Sept. 17, 2012
"We had a great game going as we all now. Sitting there in the third quarter, 3:27 to go, up seven, outgaining them 300 to 250. Then, we had a series of events that really we obviously weren't ready for. Four out of the next 10 plays they get 225 yards and 21 points. On the other side, we had an interception that certainly wasn't Tyler's (Bray) fault. It got a little loose in protection. The guy made a good hit on him as he's throwing an opportunity ball. We're sitting there at 9:55 in the fourth, down 14. Our team has really done a great job of working through adversity, they have. I told them the thing about adversity is you can't pick the type of adversity that you're going to get. I don't think there's any question that 21 points that happened so quickly shocked everybody. There was a moment there when too many people were not listening to the voice of reason. It's like I've told the team, down 14 with 9:55 to go against anybody in the country, we should have the confidence that we can come back and win. There are a lot of lessons from this game. Number one is we obviously can't give up those kinds of plays and expect to win. There are a lot of things as coaches that we could've done better to prevent that from happing. There are a lot of things as coaches that could've prepared us better for the last nine minutes of the game, and I mean that. There are a lot of things that the players could've done. Of course, we have to always keep the focus on the voice of reason. There are plenty of times when doubt can creep into your mind and it starts affecting how you play. We'll learn from it and we'll move on. I'm really proud of how the team came out and hit the field. I'm really proud of how we hit the field the third quarter. We had a great drive putting it down there. I think the important thing is and the best thing about it is, that the issues that happened are correctable. They're going to get corrected and we'll move on."
(On Brian Randolph)
"You all know about Brian, ACL. I hurt for Brian, but he'll be fine and we'll move on."
"This week playing Akron, you all know the kind of success Terry Bowdon has had in his coaching career. The one thing you know about any Bowden, and Terry especially, is that they know how to score a lot of points. And they're scoring about 40 points a game, 400 yards throwing the ball, spreading it out. It's going to be a whole different dynamic again on trying to stop these guys. Defensively, they're playing the scheme old FSU played with Chuck Amato, Nicky Andrews, a lot of good coaching. We have our work cut out for us this week and we have to move on."
(On watching film)
"I think it's fair to say we went down 14, there was a level, not just in Tyler but in everybody, of shock. I think there was a level of shock. We're sitting there in total command of the game and all of a sudden 21 points go on the board before we can even catch our breath. Tyler made a lot of great throws in this game. Even when all that was happening, he made some really good throws. Then he made some throws that weren't so good. He didn't play his best game. It's another step for him. He knows that's where we just have to clear the slate and start over and find a solution to win the football game. We could've done some things to help him as well."
(On how the team reacted)
"I was disappointed we gave up 21 in four plays. That was the disappointment. There's a lot of reasons for it. You're going to always have a level of `holy smokes.' It's human nature, but being able to work your way out of it is the catch. Unfortunately when it happened was the wrong time. A couple of minutes go by and they grind some clock and all of a sudden you're down 17 with five minutes to go. Everything changes. You can't run your balanced offense, you're throwing too much. The reality is when we play these good defenses, we can't be throwing it 44 times, we just can't. We were on pace to do exactly what we wanted to do, we really were, until all that stuff happened."
(On what the coaching staff could've done differently)
"I'll speak in generalities. We've been talking about this for a long time of exercising that balance on pushing the envelope of what we can do schematically defensively to where it's aggressive, it's impacting the game versus too much to where now we've created confusion and not playing fast. The hard part on here was that didn't really hit us that it was really happening until late. So it wasn't like we went into halftime saying `they're doing all this stuff.' We were having a lot of communication issues. When you reflect back on it, certainly tighten that down a little bit. I think on the other end and I commented on this at the locker room, we probably played our skill guys too much. I know we did. (Justin) Hunter and CP (Cordarrelle Patterson) had over 70 snaps. (Mychal) Rivera has too many snaps. Rajion (Neal) has too many snaps. That's my fault. It's a classic case of you're getting into a game against a good team. Things are in control and you don't want to disrupt it. We have to exercise trust in what we've been doing, rolling guys early especially, so we have every ounce of juice we need in the fourth quarter. That's why I say I think all these things are correctable. It's not a situation where it's doomsday. We can overcome."
