Sept. 29, 2007
2007 Houston Cougars Football Postgame Quotes
East Carolina Pirates (2-3, 1-1 C-USA) at Houston Cougars (2-2, 1-1 C-USA)
Saturday, Sept. 29, 2007 * John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium * Houston, Texas
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Art Briles
On special teams lack of execution
"We battled field position all night. We dug ourselves a hole with turnovers and a lack of execution, and it ultimately caught up with us in the end."
On Blake Joseph stepping up after coming in the game for injured Case Keenum
"We gave ourselves a chance to win the football game so I commend our players for that. We have along way to go as a football team. We have a lot of work to do as a coaching staff and as a team. We have to grind, we got to get better and we got to become more polished as a football team."
On the punting game
"It was a little unnerving, but I felt Chase Turner came in and did a good job for us in the end. We just can't just keep giving away field position. On special teams, there's no excuse, you just can't do it."
On the last two missed kicks
"We had some guys step up, but it's just a shame that it's all for naught, because winning is the only thing that's important. We had some guys that played hard and we gave ourselves an opportunity to win. It shouldn't have to come down to those last two kicks. If we take care of the ball earlier in the game, then it doesn't come down to that."
On Donnie Avery's kick-off return
On quarterback Case Keenum's hand
"It gave us a lot of momentum, but we were still down. It inspired us a little bit, but we still had to overcome and we didn't do it."
"I think he is. We thought he was okay and put him back in. The ball didn't come out of his hand well on that second interception. I don't know; I imagine they are x-raying it right now."
On the Cougar penalties
"We have got to tighten it up. We just can't make mistakes that hurt us as a football team, so we are going to have to remedy that problem."
HOUSTON SENIOR WIDE RECEIVER Donnie Avery
On his kickoff return
"We had a spark right there. We went out there, made a few good plays but we didn't have enough good plays so now we need to go back to the drawing board and get it done next week."
On the momentum changes in the fourth quarter
"We were just trying to go out there and win. That's all we were trying to do."
On his performance during the game
"It's a team concept. We didn't win, we didn't win. I can't talk about my personal performance."
On the screen pass
"I just had good blocks on it and I saw the hole so I creeped, took it up, scored."
HOUSTON SENIOR LINEBACKER Brendan Pahulu
On the defense in the fourth quarter
"We had to step up. We kind of slacked up a little bit, we gave them some easy plays. We prepared for it, worked on this stuff in practice, but we didn't do it in the game. So they made some big plays and we didn't step up."
On anything that might have given him trouble
"There wasn't any trouble, they were just getting the holes that were open that we were kind of filling in really late."
On the big stops at the end of the game
"They were really big, but not big enough. We didn't win the game."
HOUSTON SENIOR KICKER T.J. Lawrence
On last two field goal attempts
"The defense, they did everything they could. The offense, they did the job. I take all the blame for that loss. I should have made a field goal. We do that all the time. We practice the game winners in practice all the time. When it came down to it, I just didn't take care of business. In the first one I felt a little bit of pressure on the right side and I felt like I had to rush it, when really that's not what I need to be worrying about. I need to be worry about the kick. On the second one, I guess I tried overcompensate for hooking the right one so I hit it off the end of my toe and just pushed it right."
On whether or not the having the first kick blocked influenced him
"No, I wouldn't say so."
On if the rain influenced his play
"At first when we were warming up it started raining and I had to change cleats. After that it dried out and that had absolutely nothing to do with it."
On if the spot challenge influenced him
"I don't think it did. I'd never been in that kind of situation before and I proved today that I didn't handle it very well. I need to be able to handle this kind of situation a lot better."
HOUSTON SENIOR LINEBACKER Trent Allen
On missing key stops in the fourth quarter
"You always feel like you have the best opportunity for your team even though we gave up 37 points. We thought we made stops that gave the team the opportunity to get back in the game."
On how much this loss at home hurt
"You can't explain it. It cuts deep. Probably more so for certain guys like me. It's my last year and I had a good junior year with the team last year. But this year it scars deep, but you know its over and we have to deal with it we have to move on and get ready for next week."
