POSTED: Monday, September 5, 2011 - 2:15pm
UPDATED: Monday, September 5, 2011 - 10:36pm
Mike Price Media Luncheon Quotes
September 5, 2011
“Stony Brook had a good looking team. They were a lot better than we thought they were going to be and they played very well. They came out in some formations we hadn’t seen before and got us off balance. Our plan was to pin them back, get them on their 20 yard line, make them punt and take the ball with our two tight ends and pound it down their throat. That was our plan and we worked on it a lot in practice. And then James Robinson hurt his knee, Jerel Watkins sprained an ankle, and James Nelson went down with a high ankle sprain, and all of a sudden this great plan we had wasn’t looking very good because of the guys who were hurt on offense. We tried to run the ball in there and it wasn’t effective.
“We wanted to stop the run and the play action pass on defense. So we knew what could hurt us. Unfortunately they knew what could hurt us too, because they did a real nice job in the first half. We made some good adjustments at halftime.
“I’m glad the game turned out the way it did. I thought we were great on the sidelines as a team. There was no finger pointing, no complaining and no loss of poise. We were encouraging each other. The kids were paying attention with no delay of game penalties, no offsides and no unneeded timeouts. In pressure situations we were calm and confident, we persevered through adversity, we believed in each other and we remained strong throughout the game as a team unit.
“We had no bad snaps. That’s something I was worried sick about coming into the game. Every snap was perfect. We had no huddle problems. We made big plays when we had to.
“Nick Lamaison did as well as any first-time player at that position has done. He was really calm and cool. I think we have a real gem in him. How he acts on the field and in the locker room is really great. He’s a quiet, serious leader.
“On defense we tackled much better in the second half and stopped their rushing attack. They had 16 yards rushing in the third quarter and 12 in the fourth. So our defense really came to play in the second half. We caught the ball very well. Donavon Kemp’s knee feels fine and he made the great catch at the end. Mike Edwards as we predicted is a fantastic player. Nick Lamaison gives you a second chance on every play because he can get outside of the pocket and make throws down the field. I thought for a first start he was tremendous.
“Our punter is ranked third on the nation, Steve Valadez was four out of five on kickoffs into the end zone, and it looks like Dakota Warren is back in shape. Vernon [Frazier] made some nice kickoff returns and we covered kickoffs and punts really well. We learned a lot more and had a lot more fun and made it a lot more exciting than if we had beaten them 34-14. We don’t think we’re the greatest thing since sliced bread right now, but we’re playing hard as a team and I think we’ll continue to do that. There’s no give up in this Miner bunch.
“I think [Nick Lamaison] just started throwing better as the game went on. The guy’s a winner. He has been all of his life. Anybody you talk to, they’ll say he’s a competitor. As the game went on he got better, and you could really see his personality come out as the pressure increased.
“We’re going to get Jerel Watkins back for sure this week, and we’re hoping to get James Robinson back. We should know more later in the week. [Linebacker] Aubrey Alexius should be back. Royzell Smith fell down and jammed his shoulder on the very last play of the game. His shoulder is real sore and we don’t know if he will play this week.
“We’re going to get A.J. Ropati back. He had some academic issues that he straightened out and that will help us at linebacker if Royzell can’t play.
“I like what we’re doing on defense. We’ll be ok on defense. I don’t know if it’s ever going to be our strength to stop the run. We’re working on that all of the time.
“We have to change some of our ideas on offense that we had going into [the Stony Brook game] and do some things differently. SMU is a completely different team, but they’re very good. They haven’t changed a lot from last year. They run the same offense and a lot of similar things on defense. They have a lot of talent on defense and a good offensive line. I don’t know what they’re going to do about the quarterback situation. They’re both equally good. We have to stop the tailback Line. He’s a real tough guy. It’s going to be a competitive game.
“Interestingly enough, you have to stop the run against SMU. It’s a different kind of run [from Stony Brook], but they have a powerful guy and it takes two guys to knock him down most of the time. What they want to do is spread you out and hand it to the 260 pound fullback and he’s got good quickness.”