Coaches Corner: Lincoln Riley

Our Michael Prunka talked with offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley about Sunday's win over Tulsa and the upcoming Senior Night game versus UAB.

Q: What are emotions like heading into senior week?

A: It's always a little emotional. It is for the players and it is for us as coaches, too. This will be the first group we've been around for four years, this staff. To kind of come full circle with these a lot of these guys, all these guys were kind of charter members of our first go-around here and that makes it little extra special for us as a staff.

It will be for those guys, too. We want to make sure we go play well. We don't want to try to do too much. We just want to keep doing what we're doing and just send those guys out with another great conference win in front of our fans.

Q: Your offense went 10 for 16 on third down. What were the keys to that kind of efficiency?

A: Normally, you leave yourself at good distances. We converted quite a few long ones. We were really good on third-and-long. We were really above average on third-and-long. We actually had a few third-and-short and third-and-mediums that we are normally a little bit better on that we didn't get. I thought we made some plays on third-and-long. I thought we had a good game plan there and the guys did a good job executing. It's just really good execution.

Q: What are your thoughts on Shane Carden's seven touchdowns? It seems like him scoring that many is becoming routine.

A: In this offense, the quarterback has the chance to do those kinds of things. He's playing well. He's done a good job making plays for us. He's done well in the red zone. He's also got that added ability to get things done as a runner, so he gives you that option as well. He's playing well. He's done a good job of not forcing things, but also being aggressive enough that he's making plays. He's been in a nice groove here these past few weeks.

Q: Shane said last night he attributes his two running touchdown to the offensive line. What are your thoughts on their performance Saturday?

A: They played good. They continue to pass pro well. Our pass pro, for the last several weeks, we're just getting better and better. I thought Tre [Robertson] was a little more settled in at right tackle. When you have a new guy come in, it not only affects that new guy, but the guy playing next to him, too. I thought Will [Foxx] and Tre played better together [Sunday] night.

Jordan Davis is playing really well for us right now. I think C.J. [Struyk] is really growing up as a center: taking control, making some calls and seeing some things he didn't see early. Ike [Harris] has just been pretty solid for us all season at right tackle.

Their group is playing well. I thought we got the run game better in the second half. They were clicking pretty good.

Q: How about the chemistry between Shane and Isaiah Jones? Just when you think they have it down versus FIU, they come out and one-up themselves again.

A: Isaiah just keeps getting better. He keeps working hard. He's got a lot of energy and he's just really excited and passionate about what he's doing. That just teaches you that if you're passionate about doing anything, you're just going to get better at it. That's a great example of it.

Q: People like to focus on chemistry between the quarterback and receivers. Talk a little bit about the chemistry between Isaiah Jones and Justin Hardy.

A: There's got to be a lot of that. All of our receivers work together. They've got a lot of routes and everything they do has to be in sync. They've got to be in flow. They've got to understand where each other are at, not only in the routes, but when we get in our scramble situations. Shane gives us some opportunities to make some plays there. That group works well together. Like I said, it's a nice mix of old and young. They're a hungry group. They're making a lot of plays right now.

Q: Lastly, what are your keys to beating UAB?

A: We'll continue [doing what we do]. We've done a good of not turning the ball over much in the last several weeks. We've got to continue to do a good job, continuing to have a good balance in what we're doing, like we've been doing. And getting off to a fast start and getting our crowd involved and letting the magic of this place take over.

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