Post-Game Players' Quotes

Irish Eyes attended the post-game interviews in the subdued media room following the Irish loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Senior Linebacker Anthony Vernaglia

Where do you guys go from here?

"We go up; there is no other place to go. Everyone takes a long hard look in the mirror and says hey we need to play football and we are going to do that next week."

How important does this make next week?

"It's always important. We got beat this week, but it has no bearing at all on next week. Georgia Tech and Penn State are completely separate teams. We're going to approach Penn State like we would regardless. We can't change that we just got beat so we are going to go into Penn State and play and win."

Are you confident that there are areas you can improve upon in one week?

"Oh yeah definitely, we are going to improve just like Georgia Tech is going to improve and Penn State is going to improve. We have a lot to get better at across the board and it's no one's fault. We are going to work hard at practice and take it to Penn State."

How frustrating was the first half when you held them to field goals; then when you're looking at them again, you are on your own 30?

"When you go out there, you don't think of all this stuff. When you're called upon, you play. You do what your job is and defense is to stop them and hold them to points sometime. Holding them to field goals was a good thing. We did what we could do."

Senior Center John Sullivan

Were you surprised by the Georgia Tech defense and how they seemed to handle the offensive line?

"That's what happens when an aggressive defense executes and an offense doesn't execute."

Are there any positives you can take from this game?

"You just have to take it as a learning experience. Georgia Tech we knew was tough going in and they have one of the best defenses in the country. Hopefully, we will use this as a learning experience and next week play better."

How frustrating has it been the last three years when it seems that you can't get anything going in short-yardage situations? Where can you get better in those situations?

"I think we just need to put that on the offensive line's shoulders. Third and short is our domain and we have to go out and execute better as an offensive line and hopefully our offense will start converting on those downs."

Where do you go from here?

"We have to go and watch the tape tomorrow and get some conclusions from there, but just right now we have to learn from the fact that we faced a really good defense today and they took it to us. We need to learn what happened and get better for next week."

After having big expectations going into this game, how do you keep the negatives from creeping in?

"It's the whole thing; you can't get too high and you can't get too low. The experienced guys, we have been through games like this. As our careers continue, I'm sure it will happen again, but hopefully not this season. There are going to be days like today and you just have to grit your teeth and get back in there tomorrow and don't hang your head. You've got to keep your head up and go back to work; that's the only thing you can do."

I'm sure you couldn't have seen this coming.

"We have high expectations for ourselves, but this is just the way it went today. Georgia Tech played a great game and collectively we didn't."

You had three different quarterbacks under center today; any thoughts on any of them?

"I think it would be out of place for me to make a comment on any specific guy with the way today went and it being a team loss."

Senior Defensive Back Tom Zbikowski

What are your feelings and emotions like after a game like this?

"You're going to be upset about it, there's no question, but you have to move on. This is the opener and we have 11 games after this and we have to come out and try to win every game after this."

Were you surprised they were able to run the ball as well as they did today?

"Really, when they were outside of the spread, I don't think they were running too much on us. We have to make plays better when they go to that spread and misdirection and direct snaps; we have to make plays. We have to stay composed and play our rules."

Were you guys not reading that play right or did they just disguise it well?

"I think they were doing a lot of things off of it. It wasn't like they were just giving us that and just taking a sweep. They were countering back. On one of the touchdowns by the student section, they were actually countering back on us. We just have to make the plays we are supposed to make."

When it was 9-0 and 16-0, did you guys think you were still in the game?

"Yeah, for sure, we thought we were in the game the whole time. It wasn't like we began to believe that we were completely outplayed. At least on defense; I can't tell you what happened on the offense. Defensively, I thought we were in it right up to the end. You're never going to feel like you're out of the game."

What was said and what was the attitude at halftime?

"We can win this game. We just have to keep playing and go out there and get some turnovers."

You kept them out of the end zone on the first four drives. What positives can you take from that?

"That they are not just going to be able to score touchdowns on us. They are going to have to work for the points. They still had too many big runs."

What do you guys have to do the next two weeks to pick yourselves up and get ready for Penn State and Michigan?

"Be mature about it. We just lost. We've got to come back and get ready and put it in the past. We have to learn from the tape that we will watch and get ready for Penn State. They are a good team and we have to play at Penn State. The atmosphere is going to be up. We just have to get ready for them."

Senior Tight End John Carlson

You didn't see a lot of balls thrown your way, is that because you were back protecting?

"That's how the game worked out today. A lot of times, we don't know what exactly they are going to do until kickoff. That's what we had to do today and that was my role."

Was their blitz more than what you expected?

"We knew that they were going to come at us. We would have hoped to have been more successful at picking up the blitz. You saw the outcome."

What's the mood of the team and was it shocking to you guys?

"It's disappointing to say the least. We can't really dwell on it too long. We have to learn from the mistakes and make some corrections and move on to Penn State."

Did you see positive things as well as the bad things that were happening out there?

"It's hard to judge a game until I've watched the film; and we'll watch tomorrow."

Where do you guys go from here?

"We have to look at this game and make corrections. We have to critique ourselves and obviously have to improve and move on and prepare for Penn State."

Did they do anything differently from what you expected?

"No really, they blitzed a lot. And we expected that. They were more effective than we wanted them to be."

What was said and what was the mood in the locker room at halftime?

"We felt we could move the ball, but we just hadn't put any drives together, obviously. We knew we were in the game still and we believed that. We just got beat by a better team today."

Sophomore Quarterback Demetrius Jones

Do you feel that you got a fair shake and enough time to prove yourself as the starter today?

"I believe I did. The first two turnovers we had were my fault. At the same time, this is a game of football and everything is not always going to go right and the coaches understand that and as a player, I understand that. We just have to chalk it up as a loss and get prepared to move ahead."

Was any of the package designed for you to pass?

"No, it was designed for me to run."

What happened on the two turnovers?

"Basically, it was ball security; their defense was really good. The linebacker made a nice swipe at the ball as I was going back. On the first one, I was getting ready to throw the ball and the guy came from the blind side and knocked it right out of my hand."

Could you talk about the emotions you had coming out on the field as the starting quarterback?

"As a quarterback, that is part of your job getting the team ready to go. I still feel the same way now as I did at the beginning of the game. Of course, the results don't show that but we're not going to tuck our tails in and throw in the towel. We are going to go out every Saturday and hopefully get better results."

Junior Quarterback Evan Sharpley

How patient should the fans be with this football team?

"I'm not going to tell the fans what they should be doing. We're trying to get better as a team and we'll continue to do it."

Do you feel impatient and do you want to get out there and prove that this week was a fluke?

"Oh for sure, if we could play tomorrow, we would."

Were you going to take the two-minute drill no matter what the score?

"That was the plan once we were in that situation. Yeah, I was going with that."

Did the speed of Georgia Tech's defense keep you off balance today?

"Somewhat, they are very fast and brought an array of blitzes and their scheme was very good."

Did you feel like you were pressured every snap and was that frustrating?

"Not necessarily, being a young quarterback, that was something I hadn't experienced before. They were very fast and their speed was something we didn't adjust to."

Was there any frustration in the fact that you couldn't get anything going in the running game or the passing game?

"I don't know about frustration. We need to make adjustments throughout the game and those just didn't really occur. We are going to have to take a look at the tape and fix some things and move on."

Tell us what happened on that fumble when you picked it up and completed a pass to John (Carlson).

"What happened is that it popped out and I picked it up and got my eyes downfield and saw John."

Any panic?

"No, not really." Top Stories