Nov. 28, 2009
Tennessee Locker Room
Head Coach Lane Kiffin
Opening statement ... "Obviously, we are pleased with the outcome of the game for our players to make so many plays down the stretch. I wish it wouldn't have come to that. I think that we out gained them like 440 some yards to 220 something. I think for the most part of the game that we dominated them. We just didn't seize some opportunities. We gave them an interception for a touchdown right out of the gate and didn't do very good on kickoff coverage in the first half especially. Then we go down there on the one-yard line and leave the ball with no points. It was discouraging. I was excited the way that we finished and loved the style that the tailback finished in. What was it 37 carries or something like that and Jonathan (Crompton) makes a big time play to Gerald and it was a savor at that point. We were in really deep field goal range and our long field goal kicker probably go at that point. He felt that he could rugby punt coming in but couldn't kickoff do long field goals. We were in an area there where you are kind of a little more conservative but I felt that we had to throw the ball down the field. We didn't want to put it on our new kicker who has only been with us for two weeks to try to win the game. Jonathan made a great throw. I think that the linebacker came off him and Jonathan made a great throw to them."
On his defense and their play ... "There are some really significant plays throughout the game defensively. I think that the one we will look back on in this game is Dennis Rogan as they were going down to kick the field goal. The play before was a quarterback sweep and we have struggled to contain it at times. They have one guy and we have one guy and if he doesn't make that play then they get the first down and who knows if they might score a touchdown to win the game. It was a great play by Dennis and there were some many great plays by our defense. Even though they got the field goal we put them right there with Luke fumbling the ball. That kind of back fired on me right there. I did not want to just run the ball and punt again with our punter banged up. We needed to make some first downs and we came out with the naked there because they were playing the run and Luke put it on the ground unfortunately."
On Montario Hardesty and if he was keeping track of his carries ... "Yeah, you couldn't do that in this game. His last regular season game there was no way to say that if he got to a certain amount of carries that they were going to take him out. We did go a series with Bryce in the second quarter there and we were going to do that no matter what. But after that when he came out it was because he couldn't see. He got poked in the eye a couple of times and he couldn't see. He would have to come out and they put his contact back in one time I believe."
On the progression of the team throughout the year ... "Yeah, we are a completely different team. If that same team (Kentucky) is as good as they were tonight at the beginning of the year, than I don't think that we win that game. Our quarterback has come so far and Gerald and Denarius are making so many plays that they didn't use to make. We are definitely a completely different team and we don't make as many mistakes."
#8, Jonathan Crompton, QB
On fighting back after being down early... "That's something our team does really well, especially if something happens early, we just shrug it off and keep playing. I think our coaches have done a tremendous job of emphasizing that to us. Obviously you never want that to happen, but if it happens on the first drive it's better than on the last drive."
On the last sequence of the game... "I didn't see the holding call, but I got back in the huddle and told everyone `we've got it don't worry about it, shake it off, we can't do anything about the call anymore.' That's one thing our team does really well, responding to adversity, we've had it all year and we've fought through it."
Reflecting on the season... "We really lean on the way we work on the off-season. We really truly believe that not many teams out-work us or out-prepare us. When adversity faces us we're not going to quit and we showed that with our defense on that last turnover, holding them to a field goal."
#31, Marsalous Johnson, DB
On coming back from your injury and playing tonight ... "I had a lot of time to think about it. I couldn't let my cast or my broken thumb hold me back. I went out there and played the best I could. When I first got hurt it was a concern that I wouldn't be back for the regular season but after a week or so I let them know that it was healing really well and they let me know that I would be able to come back this game and play."
On winning tonight... "It was a big game for me to be able to come back and help out the team. We had a corner go down and for me able to come back, get healthy and help us go to a bigger bowl is great for the team. It feels so good, it puts chills through your body knowing we have the victory and knowing we didn't give up. This is what we worked all summer and fall for, and we put it all on the line and came out with the victory."
#84, Chris Walker, DE
On any big changes that were made after halftime ... "Not really. Our coaches told us at the beginning of the game that we were going to have to weather the storm. We knew it was going to be a big-time night, them losing to us for the past 24 years. We kind of weathered the storm in the first half and in the second half we settled down and played Tennessee football."
On weather this win will get them to a bowl game ... "I hope so. That win meant a lot to us and we're hoping we can get into one."
