“It was another tough loss. Every game you go into, you expect to win. Our players expected to win. It was a tough week of preparation. I still thought we had a good game plan. We had a hard time executing it. This team has been through tough times before. We’ve actually been through a tough two years right now. We had an injury but and a virus. A tribute to these guys (that) they just keep going over here, working hard and doing everything we’ve asked them to do.
We had some incredible individual performances last week. Right before kickoff, J.T. Ibe couldn’t start so Cole Thomas was elevated and made his first start. He was one of the defensive players in the game. I’m really proud of him. He’s also the young man who returned the blocked extra point that Graysen Schantz had for two points. I thought Brian Womac played an outstanding game from a production standpoint.
We’ve got guys battling. We have guys battling like Houston Robert who played a lot at corner and was just moved there a week ago who had to step in for some injured players and really played admirably. Alex Lyons is just as solid as they come.
Offensively, Sam Stewart was knocked out of the game early. Austin Walter filled in and averaged 7.4 yards per carry. Those two guys are sophomores and they get better every rep that they take. They’re becoming more and more complete players. Austin has got to where he is an every down back. He can stay in with pass protection. He caught a big pass on the wheel. Freshman Isaiah Edwards played his best game with six pancakes. There’s no easy answer. We’ve got to get some of these guys back. We’ll get the injury update this afternoon. That will give us a direction of who can play this week.
We’ve got a team coming to town in FAU that’s been struggling. They have the same record that we have. Charlie Partridge has done a nice job. They’re competitive in every game. They lost by two, by four, by six. They’re playing really hard. They had an opening (week) win. They’re like us. We’ve got to keep improving and keep working. Like I said, it’s a tribute to the type of young men we have here. Nobody isn’t coming over here and trying to get better. We’re at home and we need to try to get our second win of the season. I know these guys will come over here, get to work and try to get it done for Rice.”
“I don’t know what kind of virus that it was. I don’t know that we’ll ever know. I think the final number was 32 players and that it and 10 coaches and staff. I do know that that’s behind us now. The last players that had it got it right before kickoff. He was throwing up over the bench. He’s the last reported case so we’re glad that’s behind us. Right now, today, we have 24 guys out for the year. The other guys are guys like Trey Martin, our starting center, who’s missed a month with a foot sprain. You evaluate him from week-to-week. I thought last year was a big injury year. When you play young men, like Isaiah Edwards who’s a freshman, or Joseph Dill, the freshman guard. Joseph is now going to have knee surgery so he’s now done for the year. When you play those young guys, especially on the line, a lot of times they get hurt. We’ll see who we get back. Isaiah Edwards is out for this game. That’s where it’s hard.
Ronnie Vinklarek, our offensive line coach; I believe this will be his eighth offensive line change. It’s hard for those guys to gel when you have a different lineup every week. That’s what I mean. You have a lot of coaches working hard. You have a lot of players working hard. We know that the only way out of the hard times is to keep working. Injuries are a part of this game. Somebody has to step up and play and as coaches we have to try to get them in the right spots. You’ve just got to march on and keep doing your best. That’s what I know.
We’re going to come over here. No one is feeling sorry for us and we’re going to try to win a football game. Do we like where we are? Absolutely not. But, we’ve got to look forward, not in the rear view. We’re going to try to win a game.”
On Jackson Tyner:
“J.T. Granato is actually our second team quarterback. He had his wisdom team removed so he didn’t make the trip. So we put Jackson in. He hadn’t gotten a lot of reps but he played pretty well. I was really pleased with what he did. He gets very limited reps in practice so we were pleased with how fast the ball came out of his hand. He’s a big 6-4, 240-pound kid. As the season goes on, we’re will play J.T. and him a little bit more.”
On if it’s easier to focus on things week-to-week instead of getting ahead of yourself:
“That’s what it’s all about right now is just the next play. It is play-to-play. At this time of year when you’re moving a lot of guys positionally because you’re paper-thin at some positions, it does limit what you’re able to do offensively and defensively. It doesn’t matter what coaches know. It matters what players know. Jorian Clark got extended playing time, but then you have to limit what you’re trying to do just because he’s getting his first reps of the season. So you really have to be aware of what personnel you have out there. That’s going to really dictate what you can and can’t call.”