Tennessee-Alabama Postgame Quotes

Oct. 20, 2012

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Tennessee Head Coach Derek Dooley

(Opening statement)
"We got whipped by a great football team in just about every phase. I'm really disappointed that we didn't execute a little better on offense. That's probably the thing I was a little surprised at. The quarterback didn't play well. Not sure why. It's a great defense. That's not to take anything away from Alabama. Nobody's really done much on them."

"I thought we'd measure up pretty good and we had some chances in the first half, didn't capitalize. Opportunity ball we dropped. Third quarter, we were down there twice 23-10 and got a chance to keep grinding and staying in it and we take a shot on third and one and we get stuffed on fourth and one. Then we throw a pick, which was a bad throw in the next series. When you do that against this kind of team, they just keep pushing and keep pushing. That's the what they do to most everybody and they did it to us too. That's about the sum of the game there."

(On if he considered taking QB Tyler Bray out of the game earlier)
"I don't know. I don't know. He was a little jumpy early. He didn't even look good early. I thought he played his way out of it, hit a couple of good balls. Had a nice ball before the half, hits Justin Hunter on the in route, which was nice. They just couldn't sustain it. Throwing balls early, getting them batted -- he never gets balls batted -- so I don't know. He's got to play well for us to score points. That's just what it is."

"We've got to run it a little better. It's hard to run against this team. Marlin (Lane) averaged 3.7. It's tough plowing against this team though. I didn't think we were awful running it, but when you're right at 100 yards, it's tough to win. Thus Alabama and Florida."

(On if Alabama did something different in the passing game)
"No. We just did a poor job. They threw four balls over our head. Twice were one-on-one and we get disoriented back there and can't make a play. One time we're in three deep and we're dividing and they run verticals on us, and the corner doesn't play it. One time was a true screwup on communication. The corner's thinking he's playing two, the safety doesn't go over the top and the guy's wide open. They didn't really do anything differently, and if we just knocked down some opportunity balls. We lost every contested ball down the field."

(On how the team feels)
"Probably terrible. We just got whipped. But we've got to regroup. We go to South Carolina next week. We've got a lot of ball ahead. We can't just stick our heads in our tail and go home. You've got to go play. And we'll do it. We'll recover. It's disappointing we couldn't go four quarters with these guys and we thought we could. And quite frankly, I thought we played well enough on defense for a while to hang in there, but we've got to get points. We had those opportunities right before the half, we drop the ball. Third quarter, we're there twice. That's what happens. They break the line and they do that to everybody. We just joined the ranks of the rest of the country."

(On Alabama's offense)
"They do hit a lot of big plays. They say they're not a big-play offense, but they do it every game because their backs break tackles and run for big plays. You pack it in there and they hit the play action and take shots. They're more explosive than people give them credit for. They act like a 30-yard run is old hat for them but that's an explosive play. They've done it on everybody. It just doesn't look that way because they're in the huddle grinding. They run the ball. That long run was terrible ... That was really the only bad run, I think. The longest run other than that was 14 yards. Now, if that 43-yarder counted..."

(On not pushing more right before half time)
"There were a lot of reasons. I understand people being upset with me. We're down 13, which is fine. It's not the end of the world. We're down two touchdowns and I didn't want to give them (Alabama) the ball back and risk going down 16 or even more, three score game. If we were moving the ball well, I'd have been more aggressive. But we took one shot, and we dropped it. So I wanted to get out of there without making it any worse. We weren't playing well on offense."

(On third-down conversions)
"They played their good defense like they always do. We did a poor job of getting open and did a poor job when we were open of throwing accurately. That was it. They didn't do anything differently. You watch them on film and you know what they're going to do. You have to go win. Sometimes you don't win and sometimes you win and the quarterback doesn't make a good throw."

(On being disappointed)
"I'm disappointed that we didn't play better on offense. It doesn't mean that we played well on defense, don't get me wrong. I just thought we would play better for four quarters. I thought we'd score more points. I thought we'd execute our pass game a little better, but we didn't. We took five shots to Justin (Hunter) in the first half and 0-5 on it. We took a couple to CP (Cordarrelle Patterson) and nothing. That's the way it is."

