“It was a heck of a game, and a much different locker room than it has been the last few weeks. I’m proud of our guys. Again, throughout that game, it didn’t matter if something bad happened or something good happened, they just did a nice job of just staying level headed and kept playing. We knew it was going to be a 60-minute game. Didn’t know all the things that were going to happen. But I can tell you when adversity hit throughout the game, nobody really flinched. They just kept playing and kept believing in each other, so I’m proud of them.”
How impressed were you with your quarterback’s poise on that last drive?
“Like I said as he was going out, 3:07, three minutes, and he said, ‘we do this every week; it’s no big deal.’ And he’s right. We work two-minute every week, and have been doing that since the first day that we got here, and he’s comfortable with it. If you look at our guys in a two-minute situation, they’re not helter skelter. We go at that pace all the time, so it’s very calm for them, actually.”
He looked comfortable throughout.
“He really was throughout the game. He really did a nice job of checking the ball down, I thought. He didn’t push the ball into any coverages he shouldn’t have, he really checked it down when he should have. He did a heck of a job tonight, really. The way he ran the ball, as always, and then the way he threw it tonight. ”
This is the first time you’ve gotten good production from your running backs. Was there any kind of adjustments, or was there just an emphasis on trying to get them involved more?
“You’re talking two weeks in a row that we’ve had our starting five back there up front with some reps under their belt, and I think they’re doing a better job. And then with Marquise being able to run, it’s going to open up some things for the running backs also. But those kids ran hard tonight, and they did a nice job as a unit, all three of them.”
The line look equal parts good in pass protection and in the run. Where have they really grown the most in the past two weeks?
“I’d say the running game the past couple weeks. We’ve done a pretty good job in pass protection. And a lot of that you give credit to Marquise because he gets the ball out of his hands when he needs to. Last week he didn’t really get pressured a whole lot, and tonight he didn’t. He was able to sit in there and throw the ball where he wanted to, and that’s why I think you saw him make really good decisions today.”
You gave up a lot of yards, but their possession time was only 31:30. Is that a stat you were looking at?
“For the defense, we face that offense once a year, and it’s very difficult. I don’t care how many yards - we just needed us to win the football game. So if we just made one play that enabled us to win the football game, then I’m good with it. We’ll put it to bed and we won’t think about it until we start figuring out what we want to do to defend it next year, because we’re not going to see it again. That’s what makes it so tough. It’s tough on a defense to try and get ready in three days for that offense, it is.”
What’s your opinion of the quarterback situation now?
“It hasn’t changed.”
You don’t want to give up a touchdown late, but was it good that it happened so quickly?
“It was 3:07 on the clock and three timeouts, so that’s a bunch of time. Would I have preferred them to do that than milk three minutes off the clock and give it to us with seven seconds? You bet. You never know how it’s going to happen, you really don’t; you can’t predict it. Fortunately, the thing that our guys did, when they did score, the offense never thought much about it. We were going to go back out and take it down and score, because they knew they had a lot of time. There was really no panic involved because they knew we were going to continue to do the same things. We were going to run the ball, throw it when we needed to, so I think that they were pretty comfortable.”
Is this about what you envisioned with regard to number of possessions?
“We got more possessions today than I expected. In the last two years, we haven’t even gotten close to that. How many did you say we had, 11? So that’s more than what we expected. I was expecting nine. We had four penalties tonight. One of them was on the two-point play. We had a holding on the second or third play of the game on the wide receiver. We had a snap infraction on the center. So, all four of them were on the offense. Not one on special teams, not on the defense. Guys cleaned it up a lot better and played much smarter.”
What allowed Ryan Switzer to have that type of success and how important were those big plays?
“It was obviously very critical. He scored two big touchdowns for us. With what they were doing defensively, there were quite a few times that the ball was going to get pushed to him. The deep one was a play for him that was set up, and we got the coverage that we wanted, and he’s one of the few guys that can run the route that we ran on that because it takes some time, and he does a great job with it. He really worked the safety over, and without those two touchdowns, we would have been struggling.”
T.J. Logan ran hard, like a bull out there.
“Yes he did. He stepped up; he really did. It wasn’t so much about let me try to make you miss as it was about I’m going to try and punish you when you tackle me. And it was nice to see that mentality about him.”
Marquise Williams said that he could throw the ball five yards out of bounds and that Mack Hollins would still catch it.
“I love that Marquise truly has that kind of confidence in Mack, actually, he really does. Because Mac makes those plays in practice, he does it all the time, and he loves to talk about it the whole time, too. We talk about people having to make competitive play. That’s a competitive play, that’s a competitive catch, anybody can catch them when you’re open. It’s who can catch them when a guy is hanging on you or has got you covered, but the quarterback throws the ball to you and you have to make a play, and Mack has done that numerous times in the games.”
How big was this win for the team?
“It was huge. We needed this more than anything right now. You guys know what we’re doing and what we have been going through. I told you their guts were ripped out last week the way they played, because they played hard and had a chance to win a game against the No. 5 team in the country at that time. They needed this, because they haven’t wavered the way that they have practiced, their attitudes, they’ve kept believing. And let me tell you, that’s not easy to do, when the coaches keep preaching the same thing over and over and over, and everybody on the outside is saying, ‘you ought to be doing this’ or ‘you ought to be doing that’ or ‘you ought to be playing this guy or that guy,’ and all they do is stay focused and kept believing in what we are preaching and what we are teaching, and hopefully because of it, that’s why we won a game today.”
Do you leave this game still concerned about your defense?
“I’ll be honest with you, I’m still concerned with offense and the defense and our special teams. We still didn’t create a game changing play on special teams, I’ve got all kinds of concerns. I know we don’t face this offense again so I’m not going to be worried about that right now, but I’ve got a lot of concerns.”
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