UTSA Head Coach Larry Coker
Post Game Interview following 34-24 win over Rice
COACH COKER OPENING STATEMENT: I couldn't be prouder of our coaching staff and our players. It's been a tough year for us. Everybody kind of expected us to fold along the way, and they never did, never did. We're very proud of them. And that's what UTSA represents, a fight to the end and compete. You don't always win. But we did tonight. We played really well tonight, and I tell you, the way we finished off. Jarveon Williams is our first thousand-yard rusher ever, and that's pretty special. Everybody talks about milestones and that's a milestone. He rushed for 160, and did a phenomenal job for us. Did a lot of it on his own just on his ability and talent. And I just can't say enough about our coaches. They did just a great job.
Q. Coach, I'll start off with the most obvious question. It seems like this was your first complete game of the season. Have you guys been saving it until the end here?
COACH COKER: Yeah, we really would have liked to wait one more game. But, we thought we better do it now. No, seriously, we talked about that. We knew we had a poor half offensively last week, and we knew we couldn't do that this week and win. We talked about starting fast, I think our guys did that, and they came to play. Yeah, this is Rice. They're playing for a bowl game. They get that one next week. They go for a bowl game. They've got Charlotte next week.
Q. This is a historic occasion and first victory over the Owls and a notable first win at home this season. Can you talk about that?
COACH COKER: It's been very disappointing for our fans. We have great fans and just very proud of our fans and the university. We did not win a home game this year until now, but the fans stuck with us. We had a great crowd tonight. It's Military Appreciation Day, and we're so proud of our military influence here in San Antonio and our troops. So we talk about that with our players. We have a chance to play football because of the things these military people have done for us to allow us to do that. And not everybody can do that, and we're really proud of the fact that we are Military City USA.
Q. Can you talk about Dalton Sturm tonight? He came out and had a great first half. He seemed accurate and aggressive. Do you just see this kid every game just growing up, getting better, kind of getting it?
COACH COKER: I tell you, he's pretty good. I tell you, he has a nice, quick release. He's been very accurate with it. I think we've just got to protect him better. If we protect him, he could be really serious. I think one of the things we have to do is maybe handle some things where he gets the ball out quickly. You can't hold the ball, can't do it in the NFL, can't do in junior high. So you've got to get the ball out quickly to the open receivers. I don't know if they got a turnover tonight; is that correct? No turnovers. I mean, just a huge night for us there. Last week we had three in the first half, so that was huge for us. Dalton is getting better and better and better. Players really believe in him and he believes in himself. Even last week when he had the three turnovers in the first half, I said if that was me, I would have probably folded. But he came back and had a great second half and won the game.
Q. Coach, I think the noise coming from outside the doorway is the players in the locker room. Can you kind of describe their emotion after finally getting a home win?
COACH COKER: Well, I had so much emotion I couldn't even hear theirs. They really worked hard. It's hard. Football, you play one time a week and then come back and practice, but I think the emotion is really they believe in each other. The offense and defense is really encouraging and just really grateful to see. The youth factor we've had with those guys staying in and staying focused and doing the job. That's one of the things we talked about too, guys do your job and stay focused, stay focused, and they did that tonight.
Q. Just real quick, just beating a team like Rice, they're not having the best year either, but they are Rice, and it's probably the most established team in this conference. What does it mean to get a win against those guys?
COACH COKER: Well, I tell you, the win is very important for us. But this win over Rice, we haven't beaten Rice. They're the only team in Texas that we've played and we haven't beaten. We're 0-3 against Rice. Again, this means a lot to our program. I told our players this, this may be as significant a win as we've had, and I think really it probably is. Just got over the obstacle in Houston, and to beat a team like Rice means a lot to us. We had a lot of recruits here tonight, and I think they enjoyed the night. How could you not? It's very important for us.