Houston vs. Cincinnati Postgame Quotes

Nov. 23, 2013

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Opening Statement
“First thing I’d like to do is thank the fans, and the alumni, and the students who came out today. I know it was cold and raining off and on the entire morning. I know 11 a.m. kickoffs can be hard for families who have activities with their children. I thought we had a great crowd, and I certainly want to thank them. I appreciate them coming out, and supporting us today.”

“I just told our student-athletes that when you play a really good football program, and I believe we are a good football program. When you make mistakes it’s hard to win football games. You don’t give yourself as much of an opportunity to be successful. That starts with me, I made mistakes. Our coaches made mistakes, our trainers, managers, everybody made mistakes today, and our student-athletes did as well. We’ll learn from this video and get it corrected. We have a talented SMU team coming in here on Friday for our last regular season game. I certainly don’t want to take anything away from coach (Tommy) Tuberville, and his program. Brendon Kay is certainly one of the top quarterbacks in the country as a sixth year senior. They have very talented skill guys, I thought their defensive line, and offensive line did an excellent job. There’s a number of reasons at this point of the season they are 9-2, and again I’m proud of our effort. Our student-athletes played extremely hard when our defensive was on the field for 37 minutes against a talented well-coached Cincinnati offense. At the end of the day too many mistakes by everybody in our program to beat a team of that caliber.”

On the final play of the game
“It’s a mistake we can’t make. Its part of the learning process that type of situation with no timeouts, we have to throw the ball beyond the first down yardage too get to a first down. If we throw it short we have to be certain we get a first down, and or get out of bounds. With no timeouts, and ten seconds on the clock we have to throw the ball past the first down marker. With the rule this year if there is three seconds or more on the clock you can kill it. If there’s two or less then you have to run a play. We had that already communicated, but again it’s a smart play by them when they tackle the guy to just lay on him until the clock runs out.”

On Greg Ward playing then bringing in John O’Korn for the final drive
“When we split the reps in practice, particularly the last two weeks with Greg rotating in practice at quarterback, and receiver we felt like John gave us the better chance in that situation.” 

On looking for a spark when going with Greg Ward
“Yes those were my exact words. I felt like putting Greg into the game it did give us that spark offensively.”

On what defenses have been doing to limiting the offensive production
“In no particular order we have played three really good defenses in the last three games. Some situations have been different. I talked about losing Deontay (Greenberry) in the Louisville game. We had some execution things that didn’t go as we would have liked. Their defensive line played really well. It’s a combination of things. You saw Deontay out there hobbling around still wanting to play today. We’ll certainly evaluate what we did offensively, and look at a talented team in SMU.”

On Zach McMillian playing safety today
“Zach has played some safety in certain situations this season. In our nickel package, and it’s something he’s done. Again based on how much we anticipate them throwing the football, and how much we use the nickel. It’s something we’ve done this season. I want to say in three or four games up to this point we had. That was a big part of our game plan today.”

On the fumbles today changing momentum
“I agree with that football is a game of momentum. The first one was an execution error that we had. We’ve done a great job all season of taking care of the football on offense. That is uncharacteristic of what we’ve been doing. Sometimes as a coach you can’t live with a turnover, but you can live with a great hit by a defender or a diving interception by a defensive back. When you have an execution error to hand them the football at the start of the game. We wanted to start fast run down the field, and get confidence go in field goal range and take the lead. In essence not just hand them the ball. It was a big play in the game, and it changed momentum.”

On the status of Deontay Greenberry
“Well someone rolled up on his lower leg during the game today. I don’t want to talk about the field conditions, because Cincinnati played on the same field we did. When you have one of the top receivers in the nation, and he was playing through some plain, and I told him if you can’t go, you can’t go. He told me he was fine, and he kept going. When you have a guy who runs a 4.4 (second) 40, and he is out there running a 5.4 battling through stiffness in his leg it certainly affects him, and the timing of the routes. It also tells you about the competitive nature of our student-athletes. We’ve seen guys like that all season. I do want to say if a young man is injured we do not play him. Deontay said he was fine, he was running around, and caught some key balls at the end. Going back the original question of does it affect him? Yes it does.” 

On the play of Cincinnati’s Brendon Kay
“Brendon Kay is experienced enough, and certainly talented enough to spread the ball. He throws the ball around really really well. For (Shaq) Washington and (Anthony) McClung to have those type of numbers whether it was by design or those guys continued to make plays in their passing game. I do feel Brendon does a nice job on video and today of going through his primary reads to his secondary, and sometimes his third read. I did feel like in the first half we gave up some big plays in the secondary with him throwing the ball downfield.” 

