April 21, 2012
HEAD COACH Derek Dooley
"Well I was real pleased with just the competitive matchup and the competitive part of the game. I thought our players played with a lot of toughness, good energy, good effort; they were into the game and it showed. Obviously some of the things that we said we were improving on in the spring continued to show up. We ran the ball a lot better. Didn't stop the run, so that's always the kind of the give-and-take when you are working against each other but I think probably the biggest storyline from a negative standpoint is even though you are playing with all those good tangible qualities, making a lot of critical mistakes in critical situations. That is something we obviously we need to get better before next fall. You look at the White team and I think they had a turnover in the red zone, they had a missed field goal, a third-and-two, fumbled a snap in the fourth quarter, a hold and a slip on the last drive. So those five plays right there were the difference in the game and that is a great learning experience that you have to be able to perform in the critical situations of the game to win the game. Overall, real pleased with the spring. Real pleased with the attitudes the players have had and the work ethic and now we turn the page and get ready for real ball."
(On how comfortable he is with what the team accomplished on the ground)
"We feel like we made the progress we needed to make. That doesn't mean we are a great running team but it is something to build on. We got a lot of cutups we can watch from the spring and try to polish it up, and hopefully the players are seeing what it takes to be a good running football team."
(On the running back competition)
"I think we have three guys who all have different qualities that can help us move the football and you saw a little spurt of all of it today, so they're all three good backs. I mean Marlin's (Lane) probably experience back there showed up today and hopefully those three will continue to develop and we have a young freshman coming in the fall too."
(On how much he reads into Marlin Lane's good spring game performance)
"Well I mean it's good to see. You would rather him do that than not do it. I try to judge the body of work over 15 practices and this game is important because it is a true game setting and that is why I say his experience out there at running back probably gave him a little edge."
(On if Marlin Lane is heading into summer on a high note)
"I hope so but I hope they are all. I hope they all are."
(On how much more established the program is now than other years)
"Well I think that is a fair assessment but really from a roster standpoint it's established. Last year we had a little bit of the program established but we had a change at the strength and conditioning level so the offseason was just a little different and we had so many new faces, lost the seniors. I've made this statement, it's the most settled we've been since I've been here and that showed."
(On what he tells the players as they break today)
"The starting point is we have to finish the academics the good way and then get ready for a great summer because we have a lot to build on and I hope they see that . There is a lot to build on and that is the key word. Gotta keep working."
(On Jacob Carter and Cody Blanc)
"They have been it all spring. Jacob has just been a good steady hand. I talked about his consistency a few days ago. Cody is a bigger guy. He's big and fast, he really is. His big deal is that he just didn't play much. He's new, a mid-year guy in high school. He is going to be a good football player, so it's good to have him out there. We're thin at wideout and we needed those two guys. Justin (Hunter) is not out there and we're just thin in numbers."
(On if anyone moved up in position battles)
"Well it's hard to say. The corner position, you know we've had four guys kind of battling it out at corner, so they were covering different guys. I think you look at we're rolling a lot of corners, we're rolling a lot of running backs, we're rolling a lot of defensive lineman; those are probably the three areas where you got a lot of bodies just competing for production time."
(On Tyler Bray's maturity)
"He's made some progress in some areas but he still has a lot of developing to do and he is working hard and I think he has had a good spring. He is a lot more patient, he's understanding the game, he's understanding the level of intensity that it takes everyday to be good. He needs to have a good summer too with these wideouts."
(On the touchdown run right before halftime)
"It was designed to get into field goal range. They were I think on about the 42 and you knew they were going to be playing soft so if you get up to the 35, maybe you have a shot at a field goal. That was bad defense more than anything."
(On if Ja'Waun James is one of the steadier hands on the offensive line)
"Yeah and he should be. He is a two-year starter, he's going into his junior year, he's had a good solid spring and had a real good offseason. Him and Dallas Thomas have been steady hands on the offenseive line, but I think the offensive line is a good sort of microcosm of what the first question was about being settled. When I got here we had an offensive line that had a combined three starts, all five of them, and I think right now our offensive line has a combined 99 starts. That makes a difference. Ja'Waun is one of those guys, Dall, Alex Bullard, James Stone, Zach Fulton, those guys have a lot of snaps behind their belt."
(On DaRick Rogers getting more catches)
"He got (Justin) Coleman on a double move and he had a good game. He had a good game but he's had a good spring."
(On Da'Rick Rogers' spring)
"Da'Rick really had a great spring, I'm proud of him. His attitude was awesome. You know he had that one little hiccup but other than that I think his biggest improvement is just his commitment in the run game. Blocking, being a good team player, his attitude has been great on the field, competing well, and maybe gelling with his teammates and I hope he stays down that path and we need him to. Da'Rick has a lot of leadership qualities, he does. He has an ability to affect people and we need him to affect them the right way."
(On his thoughts after the first two easy touchdown drives)
"Not really thinking a lot, just watching the guys. What do you want me to think? I thought they would settle in a little bit. That happens some times. Not panicking on the first drive."
(On the defensive effort in the running game)
"We are going to have to do some things to stop the run. Nobody has really put their hand in the dirt on defense and on the defensive line and said we are going line up and whip your tail. We have a veteran offensive line. We have a lot of holes on the defensive line so we should be running the ball better than last year. We have a lot of work to do to stop the run on defense. We played base defense and we gave up a lot of yards running the ball. We are going to have a hard time stopping anybody just lining up in a 7-man box."
(On junior kicker Michael Palardy and sophomore kicker Derrick Brodus)
"Mike had a good spring but he didn't kick as well as he has kicked for 14 days. I told him that. So, he has reverted back a little bit and that was disappointing. But he has all summer to correct it. Brodus has had a good spring too. He has not kicked it as deep on kickoffs but I think that is the first field goal he has missed all spring. He hit a good kick but he just missed off the left hash. There is competition there. You have to perform, especially at kicker."
