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TENNESSEE POSTGAME QUOTES



Oct. 21, 2006

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Tennessee Locker Room

Head Coach Phillip Fulmer: "I'm obviously very pleased to get the win. We worked like heck over the off week on our return game, and the guys responded. It's certainly a team game, and when one side of the ball is struggling - as our offense was at times tonight - it's great to have the other side of the ball or the special teams step up.

"I take my hat off to Alabama. They gave a great effort, and our guys shouldn't expect any less. This is one of the great rivalries in college football.

"I think at one time we were on our side of the field and we didn't take advantage of it something like six times - or five out of six. You generally can't do that and survive, but we did tonight. We'll get everybody's best effort every game we play.

"The Alabama defense changed a lot. That's to be expected. But we made adjustments and made the plays when it counted."

On QB Erik Ainge: "He's been bouncing back ever since he got here. He's a fairly poised young man. His maturity is starting to show. I think he'll look at the film and see there were a lot of opportunities tonight."

Erik Ainge, QB: "It feels good to win. Anytime you can win the Tennessee-Alabama game, however you get it done, winning is what's important. We know that it wasn't the prettiest game. We had our moments, and we are going to learn a lot from the film. The bottom line is that we won.

On the Alabama defense: "They did a good job of changing things up and giving us looks we hadn't seen before. We adjusted pretty early, (and we did a good job with our playcalling). It took me a little longer to adjust than I would have liked. We would have our moments, then we'd turn the ball over."

Robert Meachem, WR: On the Tennessee defense: "During the Georgia game, (the offense) helped them. Today, they helped us. They stepped up every defensive play. The three-and-out (in the fourth quarter) was good. And we knew we were going to score. We didn't score when we wanted to, but we scored when we had to - when it counted. It's not just offense or defense or special teams; it's all of us."

Jerod Mayo, LB: "Alabama came in here and gave us their best effort, and we are truly blessed today to come out with a win. We just have to get ready for the next game.

"The crowd played a major factor in this game. When the crowd got excited, so did we. We fed off the crowd."


Alabama Locker Room

Head Coach Mike Shula: "It was a heartbreaking loss for our team. We felt like we had done what it was going to take to win the game. We played three-and-a-half quarters of pretty good football.

"I thought our defense did some real good things. They came up with some big plays and some turnovers. I felt like having the lead in the fourth quarter there, 13-6 and then 13-9, that we were going to find a way (to win). Unfortunately, we couldn't. They made the plays in the fourth quarter, had a nice drive there, and we couldn't come back and overcome that.

"It's tough. It's a tough one to swallow for our football team, especially our seniors. But we've got to be able to hang together and move on and just execute a little better with the game on the line.

"It's frustrating (not to score a touchdown before halftime). We had field position there, and we don't get anything on first down, and then we get into third-and-long, and I thought we were actually going to have a chance to get the ball in the end zone. We got the field goal, and we thought about going for it, but we thought it was important for us to have the lead going into halftime. We had two drives down there where we didn't get the touchdown, and that hurt.

"We were just kind of playing our normal defense [against Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge]. We mixed in blitz, mixed in our defensive personnel, but our guys do a good job of covering zone and covering man, and they play hard."

Wallace Gilberry, DE: "The reason it hurts me so bad is, No. 1, I feel like I let the team down. It was a defensive game against a passing team, and I had zero sacks. I haven't had a sack all season, and I feel like for us to win games that's what I need to do. I'm not doing my job.

"No. 2, that team was not better than us. No form or fashion, no way possible. But they got the job done. If they were better than us and we had lost by 30, it still would have hurt but not so bad. We lost by three, and it was a heartbreaker."

John Parker Wilson, QB: "We're pretty upset. It was another close one for us. We had our chances to win again, like we have in other games we've lost, but we didn't make plays when we had to.

"Yeah, we think (it was a game we should have won). We were up, they scored a touchdown late, our defense played great, but we've just got to make more plays."

DJ Hall, WR: "I was getting open with coach Shula calling the plays.

"I felt like I was doing good. Getting three points in the red zone is not enough, we have to have guys, including me, make big plays."

 

 

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