Nov. 25, 2011
Final Stats |
Tulsa Head Coach Bill Blankenship Press Conference Transcript
"Well, we played for three quarters, and you don't get to win championships if you don't play four. And we battled hard, and I give Houston a lot of credit. That's a very good football team. Outstanding quarterback. And really, they came to play very, very well. I couldn't be more proud of our guys. I told them that before. I'm not any less proud of what our guys have done. Unfortunately, it's not the way we wanted this one to end, but such is life in football. Not much more about that, so you might as well just ask questions."
You've seen a lot of good quarterbacks this year. Is Case Keenum as good?
"Yeah, he's certainly in that same list. It's too late to try to figure out who the best oneis and who he surrounded himself with, but he is very, very good. I was very proud. I think we succeeded on getting some pressure on him and really giving him some bad keys and bad reads early on, and we just didn't finish."
Talk about the way their defense played in the game:
"Their defense played very well. Sold out to stop the run which is not that surprising. They loaded up the box. We felt like we could continue to find a way to get through, and we just kept pounding the rock and didn't quite break it. So that got us a little out of sync when we weren't able to successfully run the football as much as we wanted to. And then they really just, I thought, did a really good job of matching up with our receivers and we just didn't get away. Usually, we get away at some point during the game, and we didn't do that."
Coach, can you talk about the execution on the fourth and one and the fumble. How critical was that before half time?
Coach, now you'll have a bowl game upcoming. How important will that be for the
"It was huge. We left 14 on the field in the first half. Clearly, the fourth and one that is not made is like a turnover to us. You know, certainly you like to have all the things back and then a completed pass going in and we lose that. But Bryan Burnham had a great year for us, and I hate that for him. But those are the kind of things you can't do and be a top ten team. And we've -- it's been probably the one glaring error on this for our team this year, has just been able to give the ball up too many times."
"Well, they've earned it, and they've done a great job. I'm very, very proud. I knew going into today we had a bowl game, and now we've got to sit and watch. We like to do a lot better when we have the destiny in our hands and sit back and see how it plays out."
Case Keenum had those two fourth down passes. How huge was that?
One was a bullet and one was a featherly one. Those are big time throws?
"Yeah, huge. Big time plays. They certainly have a lot of confidence in him. They made those plays and we didn't today."
The third quarter, twice you got the ball about midfield, and the chances of getting momentum and you didn't get a field goal on them:
"No, we didn't sustain much of anything. I don't know where it was. They did a good job. We didn't run real well or throw and catch real well. I probably didn't call it very well."
We know you don't want to blame the guys because they played their tails off, but you had some drops:
"We did have some drops. They made those plays; we didn't make those plays."
Talk about an opportunity to play close to home and getting the seniors' families to those games close to home if you go to the Dallas Bowls?
"There's a lot of opportunities that are close to home. We don't have a lot to do with how it sorts itself out. We are in a good place as far as the teams in our conference rank, but there's a pecking order that takes place in the conference. There are two in the DFW area, one in Memphis and I guess New Orleans. Those are the games that are closest here, but you start going over on the East Coast and there's a couple there as well as."
We compared the quarterbacks. What about team-wise. Is Houston being close in that same league with the teams you played back in September?
"The way they played defense today, I think they can. They're well deserving of a BCF bowl. We were playing pretty good coming into today, and they shut us down pretty well."
Was their defense better than you thought it might be?
"No, I thought they were pretty good on defense. Not sure everybody else thought they were very good on defense. They were pretty good on defense. We knew that coming in, and I think they played a very good game defensively. And like I said before, we had some critical downs, we have to make the plays, and unfortunately, we didn't complete those."
Talk about the character of your football team after the game. Disappointed?
"Unless you've been in there, it's gut wrenching. I mean, there wasn't a man that took that field that didn't believe we were going to win today. And all of a sudden, your seniors have that realization, because they believed we would have another game here next week. And all of a sudden in that locker room it's a little eye-opening when that end comes very quickly."
