Nov. 27, 2010
Tennessee vs. Kentucky
"It's hard to describe how proud I am of this football team. Sitting there at 2-6 and people are talking about us being the worst football team in Tennessee history, and nobody in this organization flinched. I'm real proud of them for that. We never got affected by the results. We kept improving each week. We played one heckuva football team out there team today and played one heckuva football game. I was especially proud at the end. The first drive of the second half, they put it to us. They went right down the field. We struggled to stop them. That's an outstanding offense. But from that point on, I think it was about five stops the defense came up with, huge stops. We had some big drives by the offense and played a great second half against a good football team. They got what they deserved out there today and got another chance to play again. It's a great win for Tennessee."
On the defense spending so much time on the field...
"They're good. That's what they do. They're really a ball-control offense that throws it and runs it. They've got as good of an offense as anybody in the league. The key is, No. 1, we got a big turnover there. We were real fortunate because they were about to go up on us in the first half. We didn't give up huge plays. We made them work and work, and if we made a play it gave us a chance to stop them. The best part about our defense is we didn't give up big plays. We just kept playing and rallying to the football."
On rebounding and improving over the last few games...
"We've had a lot of improvement. We had 11 guys on field goal block for six straight games, which has been great. Everybody in the organization improved over the course of the season, and that's all you can ask for."
On Tyler Bray rebounding from his interceptions...
"He doesn't get fazed. It's hard to rattle him. We get a lot more rattled as coaches watching him. He had one where he says he was trying to throw it away, but he served it up on third-and-1. That was a bad one. The other one, we took a shot on a pitch-back pass and probably could have made a better throw, but the guy made a good play. From a decision, he had one really bad decision and that was down in the Red (Zone) area. We were down there twice and got no points. We missed a field goal in the first half, and then the interception. That could have come back to hurt us."
On Denarius Moore's second 200-yard game of the season...
"Unbelievable. The guy was going loco on everybody. He was. I told him to get some oxygen because we're going to keep throwing it to him. And he did great."
On the fake punt early in the second half...
"Well, it wasn't feeling good. They just went on a 12-play, 70-yard drive. They tied the game up. Then we go out and go three-and-out. I didn't want to go out, punt, and then they go on a 10-play, whatever-yard drive. I just felt like we needed to make something happen. We did and went down (and turned it over). But at least we changed field position and ate up clock. They started the next drive on the 20 so we changed field position, and we ate up clock to let the defense recover and adjust. Even though we didn't get points out of it, I think it helped. It's a run-pass option. Every time I call that it's tough. I let it slip out of my mouth and then I go, `Why did I do that? Why did I do that? Oh, good, I'm glad I did it.' That's the life of a coach. It works so you look good. If it didn't work, they would have probably gone up on us and we would be sitting here wondering why we did that. That series, when it was second down, I started thinking about it, that if we didn't get a first down then we needed to do something. I contemplated it for about two downs."
On if he remembers calling so many consecutive pass plays ...
"No. But I also don't remember having an inept running game the way we have it. On third-and-1, we get negative an inch. We've got opportunities, we're just not very good running the football. Why wouldn't we throw it? Show me what running play is better than some of these throws we've got, and I'll put it in. Our receivers are juiced. Tyler (Bray) can throw it. So you know what, we're just trying to win the game. We felt like that's what we needed to do. Eventually, you've got to run it and we did. That four-minute (offense) at the end was awesome."
On what he told the seniors after the game ... "I was proud of them. How can you not be? I think their class, half of them aren't even here through attrition, whatever. All the stuff that happened to these guys, these were the few that stuck with it and loved Tennessee. They didn't care what happened. They believed in Tennessee. They got rewarded today for sticking to it. So I am proud of them. And I thanked them. I appreciated what they've given to me, because they've given me their all. And that's not an easy thing to do."
Tyler Bray, QB
On his overall performance:
"The line blocked great and gave me some time. I took a few hits but I kept getting up and kept trying to get the receivers the ball to make plays."
On the Vols' success on deep passing plays:
"The line kept selling the run and the safeties kept coming up. We knew their safeties liked to come up and stop the run and we were just able to get behind them."
Nick Reveiz, LB
On his fumble recovery in the end zone:
"To have the opportunity to make that play in the end zone, that was by the grace of God. That ball just squirted out right in front of me. It happened so fast I really don't know what happened. All I know is that when I saw that ball, I was getting it. No one else was getting it."
On the performance of the defense:
"You don't ever want to say how your overall performance was until you see the film because everything happens so fast and there's so many other things that you don't get to see around you other than what you're playing your position. I don't know how great we did or if we had an incredible performance or if we had a poor performance but I do know this. I do know that we had adversity call early and I feel like our defense never quit. Our offense never quit. It didn't matter what it was. We were going to answer the bell and we were going to win. I can't say enough about this team and the perseverance that I've seen all these guys show from freshman to senior. It's just been incredible."
Kentucky Head Coach Joker Phillips:
"It was a rough one. I've never been in a game where you felt as if you had as much control of a game, had a chance to go up 14, how quick things change. We go in and fumble, a few plays later you're tied, a few plays later after that you're down seven. We've got to learn that when you get guys down, you've got to keep them down.
"We gave those guys a chance, gave them life with the exchange problems we had at the goal line with a chance to go up 14. Then we let them get behind us numerous times that led to big plays in the passing game. They really went away from the run and decided to throw the football on us and we needed to keep them in front of us.
"In the first half you think you have control of the football game and you look up and you're down seven points. That tells you that you've turned it over and you've given up big plays on defense, and that tells the story of what happened."
On where this loss stacks up among the 26 straight to Tennessee and close losses this season:
"This is the most bitter because it's the one in the present. They're all bitter, let me tell you that. This one is the worst because it's the present."
On punting the ball from Tennessee territory late in the game:
"We decided that we wanted to punt the ball and back them up, get them stopped and get the ball back in good field position. We had all three timeouts and they didn't put anybody back deep. We wanted to pin them back and punt the ball deep and we didn't execute."
Mike Hartline, QB:
"It is pretty disappointing, I mean, it is probably one of the biggest letdowns we've had this year. We had a great game plan against them. I don't think we are the worst team here, we just didn't execute. They played better, hats off to them."
On the fumble on the goal line:
"Momentum, it definitely hurt. Confidence, it didn't really affect that. We definitely needed those points, that's one thing you can't do down there (goal line turnover). It's tragic for something like that to happen."
Randall Cobb, WR/QB:
"It's hard, we turnover the ball in critical times, but they beat us. They did what they had to do to win and found a way to win. It comes down to whose game plan worked the best and obviously theirs did tonight."
On emotions of playing last game at Neyland Stadium:
"They're indescribable; we were in positions and didn't capitalize. What it comes down to execution and we didn't do that tonight."