Oct. 15, 2012
(Thoughts on Thursday's 33-11 loss at Tulsa)
"We had a tough game against a good team. In three minutes, the game just went to [heck] in a bread basket. We had a nice drive and drove all the way down to the one-yard line and couldn't get the ball in. And then they stopped us, and we threw the pick on fourth and one. A guy was open and we threw behind him. Then two plays later, they broke one for 81 yards. You could just feel the air go out of the balloon when that happened. We followed it up with Carson [Meger] getting hit as he was throwing. The ball bounced out and they ran it in. At 11 minutes however, we did put a drive together, and Carson and [Josh] Bell miscommunicated on a handoff and dropped the ball right there. That certainly didn't help. Tulsa is a fine offensive team. We held them to 33 points and they're averaging 40. We just haven't put it together on offense. It's horribly frustrating.
"Nick [Lamaison] pulled a hamstring. He had a pretty good charley horse and didn't play in the second half. I thought he came to play and started the game pretty accurately. He made some good throws early. I don't think Carson [Meger] played horribly, but he had two turnovers in key situations and that hurt us. We were so good at ball security in our first four games, and we've been so bad the last two games.
"We'll see how healthy Nick is [this week]. We had practice this morning. It was really a walk through. We ran and lifted and had a walk through on Glory Road Field. Nick was running on the sidelines. So we'll see who fits into the game plan well. We'd like for him to be healthy and be able to run."
(Is Nick Lamaison still your starting quarterback?)
(On why the team is struggling offensively)
"I guess he is our starting quarterback right now. I don't know if he's going to start or not. It just depends on his hamstring. He probably wouldn't start today if we had a game. It was great having two days of rest. Our guys came back refreshed mentally and physically. Mike Edwards and Adrian James took concussion tests and Eric Tomlinson might have broken his wrist. If so, he might be done for the year, but we're in the process of finding that out right now."
"We're not doing some of the little things correctly. I hope that has something to do with the opponents we've played being good defensive teams. We're definitely off, and we'd be a lot happier if our offense had done better and we'd won a couple of these games. The defense has kept us in all the games. Our third down conversions are horrible, and our red zone and orange zone aren't good. Those are key areas where we're making mistakes."
(How is the team's mental frame of mind?)
"It's pretty good. I love this team. They have good character and great attitude. They're practicing in the morning, and going to class right away has been really good for our academics. They're so compliant and they deserve to win. I'm frustrated because of that."
(On how he keeps the team's spirits up)
"I think we have to make sure we're positive with them. What happened in college football this weekend had to make them feel a little better, with what Ole Miss did to Auburn and Oklahoma did to Texas and Wisconsin did to Purdue. We played those teams. I want them to gain confidence in that. At the same time, we want to be critical and correct mistakes. We're not letting go of any of our team rules. We're being strict. We're going to hang on to all of our principles and our standards the rest of the season."
(Have you ever had a team that struggled this much offensively?)
"Yeah, I think after Ryan Leaf left [Washington State]. When players leave early, it kind of screws up your rotation, or when a quarterback you recruited doesn't stay. We had high hopes for Javia Hall. And we lost Andy McCloud a couple of years ago. They were big recruits for us, highly rated. We feel like we have a great freshman quarterback in Garrett Simpson. It has tempted me to pull his redshirt."
(On Blair Sullivan)
"Blair may play this week. He has had a high ankle sprain for a month and he's ready to go. We practiced him today. There are certain things he can do in our regular offense. I don't think wildcat is the answer for us."
"They definitely have our attention after beating SMU, when we didn't score a point against them. They have their starting quarterback back. He played against Rutgers and got hurt. My son Eric is the offensive coordinator for Tulane, and his word for us before we played Tulsa was `Just bring them all back Dad. We had to leave one of them there.' Devon Walker is still in Tulsa. The way that happened was horrible.
"They played very well against Rutgers, and Rutgers is undefeated. Their quarterback was out for four games and now he's back. He took them 68 yards in 47 seconds for the winning touchdown [against SMU]. I think their quarterback makes all the difference in the world offensively.
"Their running back Orleans Darkwa has been hurt. He was only in for 10 or 12 plays last week. Their backup tailback, Rob Kelley is played great. He made two scoring catches [versus SMU]. And their defense just kind of hung around. They kept everything in front of them. People have been able to run the ball against them for whatever reason, and they haven't rushed the ball well in any of their games.
"Ironically Eric [Price] is running a different offense than what we ran in the past. He's running the New Orleans Saints offense. And we're not running our offense either, it's more of the shotgun zone read offense. He doesn't really know what we're doing and we don't really know what he's doing."
(On changes being made to the offense)
"You'll see some new things, but I'm not going to make wholesale changes. We've got some new stuff though. Why fix it if it isn't broken? Well, it is kind of busted right now, so we're going to try some new stuff. It might not be drastic, but what do I have to lose? I've never been one to really hold back much offensively. But you kind of take what the defense gives you."
(On Michael Edwards' status)
"He's feeling great, but these concussions are handled very differently nowadays. He's got to be perfect to get back on that field, and we won't allow it until he's perfect. But it would be nice to have him back.
"Malcolm [Trail] is out for the year with a severe third degree shoulder separation. He was in a lot of pain. It's messed up. Devin Patterson is going to be the next starter in there."