Nov. 21, 2009
Tennessee Locker Room
Head Coach Lane Kiffin
Opening statement ... "It was a pretty exciting day. To be able to send our seniors out with a win was really special. Obviously, the game, we would have liked to have played better. With the penalties, we were sloppy at times. We were very poor in the second half offensively, and part of that was partly my fault getting conservative and taking the ball away from the quarterback. The main thing is that we won.
"What a neat way to end the game on the last play for Wes. You can't have a guy that's worked harder since he's been here and been through more things. The guy can hardly make it to practice every day from drill to drill. To see him just shows you that if you want something bad enough, it can happen. The fact that he can intercept that ball, run like that and carry the guy on his back. Just a really neat story.
"A bunch of seniors had a really cool day. (Montario) Hardesty went for 171 (yards) in over 30 attempts. Jonathon (Crompton) was one attempt short of the record for the most pass attempts without an interception until the tipped ball. And for Wes to have a sack and the interception. Dan Williams had a sack. Rico (McCoy) had 15 tackles. It was just really neat."
On being a Volunteer after completing the first home season ... "It's really special to see our guys come together the way they did and to play so well. I was very disappointed in the way we played at home at the beginning of the year, so to finish with four straight wins at home kick starts us into next year and makes people understand that this is a hard place to play. We should win when we're at home. So that was very disappointing at the first of the season because we did not play well in the UCLA game or the Auburn game at home. To end with four straight is pretty neat."
On playing with a patchwork defense due to injuries ... "I thought some guys stepped up and some guys were out there who you may not be familiar with their names were out there on defense and on special teams. We only gave up one touchdown on defense and they moved the ball on us at times, but we were able to play pretty well in the red zone. It was good to get a stop there and hold them to a field goal. We would have liked to have played better. As you guys know, we have a long way to go to be a championship team. It was good to see some things today and especially at the end of the day to win and win for our seniors and fans."
On being bowl eligible ... "It's very important because of the practice and to be able to continue to develop our young players and to continue to develop as a staff together. The more time we get with our young players, it's very critical for us."
On Jonathan Crompton's strong finish to the season ... "I'm so glad for Jonathan and his family to be able to end his home season like this and to be able to play so well. I was so upset about the interception because he was so close to the record and he was playing so well. I got to see his mom before the game and his dad earlier today and that was really special because they've been through a lot. You've got to remember these are college students who are trying. Here's a kid who is a great student, has his degree and working as hard as he can. So it was neat to see in the last couple of home games when fans cheered when they introduced him. It was good for him."
DT Wes Brown
On the touchdown: "I just saw Chris Walker taking him down, and he just threw it up. I put my hands out, and the next thing I know, it was in my hands and I was running with it. It just happened so fast. I'm not used intercepting a pass and running with it, so it was a dream come true for me."
On getting into the end zone: "Everybody was saying, `That might've been the ugliest thing I've ever seen.' I felt them hopping on my back, but I didn't want to be denied. I wanted to score, and I couldn't ask for a better ending."
On finishing the game on defense: "You couldn't write a better ending for it for the defense being on the field at the end and making a play like that. We've been working hard in practice and busting our tails. We deserve to win and deserve to make it to a bowl game. We'll try to get another win to get in a better bowl game."
LB Rico McCoy
On his final home game and the knee injury: "I had the mindset that I was going to make this a great day for me, my last day playing at Neyland Stadium. I tried not to think about the injury. I ached a little bit here and there, but I was too juiced up about the game and focused on the task at hand."
On bowl eligibility: "It's icing on the cake. I'm happy to be playing in another game. I just added another game to my senior season. It was a great feeling, knowing I have two more left instead of one now. It was exciting to get that last win here. I felt like we owed it to our fans as much as we did ourselves."
On Wes Brown: "I had to go down on top of him because it was fitting for him. His ending here was perfect. He's struggled day to day in practice. He's good for a couple periods out of practice. He's an old man with those knees. I'm just more than happy for him. That's a great way to go out and he deserved it.He worked until he could work no more. He's given his all for Tennessee. He's like a brother to me. We came in together, and we're leaving together."
On final game at Neyland Stadium: "I've been through a lot here obviously. It was good, running through the T for the last time and getting my picture taken with my family, the people that really mean a lot to me. Then going out there with the guys that I love being with and playing ball, it was a good night and a good way to finish out here."
On Wes Brown's touchdown: "We've been roommates since we got here. It was good for him. It was fun because we were talking last week, and he said the only thing he hasn't done is score a touchdown. It was good for him to get that in his last home game."
Vanderbilt Locker Room
Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson
Opening Comments: "It was a hard fought game. I was extremely proud of our team. We had a bunch of injuries, and a bunch of people (playing injured), and I know they did too, but our guys laid it on the line. Tennessee did a great job right at the first of the game, took us out of our defensive scheme, but we adjusted and did pretty well in the second half. Offensively, we dropped some balls. We had some good passes in there and didn't take advantage of some opportunities. It's a tough way to end a season. "
On the Tennessee touchdown at the end of the first half: "It was big. We weren't counting on a whole lot of time to get down there, so we felt like we wanted to go for it on fourth down. In hindsight, we probably would have been better to punt it down there and go into the half down 17-10. We thought we could make it, and we thought we could stop them if we didn't make it. They did a great job on that drive and hit some passes and picked up a penalty. They did a great job."
On the team's offensive performance: "I think it was our best performance. We just made too many errors when we were in position to make first downs or big plays in the game. Whether it was dropped balls or we let someone in there to get a sack. Offensively, we're playing with two redshirt freshmen tackles in there for most of the second half. The good news is we got those guys some valuable experience."
On the offensive strategy of lining up early: "We rarely snapped the ball early. We got out there on the ball, wanting to get Tennessee to show what defense they were in so we could look over to the sideline and get a call. We usually snap the ball with about six seconds left. That's the way we try to get the best play call for the defense that they're lined up in"
LB Chris Marve
On Tennessee's touchdown right before halftime: "That was a big momentum shift. That just put us down even further, so we had to come out for the second half with an even larger deficit. We had a chance. We came out fighting. Everyone gave great effort, but we didn't finish strong."
On the loss to Tennessee ending Vanderbilt's season: "This definitely leaves a bad taste in my mouth. We knew where we wanted to be at the start of the season. This is definitely motivation and fuel for the fire for this offseason to train hard and not get complacent."
On UT and Montario Hardesty's success running the ball: "They just had a good game plan. They were just catching us in a lot of plays we were in. They caught us in some bad spots and were effective. (Hardesty) is an SEC back. He is big, physical and fast - just like any other SEC back. There wasn't anything different, or anything I wasn't expecting at all."
RB Warren Norman
On breaking Hershel Walker's record for all-purpose yardage by a freshman: "I'd heard a lot about Hershel Walker. He was one of the greatest running backs to play college football. It doesn't mean too much to me because I'm not about breaking records. It's an honor, though, just being mentioned with Hershel Walker. That's pretty cool."
On the 92-yard scoring drive that tied the game 10-10 in the second quarter: "This offense has been making tremendous strides from the beginning of the season. I think we've improved as an offense every week. Unfortunately we didn't put enough points on the board in our final game of the season. We've come a long way offensively. It's a shame to end the season, now."