UT-Kentucky Postgame Quotes

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Tennessee Head Coach Phillip Fulmer

Opening Statement…
“First of all, what a way to make a living, huh? Obviously a great football game, I compliment Kentucky, and their effort, with the way they came back. I compliment Coach Brooks, particularly with what they did on the offensive side of the football. Coach Sanders and all those guys, and whoever was calling their plays.

“Our team has some shortcomings in some areas, but heart and fight aren’t one of them. I think at one time during the season we were 1-2, and everyone had given us up for dead. We had one of those Sunday night player meetings, where you pound on the podium and tell them what they need to do if we want to be a better football team, and to their credit, they have listened and have worked by staying the course. It’s been a great group of players to be around. They go to practice, they work and give their very, very best effort. Here we are, after several weeks ago we were given up for dead, going back to Atlanta in the SEC Championship to represent the East Division for the fourth time since 2001. I’m pretty pleased with that, obviously.”

On the team’s run since the loss to Alabama on October 20th…
“It’s gratifying being around the players, coaches and fighting. The encouragement and attitude that they have is great. We have a stick that the Marines use for training, where two guys wrestle for it. Greg Johnson gave it to us - one of our outstanding players and one of the first soldiers in Iraq. We used that last year, and against Arkansas, (Darren) McFadden kind of took it away from us. But this year we brought the stick back when we played Arkansas, and it just tells our guys to hold on. It’s to remind us to keep fighting and scratching. But this is very gratifying to accomplish this with this football team.”

On the team improving after the loss to Alabama…
“We played poorly on both sides of the ball in that ballgame, as poorly as we’ve played. But I knew that there were better days ahead as long as we don’t just give people plays, we don’t turn the ball over and we improved in the kicking game. We were very proactive in certain situations and we took some chances at times and tried to make improvements like good teams need to make in order to improve. Going all the way back to the Georgia win, I couldn’t ask for anything else from this football team except for one more. We’re going to try and get one more.”

On extending the winning streak to 23 games in a row versus Kentucky…
“It’s not just another win. That’s a classic football game right there. It’s a classic football game that both sides will be talking about for a long, long time. Again, I give Kentucky credit, and Coach Brooks and his staff great credit. It was a true battle. In the SEC, you don’t get better football than you saw tonight.”

#10 Erik Ainge, QB

On winning in the fourth overtime…
“I’ve personally never played four overtimes to win a game, especially under these circumstances. We were trying to get to the SEC Championship game and it was really special to have Coach (Randy) Sanders on the sidelines.”

On scoring a touchdown and executing the two-point conversion…
“That was huge for them (Kentucky) to know they have to score and get the conversion. The odds are really slim when you have to do that to tie the game. I knew we couldn’t hold anything back when we were going for two. Even if guys are coming free and you’re going to get drilled, it doesn’t matter in that situation.”

On advancing to the SEC Championship game…
“This is the fourth time we have won the East since 2001, and we need to play our best game in Atlanta. We will enjoy this win for now and then get back to work tomorrow by watching tape.”

#27 Arian Foster, TB

On losing a big lead…
“We knew they (Kentucky) have an explosive offense and have great play-calling. We tried to keep running the clock and pressure them in the backfield.”

On the emotional win…
“No one has really given us a shot all season. The backbone of this team has been heart, and Coach (Phil) Fulmer preaches that to us in the locker room. We play with heart, and we take our wins however we can get them.”

#55 Dan Williams, DT

On his six sacks…
“We came into this game trying to put pressure on Andre’ (Woodson). We knew that if he had time to throw the ball, he would make some big plays.”

On blocking the field goal in overtime…
“It all happened so fast. I tried to make a block after I saw that we came up with the ball. It was a desperation block, and we knew we would lose if we didn’t block it.”

