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Postgame Quotes

Sep 8, 2013

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes


TULSA HEAD COACH Bill Blankenship

Opening statement
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Thanks for sticking around. There were some times we made it tough. I'm just really proud of our guys of staying around, making the plays when we had to. Kept digging a hole early, but still, a lot of self inflicted wounds, especially in the first half. You know, penalties, that unforced turnover we got a turnover and turned it back to them, all those things. But we seemed to find a right to left bit of rhythm in the second half, and defense began to play even with more confidence. And, you know, I'll just let you ask questions.

Do you remember a greater swing of emotion in the span of 30 seconds?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: There were a lot of things going through our heads with the third and short coming off the injury. We knew we had to get the first down. We were hoping if, you know, we got a little bit of yards, we were going to take a shot with a first down.

We were going to try not necessarily play for overtime, but yet, if we didn't get much, but got the first down, all those things, you know, are we going to stay for overtime, take a shot and all of a sudden Trey breaks that, and now it's a different game because you're down in the zone where our guy normally hits.

That's two great home games for you where Trey bails you out at the end.
COACH BLANKENSHIP: He's been bailing us out for a while. You know, very proud.

What was the chant in the locker room?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Oh, we had a little song that we sing when we win. Coach Johnson is the ringleader of that. We've been doing that for about three years now, so it's a lot of fun.

The bounce, what happened with Carl Salazar early
COACH BLANKENSHIP: You know, for him, you would think that he could build on this for a real long time. Game winners are opportunities that don't come along real often for field goal kickers. I remember having because I was doing special teams, there were times that you had guys two, three, four years, and they might get one or two opportunities for game winners. And so that was awesome.

What about him bouncing back?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Yeah, I think it says a lot for him, our team. A lot of the guys on the team that had bad outings a week ago, really fought through, and I think not only fought through, but fought through some tough times tonight, you know, where, man, sometimes we were having a hard time getting traction on one side or the other, and you know, some things go wrong. I mean, Holy Cow, we get a punt blocked right from the beginning, just a complete whiff on one of our blockers. There were things like that that happened, and they hung in there, and Carl bounced back from a two miss deal a week ago, all the way around.

You didn't show a lot of confidence in him at the end of the first half but went for it on fourth
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Wasn't it about the 36 or something like that?

Field goal, 42
COACH BLANKENSHIP: It was going to be over 40, I know that. That's really what I consider outside of his regular he's got range, but he's not consistent outside of 40 in practice. Inside 40, he's consistent. So I felt like that was I went for it a couple of times, so I'm not sure which one of those can was which.

Trey's big run, your receivers second straight home opener you get an injury; were you really concerned about the collective, whether it would deflate you guys?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Yes, because it was an ugly injury, and, you know, some of the younger guys were over, kind of gawking. We were trying to get refocused in the huddle. Those are always really hard. You know, but again, some of the leaders were saying, some of the best things we can do right now is just to get focused and we'll be able to be there with Keyarris later.

They kept calling time out on Carl.
COACH BLANKENSHIP: We kind of expected it. He had all three time outs. I didn't know if he would use all three, but all of the conversation from the box was he'll probably use all these; why wouldn't he, especially with an inexperienced kicker. It was really quite a chess match.

Changing personnel a little bit up front on the offensive line?
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Yeah, we had an injury at some point in time, we were missing Davis Walton and that kind of created a little bit of a shuffle, like you talked about. And so we had guys working, I know Foxworth was in there. I know gosh, I can't even remember how we rolled everything. You went to tackle, right and Gabe moved to guard? That's what we did, yeah. It was huge, because to be able to make those changes when we have to make them; it's one thing to talk about it in practice, but to actually do it when you have to.