(On challenging the team's mentality to know they can win SEC games)
"That's the step we have to take. I think our players have that confidence. We work through a lot of problems in that game. We got down early and then they come out the second half, they kick a field goal and they're pushing us. We come right back and answer the bell so we're getting there. The better you execute the more confidence you'll get. I don't view this team as one that's lacking that. I don't view this team as a team that puts a lot of doubt. Did it happen the other night? I'm sure it did. The circumstances, it's like I said, we're ready for adversity. I told the team I don't think anybody was ready for that. I don't think anybody in the stadium was. To say don't get affected at all, it's going to jar you a little bit. But a good team and good competitors, you catch your breath, refocus and go execute the next play. We'll learn from it."
(On A.J. Johnson)
"He's awesome. We have a lot of guys [running the wildcat]. A.J. was great. He plays every play like it's his last. Doesn't matter what's the score. That's why he's a great player."
(On sticking with Derrick Brodus at kicker and secondary players)
"I don't know the answer to the kicker question right now other than we have to keep doing a better job with him on game day to go out there and not worry about missing a kick. We have the imps right now on PAT. On the secondary, we're going to keep promoting competition. We had an opportunity to prevent some of those big plays from happening and we didn't do it. We're going to keep doing. We need the young guys to come on. With LaDarrell McNeil at safety, with Daniel Gray and Deion Bonner at corner, Justin Coleman."
(On stepping up without Brian Randolph)
"Everybody. Byron (Moore) has been playing pretty good football. He just needs to keep doing what he's been doing. Brent (Brewer) needs to get in there and we need to get Rod (Wilks) and LaDarrell (McNeil) going."
(On secondary having starting experience)
"You'd rather have that than have to start a true freshman. We have to get some of these freshmen ready to go because we're going to need them as a season goes on. That's what a deep team does."
(On the speed of the secondary)
"No. 8 outran us. He outran one of us. On that long play, we screw up and there's a lot of error. When you give fast guys that much error, it's hard to get them down. Am I concerned about speed? You have to have speed to play in this league."
(On making changes on depth chart)
"I don't know yet, it's too early to tell. I think a lot of guys will play. This week we're going to need them all as much as these guys throw the ball."
(On defensive line)
"I thought the D-line really played well. Daniel McCullers had a good game. He's doing what we need him to do. (Darrington) Sentimore played pretty good. Mo Couch played pretty good."
(On hurting the team on the edge)
"I think it's a couple of things. They did a good job with all the formations and shifts and movements. We knew they would. A lot of times we didn't get the adjustment we needed. Sometimes we didn't play good, sound, fundamental, set-the-edge football. Sometimes it's a communication issue and sometimes it's fundamental football. That was our big emphasis. You can't play good defense without setting the edge and we lost the edge too much."
(On the secondary)
"We're not going to go into a total panic because we've been playing pretty good back there. We had a stretch of bad plays .I don't think it necessarily defines who we are, it defines what we did and what we did poorly. Time will prove that out. The answer really always depends on who you're plying. What quarterback you're playing, what receivers you're playing and how we think we match up against them. That's what we try to look at every week. Their quarterback played a great game, he really did. He deserves a lot of credit for some of the throws he made. We had a couple times a guy right in his face hitting him. And he makes a really quick and accurate throw that results in a touchdown, a couple of touchdowns. He deserves a lot of credit. He played a really great game."
(On A.J. Johnson running the wildcat)
"He did it in high school. When we were recruiting him, I told him we'd do that. We didn't do it last year because he was a freshman trying to learn the defense. I knew after the first game we were going to do it. We didn't bring it out he second game because we didn't think we needed it. We used it and it helped us. He can do anything, he's A.J. He can do anything."
(On the team's attitude after the loss)
"The first thing is they were gutted. There was a lot of emotional investment in that game by the fans, by everybody associated with Tennessee. It hurt, that game hurts. I think it's a good sign that kind of pain is on us. We felt like we could go toe-to-toe and we did. We screwed it up. They hurt more than I've seen one of our teams hurt after a loss, which they should. Today, they were great. It's time to move on. We have a lot of confidence in who we are and where we're headed. That little stretch of bad ball we played is like I said we have to make it what we did and not who we are."
