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Tulsa Postgame Quotes vs Rice

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Oct. 20, 2012

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TULSA HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship

Bill Blankenship: An unbelievable great thing to be a part of. A special thing going on with this team right now. We're overcoming a lot of other issues, but boy, I can't be prouder.

Q. What was wrong with Douglas he couldn't get to the end zone? What was wrong with that?
Bill Blankenship: Well, I bet he went about 140 yards when it was all over. I'm going to be anxious to see it. But he keeps trying to get Alex all those inside the 5 touchdowns, but just an incredible, incredible run.

Q. How well did your team play today overall?
Bill Blankenship: Oh, gosh, you know, we left a lot of points on the field, had two drives in the first half. We did not get off the field on some key 4th downs. I think you give Rice a lot of credit. Their wildcat package we pretty much had no answer for. We were adjusting and trying different things, and we just couldn't keep them from making a 1st down in four plays it seemed like.

We finally hold them and make them have to kick a field goal, and that was kind of the best scenario that we had.

But I know we're going to go back and really be frustrated with some things on defense from that standpoint of just their wildcat run package.

And then offensively we're really proud of Kalen, thought he really stepped in on his first game and overcame a little bit of a tough start. But he really hooked up with Keyarris, and Keyarris made a couple grabs today and missed a couple. But great opportunities for him, and we liked the match up that we had with Keyarris.

Q. Do you feel fortunate
Bill Blankenship: Yes.



Q. at the half, though, considering
Bill Blankenship: Blocked punt, and yeah. I thought I was having déjà vu all over again. A little tongue in cheek with that. But every time I would the headset would say we've got the ball on the 9 yard line, got the ball on the 9 yard line. We were struggling to get that out of I think that was first quarter because they had the wind and we couldn't flip the field, and that was a tough deal. But we finally got it going, but it took us a little while.

Q. Could Watts and Green have played?
Bill Blankenship: Could they have? Not effectively. I mean, not Cody's injury is no different than what he had, but he did not it has not responded well.

Q. What about Trey?
Bill Blankenship: Trey had kind of got Trey is just a little bit he's completely boogered up. He had an ankle he was coming back from, but it's just kind of general trauma. I mean, he was beat up, shoulders and neck and all kinds of things. I mean, if this were the championship game, could they have played, yes, but they couldn't have played effectively and think that we're going to have them for the rest of the season in my opinion.

Q. They say good teams find a way to win. What can this kind of a win do for this team from here on out?
Bill Blankenship: Well, they just this is a resilient team. It's an incredibly close team. They continue to celebrate each other. They're resourceful. I think I've used that term I think they're, you know, opportunistic. What happened when Dexter gets the pick? Well, we immediately turn and go score. Seems like we feed off of each other, and then we'll go through these cycles where we're not playing particularly well on either side of the ball.

But those were things that I thought, in the key moments of the game, I thought the offense and defense fed off each other and we got some plays, and they just found a way.

The blocked punt was catastrophic early in the game, put us behind the 8 ball. We had a lack of miscommunication on that one. McGuffie is their guy, we knew that and did not get that taken care of like we should have.

Q. At what point did you just say, all right, I'm going to go with Kalen? I'm going to give Cody another week or two weeks?
Bill Blankenship: Well, Wednesday practice he couldn't throw like he needed to be able to throw, so we had really made the decision he needed to have an effectively practice day or two if we were going to be able to play him. I didn't want to just put him into a situation where we just numb him up and say go play and he doesn't have timing with his guys.

I mean, Kalen has been in the driver's seat all week. But from Wednesday on I'd say we pretty much knew that.

Q. Do you expect to have them both back for Arkansas?
Bill Blankenship: I do. I do.

Q. Talk about the odd sequence there at one point in the middle where
Bill Blankenship: You know, it's interesting, I've been giving Brentom a lot of heat in practice because he is I think the only defensive end that hadn't come up with a sack, and he had a couple incredible plays there back to back that were huge momentum swings for us. I mean, it was just he just had a sequence that it looked exactly like the guy we were looking for.

Q. I take it this is a good time for a bye week?
Bill Blankenship: It's a great time for a bye week. We were hoping like crazy we could get through this one because we're a beat up football team. We are eight games in, and it's a physical grind. It's no different for anybody else in the country. That's where we are, but we haven't had that break yet, and we need it.

I think we're in a pretty good place. I don't think we had anything significant that the trainers told me about. Hopefully we'll get everybody back in a couple weeks. It won't be an off week, but it's a non playing week, and it'll be a chance for us to get better.

Q. This resiliency you were talking about, can that almost be a negative?
Bill Blankenship: You know, I think that's a great question. It's one of the fears you have as a coach is that you'll rely on finishing games and mess up the other ways. I think we're actually an improving football team, I just think that if you go back, one of the things I told you on week in our press conferences, I really believe Rice is as good as anybody around in scheming you and working the system to move the ball. They don't hit a lot of big plays, but they move the ball, and they did enough to keep their offense on the field.

And again, I thought their wildcat thing was probably the one it wasn't anything new, we had worked on it. But when they put so much into that, we just didn't have a good answer for that.

