The Irish had several opportunities to put the game out of reach but could not capitalize on their chances. Once again Notre Dame was inconsistent on both sides of the ball and it appears this team does not have the killer instinct to put teams away. If the Irish do not regroup quickly, and begin to perform like smooth running units on both sides of the ball, it could turn out to be a long and mediocre season.
Irish Eyes had the opportunity to talk with some of the subdued Irish players and coaches after the game.
Sophomore quarterback Brady Quinn
Why do you think the team struggled on both sides of the ball in the second half?
"Honestly, I don't know, it's hard to say. Once we look back at films, we'll be able to tell more then. I wouldn't just say the second half, in the first half there were times we weren't performing or producing when we needed to."
When you look back, do you think missed opportunities in the first half came back to haunt you?
"I guess you could say so. A lot of things played a part in the game, it wasn't one specific play."
Do you think they took away anything from you in the second half?
"Not necessarily, no."
Where is this team now, Brady?
"Hungry for a win; anytime you come into a big game like this and you don't come out the way you want to, I think you're going to be hungry, especially when we have two weeks before we play the next game."
Defensive coordinator Kent Baer
What did they do in the second half that was different?
"They made some adjustments in the second half, and I thought we were off-balance a little bit in the third quarter. We made some adjustments that I thought were pretty good; we got them in that fourth down situation and didn't make the play. You can second-guess yourself all you want, you know. I know everybody is going to look at that fourth down play and say that was the ballgame, but there were a lot of plays in there that could have been the ballgame."
Does it come down to execution?
"I thought we missed a lot of tackles and there is no excuse for that. We let the guy outside on that fourth down, and I think we had a breakdown in coverage. I've go to look at it, but I'm pretty sure we did. That group in there right now is heartbroken and it's difficult right now."
How big of a step back is this?
"I don't think you look at it that way. If you are a coach, you don't. I certainly don't. I walked around that locker room and told those kids, we're going to go and win three, keep your heads up. There is no doubt in my mind; you shouldn't be coaching if you look at it that way."
Senior defensive end Justin Tuck
Talk about their last drive.
"That last drive, they made more plays. When the game is on the line, it is all about heart and desire. I won't say they wanted it more than we did, but when it came down to the end, they made the plays."
It seemed like the quarterback was more effective coming out of the pocket the second half. What did you do defensively to counter that?
"We went a little wider; we rocked to that side a lot. I have to say they played their butts off and it was an adjustment they made at halftime and we knew coming out, especially later on in the second half, that he would want to get out of the pocket a lot more. We just didn't get the job done today."
Junior nose guard Derek Landri
In the first half, you held them to 126 yards. By the end of the third quarter they were well over 300 yards. Was it the adjustments they made? How do you explain that?
"We knew they couldn't run the ball and they started passing and making big-time passes. They made more plays than we did and that was the outcome of the game."
When they're moving the ball on short passes when the field is wet, how frustrating does that get; does it seem like you're on skates out there?
"It's rough; you try to get your hands up there and try to make penetration and try to get as many hits on the quarterback as possible."
Can you talk about the challenge of a mobile quarterback, like the one today?
"It makes you have to be more than normal in paying attention to your keys, and staying in your gaps."
When the offense is struggling and not scoring, do you think the defense begins to press a little bit; feeling like the defense has to make some plays?
"It was all on us. We had a 20-7 lead at halftime and we gave them 17 points in the second half and that was the difference in the game."
Sophomore offensive lineman Ryan Harris
How disappointing was this loss?
"It was very disappointing, especially offensively when you look at the opportunities we had and we didn't execute. We really could have taken over the game at so many points with the things the defense was giving us. It's just a bitter disappointment, especially on the offensive side."
Is this the kind of a game where the defense comes up to you and says if you guys would have given us a few more points, the outcome would have been different?
"As a member of the offense, you say the defense gave us the ball twice inside the fifty yard line on turnovers and to my recollection we did not score a touchdown on either of those, which would have put the game away possibly or made the gap a lot larger to come back to. You also look offensively at the point we marched down the field and then we get stalled out on third and four or third and five. We were literally two first downs away from winning the football game. To be on the offense and not be able to do that is real frustrating. That's the kind of things you look back on in a game like this."
Do you feel like you overpowered Boston College at times and does it make it more frustrating that you didn't do it more?
"Definitely, I mean they have a great defense, but offensively we were doing some great things and there didn't seem any possible way that we could lose, and then we did - it's just frustrating. We stalled out and that's the story of this offense and that's the story for the last two years and I'm a member of that offense and we have stalled out numerous games and we've let our defense and team down by stalling out and that's something that needs to be corrected immediately."
Offensive coordinator Bill Diedrick
Would you talk about the last sequence of plays?
"Down the stretch, we didn't get the one in the seam to Jeff (Samardzija) or Matt (Shelton) on the far side on their sideline. But really what we were working for was to get a good shot at a field goal, get in good field goal range for the last kick and we didn't do it. And I think that we got it down there late and it was a hurry-up that we had to run the field goal team on and that's not what you like to put your kicking team in." ;P>
With three big games left, you've already mentioned you're not happy where the offense is, can you think of anything that will get the offense where it needs to be?
"Let me go back--I look at it personally--and it's not where I think I would like to have it, okay. We are doing a lot of good things and we're getting good production out of a lot of people. There are some phases where I don't think we're getting the execution we would like. I'm not real pleased with that part of it so I mean across the board, you're going to be happy with a lot of things and you're going to be unhappy with a lot of things. I guess I should preface my remarks with that; no I mean, are you altogether happy. No, shoot, I'd like to be producing a lot more than we are. Am I happy with some of the things we're doing? Yes, I am. I am very pleased because I think some guys in some positions are doing very, very good."