Oct. 19, 2013
Louisiana Tech Head Coach Skip Holtz
“It is always disappointing to lose, especially homecoming with such a great crowd. The walk of champions was a great atmosphere and you feel bad for the alumni and the fans that made such a commitment to this school. It is unfortunate we were not able to go get a win at homecoming. It is always hard to lose and it hurts to lose, it sounds like a broken record. I was really proud the way the football team and especially the defense played in the first half. Outside of an interception returned for a touchdown, and a scramble that resulted in a big play, I thought our football team competed. I give North Texas a lot of credit. They loaded the box and said they were not going to let Kenneth stop them. They played a physical football game and they were able to load up and stop the run. We were not able to make enough big plays in the passing game to make them pay for it.
I was really proud of our special teams today. Their punt returner was number two in the country, averaging 20 yards a return. As a kick returner he was sixth and I thought our guys did a great job getting down the field on kickoffs and punts. There were some guys that worked their tails off. When you mention Andrew Guilliot and Hunter Lee and their contributions, it was big for us. Even for a freshman, I thought Ryan Higgins played a great game outside of two throws, unfortunately there are no do overs and you cannot take those throws back. Those are throws that are going to cost you in a close football game. If we could take back the 14 points and make that field goal this turns into a heck of a football game. We cannot look back and regret those mistakes; we have to get them corrected in order to be a better football team.”
North Texas Adjustments:
We moved the ball in the second half. In the second half they were able to line up and run the football. That was really the difference in the second half of this football game. They went big and added an extra tight end. They got big and ran on us. We weren’t able to stop the run.
Offensively we could make any plays down the football field. We had 400 yards and 13 points, those two do not go together. We are not getting the productivity on the scoreboard. We are moving the ball in between the 20’s but until we make some plays down the field, we are going to struggle getting the ball into the end zone.
Big play attempts
“One of the problems we have is protecting our quarterback. When you look at the first half, there were not a lot of sacks, but Ryan was getting hit an awful lot. We went to some things in the second half to try and protect him more. We did not release Kenneth Dixon as much to try and help the offensive line. We struggled. They have a really good defensive front and I was impressed at the way they played up front. It makes thing very difficult when you cannot protect your quarterback. We ran a reverse pass to try and make a play, among other things to try and get the ball down the field, and we just were not able to hit on them.
We were trying to get the ball to the edge. Our wide receivers did not block their corners well. You throw the ball out there with the way they were collapsing inside. We were not able to get the ball out there to make a lot of yards. We were getting a few yards, but not the big yardage we were hoping for. I thought defensively they are a very physical football team. I was able to watch them two weeks ago against Tulane, and I was impressed with how their defense played. I think their defense does a great job.
Lack of Pass Rush from Defensive Line?
I do not think it hurt us because they really did not throw many pocket passes tonight. Many of their passes were play action passes, bootlegs, and trying to get to the corner. I do not think you look at that and say that was the difference in the game. They had a game plan they were not going to sit in the pocket. The strength of our defense is our defensive line. You are not going to have a lot of sacks when they are rolling out, and have the opportunity to throw the ball away. I would have liked to have gotten more pressure. We were able to stop the run in the first half, and limit some of their big plays outside of that one. In the second half when they were able to go to some of their unbalanced formations, we were not able to stop the run.
O Line struggles:
There was one on the left tackle, one on the right tackle, two mistakes inside. It was not one guy that broke down. The protection was not very strong in the second half and we were very limited on what we did in the second half.
Does this loss feel like the Tulane loss?
No. The loss does, but there were a lot of good things. I thought Tulane was different in the way we turned the ball over.”
“I was very proud in the special teams, and the job that they did. There are some guys in that dirty dozen that take a lot of pride in their game. I thought they did a great job; Chancellor is a very explosive player. He took a kickoff to the house against Georgia, and he has done it a couple times. I thought overall our special teams did a great job today. “
“I feel bad for the seniors, I feel bad for the fans. I feel bad that we go out there and compete as hard as we do, and then make some of the mistakes that we do that cost you football games. When you are in these conference games you are going to have a lot of close football games.”
“The scramble was a big play. There were two big plays in the first half that resulted in 14 points. We did a pretty good job of containing them, but (Derek Thompson) broke containment. It is hard to cover them that long. It was not a busted play, we had coverage but it is hard because guys are running everywhere.”
“It was a hurry throw. They blitzed and Ryan saw it coming. The play was designed to be an 18 yard comeback and he threw it like it was a 12 yard curl. He threw it too quickly, and the receiver never had a chance to cut back. They did a good job reading the quarterbacks eyes. He broke on the ball and made the interception. It was not a lack of communication, Ryan just hurried it.”
Do you feel like a team took a step back?
