Oct. 15, 2011
Tennessee Head Coach Derek Dooley
"Not a real complex game there. The first half I thought we competed our tails off and had a couple of real bad mistakes that was ultimately the difference in the first half. When you give up a 99-yard play it was a backbreaker. And then we don't tackle a guy on the hitch right before the half. That's 10 points right there. But we played our tails off -- ran the ball, had a great drive. I'm really proud of that drive against an excellent defense. We were down 14-0 and got a stop and pushed it in there. In The second half we had a couple of 3rd down opportunities where we don't execute and they pounded us. I don't know any other way to say it: Running through tackles, running around us. We weren't as good as them on the perimeter and we weren't really as good as them in the middle. We only had two possessions in the second half. The lost yardage play really hurt. We had a nice drive answering the bell. We run a little option and trust our speed and keep running. That hurt us. At the end of the day we lost the turnover battle against a great team and they did a great job."
On this game being a test of manhood
"We fought but I think you've got to get some of those third down stops. The dagger play was third-and-seven. We were down 17 at that point so we're still fighting. We get them on the minus one and if you can get the ball back and cut it to two scores you're still fighting. That was a bad play and some third-and-fives we just couldn't win on the perimeter. They throw a stop route and their guy is better than our guy. Eventually they just wear you down. If you can't get off on third down against them, they wear you down. They were six of 12. And the QB runs, a lot of times we were in position. We know it's coming and we are kind of in position and the guy runs around us and scoots on an edge and powers through. They have a lot of good football players."
On how recruiting plays into a game like this
"It's depth, size, speed. We did some good things out there that I was really proud of. As bad as our running game has been we ran the ball pretty well against a great defense and we just didn't really get a lot of opportunity in the second half. We only had two possessions. They had three drives that were just long. It's like bleeding to death."
On the lack of turnovers created by the defense
"That means we aren't creating any and they aren't giving us any. That's about what it is. We aren't creating them and we haven't gotten any by accident. Usually both happen. The other team gives you some and you create some. We haven't had either happen."
On the play of quarterback Matt Simms
"Matt did some good things. There are some throws he is going to want back. One of the interceptions was a bad mistake. The other one - that guy made a good play. The receiver has to go get it. A couple throws he will want back. We will see the film. He helped us in the running game too. Matt deserves some credit for that. He really helps giving us a chance giving him some good looks - gives the players a better chance."
On the play of Devrin Young
"He's doing good. He had another good return -- he had a couple of good returns, didn't he? We hand the ball off to him a couple of times. He was getting hit and he got dinged up pretty bad and we were really nervous to get him back out there. We shouldn't have put him back in. We planned on giving it to him the first play and he got hit hard. I should have pulled him out. He was dizzy."
On other factors helping in the game
"Tauren Poole ran really well. He was focused and wasn't trying to make big plays. He was jamming it up in there and the line blocked well. That's a real positive. And Da'Rick [Rogers] made a couple of big plays when it was easy to get frustrated there early on - made some big third downs for us. Rajion [Neal] made a nice play."
On the defense's first-half play
"I was feeling good at halftime. The 10-point difference was to me a 99-yard interception return. I don't know where the rest of the offensive guys were. We have to cover every time we throw and we didn't do a good job. That's inexcusable. Morris [Claiborne] is a great player. He has made an impact play in a lot of games. They have a lot of guys who have an ability to make impact, game-changing plays. Seven didn't, but 17 does. If 17 doesn't, one will do it. If he doesn't, one of the D-linemen will do it. When you play those kinds of defenses, you have to play. They go `you guys did a good job last year.' We got four turnovers. They gave us four balls. Add four turnovers to that all of the sudden things get different. When you play these great teams, turnovers are critical and you can't make bad mistakes."
On having a thin margin of error against such a strong opponent
"Where I get really frustrated is when we make mistakes that have nothing to do with the opponent. That really upsets me. Some of the mistakes we made were because they have a really good guy who gets us. We probably made more mistakes out there than we should have. It gets tough."
"The last drive obviously it gets tough. Its 31-7, six minutes to go and you have to just keep fighting. It's tough out there. I'm not sure it's a fatigue issue."
