Louisiana Tech Press Conference Transcript: Oct. 29

Oct. 29, 2012

Head coach Sonny Dykes

Opening Comments:

"Any time you go on the road and win, I think it is a positive. It is hard to play on the road. I think we have done studies before, looked at some stuff, and I think about a third of the teams that went on the road this week in college football won. As the season progresses, I think road trips get more and more difficult."

"Like I said, it was good to go out there and get a win. Defensively, I thought we played very well. We gave up a couple of plays late in the fourth quarter, which was a little disappointing, but I thought overall it was a really good performance."

"New Mexico State coming into the game was playing pretty good on offense. The quarterback is a talented guy and has a good arm. Their two receivers are probably as good as any in the conference. Austin Franklin is a really good player, and we contained him most of the game. He had a big play in the game, but I thought we did a good job against those guys overall."

"So, it was a good performance defensively. I think we played better than the last two weeks. We are starting to come together and playing with a little more confidence. It was good."

"We got a couple of injured guys back. Chip Hester came back and played in a limited role, but played, and this week I think we will probably get Justin Ellis and Solomon Randle back, at least we are hoping to. I think that will help us. It is good see."

"Mike Schrang I think did well. I thought our pass rush was pretty good at times. Again, I thought we made more competitive plays on the ball then we have been making, so those were positives I saw defensively."

"Offensively, it was kind of a frustrating night. We just had a hard time getting much going. I thought New Mexico State had a really good game plan. They did some things to take away some of our running game, and we did not have as many answers probably as we needed to."



"It was good for us to be challenged that way. I think we probably had a little bit of the sense that we could just roll the ball out there and score 50, 60 points. I think that game proved that we could not. We dropped really two touchdown passes, missed three fields and got stopped at the 1-yard line. So, if you do those kinds of things, you typically get beat."

"The good thing was we did not turn the ball over and created three turnovers defensively. As we have said many times. I think that is the key for us winning and losing football games is winning the turnover battle, and I thought we did that well this week. As long as we continue to do that, I think we will continue to win games, but that is going to be important to us."

"We have to play better on offense. That will be something we have to improve on this week, and continue to get better on defense. That is a tough environment to play in. You can sit around and make a bunch of excuses about it, but I thought overall I was pretty disappointed with the way we played offensively. But, it was good to get a win."

On lack of the "Big Bone" Package against New Mexico State:

"We used it some a little bit early. What we tried to do was get a look at how they were playing certain situations and how they are playing us. A lot of it has to do with matchups. What are we getting out of it? Are we getting one-on-one matchups? Are we getting matchups that are favorable to us?"

"We had opportunities when we spread it out a little bit more to throw some screens, complete some screens and make big plays on the perimeter. We probably did not make as many plays out there as we needed to or make good decisions at times. I think that hurt us."

"Like I said, they did a good job against us. We did not run it very well until right there late in the third quarter and really in the fourth quarter we started being able to run the ball a little bit better than we had."

"That is typically what happens in your run game is if you are a good running team, you are usually going to run the ball better in the second half than the first because you want the defense to wear down a little bit."

On missing Matt Sheppard at right guard last week:

"Well, I think it obviously had an impact. We had to move Oscar (Johnson) to right guard and Larry Banks to left tackle. I think that did take a little bit of our consistency away when you have to move two players."

"Larry had been playing some at tackle, but obviously not as much as he played on Saturday. He is going to continue to get better and better. He is a talented guy. He is still learning how to play at a high level. I thought Oscar played okay at guard, probably not as well as he has been playing at tackle."

"I just did not think we played as well up front as we have been. I thought we were a little soft in the run game, pads were a little high and we just did not have that kind of energy we have been having offensively and just seemed a little bit dead."

On the offense having an off night:

"I think it is always our jobs to get them ready to play. It all starts with me. I just felt like we did not have that same pop we have been having. We went into halftime and challenged them a little bit."

"We came out in the second half and played with more effort and energy than we had early, but it is my job to get them ready to play, and I obviously did not do a very good job of that this week."

On what he told the team at halftime:

"Well, just a bunch of stuff you cannot print. The big thing was having them play hard. They are not just going to give us the ball and say you have a good offense, now go score on us. You have to earn it, and that is what college football is all about is earning it every Saturday. We just did not have the right mindset, and that starts with me."

On the New Mexico State game being similar to games last season:

"I thought it was really similar to a lot of the games we played last year on the road because Ryan (Allen) flipped the field for us a couple of times, which was huge. The 85-yard punt downed at the one that was a big play in the game. I thought he punted well all night, and I thought we covered punts well all night as well."

