great football game, it went back and forth. I obviously wished we would have won the football game. I'm disappointed for our players. I know how badly they wanted to win that game. [Houston] ran 96 plays, and they had a lot of yards. Our defense gave us a chance, they played hard for 58 minutes, and they really gave us a chance to win the football game. On offense you're not going to win the game when you miss a field goal, miss an extra point, or if you turn the football over. We turned the ball over two times. Our defense bailed us out with a great goal line stand. Today it just seemed like when we were out there I don't know if we pressed or played too hard, we just did not have the same time of looseness we had last weekend, which we will get. Today was a great atmosphere, I thought the fans were fantastic, the field looked great and we did the walk-in. Everything about that screams college football, and I told our players, this team will be back and we will continue to get better and better. I think everyone will see a team that wins a lot of games. There are some things we need to correct. We need to correct the kicking situation. We can't have penalties or turnover, a couple which hurt us. I thought you saw a team that gave us a very good chance to win against a very good Houston offense. We told everyone how good they are on offense, they scored 62 points last week and we were able to keep them out of the [green zone]. So there are things we obviously need to get better at, but I know that we will and our players want to win, and we will find a way to continue to get better as the year goes on heading into next week."
On who starts as placekicker next week
"I don't know, I really don't know. Paul hasn't really felt comfortable kicking, but he stepped up this week and did some kicking. We rotated some guys in there. I wanted to give [PK Jim Cooper Jr.] Coop a chance. He kicked well all week and I just wanted to give him a chance. That's what football is all about. You have a chance, and you see what you can do with it. It wasn't even like it was a bad kick; I think it was just in his head he did not have it. Paul came in and made the next week [PAT] and then missed a field goal. If we make that field goal its obviously a different game We go up 16-15, and we are not throwing the ball down the field there at the end...I know we have to find an answer, and continue to get better at it. That was a focus for us this week and that is why P Paul [Layton] started doing it, and it wasn't good enough."
On the mental state of PK Jim Cooper Jr.
"You always worry about playing a freshman because you don't want to play a freshman too early because they could get broken. I'm not saying he is. He wanted to go out there and kick. He wanted to go out there and kick the second time when I pulled him...Our job now is to give our guys a chance to compete and be successful. We gave him a chance today, and if we give him another one, he has to figure it out at some point. I don't think he is too young to do it, I just honestly think he got out there and probably froze up. I haven't talked to him enough to get a true answer. I know he didn't make it. That was a tight game, and at the end of the day you have to put the next guy in. The next guy in made it, at least the first one. It just changes everything, even on the touchdown drive; we went for it on fourth down there. 4th-and-5 we went for it. [WR Ryan Alderman] Aldy made a great play on the right side of the field for us. It is obviously affecting our play calling and what we do. We have to get it corrected and move forward. It is a long year, and I think one of the things you'll see is that we will get better. That is one area that needs to get better quickly if we want to have a chance."
On whether or not he would have kicked a field goal on Temple's last drive down the field prior to the interception
"I would have kicked it. I would have had Layton kick it."
On why he thought the team wasn't as loose as they were last week against Notre Dame
"That might be me just saying that. It's like anything else. When things don't go well you feel like nothing is happening the right way. There was the first play of the game [QB Connor Reilly] comes out, and if he hits that throw, he hits it a 100 out of 100 times. That guy comes wide open. We wanted to be aggressive and take a shot. The corner ran, and if hits "Aldy" we have a touchdown to start the game, but he over threw it by about 15 yards. So the corner comes back and if not that doesn't happen to him. I'm completely confident in what Connor can do. I know he is going to have games that will challenge him. You're going to have games like today where you have to pull yourself up off the carpet. You throw a pick the first play of the game. How do you respond? I just felt overall as an offense they weren't in-sync enough during the day. I feel like [Offensive Coordinator Marcus Satterfield] gave them a chance to be in rhythm, even the ball coming out of the end-zone at the end at the one yard. We just knocked it right out of there. Get the ball moving, but we just couldn't put enough plays together. That will come with time. I am not one to make excuses, but I do take heart. I told our guys I do take to heart that this is all just a process. Do this; teach off this, I wanted to win the game, so it is easier to teach. I want them to be successful because they deserve to be, but were going to keep growing into the offense and getting better. When we were on, we took the ball right down the field and scored. We just weren't on enough today.
On the play of the defense
"They [Houston] are really good at what they do. They have been good at what they do against everybody. I thought before the half we got a sack and some pressure. I wish we had gotten a little bit more pressure. There are just still some little details that we are not doing such as 3rd and 15 and our linebacker is back five yards. Is that coaching? Absolutely that's coaching. We are just going to keep coaching the details until we get it. I thought when push came to shove they stood up. That's when you know you have some heart in your team. You have some guys that are competitive. We had 16 plays inside the 20-yard line. Just for us to fumble on the one-foot line. Just not good football on the part of the offense. The defense just ran out there and wanted to compete, stopping them on the one-yard-line. They gave us a chance to win. Last week the defense took some flak. This week the offense has to take some flak. As coaches we will just keep coaching until we get everyone on the same page.
