Sept. 29, 2012
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Cincinnati 27, No. 25 Virginia Tech 24
September 29, 2012
Cincinnati Head Coach Butch Jones
"I think one adjective, resiliency. We had a number of individuals step up and make plays. We talked to our football team all week in mental conditioning and mental toughness it was going to take to play this football game. It was going to be a 60-minte game. Just the overall resiliency...We had some seniors step up and make plays. Obviously, [wide receiver] Damon Julian and everyone will remember obviously the great catch, but he really provided a spark for us in the second half and late into the second quarter. He did a great job. [Linebacker] Greg Blair, [linebacker] Maalik Bomar and then it's great to see all the work that all these young individuals have put in - like a [wide receiver] Kenbrell Thompkins today. I just thought that we were resilient all day. We had some type of food bug come down and the hotel and had about three or four guys that were sick. You look at [defensive lineman] Brandon Mills who really sucked it up, including our offensive coordinator. We didn't even think he was going to be able to be here at the game today. I just think it shows a lot - a lot of character. I will say that it's just one game. It's win number three. We still have a lot of work to do but I am extremely proud of all those young men in that locker room because they all believed right down until the final seconds. That's what it's about. You talk about championship character - they answered the call today. Virginia Tech was challenging us on every single snap, playing all Cover Zero Man and trying to get after us. I thought [quarterback] Munchie [Legaux] was a gritty performance. The mark of good quarterbacks is to be able to go on the road and lead your team to victory in the one-minute drill. He did that - one minute, forty-six [seconds] left, have to go the length of the field with no timeouts left. I think that speaks volumes about him as a leader. I hope that will propel him into next week against Miami of Ohio."
On if this was a breakout game for quarterback Munchi Legaux's confidence:
"I thought he did okay the first half. He had three dropped balls. I didn't think our receivers really helped him out. We had a deep ball that we dropped that could have been six. We had a drag route across the field that we didn't catch that could've been a big, big play. I think that anytime you go on the road and you lead a team, or even at home, in a one-minute situation and you win the football game, a lot of confidence can really be grown there. But also, I think in the matter in which it happened. We're playing a very, very talented Virginia Tech defense who didn't let us breathe. They're bringing internal pressure all day long - playing man three, playing cover zero. That's tough. But something is going to give when you do that, and obviously we made a play at the end. I do, I think it was a real gritty performance by him."
On the scoreboard not reflecting their statistics in the first half:
I thought that in the first half, we didn't make the critical plays that we needed to make.
That was my talk to the team. We also have a great belief in each other that this is a football team that knows how to win. You just keep fighting. Again, you have to give credit to Virginia Tech, too. They're a really talented football team. But that's the big thing, you can't get frustrated. We have a motto in our program. It's called `snap and clear.' You play the snap and you clear it from your mind. That's what the kids did tonight."
On why he called the fake field goal play:
"Couple things - the hash that we were on, the distance. We had prepared for it all week long and we thought that we had it."
On celebrating the win by going into the stands:
"The people, the fans that made our trip and our band, that's something that's special to our football family. They are part of our football family. We win together and we lose together. We're all in this together - our administration, our fans, everyone, the city of Cincinnati. I thought we had great representation today. That's the thing that you think about when you make the decision on which field to defend. We wanted to make sure in the fourth quarter that we were going towards our fans. They were outstanding."
On if he regrets losing a timeout by challenging a play:
"No. I'd do it again. We knew we had to get the clock to a minute and twenty-two seconds to take a knee. We knew that if there was a challenge there, it brings up a critical down to win the football game. We're going to use every measure. I was standing right there. That's our motto - inches make the champion. Football is a game of inches and they just made it by inches. If I had to do it all over again, I'd still do it. We're a no-huddle offense. We work two-minute, one-minute offense every day."
On Legaux's last drive:
"Very calm, very poised. I though he was exceptionally poised all game. He just had that look in his eye. He had that moxie - that alpha male that we talk about that we want out of our quarterback. He was in the defensive huddle all day. He was just locked in, he was dialed in."
On if Legaux could have made the two-minute drive a month ago:
"I don't know. I'd say yes because I believe in him. But again, we took our off week and that's really one of the things we worked on was our one-minute offense. [On] Thursday, Wednesday we really honed in. I think more so was the mental makeup of our team. I told our kids that this is going to come down. There are going to be highs, there are going to be lows. Don't get caught in the peaks and the valleys. You need to snap and clear and everyone holds their rope. It may sound cliché-ish, but it really was. Our kids battled and found a way to win a football game."
