Sept. 12, 2009
TENNESSEE LOCKER ROOM
HEAD COACH Lane Kiffin
On the possibility of pulling Jonathan Crompton at quarterback:
"No. I thought I didn't do a very good job today of taking care of Jonathan. I tried to stay with the run game a lot of times as you can see with the lopsided ratio of run-to-pass. I think we ran the ball 44 times or something. We've got to do better. I think that showed today, which is my fault for playing some players who haven't practiced enough because of injuries and hoping they would go out there and make plays. That really makes Jonathan suffer. So we didn't do very many good things around him."
On the defense's performance:
"I think they played really well, considering they had 150 or 160 yards or so. Even after that, we still killed ourselves. I thought Coach [Monte] Kiffin made a number of great calls. We screwed some things up by not doing things right.
"Somehow we got out of whack today in everything that we talked about in letting the emotions ofa big game get to us. We got out of character and did things that we don't expect to do."
On UCLA's defense and whether it affected the UT offense:
"It was not a surprise, not a lot of new stuff. They just out-executed us. By the stats, you can see 206 yards or something, that's embarrassing. You're not going to win many games when you turn the ball over four times. On the other side of it, we got six fumbles out of it and somehow only got one of them. We've got to do a much better job as a whole team, but especially on offense."
On UCLA's pressure:
"They did a good job. On a sack one time in the second half, they had a three-man rush. So we got out-played today. Credit to them. They did a great job traveling coast-to-coast. They did a better job of not turning the ball over, and we didn't."
On why freshmen receivers didn't get many looks:
"I think the first catch of the game was Zach Rogers, a freshman. But we didn't get it to them much today. We rotated a lot of guys in there, and the balls tended to go to the older guys more. Unfortunately, we made some critical drops. We didn't make any drops in the first game; we caught everything. We come out today and have a deep cross with Quintin [Hancock] and we dropped that. We had about a third-and-5 or a third-and-6 going in to score, and Jonathan changes the route out there and throws the ball to Denarius [Moore] - a first down to keep the drive alive and hopefully a touchdown - and we drop it.
"I think in general on offense, it was a lack of execution. We talk about guys playing a little bit because of injuries, we have them going in there and not being as great as they need to because they're not practicing as much, just trying to go out with adrenaline."
On why UT ran the ball each play inside the 5 trying to score late in the game:
"I would like to think that any time you have two plays that we should be able to run it with the mentality that we have, and score. That was very discouraging to see. I should have called a different t ype of run, but you'd like to think when we have one yard to run to win the game that we could do it."
On lacking confidence in the passing game:
"I figured the game would go one of two ways. It was either going to be really easy because things were working and we were hitting it and we would keep throwing the ball around. But I told myself that if it got tough and we were turning the ball over and getting pressured, then we would turn to our defense.
"I thought we would be able to run the ball better than we did today, and of course we didn't. We had some negative runs and weren't as consistent in the run game, and that's why we had some third-and-longs. So I wasn't going to sit up there and lose the game because we didn't try to run the ball and just blame it on the quarterback. So as I did that, it started to work and we started controlling the game a little more. Our defense was getting some rest at that point. We went all the way down the field and got a field goal. We went all the way down to the 1 yard line and don't punch it in. I thought at that time it was working. They weren't really playing well. Our crowd was into it. Hardesty gets hurt and the UCLA defense is on a knee. We've got them where we want them. We're down on the 4 yard line and they're on a knee, and he gets hurt for an injury timeout and that gave them a breather."
On the rhythm of the game:
"Like the coaches said, we really didn't get into our groove on offense. And obviously when you don't, then this is the outcome. The good news is that we were still in the game in the end. We had four turnovers and still came up one yard short."
On the fourth-quarter drive that ended short of the goal line:
"When you're on the two-yard line, you've got to expect to score."
"On defense, we gave up too many third-down conversions. That's something we need to correct."
On being a team leader after a loss:
"We each just have to take a look at ourselves, and see if we did everything we could do to help our team win today. We might do some soul searching ourselves. We don't need to do any finger pointing. We're not going to do any finger pointing. I'm not going to allow it."
UCLA LOCKER ROOM
Head Coach Rick Neuheisel
"First of all, I want to congratulate Tennessee on a hard-fought game tonight. I want to congratulate the people, the administration, the fans and everybody that is a part of this great program. When they say this is hallowed ground, it's obvious. Hats off to all who made that possible, it's really a privilege to play in an environment such as this and our kids took it as such.
"I'm very, very pleased with the resiliency of our football team. There were precarious times in the first half when we gave up the fumble and the touchdown to go down 10-3. We had some adversity: a facemask, a 5-yard penalty for off-sides, different things kept happening. But rather than wallow in pity, we kept par. That's what we try to instill in our team, and I'm very pleased to see it demonstrated in such a way."
On the UCLA offense responding to the environment at Neyland Stadium:
On the Tennessee defense and its effect on UCLA's offensive game plan:
"Our defense from the second to the end of the third quarter really dominated the ball. From field position to turnovers, I felt like our defense was taking over the game so I didn't feel it was necessary to be risky offensively."
CB Rahim Moore
On intercepting two Tennessee passes:
"I do it for the team. I just read the quarterback. I knew that Crompton had some skills, but I also knew that he could throw a pick because any quarterback can. I was just sitting back and reading the quarterback. The second one, he was staring the guy down and I was playing man-to-man coverage. The tight end ran a lazy route and I broke on it and I did all I could to get it."'
On what this win means for UCLA:
"We're hungry. By us going through what we went through last year, it was tough. It was a long offseason of having people not believe in us. We are trying to come out every day and every weekend to prove to the world that UCLA is who UCLA is. I told the team before the game: the world is against us. We've got all of our fans (back in California) and we're up against their fans. Our job is to keep them quiet. We came out here and executed. Big ups to Tennessee. That was a tough game. I'm thankful for the win."
K Kai Forbath
On playing in Neyland Stadium:
"It didn't feel that noisy when we were out there for field goals. It felt a lot different when the offense was down there. The stadium was great to play in. The atmosphere was great. It brought up the level of our team and I think everybody played better because of it."
On what was going through his head at the end of the close game:
"I didn't think we'd have to kick a field goal or anything. I figured I was pretty much done because we were going to take the safety and punt the ball away. I was actually really nervous. It was a good feeling though. Our field goal team contributed a lot to this win. We try to get as many points as we can to help the team win. Our team looks great. We are getting back on the map."