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Alabama Football at Kentucky - Postgame Quotes



Oct. 3, 2009


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Head Coach Nick Saban
Opening statement
"That was really a tough game. They were really physical out there and I'm talking about Kentucky. They did a good job of running the ball against us. The first quarter was really tough. We decided to take the ball so we could guarantee that we would have the wind in the fourth quarter which could have been a factor if the game got any closer. It was tough starting out there with the field position we had in the second quarter but we started playing better. I think the turnovers were real key for us defensively. I think that was probably the difference in the game. We did a decent job on third down out there but they made two fourth down conversions and we had opportunities to get them stopped at the end of the game and probably didn't do as good a job as we would have liked. But I give their players a lot of credit for the way they played today, the way they competed. They played hard, they played with a lot of toughness. They ran the ball on us as well as anybody probably has for a while and I think they deserve a lot of credit. They were very physical.

"I was really pleased with the way we responded offensively out there, Greg [McElroy] really played well out there after we got started in the second quarter. He threw the ball effectively. I think Rolando McClain played an outstanding game with all the tackles he made. Certainly there are some things that we need to improve on, especially on nickel (defense packages). They ran the ball against our nickel pretty well today so we have a lot to improve on but it's always great to go on the road and win in this league. It is always tough to do. I'm proud of our players for the way that we competed in the game, the way we overcame diversity to be in the game especially in the first part of the game. Not taking advantage of a turnover early on when we had a 7-0 lead, probably was a big momentum change but we persevered and overcame it and I think that's what good teams have to do. I think the improvement has to come in some of our execution so that everybody does their job so we have a better opportunity to be more successful in more situations in the game."

On how much the wind affected them offensively in the first quarter
"The wind was swirling but for whatever reasons it was a lot easier to throw it going away from our tunnel than it was going toward it. I think it affected us a lot. I think we probably still should have tried to throw; maybe we were a little more conservative than we needed to be, and that may have affected us a little bit in terms of our ability to move the ball. But the few times that we did throw it, we floated it a little bit, especially on a couple long balls so that's what is going to happen. I though Greg did a good job managing the game, he got us in the right play. We had balance out there but this was by far the most physical, toughest game that we have had to this point."

On the 97-yard drive in the second quarter
"Well I think that was the turning point in the game. We were having a tough time changing field position. We had a three-and-out that gave them good field position again. I think the defense did an outstanding job a couple times that they got us back down there again. Hitting the tight end down the middle was a big play on third down and that got us started and gave Greg some confidence and he threw the ball effectively on that drive and that's what we needed to do the whole game."

Alabama Players
Mark Ingram, RB
On the two touchdowns at the end of the first half
"It was real big and fortunately I was able to make a play for us."

On how throwing the football more effectively is going to help the run game
"I believe so, we have a lot of weapons on offense. The more they keep loading the box the more success they are going to have, and if they double team them on the outside we'll be able to run the ball. We are just going to feed off each other."

On being more comfortable in the second half running the ball
"It is all about being patient. Our coaches are going to find the adjustments to be successful. We made adjustments at halftime and were able to squirt out a few in the second half. It is all about being patient and not getting frustrated."

#12, Greg McElroy, QB
On change between the first and second quarter
"I think it was all about making plays. First quarter we had the wind in our face and made it difficult to throw the ball. They are a tough team, all the credit to them. They have a good defense, a good physical defense and a lot of playmakers. (Micah Johnson) is a fantastic athlete and (Trevard Lindley) is a great player and just all their guys came out and played well and made it difficult for us."

On how important the touchdown drive was at the end of the half
"It was huge, we were just happy with the one touchdown. I mean you get a two touchdown swing in our favor at the end of a half, it kills all the momentum for them and leans all in our favor. We had a really good drive."

On whether UK recorded a safety on a play in the second half
"It was close, that call could have gone either way. I thought he got out, once the ball crosses the plain he's out. It's a game of inches and those are the things that decide a game. We were able to get out of the endzone and gashed them and were able to get a touchdown."

