FIU Game: Post Game Notes & Quotes

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University of Alabama vs. FIU
Homecoming Game – Bryant-Denny Stadium
Post-game Notes and Quotes
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
10/28/06

Alabama Football Mike Shula post game quotes

“It was a good Homecoming win. We played better in the second half. Our defense played well the whole game. Offensively, we struggled some. We got some guys nicked up. Jimmy Johns is still hobbling a little bit. Kenneth Darby is another one. We’re going to try to get John Parker Wilson better. The game goes by fast. There weren’t many plays for each team. I’m glad we won the game and glad its over. We are ready to move on.”

“I really liked the way Jimmy Barnes handled himself on that last drive. He’s got good poise. It was good to see him make good throws and get his feet wet. We are trying to get these young guys more experience. Mike McCoy almost had a touchdown catch. He is a good player that can catch the football. It’s good to see Will Oakley in there.”

On John Parker Wilson ’s injury: “I was scared. That’s how it is when any of your starters go down. He is probably going to be sore, but we will get him treatment and hopefully he’ll be ready to go next week.”

“Le’Ron McClain is a great leader for our team. He is so emotional. He has fun during the game and at practice. He is very vocal, kind of like DeMeco Ryans was last year, except he is a little more vocal than DeMeco was. He is a true leader.”

“We wanted to throw the ball a little early on them. Their corners did a good job covering our receivers. Their #42 is as good as any player we’ve seen all year. Travis McCall said that he was the best guy he’s played against.”

“We’re going to watch this tape and get things corrected. Mississippi State has had a good defense the last couple of years. It looks like they were in a shootout today so the offense is coming around.”

University of Alabama Player Quotes

John Parker Wilson :

On how ankle sprain happened: “It was a screen pass, and I tried to get away from the defender.  He tackled me and brought me down by my ankle.  It wasn’t a cheap play.  That’s just the only thing he could get, and it kind of twisted up on me.  I have a little sprain.  They are calling it a sprained ankle.”

“I only missed one series. I came back out after half time.  They just wanted to take a look at it on the sidelines. After the last series, I came back after the half.”

“Anytime you get hit, I twisted it and didn’t know what to think. If felt pretty bad when it happened. It’s loosened up since then. I got a little banged up but came back and played the second half.”

On teammates’ reaction to his injury: “Actually, I beat them in (to the locker room) because I left before halftime. They came over and everybody was upbeat and positive. I kind of knew I was going to get back out there because it wasn’t serious.”

On talk with Mike Shula at halftime: “He asked me how I was feeling. I told him I felt like I could go back in. The doctors said it would be fine. I felt like it was safe to go back out there. We just made the decision out there on the field.”

On Jimmy Barnes: “He did pretty good. He started throwing it around in the second half. He looks good. He’s a good quarterback. I think the more reps he gets the better off we’re going to be. I think he definitely got better today.”

On FIU’s defense: “We knew they were a good defense. Coming in they were ranked (the defense). They were ranked pretty highly. They had a lot of guys missing. The guys they had were tremendous athletes. We just struggled there in the first series. It took us a while to get going.”

Tim Castille:

“Anytime you can get a win and get some new guys in there, it’s a good situation.”

On John Parker Wilson ’s injury: “He’s a fighter. I knew Jimmy was going to have to come in so I told him to calm down, don’t do anything crazy; let him throw his reps and let us get out of the half and come back and regroup. JP is a fighter. I kind of saw him in the back. They were taping him up. I knew he was going to come back. Anytime you see your first-team guy go down, it’s not good.”

On Javier Arenas’s punt return: “Our first series we went three and out and it was a battle. We wanted to step up offensively and get that touchdown and we don’t have to go on the field. Anytime that happens, that is big.”

On a talk the coaches had with the team last week:

“I talked last week about Coach not having confidence in us.  The he comes back two times and gives us the ball on the one yard line and I didn’t get the job done.  It was tough for me because I know that was big.  He showed what a good coach he is to come back in another situation and he still gave us the ball.  I believe that he does have more confidence in us that I really thought.  It was good for us to get that ball in the end zone.” 

Jimmy Johns:

On how he is used: “Basically, it’s something we have in. We’ve been practicing it and we had an opportunity to work on it today. A lot of the other guys, like in the Arkansas game or one of the home games, we were trying to get it started but we had some penalties and different things like that to slow it up. Today it was kind of moving and I hope we continue to run it.”

