Oct. 4, 2009
TENNESSEE LOCKER ROOM
Head Coach Lane Kiffin
Opening statement: "From the beginning in the first half, I thought our offense really put our defense in a number of bad situations by not converting on third down. When you have an offense that's as hard to play as that [Auburn's] offense, the last thing you need to do is afford three-and-outs and put eight times. We were -of-17 on third downs. I don't know that you can ever win a game like that. I think that's a big storyline for the game. Going -of-17 on third down is not going to win you games. We need to play a lot better on third down. On defense, even though we played well at times, we do have to give them a lot of credit. Some players made some plays. That's a good team with a bunch of good players. They did a good job.
"The momentum of missing the field goal on the opening drive and the extra point and a couple of kickoff returns did not help us, special teams-wise today. So I thought we lost in all three phases of the game, which is very disappointing, especially for our SEC home opener."
On Crompton playing well in hurry-up mode: "It wasn't even close. He played extremely well in hurry-up mode. Outside of that, as you guys saw, we didn't play very well. He didn't play very well early on because of some accuracy things. It wasn't decisions, though, which is good. He wasn't making poor decisions with the ball. He wasn't turning it over. So we had some good things there.
"It was good to see him in no-huddle. Last week we had a big series before the half to score a field goal, and this week as well in no-huddle to score at the end of the first half and in the second half. That was good to see."
On possibly going to a no-huddle offense: "We were going to in that series we went to it, even if they didn't score. It worked well to end the second quarter. We needed a tempo change. There was no rhythm today to our offense. There were some big plays, but there was no rhythm. There was no six yards, six yards. We never really got into a rhythm in our run game, and play-action was kind of all over the place today. They did a good job."
On if there's a point where the team can't win without a special play by the defense: "No, I wouldn't say that. If we play better on offense and special teams, that game could be won there even if the defense played the way they did. They don't have to be superhuman. We need to get some turnovers. Obviously, they got tired today. We were -of 17 on third downs, even though we were 4-of-4 on fourth downs. So when you keep putting your defense on the field against that offense, obviously they do a great job with what they do. I bet a lot of people are going to give up more points than that."
On the difficulties in the first half: "It was a tough first half. Luckily, we had the 2-minute series to go down there to end the first half. That was about as poorly as an offensive half you could play all-around. There was no rhythm, there were drops. It was bad. In the first half, we ended good there. And the first play of the second half, we get stepped on and fall and lose 3 [yards] there. That kind of was the storyline right there, to go to second-and-13 right away.
On possibly changing the offensive package with Nu'Keese Richardson: "That was just a special play [to open the game]. Jonathan wasn't on the field. That was just a special play we put in and ran it the first play of the game. It's not a full package. His other package, we ran a little of it last week, which we're always looking to expand that and get ways to get him the ball."
On third down problems: "There were drops in there. There were probably three or four third-down drops. I thought the offensive line pass protected really well today. I think when you go back and watch this game and we break it down, that's probably going to be the best thing that we did as an offense is pass protect against a good D-line and a great rusher. Jonathan was back there, and as much as we were in the gun at times there and when we were in 2-minute and you know they're rushing you because you're out of a run mode, that was good to see. But you protect him and we either throw an inaccurate throw or we drop it. So it takes everybody."
On the defense's performance: "Like I've said before earlier in the season, we've got to get off the field on third downs when we have the opportunity. They did throw some new things at us, but we just have to keep coming at them and convert on third down."
On facing Auburn's offense: "There was some new stuff they threw at us today. We were prepared for most of it, but those little wrinkles they did throw in kind of caught us off guard. I feel like we adjusted well, but it all goes back to getting off on third down. If we can just make the play on third down, we'll be all right."
On offense's performance: "It's just the small things on offense for us right now. There's little detailed assignments that we're not getting right, which is causing us to be close to making plays. There are plays to be made, and right now, we're leaving them out there.
"We've got to continue to get work hard, practice and get better. We have to make those plays because the defense was on the field a lot of time in the first half, and that goes somewhat on us. We've got to stay on the field on third downs. We've got to keep drives going. It's just small things on our end that we're not holding up to right now, and we've got to get better at that."
AUBURN LOCKER ROOM
Head Coach Gene Chizik
Opening Comments: "I'm just really proud of our team for finding ways to win every week. They just keep fighting. It was really good to see a very young football team come on the road and win. As a coaching staff we really had no idea how they would respond in this type of environment. They fought their way and clawed their way. It wasn't always pretty, the first four weren't always pretty, but we're finding ways to win."
On Auburn's special teams: "Tonight our special teams stepped up to the plate. We've said we need to do what we do on special teams to get better at it. I think it paid off tonight; it was evident the last five minutes of the game."
On the play of the Auburn defense: "I'm really proud of our defensive front four tonight. We've been playing a lot of young guys up there and had a lot of rotation tonight. I thought we got some good push up front tonight. I think early in the game on some critical third downs we were getting some pressure. I haven't looked at the percentages, but I think this was the best we've done in the first four games on getting off the field on third downs."
On the Auburn fans in Neyland Stadium: "I'm excited about our fans. When we pull up to the stadium, our fans are there waiting for us. They do their job. What is their job? They show up. We have the greatest fans in the country and I want them to know that we know they're there and it makes a difference."
QB Chris Todd
On Tennessee's defensive pressure: "Their defensive line was very good at putting some heat on us. They put some pressure on us. They did a lot of really good things. Their coverage was really good tonight. We were just able to get on the edge a few times and make some plays. I thought out offensive line did a great job tonight. We had to get outside the pocket a few times and make some plays."
On Auburn's preparation before the game: "Coach (Chizik) made it a point to us that this was going to be a four-quarter game and we'd have to grind it out. We knew they had a great defense and we knew we'd have to grind it out till the end and make sure we put a four quarter game together."
On the atmosphere of Neyland Stadium: "We knew that it was going to be different. It wasn't going to be like home. It was going to be a hostile environment. It's a tough place to come and get a win, and we knew that coming in. We knew it would be big to come in here and get our first big SEC road game victory. We thought that was really important. I think it's a really good win for us to come up here and do that. I had to deal with a couple of different things. The noise obviously was different, trying to get plays called and communicating with the line. It also was a thing where we were trying to get a feel for what they were getting into. They were changing up what they were doing a lot. We were just trying to get ourselves in the best situation.
On the different ways Auburn has been able to win games this season: "I think the biggest thing with this team is our ability to fight and find a way to win. We've found several different ways to win and I think that's really big. I think it's important that when the offense has needed something the defense has stepped up and the offense has stepped up and made some big plays too. It's a whole team deal. Special teams did a great job tonight - they hit that field goal at the end. When one part of the team needs help, another part steps up. A win is a win. It's important to find those and we've been successful with that so far.