Mike Price Media Luncheon Quotes (10/17/11)

Oct. 17, 2011

(Thoughts on Saturday's 44-7 win at Tulane)
"We played very well as a team in all three phases of the game. We had great intensity coming into the game. We peaked at the right level emotionally, we weren't too high or too low. We showed great discipline, great unselfishness, we played as a team and we had a lot of fun. We were physically ready to go in the best shape we have been in since Camp Socorro, and we were mentally prepared because we had two weeks to get ready for this team. We were healthier than they were, and probably a little more prepared than they were because we had a couple of extra days (to prepare). We exploded for big plays and the ball bounced our way and didn't bounce their way. It was rough sledding for Tulane against a fired-up bunch of Miners."

(On how the performance at Tulane stacks up with some of UTEP's best performances of the Price era)
"It was probably as good as we've played in all three phases. It was probably as good of a win and as good of a game as we've had. I talked to (our players) at halftime and said, `Hey guys, we haven't been here before. We haven't been up like this at halftime.' And everybody said `It's not 37-7, it's 0-0.' And I was saying `It is 37-7, so expect passes, expect trick plays, expect them to do whatever they can to get back in the game.' It helped to block that punt right before halftime. There's nothing more demoralizing than to hear that blocked punt sound. But as far as all phases, this is probably as well as we've played to my recollection."

(On getting over the hurdle and finally winning a game in New Orleans)
"Four years ago, we went down there and they had a backup quarterback who came back and won the game for them. I didn't want to tell our players that (at halftime). So I didn't mention it, but I did mention that we hadn't been in this position before. I said this is a great learning experience, let's capitalize (on the lead) and come out in the third quarter and put them away with a good drive. Let's finish. So that was pretty good."



(On the running game blossoming over the last two games)
"I just think we're developing as a team and our offensive line is developing. We're just getting better. We're getting better players back who were injured, we're coaching them hard and we're doing a good job. I thought Bob Connelly and Aaron Price did a good job developing our running attack for this game. Obviously Jeff Woodruff is doing a good job with the tight ends. We've got some tight ends who are going to be great players. Jeff Banks is doing a great job with the running backs. We have good players, and they're getting healthy and we have good schemes."

(On the decision to throw the ball only 15 times against Tulane)
"I just think it's a lot easier to select plays when they're working, particularly in the running game. Play selection is a lot easier when Joe Banyard is averaging 10 yards per carry. You get first downs that way. We made guys miss in the secondary, which was good to see. We won 44-7 and Nick Lamaison only completed six balls, and I still thought he played pretty well. He got us in and out of the right plays. Two passes were dropped, two passes were pass interference I felt, and one ball was tipped, so then he's 11 out of 14. That's how I looked at it, through rose-colored glasses."

(On pressuring the quarterback at Tulane)
"I think we had a good matchup. Our defensive line pressured the quarterback a lot. I think it would've helped if they had their first-string quarterback in there. He probably could've gotten the hot reads and gotten rid of the ball quicker. But Horace Miller is a force to be reckoned with, and he's playing more now. He will probably play more and more. He had eight pressures in the game. Andre Patterson is doing a great job designing defenses to get to the quarterback."

(On the injury situation)
"Travaun Nixon is probably the number one concern we have. Everybody else should be ready to go this Saturday. I think he'll practice. I don't know how he will be feeling in five days. He's probably the biggest question that we have injury wise."

(On going 3-for-3 on fourth down conversions at Tulane)
"We went for it on fourth down quite a bit in this game because we felt, through our scouting and computer breakdowns and schemes that we put in for the game, that we had a really good running attack against their defensive front and could get a couple of yards. With Anthony Puente at fullback and Leilyon Myers at running back, and our tight ends getting better at blocking every week, we felt like we could run those plays in that situation. We believed in our kids and they did a good job."

(On this week's game)
"It's Homecoming weekend. The news of the Mountain West and Conference USA joining together to form a larger conference is exciting. I think it puts us in a good position. I think we're in a better position than we were two weeks ago. It's interesting that now we have an old WAC opponent coming into town this weekend. That will be a fun challenge for us."

(On Colorado State)
"Their quarterback, Pete Thomas, is outstanding. He started as a true freshman at Colorado State. Steve Fairchild is a quarterback guru. He is a really good quarterback coach. Thomas is a big kid with a great arm. They have two running backs who are really good. One is a transfer from UCLA, Ray Carter, and their main running back, Chris Nwoke, is a very good player. Their tight end, Crockett Gilmore, is from Bushland, Texas. Wow, I don't know how we let that guy get away. He's 6-6, 245 lbs and he looks like a pro prospect. Their punter is probably one of the best that we'll face. He has great hang time. They've got some kids from Texas that they throw to who can run. Defensively they have the third-leading sack master in the nation in Nordly Capi. He and #9 C.J. James are really fast off the edge. They have two real studs inside who will take away the run and three linebackers who are strong healthy guys. James Skelton is a solid kid. He's a real tough guy from Colorado, and Shaquil Barrett is a transfer from Nebraska-Omaha. He's a big play type guy. Mike Orakpo's brother played against us at Texas. Last week he made a hit without his helmet on, so I don't know if he's going to play this week. It will be interesting to see the guys that (former UTEP assistant coach) Tim Duffie recruited. We will welcome Tim and his wife Autumn back, but we're going to build a fence to keep Tim away from any recruits here in Texas. Our special teams coach worked against their special teams coach, so it will be interesting to see how that chess match works out. Colorado State is a good team. These guys are players, so we'll have to be at our very best to win this game. It's going to be very competitive. We're a team that they think they can beat. They're just as good as we are."

(On Homecoming at UTEP)
"I think Homecoming is a big deal here. We have a couple of events that the students get jacked up for -- Minerpalooza at the beginning of the year, and the Homecoming parade. I've never seen a Homecoming parade as large as this one. I think it's really good for our school and our university. We bring back a lot of our distinguished alumni. It's important for President Natalicio. Homecoming is a really good thing and there will be a lot of buzz on campus."

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