COACH FLOOD: I'd like to start by thanking the fans, the student section. I thought it was a tremendous environment for college football tonight. I thought it was a great showcase, not only for our university, but for our entire state. The way they came out and supported us, it's never been better. It was as good as any environment we've had here in the eight years I've been here.
Certainly disappointed in the game probably does not even need to be said. I felt like the critical, critical kind of swinging point in the game, we fake a field goal for a touchdown. It gets called back for a penalty. They end up driving for a touchdown. We have a fumble on a kickoff return. It's kind of a 21-point swing in a very short amount of time, and we weren't ever able to really swing the momentum back, and that's my job. So I take responsibility for that. I just didn't seem to be able to find the way to swing the momentum back in our favor, and that's unfortunate.
I couldn't be prouder of the players and the effort they showed tonight. We made some tremendous plays on offense, big plays which, when you look at it at the end of the game, you see the time of possession skewed in a tremendous way. But I think the reality is this: They have a tremendous play maker at the quarterback position. At the end of the game and even during the game, he made some great plays, and we just weren't able to match him in the end. They were just a little bit better than we were today.
Congratulations to Coach Strong. They've got an excellent football team. Going forward now, we'll wait till Sunday and find out what bowl game we're playing in and who the opponent is, and be proud of a football team that won nine games and won a share of the Big East title for the first time in the history of this university. Questions?
Q. On that field goal, did you see the guy down field?
COACH FLOOD: I did not.
Q. Was it a miscommunication?
COACH FLOOD: I have to look at it on film and talk to Dave and Rob and see if it was a route that was broken off earlier than it should have or Gary misreading the throw. I'm not sure which one it is just yet.
Q. This was a squandered opportunity? You're up 14-3, you have the ball to start the second half and you have control of the game?
COACH FLOOD: I mean, I don't know. There is a lot of game left to play at that point. Winning the first half doesn't guarantee that you're going to win the game. We were certainly pleased to be in at halftime with that score. I think the missed opportunity for us was that we didn't play clean enough football for 60 minutes to win the football game.
When there is a momentum swing in the game, the head coach has to find a way to try to swing it back, and I wasn't able to do that.
Q. They had it for 42 minutes. Did you get the sense that the defense in the second half was a little fatigued at all?
COACH FLOOD: I really didn't, because to me when you have a fatigued defense, usually that shows itself with your inability to stop the run. But I never felt at any point in that game did we have an inability to stop the run. I felt we got them in some third and long situations, and Teddy Bridgewater makes some spectacular throws and their receivers make excellent catches and they were able to convert.
Q. Did you have to say anything specific after the game tonight?
COACH FLOOD: I met with the players as a whole. I haven't met with them individually, but when we're done here I'll go back down and see all the players. I think we have a football team right now that's hurting. They've poured a lot of their lives into this season, and they've fought extremely hard today. Unfortunately, we didn't do it well enough. That's the reality of today. But the effort and emotion that was poured into that game, right now their hearts have been ripped out.
Q. Offensively, you had the two big touchdowns, but other than that, what did you see them get going more?
COACH FLOOD: I felt like at times during the game, we ran the ball well. But, you're right. The two big play touchdowns through the passing game, we didn't have a lot of plays in the first half. When you don't have a lot of plays, you never seem to be in a great rhythm.
Then in the second half, we start in poor field position, we fielded the kickoff. Started the second half on the 9-yard line, that's where that drive started. The next drive we start pretty good. We're down there, we run the fake field goal and we're in decent shape. The next time we get the ball back and we're behind, so it's a completely different type of game.
The game lacked rhythm for us. But I think it was due to the lack of plays we had more than anything else.
Q. How much different of a team is Louisville with Bridgewater at quarterback as opposed to with Stein at quarterback?
COACH FLOOD: I think any time you have a great player, he makes your team better. I think it's significant. You see some of those throws that he made, I don't know if there is anybody else in our league that could make those throws. Probably the only other quarterback all year that could make those throws is (Indiscernible).
Q. How long do you make the players sit through this one before heading to the bowl game?
COACH FLOOD: We're going to get back together on Sunday and we'll watch the bowl selection show together as a team and find out who our opponent is and what destination we're going to go to.
At that point, it's time to look at the whole season as a body of work. This one hurts, and it's going to hurt. It's going to hurt, but we're going to get through it as a football team. We're going to move on. We're going to get better. When we go out to play that bowl game, we're going to do it the way we do every year, and we're going to go out there to win that bowl game.
Q. Brandon Jones, what happened to him?
COACH FLOOD: Lower body injury. He couldn't come back in the second half, but other than that I don't have an update just yet.
Q. (Indiscernible) in the second half, you see a player, what can you say to secure that (Indiscernible)?
COACH FLOOD: What I say to him is it's okay to hurt. It's okay to hurt. When you care about something as much as these players do, when you work as hard to attain it as they do. And you pour as much of your life into it like they do when you don't get it, it's okay to hurt. There's nothing wrong with that. What's not okay is to stop. I don't see that from any of the players in our program. And I tell them, I thank them. I thank them for all the effort they've given me.
I thank them for the way they've represented this university, and I make sure I promise them that, hey, when we get going on the next one, which for us right now is going to be the bowl game, they're going to get every ounce of me to make sure we do a better job in that bowl game than we did today.
Q. Were you disappointed at all with special teams and the impact on the game?
COACH FLOOD: I'm disappointed we had a turnover on special teams disappointed we had a penalty on special teams that ended up bringing a touchdown back. Those things I'm disappointed in, not special teams in general. My disappointments are in things that we didn't execute well.
Q. (Indiscernible) does that affect a team emotionally when you have points pulled off the board like that?
COACH FLOOD: I think it does, yeah. Those are momentum swings. That's kind of what I was saying before. We have the touchdown called back. Then they get a touchdown, and we have a turnover. So, again, that's a tremendous momentum swing in the game in their favor, and I need to find a way to swing it back, and I didn't do that. And that's completely on me.
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