Oct. 14, 2012
HEAD COACH Derek Dooley
"We played a pretty bad first half. I thought that was pretty apparent. We had a lot of mistakes and we didn't look good. We gave up some third-and-longs, third-and-20's and a lot of third-and-10's. We had a penalty early on special teams that hurt us. We just played a bad first half; we didn't convert a couple of third and mediums on offense and got out of rhythm We found ourselves in a real hole with only 20 plays on offense in the first half. We try to get 40-45 a half. To their credit, we came out and had a great third quarter. We stopped Mississippi State four times in a row on defense and we had a chance to win. Now we have to learn how to execute down the stretch. We had a bad turnover and gave up a big play, but still with 5:22 to go we had a great football game. We gave up a couple of third-down conversions, we miss a tackle and we don't cover a guy. So that's the storyline. It's a tough loss, but we have to dust it off and move on. That's all you can do is correct the mistakes and move on."
(On the Vols' defense)
"We are not very good right now. You are what your film is. We don't get off blocks the way we need to and we don't get enough people to the football. We didn't give up a ton of huge plays tonight, so it was a little different storyline. We bled to death; just bled to death. We hit stretches where we played pretty good, which is what is bizarre."
(On getting over the hump)
"We didn't do it today. All you can try to do is go to the next one and get over the hump the next week. That's how collegiate athletics is; you never know when it is going to happen. So you have to keep coaching and keep correcting and keep evaluating and play your way through it."
TENNESSEE PLAYER QUOTES
RS JUNIOR DB Byron Moore
(On team's defensive performance)
"We had some missed assignments and a few breakdowns here and there. We just have to clean some things up."
(On 0-3 start in SEC play)
"You don't really expect to have growing pains. You expect to play perfect, but it's not a perfect world. It's part of football. We have to go back and get ready for next week."
RS SENIOR CB Prentiss Waggner
(On team's defensive performance)
"They made some plays. I thought we did a pretty good job in game prep, but we just didn't get the stops."
(On losing a close game)
"It hurts really bad. The guys in locker are pretty down about it, but that's over with. We have to force ourselves to put it behind us because we have the number one team in the country coming to town next week."
MISSISSIPPI STATE HEAD COACH DAN MULLEN
"That was a heck of a ball game. We knew it was going to be a four-quarter battle all the way through, especially with the offensive firepower that they had. I'm proud of how our guys played. I thought we played a great first half on both sides of the ball. We came out and stumbled around in the second half a bunch, but as we've done all year when we've needed it, we've made plays. I'm proud of everybody in that locker room. It was a big win for all of us."
(On Johnthan Banks)
"You hear this all the time, but big-time players make the big-time plays in the big games. Banks did. We needed a play there. Banks came up and made the play. He's one that we depend on, but it hasn't just been one guy. That was as big a play as there was in the game."
(On MSU's possession time)
"We never let their offense get in rhythm. They did in the second half a little bit, and then the turnover broke it and we were able to drive some. We know what a high-powered offense they are, and it was huge for us to be able to control the clock and tempo like we did."