Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino
“Well, it was a great win. The first thing that was really impressive to me was Card March and to see the fans and all the support they gave our players. It was unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like that before and I really appreciate all of their support. I thought it would be a real battle and we would have to work extremely hard. Obviously we made some mistakes on offense and on special teams. I thought the defense really did a great job all night long, especially on third down. We found a way to win the game. We grinded it out in the fourth quarter and that’s a great way to win a game. To be able to take the ball and drive it for 15 plays and about eight minutes and take time off the clock. I’m just proud of our players. They did a great job in their preparation. Like I said when I first got here, this team has a great attitude and has a great work ethic. I’m just proud to coach them.”
“I thought our defensive staff had a great plan going in and really worked hard at it. They got our players to really understand what we were going to see and what they were going to do with their stack sets. It took a lot of work but they had a great plan and they played really fast. I think that’s the thing that I really noticed; how fast our defense played. We tackled well and we got a lot of guys to the ball. I feel like our crowd helped us a lot on third down. We were able to get after the quarterback and get off the field on third down.”
(On Corvin Lamb)
“The kickoff return was a huge play for us. We were sitting right there and he was able to get it and take it to the house. He’s a guy whose speed shows up every day in practice. I think we’ve just got to find a way to get him the ball and get him involved in our offense as well as special teams. He’s coming off an injury and we didn’t get to see him a lot in spring but he keeps getting better every day in practice.”
(Defense held Miami to a field goal)
That’s as big as it gets in a game, on the first one we got the turnover which was huge. The defense did a great job holding them to a field goal, that’s the main thing. Our offense responded well, we got the ball back into good field position and was able to finally get into the end zone.
(Grade Will Gardner performance)
I think he did a good job, he had a really nice drive there in the first quarter. He executed in went straight down the field, he had a couple mistakes by not taking care of the football. You always wonder should you hit him in practice, but he has had three years since he’s been hit. We need to get him to get the ball against his body, keep his elbows in, and not carry it the way he did when they pressured him. A lot of the hits were caused of making the wrong call, we didn’t block the right guy. He still has to get the ball against his body. You talk about poise and competitive spirit, the way he came out and played after those mistakes, I’m very proud of him.
(What made the rush defense so effective)
I think we did a good job of being gap-sound and our guys using their hands to get off blocks. I like the way our linebackers played coming down hill and our secondary was involved in being where they needed to be. It really was a great team effort. Everybody on defense did their reasonability and their job to help stop the run
(On Dominique Brown)
“It was right where we wanted it to be tonight. He’s a little worn out. He really, really played well for us, he really grinded. He came to me and said ‘Keep giving me the ball coach and I’ll find a way to get it in the end zone’ and I respect that and he certainly did. He’s tough and big and physical, and we need to get other guys involved. It’s always hard to do that in the first game with so much at stake. I was actually talking to the TV crew yesterday and said after my first game here the last time, Michael Bush was really mad at me that he didn’t get involved more in that first game, but I made sure the second game that he got over that right away.”
(What was at stake?)
“Just a big, nationally televised game. Lots of recruits that were watching it, lot of recruits that we’re both recruiting, a conference game; so it’s a great opener. It’s one that we like playing because it means a lot all winter long and summer long on how you prepare.”
(The 93 yard drive early, and then the drive at the end, how much are those kind of hallmarks on what you like to do?)
“I really liked the one early. I thought Will did a nice job of understanding what they were doing. He made a couple of really, really good throws. We were able to get Gerald involved and Eli did a really nice job on it. And then the one late, to be able to finish the game like that. We always talk to our offensive line about run to win. In fact we have a period on Thursday practices that, that’s what we call it. So Coach K was on the sideline in the fourth quarter talking about it “run to win, run to win” and it was great to do that. But also we threw some play action passes in there that Will executed perfectly. I think 3 for 3 on the play action pass as you’re running the ball, and the last one for a touchdown, so I thought it was a great group effort.”
(What was the biggest difference between now and the last time you were here and did you hear the crowd chanting name?)
