Friday, January 2nd, 2004



Opening Statement:

“Hats off to the Ole Miss Rebels. I really thought that Eli Manning was a tremendous quarterback and a great competitor in this game. We had opportunities to win, make plays, and we made our share but could hardly get ahead. I’m disappointed, but not with the fight and the effort. It was one of those games that I feel like we just ran out of time.”

On struggling on third down:

“We had a number of negative plays, both in the run and the pass. Our third down protection was difficult for us and I think that, that was a factor in this game.”

On going on fourth and four in the second quarter:

“We felt like into the wind we were a little too far away for the field goal. The opportunity, the play was a relatively low-risk play with descent reward, the opportunity to get a first down, and at worst an incompletion. We did not expect a sack. If we get that first down, we continue the drive and we are in the game.”

On pass interference call on fourth down in the fourth quarter with the score 31-28:

“It’s a difficult time in the game and again I give credit to Ole Miss, the way they executed the back half of the game. At some point in time I thought about off-side kicking in that situation. The momentum of the game was ours. The stadium had erupted for us. Our defense had stopped them. They were going to want to run the football and not throw it. To eat the clock up felt like the opportunity to control the ball, besides their defense wanted the opportunity to go out there and win it. It was a great decision by Ole Miss to throw the ball with tight coverage, those things happen. You are going in there to interrupt that pass and if you had some contact, you had some contact.”

On stopping them on the run:

“The back end of the game we wanted to force the throw and we were going to overload the box, but they blocked. Their offensive line had a good day and their fullback would get in there. Their running back in my opinion ran awfully hard. They have an elusive back that certainly in that situation is a guy you give the ball to a number of times and he was going to run through some tackles.”

On the fake field goal:

“We were in a position where three points is significant but felt like we had a good call. We looked at the field goal that we missed and the opportunity to run it was there. It was really a percentage play with a fourth down and one or two and we picked up the first down in the drive and scored, and it’s anybody’s ball game all the way through. It’s one of those plays you make.”

On Rashaun Woods:

“Every time that we line up in every game that we have played the last several years, the defense’s concern has been to deal with Rashaun Woods, and that has allowed us to do a number of things, both run and pass. Rashaun Woods had a spectacular day. We would have liked to have gotten him the ball a little earlier in that game and we tried. Protection was a problem.

On the rushing game:

“We felt like we had some rushes that they would stop and give us a negative play, but we rushed the ball at times very effectively. I felt like they had really taken that opportunity away from us. There were some things we needed to do with Rashaun Woods in this game, and we wanted to make them honor the run so that we could get the ball to him. Late in the game, that is what we did.”

On Ole Miss’ offensive line:

“Their offensive line played very well, especially late in the game controlling the line of scrimmage and allowing them to rush the football. I thought that our defensive game plan was a darn good one. The difference in my opinion Eli Manning at the line of scrimmage with the opportunity to audible and make the plays in the passing game on a regular basis. That 98-yard drive was a spectacular drive engineered by a veteran quarterback.”

On the biggest factors of the game:

“You look at each phase. We would have like to have kicked the field goal, but we missed one that might have well made it a tied ball game. On the offensive side the negative plays. You have the opportunity to do good things in both run and pass, but when you are constantly at second and 12 or second and 14 or third and 10, you are in a difficult situation for most offenses, because they know primarily the best way to pick up those yards is throwing. In our defensive side, I think that the game plan was a solid one. It is just Manning for an extended period of time had a run of his audibles that were just tremendous and they executed their offensive. I think their offensive line easily was a factor in this game, but it was a very competitive game. It went down to the end. I think either team could have won that game. Again, Ole Miss made the plays today.”

On the play calls in the third quarter:

“Some of those plays were well designed but the protection was difficult for the quarterback to make the play. Even though in the first quarter they started to blitz us and we felt the things we were doing were the right things, but the ball was getting knocked down. Somebody was coming through to the back field and protection was the problem initially. I don’t think that we would have taken back any of those calls.”

On what he did to give Josh Fields more time in the fourth quarter:

“The ability to run it and play action behind it and them not being able to determine which by formation and motion allowed us to do things we wanted to do, especially down the field.”


On the play calls in the third quarter:

“Not every pass play is going to work out like you plan it to in practice. They schemed us pretty good right then. It definitely wasn’t taking us out of our drives or anything like that. We had a couple of penalties that hurt, but as far as the pass to Rashaun (Woods), they covered him well. You just have to go with what you got and we didn’t have very much on that play.”

On putting up good numbers:

“Our line and second half really stepped it up and started to protect well. We started to get Rashaun (Woods) open and actually I could just kind of sit back there and look around and it was kind of nice to throw deep to him again. It kind of felt like old times. We had a good time going out throwing the ball around, but we just came up short.”

