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January 3, 2001

Bobby Bowden


COACH BOWDEN: It was a great defensive ballgame. A great defensive struggle of which their defense outlasted us. We simply could not get anything going against them, no consistency whatsoever. You needed a catch here; you didn't get it. You need a little block here; you didn't get it. That is what it would have taken to win this ballgame. But the way those two defensive teams were playing, the game probably -- well, the score probably ended up like it should. When they were down they had several other chances. It was a defensive struggle which we couldn't get anything done offensively. My feeling on the sideline you know, if you have ever -- in coaching down through the years, sometimes we will be playing a ballgame and I will have a nightmare, you know, maybe on a Tuesday I will have a nightmare. It's the worst looking thing I have ever seen in my life. You are playing somebody; everybody is running backwards instead of forward; you are getting beat; you are getting killed. You are supposed to win. It is a nightmare. You wake up, you are so happy that it was a nightmare. Well, I had that same feeling out there. This is like a nightmare. That is what it was to me, like a nightmare.

Q. How much do you think Minnis gone and the long layover, all that stuff affected ...

COACH BOWDEN: I wish I could blame it on that. I got a feeling that Bob -- he had the same amount of time we did to prepare for each other. He did a magnificent job. I never had the feeling the whole night -- and I don't know if my offense coordinator did either -- of what the heck they were doing. We couldn't match up. They'd do this, so we tried to do that; when we did that, they did this. They stayed a step ahead of us all the way defensively it seemed like. So now we did have a couple of chances there to make good. A great catch could really have helped us there a couple of times and we didn't make them. But -- and Snoops could have helped us there. I thought they looked superior to us on the football field tonight.

Q. Miami fans are going to argue they should have been in this game. You played Oklahoma and Miami. Do you think --?

COACH BOWDEN: When I look at it now, it probably should have been Miami and Oklahoma.

Q. Really?

COACH BOWDEN: I didn't think we looked like we belonged out there. I thought Miami looked a lot better the other night than we looked. I thought we deserved to be here, but it didn't look like it. Yet it could be that Oklahoma is just so good that whoever they'd play would have done that, too. They beat Kansas State twice; that is kind of hard to do, beating Nebraska like they did. They might be a super ballclub.

Q. Was Chris Weinke off tonight?

COACH BOWDEN: I didn't feel like he was off enough. I don't feel like he was off enough for us to lose the game. I think our inability to get a running game going was bad. Couldn't even resemble a running game. You notice every time they had first down, they ended up second and three and second and four. We never had a second and four, which means we weren't blocking people. So now was Chris Weinke off? Maybe a little bit, but I don't think enough. I don't think -- I think they covered us better than he was off.

Q. A lot of times when you needed a first down you were going for 20, 25 yards to the end zone...

COACH BOWDEN: That is the way they were playing, playing defensive; they forced us to do it. They put together a defense that was going to -- if they lost, it was going to -- it wasn't going to be lost fighting. I mean, he had a fourth, we had a fourth and something -- fourth down, and it was long. You thought he'd drop back and played it real soft. He blitzed. If you hit a pass against that thing he scores. He was set to give it all and to sell the farm, and he did it and he won.

Q. Your team had slow starts this season. Were you expecting at halftime, three nothing, and that eventually your offense would wake up?

COACH BOWDEN: I'd thought we would put something together. I never thought 13 points would beat us. I mean, nobody would think 13 would beat them either. It was a defensive battle. And usually when you get to a game like this, I think it usually comes down to defense, but I think our offense is supposed to do better than what we did tonight.

Q. Most disappointing loss of your career?

COACH BOWDEN: No, I have had more disappointing than this one. I ain't happy about this one.

Q. Looked like scheme-wise that they were -- nobody was ever standing still there.

COACH BOWDEN: No, they did a great job. They disguised so good. We tried to go no-huddle fast on them. We tried to -- then tried to be deliberate. They disguised as pretty as I have seen. Looked like they were going to play a two deep. Then all of a sudden it was the beeline backers. All of a sudden they would fly out of there. You don't want to give him four weeks to get ready for you. He is too smart. Bob is too smart.

Q. 14 years in a row this team has finished in the top 4. Does this team tonight belong in the top 4?

COACH BOWDEN: I don't know. It would be -- I don't know. We didn't play tonight like -- I thought we looked that way before this game, but in this game we -- again, I might be underestimating them. They might be so good that they made us like that. They might be so darn good they might have done Miami that way and Oregon that way and Washington that way. I don't know. But we did look -- we didn't look like we belonged.

Q. (Inaudible)?

COACH BOWDEN: We just missed a short field goal early in the game; didn't even come close. It's funny how that was our Achilles heel the whole year, the kicking. Got us against Miami and kept us from staying in the game here where we could have been in the game. That was kind of the worst thing that happened. But then we were -- again, they confused us so good that we were probably throwing deep at times when we should have been throwing short and vice versa.

Q. South Florida not been too kind to your team?

COACH BOWDEN: Two losses, both of them down here in this area and other than that, yeah, we didn't beat Oklahoma.

Q. 45 days off hurt you?

COACH BOWDEN: 45 days you can probably use wisely or probably use it unwisely. And it looked like you know, I really shouldn't say we did bad because our defense didn't do bad. They did excellent. But our team, looking at it from a team standpoint, it didn't look like we used the 40 something days as good as Oklahoma did. They were a lot better than I thought of them.

Q. Did you think of changing up something coming into this game or were you confident that you could come in with your kind of game?

COACH BOWDEN: I thought we could come get in with our kind of game and get the job done and we couldn't do it. I thought about that several times. They had a couple of little twists for us that we had a hard time handling. We didn't have any kind of little twist for them. I thought about that out there.

Q. In the future if you get back to this game and there is that 45 day layoff --?

COACH BOWDEN: If I played this ballgame again, I would approach it offensively in a much different way, seeing what I saw tonight. I wish I could go out there and study the film and see what they did and make another game plan for them. But no more playing this year.

Q. (Inaudible) 12 point underdog, all the talk about Miami--?

COACH BOWDEN: I really think that we were overconfident to a degree. I mean, you know, everybody talked about how many pros we got. I knew that I mentioned that to our kids the other night. The newspapers, Florida State got all these pros and Nebraska doesn't have a single one. We failed for some of that. I thought we played like offensively especially that we have been reading our clippings a little bit. That is the way it looked and I am probably correct on that. It is tough on a Heisman quarterback. When people talk about Heisman quarterbacks having that much success it is easy to see why. I remember when Charlie won the Heisman he had to go here, he had to go to New York while they were practicing. He is having to go there. He has to go here. He doesn't have time to look at film. He misses practice. We didn't do that bad with Chris because we remembered that. But he might have missed enough film study and some stuff that kept him from being as good as he could possibly be.

Q. Two points, Bobby, is it shocking to you that your offense put two points on the board?

COACH BOWDEN: I am shocked. I was shocked. They whipped us up front on the running game and they whipped us so bad, I would have never thought they could do it. I mean we had told our kids we have got to block their linebackers. I don't know if we ever blocked them but they get their safeties so dog gone involved in it. No. 38 they got, he is nothing but a linebacker and he can fly. He made some beautiful plays against us. Boy, Bob did a heck of a job. Well you guys be good, I know I am.

End of FastScripts....

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