Head Coach Mike Riley Quotes vs. USA

Nebraska vs. South Alabama

Sept. 12, 2015

Opening Statement
"It's good to win. I was proud of our team. I thought we had a good week of practice. There was some stuff that we wanted to do better and I think we did. Obviously we ran the ball better against this team. We cut down on penalties. I thought the balance offensively was pretty good. Defensively I think, what stood out for me was we did a nice job against the run. We did a pretty good job even containing some of their perimeter runs even though it looked like we were going to have a hard time with some of it. Our biggest deal was probably not getting off the field on third down defensively and them hitting some deep balls. In a brief summary, after the game that is kind of how I saw it."

On if he planned on running I-back Terrell Newby that much
"We did talk about that yesterday and we thought it might be important. He was the guy that we thought was our first-string back, and we thought one thing that we needed to do better was give him the ball. And let him stay in the game and maybe find a better rhythm."

On if he thought Terrell Newby found his rhythm
"I do. I thought that it was really good for everybody. His production was good and I thought the line did a nice job. The fullbacks did a nice job and he did a nice job in there. And the tight ends. It was good. If we can just to continue to do that it will be very helpful for our team."

On if it is his preference over the years of having someone to lean on
"We have for most of our lives been like that with a back and giving him the ball 30 times a game, something like that. Recently it has been a little different. Last year only and here because this team has good depth at backs so we wanted to take a look at what that might be like if we rotate it until last week. After we played the game, we decided it might be best, Terrell was our first-string back, it might be best just to let him play. And give him a chance to get that rhythm and be productive. I think for right now, it was a good decision for us."

On Michael Rose-Ivey and if he gave the defense a "little something extra"
"We got Michael (Rose-Ivey) back and we lost two others. That really worried me. Not that the guys coming in weren't going to do a good job it’s just that we really have no depth at that position. Its right on thin ice. I'm hoping Josh Banderas and Dedrick (Young) can get back this next week and play. Obviously it is really important to us. It really made me nervous because that just came up. Maybe Thursday evening was when we started finding out, he wasn't finalized out until this afternoon before we came over here. That one hurt. And then Josh, we kept hoping that he would get well during the week enough to be able to play tonight but that didn't happen either. So I thought those guys did a nice job and fortunately we had Michael back."

On Dedrick Young's injury
"He has got a toe problem. It has to do a little bit with an infection. A lot to do with an infection."

On his first win at Nebraska
"I'm very excited. It’s just an amazing scene out there in that stadium. It came one week late but I'm glad to get here."

On learning something new about the team this week
"I felt real good about how they practiced from the very beginning of the week. I felt Monday was a good day, and Monday can be a hard day because it's just a couple a days after the ball game and they're still sore, but we have found it very good to give them Sunday off and practice on Monday and get a little bit of that game plan in from one day earlier. I thought they were really good on Monday and then got better as the week went on. I was very impressed with that and it's like I told you after the last game even though that was really, in tons of ways, bad and disappointing and couldn’t we have found a way to help them get into position to make that play. Even though that all came down like that, I still liked a lot of what I saw, not necessarily just in the football but how they played, competed, listened, I liked all that. That's two good things in a row. They rebounded and practiced well in that first game and at least kept competing."    

On having most of starting unit out for fourth quarter
"One more drive. That was it. We talked about it on the phone and we thought one more drive. That was the point though, that's a good question because that was the point of what we were gonna do there."

On temptation of bringing in the backups
"Well that's what we talked about, the whole point of the discussion was when we were gonna make that change. There is also something to, that we're still fairly new with all this stuff and so we would give these guys a chance to just keep getting better at it. I think that's also a good thing. There is a fine line there, we could have done it either way."

On Armstrong's 63.3 percent passing percentage over the first two games
"Pretty good, I like that. I like the fact that if you can stay up in that range you're gonna be in pretty good shape in your passing game. I think that's a good number."

On running game improvement
"I think that that's good. Now it's going to be important to maintain and make sure that we can continue to do that. Obviously competition will grow and BYU, remember, has a pretty darn good front too so it can be somewhat relative as we speak. I think that the South Alabama team is really a well-coached team. I think they'll win a lot of games with what they do and have a chance to get back to a bowl game. All the film that we watched on them you can tell that they have really built that program and compete like crazy and are well-coached. I think it's good what we did, but it's obviously gonna get harder." 

On Nate Gerry's interception
"What you don't want to do is give a team like that, that's a big underdog in a situation like that, give them confidence going early. When the first thing they try really down the field at that point, we intercept it, I thought it was a very, very good way to start. Then we responded with a drive for a score. That's a great way to start."