Mike Price Media Luncheon Quotes - November 1, 2010

Nov. 1, 2010

(Thoughts on Saturday's 16-12 loss at Marshall)

"It was an unusual game. It was a good crowd, good weather and a good trip, but not a good game. There were a lot of would'ves, could'ves and should'ves. So many things happened in this game that usually don't happen, and we came out on the short end in a lot of those instances. I was proud of our players for the courage they showed in the game. I was proud of how hard they played. I was proud of their physical toughness. You've got to play with pain. If you have an injury, that's different. But we have guys playing with injuries who will have surgery at the end of the season. They can't hurt themselves any more, but they're hurting. I'm proud of those guys.

"We're working really hard on correcting our mistakes. We spend most of yesterday and last night working on what we need to correct and doing everything we can to help the players, because they're eager for the help. The video review for the game was longer (than usual). We're trying to help the players get better and they're trying to do what we ask them to do. We're showing some improvement on defense, but our offense still isn't clicking like we expect it to click. Our special teams have been excellent up until this last game where we had a few errors. We're just finding unusual ways to make mistakes right now."

(On the defense's pattern of allowing a score on the opponent's first drive then settling down in the majority of the games)

"I don't know why that is, but it seems like it has happened just about every time. In fact, in this game, the only legitimate touchdown drive they had was the first one and on the last one, we gave them good field position. We had great field goal position the whole game. We crossed the 50-yard line consistently and didn't take advantage of it. We had nine penalties, the most we have had all season, including five before the ball was even snapped. I call those dumb penalties."

(On regrouping for the last three games)



"First of all, I think this team is a group of winners. Now is the time for our leaders to step up and show the character that they have. Everyone is a good leader in August when the expectations are high. When you lose three in a row, that's the time to be a leader and prove to yourself and the rest of the team that you are winners. I believe in this team. We had a team meeting yesterday and I told them, `The same group of guys that were 5-1 are in this audience right now.' We still have a lot of weapons on offense. We have an improved defense and an improving defense. And we're sound and explosive in special teams. If you have all three of those things, then you can win the game. If you have two of those things, then you have a chance to win. That's what you want in life, a chance. And the next thing you need is an opportunity."

(On the team's offensive struggles over the last three games)

"What we're trying to do right now is talk about the answers and solutions to our offensive struggles. But I can't put my finger on why (the team has struggled). In the first two games (UAB and Tulane), our injuries at the center position didn't help one bit. But this week Eloy (Atkinson) played really well at center and we might get (Tanner) Cullumber back against SMU, so he might be able to replace (Rod) Huntley if he can't play this week. So we still have good players in the offensive line, good receivers, a good running back and a good quarterback, and we should be better than this. We had the ball much longer than they did (at Marshall) and didn't produce the points that we should with the athletes we have."

(On Rod Huntley's injury)

"I don't know. He has a bruised ankle, and not a broken leg like we feared, so that's better. We thought James Thomas' injury (at Marshall) was a cartilage issue. He couldn't walk onto the field in the third quarter, but in the fourth quarter he said he could play and went in. I think he's going to be ok. We have to be careful this week to not get anybody hurt in practice."

(On SMU)

"They're 5-4 and have played some really tough teams. They played TCU in a thrilling game, and they played Navy at Annapolis. They have been very competitive against the teams they've played. When you think of June Jones, you think of a passing team, which they are. (Kyle) Padron is really a much-improved quarterback from last year. Last year he was a freshman and didn't play really great against us ... he played good, but he's playing a lot better. They're becoming a very good running team with Zach Line.

"(Aldrick) Robinson is a wide receiver with fantastic speed. They have an outstanding offensive tackle, Kelvin Beachum, he's a big good looking kid. Another kid, Cole Beasley, is their leading receiver. Robinson is a sprinter and a really deep threat. So they're about 50/50 with their running and passing plays.

"On defense they have two stud defensive ends. One is 6-8, the kid from Estonia who came on a track scholarship and throws the shot put and discus. He's going to be a major league football player. And (Taylor) Thompson is 6-6, a big strong guy, which might be ok for us because it seems like quicker defensive ends give us more of a problem than big defensive ends. Their middle linebacker played defensive end last year and is very, very good. They have two junior college corners who have played adequately this year. They're very solid in the kicking game. They cover and they return and they get after it in the kicking game like we do. So it's going to be a competitive game."

(On SMU coach June Jones)

"I have known him for a long time. I knew him through Portland State, through his experience there, and he was also Ryan Leaf's position coach and head coach. We have had a good friendly relationship and I respect him a lot. I really like him because he's real simple with everything he does. He just does it really well. They run the draw play as good as anybody in the country, and every now and then they give you a little bit of a wrinkle. And it's the same thing with the passing attack. He doesn't change plays all of the time. He runs the same plays, they just run them better."

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