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Post Game Quotes



Nov. 21, 2009

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Head Coach Nick Saban


“We were pleased to be able to play as many players as we played today. It was great for the seniors who were acknowledged. I think that just about every senior on our team got to play in the game. It was good that the players came out and played Alabama football and got ahead in the game so that those players got an opportunity to play. We really got a lot of good work in the second half from the second team; they played the entire second half other than the first series. We were going to start the second half with our starters and let them play one series but we turned the ball over in good field position so we just went ahead and put the second-team in. I was pleased with the focus our players had and what they did. I think they showed respect for our opponent, which was very important, and I was pleased with the way we played today. I’m sure there’s a lot of things we could have done better, but we ran the ball pretty effectively, got to play a lot of players, and it was good that we didn’t have a lot of guys who had to play a whole lot of plays. Maybe that will enhance their recovery for this week.”


On Javier Arenas Breaking the Record and the Play of the Defense:

“Well I think it’s tremendous for Javy (Arenas) that he set some kind of touchdown record or whatever today, I’m not always up on those things, but we’re happy for him. It was great that they kept punting the ball to the single-gunner where they got three on the other side so we returned it to the single-gunner and he broke it out and it was great for him. He’s made a lot of big plays and it’s good for him to make a big play today. We had to do a lot of adjusting out there because there was a lot of new stuff that we had to see today, which has pretty much been the case for the defense most of the time, and I was really pleased with the way the guys adjusted. One of the adjustments we made was the quads-formation, all four receivers on the same side, was what Javy did there when he made the interception. The ability to make adaptations like that and go and execute them is a great credit to all our players.”


On a lot of players getting into the game:

“I think it was good experience for them and I think they did a good job. I’m sure that they weren’t quite as wide open in doing some of the things when they were playing to challenge them, but I was happy with the way they played, and it was great that they all had an opportunity to play. I think that experience will be valuable for them if they need to play down the road this season. I was happy with the way they played.”


On improving:

“Well in the first series, offensively we throw two incomplete passes. I’d like to see us a little sharper in the passing game, especially in the beginning of the game. We ran the ball effectively, scored points. I think we played a little better in the kicking game today and that was an advantage for us and that’s something that we need to continue to improve on. We didn’t turn the ball over, we got some turnovers on defense, and those were some good things. I think the penalties were a little disappointing. I think there were some undisciplined penalties today that we need to do without that would affect field position and certainly gave them some first downs in some critical situations after we already had them stopped so that’s not the kind of thing that we want to make a habit.”


On preparing for Auburn:

“We worked on some of our future opponents during the bye week a couple of weeks ago, so we did spend some time on it then. I think we understand what we need to do. It’s going to be difficult preparation because they do a really good job with their offense in terms of their personnel, their formations and how they utilize those things. They have a really good back, they run the ball effectively. They’ve made a lot of explosive plays in the passing game, sometimes when people don’t adjust properly and sometimes because they are trying to stop the run. This will be a challenging game for us in every way. It’s an important game for everybody that’s involved in terms of our program here, that we do a good job of getting our players ready to play their best football and our coaches will do whatever they need to do to get that done.”


On Mark Ingram

“I think Mark (Ingram) is strong and I don’t think he should be underestimated for his balance and body control, the power and strength that he has as a runner, and he’s got explosive speed to go with it. He also can change directions so you don’t get those straight-up hits on him. But, he’s done that consistently all year long. I’m sure we could have left him in there today and he could have had a huge day, but he gained 100 yards, that’s a good day’s work when you come out with 10 minutes to go in the second quarter, or whenever it was. Hopefully, that recovery will help him a little bit for what we need to get done in the future.”


On preparing in short week:

“You just have to front-end load it. Any time you play on Thanksgiving Day, whether it’s in the NFL or you have a short week, you have to get stuff done earlier in the week and try to leave the back-end the same so the players can recover and have the same routine at the end of the week. Basically, what we usually do on Tuesday we do on Monday, what we do on Wednesday we do on Tuesday, what we do on Thursday we’ll do on Wednesday. Some people take Monday off and will have a short deal on Sunday, as we give our players Sunday off and do a short deal on Monday. And a lot of that is the kicking game, and we don’t typically do a lot of hitting, which there’s some advantage to the fact that we didn’t get guys beaten up today by playing a lot of plays so hopefully their recovery and rest will get us energized earlier in the week so that we can have quality practices to get ready for the game.”


