“First off I’ve got to give credit to David Shaw and his staff at Stanford. They did a heck of a job preparing their team. They’ve got a really good football team. We didn’t make enough plays today to win the football game. Our guys fought all the way to the end and put ourselves in a position to tie it up and just didn’t get it done. The game still boils down to getting to the football and creating turnovers and they created three and got a lot of points off of those three. So that’s the bottom line to the game.”
What was the hope on the final two-point conversion play? What was the play call?
“It’s a play we’ve worked on for about two years and it’s got four options to it. We just didn’t get it protected well enough to be able to execute it.”
Your opening drive and your final drive were where you were successful. What were the inconsistencies on the drives between those two?
“It wasn’t that they were doing anything that we didn’t prepare for. You’ve got to block them, and finish blocks, and break tackles, and you’ve got to make plays when you have the opportunity and we just didn’t do that enough. We didn’t do it consistently enough.”
How do you evaluate this season overall?
“I’m proud of what this team accomplished. We didn’t reach the goals that we wanted to reach and that always gnaws at you and that will eat at you for a year until we get back out on the football field and play another game. But I’m proud of the senior class, I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished here. This football team in November and December didn’t play the way we would have liked to play as a team. We played well in some areas. Today, our defense played extremely well. They played well enough to win the football game. It’s a shame that we weren’t able to get that done.”
What was the key to the defense’s performance?
“It wasn’t scheme. It was their will to be physical on each and every snap. They knew they were going to get blocked, but it was how long are they going to stay blocked. They did a tremendous job of fighting off blocks, ripping off blocks, and making tackles.”
Solomon Thomas ended up being the MVP. Was he just kind of overwhelming?
“If you go back and look, it seemed like every time there was a play number 90 was making it. I’m not sure that we ever blocked him. It seemed like he made every play there was, whether it was downfield or in the backfield. He’s a tremendous player.”
Were you missing some of your normal personnel on the offensive line?
“No, we had who we have. We don’t have anybody else. Caleb Peterson hasn’t been out there in a long time. Neither has John Ferranto.”
What’s the process with Mitch Trubisky and his decision about next year?
“Well I’m sure from here he’s going to head home and spend some time with his family. I’m sure whenever he wants to reach out and call we’ll talk. If he needs more information we’ll get that information, and if he needs advice we’ll give it to him. Then he and his family will make a decision.”
Are Donnie Miles and M.J. Stewart still in the decision-making process about their futures?
We know the emotional impact of losing a bowl game, but moving forward as a program, what’s the impact of winning or losing?
“Every game is important when you’re talking about winning or losing. They didn’t prepare the way they did for the last three weeks wanting this outcome. They worked way too hard. They didn’t just go out and show up to practice. They came out each day with a purpose. They came out and practiced as hard as they did the first week of the season. That’s a tribute to our seniors, to the guys who wanted to win their last game. It was the last goal we could achieve. We just didn’t get it done. The significance is hopefully it will gnaw in our gut until we get back out on the field in early September and the guys that are back will use that as motivation every day. Whether it be winter workouts, or Blue Dawn, or summer workouts, or fall camp, whatever it is. I hope they can still feel this feeling they have in their gut right now and I hope they never forget it. It makes you a better person, it really does. You can lay down and cry about it, or you can get up and bust your ass and be a better football player because of it.”