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Listen to Audio (10:32)
"The game was a kind of tale of two cities. The first half we
struggled slowing them down, we were kind of out of synch and out of rhythm
defensively. Offensively, we were behind the count all the time. For us to
play well against South Carolina, we needed to stay ahead against the count,
against their defense.
"They're so good on pressuring you and you can't have
the penalties and the things where you have 2nd-and-15, 2nd-and-20, 1st-and-15. It's too hard to overcome as talented as their defense
"I thought our coaches did a great job as the first half was starting to
wind down and through the halftime, making a few adjustments and trying to
find some things to give us a chance from a protection standpoint to give TJ
the opportunity to stand in there and make some throws, but [also] certainly to get
a little bit of the running game going."
On the missed opportunities:
"You can't miss
opportunities and we missed so many opportunities in the course of the game.
To beat a good football team you have to hit on some of those opportunities.
You can't miss an extra point, you can't miss a field goal, you can't unfortunately have a drop in the end zone that would have been a touchdown.
"We had an opportunity earlier in the first half -- we missed on an opportunity
for a big play to Brandon [Tate]. It's a game of inches. Brandon laid out [and]
he did everything he could to try to make that, but to win games like this
you have to hit on some of those kinds of plays."
On the Hail Mary pass:
"The last play of the game was just an opportunity to have a jump ball in the
end zone -- hoping that either you catch the ball and come down in the end
zone or if you can't the ball, it's tipped up and there are guys around the
ball who can get the tip and score that way."
On Greg Little:
"He is just really some kind of
excellent football player. His ability to run after the catch -- he runs as
determined and as physical as any receiver I think I have ever seen."
On the direct snaps:
"We were looking for things that maybe would give us an opportunity. When you
devise a game plan against South Carolina's defense you have to look long
On close losses:
"For this football team, I hope they take it as encouragement. These kids are
fighting. They are giving great effort. I have been extraordinarily proud of
the way they have prepared every single week to play well.
"You can¹t go out
against the schedule and the teams that we have played over the last five
games and expect to do well if you don¹t prepare and play well. That¹s going
to hold true for the remainder of the season. For us to play well and win
games we¹ve got to keep doing the same things."
Listen to Audio (4:32)
On Brandon Tate's absence in the second half:
"You know you can't replace a guy like Brandon or Hakeem. I thought Kenton [Thornton] and Greg Little did a great job of stepping in for Brandon. Hakeem came back and his ankle was hurting him, but he fought through his pain and came back and had an amazing second half."
On another close loss:
"We've got to play to win. We've come close too many times this season. We just have to get over that hump. We've got to do something that gets us away from these 2-3-7-6 point games and get wins instead."
Listen to Audio (3:01)
On the late fourth down conversion on a pass from Yates:
"I told him that I'd get the first [down], and he trusted in me. He trusted in me that I'd get the first, so I had to go up and make a play."
On this team's improvement:
"We're definitely getting better each week in a lot of areas, especially defensive-wise. Offense-wise, we're coming together as one, but we're trying together as a team."
On this team's resolve:
"It's just an instinct that you've got to have in not wanting to fail. Make sure if we were to lose, that we left it all on the line, and I feel like we left it all on the line tonight."
Listen to Audio (2:52)
On his various roles on offense on Saturday:
"I knew that I was recruited as an athlete and I knew that I was capable of doing those things and the coaches put me in position to make some plays today."
On his dropped pass in the end zone late in the game:
"I know that they showed blitz, [and] they audibled to me and the ball just kept fading to the right. I thought it was going to drop right down into my hands, but it faded right over my right shoulder."
Listen to Audio (3:14)
On the slow start:
"You know, we came out in the second half all fired up, but we need to start that from the first play to the last play."
On this team's progress:
"This team never gives up. To the last second, we still have fans here because we don't know the outcome of the game. I commend them. South Carolina is a great team, but we have a lot of pluses coming out of this game. This bye week is a great time to just look at ourselves and turn the second half of the season around."