Rice football head coach Mike Bloomgren met with the media following his teams’ discouraging loss to UTSA. Here are his words as he discusses the game.
We’re going to do this a little bit differently this week. Oftentimes, this is the space for a postgame featurette recapping the most recent game and delving into an aspect or two that proved important or consequential in some form. This week, this column will be reserved for the words of Rice football head coach Mike Bloomgren himself in his postgame comments with the media following the Owls’ 45-0 loss to UTSA. No need to dress it up. Here’s the head man himself:
“Obviously not how we wanted this game to go, not how we planned for this game to go. We got taken to the woodshed. They beat us pretty good tonight. And we got outcoached and got outplayed — out-executed — it’s hard to say outplayed because I think our guys always play hard, but we had too much error in our game and made a lot of mistakes. And we paid dearly for them against a very, very good football team. We’ve got a lot of work to do if we want to continue to talk about ascending as a program. I think our fans deserve better. And we’re going to work our butts off to give it to them.”
On the loss coming directly following a bye week
“I think [the bye week] allowed us to feel really good about the gameplan; that allowed us to feel like we were in a really good place. And coming off two wins, you felt like we were taking positive steps, and tonight certainly was not a positive step. I think the only thing that I would point to tonight is that I thought our guys were really into the game for each other, they were playing for each other, and they were encouraging each other throughout the whole game. I think that’s where magic starts but nothing’s fun when you get beat like that, right?
There’s encouragement. There’s fight to the end. But we have to play better. We are in this to win. Coming out of the bye, thought we’d play a lot better than we did tonight, and we didn’t really execute on defense star standard and obviously offense was really bad.”
On what needs to change regarding the slow starts
“It’s probably confidence as much as anything. We are still fragile. We are still learning how to consistently win. And we’ve got to get to the point where when something bad happens, we set our jaw and when we say like, let’s go to the next play, let’s worry about what we can actually control, which is the next play, not the ones that have already happened. I think that’s something that we got to continue to work on. We are talking about it a good bit. And until we can get our confidence, I think that’s what we got to do. We got to find a way to make our own confidence, to earn our own confidence, and that’s why you practice, that’s why you do things in practice, that’s why you try to make those things really hard. But right now, we’re not able to shift the tide.
Momentum is such a big deal in this world. And I feel like when we get momentum rolling our way, we’re pretty fun. We have a lot of fun on the field and we’re scoring points and stopping people. We got to find a way to make that momentum go our way early in games.”
On what adjustments needs to be made moving forward
“I think that we’re gonna have to let this thing hurt, and we’re gonna have to learn from these corrections that these coaches will make on Monday and we better put a great game plan together for UAB. Because it’s not like they’re not the defendant conference champs…
We’ve got to make sure we have a complete understanding of what we’re doing, give our kids the best chance, and then we have to go execute. So we got to find out what we can execute at a high enough level to beat a team in Conference USA. And that’s what we need to do on offense and defense right now, whatever we’re good enough at. If we need to simplify, we need to simplify. If we need to do more, then we need to do more, we need to get more scheme. But again, it’s really heartbreaking to me for our players because I do think they’re playing really hard, they’re just not always playing well.”
On what needs to improve on offense
“I mean, look at those numbers. Gosh, we threw for 36 yards. We’ve got to make sure that we’re catching the ball when we throw it. We’ve got to throw it to the right place. We’ve got to throw it to the open guy. There’s not going to be a lot of magic here, but we also got to protect better. That’s where it’s always going to start for us. If we can protect the passer, we believe in our guys to take a drop and find the guy that’s open. But as I said we had a couple big drops that are disappointing, but we’ve got a long way to go in the throw game that we’ve got to improve on.”
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