Postgame Quotes: North Texas
COACH SETH LITTRELL: What a fun game, two really competitive teams getting out there and competing at a high level. It was physical and back and forth and congratulations to Coach Monken and Army. They did an incredible job. I knew it would be a much different game. I think both programs are at a different stage now than they were in October, and I knew it would be a great challenge. But our men really accepted the challenge and stepped up, and I thought they did a heck of a job today.
We didn't make enough plays to win. We may not have accomplished our mission of winning our bowl game, but these men sitting up here and those men in that locker room downstairs accomplished a lot this season and the things they did accomplish was setting a solid foundation of brotherhood. Great chemistry. The way we compete on a daily basis, whether it's on the field or off, the way we overcome adversity. That's going to happen in every single football game, in your life, with your family wherever it is, the one thing I hope they've learned is how to believe in each other, how to overcome adversity and look at the big mission, and how to learn to trust others to help you. We can't do it all on our own.
And I'll forever be indebted to these men. They taught me a lot this season and they will always be family to me, no matter where they're at and where they go, they will be highly successful and I can't wait to watch them in their future especially this senior class. With that, I'll open it up.
TIM SIMMONS: Coach, why don't you talk about each one of their players and their job today and starlight with Alec and Fred and then Andy.
COACH SETH LITTRELL: Yeah, I thought Alec did a heck of a job. I said it coming into this game, I felt like he had his best weeks of preparation, looked a lot more comfortable, confident with where he was going with the football, did a heck of a job managing the game and throwing the football today. And, you know, I think he's he's got a special future in whatever he does because he's an unbelievable teammate, and that's something I've been more impressed with than any ball he threw today or any other game, just the man he is and that's he will be highly successful in life because of that.
Fred, shoot, he's the leader on our defense. He's the man that everybody will turn to and listen to. He's highly competitive. And all three of these men are great teammates. That's what's key, finding really good teammates that are selfless, tough, and disciplined, but being selfless is huge. Fred had some adversity this year with he's had to go under the knife and under surgery and fix a hernia that maybe should have put him out a bit longer, but the way he worked to come back after two and half, three weeks and have the opportunity to finish out his senior season, the way he played today, I'm proud of him.
And, again, it's my man right here, he's tough. He has a motor that will never stop. He's relentless. He brings all the energy. He always will and he always has. And, you know, it's hard sometimes in the triple to see what both these men did on defense today because the ball was going all over. But they made a lot of plays and I'm proud of them. I'm proud of the way this group played together.
Q. Could you talk about the momentum swing in that fourth down play provided when they went ahead and scored there. Do you think that really swung things obviously in their favor? Was that the play of the game?
COACH SETH LITTRELL: They made a great play, and again, stretched us out and found a crease. You know? It wasn't that we were we lost focus or we weren't the effort wasn't there. They made some great plays to get them in that situation. You have to give a lot of credit to Army, they executed very well and scored a touchdown, and sometimes you have to give them as much credit as taking our credit away for how we get them in that situation.
At the same time, you know, it's not easy to defend at that point in the field, and it's our job on offense to come back out and score a couch down. Again, they made some adjustments on defense, they did a heck of a job in getting us into third and long, fourth and long, and we didn't make enough plays at the end. But that doesn't take anything away from how I feel like they competed all day.
Q. Coach, you had a lot of success in October defending the triple option. Struggled tonight. Army had 480 yards. What was the difference today?
COACH SETH LITTRELL: Well, first off, I felt like the fullback was making it go. We couldn't stop the interior part of it. We gave up some big plays that we didn't give up last time. You know, one of them a couple different wrinkles, but I think overall, they made a nice adjustment in the second half of clamping down on the fullback.
But they just made more explosive plays maybe than we did. I don't know what the count was but they made nice plays, and it's not an easy offense to defend. I thought we prepared well for it. You have to give them a lot of credit. They're really good at what they do and they play physical and they force you to be disciplined on every snap. If you just get your eyes off the wrong thing, one play, that's all it takes.
Q. Can you continue that thought and tell me how difficult it was to play against that triple option? And how does it compare to offenses you've faced this season?
LB FRED SCOTT: Offense is tough. You have to read your keys, like Coach said, if you get your
eyes wrong, it gets you in trouble and you get exposed. And it happened a couple times today and we should have been more disciplined, and I mean congratulations to Army. They came out and executed, and in playing them the first time, it's good to see what they do and how they play against you, but obviously they will make adjustments too, just like we did. So, I mean, they made better adjustments that than we did especially the first half, but I thought we came out and played a lot better in the second half. They played better the first half. But we fought hard and got back into the game and competed. So it's what we've been coached to do all year, and that's we will continue to do into the future.
Q. Andy, can you talk more about that in terms of there were situations where Army was able to move the ball on you guys. You were able to bottle them up in certain situations, give your offense a chance to get back on the field. Can you talk about the poise, maybe some of the things you guys were talking about, just to kind of put them in as many binds as you possibly could.
DE ANDY FLUSCHE: We worked on this in practice. This would take perfect discipline and effort every single play, and we would have to play smart, smashmouth football every single play over and over and over again. And the team that would do that would win today. And you know, we fought hard the entire game and we had some success. But like he said, we had some big plays that got us. We weren't quite disciplined enough, we weren't quite physical enough, but we fought hard the entire game, and you know, gave us an opportunity.
