Off the Practice Field...Texas Tech Head Coach Spike Dykes

(On Nebraska): "Needless to say that was a tough loss Saturday. When you play a great football team there's a few things you can't do, a few things you have to do. Going into that game the one thing we felt we couldn't do was give 'em anything big and certainly give 'em anything big and quick. We about shot that theory in the heart right off the bat. I don't think anything any bigger any quicker could've happened. At this stage of the game that's when you have an honest to goodness, true gut check. I know when that happened I had a lump in my throat about the size of a grapefruit.

"The amazing thing about it was our guys really did hang in there well. The crowd hung in there well. Before long we had that negated and it was back to a 0-0 contest. I thought that showed a lot of guts.

"Going in at the half we were on even terms with those people and felt like we had a chance to win the football game, full well knowing that when you play them they're going to figure out a way and you've got to counteract that.

"The defense I thought played a great football game. They didn't have exactly million mile drives for those touchdowns. The defense really gave us a chance to be in the ball game the whole way.

"We were just a hair away from breaking a big play at times and couldn't quite get it done.

"When you are emotionally involved in anything and you lose it takes a lot of the wind out of your sails unless your abig person and even if you are it takes a while to overcome that."

(On Texas A&M): We've lost some close games down there against some good football teams. It will be a game that will be very crucial to the remainder of our season.

"They (the players) know what's staring them in the face. I think when you've lost a heart breaking game like that its got to be a spur of positiveness that there is even a chance of playing them again.

"They've got great players. They're as proud of their quarterback as they've been in years. Brandon Stewart was the number one player in the state when he was a senior. I think he'll come out for the draft after this year. I think he has told people he probably would.

"They've got the best wide receiver I've seen in a long, long time, better than the one they've got at Kansas State in my opinion in Connell. He is really a good player

"They've got fast backs. They're young, they're good runners. The offensive line is big and strong so they've got a lot of weapons on offense. The strength of their football team is their defense as it always has been. Tremendous defensive football players. They've got great team speed, they're a lot like Nebraska as far as size, speed, quickness and ability.

"They've had a strange year. They've had untimely penalties. They've had untimely great plays against 'em. They've had untimely dropped balls. Its just one of those deals, you can't win for losing, but they've got a good football team. They're certainly sound and they're certainly playing hard. Those kind of teams scare the dickens out of you. If everything gets to going in the right direction for them. They make up for lost time.

"Kyle Field is a great atmosphere. It's a good place to play. There's always a big crowd. That's the only place that we go that there is really obviously crowd noise. They get involved. They really make it hard on you. You have to really be disciplined on offense or you really get a lot of penalties.

"When a guy jukes you and makes you miss him, there's not a whole lot you can do. They just made some plays that we didn't. The general state of affairs in athletics now is when you lose you gotta blame it on somebody. That's the change in athletics in the last 15 years. That amazes me a little bit. You win for so many reasons when you win and you lose for so many reasons when you lose. Its not one play or thing, its a combination.

"It never has been hard to get up for A&M and I think the players will handle it very well."

(On the home crowd): "I don't think I can ever remember a crowd in this stadium that was like that crowd was. They came early and stayed late and were very vocal. Our people stayed to the bitter end and boy we do appreciate that...Usually a deal like that (Terrel Farley's 21 yard touchdown on a fumble recovery), but after the shock of the thing they got right back into it.

"We remember the last three times we've been to College Station. We've lost some close games down there against some good football teams. Every one of those three years they were the Southwest Conference Champions and we finished second all of those years. That tells you just how important that football game has been.

"The reason they threw so much against Colorado is that they got behind so fast in that ball game. I think they would like to have a balance. I don't think there's any question, they're proud of their runners and they've got a good offensive line. I would look for a regular run of the mill game from them as far as pass to run ratio."

