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Vols-LSU postgame quotes

    (Opening statement)
    “It wasn’t a really complex game there. In the first half, I thought we competed our tails off and had a couple of real bad mistakes—that was ultimately the difference in the first half.
    “When you give up a 99-yard play, it was a backbreaker. And then we don’t tackle a guy on the hitch right before the half, and that’s 10 points right there. We played our tails off. We ran the ball and had a great drive. I’m really proud of that drive. When we were down 14-0, we got a stop and pushed it in there.
    “In the second half, we had a couple third-down opportunities where we didn’t execute and they pounded us. I don’t know any other way to say it. Just running through tackles, running around us. We weren’t as good on the corners, and we weren’t really as good as them in the middle. We only had two possessions in the second half.
    “The lost yardage play really hurt. We had a nice drive answering the bell, running a little option, we’ve got to trust our speed and keep running. That hurt us. At the end of the day, we lost the turnover battle against a good team, and they did a great job. I don’t know what else to say.”

    (On this game being a test of manhood)
    “We fought but I think you’ve got to get some of those third-down stops. The dagger play was third-and-seven. We were down 17 at that point so we’re still fighting. We get them on the minus-one, and if you can get the ball back and cut it to two scores, you’re still fighting. That was a bad play, and some third-and-fives we just couldn’t win on the perimeter. They throw a stop route and their guy is better than our guy. Eventually they just wear you down. If you can’t get off on third down against them, they wear you down. They were 6-of-12. And the QB runs… a lot of times we were in position. We know it’s coming and we are kind of in position and the guy runs around us and scoots on an edge and powers through. They have a lot of good football players.”

    (On how recruiting plays into a game like this)
    “It’s depth, size, speed. We did some good things out there that I was really proud of. As bad as our running game has been, we ran the ball pretty well against a great defense. And we just didn’t really get a lot of opportunities in the second half. We only had two possessions. They had three drives that were just long. It’s like bleeding to death.”

    (On the lack of turnovers created by the defense)
    “That means we aren’t creating any and they aren’t giving us any. That’s about what it is. We aren’t creating them, and we haven’t gotten any by accident. Usually both happen. The other team gives you some and you create some. We haven’t had either happen.”

    (On the play of quarterback Matt Simms)
    “Matt did some good things. There are some throws he is going to want back. One of the interceptions was a bad mistake. The other one – that guy made a good play. The receiver has to go get it. A couple throws he will want back. We will see the film. He helped us in the running game, too. Matt deserves some credit for that. He really helps giving us a chance giving him some good looks – gives the players a better chance.”

    (On the play of Devrin Young)
    “He’s doing good. He had another good return—he had a couple of good returns, didn’t he? We handed the ball off to him a couple of times. He was getting hit and he got dinged up pretty bad and we were really nervous to get him back out there. We shouldn’t have put him back in. We planned on giving it to him the first play and he got hit hard. I should have pulled him out. He was dizzy.”

    (On other factors helping in the game)
    “Tauren Poole ran really well. He was focused and wasn’t trying to make big plays. He was jamming it up in there and the line blocked well. That’s a real positive. And Da’Rick [Rogers] made a couple of big plays when it was easy to get frustrated there early on – made some big third downs for us. Rajion [Neal] made a nice play.”

    (On the defense’s first-half play)
    “I was feeling good at halftime. The 10-point difference was to me a 99-yard interception return. I don’t know where the rest of the offensive guys were. We have to cover every time we throw and we didn’t do a good job. That’s inexcusable. Morris [Claiborne] is a great player. He has made an impact play in a lot of games. They have a lot of guys who have an ability to make impact, game-changing plays. Seven didn’t, but 17 does. If 17 doesn’t, one will do it. If he doesn’t, one of the D-linemen will do it. When you play those kinds of defenses, you have to play. They go ‘you guys did a good job last year.’ We got four turnovers. They gave us four balls. Add four turnovers to that all of the sudden things get different. When you play these great teams, turnovers are critical, and you can’t make bad mistakes. ”

    (On having a thin margin of error against such a strong opponent)
    “Where I get really frustrated is when we make mistakes that have nothing to do with the opponent. That really upsets me. Some of the mistakes we made were because they have a really good guy who gets us. We probably made more mistakes out there than we should have. It gets tough.”

    (On fatigue)
    “The last drive, obviously, it gets tough. Its 31-7, six minutes to go and you have to just keep fighting. It’s tough out there. I’m not sure it’s a fatigue issue.”

    (On jawing between the teams)
    “I just think [that was] young, spirited guys – they have a bunch of young and spirited players. We do, too. I don’t think it was anything malicious—just competitive, spirited guys wanting to compete. I didn’t think it was out of hand. We had a couple of penalties that disappointed me. We had two late hits. I don’t know—I’ll have to look at the film. We shouldn’t have those. I don’t think it was a lack of poise. It looked like to me it was finishing the play.”

    (On corner play)
    “We were struggling at corner. Their guys were up on our guys on the perimeter. It’s the same old deal. You have to stop the run game so your corner has to hold up outside. It is third-and-five. It’s tough.”

    (On Prentiss Waggner after leaving the game with injury)
    “He didn’t play much for a while and then he kind of came back.”

