Nov. 22, 2008
Final Stats |
2008 CINCINNATI FOOTBALL POSTGAME QUOTES
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati – 11/22/08
Nippert Stadium – Cincinnati, Ohio
Head Coach Brian Kelly
“It’s about each and every week in the BIG EAST is a battle for us. I thought some huge plays – the first one obviously with the defensive stop after we fumbled the kickoff – it was a huge momentum turn for us. If Pitt goes in 14-0, our guys are pressing. Getting that stop and getting a better rhythm offensively, it gave us a chance. We played the best third quarter we have played all year offensively and defensively. We couldn’t convert third downs so we will go back to work on that. I’m not going to dwell on that because I have already talked to my staff. I am proud of our kids and they found a way to win another big game and it is a team we have never beaten. These are three teams in a row we had never beaten. Mentally, it has taken a toll on them.”
On Having Big Games Last Three Weeks
“No question. Absolutely. Syracuse got our attention with a win over Notre dame. We know they are going to be a tough opponent. They will play loose and they just got a big win over Notre Dame. This makes the BIG EAST 2-0 against Notre Dame. They are going to be a very tough team to beat because of this.”
On Tony’s Play
“One of the things we thought he needed to do a good job, is keeping his eyes down field. A quarterback will lose the vision or coverage, but he did a tremendous job of keeping downfield. He has become more comfortable, he knows where he is protected, and he has a good understanding of where our guys are. We could have thrown for as many yards as we wanted with him, but we wanted some balance. He was outstanding tonight.”
On Mickens Being Out
“Brandon Underwood stepped up next man in, and he did an excellent job. We didn’t tell him until pre-game. We didn’t want him thinking too much about it. I felt bad for Mike because he couldn’t play. He has something wrong with his leg. We hope he will be ready for next week. It will be evaluated on Monday. We won’t ask him to go out there unless he is healthy. Anytime you lose a guy like that, but I didn’t have much time to worry about it. I had to prepare the next guy. I feel better about it now.”
On Last Play with Lateral
“I just didn’t want to see the band on the field. That was the last thing I was thinking. It was one of those things that they have some dangerous players out there, but we have some good athletes too. I thought we could corral them.”
On Enjoying the Win
“The way I look at it, for me as a head coach, you don’t enjoy the ride until you get there. We want to get to the Orange Bowl. We want to get to that destination. I’m going to get up early and start working on Syracuse. We have enough time to enjoy it later. I enjoyed it a little bit. It was a great atmosphere, for me, I won’t take that in till I see the replays on television.”
On Nippert’s Atmosphere
“I felt it when we came in to the stadium. When we ran onto the field, I could feel something different and special about the atmosphere in Nippert Stadium. You then get into the flow of the game. It becomes the next play and situation. Obviously, Cincinnati came out and supported us. It was great.”
On the Big Crowd
“We told our football team that not only do you play for the University of Cincinnati but also for the city of Cincinnati. People are coming out to see you. Times are tough and people need to see success. Or football team carries that when they go to play. That is a great feeling.”
Tony Pike, Jr., QB
On Running Offense
“Coming into the game, we knew they were going to pressure us. I think we were able to burn them earlier. They went into a more of a zone defense, and we were able to execute. It definitely felt smooth out there tonight. Once again, coming into the game we had a game plan for anything that they had. We knew they were coming off a bye week so they would have plans. Our receivers did all the week, and it is easy when they run routes and get passes.”
On Seeing Crowds
“Especially being a Cincinnati guy, seeing the crowds over the years and it building. For us getting to play for the biggest crow, and get a win. It is a great feeling. I got to come to a couple of games growing up. It is great seeing people in the seats.”
On How The Season Has Gone
“It’s just staying with the course. What happened with Dustin, you hate to see it. The offense line and the rest of the team said they had their faith in me that I could take them there. In each game, you build confidence and experience that you need.”
Dominick Goodman, Sr., WR
On Breaking Record
“It was a great felling. When we were down there, I thought coach was going to call my number. First one, I missed, and then the second one was good.”
Connor Barwin, Sr., DE
On Fans on the Field
“It was crazy. I didn’t make it back to the locker room to hear what coach Kelly said. People were asking me to take pictures and shake hands. It was awesome. I tried to get out of it from the middle of the field. You couldn’t breathe so I pushed my way out.”
On Relying on Defense
“We knew our defense. We have a lot of seniors. We aren’t going to buckle. We had that happen at West Virginia, and we knew how to handle it. Our defense stayed poised and we made plays to win.”
