Mike Price Media Luncheon Quotes - October 4, 2010
Oct. 4, 2010
Mike Price Media Luncheon Quotes
(Thoughts on Saturday's 38-20 win at New Mexico)
"Special teams was unusual to say the least. We did well in some phases and just horrible in other phases. It just goes to show you how important special teams are. Our punt return and kickoff return averages were very good. Ian Campbell had his best game punting the ball. The rest was really a nightmare. The field goal/PAT protection on the long field goal was very poor inside. It was kicked low, but we still blocked it incorrectly if at all. I was really disappointed in that touchdown, and the kickoff return towards the end of the game was embarrassing for us. The muffed punt by Marvin (McClure) was a mistake, but he probably should have fair caught it. I will say that he had hurt his shoulder and didn't have a very good game. He bruised his shoulder on the one return and that bothered him the whole game. But then TraVaun Nixon came in and returned a great punt and Donavon Kemp returned a really good kickoff. We just can't have three major errors like that in a close game and get away with it. And the fumble the second play of the game was just on a dive play. We were not pleased with the turnovers.
"On offense we put together a two-minute drive just before the half, and Trevor is just outstanding at that. Our guys were making clutch catches and running the ball on draws and traps up the middle, whatever the defense gave us. Trevor has a lot of leeway there. We were 8-of-14 on third down conversions, which is really good. We were effective in all of our short yardage running plays. We didn't throw a short yardage pass that was incomplete but we were effective on goal line and in short yardage. We protected really well for Trevor, I thought. I can't remember him getting hit or knocked down. His uniform was pretty clean after the game. So that was good. We dropped the ball four times, and that's four times too many.
"On defense we played the option very well. They almost got out of the option game altogether because we played it very well. The quarterback trap was good for them early in long yardage, but he ended up hurting his ankle before the game was all over. It was a physical game. They were 3-of-13 on third down conversions. We caused three turnovers and only missed nine tackles the entire game. I was very pleased with the defense. We also stopped that two-point play after their kickoff."
(On UTEP's injury situation)
"I think Buckram will be ready to go. We'll just have to wait and see how the week goes. It's going to be a little bit different because we gave them Sunday off. We had 55 guys come in yesterday on their Sunday off to either lift or run, and that's good. I think they just needed the time off mentally. About halfway through the season is a good time to take a day off.
"I talked to (head trainer) Dawn Hearn yesterday during the day as players were coming in. We are banged up and this is a good time to take a day off. A couple of guys have sore knees and we'll x-ray them today."
(On the team's center situation with the injury to Tanner Cullumber)
"Nathan McCage played in the game and so did Eloy Atkinson. We'll just have to see how that pans out. McCage went in the game and played very well. I think we have enough (people). We have Jerel Watkins who is a center who's redshirting. And we can move guards in there too. We just have to see if these guys are going to be able to play or not."
(On how it feels to be ranked fourth in C-USA in total defense)
"I would have taken that if you'd told me at the beginning of the year. They're really doing well keeping the ball in front of them. They didn't give up any big plays. The kids are playing hard and they're doing what they're supposed to. We're playing a lot of guys, so that's really good. Wiston Jeune came in and played real well at safety. Richard Spencer played well. He's going to be a really good player for us."
(On Kris Adams' performance the last two games)
"The week before he came out here against Memphis and really stepped it up. He was really hurting. He hurt his back, and anybody who has ever had a lower back problem knows what that's like. It can be so painful. He sucked it up and played the whole game against Memphis and ended up making the big catch on the last drive. And against New Mexico, they just couldn't cover him. He was schooling those corners. I'm really happy for Kris. He deserves to have good things happen to him."
"Rice is coming in with a really great option. Two of their best players are transfers. They're both Texas kids. We knew about them, and everybody in Texas tried to recruit both of those guys. They're back now and they're really doing a great job. The other guy, Tyler Smith, had a wonderful game against us last year but only carried the ball twice last week. But he will be in there and he's a really good running back.
"They have started the same 11 guys on defense five games in a row, so they haven't had any injuries in that area. Where they have had injuries is at the quarterback position. Both the backups to Fanuzzi are hurt, so I don't know how much they're going to play. He carried the ball 15 times last week and got hit quite a few times, so he was probably in the whirpool yesterday.
"They haven't been blown out by anybody. They scared the living dickens out of me in the Texas game. I turned that game on at the beginning of the year and said `Oh my God, they're great.' Texas wasn't looking so good and Texas isn't quite the team they have been in the past. They played Northwestern, who is undefeated, and they played Baylor who is playing really well right now too. So SMU probably beat them as good as anybody, and SMU is a good football team too.
"It looks like they're pretty healthy. Their offensive line has four starters returning from last year. Fanuzzi played against us last year. He is a really good quarterback and a strong runner. They're running pretty much same offense they have been running for the last four years and we're 0-4 against them."
(On last year's game at Rice)
"They won only two games last year and one was against us. We were leading throughout the game and things kind of fell apart. It wasn't a good day for the Miners. I have watched that game quite a few times. They have definitely had our number in the last four years.
(On the difference a big crowd could make this week)
"They make all their offensive calls from the sideline and he yells out to the players on the field, so if there's anything you want to do to help UTEP football, it's come out on Saturday night and scream and yell when they have the ball, because that will be a factor and can help a lot. Please come, try to fill this place up, be loud, be aggressive and have fun. This crowd can really help against this team."