Houston-Marshall Football Postgame Quotes

Nov. 17, 2007

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2007 Houston Cougars Football Postgame Quotes
Marshall Thundering Herd (2-9, 2-5 C-USA) at Houston Cougars (7-4, 6-2 C-USA)
Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007 * John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium * Houston, Texas

Opening Statement
"We went through this long tough a week last week as I'd been through in my career and our players responded by being focused, being intense and playing with passion and heart. I'm very proud of them, I'm proud of our crowd, I'm proud of our student body. It's a great day to be a Houston Cougar."

On how they played the first half
"I don't think we were flat, we just came out and got a touchdown but got it called back, which made us think it was happening again because we had that happen last week. Every time we made a play something would keep us from doing it. They're Marshall, are good. You're talking about a team that held ECU to 253 total offense last week and seven points to a team that's averaging 38 points 484 yards a game so we knew they had a good defense.

On tight end Mark Hafner's game
"Yes he had a good game. (Mark) Hafner's been good all year. The thing that's great about the game is that everyone contributes to the win. We had good punts, we had good kickoffs, we had good coverage, defense made stops when we had to make stops for most of the game and offense put a drive or two together when we had to. Football is a game. We had the ball at the four down there and didn't get it out which would have helped but we ended up taking care of business later on.

On punter Chase Turner
"Field position is one of the factor's that determines the football game. If you get good punts off and get good coverage it definitely gives you better opportunity to win."

On the on-side kick
"They can move the ball. Those guys can play now. They have a good football team, they're well coached and they have a lot of tradition and those are pretty good factors."

On the possibility of going to a bowl game
"We did a good job of blocking all that out. We didn't talk about that one time, we didn't talk about a bowl game one time. We talked about earning some respect, getting our pride back and just playing football like we knew we could play. That's really all we could control and that's what we were concerned with."

On senior running back Anthony Alridge's performance throughout the season and today
"I'm just now looking at the stats, 25 for 103 yards. He's a guy that is a passionate player, just like a lot of our guys. I thought our D-line battle hard the whole game. They did a great job of just keeping on keeping on pressuring. It was a great win for the University."

On redshirt freshman quarterback Case Keenum showing some emotion on the field
"He's pretty coy to using expressions, he's kind of aware of what's going on. He does a good job of taking care of himself for the most part."

On how Marshall kept holding

"I appreciate you backing me up because I couldn't agree anymore. The refs came up to me and told me they understood they kept holding me but we can't keep an eye on you all game. They were trying to tell me to make a move that they kept holding, but this is not basketball, we don't flop on the floor."

On how the defense was starting to get tired in the end because they were on the field so much
"We didn't have a good strategy on the options but we kept the quarterback in the pocket and use the zone instead of the blitz to beat him and it worked. It was a nice strategy."

On how good the win feels
"It was good following up this embarrassing loss we had in Tulsa last week. It feels real good. We're proud to be Cougars again."

On how focused the team is on a possible bowl game
"We're focused on the Championship. We're hoping and praying that Rice beats Tulsa and we can have another shot at it."

On forcing Marshall to go for field goals rather than allowing the touchdown
"Like I said, we wanted the quarterback to stay in the pocket and use the zone rather than the blitz to beat us. The zone wasn't very good, we kept pressure on him and he felt the pressure and his balls kept coming up a little short from the pressure."

On big touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter

"We knew all week that the backers just bailed out, so anytime I released in the middle I just come out open. I came up to the free safety and just made a move and tried to beat him to the end zone. It was a crucial part of the game, I just wanted to make sure I protected the ball and not get stripped.

On the importance of the win

"It was a big win. It was a crucial conference game for us and depending on what Rice does next week we have a chance of being in the conference championship. We just took care of our business today. We practiced hard and we came out played well.

On being the main target of Marshall's defense
"I'm used to it, its fun. That's part of the game. I know they're going to try to stop me, but, case in point, Mark Hafner went off. He's the best tight end in the conference and might be one of the best tight ends in the country. That's what I believe. He always plays physically and the first person will never get him down."

On team's struggles in the first half
"Little mistakes, we were killing ourselves. It's part of the game, you're not always going to be perfect. But you can always strive to be perfect. That's what we strive for - perfection - and that's what we did in the second half.

On the Cougars focusing on controlling their own destiny and not worrying about what may happen

"That's kind of a big picture thing, you can always look at who's got to beat who to put us in the championship or what record is going to put us in what bowl. But right now we just have to take care of business. That's out of our control. TSU next week is under our control and we have to go out there and take care of business and do what we do."

On offensive struggles in the first half
"At times we just couldn't get things going. There were a couple of little things that hurt us. It's been the same story all year, we're stopping ourselves. Penalty there, one yard short there, a misread on my part. When it came down to it, our team came together and played hard. The offensive line in the second half was incredible. I had great protection. They played their butts off. We ran the ball well. Anthony Alridge came in and hit them with 100 yards. We had to go out their and win the game and we did.

On running out the clock at the end of the game
"When you get to that point, first downs are touchdowns. First downs run a quite of bit of time and we got it down to where there was about a minute and we were able to kneel the ball.

On Marshall's defensive pressure on him
"They played well. They blitzed a couple of downs and they got pressure to us. But we handled it well throughout the game. Earlier we're just trying to get our feet wet and get going but we couldn't ever really get it rolling. We had a couple of scoring drives in the first half, but we didn't light it up like we normally do. We got it going and the defense held down the stretch when we needed them to. It was a great team win.

On trying to corral Houston quarterback Case Keenum

"He's a good athlete, we have to give him credit, and we got a little tired. At times we looked very un-athletic chasing him."

On the offense stepping up in the second half
"We didn't make plays in the first half. We had opportunities, but we didn't make plays. We challenged them at half time to make plays. Their guys were making plays and we weren't. Then all of the sudden guys like E.J. Wynn and Emmanuel Spann started making plays for us."

On Marshall's success in the running game in the second half
"We just felt like we needed to establish the line of scrimmage and not let them tee off on us. We can run the football."

On Houston tight end Mark Hafner's big game
"They did a good job with him. They lined him up at tackle, which isn't a traditional tight end position. They caught us off guard a couple of times and it really worked good for them."

On the referees review overturning a fumble call early in the fourth quarter
"That's what they get paid to do. They have to go with what they saw. They got to see it a whole bunch, I only got to see it once. I thought it was close, really close."

On the difference between winning and losing the game
"They made a couple more plays than we did. When you play somebody that way, they are going to get theirs. They're going to get their plays, just like we do at home. You have to make your plays on the road. They made a couple more plays than we did today.



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