On jawing between the teams
"I just think young, spirited guys - they have a bunch of young and spirited. We do too. I don't think it was anything malicious -- just competitive, spirited guys wanting to compete. I didn't think it was out of hand. We had a couple of penalties that disappointed me. We had two late hits. I don't know - I'll have to look at the film. We shouldn't have those. I don't think it was a lack of poise. It looked like to me it was finishing the play."
On corner play
"We were struggling at corner. Their guys were up on our guys on the perimeter. It's the same old deal. You have to stop the run game so your corner has to hold up outside. It is third-and-five. It's tough."
On Prentiss Waggner after leaving the game with injury
"He didn't play much for a while and then he kind of came back."
On seeing something in LSU's defense that encouraged the run
"Every game we have a plan doing some different formational things to try to get us in a good position. The run game worked because our guys played better. Up front, our running back ran better. Marlin [Lane] ran good and he didn't get many touches. If we continue that path we are going to be fine in the run game."
On troubles in the secondary
"We aren't that young in the secondary. Height, weight, speed, athleticism. Over time it gets tough."
On young players making tackles
"They are going to be really good players - all three of those guys. Right now they're not. They don't have the physicality to hold up in this kind of game I don't think because their bodies but AJ [Johnson] and Curt [Maggitt] - AJ especially has more physicality than anybody we have in the back seven. I told you this was going to be his kind of game. He has stature that can compete against this kind of team. That is what we have to keep on improving on - this is a stature game. It's big guys hitting you and you have to have big guys that can hold up for four quarters. Or they have to spit the ball out four times. It's one or the other."
On the lack of plays for Mychal Rivera
"We were concerned going into the game that we didn't have enough for Mych. A lot of it is because eof the pressures you match-protect. That is a dilemma with a tight end. If you match, you have to go two tight ends and put the other tight end as the blocker but can hold up against these kinds of guys? That's the dilemma with Mych when you want to seven-man protect it, he's a good protector but he's also a weapon at TE. Jim [Chaney] and I said it all week. We don't feel like we have enough for Mych. We called some things to get him the ball and it just wasn't there. He will have his - it just wasn't his game. Sometimes as tight ends, they have to go block."
On rust with Matt Simms
"They do a good job and I go back to stature. There were a couple we dropped - Da'Rick dropped one, Zack [Rogers] dropped a couple - on stature-type plays. We are coming in, he is on us and the strong, big guy is going to get it. Da'Rick has that stature. That's why he was able when he was matched up on number 7 in the slot, we won most of those. Big guys usually beat little guys. When a big guy is on a little guy it gets tough on him when the space is reduced. You have to separate and use your quickness but if they have those long arms and they stick it on you and you don't move - I saw it all over the field. Their hands are on us and they're pushing us. You just have to keep fighting. That's all you can do."
On being positive postgame
"I saw some good things. In every game there are things that disappoint you. In every game there are things you feel good about. That game was not complex. I'm not sure how many mistakes we made - we made a couple on offense in the first half - but in that second half they keep hitting us. I don't know what else to do. I could get up there and scream at them but that's not going to help."
On trusting the speed
"I think you get the ball and there's the guy and it's like `I have to cut back.' That was the only play Tauren didn't look good. He got the ball 19 times and 18 of them he looked really good running the ball against a great defense. I don't want to beat him up over that, but that was a big play. We lost seven yards when we were down there knocking on the door to cut it to two scores. You have to keep staying in the fight and hopefully something good will happen. That's the key. You have to keep in the two to three score range and wait for your opportunity. We never could get a turnover. I'm surprised the back only averaged 3.5 yards a carry. But Jordan [Jefferson] was the guy that was hurting us a lot on the quarterback runs. He's a big stature guy too."
Tennessee Senior Running Back Tauren Poole
On the success of the running game
"The offense line blocked well, created some creases, and we took advantage of it. I was going to run hard and run for this team. We are moving forward with the run game. I give all the credit to the offensive line. They played well."
On his hamstring injury
"My hamstring is good. I stretched the whole game and continued to the stretch each quarter. My hamstring was hurting Monday and Tuesday, and I could not explode off of it. God is good. We have great trainers. They did a great job of attacking my hamstring all week and got it to where it needed to be."
