Sept. 20, 2008
Offensively, I think you have to start with Colt. He was hot when he went out there and he's continued to play the same way. He broke the all-time record set by Major [Applewhite]. He broke a very impressive record at a very young age. He still continues to take care of the football and move the ball.
I didn't like the way we ran the ball in the first half. We weren't consistent enough. I was pleased with the way Cody Johnson ran the ball in the third quarter. I did not like the two turnovers, but I liked the fact that we scored right before the half, and how we scored right after the half. Part of that was a fourth-and-two play that the "Q" package with John [Chiles] made. We had a really good drive with that package, and we're building on that each week. I'm proud of some of the things John did tonight, as well.
The kicking game was kind of a wash. We missed a blocked punt by inches and we had one good kickoff return. Justin Tucker kicked a number of balls for touchbacks, and on the ones where we did not have that, we tackled well and we got good field position out of it.
But, give credit again to Rice, they had a great plan and they did a great job. And, give our kids credit because it's been a very unusual two weeks. They were excited about last week and did not end up playing. Many of their homes were affected like the Rice kids, and they still came out and played hard tonight. I'm really pleased with the win.
On Cody Johnson: He's been in the mix. We actually came into this game thinking we'd play him and John [Chiles] completely if John got in earlier. The game was tighter in the first half and we were backed up. The 99-yard and 88-yard drives were some really nice drives by our offense. We were just in bad field position and we didn't want to put the second bunch in there, but we planned on playing Cody more tonight.
On Colt McCoy's efficiency: The game has really slowed down for him right now. He knows exactly what is going on, on the field, and he's feeling the pressure and the rush. He also knows that when he sidesteps somebody, he knows where he wants to go with the ball. He's very efficient as a player. He has a different demeanor right now than he did at this time last year with the kids on the sidelines. He's become a great leader.
On the team's different demeanor: (Colt McCoy) is more confident and more aggressive. We were so inconsistent last year. We just didn't finish games last year. This team, at halftime, was talking about starting over and doing better in the second half. We've had three really efficient second halves in the first three ball games and I think he's a big part of that. He goes out and congratulates the team after we've kicked a field goal or makes an extra point. He's on the bench talking to every kid instead of sitting back by himself. He has just taken over. This is his team. It's a good time in his life to do that. He's having fun.
On the defense: We were getting a lot of pressure early in the game, and Chase Clement did a good job of getting rid of the ball. They caught him once with an intentional grounding call because he didn't have time to throw it down field. He had to just get rid of the ball. But as the game wore on, I saw Brian Orakpo and Sergio [Kindle] getting back there. Roy Miller was in his face and so was Lamarr Houston. Aaron Lewis had a sack. The guys were really competing to see who could get back there first. They were kind of mad when they didn't get back there. That's the type of mentality we need from our front four.
On the defense's mentality: They are really competing hard and they are taking tremendous pride in only giving up 11 points-per-game. Tonight, they just gave up 10. That's why they were so disappointed that they gave up that one touchdown, because here's a team that's been averaging 30 or 40 points a game. We thought they would move the ball and score some points. The guys were really disappointed in parts of the first and second quarter because they had some big plays on third down. But as the game continued to grow, I think our stats on third down, on both sides of the ball, were really efficient.
On winning with McCoy as the leading rusher: We won with Vince [Young] for three years and you guys said that he couldn't play quarterback. I didn't know he was the leading rusher tonight, but it's good. We need to run the option more with Colt and we need to be effective with the option with him. It worked tonight. I think the three times he ran the option, he had huge gains. He's also more confident. He's making plays with his feet and we feel like that changes blitzes and the pass rush. [The Rice defense] came out with a different attitude than they had in the previous games. They started blitzing everywhere. They are a 25 percent blitz team and they were coming from everywhere. I'm sure it was done to try to make us throw and beat them with that. It was a good plan by them. But, we ran the ball better tonight. I don't think you can be really good running the ball with a one-back offense unless your quarterback runs some. That's what he is back there for. He's the other back. To be really efficient, you need that to happen.
On Jordan Shipley's performance: Jordan does what he's supposed to do every week. That's why he and Quan [Cosby] are so productive. They get exactly in the right place, they know where the sticks are and they block for each other. I thought the design of the play by Greg [Davis] and the offensive staff for the 60-yard touchdown play was so good, because they were so aggressive in the secondary. We knew that they would be up trying to stop the run and it was just a tremendous call. But, Colt, Jordan and Chris Ogbonnaya are three older players that knew what to do. If you go back and look at the film, Chris sold it so well that the free safety was on the line of scrimmage. Colt said that it was so wide open that he thought he had short-armed it, because he had so much time to think about it. But that is a credit to Jordan because he broke down perfectly.
Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp
On improving on limiting their opponent's total yards the next few games: I think that we're winning ball games and we're really playing well offensively. On defense, there's only one stat that matters, and that is winning games. The second thing is keeping [the opponent] out of the end zone. I think from a yardage standpoint, we did a little better tonight. I was disappointed with the big plays. We have to limit that to eliminate the vertical field position. But right now, offensively, we're really moving the ball, we're scoring points and this is a team game. You really want to make them drive the distance, and when you're able to do that, defensively, it becomes a little easier to call the game. You feel like you have confidence in scoring and you know that if you keep hanging in there and swinging with them, you can make them drive the distance.
Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis
On how much easier his job is when Colt is performing well: It gives you great flexibility. You don't have to be quite as concerned about staying ahead of the chains when you're throwing and catching the ball the way we have been doing the first three weeks. It allows us great flexibility to do some other things.
On if he is surprised Colt McCoy broke the TD record so early in his career: No, not really. Colt is really a bright guy and our offense has been performing really well. Our offense has a different approach than when Major [Applewhite] was here. So, I think it's just a product of that and his hard work, his studying and understanding what we're trying to get out of each week.
On if Jordan Shipley is becoming their deep threat: Jordan is a heck of a receiver and he has a really excellent double move. The first touchdown, he had a stutter route and he worked on the linebacker. He's an excellent receiver and he's a guy we want to double move with most of the time.
On surpassing Major Applewhite on the all-time TD passes list: It was awesome. I think that he [Major Applewhite] actually called the play. I honestly didn't think about it until after the game. It's a blessing, but we still have a long season ahead of us, and I hope we get to throw a lot more.
On Jordan Shipley's performance: Jordan played great. We game-planned a little bit on that flea-flicker. [Safety Andrew] Sendejo is a great player for Rice and he is out there all the time. But, I don't think anybody was in the picture for that one. Jordan did have a great game and made nice catches and gained extra yards. Jordan played really well.
On his rushing touchdown: I surprised myself. I just wanted to get in the end zone. Somebody out there made a good block. I actually had Quan [Cosby] open in the end zone but there was pressure, so I had to move and I tried to make a play and protect the ball, and I ended up in the end zone.
DE Brian Orakpo
On handling adversity and playing four quarters: That's what they preach on, playing four quarters. You have to be able to handle adversity. Chase Clement and that offense is a great offense. These guys have been improving over the years and this was a very improved Rice team. Chase is an amazing quarterback. He was making plays and he was scrambling. I mean, it was similar to what Colt was doing out there, but we just handled adversity and we just stuck with it and we stuck with the game plan.
On the sacks: It was a tremendous job by our guys. It was just from the steady grinding and getting after the quarterback. Obviously, we didn't get back there in the first half, but we were putting pressure in his face and we had our hands up. In the second half, we just let it loose. Guys were really hustling to the quarterback, getting in his face and we made some stuff happen. We were just getting there one after another, and it was just a great team effort.
WR Quan Cosby
On Jordan Shipley's performance so far this year: Shipley has always been a for-sure guy, he can always make plays when his number is called. He had a big night tonight and we're very proud of him. Being a part of our receiving crew, you always love it when guys do well.
On the senior receivers' effectiveness tonight: It's more of Colt reading the defense more than anything. We just run our routes; sometimes we get it, sometimes we don't.
RB Chris Ogbonnaya
On the relationship between Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley: The guys are working extremely hard together. Whenever we're out at 7-on-7, Colt, Quan and Ship - the veterans, the older guys - work together and that's why they have such great chemistry. They work hard and they're roommates.
On Jordan Shipley playing at 100 percent: It's great because he faced so much adversity. He worked so hard to get back into a position where he could be a crucial element in our offense. To watch him reap the benefits of all his hard work is great to see.
LB Sergio Kindle
On pressuring the quarterback more in the second half: I think we just kicked it up a notch. We were so close the whole first half. So either the offensive line got tired or we just got a little bit more aggressive. We just got to him and started frustrating him a little bit more.
On whether or not Coach Will Muschamp let the pass rushers have a little more freedom in the second half: He basically just told us whoever could get there, get there. In the second half, we knew we weren't getting to the quarterback and he was completing passes, so we knew we had to get there and slow down his rhythm.
On the potential of the defense: It just depends on how well we practice. We practice how we play. If we have a great practice, we put everything together in the game. It just depends on our preparation in the week before the game.