“There are so many things you can do. You can run the option. You can run a read. You can run play action or you can drop back and pass it. There are so many things you can do out of that package. I just hope that the fans and everybody else can see.”

“We have faith in Jimmy Barnes. He’s on scholarship just like us. He was recruited tops out of the nation at quarterback. We’re all behind him. If JP is not able to go next week, then we all have full confidence in Jimmy Barnes. He came in, it was in front of 92,000 people; you can tell how he relaxed with the touchdown in the fourth quarter. We are all confident in him.”

Le’Ron McClain:

“We were trying to get everybody up. I knew what I had to do. The breaks didn’t go our way the first half and we had to shake it off. It’s a good thing the game is four quarters. We came out the second half and had a great second half as a team.”

On the special teams and defense helping offense: “That’s a big plus. You have to win games in three aspects; we were the better special teams today, and we came out with the victory.”

“That is big. Coach always tells us we have to win at home, a win at home will be good. So that starts us off with this four games winning streak (goal) getting this one out of the way. There’s confidence throughout our team. If John Parker can’t go, JB (Jimmy Barnes) is confident in what he can do.”

On Mississippi State game: “That’s big. Mississippi State players play hard every game. We have to come in starting tomorrow and see how great we can practice and get ready for the Bulldogs.”

ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE FOOTBALL NOTES

PREGAME NOTES:  The Alabama game captains for the 2006 Homecoming game were senior fullbacks Tim Castille (Birmingham) and Le’Ron McClain (Northport) and senior defensive lineman Chris Harris (Tuscaloosa) ... The Alabama Alumni cheerleaders and Alumni Million Dollar Band performed on the field prior to today’s game ... The Million Dollar Band Association made a $50,000 contribution to the Capstone Fund ... Alabama won the coin toss and deferred its option to the second half ... Florida International defended the north goal ... The kickoff time was 2:09 p.m. (CDT) ...

PREGAME FLYOVER:  The 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard based at Dannelly Field in Montgomery performed the flyover prior to today’s game ... One of the participants was Major Jon Shultz, who is the son-in-law of former Alabama quarterback and Mobile native, Scott Hunter.  Shultz is married to Hunter’s daughter, Air Force JAG Major Mary Scott Hunter-Shultz, who is also an Alabama undergraduate and law school grad.  Jon Shultz is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and just recently (Aug. 2006) earned his master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering through the Quest program.

PARTICIPATION:  Alabama dressed 114 players for its homecoming game with Florida International ... FIU dressed only 60 players for the game ... The Crimson Tide used 69 players in the win over FIU ... Alabama had four players make their Crimson Tide debut in the win over the Golden Panthers ... Junior linebacker Kenneth Vandervoort (Anniston) made his debut with three snaps on defense on FIU’s final possession ... Redshirt freshman Brian Selman (Vestavia Hills) made his UA debut as the snapper on UA’s last extra point attempt ... Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Brandon Fanney (Morristown, Tenn.) made his Alabama debut with one snap on the defensive line on FIU’s last possession ... Sophomore Trent Dean (Decatur) made his UA debut on Alabama’s final kickoff of the game ... Junior defensive lineman Justin Johnson (Tuscaloosa) made his 2006 debut with one snap on the defensive line on the Golden Panthers final possession ... Johnson made his Alabama debut in last year’s homecoming win over Utah State ...

STARTING LINEUPS:  Sophomore offensive lineman Marlon Davis (Columbus, Ga.) made his second career start today against Florida International ... Davis’ only other career start came against Southern Mississippi during the 2005 season ... He started at right guard in place of sophomore B.J. Stabler (Grove Hill) ... Stabler did not see action in the FIU game ... Stabler had played in 19 consecutive games and logged 18 consecutive starts before the game today ... Sophomore Will Oakley (Ponta Vedra Beach, Fla.) made his third consecutive start at wide receiver ... Sophomore Rashad Johnson (Sulligent) made his second consecutive start at free safety ... Junior wide receiver Keith Brown (Pensacola, Fla.) missed his second straight game with a knee injury ...

