USF Head Coach Skip Holtz talks about the Bulls heartbreaking 16-19 home loss to UCONN.
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USF head coach Skip Holtz
“Well, this one hurts. Everyone already talked about how there was nothing really riding on it for us, and we’re not trying to play the spoiler role or anything else, but we just wanted to turn and send these seniors out the right way for the foundation they have laid, everything that they’ve done for this program, and just the attitude that they’ve had. It hurts to lose a game like this, especially as hard fought as it was. I’m really proud of this football team for the effort, the energy, the commitment that they’ve made to this program, to what they did this week, the way that they worked, the physical nature that they played with. I’m really proud of these guys. We had our opportunities tonight.
I will give Connecticut an awful lot of credit. They did what they had to do in order to win this game. 52 and 50 yard field goals—it hurts to lose a close scoring game like that, but when you make some of the mistakes that we did—we threw three interceptions in this game, one of them went for six points. We outgained them by 100 yards with a young quarterback who stepped in there and did some really good things. We just couldn’t get it done. I take blame, everyone is quick to point everywhere else, I look at myself first. I’d love to go back and redo the final two minutes of that game, or minute and a half. We ran the ball on first down and got no yards. We turned it loose in the backfield and gained no gain. We tried to say “you know what? There’s one-on-one coverage, they’re loading the box, let’s lay it up and give Bogan a chance to make a play. He’s made so many for us this year. In hindsight, putting that on a freshman, I should’ve run the ball even if we didn’t gain any yards. I should’ve run the ball and ate up the clock and not have given them an opportunity to turn, go back down, and kick the field goal.
We’ll have to look at some things—as coaches, as players—we’ll often look back in a game like this and in a one play, a game like this, you beat yourself up over one play or another. But, I’m just really proud of these players and the effort that they put forth. I’m really proud of the way that they worked and the way that they played this year. We’re looking forward to a bowl game. Hopefully we’ll find out what bowl game we’re going to sometime tomorrow morning. We’ll have a better idea of what type of schedule we get a chance to put together. We can get back to the practice field, get some things done and get ready for a bowl game.”
On throwing the ball 41 times with QB Bobby Eveld…
“A lot of those were ball control things early with what they were trying to do. A lot of bubble screens and things like that. Ball control, underneath, I wasn’t asking him to throw the ball all the way down the field. As the game went on, we opened it up a little bit more. To be honest, we probably protected as a whole worse than we turned and read coverages and threw it down the field. We had a lot of pressure on our quarterback, but I thought Bobby played an excellent football game. I thought he was dialed in, he was focused. He missed the one slant inside, which I absolutely hate that it got intercepted. The other one that went for a pick-six got batted at the line. I thought he made a good read, it was going to the right guy. But I thought Bobby stepped in there, competed and played extremely hard. He made a couple of mistakes and missed a couple of reads, but for the most part, for a true freshman walking into his first start, I thought he did a heck of a job. He turned 19 years old today. He was out there in his first start, and I just thought he competed his tail off.”
On the defense’s play not being enough to win…
“No it wasn’t. You give up an interception for a pick-six, give them short field. I thought our defense played well, but they’ve played well all year. When you’ve got to turn and play a true freshman quarterback, everybody has to pick their game up. The defense has to pick their game up. You can’t ask a true freshman to walk in and carry the torch. You’ve got to be able to spread that out. I thought they answered the challenge. I thought they did a great job. I really thought the defense played well tonight. That’s why your heart breaks. There were a lot of guys who put up some great individual efforts. Bogan played a great individual effort game. I hurt for him, too. And for Sampson and for every member of the defense, and for so many of these guys that played their last home game in that stadium.”
On the tipped interception thrown by QB Bobby Eveld…
“We got the interception and then all of a sudden it’s like ‘Here we go. We’re at midfield, there’s two minutes.’ That one I can’t blame on Eveld. He didn’t try to force anything, it just got tipped. We tipped a couple of theirs, and it went up in the air, and fell on green grass with a couple of guys diving at it. Unfortunately, ours got tipped and went up in the air and they ran after it. It’s unfortunate when you have taller defensive lineman and that’s what they’re going to do. They’re going to press and when they can’t get there, they’re going to raise their hands to try and create a picket fence, and they did that. They had two balls tipped. I think we tipped a couple at the line, they just didn’t result in interceptions.”
On the lack of offensive production in the first half…
“We threw the interception and had a number of penalties. We get called for tripping, and all of a sudden you’re looking at a 15 yard penalty. We jumped offsides twice in the first half. We made some foolish mistakes and I said ‘we just shot ourselves in the foot. We’re making it too hard.’ And we’re not good enough to overcome some of those mistakes that we’re making. I look at it and go ‘they had three, too.’ So why do you put a freshman in and try and open it up and ask him to do more in that situation? I was content with a tie ballgame.”
On the attitude of where the team is heading into a bowl game…
“I’ll get a better feel for that when we have the team meeting tomorrow. They’ll be excited to play in the bowl game. But right now, when you put that much into it, play that hard and work that hard, losing hurts.”