#95, Brandon Deaderick, DL
On the style of play after the second quarter
"Well, we came in from the second quarter and we knew that wasn't our style of football. We weren't being physical upfront and we weren't being as tough as we usually play. It wasn't our brand of defense, they were running it on us and that's one thing we really pride ourselves on."

On the defensive touchdown in the first half
"We had to make turnovers and that's a big thing we've been focusing on lately, fumbles, picks, batting balls down. So as you can see it helps change the momentum of the game and that really helped our confidence going into the second half."

On the momentum going into next week
"From this game we have a lot of stuff that we have to improve on, like I said earlier that wasn't the style of defense we like to play. We have a lot of stuff we need to work on. It was a great win on the road. They're a tough physical team, everybody can beat you in the SEC but we're going to go back and prepare and get ready for this next game down in Oxford ."

#82, Earl Alexander, WR
On what it's like getting consecutive third down conversions
"It's big. We play really hard every week on making third downs, whether it's third and one or third and 11, we want to convert on third down."

On Kentucky 's play in the first quarter
"They were doing what they were supposed to do. It's never about them though it's about us. We weren't executing like we were capable of doing in the first. Once we started doing it things changed."

On how important it is to get passes on the long drives
"Oh it's very important. Our offense all worked together, the running backs and receivers even on the run the defensive back really set the running back up for a big run. Of course the running game opened up the big plays for the passing game, so we just really got to keep clicking and working together."




Head Coach Rich Brooks
Opening Comment
"We ran the ball effectively enough. We didn't throw it as well as I wanted, but the thing that eventually cost us the game was mistakes. You can say some of them were forced, which they were, but four turnovers is not the formula you need with no takeaways to beat the number three team in the nation. Even some of the penalties were ill-timed. The first play of the third quarter we gained 15 yards and were into their territory and we get a late hit personal foul at the end of that play and that pushed us back out of there. It ended up a couple of those turnovers were almost scurried away. The ball popped out of (Derrick) Locke's hands and right into theirs and they ran it in for a touchdown right before the half. That was a real killer because about five or six minutes before that, it appeared we might have taken the lead with a safety down there and it wasn't quite to be and they make that big drive and they get a cheap one right after that. After they take an eight point lead, they get seven more before the half and that was very ill-timed on our part as far as that turnover and the interceptions were also killers and drive killers. Defensively we had a breakdown on that one drive where we let the tight end go down the middle against cover two. The linebacker is supposed to carry him and he dropped him. The tight end in the flat several times hurt us in converting a couple of plays on that drive. I thought overall we competed, but you can't beat a great football team making the mistakes we made."

Do you think Micah stopped them for the safety?
"I can't tell. They replayed it and said it wasn't, so I assume it wasn't."

On the passing game
"We just played the two top defenses almost in the nation that a lot of people have struggled to throw the ball against. Arkansas struggled to throw the ball on this team and Arkansas has been throwing the ball on everybody. You're going to struggle some; the turnovers were the real killer. We had our chances on a couple of those plays; the one (Chris) Matthews catches down the sideline, his foot comes down on the chalk line. We had a couple other opportunities. The protection wasn't as solid as I would have hoped all day. Overall, other than the interceptions against a great defense, I thought we did ok. You can't give up as many points as we did and expect to win the game. We were in it, but some of the things cascaded and went the wrong way on us."

On Alabama vs. Florida
"I think Alabama, defensively, is just as good as Florida, (might) be better. Offensively, they're a totally different style. I thought, other than the one run they popped, the one where we had it plugged and he jumped into the middle and popped it down the gut on us for the long touchdown. I thought we did a decent job on the running game overall. I thought they made some real good plays on us in the passing game. The tight end hurt us big time today, whether it be linebacker or safety coverage they hurt us with the tight end as much as anything in the passing game. They're a great football team and I'd expect we'll be seeing those two teams playing in the conference championship game."

On starting field position at mid-field a couple times
"It was huge. We needed to convert something and try to get some points on the board because you're not going to get much better field position than that and our defense was doing a great job. I thought Ryan (Tydlacka) was doing a great job punting them down into the hole a couple times and our defense held. We got the ball in great field position. Randall (Cobb) got about what he could out of the punt returns and we were in good shape and we couldn't capitalize on it. It was a key thing."

How do you think Mike Hartline did today?
"Anytime you throw three interceptions, even though one was tipped up like a volleyball set, and Randall tried to spike it, but wasn't quite tall enough. The first one was bad, he threw it right to him, running to his right and threw back late to the middle, it just wasn't very good. I thought he overcame that and made some very good throws later in the fourth quarter. We need to help him more with protection and we need to do a better job, the one that was tipped up in the air could have been caught, but it wasn't. It's a work in progress, it's difficult to go out and throw the ball against that defense when many of the times we were throwing when they knew we had to throw. They give you a lot of different looks, they give you a lot of different pressures, and they give you a lot of different coverages. Mike Hartline didn't play as well as I`d like, but he's our best option and we'll go forward with that."

Talk about the play of (Alabama linebacker Rolando) McClain
"Most guys don't have linebackers that are 258 and run like that. He's a big time player and I know they took a blow when they lost (Dont'a) Hightower, but it looks like McClain took up the slack for him a little bit. He's a man-child out there. He's a great football player. He'll be playing on Sundays along with some of those guys around him."

On Derrick Locke
"(Derrick) Locke is a warrior. He's not as big as a lot of backs, but he completes. The fumble was a killer right before the half, that's his second. He's only fumbled twice in his career, but they both came at pretty bad times. He's really becoming an all-around football player. He can do a lot of things, catch the ball, run the ball. He gets the hard yards as well. We've just got to make sure we protect the ball a little better."

On special teams and kicking game
"There were only two bad plays in the kicking game, the opening kickoff coverage and the fake field goal. We had a feeling (it) was coming because the only way they could lose the game was to have a field goal blocked or to get tied even with the five yard penalty and we had the guy tackled, but he broke the tackle so it looked pretty stupid on our part. Other than those two plays I thought our kicking game really gave us an advantage. I think we got pretty good field position out of our kicking game, and our returns, punt and kickoff returns. I thought Ryan, other than the last one into the wind that hung up there forever, I thought he did a good job punting. And (Lones) Seiber had two 49 yard field goals. I guess the good thing is that he didn't get the school scoring record on a cheap one. He got it on a hard one."

On the SEC schedule
"SEC, here we go baby. It's very, very difficult in this league. We've just got to try and get as healthy as we can. We've got to go on the road now and steal a couple of wins. We're 2-2 overall, 0-2 in the league, we can still do some damage, I think we're a decent football team. If we can clean up our mistakes, I think we've got a shot going forward at just about anybody we line up against. But we can't continue to make the mistakes we made today."

Kentucky Players

#91, Corey Peters, DT
On taking something away from this game
"I feel like we had some good moments. I don't feel like we put it all together. I think the defense played well in the first half and the offense played better in the second half. The second half the defense just didn't play as well as we needed to, that's the end of the story. Of course the turnovers hurt us. When the defense is put on the field it is our job to stop the opponent and we didn't do a good job of that in the second half."

On the impact of errors in today's game
"I think it was a momentum killer. I thought the crowd was really into the game even after Alabama's long drive but then I felt like heading into the locker room at half time everybody was more down than they should have been. Coming out into the second half and not getting something going also hurt our momentum."

On stopping errors in the future
"We have to keep getting better. I don't know how to explain it or why it's happening. I think we have to stay focused and continue to get better. I think we did some good things defensively today we just weren't able to sustain it the way we should have."