On the atmosphere on the sideline after Virginia Tech scored the touchdown:
"Very calm. When you go back, it's almost like everything being in slow motion. You talk about football being a game of momentum, and that obviously was a game of momentum right at the end. And again, it takes resiliency. It takes mental toughness, mental conditioning for your players to not give in. Our players had absolutely no quit in them. They really believed, all 72 that made the trip, that we were going to win the football game."
On safeties Drew Frey and Arryn Chenault:
"Arryn could have went back in. I'll know more, obviously, tomorrow"
On the specific injury to Frey:
"He wouldn't have gone back in. But I'll know more about him...I want to say it's his leg but I'll know more. Everything happened all at once. We'll catch our breath and go back and reevaluate everything. That's the other thing, you're playing at the end of the game, you have both your backup safeties in. [Punt returner] Anthony McClung was sick, [defensive lineman] Brandon Mills was sick. I mean these kids were just resilient."
On this win propelling the team through the rest of the year:
"It's a credibility win. Virginia Tech is a very, very talented football team. I'm Coach Beamer's biggest fan. I told him I want to spend some time with him - the way he's built that thing. That's the way I envision us having it at Cincinnati. It's confidence. It's belief in how we play. It's belief in how we practice. It's belief in how we lift weights. I think the more you win, the more confidence [you build]. Now, we can't let complacency set in. Miami [of Ohio] becomes the most important game because it's the next game. I do believe to go on the road and beat a team like Virginia Tech from the ACC, that played in the ACC Championship last year, is a big win for us."
On the defense:
"They out-leveraged us a few times on the speed sweep, which we have to get corrected. But I thought we played extremely hard. [I] would like for us to force more turnovers. This is a resilient group and we have a lot of seniors stepping up. Maalik Bomar, [Greg] Blair, those two individuals really stepped up at the linebacker position. Nick Temple, Cam [Camerron] Cheatham, we knew we were going to be challenged. I can't say enough. Obviously Walter [Stewart], I talked about Brandon Mills and Dan Giordano.But also Jordan Stepp and Adam Dempsey and John Williams and Camaron Beard. Those individuals just keep fighting."
Cincinnati Linebacker Maalik Bomar
On whether Bomar had to step up and rally the younger players:
"No, not at all. I would say we all had that feeling that this is another opportunity; definitely, I didn't doubt anyone on that defense, we didn't doubt the offense. This program came together; I think this win definitely brought us together."
On whether he thought Greg Blair was playing better than usual:
"Yes, he's been playing well since we started the season. I saw that coming from camp. The kid has progressed practice after practice. So I don't expect anything less of him. It's been a great journey so far.
On whether he thought this was a big win for the program:
"Of course it is. I think, at the end of the day we know it's just about the Bearcats. We know that people doubt us. We like that. If anything that fuels our team. It's a wonderful feeling, just to have that overwhelming feeling. Nothing can match that.
On how some of the newer players react to a big win like this:
"We all act a little crazy. I thought it was a beautiful sight to see the young guys know what it really means to put out the hard work and grind, and what it takes to win. You know, winning is not easy. It comes down to four plays and you never know when those four plays may occur. Each play could be your last so you go hard. And the looks that I saw on the young guys faces... They came up to all the older guys and shook their hands, gave hugs and smiles, and they said thanks for teaching us the way. Literally work for it, that's what they said. That means a lot - that goes far as well.
Cincinnati Quarterback Munchie Legaux
On whether he always displays as much poise as today:
"Coach told me this week to be excited more. He told me when things go bad I have the same calm face as when things go good. I try to just be cool, calm, and collected. I don't want to get too excited and I don't want to get too down. I just try to keep a level head. Throughout the game I kept keeping my teammates up. I kept telling those guys it's okay, just put a smile on your face, no matter what. Win or loss, just put a smile on your face. We're gonna have adversity, we're gonna be down. Coming into this game, we knew that we were going to have to handle adversity against a big team like this."
On his team's reaction after the win:
"One of the main things we said going into the week, was after the win; we were going to act like we've been there. But at the same time, we had a game winning catch at the last minute. And that's something that's never happened for us. A lot of guys were excited, and I was excited also, but at the same time, we have to put this behind us and move on to next week. We can't hope and preach on this win. Virginia Tech was a great team, and I just want to give thanks to my offensive lineman, the coaching staff, my receivers and running backs, and also defense. They did a tremendous job against a guy like Logan Thomas, whose going to be a potential NFL quarterback one day. I just want to give hats off to my teammates."