"It kind of goes back to last year with no turnovers offensively, got three on defense, played good defense and punted well, and we scored enough to win, but never really got into a rhythm offensively. It was pretty similar to some of the road games last year."

On this week's game against UTSA:

"They are actually a good football team, and you can see them improving. I think what has happened is they played a pretty favorable schedule early and gained a little confidence. I really think they did a smart thing scheduling and got some confidence, and then they played some of the better teams in the WAC."

"I think you can see them adjusting to the speed of the game. I think they are playing better and better. It is kind of the perfect storm for them in a positive way just the fact that you get to win those games and get confidence, and then you play some of your more difficult teams and now you have adjusted to the speed of the game."

"They are a team that gets better and better. They are very well coached. They line up correctly defensively. They have good technique. They are in the right spots. Offensively, they execute and I think really that is what offensive football is all about."

"You can see they have an idea of what they are doing on offense and know what they want to do. The quarterback makes good decisions, and they are a team that has really done a good job taking care of the football, especially early in the season. They won the turnover margin big every week, and I think that has led to the success they have had."

On UTSA being an up-and-coming program:

"I have not really [kept up with it], but they are kind of the sleeping giant as far as the program, because it is the only program in San Antonio. San Antonio is one of the Top 10 cities in the U.S. It is growing incredibly fast, that part of Texas is."

"The high school football in that part of Texas has gotten really good. You would assume they would be able to find players. They are playing in the Alamo Dome and averaging over 30,000 people a game. The support is there and I think they have a lot to sell to recruits." "Larry (Coker) is a really good football coach. He knows what he is doing. He knows how to build a program and he is doing it the right way. They are a really young football team. If you look at their roster, I lot of the guys that are playing for them are sophomores and younger players. They are going to continue to do nothing but get better and better."

On New Mexico State's defense compared to past opponents:

"I think going into the game we felt like we could move the ball. I think we had some good matchups and thought we could block them up front. We thought we could make some plays. It always comes down to how well you play and how well you execute. We just did not execute very well."

"We were a team that coming in was phenomenal in the red zone as far as scoring touchdowns, and they held us to three field goal attempts and we missed all three of them. We got stopped on fourth-and-1 on the 1-yard line, so it was just a bad performance by us and again, you have to give them credit."

"They did some good things from a schemes standpoint. Their kids played incredibly hard. That is the hardest they have played this year without a doubt. I thought their kids played hard, fought hard. They had them ready to play. I think we were fortunate enough to make some plays and win the game."

On studying road games:

"You know, not really. It is one of those things you always look at and you are always trying to see trends in college football and follow what is happening. It was a frustrating game, but it is tough to win on the road."

"We expect to play better than that. We talk all the time about playing to our standard, regardless if you are playing somebody who is supposed to be better than you or worse than you. You want to put your best foot forward and play at an incredibly high level. And really that is what sports are all about is going out every day and pushing yourself and challenging yourself."

"I felt like defensively we played well and played hard. We did some good things on special teams, but offensively we lagged behind."

On the game being a wake-up call for the offense:

"We will see. We will see how they play on Saturday. The good thing is that happens. It happens with people. It happens all the time where sometimes you just think it comes easy, and I think what happens when that happens is you try to start creating a lot of things that are not there and seeing a lot of things that are not there."

"I have been lucky to coach really good offenses in the past, and it is something that happens usually when you start playing well is you have a game where a lot of factors come in. They do a good job scheming you. You do not play as well at a spot here or a spot there and you look up and you are struggling and guys get frustrated because to an extent it has been easy and it is the first time we have had to deal with adversity."

"That was the thing. We did not deal with it probably as well as we needed to. We will find out what we can do this week. We are going to challenge them and push them in practice, and we expect to play better than we did Saturday."

Senior Wide Receiver Myles White

On his offensive performance compared to the rest of the offense:

I really do not think about stats as much as getting the win. I just did what I had to do for the team really. Our scheme called for that matchup and I just executed it. I just did my job.

On preparing for the final month of the season:

We are not taking any team lightly. We have to step our game up some more, and showing this last game anything can happen. We expect to be great so we have to execute at all times.

On the New Mexico State game being a wakeup call for the offense:

Like coach Dykes says, we cannot just roll the ball out there and score. We have to perform every week. We kind of came out lackluster and we put on a mediocre performance, and we do not tolerate that.

On what caused the lack of energy:

I do not know. That is to be unknown. I know we have to fix it this week.

On the attitude of the offense during the game on the sidelines:

We kept our composure. That is what is good about being in kind of an older group is that we are able to keep our composure and win the game first. A lot of teams, when you are a younger team, can run into a wall and end up losing the game. I am proud of the fact we stuck in there to win the game at least.

