Sept. 22, 2007
2007 Houston Cougars Football Postgame Quotes
Colorado State Rams (0-3, 0-0 MWC) at Houston Cougars (2-1, 1-0 C-USA)
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007 * John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium * Houston, Texas
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Art Briles
"We're very grateful for the supportive crowd we had; it was an outstanding opening day crowd. I was really upset with myself at halftime for not giving them something to cheer about. I was proud we were able to come back in the second half and show them something. We've got a good football team. We've known all along we have a good team. We know what kind of people we have on this football team and how much character and courage they possess. I was happy that our fans got to witness that. I wasn't particularly happy with the way it happened, but every time you step on the field, it's a battle, it's a war and you have to be prepared to play 60 minutes. We knew Colorado State would come out with a lot of energy early because they didn't have anything to lose and they had everything to gain. They're a well coached football team; they play with a tremendous amount of effort. Our guys were able to match that effort and we made plays in the second half."
On what he was thinking at halftime
"We were very frustrated at halftime. We settled down, analyzed what had happened in the first half and tried to figure out a couple things they were doing to us with their defense. I thought we played well defensively They made some big plays. I thought they hadn't done a lot overall, but they had done enough to keep their lead. That's a bad team to get behind on because they're a ball control team. That's what really concerned us with them getting the ball to open the second half. We knew we needed a three-and-out on their first drive and we got it. We got the score and we had ourselves a ball game. Once we created a little bit of momentum for our crowd and our team the light kind of went on."
On making the quarterback switch entering the second quarter
"We've been hacking with that all along. If he's got the hot hand, you roll with him and if he cools off, you've got someone else you can go to. Instead of us altering our game plan all we had to do was switch our quarterback. If you're stuck with one quarterback and that happens, then all of the sudden, you're stuck and you have to alter the way you call plays to let him settle down and get him in a groove. Blake (Joseph) had a couple of misfortunate things happen to him early and Case (Keenum) was able to come in and spark us. It's a cliché, but it was a total team effort tonight."
On Colorado State putting eight men in the box to stop Anthony Alridge
"They sat around for two weeks thinking of one university and that's the University of Houston. They did a great job of preparing for two weeks to stop us from an offensive standpoint. It took us a quarter to figure out what they were trying to do to us defensively. We know people are going to try to shut Anthony (Alridge) down. We just need to keep banging, banging, banging because we know if he ever makes one little move, he's gone. He might have eight carries for eight yards and that ninth one might be for 68. He's a guy you've got to keep giving the ball and giving chances to. Sooner or later, the odds are, he's going to bust one. He did a great job of playing on the perimeter. He's a guy that we tell `you're fast enough to play slow'. That's a big advantage for him."
On UH's fourth down stop of CSU Quarterback Caleb Hanie
"Ballgame there, ballgame on the fumble. All of the sudden, we've got momentum. We've been through some pretty nice comebacks the last couple of years and that might be up there with a lot of them because of the style of play they have."
On UH stopping CSU's running game in the second half
"Kyle Bell's a big strong runner. We've got good football players that have a lot of pride and confidence. They stepped up and made some big plays when they had to. I was really proud seeing that."
HOUSTON JUNIOR, STRONG SAFETY KENNETH FONTENNETTE
On Fumble Return Touchdown
"I made the read and was coming up to make the play and the ball just bounced right to me. I tried to hit the hole and Brendan Pahulu almost tackled me, but I just flew right on by."
On second half defense performance "We went back to the basics. Our defense was much more complicated in the beginning and we were trying to do more than we had too. So we just tried to keep it simple and started running basic cover two and cover four."
On defense cranking up the pressure on their offense in the second half "When they scored their first two touchdowns, it really wasn't anything we hadn't seen. You look at the first touchdown they scored, Loyce Means was in position and he just lost the ball. The second time they made the play, they have athletes and they made the play.
What does the comeback win mean for the team? "We didn't lose many people from last year. We had a couple of come from behind wins last year on the road. That helped us build some composure. Basically, we lost only three people off the defense and everyone else was out there playing. We were in the same type of situation at home with the crowd behind us and the offense was putting up points and we were just trying to make stops."
HOUSTON SENIOR, RUNNING BACK AND Anthony Alridge
On having a tough game individually but the team came through with the win in the end
"Our team played great. I knew we were going to come out in the second half and play well. We just needed to get our confidence up and limit our mistakes. And we came out and won the game.
