Oct. 26, 2013
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Tony Levine
"I'm proud of our student-athletes, I'm proud of our coaches and I'm proud of our staff. We had a good week of preparation. We kind of heard a little all week of reasons why we should not have won this football game. I think it brought a little bit of fuel to the fire in terms of the heartbreaking loss we suffered last week, getting on a plane and flying three and a half hours, Rutgers coming off the bye week and it being Homecoming and it being a sellout. Our kids are young and they thrive on that. I'm proud of them. It was a hostile environment and an outstanding football team, an established program that Rutgers certainly has. For us to take care of the football offensively and not turn it over and defensively, create the six turnovers, that ultimately is the difference in the game. I was proud of our defense in the second half, not allowing any points. What I talked to our young men about was that it was another outstanding team win for us. We've got a fast turnaround moving forward. We play again in five days. We play Thursday night at home against South Florida. I was very clear that we'll enjoy this win on the plane ride and then wake up tomorrow, we play in four days. We've still got a lot of things to accomplish and a lot of things to improve. The season is going by quickly and we're looking forward to the next opportunity Thursday night in Houston."
On being surprised on defeating Rutgers
"I want to be honest with you and I don't want to be honest with you. Some of our players just said `Coach, you don't look that happy' and maybe I'm disguising my feelings a little bit. Certainly I am happy. That was an outstanding win for our program, but our young men are getting better every week. The number one correlation between winning football games and losing football games is turnovers. That's what we talked about this week - we are going to have to take care of the ball on offense and we have to create turnovers defensively. That's something we've done all season and when you do that and you win, you are not surprised. I'm proud of our young men. We had a great week of practice. I thought we had a great game plan going into the game in all three phases. The kids executed it and certainly you saw the result."
On the play of the quarterback "We have two true freshmen quarterbacks who you saw out there today, John O'Korn and Greg Ward. I thought their play was outstanding. Those are two young men who I've talked about publically at length about their improvement not only on a weekly basis, but a daily basis. When I look down at the stats and see that John goes 24-of-30 for 364 yards and five touchdowns, that's a pretty impressive thing for a guy that just turned 18. Ward threw five passes and completed four of them and had 11 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown from the quarterback position. They have been in Houston now, I think, four months, five months. We lost our starting quarterback in week-two to a career-ending injury, so these two have been thrown into the fire at an early stage of their careers. Both have different roles within our offense. They both bring different things to the position. They are both dual threats. With 50,000 opposing fans in the stands on our opponent's Homecoming, they got up this morning at 6:30 a.m. central time and before you know it, they were on the bus. I thought it was a beautiful day, but young men from Texas may not be used to the weather everyday being in the 50s. For those two 18 years old to come out and play, just have fun and help us win, they certainly made plays. I was very pleased with their performance."
On the ease of movement of Houston's offense
"I don't want to take anything away from Rutgers because they are a very, very talented defense and a talented football program. Coach Flood and his staff do a great job. Within our program, we feel that the team that can stop us is Houston with penalties and turnovers. I'm not making that statement towards Rutgers, but if we execute and take care of the football. We had too many penalties, which you saw on the opening drive. It ended up into a blocked field goal. When we execute and don't turn the ball over, that's what you are going to see from our offense. If we do turn the ball over and get penalties, you aren't going to see 49 points."
On matching up with Rutgers' pass defense and secondary
"I certainly think it starts with the young men in our program and the way the quarterbacks have been playing. We've got some young, but very talented wide receivers. Deontay Greenbury, every week it seems he's putting up these kind of stats. Daniel Spencer, same thing. He's a converted high school running back, so when he gets the ball on the short passes he can make guys miss and turn them into long gains. We've got talented guys at running back. Going into it, we felt like we had a good game plan. Our tempo offensively is something we take a lot of pride in with our no huddle, trying to get back to the line of scrimmage and get the ball snapped for the next play. It felt like going in, we had a shot to be successful and our kids executed it."
On the Houston defense against Rutgers
"Rutgers does a great job. They are not one-dimensional on offense. The run the football effectively and they throw the ball down the field. What we were trying to do was tackle, first and foremost. I thought early in the game we did not tackle as well and then we settled down a little bit and were able to get the guys to hold them to two-, three-yard gains instead of eight-,nine-yard gains in the run game. The second thing was we felt we had to come in here and stop the run as well as we could. I thought they did some things schematically early that we had to adjust to. I thought out staff did a nice job adjusting not even before halftime to some of things they were doing. They really played well in the second half."
