UTEP Football Media Luncheon Quote (10/1/18)

UTEP Football Media Luncheon Quote (10/1/18)


Opening Statement 
"Revisiting our game from last weekend, it was nice for us to get that turnover on the punt and to take advantage on the turnover. I was really pleased with the way we responded to a short field. In the Tennessee game when we got a short field, we didn't respond the way we needed to. In this game, we came out and took advantage of that. That's something that you've got to be able to do as an offense and as a football team in general, to be able to respond to plus field position like that. I thought we put together a really physical drive and put the ball in the end zone. It was really encouraging because again we were starting a brand new offensive line. We were piece dealing some spots together. As of Thursday, we weren't sure who was going to start with each particular position. Then we got down to where we got a group and we went with that group there. On that third drive of the game, we punched it into the end zone with good offensive blocking. It gave us the 7-0 lead, and it was a good feeling because it was the first lead that we've had this season. Then we were back with our mistake again. We fumbled a punt inside the 10-yard line and gave them good field position. They knocked it in on the very first play after that. So that got the momentum switched back onto their side. But again, it's still a 7-7 ballgame, and we didn't respond well there. We gave them another score defensively and then we came back and threw the interception and gave them another short field. Those two big mistakes there, with the punt return fumble and the interception where they got the ball at the 10-yard line. So, we can't do that guys. We just can't give up short fields like that, and we need to improve on that part of it. Right now, you look at where we are, the last two ballgames, we very well could have won. The things that kept us from winning were turnovers.  We're -6 right now in the turnover margin. Our team is getting to the point of doing everything but winning football games. We're doing everything you need to do but win football games. One of the reasons we're not winning ballgames is because of the turnover (margin). We need to create more turnovers, take advantage of the turnovers when we create them and eliminate the turnovers, especially in our end of the field there. Those were very dramatic in the outcome of this game. Talking about some other things after that, giving up the field goal at the end of the second quarter there when we had chance on fourth-and-2. We don't get it, we don't get the conversion and they come back and get a field goal there at the very end. We had a penalty at the end of the second quarter, and they got a field goal there. As you go back now, that was dramatic. You might not have thought about it at the time, but it put to a 24-7 halftime score, which very easily could have been (closer). We were almost in field goal range right there on that the fourth down. But if we get one more first (down), and then get a field goal there it's probably a 21-10 or a 21-14 game at the half. So those were some significant plays in the ballgame as well. The thing I liked most about the ballgame was that we come back 24-7 at halftime. Obviously (we) had some things that could have really broken a team's spirit and broken a team's back and did not. We responded by playing really good football in the second half, coming out and pretty much dominating the whole second half with what we did. We got it down to one last drive with a chance to win the football game because of the way our offense handled it and played much, much better in the second half. The way our defense responded throughout the whole game (had an impact). We gave up less than 300 yards of total offense. You take away the two short fields and it probably would have been really difficult for UTSA to move the ball the length of the field on a consistent basis. I felt that was pretty much the nature of what was going on. So, we gave them some momentum and gave them some scores but came back from a 24-7 deficit and took it down to the drive where we had a chance. We had a fourth-and-1, and really got caught into a personnel issue there. We threw a stop (pass route) and their defender did a nice job of breaking up the pass. The last second of knowing that Kai (Locksley) was not in the ballgame and going with Metzy (Ryan Metz) was what we had to go with there. Metzy (Ryan Metz) made a good throw, like I would expect him to do. It was nothing on him, but it took away the versatility of what we were doing.  I didn't want to put Ryan (Metz) in there and run him on a QB run play on fourth and short coming fresh off the bench without being loose. It kind of took away what our thoughts would have been on fourth-and-short game plan there. With that being said, I think our football team played a really good second half. I think they're doing the things that we need to do to win football games. I'm really pleased with being three people down on the offensive line with the continuity that we've reestablished (on the offensive line). Moving forward if we can remain healthy there with the five that we ended up playing, they proved that they can move the ball against a good defensive football team that's got some really good talent on it. It's going to be nice to go through one week of practice with the same five guys at the same spot. Hopefully we can do that this week and moving forward. As far as Kai (Locksley's) injury status right now, he's day-to-day. Initially we might have thought it was a high ankle sprain. It's not a high ankle sprain for Kai (Locksley). So, it's just kind of based on how his treatments go. Each day we'll know a little bit more about his injury. Dylan Parsee is out for the year with an ACL injury. So that's another season-ending injury for a starter. He's been playing outstanding. He's really stepped up and done some positive things for us. He's got a real hard work ethic. He's handling this setback very well, but he's going to be very much missed because he starts on all four of our special teams too. That's a big loss to our football team, losing him. He's been doing a lot of good things for us. I feel really bad for him as well. There's some other injuries that came from the game last week, and they'll all day-to-day right now. I don't have a whole lot of updates on those."
 