Yeah, I heard it. I think the biggest difference is Card March and the excitement. Obviously the stadium is bigger. It was so exciting. I was probably more nervous for this game than any game I’ve ever coached. I haven’t slept a lot lately. But it was so exciting once we got to the stadium. And then to watch our players out there and play the way they did.”
(To keep Duke Johnson scoreless, is that a testament to your defense?)
“I think so. I thought our defensive staff had a great plan and our players really did a nice job of understanding the plan and being gap-sound and tackling well. You always worry about how you’re going to tackle in the first game, but they went out and tackled really well. We didn’t give them a lot of room - that was the big thing is we didn’t give a lot of space. They had one big run when they actually drove the ball down there, but other than that, we didn’t actually give a lot of space.”
Junior S James Sample
(On playing your first game for University of Louisville)
“It felt great, it was the best feeling. Man, I am speechless right now. I was fired up to get out there.”
(On leading the team in tackles and one interception)
“That is just hard work in the film room. Finding out what the offense is going to do and studying on how to react. I owe a lot to that.”
(On the crowd and the atmosphere of Louisville’s first ACC game)
“I loved it. It was a beautiful thing. I can’t wait till our next game.”
Sophomore QB Will Gardner
(On getting hit for the time in three years)
“Yes, sir it was, I had to sit out my senior year and my freshman year here. Then not much last year and then this first year actually taking some shots, it felt good to get back out there and take them.”
(Bouncing back after making mistakes)
“The defense helped me out with that. They had a lot of big saves there so that helped me out a lot. I had to put it behind me and move forward because the game wasn’t over.”
(Overall how did you feel about the game predictability)
“Other than the turnovers, I mean a couple fumbles. Other than that I am but there is always room to improve and get better and just come out next week, work hard and get ready for the next event.”
(On Dominique Brown’s Game)
“Dominique had a great night, he’d run the ball hard, and we knew we’d expect big things out of him. Dominique had a great night tonight.”
(On taking a touchdown lead over Miami)
“That turned the whole thing, the whole momentum right there. It gave us some momentum back and that was big for us as a team.”
(On winning the first ACC Game)
“It’s exciting, to get this first start under your belt. Especially it being a win against an opponent like Miami, it’s fun to get it and get things rolling in the right direction.”
(Special significance to you about winning the ACC Game)
“Yeah there is because I mean it’s a new conference, new everything so a good night for the first win in the ACC is really special.”
(On the 97 yard run)
“That was fun we got to storm the ball around completion after completion, got a lot of open, good pass protections. It was really fun, really exciting.”
(On 3 for 3 play action)
“Yes sir, that was a big thing coming in play action. We worked it hard, and if not there you can run and pick up the first down so play action on thirds and shorts.”
Senior RB Dominique Brown
(Bobby Petrino loves the power running game which sometimes goes unnoticed)
“Yeah we just wanted to wear them out in the fourth quarter. You know just run and win, that’s what we always preach on.”
(What was it like coming out here tonight in the first ACC game, with a great atmosphere)
“Yes it was a great experience with a great atmosphere. The fans came out and really supported by wearing all black. We definitely feed off of them, so it was great.”
(How do you feel Will Gardner handled the offense?)
“He did a great job and did a very good job of managing the game. He got us in the right spots, and got us in the right checks. People don’t understand that it’s a lot of pressure being a quarterback and he held his own for this being his first start.”
(Talk about the job the defense did tonight)
“Our defense did a phenomenal job, they got on and off the field and just did an amazing job all night.”
(On Petrino being nervous)
“Uh no, we didn’t pick up on that at all, he did a great job hiding it.”
(On getting 33 carries)
“It’s a great feeling. You know when you’ve got offensive line behind you especially with the head coach calling the plays to me just telling me to stay out there and we’re gonna keep feeding you is a great feeling”
(How different was this game compared to previous ones)
“You know they did a lot of different schemes, they played hard. You know we had a scheme, our coaches did a great job coming in with a great scheme and game plan. The offensive line did a great job and the receiver did a great job of blocking.”
