Nov. 9, 2013
LA Tech Head Coach Skip Holtz
“I thought Southern Miss came in here really watching film and they scared me. I know Coach Monken is an excellent football coach. They came in here and played hard. We knew with it being a rivalry game and a border game, it would create a lot of excitement amongst the players, it certainly did not disappoint. I thought both teams played extremely hard and it was a very physical game.
“I thought our defense played outstanding tonight. I thought they did a great job. Adairius Barnes came up with a couple interceptions and having the four turnovers was really big. I thought the defense came up with some big stops and did some really good things tonight. I feel like we are progressing a good bit and making some progress, especially with the number of guys that were out. Bryson Abraham stood up and did a great job. Kendrick James, Kevin Kisseberth, Andre Wiggins, and Andre Taylor, a lot of guys got some work with Dora being out of the game and I thought they really stepped up. They did some good things for us stepping in to a tough situation.”
“On the offensive side of the ball, Kenneth Dixon is a horse. I have said it before. He runs extremely hard and extremely physical. He is a fun young man to coach and watch play football. I was really proud of what he did tonight. I made a comment during the open date that I thought Scotty Young had done a great job last week. He probably had the best week of practice I have seen him have since he has been here. It would have been really easy for him to hang his head a couple weeks ago when the change was made to go with Ryan but he has hung in there, competed, sat in meetings, watched film and his perseverance and strong will has been something to commend. I thought he went out there and did a great job managing the football game tonight. He did not turn the ball over. He was seeing the field really well, making some nice throws. I think if he had any help at all without five drops he is sitting there with a 27 of 37 for probably twice the number of yards. I really thought that not only Kenneth was one of the big stories on offense but I thought Scotty Young played an excellent football game.”
“Special teams, Kyle Fisher continues to make field goals which is a positive. We have got to get better with our kickoffs and our punting because we are not where we need to be to play at the level we want to play. A lot of good things tonight, it is always great to win. We will look at the film, evaluate it and get ready for a really good Rice team down in Houston next week.”
“Ryan was not available for this game. Ryan has been evaluated every day. He did not practice last week during the open date and we let Scotty and Paul roll with it. We wanted to see who was going to step up and take the biggest leadership role and I heard Scotty be more vocal tonight than I have ever heard him be. On the sidelines, in the huddle, I thought he was really passionate. When we let those guys compete this week, Scotty had one of the best weeks he has had. We made the decision to go with Scotty last week if Ryan could not go. Ryan was evaluated every day and Ryan was not cleared this morning. Scotty was the quarterback but we kind of knew that when we came out of Tuesday with the day Scotty had and Ryan still not being cleared. We just did not know if Ryan was going to be able to play.”
“I would not say it was a controversy. When you have two quarterbacks that have led your offense and have game experience, we came into this season without a quarterback who has taken a snap and now we have two that have not only started games but won games and been successful in games. I think both of them are getting better and better. They are both incredibly unselfish players. With Scotty and the determination he showed through this adversity, I am just proud of the way he has handled this very difficult situation. When it came full circle and he got his opportunity, he made the most of it. No, I would not say it is a controversy at this point, we do not even know when Ryan will be cleared to play. Right now coming out of this game, Scotty was our starter and that is where I am right now. We just have to look at it and decide where to go from here.”
“You have one of two choices. You have to get better through coaching or you have to throw it to somebody else. Those are your only two choices. I think every receiver has an obligation to catch a ball. That is why they call you a receiver and not a dropper. You receiver the ball, you catch it. We did not do a very good job of it. Sterling made a great catch down in the end zone for the jump ball. I thought Scotty did a nice job putting it up and giving him a chance but the dropped balls are definitely a concern. When you look at it, we are throwing 37 times you have to start to wonder if we are throwing it too much for the production we have throwing the ball at this point.
