Press Conference: UVA players on loss to Miami

virginia footballUVA football players Micah Kiser, Kurt Benkert, Taquan Mizzell and Quin Blanding talk after the Cavs’ 34-14 loss to Miami.


Junior Linebacker Micah Kiser

On the lack of momentum in team performance: “We were in it, playing them tough. The long touchdown broke us a little bit. If we had just wrapped them up, kept driving the ball, then there would have been a different outcome, but that was a big play. I tip my hat to that guy who made the big play.”

On an inconsistency in younger players’ performance: “We have a lot of younger guys, in the physicality of it in terms of not expecting what the other team is trying to do. That can start weighing on you and then you start dwelling on the last play and then that can carry on over and over. But, I like our young guys. They play very hard and are very aggressive. I think the foundation has become established here. Not a lot of teams in the ACC are playing six or seven true freshmen, and that doesn’t take into account the redshirt guys like Steve [Wright] and Eli [Hanback]. So it’s a lot of young guys and we are definitely building right now.”

On the challenge in maintaining consistency for four quarters: “It’s a physical game, especially when they ran the ball 40 [yards] sometimes. That’s a rarity in college football these days and when that starts wearing on you, you can start second guessing these things. Your mind starts wandering, but we need to stay focused. We need to start dominating our gaps.”


Junior Quarterback Kurt Benkert:

On his fumbles: “The first one, I just didn’t see it coming. I just got sacked and it happens. On the second one, I didn’t tuck it like I normally do and just got hit. I have to do a better job of keeping two hands on the ball when I’m moving around in the pocket.”

On a conservative execution of offensive plays going into the fourth quarter: “In the second half we didn’t pick it up in the first and second down. You’re not going to be really good on third and medium, third-and-long consistently. It’s just not going to happen. I have to start giving that one play to get us back on track and that’s something we’re going to be working on.”


Senior Running Back Taquan Mizzell

On setting an ACC record: “It definitely would have felt much better with a win, but that’s something that I appreciate right there. That’s big for me; just how many great players that came through the ACC weren’t able to accomplish that. I really appreciate that, but it’s even more special with Matt Johns. That guy is second to none.”

On third quarter struggles: “We’ve just got to execute, playmakers have got to make plays. It’s full responsibility on the players, so we’ve just got to do better, execute, especially on third downs.”

On the team under Bronco Mendenhall: “I love everything that Coach Bronco is doing here. Our record doesn’t reflect what’s going on in this program. And as a senior, that’s something that I want to do, you know, even though our record is not good. We’re not going to a bowl game, but I want to set a standard for when we leave here.”

On memories from Scott Stadium: “I just had fun. Of course you want to win, but it’s just about having fun and taking everything as a learning experience. I had a lot of fun here.”


Junior Safety Quin Blanding

On Miami running backs: “They have a solid crew back there. They’ve got three strong running backs that can come in and run the ball and that played a factor today. We’ve just got to execute.”

On the reasons for second-half struggles: “We’ve just got to play, that’s the bottom line. It’s just football. We practice the same thing in practice and if it’s not right in practice, we do it again and that’s his [Coach Mendenhall] philosophy. We’ve just got to keep doing and bringing it to the field.”

On his relationship with Micah Kiser: “We just go at it with each other. I know he handles the D-Line, and I just handle the secondary, and he trusts me on the back end and I trust him on the front end. That’s how we’ve been playing and that’s how we’ve been playing since last year. We just go at it all the time because we just want to be better than each other, outwork each other. That’s a great thing, to have a great middle linebacker like him. We always go back and forth in practice about who’s going to get the most picks and who’s going to return one.”

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