Opening statement: "As far as the game, it was a game of halves, really. First half we gave up 23 points and 244 yards. The third quarter they got three points and 82 yards. The fourth, they didn't get any points and no yards…zero net yards in the fourth quarter. But we just gave up too much in the first half. There was some plays that were no good but probably the most critical was giving up the touchdown with 19 second left in the half. Three plays and they get a touchdown. It's just one of those deals where they…well, I don't want to talk about that, that's coach's job.
"We weren't real sharp the first half; we had some critical mistakes, some judgment plays that weren't quite what you would like to be. You look at it on tape and it wasn't a matter of us not playing hard, we just made some judgment mistakes that hurt us. We had four pass interference penalties - two of them on the first possession back-to-back. One was a third down – a possession down – which kept the drive alive and then the very next play we get another interference. You give up yardage and the bad thing about that is that the result was a touchdown; we didn't keep them out of the endzone. Then we had an interference play on the last possession that they had where it gave them the ball again. It was a third down play again and that gave them a first down enabled them to run the clock down to a minute I think it was. We had some plays on the sideline one time where we're playing hard…you get a penalty call there. The quarterback is sprinting out...the guy actually tries to pull off from hitting him – he could have knocked him up into the stands or driven him into the dirt – but he tries to pull off and use his hands and we get a penalty there that ends up in a field goal. We had those six penalties hurt us because it enables them to maintain possession of the football and also has yardage carried with it that they don't earn. You have to make them earn their yardage.
"We had too many missed assignments. We went against a team that was probable as determined a team as we have played in awhile. They were very well prepared. We played against a quarterback that might have had about a strong of performance as a guy we have had in a while too. (Marques Hagans) took plays a normal quarterback would have been sacked on or forced a bad mistake on and somehow he gets out of it. We said going in that he was a running back that could throw the football. He's very accurate and he did a lot of things to hurt us. We lost contain several times and then when you get up field and he dips under…he just does a lot of things that a normal quarterback doesn't do. When you are able to do that, it puts additional pressure on your coverage because you've got a plaster on him and you don't know where the quarterback is or having a chance to find out when the ball is thrown. We were undisciplined at times on that but I thought that we played hard made some mistakes that made it awfully tough on us.
"We fought our way back - we looked like a Florida State defense the second half – but we had just given away too much and got too far behind in the first half. I think it was the first drive of the second half that they got their second half field goal on and the rest of the time we forced them to punt the football so there are some positive things. There are some encouraging things. We had a number of people that couldn't practice during the week and showed up a little bit but it's hard to be sharp when you don't get to prepare during the week. It's hard to do it onboard and off the field when you can't actually do it. We've got to rebound now and find a way to win one game at a time."
Q: You've got a young kid in Tony Carter that has played well up until this point. It's inevitable that somebody is going to have a bad game sometime. Do you think that the amount of calls against him affected him late in the game since he is so young?
A: "I am sure it affected him. It would on anybody; it would on a senior. It probably kept him from intercepting that one at the end where he got the interference call. I guess they called him for his left hand but normally if he can't get there to intercept, that's the way you have to do it. But if he could have got in front and got it, he probably would have scored. There is no way to determine that but you are going to face adversity and you have to fight your way through it. A lot of times mistakes are what help you become a better player because you become mentally tougher in that situation when you face it again."
Q: For the second straight game your unit did not get a turnover. Does that concern you at all?
A: "Well, we forced a couple of fumbles – we just didn't get them. We had two intercepts we just dropped them…the safety had the ball in his hands, all he had to do was catch it and the corner had one on that throw-back play. All he had to do was catch the ball, it was in his hands. He slipped. Why do you slip? Catch the ball and score. That's where we've got to get mentally tougher. If you are sitting around waiting for turnovers to occur, they normally don't. Not many people will roll the ball out there to you or find out where you are and drill you with it. You've got to force the mistakes and force the turnovers. We emphasized that a great deal last week and we will continue to do so. That's something a good defense has got to do."
Q: Are your kids sort of intent on forcing that turnover right now so they are pressing a little bit?
A: "I don't think so. You maybe need to ask them about it but I don't think that's the case. I think the part of it is that we need to be more physical in our tackling and playing the receivers."
Q: Doesn't some of that go back to the quarterback play as well?
A: "Yep. He probably had about as culminating of a performance as a quarterback than we have played in a number of years. Turn a bad play into a positive play. Several times he threw the ball on the run, off balance exactly where it had to be thrown to be completed. The first touchdown…I think three or four more plays where he just puts it in exactly between defenders who were on a guy that made the play…and he did it. You've got to think if they played like that all year, they'd probably be undefeated."
Mickey Andrews Q&A Part 1
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