Dealing with Multiple Stoppages
“I think it is on them, and a credit to them. As a coach, there is not a lot you can do. I cannot go over there and sing and dance for them to keep them occupied during a four minute break while you are sitting there waiting. Just listening to Scotty walk through the offensive huddle. You hear Cano screaming ‘Do not let down. Do not lose our focus; we have to get this done.’ You hear the encouragement and the energy coming from this football team on both sides of the ball during those breaks. It was very encouraging. I thought this team did a great job of playing with a lot of energy.
Dixon 2,000 yards
“It is impressive and he is a talent. If we can get more productive in our passing game, I think it is a great combination. Poor Kenneth, he is getting boxes loaded, everyone coming up on him, bringing an extra safety down, he is having to earn every one of those yards he is earning this year. I thought he did an excellent job. The way the Scotty and Ryan had started playing, we just have to get to the point where we are becoming more productive at receiver. It is only going to help Kenneth that much more because then it will not be a one man show. He is a great young man. He is tough, physical, he can run, he’s got great vision, great balance. He is a tremendous talent. He is a great player. Like I said, he is a great young man with a phenomenal attitude and he is fun to coach because he is upbeat and positive. He always has something to say.
“I knew we wanted him. When we watched him play, we watched him as a punt returner and he is a football player. At inside receiver he does a great job. He had one drop tonight and bobbled a punt but as a true freshman for him to go out and do the things that he is doing on the field, I think every game that he plays he is going to get better. Our quarterbacks have great confidence in him getting open and catching the ball. That is why they are going to find a way to find a guy like that.
“We do not have a lot of speed. To be a receiver without great speed, you have to go up and win a jump ball. We have not been able to do that. I thought Jaydrick won with talent and technique. I thought Scotty laid a great pass and it was a great catch because he threw a lot of great passes tonight that were not caught. I think Coach Petersen and the other offensive coaches have worked very hard. It was nice to see it work the way it is supposed to work when you throw a deep ball.
Red Zone Scoring
“It was part of what we talked about when putting Kenneth Dixon in the backfield. We have to be able to run the ball down there. We cannot let people take that away. Scotty threw a great ball to Sterling. Sterling went up and made a great catch and we have not been making some of those plays. To see us make a couple of them in the passing game and then to be able to create that in the running game in the red zone, I think that will be huge for us moving forward. We have lost some close football games and have not been as productive as we need to be.
“We did not have to talk him into it. He wants to do it. He has played quarterback, and now he wants to pass. We are going to have to go to the drawing board and see what we can put together.”
“I think this team is very young. They have a freshman quarterback and I thought he really did a great job today and we tried to put a little pressure on him. I think they are playing a lot of young players. I know Coach Monken coming in; he is in the same situation that I am in trying to learn a little bit about your team and seeing how they are going to respond in pressure situations. He will continue to build with that team. I do not think that team has the experience of the other Southern Miss teams that I have seen.
“We talked about it at the beginning with what is there potentially. He got tested a couple times down field and had two interceptions as well as one go through his hands, I thought he could have had a third. I think Adairius Barnes is really playing well. He played over the top as a corner eating up some of the safeties zone in the middle of the field, doing not only his job, but somebody else’s. What I saw tonight is what I felt like he has the ability to be. It has just taken a couple games to get there. As a team we are evolving and we are getting better.
LA Tech Player Quotes
QB Scotty Young
On dealing with QB changes throughout the season:
“Ryan and I are really close, so whoever is out on the field, it does not really matter to us as long as we are doing what we need to help this team win. It has been a little bit of a roller coaster season between the two of us with him being injured and me being injured a little bit. The other guys definitely support whoever is playing.”
On dealing with stoppages of play throughout the game:
“It is pretty difficult. It was kind of a little bit of a killer of the mood whenever every time you go out there, you have to wait a couple of minutes. I tried to be a little bit more vocal than I usually am tonight, so hopefully that helped a little bit. Going forward, if it happens again, it was a good experience to just slow things down and focus on what you need to do, rather than focusing on the environment.”
