Coach Houston Weekly Press Conference Quotes

GREENVILLE, North Carolina – East Carolina fourth-year football head coach mike houston spoke to members of the media Tuesday morning ahead of Saturday’s American Athletic Conference home contest against Houston. The following comments are selected:

Opening statement

“Really disappointed last Friday night that we couldn’t get the win in Cincinnati, but very happy with the way our team competed and played, and I think the kids competed at an extremely high level in a tough environment on the road against one of the best teams in our league and one of the best teams in the country. We had our chances and certainly had our chance in the last practice of the game to win it. We just didn’t played the games there at the end. Cincinnati did that and that’s the difference between winning and losing. The players continue to be very motivated. That’s what made this group special this year, it’s is just their drive and leadership I expect we have a really good practice today we have a challenging opponent coming here on Saturday a scorching team from Houston They have won four of their last five and at the during this period, with u average 45 points per game. I think Clayton (Tune) is probably the best quarterback we’ve faced. year, he is having a phenomenal year. Nathaniel (Dell) might be the best receiver we’ve faced all year and they have other guys too. They have several receivers who are dynamic threats, they have a very solid tight end, they have great punching for the running back and a solid offensive line. That’s why they score the way they do. They are long and athletic defensively. They are very dynamic in the special teams. It’s going to be a big challenge on Saturday, they come 6-4 like us and they are 4-2 in the conference. It’s a huge game for us. We are delighted to be back at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and are expecting a big crowd on Saturday and would be disappointed with anything less. This is a special group that we honor on Senior Citizens Day. This is a group that was here for the most part when I was hired. There are a few that have since been added, but this group has really led the program’s turnaround. They invested, they led, they worked and got a chance to honor them before the game and then the big thing that I challenged the roster with was to honor them with the way we play the game. That’s a big game for us. It’s the next game. It’s the most important game of the year. It’s the only one we have this week, but it’s also a special for this group and so I expect them to have a great training week. Expect us to play well on Saturday, and it should be a fantastic game between two very good football teams.”

On senior day emotions

“Well, that’s what I’m going to talk to them about and what this band is about, is always trying to control your emotions to some degree. I mean, it’s definitely a chance to honor them and I still remember my senior day, We all do that. You just want to make sure you’re playing the game you envision on senior day. So I think it’s a mix of dealing with those emotions and then using of those emotions to fuel you. This day will be very emotional for our fanbase, it will be emotional for me for the same reasons this group achieved so much. I will never forget them, and they will always be a part of Pirate Football.

Thoughts on the making of Virginia

“First of all, it’s horrible. It’s devastating. I can’t imagine going through this, it’s quite painful to hear about it and watch it. You spend so much time with these kids and you you get so attached to them. It would be very much like your own children. I think it’s a parent’s worst nightmare with something like this happening. Our thoughts and prayers have been with them all week, what they’re going through you shouldn’t be going through and it’s a terrible story. I just hope they’re able to process this appropriately and honor the lives of those who are lost. We continue to Pray for the two young men who are still in hospital and hope they can get through this as well as possible, but it’s hard to put into words.”

On what Holton Ahlers served on the program

“I’m just really proud of him. When he decided to come back for his final year of eligibility, you always want to see guys maximize their potential. I just think about the work he’s done in the offseason and the how he’s prepared this year, has allowed him to raise his level of play to a point where I think he’s playing at the highest level of his career, and I think he’s maximizing his God-given ability .I’m just really proud of him, he’s just a special kid, and obviously we’re really close and I care about him so much.I’m just grateful that we spent time together and just excited to see him finish his career here “I hope Saturday will be another great performance for him but also for us. He meant a lot to our football program and meant a lot to me.”

On what it means to end the season strong

“Well, I think the most important thing is to stay focused on Houston right now. I think that’s very important. It’s a chance to win number seven. I think that’s the next big step. for this team. Obviously how we play the next few weeks is going to dictate where we go in the playoffs. We have to focus right now on a really good Houston team and try to finish things here at home with a win. Be a great way to end the regular season at home and I think we just have to stay focused on that.”

