Houston Football Weekly Press Conference Quotes - BYU

    Oct. 15, 2013

    HEAD COACH Tony Levine
    Opening Statement
    “We’ll go ahead and get started. As usual, after a win, we’ve got our players of the game. Offensively, a young man who played 41 snaps, it was great to have him back, scored two touchdowns and converted a designed two-point conversion play, that’s running back Kenneth Farrow. Defensively, a young man who I’ve talked about at length who’s getting better every week, he played 51 snaps, had 8 tackles, a quarterback hit and a quarterback sack, our rush end Trevor Harris. On special teams, a young man who I’ve said for a while is one of the best in the country, punter Richie Leone. He made his only field goal attempt, made two extra points, five kickoffs, four of which landed in the end zone, and punted six times for 58 yards, 57 yards, 46 yards, 45 yards, 42 and 40 yards with a late punt to pin them back on their own three yard line, so another great game by him.

    “Scout team players of the week: it’s all Cameron this week. Offensively Cameron Oliver, defensively Cameron Doubenmier and on special teams it was Cameron Klapesky.

    “Another good win for our program and another team win. I’m very proud of our defense and the effort they gave, they were on the field for just under 36 minutes, played very well and created four turnovers. I’m really happy with the way they tackled. We had six missed tackles, and our goal each week is to have under 10 so we have achieved that goal for the fifth consecutive game.

    “Going into this game, while people talked about Memphis’ defense, people didn’t give their special teams enough credit. We recognized their talent going into this game and challenged our guys and I was happy with the way our guys responded. Our number one goal in special teams each week is to win the battle of field position. That we did by a margin of the 32 yard line to the 19 yard line. That is very significant because that means after all of our special teams plays, we averaged our starting position on the 32 and they averaged on the 19. We pinned them inside the 20 yard line six times, our goal is to do that twice per week. I’m very happy with the way our guys played in the kicking game.

    “Offensively, I didn’t feel like we were ever able to get into a good rhythm. We were able to make some plays certainly enough to win the football game. I liked our first drive. We were able to get Daniel Spencer down the seam for that touchdown pass; we did start fast. We had nine dropped balls offensively, we had seven penalties, so we were going the wrong way at times and could not sustain but when it was all said and done I liked how we took care of the football and only turned the ball over one time. We were plus three (in turnover margin) coming out of the game. We made some plays down the stretch: Xavier Maxwell had a great play down the sideline, and Ryan Jackson with the screen that he caught and took it for 44 yards. There were some big plays that we made offensively and enough to win the game.

    “Moving on to the next one with BYU. They are a very, very talented football program. When you look at this team, the first thing that stands out is how physical they are in their play and in their presence. They are big across the board, big at skill positions, at receivers, running backs, defensive backs, they are extremely physical. It will be a great challenge for us. They’ve got tremendous athletes, they’ve got great players, certainly their coaching staff we have a lot of respect for, they’ve been there a long time and they do a great job with that program. We will continue to focus first and foremost on what we’ve been doing to get to this point and what we have to do, we feel like, to be successful Saturday. We look forward to getting out there this afternoon and installing our game plan for this evening’s practice.”

    On whether the BYU game is the biggest challenge or just the next challenge
    “It’s both. It’s the biggest because it is the next challenge. I’ve talked to our staff, our coaches, our student athletes about not looking back and not looking past anyone. We are putting all of our focus on our next opponent, which certainly this week is a very formidable one in BYU. For that reason it is the biggest because it is the next. The things that have gotten us to this point in terms of winning our first five games is what we have to continue to do: take care of the football on offense, creating turnovers on defense and we’ve got to tackle. They’re going to be bigger and more physical in terms of guys we’ve been tackling. Those are the things we have to do though, we have to cut down on penalties, put a game plan together and execute on all three sides of the ball.”

    On the different in defense between this year and last
    “It’s a number of things. We’ve obviously got some new players and new coaches. When you look at the production, we are creating turnovers. When you want to win football games, you either hold on to it offensively or you better take it away defensively. Our kids are competing at it and taking pride in it. They practice that way and they’re certainly playing that way. I’ve been here six years and I’ve been coaching 18 years, our guys defensively and special teams are tackling as well as I’ve ever been around. Rarely are you seeing a guy completely missing a tackle, because of that we are giving up a limiting amount of explosive plays. The kids are playing extremely well and it goes back to me sounding like a broken record saying we’ve simplified with coach (David) Gibbs and our staff. We’re still going to be aggressive but we’ve been emphasizing techniques, fundamentals and making sure our guys know what to do so that when the ball is snapped they can play fast.”

    On continuing a dual quarterback system in conference games
    “We’ll see. Again, people continue to ask me coming up in this part of the schedule and that, but we’re focused on BYU. Whether it’s two quarterbacks, one quarterback or three, regardless of the position, whatever we feel like we have to do to be successful and beat BYU this week, that will be our game plan.”

