Press Conference: Houston vs. UTSA
Aug. 26, 2014
With the 2014 Houston Football season just days away, head coach Tony Levine and student-athletes Kenneth Farrow, Rowdy Harper, Derrick Mathews and Joey Mbu spoke to the media on Tuesday at the first weekly press conference of the year inside Carl Lewis Auditorium in the Athletics/Alumni Center.
Tony Levine PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
“Coaches talk about the last few days, and I know that there’s 24 hours in a day, but the last couple days and the next few days it seems like there should be about 40 hours in a day. At the beginning of every season, it seems like that first opportunity to play in a game takes forever to get here. It feels like August 1. Our student athletes were reporting for training camp the last couple weeks in July—we’re at the ‘snail’s pace’ if you will, and I think this week is the same. We continue to have practices and meetings and review our game plan and review situations—over and over and over, looking forward to Friday. As we talk about in our program, we’ll get through the game Friday night, we’ll blink once and wake up one morning and it’ll be Thanksgiving. The season will fly by.
We’re certainly excited about being back on campus, in TDECU Stadium. We had an opportunity Saturday evening to go over there as a program. We spent the first 45-50 minutes just looking at the stadium, taking our time, letting our student athletes, staff and coaches walk around—see the locker rooms, the turf, go up in the stands, and just kind of get a feel for our new home. We did our pregame warm-up routine, and we had about a 20-minute ‘mock game’ as we call it, which was more substitutions, personnel packages and special teams. At the end, we did about a 30-minute situational script with some two-minute, and special team situations there as well.
So we’re excited to be back on campus. There is a lot of energy and buzz right now on Cullen Blvd. I was able to walk through campus yesterday. I popped into a classroom with a couple hundred students in there and said hello briefly. There is a lot of energy, a lot of excitement. We’re looking forward to not only the season, but also to Friday night.
Certainly we have a great deal of respect for UTSA, their program, their staff, and their student athletes. We are familiar with them having played them last year, and they’re very familiar with us and our student athletes. I mentioned this going into the game last year, in terms of the vast majority of both programs, student athletes being from the state of Texas. We’ve got familiarity from the recruiting aspect, and having played them last year, and studying over the offseason. Again, (UTSA is) very athletic, and they’re very experienced. I think when you look at their depth chart and you see student athletes in their program that have played 33 games, 34 games there is a lot to be said about experience.
Anytime at the college level, when you have student-athletes that play in that many games the game of football ends up eventually slowing down for them. I think the transition from high school to college is always challenging, especially for some student athletes, because the speed of the game is so much different, and it takes time to adjust to it. I think that’s why you see, often times, young men that play as true freshmen have an outstanding sophomore season. For instance, Deontay Greenberry did last year, because they’re still trying to adjust to the speed of the game which changed from being a senior in high school, to being a freshman in college. But they get that under their belt. They get to go through spring practice, and the game slows down for them. When you look at UTSA’s roster and their depth chart, you see young men that have played and started for three years and are in their early 20s. That goes a long way and it shows up on video. They’ve got experience. They’re very athletic, very fast, very physical on defense and upfront on offense, and they’re well-coached. Again, I think the world, and have a lot of respect for Larry Coker, and his staff and assistant coaches, but I’m not trying to be kind and say that. You put the video on, and anyone that’s playing UTSA this year that studied their film from last year will see very quickly, regardless of offense, defense or special teams, how well-coached they are. It will be a great challenge for us. We’ve got a great deal of respect for them having played them last year. If someone didn’t see that game, the score certainly was not indicative of how close it was. At the end of the 3rd quarter, they’re attempting a field goal to tie the game, and we block it and run it back. We ended up getting a couple turnovers in the fourth quarter, and won the game, but it was neck-and-neck for 45 minutes. It will be a great challenge, and we’re looking forward to Friday night getting here."
Derrick Mathews (senior linebacker)
Joey Mbu (senior defensive tackle)
Rowdy Harper (senior offensive line)