Greg McElroy

On everyone playing:

 “It was enjoyable for everybody. The fact that we were able to get our legs back underneath us a little bit and get everybody some game-time situations, which are unteachable unless you’re out there, was great.  We got some good time in and were really able to move the ball efficiently and got everybody in.  That’ll help our preparation for next week.


On the Auburn game:

 “I am looking forward to it. I think it’s the greatest rivalry in college football and it’ll be a good experience. They’re playing well and it’s at their place, which is always exciting. I can’t really forget the taste in our mouths walking out of there a couple of years ago as losers, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity. We have got a long week of preparation ahead.”


Junior Offensive Lineman Williams Vlachos

On the play of the offensive line:

“Well we didn’t have to pass the ball as much, but we treated this opponent like any other opponent. Once again our running backs did a tremendous job. It’s easy to play when you got guys like that behind you. He only played one half, but I think we got better in the half that he played in.”


On the team’s progression:

“I think we’ve gotten better every single game but these next two games are big. We can’t slack off at all. We definitely need to improve this week, especially with one day less preparation. We just have to get in the film room tomorrow and correct the mistakes we made today and go from there.”


Senior Corner/Returner Javier Arenas

On the benefits from this game:

“I think it gave us a lot of confidence going into a game against Auburn. We got the opportunity to let a lot of other guys play to become familiar with the defense so it was very helpful.”


On his big game:

“Everybody executed which made my job much easier. I didn’t have that many tackles to break off on the punt return game, and I just played my assignment on defense. Everybody communicated so it made everything that much easier.”


On breaking the TD record:

“I feel good, but it’s a team effort so I don’t really ponder too much upon individual effort.”


Senior Running Back Roy Upchurch

On the running backs:

“Us as a unit, we go out and thrive off each other, but if a guy’s hot in the beginning we all feed off of it and try to put up numbers as a group.”


On the offensive line:

“Well coming into camp that was the biggest question for us probably as a team. They come in every day and they’re probably the hardest-working group on the team. They just go out and do their job and execute. We get all the glory but they take all the hard work and make it work at the end of the day.”


Senior Linebacker Cory Reamer

On senior day:

“It was exciting for everybody. This was the last time we get to play here. It was emotional at the same time because it’s the last time we’re going to be able to play in front of our home fans. To go out like we did, like we talked about, dominating and playing really well for all these seniors that have been here for so long. Getting the first-career interception on senior day was huge.”


On the defense:

“The first-team defense did a great job stuffing them and our second-team went out and did a great job, I thought they played really well. That’s what we expect. We expected them to play at our level of football and not to play down to theirs and that’s exactly what we did today.”


Chattanooga Head Coach Russ Huesman

Opening statement:

“Obviously it was a tough one for us. We played a great football team. We’ll watch the film but I think our guys played hard. You could see they wanted to be in the game, even towards the end there. Guys like Joe Thornton, Doug Faatiliga and Steve Smigelsky. They asked to go back in on that last series. We had taken them out and substituted some younger kids in there, but they wanted to get back out and play, and that’s neat to see. We didn’t catch the ball very good. It was hard for us to get off the press coverage. We played a good football team and I don’t know if there was much we could have done to be better than this.”


On the play of his team:

“I am proud of this group. We’re 6-5. Nobody would have ever expected it. Not one person would have expected six wins this year. These guys, credit to them, they did it. They got it done.  We’re sending some of these older guys out with a winning season.”


On the dropped passes by his receivers:

“I don’t know if we would have went down and scored anyway. When they return punts and we drop some passes, it turns a maybe a 31-0 nothing game into maybe a 45-0 game. It makes it worse than what it really is, but our kids have played hard all year and we dropped some balls. It happens.”


On whether or not he considered kicking a field goal from the 22 yard line instead of going for it on fourth down:

“No. To me, and I think I said this on the radio, I didn’t feel like bragging about kicking a field goal and having three points on the board. You kick field goals to put yourself in position to win games. You don’t kick field goals just because you’re at Alabama trying to put three points on the board. That was my whole mindset. I feel bad because I probably should have let (Craig) Camay kick the ball, because I love Camay, but three points wasn’t making a big difference. Let’s go for it and see what happens.”