On leaning on the special teams and the defense:

It was normal because they are our teammates and brothers. We grind with them every single day. It was not anything out of the norm just to rely on them. That is what a team does. When one end is falling, the other is supposed to lift them up and that is what happened on Saturday.


I really do not know too much because I have not gotten a chance to look at the film, but we are just going to take them like every team we have this year. Try to perform and put as much points as we can up on the board.

On transition from inside to outside receiver:

It has been fine. I have kind of been all over the map this year, inside and outside. I just take it in stride and do what the team asks me to do.

On difficult of not becoming lax in this offense:

It can be really difficult, and you can make excuses all the time. 28 points is not a bad outing, but for the type of talent that we have on our offense, and the type of performances we are consistently showing, it is a bad performance. Every week, if we know that we can put up 50 to 60 points then that is what we should do.

Senior Safety Chad Boyd

On this game feeling like last year's games:

It did. It felt similar to the last two years. It was a very similar game to two years ago when we played over there. We know our offense will come around. We have enough faith in those guys. They have held us up this whole year. Our defense we finally came together pretty good. We stopped them a lot of times on third down. Had some big stops on third and one, fourth and one. We had the fumble recovery. They false started on a quarterback sneak. We just played together and played well, and it ultimately came together for a good win.


Every team during this year can be upset. We just have to go out there and play to our best potential and hopefully come out with a win. They are going to come ready to win. They had a good season at the start, but has kind of tailed off. We are just going to go out there and practice hard and get ready for Saturday.

On the improvement of the defense stopping teams on third downs:

It has been a big emphasis at practice. A lot of times, coaches are yelling out what the down and distance is. We yell back that it is third down or first or second. We just try to put ourselves in good position by holding them to short yards on first and second down so it is challenging for them to get a first down completion or a long run where they have to get seven, eight or nine yards. That is a big emphasis and it has been working for us.

On the defense being a major factor in the win:

We know we are a good unit, just certain circumstances we just have not been able to play our best. You could say injuries or effort or things of that nature. We know we have the capability to be great. We know we have all the guys we need on our unit to make plays on any given situation. Just being able to play two solid games and to hold our heads high knowing we did our part it feels good. We know we have a lot more games ahead of us and we have to keep playing the way we can.

On if the offense has kept the defense's spirits up this year:

All of those guys have. We compete with them all the time. We go against them every day and we know what they are capable of. They know what we are capable of. A lot of times in practice, we will stop them on certain situations. Every day is different. We cannot just look at it as though we play good against our offense at practice so we should be alright for the game, knowing that that team is going to come out with something different, something new that we have not seen. We just have to be able to take it in. Be able to play hard and play back. Those guys are always good for us. We will get down early like we did against Texas A&M, then play pretty good towards the end, and the offense is right there and came back. We just have to find a way to not put ourselves in a hole, just play consistent the whole game.

On the impact of it being homecoming week:

For our seniors, this is our last time. It is hard to believe we only have four more games left. The other day I was like, `what week are we in?' It was week 10 of the college football season and I said `oh man, I am getting too old.' We do not have that many games left, but we are going to go out there and play hard and make each one count.

On experience being a reason for the defensive improvements:

We have young guys stepping in at certain key roles due to injuries and things of that nature. The simple fact of getting more reps, more practice time, more reps with the ones and things of that nature just gets you ready for game speed. Keep staying focused is the biggest thing though. It is easy to get distracted. As long as we stay focused on the task at hand and be able to practice hard, we should be able to do good on Saturday.

On getting turnovers being a pride thing:

The biggest thing is always, if the opposing offense does not score we have to get the ball. We take a big pride in getting turnovers, even at practice. The play might be dead, but we are still trying to get the ball or make sure we get an interception. A lot of times it is just predicated on our effort. Like this past Saturday, they fumbled the snap, but we outhustled them to get to the ball. We wanted to make sure to get good field position for our offense. Even if, let us say we are not in the best opportunity to make the play, we force it due to our good play and good effort. We take pride in that and ultimately the coach's say the team that gets the most turnovers and wins the hidden field advantage most of the times win the game.

On moving up in the polls:

It is a good feeling. I have never gotten use to waking up the next morning to look at the polls and seeing your team up there. It has been kind of good the last couple of weeks. It is a great feeling. We could easily be higher than what we are if we did not take the loss against Texas A&M, but we cannot go back and take that back. Just to know that this team has done so much for this university, this area, and just see our name up there with some of the great teams that have been consistent in all the years, it is a good feeling for us.

On ever getting interceptions against Colby in practice:

He really does not. If the big play is not there, he checks down and throws the short route. He makes sure he stays on top of his game at practice also. It is tough to go against Colby, but every once in a while we will get him.


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