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Derek Dooley Media Transcript (Nov. 21)




Nov. 21, 2011

Opening statement
"Just recapping the game. You know you look at statistically what was the difference in the game, obviously when you get four turnovers you are always going to have a chance to win. At least you should unless you are giving four back. I felt like on both sides of the ball we really dominated the run game. I think Vanderbilt was about 38 percent efficient running the ball. I think we were about 60 percent efficient. When you can take care of the line of scrimmage, it's going to help. We had 10 big plays and we scored in the red area; we stopped them in the red area and that was all pretty good. But I think the biggest difference in the game was it was the first time I felt like we really didn't get affected by all the things that happen in a game. When I said after the game I felt like it was a big step for our program, that's really what I was talking about. We came out of the locker room and we put together a great drive, a good defensive stand, a good drive and we are about to go ahead 21-7. Then you snap your fingers and we are down 21-14. It was a really important time for this team. The guys didn't flinch and it was the first time I have seen it. I didn't even have to get them going on the sidelines. I was really proud of them for that."

"The players of the week. On offense, we gave it to Da'Rick (Rogers). He had really an outstanding game and of course made the plays, the two touchdowns. We gave it to Malik (Jackson) and Mo (Maurice Couch) on defense. The defensive line really played a great game controlling the line of scrimmage. We gave Channing Fugate the special teams player of the week. Running down on kickoffs, we activated him and he did a good job and made a couple of tackles."

"Injuries. Brian Randolph came out of a game with a mild concussion, and with all of these concussions he's got to go through impact tests and he is day to day. We expect him to be back, but you just never know with these things. I will be shocked if he practices tomorrow, but it is mild so we will see. Prentiss (Waggner) came out with a shoulder. It's kind of an issue he has been battling all season. Just a sprain and the same thing, we expect him to play but it's always there. He is one play from coming out, which was a real problem when those two guys came out."

"Of course our focus this week is Kentucky. I know a lot of people are going to want to change the focus away from Kentucky to other things like streaks and bowls and all that, but it is so important that our team takes the same approach as they did last week and they take the same approach during the game that they did against Vanderbilt. Like every SEC game, it's going to be hard, it's on the road, they played Georgia to the wire and it's their last home game. So I know how emotional it is for any team in their last home game. We have a big challenge and we will see if can live up to it. If we can, people will be feeling pretty good; and if we can't, it will be kind of a disappointing year. That is where we are."

On mentioning win-and-in for bowl games this week
"We mention the fact that if we win we are bowl eligible. We mentioned that last week, but you don't really play to go to a bowl. You play to beat the team you are playing. It's important to understand what is out there to motivate you a little bit. When it gets tough, it's important to show a little more grit and the ability to persevere when it gets tough. But your focus has to be on the guy you are going against and what your plays are, what your execution is, your technique, and that is what we are trying to emphasize."

On scenes from video of the postgame locker room celebration
"I'm a little disappointed that a video is out on our locker room celebration, but that is kind of the world we live in. It's like there is no sacred place, and I think probably all 120 coaches out there in football have a side to them where they loosen up with team that they don't do in public. Am I excited after a win? I always am. After a win is emotional, and certainly when you win a close game that is down to the wire it's exciting. You take those things for what they are. It's a postgame, emotional, have a little fun, and you then you close the door on it when you leave."

On if being so pleased with the team factored into the celebration
"I think that's fair to say. Given what this team has been through, and given what happened the week before this game, and given the fact that most people had written the team off, and then to go through what we went through in the third quarter, to be able to find a way to win the game - it was a good feeling. I was really proud of them. And usually when I am that excited, it's because I am just proud of the guys for doing something they hadn't done all season. That was probably part of it."

On if it's harder to move on after an emotional win or emotional loss
"I don't know. I think both are very difficult. A bludgeoning loss and an emotional win, they are both hard. It probably took us more than 24 hours to get over last week and we'd better be over this past win this week. If you don't you are just going to go out there and get beat on Saturday."

On the different approaches to those issues
"It's the same, the same."

