Oct. 1, 2011
Tennessee Head Coach Derek Dooley
"It was good seeing two new faces making some plays for us, Rajion Neal and Devrin Young. It was nice to see the return game get excellent field position and energy. Hopefully we can continue that and hold onto the ball. I was proud of how we jumped out on them. It was a really good first half.
"In the second half, I was really disappointed. We lost our focus. We made a ton of mistakes on offense: drops, snaps, penalties, missed assignments. It just looked sloppy. That was disappointing.
"On defense, it's the same old story: we played great defense for 51 plays and we give up two plays for 180 yards. Somehow, we've got to eliminate that. We make a mental error and no one else can make up for it.
"We did what we needed to do. It was a good win. This team has played every team they've played close, and they didn't today. Now we turn our attention to what lies ahead."
On how he explains his team's occasional defensive lapses
"(It was) mental errors, and then nobody else running to the ball that can make up for it. We had two mental errors on the long runs and just total mental breakdowns. A couple of times we're in man coverage and we don't keep the ball hemmed up. The post safety is not coming out of the top making the play, and we mess up - up front, and that's what happens. So, we've got to go play zone and just keep the ball in front of us."
"And then we give up a play in Cover 2. We don't carry the seam, and the safety comes off and misses the tackle. It's the same issues: mental error, missed tackles or the inability of the other guys to recognize what's happening and get to the football quickly. We don't do a good job of that."
On his team coming out sharp offensively despite some shuffling in personnel "I was real pleased with that. Tyler (Bray) had a good game, was throwing the ball well and we used a lot of different guys, especially early on. Da'Rick (Rogers) had real good game, and we need him to have games like that. We caught some good third downs, and really the first half the only third down we didn't convert we dropped the ball. We had a couple of drops. Mike (Mychal Rivera) had a drop for a touchdown. Da'Rick (Rogers) dropped a third down pass."
On freshman Devrin Young's debut today and how we helped the return game "I hope he can continue to do that. It was good to get a little energy going in the return game and hopefully that will energize the guys blocking. But, he put the ball on the ground, too. So, y'all know why now I had him carrying the ball all week. Didn't help, but maybe it did. Maybe he would have fumbled five. It was kind of a good `get your feet wet,' and then we'll see how we can progress."
On the play of some new freshmen on defense today, Jordan Williams and Allan Carson, and how they earned playing time "We need bodies (on defense), and they are doing a good job. It's just two more freshmen. Seventeen last year and 15 this year, so hopefully next year it's two less again. Jordan got a sack, so I told the D-line we had to put a true freshman in to get a sack, and we got it."
On the running game's performance today "I was pleased with Tauren (Poole). When you average 5.9 a carry and you have over 100 yards, it's a good job. Listen, this run defense (Buffalo's) is pretty good. This is a team...I think Pitt was struggling - and about four quarters into it they had 17 points - to run it. UConn didn't run it. They averaged about three yards a carry. So, I was pleased with the run game. It was good, and then of course our numbers go bad there down the stretch. Tom (Smith) has 10 carries for 29 yards, and that'll skew it. He stumbled around and didn't look like what he's capable of. But, (overall) it was improvement."
On the production of freshman receiver DeAnthony Arnett "He had two touchdowns. I think he dropped one. They couldn't see it on the replay, so I'm going to give him credit for that second one. He's doing okay. He wasn't very active in the slot, but we didn't need him to be. Da'Rick had a big day. If Da'Rick can't catch for 180, somebody is going to have to make up for it. We've got to get these yards, but 342 passing is a big number, and I like their attempts."
On whether it is too early to gauge what he can get from the other receivers besides Da'Rick Rogers
"They did what we asked them to do. It was good to get Rajion ([Neal] in there). I know he can make some plays. Mike (Mychal Rivera) had a drop and messed up something else. We probably need to expect a little more out of Zach (Rogers), but it's probably because of (throwing to) Da'Rick. When a guy catches for 180, what do you do?"
On the defensive front seven's development "I still don't know what we are. Here's what I do know - we've had three teams come in here, and we've played pretty good and took care of them the way we need to. We went down to The Swamp and gutted it out for four quarters but didn't play our best. We'll see how we do next week. We have so many young guys that it's so hard to make judgments. Y'all want to make a conclusion on these players or what they are and what we are, and I just can't. I've got to watch them every week, because they look different every week."
