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Post Game Quotes

Sep 7, 2013

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes |  Photo Gallery 

Head Coach Todd Monken
Opening Statement...
"Obviously, disappointing in the way we played to start the football game. When you come to a tough place to play and start the opening series and get a first down and then turn the ball over, let alone it leads to a score. It is the second week in a row that we have done that early in the game. It really makes it difficult coming back from that. I thought our guys battled back and played hard. I still like our football team, I think we have a great group of kids, and I think we are going to keep improving. It is obvious we have to figure out a way to run the football and protect the football. It is the second week in a row that we were not able to do that against a really good football team. When you do that, you don't give yourself a chance to win. I am disappointed because I really thought in a lot of ways we played better. We did certain things better, but obviously it wasn't the end result. We came up here to win. I don't care who we are playing, we are going to come to win and we didn't get that accomplished. There are no moral victories. We have to work on things to make us a better football team, and give us a chance to win."

On thing USM did do better...
"It is individual things. Probably to the naked eye you wouldn't see it, but some of our younger players I thought played with more confidence. Some of our younger receivers, obviously in the secondary we started three sophomores and a freshman, and early on they didn't look out of place. We played a lot of freshmen that way, and then I thought early on our passing game was sharper. I thought we were on point. Obviously we had the turnovers. One was a drop. But I thought we had a good plan going and running the football. I thought our defense, we were playing a much stiffer opponent this week, and it won't show up that way but statistically we made them play way-way-way too many snaps. The reality is I thought they played better today for some of the guys we had out."

On the offensive success in the first quarter not translating through the game...
"It is hard when you can't run the football and stay balanced. After a while you get real edgy, and they started to pin their ears back and started to come after us a little bit. We saw that last week. Obviously as we got further along in fourth quarter, at that point we were not going to win the football game, we didn't want to expose ourselves to anything else. We are not going to win the game and the guys that get hurt, we aren't going to be able to use them. So it started off that way. Obviously we didn't give ourselves that chance to stay in the game and that is part of it. I thought again we had a good plan, but we just didn't execute it."

On the defensive success...
"Once again it's hard. Like I said, I thought our guys had great fight but at the end of the day they're physical up front, and they run the football very well, and they are going to grind you down. That is what they are going to do, and I thought for the most part we kept (Taylor) Martinez in check. He is going to make his plays, and he had a nice scramble the one time and had some nice throws, but for the most part we did a pretty good job. We exposed ourselves to many of those opportunities. You want them to feel the pressure and force them to make plays while we are still in the game and moving it. We never got to that point. There was always a comfort level - relaxed - that no play would have any consequence. We didn't get a chance to do that today."

Tyre'oune Holmes
On the Southern Miss' offense...
"We were very successful offensively tonight. We moved the ball how we wanted to, but the turnovers hurt us a lot. We are going to work hard at catching the ball, tucking and running, and executing the offense. It's something we can do and we have to take advantage of it at all times."

On what worked well offensively...
"I ran my routes strong, finished catches, worked the space when I got the ball. I tucked the ball and was taking care of it."

On the one-on-one plays...
"It was something we wanted to take advantage of. We tried to get one-on-one plays and create tackling space. We felt like we had a chance against Nebraska one-on-one in space."

DeBarriaus Miller
On Southern Miss' defensive plan...
"First, we had to stop the run and force them into passing situations."

On their defense when Nebraska was inside their own red zone...
"When we pinned them down deep, we knew they were going to run, just to get out of there. They had high percentage runs, but we knew where it was going to be. We just had to make plays and make tackles."

On his individual performance...
"Last week I had a lot of high violations. This week, I had to come into the game and step up because we lost our strong safety for a little bit. I had to stay low, because high violations were a big thing."

On what the defense was like compared to last week...
"We're getting better and better each week. We're trying to stop the run. Next week, we have to stop the run again. We have to make tackles in the space and be physical."

On if playing in Nebraska's environment will help them moving forward...
"Yes, sir. We know that we are playing against stiff competition. We won't bow down to anybody. We know that we are going to play against big competition the next couple of games and then we'll dominate."


Taylor Martinez
On improving from week one...
"It was very important just to get our rhythm going. It's kind of hard to start on your own 1-yard line like we did the first series. After that, I think we got our rhythm going. I think we did a pretty good job up front on offense."

