An Interview With:
COACH WILL MUSCHAMP
THE MODERATOR: We’ll begin with Coach Will Muschamp, quarterback Jeff Driskel, and defensive lineman Omar Hunter. We’ll start with an opening statement and then go to questions.
COACH MUSCHAMP: Well, got outcoached and outplayed. That’s what I told the football team. That’s the bottom line. You go out and you get beat, you get beat. And that’s what happened.
It’s unfortunate they score on the first play of the game and that kind of sets the momentum against us. Guys continue to play hard and just didn’t get some of the things done we wanted to accomplished in the game. Got behind the eight ball. Struggled on third down defense the entire game, got us out of whack a little bit.
And give Bridgewater credit, he made some throws, made some plays. Again, credit their organization. They did a good job, and we got outcoached and outplayed. Questions?
Q. Could you talk about the decision to go for the onside kick, what went into that?
COACH MUSCHAMP: The start of the second half? We felt like it was there. We hit it too hard. It’s something that both their guys were lined outside the hash, we game planned it and felt good about it, we wanted to steal a possession the start of the second half. We had struggled defensively in the first half and felt like you try to gain some momentum in the game.
Q. I don’t think you forced a punt all night. And also a school record, 194 yards in penalties. Just talk about that a little bit.
COACH MUSCHAMP: Disappointing. Obviously we didn’t third down killed us in the first half. We couldn’t get off the field. Struggled again in the second half. Penalties are disappointing. Gotta continue to work on it.
Q. Do you feel like losing like this in the last game of the season kind of taints all the other big wins in the season?
COACH MUSCHAMP: No. We’ve had a great year. We’ve had a great year. We’re building something here. We’re building a program. It was an unfortunate setback, and it’s one game. So we still won 11 games and we still did a lot of very positive things in my opinion this season. Obviously, this is a sour day and a sour note, and I apologize to our fans and the university.
But we’ve had a great year, and we’re moving this thing forward at a rapid pace. And I’m excited where we are. Very disappointed with the outcome today, but very positive as we move forward.
Q. Can the players follow up? How tough is it to leave the season you had?
JEFF DRISKEL: We did have a great year with a lot of wins. But at the end of the day we didn’t come through the day and we didn’t make enough plays. It’s unfortunate, but come January 7th we’re going to be refocused and ready to go for next season.
OMAR HUNTER: Like Jeff said, it’s unfortunate we didn’t get this win today. But I know these young guys, guys like Jeff and some of the young guys we have, come strong next year and they’ll be ready to play.
Q. Will, you talked earlier in the week about Teddy scrambling to make plays down the field. Could you talk about his pocket plays tonight?
COACH MUSCHAMP: He did a nice job. We got displaced in our rush lanes at times and opened some lanes up for him. So it was disappointing. He did a nice job of keeping plays alive.
Q. In the third quarter I remember you guys got a big sack from Damien Jacobs. Could you talk about the sack, and he left the game a little later, and could you just comment on his status and how that kind of took away from that momentum on the defensive line?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Damien is a guy that’s played pretty well for us, got his weight back up from an injury earlier in the year. He hurt his shoulder earlier in the game. He should be fine.
Q. Coach, do you think there’s a factor that happens to certain teams when they’re so close to playing for the national championship that they don’t get that opportunity, that they might have a letdown in a game like this?
COACH MUSCHAMP: I don’t think so. I think we had good preparation. We just didn’t play very well. Didn’t coach very well.
Our kids were excited about being here at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, and they outcoached us and outplayed us.
Q. Loucheiz Purifoy, what happened there?
COACH MUSCHAMP: He had a thigh bruise. He’ll be fine.
Q. Any other injuries with anyone?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Not that I know of. Those are the only two.
Q. Jeff, can you speak to the first play of the game and maybe what you saw unfold and how that happened?
JEFF DRISKEL: It was a flat defender read. Flat defender chase. Opened up the curl line to Andre Debose and I threw it behind him. Tried to make a play on it, tipped it right to the guy. And the corner made a good play.
Unfortunate to start the game like that, but made a good play.
Q. Does something like that affect you going on into the game, or is that something that sticks in your head, it happened that fast?
COACH MUSCHAMP: You can’t let it affect you. We went back to that play a couple times later in the game. But as a quarterback you gotta shake it off, and at that time we had the whole game in front of us. So you can’t let a play like that affect you for the rest of the game.
Q. Can you talk a little bit more about that play as well? I know you touched on it at the beginning, but just the impact of the very first play from scrimmage going the other way, did you talk to Jeff or the team after that and just kind of how you reacted to that first play?
COACH MUSCHAMP: You still have the whole game to play. We had plenty of opportunities in the game to win the game and we didn’t get it done. That’s one play in the game, and one play doesn’t win or lose a game.
So we had plenty of opportunities to get back into the football game and didn’t do it.
Q. You mentioned third down as part of the offensive struggles. What were the reasons they weren’t able to convert, put some drives together?
COACH MUSCHAMP: I was talking about the defense.
Q. Then can you talk about the offensive struggles, what you thought were keys to that?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Again, I felt like we had a second, third first third down of the game we had an opportunity for completed pass, running back’s got his head around and catch the football. We had protection issues in some situations, but we gotta stay on the field more, offensively, and a lot of that went to our defense because we didn’t get off the field on third down.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.