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Sept. 26, 2013

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TULSA HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship

Q. Can you talk about the quarterback play today?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Well, we struggled, and it's kind of what we talked about. If we were struggling, we'd try to give Dane a shot, and thought he did some good things. He had some times he struggled. We're struggling a lot more places than just quarterback, but that's part of what we're doing.

Q. Why did you send Green back in?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: I didn't see Dane doing a whole lot for two or three series. Guys are just trying to find a way to spark our team right now.

Q. What about moving forward?

Q. Do you know who is going to start next week?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: I don't think anything has changed at this point. We'll look at the film. We're at a point where we're going to evaluate everything, I promise you. So, I mean, I don't have to look any further than the mirror to know that we're just not playing very well right now. So I've got to take a look at everything and be responsible for it.

Q. Coach, it was a slow start, and then you see two good drives put together. What happened?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Well, we quit putting the ball on the ground for one thing. If you had four turnovers against even a decent team, you're going to really struggle. We've had four turnovers where we've I mean, those are unforced errors. Those are the kind of things, and maybe an interception later, but I'm talking about when you just put the ball on the ground, you know, those are things that are really tough. I mean, you kind of have a hard time sustaining anything on offense if you turn it over.

Q. Do you think Dane came in a little too energetic, coming in with a chance to try to get the team back in? Maybe he came in too amped up or anything?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: I think he was I'm sure his whole heart was beating pretty good. No question.

Q. Just overall performance of the team today, disappointing?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Very disappointing. Again, I don't want my evaluation of our players to be that I'm pointing fingers at them. We are not very good right now. We did not play well tonight, and we've got a lot of work to do before we move into conference play. I think if you look, you see spurts, you see positives, but we're just, you know, we can't play like that and expect to win.

Q. Obviously, (Indiscernible) seemed to be a mixed bag at times. A little inconsistent, but made two incredible catches. What were your overall thoughts on him?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: He makes us better. There is no question. That's one of our starters back from a year ago, and he looked like it. He was a little rusty at times, but I thought he played really well and gave us, you know, gave us a spark.

Q. Did you (Indiscernible) to get the defense out there in the second half on that?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Again, that happens when you turn it over, Eric. You can't maintain anything on offense, so now they get on offense, and get a few first downs, and all of a sudden that time of possession, like you talk about, and just the fact that you have to go right back out on the field. We had some good drives, but we just didn't have nearly enough and enough consistency. We played defense well at times, but then in some really crucial points we still looked very, very immature.

Q. It seemed like Iowa State ran a lot of no huddle. It seemed to really help them out. Can you talk about that?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: That's what they do all the time. They try to mix it up, and really they're a no huddle team that doesn't go fast. They no huddle and try to look to the sideline and get into the best match up play they can. A little cat and mouse always being played with the defense and the offense that way.

Q. How did Cody react when you decided to go with Dane?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: I think he was disappointed. I think he was more disappointed that we weren't moving the ball. I thought that after the first series he stayed over there and kept trying to coach him and kept trying to encourage. It's what you would expect from those guys. I've been a competitor there. I would expect you to be disappointed if you get somebody else going in your place. But I thought he handled it okay.

Q. Tough game coming up, and of course it's conference play and a tough Rice team. Just talk about turning things around?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: I think Rice is one of the best teams in our league. I think they've got, from what we've seen earlier, they certainly ran the ball up and down the field against Texas A&M. They're a very good football team. They've been a little streaky, but, golly, man, all we have to do is put on our film, and we have enough to say grace over right now.

Q. Are you looking forward to getting in conference play?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: It's crazy business. You have a game like this, and all you want to do is get back out there and play again. But we have a lot of practice between now and then.

Q. You say generally about all the problems you had tonight, which one surprised you the most in this performance?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Putting the ball on the ground. That's not what we do. At least two of them were on exchanges on our zone read game, and we're usually really good with that. In fact, I think we went most of the year last year without a running back fumbling the ball. I'm not saying who fumbled this, but they were in the exchange, and that's just part of it. That's everybody's job to make sure that doesn't happen.

