Aug. 27, 2012
Mike Price Media Luncheon Quotes
August 27, 2012
(On the Oklahoma game)
"It's a chance to showcase our football team, our university, El Paso and the football fans of El Paso. UTEP is so important to this community. Our football team has been in five events [over the last month] where we have intermixed with the community, and our players really feel that support. It makes it mean a little bit more to them."
(On the team)
"We're healthy and we're ready to go. We had a great practice last night. We had a lot of activities going on today since it's the first day of school so we didn't practice. We want our guys to start out the semester the right way. We will have practice tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 am and a closed practice to the press at 3 in the stadium on Friday."
(On comparing the anticipation for this game to the anticipation for the Texas game in 2008)
"It's a similar feeling. It's going to be a great day of tailgating. It should be a fantastic orange fever fiesta. I'll get the feeling from Minerpalooza on Friday night because we had 30,000 people [at Minerpalooza] for Texas. It would be great to have that many people for the Friday night pep rally on campus."
(On what he likes about this year's team)
"We have had no bad practices. Every practice - knock on wood - has been a good one. I haven't had to get on kids to get them going. That has something to do with the character and chemistry of our team. They really did a great job in the offseason. We have a lot of people leading our team and not just two or three guys."
(On the injury situation)
"Dakota [Warren] feels great today. Steve Valadez, however, did a great job last night in kicking field goals. Devin Patterson is out for the game and Trint Jenkins is out for this game. They both have concussions. I think one of the major concerns of football in general is the concussion issues that are coming to light and the way we handle concussions. It's a lot different and a lot safer, and that's a good thing."
"Oklahoma has no weaknesses. We haven't found a soft spot that we can exploit. They are solid across the board. They do a real outstanding job offensively putting their game plan together. Their quarterback threw for 4,463 yards last year and they still run the ball. They're a running football team but they make the big plays with the play action pass. They had a couple of receivers suspended and immediately recruited an outstanding junior college player and one of the best receivers in the country from Penn State. They're solid and well coached. I have a lot of respect for who Bob Stoops is as a man and a person. He's a real good guy and treats his players right. You don't hear people gripe about their treatment at Oklahoma. Their whole department is well run."
(On what he hopes to see against Oklahoma)
"It sounds simple, but what I'm hoping to see is for us to align properly and play with 11 players on the field all the time. I want to see us come off the ball all together with no offsides penalties and know who we have to cover and what gap we're responsible for. I want to see us run our plays effectively and run in the right direction. I want us to have minimal mental errors. If we get run over, we get run over by a bigger and stronger guy. If a guy outruns us because he's faster, he outruns us. But we'd better know who has him and cover him with the right guys. I know we will play with emotion, enthusiasm, toughness and desire. I know we will run and hit. I know how excited we are. But I want to make sure we do the things that got us here, and that's basic fundamental football. If you can't block the guy, at least you're attempting to block the right guy. If you can't cover the guy, at least you know who you're supposed to cover. If we've got that right and we don't turn the football over then we will have a chance."
(On UTEP's defensive progression under Andre Patterson)
"This is Andre's third season and I have noticed a lot of progress. Our players are very confident in his ability to call the game, manage the game and put our players in the right place. He's really good at making game adjustments. He did a tremendous job last year in our first game. We were expecting Stony Brook to come out in a specific offense and we didn't see it and he made adjustments at halftime. He's a really good coach and the players believe in him."
(On Mike Stoops reuniting with his brother at Oklahoma)
"It's given us another 25 games to look at. We have looked at all of Arizona's defensive games and all of Oklahoma's defensive games to see what similarities they have. It looks like they will do a little bit less on defense than last year, they'll be a little more basic. But we don't know what their base is going to be. It could be anything. They lost their defensive coordinator, and he did a lot of things last year. It's a combination of Bob Stoops, Mike Stoops and Tim Kish's defense. You have to match what you know with your players and that's a big key."
(On the keys to staying healthy)
"I think one of the keys is to rotate players early rather than late. Because once you lose your energy or wind, how fast you regain it depends on what kind of shape you're in. We're in good shape so we'll regain it quickly. But once you've lost it, it takes a while to get your wind back. So if we can splinter in substitutes starting with the beginning of the game and have a plan, then we can keep our guys fresh. We're going to do a lot of early substitutions throughout our non-conference games."
(On backup quarterback Carson Meger's role against Oklahoma)
"Carson will play in this game."
(On the running game)
"Our running game is really looking good so far. Our offensive line is back, they're sharp and they're blocking well. We have really talented backs. You'll see a lot of them. With a new offensive line coach, it's going to be a different look on offense and a different philosophy from what you've seen before. Our rushing game has a lot to do with that."
(On Nathan Jeffery)
"I want him carrying the ball more than he did last year. I want to see him carry the ball 20 times every game. But we have really good backs who will spell him and a couple of good freshman backs."