Practice Update: Offense 9/23/12

After the Pirates loss this weekend to UNC I had a chance to catch up with some of the key offensive players along with Offensive Coordinator Lincoln Riley to ask them about how the game went, and what they can expect from UTEP this week.

Coach Riley

-General thoughts on the UNC game: "It was a game of being close, we had four possessions in the first half we ended up having two great drives out of those four possessions, but we didn't get touchdowns on them. That is something we've done a great job of ever since we've been here; we usually do good in the red zone with a high percentage or touchdowns but we didn't this week. The second hald was close too, agonizingly close. We had so many plays that we were a whisker away from making which would have changed the whole game.

-On the importance of returning to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium: "We've had a tough three game road stretch and we are certainly excited to get back home and also excited to just make some of those plays that we're so close to making that will really break these games open. Our guys are in good spirits.I know our fans are going to be geared up, a lot of them haven't been able to see us play in the last three weeks. I expect it to be rocking, and we're going to go out and play our tail off."

-Expectations from UTEP this week: "It'll be a tough game, we had a grind out game with them last year it came down to the last snap. They have been on a similar stretch that we have; being on the road for the past several weeks, but I expect a tough game out of them being that it is another conference game."

Shane Carden

-Thoughts on second start vs. UNC: "It wasn't how we wanted it to go this week against them, but we're on the 24 hour rule and its on to UTEP. We're excited to play and we back at home."

-Making first start at home: "I'm extremely excited, this will be my first start at home. Its a night game too so its going to be a good time. We played some hard road games these last three weeks and we're definitely excited to be back home and we're ready to play hard."

-Expectations from UTEP's defense: "They're a good defense, they manned us up pretty good last year. We're pretty pumped up to play them again, it was a hard fought game down there last year so we're excited to get them up here at our place to take it to them."

Vintavious Cooper

-On the running game making strides this weekend: "We found holes and gaps, the offensive line did their part in creating seams for us. Coach constantly reminds us to make the right reads so that we can get four to five yards at least on every play and we did our best to make that happen this week."

-Returning home: "Its extremely huge for us, everybody wants to play at home. We can't wait to be in front of our home crowd and we know they're excited to watch us play. Its a big conference game for us and we want to be prepared for what is going to take place on Saturday."

-Thoughts on UTEP's defense: "Their defensive line is pretty good, and their linebackers are pretty physical with good speed. They will be a good team but I think we can come away with the win."

Justin Jones

-How the UNC game went: "It went good, we all flew around and focused really hard on taking care of the ball. Penalties and turnovers are not what we're trying to do. We were wide open, and we tried to play wide open but we shot ourselves in the foot at times. We got to play better against big teams like that."

The importance of this game: "Its a big conference game for us, we're 1-0 right now and want to keep this thing going. We still have everything in front of us with the conference championship, bowl game and all that. We didn't lose anything this week by losing to Carolina, and we're coming back home hungry. Our fans add another aspect to our game and we're ready to go out and play for them."

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