Here is a transcription of post game interviews from Southern Miss head coach Will and quarterback Trey Lowe.
Will Hall's opening statement:
"It was a really disappointing night. First off, credit to Coach (Kane) Wommack and the rest of the talent of the South Alabama staff. They really played well and kicked our butt good. That was a good solid but whipping. (I was) disappointed in how we played offensively. That was the turning point in the game. We just didn't execute in the first half, particularly in the passing game. That's on me as the quarterback's coach. We missed a lot of really good throws. We dropped some passes. That didn't help early on when Trey was struggling. We dropped a few and missed some reads.
In the second half, we drive it down to the red zone twice, and we fumble. We busted a snap which is inexcusable. The center-quarterback exchange has got to be the most paramount thing in football. We are inside the 10-yard line, and we turn it over. If we punch those in then, we are driving to score to win the game. Then we run a punt back and get a stupid penalty. We just weren't a well-coached football game tonight, and that's on me.
I thought we battled defensively; I thought we played our butt off. I thought Mason Hunt played awesome at punter. I thought there were only a few times defensively that I thought we were out of position. All in all, I thought we played hard and took some major steps to playing good defense.
We have a lot to fix offensively, and that's a negative. This was humiliating. It was humiliating for me. The good thing is that it's all fixable. We have to run the plays we call. We have to read them right. We have to catch balls that hit us in the hands. We have to not fumble. That's on me as the coach, but those are fixable. We have a long way to go, and we knew that tonight going into it. We are building this program back. It doesn't look like it tonight, but we are. We are far away right now, but we will keep digging and keep fighting.
What was not executing in the passing game? What was the missing factor?
When we threw it to the right guy, we dropped it. When we had people wide open, we didn't read it right. We had guys miss signals and bust routes. You saw in the second half we got to execute and went right down the field, which was good to see. Trey made some error throws. He made some bad reads and made some error throws. When he made good throws, we dropped it, and then we busted some routes.
It was just bad. That's on me. I coach the offense and am the head coach. We had great preparation, but we did not show up from a mental standpoint.
How much did you think early hits on Trey affect him later in the game?
Maybe so, I don't know you'll have to ask him that. He was fine. We got him with the medical staff. I tell you what; he bounced back in the second half. He made some throws. He took us down the field twice. Then we had the busted snap, which is humiliating. The interception was not his fault. We were hot right there, and the running back wasn't looking for the ball. That was on the back. Not him. He could play better, but we can all play better.
Defensively, how can you improve in that area?
I thought we played well. I really did. We gave up a few deep balls to No. 8 (Jalen Tolbert), but he is a great player. All in all, we made a lot of big stops. They kept us in a really hard game to keep us in on. There were several three and outs. We're generating much offense. They were tired. I thought we battled right there. We didn't line up a few times correctly. The only drive we probably would like to have to back was the opening drive in the second half. We got out of position a few times.
In the first half, we turned the ball over on special teams, which flipped momentum and gave them a short field. I thought, given the circumstances of field position and turnovers. I thought our defense played well.
Who specifically on the front of that defense did you like?
I thought we battled and got after it. We made some plays. The turnovers hurt us. We just have to get our offense fixed, and that's on me. We have a chance to be a good football team, but we have a long way to go. Let's not kid ourselves. We'll go to work early in the morning.
From a mental standpoint, how do you flush this one? What do you tell the guys?
Every mistake was fixable. It wasn't like that we were outmanned. We just didn't make it happen. Again that's a credit to Coach Wommack and South Alabama. I don't want to take anything from them. They did a phenomenal job. We have got some things to fix. We are going to watch this tape and be sick. This was self-inflicted wounds everywhere. That falls on me. We were a poorly coached football team tonight.
Were there any positives from tonight?
The positives are that when we executed, we moved the ball and that everything is fixable. If we couldn't run fast, jump high, or weren't strong, then I would say I don't know what I can do. We have good players. We just have to execute. We have to do what we are supposed to do. That's fixable, so I guess that's a positive. But no, there were not a lot of positives. That was a humiliating performance. I've been around football for a long time. I've been a part of 11 championship teams, and that's the worst offensive performance I've been a part of. It's on me.
Does this loss sting worse with it being your debut at Southern Miss?
All losses suck. All losses are hard. I hate it for our fans. I do. We have built a lot of positive energy, and we have a great fan to get this program back. We are going to get this program. We were not going to be a finished product tonight whether we won or lost this game. We know that. We are going to work on that. It starts with recruiting and fixing these issues.
Trey Lowe Interview:
What were your initial thoughts on that loss?
I played really poorly in the first half. Just really poor. A lot of it was on me, as you probably saw. It was bad. I just played so badly in the first half.
Turnovers in the red zone were killer. We weren't giving ourselves the opportunity with the turnovers.
Did those hits early in the game have an effect on you?
It was physical, but it's football. That's what I signed up for.
Did you feel like you guys were close as an offense?
"One hundred percent. I felt like we always had a chance. We were just a few plays away. A lot of it has to do with me. It was missed assignment. We were just busting. We were doing uncharacteristic things. But we can fix it. It's Game 1. It was uncharacteristic, but we'll get it fixed."
What do you heading into next week?
We go to work starting tomorrow.
In your mind, what wasn't clicking in the passing game in the first half?
I don't know what was wrong with me, to be honest. I was missing reads and going through it too fast and going through it too slow and not seeing things all the way.
What was happening inside the red zone?
I just have to look at the tape. I have to keep working and trying to get better.
What was Coach Hall's message after the game?
He tried to put it on himself, but it wasn't on him. We did uncharacteristic things. The positive thing was that we kicked ourselves in the foot. We drove all the way down the field. They never stopped us and turned it over. We could have driven it down the field for a game-winning drive, but we just shot ourselves in the foot.