Mike Price Media Luncheon Quotes (9/10/12)

Mike Price

(Thoughts on Saturday's loss at Ole Miss)

"It was a heck of an experience for our team to go to Ole Miss and play in that environment. It was one of the loudest games I have ever coached in. We went offside three times, twice because of the loudness. We played a team that I thought we could beat going in, and they played a lot better than they did against Central Arkansas. Their defensive line was much better than we anticipated and their pass rush was a lot better than we anticipated. Their offense did a great job in misdirection. They kept us off balance defensively where we couldn't just come off the ball like they did. They were a better team than we anticipated, but we left 24 points on the field. We had scoring opportunities slip through our fingers. When you have a chance to win in Oxford against an SEC team, it's not only disappointing, but it's frustrating. We're frustrated and extremely disappointed that we let this game slip away. But I think Ole Miss is a good football team, and they're going to win a lot of games.

"We were down 21-0 at halftime. Some teams would quit. They ran a reverse and went right down the field [at the start of the second half] and we stopped them. They went three downs and out on three straight series and our defense really stiffened. Our offense drove right down the field and scored a touchdown. Then we scored another touchdown and got a holding penalty and ended up kicking a field goal. They scored a touchdown on a halfback pass. We got a touchdown in the second half and they got a touchdown in the second half. I look at the glass as being half full and not half empty."

(On how much not having Nathan Jeffery hurt in the Ole Miss game)
"He's our starting tailback and we missed him. I thought Autrey Golden played very well. Xay Williams can play better than that. He tripped a couple of times. We would've done better if we had Nathan Jeffery in the game. He was hurt and injured and we don't play hurt and injured players. If he could've played, we would've played him. I don't save anybody for next week."



(On the team scoring 10 points or fewer in back-to-back games)
"I'm not concerned about that particular fact. This was the least points a BCS team has ever scored against us on the road. We've got to score 28 or 30 points a game to win, no question about that. But we had opportunities and didn't do it. I'm frustrated more than disappointed. We are going to work on red zone, orange zone (10 yard line to three yard-line) and the three-yard line in. We're going to work on that every day and not be in a position where we get to the 20 yard-line and don't score a touchdown."

(On Dakota Warren missing another field goal)
"The protection was solid, the snapping was solid and the hold was solid. Dakota has a bad back and couldn't kick anymore. He has had a bad back all summer. You have to use the summer to get ready for a great fall. If you have a bad summer like Dakota did, you usually have a bad fall. Steven Valadez came in and made the field goal in the fourth quarter."

(On the team's red zone struggles)
"We made some mistakes in that area that we're going to correct. We want to analyze what we're doing and practice the plays that we want to run against New Mexico State and execute them in practice. We're going to be good in the red zone."

(On Nathan Jeffery's status for the NM State game)
"We'll probably know at game time. Unfortunately you guys [the media] will not be able to know if he practices, because practices are closed [this week]."

(On the team's injury situation)
"Nathan Jeffery is recovering from an injury and could possibly play this week. We have until Saturday to make that decision. Our special teams captain Adrian James has a high ankle sprain and will be out. Dakota Warren's back is bad and he possibly may not play. Other than that everyone is good to go."

(On the defense's performance versus Ole Miss)
"I'm pleased that they only got 28 points. We've got to score more than 28 points to win in Conference USA. They got some long drives against us. They beat us fair and square but we left those points on the field. We can't do that."

(On the NM State game)
"It's a big game, no question. Coach speak says it's just another game against a team with a different uniform. But it's important for pride between these two schools, alumni, fans and communities. Whether you're an alumni or fan, you want to beat the Aggies. It's important for our players to know so they understand the history of the spade and the spittoon. Is that going to help us block Donte Savage or catch up to their receiver Austin Franklin, who is blazing fast? I don't know. But we definitely know the importance of this game.

"Last year's game was unusual. They took the opening kickoff and drove right down to the one-yard line with the combination of running and passing from their quarterback, who is really good. I'm glad to see him back because of the injury he sustained against us. They fumbled in the end zone. They had three overthrows in the first quarter that could have been touchdowns. I think they had an opening drive that lasted 10 minutes. In the second quarter we got things going with two field goals. We were ahead 6-0 and got to Manley with a couple of sacks. But 17 seconds before halftime, they threw a touchdown pass and were ahead 7-6. In the third quarter both teams missed field goals, and they looked like they were in command when they went up 10-6 with another field goal. And then, similar to the first game we played this year [versus Oklahoma], we ran the fake punt and had a 60-yard run before scoring a touchdown to go ahead 13-10. We missed another field goal in the fourth quarter and with a minute to go in the game we fumbled the ball, they recovered and had great field position. On the last few plays of the game their quarterback dropped back and planted his leg and his knee went out. We recovered the fumble and he was out for the rest of the year. It was a highly contested game last year. These are two different teams [in 2012].

"Manley loves to throw the deep ball. They've got three really good receivers - Bateman, Franklin and Brown. They think Brown is their best route runner. He hasn't caught the ball much. Franklin is fast, so he's a real good punt return guy. Manley is definitely a quarterback who looks deep first. I think Franklin caught three TD passes in their first game. Their running backs are really good. Mustafa is really good and a huge threat on kickoff returns. We've got to watch him. He has only had like 10 carries, but let's hope they don't get it to him. Bryan Bonilla is playing really well, and Donte Savage is a tremendous player coming off a knee injury. He will be an NFL guy. B.J. Adolpho, their other linebacker, has played all out all year. Those are the guys to highlight on offense and defense. They are a better team than last year. I think DeWayne Walker has done a great job. They look like a major college BCS team. They're big, their receivers are good size, they run and have good speed and they're athletic. They've done a great job with recruiting."

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