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Tulsa Postgame Quotes vs Nicholls State

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Sept. 15, 2012

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TULSA HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship

Q. What do you get out of a victory like this going into Fresno State?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Well, I'll be honest with you. I thought we would have a better game than we had. I think it mattered that we got a fast start on them.

Sometimes when you out match an opponent, you get an early start on them, it heads downhill pretty fast for them. I think that's what happened.

The thing that's encouraging is our first unit executed very well offensively, were able to generate some yardage. Hopefully three games will get us ready.

Fresno will be a tough opponent next week. We're excited to have them coming to our place.

Q. Do you think you're better based on what you saw today?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Than we were last week?

Q. Yes.
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Absolutely, absolutely. I think we improved ourselves today. I think we improved our program today. Not just this team, but being able to play a lot of guys helps us down the road.

But it also helps us for this year. We were able to play some different combinations at linebacker that are going to be important for us.

But I think we were fairly efficient. I didn't want to be sloppy. That's a big thing. Don't want to play looking at the scoreboard. You want to play looking at your execution. I thought we hung in there pretty well.

Q. How important is it to rest players going into next week?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Well, being healthy is the big deal. I thought they would get a little more. The frontline offensive players didn't play as much as I expected coming into the game.

But there comes a point in time where the score is where it is for me, and we have a chance for those guys to stay healthy going into next week. That was more important to me than getting them a couple more reps.

Q. Ja'Terian, talk about how you complement him and try to spring him?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Couple of really nice runs early. One of those was a speed sweep that we get a couple of extra blockers out, and he was able to read that. Then the second one, he actually broke a couple of tackles. Then when he gets out there, not many people are going to be able to catch him or knock him out of bounds. The nice thing about J.T. is he's such a home run guy. If you can just get him to the edge. Now, he's good. He's not quite as good inside as Trey is. But once he gets the break, he's lethal.



Q. Can you talk about McCoil getting the record tonight.
COACH BLANKENSHIP: That was the only game ball we gave in the locker room, went to Dexter. That meant a lot for our team. I think that tells you a lot about Dexter McCoil if you saw how his teammates celebrated him getting the record.

We kind of knew that that would happen. Dexter is so good around the football. But it was nice to finally get that done. What was really fun for me, again just to echo what I already said, is just to watch how his teammates felt about him getting a record.

Q. People who got some playing time, who did you like?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Well, I think Zack Langer is one who is continuing to show he's a tough, hard runner. He's the next guy in after Alex, so he hasn't gotten as much work as we'd like him to. This was a good day for him.

We were trying to get the ball to Khiry Cooper a little bit. We couldn't get that to happen. I think he's a guy that's going to have to play for us to really keep the rotation we need to at receiver. Khiry will have to continue to work into that rotation. That was one.

What we tried to do is substitute a few of those guys at quarterback, especially skill players, early enough that we were still running the offense, that we were trying to execute and score, so we weren't just trying to pull the plug and get out of the day.

I think it's vital that guys like Kalen and some of the other immediate backups. Michael Sorrells is right behind Willie Carter. Those guys need to play a lot. We got a lot more work with our tight end core.

Q. You took care of business for the most part the way you wanted.
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Yeah, well, knock on wood, we've continued to stay away from a lot of penalties. Had a couple of foolish ones. But really all in all as a unit, I thought it was pretty clean.

There weren't a lot of big time busts. I thought we were pretty methodical about the approach and felt really good about it.

Q. This run pass, do you like that mix?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Some of that comes because of how the defense plays us. I think we're good enough to doll it up either way, run or pass right now. I thought Cody was very efficient in the first half or first several drives. About the only thing, again, I was critical on him was he missed a couple of long balls.

He handled it. He's seeing it. Right now our runningbacks are playing so well, they're giving us a lot of big plays. That certainly makes the game a lot easier to call.

