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What are your general thoughts on the game?
General thoughts? I thought the offense played very well, as you see. As a defense, we have a lot of work to do, as you can see. All the mistakes we made [are] fixable. We have to go this week, forget about the game we played today, just work on the mistakes we made.
Football is a game of inches. It seemed like there were a lot of plays that were an inch or two from being a big play one way an a big play the other way.
Oh yeah. Details mean a lot. As a defense, I say we have to go out there and focus on the little details. You see they can win [or] lose a ball game. Today we lost, so--
What are some of the details that you felt you guys didn't focus on today?
Just minor details--gap control. You get out of your gap, the offense is going to find it--simple as that. As a whole defense we did bad, and we'll work on it.
How frustrating might it have been for you [individually] not to be able to get more involved in the offense?
Of course it's frustrating--I'm the ultimate competitor. I don't think there's a person alive who is more competitive than [I am]. I want the ball all the time; I want to make the big plays. I definitely want to be in there, but again kudos to [wide receivers] Hakeem [Nicks] and Brooks [Foster]. Those guys really got off today, and you look at that as a plus because now people will look at this game and say, 'They have some other guys besides Jesse Holley who can go out there and make plays.'
My time will come again. I'm still in there. I still made a big play down the stretch when we needed one, across the middle. That's what I do. Hopefully, we'll look at this and regroup, and next week I won't have this problem.
Did you guys think you would be able to score a few more points?
Definitely. I think early in the game we--I don't, I don't know. Maybe. I don't know.
You said you didn't set the tempo early in the game. Was that your fault, or was that something they were doing?
Not necessarily my fault. I can only do so much. I can only block and run routes.
The offenses fault--not necessarily your fault.
I would say [it was] the offense's fault. We came out, we set some things out. We had a couple big running plays, a couple big passing plays, but we weren't consistently dominant. We would have a drive or two that was dominant or a series or two that was dominant. Then they would come back, and we'd be in third-and-a-little-long, stuff like that. We weren't consistently dominant on that team, against that team.
How disappointing is this game, a game you all were looking forward to for three months, to come out on the short end?
I mean--it's tough. It's definitely tough. You never want to lose, but that's just part of football. You don't win everything. Just for that to happen-- good thing it happened now instead of later in the season. It's something we've got to learn from. We aren't going to sit and point fingers. We aren't going to blame anybody. We win as a team; we lose as a team. From here, we're going to move on. We've got Virginia Tech next week. We're going to go Monday and get back to work. We'll be prepared and read to go.
What is your recollection of the controversial play that was ruled a touchdown, then reviewed, and then ruled that your knee was down? What happened there?
I felt I was in. From watching the replay, it looked like I was in. That's just--you know--part of the game. The refs, they decided to overturn the call; there isn't too much we can do about that from there.
What is your take on Joe Dailey's first start? What did you see out of him?
Joe played excellent. Joe had a lot of poise. We can definitely say that this is his team. That's his offense, and he stepped up as a leader, and he controlled, and he showed me what I expected and that is for him to be a great quarterback and help us get into position to win games.
What were they doing to be able to have success against you all today?
They did a lot of draw plays. They caught us off-guard with that. We weren't expecting that many draws to be run. They cam back--lot of toss, lot of sweep, outside zone. They just kept us on our toes with that.
They were having a lot of success on third down, a key down.
Yeah man, that's huge.
What's the difference in what they were doing to be successful and what you guys were doing?
Third down, we just weren't getting after them enough. The defensive line wasn't getting enough pressure on them when the quarterback had time to throw the ball, make the passes, and get the first downs. When they ran for the first down, we weren't controlling the line. We were out of our gap, out of balance. They were exploiting that.
Rutgers isn't a big-name football school. Did you take them for granted at all, maybe not take them serious enough?
Nah, we knew they were good. They went to a bowl [game] last year. They were 7-5 or 7-6, whatever they were. We knew they had talent--big O-line, two good backs. We didn't take them for granted at all. They just came in here, executed, and made the plays.
What happened in the pile when [the player from Rutgers] stripped the ball?
I was running and I got hit over top of the pile, and my progress was stopped. After a couple of seconds I decided I would put the ball out. The guy came over, and he started to try to fight me for it on the other side. So, the question is--I possibly could have scored a touchdown. Then, after awhile I figured the progress was stopped and they would blow the play dead, but he took it and took off up the field. I guess the referees didn't see it the way everybody else thought [it happened].
How is your injury?
I feel good. It's not bad. Normally after games I feel horrible, but I feel pretty good right now. It's just, I guess, taking all those hits and getting twisted up causes the one cramp.
How do you feel the offensive line played today?
They played great. They opened up a lot of holes. They got after the other team. They were really physical. I don't know if we gave up a quarterback sack or not, but they were great in protection. They played really well for us supposedly having a young right side of the offensive line. That's another positive that we can take out of this.