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Very disappointing. No where to look but right here. Could have made more plays, hade far less penalties. We shot ourselves in the foot, situations we didn't score on the one, turned it over in the redzone, just way too many mistakes. Virginia hung in the game. Made enough plays to win it. In the end, made enough plays that they needed to make, got the drive they needed to get. It was all on us as far as leaving them in the game. They kept hanging and scratching and crawling and that's my fault. Obviously it's gotta start at the top. There's no one play that lost that game. There's a lot of plays. Across the board. Very disappointed because I thought we were past some of that, we're getting better at some things. Way too many self-inflicted wounds. Penalties, not even as far as giving yards, but pre-snap jumps and things like that. We've got to eliminate that. We've got way too many of those. Making some young mistakes. You're not a freshman anymore, you're not a sophomore anymore, you're not a junior, not senior-this is the end of the year and those things have to stop. Very disappointing. We didn't make the play and we had some opportunities. We gotta manage that situation at the end better, we don't need to catch that ball, we work on that everyday. We throw it, if you catch it, great and you get out, if you don't you knock it down. We're fortunate that we didn't catch it right now. That's something we can work on. Our third downs were very poor. Poor job. Took a sack when we could have had points to get the field goal. We just couldn't do it at the one line and short yardage is ridiculous. Past ridiculous. We need to get that. My fault.
How much more difficult is that kick on Dustin because of the long delay and frenzy?
It's a shame-that you can't just come off and say, 'alright I gotta kick.' Every game, there's 88 delays, 10 misses-you can't play the game without a rhythm. It's getting utterly ridiculous. It really is. It's getting ridiculous. It needs to be fixed somehow, but that's not why we messed up the game and I'm not blaming them on that, but it'd be nice for them to fix it.
How'd you feel about that last drive. It seemed those short passes ate the clock.
It did, we usually go to the sideline. We ran a slant and that was an eight yard route and it should have been second and five and had to take a timeout. We had to-missed the third down-had a third and one and should have had the first down. The clock stops then. In college ball, the ball moves like crazy. That's not the problem. When you the throw it outside the numbers you usually get it out of bounds. We didn't get out on a Hawk, a slant we ran three yards deep, it's supposed to be eight yards deep. We got the facemask and we knew they were gonna blitz and we weren't protecting very good so we were trying to get a run and get five yards and get in field goal range and throw the out whether we catch it or not. Then we have a 46 yard field goal. Got our shot, got a 42 yard field goal and didn't execute.
What happened to the defense on their final drive?
They got momentum and swung it and got it upfield and our safetys didn't get over and make the play. They made one drive. They made the one drive. We gave it up. Offensively we could have put it away in the second half. Down there first and goal on the one and can't get in. Missed two blocks. We shot ourselves so many times in the foot it's ridiculous.
Did you feel like you had to call a pass on that last 3rd and one because of the short yardage trouble earlier?
Yeah, we haven't made a third and one in a month of Sundays. Haven't made one. And if you don't make it then you waste your timeout and you figure they're gonna play soft and we had it right there. If you don't, then what do you do? Then you're stuck at midfield with no timeouts. Slants gotta be eight yards, still 50 seconds to go and we had a slant and those are eight yard routes and we got four yards on it. I gotta look at the film-I don't know why.
With the sack on EJ, did you think about maybe a safe call there?
No, he's supposed to side-adjust. We could have ran it, but we had run two straight plays and lost yards. We have a side-adjust and could have hit a slant. We didn't side-adjust. We should have side-adjusted the ball and thrown it out of there. These are things we do everyday. Everyday in practice. And should have called a safety play and that's my fault, didn't have them ready and prepared to make the play.
What did you tell the team afterwards?
No one play lost that game. It was a conglomerate. We win as a family, we lose as a family. And I take blame. I didn't have them ready to obviously execute and do things. And our staff, we obviously didn't have them ready as a staff or as a group. Our defense played extremely well, they got the one drive at the end. But we left a minute and gave them hope and when you give them hope, that's what happens. We should have gotten the points and could have gotten the two score lead, we would have had to make the field goal, but hopefully we would have made one and gone up 16-7. All we needed was one score. When you give teams hope and when you give people hope, they can go make plays. And we had plenty of opportunities to get plays on our end, no doubt. Moving the ball wasn't an issue.
How hard is this loss for the seniors?
To see them lose and to see us all lose, it's part of it. And it's sad for them, it really is. That we played so well for five straight weeks and to come in here and do what we did, but we all had the opportunities. It's a shame. 11 penalties for 94 yards. That's a shame. How many returns we had back that we could have had points? How many clips we have? Three? On special teams. Offense, defense, special teams-had late hits, could have had them pinned back there inside the ten and got a late hit and they get to the 30 and get a couple first downs. In the second half too on a late hit on defense. So much to go around.
It seems like EJ missed a few throws here and there.
He missed a bunch of them. Missed quite a few of them. Had some chances. But he was under pressure. He's gotta learn to stand there and make them, but we've gotta learn to pass block. He was getting bombarded every time he stepped back, somebody was coming free at him or we were getting the hold. We hit two big plays first drive of the game right down the 50 yard line, get a hold. Get another one down there and give it up. We missed one right down the middle, missed Kenny Shaw wide open right down the middle, it was a walk-in touchdown. Then we got caught, I can't believe Bert got caught. That shocked me. Not his fault, guy made a great play, but there's tons of opportunities. He did some good things, he scrambled. But a couple of those touchdown drives he had a couple scrambles because he was under duress. But we need to learn to hit some of those plays, but he created a lot of plays with his legs. He made a lot of bigtime plays that we wouldn't have made if he wasn't our quarterback. We just didn't play very well. We did not execute well.
What cane be done in short yardage situations?
I don't know, we gotta come back and look and find away. It's about attitude, fundamentals, technique. It's about coming off the ball, getting lower than the other guys, wanting to win. We had a couple, had some third down pass plays and hit a couple there, but that's-had missed assignments on the goal line, didn't block the right people.
Did you make a couple decisions that may not have been the best way to go?
Nah, I don't know from that standpoint, I just mean preparation, mentally. Getting your team ready to play and execute. I mean, could you have made a safer call? I thought putting the ball in his hands, six yard route, we get it close to a field goal, if they blitz we hit a slant and go. At the end, maybe in hindsight should have kicked a field goal and we didn't, but we practice that everyday with eight seconds or less knocking the ball down. Luckily we got the incomplete. Things are there to execute. But it goes back to gotta coach them better. Gotta put them in better position-it's not the kids' fault. It's still our fault. But they gotta take responsibility for how they execute to a point, but we gotta get them ready, gotta get them mentally ready to play. And teach them how to do it the right away. We'll go back to technique and teach them the right way.
Are you concerned about how this will affect the morale of your team?
Any loss is tough and we'll find out what we're made of. We'll find out if we have any grit and we'll come back and if we can't get some to go play Florida, then there's something wrong with it.
What did you say to Dustin after the miss?
Just keep your head up, do it again, stay fundamentally sound, hit 'em again. You don't, it's just, you can't-that play didn't lose the game, that play was capable of winning the game just like every one had plays capable of winning the game, but that play didn't lose the game at all. He's our guy and I'll take him again next week.
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