Oct. 23, 2010
Coach Charlie Strong
It is an important conference win for us. Our team went out and played well on defense. Offensively, we were not consistent enough. We were really outstanding on special teams. We got the turnover that was able to lead to a touchdown. We get Beaumont loose on one but get a penalty and then we were able to break loose in the second half. Defensively, it was an overall effort and our best effort. They put in a great game. We didn't know who the starting quarterback was until we found out on Thursday. But that didn't change our plan. We had already put our plan in. And our whole plan was to go in and stop the run. We knew UConn is a very physical football team, so we challenged our team to go in and play physical. I told our offense that Bilal Powell was not going to come out of the game until he got his 1000th yard and he got his 1000th yard. But it was just an overall team effort. Our guys played really well.
(What did he tell the team before game)
It was going to be a 15 round fight today. We were going to see who is going to be left standing at the end of those 15 rounds. But we needed to go out there and play physical. Connecticut has always had a reputation for going out and being a very physical team. We feel we are a physical team and we can run the football well. And we need to go stop the run.
(Penalties in the first half)
I said there are guys out there that officiate this game. And the reason they are out there is so you can't hold and you can't chop block and you can't jump offside. There is a reason they are out there. We had to eliminate the foolish penalties. Those penalties stop drives. If you look at it, we were moving the ball when Cameron Graham gets a penalty and then we get a chop block penalty and then we get a procedure penalty. All of that is stopping our drive. We need to be consistent on offense.
(On being best defensive performance)
Up to this point, yes. It was our second shutout but it was a conference game. So it was really good defensive performance from our guys. We had to go in and stop the run. We couldn't let Jordan Todman get loose in the running game. It was really key for us to go in and stop the run.
(How did team stop UConn)
It just comes out that we have to stop the run. We were going to load the box and if we had to put eight up there, we were going to put eight up there. We cannot allow him to get going running the ball because you go into every game with the notion of making a team one dimensional. So, how are you going to make them one dimensional? By stopping the run.
(Starting Brandon Dunn)
(Greg) Scruggs had been nursing a little injury, so we just made the decision that Brandon Dunn was going to go out and get the start today. He played pretty well for a freshman starting in his first game. This is his first start in a conference game.
(Disappointed that there were 4 FGs instead of TDs?)
Not really. We got a score and we were playing well enough on defense where we just couldn't give up a touchdown. We were up 13-0 and we just said we can't let them score because we are playing well enough on defense. And you don't know what is going to happen in each game. We have been playing well on offense and our defense was the one that was struggling. And today we played well on defense and the offense was not so much struggling, but we got our field goals. Josh Philpott, you have to give him credit. He missed two last week and bounced back this week and knocked down four today.
(Talking to kickers about bouncing back after misses)
Kickers are a little different. You can't say much to them. It is a mental approach. You don't want to say much to them. I think he understood. Coach Carter runs our special teams, and does a great job running special teams. He was able to talk to him. No other coach can talk to him the way Coach Carter can.
(Improvement in stopping the run)
They are a very big offensive line but we are small so we are going to have to move a lot. So that was what we were able to do. We can't allow them to come up and stay in one spot. If you stay in one spot, they are going to mash you and they are going to know you back. So we had a lot of movement today and we were able to get off and run. Because when you are scoring you have to have speed and quickness and that is what we were able to do.
(Beaumont's punt return)
Just looking at it, we thought we were going to get the middle return. We got it the first time with them and the second time, guys on the punt return team did a good job of walling guys off. Beaumont was able to get it to the punter and just beat him one on one. For him, this is his second touchdown. For a guy who didn't have any at all, he has two already.
(Slogan of `Take Another Step')
It is a big step. Because we are in the conference - it is a good conference. And what you talk about to the team is that you can control your own destiny. From here out, you play every team that is left on the schedule. Cincinnati beat you but Cincinnati got beat last night. You have a chance to go play each team. So it is up to us on how far we can go. But this was a big step to take.
(Beaumont recovery from injury)
Beaumont is special because he is so driven. He works so hard. And when he came back I didn't figure it would be as quick as this. I was thinking probably more this week that he would be back. He was relentless in the training room. They gave him some kind of device to take home. He took home a device home with him so he could sit at home with whatever (the device was) on his leg. So he could get it nursed back. The way he put in the time, he wore our trainer, Kyle, out. He was there at 7 a.m. and did everything he needed to do, go to class, come back. He is just special. And then he comes back and after the first day of practice he started running around. And all the guys started looking at him and that is why I will always say: "Just give me 10 Beaumonts and I will be fine."