Q. It took 58 minutes to get your first lead. What was the mindset like before the missed field goal to after the 75 yard run?
Bill Blankenship: Well, I think the offense knew whether it was a made field goal or missed field goal, they had to go answer. So there was all kinds of that conversation going on.

We had talked about the various plays that we needed. We wanted to take the early look at the sweep to the wide side to J.T. We thought we could get a positive play out of that. Wasn't expecting to go the distance. But we had enough time that we didn't have to be in a two minute hurry up crazy time, but we needed to be moving the ball. We thought that would give us a positive run, and boy, were we understating the obvious.

Q. On watching Douglas' run
Bill Blankenship: You're right. It happened in so many ways, that honestly as I am running down the sideline I'm catching up to him. I'll probably feel it for the next week or two. I'll need a week off. (Laughter.)


On the deep ball to Keyarris
"I saw him reach out for it. I saw the ref throwing his hands in the air that it was a completion. Honestly thought he dropped it, because I threw it a little bit too far inside, but he came up with a big play. He's a big playmaker. We've been expecting that from him since the spring time and he showed up big today."

On the pressure of the game and how he slept last night
"I actually didn't sleep too well last night. I stayed up until about 1 o'clock reading over my game plan. Knowing what we had on the line and knowing that it was Homecoming and that the whole offense was looking to me. Cody's done an amazing job this season, going 6-1 to this point. I didn't want to come in and be the one to end that streak. I did a little extra studying in my bed last night. Like I said I didn't go to bed until about 1 am. I'm just excited to get the win today."

On his reaction to Douglas' run
"Honestly, like Jake (Alexander) said, I thought he was going to be tackled 40 yards from where he stopped. If you watch the film I'm just trying to throw a block and as he's breaking tackles I'm hurdling every guy that he's broken a tackle from. I thought I injured him at the end of his run because my momentum chasing him, he stopped and looked back and I pushed him so hard and he just fell to the ground, but that was an amazing run."


On Ja'Terian Douglas' run
"I told JT that was the most amazing run I've ever seen in my life. I was running right behind him, and I'm thinking he'd down, and he just kept breaking tackles. He's a playmaker. We know he can do things like that."


On Rice using the wildcat
"We knew they were going to use wildcat, but they did more than they've ever done before. We just want to enjoy the win. Of course tomorrow we will go back to film and correct our mistakes and learn from it so that the next team we play that runs the wildcat we'll be ready for it."

On his interception
"I was reading the quarterback. I just came down and happened to be in the right position. I just thank God for the pick that I made."

On the fumble recovery
"I just happened to be in the right position. Lowell made the play. The fumble recovery should go to Lowell. He stripped it. He did a good job, I just recovered it."


On what was on his mind during the run
"I understood what was on the line at that point and I'm thankful to the coaches for giving me the opportunity to capitalize. I thought that the whole time the team was humble, and that's always me as a person, I'm a humble person. That play I just knew something had to happen. I was able to get the ball, saw guys flowing and I was just able to capitalize on their mistakes."

On whether he heard the crowd noise
"At that time, I didn't hear anything. That's just how focused I was on that play."

On if he had a detailed memory of the play
"I have a visual of it. I got the ball and I'm thinking all right I got past the line of scrimmage. I just saw guys flowing like I said. I just knew I had a cutback lane and that's something I don't usually do. I just tried to take it the distance and I was able to make a big play.


On the close loss to Tulsa
"It was a heartbreaking game. This team played well, and we led the whole game except the last minute and 30 seconds. It was one where we had some opportunities out there, and we have to take advantage of those opportunities when you play a team like Tulsa. They were there, but we didn't finish."

On Chris Boswell's two field goal misses in the second half
"There are so many other plays in the game, and those plays are amplified because of who he is. Those two plays would have been nice, but you have to look at some missed tackles, some drops and some penalties. There were some other plays in there."

On the wind being a factor in the game
"It was a tough wind out there. I was thrilled when they had the wind in the third and only got seven points."

On the close losses
"The hard part is that we are a pretty good football team. We have lost in double overtime, and we have lost by four and lost by four. We are pretty competitive in every game, we just have to figure out how to win these things."

On Rice's drive in the middle of the fourth quarter
"We were trying to score a touchdown. We weren't ever settling for a field goal. A field goal would have just put us up by six. That isn't what we wanted."

On Ja'Terian Douglas' 75-yard run to set up Tulsa's game winning touchdown
"He just made a bunch of us miss. That is one of those things that we had an opportunity at the line of scrimmage to get him down, and he just got away from us."

On what he told the team after the game
"I told them that you have to look at how far we have come. Nobody thought we would be here, but we have been in every game this season. We could easily be talking about us being 6-2 or 5-3 or where we are sitting. It is just a couple plays here and a couple plays there. We are really hurt as a football team right now, because we played a really good game."


On the close loss to Tulsa
"Obviously, I can't put it in words. I thought we would pull that one off. It is frustrating and demoralizing, but we will be back next week."

On Rice's offensive performance against TU
"It's just frustrating. It is the only thing I can say. We should have put up a lot more than 24 points today. Seven of those were from the blocked punt."