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December 15, 2012

Chris Ault



Q.  Can you just talk about how that game ended and what kind of happened?
COACH AULT:  Well, it's a sick feeling.  Pass defense and we didn't make a play.  We had to make one and had the chance to recover an onside kick.  It was a hot kick.  Should have let it go through and play from behind.
Congratulations to Arizona.  They held in there and did it, but it's a sick feeling.

Q.  Do you feel like the players thought that the game was won?
COACH AULT:  Oh, no.  I don't feel that way at all.  Not defensively.  We knew.  We did not expect them to be able to move the ball.  The one PI called down there on their side of the field was a major, major call.  That really set the table up from the first score.  But there is no excuse here.  We had our chance.  All you had to do was knock the passes down and get out of there.

Q.  Third time this season that kind of happened with the fourth quarter collapse.  How bad do you feel for these seniors to have to go through this kind of year where three of those things happened?
COACH AULT:  There is no question.  I'm just sick for the seniors.  We really played‑‑ offensively we played really, really well.  And defensively, I thought in the second half we did a nice job adjusting to what Arizona was doing.
Then you come down to the last three minutes of whatever that was there, and we don't make a play.  So it happened.  It's reality.  You look at that, and you feel ‑‑ I'm just sick for those seniors.  There is no question about it, but I'm sick for this whole football team.  We had an opportunity to win a game and should have.

Q.  Seemed like the offense was rolling pretty good, though, throughout the entire game?
COACH AULT:  The offense was outstanding.

Q.  The on‑side kick, who was that that jumped in there and ran in there and had it deflected off of him?
COACH AULT:  I think it was Duke Williams.  It was a hot ball, let those go through and got out of bounds.  It's sick.  We'll relive that.  I'm really not sure who it was, but it was in that area.

Q.  Is that just a case of trying to do too much, trying to make a play?
COACH AULT:  Well, things happen fast.  Obviously the ball kicked right at them hard and heavy.  You think you can make a play, and he didn't.  I mean, it's just that simple.  There are no excuses.  There are no excuses.

Q.  Can you tell us what the injuries were?
COACH AULT:  Cody tweaked his, I believe, his left knee a little bit.  Thank God, not serious.  But we could not run in, I want to say, the last six minutes, seven minutes.  He ran it one time just tucking it up in there.  But we could not run our read game at that particular time.  We had to throw it or give it to the other guys.  The kids did a great job.  The offense moved the ball, kept it, ate the clock up and kicked that last field goal to separate.  Hopefully it would have made a difference.

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH AULT:  Well, our quarterback is a big part of our offense, but we still moved the ball.  He still threw it.  But, obviously, if it was early in the first half, we probably would have yanked him and gone with Devin more.  But we moved the ball well.  We could only do certain things with him at that particular time.

Q.  In a late‑game situation like that, there is always the decision, do you rush forward?  Do you drop eight?  What was your thinking on their last two drives defensively?
COACH AULT:  Well, you know, first of all, those passes weren't anything spectacular.  We knew we had an idea where they were going to throw it.  Whether they were rushing three or four, they would have still thrown the same ball from the outside.  We rushed four.  The one time, I forget which one it was to be honest with you, we blitzed them.  But other than that, it was just base defense.
I mean, make a play.  It wasn't anything that they did that was new.  They just executed very well, and we did not.

Q.  Did you feel like the guys were a little shellshocked after they got that on‑side kick?  It was just three plays and they were in the end zone?
COACH AULT:  Well, I haven't had time to spend with them, and you don't expect that, but you've got to stand up and make a play.  The game is on the line.  You don't have time to be shellshocked.  That's football.

Q.  The way this game ends, does it signal to you that you need to make defensive changes?
COACH AULT:  It signals to me we've got to do a lot of talking in the off‑season of where we have to go, what we're going to do, and we've had problems with our defense all year in terms of being consistent.  Yet there's been times where our defense has played well, like in the second half, we really adjusted well.
But to have them go down the field and almost unobstructed, there is obviously a concern.  But I'll look at that as we move forward and go from there.

Q.  The offense, was that its best performance of the season?  They were able to move the ball against a Pac‑12 team with little resistance it appeared like.
COACH AULT:  We've had good performances this year, very good.  It was a good bowl performance against a doggone good football team that does a lot of good things defensively.  I thought offensively we played well.  We did what we had to do to win.  You score 48, you should win the game.

Q.  Was there a tendency, do you think, for the guys to relax a little bit after the field goal at the end defensively?  Because they played so well that entire second half?
COACH AULT:  I don't think so.  Again, we'll look at tape and see.  But the throws they got two of them to their bench side was our underneath coverage.  Our linebacker wasn't in the right spot.  Don't ask me why.  I don't know why he was not there.  It was just a base defensive call.  He wasn't even close to it.
I forget the depth of the passes, but they added up chunky yardage, two in a row.  So I can sit here and tell you all that stuff, but you've got to make a play.  Again, we had people there to make plays, and we didn't.

Q.  What adjustments did you make at halftime that helped so much defensively up until that last two?
COACH AULT:  I thought we did a nice job of putting the umbrella on them in terms of their throwing game.  I thought our front did a nice job of pressuring their quarterback, being consistent with the pressure.  Keeping them in the pocket, not letting them run with it.
Really, I felt comfortable with what we were trying to do defensively and the way we were doing it.  So, again, when we were ahead at the end there and they're going to throw the ball, I felt comfortable that they're going to have to work for everything they can get, but they aren't going to get anything down field.  That PI call, that first one was a major, major call.

Q.  You got a look at Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey.  What you tell me what you thought of his performance?
COACH AULT:  Good.  I mean, we're not here to talk about Arizona.  They just beat us.  Congratulations to them.  They're a good football team.  I mean, come on, that's a terrific offense.  They're well‑coached and all that stuff.
The concern I had going in was we knew about Carey, but those receivers are good receivers.  Good, big kids.  They did a nice job.

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH AULT:  I think in this day and age, because you can't get the bounces anymore, you can't hop it.  I couldn't give you a percentage, but it is not 50‑50.  It's not.  It's geared toward the guys who are receiving the kick, no question about it.  That kick you just let it go through and it's going to go out of bounds.  He had some Heat on that thing.

Q.  Coach, you've been doing this for a long time.  How many games have you been in that have ended in a way like that?
COACH AULT:  I know I've been in some.  Right now I'm not recalling too many of them.  This is a sick enough feeling.  I don't want to recall any of the others.  We've been on both sides of it.

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