David Bailiff Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 19, 2015

Opening statement:

"Coming off the open week, our game before that at FAU, in the fourth quarter we had a lightning delay of an hour and a half. We absolutely caught lightning in a bottle and played our best quarter of football both offensively and defensively. Just the way Driphus (Jackson) ran the offense; Connor Cella's big play. The tight end got us down the field so we could score those two touchdowns in rapid succession. The defense only gave up 35 yards in the quarter. It was great to get that win, our second conference win, going into this week.

"This week, moving toward the Army game, it allowed us to introduce the option earlier to our players, so we had three extra days to prepare for Army. Those are the days you need when you play option teams. We were thrilled with that. We'll get some guys back. We'll get Sam Stewart back, Temi Alaka and Dennis Parks. Stuart Mouchentaf, we will still have to see. That's going to be day-to-day and probably be determined at game time. But, it will be nice to get guys healthy. We gave them the last couple of days off so hopefully they will come back refreshed and refocused and get ready to play Army.

"Army, they're a good football team. They only have won two games, but they've lost by six (points) to Penn State and by three to Wake Forest. So they're in all their games. It's one where we are really going to have to prepare well and play well to win it. It's going to be a great atmosphere. Army is bringing in Apache helicopters and some strikers. We're bringing in Sergeant Silo Harris, who is the author of the book Steel Will. He'll talk to the team Saturday morning. It's a game that is critical to us. We're 3-3 right now. It's a game that we need to win to continue our season. We have six left and we need to play our best."

On how the lightning strikes at FAU changed momentum:

 

 

"You know, I really think after that lightning delay, that we went into the locker room upset with how we had played. We completely changed our attitude and approach. We came back and really played with a chip on our shoulder. And really, that's how the game is supposed to be played. We really hadn't played up to our playmaking ability up to that point. Defensively, we had a hard time tackling in space. But, then we were tackling, we were moving the football. What Darik Dillard did on that last drive, making that incredible catch from Driphus on (FAU's) sideline. He had four and five yards of hard running before making that catch to win the game coming out of the backfield. He is, I believe, one touchdown away with Jarett (Dillard) of tying the Rodgers' brothers of Oregon State (for most touchdowns by brothers). Two more touchdowns and they'll set the record. It's amazing what Darik has done for this football team, throughout his career, in the fourth quarter. He's scored nine touchdowns in the fourth quarter and four of them have come in the last four minutes."

On making sure everyone does their job when facing an option team:

"Absolutely. Everybody has an assignment every play. The tackle, the dive, the quarterback and the pitch. That sounds easy, but they're using counter motion and they're load blocking you. You have to fight off the slot backs to make those plays. But, you have to follow your assignment. If you go to help somebody, that's when they sting you with the home run. They don't throw the ball a lot, but when they do, they're averaging 22 yards a completion. So, you're asking that secondary to come up and support the run and at the same time, play the pass. That's why (getting) so many reps at it is important. It's hard to turn around and play an option team with just three days."

On the key in running game this weekend:

"Sustaining our blocks. They're fabulous against the run. I think they are only giving up 145 yards per game. They are very sound (with) what they do defensively. They'll blitz you some, but they just play so hard. They are a typical academy team. They're going to come at you. They score most of their points in the fourth quarter. We have to sustain those blocks. It's a game, too, where they are averaging 31 minutes of time of possession per game. We have to make sure we are scoring at the end of drives. Last week against Bucknell, they held it the last five minutes of the game and (Bucknell) never got the ball back. We can't let beat us at what we want to do."

On Alex Lyons' speech during the lightning delay:

"Alex has been elected captain. But I've been really, really proud of the growth where he is turning into a fantastic leader. Having the courage to talk to the team. Alex has learned that being a leader is not just about being popular. It's stepping to the plate and teaching the younger guys what it means to be a Rice Owl. He let them know what he expected going into the fourth quarter and what the defense was going to play. Not only Alex, but Driphus has done the same thing offensively. We really have some leadership emerging that was needed. Just because you're on this football team, that doesn't make you a Rice Owl. They drew a line in the sand and the guys raised their level of play."

On his respect for the Army players for what they are doing with their lives:

"First off, my dad was in the Army and fought in the Korean War. But, you look at the men from Army, they made a decision to go to West Point and they know that the day they graduate, they may go to Iraq or Afghanistan. They are truly making a difference in protecting this country. It's what allows guys like me to stand here and be a football coach. Young men and women sacrifice their lives to the rest of us can pursue our dream. That's one of the things you know when you play them. These young men are committed to defend the country and the constitution. You're proud of them. You have so much respect when you play these types of teams. Academically, they're going through the same things that these Rice players are going through, and then you add to that what they're doing for their Army commitment while they are at West Point."

If there is concern on the amount of holding calls the offensive line has picked up:

"We'll keep working at it. We've been one of the least penalized teams in the conference and we'll just keep stressing it. A lot of it is that we're playing some younger players up there. Calvin (Anderson) and Peter (Godber). They're young and they need to learn to keep their feet moving. A lot of times when they are getting those, they're not using good technique. Instead of moving their feet with the play they're leaning out, getting their hands outside their body. Coach (Vinklarek) will get it all straight. I'd like to see no penalties. Really, that's one of the things that we have to do. We can't beat ourselves and penalties are one of those things where you beat yourself. We've been getting too many penalties and that's been a point of emphasis."

On Chris Boswell:

"How about Chris Boswell. Is that not incredible? I'm just so proud of that young man. Four field goals yesterday and made his PAT. One of them was from 51 (yards). You just reflect back on his time here and anytime the ball hit the 50 yard line he was tugging on your shoulder. He was convinced he could make it from 70 (yards). I know we tried one from 61 at Northwestern that hit the crossbar, and that was on natural grass. He's got the leg to do it. But, you're just proud of him and when they pan to him on the sideline, it makes you smile because it's the same pressure-free face that he had here. I'm glad that he got the opportunity. I think he's five-for-five now in the league and he's representing this university and this football team well. Taylor McHargue just graduated from officer training school in the Navy and he actually went to the game to watch Chris and he'll be here for the Army game. We've got some Rice Owls serving in the Navy right now. Our former center Austin Wilkinson is also an F18 pilot. We've got those guys and we're proud of them. But we're really fired up for Chris Boswell. When you see that smile on the sideline; Chris was a man of few words while he was here. Chuck Pool once was going to mike him and Klein Kubiak. Chris told him if he miked him he wouldn't talk. So Chuck miked him and Chris didn't talk the whole day. The segment for TV that Chuck had planned didn't quite work out because Chris wouldn't cooperate. He didn't like public speaking and he didn't care if he was miked. He just didn't talk for four hours. That's Chris. He's stubborn."

"Anyway, I'm proud of that win. I'm really proud of the way Driphus is leading this football team. Alex Lyons will continue to get better and that's what we have to do. We have to get better each week. This will be a challenging week for us. We expect the seniors up front; Ross Winship and those guys have to lead us and keep getting us better. We're 2-1 in conference. We'd like to be 3-0. We're not satisfied but we're pleased and we'll keep working to get better."

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