    On being worried about keeping the team focused during Homecoming Week
    “I’m not (worried about the team’s focus). As a coach, you need to control that and try to set the tone each week and control the atmosphere and environment as best you can. We try to make them aware ahead of time of what is going to be out there, the noise if you will, that they are going to hear. I’m excited that it’s homecoming but I have not stood up in front of the team this week and told them ‘Look it’s homecoming so we need to prepare differently or watch more video.’ It’s the next game which makes it the most important game. To this point we’ve done a good job making sure our young men understand the atmosphere that is going to surround them on a daily basis going into each game.”

    On utilizing two rush ends
    “We’re trying a couple of things. We’re trying to get our best players on the field, guys we feel that can be productive, certainly be successful and put them in a position to be successful. We’re playing nine defensive linemen. We’re rotating guys, keeping them fresh, moving them around a little bit. When we come in on Sunday we look at who plays, how many snaps a young man has played at the defensive line. It may be 30, 40, 50 snaps and not 80 or 90 so we are keeping them fresh and allowing guys to make plays because of how fresh they are. It’s not fun to watch another offense put a drive together but it is fun to watch after two or three snaps to see four guys run off the field and four other guys run on the field and continue to play at a high level. Regardless what position he’s playing, Trevor Harris did a great job of picking up both the rush and the defensive end position. He’s been very productive for us. He went in on the last defensive snap against Memphis, was able to get pressure and get a quarterback hit to make him throw it away. We’ll continue to rotate those guys, keep them fresh and continue to have success in the production from the defensive line.”

    On Efrem Oliphant’s progress since being third string last spring
    “He has come a long way in a short amount of time. When you back to last March and April when he was third string on the depth chart and kind of going to be a special teams role player for us, our defensive staff, Coach Hargreaves our new linebackers coach who has done an outstanding job coaching his position. Efrem is a completely new football player this year than he was a year ago. He’s flying around, he’s making great tackles, caused a fumble in the game the other day with an absolute tackle that you put on clinic tape. It was a form tackle with his face mask right on the football and came flying out of there. He’s doing a great job and really proud of him being an example of a guy who was third string on the depth chart, knows that, and worked his rear end off to move up in the depth chart. When the season began, he wasn’t a starter for us but has now become one of our most productive student-athletes in our entire program.”

    On strong second half adjustments
    “It certainly does please you. When you come out at halftime, they’ve played 30 minutes and they’ve got 30 minutes left. I mentioned this a few days ago, our defensive staff gets together and talks about adjustments, certainly our offensive staff does as well, our special teams coaches do as well and I address the team first. When they come in at halftime, the feeling is always different than when you take the field before the game started. They’re looking to the coaching staff to press the right buttons and send the right message before they go back out on the field. Certainly we’re making adjustments schematically to be successful in what we have to do in the second half. We come in at halftime against Memphis and I addressed them for the first two or three minutes while offense, defense and special teams coaches are meeting, I told them when we came in at halftime ‘You can hear a pin drop in this locker room, and we’re winning this game.’ A lot of it is how you respond at halftime as a coach. I went back in to the offensive and defensive coaches and said ‘When you go make your adjustments be positive, we’re winning the football game. It doesn’t feel like it in the locker room right now, but we’re ahead.’ and we were ahead after the first quarter and we were ahead after the third quarter. The messages you send are as important and the adjustments you make. I’ve been places before and worked for other coaching staffs where you’re winning at halftime and a coach wants to go in there and yell, scream and throw a grease board, and all the sudden you come out and the kids are flat or shellshocked. That’s not our approach, certainly not with a young group of student athletes.”

    On the offensive line adjustments
    “It’s an interesting question because when you look at our offensive line, we’re really playing without two starters. Ty Cloud has been a multi-year starter, started all through the spring and lined up next to Ralph Oragwu at the left tackle position all spring. When you get into August and Ty gets an injury, misses the first two weeks, comes back and then sustains a second injury and misses the next two weeks and is now easing his way back in playing as a backup. Then we lost Ralph with a knee injury in the first game. We lose those two starters early on, we shuffled some guys around in DeAnthony Sims, he has been a right guard, a left guard, now he’s a left tackle, Rowdy Harper has been a left tackle and is now in at left guard. We’re trying to get more consistent there and I feel like that will come. That’s an area where we certainly hope to see some improvement this week. We’ve done a good job in terms of not giving up as many sacks, but in the run game we’ve got to do a better job of creating running lanes for our backs up front. I hope to see that this week.”

    On BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy
    “Kyle Van Noy is as good as an outside linebacker, rush-type guy as I’ve ever seen. For his size, he is so athletic and he can change his direction. There is a reason as a junior he was an All American. He has made some plays not only this season but in years past that are just highlight reels. He’s going to be a first round draft pick. Up front, we certainly will know where number 3 is lined up Saturday.”

    SOPHOMORE RUNNING BACK Kenneth Farrow
    On being able to get back on the field after his injury
    “It was exciting, especially not being able to help with those two wins. It was pretty hard to watch, but they did a good job, and we’re still undefeated. I’m still trying to get better every week, so it was exciting to finally be able to go out there and play with them.”