Q. Has he had enough stress since Iowa State?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Who is that, Cody?

Q. Yes.
COACH BLANKENSHIP: It's kind of a double edged sword. Yeah, it would probably be good if he had 60 plays, that he was getting a lot more reps. But I think he's very comfortable both in our offense and in his skin right now.

I kind of liked where we took him out. I mean, he came out feeling really good about things, very confident. I don't think that's all bad.

Q. Is that the earliest you have ever pulled a quarterback?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: At that level, yeah. And when I pulled him, I told him he may not be done. The whole idea was I wanted to get Kalen in early and then see where it got because I told him and Willie and those guys that we weren't necessarily through with you, I just wanted to get some reps for those other guys really before it got too far out of hand.

Q. Are you aware of the Fresno State score
COACH BLANKENSHIP: I heard a halftime score or something. It got our attention. That was good.

Q. Do you look ahead to them when you have an FCS team coming up?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: GAs do. I don't think any of our coordinators do. I have not.

Q. Are you anxious to play a game, somebody your own size?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Well, we'll get all we want from Fresno. You know, I like the way Tulsa is playing right now. I think we're feeling pretty good about our progress. This will be a great test for us. And we like playing at home. It's really nice to have another home game.

On his snap count
I didn't take as many as I would in a normal game. Maybe about half. But we had the opportunity to put in some of the backups and get them some reps

On playing an FCS team
First, I don't think you can ever think you are "exceptionally better" than another team. You can't say it like that. But every game is an important game. And there is a point in the game when it doesn't matter who you have in the game as long as you continue to keep the success that you're having. There comes a point on the defensive line that when you are looking at the offensive line that your eyes just glaze over and it doesn't matter and you're going to play your best.

On Dexter McCoil's career interception record
Dex is a tremendous player. Both on the field and off the field he has a lot of character. For him to have that record, I can only tell you it means everything. It's as simple as that. He is a team captain for a reason. I admire his work ethic and all the work he has put in on and off the field. He is the kind of player that shows up every day. He's an awesome leader to follow.

On Fresno State
I'm excited about it. Honestly, I prefer to play teams that challenge us. When you play a game and you roll over them, kind of like tonight. No offense to Nicholls State, they have a lot of talent, but when you play a game where you have your twos and threes in, it's not as comforting as a win when you have your ones in the entire time and you are grinding the entire game. You have to work the whole time for it and you look up at the scoreboard at the end and you've just barely won. Those are the games that you appreciate more. I love competition, that's just the way that I am, so I'm excited for this next week.

On the defense
I feel like we've gotten tested. But at the same time I feel like our twos have gotten some experience that they're going to need for the future games down the line. We've got a lot of challenging teams coming up and for our backups to have gotten as much game time as they've had, it doesn't do anything but put a positive spin on it.

On breaking the record
It means a lot. It is a great gift from God and I'm so thankful for the many blessings that he has given me. Just to get a game ball is really big in my life. I never really had any history breaking moments in high school, or anything like this. So this is a moment that I am going to cherish for the rest of my life.

On the large margin of victory and the impact on preparing for Fresno
There are always things like big runs and everything. But we are always striving to get better. On the defense itself I'm striving to get better. In terms of defense I don't think that we performed to the level that we wanted to, as far as us being a championship defense, but games like this there are still always things that you want to correct, especially going into a game like Fresno State. There are always things that you did and things that you could have done to make the game better and to limit the mistakes in the game.

On back to playing "on-par" teams
Every week you go out and face your opponent and start preparation for the next week. Of course, Fresno State is a great opponent and we are really looking forward to playing Fresno, especially at home. We play really well here in Tulsa. We are just ready to go into this week and prepare and give it all we've got on Saturday.

On the anticipation of a big game
Just coming on to the field we always want to do well. We have great running backs and we want to use our opportunities in every way possible.

On the large margin of victory and the impact on preparing for Fresno State
I agree with Dexter. There are always corrections you can make. Just knowing that you are up by so many points it is really fun to see the other guys go in and see what they can do. It also takes some pressure off of you.

