Sept. 23, 2012
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Derek Dooley
"Well, it was a tough game, and I knew it would be. They cause a lot of problems with our offense, but the disappointing part was the turnovers early in the game. We spotted them 10 points on turnovers, but I was real proud of the team in the second half. They came out and dominated the second half 24-3. So that's a good step for the team. We ran the ball well. We threw it well.
"The worst part of the game were the two turnovers and the long run (by Akron). We just screwed it up. We slanted the line and the backers didn't adjust. We were a man free and the secondary couldn't rally to get him down. That was the bad play of the game there, but otherwise, a pretty good game."
(On the UT secondary slowing Akron down in the second half)
"We played it real simple. We weren't getting a lot of pressure, but we what we didn't want to do was sell the house and give up a cheap one. We kept it real simple in the second half and just played a couple of zone coverages. We tackled and covered and did a good job. That was the biggest thing. They brought a lot of different stuff in the first half, but that wasn't really the issue. We got screwed up a couple times over the middle, didn't match the pattern so we stopped running that deal."
(On zone scheming in the secondary)
"We played a lot the first three games, but we did it differently against these guys. They've got five wide and they're empty the whole game, so we just looked more spread out."
(On QB Tyler Bray's performance)
"I told Tyler I was really proud of him because he made a lot of mistakes early on. He was off. He was rushing. He was getting ant-sy -- I could feel it. He just kept settling in and he played well down the stretch. He had a good demeanor about him. It was a big step for him."
(On Vols pressing because of Florida game last week)
"I don't so. They came out and did a bunch of goofy stuff on defense that we had never seen. Tyler would think that on that first third down, they were all jumping around everywhere and he made a bad decision. Then we fumbled the ball. It's hard to say. We had 23 points in the first half and 300-and-something yards."
(On struggles by the secondary)
"I don't think we struggled that bad, guys. They averaged less than five yards an attempt for the game. These guys threw for 600 yards last week. We knew they were going to complete some passes. The worst play was the run. When you play teams like that, that throw it that much, we chose not to go after and blitz this quarterback and give up a cheap one. We wanted to make them earn it the hard way. If you look at it, we spotted them 10. The defense held them to 16 really, then gave up that cheap run."
(On TB Rajion Neal's performance)
"He did a lot better today. It looked like he broke some tackles. He was hitting the hole hard. Seven yards a carry, that's what we need."
(On the Vols' interceptions on defense)
"It was huge, especially Eric Gordon's. That was a big play in the game. It kind of let us pull away. That's what we need on this defense. We've got to get turnovers."
(On playing seven offensive linemen)
"They've been practicing really well, and I always felt like we've had seven starters. They just deserve to play, so we played them. If guys are practicing well, they need to get in there and play. And I think it'll help the other guys too. It'll rest them. We had a lot of plays. Eighty-nine plays is a lot. It's hard."
(On Byron Moore)
"He's just really settled in. He's playing good football. He's playing smart football. Just doing his job is what he's doing. Not trying do anything beyond what he's capable of and good things happen when you do that."
(On Byron Moore sliding over)
"We didn't really change his role."
(On Derrick Brodus)
"I didn't want to hammer him for one extra point. I just felt like he deserved another shot. He went out there and kicked it great. What did he have? Four field goals? And they were big. We were struggling in the red area. Those guys were covering us better. We missed a lot of those tight red area throws. They were packing the box making it hard to run. They had one-on-one outside. We were really struggling in that tight red area to score. That's what happened in the first half. I think we kicked three field goals in the first half."
(On being 8 of 8 in the red zone)
"But not in touchdowns. We tried to hit three out of four. How many touchdowns did we have? We had eight red zones. So we were four of eight, 50 percent of touchdowns. That's not good enough."
(On comparing this week to previous weeks in the red zone)
"The kicking deal was good in the red area. I'd rather kick PATs."
(On Brendan Downs)
"Yeah, Downsy. (Tyler) Bray called it the wrong way. It was supposed to go the other way, but he called left so Downsy got it. It's good to have him back because we need him. Brendan is going to be a good, solid player for us. He's doing well. That was his first one. And Jacob Carter had his on a nine route."