(On being tired after 33 carries, 143 yards)
“You know it’s a lot, but you know we run to win and our coaches do a great job with getting us in shape and pretty much told me I was gonna get it back. I was prepared to get the carries then. You know it shocked me that I got that many carries but when you’ve got offensive line and stuff like that behind you, the head coach behind you saying we gonna ride you out during the third and fourth quarter, you know it’s a great feeling.”
(Significance of winning the first ACC game)
“It’s great. You know new confidence by playing against Miami again, back to back and it’s our first ACC game. To get that win up under our belt is a great feeling going into the new conference.”
(On the defense)
“Our defense did a great job all night, you know again thinking about getting out the field early, getting us a chance offense to get the ball. They did a phenomenal job.”
(On personal style play, that makes you capable of that many carries)
“I think on my size, and stuff like that. I’m a physical runner so I expect, prepare and expect to take a beating, so that’s what I did tonight just learn my past. My running style just straight downhill, not really trying to dance and stuff like that just stuff.”
(On Petrino looking for RB’s like that)
“Yeah he likes his running backs. When people think of Petrino they think of the basketball, but we learned that during the second half he can run the ball as well. So once we got back in the rhythm, you know just keep feeding it.”
(On telling Petrino to run the ball)
“The offensive line was getting frustrated saying we need to run the ball, so they told me to tell Petrino to run the ball. Then once I told him they all felt more confident and they all went to tell him as well. He looked at the offensive line coach and said get them ready we’re gonna run the ball. I mean it’s great when you got that relationship with the coaches, with your feedback. Let them know that you want to run the ball and they listen to the players so it’s a great feeling.”
Miami Head Coach Al Golden
(What do you make of the way Brad (Kaaya) played tonight?)
“He’s a tough kid, courageous, it was a tough environment for him to open up his career. I don’t think we did a good enough job protecting him. Obviously, he made some good throws, and some that, clearly, he would want back. So again, it’s a tough position for him to be in, but I think he’s going to make a lot of progress in the next four or five days. Again we didn’t do a good enough job protecting him, period.
(With the veterans on the offensive line are you surprised that they didn’t protect Brad enough?)
“Again we go back to the offensive line, there’s more to it than that. There’s a multitude of reasons: the running backs, the offensive line, sometimes maybe just calling a different play. As I just told the team, we had too many errors against a good team. Everyone has to be accountable, starting with me. We’ll watch film and not make any excuses.
(They were putting eight, sometimes nine in the box, that had to make a difference correct?)
“We knew it was coming. Obviously, they were going to go after Brad with that. We were starting to find some cracks in there, and we just didn’t finish good enough. They started to get the lead and move ahead. Defense got us the ball twice within the ten and we didn’t convert there. Then we had an illegal man downfield on the play that Duke gets us inside the five, then they return a kick. It’s tough to overcome those errors.
(On how much he had to squeeze the playbook)
“There are no excuses, they played better than we did. What’s disturbing to the head coaches are just the errors that we haven’t seen, like the illegal man down field on the Duke pass. On Brad’s lateral throw, he’s a very bright kid, so he just saw a man uncovered out there and kind of rushed the pass and ended up throwing it backwards. “
(Third down conversions problems, and how to fix that)
“It’s just a totally different team now so I think we need to focus on what we are doing with Brad. And I thought that they were just doing an excellent job of stopping the run early in the game and forcing us into some third and longs, then we got behind and we had to pay catch-up. It’s hard to convert in those situations, again no excuses we have a lot of things we need to fix starting with me and the coaches we will start on that here tonight on the way home and get with the guys on Wednesday.”
#8 Duke Johnson (RB)
(Talk about how difficult was it with the focus on you to get noticed)
Before the game we knew their game plan was to try and stop me. They were stacking 8 and 9 in the box, they did their job and we did ours.
(What did you think of the performance of Brad Kaaya?)
“I would say he had a pretty good performance. He got hit early, often. He just kept getting up and executing the offense.”
(What do you take from a game like this?)
