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Quotes: Utah 42, Colorado 35

Courtesy: CUBuffs.com
Release: November 23, 2012
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Colorado Head Coach Jon Embree

“Tough game, tough loss. I just want to thank the seniors for what they did for us, and the effort they put in and their leadership.”

On The Loss Being Harder Than Any Other
“Yeah it is. That’s how it’s been this year. Those kids gave us everything they had all year. I’m just mad because when people say something to our kids, I have a problem. I’ll just leave it at that.”

On QB Nick Hirschman
“I thought Nick, like all those guys, gave us everything they had. You’re going to have some bad, and you’re going to have some good and I thought Nick rallied, gutted it out, made some throws, gave our guys some opportunities to make plays. I’m proud of Nick. You know, he got banged around a little bit, but that didn’t stop him from fighting.”

On Emotions On The Sideline After Marques Mosley’s Kickoff Return For A Touchdown
“There was a lot of excitement. We talked about covering the kick when it was our turn. We had some guys that were hurt, so we had to put some other guys in there. I think two plays before, so there was a little bit of chaos obviously, and they were able to answer back.”

On Why The Loss Is So Tough
“It’s tough because it’s the seniors last home game. It’s tough for a lot of reasons. Losing is not fun.”

On Describing The Season
“I think you saw it all in that game. We go down because of poor decisions, it’s 7-0, then we fight and claw our way back. Our young kids making plays, and then all of our older guys making plays – [Jon] Major and [Nick] Kasa and [Doug] Rippy and [Will] Pericak – all those guys made plays at some point in the game, which is great for them. You know, [Ray] Polk, that typified his year; having to be helped off the field. This game kind of summarizes the year, close but still has a ways to go.”

On Going Forward Into Next Year
“Well, I know the show has not always reflected (this), but our kids have always fought, they have never quit. For next year, we start (preparing) Sunday night at 6:30. We have a lot to build on, it may not be crystal clear to people outside the program, but we have a lot to build on. We have a lot of young talent that has growing opportunity and have made plays. We get guys back that have been hurt, and we have some kids coming in, whether they’re grayshirts or current commits coming in, at certain positions that will help us. We’ll see how Shane Dillion and Nick (Hirschman) go (during spring) along with the other quarterbacks. The one advantage of having all this youth is it all comes back, and it comes back mature and obviously with tons of experience. I’m excited with our young D-linemen and what they’ve done. Our whole offensive line is back. There is a lot to be excited about and feel good about.”

On The Team Showing Today What He Expected Earlier
“Yeah, a little bit, we did some more spread stuff this game and we missed some opportunities but we’re still learning from that standpoint and we’ll be better at that as we move forward. But I thought our defense has always played better at home, they really have. Offensively, we finally got going and played like our defense has played.”

On Committing To The Spread Offense In The Future
“I think when you look at our games, we have moved the ball or been more effective when we have been doing some of that stuff. So I would like to continue to move forward in that direction.”

On Turning The Program Around
“Having been a part of it as a player, I know what those guys are feeling and what they are going through. It is an interesting dynamic being involved in sports like this, because some of it is mindset. When you get confidence and a play goes your way, or something happens your way, you can build off of it. Whenever something good happened for us this year, we weren’t able to consistently build off of it. Yet, when something bad happened, we added to it. I know these kids understand a lot about this game, and the junior class, now they’re seniors, I expect continued good leadership out of them. And I talked to (this year’s) seniors, just thanking them, because they have done a lot, they really have.”

Utah Head Coach Kyle Whittingham

“There was a lot of excitement, particularly in the fourth quarter with back-to-back kickoff returns. I can’t for the life of me figure out why they kicked to Reggie Dunn, but we are glad they did. There was some good and some bad in the game. I thought the defense did well in spurts and got soft at times. Our offense was really sluggish for too long of a time but came alive later in the second half. Special teams was give and take. We did some really dumb things on special teams, but created some things as well. It was kind of a mixed bag but it was good to come away with a win and I’m very happy for these seniors to finish their careers with a win.”