(On the marketing giveaway, this weekend)
"For the game this weekend, we're going to give out 1,000 of these (1988 replica jersey). The first 1,000 people that come to the game, we're going to give 1988 replica jerseys, which I think this is pretty cool. So, come get one everybody."
 
(On North Texas)
"Good challenge for us. A fun opponent for us to have a chance to play. They're playing at a high level. They're the Western Division Champions from the conference last year. They're coming to our stadium. It's exciting to have a team like that come in. We're looking forward to the challenge that we have. They're driven by their quarterback (Mason Fine) and what he does and how he leads the team. He does a tremendous job with that. They've got some good speed at receiver, a very solid offensive line. They have a really deep backfield with some good depth there. One of their best running backs, who I really, really like, I think had a season-ending injury this last ballgame, which would be a setback for them because he's a tremendous player. He'll be missed, and that's unfortunate for them because I really like what he does as a player. They're very versatile with what they do offensively. They run the ball and they throw the ball well. It's going to be a big challenge for our defense. It's a different type of challenge, more of a passing team. As you look in our last four or five games, we haven't really played against team that is known for their passing game. So that will be the challenge this week. We're going to try to slow down their offense and what they do when they throw the football. Defensively, I think they do a nice job. They're an odd front. We haven't played an odd front in quite a while. So that'll be an interesting match-up for us. They have some good statistics with what they're doing defensively. They had a tough loss last week to LA Tech, 29-27, where there were no points scored in the whole fourth quarter for that ballgame which was real unusual. It's unusual in any ballgame to go scoreless in the fourth quarter. So, they're coming off a tough loss, and I know they'll be ready to respond to that. But a good test for us. But just like I've told our guys regardless of what the line might be for our ballgame, regardless of anything, our football team is proving now that we can play with anybody and have a chance and should win some of these games. This one we look at the same way. If we prepare well and do the things that we need to do and get the cohesion at the spots (we've had injuries) then we can still raise our game and compete against the conference champions from last year. I truly feel like we can. Looking forward to having great preparation this week and getting ready for a big ballgame against North Texas. It's a good, fun challenge for us."
 
**QUESTIONS FROM MEDIA**
 
(On if the UNT quarterback doesn't play because of injury)
"I think it affects their game plan quite a bit, if he's not able to play. We're going to have to do a real in-depth study on who the backup is going to be and see what his strengths and weaknesses are. If we have to go back to high school tape or whatever, it may be a good fix. That's the important thing, really judging type of abilities he has. Is he a runner, what kind of routes does he throw the best and all those things like that. So that's one of the things that we'll do, just in case until we get any feedback or information on what the status is on their quarterback. We've been pretty good about releasing what's going on with Kai (Locksley).  We'll try to see with what we can gather on the status of their quarterback."  
 
(On if Kai Locksley will play and how the game plan would change if he doesn't)
"That's too early to say. I'm always optimistic. Knowing Kai (Locksley), knowing how competitive and how tough he is. That's the thing that Winston (Dimel) said about him because he's out there playing with him. He said 'Dad, he's the toughest, most competitive quarterback that I've been around.' So, with that being said, he's got a good chance of playing just because of who he is, how tough of a kid he is, how competitive he is and how much he enjoys playing. So, we'll see. It's just so early right now. The swelling was real minimal yesterday and this morning it was less even than that so that's always a good indicator. We wouldn't run Metz (Ryan Metz) nearly as much as we would run Kai (Locksley). Kai's ability to run is so tremendous. You saw it in the game Saturday how he can get outside. There were a couple of plays (at UTSA) where Kai got outside on defense and outran three or four guys getting to the boundary. He's one of the fastest guys on the football field and one of the most athletic guys on the football field. That's an attribute that you've got to use in every situation that you can. Metzy (Ryan Metz) is a solid runner. He can create some things if we have to in crunch time, but we wouldn't do as much (running) with him. Obviously, we'd play more to his strengths, which would be running an offense, experience and throwing the football. So those are the things that he does best."
 
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