Virginia and Miami Postgame Quotes

Nov. 23, 2013

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VIRGINIA HEAD COACH Mike London

Opening remarks...
“Obviously you can’t give up 21 points on turnovers that happen in a moment’s notice and then get two turnovers yourself and not be able to score. That’s kind of the tale of the game there. I thought we did a nice job in certain areas. We were able to run from 200-and-something yards—we got the running game going. Defensively, we held them to 90 yards. But these explosive plays that occurred were things that ultimately led to the situation where we just couldn’t recover. It’s a good Miami team. They played well and they capitalized and we didn’t capitalize when we needed to.”

You said 21 points. It’s 28, three interceptions and a fumble return...
“Yeah, the fumble on Greyson. What I’m talking about is the first scores. Obviously the first play of the game—can’t have that. And then the two turnovers after that just led to quick scores. Like I said, you play hard, you do some good things but you’ve got to be consistent in doing the things that are going to give you a chance to win against a good team like this and we didn’t do good enough.”

On the cause of David Watford’s interceptions...
“The first one was an ill-advised throw. Throwing to the ground. Throw it over his head. The second one, as I saw, hit the receiver in the hands. It was a dry day, it was a wet day—you can characterize the ball being slippery, whatever it is. But when it hits a hand you’ve got to be able to catch it. I’m not quite sure what happened on the third one. But obviously as a quarterback you’ve got to take care of the ball and that’s the number one priority. When you don’t do that bad things happen for the offense and it ultimately happens for the score, how we’re playing, and the overall part of the game. David has to play better and we’ve said that. I thought that Greyson came in and did a nice job. It was unfortunate on the sack that occurred, the sack fumble that they scooped and scored. It just started raining and it pours when things like that happen. But I think he came in and gave us a spark. It was good to see Taquan Mizzell do some nice things—a catch for a touchdown, a run for a touchdown. There are some positive things that occurred out there.”

On the difficulty to recover after the momentum shift following the second interception...
“It does take the wind out of your sail when you’re driving and you feel like you’re in control and all of a sudden something happens and now you have to deal with something negative. We’ve been trying to deal with adversity as we’ve been going on through this season and that was something that happened that we didn’t respond well to.”

On not being able to score after getting a turnover...
“It’s disappointing not being able to turn those turnovers into points. When you’re playing good football teams you can’t afford not capitalizing on turnovers that our defense causes.”

Thoughts on the hit that took Anthony Harris out of the game...
“I have to be careful about how I answer these things with the emotions of after the game. From what I saw it looked like it was a hit that was also contributed by the quarterback sliding. It’s a difficult call to make when your defender is going to tackle someone and the quarterback starts to slide and then creates the contact himself. There are rules that we have in place to protect defenseless players as we characterize them. But I think we’ll talk about the different aspects of that happening because as it stand right now Anthony is out for the first half of the next game.”

VIRGINIA PLAYERS

David Watford- QB
On if it is frustrating when the offense couldn’t capitalize on the turnovers created by their defense...
“It is. That’s something we’ve been trying to work to capitalize on. The defense played a great game. If it wasn’t for the turnovers, three interceptions, a fumble recovery for a touchdown. If it wasn’t for the turnovers, it’s a whole different game. Especially the three interceptions, that really hurt us but, you know, we have to just build from it.”

On his second interception...
“It was tough. It was tough but a football game is a long game. It’s four quarters and we just have to keep fighting. We were able to keep fighting. We scored touchdowns. We were in the game but, it was tough. It was tough.

On being close to 500 yards of total offense...
“It just shows that we can do it. We killed ourselves, though, particularly me. I really hurt the offense. I put us in a bad position. I jeopardized the game and we ended up losing. I’ll take the blame for that because three interceptions. You can’t win ballgames like that. The other team is going to capitalize on those mistakes and that’s what they did from the first play to the second interception and the last interception, that set up 21 points for them. You can’t have that.”

Kevin Parks- RB
On trying to harder than ever to finish the season on a high note...
“I’m always giving 100 percent. I’m going play with my heart every game. I just want to get guys around me to help feed off the guys and I want those guys to give their hearts in to it.”

On momentum change at the end of the first half with the 81 yard interception by Miami...
“Those things hurt. We’re driving, ready to score and we throw a pick. It’s the name of the ball game right there, Turnovers. So, like I said, we manage those things and make the most of our opportunities when we have them. I could say it would’ve been a different game, but right now, I’m not telling you that.”

On being close to 1000 yards rushing this season...
“I didn’t even notice that. I try not to worry about those things. My main focus is getting it done. That’s all I care about, so I want to come out on top against Virginia Tech.”

Greyson Lambert- QB
On coming back strong after fumbling the ball...
“As a quarterback, you always have to have a short memory. It’s like a corner if you get beat by a receiver. It’s sports. It’s going happen.”

MIAMI HEAD COACH Al Golden
On defensive changes in successful third quarter…
“If I’m not mistaken, their first first down was the penalty on [Rayshawn] Jenkins. They had a first down on the play and then we gave them 15 [yards]. We stopped the run good in the third quarter, and obviously 90 plays [means] we’re just not converting enough on offense. We’re not holding the ball enough to help the defense. Defense I thought really played their tails off with the takeaways and the way they played the third quarter.”

On the injury of cornerback Ladarius Gunter…
“Ladarius has been taken to Jackson [Memorial Hospital] for observation. We’re just being cautious. As soon as we learn something, we’ll share it with you guys. I don’t have anything other than that. He was moving everything, he was conscious. I don’t want to overstep my bounds here. That’s where we’re at with it now. Hopefully he’ll be okay.”

On the play of his team’s defense, which had four takeaways…
“It was big. Early in the year, we were counterpunching really well if the offense made a mistake or special teams made a mistake. During this stretch, we haven’t been counterpunching as well as we have needed to. I thought defense counterpunched so much better today. We made a mistake and they went out there and they had a different look than they’ve had. They didn’t get disappointed, they weren’t, ‘here we go again.’ It wasn’t that mentality. Obviously it’s been tough on the seniors and the team - the courage to keep mustering it up and all of that. The seniors have never been 8-3. They’ve never been 8-3. Now they’re 8-3 we have a tough road game against Pitt, try to end up with a win there, and obviously the seniors haven’t won a bowl game and have not been able to go to a bowl game the last two years. They want to finish up strong.”

On if his defense took criticism personally heading into Saturday’s game…
“I’m sure they did. I hope they did. But it’s not really a function of what’s being said outside - it’s those guys that go to work every day and their standard of what’s acceptable and what’s not. We tackled better, especially in the third quarter. We ran to the ball better. We looked like we had some more energy in our pass rush today. If we didn’t get a number of [sacks], we certainly hit the quarterback a number of times. Again, just too many plays - I want to say 45 or 46 plays at the half for defense. On offense, we have to do a better job. Nobody can be out there that long, we’re just not that deep.”

On still contending for a potential trip to the ACC Championship Game…
“We just have to worry about the Pitt game. We’re going up there, and I’ve seen a lot of Pitt the last couple of weeks because of the crossover games. They have some really effective players on defense, two wideouts that are talented. It’s going to be their last game – it’s going to be a tough environment. I hope we have a team that gets on the plane and is excited about that challenge. It’s going to be a challenge for us. We have to learn how to finish the season and I think everybody is excited because we get to go to practice and we get to move the program forward, finally. We have a lot of football left, and I know the seniors feel the same way.”

On the play of wide receiver Allen Hurns over the course of the season…
“He is a testament to what we want in our program. He doesn’t really say too much. He just works every day. I can’t underscore that enough. I don’t think anyone realizes he is having a great year – not having a good year, he’s having a great year. He is self-made. He is a leader. He’s the same guy every day. He’s consistent, playing with confidence. If we tell him to play him to play special teams, he’ll special teams. If we ask him to block, he’ll block. He’s constantly talking and thinking during the game of different scenarios and different pass routes. He is what we want. When you reach that level where you just go out and play. There has been a lot of work that has been put into it. I’m proud to say that he’s really a symbol of that for us.”

On the performance of quarterback Stephen Morris…
“I thought the one he threw to Allen [Hurns] late, he just threw it. I thought he was maybe aiming a little bit earlier, and trying to be exact. I don’t know if it was the rain, but you just have to throw it. He made plays when he had to, which was great. He is going to continue to improve. At least the discussion is not about his leg anymore - we did that for two months, for eight games. The last two games he has started to move around and protect himself better. We could have helped him out a couple of times – we had a couple of drops. He’ll get better. We don’t have a lot of time to get ready for Pitt, and we’re going to need his leadership and his experience."