On the play of the offensive line, and the amount of hits QB Connor Reilly took
"Unfortunately that is the offensive lines job. I think at times they did not compete to protect Connor at the end. That's what happens when you get down late in the game and you have to throw it. The other team can pin its ears back. He [Reilly] took some shots at the end and he has to be smart about it and get the ball out of his hand. He got the ball out of his hands well last week. This week we took a fumble because were trying to make a play. When you try to make a play, you usually end up making a play for the other team. If you just play, usually everything just ends up working out alright. We'll go back fix it, tell him not to take as many shots, work on the protection and just keep getting better and better.
On the play of S Abdul Smith
"He has been playing banged up too. He got a little banged up today, came back in and played. I think what's happening is some guys on our team are just starting to ascend, and Abdul is one of them. He has been one of the ones that has been paying attention to the details that I was talking about earlier. I think he will just get better and better as the year goes on.
On the play of Tavon Young
"I saw him make that great play on the post in the green-zone. At the end of the day, there really weren't any explosive plays on the outside like we saw last week. I feel like our corners stepped up and said okay we are going to play better at corner this week. I thought Tavon played pretty well based on what I saw."
TEMPLE LINEBACKER TYLER MATAKEVICH
On the mentality change when Houston got close to the end zone
"It was just ` don't let them get in the end zone.' Defense, I think we played excellent today. The last drive they go the better of us but the whole game we played the best defense we played all year, and I definitely felt our defense came together. Every time something happened or something changed I felt they stepped up. That was a big part of today."
On his game injury
"I just caught a helmet to the knee, its fine."
On the defensive philosophy
I thought we did an excellent job today. The coaches had a game plan and players were just making plays. Tavon Young was all over the place today. D-line did an excellent job and Blaze was all over the place, but I thought we did an excellent job. It just wasn't enough today"
On Abdul Smith's defense
"Abdul is doing an excellent job. He's always in film late with coach Snow. He just comes flying up when he sees his run, and his pass has been pretty good to. So it's definitely good quality for the defense, he came flying down, whacked someone and they fumbled. Definitely good to have a guy like that out there on the field"
TEMPLE PUNTER/KICKER PAUL LAYTON
On his kicking
"In high school I did all three, kickoffs punts and field goals, and going into the week I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I did kick a couple field goals during practice but there was no indication of what was going to happen. The team has a lot of faith in [Jim Cooper]Coop and we were thinking going forward that he was going to be the guy and kind of unfortunate, in the beginning, with the extra point that he missed. We have a lot of faith in him but we went to me with the extra point and then later with the field goal that I missed. "
On the pressure on Jim Cooper
"I couldn't imagine going into Notre Dame as a true freshman and having to kick out there, but being with him every day and being with him on the sideline the entire time, it doesn't seem like he's nervous. It seems like he's the same guy from practice to practice, from practice to game. I've been watching closely, making sure if he does miss he doesn't get too down. But he's done a great job mentally keeping himself up and hopefully moving forward he can start to put some through the uprights. "
On what coach Rhule said to him about kicking
"In preseason I did place kick for about a week and it messed up my punting motion a little bit. I talked with the coaches and we decided to just stick to punting for myself. We didn't have a huge discussion about it this week. I kicked a few, probably three or four during the week, and it really wasn't discussed, but before the extra point they told me I was going in to kick.
On his punting motion
"I'm going to try to be mentally strong with this and just separate the two motions. I just have to realize that they are two completely different motions. When I'm stepping on the field I need to know what I'm doing out there so hopefully moving forward I can separate them if the team needs me. "
On his missed field goal
"I just pulled it left. It might have been lack of practice for myself, but there are really no excuses. I just pulled it left"
TEMPLE DEFENSIVE BACK TAVON YOUNG
On Temple's defensive goals
"Last week we gave up too many big plays, and when we came to practice this week we were focusing on the details and making sure you play your technique to not give up big plays because that's what makes you lose games."
On his progression as a player
"Last year I got a lot of game experience playing nickel corner back so during camp this year I was trying to play outside, and I worked hard at that. I was focusing on listening to my coaches and what they were telling me and it paid off, but there's always more work."
On his performance today
"I think I played ok. I missed two tackles which is important. I missed a tackle in the back field and it came to an eight yard gain. Other than that, I gave up one catch I think. But as I said , nothing is acceptable with people catching passes on me.
On Houston's quick offense
"We do a lot of speed scrimmaging and that's much faster than the game speed, to me. When we do speed ball we do like eight reps straight, fast, fast, fast. You get gassed out, and it makes you run to the ball. We conditioned our bodies and we knew they had a fast offense.
On how he feels about the loss
"I feel like we let this game get away from us. We came out on fire, and playing hard. They made plays, but they played good too. They just made good plays in the end. They just started off with a lot of confidence and momentum, but we had to calm that down with defense and they just came up."
