Football Holds Weekly Press Conference

The Cougars will wear special uniforms for their homecoming contest against Tulsa on Nov. 10

Oct. 23, 2012

HOUSTON - University of Houston football head coach Tony Levine and selected student-athletes met with the local media on Tuesday to discuss Saturday's upcoming home contest against UTEP.


Opening Statement
"Thursday night was extremely disappointing. When you play an opponent and you turn the ball over nine times you rarely if ever give yourself a chance to win. I felt guys were ready to play, but we didn't execute in terms of taking care of the football. I've never been a part of that or seen that before, where they score four offensive touchdowns from the end of the second quarter to less than three minutes into the third quarter and the game goes from being 14-14 to 45-14. The game got away from us in a short amount of time. Crawford Jones was not perfect but did a good job of executing the offense and getting points on the board.

Moving forward playing a UTEP team in four days, on video they are a talented football team. When you look at the records of the teams we're playing I don't think it really does justice of the quality of our opponents. They are explosive on offense. I know they have a quarterback that is banged up, but we are going to prepare as if he's going to play. Talking with coaches we believe he is one of the better quarterbacks in Conference USA. They have three or four running backs that can make plays especially in the receiving game. Jordan Leslie who is from Houston is a big target for them in the passing game. Defensively they are aggressive, and like to blitz quite a bit. They are holding opponents to 26 points a game, and they've played a quality non-conference schedule. It'll be a great challenge for us, but it's more about what we have to do than who we are playing. We have to take care of the football, and if we do that, we will put ourselves in a great position to win the game."



On David Piland's status
"David did not practice today, and is listed as day-to-day. We will continue to evaluate his health and we have determined he is not yet ready to perform physical activity, but we will reevaluate him tomorrow morning."

On Crawford Jones' performance and preparing for this week
"He is preparing to be the starter for this week, and we are preparing for him to be the starter. We will know more about that situation in the next day or two. We're preparing for him to start and Bram (Kohlhausen) be the backup. As a backup you have to be prepared to be the starter, and we saw that on Thursday. I liked his poise and his demeanor out there. His background of being a walk-on who earned a scholarship and having a game on national television didn't faze him at all. He wasn't perfect but he directed our offense down the field and made some great throws. I liked how he came in ready to take on the responsibility. I thought the ten guys in the huddle had tremendous confidence in Crawford to run the offense."

On D.J. Hayden's performance this season
"D.J. is a tremendous young man and is getting better as the season goes on. Looking at film he'll admit that he left a couple interceptions out on the field. In the last four games he has gotten a lot better and the interception for a touchdown is proof of that. He's made a lot of great plays, and a lot of offenses aren't going after him. Louisiana Tech has one of the better receivers in the country who is among the leaders nationally in statistics and when we put DJ on him he had four catches for 36 yards. He's one of the best corners I've been around and I've been around some good ones."

On the progression of Deontay Greenberry
"He is a guy who is getting better every week. We talked last week about how much better he is now compared to this time last year when he was the best player in the state of California. The goal is to get better at one thing every day. We have that feeling now that when the ball is thrown at number 3, it's going to be caught. People don't see the little things that he does every day to be better and the sky is the limit for this young man."

On the status of Isaiah Sweeney and Andrew Rodriguez
"We are going to try and see if Isaiah can practice on Monday. He said he felt really good three weeks ago and then had a setback at practice. When I talked with him he said he felt the same before the setback so we're going to wait another week to give him more time. For Andrew Rodriguez, it's a slow healing process and it'll be a few more weeks before we make a decision on whether to play him in the final two or three games or to medically redshirt him."

On the defensive end position
"Lloyd (Allen) is getting better, and hopefully we'll have him back next week. The best case scenario is we'll have him for next week's game. We need to get more production from that position. We're going to move Eric Braswell and rotate him and Zeke Riser to create more pressure."

Junior Defensive Lineman Zeke Riser

On how the team is responding to the SMU game and moving forward
"It's probably a lot better than I originally thought. We turned the ball over nine times, and that of course led to a lot of points and poor field position which was not what we wanted. After the review of the film, we saw our mistakes and all of them are correctable. We are ready to put that loss behind us and play UTEP."

On focus on handling their side of the ball to be successful
"Our mindset is that whoever goes to the conference championship, hopefully us, is going to have to come through Houston. We are trying to get to the conference championship by handling our side one week at a time."

On personnel and position changes at defensive end
"UTEP is a big, physical team who wants to run the ball. That's going to put emphasis on us at defensive end to make plays. If we're not out there making plays then there's no point in us being out there. We're switching up the lineups and seeing who fits well at what position, while factoring in schemes and things like that. There is definitely an emphasis for us to produce every week."

On the homecoming uniforms
"It's really cool to have a change. We've always been red and white. A few years ago we threw a little blue in there, but we have never had gray. It's nice for our team, alumni and future students. All the players really like them."

On defense's performance against SMU
"We performed pretty well, but we also have a lot of things to work on. We still made mistakes. SMU getting the ball on the 25-yard line isn't an excuse for us. We should have held them to three points and they never should be able to score a touchdown. We've found the mistakes that we made. `Did we play pretty well? Yes.' `Did we play very well? Of course not.' We just have to correct those mistakes.

Sophomore Linebacker Derrick Mathews

On increasing tackles
"It's more of a competitive mindset that the linebackers have. We compete every game on who is going to have the most tackles and who is going to have the better stats. It's a competition that we have amongst each other that we go about every game."

On creating more turnovers
"We have to be the better defense on the field, therefore we have to create more turnovers than the other defense and we have to put points on the board."

On the mindset going out after a turnover on a short field
"When we have a short field, our mindset is just to shut them out and if at all possible, hold them to three."

On being happy with the performance of the defense in the first half
"We were alright with the performance but it could have been better. We could have shut them out and had a better performance as in stopping them from scoring and even creating more turnovers."

On what UTEP brings that is unique to Houston
"They have a very competitive offense and very explosive. They run the ball very well."

On a difference in quarterback changing how the team prepares "We're going to prepare for whatever comes up. We're going to prepare to eliminate the big plays, create turnovers and stop the run."

On how quickly the team had to put this game behind them "Once we watch film and correct our mistakes, the game is pretty much out of our system. We like to move on and go to the next week and next opponent."

On the mistakes made in the game being easily fixable "The mistakes that were made are correctable so that's a good thing that we don't have to start from scratch or create a new game plan, we can just correct our mistakes and work off of what we had last week."

Sophomore Receiver Daniel Spencer

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