Houston Prepares For Trip To Greenville


Opening Statement:
“Any time you lose, it’s never a good thing and people ask what can you get out of it that’s positive. It was a difficult loss. We have a good game this week and we have to get ready to go to Greenville, NC and play East Carolina. Our guys are looking forward to it.”

On the Colorado State game:
“Mark Hafner continued to play well. He has been a leader for us offensively and for the receiving corp. He is a good target for us in the red zone and obviously that is translating into a lot of points for us. Our offensive line protected pretty well for the number of times that we threw the ball. The emergence of Bryce Beal as a running back is really helping us. He is a young guy, a true freshman. The fumble is concerning to us, but we are working on that. He is guy that had 14 carries for 96 yards (last week); right at seven yards a carry. His best days are ahead of him. Offensively, there were some good things but the turnovers have been the difference. Phillip Hunt had two sacks and showed some real leadership. Kenneth (Fontenette) was really physical and played a big role in our game. When they had to in the second half, our defense came up with some big plays and a stop.”

There were some good things out of special teams. Jordan Mannisto was really not noticed. One of the best things that you can do, as a special teams guy, is not be noticed. His kickoffs really made a difference in our game. Wesley Scourten, the Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week, blocked a field goal, blocked another field goal that made it and then blocked the last punt. Chase Turner punted well. He had a 50.5-yard average.

We had some good personal performances in the game. Any time you are in a game, in my experience, it comes down to three things, turnovers, big plays and third-downs. We lost the turnover battle. We have to protect the ball better. We lost the big play battle and in third-downs we were about even.

There were some positive things out of that but there are things that we need to correct as a team to win. We have to start faster and not put ourselves in a hole and have to roar back and run out of time. That frustrates everyone and we are tired of that so we have to address that. A lot has been asked about our decisions at the end of the game and if I had to I would do it all over again.”

On East Carolina:
“Skip Holtz has done a great job (at East Carolina). He has built the team from the ground up. You see it with how they are playing. The difference has been on defense. Greg Hudson is doing a great job as the defensive coordinator. They have 10 or 13 guys that are juniors or seniors and they have been in that system for a few years. They know what they want to do. They have two big defensive tackles on the inside and experienced linebackers.”

Offensively it’s the same thing. They have a senior quarterback. (Patrick) Pinkney he is the guy that makes it all go. He can move around, he can throw and he can put pressure on you on the perimeter with the read option. They run a variety of different things. They have three real good running backs. They have a big back, a little bitty guy and then a real scary guy that is a little bit of both at kick returner. They have some weapons and some big, tall receivers. They start out trying to put pressure on you and create mismatches. They are doing a nice job, with a veteran team that has been in the system for a while and you can see that.

Special teams wise they are solid. They won the Virginia Tech game on a blocked punt. The difference in the Tulane game was a blocked field goal they ran back for a touchdown. They have been able to win the close games and make some plays in the end. It’s a big challenge for us but we are looking forward to it. It’s our first conference game and like I told the players whether we have won every game or lost the last four games it wouldn’t matter because we are now in conference play. We still have all our goals out in front of us for this year. It will be a great atmosphere and a great test for us.”

On team injuries:
“Ell (Ash) is still not ready to go. He has a high ankle sprain. Andre Kohn is still not ready to go. I would say it would be pushing for this week and close for the UAB game.”

On the team feeling emotional fatigue:
“Fatigue is fatigue, whether it is physical or emotional. There are a lot of things going on and some of the guys have other issues with their family but for the most part the situation now is a lot better than it was last week. I know our guys feel a lot better about coming to their own locker room and doing things the normal way. That helps things tremendously.”

On possibly being one play away from winning the last two games:
“We are a better team than that and every coach would say that about his team. Being 1-3 would bother anyone. I don’t like losing. You figure out what the problems are and you address those. There are some positives that came out of those games. This is a result-oriented profession and a result-oriented game. We are where we are right now but more than anything else we are in conference play and this is for all the marbles.”

On the team’s slow start to games:
“We started slow as a team the last couple weeks. We aren’t big into excuses. Yes we moved the game time and we have been staying in hotels and that might have something to do with it. I would be concerned if we started like that all the time. We have done some things to shake it up a little bit. We have addressed that and we are doing some things team wise to switch it up a little bit.”

SOPHOMORE QUARTERBACK CASE KEENUM:
On the offense not getting a quick start in the past games:
“It’s not just one thing; it’s a combination of things here and there that don’t get us rolling. But when we do get rolling, we are able to keep it going. We just need a little kick start.”

On having a quicker tempo in the second half versus the first half:
“At certain times, we stop ourselves. Whenever we don’t stop ourselves, we seem to get it done. Our own mistakes are killing us. It’s not only that; there are a combination of things.”

On playing a complete game:
“You never want to play a game down to the last play. We don’t want to start the game off 21-0. It would be a whole lot nicer to come out a little harder in the first half and score more points. That is what we are working on. We are trying to come out strong and play a complete game.”

SENIOR DEFENSIVE END PHILLIP HUNT
On a quick start for defense:

“With a quick start, it helps the defense out a lot. We have to start early as a defense. We need to stop the runs and the big plays in the beginning of the game to gain momentum on a defensive standpoint.”

On his two sacks against Colorado State:
“It felt great. It’s like taking blood as a shark. It makes me feel like doing it every game. Hopefully, it is a start for a new beginning.”

On the game against ECU:
“East Carolina is ranked. They have beaten good opponents. I plan to start a new beginning by winning this game. I hope it changes the perspective of our season so far.”

SENIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN SEBASTIAN VOLLMER
On the energy that Sir Vincent Rogers and Vollmer showed at Colorado State:
“We need to capture energy. We don’t want to have to feel like we need to catch up in a game. We need to create energy and keep it.”

On the play calling for the last play of the game:
“For that situation, it didn’t work out, but I still think it is good play calling. We still had time on the clock, and we could’ve kicked a field goal and tied it, but we wanted the win.”


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