GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Fourth-year East Carolina Head Football Coach Mike Houston addressed members of the media Tuesday prior to Saturday’s non-conference contest versus Campbell. The following are selected comments:

Opening Statement
“Good weekend this past weekend. Good to get a win at home against a very good opponent. Old Dominion came into the game after a huge win over Virginia Tech. It was a quality team we were facing, and it was good to be able to get a quality win. I’m not overly excited about the way we played the first half. I thought we weren’t very sharp offensively. That’s not the way we want to be and really had too many errors right there. Obviously, had a couple of big plays that we gave up defensively that kept Old Dominion in the ballgame. We would like to start off a lot better than that. I thought the kids played hard, but I think we’ve just got to continue to improve, continue to sharpen up some things and continue to get better. I’m really pleased with the way we played the fourth quarter, to be able to pull away there. I wish we hadn’t given up the cheap one late on a kid being too greedy. I really appreciate the fan base. It was good to have, despite the weather, a solid crowd. They were very energetic, very into the ball game and that’s one of the great things that we’re so fortunate with here at East Carolina is having a passionate fan base and we just really appreciate them. We’ve already flipped the page and moved on to a very good Campbell team coming in here this weekend. They are an old team, with a lot of guys that have played a lot of snaps. They have a dynamic quarterback who had a great game in their opener and had a solid game last week. They return a massive offensive line and will be much bigger than we are when we take the field on Saturday. Their left tackle is a Senior Bowl watch list, transferred from Wake Forest and is a very good player. Their other tackle is equally as large and a solid player. Defensively they have the reigning Big South Player of the Year at defensive end, and a very solid unit there so it’s a big challenge this weekend and a solid opponent. We’ve got to focus on getting better today. We’ve got to have a great practice today to start the week off with our preparations and be very sharp and really build towards Saturday. Looking forward to another home game, 6 p.m. kickoff, should be great weather on family weekend. I would anticipate that we’re going to have a large crowd and a full stadium on Saturday night. It’s great to be back at home again and great to be back in front of our crowd.”

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On the defense’s performance in stopping the run
“Well, I think that number one it was a big focus last week with a 1,000-yard rusher coming in here. I thought our defensive lineman did a really good job at the point of attack. I thought the linebackers were very conscientious with some things that we had in our scouting report. I thought we did a really good job of fitting the run. I do think that the way we defended the run helped us with getting them off the field for the most part. We gave up a handful of big plays but other than that we played pretty solid, so it was a good night.”

On comparing Campbell’s quarterback to Charleston Southern’s from last year
“He’s a lot better player than Jack (Chambers) was. He’s bigger, he’s probably more explosive. He probably throws it better in the pocket. They were 3-1 last year when he got injured. He missed the rest of the season. During the pandemic in 2020 one of the weekends where we were quarantined, I got a chance to watch them play Georgia Southern at Georgia Southern and he almost single-handedly beat Georgia Southern in that game. They went for two at the end, didn’t get it and ended up losing by one but just really stood out to me just how dynamic of an athlete he is. It’s certainly going to be a huge challenge Saturday.”

On the depth of the defensive line against the size of Campbell’s offensive line
“I think it’s a strength. I think all those guys are playing well. It was great to see. Shaundre (Mims) had a great night the other night. He played the run very well, pressured the quarterback multiple times, had the strip sack that resulted in the fumble recovery by JD (Lampley) that set up Rahjai’s (Harris) touchdown there in the second half. It’s great to have a lot of guys playing at a high level. It allows us to stay fresh right there. We’re going to need that on Saturday against a line of the size that Campbell has.”

On preparing for an FCS team after having been an FCS coach
“They’re a good football team. I could not care less which classification we are and what they are. They’re a good football team. That’s the big thing. We’ve got to have a great week of practice.”

On finding positives in an 18-point win despite having some frustrations
“Well, that’s the plus. I told the kids that it’s a lot easier to clean up mistakes after a win than after a loss. You sit here after a loss and the mistakes crucify you just like the first game. They just haunt you. These mistakes, we’ve got to get them cleaned up because if you don’t get them cleaned up, they’re going to bite you in the rear end. We’re cleaning them up after a win and I’ll take that any day of the week.”

On the confidence of having multiple options on offense
“I had confidence in those guys before we played our first game, just because I’ve watched them play all preseason. It’s good to see them make those plays on game day. Now, everybody else understands, what my excitement level was during preseason camp. It ends up being a deal where you don’t have just one guy and you have multiple guys that are being productive. The great thing is they’re also being unselfish. I’m going to challenge them this week. We’ve got to do a better job blocking on the perimeter and taking care of that facet of our performance. I do think that they’re continuing to build confidence in each other and everybody else is gaining confidence in them as well.”

On the growth of Avery Jones at center
“I think he’s obviously a lot more comfortable this year than he was a year ago after getting a year of experience under his belt. The expectations are higher. He and I talked yesterday and the big focus for him is continuing to improve and there’s some things that he needs to improve on from Saturday night’s performance. I think he’s a high character young man. He’s a very athletic guy at center and he’s got a high ceiling. The big focus for him is just to continue to push himself every single day to improve and that’s what he’s got to do.”

On Justin Redd’s transition to playing tackle on the offensive line
“I think number one, his attitude has been fantastic. You couldn’t ask for anything better. He is a big, athletic, strong kid. He has some God-given abilities. It’s been a little bit of a transition, but he’s a guy that’s improving every single day. I think you’ll see him as you go throughout the season and continue to improve every single day. He’s just really an enjoyable guy to be around, an enjoyable guy to coach and I’m really glad he’s here.”