Oct. 26, 1999
Q: Your thoughts on the Miami game?
A: We played very hard. We came out and played extremely well
offensively and defensively. We controlled the football and tried to
keep their offense off the field, and we were able to do that for three
quarters. In the fourth quarter, missing a field goal and fumbling the
football hurt us, and we just couldn't re-group to stop Miami in the
last two series. We didn't tackle well, we had some mistakes, and
they're a good football team and they came back and beat us. Now we
have to get ready to play Syracuse, another very athletic football team
which has had a week off to prepare for us after having been in
Blacksburg (vs. Virginia Tech). I'm sure they're embarrassed about
that game and will be happy to come out and take on Boston College on
Q: How is the spirit of the team following the loss?
A: They feel bad, but they're fine. We're 5-2, we played a top 20
team that was supposed to kill us, and we took it to them. Maybe they
(Miami) were a little rusty to start out, but when we got
opportunities, we took advantage of them. We knew they were going to
make a run at us, which they did. At times we were in position to make
plays, but we just didn't make them, and Miami made plays. A week ago,
we made plays in the fourth quarter to win a football game, and this
week we didn't. I asked the team, ‘Friday, if you had told me that
with less than four minutes to go in the fourth quarter, it would be
28-28, would anybody not take that score?' We were in position in the
fourth quarter to have a chance to win the football game, which is what
we wanted to do. We weren't able to capitalize and make a play, either
offensively or defensively, from that point of the game on.
Q: How difficult was it for you personally to put this game away and
say 'let's go on'?
A: It's harder for us old guys. It's tough, but we talk about it
every week - a week ago, we won, and we had to forget that one and go
on to Miami. Now we have to put Miami behind us and go on to Syracuse.
That has to be the focus.
Q: Obviously there are going to be two angry teams meeting on the
field at the Carrier Dome.
A: I would guess so. We need to get our legs back. We just couldn't
get any push there in the fourth quarter with our pass rush. The
pressure came free and we just didn't make plays. When we have guys
free, like we did, we have to be able to come up and make a tackle, and
not give them 10-15 extra yards as they break free. That's what killed
us in the fourth quarter. The one thing we did do well is defend
against the long bomb. They didn't get a deep pass on us. We played
the game we had to play, except we didn't finish it. And that's the
most important part, to finish the game. That's something we've got to
learn how to do.
Q: There were comments on a national level about how hard your team
played vs. Miami.
A: I think we did. Who gave us a chance to even be in this football
game? We made it bad, because we got up 28-0, and everybody thinks you
blew the game. But we took advantage of everything and played as well
as we could for three quarters. But we didn't finish it. And you
knew, everybody there knew, they were going to make a run at us. Pedro
(Cirino) said it best, at some point you've got to be able to stand up
and stop it.
Q: Does it hearten you to hear things like that from your own players?
A: Absolutely. For two years, I don't know if it's really meant
anything to lose around here. Now it means something when they lose,
and I think that's a major step.
Q: What did this game tell you about what you need to do the rest of
A: We have to continue to play as hard as we can, and with the teams
we're playing, we have to play hard for four quarters. We cannot turn
the football over, we cannot shorten the field, we cannot give up big
plays on defense and miss tackles the way we did. If we do that, we're
going to find a way to win a football game. If we don't do that, we're
going to have trouble.
Q: What about Syracuse?
A: This will be a tough one for us. We've gone through two emotional
games. You don't like to play too high, and you don't like to play too
low, you like to play at an even keel. We've gone from one end of the
emotional spectrum to the other, so I think this will be a key game for
this football team. If we can go play the same way we've played the
last two weeks, and play with some fire and enthusiasm and emotion,
we'll make bigger strides than the little steps we've been taking.