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Pitt vs Syracuse Postgame Quotes




Dec. 3, 2011

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PITTSBURGH -

Pitt Head Coach Todd Graham

Opening statement:
“I’m really proud of our players. It was a great way for our seniors to end their college careers at Heinz Field. It’s a very special group. They laid a great foundation and I’m excited about the way they have embraced me.”

On creating turnovers:
“Six takeaways today was really impressive. I told our players that today was about imposing will – that the two teams would try to impose their will on one another. I think our guys did that.”

On playing younger players:
“We had some guys step up today. Anthony Gonzalez came in and played in our Wildcat formation and did a good job for us. Corey Davis did some good things. We had two true freshman running backs playing today and a freshman wide receiver was filling in as well."

On using the screen pass:
“We have not run a lot of screens in the past three weeks. With the pressure they had, you have to get defenders off of you. So, today that was really productive for us.”

On playing smart football:
“I thought our guys played disciplined football. It wasn’t completely clean. There were lots of points we left out there, but I was really proud of how hard our guys played.”

On the defensive performance:
“A lot of people talk about our defensive line, but I think our secondary is really good.”

On the potential of playing in a bowl game:
“This bowl game is going to help us tremendously. We’ll get a chance to go to a nice place, get our seventh win and go win a championship. We’re not going just to go to a bowl game. I can tell you we are going to go to win.”

Pitt CB Antwuan Reed:

On forcing six turnovers:
“The coaches have been really stressing turnovers at practice and we just tried to go out there and help the team the best we can with defense and special teams.”

Pitt FS Andrew Taglianetti:

On the coaching staff this season:
“There’s some things on the field the coaches can’t control. It’s a players’ game. They put us in the right position to make plays all year. I think today showed what we can do. I think we’re better than a 6-6 team by far.”

On finishing the season on a high note:
“We had a couple of tough losses, but it doesn’t do anyone any good to take it the wrong way and get frustrated by what’s going on. We just had to pull together and keep fighting.”

On getting a win for Coach Patterson:
“I think that’s the one thing that we could do that would mean the most to him is to come out and get a W. It’s sad. He even told us today it’s the first time he didn’t talk to his dad before a football game. That kind of hit us deep.

“We’ll have a couple more weeks before we play. I think it’s great. You really get to hone in on your opponent and you really get to know their tendencies. It’s nice to get a little break, too. Our bodies are a little bruised.”

Pitt RG Lucas Nix:

On overcoming adversity during the season:
“You have to trust what the coaches are telling you to do. There’s a reason they’re the coaches and we’re the players. We trusted what they told us to do and we went out and executed.”

Pitt OLB Brandon Lindsey:

On final game at Heinz Field:
“The coaches put me in the right position to make plays. It felt good to end my career here on a high note."

On getting a win for Coach Patterson:
“It hit us when Coach Graham told us that (Coach Patterson’s) dad had passed. We know what kind of guy Coach Patterson is and he wouldn’t want the limelight to be on him. He didn’t want us to bring it up. We just gave him a pat on the back and a hug and told him we’re here for him if he needs us to talk to. We had that in the back of our mind, not only winning one for the seniors, but winning it for Coach Patterson."

Syracuse Head Coach Doug Marrone:

Opening statement:
“We had an opportunity to get some things done this season. It’s a shame that we weren’t able to accomplish that. Obviously, we have a lot of work ahead of us and we have to start that tomorrow. I feel the seniors did a good job. They are the ones I feel for because I wanted them to go out the right way. We wanted to go to a bowl game two years in a row and we weren’t able to accomplish that. Hopefully, with some of the abilities these seniors have, they will pass them on to the younger players and they will carry that torch into the future.”

On what he told the players after the game:
“Honestly, I talked a little about the game and how it didn’t come out our way. Then I talked about the seniors and how we have a lot of work to do.”

On what good came out of this season:
“I’m sure something good came out of this season, but right now it’s difficult for me to express that. We need to get in there and see what we need to build on. At the end of the day when you look at the numbers, if you’re not winning, to me it sounds like you’re making excuses. All that counts are the wins and losses and that’s what I tried to emphasize because statistics are funny. Penalties, turnovers and field position are obviously things that hurt us. Those three things right there, if you look at the whole season, are an accurate statement of why we are the way we are.”

On lack of leadership:
“I don’t know that this is a lack of leadership, maybe a lack of many (leaders). You see this on all teams, when something happens and the team doesn’t perform to the expectations of the fans or the coaches. (Leadership) is the first thing you go back to. Those kids last year did a nice job. The kids this year did the best job they could and that’s all you can ask.”

On defensive play:
“I think it always hurts when you can’t stop (an opponent) early. I give credit to (Pitt). We have to go back and look at the things that hurt us - the bubbles, the quick screens and getting our leverage. We have to take a look at that and see if we can put our players in a better position to make plays.”

Syracuse LB Dan Vaughan:

On the postgame lockerroom atmosphere:
“It’s pretty somber in there especially after you start off so great with a 5-2 season and then go on and lose five from there. We had an opportunity to make a bowl game and there were high expectations. We were ready for this game but things didn’t work out. It was a disappointing loss.”

On the team’s feelings after going down 10-0 early:
“Personally on the defense we weren’t really fazed at all. We went out there and executed our game plan. We didn’t feel like we were behind. We knew it was extenuating circumstances and we knew we could get back in it. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t pull it out in the end.”

On looking to next year:
“We need to mature because we are a young group of kids. Next year everyone has to know what their role is and execute it perfectly. I feel horrible for the seniors that are not coming back next year because that could have been me. I don’t want that to happen next year.”

On today’s field position against Pitt:
“Looking back on today’s game it was pretty tough but our defense pulled though. We came away with a couple of field goals when they were deep in our area. Overall I think we handled it alright.”

Syracuse HB Jerome Smith:

On Syracuse’s final record of 5-7 and the last five loses of the season:
“I did not expect this to happen in a million years. We started out at 5-2. We were ready and we beat West Virginia. We’re a team and we play together, but we couldn’t get that one more win.”

On looking toward next season:
“I’m really excited. We are going to work hard in this offseason. We are going to get ready for next year and do better then we did this year. I need to work on changing everything in the offseason and go from playing a little to hopefully a lot next year.”

Syracuse DE Chandler Jones:

On his interception and how it affected momentum:
“I feel like it was a big momentum changer because we went and scored. It happened in four or five plays after that pick so it was a big momentum changer for us.”

On the post-game lockerroom atmosphere:
“No one was talking and there were a lot of tears. I told everyone this one hurt the most because it ended it our season. It ended our chance to make history.”

On Pitt’s offensive strategy:
“They were running flat routes and getting the ball to their best players. They capitalize on those things and were able to make plays.”

On how the season ended:
“I was injured for about five games and coming from the West Virginia game we were at 5-2. My biggest focus was getting to a bowl game, to tell you the truth. We just needed one win and we went out and lost five in a row. It’s very tragic and we’re going to have to see what we did wrong to get things right.”