OG Cedric Dockery
On the flea flicker touchdown to Jordan Shipley: It worked out pretty well for us. We just blocked the right guys and Jordan got open. It was a sweet thing.
On the offense's performance on the season so far: I think we're doing well. The sky is the limit for us. We can do a lot better. We still had some mistakes in the protection, but other than that, I thought we played well.
LB Roddrick Muckelroy
On the team's desire to play hard for 60 minutes: Our goal was to just play 60 minutes as a defense. As a team, I felt like we came out and accomplished that goal. The fumbles, that's football, that's going to happen. We just had to continue to play football out there.
On the sacks accumulated by the defense: Our defensive line and linebackers got some sacks. I'm proud of those guys. We worked hard for them in practice. You've just got to keep on pushing because you never know when you're going to come free.
On what he was thinking during the goal line stand: Me, personally when we got down there I was telling guys, `Hey, they're not going to score. We're just going to crank it up and they're not going to get in the end zone.' Coach made some good calls. As a team, we were out there communicating. Everybody was focused on the play at hand. Everything just came out our way.
DT Roy Miller
On the defense's confidence in Will Muschamp: Every game we have a lot of confidence in the things (coach Muschamp) chooses for us. Whatever he picks for the game as a game plan, I'm always excited to come in on Monday morning and see what we has for the next team. We trust him fully.
On the goal line stand's effect for the defense: Coming out of that you have a more sense of team. You just have a better feeling about all your teammates, more confidence, it's just great. I just felt something special, I guess. I had butterflies in my stomach after that.
On getting pressure on the quarterback: I guess I got my first sack. I feel real good about that. We've just got to keep going. I had a lot of pressures over the last two games but obviously that's not a sack, so it really doesn't count. Getting to the quarterback faster and in different ways while also playing defense is something that I would like to continue to do.
On how the defense was able to concentrate for all 11 plays of the goal line stand: It's just been something coach Muschamp's been preaching to us all week - we've got to play a 60 minute game, we've got to put everything together. We've really been trying to do that. He's been preaching get off the field on third down, things like that. Just seeing a resiliency in the players, that really made me happy.
CB Ryan Palmer
On the goal line stand: We just needed to have that mentality that nobody was going to score. We didn't want to give up our 10-point average of opponents' scoring against us. We just wanted to stop them from coming in our end zone, and that's what we did.
On how playing another passing offense will help prepare the team for the future: I'm glad we got to get this test out of the way because it's a passing offense that we've got to see basically every week in the Big 12. They chunked the ball quite a few times. They made some plays. We made some plays. Overall, I think we played well. We held them to 10 points, which is our average. We came out with the victory and I'm happy about it.
On playing bend-but-don't-break defense: We've been giving up some passing yards, but who's not going to give up passing yards when you're chunking it 50 times. We just want to get off the field on third down and keep them from scoring. That's what we did. We did a pretty good job of it all night. I'm just happy for this defense. The defensive line started getting some sacks and I know they're happy about it. We just played well as a team. I'm happy to see where we can move forward from here.
WR Jordan Shipley
On Colt McCoy: Colt's unbelievable. The guy spends more time in preparation than anybody that I've ever seen before. He prepares well, he does everything well, he runs well, he throws well. I couldn't be happier for him and I couldn't be more proud of him.
On the receiving corps: We're just all out there trying to make plays, however we can do it. When your number's called, you've just got to try to make whatever play they give you. I think Quan (Cosby) does a great job in pretty much everything and I think everybody made some big plays tonight. (James) Kirkendoll and Brandon (Collins) and Malcolm (Williams) all made some significant plays. It was fun to get everybody involved.
On running double-move routes: (The coaches) love to give me those double-move routes and I love to run them. It's been fun getting to do some of that stuff. We practice that kind of stuff all the time, and it's really fun to go out there and get thrown some of those double-moves.
RICE COACH AND PLAYERS
On his team's effort: I'm proud of this football team. I thought we came out and played extremely hard against the seventh-ranked team in the country, and at times we performed very well. Offensively, we moved the football up and down. Our special teams was much improved from a week ago. Defensively, as we get people back, we'll be fine. That is a good football team that we played tonight, and I'm extremely proud of the Rice Owls and how hard they played given what they've been through."
On what prompted the offense's false starts: It was a lot louder than it was at Vanderbilt and louder than we tried to simulate in practice. It was a great venue for a football game, and I think that had a lot to do with it more than anything. The one fourth down at the 50 where we had the bad snap...that was crowd noise.
WR Jarrett Dillard