(About Bilal Powell's 1,000th yard)
Because he was so close (to 1000 yards), and he plays so well, I think that Bilal Powell is the best running back in the country. I believe that. So it was so important because he only needed 102 yards. I said, `We got to get him his 1,000 today,' and I told the offensive line that we are going to get him his 1,000.
Brandon Dunn, DT
On getting his first BIG EAST start
"Right after Sunday's practice, Coach Strong asked me if I wanted to start. I said `yes, I want to start.' I've been working hard ever since."
On going up against the biggest offensive line in the league today
"I didn't look at it like that. My teammates work me. I guess we're way better than them, because I felt more comfortable against them than against our offensive line in practice. I just used what I use in practice against them - the things Coach Hurtt taught me. I used what my teammates taught me, we're all a family, they help me out when I'm not doing it right or when I'm messing up. When I came on the sideline, they were all on me like they were like brothers and Coach Hurtt was on me like he was my dad."
On why the defense is getting better
"The defense is buying into what's going on. Pitching shutouts - two of them. We're playing good defense. We're trying our hardest in practice to do things better. Thursday he said no bingos and no balls on the floor. We lock in. We take heed to what he says. We try our hardest and good things happen.
Bingos mean he has to call the play over. He saw something he didn't like or we missed an assignment. He calls it `bingo.' Before every practice he says `no bingos, no balls on the floor.'
On shutting down Jordan Todman
"He (Coach Hurtt) put another challenge on the board. We all came together and decided we weren't going to let him rush. Bilal Powell should be number three - which he should be now. We came together - the whole defense- and said he's not going to run on us. He challenged us this week to make sure he didn't run as much as he did on film."
Mario Benavides, C
"We had some mistakes on offense that need to be corrected, but overall you can't be disappointed with a win - especially a Big East win. I think this is huge for our program. I heard UConn hasn't been shut out in five years, I'm really happy for the way our defense played. Bilal, he just grinded it out. Up front we grinded it out. Those guys did not want him to get 1,000 yards. They had eight or nine guys in the box toward the end of the game. I was really proud of my teammates, this was huge."
On why it was important for Bilal Powell to get 1,000 yards
"He's like a brother to me. I used to live with him in the dorms. I've known him for a while now. Pretty much since I've been here. He's just a great person. You can't say anything negative about Bilal. And that's just his personality. You go and talk about his work ethic and his skill set. I don't think there's anybody else you can compare to him.
On the first half penalties
"It was frustrating. There's dispute here and there on what was a good call and what was not, but either way, regardless of whether it was a good or bad call, we can't have that. But the good thing is, we played like that and we still won 26-0. So there are things that can be corrected. Doug (Beaumont) coming back from surgery essentially runs back two kicks. It's something we need to get corrected, but it's nothing we can't address."
On the frustration of having the ball four times in the red zone and settling for field goals
"There's a lot of frustration, but Philpott got a lot of practice, so that's good, too.
On Philpott coming off of missing two field goals last week
"I think that says a lot about his personality. That might have happened to him last year and he'll tell you himself, he might not have bounced back, but this year he just lets stuff like that go, he just bounces back. He showed in practice this week that he can make kicks and bounce back from stuff like that."
How much pride does the offensive line take in having a 1,000 yard back
"That's everything, really. That's what we take pride in. Obviously winning is priority, but when you have a thousand yard rusher halfway through the season, that's all you can ask for. I don't need anybody to pat me on the back. I'm just happy to see Bilal do that. He gives us credit. He doesn't even have to do that, but that just shows what kind of guy he is. We're really proud of him and ourselves.
On Coach Strong taking pride in the offensive line
"It's great, especially coming from a well-respected coach like him. Coach Strong has everybody's respect. Coaches all over the country respect him and they go to him for things. It means a lot. We try not to let it go to our heads. We look at it as `let's go prove him right.' I think with four seniors surrounding me it's easy to do."
Johnny Patrick, CB
On what they improved on from the defeat last week
"Effort. Just running to the ball and everyone staying mentally focused and doing what they're supposed to do."
On his interception
"It felt good. It always feels good to have the ball back in my hands. The receiver tipped it and it went over him. I was in the right place at the right time."