On how much respect he has for the seniors, who played their final home game Saturday…
“Incredible amount. More than anybody can know. The standards and expectations are high at Miami, and that’s why we all come. That’s why we want to be a part of it. We never want to drop our expectations. But for these guys to go through what they went through, none of these guys were part of the problem, but every one of them was part of the solution. They took an issue that obviously was really bad. It was toxic. They paid a dear price. They adopted the problem as their own, and ultimately delivered us out of it. This is a big part of it. We have a long way to go before anyone here is satisfied. There are so many things we have to fix on the field – no one is satisfied. But these seniors have never been 8-3. Now they have a chance to go 9-3. To do it on the back end of what they’ve been through says a lot about them. Now we have to make sure we finish strong.”

On how excited he is for the seniors…
“I’m exhausted right now, just because it’s emotional for those guys. That’s why I try not to get involved before the game. We really saluted them Thursday night so it wasn’t right before the game Friday night. We paid our tributes to them, and a lot of them stepped up today. Whoever is better than Pat O’Donnell, I want to meet him. I was happy for him, for David Gilbert, Allen [Hurns], Stephen [Morris]. I can go on and on. Shayon [Green], Kacy Rodgers. A lot of those guys made plays when we needed them. I couldn’t be more proud of them. Now I want to make sure we stay focused and get ready for Pitt, and see if we can’t do something that we haven’t done in a while.”

On the injuries to cornerbacks Nate Dortch and Corn Elder…
“It was all corners, which was one of the reasons we couldn’t sub. I think they’re significant injuries to Nate and Corn. I don’t know to what extent. It’s not like last week somebody gets a little pull or something and you know they’ll be back on Monday. It’s not like that. I will have a better idea when I talk to you guys tomorrow.”

MIAMI PLAYERS

STEPHEN MORRIS
On his last game at Sun Life...
It feels likes everything went by really fast. When I was a freshman, I thought I would be here forever. Time moves fast though and that clock doesn’t stop for anybody. It’s a blessing that I’ve made it here and I’ve stuck through everything’s that’s been going on."

On his career at UM...
I came in as a kid just knowing how to play football. Through time, practice and mental preparation I’m leaving as a better man, as a student of the game. My knowledge of this game has increased tremendously.

On Allen Hurns ...
Allen is my main man There’s something about us where we’ve been having great communication ever since high school. He’s one of those players that’s unselfish, one of those guys that comes to work every single day. I have nothing but tremendous respect for him and everything that he’s done for this program.

STACY COLEY
On his 62-yard TD reception...
With the fast o-line we have, I just saw a crease and took it.

On senior day...
I know this game is important for the seniors, so we just went out and got the win.

On the past three games...
We’ve been struggling for a few weeks now. To get the win is a blessing.

TRACY HOWARD
On opening drive INT for TD...
Coach D really put us in a perfect call, and I just decided to make a play.

On predicting the play...
I knew it was coming. I watched film on it.

On the past three games...
We definitely got a monkey off our back.

ALLEN HURNS
On the continuation of his great play throughout the season…
Each week I’m just trying to come and continue to improve.

On winning his last home game…
It means a lot to me. Playing with my brothers means a lot to me. I just wanted to give them all I had, and make memories of my last home game.

On his first time in the stadium as a Hurricane, and now how he feels…
It goes by fast. I got to enjoy every moment of it. I’m blessed to have this opportunity. I’m going to enjoy every moment of it.

DALLAS CRAWFORD
On what it meant to get a win for the seniors…
That was our main focus this week. Everything was about the seniors, guys like Allen and Kacy. They deserve it. They’ve been through a lot. It felt good to get a win for them.

On what is working for him right now...
I’m trusting my offensive line. I’m not trying to do anything that is out of my game. I just get behind those big guys up front, and they lead me to the pay dirt.

KACY RODGERS II
On his last game at home…
There are a lot of emotions coming out here on Senior Day. I’ve been through a lot with these guys, and I’m proud we buckled down and I’m glad we went out this way, and we finished what we started.

On the legacy the senior class has left…
We are men of our word. We’re tough, basically. We have been through a lot and we didn’t quit. We could have transferred, we could have blamed people, but we didn’t. We took it on the chin. I think that is exactly what we will be known for. Tough guys.

On Coach Golden’s tremendous amount of respect for the players...
It means a lot. He’s a stand-up guy. You couldn’t ask for a better coach. For him to say that about us, that is something we’ll always going to remember.