Cincinnati - Louisville Postgame Quotes

Oct. 15, 2011

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Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones
Opening statement:
“Wow, what can I say? That’s a character win. We did not play our best football especially in the first half. We start the game off with a procedure penalty. We pooch kick not very well then we let them go 80 plays. Bam. Second series: we fumble the kick, sack and block a punt. Third series: we catch them in man, drop the ball and it could have been a big play. Everything snowballed. That defines what we are. That was a win that occurred in January, February and March with team chemistry and toughness. We said it when we started this journey in January that our team would be defined by adversity and how to persevere. Good teams find ways to win games when they don’t play their best. In the second half we got Isaiah Pead in a little bit of a rhythm. I can’t say enough about our defense. They’ve been a rock of consistency for us and it showed today. Great team win. Great program win.”

On decision to go for two in the fourth quarter:
“We wanted to get it to score. I had a number of things: to get a score and to run the clock up top. We wanted to get it to where they would have to kick an extra point to win the game. The two-point conversion is something we’ve been practicing since training camp.”

On giving Pead the ball and his talent:
“Isaiah is special player. And a great player like him you can only contain him so long. Offensively, I thought our offensive line got stronger as the game went on. And we were able to establish the run. So much of playing good offensive football is establishing a rhythm. We always say when we evaluated running backs, do they get what the play is blocked for or do they have the ability to make the second or third level defense miss? The play was blocked for eight yards but he did a great job. Usually when you have a big play downfield, that means the receivers are doing their job down field. Isaiah is special because he has the ability to make anybody miss and he has great bursts once they miss.”

On adjustments made in the second half:
“We made some adjustments on special teams, a couple on a punt game and a few on the run game. But Bo Schembelcher said it, ‘everyone wants to say half time adjustments are a miracle, but really it’s just execution.’ In the second half, we didn’t have three and outs and we got ahead of the sticks. We were having too many negative plays in the first half.”

On the fourth-and-goal touchdown:
“We had a play called. We had a personnel grouping in and didn’t like the look of it. I just thought for the momentum of the game, we needed a spark and the touchdown. I had great faith in our defense in that if we didn’t get it we’d get the ball back in great scoring position.”

On the difference from last year’s team:
“I’ve noticed the response difference from January. And it’s character. [After the interception] everyone went up to Zach Collaros and there was absolutely no panic. That’s why we train the way we train. Our strength and conditioning program is different. We practice different. We talk about mental conditioning and it’s so much to the game. That was an unfortunate play and we can’t continue to play like this. We’ve got to get a whole lot better going down to Tampa. Again, I liked our perseverance but we do have to clean up a lot of mistakes.”

On winning at Paul Brown Stadium and the atmosphere:
“We need to get more people here to support this team. The people that came out were electric. I thought the key momentum switch was the drive in the second half when they had about three or four penalties. The crowd started really getting loud and it was deafening. Our crowd made Paul Brown a 12th man. Now we need to grow this thing. As a head coach, I can paint a vision. And my vision is that no matter who we’re playing or where we’re playing, we sell games out. Our fans did a great job right to the catwalk. Our student body came out. They’ve been great all year.”

On the importance of winning a close game:
“It’s what our coaches and players say at half time. When you go 4-8, you find out who’s really on your side. That’s the mark of our football team. That was critical. It’s two weeks in a row that we’ve overcome adversity and we were able to preserve.” Senior defensive lineman Derek Wolfe On the game: “I just think they tested us early. They came to play the game their best absolutely and tested the character of our defense, tested our offense and I thought we fought trough adversity well.”

On goal line stand:
“As long as we still have room on the field to stand and they’re not in the end zone yet as far as we’re concerned the ball is ours we’re going to try and get a stop.”

Senior running back Isaiah Pead
On getting his touchdowns and yards every game:
“I really couldn’t tell you. You know every game is different. Every team has a different scheme and we have different schemes with teams. I can just come in and do what the offense needs from me; spark the offense when we need to.”

On Louisville’s stout run defense:
“We kept running somewhat of the same plays. We just kept having to trust it. Every play is going to play out differently. No matter if the blitz or not, we can run three plays that are the same play back-to-back and its going to play out differently. I just had to keep trusting my reads and my run tracks.” Senior quarterback Zach Collaros

On the game:
“We have three rivalry games but this is really our rivalry. We don’t like Louisville and they don’t like us. There’s bad blood there. We’re just happy to win another game and we face a lot of adversity out there, me throwing an interception for a touchdown put our defense in a tough spot and the responded all day, I thought they played great. We did what we had to do in the second half to win.”

On the mindset at half time:
“There was no panic. No panic at all. We couldn’t really get into a rhythm out there, a couple three and outs in that first half and we faced a little bit of adversity as well. We have great leadership on this team especially from the senior class and we just came in here and looked each other in the eye and said ‘we’re going to get this done’ and we ended up doing it.”

Senior linebacker JK Schaffer
On sacks and strong defensive plays:
“It was just going out there and it felt real natural. After the play is over then you feel the crowd a little bit, but it’s exciting.”

On playing at Paul Brown Stadium and his hopes to do so as a child:
“When we drove past there on 71-North, I’d look at it and say ‘man I would really like to play there some day’. I didn’t really think about this, but it’s more than I ever hoped for.”

Louisville head coach Charlie Strong
On losing after being ahead:
“As of right now that’s our issue, that’s our problem. We’re not coming out and finishing in the second half. When you look at the first half we only had one penalty and you look at the third quarter then we had that drive where we went backward. It kind of changed the momentum of the game because we had the ball on probably the 40-yard line and then we go backward and lose momentum. Defensively we had a lead and then give up long runs and they end up scoring. We have to finish in order for us to become a good football team.”

On opening the game on a run with a lot of momentum:
“You’re pleased with the way they played the whole first half. They played well but it is just finishing the game. You have to play like that for two halves.”

On what the have to improve on:
“We just have to play better offensively, in the kicking game, and on defense. It is not just one specific area.”

On the sacks by the Cincinnati defense:
“It is a combination of things. It is protection breakdown and Teddy (Bridgewater) needs to release it.”

On their interception for a touchdown:
“It gave us a spark. We go into halftime with a lead. That’s a spark for us.”

Louisville defensive end Greg Scruggs
On the game:
“They scored 23 points. That is nowhere near good enough. We gave it up so as long as we keep doing that we are not going to win."

On the team’s interception:
“That is our job, getting the ball back for our offense. So, as long as we are on the field we are supposed to do our job. We had momentum, and just need to ride that confidence. Right now, we’re not doing that. We get leads and then let them go. We need to do a better job finishing games by using our momentum.”

On Mike Evans’ interception:
“He did a great job on that play. He knew the route and called out the play before it even happened. We need more plays like that to get the offense more opportunities in games like today.”