On Houston and UCF as the remaining unbeaten teams in American Athletic Conference play
"Our goal is to beat USF. I don't look at standings, we don't talk about standings. We were walking up the tunnel and someone said we were bowl eligible. That was literally a foreign comment to me. You are not going to hear that from out student-athletes or any of coaches. We are going to try and be 1-0 next week. We've got a good USF team this week and after we play them, we'll see how it goes. "
On possibly being the first team to win the American Athletic Conference
"My dad told me a long time ago, when you are asked `if' questions, to just stay away from them. We're on to USF. I'd like to answer that in a month and a half."
On quarterback John O'Korn being successful against Rutgers
"(Rutgers) did a nice job, especially early getting pressure. Whether it was their defensive line or whether they blitzed or it was a coverage sack, I think there a couple of times John held the ball a little too long or a guy came through and got pressure on him. That is a talented front for Rutgers and I was proud of our offensive line. You don't get 611 yards and your offensive line not play well. I was proud of their effort and their performance."
On the kickoff team dance
"We've been doing that for six years. It's just for us. I hope no one would interpret our kickoff coverage team dancing as being taunting. Our guys sway back and forth. We take a lot of pride on our special teams. We play starters on our specials teams. We challenged our kickoff team this week. Rutgers had taken three returns for touchdowns going into this game. I was asked at length this week what our plans were going to be and we challenged our kickoff team. Those guys get fired up. They've been swaying back and forth for about six years."
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE DEFENSIVE BACK Adrian McDonald
On coming into the game as the underdog
"It feels like we're always going to be the underdog. We just act like we're going to another game - play hard, practice hard and practice how we're going to play and it shows."
On how the game shifted in momentum following the interception
"It's a momentum thing. We had a good little first half but our second half is always solid. We're second half defense, we just come out and if we start every game like we do the second half we can be dangerous."
On sensing if RU was on their heels
"Yeah, it was kind of quiet, fans started leaving. It wasn't how it was when the game started. It was pretty loud."
HOUSTON JUNIOR WIDE RECEIVER Daniel Spencer
On if they expected a game like this
"We go out there expecting up to put up a lot of numbers every time. We just go out there to do our job and execute the offense."
On if they're looking at the standings
"We come in week in, week out just trying to win the week. We really don't look at the standings. I really couldn't tell you where we are in the standings."
On what a win like this does for the program
"It feels great to go out there and beat a team like them and put the hammer on them. It feels good."
On if the RU defense was ready to defend what Houston does in the spread
"We just go out there and try and execute the offense every week. It really doesn't matter who's on the other side. We just try to do what we do best. If we get it done it's really hard to whoever's on the other side to stop us."
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE WIDE RECEIVER Deontay Greenberry
On the play of rookie QB John O'Korn
"Our quarterback gets more and more comfortable every week. Whenever he's comfortable and we get to rolling and that's pretty much it."
On if the team came in with a chip on its shoulder
"We always play with a chip on our shoulder. We always feel like we have something to prove going into every game, it's what gives us that extra urge to give it more every play. We feel like we have something to prove every week and we play for our brothers. We always look forward to coming out with a big win."
On the first touchdown of the game
"We were in the run formation, he looked at me and liked what he saw with me in the corner so he took advantage of the mismatch and we made the play."
On taking advantage of the RU freshmen cornerbacks
"We knew that going into the week that they were going to play two freshmen so it was in our gameplan to go in and attack them but we didn't attack them like we really wanted to. But I caught three touchdowns though."
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE RUNNING BACK Kenneth Farrow
On the interception
"Honestly, William Jackson was like `watch they run a trick play, half-back pass or something, slant-and-go' so I just came down from the safety spot and I was on half-back and William Jackson stayed in the post too so we just covered him like that."
On the team priding itself on taking the ball away from teams
"Well we have this thing called `Turnover Tuesday' at practice to make sure we get turnovers and if we don't coach gets on us. But we focus on that every day, stripping the ball out and getting interceptions."