April 16, 2011
Head Coach Derek Dooley:
Opening statement: "I told the team it was a great example that it doesn't matter what kind of game it is - spring game, SEC game, you name it - that the team that wins the line of scrimmage and can run the football will win the game, and today was evidence of that. It doesn't matter how many fancy guys you've got in the skill positions, you better be a physical football team. The White came in a heavy underdog. The Orange was confident and talking smack, had all the skills. And the White went blue collar on them and punched them right in the mouth. It was fun to watch.
"I'm obviously glad nobody got hurt. I was real proud of how we ended up the spring. I felt like everybody on our team improved. Units improved. But we still have got a long way to go, a long way to go. But we're headed in the right direction."
On quarterback Tyler Bray's difficulties at quarterback in the game: "You know what I said Thursday. I said if Tyler had gone 27-for-30 for 300 (yards), I would have said we're doing good. If he had gone 5-for-30, which he nearly did, I would've said it's the spring game and doesn't matter. That's the one day the coaches become fans. We have our cake and eat it too. There were a lot of reasons he wasn't on. It starts with him. I think he went in there a little bit confident about the matchups, and when you're not on edge you're not going to perform. There were some serious mismatches that I think affected him early. Once it gets going bad early, you've got to get that run game settled in. Their head coach wanted to keep slinging it."
On being encouraged by backup quarterback Matt Simms' performance:
"I kept saying Matt can play. I told him he's going to have to go in next year at some point and win us a football game."
On the physical nature of the White team with surprise offensive and defensive award winners Alex Bullard (offensive line) and Daniel Hood (defensive line) on the squad: "They had great springs. They were both named surprise of the spring. Of course, Alex, he was a surprise because he landed on our program and we didn't know much about him. He really just played great. When Ja'Wuan (James) went down, he played center, he played tackle. He's going to really help us. Glad he's here. Daniel Hood, we moved from offense. He was struggling on the O-line and we needed some help on the D-line, and in the spring he made our first tackle. It was good. They must have set the tone. Those were the two surprises."
On the dropped punt by Eric Gordon and the problems catching punts going back to last season: "Well, Gordon, in all fairness, he has not been back there all spring. All the three guys who were working together on punt return were all on the other team, it just so happened. So they were going with the third and fourth guys out there and dealing with the wind and everything. I was happy there was only one muffed punt."
On the improvement with the run game: "Especially with the offensive line. You all saw some things with Tauren (Poole) today. His runs were solid. He's having a good spring. The O-line is doing a little bit better. Everybody improved a little bit, but you really see the offensive line starting to play better. If you noticed, (White head coach Jim) Chaney only ran it in one direction. That's what I noticed. He would've run the Power 62 times. I got mad at him in the first quarter. He ran his fifth Power in a row and I just said, `Can we throw it a little bit?' So the only reason they were throwing it was because I made them."
On his impressions of the team as they leave spring practice: "Improved, but a long way to go. There are some areas where we feel like we have players who will continue to develop and then there are other areas where we're going to need some help. That's when June comes around and we're going to have another 20 guys in June and training all summer to see how they can help us. We're going to need their help."
Tauren Poole, tailback, Orange team:
"Hats off to Malik, he picked a great team. The defensive line and linebackers on the White team did a great job at the line of scrimmage. They did a great job of stopping the run and I'm proud of how they played out there. I knew that was their game plan from the start, but I feel like we did OK with what we had."
On the backfield "I was really excited to see how our running backs played today. One guy I'm really proud of is Toney Williams. He came out and ran hard today and I was really excited to see him do so well. Raijon Neal played really well--I think our backfield looked great out there. I think we did a great job this spring and I know coach (Ron) McKeefery is excited to get us in the weight room."
Brent Brewer, defensive back, Orange team:
"The game went OK today. I wish we'd made more plays and executed better, but the other team came out very physical and I think their receivers did well coming at us, so our hats are off to them. The White team did a good job."
On the defensive backs "Everyone has been competing against one another, and our young guys are keeping us on our toes. I think everyone has done a good job this spring and we're looking forward to the fall. We have to compete and get better every day while we're waiting to (the fall) to get here."
Malik Jackson, defensive tackle, White team:
"I feel like I picked a pretty good team. I felt confident all week and we went out there and played well today. My goal in the draft was to choose a good offensive and defensive line. I know the game is won in the trenches and that's where I focused my attention. Our defensive line has jumped leaps and bounds over the spring. At the beginning of the year, we were just a bunch of guys, but now we're a unit. I'm really proud of them."
On moving forward "We'll take a few days off to get some rest, but I think we're all excited to get back to work and get ready for the fall. Each guy knows what he needs to work on and we're going to focus on those things and move forward. No one guy can do it by himself so we're going to work hard together and get better together."
Tyler Bray, quarterback, Orange team:
"We kind of struggled on offense--that happens sometimes. We just need to come back and get back to work."
On what was the cause behind the Orange's offensive struggles: " It's the spring game, you don't have your ones, don't have your twos, you just have a group of guys that have to try to put it together, fill in and work with what you've got."
On what factored in to his struggles throwing the ball: "I was more frustrated with myself, not making the throws. I was off on my accuracy and wasn't making throws today. In warm-ups I felt great, I just didn't have it when we started."
On his overall thoughts on his spring practice: "I've improved a lot. The accuracy is going to happen every once in awhile, but my decisions I felt were good. I'm making better decisions."
On Coach Dooley's comments that the White dominated the Orange up front: "I've always felt that's important. If you don't have a good running game then the passing game is going to struggle."