ARKANSAS

COACH BOBBY PETRINO
RYAN MALLETT
JAKE BEQUETTE

 

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with our postgame press conference. We'll begin shortly with Bobby Petrino. We also have players from the University of Arkansas, quarterback Ryan Mallett and defensive end Jake Bequette.
We'll go ahead and get started with Coach Petrino. And then we'll take some questions.
COACH PETRINO: Tough loss for us. I really feel like we spotted them too much in the first half. They came out and made a lot of plays. Made some great catches. We had guys right there. And they made the play on the ball.
And we weren't able to execute and make plays in the first half and really weren't ready to go, you know? And we did regroup at halftime. And I thought our players came out in the second half and competed extremely hard, played with great effort, played with a lot of pride, got ourselves right back into the game.
But, again, we had our opportunities and weren't able to capitalize on them. We are a very good football team. I'm very proud of this football team, what they accomplished throughout the year, and then they showed their character and toughness in the second half.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. The last play, what happened, what you saw on the last pass?
RYAN MALLETT: I didn't see the guy, he dropped out. I tried to get rid of it quick. They had pressure coming. I didn't see him. He made a great play.

Q. Coach, what happened early in the game, why do you think the team fell behind?
COACH PETRINO: I think we just didn't make the plays and they did. We had some dropped passes. I thought their defensive front did a good job against our offensive front. They were a little more physical. They were bull rushing us. And we missed a couple line games. And we ended up having a lot of negative plays. That's something we always pride ourselves on is not moving backwards, do everything moving forward. And when you have negative plays, it's hard to be consistent moving the ball.
I thought our offensive line did a good job at halftime, came out at the second half and were able to have some times and opportunities to make plays.

Q. Jake, you guys gave up 28 points in the first half, came out, only gave up three in the second half. What adjustments did you all make and what was working for you?
JAKE BEQUETTE: We got back to playing just our base defensive stuff. You have to give credit to our coaching staff. They made the right adjustments, but the blame all falls on us as players in the first half. We had a great game plan. We just didn't execute and they did. They made great plays. Give a lot of credit to Ohio State's offense. They're physical and athletic and they made the plays and we didn't.

Q. Coach, on the blocked punt, would you have liked to have seen your punt team pick that up, try and scoop and score with that instead of falling?
COACH PETRINO: That's what they were trying to do is trying to scoop it and score it. Looked like he had it the first time and I think the second time he just wanted to make sure he got on the ball.
We practice it all the time. It was very, very well executed. Coach Smith had a great plan to go get it. We were going to take a shot in the second half on blocking one. We got it done, and unfortunately we weren't able to scoop and score.

Q. Coach, can you just talk about some of the drops. Seemed a little uncharacteristic tonight. What do you attribute that to?
COACH PETRINO: It's hard to know what to contribute it to. But we did have a number of drops throughout the game. Sometimes when you have a 38 day layoff, that's what happens. If you look back on the first part of this season, we had some there. But we had opportunities. Those guys that dropped the ball, they also made a lot of plays that allowed us an opportunity to be in the game and have a chance to win it.
So that's the one thing when you play a game like this and a great football team like Ohio State, is every single play counts. And we'll go back and watch the video and I know I'm going to say there will be 10, 12, 14 plays, any one of those could have been the difference in a win and a loss.

Q. Ryan, you've obviously made so many great plays in the last two seasons. How tough is it with that last one, you know, to go away have you made any kind of decision on your future as far as whether you're coming back or not?
RYAN MALLETT: You know, it was a tough play. It's not the way you want to end the year, obviously. And I haven't thought about my future. This hurts as a team. We've been so close all year. And we're going to continue to be that way. We're going to come backswinging and get ready to take another shot at the BCS.

Q. Ryan, how does Ohio State compare to the other teams that you've played this season?
RYAN MALLETT: They're a good football team. They're physical. We had opportunities to make plays and we didn't. You can't take any credit away from them, though. Like Coach said, there's 12, 14 plays that could change the game.

Q. Jake, can you talk about the halftime locker room. You are down by 18. Just what the coaches were saying to you all and maybe what the other teammates were saying?
JAKE BEQUETTE: At halftime we saw some great leadership, guys like Jermaine Love, Tenarius Wright, and Ambrust, myself, we all stepped up in the defensive locker room and said enough with this. We couldn't have played any worse in that first half. And unfortunately you can't spot a team like Ohio State 28 points in the first half and expect to win. We played our butts off in the second half but it wasn't enough.

Q. Coach, of course, hindsight is 20/20, but can you go into the fourth and one, the decision on that play call the first half?
COACH PETRINO: We had a good plan, I thought, to convert on fourth down. We hit the right coverage, exactly what we felt like they were going to do. The only unfortunate thing is their middle linebacker didn't cover his man who has the running back man.
And normally you come and hug them and then blitz, which he does. He kind of cut the crossing route. And Ryan still had the tight end and unfortunately the ball got batted.

Q. Coach, could you talk about the defense of Ohio State and what gave you trouble tonight?
COACH PETRINO: They're very good. I think, first of all, their front gave us some problems, particularly their bull rushing, and that's a different style. I was concerned going in. Most of the defensive fronts that we see throughout the SEC are all about speed and quickness and they're really about power and bull rushing. And they got us a few times on that. Our players adjusted, came back.
Secondary wise, what they do, they don't make mistakes. We did get some big plays and when we found one on one matchups and had great throws and catches, but they don't make mistakes and give you any big plays. And therefore you have to drive the ball and earn it and move forward all the time.
And we didn't do it enough.

Q. Bobby, could you talk about Ryan's game tonight and really his two years here, all the stuff he's done even though it was a rough ending tonight?
COACH PETRINO: You really can't say enough about what Ryan's done for this program. You know, we kind of came in together. We went through that first year. And he was redshirting and we were not a very good football team. We were playing a bunch of young freshmen. We took our lumps, but what we did is we kept practicing each week and got better. And improved and made a huge stride a year ago, got ourselves to a Bowl game and won some games late in the year.
Then this year we competed right there with every single team we played and won 10 games. So Ryan's done an unbelievable job with his leadership, his competitive spirit. He lifts everybody around him to compete and play better.
On that interception, the out of play call, it was a zone beater to one side and a blitz to the other. He did exactly what he was coached to do. The only difference is when they blitzed, they clicked out a lineman that he did not see.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

 

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