John Bunting (10:35)
On whether the team had its head down in the second half:
“Well, that’s a very disappointing loss. They’re a very fine football team, as we all acknowledged going in. We hoped to play a heck of a lot better than we did, and we did not. The first half, we still thought we had a shot to play with these guys. Start with the fact that we were in their territory three times and had no points. We still thought we’d go out and play a lot better in the second half, and we absolutely played awful, particularly on offense. It looked like we had no energy. It was very, very disappointing. I thought defensively, as difficult as it was, at least initially on the first drive, I thought the kids played hard and did some good things to keep that game to ten. And that’s exactly what we talked about at halftime. It was time for the offense to step up and make a play. And we didn’t. We had opportunities to make a play and just didn’t come up with them. I don’t know how many dropped balls we had. But we had way too many. You can’t do that against a team like this. When you get opportunities to make a play, you make a play in this type of football game. I know the kids are disappointed. I know that all our great fans are disappointed. And yours truly don’t feel very good about it all. So after this, we’re 2-2. Round Four is over. Once again, as I think all of you know and have notated so very accurately, we have a very difficult schedule from here on out. We just have to find a way to play a heck of a lot better than that, and when we do have opportunities, we’ve got to make those plays.”
“Well, it’s not something that I’ve addressed at this point. I know I heard a couple of players talk about that. I’ve talked with the team once and I’ll talk with them again on Monday when I get them back. I’ll address that issue. I’m not sure how you were raised. I know how I was raised. I don’t ever put my head down. Never have, never will. There is no reason to do that. This is a game of football at the Division I level, in a great football conference, and if you put your head down, you’re not going to be very good.”
On the team’s energy level:
“That’s how you play this game. This is a wonderful game we play, and that we’re allowed to coach. You’ve got to have energy to play. You’ve got to be upbeat. You’ve got to be looking forward to the next play. And like I said, at halftime that’s precisely what our coaching staff talked with our team about. Let’s get out there and get started in the second half and let’s get going. This is a heck of a team we’re playing, but guess what, we’re right there. We’re right there. But instead of going out and playing well, we did not play well at all.”
Did the team give up?
“No, absolutely not. Next question.”
Jason Brown said the team heard too much hype after Georgia Tech. Were they overconfident in expecting Louisville to hand the game to them?
“I don’t know how Louisville is going to hand anything to you but a big spanking. They took us out behind the shed, took our pants down, and belted us. What I mean by that is this. That’s hard for me to believe, that our football team, after beating William and Mary and then getting smoked by the University of Virginia, and then beating a Georgia Tech team on a really exciting evening here, would then all of a sudden believe they’ve got it made, that that’s what they might be thinking about. I just don’t believe that at all. I don’t think that at all.”
What did you think of Matt Baker’s play?
“Well, he’s been in the game twice now, once at UVA and once again here. I certainly don’t like playing him in that situation, but he certainly needs to play, and I think he did very well with the exception of the interception. And of course he put the ball on the ground for a fumble. But the interception at the end, you know, John Hamlett is sitting there wide open with no Louisville player within 15 yards. He didn’t throw to him. So it’s a matter of continuing to work with Matt. He’s got a lot of talent. I think he’s a great kid. I think he can play.”
What went into the decision playing Vince Wilson?
“You know, I don’t know how long Ronnie [McGill] is going to be out. And I like Vince Wilson. I want him to play. And we’ve got to make that commitment to play him.”
On the possibilities of player movement along the defensive line:
“That’s precisely what we’re trying to do is get some production. There’s a very good chance that we’ll move Khalif [Mitchell] back outside this week. We have not gotten the production out of him inside that I wanted. We’ve been discussing this over the week. We may keep Kyndraus [Guy] inside a little more, maybe play him two positions--which is hard for a young redshirt freshman to do. But we’ll have to talk about that as a staff. And there’s a chance we’ll move Khalif back outside where he started. We’ll talk about that as a staff.”
On his impressions of Louisville:
“You know, I think Florida State is very good. I think Miami is very good. I think NC State is very good. There’s a lot of good teams. I can’t say Louisville is as good as anybody we’ll play. But there were much better than we were today. They spread you out. They play some hockey-on-grass kinds of things. They move that ball around. They spread you out and force you into one-on-one matchups that sometimes you’re not as comfortable with. But to me it’s still a matter of getting the run game stopped, and then getting some third and longs. They had too many third and shorts in the first half. It’s hard to stop the third and shorts. LaFors is a terrific football player. He makes great decisions. He’s very very competitive. He’s faster than people think. And of course the freshman is going to be a very good player.”
On shaking off a game like this:
“I’ll be very surprised if we don’t. I’ve got enough seniors, enough senior leadership, it better not happen. And I will get after it, believe me, on Monday. There’s no reason for us to sulk and let this game get us down. This was Round Four. We’re coming back to play Round Five. We’ve got a great time we’re playing at Tallahassee. I hope we show up better and play better over a complete game than we did today. We have to.”
Andy Britt contributed to this report.