“First, let me say I just want to say how proud I am of this football team to come on the road and win a conference game and do it under a lot of adversity. We created a lot of that adversity today for ourselves with all the penalties we had, all the mistakes we made, but really proud of the way our guys responded in all those situations. Nobody got their head down, nobody got depressed. They just kept fighting. They just kept scratching, crawling for every inch of soil out there so I’m really proud of the way those guys played.”
On the penalties:
“I’ll just say that we need to continue getting better in that area. I don’t why it’s happening. It’s not like we’re not emphasizing it in practice [or] still coaching the fundamentals. I don’t know. I’m going to have to go back and evaluate each and every one and determine what the reasons are.
“A lot of it was holding and it’s not guys that are just being lazy. Like, I know on Quinshad Davis’s hold, when he finished the block off and took him to the ground, I thought it was a hold. Well, if Quinshad isn’t trying to block so hard and finish the guy we probably don’t get a holding call. I don’t’ know. We’ll have to look at it and see.”
Is there a fine line in terms of stressing it too much where the players are thinking about it and maybe don’t play as aggressively?
“Yeah we want our guys to be aggressive. We want to be smart, fast and physical and you got to be able to play hard but still play smart. You have to be disciplined enough to not make those mistakes when you can’t afford to.”
Was the two-point conversion something you saw on tape?
“We have a variety of formations down there in that area of the field and we’ve been doing it all year. We gave a different formation this week and they covered it the first time they were out there. The second time somebody didn’t realize what was going on and Tommy Hibbard made a nice play. If you think about it, that’s the difference. They could’ve been kicking a field goal other times and they had to score and so that’s a huge play for us.”
Was there a specific trigger there? Who called it?
“We let Tommy handle it. We let him handle it based on what he see’s. It’s something that the defense is giving us.”
On the defense getting pressure in the second half?
“Yeah I thought they did a nice job of making some adjustments at halftime deciding if they wanted to get more pressure on them. The big thing was that we didn’t give up any big balls over the top and you watch on film and Miami’s been able to get behind everybody. No matter who they play they’ve been able to do that so that was a point of emphasis this week – big plays. We knew we were going to give some things up underneath. We understood that and we made plays when we had to. The defense stepped up at the end. We put it on their back and they got it done.”
On Thomas Hibbard. He punted the ball well and appeared to field some low snaps.
“Yeah, in fact the most critical punt of the game, that last one, the ball rolled back there and bounced around for awhile and Tommy did a nice job of handling it and that’s one of the thing they do in practice. He handles bad snaps. That’s part of how he prepares himself each week. I can’t say enough about him, because he punted the ball really well in every situation and, again, that may have been the difference and we tell our guys, you play this play, whatever it is.
“I don’t care if it’s a quarterback sneak, a punt, a kickoff return or whatever it is. It doesn’t matter. You play like it’s the most important play of the game and it could be the play of the game and both those situations, with the two-point [conversion] and there on that last punt, Tommy did make the play of the game.”
As an offensive guy, were you a little frustrated with the offense today?
“I may be one of the most frustrated people in the world. I get frustrated if we don’t score or we don’t pick up a first down every time it happens. We left a lot of points out there. Again, that’s no one’s fault but ours with the way we shot ourselves in the foot with the penalties and I’m not taking anything away from Miami at all, because they’re a good football team. Al [Golden] has them playing hard. They’re young. They’re really young, they’re really athletic and they’re going to be really good in the future. There’s no doubt about it, but we felt like there were chances for us to put that game away and we kept shooting ourselves in the foot and prevented that from happening, but, again, we kept fighting.”
Can you talk about Gio Bernard’s play and specifically the fourth down catch?
“Gio is a complete player. It doesn’t matter if it’s pass blocking in protections or if it’s catching the football or if it’s running the football or punt returns. Whatever we ask him to do, he’s going to do it to the best of his ability. He’s going to do everything he can to help this team win.
“That’s an example, that fourth down pass. Bryn [Renner] got blitzed. They went zero blitz, we throw it up, Gio has got to make a play, he goes and makes a play. There is not another person I’d rather have in that situation than Gio, because we believe he’s going to make those plays and the best part is he believes he’s going to make those plays and he’s a great player.”
What did it mean to Miami when they lost Stephen Morris towards the end of the game?
“That kid is a heck of a football player and he did a heck of a job throughout the game. [Ryan Williams] did a nice job to come in and do what he did, but the Morris kid made a lot of throws, made a lot of plays. He pulled the ball down and made a ot of plays with his legs. He’s a good football player.”
With two minutes to go you threw the ball on second and third down. Did you think about running it?
“Yeah, thought about it. Probably should have run it looking back on it now, but it doesn’t matter. We made the call. We made the call because we thought we were going to hit the pass. We thought it was there and we didn’t and so that’s a calculated risk and… I don’t ever second-guess the calls. You got to make them and you got to make them quick in those situations. It’s easy to look back and say, ‘well if we’d done that or we’d done this,’ but looking back on it I’d rather have run it, but we thought we had something there when we called those passes.”
Is that the spirit you’re trying the instill with your team?
“We’re going to be aggressive. We’re always going to play aggressive. We’re not going to play not to lose, I can tell you that. We felt like we could put it on our defense if we didn’t get it. We knew they’d have two timeouts and two minutes and we thought we were going to get a big play there.”
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