Nov. 14, 2009
TENNESSEE LOCKER ROOM
HEAD COACH Lane Kiffin
OPENING COMMENTS: "This was a very disappointing loss today. I am very shocked by the outcome. We knew coming in that they were a very good team, very explosive, with several NFL-type players. I thought we would play better today, especially looking at the end of game at how many turnovers and team forced penalties and points that we just gave up. It's surprising. Obviously we played a really good team and a great player today. We didn't' have a way to tackle him today. He set the school record for rushing yards, and we probably set the school record for missed tackles. We're trying to build a championship program, but we have a long ways to go. One game never defines us, that's why we never get too high or too low. We're optimistic."
On Dexter's performance: "He's a great player. We were nervous all week. For whatever reason he didn't touch the ball that much at the beginning of the year. Once he started touching it, you can put together a highlight reel on him on about five plays he's made. Guys had angles on him, and guys never even touched him. He was playing at another level today. Their team plays better at home, that's no secret. They fast on that turf. They've got a really good team. On draft day, you will see a lot of players called out from Ole Miss."
On the OM pass rush vs. UT O-Line: "There was a big difference and we got exposed today. We have to do a bunch of stuff like formations to slow them down. We have to do a better job of finding ways to move the ball. I tried to be simple at times, so we didn't get into a sack fest like some other teams have. From that standpoint that was the gameplan, we just have to do a better job on third down."
On the diversity of Dexter: "I've never seen a player that plays tailback, does the "Wildcat" stuff that he does. He can go out and run receiver routes. There are some guys like Reggie (Bush), and there are some other guys that have gone out there and run receiver routes. But, he's a really unique talent. I watched him run up and down, and I can't tell you how many times I looked at (Coach Ed) Orgeron (recruiting coordinator) and said `go get us one of those.' We want to look like when we come out of the tunnel, and eventually we'll get there."
Sr. QB Jonathan Crompton
On the Ole Miss defensive line... "I think I only got hit two times in the whole game. The only other time I get hit was when I was rolling out and that wasn't on the offensive line, it was on me. Their defensive line was good, but I think our offensive line matched up well with them."
On the UT running game... "It's just different parts of the schemes. If you miss a cut block they do get through. That's the little things that people don't usually see. It's just part of the game. We will just go back to work."
On not finishing drives... "There were just one or two plays that killed us in some drives. We're just going to go back next week and get back to work and try to go to a good bowl game."
Jr. WR Denarius Moore
On the game... "I can't even tell you how the game got away from us."
On the Ole Miss defense... "I guess we thought they would run more man-to-man to try and stop our receivers, but they switched up and focused on stopping the run. They did cover two over the top, so that was kind of hard to adjust to."
Jr. DE Chris Walker
On Dexter McCluster... "It was a big challenge to cover him. We had to know where he was at all times. He lines up at wide receiver and he lines up at tailback, so it was really hard to adjust to that."
On any distractions... "The coaches did a good job of not making it a big deal. We had a great Thursday practice, and I think we were very focused going into this game."
On the team's frame of mind... "We just have to go back and watch the film tomorrow. We just have to get back to practice and see what we can improve on and get ready for Vanderbilt. If we just go out and play ball, everything will just take care of itself."
OLE MISS LOCKER ROOM
HEAD COACH HOUSTON NUTT
OPENING COMMENTS: "I am really proud of our team. First and foremost, I am proud of our trainers. Kentrell Lockett had a 103 degree temperature, Patrick Trahan was fine and had a good week of practice then he comes to the training room Friday and he can't walk. They had to put him on crutches. We didn't know what it was with him, we knew he had ankles problem. They ruled out gout. They couldn't figure out what it was. Ankles have been the problems with the linebackers the entire year.