Kentucky Head Coach Rich Brooks

“This was a very difficult game to lose, especially after we came back so well in the second half. It was extremely disappointing how we played the first 30 minutes. The biggest difference in the game was that they got two scores off of takeaways and when we got our takeaways, we didn’t get much out of them. We didn’t run the ball quite as well as I wanted. We ended out spreading the field in the second half a lot to keep them off-balance a little bit. We had a chance to win it in overtime with a field goal, but they made a great surge and got real high. The kick was a little low. That was very, very difficult. Then, we get a break with a penalty in the last overtime and we bust the coverage and give it to them on one play. It was a great college football game, but the way I look at it, the wrong team ended up winning. The streak lives. ”

On the loss…
“This is a very, very difficult loss for us after the way we came back. We came off of the deck at halftime and came out and competed in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. We had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, and didn’t quite get it done and the overtime saga began. It’s very deflating. I guess I am glad we have a little time before the next game, wherever it may be.”

On Kentucky’s final two-point conversion attempt…
“Andre’ was looking and couldn’t see anybody. Then he tried to scramble and didn’t see the guy coming around behind him. He was trying to make up his mind whether to run it in or find a receiver. He slowed down to look and the guy got him.”

On his thoughts on the chances of another come-from-behind victory…
“Well, we’ve won quite a few games this way this year coming from behind. I was pretty confident as our players were that we were going to do it again after we had tied it up in regulation. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it done this time.”

On what he told the team in the locker room after the game…
“I just told them that I was sick. I was proud of the effort they made coming back. We dug ourselves such a big hole that a lot of teams wouldn’t have come back from. We did and got into position with a chance to win. We had several chances to win it and didn’t accomplish it. But I am disappointed for our seniors, disappointed for our fans and disappointed about a lot of things. 8-4 is a lot better than 7-5. Now Tennessee goes to the championship game and we wait to see what we are going to do. We are just very, very disappointed for those seniors to leave when this could have been a great finish for them. But you have to give Tennessee credit, they made a lot of good plays.”

#13 Steve Johnson, WR

On the potential game-winning field goal…
“I thought it was over. All we had to do was get a field goal and the game would be a wrap and the streak would be over. Everyone is hurting after this game no matter where you are from. Since this was senior day everyone was very emotional but we still have one more game to win so we can leave UK and end of season with a win as long as we keep our head in it.”

On Andre’ Woodson…
“Andre’ has been playing well all year. It started with EKU until now; he has been taking care of things on the field. He is still my Heisman and he is still my man. He took this loss hard but we still have another game to get him another win.”

#66 Jason Leger, OG

On the game…
“This was a tough loss. Since I came here Tennessee was the team that I wanted to beat. Every guy has team that they want to beat but Tennessee was always my team. The problem today was that we made too many mistakes. As a team we came together to have a shot at winning but we couldn’t overcome the deficit we were in. This is the toughest loss for me while at Kentucky.”

On this being his last game…
“Coach Brooks has been telling us for a long time that once you are an ex-player these games mean a lot more to you. Now that I am a senior I know that coach is right. I wanted this win more than any game my entire time here at Kentucky. At the end of the day the problem was we didn’t execute and we got beat.”

#19 Keenan Burton, WR

On how tough the loss was…
“This loss is definitely number one on my list of tough losses. There are no words to describe how we’re feeling right now. It’s all really hard. Coach had confidence in us. He knew we’d been in a lot of situations like this. We all thought we’d overcome.”

On what he was thinking after Tennessee threw an interception in the third overtime…
“I thought we had won; I thought it was over. We just didn’t make enough big plays to win the game. So far this season we’ve been good at making the big plays and coming from behind. It just didn’t happen today.”

#99 Jeremy Jarmon, DE

On the game…
“It was a tough loss. We put ourselves in a bad situation from the start, and we had to make a lot of adjustments to get ourselves back in the game. We did a good job in the second half of overcoming the situation we were in.”

On how the loss affects the seniors…
“It hurts. We really wanted to send those guys out on a high note. Now all we can do is look forward to the bowl game and try to make up for what happened today.”

(Quotes courtesy UTSports.com)


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