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October 10, 2016

Luke Stice

Lubbock, Texas

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Luke Stice.

Q. How would you assess the defense from Saturday in terms of what you've seen prior to last week?
LUKE STICE: Well, obviously first off, our goal is to go 1-0 this week and handle this week in conference against Kansas State. We failed to do that, obviously that was disappointing, but a positive note from the defensive side of the ball, I was very pleased with our effort. I felt like our preparation leading up to the game was where it needed to be both mentally and physically, but obviously leading to this next week all that needs to improve and continue to work on little things to help us compete at a higher level.

Q. They're probably going to do a lot of running, they're run heavy. Something that the defense has had trouble with, what do you do to staunch that?
LUKE STICE: You know, obviously you mentioned it. Stopping the run is the first thing, the primary focus. And I think that just goes throughout the week. Preparation, you've got to know that's got to be your main focus and stop the run so Coach Gibbs can execute the calls he needs to to stop the pass where you put them in situations where they're past-oriented, second and third and long. Stopping the run is primary focus going into each week and this week's not any differently.

Q. What do you think works so well on the first three drives second half, you forced straight three-and-outs. Offense not able to do much with it but seems like whatever something obviously started working for the defense?
LUKE STICE: I just believe throughout this entire season we continue to make strides moving forward. I've mentioned before we've had a lot of young guys. That's not any excuse, that's not taking anything away from them but they just continue to play more as a unit.

That's one thing I'm really excited about moving on to conference play is that the effort, the preparation, the intensity, everything is continuing to improve. As you get ready to go to the stretch in conference that's what needs to happen for a successful team.

Q. Schematically was there much that you changed going into that second half or just more --
LUKE STICE: Coach Gibbs is a phenomenal play caller and he'll put us in the best situation to be successful. It's all about execution. Any plays, any big busted assignments that we were in a play call that was inferior, we didn't execute and that's the main focus is execution.

Q. You mentioned earlier, what have you seen from Jordyn Brooks. He's come a long way since the first game?
LUKE STICE: Jordyn Brooks, he came up here back in June and just kind of one of those guys that put his head down went to work. Pleased to see that. That's the same approach I took when I got to Texas Tech. Just to continue to see him develop on and off the field is something I'm really excited about. And I'm not sure if he's even realized the potential, his full potential. That's the exciting thing and we're going to continue to develop him and, as well as other young guys to make sure they know the importance of their role this season, that you may be a true freshman but you have a role to help us win the Big 12 Championship, and you need to make sure each week that you put the execution forward to make sure you're in the best situation when it comes to game day. So he's doing a great job with that.

Q. What impresses you most in terms of his physical tools?
LUKE STICE: He's just physically gifted, no two ways around it. Being a true freshman, 240 pounds, a little over six foot. There's a lot you can do with that. As I mentioned earlier, great role for me to really just help him work on the preparation throughout the week, both mentally and physically, and help when the game comes, when the game time comes on Saturday. You just go out there and you turn it off and you go back, revert back to your training when it comes to game time. He's done a great job with that and just as an entire defense and him individually continuing to improve each week that's what he's done.

Q. What's the biggest problem in the special teams at times? Is it just consistency?
LUKE STICE: Well, back to the whole -- Coach Robinson is one of the best special teams coaches I've been around. Same thing I mentioned with Coach Gibbs, it's not anything wrong with the game plan or the play calling or anything like that. It's just about execution.

And we just gotta continue to do a better job as we get in more of these competitive games in our conference. We can't have any mishaps. Special teams has to be a momentum changer for us in a positive way. It's inexcusable to have something like that, especially on the road, happen. And moving forward we've just got to make sure we sharpen our focus mentally and physically and do whatever we need to do to help this team win moving forward.

Q. Special teams is more mental than anything else.

Q. Do you agree with that?
LUKE STICE: That's really the disappointing thing is you gotta be able do what you control to the best of your ability, individually help this team be successful. And it's disappointing when that doesn't, when that doesn't happen, you put yourself in situations to possibly hurt the team by lack of mental sharpness. That's something we've got to recognize, learn from it and you're ready to get after it heading to West Virginia on this Saturday.

Q. What do you think about Donald Trump's classification of his phone comments as locker room talk?
LUKE STICE: I can't speak for Donald Trump, but I know as far as locker room talk is concerned, we're a family. This is Texas Tech. There's guys in the locker room that are my brothers, and the locker room talk needs to be, in my opinion, just encouragement, what we need to help this team be successful to win a championship. And that is my role as an older leader in the locker room is I gotta maintenance that and make sure there's no negative talk that's going to deteriorate the culture of our team.

We've done such a great job over the past span since last January of instilling that positive culture and doing whatever we need to help a championship. We need to make sure that any negative comments don't bring down a team.

Q. What's your main concern going against West Virginia this weekend?
LUKE STICE: She mentioned it, start off the whole deal, stopping the run is obviously the primary focus. And doing what we can control. We still haven't played to our best of our ability in all three phases of the game. We know that. That's something we're somewhat optimistic about, that we'll be able to compete at the level we have been knowing we haven't played our best game. And at this time we have our backs up against the wall and we know we need to continue to fight each day and continue to prepare for West Virginia. It's a one-game season. We need to do everything we need to get after them going into this week.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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