"We Just Didn't Push Hard Enough"

COACH DAN MULLEN: "There's nothing good in losing. There never will be. It's a sick feeling for me, it's a sick feeling for our team. There's nothing positive about it. I'm really proud of the way our kids battled for four quarters. Really proud. We've got to do a better job of finishing the game off at the end."

"We had the opportunity to win the game at the end, which is amazing for the way for our kids to fight. Despite four turnovers in the first half, you have no chance of winning a football game; so it shows the toughness of our kids, they continued to battle for those four quarters. A lot of credit to LSU, their kids. When the plays were there to be made at the biggest times of the game, they made them. They made them. Our guys are going to learn as we continue to go how to make those plays, how to finish games off, how to win here at the end."

Q: You ran the ball so well on the drive, why throw (on third down)? "Well, we thought we had it set up. They obviously crashed everybody up the middle, we had a guy as a result standing there by himself. It's a jump pass, Tyson (Lee) is supposed to jump up and throw it. And we just didn't get him jumping high enough and their kid made a heck of a play to tip the ball. We had discussed that, we had the play-order called kind of before we even got to it. We did that, we ran option on fourth down and just didn't get the ball pitched on the edge."

Q: What was the thinking on the fourth-down call? "The two previous plays they pinched every single person inside. So we figured we'd just call the option, just pitch the ball to Anthony on the wide side of the field and let him run in. we'd scored on it earlier in the game. Tyson saw a gap and tried to take it inside, so we didn't get the ball pitched. Tyson has that option if he saw it; we just didn't push hard enough to get in the end zone."

Q: Did you think it was there on the edge? "It's hard to say, it looked like we had the box sealed but you never know."

Q: Did you think the play should have been reviewed? "Every single play is reviewed. They were reviewing it, they didn't think he was in, so I wasn't going to waste more time. It wasn't like they rushed on the field to snap the ball. That's why we have that system, and to me it was worth saving the timeout to give us one more chance at the end of the game."

Q: Have you ever seen a team be plus-four turnovers (like LSU) and lose? "You just can't do that. In the Southeastern Conference you're playing great football teams, we were playing a top-ten national ranked team here today. You just can't make those mistakes. Credit their kids, they made some good plays. Their kids made a lot of plays."

Q: Coming off the field you were talking to Tyson, can you share what you said? "I just told him I thought we had the edge to get it there; he thought he had the seam inside and was going to try to take it. That's just coaching them about those things; if you get that situation again, if they are all pinching we're going to try to get the ball to the edge. My job as coach is to make sure they're ready to go. If I'd have taken a timeout, that would have been the place to do it. For the fourth-down call, not to review a play that they're already reviewing."

Q: Did you notice any difference in team speed at all? "At times I noticed their big plays! They made a couple of 50-yard touchdown passes, and that long punt return. Those are huge plays, I think that's maybe where you noticed it. Where we just didn't make those plays. We have to do a better job, both their touchdown passes were on the same play and that's coaching. That's not the players, we've got to make sure that we get that fixed the first time it happens; get a coach, get it corrected and put our kids in position to make those plays."

Q: Talk about the job the front seven did controlling the rushing game? "They did a great job. Obviously any time you're playing LSU they're a running football team. To hold them to 30 yards rushing and 263 yards total offense is an amazing job by our defense. Those kids played their hearts out, I thought they did a good job. We have to do a better job as a coaching staff putting them in a position to win a game there at the end."

Q: How did you see the punt return touchdown? "We were trying to pooch it and we had our two guys there ready to down it. He broke that first tackle and they did a nice job of setting up the return to their sideline. They got a big block to get our contain-guy pinned, and the kid did a heck of a job. He made a lot of people miss going down the field. I liked our kids' effort because everybody still running after the ball the whole way down there. He made a heck of a play down there."

Q: Why was Chris Relf limited today and did you think of putting him in at six inches? "Chris got hit early, he was healthy, he was OK. But he went back the next time and missed a check. And Tyson was getting us into the right place, we were running the football and doing a good job with that stuff. We just felt Tyson was doing a decent job of managing, even the interceptions that he threw their kids made some really good plays on the ball. It wasn't like it was a bad read to throw throws. So I thought he was playing halfway, playing pretty good, so we just decided to stick with him and let him finish it out."

Q: What did you tell the team after this game? "We're going to keep fighting. We're going to get back out there and keep working hard. It's a long season and when one bunch of guys really puts their mind to something, they fight hard and they work, good things happen to you. And as a staff, as a program, as a current football team, we have to work a little bit harder, keep fighting a little bit harder. And get there to push ourselves over that edge to find a way to win these games."

Q: Jefferson had success throwing the ball, what was the problem you saw with the secondary? "They hit a 58, a 39, and a 40 yard pass. That's on three plays, they had 90 yards on the rest of his plays. Obviously they ran the same play for two touchdowns, that's all coaching and really poor job by me and by our defensive staff to not get that fixed once they hit it on us once. Their other long pass, it hit our guy and bobbled it up in the air, their guy tipped it twice and caught it. Besides that, he did a nice job managing. Most of their other stuff was underneath and I thought we kept the ball in front of us and did a good job coming up and tackling."

Q: You were running so strong at the end, did you sense fatigue setting in with them? "Well, we're a running team. And with three time outs left and looking at the clock I didn't feel we needed to get into a two-minute offense. We just needed to pick up our tempo a little bit and go faster and we could continue to run the ball and get the ball to our senior tailbacks. They did a great job, got us down to the one-yard line. We just have to do a better job of punching it in there at the end."

Q: Does it surprise you to have the turnovers from veterans like Christian and Arnil? "Disappointed, because you put a lot in your seniors to get that stuff done. You know what, they're seniors and they're going to battle through it and find a way to get out there in practice, we've got to do more ball security drills with them, coach them a little harder on it. And those guys will come back and continue to battle and fight for us next weekend."

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR CARL TORBUSH: "I thought the kids as a football team we played extremely well and gave a lot of energy and a lot of effort. We knew going in if we had any chance it was going to be a really, really tight ball game, which it was. We hoped it would come down to the end and basically it did."

"I thought defensively we played hard and for the most part played well. But we gave up two really big plays, if you make them drive the length of the field who knows what would have happened? But they made them and we didn't. I thought overall the effort was there. The linemen assignments and all that I won't know until tomorrow but I do think the effort was there, on both sides of the ball. Our fan base ought to be extremely proud of the effort they gave, we had every opportunity and really every right to have a chance to win. We just didn't get it done."

"They ran a deep switch-route which is a good route, and they have good players doing it. We had four-man pressure, one of them I very much thought about bringing six; I thought they were in a different personnel grouping and they weren't. But we didn't do a good job switching routes and it got us, we ended up chasing and once you let those guys get two or three steps they've got enough speed they can hurt you."


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