Q. Was it disappointing coming off a bye week was that one of the more disappointing games you've seen coming off a bye week?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: No, I don't know. Disappointing stays with me for a long time. I can tell you of some others, but we'll not go there.


On moving forward to next week and conference play against Rice
"We need to go back to work. We will try to prepare as best we can. We definitely need to watch film."

On Tulsa's turnovers
"Turnovers are always disappointing. We put the ball on the ground too many times. It is just giving the opponent free positions. If you want to win or beat quality teams, you just can't do that."

On how this team compares to previous Tulsa teams
"It is tough. We've been in this spot before. We try not to hang our heads. I don't see this as a worse team than any previous year. We need to keep working and realize that there are still goals that we can reach. We start conference play with a clean slate. The goal is to bounce back, have a good week, and get a win against Rice."

On the impact of Dane Evans in the game
"The goal was to try and rally. Dane (Evans) is young. We just wanted to go out and make a play for him. We knew the game was possibly still in reach. We just tried to go out and get a win."

On Dane Evans' game performance
"He is young. He is going to make a few mistakes. It happens. Whoever is out there at quarterback is the guy we're going to rally behind and make plays for."

On the impact of Thomas Roberson in the game
"Thomas Roberson is a great player. It showed tonight. He made big touchdown catches and first down catches over the field. Anytime you can add a quality receiver to the receiving corps, your team is going to get better.


On Tulsa's experience as a defensive unit
"The young guys just need to learn how to play tough games. We had a lot of senior leadership last year. Now we just need some experience to get past that hurdle. We have to keep giving those guys their time, and we will be fine."

On changes that can be made moving forward
"We start conference play next week. It is a new slate, and that is what really matters. We just have to go to work tomorrow and clean up the little stuff. We have to make more plays as a defense, and that is what I am going to challenge my guys to do this week. I don't think that we got off the field when we needed to. We stayed on the field way too long, and that takes away from the offense. We didn't make it happen tonight. We just need to keep chipping away at that. We need to get the opponents in third and long situations instead of third and short. It is just something that we need to fix."

On Shawn Jackson's individual performance
"I don't really think about my performance. We lost. I'm just really mad about that. I just try to lead the guys."

On moving forward to next week's game against Rice
"We are going to go to work tomorrow, watch film, and put this behind us. We have a clean slate with Rice coming in. They are a very good football team. We will just need to go back to work."


On the game
"Good to get a victory. We're excited to be 1-2, who wouldn't after being 0-2 and not having a victory for a very long time. I'm proud of the effort on our kids in preparation. Obviously, pleased with the effort gameday, but really proud of our effort in preparation. We got 44 practices and played two games. That's a lot of practices. That's a lot of beating up on yourself. That's a lot of maintaining focus to work to do things right and improve and that's exactly what they did. We improved tonight and got a victory and we're thrilled to take it back home."

On getting offensive center Tom Farnick back
"We talked about leadership from him going into it. Having him back leadership that presents. We also talk about his physical level of play. He was a factor in the hotel. He was a factor on the sideline, the locker room. He's a three-year starter. He's a mainstay on that unit. He's the guy that makes the checks and leads them through meetings. Very important to have that guy and not to play with our third string."

On the run defense
"He's (Trey Watts) a special player. Everybody that covers Tulsa and has appreciation of football knows that. You saw what he did against Oklahoma a week ago with the punt returns and so forth. We were embarrassed about the amount of rushing we gave up in the Liberty Bowl. One of our primary goals as a defense, every week, but certainly tonight, was to stop the run and the guys did a very effective job."

On the confidence heading into conference play
"You work so hard for 12 opportunities to be working so long and to be sitting there 0-2. There's a lot of frustration out there as you work and you practice and we work hard. We practice hard and will continue to do that, but they will have a little more bounce to their step as they go about it with the victory."