Oct. 24, 2011
(On Saturday's 31-17 Win Over Colorado State)
"It was a very good win for our team, and a lot different game than we've had before. A lot of unexpected things happened. In the special teams area, where we have been outstanding all season, things didn't work out as they have in other games. So it was kind of a surprise that we didn't play as well, although we were still pretty good [in that area]. We averaged 29.3 yards per kickoff return and Ian Campbell is number one in the nation in punting. He just needs a few more punts to get ranked. We thought we could block a field goal in looking at the tape, and we worked very hard at it in practice. We had a chance to get two punt blocks and just missed them. We need to clean up our penalties and our substitution and bench organization for this week, because we did make some mistakes.
"We had seven sacks, our most since 2005, and their total offense was the least we've allowed this season. So it was probably our best defensive game. Other than one play where we had a safety out of position, we did a nice job against their motions and shifting. They ran the ball 43 times for 93 yards, a 2.2 average. Our defense played fast with a lot of confidence. The seven-play goal line stand was tremendous. They were 4-for-16 on third down conversions and we held them to 10 points. We had some selfish penalties that were bad and we can correct that, but it's a little frustrating for the coaches because it's something that hasn't bothered us in the past.
"We had our most yards rushing in 18 years, and we averaged 9.4 yards per carry. Our scoring drives were compact and didn't take a lot of time. Our scoring drives were 1:19, 1:39, 1:27, 0:51 and 1:31. We're 100 percent in our short yardage. Our line was coming off, and Leilyon [Myers] is a good inside runner and he just dived to the right and dived to the left.
"We started really good for the second week in a row. We were very prepared both offensively and defensively. We had just the right amount of excitement. We started off good and we finished real good. Those are the two things I'm proud of. And we also held together through adversity when they cut the lead to 14-10. We got a great interception by Adrian James, 70 yards out of our own end zone. He made a big play when it counted and we kicked a field goal to make it 17-10 at halftime. We regrouped at halftime. We didn't panic. We didn't get overzealous and let the frustration of making mistakes get to us. We kept our cool and refocused. We came out in the second half and stopped them. We drove down and missed a field goal but stopped them again and let Vernon [Frazier] take it for some great runs. The mistakes we made in this game are certainly correctable."
(On the running back by committee success)
"We have four good running backs. Some guys get hot and some players run certain plays better. [RB coach] Jeff Banks
has done a super job keeping all of those guys ready to play. We run the 1-back offense. It can be a jealousy type issue and that position can create prima donnas, but we certainly don't have it with these guys. I'm pleased with how we're using all of them and they're contributing on special teams too."
(On Nick Lamaison's performance versus CSU)
"I thought Nick did OK. I think he can do better and he will continue to do better. He's learning, and every time he makes a mistake that's a mistake he's not going to make next time. That was a really great call [on his TD run]. [OL coach] Bob Connelly and the other coaches suggested it and it worked perfectly. That play is new the last couple of weeks. It's something that's in our offense, we just haven't used it because last year we had Trevor Vittatoe with the bad ankle and with Jordan Palmer we were afraid of his concussions. So we haven't had a quarterback healthy enough to run it."
(On Southern Miss)
"You're going to see a great one in Austin Davis. He is breaking all of Brett Favre's records. That's great for a baseball player who decided to try out for football. He's a tremendous player and makes really great decisions. He is highly competitive. He's bigger and stronger than he was three years ago, but he's still quick and he can run. They have a really good hurry up offense. They are really fast at it, they snap the ball every 12 seconds. They're faster than anyone we've played this year. They don't huddle and they quick snap the ball and throw screens outside and run the zone option. They're ranked 25th in the nation. They've won five straight. It's going to be a competitive game."
(On this week's game)
"It's an opportunity to play at home again. We're just thinking about playing the best that we can play and improving what we're doing. They are hot. They're red hot. They and Houston are definitely the best teams in the conference, and their defense is a lot better than Houston's. They are a well-balanced team."
(On comparing Southern Miss' offense with Houston's)
"They actually run more plays faster and quicker on the line of scrimmage, but their quarterback runs a lot more with the ball. He'll run option. They throw the quick outside screens like Houston, but they'll also throw down the field. They have had some problems at running back with guys getting hurt. Last week a freshman came in and looked like a pro. They've got good depth there. We have to stop their run, but they don't do it with just one back. They do it with a great offensive line and a quarterback who can change things up. It's hard to disrupt their tempo. You just fight for your life and get lined back up at your position. We have to practice it a lot this week. It's hard to simulate their speed-up offense in practice."
(On being a physical team)
"I think this whole team is more physical than we have been lately. But we have to watch how we practice so guys don't get hurt. I'm optimistic about all of our players' health [this week]. We have a couple of hurt wrists. We are dinged up. We have had a couple of physical games. We have to be careful with rehabbing guys and how we practice, but we should be very healthy for this game."
(On the strength of Conference USA)
"I think it's awesome for our conference to have two teams ranked in the top 25. We've got some athletes in this conference, and it's getting better every year and more competitive every year. I'm excited about the future of Conference USA. It's well-led by our commissioner, and we're in better shape than we were a year ago."