Mike Price Media Luncheon Quotes - October 18, 2010
Oct. 18, 2010
(Thoughts on Saturday's 21-6 loss at UAB)
"I think it was a lost opportunity. We had an opportunity of a lifetime to go down there and play a team that was certainly highly capable, but one that we could compete with. To be ahead at halftime and lose the lead and the game the way that we did was extremely disappointing and frustrating. With that, however, I might add that I was very proud of the courage of our Miners. I was proud of their physical toughness, the way they responded to adversity and injury. We had a lot of injuries, a lot of guys got banged around and yet they fought as hard as they could and some played the entire game with serious injuries and bumps and bruises. It was a very physical game. But we certainly did have plenty of opportunities and didn't perform up to the level we're capable of, and for a change the other team wore us down running the football in the fourth quarter."
(On UTEP's injury situation)
"I'm not going to discuss any of the injuries. We have so many injuries, I'm not being cute or coy, I just don't see any advantage to me discussing our injuries so our opponents can discover anything added about us. Our practices will be closed to the media this week, only for the reason that we don't want to give any advantage to our opponent and not let out any information that is not necessary. I will say that Donavon Kemp is out for the year with a torn ACL that came on a non-contact move. He just tried to move and jump over the ball on a punt and came down on it. It was just a freak accident. We'll miss him. Most of the (injured) guys are getting x-rays today.
"I've never had to deal with this many injuries. We're careful when it comes to practice. Just like Donavon Kemp, how do you protect against something like a ball going out of bounds and he jumps over it so he doesn't kick it?"
(On things he might have done differently at UAB)
"There are a lot of things that we could've done differently. We really felt like the receivers were wide open, the passing game we had designed was excellent, our running game wasn't spectacular that day and Trevor (Vittatoe) just wasn't on. He got hurt and got worse as the game went on. He sucked it up. He made some courageous runs. He showed a lot of courage and determination. I don't think our team reacted to the injuries and adversity as well as we have in the past. We got a little shell-shocked and down in the dumps about it towards the end of the game. It wasn't a good feeling."
(On UAB's success running the football on Saturday)
"They ran the ball down our throat, particularly at the end of third quarter and early in the fourth quarter. At halftime it wasn't a major problem that required a major adjustment. We didn't get any pressure on the quarterback. We only had one sack, and they caught the ball well. We didn't make big plays offensively, and they did in critical situations, and we didn't finish and they finished us off in the end. With a healthy Trevor Vittatoe and the way their defense was playing, I think it would have been a completely different game. We just need to rehab, prepare for our injuries as best as we can and get ready for the rest of the season."
(On the performance of the Miners' backups when starters went down with injuries)
"We have faith in our backups. (Yahchaaroah) Shaw came in the game and made a sack. We're getting a lot of good effort from our backups. Richard Spencer is playing really well on special teams and as a backup safety. Antwon Blake went down after the first nine plays, and that was tough losing him, Royzell Smith and Germard Reed. In the end, losing Royzell and Germard really hurt when they started running the ball up the middle."
(On whether the injuries have to do with bad luck or conditioning)
"It's just bad luck I think. I had (head trainer) Dawn Hearn and (strength & conditioning coach) Kirk Davis in my office on Sunday talking about what is going on here. Dawn has been doing this for many years, we have a great bunch of doctors here and Kirk is working his tail off. It has just been a freak, freak year."
(On the upcoming Tulane game)
"Considering what has happened to us this year and how we've played, all of our goals are still reachable. It was like getting stabbed in the heart after the UAB game when I heard Rice beat Houston. We had a great opportunity to win that game and experience a full crowd in the Sun Bowl (this week). Whether we get it I don't know, but it's going to be an exciting game. We're still in the thick of the conference race and playing some great home games. Tulane's quarterback threw for over 400 yards last week, and the next home game is against SMU with June Jones' great offense. So you're going to see a lot of excitement, and if you want to help UTEP football, bring your friends and obnoxious neighbors (to the game). We'd love to have a full house. We are a little banged up and need all the help we can get. If you want to be the 12th man, we may suit you up."
"They have an exceptional receiver in Casey Robottom. He's a punt and kickoff returner, and I think he had nine catches against us last year. He may have the best hands of anybody in the conference. And then of course (Ryan) Griffin, their quarterback, was hand-picked by Bob Toledo. He lived right down the street from where Bob used to live. He's a big kid who can throw any kind of pass. He'll be fun to watch and give us a real challenge.
"On defense, their new middle linebacker Trent Mackey started as a true freshman for Duke. I guess he wanted to get a better education, so he transferred to Tulane and is starting for them now. He is their best player on defense. Bob Toledo is a fantastic guy and a great coach and he will have at least five trick plays in this game. He has a book (of trick plays) at home, I think, and he pulls out page 263 and says `We haven't run that one yet.' He has a bag of tricks and he's going to use them.
"This team beat Rutgers at Rutgers, and it was a heck of a game. It was not a fluke. They're capable of beating anyone. It's indicative of the type of teams that we have in Conference USA, where you can beat anybody at any given time. But we're going to be at home, we have a home streak going and let's keep it up."