Nov. 5, 2011
Tennessee Head Coach Derek Dooley
"It is good to get a win. It has been a long time, so I thought the team came out in the first half. I felt like we had real good energy and executed really well in all three phases. It was good. And in the second half we just tried to shrink the game and wanted to try to run the ball a little bit better. I wish we could have gotten some points, but we did what we needed to do to win the game and that's what matters. I am proud of the team.The game ball went to Derrick Brodus. [Michael] Palardy was hurt. He hurt himself Thursday after practice, but we thought he could be fine. He couldn't go. [Chip] Rhome went out there before the game and pulls a muscle so we didn't have a kicker so we had to make a call to the frat house. This is no lie. We called the frat house and had a policeman go get him and he goes out there, suits up and nails three PATs and afield goal. He got the game ball. I was proud of him. Great story. I'm going to write a book one day about the things that happened to me over the years. I had to find a kicker out of a frat. I didn't know what we were going to do. Just when I think it has all happened to me, we are going out to pregame without a kicker."
(On how much notice there was regarding the kicker situation)
"He [Rhome] went out there like the kickers do before pregame and they all come back in a panic. I said `let's get an APB out on Brodus.' It's a good thing he wasn't having too much fun on a Saturday afternoon. I told the coaches, `Hey -- an intoxicated Brodus is better than nobody. Get him. Just get him here. Give him a breathalyzer.' Fortunately he didn't do anything bad."
(On the play of Justin Worley)
"Justin really played a game. It is the game we were hoping he would play last week. He was just one week late. But he performed the way we have seen in practice. He was very calm and composed, still made some mistakes but what a great game: 23 of 32 for 291, no picks. He made a lot of god decisions, managed the offense well and we probably could have thrown another eight or 10 passes in the third quarter and he could have really had some big numbers. I'm really proud of him. He didn't let last week's performance affect him. He grew from it and played better."
(On adjusting to help Worley)
"We tried to help him last week but we didn't help him too much. He just played well. He played like the guy we signed and we thought he could be. He made nice throws and good decisions and no mistakes. I shouldn't say no mistakes. He had still doesn't do some of the run stuff."
(On using the wildcat formation and not playing Marlin Lane in the first half)
"I wanted to see Jaron Toney. We are searching the running game. Jaron has run really well in practice for a long time. He is a walk-on so you just always dismiss him. But we are not lighting it up running the ball and I wanted to see Jaron. I should have played him last week. And then we are just going to start playing a little wildcat. We are searching to get some running yards.We got nothing on the speed squeeze. We had a big run from Rajion [Neal] but then we got the penalty. We tried some quick screens -- we just aren't very good running the ball."
(On Marlin Lane as the choice to use in the wildcat)
"He had done it. He did it in high school. He has a nice calm back there. He did well and I think we were pretty efficient in the wildcat."
(On putting up the shutout)
"I will tell you, the coaches had a great plan. They really did. We have grown a lot since the Oregon game last year and this past pay stub. We did an excellent job of substitutions. We were never misaligned and it allowed our players to play. We got better players. When you have better players, line up right and play hard and we win the game....I thought everybody played well. When you pitch a shutout in today's game, it is great. I don't care who you play. They were averaging over 400 yards and 30 points a game so it's good."
(On having Curt Maggitt back in the lineup)
"It is big. He is a good football player. We were in nickel the whole game so we were able to rotate Austin [Johnson], A.J.[Johnson] and Curt. It was like ice hockey. That's what it is. You get on the ice, you run off and we get the rotation. We didn't get anybody in the penalty box, which helped. You have to move fast, get the call and get lined up. The coaches did a great job and the players executed. That's what it came down to."
(On being 10-17 on third down)
"It always starts with the quarterback on third down. You have to be able to pitch and catch. I think we got all of our third and shorts which is a feat. We didn't call the quarterback sneak."
(On snapping the losing streak)
"Man, it feels good. When you lose and keep losing it pulls on your spirit you start questioning everything, you start doubting everything. Nothing heals better than a good win, and it was a good win. I'm proud of the team."
(On the play of Da'Rick Rogers)
"He played a lot better than he did [last week]. We didn't play very good a week ago. It started - we had a change at quarterback, playing a good team -- but nobody played well on offense a week ago. There was a lot better focus today. Justin [Worley] played well. When the quarterback plays well, that tends to help everybody out."
(On Toney moving ahead of Lane)
"He has been running the ball well since I got here. I said, `Man I like that guy.' I've been watching him for two years now. He is not a big guy, so he's not very powerful. He's not very fast. But he is instinctive and he makes some really good short-yardage runs. They were packing the box. I don't want to act like he was a game-breaker. He averaged 2.7 a carry and Marlin had nine carries and averaged four yards a carry. That was good."
(On Derrick Brodus' performance in practice)
"[He has been] over there in the indoor [facility]- I had to go ask the specialists, `What has this guy been practicing in there?' You don't rep three kickers. They are on their own to just develop. They are over there in individuals. We have drills and a script for our kickers and I'm expecting him to do it, but we aren't watching to make sure Brodus does his kicking. You have to give the guy credit. He went out there and stroked the field goal and all three extra points. But he did it in the spring game. Man, the team was jacked. They were fired up before the game. They were laughing. I'm over there going, `It's not funny guys.'"
