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September 16, 2017

Frank Wilson

San Antonio, Texas

Southern - 17, UTSA - 51

COACH WILSON: I think any time you can -- to start a year 2-0, you're on the right path and so that was our goal to take care of this game. It was the most important game because it was the next one. We challenged our team to be beyond reproach; to take a game, the first one, although milestone, historic as it was, put it in its proper place, look at the next opponent and do the things necessary to prepare for that opponent.

I think we were mature enough and we did those things to come out victorious. So pleased to be 2-0, but certainly still a lot of work to go to get where we want to be.

Q. Everything seemed to be clicking for you guys today. Was there anything that you saw that might need to be improved?
COACH WILSON: (Chuckling). So here is what I said to the team. We set a goal, we claimed victory today and so we want to enjoy it. And then when we meet tomorrow, Sundays are about the truth and we'll speak the truth on Sunday. We're honest with our team. They are young men and they need to be told the truth. And we need to have ownership of it, identify it, and then go out on the practice field, correct it so that it doesn't happen again.

Certainly a lot of really good things. When you think about being 100 percent in the red zone, 500 yards total offense, and then defensively, the lowest offensive opponent output ever in the history of the school, and the defense played extremely stingy in the first half; I don't know if they crossed the 50.

We kicked -- our special teams unit in the first half was out standing. We pinned them inside the 20. I think their starting drive was maybe the 17-yard line or so. So those are the things that's winning football.

But at the back end of the second quarter, we picked up several penalties. Whether it was excessive celebration with the fans in the end zone, or personal fouls for doing things after the whistle; that's not championship. That's not who we are. We're not that team, and when you turn the ball over four times, eventually it will catch up with you when all things are even.

And so I wanted us to enjoy it but by no means happy with nine penalties, four turnovers, and putting our defense in a position where they have to defend inside the 20-yard line. That's not championship football.

We won a football game but right now we are not a championship football game. And I know you're probably going: How could you say that, Coach? You won 51-17.

I'm honest and that's the truth. We didn't play a game the way we're capable. Now, the good part is, we still have not played our best football yet. Our best football is still ahead of us. The good part is, we have a lot of young guys that took the field. I think our participation a week ago was 52. Today we were 75 or so, plus. And so that's a good thing; that more people are getting involved in the game and contributing.

The reality is, though, we coach every one of them the same way, and so their accountability for this football team is a sincere one, and it's not, he's young or he's inexperienced, so what else could you expect. That's not acceptable to turn the ball over four times. It is not acceptable to jump off sides and do those things and have miscues, and so we'll fix them and we'll get better. We'll learn from it. And so a lot of very good things that happened today; but a lot of things that need to be rectified and we will fix them.

Q. What goes into the decision to eventually take your starters out and play some of the guys that haven't gotten that experience? I mean, I noticed a lot of those guys were in there for the full first half. Do you have a plan going in or something you make on the fly?
COACH WILSON: We don't plan. We respect every opponent. We go out anticipating a fight and doing whatever it takes to win that fight by any means.

And so whether they have to play every snap of the game, 50 percent, 75 percent or 80; once we are in a comfortable position of the game, even at that point, you know, we're up 40-something, or so, right before half, and it's a perfect example for us or an opportunity for us to work on our two-minute drill.

And that's not an opportunity to kneel on the ball and just take it in the locker room because it has nothing to do with our opponent. It's about us. And for us to take advantage of that opportunity to work a two-minute drill, a third and medium drill, a third-and-long drill, is critical to the development of our football team.

And so we wanted to take advantage of that and put our players in position where they were taking meaningful snaps, and were not just taking a snap or a play to be doing so, and we say it to those guys who potentially we're going to get in in the second half; the same accountability will be there.

And so that opportunity presents itself. We don't have a plan to say we're not playing guys; we're going to red-shirt him. Those guys who are next up are called to duty and they go into the game with the expectation of performing, and, well, we'll continue to operate in that manner.