(On miscommunication with Marcus Jackson)
Zach Fulton goes down which puts Bullard at right guard. Now we have to coach up Marcus (Jackson) on the personnel groupings and we had two different ones. We have a 22 Wildcat and a 23 Wildcat. We call a 22 Wildcat and Marcus shouldn't be out there. We tell him on 23 Wildcat you're in. We yell 22 Wildcat and he runs in. It was an honest mistake when a guy gets hurt. You're repping the other guys the whole week and not the contingency plans on those plays."

(On losing any players)
"We have a lot of ball. These guys are in to it. They try to go out and play each week. You say is there a concern, I wouldn't say losing them. What I want is to not let their morale get down but it's hard when you lose. It is. Don't get me wrong. It's not like we're going to have a lot of pep in our step, but that's our job as coaches is to get them ready to go and go play."

(On drawing something out of the game)
"You have to draw something out of every game. Every game we've played we feel like we've gone out and performed for a period of time and we didn't do that tonight on offense. I have to go see why. A lot of it is Alabama."

(On Rajion Neal)
"He didn't practice all week. Could we have put him out there and tried it? Yea, but I don't think history shows he wouldn't have been effective. He didn't run one snap all week."

(On Cordarrelle Patterson at tailback)
"It's just because he's good. He drops the pitch."

(On the team's play in the first half)
"Even at half time, it was fine. We were playing bad ball on offense and we were down 13 against Alabama. If we could've just got something going. We had two opportunities in the third quarter. We don't' convert on short yardage and we make a terrible throw for an interception."

(On Justin Hunter's missed catches)
"He's had more drops than he should on Saturdays. He hasn't had a lot in practice."

Tennessee Tight End Mychal Rivera

(On offensive execution)
"We weren't executing what we were supposed to. It was really disappointing because we are an explosive offense. We just didn't pull it out. You have to give Alabama credit. They looked really good on defense."

(On Tyler Bray's game)
"You have to give credit to Alabama because they were giving us a whole bunch of different looks. I can't speak for Tyler because I am running the routes. We all made mistakes out there and we are just going to try to move on and get better."

(On disappointment with the SEC record)
"We are going to fight on. We will continue to look ahead and push on. We had a great week of practice this week. I hope we have another great week this week. Luck will start coming our way."

(On the number of Alabama fans)
"We are at home. I am not worried about any Alabama fans when I am at home. I am happy to see all the Vol fans out there on the Vol Walk and in the stands cheering for us. They root us on and we are out there ready."

Tennessee Center James Stone

(On the offensive line game)
"I feel like we had some inefficient runs. We should have been able to get more on the ground than we did. I won't be able to know exactly what we wrong until we go back and watch film. Sometimes we just need to make a bigger hole for them. You never know what it is but as the offensive line it is one of your main priorities is to get your line game going. I feel like we weren't able to do that tonight."

(On Alabama's defensive line)
"I feel like that they are one of the best defensive lines that we have faced this year."

(On playing for the coach's job)
"At this moment we are not thinking about that. We are just trying to play for this team and everybody in this organization to turn this season around."

Tennessee Linebacker Dontavis Sapp

(On difference in this year's team from last year's)
"I think we are a more together team. We believe in each other a lot more than we did last year. We've shown that we have the talent to play, we just got to come together and keep playing. "

(On postgame mentality compared to last year)
"Yeah you can tell it's not people throwing stuff around, it's everyone together holding each other's head up."

(On causes for defensive mistakes communication vs. execution)
"You know it's kind of both. Play recognition, formation recognition, knowing what they are going to do before they do it, and after the snap just getting to the ball."

Tennessee Defensive Back Justin Coleman

(On communication issues this deep in season)
"I mean yes, because we are supposed to be past that point. We are supposed to be ready for anything with our hand signals, motions, and everything."

(On feeling after Alabama big play) "I mean it kind of like awe man they just made a big play. Now we just have to get back out there, erase it out our minds, and play ourselves."

(On third quarter swing)
"I mean it kind of got some people down, but it was just a point where we had to keep fighting until we make a play and get the offense back the ball."

(On team mentality)
"Right now I just feel like, we got down as they made bigger plays. Every time they make plays we get down, and instead of getting down we should pick each other up and convince each other we can win."

(On going to South Carolina)
"Yeah, we are definitely going to keep fighting. As long as we keep playing hard and giving a lot of effort, we are going to continue to get better. Really we just have to show that we can play the right technique and be confident in what we do."

Tennessee Linebacker A.J Johnson

(On the team's game plan for Alabama)
"We just had a game plan and I know we were just trying to execute it. On the side like we just kept saying to take it round by round. I know they won three and we won three going into halftime."

