FOOTBALL: Military Bowl – Post Game

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Congratulations first to Coach
Niumatalolo and the Naval Academy. They played an
exceptional game today. I think they performed
well in all phases– offense, defense,
and special teams. I have a lot of respect for the
young men that attend the Naval Academy, and the purposeful
intent of why they come here, and that they play football and
they play it at a high level. I think Coach Niumatalolo had
his team very well prepared. And in regards to our
play, I believe players play as they’re prepared. And so clearly I didn’t
have our team prepared to perform to their true
potential– offensively, defensively, or special teams. So again, Navy certainly
gets credit for that. But ultimately,
the head coach is responsible for
how his team plays. Certainly not only in the
assignment category, really collectively, but also
in the intent category. I think that we had a lot more– we’ve shown a lot more potential
and ability than we did today. But again, very
good opponent, and– who was well prepared for us and
to play another football game. So I’ll take questions,
if there are any. Yeah. Does this take the
edge off of what was really a heck of
a season for you guys? A turnaround, six and six,
up until this point, and then this. Yeah, I think it
takes some edge off. But I can’t say it
takes the edge off, because the team worked really
hard to get to this point. And it’s an accomplishment
that hasn’t happened in quite a while at UVA. And we look forward
to this happening every year moving forward. It also shows– so in
answer to your question, I don’t think it
takes the edge off, but it certainly takes some
off, because it’s never fun to not play well
and to lose the game. But it’s also reflective
of exactly where we are, and that’s not an accident. And so– man, it might be the
most valuable game of the year, in terms of now having the
opportunity to practice and prepare longer,
reassess what we did there. Certainly analyze
schematically whatever changes we need to make. But also reframing and
addressing weaknesses in our program
that maybe weren’t exposed quite to the level
that they were today. And so in a way, it’s hard to
take but it’s also necessary, at least in this case, I
think, for us to go forward. Otherwise it wouldn’t
have happened. There were a lot of
dropped passes today. Do you that’s reflective of– maybe some of the throws
where, if it was just cold? Where do you see that– No. I just don’t think we executed,
concentrated, or performed well. I can’t say how
much the inclement weather had to do with it. I don’t know. We’re expected, and
I expect, our guys to play well regardless
of circumstance, and my job is to
prepare them that way. So we just never really
found rhythm, connected, or mounted any
semblance of a threat. Kind of follow up on. Offense scored 28
points against Miami in little more
than two quarters, and has not scored since then. Any sense of what
happened on that end? I think– probably
two different things. I’m not sure that there’s a
thread tying those together. There might be. But just at face value– man, we performed really
well and had some momentum as a team going into Miami, and
there was just a lot of things that we were
growing and building and that were clicking
at that point. I think that Virginia
Tech’s defense had a lot to do with no
points in the last game. Not only talent-wise
but schematically, they did a really nice job,
as they had against, really, every opponent all year. When you come into this game– lay off, maybe. Weather, maybe. Preparation, certainly. And again, I own all that. We didn’t play to our
potential, nor were we prepared to our potential. Otherwise it would have
played out differently. And again, I’m not taking
anything away from Navy. They played really well today,
and they’re a good football team. My job is just to
speak about our team. Bronco, you spoke in the
past about the research you put in concerning
the option. Your teams have played
pretty well defensively against Georgia Tech. What was the problem– what do you see as the problems
with defending Navy’s option today? The quarterback run
was an issue today, and not necessarily
true option plays. So they have mid-line, and
they have a few other things. But really, the
nature of the splits that they have at the receiver
spot, and their intent to run the quarterback
on plays in addition to option, that was
really the difference. And so even if you have
assignment football, if you’re not playing
it physically to where the first phase, the dive
phase is going for five, six, or seven yards per play, you’re
behind the chains consistently. Really, the physical
preparation of our team, in terms of strength and
in terms of the capability and the mental
toughness and all that, we still have to address
that as we build our roster. And then right after that
comes the assignments of having guys go where
they’re supposed to go. And so I didn’t
have them prepared well enough to play
assignment football, nor for their mindset to
be what it needed to be. And also, Navy was more
physical than us, really from beginning to
end, both sides. Coach– over here. Is this sort of
two seasons in one? You started five and one,
and finished one and six. What goes through your mind
about what happened this year, and what you do as you
get ready for next year? I think quality of opponent
has a lot to do with it. Depth on our roster has
a lot to do with it. As we play better
and better teams with fewer and fewer
players, it’s just exactly where our program is. And I’d love to give you
more information than that. It’s just exactly where we are. More quality, back to back to
back to back, with more wear and tear, back to