Q. Any worries of a letdown? I don't think you had any, but those were put to rest early because your guys came out offensively and defensively and took care of business right from the opening whistle.
COACH WILSON: Yeah, you know, I said that earlier in the week when there was some discussion of that as our players were being allotted for the work they did that that could be a potential let down. I don't know how it can; we won one game. We won one football game.

We haven't enough in the history of our university put together consecutive wins, and so I could see, okay, you won the first one and now you're attempting to go to the second, and one of the rare times we're a favorite. And so could there be a letdown because of that?

I think that starts with the leadership of the football team; that's immature, that's unprofessional and if you allow that to creep into your team where you're ill-prepared for an opponent because of contentment or the notion that you have arrived because you won one football game, it's not happening, not on our watch.

So no, I don't fear it being a letdown because that was never going to happen.

Q. Dalton played great again two weeks in a row.
COACH WILSON: Yeah, I thought he was smart with the football. I thought he made good decisions. There was a couple of times he ran and I would like him to get down because I don't want him to get hit just to be hit.

But outside of that, he checked into all of the plays, whether it was run-pass, pass-run or run-to-run or pass-to-pass, changed the protection, identified the things that were necessary and allowed us to operate in a manner that was ideal. I thought he played very well. He played -- I thought he played his best game today.

Q. The defensive line early in the game just seemed to have their way out there. What were you seeing out there from them?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, we challenged them to take the line, take the line of scrimmage. It's the DNA of our football team. This football team is built on toughness, and I say it all the time: Big men lead this football team.

So when we are in those positions, it's a trait that we practice every week, birdcage and get off the ball, credit card alignment, attack. First step, shoot your hands, run your feet on contact, coil your hips and push the defender back offensively or defensively, respectively; it's what we do.

So when we are in those positions, we challenge our guys to do so. I thought our defensive line did an outstanding job of keeping the integrity of their rush lane or their gap integrity and run game and really collapsed the pocket and won the line of scrimmage game -- the line of scrimmage match. That's allowing us to be an advantage situation both offensively and defensively.

Q. Can you talk about the special teams today and how do you think they did, and just overall, the first two weeks of the season?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, I thought they did really well, you know, two miscues that are glaring. You can't miss the PAT, penalty or not, the first one. The second one, you can't continue to turn over the ball. When you turn over the ball like that, it's not acceptable. You can't do that. You can't turn over the football.

So those two things were glaring, and we'll have to rectify that. Outside of that, I thought our kickers kicked the ball with the appropriate height, distance; that allowed our coverage team to get down there inside the 20 and make tackles.

I thought our punt team protected well and got the distance and turnover of the ball to flip the field when we needed to do so. I thought our return units gave us great starting possession at the 25-or-plus-yard lines on each one of our returns. So I thought our special teams played well, but those two things make it ugly when you have stuff like that that happens.

Q. Follow-up on something John asked you about Dalton. Watching him, it looks like he's taking a step or two up from last year. Have you noticed his game, his mental approach; everything that goes into being a quarterback, taking a couple of steps up from last year?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, you know, besides the physicality part of him adding muscle and the experience part of him playing football games, the biggest thing that he did for himself was really embraced because he had a thirst for knowledge and he wanted to know more. And we say to our players: Bring it. Come, challenge us. You say to your position coach, to your coordinator to your head coach: Coach me more; coach me; challenge me to be better.

So we were able to do that with our summer curriculum and things of that nature with our team and I thought we've made tremendous strides in being becoming a much smarter football team; a more intellectually inclined football team.

So although we are bigger, faster, stronger, we are smarter than we have ever been before, especially at the quarterback position. That's allowing him to make great decisions pre snap, as well as post snap once the play happens, because he has anticipation.

Q. Tomorrow starts Texas State Week and a lot of people are going to be excited about that game. Just some thoughts heading to San Marcos next week?
COACH WILSON: We look toward to playing them. We'll show up. We'll be prepared.

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