Nov. 23, 2013
Louisiana Tech vs. Tulsa
Louisiana Tech Head Coach Skip Holtz
"It is frustrating to come out here on senior day with the respect that I have and this team has for this senior class and not get a win. We had been talking about the opportunity to play for something in November and I think this football competed hard. We just made too many mistakes, especially in the second half. We talked about the turnover bug, really the achilles heel for this football team at this point. We had four turnovers in the second half that made it very difficult to overcome. Our defense was able to make some nice stops to get off the field. The bottom line offensively we were not able to get enough productivity together to get the ball in the end zone and score some points. I believe in every one of our losses, we scored under 20 points and I think our defense is playing hard and creating some opportunities for us. We just have to get better as an offensive football team."
The stats were even, what was the difference in the game?
"On third down it was very balanced, when you look at it, we were both around 40 or 50 percent. I thought on third down there were some good things. We have a turnover that leads for seven points for them in the third quarter. We had another turnover that takes points off the board on a throw down to Sterling Griffin in the corner. The bottom line is being able to take the ball and move it down the field. We made some yards but we are not doing anything consistently enough. When you look at some of the sacks and loss of yardage plays they tend to pile up. Before the half I thought we had the opportunity to kick a field goal and took a sack that knocked us out of field goal range. We tried to get a completion to get about 10 yards and Ryan ends up taking a shot down the middle of the field and you do not get any points out of that. You got yards that make that stats look even; we just are not as consistent as we need to be as an offensive football team. When you look at it statistically Tevin King ran the ball for 100 yards and did some really good things but in the first quarter we did not have a first down. We came in here with the mindset that we were going to try and run the ball but they came in and said you have a young quarterback and we are going to make him throw it and beat us. I thought we did some things to spread it out in the second half."
Offensively, how did your players execute?
"At times, I thought they executed very well. But, I thought there were too many dropped passes and missed opportunities tonight. I thought Ryan did some really good things but some of the decisions he made, were decisions a freshman sometimes makes. I do not question his heart, toughness, drive, or determination but we have to get to where we can make better decisions in some situations like we had tonight."
Did you tell Ryan [Higgins] that you wanted 10 yards?
"I did not have an opportunity to tell him that. We were trying to get the ball down the field and took a sack. The next play we called a smash route into the boundary and he took the running back down the field. Ryan tried to make a play down the field throwing the ball. I would have loved to just take the completion and take ten yards but we did not have the opportunity to bring him over in between plays."
How tough was it playing without Kenneth Dixon?
"Kenneth is a workhorse and when things are not there for you, he still finds a way to make yards. Tonight I thought Tevin ran hard and Blake ran hard and did some things. Early in the game, we were forced to punt because we were not able to get some of those hard earned yards when they were loading the box. It was one of those things to where if we could make one miss early there is nothing behind them; we just were not able to do that. It is hard for me to evaluate if the game would have been different, because we did not have him. I thought Tevin and Blake stepped up and did some good things."
Is there anything else the defense could have done?
"They could have stopped the run late in the game, when they were running. After they threw their third interception of the game, I am not really sure how many times they threw the ball. They had the lead and with the way the game was going, we had to get off the field. They took that ball all the way down there and the clock went from nine minutes all the way to about five minutes on the clock and we finally stopped them on fourth and two but we were not able to get off the field earlier than that. I have a hard time saying our defense did not play well, I think they played their tails off tonight."
On whether the defense not getting off the field in the first quarter was the difference in the game:
"That very easily could have been the difference in the game. Especially since we were not able to get a stop late in the game and that is what a running team does, they wear you down. Offensively, we did not make a first down in the first quarter. We had about four three and outs to start the football game. Our defense was out there for a while but they created some turnovers and got off the field. Our offensive production, we have to be able to put up more points than we are right now."
On a bowl game opportunity being eliminated:
"We need to continue to develop some of our underclassmen that are still here and going to be back next season. We need to continue to develop Ryan, Scotty (Young) and other young quarterbacks. We need to continue to develop the way we are catching the ball. I do not know how many drops we ended up with total tonight but it was still too many drops for a team that had to start going to more of a passing game. We were not able to make a lot of things happen." "We have to continue to develop some of our younger players on offense and we have to recruit. That is how you get better. You develop the young players that you have and try to build your program moving forward. We have to recruit some guys we feel can come in here and give us a chance to compete for what we want, which is a conference championship."
