2016 HOUSTON FOOTBALL QUOTES PRIOR TO THE LAMAR GAME Carl Lewis Auditorium Houston, Texas Monday, Sept. 5, 2016

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1 2016 HOUSTON FOOTBALL QUOTES PRIOR TO THE LAMAR GAME Carl Lewis Auditorium Houston, Texas Monday, Sept. 5, 2016 HEAD COACH TOM HERMAN Opening Statement I am really proud of our team. We had major contributions in all three phases and in all the different ways that you can win a game. We contributed on different sides of the ball and rallied around each other when we were going through some adversity. It s a testament to, no matter the physical mismatches that may exist on a football field, if you play really hard and you have a purpose about you and that purpose is the love of your teammates and coaches, then you will be able to do things that a lot of people think might not be possible. Thank you to the alumni, fans, student body and the City of Houston for supporting us the way they did in that stadium. It legitimately felt like a home game, as it should. Even though it was a neutral site game, we are playing in our home town, and the atmosphere really gave us a bit of an advantage because of how loud and energetic the crowd was. On the MRI on Greg Ward s shoulder Greg s shoulder is good. MRI came back all soft tissue, nothing structural. He missed practice Sunday because that was when we could get him to get an MRI on a Sunday. So we held him out from throwing, he came in today feeling a lot better and getting treatment. We expect him if not Tuesday, certainly by Wednesday s practice. On the team s mentality towards hearing negative statements from the media The thing I have said all along leading up to this season, it would be foolish of me not to think that they won t hear it. They are going to hear it. What I m proudest of most of this team is that they don t listen to it. They truly believe and understand the way we handle our business, and they are a very mature group of guys and that the culture that is ingrained in this program won t allow it. If you look right there on your top left, it says 1-0. Since the day we got here, that s been a mantra of ours and will continue to be. I think these guys know if I, or Coach McKnight or any of our assistants for one split second even think that there is complicity or a foot being let off the gas, they are going to get smacked in the face with a proverbial shovel and reminded of what our culture demands of them. On what needed to be cleaned up to improve the game We had some coverage busts. In the secondary, the two young safeties back there didn t do a great job communicating, it was again more nerves than it was the way they are being coached or what they are being asked to do, we ve got to clean that up and we can t have the kind of busts that we had in the secondary. We have to be able to run the ball, when you got a 16-point lead late in the fourth quarter. You have to get a few first downs and keep your defense off the field. We were at the 14-minute mark about to

