Applewhite “proud” of team but still focused
On Monday, Head Coach Major Applewhite met with the media at a press conference to speak on the storylines leading into this week’s game against SMU.
Junior quarterback D’eriq King was a hot topic as he accounted for seven touchdowns in the game against USF. Applewhite spoke on King’s ability to read a defense and decide between running and passing.
“D’eriq is just taking opportunities, plays breaking down, playing off schedule,” Applewhite said. “There are some designed quarterback runs that we have to use, that’s his strength or one of his strengths. We try not to run our quarterback too much, but there are some instances that we do want to run him.”
Junior receiver Courtney Lark, one of King’s favorite targets, had a scare in last week’s game against USF. He landed awkwardly after trying to make a play on a pass in the endzone. The trainers carted Lark off the field, making the injury appear serious. According to Applewhite, the injury was not a serious one.
“It’s not as severe as we thought,” Applewhite said, “It still is a knee injury obviously, so we just need to continue to monitor him. Right now he’s very questionable for this weekend, so we’ll just continue to monitor him and keep him in our prayers.”
Heisman candidate defensive tackle Ed Oliver is also questionable for Saturday’s game against SMU.
The Cougars cracked the top 25 for the first time since 2016 after the win against USF. Though there is a lot of excitement surrounding the team’s #17 ranking, the team appears to be focused on winning out and securing a conference championship.
“These are just rankings,” Applewhite said, “These are the entertainment dollars right now; these aren’t real. This is what people want to get involved with, talk about, like and re-tweet, but it doesn’t matter… It’s about focus and discipline in our assignments.”
While the team has been successful this season, Applewhite expressed pride in his players for how they handle things off of the field.
“That’s the fun part about our job. Yes, winning is awesome, I’m with you on that, but just seeing guys develop and grow up,” Applewhite said, “Not just seeing tremendous things they do on the field and on game day, but academically and all of those types of things. It’s a proud moment for a coach.”
The Cougars play SMU in Dallas on Saturday, Nov. 3