On Answering CU’s Kickoff Return For A Touchdown
“We have done that three times this year, but I didn’t think they would give him a shot too. I felt like we had some momentum on offense, but it turned out to be a non-factor since we took the kickoff to the house.”

On A Feeling Of A Rivalry With CU
“No, not really. We respect them and it was a close game last year and a close game this year, but it does not feel like it to me. Not yet.”

On If He Was Surprised By The Halftime Score
“I was surprised about a lot of things. They played hard. It was senior night for them. Another thing that was key in the game was takeaways. I think they turned the ball over five times and we only dropped the one ball so we were plus-4 and you’re not going to lose a lot of games when you’re plus-4.”

On His Thoughts When The Score Was 28-20 For CU
“We knew that if we did score, we were going to dial up the jump pass on the outpost. We have worked on that all week. It was a compliment to what we have done the previous times with the outpost. It was a great job by [special teams coordinator] Jay [Hill] diagramming that and getting that as the next progression for the outpost play that we have already used. So that was the plan.”

Colorado Players

QB Nick Hirschman
ON HIS PERFORMANCE – “I was somewhat happy with the performance. Obviously, I turned the ball over a lot, and I put our defense in a real tough spot on three separate occasions and that’s unacceptable and you can’t win football games like that. Our defense was playing amazing, and I put them in a short field and I can’t do that.”

ON COACH EMBREE’S MESSAGE TO THE YOUNGER PLAYERS – “He just stressed that we never want to feel like this again. This game kind of summed up our whole year. Everything that could have gone wrong, did for us. A lot of that is on me for turning the ball over so much. Sometimes the game is like this, and we just never want to feel this way again and that is a pretty powerful message.”

ON CONFIDENCE FOR NEXT YEAR’S TEAM – “I do have a lot of confidence that next year things are going to be different. We have a lot of guys coming back, like Paul [Richardson], offensively with a great recruit class, I am sure that can help us with speed on the outside. We will just have some more playmakers on offense, more than we did now.”

ON THE TEAM’S COHESION THROUGH LOSING – “That [finger pointing and blaming] doesn’t happen here. All of the guys in that locker room are brothers. We are a family. It is never one person’s fault and we never let one person get too down. We don’t let what is happening outside this building effect how we feel about each other.”

ON EMOTIONS AFTER UTAH’S KICKOFF RETURN TOUCHDOWN – “Honestly, it wasn’t that big of a letdown. We were more like, ‘wow, that was amazing. How did that just happen?’ More than anything, we just knew we were in the same spot that we just were. Offense was going to get the ball back and we had to go score.”

ON IMPROVING AS A QUARTERBACK – “I think [last] spring where I had my foot injury really helped me a lot and then all that summer working out and training with the guys really helped me grow as a quarterback, mentally and physically. I matured just as a person too and I think that is a big part of being able to play college football. Getting your priorities straight and understanding that when it is football season, it is grinding season.”

ON WORST RECORD IN SCHOOL HISTORY – “No, I did not think about it at all. You can’t think about those things when you’re out on the field or else you won’t play well.”

ON WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON IN THE OFFSEASON – “I think all quarterbacks really work on the mental aspect of the game in the offseason. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been playing in the league for 15 years or you’re a brand new freshman coming in to play college football for the first year. With the mental game, you can never stop growing there, you can never know too much about defenses, you can never know enough about your own concepts and that is going to be my major focus this year.”

TB Donta Abron
ON OFFENSE MOVING THE BALL– “We just wanted to come out and just get a victory to end our season and to carry on momentum for next season, but most of all, for our seniors.”

ON GETTING THE START AND MORE RUNS – “It was great. I took advantage of my opportunities and the offensive line had some great blocking, along with the receivers, and opened up some holes for me.”

ON OUTLOOK TOWARDS NEXT YEAR – “With all the playing time that the young guys and myself have received, it is just big momentum for us for next year.”

ON WORST SEASON – “We would have liked to get a win but it was just a tough season all year. We just have to keep fighting.”

ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL EXPECTATIONS – “It is a lot tougher. Guys are fast and flying around the ball. It is a little tough to get adjusted but once you get adjusted, it is just football.”

