Nov. 26, 2013
Saturday's game. Very difficult to overcome a 21-0 lead. We started slow on both sides of the ball. They took their opening drive for a touchdown, and then we had the two pick-six situations in the first quarter. I don't know what the odds are of coming back from that, but they are not good. But our guys fought hard. We did get within reach. It seems like every time we got within striking distance, they'd put a score on the board. I thought when we got it to 43-37 that we were going to win the football game. I really did. I thought we had momentum. I believe we got a stop after that and got the ball back, so we had possession, being down 43-37. Anyways, it didn't work out. Credit them. I think they had an outstanding plan offensively. Their quarterback is a terrific player, Connor Halliday. He's a tremendous player, and the receivers played well, and our pass coverage was not good enough. The 21-0 lead we spotted them and their throw game were the two biggest factors in the football game, so give them credit. We've got to be better. We've got to play better. We've got to coach better. That was the bottom line of that game. But, like I said, very proud of the way our guys continue to fight and slug it out. We had a chance at the end and couldn't get it done.
So, moving on to Colorado, obviously the last game of the year. The senior's last game at Rice-Eccles Stadium, and that's the objective now, to send the seniors out on a positive at home in their final game. Colorado, they've got a terrific receiver in Paul Richardson. He's an exceptional ball player. In fact, he's second only to (Oregon State's Brandin) Cooks in the conference in yardage and receptions. He's a guy that's made a lot of plays for them this year, and so we've got to try to have an answer for him.
On Jake Murphy:
He's a great player and a big part of our offense. It has been a big positive to have him back. He had the five catches and actually drew a few pass interference calls, which netted us more yardage. His impact was very much felt in this football game. He's still not able to use his hand and his wrist like he normally would. It still limits him a little bit. But as you could see in the game, he's a weapon for us and was one of our bright spots on offense.
On the senior class:
They have provided great leadership for us all season long. I've bragged on them in that respect all year - making sure things are done the right way, as far as practice and how we conduct ourselves off the field. Trevor Reilly has been a great leader for us. JT [Jeremiah] Tofaeono, Tenny Palepoi. Not only on the field, but off the field as well. It's been a fun group to be around. We're going to miss them. There are a lot of good football players in that group. Kelvin York, who had his best game as a Ute on Saturday. You coach to be around quality people, and this group is quality people.
On Trevor Reilly:
Statistically, I haven't looked to see where he stacks up against some of the guys who have come through here. He's been a big play guy for us for a lot of years now. Very versatile. Spent the whole season bouncing from defensive end to linebacker depending on who we're playing. He really has been an impact guy for us all season long, and over the last three years.
On not going to a bowl game:
Practice is like an extra spring ball that you get when you prepare for a bowl. That is a big negative. We're able to try to offset that in the weight room. We get the guys in the weight room during that period of time and get them bigger and stronger. But there really is no substitute for on-field practice. We try to do the best we can. It is something that you don't want to have happen, but it has happened in successive years.
On Adam Schulz:
He certainly grew as a quarterback, I believe, from last week to this week. Even though there were a couple pick six's. One was not his fault. It was a deflected pass again, which we've seen several times this year. A lot of quarterbacks would not have been able to respond from that and play the way that he did. He ended up throwing for over 300 yards and taking care of the football the rest of the way. We've seen growth in Adam and that growth needs to continue. We've got some good quarterbacks in the program who are redshirting, and so it will be very competitive this spring in that position group.
On traveling Travis Wilson to WSU:
He'll be on the sideline again this weekend. There won't be an update on him for months. It will be a minimum of three months before we will know anything else. I think he was a definite help for our football team, particularly Adam on the sidelines. We thought enough of that situation to use one of our 70 travel spots for Pac-12 games. Whether you are injured or not, you count if you are on the trip. We thought that was important enough to bring Travis and utilize one of those spots. I think he did a good job.
On a rivalry with Colorado:
It doesn't have the real flavor of that completely. With the game's position at the end of the season, and I guess that's the closest school to us geographically in the conference, maybe the beginnings of one. I wouldn't say it's a full-on rivalry though. Not at this point in time.
On looking back at close losses and what could have been:
Pretty much every game. Every loss anyways. You can point to the losses and a couple of plays here or there and that's usually what close games come down to. Those three or four or sometimes five momentum-changing plays or plays that decide the game. Looking back, UCLA came down to the wire, Arizona State we couldn't hold the lead, Arizona we were ahead in the third quarter and weren't able to generate any offense after that. Against Oregon it was 17-14 in the third quarter. There is a lot of that going on in my mind. It seems like every game that's been the case. This past weekend was no different. When we cut it to 43-37, I thought we had the momentum and were going to pull that one out. I think about that all the time.
On handling the losses:
You have to handle it. It's a competitive profession and we're in a competitive league. It's certainly a huge disappointment for me personally, and I take it personally. It's on my shoulders. I'm in charge of this program. There is nowhere to point the finger but right here. All you can do is keep working and keep searching for answers and keep trying to get things headed back in the right direction.
On Keith McGill being invited to the Senior Bowl:
I feel excited for Keith. The way he responded to the position change and embraced his new role and really did a fine job. He was very good on Saturday as well. He's exceeded my expectations. I knew he could be a really good corner, but he's really played exceptionally well and played himself into the Senior Bowl, which is a great honor. The in vogue thing in the NFL right now is the big corner, and he fits that mold to a tee, so he's going to have that opportunity there.