Tennessee Sophomore Offensive Tackle Ju'Wuan James
On LSU's defense
"They had a great defensive line and a great all-around team. It was not a good outcome like we wanted but there were some good things in there. We are going to look at the film and see what we need to correct."
On the second quarter scoring drive
"Coach Chaney had faith in is. We have had problems in the running game but we just tried to put it on our back as an offensive line, hit them in the mouth and try to build momentum. We left the first half with some momentum. We need to keep pushing each other and execute in the second half."
Tennessee Senior Quarterback Matt Simms
On LSU's defense
"It was a good defense and they played hard for the whole game. I am really disappointed in myself for the two first half turnovers. You can't do that against a good team."
On the 44-yard pass play to sophomore wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers
"It was a one-on-one match with Da'Rick in the slot. Da'Rick did a good job of winning the one-on-one, and I put the ball on him. He then made a great play after the catch."
On his first start of the season
"It felt good being on the field. I did a real poor job of reading the coverage on the one interception to the post. I have to take this experience, learn from it, and getting ready the next game."
Tennessee Junior Defensive Back Prentiss Waggner
On the big hit he took in the second quarter
"When I went down, I really didn't know what was going on. I did a bad job of leading with the head and had a sting in my shoulder. After that, I went back into the training room and they did a good job of getting my back out there."
On his move to corner in the second half
"I felt very comfortable. When I was out at half time, Coach Joseph came in the training room and asked me if I was ready to go. I told him that I could give it a shot and he asked me how I felt about corner. I told him I was ready to take that role at the corner position."
Tennessee Sophomore Defensive Lineman Marlon Walls
On the team's defensive performance
"I think we played an okay first half because our head was on fire and it is was the number one team coming here. Then I think we got complacent and we were relaxed. I don't know why but we do that. We have got to figure out how to change that. We have to."
On if the defensive was worn down in the second half
"I don't think it was wear down. I think it was just want to. We knew they were going to come out in the second half and try us again. Like Coach Dooley said, it was a test of our manhood. I think in the first half we did an okay job. Then we got relaxed. We knew what was coming. We knew that they were going to run the ball at us and pretty much run the ball the whole time. It was our job to stop them. We have got to get on it and change it now."
Tennessee Sophomore Offensive Lineman Alex Bullard
On what to take from the loss today
"We need to minimize our mistakes against a good team. We learned today that we make mistakes and they are magnified. If you make mistakes and a good team doesn't make mistakes, then they are going to get after you as LSU did to us today. It's just a learning experience. We learned today that to beat a good team you have to minimize your mistakes, you have to execute, and you have to use details in what you do. That's something we will take for next week against Alabama."
On Simms checking the plays at the line of scrimmage
"We had a game plan that we wanted to go up there and look to see what they were doing. He was able to check the plays to what we did. He just did his job and what he was coached to do. That's what we all have to continue to do."
Tennessee Senior Defensive Lineman Malik Jackson
On the defensive performance in the first half
"We just came out fighting and told ourselves that we were going to play a good half of football. That's what we did in the first half. We watched film all week and we knew what they were going to do. We knew they wanted to run the ball so we stuffed it up, but the mistakes killed us and we just have to stop making all the mistakes."
On what went wrong with the defense in the second half
"We went out there in the second half as we always do, ready to go and fired up. They got their scheme together and knew what they were going to do. We knew what we were going to do, but we made a lot of mistakes. Like I said, you can't win the game if you make mistakes against the No. 1 team in the nation. You have got to play physical, tough and smart football for four quarters and we didn't."
Tennessee Freshman Linebacker A.J. Johnson
On how physical the game was
"I believe that was one of the most physical games I have ever played in. In the first half, we were all hyped up and ready to play."
On the physical differences in playing LSU as opposed to Florida and Georgia
"We knew it was coming. All during practice, we were preparing for it and playing downhill. We came out playing hard in the first half, and unfortunately we didn't do the same in the second half."
LSU Head Coach Les Miles
"We came into a big time venue and we took the field with the enthusiasm that depicts the environment. I felt like our guys did what they needed to do. That wasn't our best game, certainly, but we did what we needed to do to secure a victory.
"I liked using both quarterbacks, I think that's what's best, what we need to do, and I think both guys do different things and we like to do that. We will continue to do that. There is a want for both guys to have success and have team success.
