Reaction After USC Loss

Here are some quotes from Irish coaches and players after their disappointing loss to USC on Saturday night.

Tyrone Willingham quotes-general

"It was not until seven mintues left in the second half that the tide really started to turn. Our inability to execute and make big plays really cost us."

"We did not find a way to make big plays and they did. It was our inability in all areas to make big plays and sustain drives."

"That's what makes USC so explosive … the ability to generate big plays. They made big plays in the passing game."

"That's their call. It was a good play on their part. I thought we were in pretty good position. I have no problems with them doing that."

On Leinart:

"Obviously I think he played an excellent ball game. Where he was so strong at, was once again he didn't have any turnovers. I think there were about two or three opportunities early where we let him off the hook, where we had plays that should have been turnovers."

"What we have to do is make the plays. They made big plays tonight. We had opportunities in some cases and we didn't live up to them. To me that was the difference."

"They are No. 1 for a reason. They demonstrated tonight that if you take something away from them, like their running game, they will find some other way of getting past you."

D.J. Fitzpatrick

On kicking away from Reggie Bush:

"The kickoffs we tried to kick them high and to the right and I don't think he had a return on kickoffs. Punting the ball, we wanted to keep it away from him, put it on the sidelines and put enough hang time on it so he has to fair catch it."

"I think we did a pretty good job tonight.

Kevin White on possible Bowl games:

"We participate in the Big East secondary bowl package. The gentlemen from the Fiesta Bowl obviously operate the Insight Bowl as well. I don't really believe I should [narrow down Notre Dame's possible bowl opportunities]. I [want] to speak from a position of at least making sure I know what I'm talking about, rather than just speculation."

Defensive coordinator Kent Baer

"They couldn't run the ball on us. They're so dangerous, they have so many weapons. I think we were in the right position, we just didn't make some plays."

"They have some great receivers and some great speed. We were in positions at times, but we just didn't make the plays. That's the bottom line. I thought we did some things that probably confuse them at times, especially in the first half. But they're a pretty good second half team."

Linbacker Mike Goolsby

"It's very frustrating, obviously. To lose in the fashion we've been losing to USC is very frustrating."

"I know coming into this game, everybody really believed we could win, that we were going to win. I think you saw that in the first half. Coming out in the second half, they were more successful than us---bottom line."

"All I can say is there's a reason [Leinart's] a Heisman candidate and there's a reason they're No. 1."

"[In the second half] is when they kind of exploded with that passing game. It was a little bit surprising to an extent, but at the same time, we've seen them do that countless times before."

Safety Tom Zbikowski

"We faced it before with Michigan and Tennessee. We played good but we just didn't play our game. We didn't make the plays we needed to make. They executed."

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Tight End Billy Palmer on his TD:

"It was definitely a good experience. Obviously I wish the game outcome of the game would have been different, but it was definitely a thrill. I'm happy the coaches had the confidence to call the play."

On USC

"Obviously they did a great job. They've got a tremendous amount of athletes. I definitely give them credit. They're a great football team."

Running back Darius Walker

"We basically just did what we normally do. We ran the ball hard and the lineman blocked hard. The running game was going well today, but I guess we didn't do enough of it."

"I think it was more of what we were doing, then what they were doing. I think we got out there and this is definitely an environment to play in and it's a lot to adjust to coming out. We just didn't make the plays we needed on defense and then we didn't make the plays we needed on offense."

Running back Ryan Grant on the running game:

"We knew what we could do. We knew that was one of the things we knew we had to do and we thought we we're going to be able to do that. We have guys that can get that done. We ran the ball well, but we didn't make plays when it came down to it and they played better than us."


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