Spike Dykes On Sunday's Press Conference

(On the Nebraska game): "I don't know if you can start a football game any worse than we started yesterday. My gosh, you talk about devastating. I am really, really proud of our guys getting our composure back. I thought our guys did a good job of getting their heads back up. I thought the defense played outstanding football on many occasions. They certainly got us back into the game. It was a very physical game.

"Offensively, we had to make some first downs. We really had to control the football some. The people that lose to Nebraska generally are the people that get three downs and punt. We had 17 first downs against them. That's a credit to our offense.

"The only thing we didn't do is really take advantage of the breaks we got offensively. We did run some time off the clock, we did make some big plays. We dropped six passes in the ballgame. Those six passes were very, very, very critical. That's an area we've got to improve on. We cannot fumble the football. You cannot turn the ball over and win close football games.

"We are still in the football game until we get the punt return. The punt return is the straw that broke the camel's back You have to give the guy (Benning) credit. He just made a fantastic return, just an outstanding effort. We had some people that had him dead-to-right. I'm not sure we didn't let up a little bit.

"Our crowd was fantastic. They were here to the bitter end. They were here to the last drop. I do appreciate them for that. I think they saw a good ballgame. I think they saw a physical football game.

"I am proud of our guys for hanging in there. It's just unfortunate that you have to lose. You put so much into games like that. Darn it. When you lose, it takes a lot of wind out of your sails.

(On Texas A&M): "The big thing we've got to do is we've got to go to A&M this Saturday. We've got to get our chin up off the floor, got to quit feeling sorry for ourselves. Absorb the loss and go on down the road. You don't have time to dwell on that game. What we've got to do is try and correct the mistakes we made in that ballgame, try to keep from making them again and go from there. We were very fortunate we didn't get many guys hurt.

"Anthony Armour got his knee reinjured a little bit. Rob Peters came down on his shoulder. I don't know to what extent. That seems like the only two guys that are in a position that might not be ready this week."

(The A&M series): "We haven't beaten them a whole lot since I have been the head coach. Probably the most significant win was a year ago. We were 1-2 and had stunk it up pretty bad coming off a heartbreaking loss to Baylor. It looked like the sharks were about to get us. Of course, that's when Zach (Thomas) made the big play late and intercepted the pass late in the ballgame. We were able to win it. We've had some real close encounters with them. We've lost on the last play of the game. We've had some real, knock-down drag outs with them. They've gotten the better end of the stick the last few years. They've been awful hard for us to beat.

"That's a very unusual place to play in. The mystique of going to College Station. When you think about, it's one of the hardest places to play. All the traditions they have. They have a highly partisan crowd. It's more of a traditional football crowd than you see in most places. It's a heck of a deal. They've got a lot going for them. They are hard to beat in College Station. We will have to be at our very, very best to have a chance.

"We've been close down there quite a few times. We've had some real, real, real close football games down there. We've had a hard time getting a hammer on it. Finishing up with a win down there.

"It's significant for us. We are in a position right now that if we win the rest of our football games we'll play the winner of the North in St. Louis. If that's the case, it's extremely significant for us because that's what the battle is all about any way. I would think, there's no game of any more importance than this one for us in the remainder of our season.

"Our players know A&M. They know their players. They know what they've got. Honest-to-goodness, that's one thing about our traditional opponents, Baylor, A&M and Texas, there is no selling that needs to take place. They know all those guys. They remember all their players. A&M has great players. There is no question about that. They've had a couple of screwy deals to be 3-4. Everbody understands that. They've got a great football team. I don't think anybody in Lubbock doubts that. Our guys know what the Aggies got. They know they are good players. They've got an abundance of good players. They won't under sell them, believe me."

(On being in the South Division race with two losses): "It really got that way in the Southwest Conference the last two years. There seems to be more teams capable of winning games. There are just more losses taking place. I think it gives you a great shot in the arm and gives you a lot to play for. Right now we don't have to depend on anybody. We really control our own destiny. We've got a lot to do to get it done, don't get me wrong. At least, it's black and white on what needs to be done and what has to be done. I think it's fantastic."


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