“No, I feel like we made some improvements and some guys got better. One of the keys for the open date was to add some depth for these last six games. I wish I had a maturity pill, where Ryan would not throw the ball against his body or hurry against a rush. It is unfortunate but it is just going to take some time. We have to get him to eliminate some of the mistakes that we are making at the quarterback position because some guys are playing very hard. “
On why North Texas was able to limit Tech offensively:
“We knew coming they were going to be really aggressive. They stuffed the run pretty well most of the time. We tried to seal them on the edge and try to get those big runs, but they played hard down the field and made some big hits and plays.”
On North Texas limiting Kenneth Dixon’s production:
“Kenneth is a big part of our offense. It revolves around him for the most part because he is our big running back and makes the plays for us most of the time. That was huge because we needed to get the yards from somewhere and we needed them in the running.”
On how Tevin King’s absence hurt the offense:
“Anytime you lose a player like Tevin, it is going to hurt. He is a big play kind of guy and him in space brings a new dimension to our offense, when he is allowed to just get out there and run.
DL IK Enemkpali
On the frustration after not being able to get to the QB vs. North Texas:
“Today, we just did not get the job done up front. I have played against ACC, SEC and Big 12 offensive lines and by far, North Texas is the most physical offensive line we have played against. My hat is off to them. They are physical. This is football. It is physical. They come off the ball every play.”
On the two big plays North Texas had in the game:
“The long play with (Brelan) Chancellor, I lost containment. The quarterback got out there on an island. That is my fault. I should not have done it. He capitalized on my mistake.
On the momentum switch after the pick-six:
“It should not bother us. Things like that happen. It is adversity. When adversity hits, you have to answer and we did not.”
On his interception falling right into his hands:
“It kind of did. Yeah, it just kind of did.”
QB Ryan Higgins
On what happened on the first interception:
“I saw pressure on my right side and hurried the throw. It is just my fault. I should have checked it down or had a hot or been able to do something else. I rushed the throw and cost our team six points.”
On calling more plays down field in the first half of the game:
“We decided all week that we were going to take shots early, especially with how wide they keep their safeties. We took a couple and did not capitalize and I am not entirely sure why we did not take more. We had a couple plays implemented where we were going to try and for whatever reason, we were not able to follow through.”
On the importance of plays down the field in this game:
“It is big. With how far they play off their corners, sometimes we needed to take advantage of anything in the air to open up whatever lanes we could for Kenneth (Dixon) because he is a beast, but we need to help him out a little bit and spread out the defense. We did that for the most part, but not as much as we liked to.”
On going into the game knowing they were going to contain the running game and rely on pass:
“Personally, I like that. I want to be able to expand our offense and show that we can do more than just run the ball. Kenneth (Dixon) is our work horse. He is a huge deal and it is good when we get him the ball and he is able to do whatever he can.”
On his accuracy vs. North Texas:
“For the most part, I thought I was ok. I had a couple that I rushed and I know a few got batted down at the line. I felt good throwing. I felt fine.”
On the difference in this game rather than the others:
“It is not a big deal as far as our mindset. We want to be able to do whatever we would like to do. It was a little added pressure to work and make plays on the outside with bubbles and have our receivers beat the corners. I think we did alright. Of course, we did not capitalize on as many plays as we can, but we will just continue to keep working to get better.”
North Texas Head Coach Dan McCarney
Talk about the big plays.
“It’s a game of big plays and we made more than they did. Zach pick 6 and a pick later came through big for us, his mom is going through some health troubles and he dedicates everything he does to her. This was a team win due to they’re hard work in practice. This isn’t some phony coach speech, I was impressed with what these guys have done this past week and I’m proud of them. Finally got one on the road, stopped the stupid talk about how we can’t win two in a row, and we are going to enjoy this one. We have 24 hours to enjoy it and then we prepare for Southern Miss.”
The run game started slow but cranked up later, what do you think got the run game going?
“We did not come in and do anything new, we came out and executed better this game and you could see how determined the guys were to run the ball from the sidelines. You have to run the ball to win games and we did today. The drive when we ran eight plays and we ran the clock was one of the best drives of the game even though we didn’t get any points out of it. We ran the clock and took away their chance to make a comeback.”
What about the way your defense is playing lately?
“Consistency, pride, and believing in one another and their role in every play, but play with your hair on fire and go places that we haven’t in a long time. Forget all the preseason prognosticators that had us so low at the beginning of the year and all of the people on the outside that didn’t expect much out of us. Our expectations on the inside have been real high since last March when we got together for spring ball.”
Now you are at that second consecutive win and I have not seen a locker room like this in a while.
“It is well earned and it makes every minute of work for the coaches and players worth it. Coaches are away from their families and they give so much to this program and this is awesome. This football team has so much ahead of it and I cannot wait to see where we go.”