(On improvement this week)
"What I'm proud of is how we had so many things go wrong in the game and we came out and dominated in the second half. Everybody has been beating this team up for the second half. So far, we've played four games and we've had three outstanding second halves and one outstanding third quarter. We just had a really bad stretch. I keep telling the team `it's not who you are, it's what you did.' We screwed it up but that doesn't mean it's who you are. But I was proud of them. They were really calm at half time, there wasn't any panic. They kept executing in the third quarter, it wasn't easy. The defense made some good stops and we started scoring."
(On upcoming schedule)
"I hope we learned. We're going to be in there again and we'll see how we handle it. We play a heck of a team next week. This team and a couple others are going to be contending for it all. They have the ability to. I hope we learn and grew, but we won't really know until we get back in there in our league."
(On short yardage in tonight's game)
"A.J. (Johnson) kind of went the wrong way and that didn't look good. Then we had a third and one where they had the entire football team in where we probably should've thrown it. We should be 80-90 percent on third and one, really 90-100 but we're not. We just have to keep searching for things. We tried to get A.J. back out there on that last one that we got stumped on. He was over there getting corrected on defense and all of a sudden we had to change the play real quick. So that's something we have to iron out."
TENNESSEE PLAYER QUOTES
Tight End Brendan Downs(On the wrong call)
"The call did get a little messed up. When I heard it, I knew it wasn't quite right so I was a little confused at first. But I just ran the corner and was open and caught it. I was excited."
(On coming back so soon after the injury)
"I knew I would be coming sometime around now, but I'm really thankful to be back going as fast as I am right now."
(On if he feels 100 percent)
"I still have some soreness, because there's still some stuff messed up down there. When I get out there and get loose, I feel fine."
(On the touchdown)
"I ran the right route on the wrong call if I had to label it."
(On the touchdown pass)
It kind of felt like it took longer to get there than the average pass but I was just thankful I caught it.
(On what it felt like to score a touchdown)
"I had to let it sink it a little, to realize what just happened. But then get myself back in the game, but it was an awesome, awesome moment."
Kicker Derrick Brodus
(On starting this week)
"Throughout practice during the week I was repping with the ones, so I felt like I was going to be kicking and then on Friday, I saw the depth chart and it said I was still the number one kicker."
(On bouncing back from last week)
"Last week, I had a miss hit and that's one of those things where you just have to have a short memory and move on to the next kick and don't think about it. [Tonight] I definitely just went into each kick one kick at a time and moving onto the next one."
(On Dooley's confidence in him)
"It definitely helps. Being a kicker, it's hard enough if you miss one kick, you're down, so for the players and coaches to tell you to just move on to the next one, it helps."
(On kicking in high school)
"We never really kicked at Alcoa (High School). The most I kicked were extra points."
(On playing soccer in high school)
"I have scored four goals in a game before, yes."
(On being in a routine of kicking at UT)
"It's kind of [a dream], but at the same time, it's something I've been doing so I've been able to [work through it].
(On tonight building confidence in him for the rest of the season)
"It helps a lot. My confidence is pretty high and that's what I'm going to keep doing - just taking each kick one at a time."
(On next week's game against Georgia)
"I haven't kicked at any away games this year. I feel good [about next week]. I was perfect tonight and you just have to go into the game with a clear mind and just do everything the exact same."
(On his attitude)
"I feel like when you're a kicker you definitely have to be chill and just take each kick at a time."
Center James Stone
(On the offensive production from tonight's game)
"We were not that surprised because we really schemed out a lot this week. We really executed a lot of plays out there and we were getting good yards and were really executing on those plays and getting a lot of yards in the air as well as the ground."
(On bouncing back from a rough second half last week vs. Florida)
"That was something we really focused on in practice all week and it is something that we will focus on the rest of the season because we know how much of a factor that is, just how you finish the game in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter."
(On Coach Dooley's second half adjustments)
"He told us that we cannot keep shooting ourselves in the foot and that we have to eliminate the mistakes and go out and be a hundred percent and be on the same page. As long as we communicate and are on the same page we should be able to execute."
(On overcoming adversity to start and gaining confidence as a team after tonight's win)
"That is always a confidence boost when you are able to perform well in the fourth quarter, especially knowing next week we have a rivalry and it is going to be an away game. We are going to need that grit when we are going onto an opponents field."
Defensive Back Byron Moore
(On 2nd half play)
"Every time we come into half-time we say the score is zero - zero. The second half is a whole new game. The score at half-time doesn't matter. It is a four quarter game. We just keep our composure and come out to play the rest of the game the best we can."
