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September 9, 2023

Jeff Traylor

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Press Conference

UTSA - 20, Texas State - 13.

JEFF TRAYLOR: He's real good at callbacks. If you're a teacher and you understand a callback, he's going to have some command, and you're going to say something back to him. Really it's a way to keep your kids from falling asleep in class.

Whenever he says, can I get a witness, we're supposed to turn to our partner and go shhh. And one of the three points he made was your grit, your grit will put your greatness on display.

I kept telling our team, I just felt like it was going to be one of those kind of games, rivalry game. We got injured out there a little bit, lost some momentum. Man, how our kids fought back. Our grit put our greatness on display.

I also told them I could just tell we were going to have -- it's the highest attendance at our game we've ever had since I've been the head coach, and I said that part about shhh, we're going to have to do that quite a bit because it was loud. It was deafening in there.

I've heard we're right at 50,000. Unbelievable job, our marketing, our ticket people. We lost. We lost a tough, heartbreaking game last week, and you come back. Most places, they don't show back up when you do that, and I was just -- it was grit by a lot of people today. By a lot of people.

Q. So it was the second largest crowd in program history today. What does that mean for you to have that accomplished?

JEFF TRAYLOR: I'm on record as saying I'm just falling in love with this place. And my new people that we've hired, like we stayed at the Embassy Suites, it's really like our family there. Everybody there, we are their team. Everybody treats us that way.

A few of my coaches were coming over, and they stopped at Valero and got gas, another one got -- just new people, new guys on our staff. They're like, everywhere I go, people are like Birds Up. I've said it before at the parade, I can remember the Battle of Flowers. I don't know, people say half a million people at that parade, I don't know. But I know 85 percent of them are Birds Up, man. This town got a fever.

I know everybody says they love a winner. I do think they appreciate the way our kids play the game too. There's a certain way they play the game. You can just sense.

I told J.T. as I'm getting him in the low red, throw him two fades, and it never happened. On the end we were going to run go-go dancer is what we call it. We just run goes, right? And I look out, and he done snuck himself on the field out there. I said, J.T., we weren't in the low red. He said, I just wanted to be on the field. You got to let me know, man.

Anyway, our team is just that way. The catch that Willie McCoy made, that kid, what a play. There's a lot of stories today, a lot of stories.

Q. What happened with Frank there in the second quarter injury-wise, and what was the process of managing that and getting him back in the game?

JEFF TRAYLOR: I'd really not like to get too specific on the injury, just for the opponents, protection of him. But it was X-rayed, and he's good. He had to play through a lot of pain, and he did that.

I really didn't want to put him back out there, and he just -- you know, I talked to my medical staff. He was fine as far as future -- any further injury. The kid is just unbelievable.

Now there's another injury later on that had nothing to do with that injury. That was a different injury. It was kind of one of those kind of boys down in huddle kind of play, if you know what I mean. I raised three boys. That happened quite a bit in the bedroom.

I imagine refereeing Jordan, Jake -- I had two boys and a girl. She was like a girl. She was that tough. Jordan, Jake, and Jaci. She was probably the one instigating it.

Q. Defensively you didn't give up but 31 yards on 29 carries. You only had one penalty for five yards and 37:23 to 22:37 seconds a possession. That makes a winning combination all the way around.

JEFF TRAYLOR: I don't like to play that way. You know me, that was boring. I like to be exciting and go fast. That's just not where we are right now. That's not the best way for us to play football right now. The best way to play football right now is to let our defense carry us until we get our offense just right.

We're getting better. We've got three great running backs. It was unfortunate we lost Makai. That's going to be a hurt for us. We have to get some guys back. But Deandre Marshall stepped up, redshirt freshman, one of our very own, Central Catholic. That triangle was on full display tonight.

We played great defense. We ran the ball well enough, especially in the fourth quarter, man. I hate it for Kevorian getting stripped. It's always a guy you don't see. When in trouble, double. I try to make my stuff -- what is that? I don't think I'm a rapper there, but rhyme so they can remember it. When in trouble, double man. He played his tail off. The kid had 26 carries for 115 yards.

We knew there was going to be a lot of negatives. They do so much stuff up front. We had a lot of negatives, but we knew when we popped it, we were going to pop them.

I know it's frustrating for you all. It's frustrating for us too. But when it hit, you were like, man, they figured it out now. When it didn't hit, you're like me, you're going, man, what are we doing?

Q. How serious is Makai's injury, ,and what is his prognosis moving forward?

JEFF TRAYLOR: It's not good. It's not good, I would say, just guessing. I hate to do that. I hate to speculate, but I would guess six to eight weeks. You're talking about a young man that missed his entire season last year, potential to play in the National Football League, two kids, a wife.

Tough day for Makai, and the whole time he's just bawling, telling us he was sorry the entire time. He's as tough a kid as I've ever coached. He's a very good football player. He's already got his degree. That hurt. That hurt.

Q. Coach, you said it took a lot of grit to pull that one out. Talk about Frank's grit to come back from injury and throw that nice touchdown in the back corner of the end zone there.