2 go up against the No. 3 team in the country, and we fumbled the ball in the end zone and put our defense out on the field. That is obviously, very unacceptable. On Garrett Davis celebration The celebration one was idiotic, and Garrett has been dealt with on that. We definitely want our guys to get excited, but we want them to express it in the proper way. It wasn t a penalty. It was called, but when you watch the film, it wasn t there. On special teams We stink on kickoff return. On our first two returns of the game, Brandon was caught on the goal line, and we got out to the 12 or 14 yard line and then the 9. That was a point of emphasis going into the season, so we really need to evaluate what we re doing and who were putting on that team. We got guys like Terrell Williams and one of the best returns in the nation in Brandon Wilson back there, we got to find some other dudes that can step up. I was happy. Our punter did what he was supposed to do. For a guy that s never punted in an American football game, ever, to have to go out there and do it in that game, he did it admirably. I hate field goals I despise them. He showed me a stat that he played in 10 games last year and only attempted 8 field goals. In this first half of this one football game, he attempted 4 of them and he was 4 of 4 on them and we obviously needed those points, so I was proud of him. On Brandon Wilson s scoring versatility He is strong. Pound for pound, if not the, then one of the strongest guys on our team. He runs really, really hard. He s fast so when he is in the open field, he can run away from people and run through some angles, but he s also really good at running in traffic with some strength and power behind him to bounce off some arm tackles. On Ed Oliver saying he hadn t earned right to talk to media It was the coolest thing I d seen in a long time. Freshman around here don t get to talk to the media until they play, and so, obviously, he played and played well. As our policy says, he was allowed to speak to the media but for him to say he hasn t earned it speaks a lot to his maturity level and the way he feels about his team and his teammates. He s got a lot of proving to do before he gets in front of a microphone. On players buying in quickly It makes me feel like we have a heck of a group of leaders that have been able to grab all those young guys and make sure that they are doing things that are up to our expectations level. We have a great strength staff, the best in the country. When our guys come in in the summer, they aren t around our coaches very much; we are doing camps and on vacation. It s the only time of year that we really get off, and the summer time is like the season for our strength coaches. Hats off to Yancy McKnight and his crew and being able to instill that culture in these guys from the word jump when they got here in June. On preparing for Cincinnati on a short week after Lamar We knew this short week was coming. Our coaches have looked at the preliminary scouting report on Cincinnati, but we will spend zero practice time and game planning time on anyone other than Lamar. On Kevrin Justice playing backup running back Saturday It s whoever is playing better than the other ones. Obviously, none of them have played great up until this point. At that position, it s can you protect the ball and the quarterback. We ll figure out all the running stuff later. If you re careless with the football, you don t understand protections and you get our quarterback hurt, you will not see the field. Kevrin (Justice) is doing the best job at that, but it will be a wide-open competition throughout the week of practice. On the importance of filling TDECU Stadium for the home opener against Lamar

3 It s really important if we fashion ourselves to be like the big time programs in the country. It does not matter who the opponent is or what s on the helmet and jersey. Their fans, students, and alumni come to support and watch their teams play. This will be a very good litmus test for our fans, alumni, and students on if you want to be this or not. On how the intensity of practice helps in games Really hard. We train hopefully harder than anyone in the country. I don t have any metrics that says that we do, but our goal is to train harder and more physical than any program in the country. If you re going to do anything at an elite level, such as win a football game against the No. 3 team in the country, you better train that way. We like to think that we practice hard so the games are easy. A lot of teams say that or glance through it in a team meeting one time, but that is literally the only thing we focus on: how hard we prepare and how physical we are when preparing. There was a funny scene in the fourth quarter. We could tell our guys were tired, and their guys were tired. There was a timeout or change of possession, and in the defensive huddle, Garrett Davis looked around and said to his teammates: Guys this is what we train for. This is like period 18 in training camp. We still have 30 minutes of live football left. That s pretty unique in today s college football landscape...a, for the kid to think of it that way, it brought a smile to my face. And B, there s not many teams that do what we do, and our kids take a tremendous amount of pride in that. SENIOR QUARTERBACK GREG WARD On the feeling after a win I m feeling pretty good. Wins are always good, but we have a lot of work to do after the first game. We re getting all of the kinks and little mistakes out right now. On cleaning up the play That s just practice. We re going back and watching the film to see what we made mistakes on and correcting those mistakes. On his shoulder injury It s feeling alright. It s getting better each and every day. I was pretty confident, even if it continued to bother me. I was still going to play no matter the circumstances. On what caused the shoulder injury I was getting up on one play. I pushed up and a guy fell on me and jerked it the wrong way. On the chemistry between him and Steven Dunbar We have a little-brother, big-brother relationship. That s real with everybody, but Steve and I spend a lot of time (together). Especially in school, we talk about what we can do to defeat defenses and just be great. On Duke Catalon Duke is a great player. He takes a lot of pressure off me, especially in the running game. He s a home-run hitter, so he can take it the distance any time. On Drake wearing a UH jersey at his concert He wasn t wearing my jersey. He was wearing our jersey, a Houston jersey. It didn t have a name on the back, so it wasn t mine.

