UTSA Head Coach Larry Coker Monday’s Press Conference
“It was a disappointing loss. Some things happened during the game that are really uncharacteristic of our team and I’m really disappointed in the way we displayed. Brian Price, for example, I suspended Brian for next week. Did that yesterday. What I hate is Brian is a good kid. He lost it. He’s a good kid, but that’s unacceptable and we just can’t have that. We had 12 penalties. We can’t beat anybody with 12 penalties. So again, we’re addressing that and especially the conduct. The thing with Brian is unacceptable and we can’t have it. We addressed it. I hate it because he’s a good kid, but those are the things we can’t do in our program. There are some positives. We had to look deep for some of them, but the run defense was good. They had the one run down the boundary that I think was good on their part. All in all we gave up big plays. We cannot give up big plays and we gave up several. Offensively, we were just inept to be quite honest with you. We just made no plays on offense to give us a chance to win. Kristian Stern, our punter, was probably the MVP of the game for us. He did a good job punting the football.”
On the quarterback situation way
“He (Austin Robinson) will probably be out this week, but Tucker (Carter) is back. I’ve never been down to the fourth unit quarterback, and Dalton Sturm came in and did a nice job. He’s a walk-on quarterback and I think he has a chance to be a player. There may be a future for him. Tucker has been cleared and he would’ve been our starter even if Austin is able to go. He has been cleared to play."
On North Texas
“Well, they have been (struggling). I think Dan McCarney does a great job up there. I knew Dan when he was at Wisconsin, and I think the thing with them is they’re like us. They had higher expectations than they’ve achieved, but they’ve done some good things. They have some good defensive players. They run the ball pretty well on offense. It will be interesting.”
On Austin Robinson
“To be fair to Austin, it’s kind of been an unfair situation to him. He was our third unit quarterback and again, a young player that you’d like to kind of be able to bring him along and see where he would fit in, but he’s been thrust into the limelight in a starting role. I’ll say this. He’s a smart young man and he works hard, and his teammates know that. Again, he had some struggles but it certainly hasn’t been all his fault. From his preparation and al those types of things, he’s certainly done it. I couldn’t ask any more from him. It’s been a tough situation for him to be put in that situation.”
On defenses figuring out how to stop Austin once he started playing
“I think that’s a lot of it. They say, ‘Look at this kid. He can run, so this is what we need to do to make sure he doesn’t beat us with the run. Make him beat us with what he doesn’t do the best.’ We’ve simplified a lot of things for our quarterbacks, but also there are things that they see that they’ve got to be able to handle. The defensive guys can call their plays and you can simplify whatever you want to, but they (defense) can still do what they want to do and you’ve got to be able to react to it. They can (put eight people in the box) and it becomes a math problem. You have guys you can’t block and again, it’s just one of those dilemmas. It’s not a good situation to be in but that’s where we are. It’s not just Austin.”
On Austin competing for the starting quarterback position in the spring that
“Well, I think he’ll be able to compete. There’s no doubt about that. We’re very impressed with Blake (Bogenschutz) and we’ll hopefully be able to get a medical hardship on him. He played some against Oklahoma State and scored a touchdown against them. We want to get the redshirt for him and get the year back for him, and get him for four more years. That’s the encouraging thing. We have some talented young kids. Now we have to put this recruiting class with them, but there’s some young kids that I think are really talented. You know (like) Marcus Davenport. You see some of those guys who are out there playing. Blake is one of those. Jarveon (Williams). Jarveon’s been hurt, but I think he’s going to be an outstanding back for us. He could play at any place I’ve been.”
On this being the final game for the senior class
“That’s the thing that hurts me so bad. I know these kids. I know what they’ve done. They came in on a Walmart jersey and a helmet and no place to practice, those types of things. Now for them to go out, I want them to go out winners. It’s been a great group. It really has. These are good kids. They really are. I’d love for nothing more than to see them on Senior Day to go out as a winner over North Texas on Saturday. They’ve meant a lot to this program obviously.”
On the impact the senior class has had on the program
“They’re like your family. When things aren’t going well, you kind of look at things that go on in the background that you (media) wouldn’t know about. The weight room has been spotless. The guys haven’t missed a weight workout. Throughout the week, no one’s missed. We have a lot of seniors and I think every one of these kids is going to graduate. That’s pretty awesome. We’ll probably have the largest graduating class in the history of football. They’re all scheduled to graduate. It is incredible. It speaks to their families and who they are and hopefully what we’ve tried to instill in them as far as academics. Most of these kids aren’t NFL players. They aren’t going to make a living playing football, so the degree’s going to be huge for them.”
On the disappointment of how the season turned out
“That’s the thing. Sometimes, things start going south and it’s hard to get out of it. It seems like you don’t get some of the breaks, things don’t go your way. The year before, we won seven games but things kind of went our way. We won a 10-7 game. We won close games. We’re not able to do that (this year). It’s our responsibility to do it, but we’re not able to do that. Of course, the quarterback situation and all these scenarios you want to talk about, but I think it is (tough). I’ve been really blessed in football. I’ve won state championships as a high school coach, national championship as a college coach. I know we have such good kids. They’ve been very responsible and I’d just like to see them go out as best they can.”
On the quarterback and injury situation
“Of course, with (Eric) Soza, he had such a great year last year. We had a lot of kids coming back, but the quarterback was new. You toss in some of the things with the Nic Johnston (injury), you go down the list of guys that we missed and it makes it a little more difficult for that quarterback. Of course, Tucker’s been banged up, but it’s college football and those things happen. Hopefully not too often, but they happen.”
On how he is handling this season
“It’s hard because I care. Like I was saying earlier, I have won a national championship and so some could say I could just take their money, but that’s not why I’m here. It’s really hard on me and I know it’s hard on the (other) coaches and their families. Hopefully it’s hard on me for the right reasons. I can’t say it any differently. It’s not easy on me. I promise you it’s not. You keep searching for answers — what can I do better to give them the best opportunity to win. I look back at our FAU game and to me that’s one that was really kind of the turning point in the season. Had we won that game, I don’t know. It was a tough loss for us on the road against a pretty good team. From a coach’s standpoint, whenever it gets to me where it doesn’t bother me to not play well, or it doesn’t bother me to not represent ourselves well as far as our team’s concerned — that bothers me what happened with Brian Price. That bothers me for him. That bothers me for our team, because that’s not what we represent — and when it gets to where that doesn’t bother me then I need to do something else.”
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