Sept. 15, 2012
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH DEREK DOOLEY(Opening statement)
"I thought we had a good game going until late in the third. We just gave up some huge carries, and we really couldn't get it going on offense. I give Florida a lot of credit. They did a real good job late in the third, early in the fourth, and we never really could recover. We've got to learn from it. It was a disappointing loss, and we'll get better from it, and we're going to move on."
(On turning point in the second half)
"I thought we had things going pretty good, and then it kind of started. We had a nice drive in the third quarter; we came out and went 89 yards in 12 plays to go ahead. We stalled them on a fake punt, then got a groundie ... and we had a lot of mistakes defensively. They got No. 8 (Trey Burton) in the wildcat. We didn't get the check, gave up a huge play there. Then they ran a couple of zone reads and just gutted us. You know, we just didn't play very well there. We ran out of juice a little bit on the perimeter late in the game. Maybe we should have rolled those guys a little earlier in the game."
(On offense during that time)
"We're good, we're moving, we're tempo-ing, we're getting first downs, and we just hit a bad stretch at the wrong time"
(On defense in the second half)
"We were going pretty good. Then it was like it the first football game. We were sitting there and they got the ball with 3 minutes, and 15 seconds to go -- is that what it was? ... At that point, we were ahead in the game. They were doing a good job, a real good job, and there were a lot of shifts and formations. We knew where they were, and it was challenging our ability to adjust. We held up pretty good up until that point. From that point on, we gave up a huge play there. Then we gave it back to them. They go 150 yards in four plays. Big plays. turnovers. We lost both of those. I say it every week: big plays and turnovers."
(On Florida's big runs against the perimeter defense)
"I think our perimeter game looked a little tired. We weren't moving. When they took a shot on them, they didn't have that extra juice. I don't know. We'll see what the issues were."
(On the Florida's big runs)
"You can't give up those plays in this league and expect to win the game. You just can't."
(On Florida scoring from the wildcat formation)
"It was a shock. Nobody recognized it. We weren't able to route. It was just a bad play. I don't know how else to say it. I this is (taps pen) I don't know. ... It wasn't a bad play. It was a bad fit."
(On quarterback Tyler Bray's performance)
"I thought he was working through the game pretty good. In the end, I just want to see it. I don't know how much to put on Tyler. We just seemed to run out of juice right at the end, on both sides. When the ball broke out, it looked like we were lumbering to get the guy."
(On challenge moving forward)
"It's disappointing. They've got to be hurting in [the locker room] because we came in here expecting to win. We knew it was going to be tough. We had a great game going and we just let it slip away. You know, the sky's not going to fall tomorrow. We're going to have to learn from it. They're a good football team and we lost. We've got to make sure we don't make those kinds of mistakes again because we're going to be in a lot of fourth quarter games. We've got to executive in the fourth. We did it in the first game. We didn't do it this game. We won the first game and we lost this one."
(On stopping Florida's fake punt)
"We were right there. We don't get the protection, Tyler grounds it and everything from there ... Then we came up short a yard on the next drive, but we were still OK. The second big play, we didn't handle it very well."
(On linebacker A.J. Johnson appearing in wildcat formation)
"That helped us a little bit on our third quarter drive, putting him in for short yardage and goal line. That was a big help."
(On running game and protecting Bray)
"I thought we were running it pretty good and it's the same old deal. (pause) I've got to look at the drive chart here, so bear with me. I kind of need the play by play. Here we go. Here we are. They go 80 yards and then we throw an interception on a shot play. He's getting hit. Same deal. On these play-action protections, they did a good job on one-on-one match-ups. And then they hit the big play. We go five and out and miss it by a yard, but this is when we probably need to settle down and get the run game going. We had some things we were going to do in the second half running the football that we never got to. We couldn't get a first down to get us going. I guess we should have opened the drive with some of that stuff but we ran it pretty decently. What did we have at halftime? Sixty-seven yards? So we're making progress. Disappointing though."
(On if Tennessee `gave up' late in the game)
"No. I don't want to get into that giving up deal. We didn't look good on that last play, but they all thought he stepped out of bounds. I mean, that last play looked like it and I was going nuts, but they all said we stepped out of bounds. They still should have kept playing on that play. But no. We were shell-shocked a little on those two plays. We hadn't given up anything like that. Those are just enormous plays in a game. Two 80-yard plays basically."