(On the tight ends)
"Brendan (Downs) has had a great spring. Nobody talks about Brendan Downs. He has a lot of good qualities. He is big, fast and physical. We have three good tight ends, and that's good. They are all going to play and they all have different skill sets. Cam (Clear) has had a good spring. Mike (Rivera) has had a solid spring. We have three guys."
(On the 2-minute drill at the end of the game)
"We have probably been less concerned about the situational part of the game this spring and more concerned about good old-fashion fundamentals, toughness, effort and running the ball. That showed up out there in critical times. We did not execute (the 2-minute drill) very well. We got a hold and slip. You can't have those things with two minutes to win the game. So, it showed but we will clean that up in the fall."
(On the cohesiveness of the coaching staff)
"The staff has been as seamless a transition as I have ever been a part of. It started with the fact of hiring Sal who I have worked with and has been in this kind of system. When I say system, I mean the whole organization. We talk the same language. He knows exactly what I want. When the coordinators are the same page as the head coach, it is a lot easier extension into the other staff and the rest of the defense. That combined with the fact that a lot of coaches had worked together at previous spots has been a real good dynamic. It has been fun to be in that staff room. I think that positive energy and enthusiasm has spilled into the players."
(On defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri)
"He has a great passion for what he does. He has a tremendous care for the players as people. He has a very demanding style to get them to be the best they can be. That is what I love about him. I think the players appreciate that."
(On sophomore defensive back Brian Randolph)
"He is an old-man river. He just steadies the ship back there, makes the calls, doesn't make a lot of mistakes, and most of time he is in the right spot. That is why ends up being as productive as he is."
(On the Surprise Award winners - sophomore running back Devrin Young, senior defensive lineman Steven Fowlkes, and sophomore defensive lineman Greg Clark)
"Mainly, Devrin at the running back position. We knew what Devrin could do as a returner. He wants to get the ball and sprint to the sideline, and he did that today. He did a little reverting back, and I got upset with him out there. He has had a great spring and is going to help us at running back. Steven Fowlkes had a great spring on the defensive line. He was ineligible last fall, and I am really proud of his ability to stay with it on scout team last year. He stuck with it and has had a great spring. Greg Clark kind of went from guy just on the roster to a guy battling it out in the two deep. Those guys have done well for us."
Junior quarterback Tyler Bray
(On not winning the steak dinner and mistakes made late in the game)
"It was my fault I didn't catch the snap. I had been fine all day with the snap until then, when it really counted. We did better than last year so I can't really complain."
(On being a more complete player than last year)
"I'm just more mature on the more academic part of the game. The throws are going to come or I wouldn't be in this position. Just the knowledge of the game."
(On the importance of having a better showing than last year)
"I mean, I couldn't have done worse. I think I had more completions on the first drive than I did all last spring. I did better, and our offensive line did better, and our receivers caught the ball."
Junior defensive end Darrington Sentimore
(On the change of defense)
"It is kind of hard to catch on to the defense when you first come in. But when I was at Alabama I knew, and now that I am here, I know it even better."
(On the transition to UT from JUCO)
"I feel like I have progressed a lot and I have been working harder and I am more disciplined now. I don't think I have lost anything playing JUCO, but it helped me grow up."
Sophomore offensive tackle Antonio Richardson
(On going into camp and areas to improve)
"In camp I wanted to improve on my overall stamina in two-minute situations. Whenever we are on the move in two-minute situations or going no-huddle. I just want to be able to improve my condition and not think about being tired, and just focus on the ball and my job."
(On the guys on the line being leaders)
"We talk about it every day. Any great team that you look back on at UT - the base of the team was the O-Line. They ran everything. They were the leaders of the team. Right now we are just trying to solidify ourselves as the leaders of the team. We are doing a good job you just have to show the leadership abilities before the guys follow you. So we are just working at it and hopefully things will work out."
(On who pointed out the past UT teams having good O-Lines)
"We had alumni come in such as Spencer Riley and Antone Davis and they have put a lot of emphasis on it. Our coaches have put a lot of emphasis on it as well."
(On the defense being more aggressive)
"We are playing a lot with the defensive backs and we are blitzing them a lot more. We have a lot of blitz called for us and it puts us in a better position to make plays."
Senior tight end Mychal Rivera
(On playing out of backfield)
"Coming out the backfield, playing tight end, and wherever they need me most is where I feel like I can contribute."
(On the run game)
"I feel like the run game has come pretty far. They are really physical, and we are coming out accelerating on the edges. Our runners are really running fast."
(On why the run game is having success)
"I feel like it's a combination [more experience from the linemen and more emphasis on the run game]. Emphasizing it and us just going out there and hunkering down and doing it."
Junior offensive lineman Ja'Wuan James
(On confidence in the run game)
"That's what we had in our mind the whole offseason. During the spring workouts, during the spring camps, coach Pittman and coach Chaney did a good job of emphasizing it. We just try and get better at running everyday".
(On how they measure progress) "We base it on efficiency. Four yards a carry is efficient. We just calculate all our runs and it's been going up every day in practice. We could have done a lot better today on the white team. The orange team was blocking their butts off today. They did a great job."
(On Marlin Lane)
"Marlin [Lane] was running hard and they were blocking hard. It was just good to see us moving the ball on the ground."
Sophomore tailback Marlin Lane
(On his touchdown right before half)
"I really didn't know. Coach Brown told me five yards and field goal and I decided to try to get more than five and just keep breaking tackles and get down the field."
(On his performance
"I just wanted to come out this morning, execute every play, and play hard for my team and my side and dominate in the run game. I focus on running physical and not worry about looking for holes and just reading the keys."