Postgame Quotes

Sept. 5, 2015

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Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz

Opening Statement:

“The southern program is a very proud program and a very tradition rich program. It was really impressive to see the way that they travelled. I said earlier this week I have great respect for Coach Odums and the job he is doing with that program. I know he has some uphill battles but you have to roll up your sleeves and compete and that is what his football team did. It was a great atmosphere and I want to praise Southern and their fan base and our fans. I cannot credit the seniors and leadership on this football team enough. I say this all the time, but I love this team. I love their character and their work habits. I think we have a group of young men who are fun to be around and to coach. I am really proud of them and the way they handled themselves. I thought it was impressive the way they came out. It was a game that we are supposed to win. We went out there in the first quarter with our ones and they went in and put their foot down and said this game was about us and the standard that we have. We certainly did not play perfect tonight. I thought there were a lot of bright spots and a lot of positives.”

“One of the things that made it so impressive was that our offense, defense and special teams went out there and took care of business early. We were able to get all of our starters out after about a quarter and a half, which is important because we have a short week this week. We have to play on Thursday night and I thought it was important that those guys did not get too many reps. They were mad at me and they were upset with me, I thought Vernon was going to punch me. At the same time, I told them there was a bigger picture here. I thought it was invaluable for us to get our backups in. The Achilles heel for this football team, is our depth. It is not because there is no talent there, it is because they are young and inexperienced. There is not a better way to get experience than with fans in the seats in a live situation. I thought it was really nice to be able to get that work. I wish they would have played a little better, but that is why they are backups and not starters. We will go to the drawing board, go to work and get better. It was a great night overall for the program and a great start to the season going 1-0.”

On consistency:

“We need to hold ourselves to this standard, whether we are playing a team that is better than us or not as good as us. I told them that is why we play the game. I was impressed with their focus and the way they came out. One of our improvements we need from last year is not playing to the level of our competition. We need to play each game with a sense of urgency. We need to play with an edge and an energy and I think we did that tonight.”

On 12 receivers making receptions:

“We got a lot of guys work. Marlon Watts was great, we threw a deep ball to him and he used his big body to catch a touchdown pass in the third quarter. Some of those guys are going to continue to grow up and mature. Those are invaluable reps because some of those guys are one play away from playing a major role for us. That is why it is so important we get that work in now. I thought the quarterbacks did a nice job of reading the field. They took what the defense gave them.”

On Jeff Driskel:

“He played in the system is what he did tonight. The day he got here, he was as advertised with his height, weight, arm, speed and athletic ability, but what he did a nice job with tonight was protecting the football. He played inside the offense and saw the field. The dump off that took Dixon for the touchdown was about his fourth read. For him to scan the field and come down to it, I was really impressed with the way he controlled the offense.”

On Driskel needing a good start:

“When you talk to Jeff, you would never know what he has been through. He is a very confident young man. He is very confident in himself and the way he prepares. He is a real professional in the way he handles himself. I thought he did a great job out there on that field. I was glad to see it. I would much rather see him have a fast start than a slow one. I thought he was really dialed in. He managed the game which is what a good quarterback does.”

On defense:

“We had one touchdown called back because of a personal foul, so there are a couple of things we have to get cleaned up. Defensively, I thought they played as well as the offense. We came out there flying around. I think we have got great leadership. Those guys brought in some energy and they were focused and dialed in. As you listen to Xavier [Woods] and some of the other guys talk, they played like they were on the edge of a cliff. That is how they play; they do not want to give up a yard. Their mindset is that it is a team game. There may be a game where the defense gives up 35 points but the offense scores 36. There may be a game where the offense scores three and the defense has to hold them to nothing. That is the way this game works. It is a team game. We can enjoy this and celebrate with this one and get back to work tomorrow.”

On backups bending but not breaking:

“I think there were a lot of positives but it is just not as consistent as it needs to be for us to hold to the standard that he been set as an offense and defense. We went three and out and then had a bad snap. We put another center in and had another bad snap. We dropped a ball and all of a sudden it is fourth and one. We have to execute better. We had four freshmen play tonight on the defensive side of the ball. All of a sudden Courtney Wallace, Immanuel Turner, Jordan Bradford Ephraim Kitchen got a lot of work tonight. They got some invaluable experience, did some good things and made some mistakes. We talked about it before the game and knew we were not going to play perfect. When you make a mistakes, say that it is over and move on to the next play. There was good and bad with some of those young guys who got the opportunity to get in.”

On Paul Turner:

“I think Paul helps tremendously. I think we will say the same thing when we get Carlos [Henderson] back to full speed. When you look at Trent [Taylor], Paul and Carlos, it is tough for opponents on top of Jeff and Kenneth. You have a few weapons on the offensive side of the ball. I think Paul is a valuable part of that, especially with Carlos not playing. We had Marlon Watts and Marcus Gaines pick up some slack. I think it is important that Paul can stand up and play the way he did. Last year, he was hampered with an injury most of the year and played through it. He never complains. He went out there every day and said, ‘I’m good coach, I’m good,’ and then after the season had surgery. It is nice to see him out there healthy and at full speed.”

 

RB Kenneth Dixon

Opening Statement:

“I want to thank everybody for coming out this evening to this game. It was a great atmosphere and I am ready to see what these guys do in the future.”

