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UConn-Virginia Quotes

Sept. 17, 2016

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Head Coach Bob Diaco

Opening Statement
"Virginia is an excellent opponent. There is a lot of class there. Coach Mendenhall is a great coach and has an excellent staff. I wish them well and safe travels home and all the best with the rest of their season. They're a class outfit. All the credit to the players. All the credit to the young men that represent this football team. They're the stuff that is the greatest stuff of the state of Connecticut. They're proud to represent the state and the University. They strain like that, they persevere that way. It's just a wonderful group. It's an honor to have the opportunity to hold the position that I hold and lead them. I take that with deep respect. So all credit to the players and I look forward to them coming in here soon and you enjoying their time."

On if it's a powerless feeling when they [Virginia] are lining up for that field goal:
"Not really. It's not necessarily any kind of feeling. You're hoping for a push and we got the push. It was really dented well and we really strained on every single down. If you rewind the play, I'm sure you'll see a real significant surge into the backfield from the players. They did a wonderful job."

On how nice it is to have Bobby Puyol as a kicker, knowing he's almost automatic:
"He's great. He trains that way. He eats, sleeps and breaths his craft. Not long ago, he had to really work at it. He pulled himself up by his bootstraps and trained and re-trained his fundamentals and mastery to the point that he's at right now. I'm not sure if he's on the list to come in here, but I hope he is, because it's an interesting and great story, definitely worth asking him about. He's done a fantastic job."

CB Jamar Summers

On late-game interception:
"I noticed in film study that they like to do a lot of pop patterns, so I relied on that when making that play."

On getting the ball back after the fumble:
"It was really important. We always talk about our defense outplaying the opposing defense. We needed to make a big play and we stepped up."

On halftime adjustments:
"Coach just told us to calm down, we had the utmost confidence in the second half and we played together."

On winning with no time left:
"It was incredible. We played our butts off and it was incredible to come out with a win."

QB Bryant Shirreffs

On beating an ACC team:
"We're psyched and it's inspiring. A lot of our coaches have ties to Virginia and you could see how much it meant to them. We're going to celebrate this and then we're on to Syracuse."

On Arkeel Newsome's performance:
"He played great and I love watching him squirm through the defense from my angle because it looks like he'll get tackled for a three-yard gain, but then he breaks one off for 33."

On halftime adjustments: "They had some really good blitzes in the first half and they played really well. In the second half, we had some plays to exploit those blitzes. People made plays and the offensive line helped us out."

Virginia Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall

Opening Statement
"Congratulations to the University of Connecticut. That was a hard fought game right to the very end. A great college football game. I'm lucky to be at the University of Virginia and lucky to be the head coach of this team. I'm proud of the way my team played today. They fought hard from beginning to end and I think they took a step forward again today. They were clearly prepared to play today and believed they could win and it went right to the end. And that is one of the first steps of a change effort. Significant improvement and that might not be a strong enough word for our defensive performance today."

On Last Second FG Attempt:
"We were playing for hurry-up field goal from probably just before that fourth down play. Knowing that we might have to go to that strategy. Thought that a good chance that quarterback draw could work, Kurt (Benkert) is tough and threw his body right in there, but we knew exactly how much time we needed to get the kicking team on and other guys off. We played to use that strategy at the end but it just didn't happen today."

On Alex Furbank kicking in his first career game:
"Alex kicked for us all week in practice. He did a really nice job to the point where we put all kinds of pressure on him in situations and he withstood it. I don't remember him missing a kick all week. I'm sure he will feel like he was the `one' but there were a lot of plays out there. His play was just one. It's the most visible and there is no way around it. And the brutal fact is he'll have a hard time moving past it until he does something stronger. We had plenty of chances today, his was just one play."

Senior Albert Reid

On tough loss:
"It's painful, that's all I can say. There were plays on the field that we didn't make. We have to if we are going to win. I always feel like we are the better team, no matter what. There is nothing that hurts more than losing like that. Especially when you are winning the entire game until the end. We have to come out on top. We're going to go back to work on Monday."

On getting stopped on fourth down:
"There wasn't really anything there. In the future we have to convert that if we are going to go for it. We have to believe in our running back that we are going to convert there."

Special Teams Coach Kelly Poppinga

On last second FG attempt:
"I can't tell you how many times we practiced that situation in preseason camp. We got in that exact situation, we have no time-outs, we have to run the field goal team on and get the offense off. I thought we transitioned really well. I thought we could have gone with two or three seconds left there. Probably could have gone a little faster. We practiced it and we made the field goal every time. Now, obviously, practice and a game are completely different. With Alex, he kicked all our field goals this week and I don't think he missed one. A guy who didn't know he would even be on the team at the beginning of the season. To be in that situation, hey it's not one play that decided the outcome of that game. But it is something to learn from and the next time he is in that situation he is going to make it."