HOMECOMING GAMES:  Alabama celebrated its 86th Homecoming today against Florida International ... Alabama improved to 72-13-1 all-time in homecoming games after the 38-3 win today ... Alabama has won its last two homecoming games by a combined 73-6 score ... The Crimson Tide beat Utah State 35-3 in last year’s home homecoming win ... The 35-point win over FIU was the Crimson Tide’s largest homecoming win since a 42-7 victory over Ole Miss in 2002 ... 

SPECIAL TEAMS:  The Alabama special teams turned in two big plays in the win over Florida International ... Senior Forress Rayford (Mobile) blocked a punt a Chris Cook (3-yard punt) in the second quarter to set up the Crimson Tide’s first touchdown ... Alabama has blocked a punt in three straight games ... In addition to Rayford’s blocked punt today, Alabama also blocked a punt against Ole Miss (Justin Woodall) and Tennessee (Marcel Stamps) ... Freshman Javier Arenas (Tampa, Florida) recorded Alabama’s first punt return for a touchdown in four years when he electrified the crowd with a 65-yard return to give the Tide a 17-3 lead in the third quarter ... Arenas’ touchdown was the first by Alabama since Shaud Williams had a 73-yard punt return against South Florida in Mike Shula’s first game as head coach ... Arenas had five punt returns for 81 yards in the game ... Junior place kicker Jamie Christensen (Norcross, Ga.) drilled a 46-yard field goal in the win ... Freshman punter P.J. Fitzgerald (Coral Springs, Fla.) punted six times in the win for a 34.8 yard average, including a long punt of 44 yards ... Five of six punts landed inside the 20-yard line ...

JOHN PARKER WILSON:  John Parker Wilson (Hoover) improved to 6-3 (.667) as the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback following today’s win over Florida International ... Wilson completed 8 of 13 passes for 72 yards and one touchdown ... Wilson suffered an ankle injury on the Crimson Tide’s final possession of the first half and played only two series in the third quarter ...

KENNETH DARBY:  Senior running back Kenneth Darby (Huntsville) ran 10 times for 70 yards (7-yard average) in the win over Florida International ... He had a 33-yard run, which was his second-longest of the season ... For the season, Darby has 158 rushing attempts for 672 yards in nine games ... In his 42 game career, Darby has 650 rushing attempts for 3,171 yards for the Crimson Tide ...

ALABAMA NOTEBOOK:  Alabama forced two turnovers in the win over FIU ... Alabama has forced at least one turnover in 39 of 46 games under coach Mike Shula, including eight of nine games this year ... The Crimson Tide has forced 22 turnovers (14 interceptions and eight fumbles) in nine games this season ... Junior defensive back Simeon Castille (Birmingham) recorded his team-leading third fumble recovery (11-yard return) of the season in the third quarter that led to his brother Tim Castille’s one-yard TD run that gave Alabama a 24-3 lead ... Senior Ramzee Robinson (Huntsville) recorded his first career touchdown against FIU ... Robinson’s 34-yard interception return gave Alabama a 31-3 lead in the fourth quarter ... Robinson has four career interceptions  and two this season for Alabama ... Bama is 6-0 at home this season, following its 38-3 win over Florida International ... Alabama improves to 15-0 all-time against Sun Belt Conference teams, including a 2-0 mark this season ... Alabama also beat Louisiana Monroe 41-7 on Sept. 16, 2006 ... Alabama’s two wins over Sun Belt Conference teams this season have been by a combined 79-10 score ... The 35-point win over FIU is the largest victory margin of the season for Alabama ... The Crimson Tide posted a 34-point win over ULM earlier this year ... The 35-point win is the third-largest victory margin under Shula ... Alabama beat Western Carolina (52-0) in 2004 and Mississippi State (38-0) in 2003 for two largest margins of victory ... Junior wide receiver DJ Hall (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) had his streak of five straight 100-yard game snapped today against FIU ... Hall finished the game with two catches for 27 yards ... Junior wide receiver Matt Caddell (McCalla) had three catches for 29 yards and one touchdown in today’s win ... All three catches came on the Crimson Tide’s final scoring drive ... Caddell had a 14-yard catch on the first play of the 11-play scoring drive and then added a nine-yard catch on a fourth-and-seven from the FIU 28-yard line ... He capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown reception ... It was his second career TD catch and first since the 2004 season ... Redshirt freshman fullback Baron Huber (Knoxville, Tenn.) recorded his first career reception (6 yards) against FIU ...

