Houston vs. South Florida Postgame Quotes

Oct. 31, 2013


Opening Statement
“Not to sound like a broken record but another good win for our program. The game played out just like we had talked about with our student athletes, our staff and out coaches all week, last night in the team meeting, this morning at our meetings before kickoff and at halftime. We knew it was going to be a 60-minute, three-and-a-half hour battle. Coach Taggart I’ve come to know over the past year and a half or so. He’s an outstanding football coach and that is a talented program and team in South Florida. They’ve got speed, they’ve got some veterans, certainly their starting freshman quarterback gave them a spark offensively, and we knew it was going to be a challenge, a very competitive game going in and it lived up to that. At the end of the day we did enough to win, we made enough plays, and I’m proud of our young men. Again, a short turnaround for both programs, which is challenging, but you like the exposure you get with it nationally. To come away with a win, it’s not easy to win football games at any level, so to come away with a win tonight and our kids to continue to grow and improve and get better on a daily basis, very pleased.” 

On the errors in the second half being uncharacteristic
“I would agree with that. Again, I don’t know how many plays we ran in the second half, but a fumble by Ryan Jackson on the opening drive, it seemed like three or four plays and he hits it up the middle, we’re down inside the five and the ball is out and next thing you know it’s their ball on the 20. Damian Payne has been extremely sure-handed fielding punts all season. That was certainly an untimely muff of South Florida’s punt. As uncharacteristic as anything is Kenneth Farrow, our team captain and leader, getting a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty after the play in a critical time of the game. I’d agree with you. Those are things that are teachable, correctable and certainly things we hadn’t done until this point. We’ll get those fixed and addressed moving forward.”



On if the success was due to the short turnaround
“Well, I don’t know if good or bad or positive or negative can attribute to this. We had a short turnaround and they had a short turnaround. We were on the road last week at Rutgers and they were at home against Louisville. I don’t know if anything we did well or poorly can be tied to the short week. It’s something that anytime somebody would ask me, ‘hey do you want to play five days later and be on national television on a Thursday night?’ I’d say ‘yes, sign us up.’ It’s great exposure for our program. However we played tonight, good or bad, I wouldn’t contribute to the short week.”

On the physicality of these games being good for the program
“It’s something we talked about really our second bye week, and don’t take this as though I am looking ahead,  but now not more bye weeks, we did have eight straight games and we knew they were going to be physical opponents. When you look at the teams we’ve played since that second bye, when they jog out on the field they’re an impressive looking program. They’re all going to be physical, we knew that going in, and they’ll all be physical here on our. We knew that, as I referenced our second bye week, when we changed conferences and went into the American Athletic Conference based on the programs we’d know be playing. We’ve addressed it, and I’ve mentioned this before, in recruiting for the last two classes in terms of our size and physicality. We’ve done a great job keeping our players fresh and so we can utilize our speed and be as healthy as we can down the stretch if you will.”

On the defense late in the game
“It goes back to a little bit, and certainly our young men made plays, Coach Gibbs and our staff made good calls, but part of it is the message has been consistent from the beginning of the season and we told them this is the type of game this is going to be. This is going to be a 60-minute, physical game. To send our defense back out there, we had great poise on the sideline, our coaches, staff and student athletes certainly did, to send our defense back out there we had a lot of confidence in them. We would have rather not muffed that punt certainly but to send them back out there and know they’ve got to stop them from scoring a touchdown, I agree with confidence in that.”

On the South Florida offensive pass interference late in the game and what that play did to momentum
“I had a great view of the play. In my mind, I went from no to yes very quickly. It was a judgment call, the officials thought the South Florida receiver pushed off to catch the pass and it was a critical play in this game.”

On talking to running back Kenneth Farrow after the unsportsmanlike penalty to help him shake it off
“Without question. I was upset for two reasons. One, we talked about that specifically this morning. We’re going to worry about us and play our style of football, and we talked about it again at halftime. It was a very competitive, if you will, contest out there for both programs. People have different coaching philosophies, if you ever correct a student athlete, it’s my philosophy that at some point, whether it’s 10 seconds or 10 minutes later depending on situations, you come back and you build them back up certainly. That’s uncharacteristic of Kenneth and he knew it right away and we’ll all learn from that and move forward. He is one of our best leaders of our 120 student athletes and what he wants to do more than anything is win.”