On Tauren Poole looking quicker in Saturday's game
"Mainly, I thought the offensive line played its best game in the run game. More physical, created a lot more air - that was another thing that was really encouraging to see, in the hopes we are going to see that more as time goes on. I saw signs they wanted to deliver blows instead of getting on their guy and just blocking. There is a big difference and it created a lot of air. I think we ran it better than anybody has run it against Vanderbilt."

On if it means more to the players when they are complimented
"I don't know. But the guys who know me, and the team knows me pretty well, know I call it like I see it. I try never to manipulate them or deceive them. I just tell them the truth. I told them when we stink we stink. You can't go and sugarcoat when you stink. If we play well, I think it's fair to tell them that we played well. We made a ton of mistakes in this game. When I had a team meeting, it wasn't we all played great. I just think it's important to tell the truth. When you do things well, let's recognize it and know why; and when you don't do well, let's recognize it and how do we fix it. It's a little more non-emotional that way."

On SEC statement about reviewing the Gordon interception how it should be handled moving forward
"Jimmy, I probably shouldn't speak on it. Steve (Shaw, SEC coordinator of officials) is probably the guy to talk to about that. I think the reason there is a rule is that if a whistle is blown, generally everybody stops. That's the reason that rule is in effect. So it's hard to give a guy credit for a run. I can't really speak on specifics. I know on this play, I don't know anybody that stopped within 30 yards of him. Nobody heard him, including their team. Look, at the end of the day the right play was called."

On if those plays should be reviewed and judgment used to determine if whistles affected the outcome
"I don't know, because then you say, `Well, that guy stopped and he could have gotten 10 more yards, but this other guy chasing him from the back side didn't. Where would he have been down?' It just brings in so much subjectivity. So I think that is why the rule is the way it is."

On scheduling for next year
"After the season every year, I sit down and I hope to sit down with Dave (Hart) when the season is over and just talk about scheduling philosophy. I think we are going to state every year to the conference some things that are important to us, just like all the other teams talk about what is important to them. The challenge of course is that they have to accommodate now 14 teams and it's just impossible. We can only do what we can do. There is no real way to get an easy schedule in this league, as we all see. We do it every year, but now is not the time."

On perhaps changing the October schedule
"The hard part on how tough is your schedule is that you don't really know until -- I guess they have an idea, but you really don't always know who's going to be that good come Game 6 or 7 or 8. I don't think the conference worries about trying to space out tough games and they shouldn't, because it would be too difficult. I think their concern is the travel and the rivalries that have been there and that's the way it should be. I don't think they worry about a schedule being too hard on a team competitively."

On Eric Gordon being a liability on defense
"When did I say that? Gosh almighty, I never said he was a liability. He's made some mistakes and given up some plays and he's made some plays, but if that is the case our whole team is a liability. He's found a home in the nickel spot, and I think we've gotten a good comfort level with Eric in the nickel spot. It's allowed him to use his strengths and be aggressive and make some plays. When you make a bad mistake and you are in the deep part of the field or you are playing a guy at man to man in the corner, it's a devastating effect. Eric has a playmaking mentality, which I wish more of our guys had on the back end. I do. It's a great quality and that's why we want him out on the field. And if he can just keep that within the framework of the system and know when to be aggressive and when not, he's going to make more and more plays. He will."

On being more confident in Gordon
"I think that's fair to say and he is going to keep playing. You do it by going out there and playing with consistency."

On Rod Wilks filling in after Randolph was injured
"Well, he struggled on some things. Rod does some good things. He's, of course, a great leader; he's got a lot of leadership back there. He likes to get down in the box and mix it up, but there are some times where it gets tough on him back there. You know, getting him out there in some one-on-ones and then he's also got to make a lot of checks when we were playing quarters. It was tough on him out there a few times, but he's doing well."

On decisions made at the end of the fourth quarter
"The first play, I wanted get about 10 yards so we could clock it and then get one more play and kick a field goal. Well we didn't get 10 yards, which is the worst thing you could have done and the clock's running. I only had one timeout. So I waited and said it's going to be the last play. I called it (timeout) and the more I thought about it, we were 60-something yards away from the end zone and I didn't have any confidence that Tyler could get it down that far. All I could think about was they intercept it we have to tackle the guy. So it just wasn't worth the risk to me. I just felt like let's go win it in overtime."