ON TEAM’S COHESION THROUGH THE SEASON – “It was a tough year for us. All year we kept our heads up and didn’t put them down. The coaches were behind us. As a unit, we worked together on the same page and wanted to keep fighting.”

ON ADAPTING TO THE SPREAD OFFENSE – “It was a little different, but whatever the coaches have planned for us, we just try to execute them to the best of our ability.”

SLB Jon Major
ON LOSING SUCH A CLOSE GAME – “It’s super frustrating, but it’s the game, and life aint fair, and that’s just the way it is. You can only worry about what you can control and move on to the next chapter.”

ON TAKING PRIDE IN PROGRAM If YOUNG PLAYERS TURN IT AROUND – “We left them with motivation, whether it is from our own success or from our work ethic, so we can take pride in them. In one way or another, they are going to look at us and learn from what we did and how we did it. And they are going to recognize that it takes everybody and there is no one individual that can be a superstar here, you can only be as good as your team, and they know that and will continue to work and gel and become a better team.”

ON THE STRUGGLES OF THE DEFENSE THIS SEASON– “I think it is becoming a lot tougher to be a coach on the defensive side. We tried probably five or six defensive schemes to try to slow down these teams. Whether it’s personnel or something beyond that, whether it’s youth or discipline, as these guys continue to grow and get better, something is going to stick and something is going to work. Unfortunately, there was nothing good this year, but I also feel like we finished very strong as a defense.”

ON BEING ONE OF FEW SENIORS FROM HIS ORIGINAL CLASS– “I take huge pride in it. To finish what you start, that means a lot to me. Hearing all the good things from fans, that means so much more than what the records have been or how close we have come to being successful, and I definitely take a lot of pride in being able to do that.”

ON FAN SUPPORT– “I think whether they are mad or not, they are always going to show up anyways. It’s those core fans that we need the most.”

ON MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE IN CAREER – “We are all very sad and bummed, but I am a little bit relieved because personally I know that I have no regrets. I feel like I am not leaving anything on the table.”

MLB Doug Rippy
ON IMPRESSION COLLEGE EXPERIENCE HAS LEFT – “I think when I first came here, I expected things to be a lot easier but it was hard with position changes and injuries and stuff like that. But at the same time, it’s a challenge that you have to take up. And they will all tell you – Jon [Major] having to change from inside to outside (linebacker) and Nick [Kasa] from defense to tight end – that it’s a challenge but that’s what we’re here for, is to take up these challenges and follow in the footsteps of the people that were here before us. So the impression that I left with is that it is a big challenge through our life and our journey here at the University of Colorado and now like Jon [Major] said, just taking that towards our next steps.”

ON CHALLENGES THE DEFENSE FACED – “It’s probably the hardest for the defensive staff trying to figure out what we are going to do because we have a lot of younger guys playing and not a lot of veterans playing. Last year, as I can recall, we only had one freshman playing on defense which was Greg Henderson and this year we had a lot playing and we had to do things that made us uncomfortable in order to put us in the best position to be successful. So it was hard, but like I said, the younger guys are going to learn from it and they will be so much better next year. Just trying to find a scheme that fits us to be successful was kind of hard, especially with the kind of teams we were facing.”

ON TAKING PRIDE IN PROGRAM If YOUNG PLAYERS TURN IT AROUND – “This is just getting their feet wet into the program. Obviously, coming from a different program in high school to this, and then we have a very aggressive offensive coordinator in coach [Eric] Bienemy. So being a younger guy and player at this level and a different kind of speed is just different. We held them accountable, but out the same time we knew that they were freshmen and we had to continue to bring them along and that’s what I felt like, throughout the season, is what happened and you see them developing until now.”

ON MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE IN CAREER– “I would have to say that the relationships I’ve built here have helped me trust in people. Jon [Major] and I, our first two years didn’t really speak to each other just because he was quiet and I was quiet, but over the past two years it has been a pleasure playing with him. Just being able to play with Nick [Kasa] and the other seniors, I think that is the most memorable experience. We had so much (potential) coming into the season, but through injuries and all that we still played, and that just shows you the toughness that we had to continue to play and it shows people no matter what happens, you have to continue to push.”

