How did you think it went out there--looked like a long day?
It was. We didn't play up to our potential--especially on the offensive end. We had, what, 13 points? No matter how your defense plays, good or bad, you can't win a game scoring 13 points.
Was it more a matter of you guys being out of sync, or was it anything in particular that they were doing?
It was a little of both. They are a pretty good defense. At times, we had chances to execute and didn't.
They seemed particularly well prepared for plays you all were running, screens and passes around the line of scrimmage. Your thoughts?
We just didn't block 'em. Everybody knows what we do and what kind of offense we run. It's been working every week, but we just didn't execute [today].
What did Coach Bunting say during that meeting on the sideline, when he called the timeout?
We weren't doing the little things. We weren't lining up right, we had holding penalties away from the ball, things like that. He just told us to focus.
He was pretty animated. Was he pretty mad?
I wouldn't say mad--he was just instructing us and telling us what we need to do. He might have been a little upset, but it wasn't a curse-you-out type talk.
At 0-5, how mad does it make the team?
We aren't mad. We hate to lose, but we feel that way because we enjoy playing the game.
How frustrating is it?
It's very frustrating. When you are a competitor, it's frustrating to lose at anything.
What is your critique of your own play today?
It's hard to say. I know I could have played better. I would say it was an OK game. I gave it my all, and that's all I can do.
Is it hard to get up now?
Not at all. Everybody on this team loves to play the game and loves the challenge every week. We'll be up every week, no matter even if we are 0-11.
Do you feel like the best option passing and running the ball out there--like you are carrying the weight on your shoulders?
I don't know. We just didn't execute. I'm pretty sure of that. I'm not trying to carry the load. I'm just out there playing hard. We just didn't execute when we had opportunities.
What are your expectations for the rest of the year, based on where you are now?
Our expectations are to go out and play hard every day, every second of every day, work to win in the meetings, film rooms, and everything. We have to put in extra work and win some games. I'm not expecting to only win three games. I expect to win quite a few of these last seven if we can put it together and play like a team--not going out and kicking ourselves.
What did Coach Bunting say during the team meeting on the sidelines?
He was frustrated with the penalties we were getting. You can't move the ball with penalties, and he came and let us know how frustrated he was.
Have you ever seen a coach every do anything like that in any game, where he asked everybody to get up off the bench and looked like a raging tiger going back and forth?
I've seen some coaches get fired up on the sidelines before, but I don't know if I've ever seen one pull anybody up. But I agree with his move. Penalties are unacceptable, and he was letting us know his frustrations and making sure our heads were in the game.
Was that as mad as you've ever seen Coach Bunting?
You talked about winning the last seven games. Is there any desperation setting in now?
No, I don't believe so. I definitely didn't expect to be in the situation we are in right now. That' was the least of my expectations, but we are where we are. Either we can lay down and accept it and throw in the towel or we have to keep on fighting for every inch we can get--any win, anything. That's what we are going to keep doing.
What do you think is wrong with this team?
I can't answer that. You make that question sound so simple, but that answer is extremely complicated. Tomorrow is another day where we will try to solve that answer by watching the film and analyzing every little detail. Hopefully, we can solve it then, but there is no one single answer. I'm sorry, but I can't help you with that.
How do you prevent the frustration from affecting the effort on the team now?
It's hard. It's hard to fight the frustration and give it all out there. We just have to keep chugging along, and the senior leaders have to pull the young guys up with us and let them know there are better times ahead. We are 0-5; we're in the bottom of the barrel right now. The only way out is up. Good times are to come, but, hopefully they come sooner than later. That's what you have to say and try to bring them along.
Darian talked about the offense today, mentioned 13 points and just shook his head because the offense has prided itself on being affective.
That's right. As hard as the losses have been the past few weeks, we were still scoring points. Our offense was moving the ball. There were bright spots, but today we took a step back. I don't know why. When you start off the game with penalties, that's not a good way to start. We had great field position on their 49, and we go three-and-out. If you are a good offense, you don't do that. You at least get a field goal out of it, but I don't know what was up with the execution today. It's going to take time to solve that. That's what hurt the most about this loss--the offense didn't play up to our potential.
What happened on the fourth-and-one touchdown when Lundy ran in?
It was just a mental error by all of us. We should have focused on the closed side. We just got a bad call by the middle linebacker. But it's not his fault. It's all of us as a team. We should have recognized that it wasn't the right side. That was just one [of many] mental breakdowns throughout the game.
Were you surprised when Coach Bunting called everyone over during the timeout?
That doesn't surprise me at all. Coach Bunting wants to motivate this team, and he's a very good coach. He feels like it's not just the offense or the defense--it's everybody as a team--so he called us over there to get the lead out. Since we were making stupid mistakes and stupid penalties, he had to let us know.
Do you feel like it worked?
In some ways, I feel like that, but a couple of mental mistakes here and there and they got big, explosive plays.
What do you think has been missing from the linebacker play early in the season?
I don't know. The linebackers on this team are very athletic. With, me, Clay Roberson, Jeff Longhany at the Will spot and Fred Sparkman and Devllen Bullard, and Doug Justice--I think we are a very athletic corps., but I think, overall, it's just more motivation to play.
Coming into this game, I felt like I had to make a statement as a person and as a player. Today I just felt like I did what I had to do--I just played my heart out.
What did you think about having Devllen at the Mike--is that different?
"We all work together in practice as a unit, so that wasn't any different."
What do you think the problem was today for the linebackers?
I just think we had a couple mental breakdowns. I think we need to get better prepared mentally, but I think we prepared mentally this week--we just need more focus mentally.
The breakdowns that you mentioned, were those more in your reads or in your technique?
A little bit of both. I think we were really motivated and into the game, but a bad read here or a bad technique there and they got an explosion play.
How much fun was the sack in the first quarter?
It was really fun. I had a lot of fun today, just going out and playing football
Who did your recruiting choices come down to--weren't you looking at LSU and Florida too?
Yes, sir. What made the difference is that Coach Bunting motivated me to want to come here and be the best. I felt secure with him. I felt he was a good mix of a role model for me here, having been in The League and been on a Super Bowl team. I felt like he knows what it takes to win.