On Bray's struggles in the game
"He played exactly how I thought he would play, he really did. What do I mean by that? He made some throws that are special, he moves in that pocket and he can find open guys. And then he had some really bad mistakes from a thinking standpoint, either not hitting a guy as quickly as he needs to or not seeing what his protection problems were and knowing when to throw `hot,' and that caused some issues. And then he had some accuracy issues.

"So he did what I thought he would do. I thought he would do some good things and make some plays, which he did. And thank god he did - he made two great throws for touchdowns. But he also made some mistakes. He made a couple of horrible throws that resulted in 14 points for the other team."

On Bray's health possibly improving this week
"I don't know. That's a good question. We're going to find out. In fact, I've been wondering how he's going to look tomorrow (Tuesday). My expectation is he will keep getting better and better every day. The more feel he's got, the more you throw it, I don't know how he can't be. He made big progress from Tuesday to Saturday. Tuesday was not very good."

On Bray's recognition of defenses at the line of scrimmage
"He made some mistakes he probably wouldn't have made when he was in his week-to-week routine. That's the rust I talked about.

"I went into the game saying the guy's going to be rusty - even if he was 100 percent healthy he was going to make mistakes - and he's not going to have the accuracy and width he usually has on a throw, and both of those showed."

On reasons for putting Marsalis Teague at the starting right cornerback position over Justin Coleman
"Just nobody making any statement that they deserve to be a starting corner. Justin makes a lot more mistakes and has given up some huge plays that scare you. He goes and breaks up a pass and then gives up a 50-yarder, versus give up a 10-yarder, give up a 15-yarder, give up a 12-yarder. So we're feast or famine in one and we bleed on the other one."

On depth in the secondary
"We're in bad shape in the back end. If you think about it, we were on our fifth and sixth safety. If you go back to late July, we were playing with our fifth and sixth safety back there. (Brent) Brewer was injured, Randolph and Prentiss came out of the game, and of course the one (Janzen Jackson) we lost before camp. It was hard. The last series in there, B-Moore (Byron Moore) and Rod Wilks were playing safety, and B-Moore hadn't had any reps because he's been repping the nickel with Gordon."

On the kickoff return game
"The other night, Devrin (Young) muffed a ball that hurt us, and then we had one where they hit a line drive on the minus-1 and he downed it. So I think Devrin struggled a little bit with his fundamentals on the back end and that's got to come with practice. I don't think anything's different from a blocking standpoint. We've been about the same as we were and the other team did a good job.

"Same thing on punt return. The punt return game the other night, that guy hit two punts and he crossed kicked them. They went 60-something, but if you did Pythagorean theorem - you know, a-squared plus b-squared equals c-squared - I bet it was about a 75-yard kick. None of you guys have any idea what that is. That's why you write. You create a right-angle. That's the long side and you get the 90-degree. Did you make it past Algebra I? It's geometry, man."

On the defensive front's play during the second half of the season
"They've just been a lot more disruptive, especially in the run game. Getting back in the backfield, disrupting the play - but we didn't play well the last week. Here's what we're getting on d-line. Malik is playing the way we hoped he would play. He's playing really well. He's playing at a high level. Mo (Couch) is getting better every week, so Mo has really shown why we signed him and what we needed him for. When you have two guys in there who are disruptive, it wreaks havoc.

"We're still not getting what we would like from the end spot, but Willie Bohannon has been a really consistent performer. He plays with a lot of discipline, he's where he's supposed to be and that's good. But we've got to keep getting better there. We're not where we need to be but it showed up the other night."

On recent close results at Kentucky and the general difficulty of playing road games
"Yeah, and we haven't won on the road. Kentucky's always a tough play to play. I remember when I was at Georgia, we went up there and got stroked. We were probably a two-touchdown favorite. I remember when we were at LSU, we went up there and had to throw a Hail Mary to win the game and we were a big favorite.

"It's a tough place to play. I'm sure the weather will be tough and, again, it's their last home game. They are going to be geeked up and ready to go."

