The head coach of the Bulldogs speaks about the loss at No. 17 TCU and the upcoming home finale against SMU.
Nov. 13, 2000
Due to technical problems, last week's press conference was unavailable to be transcribed. GOBULLDOGS.COM apologizes for any inconvenience this caused.
On the loss to TCU
"I think it was a very tough loss. You've got to give TCU a lot of credit. They are a very fine football team. After reviewing the film and watching it in person...there were some plays that were the ones that really get magnified in a big game. I thought early in the football game - the first quarter - we played well on both sides of the ball. Offensively, we got a score in on them and made it 7-0. Defensively, we were playing very well."
"At the end of the half, we threw the quick-out to our No. 2 receiver coming outside. We had thrown it a couple of times earlier. This time, the safety jumped it, played it well, intercepted it and took it back. They did score two plays later. Going in at halftime 14-7, I think our football team was in good spirits and felt good about the position they were in. They didn't like the way the half ended. They came out in the second half and forced TCU into two 3rd-and-longs. They ran the draw against us both times. The second time was for a 68-yard touchdown, and it was a play that should have been stopped at the line of scrimmage."
"I got to give a lot of credit to TCU. I think they are a very good football team. I think our football team played hard. We just lacked execution at times. Our defensive front seven played outstanding. Mostly the entire game. They played very hard. Nick Burley had to go the entire game. Clarence Denning, Jake Probst. Jason Stewart wasn't able to play with his hip flexor injury. Bryce McGill stepped in for Vernon Fox when he went down early in the game. Defensively, I thought we played at a pace that we could win the game at. Offensively, we really struggled in the second half. Early in the game, we ran the ball. Our first six running plays were for 24 yards. That's not big gains, but it's four or five per carry. That's what we needed to do early in the football game. But once it became 24-7, the running game was really non-existent and our pass protection had a hard time holding up."
On the turning point of the game
"The complexion of the game changed after we fumbled the ball on the goal line. Defensively, the pace of TCU picked up. I thought our defense kept playing hard. I knew with the wind at our back in the fourth quarter, if we could just get one more score and get back in it the game, we had a chance. But we never put ourselves in a position to make plays. The running game disappeared after the first quarter. Pass protection got a lot harder as the game went on as we tried to play catch-up, just like it did against Ohio State."
On the upcoming game against SMU
"This is the final home game for some outstanding seniors. It's also a chance to finish the season undefeated at home. This game is basically for our seniors, it's to be undefeated at home and it's to be bowl eligible. So there's a lot at stake against an SMU team that obviously beat us last year. They are a team that matches up against us well. They are very good against the run, and right now we are struggling running the football, and we are going to have to be able to run the football against SMU if we are to win."
"I'm worried about our offensive matchup against their defense. I think they are playing very well on defense. They are the second-best defense in the league against the run. They are giving up 117 yards per game, and the run hasn't been something we've been good at. They match up well against us. I think when you look at games, matchups are important, and that's a matchup we need to do something about."
On the bowl prospects
"There are a lot of teams out there that are going to be 6-5, 7-4, 5-6. Those kinds of teams are where we are right now. All of those teams have one thing in common - they don't do well on the road. To be an 8-3, 9-2, 10-1 or an undefeated team - which there's only one - that means they are winning on the road. Until we start winning on the road, we aren't going to have those types of records. Obviously, right now, we are 1-4 on the road."
"I think our strength of schedule is pretty good. Our four losses are all to teams with eight wins. Two of them are Top 25 teams. Our wins are against teams who aren't having good years and our losses are against teams who are having good years. I think the San Jose State game is a critical game. We lost to a UTEP team that, at worst, is going to be 8-3 and a TCU team that at worst will be 9-2. You've got Ohio State and UCLA, too. That could help us, but it could hurt, too. The teams we've beaten aren't having good seasons.
On Fresno State's difficulty playing on the road
"On the road, execution is a problem we've had. We have not executed at critical stages of the game to make a difference. We've played well at times on the road. And we've been in position to win games on the road, but we haven't finished it. I think a lot of it has to do with the types of teams we are playing on the road. We've played some outstanding football teams on the road. But if you want to make your program better, you've got to win those games. We have not been a successful road team, and we need to change that. Once you do change that, you become one of those 8-3, 9-2, 10-1 teams."
"I'm searching for the answers. We are doing everything we can to prepare for road games. Our structure on the road as far as our everyday procedures on Thursday and Friday are identical to what we at home. We've just got to start making the plays on the road."
On last year's loss to SMU
"That was a disaster. That was as hard a loss as I've had since I've been here because we didn't play hard. That hasn't been the problem at UTEP or TCU or UCLA or Ohio State. This team has played hard in those losses. Last year, we didn't play hard. I thought it was not a very well played football game, but SMU definitely played better than we did."