Holtz: They kept working, nobody gave up

Coach Skip Holtz talks about the Bulls 37-17road win over Syracuse Friday night

South Florida Head Coach Skip Holtz

"What a great win for our players. It has been six weeks since we had a win. We were close at Connecticut and lost to Cincinnati on the last play of the game. Then we lost to Rutgers when we had the opportunity to win on the last play of the game. It has just been phenomenal for these players because they have played so hard. They have worked so hard. Some people ask what there is to play for now since we have been 0-3 in the league. These guys play for each other. I know one thing about this group. They are not going to lie down. They are not going to quit. I'm proud of our seniors tonight, who have worked so hard. I'm proud of this football team and the way they played. Some guys stepped up with some great individual efforts. We know how hard it is to win here. The last time I watched them play here was a couple weeks ago against West Virginia. They just lined up, took over that football game and dominated. We knew we were going to be in for a heck of a battle tonight. I thought our front seven played great against the run. It was nice to run the ball and have our offensive line take over the way they did at the end. I think Demetris Murray stepped up. B.J. Daniels played an excellent football game. He has really matured as a quarterback. He is not just an athlete that plays quarterback. He has truly become an athletic quarterback who can stand in the pocket. He is a quarterback who is a great athlete. I'm really proud of B.J. Daniels. Outside of the one turnover where we fumbled the ball in the end zone in the third quarter, we did a really nice job protecting the ball. I think they kept their nose to the ground out there. They kept working. Nobody gave up. They could have hung their heads after some of the close losses they have had, but they just keep competing. I give them a lot of credit. They are a better football team than their record indicates right now."

On going for it on fourth down to set up their second touchdown:
We drove the length of the field. We got down there and we already kicked a field goal with good field position to start the game. I thought if we kick the field goal it is 6-0. If they throw one deep pass and score, we are losing. We drove the length of the field twice. When you work that hard, it has to pay off. We had to get paid and get some points out of it. We were going to come into this game and play it wide open. The last five weeks we have gotten a lot of yards, but not a lot of points. We were going to play wide open and give us the opportunity to score a lot of points. We drove all the way down the field and were not going to kick the field goal. If we were going to score points, I had to give us the opportunity to do so.

On the running game:
"The running game was great. The offense overall should be commended. Demetrius Murray and B.J. Daniels were able to run the ball. We were running the ball up the middle and hitting some holes. Our offensive line came in at the half and wanted to run the ball. I thought the offensive line perform well. B.J. Daniels really played an excellent football game. He made some mistakes, but also made some excellent plays. Sometimes we have some mistakes with some of our young receivers, but I'm really proud of the way our offense up stepped in the second half. We were able to run the ball and finish off the football game. Defensively, we were able to get off the field. We were a little bit frustrated with some of the breakdowns in coverage. To give up 17 points and be mad at the defense just shows the expectation level we have right now for our defense. "

On what the team did differently today compared to the past few weeks:
"We played pretty well in the other games, but were not able to do the celebration. We don't need to reinvent the wheel; we just have to eliminate some of the mistakes. We are tired of losing and want to start to win. We were tired of making mistakes, turning the ball over, missing assignments and giving up points. On special teams, we wanted to limit mistakes. We decided we wanted to be a good football team. We challenged them this week in a short week with travel up to Syracuse. It's a great win. I have great respect for Syracuse, this program, their coaching staff and their players. It's great to be able to come up here and get the win."

On the play of B.J. Daniels:
"He is coming along unbelievably. He is poised. He is a leader. He understands this offense now. He didn't make many mistakes. He didn't put the ball in danger. He missed one throw to a receiver he is capable of making. I thought B.J. Daniels played arguably one of his best games since he has played here. He has done a phenomenal job, not just learning the offense, but playing within the system and making good decisions. He stood in the pocket and made some key throws on third down in the second half. He utilized his feet when he needed too. He made some plays. Chandler Jones, what a great player. He had B.J. dead in the lights one time and he got out of it by scrambling to the sideline. Chandler Jones said, ‘I almost had you. I almost had you.' B.J. said, ‘Almost doesn't count.' He is a slippery little son of a gun back there in the pocket. He keeps plays alive with his mind his arm and feet. He is really starting to become the complete package."

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