On whether he takes it upon himself to prove that he is a potential NFL QB too:
"A lot of guys came up to me and told me: "this is your time to shine, to show the world," I took that and played with a chip on my shoulder that he had all the hype. But he's a great quarterback, I just wanted to go out and show the world I can do the same things, and my team did a great job of helping me out. I didn't do it all by myself, it was the offensive lineman in the trenches, it was the receivers making plays, and also the running backs making plays and blocking.
Cincinnati Wide Receiver Damon Julian
On whether the game winning play was designed for him:
"Actually, the play was really designed for both outside receivers, but he [Legaux] took a shot at me, and I made the play."
On where tonight's game-winner ranks among his career catches:
"It might be number one right now. I don't think I have won a game by making a big catch like that."
On the adverse feelings after Virginia Tech took the lead with less than two minutes left:
"Well, in practice, coach [Jones] has pushed us in a lot of adverse situations. So we were prepared for it. We knew he had one more drive whether they scored or not. So that was our mentality."
Cincinnati Running Back Ralph David Abernathy IV
On how he thought Munchie Legaux stepped up as the game went on:
"That's what we see out of Munchie every day in practice. It doesn't surprise me at all that Munchie went out there and played a great game. That's the Munchie that we get to see every day. That's the player that I know."
On how it felt to finally break away after being contained for much of the second half:
"You're not going to come out and be able to come out and make big play after big play like that. But it was great to make a play that helped us win the game. I mean that's all I'm here to do, to make sure that we get the win. I do whatever I can."
On whether it's his job to make huge plays:
"I take it as an opportunity and a blessing that the coaches think that it's my job and that the team thinks it's my job to make big plays and be that big play guy. It's just really a blessing and an opportunity to be here."
On whether he thought anyone would catch him after catching the ball from Legaux:
"No not really, once I made that move I looked, I saw the corner - the back side corner - he was kind of far away and I really didn't think he was going to catch me."
Cincinnati Wide Receiver Kenbrell Thompkins
On whether he did anything different during his career game tonight:
"I just knew that we were going to face man coverage. All week in practice coach [Jones] said, "Win the one-on-one matchups and we'll win the ball game." So, I just went out there and played football. I wasn't really worrying about the crowd or anything like that, I just went out there and did my job."
On Munchie's frequently completed passes to his back-shoulder:
"That's something that we talk about. The defender on the high side of me expects back shoulder throws, and that's something that we work at practice every single day and he [Legaux] made some great throws."
On how they have developed the timing of the back-shoulder throw:
"It's actually just timing and getting a feel for each other. We run routes a lot and everything like that, and he knows exactly when to throw a back-shoulder and I know exactly when has going to throw a back-shoulder. It's basically just understanding the mindset of both players."
On how he rates Munchie Legaux's performance:
To be honest, I think Munchie did a great job. He trusted in his wide receivers, he depended on his offensive line, and when we came to the side line he talked to us and just told us to keep our heads up, and that's one thing we do as an offense. We trust Munchie, I can tell you that much, we definitely do trust Munchie and his leadership role, stepping up every day."
Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer
"That was a tough one. I think Cincinnati is a really good football team and they are a Top-10 program. I thought we had it a couple of times and then didn't have it. I thought they made some great plays and we helped them a little bit. But that is the way it is. We have our conference to look forward to and we have to get past this one and move on. We have to learn from what took place. I thought [RB Michael] Homes really starting running in the second half and that was a good sign to see. There were some positive things there. Our offense really got moving in the second half. There are some positive things out of this but this is just a tough way to lose. But give them credit"
On the offense's play in the first half:
"I thought we just played good defense."
On the defensive backs play:
"The first long pass there was a freshman kid that didn't pick up the back out of the backfield. The second one was a guy that usually makes that play when we are good coverage. It is what it is so we have to move on."
On the end of the game:
"I give Cincinnati credit. It didn't look good for them but they came back and had a couple of great plays."
On CB Kyle Fuller's play at the end of the game:
"That's deep half coverage. We had a single receiver deep. We were in a good coverage but need to make the play."
On the offense's slow start:
"What I look at is the fact that we got better as an offense. I thought we made some plays and sharpened in the second half. I'm going to take that and go on that."
On the offense's preparation:
"We prepared hard, our players did and our coaches did. I think we did a good job coaching at the game. We came up with a couple of things that hurt them in second half. I credit our coaches for that."
