Player Comments

Several of the Irish players met with the media following a very disappointing loss to Syracuse on Senior Day.

Golden Tate, Sophomore Receiver

Can you talk about why the offense got bogged down on those three possessions inside the red zone?

"I'm not really sure. I know we had some penalties that withheld us from going in for a touchdown or some field goals."

Where is this team at right now mentally?

"Right now, we are kind of down, but we have to get over it and come in Monday and be ready to work. Obviously, we wanted it for the seniors more than anything and that is one of the things Coach stressed the whole year - if you don't win it for yourself or for the team then win it for the seniors. It hurts that their last game in the stadium was a loss."

How do you go about handling these types of losses as you have had three or four like this?

"We just have to have short-term memory and we can't mope around and go into depression. We've got to come out Monday and be ready to work and work harder this week."

Talk about the last drive and mood in the huddle.

"We still thought we had a chance as we have still have some playmakers on offense –Duval (Kamara), our tight-end, and (David) Grimes. So we felt we had a chance."

What do you think this team will be like next week and next year?

"You know, I really haven't thought about next year yet. I'm still trying to finish out this season for the team and for the seniors and make it the best I can do."

Do you see much of a difference with Charlie as the play-caller compared to Haywood as the play-caller?

"No, I have really never thought about the difference in the play-calling. They are both offensive geniuses as far as I know. They both call terrific plays. I need to execute my plays a little better."

Toryan Smith, Junior Linebacker

This team really has a problem finishing. Do you have any idea why this happens?

"We got to finish and I really wish I could tell you I had the answer, but we got to finish these games, man. It's tough, man, to go out there and we basically lay it on them for three quarters and I don't know what it is."

You lost to a 2-8 team on Senior Day. Does that make this loss more devastating?

"Each loss is tough, man. It's tough because it's Senior Night and we wanted to get the seniors a win on their last night and we fell short."

How daunting does USC seem now that you lost today?

"Basically, we got to get back on board and try and correct our mistakes and go out there and beat them."

What's it like in the locker room right now?

"It's real solemn right now and there is not much going on. We are down right now but basically we just got to pick it up for this next game."

After so many tough losses, does it just become tougher and tougher to do?

"It's tough but we believe tomorrow the sun is going to shine and we have to get past it and close this season the best we can."

Do you guys still believe in the coaches?

"We still believe in our coaches and we are all in this together."

Sam Young, Junior Offensive Lineman

As a veteran leader what do you say to the guys after a game like this?

"I apologized to a couple of guys. It was a tough game and it's tough when you know you have a chance to win and you can't finish through on that. We have two more left and that was really the big thing letting everyone know we have two more games. We have a really big one this week and everyone just has to get their minds right and get back to work."

How do you start doing that?

"Just kind of learn from our mistakes from this game and put them in the past. It's difficult but we have a big time rivalry coming up in USC."

Is it more of a shock and harder to lose to a team that is 2-8?

"It's tough to lose no matter who it is. They are a good team and we knew that coming in. We just weren't able to execute well."

Mike Anello, Senior Special Teams

Tell us about the fumble that you caused.

"I was able to poke it out and John Ryan was able to cover it."

How about the punt you blocked?

"I came around the edge and I actually ended up hitting more of his leg than the ball, but I think that kind of prevented him from having a good follow-through and helped to shank the ball."

How would you assess your game?

"I mean, we lost the game and that's all that really matters."

Can you talk about the highs and lows of this game?

"Well, it's a team game and in every aspect we had a chance to shut it out – on special teams, offense, and defense – and we just didn't get it done."

What was the locker room like?

"It's just really tough. We all went out and saw our families after the game. I didn't realize but all the seniors were down on the field too so I saw a lot of them walking out. Even the guys in the stands feel it as much as we do and it's just really hard to take."

How do you compare losing to a 2-8 team to some of the other teams that you've lost to?

"Any loss you have is unacceptable. You want to win them all. So you can't just point to one and say that hurts more because we're upset with the five losses we have now."

Do you feel you were better than this team?

"You can say that but when you look up at that scoreboard and it's 24-23, you don't prove anything by saying, ‘Hey, we're better than them.' We didn't win and that's all that matters."

Pat Koontz, Senior Defensive Lineman

How are you feeling and what are are your emotions like right now?

"Disappointment in the game, obviously, but I think more-so it was my last game playing here. It kind of all caught up with me in the end."

Do you feel you played your hardest tonight since it was your last game here in the stadium?

"I wouldn't say it was my hardest because I play every game the hardest. So it really doesn't feel any different from the other games except it was my last game here."

How tough is this loss being Senior Day and last day in the stadium?

"It's tough because we had the game under wraps in my opinion and we just didn't capitalize and put them away. We let them back into it and they took advantage of it. And they made more plays than we did at the end."

Can you tell us what's wrong right now?

"I just feel like we didn't make enough plays at the end of the game. I don't think there's a bunch of things wrong. We just have to keep working and keep getting better every day. I think that will solve the problems."

How do you regroup for USC?

"We have to forget about this and worry about the task at hand. They're a good team and we're going to have to play our best game ever to beat them. So that's what we have to get ready to do."

David Grimes, Senior Receiver

How frustrating is it when you have the lead and you can't put them away?

"It's real frustrating. We had our chances to make plays and we didn't. Not to take anything away from Syracuse, but we still had our chances."

What were your thoughts and what did you see as you were walking off the field after the game?

"I just know it wasn't a good feeling walking off that field. I know we have two games left and we have to get the team back up and get ready for next week."

Does it help at all to know you have two more games?

"We definitely have two more opportunities and we don't want to leave our home field feeling like this but we can still salvage something."

Having a double-digit lead and then losing at the end, does that sting the most?

"Yeah, should've, could've, would've, but we just didn't get it done. It definitely hurts, I can tell you that. I'm not sure what it is, but it hurts."

The seniors obviously get to do a victory lap on the final win at home. What did you guys get to do?

"We didn't do too much of anything. It wasn't the time to celebrate. We sang the fight song and walked into the tunnel."

Did you seniors get together as a group and say anything?

"We went around the locker room and shared our appreciation and showed our love and that was about it."

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