Sept. 24, 2012
The bottom line is that we got taken to the woodshed by Arizona State. They whipped up in every phase of the game. They outcoached and outplayed us. Give them all the credit. What they did in the game was exactly what we saw on tape, and it really was no contest. We've got a lot of work to do this week. We'll get some bumps and bruises healed up and get a chance to mentally refocus and set our sights on the task ahead. We have another big challenge ahead of us and we've got to be much better than we were on Saturday night.
The biggest disappointment was the way the defense played. Usually we are very consistent and solid and we didn't perform very well defensively. It was a tough night for us.
On looking ahead:
It's absolutely essential that we respond. Wins in conference are tough to come by every single week. Next week we are probably playing the most talented team in the conference in USC. They have talent throughout the roster and we've got to respond. We find out what we're made of this week and what kind of resiliency we have. In the past we've done a pretty good job with that, and we'll see if we can do it again.
On handling Arizona State's defense:
We didn't handle the blitz packages well. That's our fault as coaches. We have to be better equipped. If we don't handle the pressure we're going to keep seeing it until the cows come home, and we kept seeing it and we didn't respond. That's another point of emphasis. If you don't do something to slow it down, it's going to keep coming at you snap after snap.
With Moe Lee, he had 2-or-3 breakdowns early, and we thought we needed to make a change. Wykie Freeman came in and made some nice plays for us. That was his first real opportunity to get some playing time. When you have a loss like that, it makes you rethink everything that you're doing. You want to make sure you have the best players on the field. There will be opportunities to have guys step up in practice.
We probably were a little too willing to continue to try to run the ball. When you look at the numbers, Jon Hays had an efficiency rating over 140, so he did a pretty good job throwing the ball. In hindsight, we should have been willing to throw the ball a little more. [Kelvin] York ran hard and didn't put the ball on the ground. That was another thing that led to our demise, was the 3-0 turnover ratio. Putting the ball on the ground is something we can't tolerate.
On the defense:
We weren't reading properly and had too many blown assignments. That was the biggest factor that led to our demise. We didn't cover well at all.
We've played very well defensively up until this past game. To me the biggest disappointment was the letdown on defense, and I attribute that to blown assignments and not doing what you're supposed to do.