Houston vs. ECU: Press Conference

Oct. 30, 2017

TDECU Stadium • Houston, Texas • Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017


HEAD COACH Major Applewhite

On what he told the team after the win over USF
“There’s never too high a high after a win and never too low a low after a loss. We will evaluate what we need to do offensively and defensively. There’s still plenty of stuff to correct. We talked about things defensively. There are a lot of things that are going to tickle your ears because of their consecutive win streak and number of points scored in consecutive games. We have to go back and look at why we didn’t take the ball away, why we were soft on the edge in terms of tackling, and why we had one thrown over our heads. We have to go back and evaluate those things defensively. Offensively, I’m on the same headset as the offensive staff. Why did we get off to such a slow start and what is our understanding on 3rd down situations. Why are we catching the ball two-yards in front of the chain and not getting a first down, and why did we not having two hands on the ball inside the tackle? These are still things that can get you beat and that you can’t ignore in a victory, we need to pay attention to that. That was the message to the team and the coaching staff. We went back to work yesterday.”

On how he is handling the quarterback situation
“Number one: I’m grateful that we have three guys that can go out and win games as starters. That’s something that’s very difficult to have in college football. All three of those guys have gone in and won games on the road. All three of those guys have done a tremendous job. The consistency, the decision-making and taking care of the football are always going to be paramount in what you do. What you can do with your arm, or with your feet is irrelevant compared to ball security, so we need consistency from that position. We need to put those guys in the position where they can play consistently. As coaches, we need to bear that responsibility as well. D’Eriq did a great job of making plays with his feet, making throws in the passing game and ultimately being competitive and handling the situation down the stretch in the final two minutes. I just want to see consistency from that position for our overall offensive success.”



On if D’Eriq King will start against ECU
“We will watch him throughout the week, but right now he’s a starter. He took on a lot of hits and was limited yesterday in what he could do, so we have to evaluate that throughout the week and make the best decision. He’s starting Saturday considering everything goes well health wise.”

On what he sees in D’Eriq King
“Not to overstate it, but in quarterbacks the number one thing you want to see in them is that they’re competitive. Forget about whether they’re a pocket guy, a dual threat guy, or an athlete, you want a competitive person behind the center. I saw that from him early on in the recruiting process with how serious he was, and the way his family approached football. They are very serious and competitive. Then, you go to his high school and they’ve won a lot of football games and they have great coaches and players. It’s very important to have a competitive person that expects to win. That’s all three of our quarterbacks, because they’ve all won, but that’s specifically with D’Eriq. Those are the qualities you see from him.”

On what stands out most about ECU?
“It’s such a momentum game, the way they played last week and two weeks ago against BYU. They played really well. They had a change defensively early in the season. You saw them settle down and play better from a defensive standpoint. (Thomas) Sirk is a really good quarterback, he’s a big physical guy that can hurt you with his feet, and he’s faster than you think. He also, has really good touch on the ball and can make some throws. Then you see their wide outs outside make plays as well. Their tight ends have also scored points. We watched them getting ready for the South Florida game. They scored 31 or 38 against South Florida, so they can score points. We have to do what every other team in college football that won last week has to do, forget about it and move on. We talked about it yesterday and laughed. I joked with them that, you can’t listen to what your classmates say and you can’t listen to all the nice things that are said. Sometimes it might be the people closest to you; might be your wife, might be your mom and dad bragging on you, but you have to throw those things off and get ready for the next one. This game is crazy and anybody can beat anybody, so you have to be ready to go.

On the play of Mulbah Car
“I’m proud Mulbah had some success in the game, no doubt. I’m proud of that drive, we needed that as an offense. He stepped up and ran the ball well during that drive, but there’s a lot of things that go into that in terms of the players. Offensive linemen, wide receivers, tight ends, blocking, and the coaches making some adjustments to get them into some favorable plays in the second half so we could have some success. The thing we’ve got to continue to work on, and I talked with Mulbah yesterday in the team meeting, is how do we take care of the ball throughout the course of a game? All of us, however many 120 FBS schools, there are backs that can run with the football and gain yards. So, how do we take care of it and how you do you protect the passer to stay on the field more as a tailback?”

On the defense in the first half
“We had seen that before. We had a great first half and it was great it see a great second half. Belief is a powerful thing and it was good to see them do something in the second half against a really good offense. They have proven that they can play 30 minutes against another really great offense, but to finish a game the way they did brings about more confidence. Whether it’s making more free throws down the stretch, getting outs down the stretch, or making pars and birdies down the last three holes, whatever it is there’s a belief factor in whatever sport when you finally accomplish it. It’s very important when you do that on the road against a good offense, it’s like bringing home straight A’s every nine weeks.”

On how Bryson Smith helped simulate USF quarterback Quinton Flowers.
“It helps tremendously. I think the story was two years ago, Jalen Hurts was doing that with Deshaun Watson when Alabama won the national championship, so that helps tremendously. Bryson’s a guy who gives 100% effort, so he’s giving them great looks on that end. I heard some of the defensive players talking about it Friday at the hotel, about what kind of looks he’s given them. I said that’s great, he’s going to simulate the speed of Quinton, but Quinton’s also a guy who carries about 15-20 more pounds on him, so he’s a lot thicker and more difficult to tackle than a guy who’s 175 pounds. He did a great job for us though last week.”

On if there have been conversations about putting Bryson at receiver.
“There’s a couple of guys in that conversation that we don’t want to burn a redshirt if we don’t have to. For the most part, we’ve said we don’t have a lot of roster numbers so play them. But as the season’s gone on, there’s some guys where we haven’t had to take those redshirts off, so now counting three games, we want to try and keep those on as best as we can.”

On Keith Corbin not traveling last week.
“He did not travel with us to Tampa. He’s been traveling, been playing, nothing illegal or anything like that happened, just need to hit reset and move on and refocus.”

On updates on John Leday, Duke Catalon, and Josh Jones.
“Right now, John Leday is out as is Josh Jones, both of those I know for sure are not playing. The others are all recovering to play, questionable, probably, maybe, all those things.”

On who will play tackle with Josh Jones out.
“We’ve got to build depth throughout the week. Obviously Jarrid (Williams) came in and finished. Braylen has played tackle as well. We’ve got other guys on the depth chart that have played tackle. We can make some movements inside, Marcus Oliver’s got some experience playing tackle as well. So there’s some lineups that work.”

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