Oct. 31, 2008
Final Stats |
Head Coach Brian Kelly
“I’m really proud of the way our football team bounced back from the UConn game on a very short time table. I really felt good about Sunday, and I think we won today because of Sunday. Our guys decided that the UConn game was unacceptable. Everybody did. Really proud of them, and our coaches did a great job in the preparation in a very short period. I think it was crucial today in the outcome. We got off with great energy. I was really disappointed we left some points on the field in the first half. I didn’t want to feel like it was déjà vu all over again. We came back out though. Tony played great football, and he can play better, which is the nice part about it. We ran the ball when we had to. When they knew we were going to run the football, we got four consecutive first downs. In order to win football games, you have to run the ball to get downs. We kept Grothe in check, and we did a good job of keeping him in the pocket. By in large, we wanted to defend the Nip, and our kids did that.”
On Choosing the Quarterback...
“After we had our walk through, I felt pretty good yesterday. We could do most of things we wanted to do. He really struggled taking the direct snaps. We lost Chazz Anderson in the UConn game, who will be out seven to ten days. We knew we didn’t have him available for us tonight. He had some swelling this week that concerned us. We will come back tomorrow, give them Saturday off, and bring them back Sunday afternoon. We will know better about Chazz at that point. It was important to get Zach Collaros ready. He did a good job coming in under pressure circumstances. He was able to pick up a nice first down for us.”
On Rush vs. the Pass ...
“We were running the ball just to get some looks in play action. They are very difficult to run the football against. Clearly, we were able to get some runs late in the game. I think we did enough just to gain a little bit of a passing opportunity. They are the best front four that we have played. I would put them up there with Oklahoma.”
On Players’ Awareness of Third Down Conversion Drought...
“They weren’t. I was. I was hootin’ and hollerin’ just so I would have a better evening. We spent some time on third down conversions. I think we were 50%, which is a little bit better. They see the conversions, but they don’t spend too much time thinking about it.”
On Defensive Performance...
“The three turnovers were huge. We gave them three as well, which was disappointing. Our defense played really well tonight to take the ball away. Our best performance defensively tonight. I thought we were doing some things right tonight. They tried to run the ball down there, as well. It wasn’t just throw it and throw it. We were playing pass and defending the pass with a six-man box. I don’t think they believed that we could do it. I think that was a difference maker.”
On Defending Grothe...
“It is what you have to do if you want to beat South Florida. You have to keep him in the pocket. Make it tougher for him to see all his receivers. If he gets outside, he is deadly.”
On Grutza’s Condition...
“We don’t have to make that decision right now. We have a big game against West Virginia next week, and we will see how Tony does there. By that time, Dustin Grutza will be ready. The Louisville game is about when he would be ready.”
On Winning Cincinnati Fans...
“I think it is about consistency in performance. I think we have won that in winning 17 games in the last two years. This was another point of validation that we have a BCS team in Cincinnati.”
Connor Barwin, Sr., DE
On Playing Offense...
“I was pumped. I was so excited to get a chance. It was a perfect pass by Pike in the back of the end zone. It was definitely fun to get in the end zone.”
On Making Stops in Red Zone
“The best part of the game was getting the stops down there. It was really exhilarating down there. We pride ourselves on that. To get two stops down in the red zone, it definitely changed the game.”
Mike Mickens, Sr., CB
On Breaking The Career Interception Record...
“It means a lot to me. It is a record I have been chasing for awhile. I give credit to the D-Line for making him scramble. I ran as fast as I could until he got me. I knew I needed one more. I figured if we had pressure on him, he would throw a bad ball. He doesn’t like a lot of pressure”.
Tony Pike, Jr., QB
On His Arm After UConn Game...
“It was definitely a roller coaster to not be able to play the second half (at UConn) and not knowing what the diagnosis would be. I was able to get back out on Sunday. It was sore and had some trouble with the grip. Zach took some of the reps, and then I took some on Tuesday, which helped. After Tuesday, I felt pretty confident with it. Everything was fine up until Connor’s touchdown.”
Mardy Gilyard, Jr., WR
On Coming off a Poor Fourth Quarter Performance at UConn...
