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Mike Houston Interview (9-4-20)

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
September 4, 2020 5:03 pm

Mike Houston Interview (9-4-20)

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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September 4, 2020 5:03 pm

ECU Football coach Mike Houston joined The Drive with Josh Graham to give an update on his Pirates, his favorite BBQ spots, and how he proposed to his wife Amanda. 

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Let's talk some Pirates. East Carolina, not going to be in action until the 26 against UCF. And we're now being joined by the head pirate Mike Houston, who I had to look down at my notes and make sure this is correct.

While everything in 2020 has been moving slowly, I'm still surprised to see we're already on year two for coach Mike Houston. And since it's year two, coach, do you already have a go-to barbecue joint set by now in Greenville, America? Oh, I cannot pick one on the air. I'm telling you, if I do, everybody in Greenville is going to be mad at me because, you know, you got to pick. Is it going to be bees? Is it going to be Sam Jones? Is it going to be Parkers? And whichever one you pick, you know, the other two, you know, they got loyal fans also. But certainly we got an abundance of barbecue here in Greenville. I'm a Skylight Inn or a Sam Jones guy.

Robert, who would you pick since you were there for a long time? I probably prefer Sam Jones, too. Okay. You're a Sam Jones guy as well. I miss the barbecue day by day. I don't know that I don't like their wings more than I do the barbecue. Wow. That may be the best wings I've found in Greenville. Hot takes there. And I know I'm ticking off all the folks in Lexington, but you know what?

I spent years in eastern North Carolina. I don't even care. I'm sorry.

All right. Let's transition this to football a bit. I was watching Southern Miss last night. They were playing South Alabama.

I was watching UAB play Central Arkansas. The product looks pretty good to me. It's exceeded my expectations.

I'm interested as a coach. How do you think the product of college football is going to be affected by this unusual offseason and for many teams, including yours, can't be disrupted? It's not going to be what we're accustomed to.

I can promise you that. And that's just from the standpoint of there's no way that the athletes are in good enough shape. You know, they're not going to have enough time to have them clicking at the level that you expect them to be.

It's just, you know, you used to have not had them for the amount of time that you normally do. So do I think it's going to be, you know, good football? Yeah. I think it's going to be good competition. Every game is going to be better than the last kind of deal, but there's no way that you can take as much time off and miss everything that we've missed and expect things to be as sharp as it normally would be. ECU football coach Mike Houston with us here. Shoot him a follow on Twitter, a really entertaining follow, at ECU Coach Houston.

You don't know what you're going to get, whether or not it's going to be like Kobe Bryant post or something motivational, and of course, a lot of ECU Pirates there. Take me into the day to day. Over the last few months, how much has your day been spent learning about COVID versus trying to do the normal football stuff that you're accustomed to this time of year?

That's been the difficult part is, you know, you feel like you're the head coach of COVID management instead of, you know, the head football coach. It's just, you know, the protocols, just everything with the testing and just the quarantine, the contact tracing. You know, just all the standards and protocols, they've changed. You know, they've changed a little bit. They've changed how long they think they can keep the antibodies. It's just always, every day is dominated by handling this.

And certainly it's been very disruptive for me sitting in my chair and the kids. I mean, you just, it's amazing that they're functioning as well as they are because I could not imagine being in their position. On the antibodies front though, your team's had quite a bit of COVID cases over the last few months. Are you feeling a lot better about where you're at moving forward considering, hey, if you've already had the virus and you've recovered from it, you might be in good shape moving forward? And also the fact that there are no students on campus other than the football players? Well, today I don't feel very good because we're, you know, three days off of a 12-day pause, which was, you know, extremely detrimental to our progress and how far we were coming along.

So maybe in a month I'll feel better. You know, the student body may not be per se on campus, but 75% of them are here in Greenville, North Carolina, so they haven't went anywhere. I don't blame them.