On big offensive plays coming across the middle
“Yes, it was. We felt like we could attack them a little bit over the middle with what we call our quick game as well, some play action passes. We didn’t take as many shots down the field as we had in other games, and again I give them credit. They were mixing up some coverages. You saw three true freshmen quarterbacks on that field tonight. I give them credit, in the short week they mixed up some coverages and tried to disguise some things, they played two-deep coverages which took away some of the deeper throws. Offensively, our philosophy is we’re going to take what the defense gives us. We felt like we could have some success over the middle.”

On maintaining focus and looking ahead to UCF
“What I told our young men is to enjoy this one. When you say quick, this week was quick and now we’ve got a little bit more time. Going off the physical nature of this game tonight and the short turnaround coming off another physical game at Rutgers, tomorrow our staff is going recruiting other than the coordinators. I’ve got a 7a.m. flight, as do four of our other coaches. Our young men are going to go to class and meetings with the coordinators in the afternoon to watch the film from tonight. Then everyone in our program will have Saturday off, and what I told everyone in the locker room just now is we will have a team meeting at four o’clock on Sunday afternoon and I’ll tell them at that point who our next opponent is.”

On few penalties a sign of the teams’ maturing
“It’s interesting how you phrase that, if we’re maturing as a team. I don’t want to talk out of both sides of my mouth, but I do believe you get what you coach, meaning you get what you emphasize as a coach. We’ve been dead last in the country I think coming into tonight. We coach it hard every week, we watched a penalty cut-up this week of our own penalties, and we talked about it at length last night, this morning and before kickoff again as a team. We’re improving, we’re getting better, we play very fast, we try to play fast, our guys have got a lot of speed, we’re aggressive and sometimes there’s those type of penalties that you just fall into at times playing aggressive and playing fast. What I liked tonight, other than Kenneth Farrow’s one that we don’t condone, but the false starts, we didn’t really see those tonight, which we had in games past. We had another intentional grounding call for the second consecutive game. I am pleased, if we’re maturing I can answer that better if you’re asking me in three or four weeks from now. If it becomes consistent I’d say yes. We do need to be consistent in terms of what I call not cheating, not having to hold and commit penalties offensively or defensively. We had one in the kickoff return game tonight.”

On receiver Deontay Greenberry’s game tonight
“Deontay is a competitor, he wants to win first and foremost. HE was happy as anybody else in the locker room after that game. He would like us to throw him the ball on every down, and that’s why he’s so good. I love that about him. But, he’s not selfish, and I don’t want anybody to take that the wrong way because he wants to win. I said this earlier this week that it’s fun watching Deontay Greenberry when one of his teammates scores a touchdown, because he is so excited. He goes over and celebrates with them, picks them up, he’s the ultimate team player. Again, another big game for him. I think teams certainly recognize going in that he’s our leading receiver, we throw the football quite a bit. Teams are trying to do things now to take him away, and that’s an emergence of Aaron Johnson making the catches he did tonight and certainly Daniel Spencer, Wayne Beadle against Rutgers had a couple of catches. Demarcus Ayers against Rutgers had the touchdown. We’re spreading the ball around, Xavier Maxwell with the first touchdown of the game, Markeith Ambles from the field view played a good game tonight. We’ve got a lot of weapons and I think Deontay is becoming a leader for us in only his second year in our program.”



On advantages of winning in a close situation
“I had a selfish penalty there at the end that almost cost us the game. I was sick to my stomach about that, but we were able to execute and get that in the endzone. I have to do better than that in the game. I can’t be doing that. That was selfish of me. Everyone did what they had to do and stepped up and picked up the slack. I was excited to see them get the stop and go out there and make up for my mistake.”

On having a close game keeping you sharp
“It’s good to be in these situations. We have been in them before. We are not going to stop playing until the clock hits zero, so it’s good to be in these situation to know how to handle and know how to react when certain things happen. But we are going out there every week to play for 60 minutes regardless of what is going on in the game.” 