On Curt Maggitt not playing as much on the defensive line
"It's too much. We're so thin. We have three linebackers who are playing well and we can't afford to overload them or wear them down physically. Curt went that period in the middle of the season there when he had to have a week off because he was just beat up. We don't have enough depth to be able to do that. We'd like to, and I think it would help us. But all of a sudden you put him there and everything else starts suffering. You're robbing Peter to pay Paul.

On Maggitt's improvement covering receivers after playing a lot of defensive end in high school
"He's doing OK; he's doing fine. But he's a football player, man. I could put him at running back and he'd say, `I'm good, Coach.'"

On Bray's involvement and penalty after his interception was returned for a touchdown
"I asked what happened and they said he cut-blocked. He came off and I said, `What did you do?' He said, `Coach, the guy was coming after me. I was trying to protect myself.' And he did, he went low. When you watch it on film, he did. He's running and he sees the guy about to try to kill him and he protected himself and got low. Bray couldn't take anything out of anybody if he tried. Have you seen the guy? He couldn't take my knee out."

On Bray making a good tackle after the first interception
"He did. He came off the field and I was not in a good mood. He walks up and says, `Coach, that was a pretty good tackle wasn't it?' I said, `Can we talk about the throw?'"

On sending plays to the SEC office, like Couch being clipped during the long Vanderbilt pass play
"It was ugly. Yeah, every week we send in things to the conference as far as explaining penalties - really more for clarification and just to keep the coaches and the officials on the same page. I haven't sent that in yet; I don't know what I'm going to do. They called the penalty, so there's really nothing to report. I'm glad they saw it, but it was an ugly play."

On seeing those types of plays on film heading prior to last week's game
"They play aggressively over there and through the whistle. Some teams do that, and it was important that we kept our cool and didn't react. Our guys did a good job of that."

On Antonio Richardson possibly getting the ball in the offensive backfield
"I don't know. He looked good, man. That guy, when he saw him, just fell to the ground - `I'm not taking on that guy.' We walked in. It looked a lot better than our throws down there."

On if using the Pistol formation helped improve the running game
"I don't think so because the o-line doesn't know what's going on back there and they were hitting guys. There was just a lot more air, that's what I saw. And we did some different things schematically, but it wasn't because of the Pistol. We do them every week. But I liked it. It looked good. But we struggled - our last play of the game, we did `Victory.' That's the one thing I forgot to go over in the new formation, when you kneel on it. We had to draw that one up and we still didn't do it right."

On possibly using Bray under center this week in practice
"I don't think so. We'll just keep doing what we're doing."

On eliminating the quarterback sneak on fourth-and-inches because Bray is not under center
"Well we could still run it, but he'd be at four yards of depth. Might put Tiny (Richardson) in for the sneak."

On throwing when backed up inside the 10-yard line
"Went 0-for-6. (Throwing) was the plan. When we pulled up (their tendencies on film), 100 percent of the time they were bringing pressure and our plan was to throw it. We felt we could hit one out of three; didn't plan on going 0-for-6. But when we went 0-for-6, I told Jim, `Let's run it.' He said, `But that wasn't our plan.' I said, `But we're 0-for-6. We're not going 0-for-9.'

"It was our plan and it didn't work. We had guys open, we just didn't execute. Looking back, we should have run it. But that was discussed and planned on Wednesday, just like most of the things you see out there. Sometimes it's a good plan and sometimes it doesn't work. We probably should have adjusted the second time we went out there and that's what I would have done differently."

On the Sunday death of legendary Georgia announcer Larry Munson
"It was a really sad deal. Of course, I was at the perfect age - I was about 12, 13, 14 during the heyday, which is the age where you're old enough to know everything going on. A little bit like my boy (John Taylor), you're young enough to still look at the players in awe.

"Larry Munson, I memorized all his great ones (calls). I won't recite them for you but I still have them embedded to memory. I used to listen to the tapes at the end of the season of his great calls, and you'd memorize them. That's what you did when you were 12 years old and a fan. It's sad to see him go but he's a true legend down there.

"OK."

 

 

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