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November 29, 2014

Larry Coker


LARRY COKER:  Well, I guess to say we needed a win, that's probably an understatement, but just really a‑‑ boy, I'm very proud of these guys.  They've meant so much to this program, done such a fantastic job, and today with all they've been through, and of course the tough losses and so on, so forth, and stayed together as a team, offense, defense, and it just really meant a lot to us and meant a lot to them to come away with a win.
We appreciate San Antonio so much, we appreciate the support we've had from our administration and from our fans and just great for them to go out with a win.
We're losing really some fine young men.  I can't tell you the number of people that tell me, you've got some great kids, Coach, you've got some great kids, and we really do.  We really do.  They're fun to be around.  You can't obviously win every game, but they're just terrific.
We beat a pretty good team today.  They've won two of their last three games, and that was a pretty good football team today.  Special teams almost cost us, and then special teams went in, they gave of gave one back to us at a really good time for us.
But it was just a‑‑ you saw Tucker Carter today.  That's the Tucker Carter that's healthy.  He looked like ‑‑ he was spectacular today.  He really was.  When he's healthy, he can do some special things.  The guys made some plays for him.  I know there's some plays that I couldn't have made that they made, some catches and things that they did, David Glasco and Brandon Armstrong and the offensive line.  Defensively we gave um some yards, some big plays at times but, again, we really stepped up and really were able to hold on to win the football game, and of course you've got the big play of Kenny Bias, just a lot of things throughout the day that we have missed throughout the year that we hadn't had today.
We appreciate the effort that our coaches gave, and our assistant coaches were fantastic through this whole ordeal, and we appreciate that.
Questions for me?

Q.  I want to ask you just a little bit more on Tucker.  That last drive he really showed his mettle, he completed a 30‑yard pass to Cole, and it's something that doesn't come out in the stats is when Armstrong scooted down the sideline on the option.  Talk about just how that last drive kind of encapsulated what he could have done if he had been healthy all year?
LARRY COKER:  Well, there's no doubt about it.  We hadn't run the option very well, and again, it's just a situation where we knew we had it, and again, as you recall‑‑ I think Kevin Brown called a fantastic game today.  He was aggressive, called a super game, and then Tucker actually, the option extremely well, and for Brandon Armstrong, what a great little player he's been for us.  Again, certainly a key play in the game but also a key call because we hadn't run the option very well and hadn't run it in a while, and I'll say in games, or well in games, but we practiced it.  And Tucker, yeah, he got hit pretty good, got it dealt out, and yeah, just a huge play for us.

Q.  Can you just talk about the emotion of the day, trying to‑‑ you talked about it earlier in the week.  It was kind of tough getting everybody through this week, and to come out on the field, what was it like to start the game with all that emotion after the senior day ceremony?
LARRY COKER:  Well, you know, I didn't know about that.  They were really emotional and the parents were there, and I got to see most of the parents before the game.  But now you've got to focus on football.  When you're giving your mother a hug, it doesn't really focus you on a lot of football.  But they really got back in the flow of things, and we've got some veteran players that have been around a little bit, and they did a nice job really putting that behind them and getting on the field and doing their job.

Q.  What do you think was the key to that running game?  175 yards rushing today.  What do you think was the key to that?
LARRY COKER:  Well, we really put an emphasis on it.  We have all year, but we really just told our guys what we had to do to win the football game.  Our offensive line kind of took hold‑‑ David Glasco was just fantastic.  Some of his runs weren't spectacular, but he attacked the line of scrimmage, made a four‑yard run, a three‑yard run, and made a 1st down for us on a 3rd or 4th down, and he did a spectacular job, but I thought he, again, stayed with it.  All these runs aren't going to be 40‑yard runs.  We stayed with it.
It also really helped our passing game because now the play action passes started to work better, but I think that's football 101 because we all know that, don't we.
But I'll tell you, they've really bought into it.  They really wanted ‑‑ linemen normally like to run the football.  Pass protection doesn't really fire them up that much, but they like to run the football normally.

Q.  I wanted to just ask you, is that what happens when you have an experienced quarterback in there like Tucker, your tight end‑‑ like where was David Morgan and Hubble?  Can you talk about having somebody with the experience he's able to hit those seam routes and stuff to the tight end?
LARRY COKER:  Well, he did, because those guys made fantastic catches.  You saw the catch that Hubble made on a huge play for us, and then Morgan was just fantastic all year.  And you know what, you don't have to be too smart, but you get the ball around those guys, they're going to make plays for you.  Of course Kenny Bias, the explosive play he made, but tight ends are such a prominent target for us.  That's been huge for us.
And Tucker, I think experience has really helped us because really‑‑ and Cole and David both made some really nice catches today, big catches.

Q.  As you look back, the original class graduating and this team has now gone through four seasons, when you look back at where y'all were back in 2011 as to where you are now, what are your feelings and thoughts as to where y'all are and where y'all are going?
LARRY COKER:  Well, you know, when we were playing I saw (inaudible) was playing Northwestern State and playing back home, was playing a great Northeastern team, which is my alma mater, and we were able to upset them I guess, or beat them.  But I think the thing that we have come a long way, and the thing that's hard for our players and hard for me is it's the fast‑food mentality in this country; I want it all and I want it all right now.  We're a work in progress, and we learn every year, we learn every practice, we learn every game.
I think, as I say, it is extremely hard to win football games.  You know, they're pretty good, too, and unless you're just a lot better, and most teams aren't, you saw that Alabama has lost a game, and I saw that Marshall has lost a game now.  Again, you learn how tough it is to win games, and you also learn, hey, guys, we'd better make some 1st downs here or it's going to back and then our defense has to stop it.  That's an awful feeling to be on the sideline, and you have to watch things develop.
So those are things you learn.  It goes with the process.  I'll tell you, you learn also how valuable a punter is, and Kristian Stern, he's been fantastic.  He's been unbelievable.

Q.  Could you tell me how many of your players are going to graduate in this class?
LARRY COKER:  Well, we have I think 37 are going to graduate.  Every one of our kids is going to graduate.  You don't get a lot of‑‑ and really I think that says it all.  Just to go in and see their parents‑‑ I was a little surprised to be honest with you.  I went into the lion's den with the parents, and after the year we've had, I'm like, I may get chewed up.  But they were so appreciative of what has been done here, appreciative of their son going to graduate, and all of them, I've been in their home, so that's a huge thing for us.
Again, we may have some of these guys in the National Football League, but even if they do, what's wrong with having a degree and being an NFL player?  All our kids are going to graduate, and we're going to make sure they keep their feet to the fire.  Of course they have to finish the spring and also some even summer, but we're going to keep their feet to the fire and make sure we get that done.
You talk about emotions, emotions were running wild in the dressing room.  Tucker was‑‑ he and all these guys, just‑‑ they love each other to death.  They really do.

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