Nov. 22, 2008
Head Coach Phillip Fulmer
On today's win
"I am very proud of our coaches and our players because they worked hard this week to get this win. I want to congratulate Vanderbilt on the season that they are having and their opportunity of playing in a bowl game. Having been here myself in 1979, I know how important it is to get kids to come here. We're still Tennessee and I feel like most of the time we have better players so we should win this game. So I am proud of our team. It's amazing under the circumstances that they have been under the last couple of weeks but they have stayed the course so that is a great accomplishment to our leadership, coaches and players."
On the heart of the Volunteer
"We've got a tremendous amount of pride in this program and that all started when General Neyland was here. This team has not had everything good happen to it that everyone around our program has liked but they have never quit. I think our defensive team has played well enough to win practically every game we have played this season. Even though you don't see those things in the statistics, as a coach you get great satisfaction from that."
About the quarterback troubles Tennessee has had this season
"I am proud of the way B.J Coleman played today. His youthfulness showed up today at different times but he competed and played hard. He will only continue to get better. We haven't gotten to the point yet where we can play consistently at the quarterback position. I mean when Jonathan threw that interception, our defense stepped up and held them to three points. Our quarterbacks are capable, they just need that time of maturity."
On Lennon Creer day
"Our offensive line did an excellent job today. They were challenged with a lot of different defensive schemes. It was good to see all of our running backs getting big holes and taking advantage of them."
On the offensive gameplan
"We knew they had a very experienced secondary and that they had a nice blitz package so B.J was not ready for any of those. As long as our defense continued to play well and hold the lead we were able to use more than one quarterback. B.J. did make some nice plays on the ground running the ball."
On holding Vanderbilt to 25 total-yards in the first half
"Our defense played real well today. It was pretty obvious going in that they weren't going to get a lot of yards. We were 11th in total offense and I think they were 12th so we knew it would be a defensive game. They have had trouble with their quarterback situation this season and so have we."
On general thoughts:
"The defense played well today and the offensive line did a good job up front. This was a big in for us."
On continuing winning streak against Vanderbilt:
"It's an awesome feeling to get a win today. We played well on offense in the first half and wanted to continue to do it in the third quarter but wasn't able to do that."
On offensive effort:
"We got off to a good rhythm in the first half but struggled in the second half. This was a learning experience for me, especially the interception that I threw. The defensive back did a good job on that play. However, the key for us today was the offensive line opening up things for everyone."
On starting on offense quickly:
"That was our mindset coming into today's game. We wanted to open things up and score."
On emotions of today's game:
"This is a big rivalry game for us and the emotions are always high. We wanted to win every game for coach Fulmer."
On defensive effort:
"We got off to a good start today. We were getting off of our blocks and gave a good effort."
On distractions affecting the game:
"It's not easier preparing for the game but there is more focus. We want to send coach Fulmer off on a good note so that provides more motivation for us."
On different defensive packages:
"We were able to get to the quarterback today. We stayed in our rush lanes and were able to keep coming after them."
On Vanderbilt being favorite in game:
"They deserved it and have been doing well this season. Looking at the records will tell you that. However, we've continued to play hard all season."
"Playing with a lead helped us execute today. We were able to let loose on defense and have some fun."
"I saw the quarterback peaking at this receiver and I was already breaking for the ball to make a play."
On playing quarterback:
"That was fun. It brought back old memories for me because I haven't been on that side of the ball since high school."
On defensive effort:
"We committed ourselves and put the work in this week in practice. The coaches turned us loose this week to take chances."
On being compared to D.J. Moore:
"I'm happy to just get the win today. D.J. is a great athlete and we spoke to each other after the game about being compared to each other."
On setting records:
"I won't focus on that stuff until after the season. My focuses right now are on my assignments and winning."
Head Coach Bobby Johnson
"Tennessee had a lot to do with it, but we dug such a big hole in the first half that we had a hard time coming back in the second half with that kind of deficit. They were very good on defense and we just had way too many mistakes in the first half; it just killed us and it didn't give us a chance."
On Chris Nickson's struggles:
"I think Tennessee has an excellent defense and they forced us to do a lot of things (on offense) that we didn't want to do. It's tough and Chris did not execute well, did not make the correct throws, and gave them too many opportunities in the first half."
On Vanderbilt's offensive line:
"Very disappointing. We thought we had a plan we could execute and we didn't come out and do the things we have to do against a very good defense. We felt like we could definitely match our defense with their offense and I think we played well on that end. It would have been a close, tough battle if we had played well on offense."
On Tennessee's running game:
"They only passed for a few, so they ran nearly every play, so we expected them to be able to run the ball. We felt it would be manageable if we could match them with our offense and we just didn't execute and match up. I think our defense played incredible well though, but our offense just couldn't take care of the football and keep our defense off the field. They took advantage of the opportunities we gave them."
On Mackenzi Adams:
"We started to build momentum when he (Mackenzi Adams) came in. Mac came in and did some good things. When we got behind, they figured we would throw the football a bit and Mac did that incredibly well. He adjusted throughout the rest of the game and was able to shake off a few hard hits."
On Broderick Stewart's injury:
"Broderick is obviously out for the rest of the season (with a broken ankle) and for that, we will not be as good on defense. We're losing one of our best players. He's going to be tough to replace. We'll have to get a few guys in there and they need to step up."
On the game...
"We never plan to lose. I think we came out a little flat at the beginning. We tried to pick it up in the second half but it was just too late."
On Vanderbilt's offense...
"Going into the game, we knew that Tennessee had a great defense with great players on the other side. We knew that we had to be on top of our game. That required no penalties and taking care of the ball, and I don't think we did our best job at those parts of the game."
On losing after Kentucky...
"The energy level from last week to this week was nowhere near comparable. We need to come into all the games like we did with Kentucky, with a lot of energy and ready to go."
On his interception for a touchdown...
"It felt great. I've been waiting for one for four years and I finally got my chance."
On the energy level...
"We just played flat. We didn't play with the energy we had last week. It didn't compare. But we came back the second half and tried to rally."
On the rivalry between VU and Tennessee...
"It's a great rivalry. Our program has been getting better and better every year. We lost last year to them by only one point. It's all about state bragging rights."
On what contributed to the team's loss...
"I can't put a finger on anything specific. I met those guys' eyes and knew they were ready to play. Whether they played to the best of their ability or not is beyond me but I think we played okay. We tried; we just didn't make it."
On the energy...
"I was ready for it, and I'm not the type to look into things and be negative about it. I felt like we had a good play here and there, but a good number were unsuccessful. I think that was a big momentum breaker. If those things had paid off who knows what would have happened, but you have to look at the positives."