Mike Price Media Luncheon Quotes
October 1, 2012
(Thoughts on Saturday’s 28-18 loss at East Carolina) “It was a most unusual game this weekend … one of many since I’ve been here with the weather the way it was. For the fifth straight game we came out with energy. We were enthusiastic and ready to play. On the opening kickoff we knocked out their number one running back, which was a mistake, because the number three guy came in and did a super job. We put together a 98-yard touchdown drive. They did a nice job with their punting game. Our possessions were backed up quite often.
“We established the run. Nathan Jeffery is back and playing well. He survived the game and it looks like he’s back to his original form. Looking at the play selection, we ran 19 times on first down and passed only nine times. We would like to be more balanced. They blitzed and we hit the blitz checks perfect. Nick [Lamaison] was on rhythm throwing and we protected well. Then East Carolina drove down the field and the big play, and most disappointing play, was probably when we had [Vintavious] Cooper tackled and didn’t wrap him up. We pride ourselves on finishing plays. We let up because we thought he was tackled, and he broke free and ran to the three-yard line. It was an excellent effort on his part.
“We got the ball back and put together another good drive and ended with a field goal, so it was 10-7. Then East Carolina put a drive together and marched down the field. The clock said 8:03 and the wind started to pick up. They had the ball on our six-yard line and they called the game because of lightning. Both coaching staffs knew [the storm was coming]. We prepared everybody and told the trainers, so it wasn’t a surprise.
“As soon as we came back Shane [Huhn] picked off the first pass for an interception. He has been a backup playing primarily on special teams. He played about 70 plays at East Carolina and did an excellent job. It’s good to see those young guys filling in. We come out in a no huddle paydirt hurry up offense with [Carson] Meger [at quarterback]. We were trying to surprise them and that didn’t work. East Carolina drove down and threw a great pass and their guy made a great catch in the end zone, and it was 14-10 at the half.
“On our first possession [of the second half] it was really pouring down rain. We got a bad snap and had our first fumble. By the end of the third quarter they got another TD to go up 21-10. We came back early in the fourth quarter and drove to the 20-yard line. Things were looking good. They blitzed and Nick [Lamaison] threw the hot over the middle. There was no receiver there and the defensive back picked it off to stop the drive. Then East Carolina got off a bad punt. We got good field position, drove down there and barely missed the field goal. It was a good solid kick. Then we got another interception and came right back, and they blitzed and we threw another pick. And one play after that, we missed a couple of tackles and they ran it in and it was 28-10. They kicked off, Autrey Golden had a 96-yard return for a touchdown, we got the two-point conversion and we were down by 10. We recovered the onside kick and didn’t take advantage of it. We fought all the way down to the very end and the last play.
“Statistically, they beat us in almost every category. Turnovers are always important, and we had been really good in turnovers up until this game. I think the big statistic was third downs. We were real poor. We practice that in practice, and we have a plan for each of those situations. But the real key, I think, is what you do on first and second down. Our third downs are miserable and we’ve got to do a better job making less distance for ourselves on third down.”
(On Nick Lamaison’s performance)
Nick’s passes were high. His interceptions were high. He had a tight end open down the middle and threw it high. He had Jordan Leslie and Michael Edwards open down the field and threw it high. He was off. He threw everything high, and I think we can correct that in the coming week.”
(On recovering from the ECU loss)
“It was sure a disappointment. And it’s my job to get our players back. We’re circling the wagons, and I think character is one of the best things that we have. We’ll bounce back. We’ve been ready for every game so far. It’s not easy being 1-4. Nobody likes it. They’re tired of me talking about it, and I’m tired of them talking about it. We’re tired of traveling. We need to get refreshed and re-motivated, and we will.”
(On the running backs)
“We’d like to get Nathan Jeffery 30 carries a game. Xay [Williams] will be out for a couple of weeks. He has an AC separation. He’s hurting pretty good. L.A. Dowell and Josh Bell are playing really well on special teams. They will both be in there [at running back]. They are very good at pass protection, picking up the blitz and running inside.”
(On DeShawn Grayson wearing Richard Spencer’s jersey) “I don’t know if we will do that for every game. We did that with Braxton Amy one year. We’re sure hoping to get Richard back in the future. He’s got a redshirt year. We’d like to see if he can come back his senior year.”
(On assessing the team’s quarterback play) “It has been OK. It needs to be better. Our offense isn’t doing well at all. You can’t score 20 points a game and win in this league.”
(On the offense struggling and the defense playing well) “That’s probably the biggest frustration. We just need to make plays and do the little things correctly and that will take care of things. We need to find the right blend mixing the run with the pass and make the right calls.”
(On having a lot to play for, despite the 1-4 record) “It is a long season. We still have a lot of goals that can be reached. We have to take it one goal at a time and start by beating the next team [on the schedule] SMU. It’s not over, it’s just starting.”
(On the SMU game)
“We’re looking forward to playing at home. It’s going to be an advantage for us. SMU has played a hell of a schedule too. They played Texas A&M, they played Baylor and they played very well against TCU. SMU is playing really well. They had a safety get hurt in their last game, but they’ve pretty much stayed injury free. They’re solid. They love to compete against us, we love to compete against them, and we’re glad they’re coming here.
“June Jones likes to fool you into thinking it’s all about the pass and that they have a passing team. They’ve got one of the best quarterbacks ever to play high school football in the state of Texas. Garrett Gilbert has as strong of an arm as anybody playing the game of football. He started 12 games for Texas. He has played in a lot of stadiums and he knows what he’s doing. June Jones is one of the best quarterback coaches in the country. But don’t let them fool you. Zach Line is leading the conference in rushing. He is a big, low running back and they give it to him on traps and draw plays. He has blended the run in there while Gilbert is catching up with his philosophy and getting better with throwing the ball every game.
“Their defense is playing so great. They have two huge giants at defensive end. Kevin Grenier is a big tall kid from Arizona. He is playing great and Margus Hunt is leading the world in field goal and PAT blocks. They’ve got those bookends and three senior linebackers who are awesome. Ja’Gared Davis is all over the field. He’s one of the best players in our conference. Their five guys up front are really good. We’ve got to block them. It’s going to be a challenge for us to move the ball against this solid defense.”