Shannon: We learned a lot this season

Read on to see what head coach Randy Shannon was saying following his team's six point loss to Wisconsin on Tuesday night.

COACH SHANNON:
That was an exciting game tonight. I mean, that's why you come to bowl games, the opportunity to get better each year, opportunity to get another victory, and for both teams, the another opportunity to get 10 wins on both sides of the football.

Give Wisconsin credit. They did a great job of ball controlling, making it tough for us on offense and making it tough for us on defense. The one thing I will say these guys kept doing is responding, stayed in the game mentally, physically.

We had an opportunity late in the game to win it. That's all you can ask for more from guys when they come out and come from behind. And, you know, getting an opportunity to kick that onside kick, recovered it, and we thought we had a shot. We get a touchdown, we feel good about it. We just came off a twominute drive that we moved the ball down the field.

Things just didn't happen our way. I can't explain why. Just didn't go our way tonight, so... But give them all the credit in the world for what they did over there at Wisconsin.

Q. Obviously the trick play on the kickoff. Figure you have a lot of momentum going at that point, and then it got real stagnant real quick. What were they able to do, particularly with their defensive front seven, to keep you from consistently getting things going?
COACH SHANNON: We just couldn't get in a rhythm up front like we thought we should have and we thought we were going to be able to. We had negative plays. You can't take negative plays. When we were trying to run the football, we had miscues up front. The communication factor finally got us. I thought we would finally be over that because Orlando and Brandon played together in South Florida, and Fig and all them guys.

They made mistakes. We came in the locker room, made a couple of corrections, came out decent, but not great. We went down field, got in some third down-and-threes on like the 30-yard line going in. Thought we had an opportunity to make it. Missed passes. The one we had that Jacory threw to J.J. on the wheel route -- I mean, it was there, just didn't get it. It was a lot of those type of things tonight that got us.

Just happens like that in bowl games. Can't tell you why, to be honest with you, it just happened.

Q. Coach, Jacory, too -- did Jacory get banged up late in the first half? Did that have any effect on his play to start the second half?
COACH SHANNON: If he was banged up? I think he tough enough. You know, I mean, I can't tell you. Everybody get banged up in football, to be honest with you. Should we take him out? No. I mean, depends. If it's a serious injury, we'll take him out. But quarterbacks do get hit. Jacory got hit tonight. He stood in there. He wanted to play with his teammates.

If it was something real serious, you know, Jacory would have said, Hey, I can't go. We could have said he can't go. From the standpoint of looking at him, you ain't got no bones out or nothing, do you (laughter)? He okay.

Q. Coach, could you talk about the line of scrimmage.
COACH SHANNON: They did a good job, like I said in the first statement. They did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football. But we kept fighting. That's the one thing. We went down, called the fumble in the end zone, and give up three points. Then we come back down. It was 207. We go back down and score, minute and 30 a minute and 15 I guess, something like that left. We got an onside kick, it's 2014.

When it comes down to it, it's who can score points. They outscored us tonight, but we had a chance. That's all we can ask for.

Q. It seems like there was a lot of sand in the field, huge divots on that field. You're a speed team. How much do you think that played a role? Didn't seem like an ideal surface.
COACH SHANNON: You know what, playing on fields, two teams got to play on it. That's the way it's always been. If it's muddy, it's muddy. If it's dry, it's dry. If it's turf, it's turf. Both teams got to execute on it. I don't make excuses for it. It was a field.

I remember a couple of years ago we played Rutgers when I was at the University of Miami. Every five seconds the turf was coming up. The next thing you know, you look at the field, and it was just shredded.

The one thing I will say, being here, the Citrus Bowl, one thing about this facility, it holds a lot of high school games here. I think it's a great venue for high school and for this Bowl game being here. They try to do they best to get it back to where now we can play it. Now they got to turn it around and get it for the next two teams to play. They gonna try they best and they gonna do a good job at it.

When you have special events at a great location like Orlando is, it's hard to  you got to do your best. That's all they can do is do they best. You can't complain about it. You can't do nothing else.

Q. How much of your game plan was focused on stopping their main tight end? Did that open things up for the other tight ends, Kendricks, No. 84, and...
COACH SHANNON: Both of those guys did a good job. We had blown coverages tonight. Those guys did a great job. That was the key to what they doing. Both of those guys do a great job of catching the football and running with the football. We knew that, and we just blowed a lot of coverages tonight.

Q. Coach, they controlled the clock so well, particularly in the second half. Does that put pressure on your offense and offensive play calling?
COACH SHANNON: Well, you know, when you get a hit, if you can snap the ball with two seconds left to go on the clock, it makes it a little bit different, things like that. Our defense has to step up, get off the field. And a couple of third down situations we didn't get off the field that I thought was valuable time. They kept the football and they drove down and kicked a couple of field goals.

I think we had two or three third down series where they could've kicked both field goals that we should have been off the field. Third down and eight, third down and ten. Usually you're off the field if you're playing good and doing those types of things.

Q. Could you speak about the injury situation, specifically Cooper with his knee.
COACH SHANNON: Don't know till I see the doctors. Can't comment until after the doctors evaluate them. Injurywise, I can't give you nothing on that.

Q. From the first play of the game with Cooper, and then the first touchdown, 70, Miami looks like they're on a roll. Then Wisconsin comes out, punched them in the mouth, and really took control of the game. Kind of seemed like Wisconsin wanted it more. Would you concur with that?
COACH SHANNON: That's your opinion.

Q. Hankerson today, one big catch late in the game, but noticeably silent.
COACH SHANNON: Just wasn't there. Fellas, I got to give them credit. I said this early in the week that both teams probably equal. You know, both teams like to run the football. Both teams like the playaction pass. The first touchdown they ran the wheel route with No. 84. It was off of playaction. That's the way they get they plays.

They was able to get those things done tonight, and we wasn't. We had to go to our twominute offense and do things to try to score points. Our reverse on the touchdown we got some points out of. It just wasn't clicking for us tonight. It happens this time of the year in Bowl games.

They did a great job of figuring out what we was doing and executing, and we blew some assignments, so...

Q. You said many times the last few weeks that your mood for the next few months would be predicated on the outcome of this game. From 57, 76, 94, are you seeing enough to make you somewhat happy about where this program was 24 months ago and where it is now?
COACH SHANNON: I'm proud of these guys for what we've been through for my last three years, you know, getting some guys in this program to believe that we can turn it around as a football program. The first year was difficult. The second year was a little stress because we played so many young guys, like Jacory and these young sophomores that we got.

This year, they stepped up. You know, it's going to be a learning experience for them. They learned a lot from early in the season. Jacory will probably tell you that he learned a lot. Tonight he'll probably tell you he learned some more things tonight.

So any time that you can learn and get better and you got a lot of guys coming back, which our team next year will have a lot of guys coming back. You look at the offensive line, you know, you look at the guys played tonight, we'll miss Trump, we'll miss Pipho. You got your receivers back. You got your runningbacks back, besides Javarris.

Defensively, we'll miss Joe Joseph, Randy Phillips and Darryl. Those guys next year have to take the next step as a football team that all these returning guys coming back. Now it shows you that we able to build the depth like we used to when I was here as an assistant coach and as a player. You can build guys that come in and have depth.

And now somebody get nicked, you don't have to miss a beat. You can just keep going on. I think that's going to be a big improvement. But we have to make that next step next year.


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