STATEMENT: Hard to win football games when you turn over the ball four times, you don't convert on short yardage situations, and we didn't do that in the second half. And you know, when you don't do those things, you put a little more stress on your team, from an offensive and a defensive standpoint. And I thought our defense hung in there, you know, fought, but in the end, we had too many four and five yard runs bleed through there.
What changed with your offense in the second half? Were they taking things away that were working in the first half?
Well, I don't know. They were taking them away, I think at times we took ourselves out of it a little bit with execution.
What went into using Denard in the specific role you used him in today, and can he legitimately throw passes right now?
Yes. And using him like we did today, why not?
Did you feel like he could be predictable at all?
It seemed like they pushed down a lot?
Can you discuss the decision to go forward on fourth down there?
You know what, I felt pretty good about – defensively, felt pretty good about – I think we got two first downs coming off the kickoff. Felt pretty good about the offense, to be honest with you. And the kids – you know, we say all the time we have to have each others' back, and I thought if we didn't get it— defense went out there and did a nice job.
Can you talk about the play of the defensive line and how they got to Braxton today?
Oh, I don't know if it was super. I think there are a lot of times we didn't get to him also. I think the kids played hard, I think our seniors, our leaders on the team, had them prepared. You know, that's about it.
Was there any concern in the third quarter that maybe rotating quarterbacks as much as you did kind of got them out of rhythm?
What made it so difficult to stop Hyde and their running game today?
They out-leveraged us a couple times in there because of what we wanted to do, which was a little different, and worked in the first half pretty well. We didn't tackle very well, I didn't think—so from that standpoint, he's a big back, and I don't think we wrapped him up on the first hit a couple times like we needed to, and you have to get ten other guys to the football.
You said the offense wasn't predictable in the second half. Is that an offensive line situation, where they kind of dominated you guys up front?
I think they have pretty good guys up-front.
What about your offensive line?
They played good at times and bad at times.
So much goes into this game with the preparation and the rivalry, when it's over and you guys are walking off the field…
I like a W better.
…what runs through your head?
Well, you start working on the next year. You start working on the great game in the end of November, start thinking about what you can do. We have a lot of underclassmen here, a lot of true freshmen here, but we'll remember today, which helps them as they continue to grow.
How difficult is it in a game like this to win when you don't get production out of running backs other than Denard?
I think it's always difficult. I think when you play away, running the football is something you want to try to do and be able to do, and we obviously didn't do that, besides running with Denard, with any success.
Can you talk about on third and short , why the decision to go with the running back in that situation?
You have to look at where you're at and what you feel you may have an opportunity, you know, upstairs you see a lot of different things.
How do you approach the team now for the next few weeks?
Well, we're going to meet Monday at 4:00, and we're going to move forward.
Just go back to the fourth down for one second. Denard said he misread it—and whether he should have cut outside or whatever, it does look odd to run up the middle when they have been stopping it up the middle. Was that not the design?
He maybe should have been a gap wider, and he had broken three runs from that same run.
You had success running Denard wide, with a couple other guys kind of blocking for him.
Sure, quarterback sweep.
You didn't seem to call that as many times.
Well, I think when we gave the ball back as many times as we did in the second half, your rhythm kind of fades away a little bit, and then the clock's against you a little bit.
You mentioned the turnovers, but it looked like when they need to line up and get five yards running the ball, they could do it, and you guys couldn't.
Yeah, because we want to run the football, and we want to do a good job stopping the run, so we didn't do either.
Denard said in the second half they brought their safeties up a little bit when he was in the game. What did that change?
It always changes, you get nine men in the box, and it changes it a lot.
You have nine guys instead of seven or eight.
So you're trying to pass more, I would assume?
What happened this game?
I don't know, what? I don't understand your question.
Did you pass more as a result of that, or try to –
No, I think we threw the ball pretty decent when we threw it. I think they had a couple breaks that were pretty good, and little bit of coverage on a couple throws, but I thought Devin did a nice job with it.
Was this game lost in the trenches?
Oh, I think they're all—it doesn't matter, they're all lost in the trenches. When you win or lose, you win them in the interior.
Were they tougher than you?
I don't know.
Denard goes in, but then they drop nine down. Why not pass Denard at that point?
Just wasn't called.
Denard didn't play much in those last couple of series. What went into that decision?
Well, we were throwing the ball a little more.
It seemed like you guys didn't use Denard and Devin at the same time as much in passing as much as –
Well, we've only really used them in there a week ago together. Just a little bit of a different package.
With Devin and the turnovers in the second quarter, was that a case of their rush can kind of push it a little bit?
Oh, I don't know. I don't think so. I mean, you have to give other people credit too, in my opinion. Until I really look at it, what was the protection like, couple times not very good, couple times it was protected, and when the coverage is pretty good, he had a little bit of time, and it just kind of went away from him.
Were you able to shake hands with Urban Meyer or did you talk with him before or after the game?
You didn't see him at all?
I kind of worked with the defensive line before the game and after the game. It was kind of hard to see anybody.
Did you shake hands after the game?
No. No big deal. Not a big deal, not a story.
CollegeFootballNews' four columnists each evaluate yesterday's The Game…