Rice football head coach Mike Bloomgren discussed the team’s first win of the season and previewed the Owls’ Week 13 matchup with North Texas.
Quarterback Tom Stewart and safety George Nyakwol joined Rice football head coach Mike Bloomgren at the podium on Tuesday. The trio discussed the first win of the season over Middle Tennessee and looked ahead at their upcoming game against North Texas.
From Mike Bloomgren
On the first win…
“Getting that first win on Saturday felt really good. I won’t lie to you about that. I’m so proud of our players and coaches for the way they stayed in this, the way they kept fighting and the way they kept preparing. Really to see them rewarded with that victory locker room, after the game, that winning locker room, made it all worth it for a lot of things that we do in this program. What I said after the game I meant. In 2019, it’s very hard to get a group of men to stay together and keep fighting with all the outside things going on. With all the things that they hear on social media or from their own families. These guys never blinked. They just kept fighting, kept listening to their coaches, kept trusting their coaches and we saw the results of that on Saturday night.
On the Owls’ level of play against Middle Tennessee …
“It was the best half of football that we have played in the first half. I would say that clearly. The fact that we found a way to win, I guess that it ranks up in the top three. It was great to get a win.”
On North Texas …
“The next challenge is, of course, North Texas. This team requires our full attention. We know what that program is all about. I have so much respect for Coach Seth Littrell, the way he prepares them, the mindset he gets those guys into and his knowledge of our game. I have said it before, we are going to do everything we can to beat them on the field, but there is absolutely nothing I can do to beat him in a bench press contest.”
On Senior Day…
“It will be a great test for our team. Coming off a win we’re a confident bunch right now in terms of believing in what we are doing. Being so close so many times, then having a little success, is great for this team. We’re going to go out there and play our hearts out for the 19 seniors who will be represented on Senior Day on Saturday. It’s going to be a lot of fun seeing those guys in pregame.”
On the impact of Aston Walter…
“Aston really changed his mindset when he flipped the switch and said ‘I’m coming back for my sixth year’. I think in the way he prepared in the summer with Coach Hans [Straub] to the leadership role he’s taken, there is nothing we could have done better than put the ball in his stomach with the game on the line on 3rd-and-11..” T
From QB Tom Stewart
On Brad Rozner and the playmakers around him…
“It’s all about having trust in the guys. I think it’s kind of tough for me being a transfer, and not having a ton of time to develop that trust but I think now you’re seeing that if I’m back there, I have a ton of trust in those guys… Everything guy is a really good football player. When they’re called upon, they’ll make a play.”
From Saf George Nyakwol
On how the team is responding to the win…
“This win was definitely a confidence booster… And we just got to keep building. We can’t let this affect our approach. It’s got to be 100 percent every day, everywhere, in the weight room, on the field, in the film room.”
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