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Miami did a heck of a job and played very well. Our kids battled, fought, scratched-played some situations very well, which I was proud of. Didn't always play well, lost field position more early, couldn't get out of it, but battled back, responded when we had to. Still could have put the game away a few times and didn't, on the goal line once. And they battled back and I give Miami credit because this is a rivalry and these our two teams that are gonna go at it. There was craziness and fighting down for it-Nick O'Leary with his fingertips on that ball and clawing it and making the play and what a play from a freshman and he did that. But I loved the fight and competiveness and our kids stayed in the moment. Disappointed that we had the game winner a couple times there in the end with turnovers, had some late hits on the quarterback-I'll have to look and see, but we gotta be a little smarter in those situations. But hey, we won another game against Miami. A very class and good football team and Al does a great job with them and I'm just extremely happy for our kids and for what they're overcoming and they're learning and we're growing through this season. We're not going through it. We're growing through it. That's what I'm the proudest of. We have problems, we're not close to perfect, but we're figuring out how to win and compete and I'll tell you what, there's a lot of heart and lot of togetherness in that group. I'm very proud of them.
What's your reaction to all the reviews?
Well, early it was a ruling and I couldn't-I saw it both feet out the line and that's what was debated and they got it ironed out because that could have been a big difference in this game. And they didn't do it on purpose and I was trying to make sure-with my lovely personality-that what the rule was at the present time, but they did a good job of handling it and got it right and called it. I'm glad we got it right, that was the good things, to get the ruling right.
Talk about Greg Reid.
Greg thinks every play is a touchdown. And that's what makes him great, but also he has to be smart in some situations and he almost had another one, but we touched the kicker, at the beginning, we forget that one. And we had a kickoff return that we got called back. But Greg's mentality is like that and I'd rather say whoa than giddy up any day of the week.
What was the explanation for Nigel Bradham's hit call?
Well it wasn't in the head, but they said he launched to a defenseless player above the waist-I guess-I gotta get that clarified and see what it is cause it looked like he hit him with a shoulder and he hit him in the ribs or chest in my opinion. And I can't see it-but they said he launched, I don't know. I guess that's the rule, then that's the rule. I'll have to clarify it tomorrow and look at it on film. I hope he's alright. Is the young man alright?
Were you surprised Bradham was then ejected?
Well they came over and told me they were gonna eject him, so I mean-it wasn't a head shot, it wasn't a crown, it's a shame. I guess the ruling-is that he's out next week.
Is there a rule that you just hit somebody too hard?
It's getting to be. But I am for safety. I gotta wait to see the hit cause it happened so fast.
Miami had that big drive and Joyner got the interception. How big was that?
That was huge. I tell our kids this all the time: you can play well, but you can play situations poorly and lose. Or you can play very average and play situations well and win the football game. And that's what-even though they played well-that situation in the redzone that we were able to convert a turnover. And then the one before half. And when we did get down there we scored enough. We played situations, on punt return and on kicking and found a way to win the game even though we didn't play our best. A lot of that was Miami and they did a nice job, but we gotta fix a lot of things. Our kids are learning that when you start to become a good team, you don't always play well. You're not always gonna play your best, but you can figure out ways to scratch, claw and win football games and hopefully that's what we're learning to do. And hopefully we can start playing well again, but you can't win every game by 25 points. It doesn't work that way.
Does this feel like an odd game to you because you were outgained?
I've outgained them and lost two, so I feel better being on this end. The flow of that game was very weird, from a coach standpoint. The way it was-it was a different type game, but rivalry games often are. It wasn't a fluid type game, from field position and turnovers and penalties and delays and turns, there was no rhythm. There were two teams scratching and clawing and playing hard.
How do you rate the progress of the team?
That's what I'm happy about. I see us growing. We're growing in a lot of areas with a lot of young guys and they're getting smarter and learning not to make the same mistakes twice and these guys practice well. They prepare well. We maybe didn't play our best in this game, but we may have had our best week of practice. Our practices were phenomenal, we were sharp. It just shows the maturity. I love going to practice with this team.
You forced turnovers and could have probably had one or two more.
And we didn't have any, that's the key. They had the turnovers and we created turnovers and we didn't turn it over on ourselves. And turnovers affect the game more than anything.
Miami had been a lot better about giving up turnovers, but had you still been counting on getting some?
Hopefully getting turnovers on our defense. But they blocked us pretty well up front on pass defense. Their offensive line did a nice job protecting. We had the one mistake, actually had two. We had the one called back and then had the late hit on the quarterback, would have had that second interception there and that one could have put the game away because that was two minutes and we could have just taken a knee there. But we gotta find a way to make it interesting. But you don't bank on turnovers, you hopefully get them and fortunately we won that battle tonight.
Was there a point in the game when you thought it was an ugly game?
No, you win the game. You find ways to win. That's part of athletics. Everybody wants it to be pretty, you want it to be perfect. Competing doesn't work that way. That's in the movies. These games, they're not entertainment. They're competition and there's a difference. Entertainment, you set it up and you script it and you make the big plays and he makes the heroic play and he throws a touchdown or he makes the run. This is real life. It doesn't happen that way. And it's about competition and when you have two teams playing like they did, that happens sometimes. Do I know we have problems? Yes. Do I know we need to fix some things? Yes, but there's a knack to learning how to win.
What's it mean just to win the rivalry game?
I have a lot of respect for it because I was such a Florida State fan before and I understand it and the implications of it. I have a lot of respect for Miami. To say that we've had two good victories-I'm very thankful and very fortunate and understand that that just doesn't happen. I'm blessed.
How about missing the third and shorts again?
Missed two of them. The first one, I'll take blame. They subbed a guy, a defensive tackle and we didn't get it from up top and I thought they were in the same thing and they got an extra lineman in there. On the goalline, we thought we were gonna walk, walk in and we overreached in the back and thought we were gonna walk in on the option, but the guy went up and he was gonna tuck it right there but the guy went back door on our guard and he missed him and that was, we gotta make them. That's puts us up three scores.
Did all the wide right coverage bother you?
I hate it for them. I do. To have that guy's picture in the paper, c'mon guys. They guy tried to kick three field goals in the game, don't beat a dead horse twenty years later. The guy kicked field goals to get you there and he's a great guys, but it just, guys compete. 17-16 in one of the greatest games in college history and we always dwell on the negative. How about watching two teams compete like they did?
How big was special teams today?
Huge. We had a kickoff return we could have scored on and another great punt return when we roughed the kicker when we weren't even blocking it, but that's another story. But special teams was huge. And coverage, they had one that broke out but was a penalty. Shawn was punting the heck out of it. The other one, I wish he would have left it at the five, instead of all the way in the endzone.
Talk about putting Stork in at center for Barron.
He got a little nervous, had a snap forward and didn't hear one, but that's a big game for a true freshman. Stork was ready and we wanted to make sure-wanted to go with Austin there but then went back to Stork.
Both programs trying to get back, how does a victory like this help?
I think you learn, just keep learning to win. You keep learning to win when you're playing good, when you're playing bad, when you're playing ugly, whatever it is. Just another step - any time you win you gain confidence. And confidence is the key to everything.
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