On the differences in offense in first half and second half
Intensity. We didn't come out that fired up, but I think we came out in the second half ready to play. We were down, and I hate losing at any point or at any time. We just came out in the second half and opened the can.
On offense struggling to move the ball
"It wasn't difficult to move the ball, we were just making mistakes. You can't have penalties, like false starts and holding or clips, and fumble snaps against a good team. Don't let their record fool you, they have some players and they play physical and tough. You can't turn the ball over. I mean, I threw a pick and you just can't do that. We just came out in the second half and played Houston Cougar football. We had to play our game, and that's what we did.
On throwing an interception
"I saw the corner come down, but they were in cover two. I thought I was going to run, but I saw the corner come down and the safety was right there. I would throw it again if I had too, and I would do the same thing if it happened again.
On defenses focusing on him and opening it up for the other Cougars to make plays
"Today is case and point. I didn't even get in the endzone. I don't have to get in the endzone for us to win. We have weapons all over. People didn't know Perry McDaniel could shake people off and get in the endzone. LJ Castille is a big strong guy who can jump. We have Donnie Avery. You just can't focus on one player. If I'm that one player they want to focus on, then bring it because I love it. I love that attention because that means everyone else is open and we're winning. I don't care about stats, I don't care about touchdowns. I don't care what happens as long as the Houston Cougars win.
On the defense's performance
"They played some great ball out there. If we were playing them, I don't know what would have happened. If we were playing our defense, I really don't know what would have happened. They were playing some ball out there. They were flying to the ball and were very aggressive. I loved the way they were playing. They were playing with some intensity and they were playing like mad dogs.
SENIOR LINEBACKER, Brendan Pahulu
On the second half
"We just came out there, that was the condition we do every week. We came out there and played relentless. Good job of the offense holding on, defense just came out there and tried to get three and outs to get the ball back to the offense so they could score. "
On what was discussed at halftime
"Just keep hanging in there. We bent a little bit, but we didn't break. We just had to come out there and keep fighting."
On his interception
"It was luck, it just fell into my hands."
On the fourth down hold
"That was real big, that was a big moment change right there."
FRESHMAN QUARTERBACK, Case Keenum
On the feelings and thoughts when the Cougars were down 24-10
"At that point we realized what we've been talking about; getting things done, getting the offense going. It was time to do it. We'd been sitting there for one or two quarters and we were ready to stop talking about it and just do it. We came out there, leaned on the defense a lot. The defense held fast. We had a couple of series in there we could have got ahead, but we didn't. We had the punt and the defense went out there and stopped them again. That was a defensive win right there, a total team win. It was a lot of fun out there."
On the QB change and how it affected the team
"It's kind of in the trend; the guy coming in is the guy that kind of helps us out. We both have different talents and attributes that contribute different things to the offense. We both try to bring what we can. Tonight it just clicked a little bit and it started going and wound up good in the end."
On the change in play for the second half
"We knew we weren't going to go out there and have one play and come back. We're not going to go out there on our first play and throw it deep. We know that can happen, but we know it's going to take some time. We have to pound it. We took together some good drives, defense held, got a turnover, the momentum swung back to us. You could just tell, you could feel the atmosphere and the crowd and everybody was getting into it. It was a lot of fun."
On the 30-yard pass to L.J. Castile
"We actually had a play called over to the right and L.J. had been getting on me saying that the corner was cheating, left him uncovered. It worked out toward the end, kind of rushed inside on the left side. I got to escape the pocket, saw him in the end zone and I threw it. He said that he felt the ball spent the longest time in the air. It just wouldn't ever get there and I felt the same way. The safety was closing in a hurry but he did a good job staying concentrated. He caught the ball and was strong enough to finish in the end zone."
On his passing efficiency
"That's one thing coming out of last week that I'd made some goals for myself to concentrate on the small things and let things happen. We've got some great playmakers, some of the guys sitting next to me that can make things happen. I'm not the playmaker, I'm just the guy that gets the ball to the playmaker. That was my job and I think I did all right today. Those guys produce when they get the ball."
On the TD pass to Perry McDaniel
"He's a heck of a player. I have confidence throwing to him, I have confidence throwing to anybody. Honestly, he's hot, I don't think anything of it. Fourth down and two I have no doubt that he can catch it. Even more confidence now that he broke two tackles and got in the end zone. It was a huge play."
