August 29, 2000
"When you start off your first ball game as a head coach at a new school, obviously that first game is going to be one that you remember for a long period of time. Going into this ball game and having the opportunity to a play a team across town in a rivalry that is not only one of two Division IA cross-town rivalries in the country, but it is also a neat opportunity to play a team that has a Southwest Conference rivalry tied to it as well. This is a definitely a game that is going to appeal to fans from both institutions."
"As we go into this ball game, it is very simple preparation as far as we know what we have to do to win the ball game. To win a game against a football team like Rice, the main thing is defense. There is a lot of talent that is itching to prove themselves within our defensive system. We feel that we have a strong game plan for defending the option and we are going to be aggressive in attacking it."
"Offensively, we are a very confident team behind the leadership of the most experienced Division IA quarterback, Jason McKinley. We feel like in many ways our system fits Jason and what he brings to the table. We also feel very strongly about the starters on our offensive line. They bring extreme athleticism and talent."
"One of the things that we are really trying to stress with our football team is trying to eliminate unforced errors. That is something that our football team has really worked on during the off-season and the entire eight months that we've been here."
"Overall, this will be a fun venue to start off with a cross-town rivalry for the city of Houston. We want to continue to increase the enthusiasm involving college athletics in this city and we feel like this ball game is a big part of that equation. We want our fans to leave the stadium thinking that our football team plays as hard as any football team in the country. We feel like the only way that you get to that point is by practicing to that level and having yourself conditioned enough that you can play extremely hard every snap of the ball game."
"Our defense is prepared for this one (game)."
"We are coming in this year realizing that last year we had a great defense and so the expectations are much higher. This year we just want to come in and step up to the challenge."
On Rice's new QB:
"I know he's a freshman, he has nice feet on him and of course he's going to come up ready to play. That's pretty much all we know about him."
Defense dominated Rice game last year/comparison of defensive lines of both teams;
"Our defensive line will actually probably dominate even more this year. With Nikia Adderson back with experience, he's given the young guys so much confidence that they've upped their level of play."
"We have a lot of young players and I think we match up really well with the '99 team. I think with the new coaching staff and the new offense they have brought in, I think we can surprise a lot of teams on what we can do."
On beating out Leif Penn for the starter's job:
"I just worked hard at what I did. Coach Dimel gave both us the opportunity to come in and win the starting job. I had a pretty good spring and a good summer with my workouts, so I just think that maybe I got lucky, had a couple of big runs. I try to do what I do best. Sometimes you can get the breaks to go your way."
On old offensive line of last year:
"I feel comfortable with them. We have a couple new faces coming in, but they work hard at what they do, so I think they'll give it everything they have and try to get us through. I've had some pretty good success at running the ball in our scrimmages and I think they can get the job done."
On whether QB Jason McKinley is different this year:
"He really does (seem different). He seems like he's more relaxed and happy, and he's taken control of the offense, so he seems a bit different to me."
Importance of game in getting off to a good start:
"Especially with a new coaching staff, new players and as far as what they can do, the first game, if you have a game that can be the thing, especially going into LSU. They're (LSU) not ranked right now, but they're a good football team. So going into that game having a win under your belt can do you a world of difference."
"At first I had a few questions about the kind of team we were going to be, but now I'm pretty confident that this team is going to be pretty competitive. We're definitely going t win some ball games this year."
"I think that this year we will have a balanced running and passing game that is not so much focused on one player. I just want to do my part within the system that Coach Dimel has set up for us."
On what he learned from Ketric Sanford and Mike Green:
"I learned a great deal from both Ketric (Sanford) and Mike (Green). I learned a few moves here and certain ways to block. But all three of us are different kinds of backs with different styles. I'm really not a power back, though. I'm more of a slasher."