TE Nick Kasa
ON TAKING PRIDE IN THE PROGRAM If YOUNG PLAYERS TURN IT AROUND – “So much, and I think we all know that they will. It is hard to play as a young player, I mean I did it and it was really tough, so I can imagine what they’re going through and they’re still making plays.”

ON WHAT DEFINES THIS TEAM – “I think what defines this team is that we fought our butts off to win this game, and I’m going to keep that going in my life. I think the main thing that the three of us learned, and all the seniors that are leaving, is that hard work will eventually lead to success, and unfortunately it didn’t here, but I’m not stopping and neither will any of them.”

ON ADAPTING TO THE SPREAD OFFENSE– “It was fun, everybody likes to get more catches. I mean, I like to run block too but I think it was necessary with the personal we had. But the experience was really fun coming from not playing any offense to playing a couple different kinds of offenses.”

ON THRE SPREAD BEING THE OFFENSE IN FUTURE– “I think it probably is, with the way that the Pac-12 is formed in the speed of the players that the teams have. The Spread is I guess just the college mantra right now, especially in the Pac-12.”

ON MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE IN CAREER– “As much as we were unsuccessful this season, I think this year I had the most fun that I have ever had. And maybe that was just switching over to offense and finding a position that I can be good at, speaking strictly from my perspective, but it was a ton of fun especially being with these guys. We didn’t do what we wanted to do, but I think we still fought as hard as we could.”

Utah Players

WR Reggie Dunn
ON THE LAST GAME OF HIS COLLEGE CAREER – “It was unbelievable. As the last game of my collegiate career, to end the game like that, it was unbelievable. I’m thankful for this team, I love all of my guys. My kickoff return team, all of the fans that came out to support us, it was a great way to go out.”

ON THE GAME - “It was like a chess match all night. I would run up and they would kick it deep. There was a ton of crazy stuff going on. We kept talking about it and we knew if we got another chance, we knew it would work. Whatever we did, it finally worked. I got my hands on it and everyone was ready to go. I’m happy it ended that way.”

ON BACK-TO-BACK KICKOFF RETURNS FOR TOUCHDOWNS - “We knew we had to match it. We knew we could do it. We feel that we are the best kickoff return team in the nation. We’ve shown that the past few weeks. It was amazing. Colorado returned one back and then returned another one and hushed the crowd.”

DB Eric Rowe
ON BACK-TO-BACK KICKOFF RETURNS FOR TOUCHDOWNS – “Two kickoff returns back-to-back, that was wild. I don’t know why they kicked it to Reggie [Dunn] but I’m glad they did.”

ON UTAH’S FOUR INTERCEPTION – “We had a good week at practice. Every day we worked on getting our ball skills up and it showed up in the game. Me, Brian [Blechen], Trevor [Reilly] and Moe Lee, three picks in the secondary and one for a linebacker. That’s what we need, more turnovers.

LB Trevor Reilly
ON COLORADO – “They played as hard as they’ve played all year. After a loss last year and a tight game today, I guess you can say it’s turning into a rivalry.

ON THE TEAM’S WIN - “5-7 sounds a whole lot better than 4-8, I can tell you that much. We look forward to a possible bowl game, we’ll see what happens if some teams that need to win, lose, maybe some cards will fall into place and make a bowl game possible.”

ON THE FOURTH QUARTER - “Offensively, we just ran it down their throat. Obviously, Reggie Dunn’s kickoff return was great. If he’s not an All-American it’s a crime.”

RB John White
ON HIS BACK-TO-BACK 1,000-YARD SEASONS – “It means a lot to me but it means more to my team. They got me there. Without the line, tight ends and wide receivers, and quarterback, I couldn’t have made it here.”

ON COMING OUT STRONG AFTER THE HALF – “I was pissed. I got mad and it worked. That’s all it was. I knew I had to do it some kind of way. I knew I had to put the team on my back and just run.”

ON FRUSTRATION WITH THE FIRST HALF - “We just weren’t getting it done offensively. We were in the red zone three times and didn’t score. That definitely fired me up. I knew we could come out in the second half ready to go.

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