“After looking at the film and evaluating and breaking it down in all three phases of the game we obviously didn’t make enough plays to win the football game the other night. Too many missed assignments, too many mistakes on both sides of the ball for us to be effective. I think we played well enough in the kicking game to get it done, but we didn’t have any game changing plays there. Offensively, we shot ourselves in the foot too may times, killed drives, kicked field goals instead of putting the ball in the end zone and that’s going to come back and hurt you. Then, defensively, we gave up too many big plays.”
Where did you miss Gio Bernard the most on Saturday?
“You go back and look and both those running backs did a really nice job. It may have been more of a comfort level with guys just mentally than anything, but I don’t know. I sat there watching the film wondering would he have done something different here. Who knows? I thought that Romar [Morris] really did a nice job when he had the ball in his hands. I thought [A.J.] Blue did also. Both of those kids were impressive to me in the game.”
Do you have a sense of how valuable he is to the offense overall?
“There’s no doubt. You got a player of his caliber. He’s very important to what we do offensively and to the whole football team and he’s also returning punts for us now, so it’s another integral part. It’s hard to say how much we missed him. If he’s not on the field, it’s obvious we missed him.”
Did you get away from the run in the fourth quarter?
“I don’t know. I started calling plays back in 1999 and I learned a long time ago never to second-guess what you call, so I don’t ever do that. I can assure you that what was called was expected to be good at the time we called it or we wouldn’t have called it. It’s not like you spin a little spinner and wherever it lands you call that play. It’s all thought through and planned out, so yes and no. If we complete a few of those passes we’re in good shape, but we did run the ball effectively, yes.”
What is your philosophy on trying to run the clock down?
“The last time we had the ball, I believe, before they took it 93 yards or whatever they took it, how much time was on the clock? Six and a half minutes? We’re not going to eat six and a half minutes off the clock. I don’t anticipate us doing that so I wouldn’t have thought let’s run the ball every play here and see if we can get off the field and win the game this way. I wouldn’t have thought that way.”
What is Bernard’s status for this weekend?
“Yesterday he moved around really well and said he felt good, so we’ll see tomorrow when he gets out on the field, but he felt good yesterday. I know that, moving around. He did everything everybody else did.”
Bernard told us Monday he felt great and didn’t expect to be limited in practice. Was that just being overly optimistic or was there a setback during the week?
“I think maybe a little of both. I think he wants to be out there. He wants to be out there every snap. It’s like during camp. You might have the three’s out there and all of a sudden you see him and he’s out there with them and I’m like what are you doing? ‘I want to play and I want to get another rep’ [Bernard says]. That’s him. He wants to get out there. I know every time I talk to him, he’s like ‘yeah, I’m ready. I’m ready’ and just before the game he didn’t feel right. I don’t want to put him in that situation.”
Can you put a number on missed assignments on Saturday? I believe Vic Koenning said there were six against Elon.
“I think we had 25, I believe.”
What stands out about Louisville?
“Speed. Speed. Especially defensively you can really see them fly around. They can run. They got two defensive ends that get off on the ball and can go. They can give your quarterback a lot of problems. Their secondary, they like to play a lot of man coverage. They’re fast.
“Offensively, that quarterback is extremely talented. Extremely talented. He can beat you with his legs or he can beat you with his arm. Either way about it. I have some familiarity with Charlie [Strong] and we’ve worked together before. [Louisville defensive coordinator] Vance Bedford and I have worked together before, so I know those guys. I know how those kids are going to get coached. I know what the expectation level will be on that side and I know he’ll have them ready to play.”
On the hard hit Bryn Renner took:
“After going back and evaluating it there was nothing to do with his head. There was no contact to his head. He got the wind knocked out of him and got hit pretty good. Actually the two guys that made contact with themselves it was pretty violent hit there on each other. He didn’t get the most of it I can assure you. He really came out of it fine physically and mentally I think once he settled down afterwards I think he was okay, but obviously the next series was not good for him.
“That’s something, let me tell you, you’re going to play that position, it’s going to happen and you got to learn to shake it off and move on to the next play and that’s just something for the quarterback spot that you got to be able to do.”
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