On making the comeback
"We fought hard today. We learned that everything is not going to go our way every time. We fought hard and when the offense was struggling the defense was there to hold us up. When the defense struggled we were trying to get back in it. It's one of those things where it's a team effort. Not one person can do it, we had everybody firing. It was an awesome win."
On the fact that it was Champions Day
"It was great to see all the champions introduced in the halftime. We have a lot of successful teams around here and even the fans out there today were awesome. For the first home opener that was great, they were in to it the whole game. On the defense third and short, fourth and short they got into it. I think it provided some trouble for the Rams."
JUNIOR NOSE TACKLE, Tate Stewart
On his assistance in recovering the fumble
"There were a lot of people on that play. My left hand slipped in on his left hand and got it out away from his body, somebody else popped it out. It was a great play, Kenny (Kenneth Fontenette) was there on the spot to take it to the house. I thought we just made a tackle, I looked up and Kenny was in the end zone. It was a great play by the whole defense. That's how we play, we're a unit. It was the defense that made that play."
On the pressure brought to the Rams by Cody Pree and Stewart
"We were just getting in there trying to use our strength and everything that we worked so hard to develop over the summer. Those guys out-weigh us but just getting up underneath their pads and trying to drive them back. I think we brought some good pressure and we were making them nervous back there forcing them to make bad throws."
On holding the Rams on an attempted fourth down
"Another defensive stop. That's a defensive unit. That's what we're all about, being a unit, stepping up, and rising to challenges. That's why you play football right there. Fourth and inches, fourth quarter, game on the line, that's why you play football. That is what it's all about. We rose to the occasion, they didn't, and we won the football game, that's how it goes."
On how giving up the second touchdown affected the team
"They came out; they scored those two other touchdowns on us. We never panicked, we kept our cool. We know we're one of the best-conditioned teams in the nation, one of the strongest teams in the nation and we just kept bringing it. We never got scared; there was never any pressure on us. Pressure is whenever you have to do something you're not prepared to do. We were prepared to do that the whole game. We're always prepared. We've come from behind, we've been there, and we've done that. We have a lot of leadership on this team and we'll continue to have a lot of leadership on this team."
On the difference between the first and second half defense
"Conditioning. We can make a whole lot of adjustments, we came out with two safeties but we did that a little bit in the first half as well. Conditioning, Larry Jackson. It was hot out there, everybody was tired but who can push through it, who can keep fighting? That's who's going to win the football game."
COLORADO STATE HEAD COACH SONNY LUBICK
"Give those guys credit for coming back. I can see they had a little fire in the second half I thought we did too ---- we should have I should say. They got things going in the second half and a lot of things went wrong for us. But they deserve it they got it done out there."
The feeling of the team going into halftime
"When we came in at halftime we felt very good about ourselves because we played a good first half. The score was 17-3 and then all of a sudden they put up 30 something points in the second half and that's not a good sign. It was just bad timing when they got on track also it was a combination of everything. Its hard for me to remember all the sequences and how it unfolded. I know when Houston got the ball we had a hard time scoring when we got back the ball."
QUARTERBACK CALEB HANIE
On the lower scoring production in the 2nd half
"We should've scored more, but it was a combination of things. I'm getting tired of seeing that. We played well in the 1st half we held them to 3 points and they have an explosive offense. I think we did a great job I just think we needed to put a couple of more points on the board to get the win. I thought we should've won the way we were playing in the first half, but we allowed them to get their confidence up in the 2nd and they played a good game and they just fought back hard you got to give them the credit. But mostly I feel like we gave this one away.
WIDE RECEIVER DION MORTON
On how much the Houston heat was a factor on the CSU team
"In the first 10 plays you really didn't think about that much maybe your body gets a bit fatigued, but your mind --- you really can't think too much on it once you get in the game."
On their performance in the first half
"It seem like when we came out from the first half we were doing real well, but in the second half the problem for us was just finishing the job basically. We just needed to keep doing what can do and wanted to do they gave us plenty of opportunities to. We got to take those opportunities and do something with it."
On the teams feeling at halftime when they came in the locker room
"It's always a good feeling when your up at halftime, but you know we got to finish the game. You know the past two games we haven't came out of halftime too well. So I know when we came out of halftime we kind of had it in for us."