On effects of having a short turn around game
“Guys had to be two days ahead of schedule. Guys had to get in and watch film; they had to be getting rehab and treatment. They had to get back to being healthy. In a short week like that, all it did was speed up the process of the week. We had to be on our toes a lot quicker than a normal week.” 

On the short turn around being an advantage to prepare for next week’s game
“Definitely. We are going to rest up and make sure everyone is healthy and begin preparing for our next opponent. That extra time definitely helps and we are going to take advantage of it.” 

On being undefeated in conference
“Like Coach Levine says every week, ‘we are going there to be 1-0 at the end of the week.’ Whatever we did before and we aren’t looking ahead. We are back to 0-0, and we have a team next week and we are going to try to be 1-0. That’s how we are taking it, week by week.”



On two turnovers at the end of game being ‘better late than never’
“I guess you could say that. We had a slow start. They had a good game plan, and they were not trying to turn over the ball as much as we were trying to get it. We just kept fighting and at the end like you said we got two big turn overs that helped with sealing the game." 

On emotions of offensive pass interference
“That was a crazy one. At first I thought it was a defensive pass interference, and I thought they were going to get the touchdown regardless. Seeing that it was an offensive pass interference and moving them back even further it gave us a little more energy so we could get the stop. You don’t get that call a lot. It was a good feeling.”

On defense effort after muff punt
“We just dug down. The game was in our hands and it was on our back. We had a little adversity right there, so we took it and we came together. Everyone did what they had to do and kept fighting, and we ended up getting off the field and sealing it.”



On the last catch and run in
“It was a pop play and I ran across the defender. He was in my way but I managed to get inside of him and John still threw me the ball. I managed to get in between them, one guy flipped off my back and I just saw day light." 

On success coming across the middle
"It’s just based on the type of defense that they play. They leave a lot of holes open and play a lot of zones, they rarely play man so when ever we get on their and long or second and long we take advantage of that.“

On personal performance of game and having fifth 100-yard game of season
“I only had four receptions, so I didn’t get the ball thrown my way that much this game. But it just comes with when ever your number is called you just need to make a play. I was just lucky enough to make something happen.”

On motivation from team getting more recognition on ESPN

“It gets our team going of course, but we go out there every week and do what we have to do. Something to prove, that pretty much sums it up.”

On inside receiver being favorite position
“It doesn’t really matter to me, I will play anywhere on the field.”

On strength and size helping playing inside receiver
“Yes, as far as blocking goes.”

On O’Korn progression so far
“O’Korn is not your typical freshman. He is going to make his mistakes, but he corrects them. He rarely makes the same mistake twice. He is a good attribute to our team.”

On how much O’Korn has grown
“He came in as a freshman, not knowing if he was going to play or not. David had the injury, so his number was called. He has been playing good every since.”


On toughness of loss
“It was tough because it was the first time all year we played that well. It was tough on our kids to be down like we were in the comeback and lose the game. It’s tough. It’s tougher on our kids because they fall hard. They practiced well, fell hard, got in that game, and we had a chance there at the end, but it didn’t go our way.

On explanation given on call against WR Andre Davis
“They said he pushed off. I saw a catch, a touchdown. I wasn’t over there on that side and it is what it is.”

On being frustrated with penalties
“Again, it is what it is. That’s not our football team. We’re not an undisciplined football team. That’s the first time we were at that many penalties, so I won’t say that our football team is undisciplined, but 19 penalties, you just can’t have them.”

On QB Mike White’s performance
“Mike did a great job. He came in and he made some great throws in there and helped us move the football down the field. His receivers did a great job catching the ball and the o-line did a good job of giving them time. The best part was Mike on the sideline. He’s really been a leader on the sideline and getting our guys rubbed up and having our guys believing the entire football game. We’re going to come back and win this ball game and he almost did it for us.”

On differences in one week to the next
“It’s a lot. Guys play for them, guys made the catches. We had some drops the week before. Guys made catches, and he made some throw. He made some nice throws. He put that ball in there where only our receivers can catch it at times. He had big league throws in there and that was good to see, but like I said, a big part of it was his leadership and getting everybody fired up and about going out and making a play for him. That’s a big part of being a quarterback is to get your teammates to play for you." 

