Following a solid 27-13 outing against SMU, playmakers Jarrett Hicks and Antonio Huffman joined Coach Mike Leach at this week's press conference. The trio also addressed this Saturday's game at New Mexico.
Hicks produced several big plays Saturday, leading the Red Raiders with eight receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown.
The sophomore wide receiver's impact plays began during the first drive of the game with an 11-yard first down, followed by 35-yard and 21-yard passes from quarterback Sonny Cumbie at the end of the first quarter.
Hicks caught a nice pass as well as the crowd's attention in the third quarter when he tossed a defender over his back to continue down the field with the ball.
Cumbie's 19-yard touchdown pass to Hicks occurred on a fourth and five with 7:25 remaining in the fourth quarter.
"We played with a lot of emotion and we are going to need that against New Mexico next weekend. We need to keep improving as the weeks and the season moves on. It was a good starting point for us," said Hicks.
"Sonny did a really good job for his first start and the first game of season. He was poised and ready to go," he added.
Antonio Huffman made some noise on the defense during his first start with six tackles, his first career interception, and a fumble recovery.
"SMU has a new offensive coordinator so we had to prepare ourselves for anything they might throw at us. In the first quarter we had to see what they were going to throw at us and adjust our game from there. We had some errors but not as many as we had during the first game last season," said the sophomore cornerback.
Leach was pleased with his squad's performance, but acknowledged first games are always full of both positives and negatives while ironing out the kinks in the system.
"The defense played real well in the first quarter. Offensively, I thought we had a good first drive. Offensively we got impatient and started pressing. We got impatient and frustrated but we settled down in the second half and did some good things. Games early in the season are always kind of erratic," he said.
Sonny Cumbie's solid first start was a popular topic as well. Cumbie threw for 470 yards on 40-of-66, turning in a better performance than both Kliff Kingsbury and B.J. Symons during their first starts.
"Cumbie played really well. I think it was one of the best debut's I have ever been apart of. He is just a real solid player. His approach is real steady," said Leach.
Junior tight end Bristol Olomua also made an impressive impact during his first start for the Red Raiders with two touchdowns and seven receptions for a total of 100 yards for the night. The BYU transfer last saw playing time in 1999 before a redshirt season and two years spent on a Mormon mission.
Nicknamed "Big Island," Olomua dominated the Mustang secondary throughout the game, leaving a trail of linebackers in his wake.
Leach commented that he was surprised at how polished and relaxed Olomua appeared on the field. He also cited his consistency and solid performance.
"He's got really good hands. One of the best set of hands on the team as far as outright catching the ball. The other thing that is impressive about him is that he has great body control. Usually it's little guys who have great body control. Bristol is 6'5", 265 and has really great body control. It is part of what lets him do what he does. Players like that are hard to find," he added.
Leach has his sights set on the New Mexico game this Saturday and referred to the Lobos' defense as having a feeding frenzy mentality.
"New Mexico is a real challenge. Schematically, they are as tough a defense as we play, certainly one of the toughest in the country. They throw a lot at you. You watch as much film as you can but ultimately you have to do the best you can at reacting to it on the move. Not just Sonny but the whole team. The defense puts a lot of demand on you and they are really one of the defenses I admire the most," added Leach.
The Red Raiders hit the road to take on the Lobos (0-1) at University Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M., this Saturday at 7 p.m.
Hicks and Huffman on SMU, NM
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