(On if Dooley thought Tennessee was the better team heading into game)
"We thought we could go toe-to-toe with them for four quarters, yes. There's no excuses. We didn't get it done. Give Florida credit. They did what they needed to do. I don't know what else to say. We didn't get it done."
QUARTERBACK TYLER BRAY(On more pressure tonight)
"Yes, I got sacked twice. I don't think I have been sacked at all this season. "
(On reasons behind the extra pressure)
"They brought more guys than what we had on protection."
(On physical vs. mental 2nd half)
"We weren't responding well. We knew that we were going to be the ones that stop us. We just fell apart."
(On the feeling of the game slipping away)
"We just have to make plays when it comes down to crunch time. The big guys have to step up more than we did tonight."
(On helping the team move forward)
"We have to win ball games. Fans don't care about how we do on the practice field. They aren't here for that. They just care if we win ball games."
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN DANIEL McCULLERS(On Florida's big plays)
"It was very deflating. When you do so good and then you lose a block and they run right past you. We have to work on that. We have to work on that throughout next week so we can get better on it."
(On first half)
"I feel like I held my own pretty good. Just stopped them and I know I can. Just penetrate and making plays. Just to help stop the run is my main goal.
(On communicating better)
"We just have to talk better together when we're out there. Or throughout practice, we have to communicate with each other so when it comes game time we'll be ready."
(Hard to communicate with substitutions)
"We just have to listen because we know it's a loud crowd. Once we just start practicing on it and listening and communicating, I know we can do it so we just have to get better at it."
(On surprise of game slipping away)
"Not really. Come half time we thought we were pretty good. We had the lead. It did shock us a little bit the way they scored so quickly. We just had to keep fighting and that's what we did. We just have to keep the score down as much as possible."
(On belief of team during game)
"I know we kept our heads up. We just wanted to keep fighting for the University and for the fans."
(On Florida in the second half)
"I really think it was a lack of focus on our part. We didn't come out with a lot of tip speed. They made big plays on us. We lost contain a couple of times. The quarterback ran outside. That's something we have to work on throughout the week and I'll know we'll get better because we have a great team."
(On stopping fake punt)
"I felt like it was good momentum. I know quarters get tinked, so we couldn't really think too ahead of ourselves so that's what we tried to do."
(On coaches' post-game message)
"It was just more of surprise. They just told us to keep battling. We have a great team, it was just one game. We have a long season ahead of us. We're going to continue to work hard and practice hard so we can keep getting better every day."
LINEBACKER HERMAN LATHERS(On surprise of Florida's zone play)
"I'm not surprised. Florida is a good football team. They work at it every day. We worked on it at practice. We just didn't hit the right spots at the right time and they gashed us."
(On the point the game got away from UT)
"Late fourth quarter. They started going up and started gashing us. Our guys started hanging their heads. We just have to go to work at that and keep guys motivated for 60 minutes."
(On Florida's offense scoring big plays)
It was not experience. We practiced it all weekend. We rep it and rep it and were well polished on it all week. Once you get in a heated battle and that adversity hits, you have to respond to adversity and not crunch under pressure and that's what we did. We have to go back to work."
(On how the team measured up)
"I feel like we didn't have it well at all. We've been a great football team since last year. When times like this hit, we just have to respond to it. Our first test we didn't do well. Next week is going to be our big test for us and to respond to it. It's adversity. We're looking forward to it."
(On Florida's long rushes)
"It's more of the outside guys and the safeties. It just didn't fit it right. We didn't get to all the checks that we needed to go to. It was just mistakes."
CORNERBACK PRENTISS WAGGNER(On Florida's big plays taking fuel out of UT)
"It didn't take much out of us. When they make big plays .. When they gash us that hard, it kind of takes a toll on the defense. We just have to do well.
(On responding to Florida)
"Here and there sometimes. After the first one came down, we responded well. They came out .. I do think we need to do a better job of responding. Like Herman said, once we hit the eight-minute mark, we kind of came out flat. Guys started hanging their heads. But at the eight-minute mark we were only down 14 points. ... We have to do a better job of that.
