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Say What? Rice Head Coach David Bailiff

Two of the more personable C-USA head coaches meet up on Friday, here is what David Bailiff is saying about the Miners.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

On last week's loss to LA Tech

"We dropped a tough one Saturday to a good (Louisiana) Tech team. It was a game, going in, that we knew that we needed to tackle well in space. We knew that we needed to establish the run. Defensively, we didn't tackle well. We had 16 missed tackles and we gave up too many big plays. We'll continue to work on our tackling in space. That's where most of their yardage and points came from. Offensively, once we couldn't run the ball, we tried to throw it. We didn't catch the ball very well. We had two dropped passes for touchdowns. We had some key third down drops and to beat a team like LA Tech you can't make those kinds of mistakes and we did. We're going to keep working at that. We've got to get better at tackling. We've got to get better at making plays."

"We struggled on third down, offensively. We were 4-of-12. The four came when it was third-and-medium. When it was third-and-long we were oh-for. We need to be about 33-percent on third-and-long, but it shows that we were way off schedule. Or we didn't have any third-and-shorts in the game. We were off schedule and we're not a team that can do that. We have to stay on-schedule and make the plays when we can."


"We play a UTEP that's much improved this year. They have their quarterback Mack Leftwich back. He had been missing some games. He's who they want back there. Coach (Sean) Kugler does an outstanding job. They don't get any bigger than the offensive line. They beat Florida Atlantic, 27-17. (Defensive coordinator) Scott Stoker, defensively, has them very aggressive. A lot of man coverage, a lot of high pressure blitz that we've got to be able to handle. We leave Thursday to go to El Paso and play."

"UTEP is really good at their home stadium. When they play at home they're a different football team. We're going to have to outplay them. We're going to have to be more physical. We're going to have to eliminate the mistakes. If you eliminate some of those mistakes the other night, that's a close football game. You watch the video from the other night; we weren't outphysicaled. We didn't have any turnovers. But we're not creating turnovers. We're making too many mistakes to win. We have to eliminate that and it has to happen now."

"We know that when you go to El Paso, it's different. They play a different brand of football at home. What you see on film on the road is not what we're going to get, especially with their quarterback back. He had a concussion at New Mexico State but he's played the last couple of games."

On playing the most amount of freshmen in the country

"You just have to keep working with them. We just have to get their confidence up. When the season started, we had Grant Peterson at defensive tackle. We had Graysen Schantz. Cody Henessee's been hurt. It is what it is. We have to keep working with them, get them confident and get them better. We've got to get them to where they're playing a winning brand of football, and we're close. We're close. We just have to keep working with them. I've got to get them in more situations where they're tackling in space in practice. Sometimes, I don't want to get anyone hurt so I'm probably too cautious, making sure we get them to Saturday. I'm going to have to change some of the things I do so we can improve faster."

"A lot of it is that we're young. Some of those youngsters now have eight games under their belt. You can't say that they don't have enough reps. They've got enough reps now. We're not blowing coverages. We just have to make plays and they have to continue to grow up. But those young ones also can't have those mistakes we're making where we're hurting Rice. I think you look at those two freshmen corners; they've done some great things. They're getting better every week. We've just need to get more consistent in our play and that's all 11 of them. That's up to me. I've got to get them all on the same page."