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Nov. 2, 2013

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TULSA HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship

Opening statement
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: All right. I guess first of all, I wish to apologize to our homecoming fans and the folks that have been a part of this, because we surely did not represent Tulsa football very well today.

Q. Coach can you talk about how the team had that look in their eye, determined, and you see a first quarter like that, your thoughts?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: Just couldn't get out of our way again. That's just the turnovers, opportunities were there. We didn't take advantage of them.

Q. This is obviously a big recruiting time. How do recruits look at this? Do they shake their head and walk out early or do they say they can play for this team? Is this a good thing?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: Yeah, I don't know. I don't know. That's certainly a challenge for us right now. Hopefully they can see us in the worst of times and see if they want to be a part of it.

Q. Everything you've seen here in your time in Tulsa, is there anything that blew your mind more than seeing your best player try to field a punt at the 3 over the shoulder?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: No.

Q. Did you feel like that was at the time with the score the way it was, probably the biggest play of the game?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: It was, yeah. Turned into an easy touch down for them. You know, the thing that you deal with is arguably that's our best player, certainly on offense. And he's a guy that we have trusted and will continue to trust and just, you know, things went really bad. And nobody knows it any more than he does. But tough, tough day.

Q. Four games left?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: Uh huh.

Q. What's your message to the guys in the locker room?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: Just see if we can get the real Tulsa to show up before we go to East Carolina.

Q. Obviously the offense can't overhaul things. Do you just grin and bear it and try to work your way through it? How do you approach trying to fix it?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: Well, we're just trying to put as many pieces of it as we have out there. We've got a couple of other guys that weren't able to go and you just put the ones that we've got and try to roll with it. And obviously we tried several combinations today.

Q. Was the passion level where you want it?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: Yes.

Q. It was?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: Seemed like it. I've gotten a long time in coaching. What you feel is not always a good measure. I've seen it go both ways, not just bad. I've seen guys that looked like it was really good and it wasn't. I've seen guys look like they're flat and they come out and play great. I don't know, I actually thought we were doing some good things early. Maybe I'm naive about it. I thought we saw some good things. But we made some critical mistakes early that cost us 14 points. And then we just couldn't ever get it going.

Q. Do you maybe take inventory of what works and what doesn't?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: Certainly, I think there's no question, I think there's a big difference in taking inventory, and evaluation and panic. I mean if you ever choose to panic, that would be a pretty bad choice. But you cannot go one of the worst things you can do when you have a good game is to assume everything is done right. So there's a constant evaluation process that we will do. We'll continue to look at what we have, what can we do with what we have and try to find a way to maximize our skill set.

Q. You said earlier in the week the seniors stepped up. You were happy with their preparation. After a tough loss like this, is this the type of group you expect that even though things keep going the way they have?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: I really do, because that's the kind of people they are. But there's a difference in, you know, talking the talk and walking the walk. Eventually we've got to quit quit playing losing football and play winning football. If we were only getting whipped, those are things you look and go, okay, well, personnel is an issue. But when you beat yourself, I mean and that's taking nothing away from Coach Coker and UTSA, because I thought they played well, and actually took things from us, no question. But we made it so easy to get the early ones with the choices we made and the opportunities. And sometimes, you know, you don't choose to fumble the ball or throw interceptions, but those are still decisions that we have to live with.

Q. I'm curious, on recruiting, with that many guys here, can you even what's your mindset afterwards about that, like an opportunity lost?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: It's a huge opportunity lost. We had a lot of opportunity with potential recruits to try to continue to make good impressions. You really don't want to live on, "We need you to turn this thing around." That's not really the way you want to recruit. You'd rather recruit to your strength. And what we'll continue to do is hope and work on those guys experiencing what we are, who we are, a look at the facts of who's out there and who's not. And see for yourself.

Q. Recruiting is a 16 month process. You don't win or lose a guy on the basis of one outcome, do you, though?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: Hopefully not. I think what you do is you have to understand this was a bad experience. And so what you do in reality with your players and parents and everybody that's here, fans and all, you get to see us at our worst. This is it, warts and all. But now you can decide if this is where you want to be.

Q. Stetson's status?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: Stetson's x rays were negative. And so I assume it will be a day to day foot, ankle. Over than that I can't give you much. Other than I can say that there was nothing x ray wise that would have said it was a fracture or something else.

