CINCINNATI INTERIM HEAD COACH JEFF QUINN
PLAYERS TONY PIKE and ANDRE REVELS
January 1, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the official postgame press conference for the 2010 Allstate Sugar Bowl. We’ll begin with Coach Quinn, and we have Tony Pike and Andre Revels. Coach Quinn will make an opening statement and then we’ll open the floor to questions.
COACH QUINN: Obviously, coming into this football game with this football team being 120, you know, and then the outcome of tonight’s contest certainly wasn’t the way we expected it to go.
And I give credit to Coach Meyer and the Florida Gators and their ball club. Tremendous football team. Defending national champs, and certainly tonight they displayed why they’re a great football team. And I couldn’t be more proud of our young men battling the way they did all year long, as I’ve said. And really as one of the most huge things I like to say is nothing is good as it seems, nothing is bad as it seems, but somewhere in between reality falls. And we’re going to get better from it and stronger from this.
And certainly our seniors have just given us a lot, and our fans coming down here have been tremendously supportive of this football team. So I couldn’t be more proud of the way these young men battled all year to get down here to this point. But it is disappointing.
And I know it’s going to hurt for a bit. And hopefully our seniors will be able to take a lot of great memories. But they’re the greatest class that’s been through the University of Cincinnati football. It’s the best football team we’ve seen here. In three short years they’ve overcome a lot. We appreciate all these things these young men have been able to do for us and the great city of Cincinnati.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Jeff, were they just too good or what went wrong? Was there something they did that you didn’t expect or was Tebow just too good?
COACH QUINN: Really, if you look at the two halves, early on in the game, we just you know, we had some key penalties early on. We had some missed blocks. You know, those things will beat you.
And we keep telling our kids, you can’t start winning until you stop beating yourself. And tonight we saw them first half, we just missed some plays. Guys and again give credit to Florida. Absolutely. They’re a great football team.
And certainly they challenged us every single snap. So the combination really was the thing that really got to us. But I really like the way our kids came out in the second half.
They rallied around the challenge in terms of being down, and I really like the way they competed in the second half and made some plays in some key situations for us.
Q. Tony and Andre, you both talked in the week about wanting to erase the taste from last year. How does it feel having this happen when you were so determined to do better this time?
TONY PIKE: It’s never easy to go through a loss, especially one like this. But really after a game like this and as a senior class, it’s harder to look back and say okay, we’re going to fix that and do that, because our college careers are done.
So this is more about just getting with your friends and getting with your guys in the journey you’ve made with them and just enjoying it. I wouldn’t trade playing at Cincinnati with these guys for anything in the world. And I’ve loved every minute of it, and I’ve loved just the support we’ve got from fans and family and just being teammates with each other.
Something that special about college football and something I’d never give up.
ANDRE REVELS: I feel the same way he does. You never want to finish a season this way, but the guys inside that locker room, they battled to the very end and the coaching staff did a great job. And that’s basically it.
Q. Tony, why do you think you guys weren’t able to move the ball early in this game?
TONY PIKE: I think Coach Quinn hit it on the head. You know, you look at the first drive when we come out and we’re moving the ball like we have all year, and we hit a few drivestopping penalties and the next drive we have a sack and maybe a dropped pass.
And that stuff adds up. Against a team like Florida you’ve got to play your very best. We knew that, like Coach Quinn said, we made the mistakes that we couldn’t make. We knew we had to play our best. We didn’t do that tonight.
But at the same time, you know, when we got it going and we got it moving, we can move the ball. Like I’ve said all year, I’m confident of our offense against anyone in the country. And when our offense is going, it can go against anyone. There were spurts of that tonight, but at the same time we had too many mistakes.
Q. Jeff, you said yesterday at the coach’s news conference that playing these games isn’t enough. Winning these games is what matters. That’s what brings the credibility if you win a game like this. That said, with the result tonight, what does this do, if anything, to Cincinnati’s credibility and also the credibility of the Big East?
COACH QUINN: You know, there’s a lot to be said about getting here. And to be able to be in this situation, this is why we do it. Obviously Florida is a great football team. They’ve got a great coaching staff, and certainly you’ve got to play your A game against a great football team. And that’s the way it went down tonight. You know, you certainly don’t gain the credibility by losing a game 5124, from that standpoint.
But, you know, I can’t tell you anything more than our kids have came down here, being undefeated, running through the schedule we’ve been through, certainly I didn’t expect that many points and certainly not be able to move the ball the first half to put points on to keep things in a closer matchup. But they’re a great team. And you’ve got to give credit to Florida. They’ve been the national champs two times. We’re working towards that. They’ve set the bar.
This is where this program needs to go, and our young men are challenged to know that our seniors in this team set the bar. So they’ve got a lot of work to do to get back here and certainly win a BCS football game against a great team like Florida.
Q. Do you think the game would have been any different at all without all the coaching distractions that went into it? How much did it play into the team not giving its best effort tonight?
COACH QUINN: It has nothing to do with our team’s effort. But it doesn’t help, you know? It’s never easy to have coaching changes right before your season ends. It’s hard to do. You go through this thing all together. And it’s just like a player not being there that’s a key guy.
Just like your head coach, Brian Kelly. To lose him at this point was not an easy thing to do. But at the same time, you know, we made the best of it. I’m proud of it, the work our kids put in to get ready for this game.
And certainly we’re not going to hang our heads. There’s just no way. These kids have worked too hard and we’ve been through too much in a short period of time. So with that, hopefully our kids will learn and hopefully this won’t happen again.
TONY PIKE: I also think as a group of players, you know, with the situation we were thrown into, we as a group wish Coach Kelly nothing but the best. We knew it was a decision he had to make. But at the same time the coaching staff and Coach Quinn, you know, it wasn’t easy being thrown into something like that.
But from a player’s standpoint and what goes on in the locker room, we couldn’t thank them more for the job that they did. They’ve got a lot of stuff going on, and at times they didn’t know where they were going to be next year and if they were going to have a job. But you could never tell that at practice or at any time.
So the job that they did just putting us first, because they have lives and they have families, but they showed that this team was first during this bowl preparation, and we want to thank them for that.
Q. I just wonder what it was like playing against Tebow tonight. Have you ever seen a quarterback like that before?
ANDRE REVELS: As I said before the game, and in all these interviews, is that Tim Tebow is a great leader, and he leads his troops into battle, and they succeed. I know this, though: No coaching change is easy. But Coach Quinn and his staff made it the easiest transition that it could possibly be, because of how they stuck with us, you know.
And then reversing back to the credibility question, the Cincinnati Bearcats this year have been counted out 13 times. 12 times in a row we came away with a victory. One time, one time you guys got it right, and that’s today.
But don’t take anything away from our credibility. Our record speaks for itself.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.