On the big rush plays
They are some of my favorite plays. Coach asks us every week to draw up plays that we'd like to run and the Jet-sweep play is always one of my top plays. And tonight I had the opportunity to do that. As far as the execution it wasn't just me, a lot of it was on the line.

On his amount of carries
Just as far as tonight, I thought I had a great game. I came ready to focus, and I think everyone else did too. I really couldn't have done it without our offensive line. Our offensive line right now is great at opening those holes for me, and they work really hard to do so.

On the overall game
"They have a really good football team. Again, I was highly surprised about how the game turned out. I was hoping that our defense would play consistent. They played extremely well last week and our challenge was for them to play that way or a notch better. I didn't even recognize them compared to a week ago. We had some things going better than last week, we made some plays. LaQuintin (Caston) was executing the plan early, and he made a nice run, but he has a shoulder injury so he will be out for a while. So then Tuskani Figaro took over his role."

On the Colonels' offense
"Early in the game, I thought we were doing some good things with LaQuintin Caston. He was being smart with the ball, and I thought we were going to have a hard time really consistently blocking Tulsa's guys. We were looking like we had a good plan, and it was going well, and then LaQuintin made a long run for a touchdown and was injured. Landry Klann even had a tough week as he had the flu and missed the practice on Thursday. I thought he played solid. Tuskani Figaro took the wildcat role and I thought as a true freshman against such good competition he did pretty well for his first real college playing time. I think there are a few things offensively to build off of this performance."

On the Colonels' defense
"They hit us so quick with a couple quick scores that we were kind of shocked. All of a sudden we are just standing around on defense. When we play really well on defense, we are attacking, swarming, but again, that wasn't the way that we played. I know that we will find some individuals that played well on defense, but as a collective group it wasn't the swarming defense that will help us as we get closer to conference play."

On the personal fouls issued for players continuing play after losing their helmets
"Once the helmet comes off, our players are supposed to stop immediately. I know we had one with Darrel Brown, a defensive player. He didn't make the tackle, but he pursued the runner so that is a violation. With Tuskani, he was stumbling after his helmet came out. All he did was he stumble five yards. The whistle blew, and all of a sudden there was a personal foul. He wasn't even trying to run any more. They didn't knock him to the ground. That is the rule, again we have to do everything we can, as we had way too many helmets come off during this game. Our guys have to do a better job getting them fitted properly with a proper air pressure as it was way too much."

On moving forward
"The biggest thing is that football has a lot of ups and downs. This is a tough time. I was hoping that the program would take a step because we played a FBS opponent last week and took them to the wire. I knew Tulsa was a few notches up. There is no question about that. I believe Tulsa is a top 20 team. I was just expecting more, and I know a lot of those kids in the locker room expected more of themselves. It is what it is. We need to review everything on Monday. In football, you can go with it so long, so we will make all the corrections we can. If we need to make any personnel adjustments, we definitely will. On Monday afternoon, it has to be nothing but the direction to beat Evangel to get our first victory."

On the start of the game
"We struggled with just trying to get going. We kept getting three and outs in the beginning. With our defense and how they are playing, we can't keep them on the field. For us, we have to find something to get us going and get those long drives to give our defense a break."

On moving forward
"We are just trying to feed off of how we finished. We didn't start so well, but for my team to keep fighting when we were down so much was good. We are going to build off of that and be ready for our next game."

NICHOLLS STATE LINEBACKER KERRY GUIDRY On the differences between the South Alabama game and Tulsa game
"We didn't hold our responsibilities and we definitely take the blame for it. We didn't do what we were taught, we didn't do what we practiced. We have to get back at practice and get better. We know we are better than that. We proved that we can play solid on defense last week."

On the takeaways from today's game
"We have to take the bad and if there is any good. We have to improve. There is no other way to go about it. We have to see our mistakes and move on."