Bobby Petrino discusses win over Kentucky

Bobby Petrino
collegefootball.ap.org

Bobby Petrino was obviously pleased after Louisville came back from down 21-0 to beat Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. Here are his comments after the game. Video and transcript below…

Video from TheCrunchZone.com

Opening statement … 

“Full day’s work right there. I’m just really proud of our players. I’m really proud of our assistant coaches. Obviously, we didn’t get off to the best start in the world. But we rallied at halftime. Our guys did a good job of keeping their poise. And then we really came out and competed extremely hard in the second half and found a way to come back and win the game. We executed well on offense. I think Lamar (Jackson) really grew up, but also the guys around him rallied and competed hard and helped him play better, which was really good to see. I think that was the thing that was really nice to see. Then our defense in the second half, I think, just shut them down until that last (long) play. We had to work together. When you get behind like that, you have to work together and find a way to come back, and defensive stops and offensive points allowed us to do that.”

On the team staying in it after being in such a big hole…

“That’s what I’m so proud about; their poise, their competitive spirit and their toughness. I think it says a whole lot about the leadership and the quality of guys we have on the team.”

On the impact of the QB run game with Jackson …

“It really helped. His speed, his ability to read it every time. I thought that helped. I thought Rad (Brandon Radcliff) gave us a big lift the way he was running there in the third quarter, hitting the holes hard. We came up with some big plays by our wide receivers. So again, when we talk about when don’t do well on offense, it’s all 11, and when we do well, it is all 11. They all made plays, and the O-line I thought really did a nice job.”

On second-half adjustments on defense …

“You can talk to Todd (Grantham, defensive coordinator) about that. I basically just came in here and told them that I wanted to see them compete hard and stay together. We’ll do this together. We did shut them down in the second half.”

On keeping the Governor’s Cup trophy …

“It’s awesome. It’s huge for us. It’s certainly a rivalry and certainly something we are proud of, to have the trophy. Our guys did a great job this week in practice with our focus and our energy. This was important to them. It was different getting off the bus when we arrived at the stadium and in the locker room. There’s no question it’s important. We just didn’t start very well. Maybe we should have walked instead of getting off the bus at the stadium. (laughing). It’s a great way to win a game.”

On his job to keep the team together when down big like that …

“Really it’s everybody. It’s our assistant coaches doing a good job. I was just trying to be real calm at halftime and talk to them about being the ultimate competitor and that we will have the opportunity to come back. I’m proud that we didn’t hurt ourselves with any 15-yard penalties because I thought that was a huge part of it, too.”

On team’s confidence that they would come back… 

“We were moving the ball. We had it in scoring position two other times and threw interceptions and made our own mistakes. I liked the way we were running it. You could see the holes. You could see our running backs hitting it hard. I felt like we could move the ball on them.”

On Lamar Jackson’s overall performance …

“Yeah, I thought he really grew up. He made some great plays running the ball, throwing it, and I think that’s the thing that’s good for me to see. He really just concentrated on reading the plays, not guessing and not making a predetermined decision. That’s when you start to mature as a quarterback.”

On Todd Grantham’s emotion and assistants on the sideline…

“I thought our coaches did a great job. I thought our players did a good job and our coaches did a great job. It’s hard to come in a locker room down like that. We didn’t expect to be down like that. There was a little shock effect. You really have to have poise, and you have to take care of each other. The biggest thing is, nobody was blaming anybody. There was no pointing fingers. It was, OK, how do we find a way to go win this game?”

On the original plan for Jackson with Bolin starting..

“We were going to play them both, and we did have a good package for Lamar that certainly paid off. We tried to stay with most of what we had worked (on) with him. We did expand a couple of things as the game went on. The No. 1 thing I said to Lamar is, it’s going to be really important for you to get better as this game goes on. You’ve got to understand what they’re doing. You’ve got to learn and improve while we’re playing the game, so each series we’re a little bit better. I really like his demeanor, and I like the way he’s leading.”

On Jackson’s improvement with handoffs the last few weeks and making option reads ..

“I thought we executed it really well. We practiced it hard, and we did a great job of taking care of the football, except for the picks.”

On James Quick’s performance and condition…

“I thought he played really well — made some huge plays for us. He’s another guy that provides a lot of leadership for us — a lot of energy. Every time we came off the sideline, he was one of the guys working hard, leading. Did a great job on special teams. I haven’t talked to the trainers yet.”

On the season overall at 7-5 after an 0-3 start …

“I’m going to think about that tomorrow. I’m just happy about the win right now. We’ll evaluate the season maybe Monday. I might even give it until Monday, but we do certainly need to evaluate it — look at it. It’s not been the type of season we want, but I like the way we finished, and certainly today was fun.”

On any other injury updates …

“I don’t know any updates on any injuries. As the game goes on, all I’ll do is, Kyle comes to me and says this guy’s out, or he’s back up, ready to go…”

What about Lamar’s cramping …

“Oh, Lamar, he told me he’s back up — ready to go. He came to me and said Lamar’s cramping in both calves. I said, ‘Kyle, do your job. Get him ready to go.’ (laughs) He did come back about 30 seconds later and said, yeah, he’s good to go — it’s just cramps.”

On running quarterbacks against UK …

“I thought they played good defense. You did see Mississippi State’s quarterback running around and Tennessee’s, but not all of that was the read zone or quarterback run. Some of it was just making plays, which Lamar did today, too. He competed and made some really good runs when there was nothing there. He’s fast, was taking care of the ball, and I think our guys are used to him a little bit more and can block down the field.”

On passing on a field goal in the fourth quarter …

“I was never going to kick it. We haven’t had great protection all year, and you’re up seven, they go score, overtime. I like the way we punt the ball inside the 10 — done a pretty good job all year with that — so it never even crossed my mind to kick the field goal. It was nothing with John (Wallace). John can make a 50-yard field goal. But our protection hasn’t been what you want it to be all year, so I just wanted to punt the ball.”

On knowing U of L was going to come back …

“When L.J. (Scott) broke that run and we could take a knee, but not until then.”

Was this the biggest comeback of your career?

“I’m not into the biggest and all that. It might be the sweetest — I can tell you that. It might be the sweetest one. It was a great being able to come back down like that and see our guys grow up.”

On seeing players meet with fans after a Governor’s Cup win.

“It’s awesome. Like I said, I couldn’t be more proud of our football team, the assistant coaches, our fans. It’s great. It’s a great, great feeling.”

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