Q. Alec, could you talk a little bit about that drive that you were able to go down and tie that game up and just, overall, your last game here in North Texas to be able to come in and play so well?
QB ALEC MORRIS: The last drive, it wasn't necessarily the prettiest drive I've ever had, couple penalties, but I think that's been a pretty common theme for this team the entire year of overcoming adversity, and it was exemplified in that one drive. And obviously we would have liked to put it in the end zone and not have to go to overtime and not give them the ball back. We got the field goal. Trevor [Moore] made a great kick and got the job done. But, obviously, our time fell short.
Q. Could you talk about your play here at North Texas.
QB ALEC MORRIS: This year's been just like at the beginning, I don't know how you want to write it. But after going through all these experiences, what I've learned, people I've met, you know, I wouldn't change it. It's been a great experience and, I mean, the only thing, I hate having to have it end this way.
Q. Coach, can you try to put this season in perspective? The majority of this roster finished 1 11 last year. This year you're probably one play away from winning a bowl game. What strides do you think your program made this season?
COACH SETH LITTRELL: Not only do I feel like we got better the last couple of weeks, I felt like we were at our best coming into this game. And although we didn't win the game today, we got better today as well. And I don't look at last year's whatever they did in the past. You know, to me, it's what we're going to do now and in the future. And again, I think they've done an incredible job of setting a solid foundation that will be key to our success in the future and we will have success.
And I have nothing not to be proud of about just really proud of them and I've had a lot of fun. This has been awesome.
Q. Alec, you were making plays on your feet, you had Jeff getting sick out there on the field. Do you think your offense left it all out there?
QB ALEC MORRIS: Yeah. I gagged a couple times listening to him puke next to me. It was pretty gross. Regardless of the outcome, I think everyone can look at our performance things you would like to have back, things that didn't go our way but if you look back, everyone gave effort, everyone was competing as hard as they can. And like I said, it didn't turn out how we wanted but I think the effort was there.
Q. Coach, how invaluable was it to have these fifteen practices for this team for the bowl game? You got a leg up on a lot of other 5 7 teams that didn't have that chance.
COACH SETH LITTRELL: There's no doubt. It's key. I can't tell you how much better we got in the last couple weeks. We're a lot better football team now than we were on Thanksgiving, I can tell you that.
And just looking out there, guys that made plays, you had a lot of young men, a lot of true freshmen out there making plays, playing this game, and that experience is invaluable. We got a lot of guys that are red shirting. It makes you think, sometimes, you know, it was crucial to get them red shirted and developed and get them big, stronger, faster. But that time of year when they had a full season of work, and you get them back, you say, man, I wish he was playing this week. But it gives you something to look forward in the future.
I think our future is very bright. I think we've got men that are learning what it looks like, understand what our culture is going to be moving forward, and I'm excited to get back to work.
Q. What was the story with Jeffrey [Wilson] today? Did he have the flu? Was he sick? Could you talk about his performance?
COACH SETH LITTRELL: He didn't have the flu. Sometimes he had a lot of carries, and he played a lot of snaps, and I've been there. I've done that before, actually. And, hey, he gutted it out. I thought he ran the ball hard today. We had success in the run game, especially early on. Really, we stopped ourselves more in the first half than you know, I felt like we could have finished off a couple more of those drives. Some drives you want back, but I think he played hard. He's still not a hundred percent but he's close to it, he's had a great week's preparation. I'm looking forward to him finishing off a great career next year.
TIM SIMMONS: A lot of green in the stands today. How about that support?
COACH SETH LITTRELL: Incredible crowd. Yeah, just to have an opportunity to be at home and play in front of our fans and community and our alumni and our families, it was incredible, and they really showed up and they've done a great job all season long supporting us. There's no doubt in my mind why we had any success whatsoever.
We're grateful for them and we're grateful for the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Y'all did an unbelievable job. This is first class. Y'all treated our players, our everybody, you treated everybody with such class, and we had a blast here. I wouldn't change it. I wouldn't change anything.
Q. Coach, you had a big win at West Point in October, you generated a lot of turnovers that game. What was different in this game or different in the Army team that you saw today?
COACH SETH LITTRELL: Well, they took care of the football. I think they had one turnover with a muffed punt return. Other than that, they did a nice job executing, playing their style of game, grinding it out, being in pretty much the four down territory anytime it's less than three yards. And you know, they had some explosives.
I go into every game, we talk about it as a team, if you win the turnover battle, you win the explosive point battle, you will win the football game. That's a key stat. I would bet I don't know they won the turnover battle. I don't know who won the explosive play battle, but they had some. At the end of the day, they just made a couple more plays than we did.
Q. Coach, talk about the end around pass. It seemed like you had them on their heels there, good position, moving them for a potential tie field goal there. What was the timing timing on that play?
COACH SETH LITTRELL: Yeah, we wanted that area of the field. And same one we had against Southern Miss, I think it was one of the first few plays of the game, been doing well in practice, I felt really good about it and I'm not going to question the call because it's a double edged sword. You know, right there, you get momentum if you hit that. It's wide open. We just gave up you know, gave up pressure and Tyler [Wilson] couldn't get it off quite quick off. And hey, I don't you hit that play and could be a whole different ball game.