On Having Potential to Win BIG EAST
“I came in with Goody and the rest of the four year seniors. I looked around and said we have good players and coaches. We have worked hard, and it pays off. I never thought we weren’t good enough. I knew coming in the door that we have good players. Look at our offense, it was nasty tonight, and it made our defense so much better. We didn’t’ have that last time. He has given us a mentality, and it is a big goal to win the BIG EAST Championship.”
On Louisville’s Offense
“They have a really balanced offense, but I have to give credit to our offense. When we got up, it makes it easier for the defense to go after the quarterback. Offense made it easier to put us in a good situation.”
DeAngelo Smith, Sr., CB
On Seeing Fans on the Field
“It feels good just to see that. I actually picked one up and ate it and it tasted pretty good. We have to finish though. To get to a good bowl game, we have to get ready for Syracuse.”
On The Next Game
“We feel good, but we still have one more step. We have next week senior night with Syracuse. We feel good about it, but we have the 24 hour rule. We have to get ready for Syracuse. We’re going to be focused no matter what. We have to win out. It is senior night so all the seniors will have to rally up. We expect them to come and play hard, and we will do the same thing.”
On Not Having Mike Mickens
“Coach Kelly preached next man in, Brandon Underwood and Dominick Battle stepped up. Mike was cheering us on and keeping us up on the sideline.”
Pitt Head Coach: Dave Wannstedt
We came out and our kids were, no question that they were excited and ready to play this game. Offensively we demonstrated on the field. Defensively we were flying around and we could not make a play on that quarterback. Pike, I’ll tell you what, the kid was incredible tonight. I think the whole first half the plays that they made, he made half of them when he was under pressure. We were chasing him and we could not get him on the ground. I thought the other positive was our special teams. We caused a fumble on the first kick off, we block a punt, we block a field goal, you’d like to think that that would be enough to win a game for you. We committed too many mistakes. We gave up a couple easy scores on defense, we fall down one time, we bust a coverage one time. And then we make some yards on offense or make some plays and we have penalties that bring it back. A variety of penalties which we have not had. The only other positive is that our kids did not quit. They fought back at the end, but it was too late. Playing up here against a good football team... Disappointed, disappointed on how we played.
How do you get your running game back on track?
Well, just keep working on it. I thought we were sacked for some big sacks tonight and that takes rushing yards off. The reverse we got hit on that for a loss. We were in second and third and long more tonight than we’ve been probably in the last five games combined. Seven penalties, that’s the most we’ve had all year. You look at the third down, we’re 2-for-10 and they’re 6-for-12. They’re 50 percent and we’re 20 percent. That was the difference. We went about three quarters where we could not make a first down and keep the drive going on offense. And defensively we couldn’t get them off the field. That kid, I have to give him credit. He played about as good as any quarterback that’s played against us that I can remember in the last two or three years. Not only did he get away from our rush, and we’ve got guys who can rush, he made throws. He found receivers down the field and he made some excellent throws under pressure. I have to give him credit.
You went up 7-0 and then you recovered the fumble, was the idea to go for the kill on first down then, but you took a sack?
We had a special play where we were trying to do something with Aundre Wright to try to get some more speed on the field. Yes, that was a sack. You’re up 7-0 you cause a fumble on the kickoff. You take advantage of that and you go up 14-0 and who knows. Or get a field goal at least. We went backwards too many times. And defensively like I said, I really believe, I know how good our defensive line is and I thought the pressure was there early and we were flying around but we could not make the sack. We could not get him on the ground.
How tough is it knowing what was on the line?
Our kids were working too hard. And I know they wanted to do it then we went flat for about two and a half quarters. Even when we came out in the third quarter. We didn’t have anything going then all of the sudden in the fourth quarter we come alive and it’s too late. In my estimation we probably played the first eight minutes of the game and the last eight minutes of the game. Everything in between we didn’t make anything happen.
It looked like a lot of guys got crossed up in the secondary...
The one was a bust. One time we fell down on the one long screen that they had we were in man coverage and they ran the bubble screen and Fields came up and the guy, rather than block him he pretended like he was going to block him and then went right down the middle of the field. It was a nice play on their part, and he lunged at him and fell down and that was the one touchdown. And the other one we just didn’t get the safety over the top.
What was it like watching it end the way it did on that last play?
You want to finish it obviously and you never know what can happen. You don’t want to put yourself in that situation and obviously have to depend on something like that to tie the game.
In your short week how do you get your guys ready?
I think the reason that we’ve played and how we’ve responded all year is we’ve got great leadership. It’ll be tough tonight and tough tomorrow but we’re going to get them in there tomorrow and we’ve got to turn the page in a hurry and get ready for West Virginia because we know what we’re going to deal with come Friday. There’s no question what’s on the line this year. Back yard brawl, what happened last year, we’ve got to turn this page as difficult as it is we’ve got to move on fast.