NEXT GAME:  Alabama hosts the Mississippi State Bulldogs next Saturday, Nov. 4, 2006 at Bryant-Denny Stadium ... The game will be televised regionally by Lincoln Financial Sports with kickoff set for 11:34 a.m. (CST) ...

Florida International Coach Don Strock post game quotes:

“We came in short handed obviously. We brought 52 [players] and we had five or six hurt, so we were down in numbers. But I’m very proud of the way they hung in there, the first half especially. Our concern in the second half was getting worn down because of the number of players that we had. We made some plays and they made some plays. We had an interception at the end that they returned, a punt returned, and we fumbled on the ten. I’m very proud of the guys, they hung in there. They played hard and I’m very proud of them.”

Florida International post game player quotes:

#28 Chance Attaway, Running Back

On First Start: “It was pretty tough. It’s a hostile environment here. The butterflies were there, but they eventually went away and I tried to do the best I could.” “I played mostly at fullback this year. I played a couple plays against Miami at tailback.”

On Alabama ’s Defense: “They had a real fast defensive line, a lot of strong guys, their linebackers were good too. They flowed to the ball really well, we tried to run our zone play and the cutback was there a couple times. I think I made a good run on a cutback on a zone. They had a really good defense.”

On Suspensions: “We knew we were going to have to come together, and we knew we were coming to Alabama after all that happened. We’re all we got, so we tried to come together as one and just come in here and play as well as we could against a good Alabama team.”

#7 Keyonvis Bouie, Linebacker

On Second Half: “I don’t that was the case, I think we made a lot of mistakes on the back end. A lot of guys got hurt, and we were already shorthanded coming into the game so it had to be expected almost. But pretty much for what we had, we played a great game.”

On Defense’s Effort: “I’m proud of everybody for the effort, but I’m never satisfied with a loss. I never go into the game thinking we’re going to lose no matter who we play. Even though with our situation most guys had written us off I think we came out with a lot of intensity and ready to play and a lot of people didn’t expect that of us. But for me personally I’m not proud of this.”

On Alabama ’s Offense: “They did exactly what we thought they were going to do. Try to run the ball early and then throw the ball occasionally. It wasn’t anything we didn’t expect, it’s something we knew coming into the game and guys were prepared in the beginning but when we started to get tired it started to hurt us. Depth started to get to us.”

#5 Jeremy Dickens, Wide Receiver

On Big Pass : “We kind of looked at it all week as a big opportunity. We saw early in the game they were kind of sitting on out routes a little bit, trying to get a jump on the short stuff and we decided to take a shot deep and it worked out for the best. Wish we could have gotten a score out of it.”

Florida International Post-game Notes

·  Florida International began the game short a total of 18 players due to suspensions and dismissals to the team following an altercation against the University of Miami ( Fla. ) on October 14. Four offensive starters and five defensive starters were absent. Making their first-ever intercollegiate starts were Chance Attaway (halfback) on offense and Matt Garris (defensive end) and Justin West (defensive tackle) on defense. Also, sophomore tight end Moses Hinton made his first-ever career start at fullback.

·  Josh Padrick’s 68-yard pass completion to WR Jeremy Dickens was the senior quarterback’s second-longest completion of the year. He completed an 89-yard TD pass to tight end Samuel Smith at Maryland (Sept. 23), which was the longest pass completion in the five-year history of FIU program and the first TD pass of 75-plus yards allowed by Maryland in seven seasons.

·  Dustin Rivest’s 37-yard field goal was his fifth successful conversion in 10 tries and tied his career long, accomplished at North Texas on Oct. 7.

·  The 3-0 FIU first quarter lead was the Golden Panthers first game lead since a 13-8 fourth-quarter advantage over North Texas two games ago, and it marked the first time that FIU had held a first-quarter lead since the second game of the season at South Florida (6-0) on Sept. 9.

·  Punter Chris Cook had his second blocked punts of this season in the second quarter—the second straight game in which FIU has had a punt blocked. Before that, FIU had not had a punt blocked since Oct. 25, 2003 against Holy Cross.

· Alabama’s Javier Arenas’ 65-yard punt return for a touchdown happened for only the second time in school history. The first occurred earlier this season when South Florida ’s Ean Randolph went 76 yards for a score on Sept. 9

·  The current eight-game losing streak ties the longest ever in FIU school history. The Golden Panthers lost their final game of the 2002 season and then fell in their first seven games of the 2003 campaign.