On the best atmosphere:

“The crowd was great for us out there. They were juiced for us out there. We brought the juice and we brought it too. It turned out to be a great game.”

On having a great game in front of a packed stadium:

“It was very exciting. We knew that Southern travels well and were going bring a lot of fans. We knew the excitement there because they were coming off a championship and we were too. The fans were ready to see how we would come out and respond. We knew that Southern would travel well.”

On Jeff Driskel’s performance:

“He brought a lot to the offense with the passing game and he ran one in. He brought the sense that he was the leader on the field.”

On what has been most impressive with Driskel:

“He works really hard and extremely well. He is a great guy. I think he is a great man of faith. Jeff’s just a really good guy. He came in and he did not act like he was better than anybody. Coming from Florida, you get that sometimes but he is just a really good guy. I am glad he is a part of the team.”

On Blake Baker’s first game as defensive coordinator:

“I really did not even notice we had a new defensive coordinator. It is all the same. Same scheme, same dream.”

On Paul Turner:

“It was great seeing Paul tonight. He is a great guy.”

On the offensive line’s performance:

“The offensive line did a great job tonight. They really opened up the holes and kind of made my job easy tonight. Hit the line and start running. The offensive line has really come a long way since we have been here. We have been working hard everyday, getting down the fundamentals.”

On getting off to a good start:

“It was very important that we come out and see some execution. We all have got a dream and we want to be special so it is always good to see our team execute.”

On the preparation for the game:

“Our team is very hard working and we have got some great leaders on the team. Coach Holtz pushes us hard so you know we have to be ready.”

 

S Xavier Woods

On creating turnovers:

“It is what we expect to do. Our standards have not changed. They have actually improved. We look to take it to another level so forcing turnovers and winning the game that is what we want to do.”

On the defense’s performance:

“We could have held them to zero. That is what we want to do. We always want that goose egg but we gave up some points. When we go out, we do not want to have any letdown out there. We just have to keep practicing so that when we get off the field or one of our guys get nicked up, the standard does not go down and the play does not go down.”

On the importance of the freshmen getting playing time:

“It is real key. With this atmosphere and a packed out place, this is very key for these freshmen to get that playing time and get experience like this and especially when there was not any pressure on them at all.”

On the offense clicking early:

“We go against them everyday. They have their days and we have our days. It is good to see I guess.”

On playing with an edge:

“With the delays and everything, we still came out and had a fast start. We want to come out and be relentless the entire sixty minutes from start to finish.”

 

QB Jeff Driskel

On finally getting to play against someone else:

“I did not do too much hitting tonight. I saved that for the other guys. We just went out there with a game plan and you have to take what the defense gives you. We took some shots down the field because the looks were there. Going in we knew that it was all predicated on how well we came out and executed and I think we came out and executed really well. We came out fast. One of the touchdowns I threw early was to Kenneth [Dixon] and they backed off and I dumped it off. He did the rest. That was just doing what the defense gave us. I came out really comfortable and I was just really excited to be back out there. It was an awesome first game and I am excited to get the momentum going in our direction.”

On his debut with LA Tech:

“Not much better. I missed a post to Paul [Turner] but other than that we just executed and had good reads. That is what it all stems from is good reads and executing the play and not doing too much. It is nice to have all those weapons. When you get them the ball, they can make somebody miss and take it to the house. Like you said, I could not have seen it going much better.”

On playing at Florida and playing here:

“You said it best, football is football. Being here in the spring, I got a good feel for the offense so it was not like I was out there guessing on what we were doing. I had a lot of time to prepare for Southern so we had a good feel for what they were going to do. It is just going out there and playing with your teammates. I feel like we were on the same page for most of the night and the looks were there to make the big plays that we did. I am just proud of our guys and happy we got off to the start that we did.”

On his confidence:

“Why not, I am here to play football. At the end of the day, it is a game and I am going out there to play the hardest that I can, trust the work that I have put in and trust what the coaches have taught us to do. They have done a great job so there is no reason not to be confident.”

On his favorite throw of the night:

“My favorite throw was the one that I checked down to Kenneth [Dixon]. A lot of times, check downs look like an easy thing to do but quarterbacks get so locked into their first reads that they do not find the check down as much. It shows how much i have progressed over the years. It shows I am not scared to find a check down so that was my favorite of the night.”

On the throw to Paul Turner:

“We had off coverage and I got it to him. He had a great route and got separation. Once he got behind the coverage, I knew he was scoring. That is what explosive players do. You make them pay when the look is there and that is what we did.”

 

WR Paul Turner

On getting back on the field:

“It felt good being back out there especially in the awesome atmosphere with the people in the stands. I think that is what we fed off of during the game. We knew we came in and prepared well with the coaches’ game plan. All we did was go out there and execute the coaches’ plan and came out with a win. It felt great.”

On how much the punt return boosted the team:

“Anytime someone makes a play on special teams or a big play at all it gives the team a boost. I think the punt return unit did a great job blocking. Anyone could have gone out there and returned punts behind them. We feed off of big plays and I think we were able to feed off that play.”

On how early he saw the wall forming for the punt return:

“From the get go. Anybody could have returned that, I mean Shane [Carpenter] could have returned that punt. It was not hard and they did a great job of setting up the wall. All I did was run it in for a score. I give all the credit to the punt return unit and Coach [Joe] Sloan.”


 

 

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