“Well I’ll start off with saying I was proud of the way the team competed for four quarters. We played a very, very good football team – you can see Coach Sarks (Sarkisian) has Washington in the direction he would like them to head. They’re a very good football team as I said before. We just didn’t make plays when we needed to make plays. We left some points out there on the football field and in the football game with a missed field goal and opportunities really towards the red zone and a couple sacks took us out of some situations that we could have put points on the board. Defensively we just did not slow them down. I saw tackling was the major concern in the third and fourth quarter as well as what you saw. We have to tackle better when we’re playing a team that is a top-25 football team. But as I sum it up before questions I want to first give credit to Coach Sarks (Sarkisian) and Washington because they’re a fine football team. He’s done a great job building that program into something that he really wants it to be and you can see how his players played in that brand of offense. He just beat a very good football team in Boise State two weeks ago and I think our players came out knowing that they had a chance to win this football game and they fought to the end.”
On concerns on defense:
“Well, I think that we have played some pretty good offense but we have to tackle better. I mean I haven’t watched the film yet, but of course we can all see that we didn’t tackle very well. We gave up a couple big pass plays the first half with mis-reads and we’re young. I think our kids are playing hard but we have to be able to tackle better and we have to be able to make plays.”
On coming out in the third quarter ready to play:
“That’s something we have addressed with this football team. We haven’t come out in the third quarter and played really this year and again, it’s something that we’ve worked on – you practice running into the locker room and coming out, re-teaching it all – but it’s something we’ve got to get better at doing. Again, it’s that third quarter that’s really not been our quarter. I would say that every other quarter we’ve played extremely well, except for that third quarter.”
On the secondary and if they will progress:
“Sure. I believe in this football team, I believe in our football players, and I believe in our coaching staff. You can see the strides that we have made on offense and defensively we’ve got a lot of new faces out there. It’s not much different than the team we played three years ago (at Toledo). You’re going to see a bunch of freshmen out there playing, or sophomores that were not red-shirted so we’re going to have to continue to get better. We’re only two-deep at the defensive interior line right now. So we’re going to play guys and those guys have got to get ready to play.”
On playing in Chicago:
“It was a pleasure playing here. It was an experience for our football players that they will always remember. I think it’s a great idea for us being here in Chicago. The fan support was excellent and it was really getting loud there in the fourth quarter so this football team was excited about playing at Soldier Field and it definitely was a blessing for us to be up here and have the opportunity to play. So thank you Chicago.”
All quotes are from fightingillini.com.
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