BOCA RATON, Fla. -
Looking Back with FB Willie Rose
Monday Morning with Head Coach Lane Kiffin
“I was very disappointed after the game, that’s not our style of play, and really, it’s been a long time since we’ve played a bad half. We haven’t played a bad game for nine weeks, but I actually think, for the most part, we haven’t had a bad half. For it to be the last half of the year like that, it’s a reminder. So as upset as I was, after a half-day or so to go over it, maybe it was good. Maybe it was good that this happened (as) a reminder to these guys that they’re the greatest thing in the world. You can’t just show up and you can’t just talk about it, you’ve got to be about it. I thought that we really went out there and just kinda went through the motions like the game was over … Disappointing, after watching the film though, it really was a one-sided thing. It was really the offense. The defense, the backups were in and did a good job, getting one score in the second half. I thought the guys got it, before I even got to their locker room after talking to the media, I could hear Azeez (Al-Shaair) in there, and he was basically saying what I was getting ready to say, they didn’t sing the fight song, you would’ve thought we lost. That is unusual, that’s why it’s a special team. That’s not normal, for kids at that age, to understand the big picture things.
Obviously this is a rematch of a game you dominated, how difficult is it to beat a team twice in one season, if you have ever experienced this?
That’s a good question, I bet I haven’t. There was a not a conference championship game for years in the Pac-10, before it became the Pac-12. And then the year that we won it to go (with USC), we were ineligible to go the postseason, so not only couldn’t we go to a bowl game, we couldn’t go to the (conference) championship game. I have not experienced that. People say it’s always hard, but I don’t know that it’s hard or easy. I think you just have to erase it period and just pretend you’ve never played them before. The three ones at Alabama the last three years were all three teams that we had not played, so we haven’t been in that situation before.
Does it make the preparation easier?
The only thing that makes it easier is that you have a headstart, so yesterday when you get in here, you’re not spending the whole day trying to figure them out. Because you do have scouting reports from playing them before, and now you’ve got to see over the last five games, have they changed? They’ve been playing great since our game, they’ve won every game, so there’s a reason they’re a championship team.
When you start preparing for a team you’ve played, is it more important to focus on what you did right, or what you need to improve on?
As we talked about, it was kind of a strange game. You have 804 yards, 69-31, a lot of things obviously went right. But you still want to look at things and not focus on that. You want to focus on things that they could’ve done better and things that we didn’t do well, because obviously they’re going to try to expose those.
You guys have used the motivational games all year, what’s it like facing a team like North Texas that’s coming for revenge?
I think that they’re playing really well, I don’t think that they’re going to come in and be like, we’re going to take it easy on you guys because you guys beat us before. I’m sure that they’re going to come in as the underdog role … so that’s a dangerous situation. You saw it last week. When you’re the underdog, a lot of times it’s easier because there’s no pressure on you. You do kinda take a lot of risks, take a lot of chances, because the expectation is, that you are the underdog for a reason. I actually like playing better from that role.