Philip Montgomery Talks Hill's National Anthem Protest In Tuesday's Presser

Tuesday, September 13th 2016, 6:48 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa head football coach Philip Montgomery addressed the media on Tuesday. During the press conference, he discussed the Golden Hurricane’s loss to Ohio State, cornerback Keanu Hill taking a knee during the national anthem and his team’s upcoming matchup against North Carolina A&T.

Montgomery on…

Hill protesting national anthem:

“We have to respect people’s choices, and we have to respect feelings as they come across. And I think if we’re genuine with each other those things take care of themselves.”

Balancing team’s freedom of speech as a coach:

“It’s obviously a tough issue. And I think first off, ya know, for me personally, I have a ton of respect, and so does our university and our football team, for the men and women of our armed forces and our military and what they have fought to protect and to serve. You know, I’ve got family members that have served our country and have fought in wars and have done all of that and my hat is off to them and the men and women who are doing it right now. Keanu and I have sat down and we visited. I’ll visit with our team this afternoon about it, and we’ll go from there. It’s a very hot topic right now, and it’s a tough situation for a lot of different people. And so, it’s something that we don’t take, you know, without caution to. So, we’ll deal with it and we’ll move on from there.”

Knowledge of Hill’s plan to protest:

“To be completely honest, I knew we were going to be out there for the national anthem; never once did it cross my mind that this might happen. You know, obviously, I didn’t even find out about it happening until after the game was over. You know, our team was down there huddled up and praying and I was actually on the other end still coming out of the tunnel just on the other end of the team box so I didn’t find out about it until afterwards. So, more times than not, no we are not out on the field during the national anthem.”

The discussion he and Hill had after Hill’s protest:

“My conversation with him is obviously going to stay between he and I, but what I did try to present to him, and you can ask any of my players, there’ll be two of them up here in a minute, my door is always open and I’m going to actually listen to what you have to say. You know, it’s not gonna be a closed type of environment. I’m going to listen to what you got to say, and we’re both gonna sit in there and we’re gonna talk as men and we’ll work through whatever issues that we have. I’m gonna be honest and upfront with them on the way I stand and see things, and I want them to do the same with me… I think we live in a country that we have to respect people’s choices and we have to respect feelings as they come across, and I think if we’re genuine with each other those things take care of themselves.”

Related Story: TU Cornerback Kneels During National Anthem

Loss to Ohio State:

“I was very proud of our football team and the way they competed, the way they continued to battle until the end of that game. I think, obviously, Ohio State is a great opponent, a team that’s got a chance to do some great things throughout the year just the way I feel about our football team. I think we have a chance to be an outstanding football team. This one game isn’t going to define us, obviously. I thought defensively we played lights out, probably the best that I’ve seen us play defensively, you know, since I’ve been here. So offensively, you know, you can’t turn the ball over as many times as we did and expect to win games, especially big games against the type of opponent we were playing. So, we’ve got work to do, obviously, still on both sides of the ball and special teams, but I think we are pushing toward the right goal.”

On Hill’s outstanding performance:

“He’s been a great player for us. He’s done a great job the two games that he’s played, as well as the rest of everybody else on our defense. We’ve had guys being able to come in and play. And when you go and recruit a junior college corner, more times than not, you’re not bringing junior college kids in to sit and wait; you’re bringing them in to help you with an area that you feel like that we need a little boost in. And so, he’s done a good job of being able to come in and pick up what we’re doing defensively and step in and play. He plays with a lot of passion and a lot of heart.

On improvement of defense:

“Coming back in the spring, I think they had a chance to really watch all the tape from last year, be able to cut down on some verbiage, make some things easier, make our checks better. And I think just being year two in our defense our guys understand what we’re trying to accomplish from a defensive side and being able to really line up, recognize what’s going on and be able to play downhill and trigger on things. I think that has allowed us to be a much faster and a more explosive type defense. So again, coaches have done a great job, but the players have done a great job of really studying and being in tuned to what we’re trying to do from a schematic standpoint, how we attack people.”

On getting back on track offensively:

“We’re still gonna run the football but we’ve got to do a better job as far as our eye discipline and what we’re reading. We’ve got to do a better job of running routes, and we’ve gotta do a better job of catching the football. You know, there’s a lot of things that we can get better at offensively but the latter of those two are the latter three things there are things that we gotta really work on this week and get back to what we’re doing.”

Upcoming game vs. North Carolina A&T:

“We’ve got a great opponent in North Carolina A&T that’s coming in here that were actually ten and two last year, won the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl. Coach Broadway’s done a great job with his program, and they’ve won a ton of games no matter where he’s been. So, got our hands full this week. We need to get back on the practice field, go to work and get prepared.”