I am happy for the young men because they've been tested unlike they've been tested in years past. It is a mark of a great competitor that can keep going to work even when people have abandoned you. They are getting to taste the fruits of their labor because the labor was intense throughout the dry spell. But, we now turn our attention to our in-state rival.
On the 0-14 deficit: Unfortunately, we have not been able to come out and play great to start. I don't know if it is because we don't get a good enough look in practice and don't get up to speed early enough, but we are going to address that in practice this week. I am really proud that we can keep coming back and making plays. Being tied at the half was a big lift.
On RB Rich Alexis: I think he is a great kid and has worked hard. He has been besieged with injuries this year, so this is a sweet day for him. But we aren't done yet.
On WR Reggie Williams: Reggie is a big-play player. We try to feature him in our offense. We try to move him around so people have to find him. The coaches do a great job making it simple for our guys to understand but intricate for other defenses to try to line up with. Hopefully, he's got one more in him.
On the noise: Noise is always a factor here because they have such great fans. But when we were able to take control of the game, it was easier to hear. It is amazing how that works.
On the post-game celebration: Well, when things are bleak like they've been for the past month, you crave the opportunity to celebrate and I was not going to deny them that opportunity. They earned it and they deserved it. Unfortunately, when you do it in an opposing stadium, it is taken out of context. No disrespect intended at all.
On the defensive turnaround: The first two drives were a lot of screens, a lot of naked bootlegs, and one great deep ball. They do so much counter-action in their offense that it takes a while to catch up, but once you finally do, we were able to keep them in check.
On the secondary: They got caught in the shuffle against ASU because we weren't victorious, but I think they've played some really good football since the USC game. It has been fun to watch the maturation of players like Derrick Johnson and Nate Robinson. Today, we had Wilbur Hooks back there in the nickel. We've really been hit with injuries, but we just find guys to go in there. A lot of guys have their hand up volunteering to help. We decided to go with Wilbur at safety the same day James Sims got hurt. He, Paul Arnold, and Charles Frederick were all willing to do whatever we wanted. We decided that Wilbur was best-suited for the job.
On the halftime speech: We talked about adjustments and playing a good field position game. We were able to pin them down on some punts, we got an interception and we scored on the next play. Field position is everything. We have a young team and it has taken us a while to learn it, but we are starting to play more efficiently within that concept.
On the use of option: It was a good weapon and Cody executed it well, especially on that fourth-down play. I thought he was marvelous getting that fourth and one.
On P Derek McLaughlin: Unbelievable performance. I know he shanked the one, but he was really, really pivotal. It was kind of a turn of events from two years ago because their punter pinned us down all day long. I was really proud of Derek's effort. He came through big time and that is what we have been missing with respect to the special teams and field position.
On QB Cody Pickett: I thought we gave him a really good plan that he could manage and with the noise. I think he wants that throw to ET in the corner of the endzone back. He left it up there where the safety was able to make a play. I thought he handled himself really well.