Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Texas A&M Post-Game News Conference Quotes

Texas A&M postgame press conference:

THE MODERATOR:  Coach, your comments about this evening's game, please.
COACH SHERMAN:  Well, I thought we prepared extremely well for the football game, but obviously today, without question, LSU was the better team.  I take my hat off to them.  They really played well and gave us all we could handle.
    There came a point there that it was close.  We were able to jump out early, but weren't able to hold onto it.  They run the ball pretty effectively for us.  Our gap fits in the run game weren't what they needed to be.
    Turned the ball over three times which doesn\'t help against a team like that.  But, again, they were definitely the better team.  Take my hat off to Les Miles and his staff.  They did a great job.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.  First question.

 Q.  Ryan, the interception at the end of the second half, talk us through what happened on that play?  What can you build from the end of this season and this game going into next year?

RYAN TANNEHILL:  At the end of the half, went to my first read on the right side, got jammed up pretty bad.  Came across to my second read.  The guy just made a great play and undercut the throw.
    Going into next year, it\'s tough to think about that right now.  We just came off a tough loss.  This team put a lot into it.  I put a lot into this game.  To not go out there and perform the way I\'m capable of, we're capable of, it hurts.
    I feel bad for my teammates, you know.  Kind of dropped the ball.  It\'s a tough feeling.  You never want to do that to the guys you love and the guys you work so hard with.  So it\'s definitely tough.

Q.  Mike and Lucas, the way you guys defended the run so well the last six games of the season, what went wrong that let LSU run the ball the way they did?
LUCAS PATTERSON:  I think, you know, most of it, like coach said, was gap fits.  You know, they prepared really well.  They come out real physical in the first half.  I think a lot of it was on third down and long and we let the quarterback get out of contain, and he scrambled for the first down a lot of times.
    Little mistakes on our part that turned into big plays for them.

COACH SHERMAN:  I think they were 9 16 on third down.  I thought we had them in some situations.  But the quarterback was able to escape and make successful big plays with his feet.  I don't know how much yardage he had, but he was very instrumental in their rushing yardage.  Sometimes in pass coverage, rushing the quarterback, it's always hard to account for someone, particularly an athlete like Jefferson.

Q.  Coach, you talk about keeping an even keel, not getting too high when you win, too low when you lose.  How do you keep your team even keeled after a loss like that?
COACH SHERMAN:  Well, as I told them after the game I told them before the game I was proud of them as a football team, and that doesn't change because we lost a football game.  I hope my wife still loves me even though we lost a football game.  I hope it's not based on that.  I still love these guys.  I'm still proud of them.  I thought they performed admirably this year.  They took a lot of steps that we've asked them to take.  We couldn't take the final step.
    Like I said before the game, consequences of winning is great expectations, which there were for our fans in this ballgame, which there should have been, great challenges, which there was with LSU, and there's great rewards.  But when you don't finish it off like we didn't finish it off, there's great disappointment.
    At the same time I think when you look at the body of work that the guys put in this year collectively, the stretch run that they had, I think we'll be able to bounce back from this.  We lost to a very good football team today.

Q.  Coach, could you expand, it seemed like the defense would get into situations where you were ideal with down and distance on third down, but expand on the inability to get off the field, to make that play that would give your offense another opportunity to come back on the field?
COACH SHERMAN:  I would agree with that.  I thought early, to be honest with you, in the first half, the first quarter, when they started to run the ball pretty effectively, we weren't getting them in enough third downs.  But then we did end up putting them in about 16 situations.  The quarterback would drop back and would rush the quarterback and lose contain or we'd get washed out of our rush lane and he would take off running when guys were back into coverage.
    I don't think we had as great a pass rush as we've had in the past for whatever reason.  You got to give their offensive line credit.  Coming into the game, I got a lot of respect for their left tackle.  I thought he played very well in this ballgame when I watched him.  I thought their offensive line as a group did a good job.
    You have to give credit to a good athlete, the quarterback, he made a lot of good plays for them.  I thought he was the difference in the game.

Q.  Can you tell us what happened to Hodges, how you think that affected your defense?

COACH SHERMAN:  Well, I would hate to put it on that because injury is part of the game.  We have to be able to adjust with the loss of a player like Mike.
    He is the heart and soul of our defense in many ways.  At the same time you can't use that as a reason why we didn't perform the way we should have been capable of performing.
    But Mike I believe had an ACL sprain, was not able to reenter the game.  But I still expect I think in football, you know, one guy gets hurt, another guy has to step in and make the play.  That goes for LSU, goes for us, goes for everybody.

Q.  Coach, you talked about Jordan Jefferson, him making plays with his legs.
COACH SHERMAN:  He also made some plays with his arm, too.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit more in detail about not only what he did with his legs, but what he did with his arms.
COACH SHERMAN:  It was on first and second down he was throwing the ball with the play action, faking one way, coming back.  We call it a play pass.  He was able to beat our coverage and the receiver made a nice play.  Beat us twice on plays like that off of a play fake.
    I thought he was a complete quarterback.  I was no way indicating he was just a run around athlete.  I thought he threw the ball about as good as I've seen him throw on tape.  I thought he was decisive, aggressive and accurate.  He snuck a couple in there that I didn't think he was going to get in.

Q.  One player who did have a good game tonight was Jeff Fuller.  Talk about his performance tonight, if that was part of the game plan to get him more involved.
COACH SHERMAN:  No, we don't necessarily say we\'re going to feed the ball to any one particular player.  We kind of go through our progression based on what\'s called.  I thought Jeff just played a good game against a very good player.  I thought Cyrus Gray had a very good game as well.  Matt Allen had a very good game, our center.
    So it was more than just Jeff, though I thought Jeff had one of his better games.  I thought he made some nice catches, ran some good routes.  When we threw the ball to him, most of the time he made a play with his hands.

Q.  Lucas, you mentioned the Hodges' injury earlier, but what was the biggest thing you felt was missing after Mike went out?

LUCAS PATTERSON:  Mike is a great player.  He's the leader of this defense.  But just like coach said, injuries happen in football.  I think Kyle put in the situation he was in, he played well.
    But, I mean, you can't replace a player like Hodges.  He's one of my good friends.  It's a terrible situation for him to be in, but, like coach said, there's no excuses, injuries happen.