#5, Rico McCoy, LB
On the team's demeanor ... "We were locked in and we had our minds made up that we were going to win the game."
On being surprised that Kentucky utilized the `Wildcat' offense ... "A little bit, they used it quite a bit tonight. I really didn't think they would keep using it. "
On Kentucky tying the game up with a field goal ... "We had no time to blame the offense or anything like that. The game was in our hands and that's what we were thinking. We knew we could talk about everything that was happening later on but we were thinking right now we have to do our job to stop them, it's a team game. We knew we had to make it right."
Kentucky Locker Room
Head Coach Rich Brooks
Opening comment... "You've got to give Tennessee credit, they took the fight to us and we didn't respond very well. We had a turnover that was very costly. We let them off on several third and longs to keep drives alive and they made the plays in the second half and we didn't. Our offensive series in overtime was obviously a very poor one. We had a whole bunch of (penalties) that impacted field position a great deal. Our mistakes were very, very costly and they put it in to win the game."
On how tough the loss is ... "It's very tough. We had a chance to do something that hasn't been done around here and finish second in the SEC East and we failed."
On going away from the Wildcat in the final possession ... "We got a couple of good plays out of it and then we were in a two-minute situation. Unfortunately we're not expert enough to run the two-minute out of the Wildcat so we got back into our regular formation and tried to finish that drive and get it in there. Plus Randall (Cobb) was out several times, he took IVs at halftime for cramps and he's pretty worn out."
On a decision to go for the win at the end instead of the field goal ... "If it would have been less than a yard maybe, but not three yards it would have made it pretty difficult.I was thinking, but once I saw where it was, I gave it up."
On having trouble generating offense... "We knew Tennessee's defense was good, we knew they'd give us a variety of looks. Morgan (Newton) didn't throw as well as he has thrown it in some past games. He overthrew some guys that were open. We had some break downs in pass protection that flushed him out of the pocket as well. It makes it very difficult when you can't throw it efficiently and we did for a period of time. When we had to throw it at the end, we weren't very successful."
#12, Morgan Newton, QB
On how hard this game was ... "After a game like this you feel like you've let a lot of people down and let a senior class down. The turnout was great, the fans were great and I felt like I let them down. The families of seniors, I felt like I let them down. It's just tough."
On how the seniors felt after this game ... "Honestly, I don't know but I know they put in a lot of hard work. I've only been here a year but I can tell you that every senior fought and made big plays down the line. It affected me as person and made me better as a person."
On how the defense affected your play... "They have a great defense, an SEC defense. I think tonight I just played like a freshman. Made some easy mistakes, fumbled the ball, and overthrew some short throws to backs. I can't blame anyone but myself for the little mistakes I made that turned out to be big in the end."
On whether you felt like you were pressing out there tonight... "I don't think it was pressing as much but coming into this game I really didn't know what this Tennessee game was like. I heard all the guys talk about it but I had no idea until we got into the game tonight."
#91, Corey Peters, DT
On how you feel after this loss ... "I feel like we had plenty of opportunities to win the game and get the victory. We just made too many mistakes and did not do enough in the second half to win the game."
On what happened in the second half ... "I'm not really sure. I think they took it up to the next level and we failed to match it. We kind of got lucky there was a fumble to force the game into overtime and we just did not get the job done."
On how much the loss hurts ... "It hurts so much. You are looking at a rare situation of going from possibly second in the SEC East to fifth, so it hurts. Not just because it is Tennessee, but because of all the possibilities there could have been. We just didn't take advantage of them."
On your emotions before the game ... "It is mine and my families last game in Commonwealth Stadium and it has been a long road, but it has gone by so fast. Everything kind of hit me at once."
On how you felt the team would respond in overtime ... "After they fumbled, I just knew we were going to win. That's not enough to make it happen, we just didn't get it done in overtime, offense or defense."
#4, Micah Johnson, LB
On getting the fumble and not being able to come up with a win ... "It was tough. Probably the hardest loss I have had to stomach in my career so far. I am really at a loss of words right now."
On how much the season meant to you and all the seniors ... "I'm sorry I can't give you all something great to write about, I just know I'm at a loss for words. I just know I went out and played as hard as I could, as well as all the seniors, but we didn't win. Just too many mistakes."