Q. Can you take us through your thought process on quarterbacks today, one coming out and another one going in?
HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship: Yeah, essentially I didn't think Cody had played that poorly other than the first interception. We were dropping a lot of balls. He missed some. There's plenty of fault to go around, don't get me wrong. But I felt like we needed to see if we could get a spark. So I went to Dane and said can we spark it, let's go. I thought he got into throwing some bad balls, as well. It's tough when you have to throw all the time. That's a different scenario that we put him in. But I thought he operated, did some good things. Then when the game was clearly decided, why not see what Joe can do. Let's just see. Very seldom do you give a third team guy an opportunity, and so you might as well let him see. And I thought he did some good things today.


On mistakes by Cody Green and Trey Watts during the game
"Those guys are seniors. When you're a senior, you're a leader. Not everyone is perfect. Everyone has bad days. I am not looking at any of those guys and blaming them. We all make mistakes, but it is what you do after the mistake that leads to how you are perceived."

On coming in to the game part way through, rather than as a starter
"The only difference between starting and coming in part way through the game is the fact that you didn't start the game. You still have to take care of the ball and not give the ball away for free. I need to do that better. The goal is to score more than the other team. We just need to get the ball and put it in the end zone if we want to win."

On the mindset and preparation of coming off of the bench
"Every week, I just need to play like I am one play away. I am always just making sure that I am ready to go. My mindset is that I am ready to score whenever Coach Blankenship tells me to go in."


On the mistakes of Cody Green and Trey Watts during the game
"You just have to keep fighting for the seniors. Nobody is perfect. You just want to go out and make a play for that guy that will get that guy inspired. Anybody can be a motivation."

On Tulsa's mindset after this loss
"It is hard to know what to think about the whole situation. Practice is good. We work our tails off. Losing like that just makes us go back to the drawing board to see what else we can do."


On the mood in the locker room after losing on Homecoming
"It feels like someone died. It feels a lot like a brother died. We know that we are better than that. It is pretty unbelievable. That's how bad it is."

On looking past this loss to the future
"We just have to regroup and come back together. We need to look back at our mistakes and build on them in practice. We are way better than what we showed today."

On the mood on the sidelines as the game came to a close
"We tried to keep our passion and intensity level up. One thing about us is that we are never going to quit. We just know that we are better than this. We just have to show it out there on the field."


Opening statement
"This is a team that was picked to win the league and won the league a year ago. I have great respect for that coaching staff and it's a great program. I told the players this program's got a lot of tradition, a lot of success and it was a very good win for us."

On the first quarter turnovers by Tulsa
"I think it took Tulsa out of the comfort zone. They run the ball extremely well, but when you're behind like that it's hard to make up ground. Those were huge for us. Triston Wade in the second half scored a touchdown off the turnover. We had no turnovers until last week and that's four today. That's been a big difference for us."

On Trey Watts' fumbled punt
"We made the same one, but we recovered ours. That was a mistake and he just didn't have it and look back at it, he probably should have let it go in the end zone."

On the game plan against Tulsa
"They run the ball well. We forced them into a game where they had to throw it. When you get out of your comfort zone, that's a big advantage for us."

On the defense
"They had the two long runs, one in the second half and one in the first half. The first half, they didn't score and I think our defense is starting to step up. We've got a lot of young guys that are starting to get some experience. That's what I see, young guys getting better."

On David Glasco II's rushing school record
"David's an extremely smart player and Polo Gutierrez does a good job coaching him. He's about 15-20 pounds heavier now then when he got here. He's got a lot of experience and he's extremely smart and tough."

On stopping Tulsa on fourth and one and then scoring on an 84-yard run
"Obviously, that's huge. It's a tremendous game changer. It's a close ball game and you get no points. That's a 14-point swing right there. It was a huge game changer."

On the secondary performance
"I think our secondary is getting better. Even late in games sometimes, keep everything in front of you. They weren't going to beat us with short stuff. They had to hit some big plays. Our secondary has gotten much, much better. Jeff Popovich and Perry Eliano have done a great job with those guys."


On the first interception
"I think the guy ran straight and the quarterback under threw him a bit so I got the pick and I was trying to run, but I got tackled."

On the second interception
"The second one I was thinking touchdown. Hats off to the defense, the D-Line and everybody blocking, I give it to them."

On the secondary improvement
"We are starting to play as a whole. It's a good feeling for us."

On the locker room
"It's a good feeling. We weren't predicted to beat this team, but that was big to win against the top team in the conference."