back to back to back. And that’s just where it is. And my job is, again, to
make sure the results are in place regardless of that. So reflective, I
think, would be the– that would be the short
answer to that question. Coach, not to
single out one play, but on their first possession,
they had a third and 15. Yeah. And you know where
I’m going with that. How significant do you see that
in sort of a tone setter early? I think it was a tone
setter, but I’m not saying– and I don’t think
either team would say that determined outcome. But it certainly set the
tone early on in the game, but probably no more so than
a kickoff or a touchdown, kickoff return for a touchdown. So they were two plays
early in the game that ended up canceling out,
and then the real game started. Bronco, you guys have struggled
to run the ball all year. Did you think you’d be
able to run better today? And when they made
you one-dimensional was that just why Kurt
struggled, do you think? I’m not sure. I would say that– we’ve had strong success
throwing the ball. And the Naval
Academy has struggled defending the pass, at
least statistically. And so we believed that
match-up would be in our favor. But we didn’t throw, catch,
or just execute in protection as well, and the run game hasn’t
been consistent enough all year for us to rely or count on that. And when we got behind,
it even put more pressure on the throw game. So you have to protect,
throw, and catch. And we didn’t really
do any of those well. Let’s take your question
from Jeff and Doug, and then we’ll bring
the players up. Joe Reed started the
game with a bang. You got the ball to him a
couple of different ways. Going forward, looking to
next year, will you continue– Yes. –to get creative with
that, to get him the ball? Yeah. That’s already in
the works, and we started through some of the bowl
prep to experiment with that. We’re up at the press box. You can’t really tell
what the weather’s like. It looked like it was pretty
windy at the start the game. Just talk about The
conditions, and if that was a factor for you. Yeah. Just before we start, I wanted
to give a tanks to the Military Bowl and the [INAUDIBLE]
they put together, and the cause that
they do all this for. It’s Been really great,
and we appreciate that. But about the game, it
was windy, it was cold. A little bit to get started,
just not to get into a rhythm. It just took a lot. And we never really found our
stride as the game went on. That’s not really an excuse. I have to find a way to deliver
the ball in the right spot, and be as accurate as possible. And I wasn’t able to do
that consistently all day. Quin, you came back– over here. You came back for
your senior year. How much did you
accomplish of what you wanted to
accomplish this year, and what are your
thoughts on this year and deciding to come back? First I would like to
second what Kurt said, of thanking the Military Bowl
for the exciting week we had. I had a blast. When I first committed to
UVA, I said I came here to make a statement. And that’s what I
came here to do, and this year I showed
all aspects to my game. And that’s why I came back,
to prove I’m the number one safety in this class. I’m just really
good at what I do, and I feel like
I’ve executed all those goals I set for myself. And it’s just been an honor
to play next to Kurt, Mike, and the rest of
the guys leaving. Quin, you guys did a good job
with Georgia Tech’s option. What was different
today, did you feel? They got a– they run it well,
very well scheme they have, just like Georgia Tech. They just outplayed us,
and that’s the bottom line. They came ready to
play, and we did it. And that’s the bottom line. And I commend them over
there at the Navy Academy. They did a really good job. Can you reflect on this
season and what you see as the future of this program? What you’re walking away from,
what you’re leaving behind? I feel like this
is what we started, guys like me, Micah, Benkert,
Drew, Donny, Levrone. This is what we came back for. We started a foundation,
we started a platform. And it’s only going
to go up from here. No one said we was going to make
it to a Bowl game this year. No one had us winning more
than two games this year. So it’s just– it’s
very funny to me, and I laugh at all the
people that doubted us. And that’s the bottom line. We did we made history
today, and it’s only going to get better from here. I think as new recruits come
in and they get the people that fit the mold of what they want
to do on offense or on defense, it’s going to get better. We’re really just
scratching the surface. And we have some really
talented players, but at the end of
the day it’s just the beginning of
what I feel like we can do here at Virginia. Coach Mendenhall is known
for sustained success over a long period of time. And I think to be able
to turn this around in two years has been
really tremendous for him, and it says a lot about what
he brought to the table. Kurt, Quin talked
about wanting to prove himself to make the next step. Where do you kind
of see yourself in terms of making
that next step, and where do you think you are? Yeah. I wanted to show
resiliency this year, show that I can make
any throw and be as consistent as possible. I wasn’t as consistent as
I wanted to be this year. But to be able to win six games,
and turn this program around and set it in the
right direction, has been a good thing for me. And just leaving my mark
on the younger guys, and showing them
how to work, how to show up every day
ready to get better and to influence the
people around me. I think more than just the
wins or the yards or anything that I did this
year, just leaving an impact on these younger guys
on how to do it the right way. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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