    On being able to score in his first game back
    “It was good to find the end zone. The offense wasn’t really clicking like it was supposed to, so we have things to work on this week in practice to perfect those things and make sure we can go out and execute. But we were able to grind it out in the end and get those two touchdowns on the goal line. It was exciting to be out there and be able to contribute.”

    On what he sees from BYU so far
    “We looked at it, and it’s kind of a similar defense (to Memphis). We need to be able to go out and execute. If they give us the pass, we need to be able to pass the ball and if they give us run, we need to be able to run the ball. Everybody just has to do their job and we have to play a good game. It will be fun to go out there and play against good competition in BYU.”

    On if this being the first time the team has faced BYU will be a factor
    “No I don’t think so. It’s just the next team on the schedule. Like Coach (Levine) said, a lot of teams on the schedule a lot of us haven’t played before. They’re all fairly new teams. It’s just week-by-week and they’re the next team on the schedule.”

    SOPHOMORE RUNNING BACK Kenneth Farrow
    On being able to get back on the field after his injury
    “It was exciting, especially not being able to help with those two wins. It was pretty hard to watch, but they did a good job, and we’re still undefeated. I’m still trying to get better every week, so it was exciting to finally be able to go out there and play with them.”

    On being able to score in his first game back
    “It was good to find the end zone. The offense wasn’t really clicking like it was supposed to, so we have things to work on this week in practice to perfect those things and make sure we can go out and execute. But we were able to grind it out in the end and get those two touchdowns on the goal line. It was exciting to be out there and be able to contribute.”

    On what he sees from BYU so far
    “We looked at it, and it’s kind of a similar defense (to Memphis). We need to be able to go out and execute. If they give us the pass, we need to be able to pass the ball and if they give us run, we need to be able to run the ball. Everybody just has to do their job and we have to play a good game. It will be fun to go out there and play against good competition in BYU.”

    On if this being the first time the team has faced BYU will be a factor
    “No I don’t think so. It’s just the next team on the schedule. Like Coach (Levine) said, a lot of teams on the schedule a lot of us haven’t played before. They’re all fairly new teams. It’s just week-by-week and they’re the next team on the schedule.”

    JUNIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN Bryce Redman
    On the challenge of piecing together the offensive line due to injuries
    “I think to an extent it’s been a challenge with the different people in different positions. I know Rowdy (Harper) moving from tackle to guard has been a challenge for him. He’s never played guard since he’s been here. A lot of guys are stepping up and a lot of guys are playing well. Luckily we’ve had that depth this year because it turns out we’ve needed it.”

    On what the offensive line does week-to-week to cut down on penalties
    “It’s one of the key points of victory. Coach Levine talks about it every week. It’s something we really just have to do better at. It’s a mental thing. It’s something we think about. I know it may not seem like it, but we talk about it every week. It’s just something we have to convert to game day.”

    On what the return of running back Kenneth Farrow was like for the offensive line
    “It’s always good to have him out there. He’s a fiery guy. He’s a lot like me in the way that he plays - real aggressive. As an offensive lineman you love that your running back is going out there and scrapping. It was exciting. It kind of added a spark to us having them out there.”

    On what they are focusing on with BYU’s defense
    ”I was impressed with how hard they play. They play very hard. I respect that. They do a lot of things on defense. It’s going to be a challenge mentally even to get all of their different alignments down, and how we’re going to block each front. We’ll have a lot of film study this week.”

    On playing a team that is well respected and has beaten quality opponents like the University of Texas
    “It’s going to be a great challenge for us. Any time you play a team that has respect around the country it’s a good thing. I know we’re all excited to have a chance to play a real quality opponent, and a team that beat Texas is always a bonus too.”

    On how it makes them feel to face a good team with losses that can be beaten
    “Anybody can lose on any given Saturday. That doesn’t change any way that we’re going to look at them. I was impressed with them on all of the film we’ve watched so far.”

    On if becoming bowl eligible is something the team has talked about
    “Not at all. That hasn’t been something that I’ve even thought about. I know Coach Levine made a joke about it because we won just five games all of last year, but as a group we have a lot higher expectations than six wins. It hasn’t been something that’s come up a whole lot.”

    JUNIOR WIDE RECEIVER Daniel Spencer
    On his general thoughts about BYU
    “They’re a great defense and a great team from the offensive side. We still have to go out there and prepare the same way as if we’re playing any other team this week.”

    On staying focused this year and not thinking about last season
    “Nobody wants to go 5-7 again, so we’re just going one week at a time. We’re still grinding to get the win at the end of every week.”

    On how to get back into a rhythm after last week’s game
    “We just have to do what we do. We have to get back to not having penalties on offense. We had a big number of penalties on offense. If we cut those out we’ll be fine.”

    On the how the defense has been playing from the offensive side
    “The defense is out there playing really hard and getting us the ball back. They’re playing great. On offense, we just have to step up to their intensity.”


     

     

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