Coach Petrino’ Opening Comments:
Well the positives were the way we started the game. We came out of the locker room and we started fast, executed well on offense, moved the ball down and scored. I was really, really encouraged about the way that Ronnie Wingo was running the ball and our offensive line blocking the run game. I thought we had a good plan in the first half and went out and executed it on offense. Defensively, they did a good job at executing their passing game, and they always do. They get the ball out of their hands quick. They got guys who can make plays after the catch. I thought we were in position about three or four times to play the deep ball, and we just didn’t get it done. We didn’t have enough confidence to turn and look for the ball and they made good plays. They made good catches when they executed it, but I wasn’t real happy with the way we finished the game. We’ve got a lot to work on to get ready for Alabama.
Question: What did you think of Ronnie’s game and do you feel he was a little bunged up there at the end?
I though Ronnie played real well. I though he run the ball well. He did a good job in the pass game. To see him get to his acceleration, we all know he’s very, very fast but it’s how quick you can get to it, and I think he’s worked really hard at that and then came out and certainly showed it in the first half.
Question: How much do you think it hurt the Defense tonight to have Jake Bequette out?
Well it always hurts when you don’t have one of your really good players, you know, and Jake’s a tremendous pass rusher and certainly they were going to throw the ball, and I think they threw it like 63 times. It certainly has an effect on you. But we still need to be able to step up and still get to the quarterback or get some pressure on him or disrupt his timing, and for the most part we didn’t get that done well enough. Now we hung in there. We made plays when it was crucial, and we made a lot of plays in the first half to stop drives, but we need to do a better job of three and out which we are trying to do this year.
Question: Would you talk about the importance of Joe’s catch, spin move and run for the touchdown when it was getting a little tight.
Oh, I thought it was huge for us. He made a great play, they tightened the score, came back, we hadn’t moved the ball real well the last two drives, and Joe made a great play and broke a tackle showed his speed and changed the game back for us.
Question: Wilson seemed like he got hit a lot tonight. Was that because he would hold on to the ball too long or offense…
I think just a combination of a number of things. Our timing in our passing game, maybe his eyes down looking at the rush too much, they blitzed us a lot. I think there was one time they blitzed us nine times in a row, and we executed well in the first half attacking it, but we didn’t do as well in the second half.
Question: What changed in the second half?
I wish I knew. Good question.
Question: What specifically do you need to work on next week to get ready to go into… [Alabama]
We got a lot to work on. Just about all phases we’re going to work on, but we continually need to improve on running the ball and the pass protection. I felt like our third downs, we could have been a lot better at and some of it was timing. Some of it was just the execution so we certainly have to improve on that. Defense is a little bit different because we know next week it’s going to be a power run, play action, throw the ball deep, and that game out there was the spread offense, so it will be a huge change for us, and we just have to do a great job in practice this week practicing against that offense that we are going to see.
Question: What did you see on Tyler’s pick for a touchdown and what did Tyler say that he saw?
I saw the ball hit the free safety in chest. It was a play that we talked about executing at half time for a different coverage, and they came out in a different coverage and we just didn’t make the adjustment well enough.
Question: (inaudible) for the first time tonight with Troy continuing to answer your shots. Will you pleased with what you saw about your combination? [This can’t be the question and some part of the audio is either garbled or missing.]
Well like I said before, we came out of the locker room in the first half, executed and played well and did a good job. I wasn’t real happy with the second half. We can play better than that. We’re a better football team than that. Executing on offense, sustaining drives, and I think we had three or four three-and-outs and we can’t have that. And then defensively I would have like to have see us tackle better, particularly in the open field.
Question: A lot of those guys got a lot of those 83 snaps on defense. How much did that wear down the defense do you think to have those guys out for as many snaps as they had plays?
I don’t think, I didn’t feel like we got worn down on defense. We were rotating in the defensive front and our linebackers and secondary were still running fast. I just don’t think we executed well enough and made plays.
Question: Dennis Johnson was on the return game at the start and almost took the one to the house…
Yeah, he’s really good at it. He sees things and can execute and accelerate real well. It’s just his vision on kickoffs returns is probably as good as anyone I’ve ever been around.
End of Transcript.