Oct. 18, 2011
I think it’s obvious we have a great challenge this week. As you all know, Houston has the number one offense in America. It’s amazing what a great quarterback will do for your offense. Case Keenum has been there for six years and they have all the skilled kids back this year. They are 6-0, number one in the conference and are ranked 21st in America. We’re going to have to have a good week, go down there and see what happens.
On quarterback decision:
Both of those kids bring a lot of positives to this football team. As a staff, we have to take advantage to what both of those kids can do. We’ll take this week to focus on both their talents and make a decision prior to Saturday. Both could play. I feel like, as a staff, we have to take advantage of what both these kids can do.
On A.J. Graham’s performance against Rice:
He ran the ball extremely well. A.J. being able to run the ball like he did opened up some things that Tron Martinez and Travon Van were able to do. We have to improve in some areas as far as throwing the football is concerned and we have to work hard at that this week.
On Rice’s second half adjustments:
I thought Dave and his staff did a great job of adjusting and taking away some things that we did well in the first half. When that happens, we have to be able to adjust better offensively.
On Houston’s defense:
I looked at their roster yesterday and 99 of their players are from Texas. Houston has a bunch of Division I kids and a lot of them go to Houston. To say they’re not talented on defense is not true. They have guys on defense that can run, they have athletes in the secondary and they are very athletic on defense.
On Houston’s running game:
Last year, they were #6 in the conference running the ball and now they are #4. They are going to get you on your heels throwing the ball and then stick some runs at you. They have two or three good backs.
On Houston’s defense vs. East Carolina:
They put pressure on the quarterback and did a nice job at stopping the run. That secondary is athletic. They got after it and played great defense. They forced some turnovers and they just did a nice job.
On what Case Keenum does best:
He manages the game and makes great decisions. He’s very accurate throwing the ball and he gets the ball out of his hand when he has to. He’s a sixth- year guy, so he knows exactly where to go with the ball.
On Keenum possibly being best QB Marshall has faced:
He’s one of the best. I thought Geno Smith from West Virginia is also in that category. We’ve faced some excellent quarterbacks and he’s right up there with them. He is better statistically than any of the others. We’ve faced some pretty good ones and he is right there at the top.
On the pressure on the corners to eliminate throws underneath:
I think it’s important. We have to mix it up. Playing Houston is very similar to West Virginia. You have to mix it up, but they are going to gain some yards and connect on some passes. When they do, we have to be able to get them on the ground. You can’t give up that big play. When you get down in the red zone and the field gets condensed, you have to keep them out of the end zone.
On Marshall’s confidence:
The one thing we constantly talk about everyday is to keep playing hard. Play as hard as you can play and don’t worry about the scoreboard. At the end of the game, we’ll look up and see where we are. Every game we’re in will be a fight to the end. We punted the ball away to Rice with three minutes to go in the game and we were putting it on our defense to win it. You know what, we got the fumble, we stuck it in and we won the game. When you can do that, it sure helps to reinforce what you are trying to do as a program.
On Vinny Curry’s performance:
I don’t think I’ve ever been around a kid that has done what he’s done. He didn’t take one snap in practice and it’s amazing considering the emotional rollercoaster he had to be on all week. He came in and made a huge impact in that game. He was so instrumental in us winning that football game and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a performance like that with the situation he had last week. That kid deserves everything he gets. Coach Fred Tate did a nice job with him. He has done a great job with that defensive line all year. I sent two coaches (Tate and RBs Coach JaJuan Seider) to get Vinny when he got back into town and to spend all day with him. Fred and Jajuan did a great job with that kid during the day. Give those guys some credit.