On the blocked punt "It was embarrassing. They rushed one guy, and we just released. It's lazy. It's a microcosm of what we looked like on offense the second half. It's ridiculous. We're not even blocking. It had nothing to do with anything, other than a guy just choosing not to do what he's coached to do. That's all it was."
On his explanation for Tennessee's third-down conversion success this season "Throwing and catching, and that's what third down is. It starts with protection. You've got to give a guy a chance to throw it, and then (make) a good accurate throw and (run) a precise route. So far, we've been pretty good, and we're going to need to be. These teams we play coming up are a lot better on third-down defense than what we've seen."
On whether this was the role he envisioned for Rajion Neal before he got hurt "This was a start and what I hoped we would have gotten in the first game. We're just about three or four games late. We'll see how he develops."
Sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray On the early offensive production "We came out with a good game plan and came out strong in the first half. The offense was fired up. The line played great today and really fired off the ball."
On replacing sophomore wide receiver Justin Hunter: "You can't focus your offense around one guy. He is a great ball player but we still have 10 other guys on the field who have to step up and play. We did that today."
Junior wide receiver Zach Rogers
On getting the start
It was definitely receiver by committee today. A ton of guys got in and got some reps. I just happened to be the first guy out there. The young guys stepped up great, and we came out with the victory.
On replacing Justin Hunter
I moved out where Justin (Hunter) used to play and DeAnthony (Arnett) moved into the slot where I used to play. We had to switch around a little but we are learning the play book and are ready to go. We have to keep practicing with great tempo and purpose.
Sophomore Tailback/Wide Receiver Rajion Neal
On moving to wide receiver
I feel fine about it and am just trying to help the team. I am learning and happy to be out there. We have a big gap to fill with Justin (Hunter) being out. I am going to run fast, make big plays and help this team as much as I can.
On touchdown run in first quarter
It was executed well just like we have been doing it in practice all week. It was wide open. I am glad to get the first one (touchdown) out of the way. I am thankful for my guys for blocking and opening it up for me. All I had in front of me was (Ben) Bartholomew and the end zone. The team did its part and I just had to finish it off.
Sophomore Offensive Lineman Ja'Wuan James On the improvements to the running game "It's a lot better than it has been. There is still room for us to improve like when it comes to finishing on our blocks. We just have to keeping working on the technical side."
On if the improved running game makes for an easy week in practice "It's not easier. This is in the past like coach [Harry] Heistand says. This game is over and now we have a big game against Georgia next week. We need to go into this week of practice with the great mind set of getting better."
Junior Safety Prentiss Waggner On what led to the Buffalo TD "I can't really explain what happened on the touchdown. It was man coverage so I was basically on my man, but it was just a misalignment and a missed assignment on the D-Line."
On his blitz on the quarterback "We called field pressure and they ran a play action so I was free to make the play."
Senior Linebacker Austin Johnson On Buffalo and how the defense performed "I think Buffalo is a good team. I think they are probably better than Montana. They had a great team a couple of years ago so we didn't come into this game thinking we were playing a slack team or that they were going to come out soft. I thought we came out really well in the first half, but I think we can come out a little better in the second half. They were a good team and I think we just had a pretty good game today."
On the defense's execution:
"We executed really well. The biggest thing we were harping about with the guys is to come out and start fast. The past two games, we've let up big plays early. We just eliminated some of those big plays and played great today."
On allowing big plays:
"We really have to eliminate big plays. That's been our biggest thing so far. We've allowed a lot of 25-plus yard plays. We've just got to eliminate those. It's our responsibility as the players. We're supposed to be lined up and making tackles. We've had one missed alignment or one person not doing their job. It takes all 11 of us to do our jobs and stop those plays. As long as we cut out those. We've got to work on that, and we have a rough road ahead of us."
On Young's punt return:
"It juiced us up a little big. Devrin's really been trying to get back in there. We knew he'd have his opportunity this week. Just seeing that really hyped us up. We'd been kind of struggling on punt return, not really getting the big plays. Just seeing that really gives us momentum. Hopefully we'll have more returns like that in the future."