(On rotating at left guard)
"That was the plan. James [Stone] has been doing well. Marcus [Jackson] has been - nobody is saying `I'm the left guard.' I told you guys when we made that switch we weren't just putting James on the shelf. We wanted to see if Marcus could play his way into taking the position but we will just let them keep competing."
(On the crowd)
"It is our job to bring the people. Our fans are the best. Vol walk was huge. This is a tough circumstance on the crowd. Let's call it like it is. You are not playing an SEC game and you are going head to head against a game that has been hyped up. I thought the crowd was great. I appreciate the support they bring us. It seems like you are challenging the number."
(On causing six turnovers in two weeks)
"Playing better. I'm going to tell you, we are going to need a bunch next week. We had how many today - three? Three and three. That's our goal. Three a game. That's our goal."
(On using freshmen and first-year guys)
"I think we played a little bit better every week. The last two weeks we played really well. We gave up that long drive against South Carolina. We still struggle on the zone read stuff and quarterback runs. It is tough because you are short a guy. We have to cheat. When we are good on defense it's because we are cheating - putting an extra guy here, an extra guy there. When they don't let us put an extra guy we have to take the test without doing that. We aren't very good when that happens."
(On the run game)
"Tauren averaged 1.2 per carry on 11 attempts and Toney averaged 2.7 on 19 attempts. Marlin averaged 4. That's about like it has been all year. At some point you just say we aren't very good at running the ball. How many times can you get asked, `What's wrong with the run game?' We are not very good running the ball. Better be good throwing it."
Tennessee freshman placekicker Derrick Brodus
(On learning he was going to play)
"I was at my place watching college football games. I got a bunch of phone calls from some people from the (football) office. They asked me what I was doing. They just said they needed a kicker and they needed me to get to the stadium as fast I could. I could not believe what was going on.
"I got the call around 6:10. I was planning on watching the game on TV. I am not sure what time I got the stadium but I knew everybody was already out warming up. I was just in hurry when I got to the stadium. I got some stretching and some warm-up kicks in."
(On going onto the field for the opening kickoff)
"There were so many people in the stands and my heart was beating so fast. I was just thinking is this really happening. People dream of doing this stuff, and I was getting to do it."
Tennessee senior tailback Tauren Poole
(On second touchdown run)
"I just did not want to be denied. We talk about not letting just one defender bring you down. I saw the end zone and my eyes blew up. The line blocked well, I made a move on the defender and got in the end zone."
(On getting the victory)
"It feels good to get a win and that is what the coaches talk about. The offense did not execute well in the second half but the defense did a phenomenal job of keeping them (MTSU) out of the end zone. I am glad to get a win and move forward."
Tennessee freshman defensive back Brian Randolph
(On generating more turnovers)
"It's been a big thing. Early in the season we didn't get that many turnovers, but we're turning that around. It's been a big help to our offense...It's being more comfortable with the defense. We're getting used to it."
(On the secondary and pass defense)
"We did pretty good against the top teams in the nation in the first half, and we did it for a full game with good defense. The last two games have been good for us."
Tennessee freshman quarterback Justin Worley
(On the coaches having confidence in his ability to play quarterback)
"It really boosts my confidence and it shows that they have faith in me. I really just have to make the best of the opportunity that I have now."
(On wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers saying that he owed Worley for last week)
"Definitely. I probably owe him now for overthrowing him a couple of times."
(On if expectations of the offense were met with the win)
"Yes it did. Last week, I came out of the game with a bad feeling because, obviously, we didn't meet my expectations. We didn't meet the team's goals. Coming into tonight, with the offense executing like it did, I am really pleased."
(On the biggest adjustments he has had to make after becoming the starting quarterback)
"Coach Hinshaw always stress for me to play at the speed of the game in practice. The biggest adjustment for me has been to get my feet faster, getting my reads quicker, and not trying to force the ball on check downs. Grasping the speed of the game and going through reads like we always should have also been big adjustments for me. I have just had to come in and work on that."
Tennessee sophomore defensive lineman Jacques Smith
(On Middle Tennessee's spread style offense)
"They were a good, sound offensive line. They definitely had a different blocking scheme then most spread offenses. They got flat on the line and we are just an attacking defense. We play fast and physical and that's just something they weren't able to adjust to."
(On shutting down the passing game in the first half)
"Yes, we did very well and that is something that we looked into doing berfoe we got into the game. With practice and preparation, we knew that those guys were going to throw a lot at us to try and spread us out. They were going to throw the ball here and there with the hurry up offense, like Oregon's. We were prepared for it and knew what their scheme was going to be. It showed in the game and worked very well."
Tennessee senior linebacker Austin Johnson
(On the shutout win)
"First, it feels good to get a win. It's always nice to get a "W" no matter the opponent. It feels like we haven't won in forever so it's nice to get that under our belt and go into tomorrow with a little bit better attitude. I haven't seen a shutout since I have been here so that was nice to see goose eggs up there. MTSU puts up a lot of points so shutting them out was good for us."
