Dec. 20, 2012
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SAN DIEGO -
HEAD COACH Rocky Long: We had a good season, it didn't end the right way. Couple of things happened that might have changed the momentum the other way, they didn't. We turned the ball over way too much in the second half. It's a simple game.
Q. Coach, did they make any halftime adjustments that made them come out with a better defensive game plan? It seems like your offense faltered in the fourth quarter.
COACH LONG: I don't know who got the most valuable player, but I thought the most valuable player was their punter. He put the ball inside the 5 yard line at least five or six times. I don't know exactly how many, but field position made it tough on the offense.
We hung in there for a long time because I thought both teams were playing good defense. We hung in there a long time until we turned the ball over and that broke the gate open. But they didn't make any halftime adjustments, it was more of a field position/turnover game.
Q. Coach, I know some Aztec fans were unhappy that the fumble that was recovered was not overturned, thinking the ball was moving forward. What were your thoughts?
COACH LONG:I think it was close enough that you could have called it either way. They decided to call it as a touchdown so that's what it is.
Q. Rocky, what were your thoughts into the fourth quarter even though your team was not playing well, you still had the lead and did you feel comfortable or confident at that point?
COACH LONG:I thought it was going to be a close game all the way to the end. I thought it might go into overtime until we turned the ball over three or four times there in a row.
Q. With that in mind how shocked or surprised are you to see the way things went in the fourth quarter to your team?
COACH LONG: Well, I'm not shocked or surprised. When you play one game in six weeks, there is a good chance that you're going to be a little rusty at certain things.
Now, you got to give them credit. I thought they played very well on defense, as they always do. Some of those turnovers they caused. Okay, because of pressure on the quarterback. The fumble we just talked about, that's the way they called it. I'm not sure it was, but that's the way they called it so it counts.
Q. Adam, what did you think of the play that we're talking about, the called fumble? Did you think that your arm was in motion? Did you have a sense of it to have an opinion?
Adam Dingwell:I couldn't tell. It was unfortunate, it was a bang-bang play. I have to protect the ball, that can't happen.
Q. Nik, (BYU linebacker Kyle) Van Noy came across on your side. Can you speak to that play and the kind of player he is, what he showed you guys tonight?
Nik Embernate: I just got beat plain and simple. I lunged at him. He's a great player. He's agile, and if you give him anything, he's going to beat you and plain and simple. I got beat. That's my fault right there, so I take credit for that play.
Q. Leon, I know you're frustrated, what did you feel would have happened differently during that game?
Leon McFadden: I wish as a whole team we could have executed better. They're a good team and we didn't execute.
Q. Adam, the three picks I guess. What happened toward the end of the game in that fourth quarter? It looked like things unraveled for you guys. Can you talk about what you were doing?
Adam Dingwell: They weren't doing anything. They're a good defense but ultimately I have to take care of the ball. I feel terrible about the way I played tonight, and I feel horrible sending the seniors out this way. That's not what they deserve. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure this doesn't happen again for the future seniors of this program.
Q. Rocky, the fumble that became a touchdown, you mentioned the punter did a good job pinning you guys back and did you see something on the defense that made you want to pass or did you want to mix it up? What was the thought on that play call?
COACH LONG: I thought they started playing the line of scrimmage. You have to play the game we had several opportunities where we were in the position to score and we didn't score, especially in the first half. If you have to crowd the line of scrimmage you've got to throw it to back them off.
Q. Nik, is that the best defensive front that you've seen this year and what did they do to cause you problems?
Nik Embernate: I thought it was one of the best that we faced all year. They just play hard.
Q. Coach, any positives to take away from this?
COACH LONG: We had a great season. We made some big time mistakes; I thought we had a chance to win the game all the way until the turnovers. Our team was better than anybody gave us credit for at the beginning of the year, and when we were 2-3, everybody was giving you up on us. We won seven games and got into a bowl game. That's a positive season if you ask me.
Q. Coach, is there any word on Zach Dilley?
COACH LONG: I haven't heard. It didn't look serious, he couldn't return but it didn't look real serious.
Q. What about that call?
COACH LONG: We rep six or seven linemen and Nik is our most versatile and knows all spots, so it was better to put Riley (Gauld) at guard and put our best offensive lineman out at tackle that knows what to do. It's not hard to do when you have a guy that reps six or seven positions, the veteran guy has to move.
Q. Rocky, do you consider the fumble and the recovery to the touchdown the key to the game?
COACH LONG: No, I think (the) blocking below the waist (penalty), and I believe if we would have scored a touchdown that time we would have been in the lead the rest of the night.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys.