Tide Defeats South Florida in Coach Shula's Debut, 40-17

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Saturday, August 30, 2003

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula Quotes

"It's good to get that first win.  This is something that we wanted for the players and all of their hard work.  It was nice to have that pay off.  We felt that if we could win that first game we could gain a little confidence.  We made some big plays and tied it up going into halftime giving us some momentum.  We came out and gained some rhythm in the second half and from that point on, we started to roll.  It feels really good."

On getting behind early:

"I was looking at our players reactions because I don't know these guys that well yet.  I was hoping it would be positive and it was.  Guys were frustrated, and we were close on a few things but just couldn't get into a rhythm.  Football is a game of momentum and if things don't go well, you just have to stick with it and keep believing.  We felt like we had gained the momentum going into halftime."

"South Florida did a nice job, and I think we struggled with their quickness.  We were able to adjust."

On the emotions of his first game as head coach:

"I was very excited, just like I was as a player.  When I came out of the tunnel here at Legion Field, it felt just like when I would come out as player here.  Having my family here was very special, especially since it was their first time here in Legion Field.  My dad (Don Shula) has never been to a game at Legion Field or Bryant-Denny."

On deep ball to Zach Fletcher in 1st half: 

"It was an icebreaker for our offense and got us into a rhythm. It was an outstanding throw by Brodie (Croyle) and an outstanding catch."

On Brodie Croyle's Play In Game:

"He did a nice job of being a field general. He found open guys and didn't force the ball in there. He did a nice job at the end of the first half of making the play and still leave us time to get a field goal. We told him to keep throwing the ball and don't think too much."

On South Florida's no huddle: 

"We tried to simulate their no huddle in practice. We were frustrated at first but once we got into a rhythm we were able to make plays."

"The guys are in great shape, and this team deserves all the credit. A lot of the attention has been focused on me this week but these guys are the ones who have been working hard and they're the ones who went out there and made the plays. It feels good to get this one behind us. We have to get into a rhythm earlier next week."

University of Alabama Player Quotes

Brodie Croyle:

"We started out like it was practice.  We weren't on time.  We kind of came out dead.  That two-minute drill at the end of the half gave us a spark.  After that we started hitting our stride.  We started doing what we've been doing all camp.  We went out there and we felt confident the whole second half.  We put two really big drives together and that really kind of stuck it in them. 

"Oklahoma speaks for itself.  We are going to sit back and enjoy this one for the night and tomorrow morning, that's when our direction goes to Oklahoma.  South Florida came in here and gave us a really good game.  They're going to have a really good season.  They're going to win a lot of games."

Charlie Peprah:

(On INT for touchdown) "I just made a play.  I saw the opportunity and I took it.  That's the thing about our secondary.  You're going to see a lot more plays like that.  Plays made by not just me, but by Charles (Jones), Roman (Harper) and Anthony (Madison) - the whole secondary."

"You're going to see a lot of great plays from us.  Everybody is going to watch out for our secondary this year."

Shaud Williams:

"We started off slow but we showed our heart and determination coming out.  I think we easily could have folded when it was 17-7 and things were not going our way.  But we just kept at it and came out on top."

South Florida Head Coach Jim Leavitt Quotes

"I was disappointed. I thought we were doing okay being tied going into half time. I thought we had a real shot. I didn't know we were worn down like we were. My biggest disappointment was the punt return."

"You've got to give Alabama credit. They shut us out in the second half. I was disappointed that we didn't play the second half."

"We really had our shots the first half. We had fourth and an inch. I thought our guys were ready to play. I obviously didn't do enough at halftime."

"It was hot. We knew it was going to be hot. We had a lot of guys cramping up."

"It's a bad feeling. It kind of stinks. I don't enjoy losses. They bother me. We've obviously got to do a better job coaching and the players have to do more playing. I really came in thinking we could win this ballgame. You've just got to execute, and we didn't. I don't think we really had any excuses. These guys have been around. They've played football."

USF Player Quotes

Brian Fisher:

"I didn't think they had the upper hand until the fourth quarter. We just went out and played hard. We never expected to lose."

"I couldn't tell you (what went wrong). We just didn't get the job done."

"The Bama defense in the first half, I didn't think they were very good, but they kicked in in the second half."

Huey Whittaker:

"I think the key play was an early interception. That was what shifted the momentum."

"It (the heat) was as intense as what we practice in every day, so I don't think it was a factor. You're going to get hot and banged up. That's just part of the game."

"I feel like we let a win slip away. We had them on their heels. Our mistakes made us lose the game."

Terrence Royal:

"We didn't come prepared."

"I think the momentum changed in the second half and that's what caused the mental breakdown."

Maurice Jones:

"We shut them down pretty much in the first half but then we just let it go. Turnovers were the key. With the interception in the first half and the fumbles in the red zone."