Mike Price Media Luncheon Quotes - October 25, 2010
Oct. 25, 2010
(Thoughts on Saturday's 34-24 loss to Tulane)
"Obviously everyone is disappointed about our last 2 games. I feel worse than anybody. I know anybody watching or listening is frustrated and would like to see us play better than we have the last two games. Tulane used the clock very well in the second half and ran a balanced attack. We ran the ball effectively, but our passing attack was poor and for the second game in a row we played poorly in the fourth quarter.
"I liked our plan going into the game offensively with what we were going to do with Trevor (Vittatoe) and J.T. (James Thomas). We were going to start J.T., and Trevor wasn't expected to play until late Thursday. We did not make the decision to play him until late Friday afternoon because of his injury. It healed dramatically. He was physically ready to go but he hadn't practiced, and it was a different game plan because it was J.T.'s game plan and we had practiced it all week. Trevor can play a lot better (than he did on Saturday).
"We had good preparation going into the game and just didn't play very well. Our special teams, however, played very well. (Marlon) McClure is a very special return guy. He's going to be one of the best we've had at the school. He had 216 all-purpose yards.
"There were five or six big plays in the game. At the beginning of the second quarter Marlon (McClure) returned the punt for a touchdown that would've put us up 10-7, but it was called back due to a penalty. In the second quarter, we drove the ball across midfield to about the 30-yard line, and on third and two the ball was snapped over Trevor's head. We lost yardage and weren't able to score and left the field tied at 10 at halftime. In the third quarter, Trevor ran up the middle and fumbled at the 50-yard line. That was a big play because we didn't have the ball much in the second half. In the fourth quarter, they threw a real nice fade on our side of the field to (Casey) Robottom and he took it about 48 yards for a score. Then Trevor threw the pick on our next series. So there were five or six big plays, including the long throw that they made, and we didn't come together the way we expect in the two-minute offense (at the end of the game).
(On why the Miners didn't run the ball more against Tulane)
"I was pleased with the running game. If we had the ball more in the fourth quarter we would've run it more. We only had 10 plays (in the fourth quarter), including the two-minute offense at the end. We had the ball for four minutes in the third quarter and four minutes in the fourth quarter. (Donald) Buckram is back to where he was at one point, and (Joe) Banyard has been tremendous all year. We can still use the running offense the rest of the year."
(On giving up over 200 yards rushing in each of the last two games)
"We have to stop the run first. I have a lot of confidence in (defensive coordinator) Andre Patterson coming up with a solution, because we haven't recruited bigger players yet. We have to do that in the offseason. He has to go with what he's got. I think having (Germard) Reed back will help inside, although (Ruben) Munoz and (Robert) Soleyjacks played their heart out and (Marcus) Bagley was one of our best defensive linemen on Saturday night. Andre will come up with something."
(On the team's offensive struggles in the second half of the last two games)
"I think it has been a combination of some of the moves we've made in the offensive line at the center position and having a quarterback with a bad ankle. I think that has been a real key offensively, and maybe not sticking with the running game."
(On where the team goes from here)
"We're 5-3, and our players don't have to be reminded that six (wins) comes after five. These last two games we had a chance to get to six and we didn't do it. Our players still have a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for the program. They want to win very, very badly. We know it's important to practice as hard as we can. We know it's important to get in the training room and rehab and lift weights and stay strong. We're together, we're intense, we're excited, we're supportive, we're a team, and we do what's expected off the field and in the classroom. We have won and we know how to win. There's nobody that thinks we don't have a chance to beat this team (on Saturday)."
"Marshall is a great place to play. If you haven't been to Huntington, go there and go to a football game. It's Homecoming and the stadium will be jazzed up. This will be my third time there. I was there with Weber State in the playoffs. They have a defensive end who is leading the nation in sacks, Vinny Curry. Their linebacker, Mario Harvey, runs 4.35 in the 40 and is projected as a first round draft pick. They have players. Their quarterback has 21 career starts. The smallest guy in their offensive line is 6-5, 300 pounds. They're all 6-5 and I think their tight end is 6-6, 6-7. They recruit hard and have good players.
"On offense we have to have a plan for Curry and Harvey. Our passing game has to improve. We have to make big plays and we have to have a plan for their blitz. On defense we have to stop the run, pressure the quarterback and create turnovers."
(On getting Trevor Vittatoe ready for Saturday's game)
"He has to practice more than he did last week. I'm not going to hold him back. He suffered another ankle sprain when he got tackled on the fumble, and we're going to get that x-rayed today. If practice is closed this week you'll probably know his ankle isn't too good."
(On UTEP's other injuries)
"Royzell Smith is close to coming back. He had a severely dislocated shoulder, but I think he's going to be at practice. He might make the trip but should be back within two weeks. Our centers, Eloy Atkinson and Nathan McCage, are going to be back. Tanner (Cullumber) will be back within two weeks. He ran yesterday but I don't think he's quite ready to play. Greg Watkins bruised a knee and he'll be out for a day or two. We'll see how that goes."