On QB Mike White stepping right in with his first career start
“He looked like that in practice. What you guys saw today was what we’ve been seeing in practice from him. He put in the work. Mike put in a lot of work this week to understand our game plan and know exactly where we’re going to go with the football. It made a big difference for us. Again, you watched us execute today. We executed with a lot of confidence and that’s what it takes to move the football and make plays.


On performance defensively
“Defensively, we were really bad at tackling. We were terrible at tackling today. To me, that’s what it all boils down to. Our guys were in great position and we missed too many tackles. We allowed them to have big plays because of missed tackles.”

On regretting onside kick
“No, I don’t. I thought we had some momentum and thought that it would work. We didn’t get the balance that we wanted on that. The next play, again, we got a tackle. The ball doesn’t go that far when you tackle.”

On a sense of rebirth with QB Mike White moving the ball
“Like I said, our football team improved. It’s the rebirth of offense. It was good to see the offense could move the ball down the field and score some touchdowns, but we still can get so much better. Mike didn’t play a perfect game. He had some mistakes, which we anticipated him having some. Mike was just excitement to get out there and forgetting to shift the emotion that got here and there, but as an entire football team we got better and a big part of that was because our offense moved the ball and scored a couple of touchdowns. If we could’ve tackled like we had been doing defensively, then the game wouldn’t be that close and it wouldn’t have to come down to that last play.”

On K Marvin Kloss being the best kicker in the country
“I think he is. I think he’s the best kick in the country. Not just college, but NFL too.” 



On if this loss was hard to swallow
“I mean it hurts. We did make strides, so it’s kind of bittersweet. You’d like to come away with a win anytime you’re on the road, but as long as we’re improving we see it as a positive.”

On the onside kick
“We were expecting that guy to bail out. On film it showed he’s on the 50, and left early. I actually kicked it with my left foot on that, so we were expecting him to leave, and he stayed. We didn’t have much of a chance.”

On the play of QB Mike White
“Amazing. For a young guy to go in there and do the things he did for his first collegiate start, that’s awesome, and definitely something we can build off of. I wish him the best down the road. It’s definitely something for us to rally behind in the next couple of games.”

On making 13 straight field goals
“Yeah, I found a little groove other than the first game where I missed that one. Since then I rebounded quickly, and I’m happy to be where I’m at right now. Thanks to the o-line and the whole operation; the snap, the hold and the kick. We’ve been perfect on that the whole year with not too many discrepancies.” 

On the offense scoring more
“Offense hasn’t been doing too well in the last couple of games. With Mike stepping up in there, it gave us new hope and identity. We passed the ball great tonight, something we haven’t been able to do. With (RB Marcus) Shaw back there as a duel threat, now we do have the passing game where we want it to establish the run. We definitely are looking to rebound and come back these next couple of games.”



On the penalty that took away the touchdown
"I thought I went up and made a good play. There was good protection, good throw. The referees obviously saw the play differently. They called me for pass interference, but I thought I went up and made a good play. It is what it is.”

On the play of QB Mike White
“Special kid, he does what he does. He’s a great quarterback, a smart quarterback. One day this week I caught him in the facility up there at 11 getting better for football for this game. I love having Mike as a quarterback, and he played a great game.” 

On your performance today and moving forward with it
“Like I said earlier, the offensive line came out and played a good game. Mike White found a way to get me the ball. It was a team game all around on offense. It’s definitely positive going forward. We can do big things, we just have to stay consistent." 

On your confidence moving forward
It’s awesome, we just have to come out and do the same thing in two weeks. We have a bye week this week, we just have to polish up, and hopefully I can do the same thing in the coming weeks.”



On the performance of QB Mike White
“Mike White did an amazing job. He made a lot of good strides tonight.”

On getting into the endzone after having a drought
“It felt amazing, just to be able to know we are coming together as a team to score. There was never really any pressure. We just know we have the plays, and we needed to execute them.”

On feeling a rebirth despite the loss
“As a team we just do what we can. We take everything in stride. We took Mike White, the freshman quarterback, and we rallied around him to make big plays.”

On the penalty that took away a touchdown
"Ultimately, we can only control what we can control. It’s pretty frustrating to have that many penalties, but as a team we need to get better. We can’t have that many mistakes.”

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