Holtz: We didn't capitalize on opportunities

USF Coach Head coach Skip Holtz talks about the Bulls heartbreaking 34-37 loss to Cincinnati on Saturday. Coach said he was proud of how the team played, and there is no quit in this football team, but we had some opportunities on both sides of the ball that we couldn't capitalize on.

"It was one heck of a football game with two teams out there competing their tails off. It went all the way down to the wire. I had said earlier in the week it's eerie how similar these two teams are when you look at the quarterbacks, the styles of offensive play. When you look at the total yards, there were so many things so similar in this game.

I give Cincinnati an awful lot of credit. They made the plays they had to going down the stretch with the touchdown receptions to go up and then to make the touchdown drive at the end of the game with a minute and fifteen left to take it the length of the field and put it in the endzone. I think Zach Collaros is a heck of a player. When I look at what they did to move the ball down the field, I give them an awful lot of credit."

"My heart breaks for our players. Our guys competed their tails off. There is no quit in this football team. They've gone out and worked extremely hard. They had a great week of practice last week. They came out and I thought they put it all out on the field. It certainly wasn't a perfect production when you look at some of the mistakes that were made. Ten penalties, I don't know what the deal is, but that's 19 in two weeks. We had 90 yards last week and 109 this week.

"It wasn't perfect but I was really proud of a lot of guys that had to step up with the injuries. We came into this game with Sterling as a sophomore, Deonte Welch is a redshirt freshman, Andre Davis is a true freshman and Reuben Gonzalez is a true freshman. We had three receivers out there playing as freshman and then we lost Sterling and we lost our experience, but I thought our guys really competed."

"I thought BJ was a champion today. I thought he competed his tail off. I thought a lot of guys played really well today. A lot of guys really competed."

"It's disheartening because I look at how hard they played and how hard they worked. I'm very grateful to everybody that came out to support this team today. I thought the crowd was great. I thought they were making a difference at the end of the game. They were into it. I thought they were loud. It was a great atmosphere. It was a great environment. Unfortunatley we weren't able to come up on the positive side at the end.'

On if they missed an opportunity to get back in the BIG EAST race.

"We did, we had an opportunity to step back into the race with the two losses last night, but right now, I'm probably thinking a lot more about the missed opportunities today than the big picture. We had some opportunities on both sides of the ball that we couldn't capitalize on. We got them in some long yardage on defense that we couldn't win, and we had some opportunities on offense and we couldn't punch it in. We lost more opportunities today on the field. I did not sell the team on the losses in the conference. We told the team to take it one play at a time and to go out there and compete for the guy on your left and the guy on your right, and play it for each other."

On missing the opportunity at the end of the first half for a touchdown

"I wanted to get three points. We called a sprint out pass on second down and I started looking outside at the route and all of a sudden the ball carrier is in the middle of the field. I only had one time out and I was not willing to roll the dice, call a timeout and risk taking a sack. At that point it was 10-7 and getting a field goal and having a 10-10 tie had to be the worst thing that could have happened to us. With 15 seconds left, I wasn't willing to call a drop-back pass and risk a sack and not end up getting the three points out of it. That was the mind set and the thought. The thought of throwing it on second down was that if its incomplete, we can run it or throw it on third down and then use the timeout to run another play or kick a field goal. But, when we ran it on second down, B.J. thought he had an opening and could get in the end zone. The decision I made at that second was let's not get caught here without points. Get the field goal and get it ten to ten."

On the TDs nullified by penalties and the botched field goal.

That's why I said missed opportunities when we talked about it. I asked Brockhaus-Kann, who's been reliable as a holder, what happened on the hold, he said 'Coach it went through my hands.' What was I supposed to do? Scream at him? There's nothing we could do to bring the play back. It was a missed opportunity. I knew he felt as bad as anyone else did, but I needed him the rest of the day. That's definitely the story. We had them in 3rd and 20, we had them in 3rd and long, but we couldn't get off the field. We had a couple scoring opportunities, but we couldn't get it in the end zone. It certainly wasn't from a lack of effort or because they didn't care or just went through the motions. I thought they went out there and competed their tails off."

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