TEMPLE HALFBACK KENNY HARPER
On his offensive performance
"I think offensively I did alright. We have to do better. There's a lot of stuff I have to pick up on like pass progressions and making more plays on the field, but it was ok."
On Zaire Williams and his learning curve
"I think we complement each other pretty well. Towards the end of the 1st half he was pounding the ball pretty well. His learning curve is pretty well. If he has any questions he just asks them and I help him out and tell him how to do things better or what he's missing and should see. So he's doing pretty well for a freshman."
TEMPLE FREE SAFEY ABDUL SMITH
On Temple's defense today
"We just wanted to keep them out of the end zone. There were a lot of sudden changes and we practiced that in practice. But if we can hold them to three points when they're in the red zone like that, then that's good for us. That's a win for us. But there were still some cases where we feel like they could have had zero points instead of three points so we have to work on that"
On causing a Houston fumble
"My responsibility on that was the quarterback, and I kind of lost that in the beginning. I tried to help the receiver on that. He was isolated, and that's where the quarterback was looking. I just came back and had a good hit and forced a fumble"
On his reaction to Houston's offense
"We were well prepared. I feel like our cauches did a good job. Even when we started in the summer we just run a lot of `hurry up.' We practice against it in practice. It's the first thing we do a lot of the time. Coach rotated a lot of everybody so we were pretty good on that."
On Tavon Young
"He's been doing that all camp. He's a little guy 5'10, 160 but he has heart like Matt Brown. He just wants that one-on-one. He talks like Richard Sherman on the field, but he gets the job done. I have a lot of faith in that guy on the field. "
On his decision to play this season
"The Matt Rhule aspect played most in my decision to come back. Talking to him and Coach Snow, I was undecided; I didn't know what I wanted to do. He and Coach Snow asked me to move from corner to safety and Coach Matt Rhule, he's a great guy, and I've known him for 6 years from recruiting. When I first transferred over from Rutgers I wasn't initially on scholarship, and when Coach Al Golden left I didn't know what was going to happen, but he's the same guy that made sure I was put on scholarship. I believe in that guy, like a father. "
TEMPLE WIDE RECEIVER RYAN ALDERMAN
On his increased offensive role this season
"It's just more of an emphasis on the pass and trying to balance things out. The past couple years we've been more run focused. So that's really the key, just a different offense"
On the kicking frustration today
"We should get it in the end zone anyway. That's obviously our first goal. The kickers will get it right. We have a lot of faith in them."
TEMPLE LINEBACKER BLAZE CAPONEGRO
On his fatigue during the game
"It was pretty fatiguing. We prepared all week. Through camp we've been running the hurry up a lot, up until this point in time so we've been prepared for it. Obviously they do it very well, creating a little fatigue but not as bad as we thought it would be."
On his health this season
"I feel great. Coming off of surgery two January's ago was pretty tough on me last year. I think my teammates helped me work through it and the weight training and conditioning with our strength coach and all of the other coaches helped me along. I think I've come a long way, and I'll try to help the team out as much as possible being that this is my last season."
TEMPLE QUARTERBACK CONNOR REILLY
On his performance today
"We moved the ball on the field. I didn't protect the ball today and that was a main concern that I was trying to focus on. The two interceptions and the fumble down in the goal line were brutal, and the defense did a phenomenal job rebounding and stopping their offense from putting it in the end zone. We just have to score more points, and that's on the offense, myself, and that's on the unit as a whole. We just have to put the ball in the end zone more. "
On the play when he was injured
"Just a little zone rig concept, they matched it, they matched the receiver, they played the run pretty well. I got jammed a little bit but I'm fine. Just a little tape, some aspirin, I'll be alright. "
On the pressure to push the ball
"Yes, there's some pressure that now you have to be more perfect and try to put the ball in those last 10 yards rather than just get it close and allow your field goal kicker to get down there. We still have the utmost confidence in Jim or Paul, whoever may be kicking. This next week we have to be perfect on the field goal. Other than that we have to work on the offensive, also putting the ball in the end zone. "
On the false starts
"It's just a mental lapse of judgment, with us not focusing and getting tired. That's why the game of football is tough. You have to focus in for 60 minutes and not take plays off. That lapse of judgment can cost a team and break the offense. "
On the failed drive attempts
"I think we're getting used to it now. It does kind of take all of the air out of the balloon when you can drive all the way down the field and move the ball but you can't get three or seven points, getting that close to the end zone. This week at practice we'll work with the field goal kickers. That's going to be the main focus, trying to put the ball in the end zone. If we can't get it in, we have to be able to get three points. A field goal can change the game. "
On the differences between Houston's and Notre Dame's defense
"The Houston defense did a great job. From last week to this week, they played a little hungrier than I believe the Notre Dame defense did. They played a lot of cover-3, man, and some cover-2. It was regular defense, they pressured some. The fumbles were just my fault. I didn't check out of the play. That's more quarterback in the film room and reading the defense, recognizing stuff and getting us into the best play possible."