"Anytime you give up 31 points and you give up 443 yards and you only make a team punt three times, you get two turnovers, we scored and stopped them on the goal line two out of three times....if we played on the goal line all night we might have done pretty good. We played harder when we get there, which is what you are suppose to, but you can't let people kick out scores from 29 and 39 yards. That was our big thing going in – we talked about not giving up big plays. Dominating one-on-one situations and tackling better. The guys who were injured and missed two scrimmages and half the practices, it showed up. It's hard, especially early in the year. Later in the year maybe you get by with it. Early in the year when you are rusty on fundamentals and you hadn't played a game, you have to have reps."
You talked about this during your scrimmages that players can't get better while watching.
"Yeah, we were scrimmaging people that were watching (Saturday night). But there's some positive things. There are some good things there. First touchdown, we had two missed assignments. Second touchdown, we had a missed assignment. Just about every play....probably the worst thing that we did other than the.... Well, used to be around here in the past that when you had people third-and-long you forget about it because you weren't going to convert. That wasn't the case out there. We only stopped them seven out of 17 times and two of them were short yardage, and one was on the goal line. We didn't do well at all in third and long. That just means you are on the field. We had ‘em third-and-11 and they throw a 31-yard vertical. Well, it was a perfect pass and a great catch, but we can't let people do that. We can't let people convert. Some how or another you got to keep a guy from catching the ball. Whether it's getting to the quarterback or it's better coverage. The thing we didn' get, we didn't finish as well as we thought we would going into the ballgame. I am talking about on running plays and on pass plays. If you put yourself in position in coverage or in willing to make a tackle, if you are in position all that is left is to finish it off. Just finish it off. It comes a point right there where the coaching quits and the playing has got to take over. We have to do a better job coaching and we have to do a better job finishing."
What do you hope that last play does for this unit?
"I might have been more impressed with the play before that last play. If Stanford (Samuels) doesn't make an unbelievable play to get the guy out of bounds, we weren't going to line up in goal line. I think (Jerome) Carter got in on it, too. Most people overlook that play. There is no goal line if he don't make that play. But it was – it was a great play (stopping on goal line). We always talk about it's not over until it's over. That kept us from losing the football game."
That might give them more confidence.
"There's no doubt about it, both of those were huge plays. There were other plays before that were just as important. If we don't blow assignments and give up a running touchdown and two passing touchdowns. ...the last one the safety got beat on was a corner post. Just very poor coaching and very poor fundamentals."
How did your defensive backs grade out?
"I am not going to talk about how folks grade out. It wasn't good enough to make me happy, I will tell you that. If you go back and look at the other positions you will find the very same thing. We go out there and get only one intecept the whole game and that was a defensive end. You get two sacks. That was the same ol' stuff that we had last year. We are suppose to have that bunch of junk out of our throats by now and start acting like a football team. Watching those guys who didn't do a whole lot of tackling. I can see where they would be rusty tackling. I could see where their angles would be bad. I could see where their fundamentals would give in. Of course, our two corners played most of the game. We planned to substitute freely there but it seemed like every time we put a backup in, he was playing like a backup instead of a first-teamer. They don't get much playing time like that. We need them to step up. The first two guys played pretty fair, pretty fair. Not as good as you can but they weren't bad."
Is your safety position still a concern with two new starters there?
"Well, not only did we have two starters but we had four people who didn't do a whole lot of practicing in the preseason. One of them played with a broke hand and a hurt ankle. The other two were playing with two hamstring pulls and an Achilles and the other one pushed himself through two-a-days with a bum shoulder. We had another one throwing up at halftime in the dressing room but he came back and played. I think they showed a lot of courage but I just don't think where we need to be fundamentally yet. You see so many plays where they are close and one guy messes up. And it's a team thing. Sometimes you get by with a mess up when the ball is not attacking that area. But when it is, it's magnified. It does your whole defense in. I don't think there's a (player) on the entire defense is where they want to be, played as good as they want to play, and we didn't coach as good as we want to coach. So, we all got work to do."