(On creating turnovers this game)
"It's been doing it in practice and that's what our coaches have been harping on us all week every week. The first half of the season, we didn't have any turnovers so pushing for those turnovers in practice has paid off in the games."
(On kicker Derrick Brodus)
"We actually had Joseph Ayres out there kicking before the game. I didn't really know the whole situation because I saw Chip [Rhome] kicking before the game and then I heard he had gotten hurt. But, [Derrick]Brodus came out there and did a great job so that was good to see."
Tennessee junior tight end Mychal Rivera
(On the win)
"It feels really good to get a win. It was a long moth. Coming into this week, we prepared really hard. Justin Worley stepped up and did a really good job today. He delivered the ball to nine different receivers. I'm really proud of my team."
(On playing with three different quarterbacks this season)
"You just have to get use to it. During practice, we try to work with all the quarterbacks and that really pays off during the game when you have different quarterbacks coming in. Justin [Worley] is really filling nicely into his role now and I think that he will continue to do well."
(On being integrated more into the passing game this week)
"I prepare every week like I am going to get 10 balls. If I don't, it doesn't matter because as a tight end my job is to block as well. I'm just looking forward to the rest of the season."
MTSU Head Coach Rick Stockstill
"First of all, I would like to congratulate Derek Dooley, Tennessee, it was a first-class operation. They played really well tonight. I just want to take my hat off to Tennessee and coach Dooley. I have a lot of respect for him and how he is running his program. We knew coming in we couldn't turn the ball over and have some missed assignments and we did that. There on the second drive, we turned the ball over. We got our slot receiver running down the middle of the field, it was going to be a nice completion, Logan (Kilgore) just didn't get it up high enough and they made a nice play and intercepted it. They got it in there and scored and we threw another interception towards the end of the half and gave up a field goal. We had a missed assignment on their play action pass, there deep ball, and we bit on the run and let one get over the top. I thought our team, I thought our players competed there tail off and I'm proud of their effort. We shut them out the second half, just never got anything consistently going offensively. Really, really proud of how hard we played and how hard we competed tonight. We just didn't execute well enough to win the game."
(On surprised if the team didn't have more success)
"I think if we would have done a better job. If we hadn't turned the ball over those two times in the first half, and really deep ball on the play action, we give up 17 points there. Against teams like this, you can't do that. When we have competed better or played better against these type schools, we did a better job of protecting the ball. The second half, we get down there in the third quarter and we get stopped on downs. We drive it again down there in the fourth quarter and we have the fumble to turn it over to them. If we would have protected the ball a little bit better and cashed in on those two drives, it would have been more of a completive game score wise."
(On stopping UT's running game)
"We knew we had to stop the run to have a chance and I thought our defense and our defensive coaches really did a nice job. I thought our players played well. I thought they tackled good. We had a lot of people in the box. We went man coverage some in the secondary, but we tried to overload the box. I thought we tackled good tonight and had a few missed tackles, but I thought we tackled well. We had to stop the run to have a chance."
(On the offensive struggles)
"We are just down. We lost the homerun hitters in Benny (Cunningham) and D.D. (Kyles) in the backfield. We don't have a guy who can bust out of there for a big run. That is not to take anything away from William (Pratcher) and Reggie (Whatley). Reggie did a nice job tonight until he fumbled. We need to get some guys back. Again, it sounds like excuses, Malcolm (Beyah) played a bunch but he wasn't full speed. We got some people hurt. We need to play more consistent at the quarterback position. We have had six turnovers, six interceptions now in the last three games at the quarterback position. We just have to do a better job of executing at that position.
(On switching quarterbacks)
"We struggled there in the first half, we might have only had three first downs and thought if we made a change, it would maybe give us a spark. We will go in and evaluate everything, but I still have a lot of confidence in Logan (Kilgore). He missed some throws, made some good throws, but we went with Jeff (Murphy) there at the end."
(On what to take from the game)
"It is always about us. I sound redundant because I say it all the time, but Tennessee didn't turn it over. I don't know if they turned it over one time. You can't lose the turnover battle in games like this. We weren't consistent enough in the first half on third down. We have to do better on that. We got better defensively. We played better defensively. We made some really nice plays defensively. Offensively, we weren't as consistent as we needed to be. As a coach, when you see how hard they play and how hard they competed, you always going to be proud of that and that gives you something to build on for next week."
MTSU junior quarterback Jeff Murphy
(On getting lots of playing time this game)
"Going into every game as the back-up, you just have to be prepared for whatever happens and just be ready for every opportunity that comes your way."
(On getting inside the 15)
"We started moving the ball really well, and we just got down there and the defensive end made a good play and got a hand up on the ball."
(On UT's pursuit)
"They're obviously an SEC team and they're reallly fast, but I think we did a really good job on running the ball, and we just have to protect the ball."
(On competition between Jeff and Logan)
"I honestly have no insight on that. I trust the coaches fully and they'll make the decision on that next week."