On the teams confidence knowing their losses have been by a touchdown or less
“Well a couple things, one is we have to clean up the mistakes. Again everyone in that locker room was unhappy after the guy. When you go and watch this video we’re going to see mistakes that we made whether it was by coaches, or student-athletes. We have to get those corrected to be successful. Especially when you’re playing a program like Cincinnati. I’ve been coaching for 18 years, and I’ve heard people say start fast, not just in our program but everywhere. The game lasts three and a half hours, and I feel we do a good job of making adjustments at halftime.  Two is we’ve done a nice job of staying positive on the sidelines. Guys are confident, and calm because it doesn’t matter who we play, a top 25 team or a 1AA opponent.

"They have coaches, they have student-athletes on scholarship, and they make a game plan. They’re going to make plays just like we make plays. When you have highs and lows on sidelines everyone needs to be confident, and poise. It’s such a ling event. You can’t get too high if you get up early and you certainly can’t get too low. We’ve played 11 games up to this point, and we’ve played some talented competition. Our student-athletes recognize they can play with the programs in the American Athletics Conference. We have one more opportunity at home in six days. We have 16 young men, and 14 seniors who will be recognized before the game. One man who is graduating in a couple weeks, and already has a job lined up. Another young man who can no longer play the game of football. They will be recognized for the final time in front of their hometown fans, alumni, and student body. We’ll learn from these mistakes tomorrow in meetings and move on for SMU.” 

On the elements playing a factor in the game
“Well the cold didn’t have anything to do with the decision to go for it on fourth down after the turnover. We had a couple of negative plays after that turnover. We had a delay of game, which is inexcusable, and we had a couple of offensive plays that resulted in negative runs. Three plays and we went eight yards the wrong way, which took us out of field goal range. The distance and the field conditions were a factor on that. The cold wasn’t a factor, last week we played at Louisville where it was 50 degrees, and today it was the same.” 



On the touchdown he scored
“It was third and short and Coach Gibbs called a man defense and we lined up and my man was in the back field, so I went through the gap and Eric Braswell came out and hit the quarterback, the ball came out, I saw the ball and grabbed it like I do in practice and I scored. Coach Gibbs called a great play.” 

On defense helping the other units out when they need it

“We are all a family. If they are not doing what they are supposed to, we have their back, and if we are not doing what we are supposed to they have our back. We keep working together. Coach Gibbs told us even if they don’t score we can still win when we stop the other teams offense from scoring. We still put some of it on us because we let them score, especially in the first quarter when I gave up that long pass and they scored a touchdown right after. We have to help them out also.”

On how the elements effected performance
“It affects us a lot. We are a speed team: defense, offense and special teams. We couldn’t make the cuts like we wanted to and go full speed. It slowed us down. We just tried to get back into our playing ways during the second half so it could start working out for us.”

On the frustration of the third straight loss
“It is frustrating, but we have to put it in the passed and keep moving forward. Work harder that we have been and correct the mistakes that we had in the game. We have to keep our head up and keep moving forward.” 

On the mentality of the defense
“Coach Gibbs, Coach Spavital, and Coach Hargreaves during practice tell us that every single play, every single person, all 11 players need to get to the ball; somebody holding and somebody stripping the ball. We pride ourselves on turnovers and helping the offense out. It’s just all 11 players to the ball, and we hustle every single play. We do this every day in practice and during walkthroughs, so we are used to it now.” 



On not being able to push down ball after missed field goal
“We had the opportunity to go down there and score, but we just couldn’t get the job done.” 

On how the elements effected performance
“We don’t want to use it as an excuse because they had to play in it also. We didn’t do enough.”

On their defense anticipating what offense was going to do
“It was more of us not being able to get into a rhythm. They did what we thought they were going to do, but we just couldn’t get it done.” 



Opening statement
“Unfortunately the holding penalties just killed us, but we played consistent on both sides of the play. Our defense really played well. Our offense actually gave up two touchdowns and shouldn’t have been a game winning with our field goal kicker. One of those deals we just can’t seem to put anybody away, but I’m proud of the whole team. They battled and they battled hard. We didn’t play as well as we did in the last few games. These field conditions absolutely were awful. That’s the worst I’ve ever been around, but it wasn’t Houston’s fault. It’s one of those deals where we had to have a place to play. When you get one of those and a field that’s not made for football then you’re going to have problems. I was impressed with Houston. Tony and his coaches did a good job. David Gibbs did a great job. Our short passing game made us throw the ball deep and we made some connections. We are an experienced team; we probably should’ve won this game just because we had a more consistent offense in terms of running and throwing. I’m just proud of all the players. It’s hard to win the on the road. That gives us six straight and now that sets up a big showdown in Nippert Stadium in about 12 days.” 