On Alabama’s playmakers on offense and defense:

“Julio (Jones), that’s what great receivers do. You’ve got guys on him and he bodies them out and makes a big play.  The second one, we were there but we didn’t play it real good, he’s going to catch it every time. The first one on Buster (Skrine), Buster had good position and was trying to dig it out. It was battle and he made a great catch. The second one for a touchdown, we covered him, but we didn’t cover him really good. But he’s a playmaker. He’s a great player. (Mark) Ingram, I think he had 102 yards. He gets the 40-yarder there where we are blitzing and he has a one-on-one with the safety and he makes a great move. That’s why he’s a great player. Defensively, they have some great ones on also. I would say they played good because we had 84 total yards of offense, so that’s a pretty good day by them. Their playmakers made plays on defense too.”


B. J. Coleman, No. 19, Quarterback

On playing Alabama:

“That’s a great football team that we had the opportunity to play. It is always an honor to get the chance to come out and play against a potential national champion. They have Auburn, followed by Florida in the SEC Championship coming up soon and we wish them the best of luck. That is a heck of a football team. I’m very proud of our guys here in this locker room on this side of the end, even though those guys took care of their business. I’m very proud of how we fought. I thought we did a good job of not giving up and I think you take a lot from this experience. You take a lot from seeing that crowd and the noise and things like that can affect our team and I thought we did a real good job of handling it. I thought we fought hard and it is definitely something to build on.”


On the speed of the Alabama defense creating more pressure than usual:

“There is no question they are faster (than other opponents). Their front four have been able to get pressure all year and when you add in elements like (Rolando) McClain and corner blitzes and safeties dropping, they are among the best in the country in doing that. I thought Coach had a great plan of getting the football out fast, we just have to be able to throw and catch and go back to the fundamentals of the football game and those are things that we will work on this offseason. Going from 1-11 to 6-5 is a heck of a turnaround. We have a lot of work to do. We are not complacent, we’re not satisfied at where we’re at, but we’re definitely proud of how we continue to fight.”


On feelings of returning to play in the Southeastern Conference after transferring from Tennessee:

“I got out there and I realized how much I missed all the bands and all the fans. It was awesome. It is absolutely a kid’s dream to come out and play in front of 93,000 people. That was awesome to be able to come back and play against Alabama like this. But like I said, it has been a blessing this season, just watching these guys and growing with them and watching the culture change. It has been unbelievable.


On only gaining 84 yards of offense on the day:

“It is definitely disappointing. Especially for coming in and having an option to play on such a great stage against a great football team. You always want to do well, but things happen and you get better and you learn from it and you move on. You get better over the winter and get ready for next season.”


B.J. Taylor, No. 90, Defensive Lineman

On playing the final game of his career in his home state:

“Coming out of high school in Alabama, you always want to play for the Tide, but sometimes you just can’t, so you go on to other schools. There were four or five guys out there today that I played against during high school, like (WR) Marquis Maze and (TE) Preston Dial. We are friends and we played against each other in the state championship game, so we were out there laughing and having a good time. It’s great to come back home and play in front of friends and their students, as well as family that came in from out of town to come watch me play in this atmosphere. It is a great feeling and it was a great time. Not too many people get this experience.”


On how physical Alabama played:

“They are pretty physical, but I believed we kind of held our own up front. There are some big guys out there, and they were coming real strong and real hard.”


On finishing this season with a winning record after going 0-11 last season:

“I can walk away with my head held high, knowing the seniors helped change the program around and start something that is going to be great. These coaches have come in and changed things, getting good players and making the whole city of Chattanooga and cities around Chattanooga feel that this team is going to be the team of the future. I can walk away feeling great because I helped contribute to this process.”


On recording two sacks against Alabama:

“(Alabama quarterback) Star (Jackson) was getting away. We ran a twist, and he was supposed to run the other way. (Chattanooga right end) Josh Beard came inside and made him flush out of the pocket. I saw him getting close to the sideline and he tried to give me a stutter-step, but I got the back of his jersey. He is a big guy who can run, but I made him trip and fall, so I feel great about that.”