(On Tyler Bray's understanding of defense)
"I don't think a quarterback ever really gets it. The quarterback starts playing his best ball in the NFL his seventh year in the league. It's hard. Tyler did some nice things. This was a good defense we played, make no mistake of that. This was a good defense. They probably have two first-rounders on the D-line. They have some great linebackers. That secondary is really aggressive. Their hands were on us the whole game. Those tight throws that he made, there's not many guys that can make it. Now was he perfect? No, he made a lot of mistakes too. When you play a good defense, you're going to have that. We were a couple plays in the second half, we had an opportunity ball to CP (Cordarrelle Patterson), the first play of the fourth quarter could've changed things. We had another one in the fourth quarter where Justin (Hunter) is coming in over the middle and he throws a strike right to him and we don't catch it on third down. It could've been about a 25-yard gain. It didn't happen so we move on."
(On Tyler Bray's frustration)
"There has to be a level of acknowledgement that you're a little affected by events that are out of your control. Did that happen? Yeah, I think it's fair to say that happened. We were down 14. It happened so quickly. That's a big step Tyler needs to take. I think the unfair thing is to say he doesn't care. It's not fair to say that he shuts it down, he doesn't. But when he gets frustrated and things that are out of his control start bothering him, he doesn't perform as well. He knows that. He'll grow from it and learn from it. Nobody wants to play well more than Tyler. Sometimes he wants to play well too hard. He's better when he's not worried about playing well and he's just playing."
(On mentioning UL-Monroe and teams like that to Tennessee)
"If we don't come and prepare all week the way we need to prepare, and we don't bring a level of focus and intensity on game day the way we need to, we'll get embarrassed. This week is no exception. This team will embarrass us because they're a good football team. I think the big thing on this team that's different is it's the first year that a lot of transfers are coming in. There's a lot of new faces. That first game they were probably struggling to get things going. Now they have three games under their belt with a lot of new people and they're playing a lot faster and more comfortable in the systems."
(On strength of conference)
"I think every year you have these games. I don't think this year is any exception. Every year. Bowling Green played Florida tough. There's good players everywhere."
(On Justin Hunter in the fourth quarter)
"We're going to keep throwing it to him. He'll be fine."
(On Antonio Richardson)
"You have to be careful sometimes when he's going because he's a big guy. He's such a great competitor. You talk about emotionally invested and playing well and when. He's learning how to keep his composure. That's his third start, his first big time SEC football game. It took us about nine times to not line up in the back field. I think that's just going to come with time. Tiny is doing good. He's out there competing. Blocking some of great defensive linemen. He's still young in his career. The more experience he gets, the more his leadership can impact us in a positive way."
(On Ja'Wuan James' helmet coming off)
I understand it. It's a great example. Ja'Wuan (James) comes out and Kyler (Kerbyson) goes in and jumps offsides the first play. I was hoping that would count as a play but it didn't. What do you call now? I told him can that count as our play. He said no, I'm sorry. You're worried about him out there because it's his first time in an environment like that. Then you kind of change your play call to make it easy on him and then you're not running what you want to run so there's times when it has an effect. If it's going to keep him safe, then I'm for it."
(On relationship with Terry Bowden)
"We haven't really run in the same circles." (On running game)
"For three quarters it really was. We hit a run a good eight-yard run. We just hit that little stretch where we probably could've kept running it a little more. Then we did, it was 1-yard, 0-yards, now you're second and 10 and you're down 14. It gets tough. I was pleased with the run game. Our guys were blocking them. They whipped us a play, we'd whip them a play. It was a good football game. It was fun to watch, it was fun to be a part of. You just hate that the game didn't stay in that sequence and ride it out the last five minutes. It's a shame. We have to correct it and make sure it doesn't happen again next time we're in that situation."
(On offensive line)
"I think they could all play better than they did. We weren't disappointed. I don't think any of them we came in and said they played bad. They went against some pretty good ones and our guys played pretty good. It's like I said, there's times when you go that was a heck of a block there. We were protecting good. There's times we got a little loose in the protection. We really struggled on our zone runs. Our gap runs were great, that's really the story of the day."
(On offensive line throughout the game)
"When the game turns like that, it's the same thing we did against NC State. What does it do? It energizes the other team. It changes their strategy. They're now pinning their ears back coming. It gets tougher. They're running all their games. The secondary is sinking. They're playing 33 double cloud. Everything changes from a strategic standpoint at that point. So naturally it's going to look different. I didn't see a significant difference up front."
(On Christian Harris, Brendan Downs and Alton Howard)
"He's activated and back in it. We'll probably put him in some special teams this week. See how he can go on defense. I think he (Brendan Downs) is too, good week of practice. Pig (Alton Howard) too. We need them, here we go. Lost one, gain three. Need one of the other positions."