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September 15, 2012

Bill Blankenship

Tulsa – 66
Nicholls State – 16

COACH BLANKENSHIP:  ‑‑ I know defensively our coaches wanted a better performance.  Overall I thought we did a good job.  They have a really good running attack, so overall felt good.

Q.  What do you get out of a victory like this going into Fresno State?
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  Well, I'll be honest with you.  I thought we would have a better game than we had.  I think it mattered that we got a fast start on them.
Sometimes when you out‑match an opponent, you get an early start on them, it heads downhill pretty fast for them.  I think that's what happened.
The thing that's encouraging is our first unit executed very well offensively, were able to generate some yardage.  Hopefully three games will get us ready.
Fresno will be a tough opponent next week.  We're excited to have them coming to our place.

Q.  Do you think you're better based on what you saw today?
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  Than we were last week?

Q.  Yes.
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  Absolutely, absolutely.  I think we improved ourselves today.  I think we improved our program today.  Not just this team, but being able to play a lot of guys helps us down the road.
But it also helps us for this year.  We were able to play some different combinations at linebacker that are going to be important for us.
But I think we were fairly efficient.  I didn't want to be sloppy.  That's a big thing.  Don't want to play looking at the scoreboard.  You want to play looking at your execution.  I thought we hung in there pretty well.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  Well, being healthy is the big deal.  I thought they would get a little more.  The frontline offensive players didn't play as much as I expected coming into the game.
But there comes a point in time where the score is where it is for me, and we have a chance for those guys to stay healthy going into next week.  That was more important to me than getting them a couple more reps.

Q.  Ja'Terian, talk about how you complement him and try to spring him?
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  Couple of really nice runs early.  One of those was a speed sweep that we get a couple of extra blockers out, and he was able to read that.  Then the second one, he actually broke a couple of tackles.  Then when he gets out there, not many people are going to be able to catch him or knock him out of bounds.
The nice thing about J.T. is he's such a home run guy.  If you can just get him to the edge.  Now, he's good.  He's not quite as good inside as Trey is.  But once he gets the break, he's lethal.

Q.  Can you talk about McCoil getting the record tonight.
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  That was the only game ball we gave in the locker room, went to Dexter.  That meant a lot for our team.  I think that tells you a lot about Dexter McCoil if you saw how his teammates celebrated him getting the record.
We kind of knew that that would happen.  Dexter is so good around the football.  But it was nice to finally get that done.  What was really fun for me, again just to echo what I already said, is just to watch how his teammates felt about him getting a record.

Q.  People who got some playing time, who did you like?
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  Well, I think Zack Langer is one who is continuing to show he's a tough, hard runner.  He's the next guy in after Alex, so he hasn't gotten as much work as we'd like him to.  This was a good day for him.
We were trying to get the ball to Khiry Cooper a little bit.  We couldn't get that to happen.  I think he's a guy that's going to have to play for us to really keep the rotation we need to at receiver.  Khiry will have to continue to work into that rotation.  That was one.
What we tried to do is substitute a few of those guys at quarterback, especially skill players, early enough that we were still running the offense, that we were trying to execute and score, so we weren't just trying to pull the plug and get out of the day.
I think it's vital that guys like Kalen and some of the other immediate backups.  Michael Sorrells is right behind Willie Carter.  Those guys need to play a lot.  We got a lot more work with our tight end core.

Q.  You took care of business for the most part the way you wanted.
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  Yeah, well, knock on wood, we've continued to stay away from a lot of penalties.  Had a couple of foolish ones.  But really all in all as a unit, I thought it was pretty clean.
There weren't a lot of big‑time busts.  I thought we were pretty methodical about the approach and felt really good about it.

Q.  This run‑pass, do you like that mix?
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  Some of that comes because of how the defense plays us.  I think we're good enough to doll it up either way, run or pass right now.  I thought Cody was very efficient in the first half or first several drives.  About the only thing, again, I was critical on him was he missed a couple of long balls.
He handled it.  He's seeing it.  Right now our runningbacks are playing so well, they're giving us a lot of big plays.  That certainly makes the game a lot easier to call.

Q.  Has he had enough stress since Iowa State?
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  Who is that, Cody?

Q.  Yes.
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  It's kind of a double‑edged sword.  Yeah, it would probably be good if he had 60 plays, that he was getting a lot more reps.  But I think he's very comfortable both in our offense and in his skin right now.
I kind of liked where we took him out.  I mean, he came out feeling really good about things, very confident.  I don't think that's all bad.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  At that level, yeah.  And when I pulled him, I told him he may not be done.  The whole idea was I wanted to get Kalen in early and then see where it got because I told him and Willie and those guys that we weren't necessarily through with you, I just wanted to get some reps for those other guys really before it got too far out of hand.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  I heard a halftime score or something.  It got our attention.  That was good.

Q.  Do you look ahead to them when you have an FCS team coming up?
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  GAs do.  I don't think any of our coordinators do.  I have not.

Q.  Are you anxious to play a game, somebody your own size?
COACH BLANKENSHIP:  Well, we'll get all we want from Fresno.  You know, I like the way Tulsa is playing right now.  I think we're feeling pretty good about our progress.  This will be a great test for us.  And we like playing at home.  It's really nice to have another home game.
Thanks, guys.

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