On weather affecting the game plan
“We thought about it, we came here, we looked out on the field, we sat around for about 10 minutes talking as a staff which we always do, just comparing notes of what we think we can do and basically about two minutes before we came out we said, ‘let’s stick with it. Let’s stick with what we’ve got. Let’s let these players know we believe in them. We’re going to throw the ball, we’re going to go fast, we’re not going to be conservative,’ it worked for us. When you have a quarterback like Brendon Kay, who played hurt, been playing hurt, throws for 400 yards, it was fun. It was fun to watch him.  He executed and made some plays. The holding calls hurt us. It’s just unfortunate that we let the officials get involved, but you know, that’s the way it is. On the road you’ve got to go, you’ve got to play hard and you’ve got to play consistent, and you’ve got to play without mistakes. We played with too many mistakes and had a couple of bad turnovers—two for touchdowns.” 

On defensive stops
“It’s huge. I asked Tony after the game, ‘you put no. one in?’ and he did. He gave them some spark. He made a big third down throw. Those kinds of quarterbacks give you a problem and we’re just fortunate we were able to make that third down stop, make that fourth down stop, and make them kick that field goal. They have a good football team. They make a lot of plays, they put a lot of pressure on you, so we’re fortunate to come in here late in the season after playing so many tough games the last few weeks.”

On assessing this win on the national front
“Of course we need to move up. Of course, Central Florida is going to have to lose a game and if they do and both us and Louisville move up and we should be in the top 25 this week then the winner of our game would have an opportunity to play in the BCS, but UCF they’re playing awfully well. We can’t control that. One thing we’ve got, 9-2, we’ll move up in rankings. It doesn’t make any difference. We have our rival coming into town. It’ll be a dogfight, so we’re looking forward to it. It should be a great game.” 

On what a six-game winning streak means
“It means a lot for a group of guys, we struggled early, we didn’t have an identity until about the fifth game of the year and we’ve really played well. We’ve been a good football team for about the past five or six weeks. We’ve made some mistakes, but we’ve been good enough to overcome those mistakes. We’ve gotten better at almost every position. Our kicking game has lacked obviously with our field goals, but it’s been pretty impressive what this team has done. Two road wins back-to-back and playing as well as we played.”



On today’s game
“I think the offense needs to get better in a lot of areas but I think we executed the game plan, made a lot of adjustments to what they were doing, they showed us a lot of different looks. I’m just proud of our O-line and receivers around me for going out there and making plays.”

On the team’s play in the weather condition
“The field is in terrible condition, weather wasn’t ideal but I think we did a good job of regrouping when things went bad I definitely got to improve on those things. Overall we did a good job of just coming back from those downfalls.”

On missed field goal on last possession
“That would have put it out of reach for sure. It was tough but Tony will bounce back, I got trust in him. He will be out there working the whole next week and he’ll be ready to go.”

On six game win streak
“It will all take care of itself. We are going to go out there and we’re going to keep winning ball games, like I’ve said the last few weeks, as long as we keep getting better, which we got better in a lot of areas today, we just have to improve on the turnovers and stuff and a lot of that is on me. I think we are going to keep climbing we just need a little help from UCF to take of that and we have to care of business against Louisville.”



On defensive play
“Our coach trusts a lot in the defense and we were going to be the determining outcome in this game and our defense really stepped up a lot from the interior guys to the exterior guys. All of us really stepped upped, the back end guys really stepped up late and made plays. We all count on each other to make plays for each other, that’s how we won this game.” 

On Houston’s early momentum
“We just tried to take it one play at a time. We’re focused on that one play; everything else would take care of itself. We weren’t trying to worry about what was going to happen, what formation and all of that stuff. We are focused on one play at a time, take care of what we have to take care of, take care of our responsibilities and everything else is going to handle itself.”

On weather conditions
“We like it a lot because it is cold at Cincinnati so it is like a home game for us so it is like being at home so it didn’t affect us at all, not one bit.”

On troubles during the game
“A couple of times, you know, you have to get used to it you have to be ready to play in any kind of weather like our coach stressed whether it’s raining, hailing, sleeting whatever outside we have to be ready to play." 

On potential to be in the top 25
“With the rankings, we’ll let that take care of itself. We always be considered underdogs so that is what we are going to see ourselves so we keep pushing like we are underdogs, keep playing hard no matter who thinks what about us, we are always ready to push hard and make plays, just take care of each other and of that first.”



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