4 On having a target on their back for the next game We re not going to prepare any differently. We re not going to do anything different in practice. We always go hard and will prepare for (Lamar) like we will for anyone else. On feeling the need to run the ball Our running game wasn t working well. We had to do it in the air. We re going to do whatever it takes to win. On confidence in the coaches after outplaying Oklahoma It doesn t matter who we play. It doesn t matter their ranking. We re still going to play to the best of our abilities. On the improvement of the wide receivers We put in a lot of work over the summer. Last year, they could have made the same plays, but I just had to put the ball in better places. This year, we put in a lot of work, and we ve got our chemistry down right now. On the summer practices We were working on timing each and every day, ball placement for me, all of my drops and my throwing mechanics, where they would like the ball on certain routes and just finding a way to beat the guys that we re going against. On the fan support It was very important. Having a big crowd like that and just being so energetic really helped us and drove us to play even harder. On the new faces on the offensive line They did pretty well. I have to do a better job of getting the ball out quicker and not putting so much pressure on them, having them block so long. For a couple of guys having new starts, they did pretty well. On the offense holding their own against a physical Oklahoma team Our defensive lineup is pretty good, and [the offensive line] goes up against them every single day in practice, so they did pretty well. SOPHOMORE RUNNING BACK DUKE CATALON On how he is feeling now a couple days after the win I feel great. It was a big game, big celebration, so I m happy that we won. On how his expectations of what his role would be have been met so far It s everything I expected. The staff uses me how I want to be used, passing out of the back field and running. That s how I want to be used as a running back. On what it is like finally playing after having to sit out as a transfer I was anxious. It had been three years since I last played, so I was happy and ready to get out there and get rolling. I couldn t wait for kickoff. On what that first touchdown catch felt like That was exciting. I wasn't really expecting to score this game, so I was happy that I did. On the difficulties of running up the middle against Oklahoma

5 Their defensive line was good, so they were making it pretty tough. Coach Applewhite made an adjustment and kept sending me out for the swing pass, and it was working. On being quiet and Coach Herman initially thinking he was too cool for school I don t really talk too much. I just work. I just go hard. On his relationship with Coach Kenith Pope Coach Pope and I are real good, we re real close. I took him to ride horses one time this summer. He wanted to ride, so I got a couple of horse and we went to go do that. On his journey of not playing for three years, any possibility of doubts or fears I did have some fears. I thought since I hadn t played in so long do I still have it? I didn t know, so I was kind of nervous. I was ready to get out there though. When I caught that first pass and broke that little run, I was like, yeah I still have it. On how it felt getting the payoff from all the work he put in Oh, it felt good. I m ready for the next game. I m like, let s keep going. On how they executed the offense for the touchdown It was part of the planning. We had practiced the play a couple of times, and during practice Coach (Herman) was going to see if they play worked for Houston. One of the teams he used to coached before, they ran the play and it worked for them. When he called it in the game, I started smiling, because I knew it was going to work. On when people say Houston is Lamar s Oklahoma I respect all teams, so I m going to come prepared like we came for Oklahoma. On his leadership role among running backs The guys are telling me they look up to me, but I lead by example, so I don t talk too much. I say words here and there, but as far as talking, I say things like Go hard in practice today. They just follow my lead. On improvements going forward Coach (Herman) has been telling us, tempo, tempo, fast, fast, so we want to focus and be more alert. JUNIOR SAFETY KHALIL WILLIAMS On moving on after the Oklahoma game We re just going to take it each week. Go 1-0. After this game, Coach (Tom) Herman doesn t like us looking back and reminiscing on a win. We just prepare for the next week. On playing a physical game against Oklahoma Garrett Davis and I, are new safeties out there. We have to make a name for ourselves. We did what we could to make a name for ourselves. On buying into the culture of the program Last year, Coach Herman s system was new to us, some people were kind of skeptical and some people bought in. After seeing last year, we knew that Coach Herman knew what he was doing, so it was easy to buy in. On playing for Todd Orlando s defense It s fun. We get a lot of range, not to do what we want, but we have a lot of range to move around. This system, as a whole, is just fun to play in.