On what were able to do to stop Todman
"Everyone played well and everyone came out with the right attitude. My coach talked about him before the game and we did take into consideration that he was going to be a good back."
On the goal of reaching a bowl game
"That's pretty much the goal for everybody right now. We're taking it one game at a time. We were picked to win three games this year and we got four. We are going to keep fighting and keep pushing it and hope for the best."
On two shutouts in three weeks
"That's amazing. We haven't done something like that in three years. It feels good right now. We're just going to keep fighting and keep going."
Doug Beaumont, WR
On his punt return touchdown that counted
"The first one was upsetting, but all the guys on the punt block team said we were going to get another one. And that's what they did. They went out there and executed and blocked it pretty well. I saw the crease and once I saw the punter I got passed him and kept going."
On when he saw the flag from his first return
"I was celebrating and hopped up and I heard the announcer say flag on the play. I was pretty upset."
On getting two touchdowns this year with not having any before
"I'm just pretty hungry to try and get in the end zone as much as I can. We just have a great offense and great defense and special teams. We played a well game today."
On coming back from his injury
"I talked to the trainers and we had a set goal. We were going for the Cincinnati game. I knew I would be living in the training room and that's what I did. I have to give credit to all the trainers who were in the training room. They stuck with me. They were there every morning when I needed them too. We had extra time outside the training room. We knew we could get back as fast as we can and healthy as we can and that's what we did."
Bilal Powell, RB
On what means for the offensive line wanting to get him 1000 yards
"It means a lot to me. Just the relationship and the respect they have for me and vice versa. I'm just excited to run behind those guys. You can tell everyday at practice and just being around those guys that they are excited to block for me."
On back-to-back 200 yard games
"It meant a lot. Like I said I don't take all the credit. The offensive comes out, executes and works hard. I'm just excited to run behind them."
On what his focus has been on this season
"My main focus on this year has been to go out and finish strong my senior year. I want to go out and help the team win some conference games. We've been successful as an offensive and continue to climb and climb."
On Coach Strong calling him the best running back in the nation
"That's an honor. At the same time when you have an offensive line like ours, I think anybody can run behind them. I don't take any credit for that."
On having coaches have confidence in him before the season began
"When it first happened I knew I had to take on a heavy load. I had to work hard during the offseason. I try to stay humble and keep doing the things I've been doing and keep doing the little things that got me to where I am now. When I heard Coach Strong say some of the comments he's made, it's an honor to hear that from him. Having the power and respect he has over the nation."
Connecticut Head Coach Randy Edsall
"We got our butts kicked today pretty good. In all three phases, especially special teams - missing a field goal when they were down, they get a touchdown and we go down and were unable to finish the drive off. We missed the field goal and put another drive together and there was nothing there and we had two drives. We did a pretty good job and we came away with nothing. We fumbled the punt return, and again that is just a young man that should have fair caught the ball. They were kicking into the wind and the ball was spinning away from him. Instead of trying to go up and make a play just go up and fair catch the ball. And there we go, we gave them the short field and they score again, which makes it tough. Offensively we had four possessions in the first half and we lost one because of the punt return. In two drives we did some good things and came away with nothing. We only had 20 something plays there and a total of 45 plays. We didn't get it done. Then on defense we had the opportunity to get it done at times to stop them on third down and we weren't able to stop them on third down. They were 8 of 15 (in third down conversions). We zoned pressured and we man pressured, we played zone and we just couldn't make the plays when we needed to. Then the punt return in the second half, we just didn't cover it very good on that. Defensively they were out there fighting their tail off. They were on the field way too much, like 37 minutes. But then again it is our own fault for being out there that long since we didn't make plays on third down.
Overall, you look at it, it doesn't matter, we lost. On Powell, we did a decent job on him but it doesn't matter we lost. The only way we are going to get out of this is we have to work hard. That is just what I told the kids after the game. We have to go back to work, there is no magic potion. Basically we just have to keep working hard and getting better. That's all I need to know that we can do and that is what we are going to continue to do - work hard and get better."
(On his team's effort)
"When you say effort, that is hard to say right after the game when you can't watch the team film. Am I disappointed about the lack of execution? Yes. But I didn't see anybody quit out there. But there is a difference and again I have to watch the film and grade the effort but I didn't see anybody quit out there. Did I see guys not execute their assignments and do what they are not suppose to do? I saw that. And could we have played better? Most definitely. Until I see they film I can't tell you if there was a lack of effort."
