Is it deflating for a team to come out and get up 21-0 the that early in the game?
It's very deflating when they come out that early on you when you aren't really expecting it. It really wasn't on huge plays. They drove the ball on us, and we couldn't answer those first offensive opportunities we had. They had the 21-0 lead early, and it was a little deflating.
Does Florida State seem to have "it" back – were they quicker, faster than what you've seen the last couple of years?
I know those guys on defense are all back from last year, as the scoreboard shows. They played really well and shut us out, so you can see it as you want to see it.
Were you more disappointed with your effort or your execution?
More with the execution. We gave good effort and played hard. We moved the ball decently in the first half and a drive or two got going in the second half. We just couldn't get in the end zone when we needed to. Maybe one of those drives, if we'd gotten into the end zone, it would have curtailed a little of the momentum and maybe swung in our favor.
It's just that we'd get down to the 25 [yard line] and something would happen, just couldn't get it in the end zone. I think the effort was there, and we had some good execution too. We just had critical mistakes in certain areas on the field, and that hurt us tonight.
What did you think of the running backs, especially McGill?
I thought they played well and played hard. We had to divert away from the running game towards the second half because of the score, but they played well and played hard. I was impressed.
Does a game like this make it harder to go back to work on Monday or give you more motivation?
It's hard, but you have more motivation now. You have something to look at. You have a measuring stick. We didn't measure up to what we wanted to do, but we played one of the best teams in the conference and the country. We have to go back, work on our mistakes, and get back to work on Monday.
Were your thoughts and emotions more of surprise or frustration – what were you thinking when they were up 21-0 the first play of the second quarter?
The first quarter? Come on, it's a 60-minute ball game. Twenty-one points is just three scores. I think it was a couple of explosion plays. I don't think they really sustained drives, other than the one 80-yard drive. Frustration, surprise a little, but it's a game about making plays. You have to make plays. Today, as a defense, we didn't make plays.
When Greg Jones put his shoulder down and knocked your helmet off, was that indicative of the way they were running, just running right at you?
You talk about that one play. How 'bout talking about a play when I hit somebody and my helmet came off.
I think it was more of an angle tackle. You are more vulnerable as a defensive back on an angle tackle because you have to stay on the back hip.
Indicative of the running game? It's a violent game. Helmets sometimes come off. The helmets of the best of them sometimes come off.
Have you ever taken a hit like that before?
It's a violent game. I've hit people and been hit. I've jumped people and been jumped. I've lost fights and won fights. What are you saying?
What can you do to prevent those explosion plays that you talked about, in the future?
Make plays. This game is about making plays.
As the quarterback, how tough is it to get it out of your mind when you throw a good pass and it's dropped?
It's tough, but at the same time sometimes I throw bad balls and the receiver gets open. It goes both ways. It's frustrating, especially when it happens consistently, but you have to put it in the back of our minds and move on.
After a game like this how hard is it to get back to work on Monday?
It's not, because we know we have potential. It's not like we went out there and didn't move the ball at all. We see what we can do offensively, and we are going to stick with that.
What are your impressions of the running backs tonight?
I think they all showed flashes, but it was hard for any of them to get into the certain rhythm that it takes to get a lot of carries in. It will be hard for Coach to make a decision because none of them got into a rhythm.
How about Ronnie McGill, in particular – did he show you anything?
He impressed me, especially being a true freshman. He's physically ready to play at this level, and that is impressive.
It's always bad to lose, especially 37-0, but what positives can you take from this game?
The fact that they really didn't stop us; we stopped ourselves. When we got into the red zone, it came down to execution on our part, and we didn't execute. We know we can move the ball. We have to go back to the drawing board and throw away some things that didn't work and stick with what worked. Hopefully, we can put some points on the board against Syracuse.
As a junior, a quarterback, and a leader, what do you have to do this week to get the guys on track?
I think just to have them put the game in the back of their minds. We have a lot of young guys on offense, and young guys tend to dwell on things that happen in the past. I just need to tell the guys that it's a long season. If you dropped the ball or ran the wrong route, put that behind you and focus on next week. If you sit there and think about what happened, it will affect you the next week.
You were down early, you go for it on fourth down, make the completion to Mitchell and then miss the field goal. How crucial was that series of events?
I think it was very crucial, especially from a points standpoint. If you get points on the board, it can create some momentum, and momentum is a big part of this game. We had a goose egg up there and it really hurt.
Is Jawarski Pollock becoming the go-to guy you are looking for?
I think so. Jaws understands the game, and he always seems to get open and make plays after he catches the ball. He's a tremendous receiver, and we seem to be on the same page a lot. Hopefully, we can continue to do that.
You move the ball a lot today, but you couldn't put it in the end zone, a lot like times last year. What can you do to take the next step and get into the end zone as the pay-off for all the hard work getting there?
We just have to focus more. When you get a long drive going, some guys may seem to get fatigued. Anything can happen, so I just think we need to treat the red zone just as importantly as we treat the plays that we used to get there.