Transcript of Bobby Petrino’s comments:
Opening statement: That’s another tough loss for us. It’s a very competitive game. I thought our players today did a good job getting ready for the game in this short week. They prepared well and practiced hard, came out and competed hard. We didn’t do everything right, particularly on offense. We’re just not very good right now on offense. We have a hard time running the football and tonight we had a hard time converting third downs. That was something we were able to do the previous two games, but we couldn’t sustain drives on third down. They’re a good defensive football team, very good against the run. They’re smart. I thought we made some plays and we did get an opportunity to get in position to tie the game and then in position to throw one in the end zone late, but there just wasn’t enough power on offense. We got a big lift by the kickoff return — still getting a lot of production from a lot of freshmen out there. Defensively we played well at times, but when we get the lead, we’ve got to keep the lead. That’s what we need to expect on defense. It was a close game. They’re a good football team and we played a couple of good football teams, but we’ve got a lot of work to do to get this thing turned around.
Q: What were you looking to see on the last few plays?
PETRINO: Well we got the one down the middle to Micky (Crum) and then we come back and had another play that gave us an opportunity to get the ball down the sideline or down the middle. I think Kyle (Bolin) thought he’d be able to step up in the pocket and make a throw down the sideline and he just got sacked. I thought maybe we’d get in a position to try another field goal or get the ball in the end zone. Obviously we didn’t get it done.
Q: Your thoughts on Kyle Bolin’s performance?
PETRINO: It wasn’t as good as we need, but obviously, it’s not just the quarterback. You’ve got to help the quarterback by being able to run the ball. You’ve got to help the quarterback by having better protection. Being more precise on our routes. Even though we are getting some production from our young receivers, at times they’re not where they need to be, not on time with their routes. So we still have a whole lot of work to do offensively. There’s no question about that.
Q: What is your quarterback situation going forward? Is Bolin the starter going forward?
PETRINO: I think what we need to do is just continue to evaluate where we’re at. We felt like going into this game, he gave us the best opportunity to win the game. And then we had a package for short yardage where we brought Lamar (Jackson) and Reggie (Bonnafon) in there, and it did help us. We had a big play there on the drive before the last one, on a short-yardage play, but we went down and missed the field goal.
Q: Nobody wants to be 0-3. Is it a challenge to keep the players ‘up’ after this start?
PETRINO: It’s definitely a challenge. There’s no question about that. I don’t think I’ve ever been 0-3 before. We’ve lost some really close games. We’ve had our opportunities. We just have to go back to work. You only know to work hard and get rid of mistakes and execute better and learn how to run the ball. I thought we had some opportunities to run the ball and we just didn’t sustain blocks or didn’t hit it right. We missed a block one time — it looked like it was going to be a touchdown and then we just missed it. So we had a lot of opportunities, we’re just not getting it done right now.
Q: Third-down was a struggle tonight. Was it that you were in long third-down situations, or something else?
PETRINO: Well we missed some third-and-shorts today, and that really hurt us. And then they did a good job on the pressures and attacking our protection and beating our guys one on one. We really didn’t have time to throw the ball a couple of times on third and long plays. But we need to convert those third and ones, that’s something we’ve been doing a great job of. I think we were 89 percent on third and ones, and we didn’t get it done, especially early in the game. That is how you sustain drives, keep them on the field and then they get tired.