On going for the touchdown before halftime:
"It was fourth and one and we need to be able to make that. The way the field position had been in the first half, to go into the locker room, seven to six, that was a good deal."
On CB Antone Exum's play:
"I think Exum did a good job most of the night. We had him isolated out there and he hung in there pretty good."
On the offense's play:
"I think you have to take what we did well. I think there were some good things defensively and offensively and learn from the things we did bad and didn't execute. We have to move on to the next game. For us, we are still one up on our side in the division in the ACC. We have all the ACC games to play right now. We need to take all of these non-conference games and learn from them because I still think we are a developing football team. I was so glad to see Holmes start running in the second half. I think he came into his own tonight. I think [TB J.C.] Coleman made a couple of plays. I am going to build on that."
On this game being a measuring stick for the season:
"We had a great opportunity to win the football game but we didn't quite get it done. To beat a good football team like Cincinnati [would have been great] and we had the opportunity to do that. I think we did some good things tonight."
Virginia Tech Quarterback Coach Mike O'Cain
On going into the second half:
"We had the ball. We got first downs and once you get the first downs you're allowed to do more things. We did do a few different things. We got the ball in the corner a little bit more in the beginning of the second half. We had some success there, but we had the opportunity to do it because we were getting some first downs. Not the same plays, but similar plays over and over again. In the first half, we got nothing on the first down."
On the crossing route play with quarterback Logan Thomas:
"We called that play earlier and it was the series before or the series before that where Logan threw the ball to the tight end in the flat near our sidelines. We brought Logan back and the linebacker kind of got caught under the crossing route which is what we ran the first time. I told him if you could hold it a little bit longer, I think you had [split end] Corey [Fuller] coming in the crossing route. Fortunately, he didn't have to hold it longer. They opened up pretty quickly as they were getting the ball to him pretty quickly. It was something we felt like coming into the game. They played some man coverage and like to press our receivers outside, if you all were paying attention. They were up in our face all night long. It felt like we had to get some things across the field and tried a couple of other times. I think we threw in the first half, where the ball hit Corey in the chest and as he hit the ground the ball came out, I guess. Again, we had the ball enough to make things happen."
On the loss:
"It hurts. Any loss hurts, but those that you lose probably in the last second hurts you more. Not that you ever want to get beat badly like we did in Pittsburgh, but those games where you look back and think if I just had done this, the game would have been different. They wore our butts out and you had to have done a lot of things differently to win that ball game. This one sticks with you more."
Virginia Tech Quarterback Logan Thomas
On Virginia Tech taking a crushing loss:
"It's a tough loss to take. You thought you had the game wrapped up, nothing like that should happen and you take a loss that you shouldn't have. We have our own self to blame, so we cant hang our head; just have to be ready to go next week."
On Virginia Tech not being able to move the ball in the first quarters:
"No I can't point any fingers; we have to figure it out soon."
On what went wrong in the first half:
"Well we had a third and short and couldn't get a push to get a first down on one, and we were backed up on our goal posts so our playbook was limited. It was just a couple things but all in all we should've executed. "
On whether he had a bad feeling on the sideline watching the last possession:
"No, not at all. I have complete confidence in our guys. We knew we had to give up a touchdown for them to win it and we were in the right defense, we just didn't make a play."
On confidence during the second half:
"Things just started to open up. We started to wear them down and things started to get open for us down field and their pass rush slowed down which was good for us."
On Virginia Tech being better in the fourth quarter and calling the plays:
"We weren't in two minute drill at all today. Coach O'Cain was just calling from the sideline and I guess I just got into a groove and everything looked wide open. It worked for us. We just need to play like that every game, every play. If we do we will be extremely tough to stop. It seems like I keep saying the same thing every week."
On Virginia Tech still having the ACC portion of their schedule to go:
"We are still one up in the ACC with one coming up next week. We still have a long way to go in the season. We just have to keep getting better day by day and week by week. You know we took a loss today that shouldn't have happened but it will give a kick start going into ACC play."
On throwing the ball high:
"It is a mixture of things. Sometimes being hit, sometimes it is just planting feet so it is a mixture of things."
On the team coming out strong and what it will take to get Virginia Tech going:
"Well we will get it going; we don't have to worry about that. We have made a couple of mistakes in every game in the first couple quarters but we get strong."
