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October 9, 2010

Dave Wannstedt

COACH WANNSTEDT: Okay. It was -- when you look at the overall game, as I told our players, we just aren't putting a full game of good football together.
I mean, we come up here and obviously play a good football team on the road. And on offense, the first half, we're moving the ball. We get down in there. We have to settle for attempted field goals. We don't finish the drive.
We don't punt in the first half, which I thought was a real positive. But we gotta get the ball in the end zone. It's been somewhat of a problem offensively for us, going back to the opener, going back to Utah when we had a couple of chances down there and didn't score touchdowns.
They did a good job. They had us off balance defensively with the no-huddle offense at a faster tempo than we could have ever practiced.
That kind of got us on our heels a little bit the first half. Defensively, our kids, the second half, they battled to the last play.
I mean, these kids are winners, and they're trying to do everything they can. And I thought defensively we played well the second half.
Had a few opportunities to turn the ball over and we fumbled once on the 4th and 1 and throw the interception, which ended it.
So as I sit back and look on it, Notre Dame did a good job. They're a good football team. To beat a team like this, we've got to play well in three phases for 60 minutes and we didn't do it.

Q. What happened to halt those drives there, when you get so close?
COACH WANNSTEDT: It wasn't penalties. You know, I don't think we had a penalty the whole second half. I mean we improved on that. I thought Tino took a step forward. It was good to get Dion back in the mix again today. So there were some positive things.
You know, we just -- different things. I mean, we fall down once in the end zone. There's one play on the first interception they got, Mike Shanahan slips and falls down. Open for a about a 16-yard deep squaring. Great throw by Tino, great read. Mike falls down. We had one ball that Cam had a chance to catch in the back of the end zone and it was probably inches from being catchable.
We're just off a little bit in some areas.

Q. When you got the ball back with 4:45 and ran it a couple times what were you thinking there trying to --
COACH WANNSTEDT: It was the field position. Think about where we took over the last three possessions. I think we took over at the 7, the 12 and the 10. I mean, we had as bad of field position as you possibly could have, when we're trying to drive and score touchdowns.
And at that point, we were trying to get in -- we knew we were going to try to go for it on 4th down. And we were trying to get in a manageable 4th down situation. We ended up in 4th and 4 and punted the ball. Anything over that, if we don't make the first down on that one drive, it's over, the game's over. Wanted to give our kids a chance, play defense, stop them, which it worked out we got the ball back.
Then we throw the interception.

Q. Did you make some adjustments on defense?
COACH WANNSTEDT: You know, we did. We changed a few things, but the biggest adjustment, truly, to be honest with you, was just getting used to the tempo and getting the calls in quick and getting in their type of fast rhythm.

Q. Cam let a couple of punts bounce and lost yardage there. Is there something --
COACH WANNSTEDT: I've always had a policy that with punt returners, you don't ever question them. We're obviously standing on the 10-yard line we want to make good decisions, catch the ball, but if the ball is uncatchable in their minds and they let it go, then that's a decision they make and I've got to look at it on tape and see if we're making the best decisions. So it wouldn't be fair to sit here now and say he should have caught them all. I don't know.

Q. You said you were going to go for it on 4th and 4 if it was manageable. You used the timeout there before you punted. What were you thinking there? Were you thinking of going for it and then changed your mind?
COACH WANNSTEDT: Yeah, we were. In the situation, yeah, and I made the decision that let's not -- we weren't real comfortable with the plays we had and the situation.
We felt our best option to win the game was to punt them down there and try to stop them, which we did, and give our offense a chance, hoping we wouldn't have to start on the 7-yard line.

Q. Coach, you talked about their tempo on offense. Can you just expand on why that's so difficult to practice for?
COACH WANNSTEDT: Well, it's tough to simulate that with scout team guys. We work tempo period. We do some tempo stuff ourselves. But when the lights come on and it's for real, it's a little -- they did a good job. They were very efficient early on.
We had a chance to make -- we missed some tackles early. And they broke tackles. They made first downs really the first half. I don't know how many tackles we missed the first half and then we settled in again. We're much better the second half.
Worked on not giving them a big play. I think the longest run they had was 10 yards, and they had the one pass, freshman, one of our young kids misread the deep ball.

Q. What are your impressions of Crist, how do you think your defense did against him?
COACH WANNSTEDT: I thought he made good decisions. He didn't turn the ball over. He didn't throw it into coverage. I thought he played very well.

Q. You had some problems on field goals today. What happened with them?
COACH WANNSTEDT: You know what, on one our holder dropped the ball. I mean, he spun the ball and he lost control of it. I really don't -- he's been doing it for four years. And Hutch is as good a dependable kicker as we've got and he just pushed it to the right. Bad day, bad day kicking field goals.

Q. I know you didn't want to be 2 and 3, do you tell these kids the Big East is still ahead, that's the number one goal?
COACH WANNSTEDT: We didn't get in to that much. I told them we have to put together a full game. We cleaned up some penalties. We're playing to the final whistle. I thought our quarterback play was improved. It was good to get Dion back. Our offensive line, I think the decision we made there is the best one.
We seem to be making a little progress there. We gotta play all three phases for 60 minutes.

Q. You talked a little bit about Tino, how much closer do you think he really is to having that break-through?
COACH WANNSTEDT: Well, I think it's going to be a process throughout the year, really. Every week will present different challenges depending on the team we play and he's got to keep moving forward, which keep working hard like everybody to get better.

Q. Did you feel he played well?
COACH WANNSTEDT: I thought he made good decisions. Like I say, two or three of the incomplete passes were slips and fall downs with the receivers that obviously they count as incomplete passes, but you have to look back at and look at it as a coach, did he make the right guy, was the ball coming out quick, was it an accurate throw, could it have been caught. And for the most part I thought he did a pretty good job. We've got to keep working on the deep balls. We've got to score quick a few times. Everything is tough right now, very difficult to score touchdowns for us.

Q. On that final offensive play, looked like John Baldwin got press coverage. Were you expecting him to get the press coverage? If so, what were the other options there?
COACH WANNSTEDT: No, we were running stops all the way across the boards. We were just trying to make four yards. We really had him and Cam Saddler and Mike Shanahan running option routes or stop routes.
The quarterback makes the decision who he's going to throw to, depending what he sees and they made a play.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

End of FastScripts

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