(On the ability of growth from his team)
"You see some guys do that but again, just some of the little things, in terms of you know the one time they get the long pass a guy comes in motion and the DB has to step up and take the guy, he stays back and two of our guys bump into each other. It's those little things and like I said some of those things we have been doing for seven or eight weeks now, in terms of the bye week. Some of the guys are making the same mistakes. And if there were other people we could put in we would put them in. All we are going to continue to do is keep working and we've got to get better. These are the guys we got we have to continue to coach them and get better. "
(On the defense)
"We did look a little slow, there is not doubt about it we did look slow. We had some defensive lineman that were free to the quarterback and couldn't make a play. I made the comment at halftime, we look slow. They had the days off and things along those lines in terms of how we got better during the bye but I can't explain that one. Maybe they are that much more athletic. They do have some athletes and they are a very athletic team. So maybe their athletes made us look bad. There were times when we had chances to make plays but we didn't make them. "
(On Mike Box)
"He did start off well early on. The first two drives he was good and then he threw that pick, he kind of panicked a little bit and just didn't set his feet. He had a chance to step up and run the ball or just set your feet and he kind of threw it off his back foot. But he did some good things, running the ball but then again that's his first game and his inexperience showed up a little bit. But I think he does have tools and does have ability."
(On his commitment to Box next Friday)
"We have to see where he is at from a health standpoint for that game. We have to wait until tomorrow to get any kind of update and I would think it's probably going to be a day-to-day type of situation."
Connecticut Player Quotes
Michael Box, QB
(On his health)
"My health's fine, I'm coming back next week. No problem. I got a little bit of a bell ringing, and the trainers decided to keep me out. It wasn't my decision. If I had it my way, I would have been back in there five minutes after it happened. I'm good to go. The only thing that is hurt is my pride for the team, for me and how things transitioned."
(On the frustration on offense)
"We moved the ball just how we wanted to. We did exactly what the game plan said and we get down the field and I missed the first throw on that rollout early in the game. Then we get behind a little bit. We did what we needed to do and we put ourselves in position and we missed the first field goal. We came back and moved the ball again. It wasn't them. We stopped ourselves a little bit, we got behind the sticks a little bit and it was hard for us to come back. Overall, we are doing what we need to do, but we just got to finish and that is on everyone including myself and we are going to come back."
(On how deflating was the first series of the second half and the punt return)
"Any kind of momentum like that, I mean big plays like that, it didn't really deflate us we had our heads up. They made a good play. Hats off to them and we are ready to come back. It's literally one thing on each play that is shooting us in the foot. Soon as we get that one thing corrected, we will do what we need to do."
(On missing Michael Smith on a long play)
"If I could get that one back, I would give anything. I just missed him. I had two that went a little high on me. On the one to Kasif (Moore) went a little high, but the one to him was probably a catchable ball, but it's still not a very easy catch by any means and I can make it a more accurate ball for all of them."
(On his first start)
"I was more anxious. I just wanted to get it over with. I wanted to get that first play out of the way. I was focused. I was ready and I was calm. I was more excited than anything and once the first play happened it was just like practice."
Jordan Todman, RB
(If team's resolve can turn the season around)
"Yeah, I hope they do. They better because this is my team, my brothers and I have the upmost respect and belief in them and hopefully they have the same respect for me to pick their heads up and to go hard this week in practice. To know what we have in hand and to turn this around."
(On Louisville's defensive front)
"Their defensive front is definitely talented, but at the same time I felt like my offensive line played a heck of a game too, so it was kind of like that one extra thing. I was so close to busting big plays, but it was that one block or that one second off. We were so close, but we weren't able to get it to that one thing. I'm not going to take anything away from their defense, they were good, but like I said our offensive line played pretty good."
(On if mistakes are magnified by having fewer plays)
"The time really goes by fast. The four quarters are over before you know it and if you don't have the ball, you aren't able to put points on the board and score. When you have those opportunities, you have to get them and you can't let them slide. It's definitely tougher, you are more anxious to get on the field and when you are on the field you know you have to produce."
(On if he is getting frustrated)
"Anytime you lose it's frustrating, especially when you practice hard all week and you come out expecting to be successful. When you are not, it is frustrating. It's like anything, like studying for an exam and you get a bad grade on it. It's frustrating, it stinks. We have got to find someway to turn it around."