6 On the defense stepping up later in the game With the first two drives, we re kind of young, so we were a little too amped up and made personal mistakes, but as the game went on, we fixed them and just took over. On the atmosphere in the locker room after the win After the game was like every other win. We were excited, hyped up, dancing and having fun. On sharing those moments with teammates It s special, because you get to be yourself with your brothers and the people you put all of the work in with. On the physicality of the practices You have to practice. If you want to have great ball skills, you have to practice ball drills. If you want to be physical, you have to do physical things. That s what they re trying to get with being physical (at practices). On changes made this season I focus more on taking care of my body, because it s going to be a long, grinding season. Your body is essential, and you have to treat your body like a Ferrari. On winning a challenging pre-season game I think we came out with confidence. Being on a national scale like that and to actually do what we did gave us a lot of confidence going into this next game. On comparing UH and Oklahoma I would never put my team under any other team s physicality. I know the way we prepare, the way that we train and I ve never had a doubt in my team physicality-wise or skill-wise. On Oklahoma s physicality A team like Oklahoma will probably try to run every play, because they see us as an Alabama or Clemson. They ll try to take advantage of that, but that s where our physicality and training comes into place and takes over. SENIOR LINEBACKER MATT ADAMS On difference in Oklahoma compared to conference opponents They bigger, more athletic and faster. For me watching them on film it didn t excite me much. They do have a lot of explosive players but as far as going out and giving it your all, I didn t see that much. I don t really look into all that. I just trust my training. On key to beating team of Oklahoma caliber To keep going. It really comes down to who throws the last punch. On how often we play teams as big and strong as Oklahoma We have several more on our schedule. We have Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis, they match us, if not better talent then us. In preparation, we have the best coaching staff in the nation. Physically, they might be bigger, but our strength and conditioning staff have helped us make huge jumps in the weight room. We felt just as strong as them. On physicality during practice

7 It s like beating your head against the wall. There are people who were with us in fall camp who didn t make it. It s not meant for everybody; the strongest survive. We got a certificate at the end of fall camp that says you have completed the hardest training camp in college football. On difference from fall camp and any other type of preseason work It s physically and mentally overwhelming at first. Then you start to turn into a pro and take care of your body and study extra film. Then you re able to relax mentally because it becomes a habit. On team s feelings right now We are confident but as of right now, we re going into Lamar with the same mindset and preparation as we did with Oklahoma. On having a target on your back We don t play down to competition. We want to set the tempo. On staying focused and not having let downs It s tough, day in and out in this program. Everybody s held to a certain standard, and if you don t live up to that standard, it will get noticed. On change from last year to this year in preparation It s just more physical reps for me. Mentally, I took those reps last year behind Elandon Roberts, so there s really no difference from last year. On learning and stepping in after watching Elandon Roberts last year Elandon Roberts played with great energy and leadership. I try to simulate that the best I can. I have a long way to work to get to that level, but I try to bring that energy and physicality to the field. On the hit on Baker Mayfield They got down the field on long runs from Joe Mixon. I felt like I let my brothers down, so I had to step up and make a play. On how he leads on defense Just try to lead them with energy on and off the field. Wherever we are, I try to bring the juice every day. On being vocal at right time Our team is always amped up, so it s easy to be a vocal leader. Nobody s down in this program ever. On atmosphere in locker room after game It s just excitement, joy, flashbacks to last year, and seeing all that work you put in come true. On physicality transferring from practice to game It s violent at practice. We call Tuesdays Bloody Tuesdays. Wednesdays are when we take off the knee pads, and it s still bloody, Bloody Wednesday s. Everybody just comes out there and tries to compete every day. On if Bloody Tuesdays live up to its name Yeah, we start it off with the circle drill and everybody competes from there. On Herman slamming head on helmet during game He (Herman) does it every game. It sends a message like let s do this.

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