Rice Football head coach Mike Bloomgren made his final comments on the Louisiana Tech game as the Owls move onward to UAB in Week 6.
Defensive tackle Elijah Garcia and newly minted placekicker and team captain Chris Barnes joined head coach Mike Bloomgren at the podium on Tuesday. The trio made closing comments on the Louisiana Tech game and looked ahead to their Week 6 game against UAB.
From Mike Bloomgren
On the leadership of Aston Walter…
“I thought Aston Walter had a heck of a day. He ran for a career-high 112 yards on 20 carries. He scored our first two touchdowns and I noticed that he was the leading rusher in the conference. As I’ve talked about Aston before, he’s so good right now in his role. The things that he does without the ball are phenomenal. The leadership he is providing for our team as a sixth-year senior has been great. So, I’m really pleased with how Aston’s performing.”
On the play of the defense…
“Defensively, we’re playing at a really high level right now. That’s the bottom line. We’ve given ourselves a chance to be in those games in the fourth quarter because of the ferocious way that our defense is playing. I think that they are really playing in a relentless manner; swarming to the ball and you know what? We’re still going to ask them for more.”
On UAB and Bill Clark…
“Bill Clark is a heck of a football coach. I’ve known him since 1997. I respect everything that he has done at every stop along the way. But, what he’s done since taking that program back from the ashes has been phenomenal. Nothing short of phenomenal. Winning the conference last year. This year they are still a very, very good football team and I just appreciate the way that he coaches. I appreciate the way he pushes his guys. I appreciate that when you watch their defense –the effort that they play with.”
On the team’s belief right now…
“I know what Las Vegas said. I know we were an 8.5-point underdog. I know people say that LA Tech’s the number one team in Conference USA. But, our team feels like that was an upset because we knew we could play with them. We knew that we could win that game.”
From DT Elijah Garcia
On responding from the shutout at home against UAB last season..
“It’s a payback man. I mean, they shut us out here and it would be a treat to go and do that over there on their home field. So that’s, that’s the mindset this weekend. We want to get after it just like we did last week.”
From P/K Chris Barnes
On how he’s handled the transition to punting and kicking duties…
“[It’s] Just focusing on what you’re doing at that point, whether its kicking field goals or punting, just focusing on your technique and trusting the guys in front of you. Campbell Riddle is a fantastic snapper, he’s been giving us great snaps all year so I trust him. I trust all the blocking. And Adam [Nunez] is a great holder, too. I just trust those guys and it kinda makes things a little easier.”