Quotes from Monday's football press conference

September 27, 2004 · MT Media Relations

Third quarter again seemed to be a problem against Louisiana-Lafayette. Is there anything to the problems the team has had in the third quarter this season? Whether it's the third quarter or any quarter it all comes down to executing and that's another quarter where we didn't execute. They outscored us 7-0 in the third quarter and most of the time it was our lack of execution, or penalties, just us hurting ourselves, and it wasn't just that quarter, it was throughout the game. We had 13 penalties to their five. We keep shooting ourselves in the foot.

 Is the defense taking your deep threat option away in the passing game?We took some shots at times but (Louisiana-Lafayette) stayed over the top and aren't going to let you have a shot at it. I thought the one Kerry got hurt on, it looked like he had possession and then when he hit the ground the ball came out. I thought he made a heckuva play on the ball. We took some shots but if they are going to play over the top then we take the other and I thought Clint (Marks) did a good job getting the ball to the others on that.

Anything you can practice to eliminate some of the penalties that are being called?You are going to have penalties in games. In fact, they could call one either time each team snaps the ball. I think the thing you look for is being consistent on it, and that's probably the troubling thing. What we have to cut out is we had one or two stupid penalties that hurt us and it's not intentional, but they are critical plays and that's where you shoot yourself. It's not just the penalties, it's making plays plays when you are in position. We had a critical error just before the half. It was a great coverage call and we just didn't do our job. Then we had some penalties that backed us up. You just have to turn the page and snap it again. There's probably one or two (penalties) there that were stupid penalties on our part, but some of the others, well, you can't tell your kids not to play aggressive. You hope it's seen on both sides.

How big was Louisiana-Lafayette's drive just before the half to tie the score? I thought it was one of the key drives in the game. They executed well. We made a big play where Jeff Littlejohn came through and caused a fumble and it bounces right back to them. I thought that was a key drive, no doubt about it, but I still thought our kids were fine at halftime. There was a key play, third-and-11, just hold them to a field goal right there and we don't execute. We don't do our job and that's what's critical.

Is there frustration from the fact the effort is there but the execution is not, at times? How do you fix it when a player is in position to make an interception or a play and doesn't? We do ball drills every day. The thing I do believe is these kids are trying. You have to have breaks in a game and right now we haven't caught a break. Maybe we will. You just have to continue working to get those breaks. These are two games in a row where we have had a chance to pick one off and we just don't. It's not that they don't want to. This means something to these guys and that's exciting. Nobody works harder than these kids or the staff I have up there right now. We will keep working and hope the breaks come to us, but you also have to make your breaks.

Is there anything you can relate to what coach (Darrell) Dickey and his team are going through at North Texas right now (as far as the tragedy surrounding their team in preseason) and how he is holding the group together? I talked to Darrell's wife earlier in the summer and he was really caught up with everything going on. We sent them things from our staff and players but we really have not talked about it since the season began. You think about those families and it keeps things in perspective.

North Texas is 0-4 but does the record indicate the team they really have? No, they are still three-time champions in this conference. They have had some tough opponents and a tough start, but they have had that before, too. Their conference plays starts now. As anyone in this conference knows, it's wide open. It will be our second tough league opponent on the road. We know what kind of team they have. Darrell and his staff do a great job.

Anything you can point to as far as how North Texas has remained so consistent during their Sun Belt winning streak the past three years? They have good players. Guys make plays. They have done a good job there. Go back to when they upset us in 2001, they gained confidence and this game has a lot to do with confidence. Confidence has a lot to do with making plays when you are capable of making a play. That's what you hope for and that's what this team does. They are 0-4 but I assure you they have a lot of confidence going into conference play.

Is your secondary getting to full strength now? I was really pleased with Demarcus Green last week. They are getting better back there, but we still have to do some better things technique wise. They have faced three really good quarterbacks. You can't make critical mistakes back there coverage wise and we did right before the half. We have to make sure the guys on the field are going to make plays when they have the chance or we are going to have to find others who can.

Have you enjoyed this series against North Texas maybe more than games against other league members? It's a good football team. Having been in Texas all the years I was (at UTEP and Baylor), I know the type of players they have and the kind of recruiting area they are in. I have known Darrell for a long time and our games have always been good games. We know they have a very good football team and we know the type of players they are going to have when we line up across from them. That's why they have been champions for three years now. The series is no different from any other in the league. It's a conference game and it's our next game. We have to make sure we don't beat ourselves. We are not good enough to have to overcome ourselves.

What did Louisiana-Lafayette do to take away your deep threats? They pretty much played two safeties on top the whole game and they were trying to take away Kerry (Wright) and the deep ball. We still took a few shots but their safeties did a good job.

Is that scheme a reaction to the speed your receivers have? I think so. I think their game plan was to stop Kerry and not allow him to make the big play and they did a good job with it.

Are you gaining more confidence in some of the other receivers? I have a lot of confidence in all of them. They are all stepping up and making big plays. You can tell by looking at the stat sheet each game that we spread it around pretty well.

Talk about the North Texas series. I really haven't played against them as much. I just take the approach that it's a conference game and we really need this win. North Texas is a great conference team. We have to go in there with our heads up and fight to get the win.

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