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October 20, 2012

Bill Blankenship

Tulsa – 28
Rice – 24

BILL BLANKENSHIP:  An unbelievable great thing to be a part of.  A special thing going on with this team right now.  We're overcoming a lot of other issues, but boy, I can't be prouder.

Q.  What was wrong with Douglas he couldn't get to the end zone?  What was wrong with that?
BILL BLANKENSHIP:  Well, I bet he went about 140 yards when it was all over.  I'm going to be anxious to see it.  But he keeps trying to get Alex all those inside‑the‑5 touchdowns, but just an incredible, incredible run.

Q.  How well did your team play today overall?
BILL BLANKENSHIP:  Oh, gosh, you know, we left a lot of points on the field, had two drives in the first half.  We did not get off the field on some key 4th downs.  I think you give Rice a lot of credit.  Their wildcat package we pretty much had no answer for.  We were adjusting and trying different things, and we just couldn't keep them from making a 1st down in four plays it seemed like.
We finally hold them and make them have to kick a field goal, and that was kind of the best scenario that we had.
But I know we're going to go back and really be frustrated with some things on defense from that standpoint of just their wildcat run package.
And then offensively we're really proud of Kalen, thought he really stepped in on his first game and overcame a little bit of a tough start.  But he really hooked up with Keyarris, and Keyarris made a couple grabs today and missed a couple.  But great opportunities for him, and we liked the match‑up that we had with Keyarris.

Q.  Do you feel fortunate‑‑

Q.   ‑‑ at the half, though, considering‑‑
BILL BLANKENSHIP:  Blocked punt, and‑‑ yeah.  I thought I was having déjà‑vu all over again.  A little tongue in cheek with that.  But every time I would ‑‑ the headset would say we've got the ball on the 9‑yard line, got the ball on the 9‑yard line.  We were struggling to get that out of ‑‑ I think that was first quarter because they had the wind and we couldn't flip the field, and that was a tough deal.  But we finally got it going, but it took us a little while.

Q.  Could Watts and Green have played?
BILL BLANKENSHIP:  Could they have?  Not effectively.  I mean, not‑‑ Cody's injury is no different than what he had, but he did not‑‑ it has not responded well.

Q.  What about Trey?
BILL BLANKENSHIP:  Trey had kind of got ‑‑ Trey is just a little bit‑‑ he's completely boogered up.  He had an ankle he was coming back from, but it's just kind of general trauma.  I mean, he was beat up, shoulders and neck and all kinds of things.  I mean, if this were the championship game, could they have played, yes, but they couldn't have played effectively and think that we're going to have them for the rest of the season in my opinion.

Q.  They say good teams find a way to win.  What can this kind of a win do for this team from here on out?
BILL BLANKENSHIP:  Well, they just‑‑ this is a resilient team.  It's an incredibly close team.  They continue to celebrate each other.  They're resourceful.  I think I've used that term‑‑ I think they're, you know, opportunistic.  What happened when Dexter gets the pick?  Well, we immediately turn and go score.  Seems like we feed off of each other, and then we'll go through these cycles where we're not playing particularly well on either side of the ball.
But those were things that I thought, in the key moments of the game, I thought the offense and defense fed off each other and we got some plays, and they just found a way.
The blocked punt was catastrophic early in the game, put us behind the 8‑ball.  We had a lack of‑‑ miscommunication on that one.  McGuffie is their guy, we knew that and did not get that taken care of like we should have.

Q.  At what point did you just say, all right, I'm going to go with Kalen?  I'm going to give Cody another week or two weeks?
BILL BLANKENSHIP:  Well, Wednesday practice he couldn't throw like he needed to be able to throw, so we had really made the decision he needed to have an effectively practice day or two if we were going to be able to play him.  I didn't want to just put him into a situation where we just numb him up and say go play and he doesn't have timing with his guys.
I mean, Kalen has been in the driver's seat all week.  But from Wednesday on I'd say we pretty much knew that.

Q.  Do you expect to have them both back for Arkansas?

Q.  Talk about the odd sequence there at one point in the middle where‑‑
BILL BLANKENSHIP:  You know, it's interesting, I've been giving Brentom a lot of heat in practice because he is I think the only defensive end that hadn't come up with a sack, and he had a couple incredible plays there back‑to‑back that were huge momentum swings for us.  I mean, it was just‑‑ he just had a sequence that it looked exactly like the guy we were looking for.

Q.  I take it this is a good time for a bye week?
BILL BLANKENSHIP:  It's a great time for a bye week.  We were hoping like crazy we could get through this one because we're a beat‑up football team.  We are eight games in, and it's a physical grind.  It's no different for anybody else in the country.  That's where we are, but we haven't had that break yet, and we need it.
I think we're in a pretty good place.  I don't think we had anything significant that the trainers told me about.  Hopefully we'll get everybody back in a couple weeks.  It won't be an off week, but it's a non‑playing week, and it'll be a chance for us to get better.

Q.  This resiliency you were talking about, can that almost be a negative?
BILL BLANKENSHIP:  You know, I think that's a great question.  It's one of the fears you have as a coach is that you'll rely on finishing games and mess up the other ways.  I think we're actually an improving football team, I just think that if you go back, one of the things I told you on week‑‑ in our press conferences, I really believe Rice is as good as anybody around in scheming you and working the system to move the ball.  They don't hit a lot of big plays, but they move the ball, and they did enough to keep their offense on the field.
And again, I thought their wildcat thing was probably the one‑‑ it wasn't anything new, we had worked on it.  But when they put so much into that, we just didn't have a good answer for that.
Q.  It took 58 minutes to get your first lead.  What was the mindset like before the missed field goal to after the 75‑yard run?
BILL BLANKENSHIP:  Well, I think the offense knew whether it was a made field goal or missed field goal, they had to go answer.  So there was all kinds of that conversation going on.
We had talked about the various plays that we needed.  We wanted to take the early look at the sweep to the wide side to J.T.  We thought we could get a positive play out of that.  Wasn't expecting to go the distance.  But we had enough time that we didn't have to be in a two‑minute hurry‑up crazy time, but we needed to be moving the ball.  We thought that would give us a positive run, and boy, were we understating the obvious.
Q.  (No microphone.)
BILL BLANKENSHIP:  You're right.  It happened in so many ways, that honestly as I am running down the sideline I'm catching up to him.  I'll probably feel it for the next week or two.  I'll need a week off.  (Laughter.)

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