"I was trying to tell them the play but at the last minute, they stopped the ball. I tried to help out.
(On Florida's offense)
"I think everything they did was pretty much they did, we were prepared for it. When the lights were on, I don't think we adjusted as well as we should have. I think we had a good week of practice. I just don't think we did a good job of communicating with the back end as a defense."
TAILBACK RAJION NEAL(On offensive of 4th quarter)
"Honestly, I am not sure what we went on. You can sense it once Florida went up a little and stuff starting getting out of rhythm. I can't really put it into words what really happened. But you could feel that something wasn't right. The guys weren't clicking like we normally do."
(On when the down fall started)
"I feel that the guys got caught up in their emotions when Florida took the lead and started making the big plays. You could say that the guys felt a little more pressure including myself. We were trying to do a little more than what was asked instead of playing in the system of what was being called."
(On 2nd half frustration)
"I think we all got a little frustrated at times. You could sense it a little bit, the urgency to win took over and made us start doing things that we probably shouldn't have been doing."
(On Florida's pressure on Tyler Bray)
"They put a couple of new things together, it was almost too much to block. It was almost like Tyler Bray had his own set blitz. They brought all a lot and more than we could block at a time. It was a little difficult but we tried to keep them off Bray as much as we could."
(On practice this week)
"We will dissect the film. We will see where we made our mistakes. We will come out and practice hard, the coaches will stay on us. We will keep this in the past and move on. I feel that we will bounce back."
LINEBACKER A.J. JOHNSON(On what went wrong)
"It was a break down in defensive. We didn't communicate as well as we should have. Some of us missed tackles."
(On mental game)
"The long plays do affect us as mentally as a team and in the defensive. We see them running down the side lines, breaking longs and we think that we missed up. We should have just come back and fought harder instead of letting it break us."
(On defensive falling in the second half)
"We got hit with the big plays and we got frustrated as a defense. We should have come back."
(On how mistakes happen)
"I would say that it is more mental break downs, not getting people into the right call. Some people doing something else."
(On why these mistakes happen)
"I would say that it is a lack of experience. I believe that we learn as a team but we didn't come out in the right formation. We didn't come together to make the play happen."
LINEBACKER JACQUES SMITH(On Florida's big plays)
"Florida did break some balls out on us and make some big plays. I do not think it was what they did, but it was what we did. We did not adjust ourselves and we made some critical mistakes that cost us greatly."
(On defending the lead option)
"Yes we were expecting it, we just did not expect the way they did it. They showed a lot more motions and things like that to confuse your linebackers and the way you are supposed to fit the ball. We just did not adjust to it enough tonight."
(On what went wrong on the big plays by Florida)
"Honestly it was all just fundamentals. We just were not where we were supposed to be and it was a breakdown of assignments."
(On the maturity of the team to bounce back from this loss)
"Most certainly. We were fully prepared for tonight and we knew it was going to be a four quarter battle and we came up short. We just have to go in and dissect the penalties and go in and make to corrections... We definitely do have something to prove this year and we are going to do it."
(On the sidelines reactions to Florida's big plays)
"I think it was a feeling of being overwhelmed. It was not that we did not know what was going on or that we did not know what they were doing. It was kind of playing our ball; we got out of our game. Once the hot hand got away from us we could not get it back and that is just something we have got to work on during practice and continue to be in the game."
(On his feelings on the game)
"It was definitely surprising and frustrating. We have a great team this year and I believe in my team and I believe in my defense and I believe in our quarterback like I have said before. I feel like this team is totally different and we are not someone to push around. Florida got a break in the fourth quarter and they did it in quite a fashion. I respect their win and they are a great team."
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN DALLAS THOMAS(On bouncing back after the loss to Florida)
"I know my teammates and we are going to come out for next weekend prepared just like we came for Florida. We will come out prepared for the next game."
(On frustration as an offense)
"No one really got frustrated, we just kept believing and never let anyone lose hope in anything. We were fighting the whole time."
(On a potential momentum swing going into halftime)
"We came out in the third quarter and moved the ball down the field. As the game went on (there became) a lack of focus."
