"It’s obvious that we have a great challenge coming in this week. I think Tulsa, without a doubt, has been picked to win or be one of the top two teams in the conference. You watch them [Tulsa] on tape and see what they’re about. They definitely deserve what everyone is saying about them. Tulsa’s team this year starts with its defense. They have the number one ranked defense in the conference and have 26 sacks, which is unheard of at this point. They’re very aggressive on defense and are very well coached. We have to do a great job at preparing for the pressure that we are going to get. Offensively, their quarterback Cody Green was a starter at Nebraska as a true freshman. I think he’s only one of two that have started at Nebraska as a true freshman, the other being Tommy Frasier. He did that through several games and picked up right where he left off. Trey Watts is a running back that is an excellent player. They have great skill. They have big tall wide outs and a physical offensive line. They are number one in our conference in rushing offense. We have to have a great week of preparation ourselves. I’m glad it’s a home game. Our kids are looking forward to getting back and playing here at home."
On Tulsa’s defense:
"About 50 percent of the time they’re coming after you in one way or another, whether it is pressure from the edges or the backers. They do put a lot of pressure on your offense as far as blitzing is concerned. Their defensive guys move around a lot because of the blitz packages they have."
On big play possibility against Tulsa:
"If you can line up, make the proper read, the proper hot and if you can protect then you have a shot. Against UAB last week, they gave up some big plays. At times they will go man-to-man. They’re very aggressive in all phases that they do."
On Cato-to-Dobson connection:
"They just have to do it in practice every day. It’s not that we don’t work on it because we do. I talk to our guys all the time about competitive excellence. If you do it over and over again in practice then it will happen in games. We have to do a better job when we throw the ball down the field in practice and we have worked on it. We have to complete it in practice and it will carry over into Saturday."
On Marshall’s defense:
"We try to take the positives out of that Purdue game, build on it and carried it over to this week. They held Purdue to less than three yards per rush. Purdue had run the ball well up to that point. You guys that were there saw them physically and they are big up front. I thought the defense in the second half did make some strides. We have to get better because it is going to be a great challenge this week with Trey Watts, the big wide outs and of course Cody Green at quarterback. We have to build on the positives and we have to prepare."
On Marshall’s defensive communication:
"Defensively the key is getting your tails lined up in the right place and playing. I’ve said all along if you are thinking on defense and not playing then you’re not going to be any good. You have to get lined up and play hard. I think that is what our kids did in the second half of the Purdue game was stop thinking and play the game. That has to carry over into this game this week."
On defensive youth:
"A lot of it is youth. We have a lot of young guys. D.J. Hunter, for example, or even the two senior safeties are in this system for the first time. Keith Baxter didn’t play a whole lot of snaps a year ago. It’s a matter of starting to feel comfortable and getting their feet under them. I look around the country today and Texas has as good players on defense as anyone else. Then you look up and the back-up quarterback for Oklahoma State helps them score 38 points. Don’t tell me that WVU and Baylor don’t have good defensive players…and that score was 70-63. What’s happening in college football today is just amazing to me. Tommy Shuler plays against a Big Ten team that is picked to play for the conference championship and he has 19 catches for over 200 yards. They can’t match up. I think everyone is going through some growing pains defensively. Defenses are trying to match up with what is happening with the offenses. You have to catch up quick because I still believe in my heart that you win championships with defense. I think that is still the key to winning championships. We have to get to that point. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there."
On the offensive craze in college football:
"It’s almost coming down to who has the ball last. In our case it happened to be one or two turnovers. It could be two defensive stops. I believe that you have to play great defense to win championships. We are working extremely hard to get there."
On offensive tempo:
"I don’t know if whether you run it or throw it changes the amount of plays. We ran the heck out of the ball against Rice and were at about 95 plays or so. It is creating a lot of problems for defenses and it’s helped us offensively. I’m happy where we are on offense, but we have to take better care of the ball. Our third down and fourth down conversions have been good. We are where we want to be offensively. The only thing we have to do is take care of the football and if we continue to do that we can get better in other areas. The tempo creates issues for a lot of defenses."