Senior Defensive Tackle Malik Jackson On Allan Carson and Jordan Williams "Those two young guys are great. Allan Carson has worked really hard and come a long way. Jordan Williams is a tremendous kid. He came in during the summer and we thought he was going to do really good things. They take the coaching to heart. They stay in their playbooks, are always in the coaches office and always asking questions. They stepped up today so I couldn't be any happier for my teammates."
On how he tries to help Allan Carson and Jordan Williams "I try to help them by keeping them on the positive side. I'm one the older guys on the D-Line so I just try to let them know that I used to be where they are now. Keep working and keep moving on everyday. Don't let one day bring down your entire week. I try to get in their mind a little and tell them its just one day and you have the next day to get better."
Buffalo Head Coach Jeff Quinn
"That was a very good football team that we faced today. Certainly, I challenged our kids at halftime to come out in the second half and win the second half. We were able to do some things on special teams with our kids that we weren't able to capitalize on with points. Defensively, we didn't leverage the ball and didn't contain the ball as well as we needed to do."
"Give Tennessee credit. Tyler Bray is a great quarterback, he has a great supporting cast. It was a tough day for us, but I was proud of some moments for us where our kids were extremely competitive. Now we have to move through this process and get ready for MAC play."
On whether he was surprised by the strength of the Tennessee offense:
"No, we saw on film there's some big, good-looking guys out there that compete hard. That's the key, and that's where we're trying to get to. That's why we spent this off-season trying to get bigger, more physical with our guys in terms of the line of scrimmage, and that's what they (Tennessee) were able to do. They were able to convert some big third down plays and that's what killed us. When you can move the chains on third down, that's the sign of a good offense."
On his team's inability to move the ball on offense: "We've got to put it together. It's never as you design it. You expect your guys to make the plays when they're asked to be made. That's what we have to do, we have to count on our guys to make those plays. When they don't quite happen the way you want to, it's going to hold you back."
On the positives Buffalo can take forward to MAC play: "Our special teams. I challenged them to have two big plays on special teams and we had three. There were two kickoff coverage forced fumbles that we were able to secure and we got no points there. Late in the game, we kept on them about winning the second half and they blocked the punt. Then the kid picks it up and converts on fourth down. But I'm proud of our kids."
Freshmen Cornerback Courtney Lester On Tennessee's team speed "It wasn't a surprise at all really. There will be a lot of fundamental errors, but we can correct that. When we look back at the game (film) we'll have to look and see if we were doing our job every time, all the time."
On Tennessee QB Tyler Bray "He had patience. He picked us apart, really. He made all the right reads. Some of the plays had Josh Copland and myself calling their plays and he (Bray) we go to his second read to open receivers."
Sophomore Linebacker Khalil Mack On personal growth from playing an SEC team "I learned a lot about myself. Obviously, we all have to get better as a team. Especially when we are going against competition like we did tonight. We've just got to make great strides and keep improving on our game."
On Tennessee's game plan vs. Mack "They made it clear they were gunning for me in a sense. It's not about me, it's about my teammates. We all tried and we all gave effort. Unfortunately we came up short tonight. They came prepared, that's all I can say. Double-teams, having a feel for what I was going to do. But again, it's not about me. Every body has to get better and get ready for the MAC."
On struggling against Tennessee's offense "It wasn't as much of a physical struggle as it was mental. I had a lot of mental breakdowns as far as trying to make plays, and knowing when they were going to run and pass the ball. It was much more of a mental aspect of the game."
Senior LT Matt Ostrowski On difficulties the line had vs. Tennessee "They were big, and fast. They are probably one of the better competitions we've gone against. It was a good test for out offensive line. I think our biggest problem is that we need to be more consistent. One guy would jump offside's or things like that. We have to work as one complete unit every single play."
Sophomore RB Brandon Oliver On what Tennessee was doing to throw off the Buffalo offense "They had some good defensive linemen, and that was part of it. When I can get into the open field and (the O-line) gets me past that first line, I've got to (score). I got tackled by the safety on one play and I should have scored."
On the closing speed of Tennessee's defense "They did a nice job of creating piles for me to have to look for different holes to run through. They also had great pursuit to the ball."
On lessons learned from the game to take into conference play
"We can not come out slow. We played better in the second half (of the game) than we did in the first. We've just got to come out fast in the first instead of waiting till the second half."