Coaches Corner: Lincoln Riley

Inside ECU Sports caught up with Lincoln Riley after Sunday night's practice to discuss ECU's 24-17 win against Middle Tennessee State and the upcoming game versus Tulane.

Q: How do you feel about the way Chris Hairston and Breon Allen stepped up after Vintavious Cooper's injury?

A: It's was really good. They could play better, but it was an adverse situation. A good football team, a physical team…They both ran really tough for us. It's obviously the most reps that either one of them has ever gotten for us offensively. I thought they both stepped up well and handled it. They both did a good job with passes—caught the ball well. They can play a lot better. I think they'll get a lot more confidence from this and I expect both of them will be better next time they hit the field.

Q: It seems like Justin Hardy's name wasn't called that much in the first half. Then he made big plays left and right in the second half. What changed in the game plan to make that happen?

A: Not much. They keyed on him a little bit early and had some other things going. Some other guys were hot and some other things were just there. That's kind of how this is. They may not be consistent, but we're going to get to the ball and get it to our play makers and all our guys. We're going to get the ball spread around. When you keep running as many plays as we're running, guys are going to touch it. He got rolling a little bit in the second half and made some big plays for us.

Q: What's your opinion of the mess right before halftime?

A: We had seven seconds left and we ran a play that took four seconds and I don't know where the other three went. Just one of those deals. You get a home clock operator. It is what it is. It was going to be close, but we felt like we had enough time to run the play. We had timeouts left. For whatever reason, a timeout didn't get called like we expected it to. I should have done a better job in the series. There are a couple of play calls that I could have back that would have saved us a little bit more time. We didn't want to leave enough time for them to drive it, but it's on me and we'll do better next time.

Q: How important do you think clock management was yesterday?

A: It's always important, especially in a tight game like that—a good football team and a tough road conference game. It's very important. We didn't do such a great job of it at the end of the first half, apparently. Again, I think we'll work at that. At the end of the game, we did a great job at it. We did a great job running out the clock. I think they only ran five offensive plays in the fourth quarter and I think we ran something like 30. We took control of it there. We did a good job of managing the clock at the end of the game and kept them from having a chance to score and tie it up.

Q: I hear there was a little mishap with the plane coming home last night. Did that have any impact on practice?

A: It was interesting. I'm glad they didn't try to land us or try to do something brave with all of us on there. It was definitely unplanned for. Our operations guys did a great job. We got into Kinston a little late and our guys got into bed a little late, so everyone's a little tired. It's the season and that's part of it.

Q: What have you seen from Tulane's defense?

A: They're good. I think they're one of the better defenses in this conference. Certainly the strength of their team now…It looks like they're different than Middle [Tennessee]. Where Middle [Tennessee] was really size and physical, these guys are really athletic. They're not huge, but they can all run. They've done a good job upgrading their athleticism there. I think it will certainly be the best defensive team we've seen from Tulane since we've been here. It will absolutely be a challenge, but we're looking forward to it.


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