“I don’t really think it affected us that much. Coach Kelly wants us to put everything behind us. After the fourth quarter, it was ugly. As upperclassmen we just took it on our shoulders. There was so much negativity in that game. We had to come out and practice on Sunday, and we didn’t like it. We had an excellent day of practice. I understood where he was coming from for us to have practice on Sunday. We just had to get back to work, and put everything behind us. This game started for us on Sunday. I think if we had a bad practice on Sunday this game would have been different.”
Head Coach Jim Leavitt
“You can’t turn the ball over. We turned the ball over a number of times and against a good football team, against anybody it’s hard to win a ball game doing that. I thought Matt just tried too hard on some of those plays. We gave up to many long pass plays. They made great catches, we didn’t. We dropped too many balls. When we had the ball down inside the ten and not convert two times, there’s no excuse for that. We have got to be able to score points there. The illegal procedure certainly hurt us with our guard. We didn’t look very good, I didn’t think, the first time down there or the second time.”
What has changed with this team since you guys started 5-0?
“Certainly you’re playing against some pretty good teams in the BIG EAST. We turned the ball over tonight too much. We gave up too many long pass plays tonight. We didn’t convert down in the red zone tonight. You look at 5-0 and then we lost to Pittsburgh and we didn’t finish in the fourth quarter. Then we came back and we won we beat Syracuse real bad, 45-13. I thought we played pretty well in that game. And then we came back and we played at Louisville and we had the lead in the fourth quarter and we didn’t get it done. And then tonight we gave up too many long pass plays. We didn’t do a good job. They caught some really big passes, we didn’t. And when we got down in the red zone we didn’t do a very good job right there in the red zone.”
This is the third straight Thursday night game you guys have lost, does the short week factor into that?
“I don’t think so. I think we’re prepared. I thought we had a good week in practice. I thought our guys did a pretty good job, I really did. I would like to play Thursdays to do honest with you.
You had the running game going, but it didn’t get you the yards you needed inside the ten…
“We ran the ball on first down after the penalty. I understood Greg probably running on second down. I thought we probably could have thrown it there, but then we didn’t convert on the next two passes, so I’m sure we were hoping to hit a seam there on that run and we just didn’t get that done.
Did the loss to Louisville carry over?
“No, I thought our guys came out ready to play. I was actually pretty happy with the energy. I thought our guys were ready to play I thought we came out strong. We had the game 17-10 and then we just didn’t finish the thing out in the fourth quarter. The turnovers we hurt because we gave your offense the ball too many times. I think our defense got a little bit tired. But I was pretty happy with the way the defense played in the second half. We didn’t stop them on their running plays at the end there. There’s really no excuse for that. I wanted to use the timeout, I knew if we could stop them we were going to have to try and score and go for an onside kick at that point but we couldn’t stop them.
Is your goal of winning the BIG EAST gone?
“Oh it’s gone, yeah.
What’s your motivation now?
“We’re 6-3 right now. We’d like to be 9-0. But we’re not. We’re not quite at the bottom of the BIG EAST but pretty much bottom. We still have a chance at a Bowl game. We still have a chance at finishing strong in the season. Hopefully our guys come back and respond in a big way. We have three games left, let’s see if we can play some good football. If we play good enough football we’ll win, if we don’t we won’t.”
What do you tell them in the locker room?
“We can’t turn the ball over. We have to convert down in the red zone. We have to coach better and play better. We’re all in it together. “
You didn’t have Mompremier out there tonight, are you hoping he’ll be back?
“I don’t want to say for sure no, but it’s doubtful (for the rest of the season). I don’t want to close that out. We’re going to keep looking and seeing. “
How much of an effect did not having Brouce, you didn’t have Jamar you had Mike Ford in there does that change the strategy?
“I thought Ben Williams did a really good job. I thought he ran really well. I was really proud of him and Mo and Kelly. I thought they did a really good job. We might do some more things, we were moving people around the offensive line a little bit because Danous went out early in the game and Marc was playing on a bad foot. Hermann got back in there which really helped us.