“We have to go back to what we know, go back put in a lot of work, a lot of film and practicing. There are a lot of things to touch up on and hopefully next couple weeks we will be back.
(Physically how did you feel out there taking the contact and hits the way you were?)
“I felt fine. I know the weight I added helped, I feel different now.”
(How much did you guys have to constrict the play sheet because you are playing a freshman quarterback and you can overload him too much?)
“I wouldn’t say we had to constrict it just because coach wouldn’t put him out there if he didn’t think he could handle it. So I think the play calls were the game plan, and they were what coach wanted to see, it wasn’t because he was a freshman quarterback.”
Anthony Chickillo #71 (DL)
(Many times you guys were playing some of the best defense you have played, with getting stops, how did it feel out there?)
“I thought at times we executed very well, other times we didn’t. It didn’t matter how the offense was going if they can’t score they can’t win. It doesn’t matter how long we are out there we just have to be able to stop them every time, and that’s our job, we didn’t do that today.”
(You guys forced those two turnovers inside their 20 but only came away with three points, what’s the frustration that comes with that?)
“It’s frustrating any time you force a turnover to a big opportunity, when you do it in the red zone you think you’re going to get points out of it, and we didn’t get that done today.”
(It was 14-13 there for a while, but what were you guys doing so well on defense that made it feel like you guys had a good game?)
“We were just doing our job, what we game planned for it what they did. Guys were communicating and getting in the right checks and we were playing well.”
(Talk about Thurston (Armbrister), he is a guy who has made some starts in the past, today he was really on his game.)
“Yeah, Thurston had a good game. He has been practicing well and it translates onto the field.”
(Did you guys feel like a much better defense out there in segments of the game?)
“Yeah, we did. The defense felt good, but we didn’t get it done today.”
(How do you build on this?)
“We have to go back to work, go back to work tomorrow.”
#34 Thurston Armbrister (LB)
(You guys obviously didn't get the results you wanted, does it feel like a better defense than last year)
"Yeah, we invested a lot and it sucks that we didn't get the results that we wanted, but we’ve just got to come back in week two and invest the way we did."
(You guys do a good job of getting to the quarterback and forcing sacks and some of it you guys kind of looked to see what was going on and then you pressured the QB, talk about that a little bit)
"It's basically just schemes coach D dropped, I just have to credit to him and it's a lot of delayed blitzes and designed blitzes and stunts to confuse the QB and get the protection."
(It was 14-13 there in the third quarter and it seemed like you guys had a chance, as a defense how pumped up where you all out there on the field out there? It seemed like the game was definitely winnable.)
"We’re always hype, we had the hype-ness, we just let it slip away , disappointing but we just have to come back and regroup and get ready for new week."
(How frustrated is the locker room right now?)
"Real frustrated because the feeling of investing so much and it doesn't come out the way you do, it just brings you down. I have to take a leadership role and make sure the guys invest the same way we did and get ready for next week."
(Did you play almost every play)
"I played three positions, I did anything to help my team and it wasn't enough.'
(You were on the field for almost every play though)
"Pretty much, special teams too."
#15 Brad Kaaya (QB)
(What was it like, your first time out there?)
"I felt that the first two series were good series, we just didn't execute as a whole. I feel like there's a lot of plays to get better at in every position."
(Did you feel over whelmed at any time?)
"No, not at all, I was in the game."
(How do you rate your performance)
"There's always things to get better at, I did some good things and I did some bad things but I just feel like there's always a place to improve."
(How did it feel to play a college football game )
"It felt good , it's what I have been dreaming about since I was five years old and it felt pretty awesome . Win or lose it still felt good to get out there "
(What’s the next step for you?)
"Just go back and watch film and see what we all need to get better at, myself included."
(How does it feel to get the QB starting position?)
"For me all the quarterbacks I competed with were great and it felt good that coach was confident in me and my ability to help us win and I thank him for that"
(Talk about what Louisville did that was successful against you guys)
"They just played hard and they played physical. They brought some late blitzes out on us but outside of that they played hard as possible.”