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE QUARTERBACK Blake Joseph
On coming in a making plays
"I came in and worked real hard and tried to match what Case did last week, but you know we ended up not winning the game. Turnovers killed us like they did in the first game."
On how much this loss hurt
"For me personally, it hurts a lot. Especially I felt like we had a great opportunity to become 2-0 in conference, but it didn't work out and we have to get back to the drawing board and get ready for Alabama."
On offensive performance
"We executed all night, but we had turnovers and that what killed us offensively. In the first half I don't know how many turnovers I had personally. And in the second half that killed us. We can't turn the ball over in big games like this, especially in conference games. We are a better team than that."
On the offensive struggles in the third quarter
" We were not able to get in a rhythm."
EAST CAROLINA HEAD COACH SKIP HOLTZ
On what the coaching staff told the team before the game
"We talked to the team before hand and said this was a heavyweight fight talk tonight. You are fighting the heavyweight champ. It was going to be a heavyweight fight and it is going to be hard and you have to show great courage to step into the ring and fight with the heavyweight champion. You have to dig, scratch, fight, claw and you are going to get knocked out a bunch tonight and you have to keep on getting up and the last man standing is going to win the game. We made a million and a half mistakes and you could talk about all of them but the thing that we have been talking about with the players and why I am so proud of them is the way they have believed and the way they have focused tonight. When you are 1-3 it is real easy to hang your head and not have any confidence but they focused and they believed and they came out here, they competed and they played with passion."
On the significance of this win
"It's big. It counts one on the score books. I don't think we are 4-3 now. It just counts one. But at the same time it's big because of the significance of it. This was a statement game. We played at Southern Miss and we felt like we made some mistakes and we felt like we had some opportunities. This is the team that beat Southern Miss so it was going to take a better effort than we played there. I have a great respect for Art Briles and his Houston program; they wouldn't go away. We were sitting there thinking, when we were up two scores, we got them. We had guys on the sidelines smiling a little bit it was like this team isn't going away. They are going to scratch and claw too. It was a great football game."
On the mistakes the offensive line had in the first half
"I told you we weren't going to have any offensive lineman left and they just kept jumping off sides I meant it. I am so sick and tired of our procedure penalties. We are not being fair to this football team by doing that. We had four or five (penalties) in the first half. It's not fair. It's not fair. It should have been a good 15 yards against a defense like that. All of a sudden the offense stymies. What are we doing! I think Coach (Todd) Fitch, Coach (Steve) Shankweiler, and Coach (Donnie) Kirkpatrick have done an unbelievable job with this offense but their guys are sitting there looking at a first and 15 every time that they walk out on the field and that's unfair. It has to stop. We just went in and gave them a little reminder that we needed to make sure those things were eliminated and they did. They want to win and they understand it. They did a good job in the second half."
On the kicking game's effect on the outcome of the game
"No I don't understand it. They have a good kicker. The kicking game was a part of this game tonight. We missed an extra point, which kind of threw this game out of whack. I asked Coach (Todd) Fitch earlier in the game, do we go for two? Are more points going to be scored? Let's wait until we get to the end of the game. In the end we didn't need to."
EAST CAROLINA SENIOR RUNNING BACK CHRIS JOHNSON
On his performance in the game
"It was great to come out here and get this victory. It was real hard coming out to the end of the game; we couldn't get the first down. We kept looking at our defense to help us. They just kept helping us and it just shows how together we are. We know we have to keep working hard so we don't have to keep relying on them. Houston has a lot of speed and we knew that coming in. What helped we a lot was that Coach (Junior) Smith kept coming down the sideline and telling me to trust my eyes, keep looking and be patient. Staying patient kept helping me hit my holes."
On the offense
"In the first half we had a lot of penalties but we aren't young anymore, we have to step up. The harder they block up front, the more they help me. They better they do, the better I do."
On the mood in the locker room
"We are really proud right now because we were desperate for a victory. We know that these first couple games with these tough opponents, including two of the top teams in the country, that that really doesn't really describe our team yet. We want to show everyone that we can compete for a championship."