Sept. 12, 2010
UT Head Coach Derek Dooley
"Let me start by giving Oregon a lot of credit. They have a great football team. They have a great coaching staff. They have a lot of class. I'm impressed with everything about them. Kudos to them.
"I was proud of how we came out and competed early in the game. We screwed up the last three minutes of the half in all phases. We're sitting there in pretty good command of the game and we do a three-and-out and don't change the field position on the punt, and then we have a bad penalty. Not very smart, and then we give up a big play. So we go in at halftime tied, which was fine. But we didn't have a good look in our eye at halftime.
"We came out in the third quarter and they put together a good drive and scored. We answered the bell and then when we threw the interception, I was really disappointed from then on in how we competed. You would have thought we were down 40. We have to learn from it and grow as a program. I've been saying it for eight months. I don't really care how we are until we hit bad adversity. We hit some bad adversity in the third quarter and we didn't handle it well. Then we couldn't do anything right. We didn't tackle well. We didn't cover on kicks. We didn't run the ball with anything. So when you do that and you play a good team, you get embarrassed. And that's what happened."
What was the mood in the locker room during the storm delay, and did it affect the team?
"I don't think the hour delay affected either team. It was so early in the game. I don't think that had an impact on anything. We handled it well."
What allowed Oregon to make more big plays in the second half?
"That's what they do. In their long run, I think we had six missed tackles. We said that's one of the keys here. What they do is they wear on you, they get you tired, you don't line up right or you don't have the right eye control or you miss tackles. They've got special enough players to make you pay when they do that. And they did with the two big plays - the long run and the pick-six. Next thing you know, you're on your heels, and that's what happened. The long run should never happen. We've got the guy hemmed up in the backfield for minus-5 and we don't have our contain player where he's supposed and then we can't rally to the ball and get the runner down."
Did Oregon's second-half performance show you how thin the margin of error is for your team?
"We're not very deep so we couldn't roll guys in, but it shows us where we are. We played a real good football team. We didn't handle adversity well, and we got run out of the stadium."
What was the team's demeanor at halftime?
"I thought we were a little deflated because we screwed up those last three minutes. Well you know what? You're going to have bad things happen in a game. If you think about it, that's the first bad thing that's gone bad for us this season. But we still came out in the third quarter and were still competing fine. We stopped after the pick-six. It was a noticeable change in demeanor. My demeanor changed."
What did you tell the team in the locker room after the game?
"I just told them the same thing I'm telling you guys. You've got to learn how to compete through adversity. We're not there yet."
Your team had big plays early in the game, but why could you not get it going in the second half?
"We were going to need to hit some plays throwing the ball. That's what eventually caught up with us. We're not going to sit there and run it for 600 yards on a good football team. We just couldn't get much going throwing the ball."
Can you discuss Tauren Poole's strong performance?
"He was great and we needed him to be. He ran hard. We were blocking them decent. We caught them in some pretty good looks, and they made adjustments."
Did your team's inability to establish the consistent passing game affect the running game?
"I think that affected us running it late. Early in the game we hit a shot to Justin (Hunter). I said going in we're going to have to hit some shots down the field because that's how they play. We just didn't get enough of them. We had a chance when we had Luke (Stocker) on a rail route and over-shot him and lined up wrong. We overthrew a couple of balls. We didn't go up and get some."
Chris Walker, DE
On the third quarter struggles: "I think their playmakers came out, that tempo they were going at kind of got at us and wore us down, and we missed some tackles and made some mistakes that we usually don't make."
On the touchdown before halftime and how it affected the defense
"Anytime somebody scores going into the half it gives them a little bit of momentum, but I think we came out and tried to keep the intensity that we had in the first half and we made some mistakes in all three phases of the game."
Nick Reveiz, MLB
On the weather delay
"It was different, definitely nothing like I ever experienced. That is one of those things though that there is no excuse and coach Dooley always talks about it and we can't be affected."
On the late second quarter score before halftime
"It took a lot of wind out of us and it was something we got affected by. We kind of freaked out and that's on the seniors and I feel like our senior class didn't answer the bell tonight."
On the third quarter
"We got down by 14 points and it was like we were down by 40. Even we got down by a touchdown and the game was tied, we were very deflated and all that energy that was there when we up 6-0 and 13-3 was just all gone."
Tauren Poole, RB
On the success of the running game early: "Our tempo was really good to start the game, we were fired up and we believed in the game plan."
Matt Simms, QB
On the difficulty of the passing game
"Our goal was to wear them out physically and take shots with one-on-one matchups and hopefully our receivers would go up and get it for us. They (Oregon) did a lot of good things defensively, they did a good job of regrouping, and aligning to us better, that took away a few of our looks and things we were looking to take advantage of."
On third down struggles
"One of the things that our coaches stress to us is win first down and I believe a few times on a few drives we didn't win first downs and that kind of hinders us, especially with some of our concepts we had offensively."
Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly
On the weather delay during the first quarter
"We have great leadership on this team. We had a delay, but they had the same delay, it's just in how you handle it. It was a long day but our players played really hard."
On the environment at Neyland Stadium
"That's an unbelievable environment to play in out there. I mean, this place is impressive. I tell my players all the time `Don't look at the stadium,' but I was looking at the stadium."
On the second half effort:
"I'm really proud of how we came out and played in the second half. That's something we really pride ourselves on, our conditioning. We felt like that would really be something we could hang our hat on. We decided at halftime that we really wanted to pick up the tempo and use that. It was a great effort on offense, defense and special teams. We scored another special teams touchdown, scored a defensive touchdown, it was just a total team effort tonight."
Sophomore LaMichael James, RB
On his 72-yard touchdown run that put Oregon ahead 20-13 early in the third quarter
"That run was kind of incredible right there. Actually, someone grabbed my facemask and I was like, `Dang, am I going to fall?' But then I didn't fall and I saw the clearing, and I just ran. I was very determined. We needed a boost and we needed a score. We weren't playing to our standards.We needed a boost and that's what I did."
Sophomore Darron Thomas, QB
On Oregon trailing Tennessee, 13-3, to start the game
"We knew it was going to be a long game. They scored early and Coach told us that they'd just have to keep rolling with us then. We knew we were going to come here and have a good game, and keep fighting. We outlasted them."
On James' 72-yard touchdown
"That was a big run. That reminded me of Jeremiah (Masoli's) run in the bowl game about two years back. It was the same little cut back and maybe the same play. He was all the way down the sidelines. It was a good run and I'm excited for him. Everybody on the team was excited."