What was the speed like? They loaded the box a lot and stopped the run, and you still couldn't get it down field.
"I don't think their speed was any faster. I'm talking about in the secondary. The issue is looking at what we're able to do. The last several weeks we've been able to set up our pass with the run and we could not get the running game going today to create a lot of play action opportunities. Our drop back game was moderately successful, I know, but we also cannot make mistakes in it. And you miss a protection or you have a drop or you throw away in the wrong place, and those things have to happen, and we weren't as sharp today as we should have been."
GJ Kinne had a huge game a year ago down there, and it looked like they were making sure he wouldn't hurt them running again:
"It looked like that. And again, I thought they matched up very well. I thought they really were pretty adamant that he wasn't going to carry it 31 times and run away with the game, like he did last year. They had a pretty good beat on Willie Carter, knowing where he was and taking him -- trying to stay locked on him. We couldn't get him loose. I give the defensive coaches at Houston a lot of credit. They had an excellent game plan and executed it."
Senior defensive end Tyrunn Walker
On the defense
"We played good at spurts, but we didn't play good the whole game. We were supposed to help out our offense, and we got good stops, but we just didn't finish the game."
On what the team can take from the game
"We need to learn how to finish. We have to compete, finish and work hard."
On the Houston offense
"They are a great tempo team. They had a great tempo. Their tempo was real good, but it wasn't anything we weren't ready for, we just didn't execute."
Junior safety Dexter McCoil
On the TU defense
"We had a couple miscues and they were able to score points. That was the biggest problem."
On the third- and fourth-down conversions
"Every play was big, but it just didn't fall our way."
On what the team has to do to prepare for the bowl game
"We just have to get better everyday. Our season isn't over yet. We still have a bowl game to win, and we want to send these seniors out with a win."
Senior quarterback G.J. Kinne
On the game
"We lost to a better team today. We just didn't come out to play. They're a really good team. We just didn't execute well. Give a lot of credit to Houston. They schemed us out well."
On the Houston defense
"We knew going in they were good, and they have some really good coaches. They had some really good schemes."
On preparing for the bowl game
"We just have to have fun. There's one game left and we need to send the receivers out on a good note. We're going to have a lot of fun preparing for whatever bowl we go to."
On Case Keenum
"He played well. We got a lot of pressure on him, but he was putting the ball on the money. He had a good game."
Houston Head Coach Kevin Sumlin
"It was a heck of a game. First of all Tulsa is an extremely well-coached team. There's a reason why they've won all their conference games. You can see that they're a talented team, well-coached. They had a great plan and gave us some new challenges, but our team hung in there. Our defense gave us the opportunity to find some things offensively by limiting them offensively and limiting their points. That gave us the opportunity to get off the mat, so to speak, offensively and get to halftime and make some adjustments. I think that's a sign of a mature team. I think our guys handled that, to go on the road and play the way they played today and finish the ball game and not panic when things didn't go exactly right. That's a mature team and that's a credit to these guys and the coaches and how they've approached it everyday."
On converting on fourth downs in the game
"We thought we were going to go try to win the game. Based on us having a little difficulty running the ball and the amount of guys that were in there and the isolation out there, we have a lot of confidence. We have a quarterback who has played in a bunch of games, we have a wide receiver who has I don't know how many yards and catches. We're just going to get the ball to our best players. Football is about match-ups, and we feel good about Case [Keenum] throwing a good ball and Patrick [Edwards] getting open in that situation."
Quarterback Case Keenum
On Houston's slow start against Tulsa
"I think Tulsa came out and executed early. They did a great job of getting us off our stuff, getting us off our rhythm, our routine. They had a couple scoring drives early and that's not where we wanted to be."
On late long pass on fourth-and-1
"We have great talent on offense, as far as receivers go, and we feel like, if we're working a man-to-man match-up, we can make stuff happen. Patrick [Edwards] did a great job on a great route and just finished it off. That's just how we do it there and it just happened to be fourth down."