Our defense gave us turnovers and the opportunity to take the opponent out. On offense late in the game, we ran the football and ate up the time of possession and scored and that was the game."
On rotating quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson
"We're going to go just like we've gone. It's going to be our offensive coaches' call and my call and it's that simple."
On the three long second half drives
"Late in the game, with the opportunity to run the football, I don't know that we were perfect, but I felt like we did the things we needed to do. I like the way Spencer Ware runs the football, physical. We did some good things."
LSU Senior Quarterback Jarrett Lee
On Jordan playing more
"I'm not concerned [about Jordan playing more] at all. Whatever it took to win tonight, Jordan brings something else to the table athletically at quarterback. You saw him run the ball tonight, and that's something that he does better. If that's what needs to happen, then it's what we're going to continue to do."
On whether the quarterback situation is more important to people outside the team than to players
"I do [think that]. We're not worried about it at all. It's not a distraction to us. I think it's definitely more on the outside perimeter."
On whether it was Jordan starting the second half or that he had the right plays
"I think it was just a change of tempo and a change of pace. It gave Tennessee something more to worry about, so that's what we needed to do. We moved the ball down the field and scored, and if that's what needs to happen, that's what we're going to continue to do."
On whether he found out about the switch during halftime
"I didn't find out at halftime. It was something that just happened while we were warming up, and it was a change that was going to happen, and I was all for it. I'm not worried about it, I'm not concerned at all, and if that's what we need to do to move the ball down the field and score points, then it makes sense."
On whether he thinks Jordan's playing more is preparing for Alabama
"I really don't think so. We're taking it one week at a time. We had to play a big game tonight, and we have Auburn coming in next week, so we have to take it week by week."
On Lee's and Rueben's chemistry
"Rueben's a special player. He works hard and understands football. He works hard to be where he needs to be and he wants the ball. When we have a one-on-one matchup outside, we look to go to Rueben every time."
On whether it mattered to Lee that he came out on the last drive with a touchdown
"We wanted to do something as a team, and as for myself, it was important to lead the guys down there and get another touchdown, and we did just that. The offensive line and tailbacks just did a great job, the tight ends did a great job of blocking and working hard. The second half was a grind-it-out football game and I thought they did a great job."
On how much it helped that he and Jordan are both seniors and how they handle the situation better than younger kids
"We've been in this system for a long time now, and we both understand how it needs to be done. If our numbers are called, we just know we need to come in with that opportunity, and that's what we're doing right now. We're winning ball games, and we need to keep working hard."
On LSU getting ahead in the second half
"When we get the ball in our hands, we look to score every time. Our running game is really strong right now, and our offensive line is blocking so well and playing smart football. We're keeping the ball in our hands and it's helping us right now."
On LSU Offense improving every week
"If that's what that defense is giving us, then that's the play that is effective against them. We got a couple plays in tonight that were really effective against Tennessee, and that's how we're going to handle that."
LSU Junior Cornerback Morris Claiborne
On LSU's strong secondary
"We have a lot of confidence in each other. To play in the secondary you've got to have confidence, and you've got to feel like you're the best player on the field. We go out and we play like it."
On LSU's "swagger" on defense
"As a defense, we know what we want, and we know what it takes to get it. We go out each and every day and play with confidence."
On LSU's team goals
"It all boils down to winning a championship. We're going out each and every week and we're playing hard. We see it in how we practice and we go out and put it all on the field. We know what we are trying to do at the end of the season."
On anticipating deep passes as a secondary
"We've got to be prepared for those situations. You never know when it's going to happen. When it does happen, you've got to seize the moment and be ready for it."
On LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis's return to Knoxville
"This week he hadn't said much, but we knew as a team this game was a special one for him. We played for him tonight."
On the LSU offense controlling the time of possession in the second half
"It was great. When those guys can get a chance to move the ball like that and move pretty far with it, it's a good thing."
On his relationship with defensive coordinator John Chavis
"It's very special. We have a good relationship with all the coaches here."
On LSU's adjustments following Tennessee's scoring drive
"We just had to buckle down and read our keys. Our coaches noticed we were missing some of our keys but we buckled down and got after it."