On CJ Johnson and by Keaton Mitchell health and calls in the Cincinnati game

“First of all, from a health standpoint, we came out of Friday night very well. Obviously, significant precautions were taken with Keaton and CJ on Friday night and our medical staff did a great job. I think the medical staff in Cincinnati really stepped up and did a great job helping us there After a thorough evaluation Keaton and CJ were cleared of anything serious we expect the two are doing something today in training expect them to be probably at full speed by tomorrow and we are both planning to play on Saturday and we are grateful for that It was a very game competitive. I know there are a lot of calls that people question, and I spoke with the Director of Officials and shared my thoughts there. At the end of the day, we didn’t We don’t have to make plays at the end of the match to win r the game. It’s ours. We have to play better and we have to coach better, but that’s in the past. You have to focus on the next one.”

Taking anything from last year’s game against Houston

“It’s a quality program. They were a 12-win team last year and I think they’re just as explosive and talented this year. Just a really solid football team. I think just know who they are talent wise and the fact that they just won four of their last five they are playing well right now they are one of the best teams in our conference and their transition to the Big 12 next year with Cincinnati and UCF. They’re in the middle of transitioning to a different league and I’ve used that from a recruiting perspective this year and in this recruiting cycle. They’re as talented as anyone. who we’ll see. I think that’s the most important thing I take away from it, it’s just that we have a big challenge.”

On Houston QB Clayton Tune

“He’s playing as well as any quarterback we’ve faced this year. I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. I think like Holton, he’s good in the pocket as far as the identifying covers, defenses, pressures and making sure they “I’m in the right protection. I think he does a great job with decision making and with the guns he has around he can go to a lot of different people. It’s not like it’s just Dell-centric, its mobility has added an even bigger dimension. They run him a little on the quarterback design runs, he scrambles a lot and he throws great on the run. He has over 500 rushing yards on the year, in addition to 3,000 passes, completing 70 for 31 touchdowns. He plays at a special level. This creates a lot of challenges for us. I can promise you that the defensive staff haven’t slept much. I’m not going to sleep much this week. They’re working really hard to get the guys ready to try and slow them down a bit and try to get some stops. I don’t think you’re going to stop a player or an offense of that caliber. You should try to slow them down, stop where you can, and force turnovers. You do things like that to try to get them off the schedule. I just think it’s going to be a huge challenge on Saturday.”

On special teams play last week

“I think some of our special teams played really well on Friday night. Our punt unit had their best night of the year. Luke (Larsen) averaged 42 and some change almost 43 yards by punt. I thought his placement was good and our gunners did a really good job of covering there. I think we need to be better at punts, protecting Malik (Fleming) and giving him opportunities to field the ball and return the ball right there. We knew Cincinnati’s punters were at an elite level, so we need to do a better job against in that situation. Our kick coverage “Send outside that one was okay that night but that one was obviously important. We need to attack better, that’s what it is. We made first contact at the 15-yard line with our strength player just l at, the three were right next to him. I thought he was about to make the tackle, he was shot in the back and knocked to the ground. grass but then we had two or three other guys there to clean it up, and we just had to tackle. Our failure to make that tackle there obviously resulted in huge play and explosive play, a seven-point score you just don’t want to give up. We have a real challenge this week. Their kick returner averages 40 yards per return. Dell is averaging around 15 yards per return and in punt return distance. They have two dynamic returners right there in the kicking game and we need to improve on that this week and it needs to be another play where we play at a really high level. »

On At Mason Garcia’s red shirt and trying to get him some reps before the season ends

“I think now you don’t care; you don’t care whether you should or not. You kind of have free rein now whenever there’s an opportunity he can go and I’m not going to sit here and say we’re going to spin him or anything like that because when the day comes and he’s the starting quarterback you just have to be conscientious in how you manage that, but certainly with the secure red shirt, whenever he is needed, he is now available without any kind of thought.”

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