(On being concerned at half-time)
"I knew we would come out second half, play the way we know and play to our status. I knew we would come out and get the victory."
(On reviewing the good or the bad in the game)
"It is definitely good when we can come out and win the turnover battle. The plays that we do give up we try to get them down as quick as possible. I think we did good. We didn't really give up many big passing plays."
(On progress of defense)
"I feel that our offensive played really good. But this is a testament to our defensive staff. They prepare us well each week. They are going to push us harder in practice every day. They aren't going to let us take any days off. I give all the credit to them for pushing me and trying to bring out the best in me."
Defensive Back Prentiss Waggner
(On Marquelo Suel)
"We knew he was going to be a pretty good player because we watched film on him. The one thing we didn't see on film was their timing. They had great timing. That is one thing that you can see that stands out about them and they practice that a lot. The main thing was getting them off timing because we know those guys can execute."
(On making more plays at safety)
"Sometimes I think you can make more plays there because the safety is back reading things. On corner you are playing man to man the whole time while at safety you can sort of be a ball hog. You can be like Byron Moore who had two picks. I was getting on to him because he could of had three."
(On team communication)
"I don't remember any communication issues. On Arkon's long run I think it was an issue with a miss gap with the linebackers. There were easy corrections made."
(On missing Brian Randolph)
"It was a really big with our vocals. The whole week of preparation we were getting the keys down and communication errors down. People like Byron Moore and Brent Brewer were out there helping us out."
(On being concerned at half-time)
"I wasn't concerned at all. I think we were playing pretty good defense. We just had to lift up the offensive. Our offensive is an explosive offensive, so once they got to clicking we just continued to play good defensive, so I knew that we were going to be pretty good."
Wide Receiver Justin Hunter
(On the offensive performance against Akron)
"I think we could have (put up more points). I think we had a lot of mistakes in the first half. We could have capitalized more in the red zone. We just have to take advantage while we're down there."
(On outscoring Akron 24-3 in the second half)
"That's what we focused on this week. [We focused] on finishing our whole game. For us to do that, we felt really good."
(On the team's slow start)
"It's the way they were playing us. We were just trying to figure them out too early. We ended up adjusting so it showed in the second half."
Quarterback Tyler Bray(On the mood of the team after the first half)
"We just knew we had to get out there and pick it up. I missed a bunch of throws. We could scored more. We just couldn't finish drives. We were putting together great drives and just couldn't finish."
(On the interception during the opening drive)
"I just went to the wrong side. I saw something I didn't like, decided to go to the other side and I was wrong."
(On knowing what needed to be corrected after the first half)
"We were putting together drives. The defense was making stops, but we just couldn't finish. We knew we weren't going to do that all night and eventually they were going to get tired. I think we ran 60 plays in the first half. We knew they were going to get tired and they were going to wear down. That's what happened."
Running back Rajion Neal
(On his confidence in his play moving into the Georgia game)
"My confidence is pretty high as far as upfront with those guys. I have a lot of confidence in those guys and they believe in me. They put me in some good situations so all I need to do is just finish. My confidence is high. I'm understanding what the coaches are telling me to do. I'm just really focusing and watching what these other teams are doing."
(On his performance so far this season)
"I was told that I did some things well, but there are still some things I need to work on. All in all, I feel like I am taking a step forward every week. I'm fixing the things that I messed up last week. I feel like I am moving in the right direction. My coaches are doing a great job of helping me by breaking down the film and really having me focus on the things that I have had problems with."
(On how he is feeling physically)
"The trainers are taking really good care of me. They make sure I get in there for treatment. They give me my the extra things that I may need. I make sure I do what I need to do to be ready for the following week. The coaches do a great job of taking care of us, too."
Defensive Lineman Maurice Couch
(On tonight's game)
"Definitely, being in this league, you can't take anyone for granted. Regardless of their record, you never know. Akron did a good job keeping us off of the quarterback. We're just going to take it one day at a time and clean up our mistakes from Akron and prepare for Georgia."
(On not being able to get to the quarterback)
"The quarterback was kind of hurt, so he was doing a good job of getting [the ball] out as soon as possible. We have to give those guys credit - they had a lot of good plays. In the second half we came out and made some adjustments and we shut them out in the second half."
(On the second half)
"Definitely just because we had a lot of adversity and just looking back from last year, we had a lot of games where we were in it at halftime and then the second half just got out of hand and we didn't win a lot of games."