(On whether or not fatigue played a role in the game for Tennessee)
"I would not say that it was fatigue but probably more mental."

(On Alabama's passing game)
"Our goal was to stop the run and make them pass the ball, then stop the pass. We just did not make it happen."

(On keeping the moral up as a team)
"We are going to let this game go by us and put it in the past to get ready for the next one."

Tennessee Defensive Back Byron Moore

(On the difference in the team's performance down the stretch)
"It was missed communication getting down in to the end of the game and missed assignments that lead to big plays."

(On Alabama's passing game)
"We pretty much expected what [Alabama] did. They were hitting us on a lot of those meshing/crossing routes and picking up on our linebackers so it was hard trying to help those guys out. Just fearing their deep ball, too. The corners were in position so we just have to make the play."

(On if the defense missed some tackles)
"Yes, [we missed] a couple. I feel like we did pretty good rallying to the ball and not really letting their running backs get going all night."

(On forcing the missed field goal and a punt out of Alabama's own endzone in the 3rd quarter and not being able to put points on the board)
"It was a real big swing and we were taking each series like a boxing round. We figured that if we won each round we would have a good chance of winning the game. We came out swinging and they hit us on a few rounds so they just beat us on more rounds."

Tennessee Wide Receiver Justin Hunter

(On the offensive struggles)
"I don't know. We were just too anxious out there and trying to get going too fast. We just need to go out there and play like we do in practice."

(On his dropped passes)
"I saw it all night. We passed the ball and ran the ball really well and things were clicking in the beginning but towards the end of the game, [Alabama] just started moving the ball really well."

(On Alabama's defense)
"They are all smart guys. They are all very experienced. They have a whole bunch of seniors and juniors out there so they just know what to do. They don't make a lot of mistakes out there so it is tough to get around them."

Tennessee Tailback Marlin Lane

(On Tennessee's run game)
"I felt like we did well because we had been going all week trying to be physical and get four yards a carry making it second-and-6 instead of second-and-10. I just feel like we went out there and did well in the run game, but we could have done a little better."

(On getting involved in the passing game)
"We were just going off of what the defense was running. We made a couple changes and I went out there and ran my routes. I just got open and tried to get the ball."

(On Alabama's run defense)
"Their defensive line is fast. They share blocks to keep running backs guessing. Their linebackers don't come down hill as fast because they sit there and try to read the guards. They are fast to the ball. We just had to have the mindset of not slowing down and just hitting the line of scrimmage at full speed."

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban

(Opening comments)
"I'm really proud of how our players competed in this game. It's a tough place to come and play, and we have a lot of respect for Tennessee's team. They're a really good offensive team, really big plays and explosive capabilities with their quarterback. They made some big plays on us, and that's something we'll need to work on. I was really proud of the way our guys competed. It was a hard fought game. We just kept grinding and grinding. We squandered a few opportunities at times, but I think the key to the drill was to just keep playing and play the next play, compete and be relentless in how you do it."

"When you play in a place like this, that's what it takes. I was proud of the way our players did that. There's obviously some things we can improve on; there always are, but our offensive line did a really good job of pushing the line of scrimmage. We were able to run the ball effectively and make some big plays in the passing game. We did a good job on the third down against a very good team. I've said it before, but every one of our scores was completed as a result of a big play. That's something that we pride ourselves on: not giving up a lot of big plays. It was a great win for the University of Alabama. This is still a big rivalry for us. This is a big game to all of us: all of our players and all of our fans. Everybody at the university is happy that we were able to make a lot of people happy. I think Tennessee's team really played hard. I think that Derek is doing a fantastic job. They have been better and better every year that we've played them. We were fortunate today that our defense played well enough to keep their high-powered offense to just 13 points."

(On WR Amari Cooper)
"He's had some big plays all year long. I think he caught eight passes against Ole Miss. We think he's an outstanding player. He's just a freshman, and he's gotten better and better every week. He has learned to be very consistent in how he plays. He plays fast and hard. He had one big play in the game that was called back, but we thought he made a great play on that. We need explosive players on offense, and we're extremely pleased with the way he's progressed through the season, and we think he had a very good day today."