On things going wrong and how it is frustrating for the team:
"It is extremely frustrating. Just because you know you are one thing away from the play you want, the big game you want, the first down you want. It makes is that tough on you and hopefully we get those one things corrected."
Virginia Tech Split End Marcus Davis
On Virginia Tech's slow start:
"I don't really attribute it to one thing; it is just something we have been struggling with all year. It is something we work on each week in practice. It is up to me being a senior to try and get the guys up. We have to start Monday on improving it in practice, and that is the only way it will carry over to Saturday."
On Virginia Tech's quarterback missing open players:
"It is true but I don't know what his reads were, I was just so into the game that it was kind of getting to me. It was one of those things I had to forget about and go onto the next play or the next series. At the time I was a little upset but at the same time I was showing passion for the game."
On Virginia Tech's troubling slow starts after five games into the season:
"It is troubling but it is just something that we have to continue to work on. We know as an offense what we can do, we just have to do it every play, every single drive."
On Virginia Tech's loss at the end:
"You never really think of things like that, you always see it on tv or you see it in movies, or something like that and you just don't want to be that team. The feeling inside of you is unreal but it happens. We give credit to them [Cincinnati]."
On the finish of the game:
"I wasn't. I was expecting a dog fight and that is what it was. They just made one more play than we made. All credit to them [Cincinnati]"
On Virginia Tech chance of winning after their final touchdown:
"I did. I got all the confidence in our defense. Like I said, all credit to them, they made a good play; coach [Mike Bajakian] made a good call for them and they scored in the final minute."
On Virginia Tech offense:
"I makes me feel bad because, you know, I am a part of that. So me, especially being a senior at receiver, you got to do something that will spark, bring some energy, a little life to the offense. I don't know what it was like I said it is something that we have to work on. We have to get the ball out in the air a little earlier because these slow starts are really hurting us. It is something we will change and focus on Monday and see how it goes next Saturday."
Virginia Tech Linebacker Jack Tyler
On the performance of the secondary:
"It was just one of those things where we didn't make enough big plays. They made a couple of big plays towards the end. We just didn't have what it took. That last play, he made a heck of a catch. Obviously you would like to have somebody there contesting it. Our secondary is good. We just had a few letdowns. We're young back there and switched a few things up, but some of the things we tried to eliminate we just didn't get done."
On Cincinnati's final play:
"That is obviously the one play that really got us down. Like I said, it was just another letdown by the defense. We weren't doing the right assignment. [There is] nothing much more to say than that. I thought we were right there and I thought we even got to them a little bit. We even bumped him. He just made a heck of a throw and a heck of a catch. That will happen. Just after that nice catch by [split end] Corey [Fuller] we thought we had it. With how our defense played all game we thought this is our time and we are going to make a stop here and it would be over. We just didn't get it done."
On the loss:
"I don't know if it sets us back at all, but it feels a lot like the JMU loss that we lost our second game of the season. We have a ton of games left. We've had one ACC game and we won that game so a lot of our goals are still there. We just have to keep improving and keep getting better in practice. We'll be fine. The fact that we can get back on the horse and we can keep getting wins and play well, that's really the only thing. How much we have to look forward to the rest of the season and the ACC games."
Virginia Tech Cornerback Kyle Fuller
On cornerback Donaldven Manning's performance:
"I went down and the others had to come in, but that just shows that everybody has to be ready, no matter what. I thought he was ready, but he is a freshman. I think they went at him, but that doesn't matter."
On Cincinnati's last play:
"I just made a big mistake and let the receiver get behind me. We knew coming in that he was a good receiver."
On the loss:
"It's really, really hard. Like I said, I take responsibility. You can say that there [are] plenty of plays that changed the outcome of the game, but I put it on myself and all you can do is learn from them."
Virginia Tech Linebacker Bruce Taylor
On the loss:
"It's always tough. We played with pretty good effort throughout the whole game, except for a few big plays we gave up. That is still unacceptable. We have got to come out on every play focused like it's your last play and we gave up a few big plays. That was the difference in the ball game."
On the team's performance:
"Everybody is enthusiastic flying around out there, but at the same time your mind has to be in the same place where your feet are going. It was very up and down. We gave up a touchdown and then we got a touchdown back so we were all hype to go back out there. We were doing a good job, but they hit us with a good play. The quarterback threw a good ball and the guy made a hell of a catch."
On Cincinnati's last play:
"I was in the flats in the opposite side of the field. I was more watching the play than actually being involved in it. It is just heartbreaking when you come out and play hard the whole game, except for a few plays."