"The heart of this defense is just awesome, when you look their enthusiasm. Lockett was playing with probably a 102 degree temperature, but you couldn't keep him off the field. Marcus Tillman, Ted Laurent, Lawon Scott, Lamark Armour, Joel Kight -- all those guys were good. We just have one group of secondary. We don't have any backups. Marcus Temple and Jeremy McGee came in for the corners a little bit on nickel and dime, but those safeties had to stay out there.
"Offensively, we got off on the right track. We mixed up some formations. We moved Bobbie Massey in there next to John Jerry, which was good for us. We had two 300 pound-plus guys moving that pile back. Dexter can get in there behind those guys, and our goal was to get him to the second level. If we can get Dexter to the second level, we feel like he can make things happen. He's fun to watch. Then you have to mix up some throws. Shay Hodge made some very good catches for us to keep the first down sticks going, and there at the end to keep the clock going. The only disappointment to me was the three or seven points that we should have had right before the half. Special teams, everything was good. There is nothing like a celebrated locker room."
On Dexter: "I wish you could have heard him talk to our team last night. He's a special guy. He loves his teammates, he's unselfish. If we told him to go play wide-out, he would, if we told him to go play free safety, he would, if we told him to go line up at right tackle, which we wouldn't, he would. For 170 pounds, he is special. He can make the first one miss. He has game-breaking speed. As you can see, he won't just run out of bounds on a long run. He'll cut back against the grain and separate to get in the endzone. Yes he has such great hands. You can throw it to him out of the backfield, you can hand it to him. What makes him special, No. 1 is his heart, because he's tough. He's very tough and unselfish."
On what Dexter said last night: "He said that he felt like there were some games that we had given away this year. He challenged the seniors to play every play."
On re-gaining momentum at beginning of 2nd half: "Our first score, our first long drive, that first 13 plays when we don't hurt ourselves, when we don't have illegal procedures, when we don't throw interceptions, we're a good offense. Our offense is good when the chemistry is right."
WR Shay Hodge
On the offense... "I think we played great. Dexter (McCluster) got it going like in all the other good games. Jevan was in a groove, and it feels good right now."
On getting back into SEC play... "I'm looking forward for it to keep on rolling. I think we are going to hit our stride right now. This is the best we have played all year."
On Dexter McCluster's play... "He was like `Superman' again."
RB/WR Dexter McCluster
On the offense... "The offense played great all-around. The offensive dominated. They came out to prove a point and they did. The receivers made big catches and the backs made big runs. Everyone played together."
On getting 30 touches in today's game... "I feel good. My body is very healthy. I just need a little sleep and I'm good."
On LSU next week... "I'm looking forward to it, but we are going to enjoy this right now. Tomorrow we are going to come in and watch film, put it behind us and keep rolling."
QB Jevan Snead
On the offense... "I think we did great, especially Dexter (McCluster). He had a great game. The offensive line did a tremendous job, as well as the receivers. There were a couple of times when we broke big runs. Our wide receivers did a great job blocking downfield. We just put forth an amazing effort."
On Dexter McCluster's play... "It definitely makes my job a lot easier. Anytime he provides that spark, it makes the defense loosen up to respect him and it opens up the passing game."
On getting back to a bowl game... "It feels great. That was one of our goals to start off the season. Were just trying to see which bowl we can get to now."
DE Kentrell Lockett
On the overall play of the defense: "We just stayed together. We came to play. Coach Nix had a great game plan and we just put it into play."
On going to back-to-bowl games: "It's big. The first time was good and the second time is even better. Our goal is to get to a bigger and better bowl."
FS Kendrick Lewis
On the overall play of the defense: "We took today's game as a challenge. We came out with the mentality to compete at a high level and match Tennessee's intensity."
On Tennessee's offense: "Tennessee is a good team with a good quarterback and a good running back. We just came out, competed, and came out with a win."
LB Patrick Trahan
On the overall play of the defense: "We stuck to our coaches' gameplan. We just overall played well as a unit."
On LSU next week: "We just need to come to play. If we play like we can, it will be a good game."