JEFF TRAYLOR: How about the play he made when it was his last play, we thought. The way I looked at it, I thought it was the last play of his career, and he executes third down. That kid is just magic.

I know -- I think you all could probably tell this by our play calls, we had to call the game a different way in the second half just to make sure he was okay.

He did an unbelievable job being a pocket quarterback. That's just who he is. I really challenged our team. He's not going to be able to run around the second half and make those miraculous plays now. He's going to be a different quarterback. Someone is going to have to make a catch. Someone is going to have to make a tackle.

All our kids did that, from Tykee, I already talked about, Willie McCoy, Devin McCuin. I know I already said all those names. Frank is the one putting all those balls out there, and because our game is so RPO driven and he has such control of our offense, no matter what the defense is doing, Frank can calm it all down and put the ball where it's supposed to be. That's what it gives you, the beauty of playing four years.

Eddie Lee will get there, and Owen McCown will get there. I've got to get 30 games, 20 games into those guys to get them there. It was good for Eddie to get out there. He had a great attitude, and Owen McCown had a great attitude as well.

Q. How much did this weigh on you, the tough loss to Houston and facing G.J., kind of a gritty game here. What are your feelings and emotions after this one?

JEFF TRAYLOR: J.J. is trying to get me to cry. He knows me well. It's been tough because I know we've got a really good football team, and it hasn't played out the way we thought it was going to. I thought we were going to be really, really good on offense, and we're just a couple injuries away -- our young guys are coming on. You can't make excuses. You just can't do it.

Kilgore -- I've said that so many times now. I lost a tough game to Kilgore in 2013 the exact same way, and I've called Houston Kilgore four times now this week.

It's so frustrating because we're playing better than it looks like. I know we were only scoring 20 and whatever it was last week, but we're executing drives and getting first downs against really good people. Did Baylor beat Utah today, or did Utah beat Baylor?

Q. 20-13 Utah.

JEFF TRAYLOR: They came back and beat them. Again, it's a top ten team that Baylor went out there and played their tail off against, and Texas State whupped them last week. What a job G.J.'s done.

Q. Looking back to 2006 when G.J. was a Gilmer quarterback, did you ever in your wildest expectations think the two of you would be FBS coaches and he would be your opponent on the other side of the field?

JEFF TRAYLOR: I'm ready because somebody else asked me that, believe it or not. I would have thought he was going to be. He's as handsome at Joe Namath. He played in the National Football League five years. I'm a simpleton high school football coach. I'm the one I didn't think would be here.

Praise the Lord, President Eighmy and Dr. Campos saw something in me and gave me my chance. For the two of us to do this, I'd like for somebody to find this out. I promise you Greg's the one. How many times in Division I football has a high school football coach gone against his high school quarterback as two head coaches? That has to be a pretty low number.

Hey, always let your dreams so large you pray life has to match it so, when your dreams come true, no one can take credit for it but the Lord.

Q. What were the biggest keys to the defensive performance overall today, particularly the pressure you guys were able to generate?

JEFF TRAYLOR: Stopping the run with not adding an extra. Coach Loepp -- this is awesome. Kelly's going to kill me when I tell this story. I went up to Brooks, his son, I said, Your daddy did a helluva job coaching football tonight. And Brooks looked me right in the eye and said, My daddy's a helluva coach. I can't wait till Kelly sees Brooks.

He had a great plan. He's got a great staff. Nick Graham in the back. Brad Sherrod at linebackers. Siddiq Haynes at D-line, those kids believe in him, and he had a great plan for them.

We don't turbo as much as they do, but they get to go against us a lot because we turbo a third of the game. What a great job Mack Leftwich did as a coordinator, though. He did a really fantastic job. That's their second game to be together with 53 transfers. That's incredible.

And it's the ability -- what it's done is just you have an ability to flip an entire university with one hire and the new system. I'm not going to get up here and start deciding if that's what's best for kids and graduating and all that stuff, but I know he's given an entire city, an entire university belief, and you could feel that tonight.

Q. What was that embrace like with G.J. at the end of the game, and what did you tell him?

JEFF TRAYLOR: Mixed. Mixed. J.J. is trying to get me to cry today, he really is. I told him I loved him, and I meant it. I know it's not me, but I feel like a part of me is there.

The way we coached him when he was in high school and the way we've always treated him with unconditional love, you can do things right in this business. He's going to do it right. Those kids believe in him, and I'm proud of him. That's what I told him. I'm always going to love him.

He's just as great of a coach last week as he was this week. I also told him to enjoy the journey, enjoy the ride. It was nice sitting in front of you all, and you all are just glad we won. You all didn't used to ask me mean questions, and now you're spoiled, and you all ask me mean questions even when we win. On the way up, you don't get those questions. You just get to be the hero all the time because you're flipping the place.

But when you get there and trying to stay there, it can be tough on a ball coach. I told him to enjoy the journey. I wish I would have enjoyed the journey more. I made my mind up as a college coach I was going to, and I have. I have enjoyed this ride up way better than I did in Gilmer, Texas, back in the day.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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