On taking meaningful snaps for the first time in almost two months:
“It was awesome. It is why I am here. I love playing football, so anytime I can get on the field I am going to have a good time with it. I was really excited when they told me I was going to play this week.”
On the difference in practice during the
“What it came down to is I figured I might get a second chance. Ryan (Higgins) stepped in and has been doing a good job and I had kind of taken a back seat, but when he went down I saw the opportunity as a second chance and did not want to blow it.”
On running the wildcat formation:
“Throughout high school, I took snaps as the quarterback and you have to read it. I had to show them I knew how to read it. I think I gained their trust by doing that.”
On pointing out reads and calling out plays to offensive line while in the wildcat:
“When you are the quarterback, your responsibilities are to call out reads and I saw that watching film, so calling it out was good.”
On his 200-yard rushing performance:
“I was expecting that. Southern Miss did a good job of keeping it stacked. As the game progressed, it was a little harder to run the ball. Those guys are good, but I felt like our offensive line did a good job blocking and outside receivers did a good job blocking. They just helped me find holes.”
On how encouraging it is to see fellow RB Tevin King dressed out this week after injury:
“It is always good to see Tevin in practice. Tevin is a character. He always has laughing in the running backs room. Every time he dresses out, he is going to give his all and we cannot wait to get him back out there.”
On establishing the run early helping with confidence:
“It helped us out a lot. On the first play, they crowded the line pretty good and I bounced it. It just so happened that I got the run.”
On having a full back in the backfield being helpful:
“It is always good to take pressure off the offensive line and tell a full back to go get someone.”
On Scotty Young’s performance as the LA Tech quarterback:
“Scotty played a great game for us. He threw the ball well, handed it off well and played a good game.”
On playing style changes with different quarterbacks:
“We really do not worry about it. It is their job to lead us home and we just follow.”
On his two interceptions vs. Southern Miss:
“I just watched the quarterback’s shoulders and played off him. Once I saw him raise up, I ran for the ball and made a great play.”
On whether the quarterback’s movements helps with reading the play:
“Most of the time it does.”
On almost intercepting his third pass of the night:
“It was not too easy. It kind of came fast. I was not able to react to it.”
On the defense recording multiple interceptions in the past two games:
“Our defense has been playing some good games out there. Our defensive line sets us up for interceptions. I want to thank our defense for the interceptions we have had.”
On sensing a bowl game for this team:
“We are excited about it. We are just going to keep our heads down and keep fighting.”
Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken
On reflecting on the game as a whole:
“It is frustrating at times because see things that are signs of being a good football team, but we cannot get out of our own way with dropped balls, fumbles, running plays not the way they were designed. We find a way to do things that we do not normally do. You are never going to win that way. We played good enough early to give us a chance to win this game, but we did not take advantage of what was given to us.”
On starting the game off poorly:
“We go three and out the first possession of the game with three straight throws. That is no way to start the game, and then it is in the balance. We had everything there to play good football, and our inability to run the football early puts a lot of pressure on a freshman quarterback. I see a lot of fight, I see a lot of resolve, and they still love to play. We get a blocked punt and they drive down and score. There is going to come a day when we piece it all together and we will be a hard team to beat. I believe in our players, staff and this place.”
On whether it felt possible to come back with the game within reach:
“If you want to look at it like that, it was 13-6 and they score the touchdown, but we come right back and make a couple of plays and get a field goal. At the end of the day, when you cannot turn around and hand the ball off and you have an inexperienced quarterback, that is a recipe for disaster every time. You are going to put yourself in trouble more than you need to when doing that. That is where we need to improve as a staff and as a team.”
On the team playing hard despite the situation:
“There is no doubt that our team does not quit and it is hard to say that when we are the result of business and I get it. We need to play better and win more games, and that falls back on us as a coaching staff. There are too many things that we do that do not look like we want it to and that falls back on us. That is part of the process; finding out how to match your effort with the success that you need and piece it together. When it all comes together it will look really good but now we are not scoring enough and people are spreading us out.”