Mike Price Media Luncheon Quotes
Oct. 1, 2007
"The SMU game had to be a very exciting game to watch. I was very confident throughout the entire game. We did not have a feeling that we were incapable of coming back. They say four of five plays make the difference between winning and losing a game. It seemed like there might have been about 15 plays in this game. Neither team deserved to lose, but we're sure glad that we won. Our team showed great competitiveness. An interesting thing that I learned from our coaches in the press box, when we were driving for the score in overtime they were watching the two teams. Our team was crowded up on the edge and guys were on top of me and yelling or screaming for our offense, and SMU's guys were spread out and some of their guys were sitting on the bench. It was just a different attitude and it might have started with the crowd. Our crowd, although outnumbered by SMU, certainly wasn't outnumbered in loudness and intensity and spirit. It was great having a win in Dallas for all of our supporters.
"Trevor Vittatoe didn't have a good week of practice because he was involved in a car accident. He probably had about 60 family and friends at the game, and after going through what he did he was just off in the first half. We didn't go into the game running on all eight cylinders anyway because of all our injuries. What I liked was in the second half Trevor calmed himself down and refocused and had an extremely good second half. I was very pleased with Lorne Sam. This was the first week in three weeks that he practiced every minute of practice. I thought we used him very, very well at times and he played extremely well. Marcus Thomas and Lorne Sam were like men possessed out there. They would not be denied, and our whole team played that way with competitiveness and enthusiasm throughout the game.
"We made some stupid penalties at the beginning and handed the game to SMU. We had a lot of big plays in the kicking game. I thought our decision-making on punts and kickoffs were excellent. I'm still not satisfied with our returns. We need to be better on that. Jose Martinez kicked it very well and kicked it where we wanted him to. Our returners made good decisions and they made some mistakes in that area. The last kickoff, the guy put his knee down and didn't get a chance to run it out. Our defense played courageous at times. With five minutes to go in the game I was thinking about going for it on fourth down, but if we didn't make it the game would have been over.
"They couldn't stop our running game. We kept going back to the run and we ran the ball with success. We couldn't have done it if we didn't have the play selection correct. [Offensive Coordinator] Eric Price did a good job of putting Vittatoe in at quarterback and Lorne in at quarterback. Lorne was pretty tired from not practicing a lot so he was kind of spent at times. Marcus [Thomas] did a great job in power running and our offensive line has improved every week and it showed in the game Saturday. It was a wonderful game to win going into conference play. It was a great team morale victory.
"Fred Rouse probably is our one injury that won't be able to play next week. He sprained his ankle pretty bad on the kickoff return. He was out for two weeks hardly practicing. As great of an athlete as you are, you need to be in shape and practicing. I think the ankle is going to keep him out of this game and I don't know if Terrell Jackson will be able to come back. He's working hard to get ready.
"Our backups are playing better. Nuu [Punimata], our linebacker, is playing better. [Jason] Boyce is playing much better and played well in the game. Craig Wood and Elijah Goldtrap and Brandis Dew, those are all backups in the defensive line and they're all playing better and improving as the game goes along.
"We had two comebacks, so that's another thing that was unusual. You usually only get one chance to come back. Our guys showed tremendous character. That's one of the strengths of this team, being able to deal with adversity.
"We had kind of a script for overtime. Eric Price is in the press box and you can set those things up earlier than you can when you're on the sideline. We were thinking about going back to Trevor during that red zone period, but we didn't get to it. The plays we had to initiate the drive were with Lorne.
"I'm really concerned about the penalties. We visited about it quite a bit yesterday and I've talked to the team about it. I've done a couple of things in the past. One is punishing guys when they have a penalty. Either taking them out or punishing the whole team.
"Tulsa is as good of a team as we've faced all year. They're definitely comparable to Texas Tech. Their defense - I don't know when those linebackers are going to leave. It seems like Chamberlain has been there a long time. Their defense runs that 3-3 stack with three down linemen. They run and hit, they play with extreme confidence and their kicking game is solid. Their offense is new this year. It's an unusual offense with a lot of shotgun plays, a lot of gadget plays and a lot of misdirection plays. Their quarterback is one of the best in the country. He's really smart, really fast and really strong. When a guy is open that ball is right on the money. They've got good, fast receivers. It's going to be a real competitive game. They call the plays on the line of scrimmage. They don't huddle. It can be difficult to run that offense in this stadium. I think we'll have a great and noisy crowd. It's going to be hard to play the Miners in the Sun Bowl. It always is and Saturday night won't be any different.
"They're very similar on defense (to Rice last year). The difference will be the offense is different from what Rice ran last year. We haven't faced an offense like this. It's unusual but they've got a great senior to run it.
"We have a three-game homestand coming up. We're just going to take it one at a time. Our fans are going to support us one way or the other. It's an opportunity for us to really have a make or break season in these next three games, but we've got to start with Tulsa. Tulsa is one of the best teams in the conference. They're loaded. They have great athletes and they're injury free."