On Rashaun Woods setting Cotton Bowl records:

“He deserves everything that he gets. He has put up a lot of numbers at OSU and had a lot of success nationally. He deserves to break some records here.”

Did he detect Rashaun Woods was going to be able to work on Travis Johnson, if they stayed in man coverage?

“We always feel that if Rashaun is going to be able to get someone one-on-one that he will win. They kept bringing the safety down and letting him go one-on-one with the corner and that is just what happens when you get him one-on-one. You pretty much always have to put two people on him.”

On Ole Miss taking the running game away:

“They took it away pretty well, they did a good job and they were making us have to throw to Rashaun and get yards through the air. Our line picked up a lot in the second half and did a real good job and Rashaun, he just always comes up with some amazing plays.”


On the running game:

“Sometimes it works and other times they just dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the whole game. We never controlled the tempo. We never could get a rhythm going, myself or Mo (Vernand Morency). We knew going into the game it was going to be a nip-and-tuck game and it was. We couldn’t get any big runs like we are used to.”

That was one of their goals coming into the game to stop the run and they showed it. We could never break any good runs and couldn’t get any rhythm going. In the first half we had some kind of rhythm, but it couldn’t translate into the second half. They just out played us, dominated the line of scrimmage and any time a team does that they are going to have success.”


On Rashaun Woods:

“There are times that I have walked off the field on game day and said we didn’t give him enough of a chance to be the player he is and win the game but I felt like today we did. We do the best we can to get it to him as much as possible and the thing about Rashaun is when he runs down the field so much, there are times that he will get a little fatigued so you can’t keep doing it every time. He runs down the field so much that we have to mix in some things and then as soon as we think he is ready to go, we fire it right down there to him again.”


On Ole Miss’ play-action:

“They stuck with the run and it helped them out a lot. Their play action worked really well for them. We knew that a lot of their passes came off the play action. They are committed to the run and a lot of people don’t realize that, but they are going to throw off their play action. We were prepared for stuff like that.”

On next season:

“Right now I can’t really talk about next season. We are all just so disappointed and wanted to win for the seniors and wanted them to go out on top. It makes it tough for next year. You have to build off something like this.”


On the game:

“Their offense was much quicker than we were today. Penalties stopped our drives and instead of going forward, most of the time we were going backwards from all of the mistakes. You can’t win a football game doing that. Coming back like that shows the character of this team. We are not going to lay down for anyone. With one more possession we would have won the game.”

On watching Ole Miss run the clock out:

“Your heart just drops to your toe nails and you are just like ah. So close but you can’t win them all. I really feel that if we had got the ball back we would have won the football game and that’s how I truly feel. I am sure that they would feel the same way if you ask them.”


On the game:

“We just didn’t win the game today. That’s what I am most concerned with. If I had never played a down at all, I would have been concerned with was whether we had won the game.”

On dealing with Ole Miss’ audibles:

“He did a good job of reading our defense and putting them in good plays. He wasn’t a Heisman Trophy finalist for nothing. His offensive line did a good job of blocking when he made his audible checks and stuff like that.”

On if Ole Miss is the most athletic team they have faced this season:

“That field general they have is awesome. The quarterback makes all the difference in the world as far as making the right calls when the coaches send the plays in and make audibles and check-downs and getting rid of the ball quickly. He is a class act and a very good quarterback.”

On playing his last game in a bowl game:

“It was wonderful for me to come out of the tunnel and see all of the orange in the stands. It is hard to truly enjoy because when the horn went off we were behind.”


On the pass interference call late in the fourth quarter:

“I felt like I had pretty good coverage. As a DB you try to get your hand up on the ball before the receiver does and I just felt like it was good coverage. He was trying to box me out so I couldn’t get to the ball and I was just reaching over to make a play on the ball. And I felt like I had good coverage.”

On if Oklahoma State prepared differently for Eli Manning than any other quarterbacks this season:

“We always prepare the same for every quarterback. We just had a lot of emphasis on trying to anticipate their routes. Trying to see if they are breaking their routes because of how he is throwing the ball. We just tried to have good coverage so they couldn’t put the ball in there. Coach worked on us to anticipate things in different situations but we prepared pretty much the same.”


On how he was defended by Ole Miss:

“My job is to go out and try to make plays for the team and that’s what I did. As far as how they played me or what they did, that was their decision.”

On his emotions now that it is over:

“I am a cold person so you probably wouldn’t see much emotion out of me.”

On Eli Manning from a receiver’s point of view:

“He does a good job of putting the ball in his receiver’s hands. I would love to see my quarterback at the next level. There’s no denying it Ð he is a Heisman Finalist for a reason. I have seen some good quarterbacks in my day and he is up there.”