Cincinnati-Syracuse Postgame Quotes

Nov. 27, 2011

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Cincinnati at Syracuse
November 26, 2011
Syracuse, N.Y.
Carrier Dome

Cincinnati Head Coach Butch Jones

On the game in general:
“This was a great key win. I keep saying that about our perseverance and resiliency. Our efforts as a football team were great. Munchie Legaux managed the offense and did a great job making some plays. Jordan Luallen gave us a spark. Obviously, I can’t say enough about the performance by number 23, Isaiah Pead. We talked about being able to distribute the ball and he stepped up like big-time players do. I thought our special teams were outstanding. We were able to flip field position. Look at Patrick O’Donnel l and how he was able to flip the field. Tony Miliano made some big kicks. Isaiah (Pead) sparked us as a punt returner, as well. Defensively, we bent a little bit, but we did not break. We got off the field when we needed to. We were a little bit better in third-down conversions. Defensively we were 4-for-15, which is a marked improvement from last week. I’m very proud of our kids, our players and the performance of Isaiah Pead.”

On what helped lead the team to victory:
“I thought we had a great game plan, but I also thought we won up front. It is a line-of-scrimmage game. Last week, we didn’t have big plays. We did not have any momentum plays. Look at the big plays and momentum plays we had, from the punt return to Ralph David Abernathy’s kickoff return, to start the second half where we scored on a big run the next play. We had those big momentum plays. I can’t say enough about our kids. Out of all our weeks, we probably had our top two or three weeks of practice and preparation. We challenged our players because we knew Syracuse didn’t have school this week and they had an off week. We told them that our preparation had to be two-fold. It had to be doubled up. Our kids responded. I can’t say enough about the leadership and character of our team.”

On playing sophomore quarterback Jordan Luallen:
“I think Jordan brings another dynamic to the field. I think what is lost in his running ability is that he can throw the football. We needed a spark. Our players believe in him just like Munchie (Legaux). We see him in practice. We see the explosive plays. He brings a little bit different of a spin to our offense. We went into this game just like we will next week and going into the ball game, pulling out all the stops to win the football game.”

On Isaiah Pead returning punts for the first time:
“Isaiah (Pead) has practiced it all season long. I told our beat writer at some point we were going to put him back there. He kind of chuckled and said, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ We see it every day in practice and our kids have a great belief in him. Danny Milligan did a great job back there, as well, but Isaiah is a special player and we went to manufacture as many touches for him as we can by putting the ball in his hands.”

On the touchdown off the screen pass:
“We had a middle screen. We knew they were going to be in cover zero. Munchie (Legaux) did a great job. It’s that maturation process from last week to this week. We ran that same play last week. The ball got batted down. Munchie did a great job of resetting his feet and throwing through the window. Obviously, Isaiah did a great job. He needs to hang on to the ball though.”

On whether Munchie Legaux improved from his experience as a starter last week:
“Absolutely. That comes with repetition and confidence gained throughout the week. Players around him made big plays for him today.”

On whether they did anything different to focus on stopping Nick Provo:
“We have a lot of respect for (Nick) Provo. He is a great player. I think (Ryan) Nassib is a great quarterback, as well. We just wanted to mix it up by not letting him set his feet and make him throw some hot throws. I thought we had a great pass rush. The quarterback hurries and knock downs are every bit as important as sacks.”

Cincinnati Student-Athlete Quotes:

Jordan Luallen - Quarterback
On his opportunity to play in the game:
“They gave me the opportunity to go in and play, so I tried to just go out and do what I do best: run the ball. It’s one of my strengths.

“When I went in there I knew I just had to make sure I executed and do what they ask me to do.”

On when he knew he was going to play:
“I kind of got the feeling throughout the week, they started to work me in a little more. And then last night coach was going through our quarterback test, like we do every week, and just told me that I needed to stay prepared.

“I was nervous, but also excited. I have been working really hard, so having the opportunity to go out there was exciting.”

On Cincinnati’s big plays:
“I just wanted to make sure I made it into the end zone. And I kind of bit my thumb on that one. I guess because I tried to start running a bit harder and when I did my legs just gave out.”

On the play of Isaiah Pead:
“He’s a great football player, and we all saw that today. He is a great football player, and what you saw today is nothing out of the ordinary. It’s just what he does.”

Munchie Legaux - Quarterback
On being comfortable in the game:
“Overall I felt good about it. I was running comfortable.”

Isaiah Pead – Running back

On his performance on Saturday against Syracuse:
“I was in the zone a little bit, my warm-up was a little different. I knew that I had a major role, bigger than it had been all season. I felt that I had to embrace it. With everything going on, it was a big game, and with a rookie quarterback, I had to be a veteran.”

Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone

Opening statement:
“Obviously, I’m upset. I don’t think I can even explain how I feel. Losing four straight games is unacceptable. We got beat in all three phases. They outrushed us. They threw for more yards when it counted. They out-physicaled us. They made plays; I thought their running back did a heck of a job. Defensively, they did a nice job in coverage. Early, we were not able to win or hold up long enough in the protection to get the ball down the field.

“We missed some throws that could have made the game close. We went back to basics and put stuff in that we had in day one, so the players can go out there and lineup and we weren’t able to execute. So that’s what we’ve done, and we have to look to do whatever we can do to win. We’ll look at all the options this week at what gives us the best opportunity, but I don’t have a lot of answers right now.”

On what went wrong against Cincinnati
“I don’t know if we had a lot of things going for us because we came out after three straight losses. We have a lot of issues that we’re trying to get better with: being physical and going out there and playing every play with the type of intensity that you need to execute. It’s comes down to the same thing, we just have to change some plays and change some calls because obviously we can’t execute what we’re doing even when we have guys open or guys coming free.”

On Cincinnati’s running game:
“Both quarterbacks ran the same schemes. It wasn’t like one quarterback was doing something different than the other one. They were both running the same type of schemes in the same situations. We have to do a better job. We tried to keep it as simple as possible. That’s what we talked about all week. I didn’t want to go in with a lot of checks, which we’ve had going into a lot of other games. I wanted to lineup and make the checks very simple in case they lined up in empty, which they did a couple of times. Just lineup and go play and give our kids the opportunity to make some plays. We tried to do that, and obviously we didn’t get that accomplished.”

On the start of the second half:
“We kicked off, they go 70 yards. Then the next play Pead makes a great cut and scores a touchdown. That’s not a very good way to start the second half when you’re only down four. They went bounce-left, and our guy came in free and didn’t make the play. Our one and two and our cutter got blocked, and the next thing you know it was a 70-yard return. You can’t make a lot of mistakes on that. Then on the next play they went wide right and Pead hit the breaks, and we didn’t have any contain on the back side pursuit and he went in for a touchdown.

“It all depends on how mentally tough you are. If you’re mentally tough, it hurts but you go out there and you play extremely hard and get after it. If you’re not mentally tough, then you have issues. I think each person handles things individually. For me, I was ready to get back in there and get after them.”