QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson (11.19.23)
Ever a doubt?
“I mean, definitely not on the team’s mind. You know, they believed in me, they trusted me, I trusted my teammates. The biggest thing I was telling myself whole game is just stay disciplined, take it one play at a time. There’s times in that game where if it was Week Four, I would have forced it and we had a tip pick another tip pick or whatever it was. Like I said, it’s going to be night and day when I get out there. I’ve been working my tail off and I’m just glad my teammates were there with me.”
What was going through your mind going into that final drive?
“Same thing that was when I first got out there and we scored on – I think the second drive of the game is just taking one play at a time. Follow my keys, follow my rules. If it’s not there, take the check down and don’t make any play worse than what it is.”
What do you think the biggest difference was? You guys hadn’t had any success in the second half until that final drive. So what was the difference?
“I think we just came together. I have to go back and watch the film to see how all the other drives went. But I know on that last drive, from the O linemen all the way up to the running backs and the receivers, everybody was all locked in. Everybody had their job, knew what their job was and executed. So I think that was probably the biggest difference.”
What about the fact that you had to overcome, maybe eight drop passes in that game, but you just kept going back to your guys and showing faith in them? How do you think that helped when you got to that final drive?
“I mean shoot, did you see my first start (joking)? Those guys had faith in me after that game. And I couldn’t have no choice but to have faith in those guys today. Dave’s (Njoku) going to make a bunch of plays this year, same with Elijah (Moore) and all those guys. So I have no choice but to get the ball out of my hands and get it in their hands because they’re special playmakers.”
Joel (Bitonio) said that you were a little loud in the huddle to start the game. How pumped up were you?
“I wouldn’t say pumped up. That’s partly why I lost my voice. I was just trying to make sure everybody heard the play, making sure no operation stuff, I think – did we have any penalties? Okay, so I think it was a pretty good day operationally. Being at home, that was one of our key things to come in this game with. I thank Joel for advising me to quiet it down because obviously my voice is going out.”
Did you hear the crowd chanting ‘DTR’ (Dorian Thompson-Robinson) there at the end?
“I did. I heard a little bit in the beginning and then towards the end.”
Talk about the emotion of having Nick Chubb, you know, before the game on the scoreboard and know, what did that mean to you guys?
“Yeah, I mean, he’s huge. I think after that Kareem (Hunt) starts snapping and jumping over people. So I think we need Chubb at every game, up there in the box and supporting us and all that stuff. So we miss Chubb, every day, and it was super cool to have him out there.”
What does this mean to you after your first game and all the circumstances that were involved? This is so much later in the year with so much more at stake. How do you feel about coming through?
“I’m already focused on next week. I’m focused on going to Denver. But yeah, man, I’m super happy, glad that I can get this one for my teammates and actually go out there, like I said, get the reps at practice, make the mistakes throughout the week. And so that way those mistakes don’t come up on Sunday. And there were some times where there were plays I messed up in the week that we got corrected today, and they were huge for us coming down the stretch.”
What was this week like for you? Going back to found out you were starting on your birthday to this moment now where you can barely talk because you lost your voice?
“Shoot, it’s been a whirlwind. I just can’t thank the fans, (Kevin) Stefanski, our whole program, and all the guys that are there in the locker room. Everybody’s been helping me out. Everybody’s letting me know that they got my back–from the guys walking around on the street outside when I go to a store, to my teammates in the locker room every day. Everybody, this week has been great, and it’s only made my job a lot easier.”
You said you wanted to get your swagger back by watching UCLA games. How many did you watch and did you get your swagger back watching?
“Yeah, I think we still got a long way to go to get back to that swagger. But no, I definitely watched a couple. I watched the 2021 USC tape that everybody knew about. And yeah, man, I think I’m just going to keep working at it, keep leaning on my teammates. I had Deshaun (Watson) in all the third and fourth quarter telling my ass to smile because I’m pissed at the pick I threw and just things like that. That’s really what helped the game and just guys I get to lean on for sure.”
You get that first completion to Elijah on that last strike. How much did that sort of alleviate some of the pressure, kind of allow you to relax the rest of that drive?
“Yeah, I don’t think you can really relax till that kick is in the field goal. But that definitely was a huge play. I’d say that the momentum shifter was Kareem’s hurdle, and that really got everybody juiced up, kind of got them all rattled and, yeah man, we took it over from there. I think that whole drive just shows how close this team is and how much they believe in me.”
It seemed like this is a game where one turnover could have cost the game. So how were you feeling after that? And how did you collect yourself after that?
“Yeah, I hope the camera doesn’t have me on the TV copy after that pick because I was going to lose it. We talk all week, every week about winning the turnover battle. They hadn’t given the ball up all game. We hadn’t given the ball up all game. Tips and overthrows happen to try and limit them as much you can. I’ll go back and watch the tape. I probably need to get to the checkdown on that one instead of trying to force to Amari (Cooper) or just throw a better ball. But, yeah, man, I was hurting. I was frustrated. I didn’t know how the game was going to end, if I was going to get the ball back or anything like that. So, like I said, just proud again, being able to trust in my defense and my offense and just go out there and do what I have to do what I have to do.”
You said Deshaun told you to smile after that play?
“Yeah, definitely helped a lot. Some other guys noticed it and they were encouraging me as well. But, yeah, man, Deshaun was in my area the whole second half pretty much. Just comforting me, making sure that I’m good, motivating me, letting me know that, ‘hey, I’ve been here before and you’re gonna go have another shot.’ And I sure did. And I was able to take advantage of it.”
So did David say anything to you at all during the game? That, “Hey I’m going to be there for you when you need me.”
“I mean, I think just him taking accountability. I was the main one trying to be like, ‘Oh, no, I got to throw it better. I got to do this. I got to throw it on time or do this or do that.’ He let me know just being a vet. We got you, Rook. That’s on me. I got to make those plays. But again, I’m going to keep feeding them. He’s the best tight end in America, in my opinion, so he’s definitely going to get the ball a lot more. ”
What’s it like hearing those DTR chants?
“Yeah, man. I’m sure, it’s great for my family. I wouldn’t say I don’t like it, but I’m trying to stay focused on the game and make sure I’m doing my job. But it is super cool to be able to look back on and see those types of things.”
Was your family here?
“Shoot, I had maybe 20 to 30 people here from all over the country, family, friends, everybody.”
Can you talk about the job the offensive line did – I know T.J. (Watt) got the one sack, but by and large, just the work they did, kind of shorthanded was because it was two backup tackles?
“Yeah, man. I mean, from again, Coach Stefanski’s plan of the week to how those guys executed that plan, I couldn’t ask for anything more. It was a collective job with me getting the ball out of my hands and knowing what protections is which to be able to make sure that everything’s good. You’re going to have those plays where you get sacks and things like that. We try to minimize them, but I think the O line did a hell of a job today, so I couldn’t be more proud.”
Was this your birthday celebration or did you do somebody else to celebrate your birthday or what? Talk about birthday week and ending it like this.
“Yeah. So I got the call from AB (Andrew Berry) when I was on my way to Marble Room downtown. So that’s when I got the call. I ended up eating dinner there with some teammates and my girl. And then after that, I was getting to work all week waiting for Sunday to get here, and now we’re here. So now I’ll go celebrate a little bit with the boys.”
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