"I think the same matchups occurred today. We could not handle them physically up front, and that was the ballgame. I thought our defense played pretty good, and they got better as the game went along. That fumble was crucial because it gave them a short field. I thought our defense settled down and played pretty competitively. As far as special teams, other than the opening kickoff, I thought they were pretty good. I thought our punter did a really nice job punting. Once again, Wopamo Osaisai did a great job covering. That was a tremendous interception off a tipped ball and a tremendous run for a touchdown, and that gave us some hope. But when it got down to being able to bang, clang and be physical with them, we weren't able to do it. And that was the game."
Can you tell us about your quarterbacks' injury situations?
"Trent Edwards - I was told that he possibly has something broken in his foot. T.C. Ostrander got hurt on the last play. How bad - we'll find out here tomorrow, when the adrenaline goes away and the reality hits. Hopefully he'll be okay. The hard part is that we've been practicing our third quarterback as a receiver the last three weeks because of our receiver situation, so we'll have to catch-up fast."
Walt when you are in a predicament like this, when you are losing players left and right and the losses keeping piling up, how do you keep these guys' spirits up?
"That would be the challenge, obviously. We have good guys, and there are some good things happening, as I mentioned earlier. We started a freshman on the offensive line, which is something you don't want to do, but that's going to happen. He's going to get better, and he's a good guy who can be physical and hopefully can help us. We're not deep enough that we can put in another veteran football player, but we know that. We knew that last year. We just kind of put it together with bailing wire and were able to get it done. This year it has been more difficult."
They came out and barreled down the field on the first possession. This is a team that has not run the ball well, but they looked like they were running the ball really well. Was that a match-up situation?
"Yeah, we have struggled against the run, and they challenged us. It took us a while to settle down, I think, on defense. I thought we settled down better. We can't give up the first drive, obviously. But they started from the 37-yardline, too, after the kickoff. Like I said, that was the one area of special teams that wasn't as competitive as we need it to be. You don't like to start with that kind of field position. But we have to stop them. Then again, they didn't get any help on the other side of the ball, either, so you can't fault them too much. I think the next drive we gave up a touchdown, but that was after a fumble, which is inexcusable."
Can you talk about the communication, or lack thereof, on offense today? It seemed like there were a few miscues.
"We have smart guys, so it's surprising to me that we are jumping off-sides as they are. A quarterback coming in and getting a 25-second clock penalty - that's not good either. He hasn't played, so you could kind of be a little understanding there, but he's a good football player so he needs to take care of that. They did some things that forced us to have a little bit longer plays in the huddle, which made it a little bit more difficult."
Walt, at this point what do you tell these guys that they have to play for? Bowl contention is completely gone. What do you tell them with five games still to play?
"You play football to win. Right now, we can't be worrying about anything else other than getting better. I know on the offensive side, there were a lot of guys who didn't execute what we need to get done. Some of that was mental, for which there is no excuse. Some of it is physical. That's unfortunate when you are beaten because you probably are not physically capable of matching up. That's recruiting. I don't fault our guys as much, other than technique and the fundamentals, which help balance out the talent differential. We're just going to work on trying to get better, and we'll see. We have put a lot into this, and they have invested a lot, as they did last year. We'll see. I'm confident that we will practice well and that there will be better days ahead for us. Hopefully sooner rather than later."
What impact do you think the changes in the starting group of the offensive line had today?
"Huge, anytime you take out somebody who has been a starter. We were fairly competitive at times against Notre Dame - and they're pretty good, too - other than pass pro. I thought we really struggled at times against Notre Dame in pass protection. There was some good, physical play running the ball. That's an area where we are obviously already struggling, and to lose more guys, it makes it even more obvious. We'll see what happens. Chris Marinelli came in and played, and he's going to learn from the areas he needs to improve. He's a competitor and we're looking for better things from him."
When do you think that you will have Jon Cochran back?
"I have no idea."
What can you tell us about his condition?
"I don't know what it is, other than that he had an ingrown hair in his face that they said is a staph infection - M.R.S.A. I don't know if he exactly has that, but it really swelled up. He couldn't put a helmet on. He couldn't take any contact. It's been something that hit Southern Cal a couple years ago. We had some incidence of it in the last year. It's a staph infection that is very resistant to some medications, so it's a pretty scary deal. Where he lives, they had already targeted that was a possible problem. One of the guys that he lives with had it, so they've been doing the necessary precautions and he still got it - if that's exactly what it is."
Will you know more about Trent tomorrow?
"Yeah, it will be more obvious tomorrow. I think something is wrong with his foot."
How did T.C. fare out there, when he wasn't getting chased around too badly?
"He had a couple chances. He was getting ready to get it done, then protection knocked the ball down or he got hit while throwing. He's a competitive kid, and he'll fight 'em. If he can practice - hopefully he can practice - that will help him play better. It's hard to prepare two quarterbacks. You're only getting two plays out of every seven, so to speak. Now if he's healthy enough, he'll get the majority of the rep's, which will help him and prop him up."
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