(On that lack of focus)
"Guys just were not on the same page. It was not just the offensive line, it was everybody; quarterbacks, receivers, everybody."
(On what he would say to "Tiny" Richardson following a game where he struggled)
"I would say just to keep motivated. He is a very good player and we are going to need him. We just have to keep him motivated and tell him not to look down when bad things happen."
(On the disappointment from the loss)
"It is very disappointing and we just have to learn from what happened and build on it."
(On Rajion Neal's game)
"He never game up. He was hitting the hole every time we called his number. He was always hitting and never stopped and I am proud of him. He is going to keep working and we are going to keep working for him."
TIGHT END MYCHAL RIVERA(On the team's mindset)
"It is definitely very tough but we have to continue to take it one game at a time. We could only lose one game this season and have a great season."
(On what caused the breakdown leading to a Florida victory)
"I have not seen the video yet, and no one else has, so we are going to have to clean everything up. Like coach Dooley said, there were too many three-and-outs on offense, and the defense was giving up too many big plays. There are just a lot of mistakes."
(On the team growing frustrated at the end of the third quarter)
"No not really, we just continued to do what we were trying to do, trying to run our routes as fast as we can and things just didn't hold up for us."
(On his thoughts during the end of the game)
"I was frustrated once we realized we were going to lose the game at the very end of the fourth. We just need to move on to the next game because we could still have a great season this year."
(On staying positive)
"I am a positive person and I have belief in my team. I see us everyday in practice and how hard we work. I really think we can turn it around and climb up hill."
(On playing under pressure during the second half)
"We did feel like our back was against the wall when we lost the lead that's what we have to learn to play with. There are not always going to be games where we are always up. We are going to be down, and we have to continue to fight through adversity."
"Florida is a great team and you have to give credit to them."
(On potential distractions from having College Gameday in town)
"No I do not think it affected us. Like I said, you have to give credit to a good Florida team out there. We just didn't get it done tonight."
(On the disappointing evening)
"I hope that the fans have a positive outlook on it and know that we could have a one loss season and continue to go uphill from there."
FLORIDA HEAD COACH WILL MUSCHAMP(Opening comments)
"I'm really proud of our guys and our effort on the road two weeks in a row; it's two tough places to play. We were really poised at halftime again. No bickering or finger-pointing. They just said, `What do we need to do to get this going?' We needed to give offense more possessions than the first half; third down was a killer for us defensively again. We had tight coverage. I've got to give you guys credit now; they can throw the football. You look at some of the balls they threw in and completed. Patterson and Hunter are outstanding players and Riviera [sic] is a guy and Bray made some nice, nice throws. A bunch of those on third downs. We had the match-ups we wanted, but as the game wore on I feel like we went in the line of scrimmage. You look at our yardage, around 330-something yards rushing. When you do that, you're going to win games. We were able to do that in the ball game. I think the turnovers, offensively, were critical.
Defensively, two turnovers for 14 points, so we've kind of flipped ourselves in the first three games on turnover margins. I think the pivotal turning point in the game was winning the line of scrimmage, first of all, but secondly that brilliant fake punt I ran at midfield, and then we go three-and-out, and then the next play, 80 yards with Trey Burton, and we felt like had the counter on the backside. It was blocked beautifully, they over-pursued the speed sweep and Trey cut it backside and outran them. So, very resilient for our kids. They overcome coaching an awful lot, and I think in that situation they certainly did. I think that that was a huge, huge turning point. You go three and out against those guys, who in the first drive had taken it down and scored pretty easily. They hits some balls on us. They had great coverage. They threw it in there to Rogers and what a great throw. What we gave them, they earned. We didn't play much zone tonight; it was some pattern match and man-to-man. We tried to get after the quarterback. We only had one sack, but we had some solid collisions with him. I'm a little disappointed with how they ran the ball early in the game. I'm very pleased with the effort overall. Our guys did a nice job. Continue to play hard and continue to develop our identity as a team and a program. Not where we need to be, but certainly better than we've been."