On Logan McPherson rugby kicking rather than regular punting:
"McPherson is averaging six more yards a punt in rugby than he is in a traditional punt. It is not pretty, it is ugly but it gets on the ground and rolls. I do not know if it was the cold weather or what, but the ball did not seem to be popping off his foot the way it had all week. We had punted the ball, especially the rugby punts, much in practice all week. We went exclusively to the rugby punt because that is where we were having the most success and statistically. I would love to punt it regularly. It would not bother me if we never rugby punted again. You rugby punt out of necessity because you cannot kick it far enough so you have to hope for a roll and a bounce."
On whether the interception in the end zone looked like a push-off:
"It looked that way to me. I told them that there are two teams out here and we need to throw penalties on both when there are penalties. I am not asking for favoritism or anything special, I would just like to see a push off called a push off. They called it the way they saw and they told me they would try to do a better job of seeing everything."
"There are only a handful of guys out there and we certainly cannot blame the officials for this loss. We have plenty of things in our own house we have to get in order before. There were a couple of other calls I felt the same way, but the officials did not see it that way."
On whether there was a momentum shift from that questionable push-off:
"It was a big play in the game. It had momentum all over it because we had just taken the ball and driven from about our own 10 yard line all the way to their yard line. We were making some progress and it was hard late in the game not to come up with any points there."
Sr. WR Sterling Griffin
On the senior class and what they have meant to him this season:
"It meant a lot. Those guys really work hard every day in practice. They are always competing, trying to push one another and trying to get better. Even though the season has not been the way we wanted it, it made it a lot more fun. Going out to practice, competing and making practice fun with one-on-one's, team competition. The energy in practice is always fun. Those guys really wanted it, practiced hard for it, but the outcome was not what we wanted."
On the team welcoming him with open arms in his first season:
"I have made a lot of great relationships with those guys on the team, especially with the receivers like D.J. Banks, Jacarri Jackson, D.J. St. Julien and a lot of those guys like Justin Ellis and IK (Enemkpali). They welcomed me with open arms, treated me like a brother and like I was on the team for five-six years."
On the offensive struggles:
"Honestly, Tulsa had a great game plan. They watched film. They made the adjustments they needed. They played a great game. Defensively, they stopped us when they needed to and schemed us. You could tell they watched film and we did not execute. We made adjustments at the half when we came in to talk about it. In the second half, we came out wanting to keep drives alive and keep making first downs. I believe we made more first downs in the second half."
Jr. LB Tony Johnson
On seeing action on the field vs. Tulsa:
"It is just good to be back on the field. All my hard work is paying off and I am happy to be out there."
On the defense improving after last week's showing vs. Rice:
"I think that made us stronger. We are not a team that is going to lay down for anybody, so when Rice ran the ball like they did, we had to buckle our chinstrap and get it going."
On Tulsa RB Trey Watts:
"He is a good running back. He has a good offensive line. They came and executed and did what they had to do. He is a patient runner and very smart."
Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship
Talk about the turnover and touchdown.
"Brent (Guy) did a great job at halftime of emphasizing to the defense that we had to get the turnover. I thought Shawn (Jackson) was going to score, but to give us that short field it definitely gave us the spark we needed. After that I feel like the offensive line started to impose their will."
On the dominance of Trey Watts and Shawn Jackson:
"We continued to kind of see that as the game went on, I thought the same thing that Shawn was imposing his will and Trey just wanted to be fed the ball."
On the team's effort:
"One of the things we said before the game, and I am not one that believes in who wants it more than the other, was I really thought that we were going to have to be the tougher team. Being mentally tough and overcoming the elements and all the stuff for their senior night, and there comes a time where you have to be physically tough and I feel like we showed it."
On the amount of turnovers:
"I told Dane (Evans) after the game that very few times in his career is this going to happen and it come out good so enjoy it, it should not have been like that but it was."
On Watts' rushing stats:
"One of the things was that JT went over 2500 so I thought that was special that they got to be a tandem like that."
On whether it was difficult to not give up passing the ball:
"The first one was a tipped pass and the other two were just poor choices. He came off and he knew it immediately and those are the kind that you just cannot throw."
On the injury to RT Stetson Burnett:
"He performed well but I think he played below his ability. It means something to him and you can tell that and it was a special deal."