I mean, if I had the choice of, you know, staying in a college town versus going back home and living with mom and dad, I'd stay in the college town. So the threat is still very much there for our players. We're going to deal with this all throughout the fall. Every college campus across the country, every college football coach across the country is going to have to deal with this week in and week out. I think you're going to see games canceled.

You're going to see multiple games canceled. You may see a team that has a spike miss a couple of games before they can come back, and it's going to have to be something that we are prepared to handle. And every day you've just got to handle what you can, control what you can control, try to protect the players. That's the number one priority force is keep them safe. Try to make sure that you don't rush somebody back too fast. I'm extremely grateful that we have the medical care here that we do. But this is just uncharted waters that we're in the middle of right now.

Lincoln Riley was on with us earlier this summer and he showered you guys with a lot of praise and he even said he was rooting for you guys quite a bit and rooting for you specifically. He said, I think in the last month or so, he lost almost an entire position group to COVID. Have you ever gotten to a situation that looks that grim? Yeah, we're in the middle of it right now.

So it is what it is. And the tough thing is the contact tracing. So those guys are out for 14 days. They have not tested positive. I've got a couple of kids that have been quarantined multiple times, have not had the virus yet. So those kids have missed a month of training and preparation and practice and have not had the virus yet.

And then a kid that tests positive, he's in for a minimum of 10 days, sometimes longer. And then you have the return to play protocol and then you have to acclimatize him to practice. You're talking multiple weeks there and this disruption just is so difficult. But we've had a position group where you look up and they're all out and you still got to figure out how to function if you're practicing. We've had a pause and so that took everybody out of practice.

But it's just something that's very difficult to manage right now. That's where my brain starts to explode with it though, Coach. Every year coaches tell me heat illness is something they're worried about almost more than anything else. And when I look at the CDC website for what the symptoms are for heat illness, they're the same exact damn symptoms for COVID when you consider, hey, vomiting, nausea, physical fatigue, aches, these type of things. So how do you discern what's heat illness when somebody has the sniffles or somebody seems to have body aches versus being out of shape or having, God forbid, COVID?

Well, you can't discern anything because 99% of our kids have not had anything that drastic. It may be a headache or it may be a little bit of upset stomach. It may be just a runny nose, maybe a cough. So that's the thing that makes it so difficult for the trainers and the doctors is how do you discern between the common cold and COVID? How do you discern between just dehydrated and COVID?

And it's symptoms. If that were to get thrown around, you're quarantined. And then you can test out of that if you haven't had a close contact. But still, if you lose a couple of days for something like that, I've got a kid right now. After the 12-day pause, came back, we practiced, he had a little bit of shortness of breath.

Well, you hadn't ran in 12 days. But he's quarantined. He's tested negative three times this week. So finally, I think we're going to finally get him back out of quarantine, but he's missed a couple practices now. And the medical professionals are doing the things that they need to do because they've got to be that cautious.

But it just is making it hard to function. I got Mike Houston with me here, ECU football coach, and I want to close things on a different note here. I saw earlier in the week, Pat Mahomes, he got his championship ring, and he decided his girlfriend since high school shouldn't leave without a ring either. And he decided to propose on the spot.

That's been talked about all throughout this week, so I'm interested. I know Mike Houston's a romantic guy now. How did you propose to Amanda way back when? It actually was during fall camp. I was a head high school football coach. It was during fall camp. We went out to eat. It was like a Saturday night before the opener the next Friday, and it was just a normal night that I had planned to have a one-night break from preseason camp.

And so that's the night that it happened. So it wasn't anything spectacular, but it was in the middle of preseason camp, which should have set her up for her life ahead as a coach's wife. Atta way.

That is Mike Houston, ECU football coach. Coach, it's so good to hear from you. Good luck this season. Thanks for doing this. Thanks a lot. Thanks for having me on. Go Pirates.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-12 04:11:21 / 2023-02-12 04:15:45 / 4

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