(On what they did differently tonight in the second half)
"We brought an extra defensive back in to help with the short yardage, so that was pretty much the only big thing that changed. In the D-Line did a good job of pressuring them and getting the ball out fast. Our secondary did a real good job of pass deflects and we had some turnovers also."
(On not being able to move the ball in the first half)
"It was very frustrating. We were running a lot of stunts and getting gains and the [holes] were coming open, but as soon as we would get up to the quarterback, the ball was already gone."
(On playing zone versus man-to-man)
"I'm pretty sure that's something that the secondary are going to work on. Up front there are some things we need to improve. Even though he was getting out fast, we could probably be a second faster to the quarterback. They did a good job, though."
(On next week against Georgia)
"It's going to be a great game, going into Georgia, but we're just going to take it one day at a time - go in and watch film from this game, clean up our mistakes and then we'll go to Georgia."
(On expectations of getting to the quarterback)
"It was alright, we watched film from other teams and they barely touched him. He was kind of banged up though, so he was trying to get the ball out as soon as possible. It was kind of frustrating, but they did what they had to do."
Linebacker AJ Johnson
(On difference of first half play and second half play)
"Second half I believe we just came together better as a team. Defensive and offensive were working more efficient. The big run in the first half was a part of not getting to the gap. I think that was on me for not getting to the right gap and they just split us right down the middle."
(On difficulty of getting to the quarterback)
"His main goal was to get the ball out real quick so we adjusted by getting tight on the receivers so he couldn't get it out really quick."
(On forcing the turnovers)
"Those picks were really great for the defense. As a defensive unit they were hustling and getting to the ball. It just so happens they were making plays and getting the picks. It helped the team to get them more hype and up."
AKRON HEAD COACH TERRY BOWDEN
"I was really proud of our young men tonight. I'm not happy. I am really disappointed. But, I am really proud of our players for coming in here and not accepting the fact that they are supposed to lose. We punched when Tennessee punched and weaved and bobbed when they did. We go into halftime, 23-23, but they just had too many weapons for us. They had too many skilled people that we just couldn't continue to match up with."
"We had a chance down there in the end, but we threw an interception down in the end zone. We forced the ball in that situation, but Dalton (Williams) was hurt a little bit. The very first threw he made, he said `I was scared to death; because I'm hurt and I'm afraid I'm going to get hit.' But, he calmed down as the game wore on. I am awful proud of our players. I have to commend Tennessee for paying attention between Florida and Georgia. I know what the SEC is all about, and this game could have been hard to get their attention. They stayed focused and got their win."
(On the fourth quarter)
"We had five or six things in our empty set that worked really well. They kind of half-covered us during the first half, but ultimately they memorized the four or five things that we were doing to hurt them. We basically had some things working, but they made their adjustments. I really think that the style of offense that we ran, the teams in the SEC don't necessarily see very often. But, they made their adjustments."
(On a `why not us' mentality)
"I mentioned that to our team - Iowa losing to Central Michigan. I didn't paint this game as a David vs. Goliath, because you can look every week and see somebody knocking somebody off. I think that if we could have pulled it off, ours would be a better story because Tennessee is a little bit higher up. My dad spoke to the team earlier today and I think they got a real treat out of that."
(On Justin Hunter)
"Their receivers and their quarterback reminded me of the SEC. The last time I played against Tennessee was with Peyton Manning and Peerless Price. Actually, I played against them the next year with Tee Martin. Tennessee has always had beautiful athletes. They were going to hit their receivers eventually. We were just holding our breath when you play a 5-foot-9 guy on their receivers."
(On what his father said to the team)
"We had a chapel service so a lot of it was spiritual, but he talked about them just doing the best they can. He talked about how Akron reminded him of when he first started at Florida State. All their big games were on the road. He talked about us and where he thought our program was starting to go. The kids really enjoyed it."
(On Akron's kicker, Robert Stein)
"I am proud of my kicker Robert Stein. He's been hot and cold and he went out there and kept us in this ballgame. He was impressive."
Akron Wide Receiver Marquelo Suel(On the benefits of playing Tennessee moving forward)
"Playing Tennessee close is going to help us a lot because this team (Tennessee) we just played is a heck of a team. They (Tennessee) definitely brought it today."
(On facing Tennessee's secondary)
"This game gives us a lot of confidence. For us to get open in the middle of the field against them is going to help us moving forward. We are improving always, and there is always room to improve."