On Stanley Jean-Baptiste's interception and touchdown...
"It was a huge boost just showing that our defense came ready to play today. We see Stanley (Jean-Baptiste) picking off passes like that in practice, and we see the defense playing like that against us. I'm happy to see that they came out there today and played like that. I'm really happy for Stanley, and I think everybody on the defense did a good job. A few true freshmen started as well, and I think they did pretty good."

On the defensive mindset after last week...
"I think the defense, Coach (Bo) Pelini and the rest of the staff were on a mission, knowing that they don't play defense like that and give up all of those yards. I'm glad that they came out today and created all those turnovers to help us out a lot. I think our offense kind of rolled from there after that first pick."

On taking more shots down the field...
"Based on the game plan, you can't really tell what a team's going to do to you during the week. Once we started playing today, I think you could tell if we were going to go deep or short. I think they were trying to cheat their corners in a little bit for our short stuff, so I think that's why some deep stuff opened up. Other than that, it was just based on what we saw on the field."

On having more success in the run game in the second quarter...
"I think it was on Coach (Tim) Beck and what he saw up top. It's hard to tell what a defense is doing when you start on the 1-yard line. On our second series we went down and scored. I think once Beck saw that, he started getting in a rhythm with our offense and that had a lot do with it."

On facing UCLA next week...
"We just have to go out there and play our game. If we keep doing what we're doing, I think we'll be fine. Hopefully, our defense got a huge confidence boost from this. I'm really happy for our defense, and I hope they can play like this next week."

On the team maturing this week...
"I think they did. I think last week was a huge shock. Maybe we thought we could just come in and roll over on the team, but we didn't. We let them back in the game late in the fourth. Today, I think we did a really good job finishing. Hopefully, going into UCLA, we can keep this momentum going."

On Sam Burtch's touchdown...
"When (Sam) Burtch came in the game last week, I threw the pick. But I was glad I could come back and throw the touchdown pass to him. I'm glad he got open and that I was able to get him the football."

Josh Banderas
On when he knew he was going to start...
"I found out on Thursday during the walkthru. We were just stretching, and Coach (Ross) Els came by and said, 'You're with the ones.' I kind of dropped a load in my pants, but I was kind of excited."

On bouncing back from last week...
"I think it's extremely important. Last week wasn't really up to our standards, and everyone knew it. We wanted to prove to ourselves what we can do and that we can be a dominant team."

On Stanley Jean-Baptiste's interception and touchdown...
"It was a big boost. Regardless of that, we were ready to go. But any time you get a pick-six or a giant swing like that, it's a big confidence booster and swing in the game."

On better coverage than last week...
"We have two great defensive masterminds coaching us, and the rest of the defensive staff knows what they're doing. They knew how to adjust. They ended up simplifying it a little bit, and it ended up working for us."

On picking up the speed of the game...
"I'm still learning, but as far as the speed of the game, I think I've got it pretty much under hand. The most speed and the most change from high school is before the snap. It's in the film room and knowing what to do on every snap. During the actual plays, it's just going out and playing football like I have forever."

On his nerves...
"I wasn't really nervous, just excited, happy and on another level. My legs weren't shaking, and I wasn't about to throw up. It was just a happy mood for me."

On starting in week two as a freshman...
"It's what I wanted, but I didn't know it would hop up on me this fast. I'm going to take it in stride and keep working and improving this week. Hopefully, I'll solidify a starting spot if I can."

Ameer Abdullah
On the team's sense of urgency...
"We know preparation is key to how we are going to play on Saturday. I thought we had a good week of preparation and we really showed it on the field today."

On how important it was to play well...
"It was very important. You always make your biggest jump from week one to week two. To see the jump that our team is making is good. I like it. I like the direction we are moving in. We just have to pin our ears back and keep making those jumps."

On how the defense's start set the tone for the offense...
"It was great. It takes a lot of stress off you. Just seeing those guys play lights out really gives you a confidence boost heading into your drives. It was much appreciated."

On what changed this week in practice...
"The sense of urgency. We made sure we were more efficient. We made sure we weren't taking reps off. We were going the same speed as we do during the game. What you do in practice is going to come out in game days. I thought we prepared really well."

On his touchdown run...
"The O-Line got a really good push. They cut off the back side. The O-Line pretty much did all the work. The receivers were out on the perimeter all day. I do all the easy stuff. They do all the hard work. I tip my hat to those guys."