(On turning point in third quarter)
"We have put a tremendous emphasis on winning the fourth quarter and winning the second half and wearing down our opponent. That's something that we've been able to do in the first three games. Again, that's something that our kids have bought into. In the locker room just now, a bunch of the guys were talking about the fourth quarter. We're going to win the fourth quarter. They believe that. They have a strong belief. We grew up a lot last year. You sit in the locker room at Auburn and South Carolina, and Jacksonville. It's tough; it's hard. These guys got a lot of pride. You know, we're the University of Florida. These guys didn't come here to go 7 and 6. These guys responded the right way. And we've responded with the right people. Are we where we want to be? Heck no. Let's not start celebrating here. Let's be realistic where we are. We've got a long way to go, but we've got guys who bought into what we're trying to do, and that's what you need to have."
(On Jeff improving)
"I think so, but we're playing well around him. I don't want to take anything away from Jeff; he made some gutsy plays tonight. You play a pattern-match team, which they were, so their back's to the ball some. That's what we are. That running quarterback gives you a whole nother issue. He made some gutsy plays and runs, and he's a tough kid and he was very accurate with the football. He's fourteen of 20. Zero sacks. I'm sure you all are happy about that. Again, I think the game will continue to slow down. He played extremely well. He got us in and out of the right runs and the rights situations and the right protections. Again, we're playing well around him. When you're able to hand it off to Gilliam, he had 118 yards rushing. That's just Old Man River. He just keeps going. So you just keep looking at these guys. They're making plays around him. They're not throwing it all on his shoulders. Hats off to Brent Pease. I think he did an outstanding job again tonight. You look at the throw back to Jordan, which was wide open. The wheel route to Trey. Trey needs to give Jeff a little more room on the sideline to focus. Again, our defensive staff Dan Quinn and getting it there at halftime and nailing things down coverage-wise."
(On momentum building)
"Well, I think any time you win there's momentum building. I'm not ready to wave the flags yet. We've got some things we need to work on and tie up in the run game. I felt like we let some things go early in the run game and I was very disappointed in that. We left some plays down the field but you have to give Tennessee credit; they throw the ball extremely well. Again, we have some things like short yardage; we're down there in the red zone and you look at the game at the half; we had two opportunities to score in the first half and we walked away with field goals. We've got to get better running the ball. We won't be tricking anybody."
(On if it's the best his offense has run since he came to Florida) "It was the most the Gators have scored at Neyland since 1984." "I think a lot of those were bang-bang plays down the field and if they call pass interference it's pass interference. That's the way you have to look at it. I'm not sure on one situation Xavier's helmet comes off and a flag was thrown. I haven't gotten an explanation. I think he took his helmet off and you can't do that. You can't. That's losing your poise. That's not being very smart. And he knows better. He's a senior. That'll be addressed. We don't sit there and pretend it's ok. It's addressed."
(On Dominique Easley)
"He's fine. He tweaked his knee a little bit, but it's not the injured knee. He's fine. Chaz Greene had a bad ankle and we had to make a game-time decision. I was not really sure what he would be able to do. Hats off to Kyle Koehne. He played right tackle after playing left tackle his entire career at Florida. He went out there and played right tackle and did a heck of a job against some guys who can really rustle the edge. He did a really nice job. Antonio Morrison stepped up. Pop Saunders stepped up. We had a lot of guys step up and play, but when you're recruiting and you have depth on your team, it's usually what happens." (On Trey Burton, the football player)
"He's a good player. He can do a lot of things. He's able to carry it and slip him out of the backfield. He's a guy that's hard for defensive coaches to count what is he. We said as a defensive staff when we played our offense in the spring, "What do you think about Trey Burton?" I have to ask Brent, "How are we going to use him today?" "Count him as a back today; we'll be alright." They don't have that luxury."
(On the team's mindset)
"I felt very confident and comfortable with this football team. But you never know until you get in these situations. You really don't. You don't ever know. You get in there and you're down at halftime, and everybody is circling and it's not good. What these guys have done is bought into a little bit of what I've tried to sell them since we've been here is that you need to remove the clutter and focus on being a good player, and really be selfish about it. That helps us be a good football team. And if you're really selfish about being a really good player--and I mean that in the right way--then you can really help us be a good football team. And we always point to what is critical about being a good player and what is the attitude. It's the toughness. Those are the core values of our program. That's something we talk about all the time. It's really boring to everyone, but that's what we do. And we sell it to them all the time. When I walk into the locker room at halftime and there's not anyone pointing fingers and there's not anybody complaining or asking what's going on out there. Last year, to be quite honest, we had some of that. There was uncertainty of what are we doing. Instead of panicking, we've pulled together and had a lot of poise. Again, we haven't arrived. We need to continue to press forward." (On picking the QB)
"I think the guys recognize that Jeff is a good football player. I think they've always felt that way. They felt that way about Jacoby Brissett. He's a heck of a football player. We've got two really good football players at the position. We decided to go with Jeff, and he's certainly responded very well."
