Tommy Armstrong post game Q&A:
On what his message was to the team after the game
“I told them we kind of beat ourselves. We left points out there. We missed a couple field goals. We didn’t get first downs when we needed to. We just couldn’t capitalize when we needed to. I felt like, as an offensive guy, we had a chance to end the game there, with our last play right before we kicked the field goal. We didn’t capitalize when we needed to, and it sucks to have that happen to you. You work your tail off for the whole entire game, and all of a sudden, you get it taken away from you. That was kind of my message. We’ve got to let it go now. It’s in the past. We’ve got South Alabama to look forward to. That was kind of my message, we’ve just got to let it go. It happened. We let it happen. We could’ve avoided that situation, but we didn’t so it’s on us. We’ve got to fix it and not be in that situation next week.”
On what needs to be done to get more consistency in the running game
“We’ve just got to execute up front, be able to block out wide – we’re doing a great job with that. They’re making plays out wide, but at the same time we’ve just got to realize that when we make plays out wide, that opens up gaps for the inside zone plays, and the running game for the running backs. We kind of saw that in the third and fourth quarters, but sometimes it got out of hand and we couldn’t get yards when we needed to.”
On the difference between the first and second quarters
“I wouldn’t say we did anything wrong, we just weren’t being smart. We kind of killed ourselves in certain situations when it came to getting first downs. False starts, holding calls, illegal procedure, things like that just being able to move the chains without a setback, and I think that we’ve just got to communicate (better). We did a great job at it the whole game, I think. There were times and situations where we didn’t communicate well, and that’s what got us to have those kind of plays. When you’re set to have 1st-and-10, 2nd-and-3 to 2nd-and-15 for a holding call or a block in the back or things like that. We’ve just got to be smart, and take care of the football.”
On how he thinks the team will bounce back
“This is the first game. That’s kind of what my message was. We’ve got to move on. We had a long, long game. It’s a long, long season. We’ve got 10 more games in in a row. This is only the first one. We’ve got nicks and bruises, but I think everybody’s going to be fine. Everybody’s going to come back and work as hard as they did this week just to prepare. Nobody likes to lose. We’re looking forward to next Saturday, kind of coming in and preparing like we did this week, and just be able to go out there and have fun with my teammates.”
On what he was thinking during the final play
“Like I was telling Zo (Alonzo Moore), the only thing they had to worry about was just going up and batting the ball down. Don’t worry about catching the ball, just keep your eyes on the ball. Don’t follow the guys that were running, you need to look for the ball. As we were looking, we saw an open hole for the X (receiver) to come around and all of a sudden he swipes up in front of everybody. Once we saw his hands on the ball we knew it was kind of over. It was kind of upsetting, but it happens. That’s probably a 50/50 chance you’re going to catch that ball. We’ve had our shares of catching Hail Mary’s, two years ago we had one, this year we had one against us. We’re on the opposite side of it, but we’ve just got to let it go now and just drive on and try to have a better week next week."
On his individual performance
"I did all right. Stats don’t mean anything if you have a loss. People can say you played a great game, but at the end of the day we lost. (Stats) don’t mean anything. If we could’ve moved the chains a little bit more, converted on certain third downs, we probably wouldn’t have lost the game. That doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day we have a loss and we’ll move on to next week."
On if he knew he would throw 41 times today
"Honestly, (the coaches) just told me, 'Hey, if things are looking right and you’re throwing the ball on point with your receivers, and you’re making plays, then we’re just going to keep doing what you like.' When we needed to throw the ball on third down, when we needed to throw the ball on second-and-long that’s what we had to do. I felt like those guys out wide made plays. They did a great job."
On how he thought the wide receivers played
"I thought they did great. We have weapons, more than De’Mornay (Pierson-El), and Kenny (Bell) has gone already. After having spring and fall camp with those guys, being able to see them progress and see what they do as a receiving corps, they did a great job. They’ve been switching in and out here and there. I don’t think there was a series where I had three of the same receivers for a whole drive down the field. They had guys switching in and out, making plays, and they did a great job. That’s what they’re here for is to make plays. When their number got called, they capitalized. They did a great job."