“Anytime you don’t come out of the game with a win, it’s disappointing, and it hurts. You sit in that locker room with those guys, and they put a lot into that game."
"Obviously, our opponent made a lot of plays, and we need to make more. The opposite happened in the first quarter that we were hoping for. I thought, going into the game, the turnover margin would be our advantage. In the first quarter, to turn it over twice flipped what we thought would be our strength. We did get different momentum swings coming back, but we weren’t able to put them away obviously."
"Coach Mullen did a nice job. Their quarterback, as everyone knows, is a tremendous player."
"I’m just sad for our senior class and appreciative to those guys and for our fans that came out and sat through the rain. Thank you for that, and I know our seniors and our team thank you as well."
"This is a great bowl experience, and I know our players were appreciative of everything the Belk Bowl did for them and our administration. Now, you go into the offseason 7-6, and there are a lot of young guys coming back. Like I told them, the only way you get better is to fight adversity."
"There are two things that happen in life: You have struggle in your life, and you deal with struggle. I told them I’ve been through this, and the first thing that you do is you stick together as a family. You look at yourself. As a coach, I obviously look at myself. Then you look at every single thing you do, and then you get in your offseason program, and you start working on those things day by day. And that’s what you do when you’re building a program. We hit the road and recruit, our kids come back from the break, and we develop, push ourselves as coaches, and push our players to do everything we can to improve upon where we’re at."
"We put ourselves in position to have a good football game today. At times, we came back. Obviously, in the third quarter, we came out and did some good things. We just weren’t able to stop them there at the end."
“Obviously, you’re going to look at every play of every game. And then you’ll sort it formationally, you’ll sort it by play type, you’ll sort it by game, run and pass, and you’ll start to find what the common ground was. Sometimes, it’s a scheme, and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes, it’s a player making a play and our player not making a play. You try to see if there’s any one thing because if it’s schematic, obviously you got to change it. If not, if it’s players making plays, then you got to look at why that’s happening. Is it technique? Are there different things we can do? Are there ways we can help him and put him in better positions? But you have to go through every single thing, and it’s a process that we’ve started."
"We did that going into our bye week obviously. We looked at the first half of the season. You look at as much as you can when you’re in the bowl prep when you’re not out recruiting. It’s a process that, whether you’re 12-1 or 7-6, you do it. You have to be super hard on yourself as a coach, and like I told our coaching staff, it’s not our players’ fault first. It’s ours. We always look at ourselves first. What can we do to help them to be the best “them?" At some point, they have to make the plays when you get them there, and that’s the next thing you talk about. As a coach, I’ve always felt like anything happens on the field is me first and foremost as the head coach, then down to my coordinators, down to my assistants, and then to the players. All of us together are the result, whether good or bad.”
“Well, they gained a possession. They deferred and gave us the ball. Obviously, you spend a lot of time watching what they do. Their ends squeeze on certain looks, and we thought we’d get naked with the back in the flat. Their end was up the field, and Jacoby had a guy in his face and couldn’t get the ball where it was supposed to be. Unfortunately, their guy made a good play. It hurts when you put your defense in that field position early in the game like we did. Like I said, it was the opposite of what we were hoping for there in the first quarter.”
“He’s a great quarterback, and he’s arguably the best player they’ve ever had at their university. When you look at his yardage and the way he handles things and how tough he is and how he runs the ball when they need him to run, he’s a really good quarterback.”
“I was happy for Pharaoh first of all. It was a great play and well executed. I’m excited about Pharaoh, and I’ve always been that way about him. He’s stronger, and being on defense made him tougher. He has a chance to be a very good tight end. We couldn’t force feed him the whole offense in a short window, but we did have packages for him where he was in the game today. Obviously with the play'action pass, he did a great job executing it."
"I’m excited to have him back and Cole Cook, Jaylen Samuels and David Grinnage. There are some good tight ends coming back for the program.”
“Early, the two picks were not normal for him, and I was proud of him for fighting through that. A lot of times early in the game, that can take you out of your game. It was a tough day to throw the football with the rain and the grass the way it was. We had some guys open where he didn’t have a chance to find them. They did a good job pressuring us, and we didn’t do a very good job protecting him at times. You get down the way you do, and it takes you out of the scheme you want to run at times too. You can’t get be as balanced when you’re down three scores."
"Jacoby is a kid that played extremely hard. I was proud that he was a quarterback that I was able to coach, and I’m thankful to him for all of the work he gave our program. I look forward to the guys coming back.”
“There were some plays where we were trying to get him the ball and we couldn’t. There were several. Sometimes in the jet game, they have too many people out there, and we’re not going to hand it to him into those people. When he did, he had success. There were several plays that were called to go to him, and we couldn’t get him.”
“We did. We talked about it actually. It’s nothing against Jalan. Matt asked Jacoby, ‘Do you want us to take you out similar to what you saw happen on the other sideline?’ He said, ‘No, I want to finish this thing.’ I have respect to him, and that’s what we did. It had nothing to do with whether we thought Jalan could handle it. I would have loved to put him in there, but I think that when you have a senior that wants to finish his career like that, that’s what you do for your seniors. You let them do that.”
“The offseason is critical. Every offseason is critical. With only losing 10 seniors from our roster, there are a lot of guys that played football this year and the year before that are back. As you mentioned, playing Notre Dame and Miami on the schedule as well is a very challenging schedule for us. We’re going to have to improve on what we’ve got. We were competitive in every game that we played in the regular season this year without a doubt. We weren’t the year before."
"We need to be better. We need to be able to win those competitive, one-possession games and be a four-quarter team. We’ve been able to do that in some games but not consistently. To take the next step, that’s our goal. Being in year four and having several returning starters, we have an opportunity to do that. Where we’re going to be the youngest is on the offensive line, so it’s going to be a critical offseason for those kids.”
“He said you have to give them a yard, and he felt like we were within the yard. We see that violated all the time and not called, and that was my problem with it. It’s just not something that’s enforced. Nobody hit him, and it’s the letter of the law. They called it correctly. The judgement that goes into that is the same thing with hits on the quarterback. Sometimes, they call them. Sometimes they don’t. That’s the hard part, the subjective end of some of those calls, and that’s human part of being an official. It’s subjective at times, and it is what it is.”