Everything Mike Houston said in his Cincinnati week press conference

East Carolina coach Mike Houston addressed the media Monday before Friday’s game against Cincinnati. The Pirates are coming off an open date and enter the weekend 6-3 overall, including a 3-2 mark at The American. Cincinnati beat Navy, 20-10, this past Saturday and is 7-2 on the season with a 4-1 mark in the league. Friday’s kickoff is at 8:00 p.m. ET at Nippert Stadium, with the game televised on ESPN2.

Here’s everything Houston had to say Monday during his weekly press conference. A full video of his presser is included at the end of the article.

“It’s good to be back in the bye week. Had a good, focused day yesterday, meeting and practice. We’re back out there this afternoon with a fully padded practice in preparation for Friday night. Obviously, a big challenge. on Friday tonight on the road to Cincinnati. I thought the kids yesterday were very focused and excited for the fourth quarter of our season and we talked about it in those terms. It’s an opportunity here in Cincinnati one of the better teams in our league and one of the top teams in the country. They are strong again this year, so just a huge challenge for us but one that everyone is really excited about. It should be good on Friday night.”

“I think you look at the team they had last year, and we all know who got drafted and not just who got drafted, but how well they’re doing. You have some guys that have outstanding rookie seasons have in the NFL. I think if you look at the team that we’re going to face, we’re going up against a veteran football team. I think it just says that Coach Fickell has done a great job taking this program from a Build depth perspective. We’re going to face a lot of guys who have played a lot of football, guys who have been part of their tradition and culture, they understand what it means to play at a high level and win at a high level. I think it’s a sign of the extraordinary work he did.

“We were in helmets yesterday and I thought we went pretty hard yesterday. I think it’s the fine line that we needed some time to recover. It was a pretty tough stretch of nine weeks straight in the regular season . So, we need some time, but at the same time we are playing so well, I think we had enough free time last week and we had 3 really good practices. We had a good day yesterday. I think today they have to do the next one Take steps with the contact, because there will be a very physical football game on Friday night. A big focus for us this week is that we have to play a certain way on Friday night, that’s it. I think that today is a important day is, tomorrow is an important day, and then you sharpen things and get your mind ready for Friday.”

“I think it’s just another indicator of the program they’ve had over the last five years. We all know they’ve played at a very high level here in the American Conference for a long time. I think the experience at BYU helps our players. I thought we didn’t move and that’s a very hostile environment there, I would say we’re going to see something similar Friday night. I think it’s something that’s good for our kids to have that experience and this to do.”

“Well, I think it depends on what phase you look at. I think they’re a very complete football team. You look at them defensively and they rank at or near the top in sacks, tackles for loss and negative plays. It’s a defense that really puts a lot of pressure on you and you’re going to get into some situations that you’d like to avoid, but traditionally they’ve been able to put some people in some situations where they’re behind the chains. I think that’s just the benefit of having experienced players. I think you flip to the other side and with Desmond (Ridder) and the company ending, they really didn’t go down. I think Ben (Bryant) who spent a year at Eastern Michigan after they Backed up in Cincinnati for a couple of years, was very solid and had an outstanding year. They have a roster of playmakers, whether it’s Tyler (Scott) or Tre (Tucker). They play three different runs. I think have a good job done in the running game. This is just a completely physical and talented football team. I think the challenge for us is to continue to play and perform at a high level like we were last month plus.

“You evaluate yourself as you do an opponent from a point of view, just to look at things in terms of the formation and show down the distance to just see what you are what you show. I think that both coordinators did good job throughout the season to try to be aware of things but we all have tendencies. if you are aware of them you can either avoid them or break them. it’s good to understand what they are because that way you can move forward what a sight you will get.”

“I think it comes down to a lot of fundamentals and decision-making. We spent some time last week and really focused on that defensively, trying to get the ball out and made that a focus last week. Offensively, we really focused on great Fundamentals focused. That’s the big thing that I really had our coaches on Tuesday and Wednesday is just really big on the little things during practice. I think that’s where sometimes you can let yourself get a little sleepy if you’re not really on top . it. I really had them hone back on the way we finished the way we did the ball tucked post catch or post mesh, and just try to do a good job of staying on top of this stuff without losing a game last week have got.

“I think the big thing is just try to do your research and really get to know them to make sure they fit in your culture and fit in your wardrobe. I think all of our guys have done a good job with that. It just goes talking to a lot of people we trust; the coaching profession is such a network that you know so many people and we try to talk to someone who we feel will give us an honest evaluation. I’m still a big gut feeling guy so I meet someone in person, and I try to spend some time with them before we decide on one or the other.If I feel comfortable with them, they probably fit pretty well in our wardrobe.

“It’s really a credit to our players that we currently have on our roster that we’ve grown in their ability to accept people and bring them into our locker room and to the new players that we’ve added this year. I came in and just tried to be part of the team and part of the locker room, didn’t come in to be anything else. We try to be very transparent with expectations in the way we operate. I think that’s the big you want to make sure everybody understands what the deal is before they come here.”

“I thought that was really good. It’s mental as always. We have some young guys that play a little bit on special teams. You’re really tentative in terms of how much work they got, but it’s something I can about a lot of different guys. I think Sam (Dankah) continues to develop. The biggest thing I told him is that ‘anytime you’re anywhere around the gas station or on the training table, I said you not “not one serving you need three.” He’s continued to put on weight but he’s got such a long frame but he just needs to work on developing that but I think he’s coming along well I think you’ve got some of saw the young offensive kids and I was happy with some of them but it’s just always good for those guys to get some reps in there and have them go out there and have some fun. The travel team guys they get the cheerleaders, so it was a good way to end the week.”

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