On how important that was after Southern Miss scored...
"It was really important. We wanted to finish the game strong. We still have to get better at four-minute offense and finishing the game stronger. Getting that touchdown really set the momentum for the rest of the half. It was great."

Randy Gregory
On how much better this game was for the defense...
"I think we did a better job of preparing this week than we did last week. We had a more serious approach and that showed on the field."

On what the team changed this week...
"We had a few kinks in our defense I think we needed to fix. I think we did a good job of fixing that. We had a few plays where we gave up really big (yardage) last week. We felt like (Southern Miss) would come out this week and use the same kind of plays against us. The coaches did a great job of setting us up with new plays. We were able to come back and have a better game this week."

On if Southern Miss ran a lot of the same plays as Wyoming...
"They did a lot of the screen-type things. Sitting in the backfield. (Southern Miss) did a lot of the belly and read-option type stuff. I think the biggest thing was their quarterback wasn't as mobile this week. He kind of stood in the pocket more, so that helped us out a lot more."

On if he felt like he was getting into Southern Miss quarterback Allan Bridgford's head...
"I thought I was going to get a sack eventually, but I didn't. Just like anybody, those hits are going to take a toll. I think it did. I think he did a good job of staying in there and taking the hits. I think with the interceptions, (that helped us out)."

On how important having a feel good win was...
"It was really important, especially heading into UCLA next week. I think it was a big confidence boost, especially for ourselves. We didn't play that well last week. We got the win but we weren't proud of it. This win was big for us as a team."

On the defense's sense of urgency this week in practice...
"I did a better job of watching film. Outside of practice and outside of meetings, I think we all did, collectively. Like I said, I think it showed on the field and it showed in practice. Whenever we messed up on a play in practice, we ran through it again. Overall our preparation for the game was over-the-top. It was phenomenal."

On how easy he got into the backfield tonight...
"There were a couple plays where I thought they might be running a screen or a draw or something like that. I think my pass rushing game is pretty good. A lot of times I'll get in there pretty quick and I think it's because I did a pretty good job on that play but I have to keep playing and get to the quarterback as quickly as I can."

Ciante Evans
On his two interceptions...
"I just think that any turnover helps the team out, especially the one I had in the second half. I know we came out a little flat for defense giving up a score, you know, coming out at halftime. I just try to work my best at helping this team out."

On the mood going into the game from last week...
"I've just seen a lot more sense of urgency, especially on the defensive side. Younger guys wanted to learn more and do more. They had their first real playing time last week against Wyoming, so those guys just wanted to pick up some slack and not be considered young anymore."

On his touchdown...
"It was just an under route by the receiver who was running the other out in. I was just trailing him. I was just going to make the tackle, but he ended up dropping it and I was right there. So that's all she wrote for me."

On his interception opportunities...
"Just being blessed, that's what happens. I thank God for that, and that's all it takes."

On his impression of freshman linebacker Josh Banderas...
"Oh, I think he did a good job today. He took control of that linebacker spot. Being the middle linebacker is not easy, but he was in command today. He was put in God's right position and was giving it to God to play. I just think he did a phenomenal job today, especially starting as a freshman."

On how hard it is to play as a true freshman...
"Well when you're young, you don't know a lot. You just know what you've been coached in. You don't really have as much game experience as somebody like Stanley (Jean-Baptiste) or myself. I think he did a good job and he handled it well. He had some different things thrown at him tonight, but I thought he was in the right spot and was able to communicate."

On the front seven this week compared to last week...
"I thought those guys played good up front. They put on a lot of pressure, and a lot was put on the quarterback. Those guys have been working hard, so kudos to them. And the secondary, we kudos them. Without them we wouldn't have been able to get those turnovers that we got."

On what he said to Corey Cooper after his interception...
'I was just telling him that I knew he was going to get one. He wanted one all game. He wanted to stay on the field, and he didn't want to come off the field until he got one. He was in the right spot at the right time."

On freshman linebacker Nathan Gerry's first start...
"I thought he did good too. He just played fast and didn't let the atmosphere dictate how he played. He just went out there and gave great effort. And that's what you look for in young guys. That's all you can ask for. Yeah, he did a good job."

On when he turns his attention to UCLA...
"For me, I think it starts tomorrow. But we don't get into the game plan until Monday. As a team, we can't be complacent. We have to take this win tonight and let it go tomorrow so that we can we can be able to take on the Bruins on Saturday."

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