This season for Penn football has already been record-breaking. The program surpassed its 800th win, and Saturday’s 31-10 win over Bucknell made coach Al Bagnoli the winningest coach in Penn football history.
But when I asked him how he felt on his 125th win, he couldn’t even enjoy the victory. Bagnoli was visibly unhappy with his team’s performance, but more importantly he was disappointed in himself for failing to prepare the Quakers to play like an Ivy Championship team from the get-go.
“I really haven’t had a chance to think about it. To be honest with you, I’m pretty disappointed in how we played, especially in that first half. In fact, it was as bad a half of football as we’ve played in a long time. I kind of take that on a personal level, that they weren’t ready to play. It almost seemed like we were out there not even caring … I’m just really more trying to figure out why it took us 30 minutes to play this thing out."
(More after the jump)
On his half time talk: “Luckily they responded, which is a credit to them, but it still begs the question that it shouldn’t take us 30 minutes. That first half was not something that anyone should be proud of on either side."
On overlooking Bucknell: “I’m sure they didn’t get ready for the game as well as they should have prepared. And I’m sure they were not as emotionally geared up as they should have been. And I’m sure at times they were playing down to their level, and thinking that they had beaten Dartmouth and Dartmouth had beaten Bucknell considerably, so this wasn’t going to be a contest. And you know how smart kids always try to make some analytical thought process, and we just weren’t ready to play. And that’s really my fault, that’s not anybody else’s. That’s my job and it was very troubling, that first 30 minutes of football. And it still bothers me now, so we’ve gotta get this thing right."
On playing better teams: “Again, it kind of begs the question of, why is there 30 minutes the way we played and 30 minutes the way we played? And that’s the part that is a little bit unsettling to me because against the real good teams, you’re not going to have that opportunity. You can’t kick it up. We’ll be so far behind against the good teams that we may not be able to dig ourselves out of the hole. So hopefully this is a learning lesson for everybody and we can take some positives even from that first half, and just stress that you have to be ready to play against everybody.”