Memphis-UTEP Postgame Quotes
Oct. 10, 2009
October 10, 2009
Memphis 35, UTEP 20
Memphis Head Coach Tommy West
Q: Opening Statement:
COACH WEST: To say I’m proud of our team would be an understatement, but I am going to say it anyway. I really can’t just say that I am proud of winning. You always love to win, but just this bunch sticking together and not worrying about the distracters; not worrying about what’s going on outside, sticking together, believing in what we told them.
Like I told everybody, when we get our back back in the backfield, we are a pretty good football team. That’s what I thought. We still weren’t great offensively, but we were a lot better, and we gave ourselves a chance to win the game because we had our back. That makes it easier on the quarterback. We’ve been playing without a back and a quarterback, and when you get that – we got 250 yards out of our back tonight – you are a different team.
Defensively, I’m disappointed in the one drive. Other than that, I thought we played well. That is a team that put 58 on Houston last week, so I thought our defense played well. We just did good things in the game. We played hard, played physical, got up again. That’s the thing, it’s not easy, especially when you are younger. It’s easier on me, because I’m older and I’ve been through it and know what can happen when you stay with it. For young people sometimes, it’s hard to stay with it, because they are hearing all kinds of stuff, and it’s just hard to stay focused, and that’s why I’m so proud of them. I love winning the game, but I love guys that are tough enough to stick with it when it’s not going your way. That tells you something about your football team.
Q: On Curtis Steele and what he means to the team:
COACH WEST: We don’t block them all all the time, but he (Curtis Steele) gains yards, and if they make a mistake, he puts it in the end zone. That’s the difference. Like I have said, if you are going to win in today’s game, it’s not real complicated. Your back and your quarterback have to make plays for you. That’s who has to do it for you. You go look at everybody, and if your back and your quarterback don’t make plays, you’re not going to win games. Our back was making plays for us early in the year, then he gets hurt. He was making plays for us in the first quarter of the second game before he got hurt. He scored a touchdown from 20 yards out. Then, he goes down, and we kind of lost that, and our offensive line got exposed because we weren’t playing very well at quarterback either. The reason I went with Tyler (Bass) at that time was because we had to have some rushing yards out of the quarterback position, because we couldn’t get any running yards from anyone else. But, having Curtis back in there to hand it to, I think it gives our offensive line confidence, and I thought our offensive line played better tonight. I don’t know, I’ll have to see the tape. I’m not going to say they played great, but I thought they played better.
Q: On who will play quarterback moving forward
COACH WEST: We will look at it again and see where we are. I’m going to go with the guy that I think gives us the best chance to win. I went with Tyler (Bass) because I thought we had to have rushing yards from the quarterback position, and he gave us that. Then when we had Curtis back, we went with Will (Hudgens) tonight because I thought Curtis could give us the rushing yards and Will could throw the ball downfield. I think Will can be a little bit better, but when we had to have some plays, he gave us that. So, I will look at it as we go. I’m not ready to say that Will will start. It depends on what we have to do to win the game.
Q: On Tyler Bass’ injury
COACH WEST: Tyler is hurt. He is in a situation where he is probably going to have to have surgery at the end of the year. He can’t hurt it worse right now, so it is a pain thing. Now that I know, that is why I saw what I saw at Central Florida. That’s why I made the change there, because I saw a different guy. Now I know why. He was trying to hide a shoulder that had gotten hurt a couple weeks earlier. I’m not much at that position on injured guys. Running back and quarterbacks have to be healthy, so that is why I went with Will.
Q: On Marcus Ball and his game tonight:
COACH WEST: Like I have said all along, I think he provides energy, number one. He played good. He will get better. He’s just now, and I think Marcus would tell you this, he is getting better each week, but he’s still kind of getting in a flow. I think the pick was incredible. He came from nowhere to make that play, but again, he gives us energy. He just brings that energy to your defense. He does it in practice. He loves to play. He will keep getting better as he goes. He brings a lot to us, not just his plays, but his energy.
UTEP Head Coach Mike Price Quotes
Q: Did you just make too many mistakes out there?
COACH PRICE: Yeah. You hit it right on the head, just too many mistakes. Every time we did something positive we just shot ourselves in the foot. And they were unusual mistakes—dropped touchdown passes, have a great punt return and then get a block in the back call. But you know that’s what happens. And they did a great job running the football against us with that running back. They ran the ball extremely well when they had to. We played hard, but playing hard isn’t good enough. We have to execute our offense and defense.
Q: Was the team a little flat coming out?
COACH PRICE: Our team? No, I didn’t feel that we were flat coming out. You know, I thought the punt return was a huge momentum change because we went from having a touchdown to having the ball on the seven yard line. We just felt like there was a big change in momentum then.
Q: Talk about the dropped passes.
COACH PRICE: The dropped passes weren’t good. Yeah we say we are a passing team, but apparently we aren’t a catching team. They caught the ball very well. I thought they made some great catches. They didn’t really do anything to surprise us. I thought we had a really good game plan. We knew what was going to happen with (Will) Hudgens in the game. They were going to run the zone with their running back (Curtis Steele) back. They used the wildcat offense; we knew that was coming. We made a good adjustment at halftime for that. He’s good; they blocked, and they won.
Q: Where do you go from here?
COACH PRICE: Well we get to rest for a couple of days and then we’ll regroup. That’s all we can do. We having nothing else other than to quit or blame someone else for it. And I’m not going to do that. It’s my fault; it’s my team. We didn’t get them ready to play.