SOUTH BEND, Ind. — His first postgame news conference as a head coach went much better than the initial action on the field for Temple's Geoff Collins.

The Owls had just been dismantled, 49-16, by a very good offensive Notre Dame team on Saturday, and Collins, who had entered previous press gatherings with supreme confidence, bordering on bluster and frequently referring to the Owls as a Top 25 program, was truly humble.

He didn't point many fingers, except mainly in his own direction.

The former University of Florida defensive coordinator said he told his team he thought he acted like a rookie early, probably when Notre Dame jumped to a 28-3 second-quarter lead.

Collins also said he learned a lesson with how he handled his quarterback situation. He had kept his decision on a starter under wraps until Logan Marchi walked out to take the first snap, and every one after that.

All week leading up to the game, Collins had suggested that multiple quarterbacks could play, which would make it tough on Notre Dame to prepare for so many different potential looks.

Notre Dame's response?

Coach Brian Kelly basically said the Irish would work on what they do best and not nervously try to cover every base if Temple uses two or three quarterbacks.

That's pretty sound strategy.

Of all the comments Collins made, one statement of self-evaluation spoke volumes, and it was about the quarterback situation.

"Probably was a little too much gamesmanship on my part," he said. "I probably carried it a little too far with the quarterback battle, the quarterback situation."

The quarterback situation and how he handled it didn't lose the game for Temple. None of his quarterbacks was part of a unit that allowed 606 yards in total offense.

Yet his effort in trying to outfox his opponents with the quarterback situation was wasted energy, and his players grew tired of answering questions about it.

Marchi, who said he learned early in the week that he would start, performed admirably, completing 19 of 35 passes for 245 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, but he misfired to some open receivers, and maybe more time with the first unit would have helped.

Collins likely won't be hawked by as many quarterback questions, at least this week, but there will be plenty about his defense, his area of his expertise.

It's dangerous to pan a coach, a unit, or an entire team after one game, especially against an opponent with a national reputation of excellence, hungry to atone for a rare 4-8 season.

Collins' defense was overmatched, but at least it was against one of the best offensive lines in the country, a dynamic first-time starting quarterback in Brandon Wimbush and a ground game that produced three rushers who topped 100 yards.

All week leading up to the game, there were no gimmicks coming out of South Bend. Kelly talked about his team's desire to just line up and play football.

That is exactly what the Fighting Irish did.

If his postgame news conference was any indication, Collins at least seems to have learned some important lessons from Saturday's pasting. Among the most positive signs is that he refused to step on his battered players when they were down, opting instead to pick up a team that truly needed their rookie coach to go that route.