"Looking back we accomplished a lot of things, got a whole lot better from early in the season. We started off with both quarterbacks. It's kind of ironic that Jacory started the first game and last game. You saw some young guys that matured through the course of the season, did a lot of great things. You see some older guys that stepped up, helped the young guys develop and get better. That's the direction we're going in. The improvement has come, but we still have some things to fix as far as numbers in recruiting, players on the football team. We want to have a bunch of young guys that don't quit, are always competitive, trying to win games. That's most important."
Q: How would you asses the clock management at the end of the game?
A: We blew two timeouts earlier in the second half, and we could have used them late in the game. That's one thing you have to be careful of, that you're able to use them late. Late in the game we wasted maybe 15 seconds off the clock trying to get lined up. Zellner played his butt off the entire game, did some good things, but he couldn't get the formations down. Some guys couldn't get the formations down, left and right, which we do in practice all the time. We wasted a lot of time on that, I thought. We could have probably got closer to the end zone to really throw a shot into the end zone.
Q: Do you wish you handled the timeouts better?
A: No. You have to call timeouts in key situations where you don't want to give up a big play. One was a fourth down play which they eventually converted on personnel. Another was something else that happened during the game.
Q: Should Harris have spiked the ball or run out of bounds instead of cutting back inbounds?
A: That's just him trying to make a play, I can't doubt Jacory for that. The key was getting first downs, move the sticks, not spike the ball.
Q: After the game did you talk to the team about what you want to see in 2009?
A: We talked about the seniors, how they did a good job. Anytime you have young guys playing ahead of seniors it could be a distraction, get real bad in the locker room. It didn't. Each one of them found a role where they could help us out, win games. I told the younger guys `Hey, this is a step. We've been to one bowl game, so you understand what bowl games are all about. We have to keep improving, not just go to a bowl game, but win tough games when you have a chance to.' Because we can't say next year that we're a young team. We're a lot older now. One thing I know is we have to get more depth. Because injuries come. You can't get shorthanded like we did last year. You don't have the numbers - we have to address those issues and keep going.
Q: On the final play did you think about putting Jake Byrne in for a deep throw knowing Jacory was banged up?
A: No. He still threw the ball deep in the game. He got nicked in that game, said, `Coach, I can do whatever.' Cal wasn't going to get beat deep. Everything they did was you can throw the ball short, we won't let you throw it deep. We got one or two deep passes on them because of the play action, because we were running the ball well. That got us some deep plays. But when we tried to go back to those things those guys were like, `Nuh-uh.' You can throw that ball 10 yards down the field, but not deep.
Q: The announcer said Cooper might have gotten hit late on the final play. Did you expect a flag?
A: Sometimes you do. The officials we had, they did a good job. You can second guess them here and there. There may have been some pass interference, then no, it wasn't pass interference. It was back and forth. He was a yard out of bounds. Sometimes you don't want officials to make the call to end the game like that. Now, if they do and we have another shot at it, then everyone's back on the officials. There's both sides to it.
Q: Is there anything you need to get better at as a coach off this past season?
A: As far as football-wise, I don't know. I have to look at it this week what I need to get done football-wise.
Q: How much time did it take you last year to close the book on one season and turn the page?
A: Quick. Because you have to. You have to get back started. Recruiting starts next week. You have to try to get guys here in January to help us out like we did with these other guys on the football team, make sure we take the right type of player and not just take a player to take one where it's a need but you don't know if he's going to play. You have to make sure you do those type of things.
Q: Did you get calls from recruits overnight?
A: Two or three called so far, said they can't wait till they get here: `Coach, keep your head up, we're going to change it around, will be the next group to come in to get Miami back to where we need to be at.' There was a lot of enthusiasm with the freshmen on the team, also a lot of enthusiasm with guys we're recruiting. Even though we're not in a BCS bowl game, they know when you watch Miami you see an exciting football team that's young, that at any point in time in the long run they'll be where you want to be at.
Q: Are you glad in a sense that this season, this step of the process is over?
A: I'm glad that process is over. You sit down and say to yourself `Okay, we went through the season with a lot of young guys making plays for us.' Like last night, two freshmen scored touchdowns for us. Now next year all these guys shouldn't be considered freshmen anymore. They're grown, matured. Now we can really start putting points on the board. And defensively we won't have the problem of guys not being in the fire anymore, understanding the importance of 12 games. High school is easier. Now they understand the physical part of it.
Q: What area would you like to see improve the most?
A: Every position. You always want to get better each week, not stay the same. There's not really one position.
Q: When will you meet with the team again?
A: January when we get back in school, that Tuesday we'll have a team meeting. We'll address what we have to get done, go from there. We'll start back with the grind, about four or five weeks in the weight room getting ready for spring football. We'll get in the weight room hard and heavy, will be back in the weight room after spring football for about a month.
Q: What do you think the outside expectations will be for this team next year?
A: Most people will say an ACC Championship. They'll look at returning quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, offensive line, defensive linemen, linebackers, some defensive backs. But if you want to say okay, we put our 11 with most people's 11, we probably have a great shot. Now what about those back end guys, those five other guys on offense you're going to need? Those five other guys on defense you're going to need? Those are the guys that will play a vital part of it.
Q: Is an ACC title next year realistic?
A: I'll say this. We had a chance to win it. If we get in that situation again I think these players understand we need to get it now. They'll see we've been here before. So many of these guys have played, and they won't have to rely on sitting back and saying, `Is somebody going to make that play?' They'll say `No, we're going to win this one because we put ourselves in this situation to get it done.'