#20, Derrick Locke, TB
On the impact of his turnover on his play the rest of the game
"It messed with my head but my coaches and teammates kept reminding me that I needed to have a short memory. I told them I would make up for it and continue to make plays and that's what I did. I thought about it the whole game because I felt like I let my team down. I have no idea what the outcome of the game would have been had I not lost the ball. It's over now and there's nothing I can do about it."

On positive things against Alabama as opposed to last week against Florida
"One thing I felt good about was that my team did not give up. We continued to battle throughout the game. The offensive line stepped up big time today even when nobody in the country thought they would. I hope we continue to build on that for the future games."

#21, Winston Guy, FS
On the defense
"Every time we play, the defense is confident in each other. Everybody has their own assignments and they do what they have to do to make plays. Throughout practice, we try to communicate with each other and make sure everyone knows the right plays. We also make sure everyone is focused throughout the week and throughout the game. We can't lose our composure."

On suffering two losses in a row
"It just motivates us to come out and play hard. We want to go through practice next week and make sure we clear up our mistakes. We also want to make sure we are a team, and not down, because we lost to the No. 3 team in the nation. Everybody has to come together as a team and play together."

On playing two SEC road games in a row
"We can't think of the (South Carolina) game as a must-win because if we do that, there will be too much pressure on everyone. We have to go out there and play every game for 60 minutes. We also have to play full-throttle football. Everyone has to come together as a team."

#72, Zipp Duncan, OT
On suffering two losses in a row
"We had a few unlucky breaks and it seemed like the game got away from us. For the second week in a row we showed that if we can get things clicking, we could move the ball effectively through the air and run the ball. That is the kind of stuff we need to build on going into these next couple of games on the road. That is what it will take to win SEC football games."

On keeping confidence in the team
"I definitely have confidence in the team. Today I fee like we showed what kind of team we are. We will fight and we won't back down. We need to take these positives and move on to South Carolina, they are a team who has given us problems in the past. In order to move forward to where we want to go, they are a team we need to beat. We need to improve every week to improve in the SEC."

On quarterback Mike Hartline
"I don't think you can ever blame a game on one guy, or criticize him because the offense isn't moving. It takes 11 guys on the same page, all doing the same thing and communicating. We are behind Mike 100 percent, and we know he is our best option to win. Fans have the right to their opinion, but that's not what we're focused on. We are focused on the team and moving forward together."

#36, Lones Seiber, K
On his career long 49-yard field goals
"That was actually my career long, so I was pretty stoked about it, but it's whenever my team needs me I'll go in and do what I can do. It helps my team has confidence in me and it was a good game for my confidence."

On what having the scoring record means to him
"It means a lot to me, I wish I could have had it sooner. Having this record coming into my senior year reflects of my up and down career. Now that it's here and it's over with its time to move forward."

On how exciting it is to have his name in the record books
"It's real exciting. I didn't think much of it; I just let it come to me. I was always focused on making sure I had a good game and I had a fairly good one today."

On the top memories of his college career
"The LSU game is definitely the top one. I'm sure there are a couple of other ones but this season is what I'm really focused on and making sure the coaches and players could say I had a good year."

#18, Randall Cobb, WR
On how No. 3 Alabama compares to No. 1 Florida
"They're both really good teams. They are the No. 1 and No. 3 team in the nation. This week we actually played with them and had a chance to win, but we killed ourself."

On what the team takes from the last two weeks
"As hard as we fought today, we turned the ball over. If we can eliminate those turnovers, I think we can play with anybody."

On how Mike Hartline played
"He played good. Everything that happened wasn't his fault. Everybody has to realize that. When playing quarterback you get all the glory for a win and if you lose all the bad stuff comes with it."

On if the team is losing confident in Mike Hartline
"No. I think we have to eliminate the mistakes. I don't' think anybody is losing confidence in him because we know what he can do. If we can eliminate these mistakes he'll be fine."

