Following FIU’s 23-17 loss in overtime to Texas State, head coach Butch Davis, quarterback Max Bortenschalger and defensive tackle Davon Strickland spoke postgame. Below are Davis’ comments in their entirety along with select quotes from Bortenschlager and Strickland.
Give credit to Texas State. Their kids played very hard and played good tonight. I was very disappointed with our team and I talked to our guys in the locker room. You can give them all the credit as to how they played, but there’s a lot of things that we did tonight that you can’t do if you expect to win any games. Turning the ball over that often, getting the ball in the redzone and turning it over, not scoring, getting explosive plays and having them called back because of penalties. Those things are disastrous and it doesn’t matter who the opponent is. You’ll hear this from our players and you’ve probably already heard it, literally, football teams don’t care about the opponent. If you’re worried about who you’re playing — you better be worried about you and executing. Your effort and tenacity with how hard you play. Do you beat yourself with the penalties, busted support on coverages and busted support on runs, those types of things. We had opportunities to win the game tonight and we didn’t do it. So we’ve gotta bounce back tomorrow, look at the film and correct it, and try to improve over the next week.
Open Questions: (Walter Villa — Miami Herald, Eric Henry — SB Nation/Underdog Dynasty, Gustavo Chacon — Lemon City Live)
Question: The last play with Max — did he hold on to the ball too long there or what did you see?
Answer: Nobody was open. You don’t want him to take a sack, but you like for someone to try and get open. They did a great job, they plastered everybody and nobody was open. He could have thrown it up and gotten it intercepted possibly. And I’m going to say this about him, he didn’t have a great night, but I’m gonna tell you what, I think he’s played really good (overall). Last week he played really good and there were times tonight, especially on the explosive plays that were called back due to penalties, that we had chances for 30,40,50 yard catches, had they not been called back due to pass interference. I like his attitude, it’s crushing him that we didn’t win tonight. And that means something to me. If they’re not upset and crying that we didn’t win a game like this, then they need to be playing somewhere else.
Question: D’Vonte isn’t known as a fumbler. What happened on the ones tonight?
Answer: It was in piles a lot of times. Anybody who's ever watched him knows that he’s about getting the 3,4 yards and then trying to grind and spin and stuff to create a big play. I haven’t seen the film yet to see exactly how the ball got punched or stripped out. But I trust him and I know he’s a great player and he’s going to overcome that.
Question: When you look at the game tonight, is it just a few things that you need to clean up as far as the penalties, given how other aspects held up tonight?
Answer: Absolutely, on the outside perimeter, corner playing the receivers and the ball bouncing out. Things like that are the difference between stopping the play for no gain or minus one and them getting four and five yards. There were possessions tonight where we were outstanding. Got pressure on the quarterback, got sacks, made three-and-outs, but then there were possessions where they made a couple of first downs and got going. And the quarterback (Brady McBride) tonight got going on a couple of scrambles, some by design and some where nobody was open and he picked up a first down to keep the chains moving.
Question: Did you get an explanation on some of the calls tonight such as the OPI on Fairweather?
Answer: We didn’t get a lot of feedback. We asked them a couple of times if that was pass interference. There was one where we felt like the was a spear and they led with the helmet on a punt return. But they called what they called, you can’t complain about the officiating.
Question: Can you talk about Tyrese Chambers and where he fits into the offense.
Answer: He’s a new player to our program, he’s got a great attitude and a great work ethic. He’s got lots of talent, he’s got speed and he can make plays, he’s a guy who is explosive. If you get him opportunities to get open one-on-one, we’re very glad to have him, especially since Shemar Thornton has been out.
Question: Texas State struggled against the run last year, were you guys expecting them to be as stout as they were tonight?
Answer: We knew they were going to be tough, especially after what we did last week. We knew they were going to be in an eight-man front. They stemmed and moved and they showed a lot of stuff tonight that they didn’t show on film and we did that as well. They got some penetration with their defensive line that really hurt some of the cutback lanes that we had in the first week.
Question: In overtime, once the sack happened, what’s the strategy defensively?
Answer: Try to force negative plays because you assume they’re going to try and run the football, so you want to push back a bit and possibly make it a long field goal attempt.
Question: Can you take us through the night and how you felt out there?
Answer: I was feeling good with the deep balls, felt like the receivers made some plays. But down the stretch, there are absolutely a handful of throws that I wish I had back, that I missed. That’s really it.
Question: Can you take us through the final play there with the strip-sack?
Answer: I didn’t even really feel him coming off the edge and he made a great play. I tried stepping up a little bit. Probably should have had better ball security there. That’s something that I have to watch and keep working on.
Question: Butch said nobody was open on the last one, did you see it the same?
Answer: I went through my progression and I was trying to hold out a little bit to see if Rivaldo (Fairweather) could open up on the corner route into the endzone and that’s obviously when I got sacked. But yes, the first read in my progression I thought was covered.
Question: You were able to draw a couple DPI’s tonight, was that a matter of seeing something out there that you could attack and just going after it?
Answer: Yeah, we felt like with our speed on the outside that we had favorable matchups, so when we connected on the outside, we knew we wanted to keep attacking them. And it worked out pretty well for us.
Question: You guys gave up 81 yards in the first quarter, but the defense held tough through the rest of regulation. What kind of broke in overtime on that last drive?
Answer: To be honest, I don’t know. Haven’t had a chance to go back and look at it yet. I’d definitely say in the second half, that’s when we started picking it up, getting our sacks and tfl’s, but in that overtime, I don’t know what happened.
Question: Did you guys as a defense want this one for Coach Withers?
Answer: I would say that was probably the ambiance of the team. Not necessarily on the front of our minds, but definitely for some guys in the back of our minds it’s saying this is Coach Withers’ old team, let’s go out and make a statement.