(On pressure on the road)
"I think they're very confident. You've got a lot of pressure with four guys rushing you. I just told Dan to make them bleed right now, as far as moving the football. We need to just hang in there; don't give them anything cheap. Play coverage and rush forward, and we really challenged the front four guys. You have to be able to get some rush going, and we were able to get the ball out of his hand. Again, when you're able to rush four and drop seven, it's cloudy in there for the quarterback. We need to clean up some things in coverage. A lot of the throws they made, if you really want to look at them, we're all getting upset and it's a heck of a throw and a heck of a catch against a guy who will be playing in the National Football League. They've got some good guys."
(On the interception)
"The interception is huge. Pressure. When the ball floats up there and Matt is playing good center field, he goes up and gets the football. That's huge points for us."
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN LERENTEE McCRAY(On pressuring Tennessee Quarterback Tyler Bray)
"We definitely knew coming in that Tyler Bray was an accurate quarterback that can fit the ball into tight places. We just had to frustrate him a little bit and make him hurry up more than he wanted to."
(On 2nd half success this season)
"We just make adjustments at halftime and man up to change the game around."
STRONG SAFETY MATT ELAM(On two interceptions as a team)
"Turnovers are always very important to give the offense another chance to put points on the board. So on defense that's our job and our objective, to put the ball back in the offense's hands."
QUARTERBACK JEFF DRISKEL(On the series of plays in the third quarter that made the difference for Florida)
"We have athletes all over the field and we know if we keep giving them the ball and giving them touches that eventually they're going to break. Fortunately for us, we hit a couple of big plays when we needed them and that really changed the momentum."
(On what the team's mentality was at halftime as it was trailing 14-10)
"Just like last week, a hostile environment, down, they have the momentum, but no one hung their head. No one in that locker room thought for a second that we were out of that game. We knew that we were going to make big halftime adjustments and win the game in the second half."
(On where his is now after this game as a quarterback compared to Game 1)
"I mean I still have a long way to go. I hit some big plays and definitely got better from Game 1, Game 2 and now Game 3. But I still have a long way to go."
(On Trey Burton's 80-yard touchdown run)
"I didn't know he had that kind of speed. I knew he was fast. I didn't know he had that kind of speed. I tried to catch him, just in case. I was running from the other sideline, but I couldn't quite get there. That was awesome. That was a huge play for us."
(On if the offense as a unit comes out with more confidence after these past two wins)
"Definitely. We know that Coach P and the offensive staff is going to put us in good situations and give us chances and give us vertical stretches. They're up there watching the whole time out the window. They know where (the opponent is) vulnerable and they're going to keep pressing it."
(On how he thinks he improved on not locking in too long on his first target)
"I knew our routes a little bit better and I knew their defense a little bit better. That just makes you more comfortable back there and when you're more comfortable, the game really slows down a little bit. I thought I got better again this week."
(If he thought Florida would be as good as it has been the past two games)
"I definitely thought we could be a team that could put up a lot of points. We know that we have a great defense that's going to give us a lot of chances and that's going to get us outs or get us the ball back quickly. We have playmakers all over the field and our line has done a tremendous job to this point. But, no, I'm not surprised at all."
(On if there is any doubt now on him as a quarterback)
"I don't think there was. Those guys really believe in me and believed in what do. They see us in practice all the time. I don't think they ever doubted me or anything like that. Like I said, it was a learning experience. Everyone got better and we came out with the big win."
(On how the run game has changed)
"That's awesome, knowing that we can run the ball on any down and expect to get four or five or even hit a big play. That really takes pressure off of me and that really kills the defense and kills all of the momentum that they have."