Nov. 1, 2003

Recap?|? Final Stats?|? Notes

Tyrone Willingham Quotes

On Florida State’s play
They consistently kept the pressure on us and didn’t allow us to make the plays that we needed to make. We were concerned coming into the ball game. One, with their vertical passing game, and that, more I think than anything else, hurt us with their ability of receivers to make plays. Also the play of their quarterback I thought was excellent. I thought there were times we had him sacked and let him out and he made big plays and threw it up and allowed their guys to make the play. So it was one of those days you look back at and you’re not happy about, not pleased about. I thought they did some very good things.

On lack of execution
Well, I’ve always said it’s never one area. And I think I’ve said that all the time. It’s not just execution. You’ve got to help them, the players, with things when they aren’t going well execution wise. We as coaches have very little margin. We’ve got to put them in absolutely the most perfect thing we can put them in and then execution is part of that.

I don’t know if I can explain it because I think if I would then hopefully we’d have some answers prior to this moment and I wouldn’t have to answer tha question. We’re still working, we’ll still try to find out answers to all those things that could allow us to be a good team like I think we can be.

Number one, I think our football team came out with some energy, some fight. I don’t think they gave up at any point. I think as the game wore on, even offensively we got better. We found a way to get some yardage in some ways and keep going. I think that’s the base that you have to start with and I think this team has that.

About not converting after Duff’s interception I think that was a big one when you’re playing a very good football team. There were three things that happened in there if I remember correctly. There was a holding call if I’m correct followed by a time-out that the personnel did not get correctly. That’s what cost us an extra 10 or 15 there. And then we had the blocked kick if I’m correct. So when you combine that all together, those are the kind of mistakes you cannot make.

On coaching this season
That is always one of the most difficult jobs of any coach. When things aren’t going well, to keep the team moving forward, to keep them positive. We will find ways to do that. I can’t tell you exactly what they are today. We’ll talk with out seniors, we’ll talk with our players and make sure we understand there are still things this football team can accomplish. When you start with just basic pride of being an athlete. You work on that and you come out and you play the game the way it should be played.

When you get in the red zone you first of all have to get a great call and great execution. We’ve got to put those two together for us to have success in the red zone.

About the remainder of the season
We’ve got a third of a season that will still challenge us very much. But if we can continue to keep coming forward, and Julius can continue to play hard as he’s played. Both he and Ryan Grant. I think Ryan did some great things this afternoon – not great things, but some good things this afternoon. Then we can find a way hopefully to have some run game which makes it much easier. Because anytime you’re in a contest and you’re down two or three touchdowns and you have to just pass, you play right into the other team’s hands. And unfortunately, that’s the case, the situation, we found ourselves in.

Notre Dame Player Quotes

Senior CB Jason Beckstrom
On Notre Dame’s play…
“Today we didn’t get the job done. We didn’t make the plays we needed to early on, and we got flatter and flatter as the game went on.”

On what there is left to play for…
“For me this being my fifth and last year, it’s pride. The thing I tell the younger guys is that this is a metaphor for life. Despite the fact that we are now 2-6, we can’t give up. In life you are going to get curve balls, you are going to get down, but you got to keep on going.”

Senior RB Julius Jones
On what the team will do now… “We’ll just keep playing. You know we all love this game, and we can never give up.”

Senior CB Preston Jackson
On Notre Dame’s play…
“We just didn’t make the right plays at the right time. We forced them to throw the ball, which we wanted to do. We wanted Chris Rix to put the ball in the air and match up against the wide receivers. We didn’t play the ball well. The defense as a whole did not make plays.”

On next week’s Navy contest…
“We have to prepare a whole different way. We have to get more physical, more aggressive, and be a lot more disciplined.”

Junior CB Dwight Ellick
On play of Florida State receivers…
“They are probably the fastest team we have played this year. They aren’t really aggressive, but they are tall and fast, and they make plays.”

On the confidence of the secondary…
“Our confidence level hasn’t changed at all. I think it is one of the things that makes us unique. We forget plays as they happen, we move on to the next play. We still feel that we are one of the best secondaries in the nation. It is just a matter of going out and proving it. Today we didn’t get the job done.”

Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden

On game…
“I don’t know why we were able to do what we did tonight. We picked tonight to play our best offensively and defensively. We didn’t embarrass them any more than they embarrassed us last year. … This is probably my last visit to Notre Dame, it’s been a thrill to me.”

On play of Notre Dame freshman quarterback Brady Quinn…
“They have a freshman quarterback that’s playing in his first year and that is very difficult. We went through that two years ago, but ours was a redshirt freshman. With that are going to come hot and cold days.”

On difference in the game…
“That’s where we took charge of the ballgame, being able to get long stuff. Our quarterback laid it out there pretty good and our receivers caught it good and ran with it. That was the difference in the ballgame from an offensive standpoint.”

On blocked Notre Dame field goal in first quarter…
“There’s no telling, that could have been as big as any of them because had they got those three points that would have made it 10-3 and given them momentum and confidence. That was probably big. But the interceptions for touchdowns were big too.”

On play of Florida State defense…
“For them to have as many shots as they had inside the 5 or the 10, and for us to keep them out of there you would have to say your defense played well. It might have been Kansas in 1993 where our defense played this good or was this impressive. That was just about equal to what happened out there tonight.”

On play of Florida State junior quarterback Chris Rix…
“We are so much a better ballclub when he’s playing well. He’s always been a guy to make a play that you can’t draw on the board. But then he’ll make a play that might hurt you.”

On tradition of Notre Dame…
“It’s been 10 years since we’ve been here. Our 1993 team was here and they learned what tradition is. I sure tried to tell them what this university means to college football. Some of the comments made to me afterwards made me feel like this was something special. I talked to them explaining what it’s like. Our 1993 team was there and learned what tradition is.”

Florida State Player Quotes

FSU Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews
“It is real special to shut them out after what happened last year. We wanted to come in here and play hard and we were definitely able to accomplish that.”

Junior WR Craphonsio Thorpe
On Play Calling and Execution
“Sometimes the play calling is big. We were blessed enough to get the looks that we wanted and executed several times. If we go out there and play like we can play, I feel like we can do that every games.”

On Chris Rix
“I think Chris is getting more confidence in himself. He is giving the wide receivers good chances to make the catch.”

On Opening Offensive Play
“Coaches just had faith in me and Chris put the ball in a perfect spot. And God blessed me enough to get by the defender and make the play.”

On Vontez Duff and One-on-One Coverage
“I watched a lot of film on him but I don’t believe that anyone can cover me one-on-one.”

Senior QB Chris Rix
On redeeming himself from last season’s game
“You know what a different a year can make. Personally my goal was just to come up here and win and it didn’t matter by how many. I can tell my kids someday that I beat Notre Dame.”

On quick start

“It was exciting to get off to a good start. Our coaches knew they were going to blitz and we tried to take advantage of that with big plays and fortunately we were able to hit on them. It definitely took some of the pressure off.”

On Offensive Execution
“We didn’t run the ball as well as we wanted to but coaches called a great game today and we had a good game plan coming in and we were able to do what we had to do most of the time.”

Senior LB Michael Boulware
On Shut-Out
“I did not think we would shut these guys out. I knew our defense was good but it feels good to shut a team out at their place.”

On Defensive Play inside the 20-yardline
“It was just a matter of the defense coming together and sticking to t heir assignments and protecting their assigned gaps.”

Junior CB Leroy Smith
“We always expect a shut-out. We talked a little bit about what happened last year and in ’93 but our main focus was to stay focused. We are ranked third in the BCS so we wanted to come here and take care of business and dominant.”