I don't know if it's coincidence or whatever, but your first down yardage average doubled versus what it had been, so apparently that combination of guys clicked.
COACH BLANKENSHIP: Good. Good. I think we found our rhythm a little bit, too, with what was working. You know, we were trying to keep our backs a little fresher. It's tough because we are trying to play J.T. and Trey an awful lot, and to be able to spell them a little bit was good. But no doubt, you're going to get to talk to Stetson in a minute, because I think that's a huge deal for him to be able to bounce over there and make those plays.


On the emotional swing from Keyarris Garrett's injury to Watts' 45 yard rush
"It is always tough to see someone go down like that. Keyarris (Garrett) is one of my brothers. We have seen this happen before. We just had to keep moving forward and rally. I didn't want to go into overtime so I needed to help this team and make a play."

On balancing the running and passing game
"We definitely had a rough first half. We made some mistakes and couldn't get first downs. In the second half, we were able to get back to what we are best at. We moved the ball down the field and kept the chains moving. We pounded the ball, threw it, and stayed balanced."

On Watts' 45-yard run and the role of the linemen
"Those big hogs up front just got on people. When they get on their man, they open up big holes. I don't think I was touched that entire time until I was tackled. The credit goes out to those guys. They did everything on that play."

On Carl Salazar's game-winning kick
"They called three timeouts in a row. I had all the confidence in the world in Carl. I knew he was going to make it. There was no doubt."


On coming back from last week's poor kicking performance
"I lost a lot of sleep. I felt awful for letting my teammates down. I missed two short field goals last week. I couldn't do my job. I had to get myself back in to the right mindset. My teammates did an awesome job of lifting me up. I couldn't thank them enough for believing in me and giving me a second chance, even though I probably didn't deserve it. I just tried to come out here today and make up for last week. All of them were short field goals. There is no reason why I should miss those. I have an unreal snapper and an unreal holder. The ball is always down perfect the way it should be. I just had to make sure that I did my job."

On kicking the game-winner
"It's funny. I have kicked for five years now. I have never had anything close to a game winner. Until tonight, I didn't know what it felt like. It was incredible. It was incredible to have my teammates all around me and celebrating with me for doing my job. I am so blessed that I had this opportunity. I truly believe this is the best place in the country. They take care of me and believe in me."

On Colorado State using all three timeouts to try and phase Salazar
"I appreciated it. It gave me more time to get mentally focused on how I was going to kick the ball. Coach Blankenship and Coach Downing came over and gave me some words of motivation, and it made all the difference. They seemed pretty sure that I was going to make so I went with that confidence and put it through."


On the game
"It's obviously a tough one to swallow. We did a lot of things to keep us in the game. Obviously, a couple of big penalties and the fumble hurt us. People are going to point to that last big run here that got them into position to kick the game winning field goal. But there were a lot of things prior to that, that had to do with the final score. We had an opportunity to ice the game there. We didn't take advantage of it. A dropped pass that popped up in the air and gave them points that got intercepted, a good throw by Garret (Grayson). It's a tough one. It's a learning experience. I thought our guys responded after last week's loss pretty good. I thought they played their tails off. I don't think they let the heat bother them at all. It hurts. I like this team. I like who they are and what they are all about. That doesn't help the Rams fans. Bottom line is that you've got to win."

On defense being on the field too long
"Our guys are in great condition. I didn't see that as a huge factor during game. I know it was hot. I told our guys that it's hot, but we train in elevation."

On the game possibly coming down to one play
"We needed to make a play on offense. We come out and get a holding call. You end up first and forever and that will kill you. They pinned us down a couple of times. We didn't get a first down to create good field position."

On the last punt
"Our special teams did a great job. We had a blocked punt and fumble turnover on the punt return."

On having a fourth quarter lead the last two weeks
"You have a chance to ice the game, grind it out and it just didn't happen. That's disappointing."


On the last two weeks
"We've given both games away. I can't really say anything different. Tonight, we took a seven point lead into the fourth quarter and then they made some plays and we didn't. We struggled as an offense. We couldn't run the ball. We were moving the ball pretty much at will in the first three quarters and then we kind of stopped. We don't have an explanation for it."



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