On picking up the pieces and realizing they're still eight games left
"There is a lot to do. We have to come back and watch the film and see the mistakes we made and get those corrected."

On his 45-yard touchdown catch
"It was just a designed call where we went deep and Mike threw an excellent ball. I made a play on it and scored a touchdown."

On if he feels better about himself and the team even though they lost again
"Yea I do, definitely. After playing the No. 3 team in the nation as close as we did. We had opportunities to win this game, we just shot ourselves in our foot. That is going to be the biggest thing, correcting mistakes and getting rid of penalties."

On if it's good to get away from Lexington for the next two games
"Going on the road anytime is going be hard, especially with a team like South Carolina with their fanbase then going to Auburn, those are two tough places to play and we're just going to have to get our stuff together. It's going to be harder for us to go away on the road."

#5, Mike Hartline, QB
On the game
"Turnovers were the key in this game. I'm sure if we had minimized those then it would have been a closer game."

On his first interception
"I was trying to make a play but didn't have enough on it. There could have been something there. Looking back on it, I was trying to get something to happen but it would have been better to have thrown it away. It's just one of those things that is tough to do. It's a great play if you make it, but ultimately you have to take better care of (the ball)."

On if he feels down after the loss
"I'm not very down. The only reason I'm not very down is that we responded and kept playing and didn't think we were out of it. We tried to play hard. We knew we had to keep going and that there was no giving up in this game. I'm happy the way our guys responded and kept going down the field. We put 20 points up on (Alabama). We wanted more but there were a lot of turnovers that we can't have. We just have to capitalize on field position and do better with taking care of the football."

On if facing two top-three teams for the second consecutive week helped Kentucky
"We have to take maturity from great defenses (in Florida and Alabama). We faced two of the best defensive squads out there with a lot of great athletes. We will face more good defenses and great athletes. When you play against the best you are definitely going to improve. It is the same when you compete against the best in practice. I think it helped us today in that we played faster and helped us realize that when we play some of the best defenses out there that we can still make plays and still have a good ground game."

On if he was encouraged with how Kentucky ran the ball
"I was, because we had a good, simple game plan coming in with running the football. We felt that if we got on the edge with them and made things happen we would let our running backs make plays. I'm happy with how the (running backs) responded. It makes my life easier. Yet again, we have to take better care of the football and cut down on mistakes."

On his confidence
"I'm still confident. Mistakes are going to happen and it is just how you respond to them. If I got down on myself and frustrated it wouldn't look good for our offensive linemen, receivers and the whole team. They still look to me to be positive, not lose my cool and keep pushing. If I was down for tomorrow and the next coming week, we would not have a good game against South Carolina. I always have to stay positive, poised and confident. Mistakes happen, but you just have to respond and keep playing."

#29, Alfonso Smith, TB
On running the ball offensively against Alabama
"I felt like we were running the ball pretty good against them. There were a couple plays here and there that shifted the momentum to Alabama. It's tough."

On the loss compared to last week
"Yeah I feel a lot better, but we just need to cut back on the turnovers. We can't have that when playing against a top team in the SEC, or any team in the SEC. We can't have that."

On scoring a touchdown
"It feels ok, I felt like I broke the ice because I hadn't scored yet. I feel like the most important thing is to try to win the game and we didn't accomplish that."

On the mindset of the team now vs. last week
"I feel like our mindset is stronger, we have a lot of belief in ourselves, we just can't shoot ourselves in the foot. I'm going to go out there and do my part, and everyone else needs to do their part, too.

#4, Micah Johnson, LB
On getting ready for next week
"We need to be more mentally prepared, know our assignments and take care of the football. We pinned them down a few times in their own endzone, and we just have to capitalize on things like that."

On Alabama's running game compared to UF
"Alabama was more of a downhill running team. We knew what they were going to try to do, and that they were going to come in here and try to blow us out with the run, and I felt like our defense held up pretty good against it."