(On whether this was the most complete game this season)
"I think that we played hard throughout the whole game. It took us a long time to go from 23-10, where you thought the game was a little bit in hand. I was really pleased with the way the guys played consistently. They had the ball several times when it was 23-10, so we were really pleased with the way the guys played 60 minutes in the game. That's what it would take, and they kept grinding and we finally got control of the game. This probably was our most complete game."

(On the importance of the fourth down stop)
"I think it was a big play of the game. It was big on third down because they took a shot, and we defended it."

(On how A.J. McCarron played tonight)
"A.J. played well. We still like him. There's a couple times they took the ball away from us. He made some really big plays with some great throws down the field. That's something we probably ought to do a little more of."

(On defense's ability to forget big plays)
"That was one of our goals, defensively. It was one of our musts that we would have to be able to play the next play. They have so many big play capabilities and they've made big plays all year long. We kept telling our guys that they had to have some resiliency and that they were going to make some big plays in the game, some way. They had two wide outs and the quarterback's ability to throw it down the field. I was really pleased with the way our guys hung in there after they made plays."

(On the team's ability to take away independence)
"That's what you're supposed to do. We also put one on the ground at the end of the game that they turned into points. Maybe the guys will learn from that. I think it's really important that when you get turnovers, you can convert them into points. We have a very high percentage of how we've been able to do that. I know that we can continue to get those numbers and continue to score points."

(On versatility and the ability to win many different ways)
"I think balance on offense is critical to being successful. I don't think you can be successful on defense if you can't stop the run. But even if you stop the run, you have to be able to play past defense and be able to affect and pressure the quarterback. I don't think we got any sacks tonight, but we were able to pressure him and get in his face a few times and affect him. I think that's the kind of team that we want to have. If you're one-dimensional, one of these days, that dimension won't be working and you're going to need to be able to do other things. We need to continue to improve as a team passing-wise, and we certainly need to improve in pass defense and play a really good running team that has balance. That's the most challenging thing. It's one thing that Tennessee does; as much as they can run the ball and the vertical threats they have outside, they keep running it. They play the run."

Alabama Quarterback A.J. McCarron

(Opening statement)
"It was a great team win. Everyone came out fired up. We came out and set the tone early, and that's what we needed to do. I can't say enough about my offensive line and my wide receivers. They had a hell of a game. They deserve all of the credit."

(On the play of Amari Cooper)
"He can be as good as he wants to be. As long as he keeps working and keeps putting forth the effort, the sky is the limit."

(On the play of the offensive line)
"Those big boys are in line for a good meal on me."

(On if this is this Alabama's best offensive performance)
"Yeah. Everyone has to understand that we are going to take what the defense gives us. One week, we might have to throw it and the next we might have to run it more. Tonight, we got them on their heels a little and we were able to do both."

Alabama Safety Robert Lester

(On Alabama's performance)
"I thought we came out and executed the game plan. Everybody on the team played for 60 minutes and did a great job."

(On his interception)
"I think anytime you get a turnover it's a big momentum change, and to do it when (Tennessee) was driving the field it came at a great time."

Alabama Center Barrett Jones

(On beating Tennessee all five years)
"There is no better feeling than watching the stadium empty out before the game is over. Its fun especially being from Tennessee and having a lot of people here watching."

(On the Alabama running game)
"The greatest feeling as an offensive lineman when in the fourth quarter you can run the ball well, they know it's a run and you know it's a run and you can still run it."

Alabama Safety Vinnie Sunseri

(On the family connections)
"My dad came up to me and said some stuff that was really touching. That hit me deep. I am so proud of him, and I love the guy. I wish the best for him at all times."

"It wasn't too tough. It was a very professional performance. He was trying to do his best on his defense, and I was trying to do the best on my defense."

(On what the Alabama defense tried to accomplish)
"We just came out and tried to dominate Tennessee's offense, which has a lot of deep threats and a bunch of skilled players."

(On the Alabama defensive performance)
"We played tough and we played hard. I am pleased with our effort. We fought them the whole game. They have great players in Bray, Hunter and Patterson."

Alabama Tight End Michael Williams

(Opening statement)
"We came in with a game plan and we executed it. We like to come out and impose our will on our opponents, and we did that to the best of our abilities, tonight. We came in with the win and that is the most important thing."

(On the game plan)
"It was a regular Alabama game plan - play tough, play physical and play smart. We feel like if we do those three things, that we can win any game."

(On the play of Amari Cooper)
"He is showing everybody what I have been seeing offseason. He can be one of the greatest. You see it. You can see the talent that he has."





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