    (On seeing something in LSU’s defense that encouraged the run)
    “Every game we have a plan doing some different formational things to try to get us in a good position. The run game worked because our guys played better. Up front, our running back ran better. Marlin [Lane] ran good and he didn’t get many touches. If we continue that path we are going to be fine in the run game.”

    (On troubles in the secondary)
    “We aren’t that young in the secondary. Height, weight, speed, athleticism. Over time it gets tough.”

    (On young players making tackles)
    “They are going to be really good players – all three of those guys. Right now they’re not. They don’t have the physicality to hold up in this kind of game I don’t think because their bodies, but A.J. [Johnson] and Curt [Maggitt] – A.J. especially, has more physicality than anybody we have in the back seven. I told you this was going to be his kind of game. He has stature that can compete against this kind of team. That is what we have to keep on improving on – this is a stature game. It’s big guys hitting you and you have to have big guys that can hold up for four quarters. Or they have to spit the ball out four times. It’s one or the other.”

    (On the lack of plays for Mychal Rivera)
    “We were concerned going into the game that we didn’t have enough for Mike. A lot of it is because of the pressures you match-protect. That is a dilemma with a tight end. If you match, you have to go two tight ends and put the other tight end as the blocker but can hold up against these kinds of guys. That’s the dilemma with Mike when you want to seven-man protect it; he’s a good protector, but he’s also a weapon at TE. Jim [Chaney] and I said it all week. We don’t feel like we have enough for Mike. We called some things to get him the ball and it just wasn’t there. He will have his – it just wasn’t his game. Sometimes as tight ends, they have to go block.”

    (On rust with Matt Simms)
    “They do a good job and I go back to stature. There were a couple we dropped – Da’Rick [Rogers] dropped one, Zack [Rogers] dropped a couple – on stature-type plays. We are coming in, he is on us, and the strong, big guy is going to get it. Da’Rick has that stature. That’s why he was able when he was matched up on number 7 in the slot, we won most of those. Big guys usually beat little guys. When a big guy is on a little guy it gets tough on him when the space is reduced. You have to separate and use your quickness but if they have those long arms and they stick it on you and you don’t move – I saw it all over the field. Their hands are on us and they’re pushing us. You just have to keep fighting. That’s all you can do.”

    (On being positive postgame)
    “I saw some good things. In every game there are things that disappoint you. In every game there are things you feel good about. That game was not complex. I’m not sure how many mistakes we made – we made a couple on offense in the first half – but in that second half they keep hitting us. I don’t know what else to do. I could get up there and scream at them but that’s not going to help.”

    (On trusting the speed)
    “I think you get the ball and there’s the guy and it’s like ‘I have to cut back.’ That was the only play Tauren [Poole] didn’t look good. He got the ball 19 times and 18 of them he looked really good running the ball against a great defense. I don’t want to beat him up over that, but that was a big play. We lost seven yards when we were down there knocking on the door to cut it to two scores. You have to keep staying in the fight and hopefully something good will happen. That’s the key. You have to keep in the two to three score range and wait for your opportunity. We never could get a turnover. I’m surprised the back only averaged 3.5 yards a carry. But Jordan [Jefferson] was the guy that was hurting us a lot on the quarterback runs. He’s a big stature guy too.”

    (On LSU’s defense)
    “They had a great defensive line and a great all-around team. It was not a good outcome like we wanted, but there were some good things in there. We are going to look at the film and see what we need to correct.”

    (On the second quarter scoring drive)
    “Coach [Jim] Chaney had faith in is. We have had problems in the running game, but we just tried to put it on our back as an offensive line, hit them in the mouth and try to build momentum. We left the first half with some momentum. We need to keep pushing each other and execute in the second half.”

    Senior quarterback Matt Simms
    (On LSU’s defense)
    “It was a good defense, and they played hard for the whole game. I am really disappointed in myself for the two first half turnovers. You can’t do that against a good team.”

    (On the 44-yard pass play to sophomore wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers)
    “It was a one-on-one match with Da’Rick [Rogers] in the slot. Da’Rick did a good job of winning the one-on-one, and I put the ball on him. He then made a great play after the catch.”

    On his first start of the season
    “It felt good being on the field. I did a real poor job of reading the coverage on the one interception to the post. I have to take this experience, learn from it, and get ready the next game.”

    Tennessee senior tailback Tauren Poole
    (On the success of the running game)
    “The offense line blocked well, created some creases, and we took advantage of it. I was going to run hard and run for this team. We are moving forward with the run game. I give all the credit to the offensive line. They played well.”

    (On his hamstring injury)
    My hamstring is good. I stretched the whole game and continued to the stretch each quarter. My hamstring was hurting Monday and Tuesday, and I could not explode off of it. God is good. We have great trainers. They did a great job of attacking my hamstring all week and got it to where it needed to be.”

    (On the big hit he took in the second quarter)
    “When I went down, I really didn’t know what was going on. I did a bad job of leading with the head and had a sting in my shoulder. After that, I went back into the training room and they did a good job of getting me back out there.”

    (On his move to corner in the second half)
    “I felt very comfortable. When I was out at halftime, Coach [Terry] Joseph came in the training room and asked me if I was ready to go. I told him that I could give it a shot, and he asked me how I felt about corner. I told him I was ready to take that role at the corner position.”

    Sophomore defensive lineman Marlon Walls
    (On the team’s defensive performance)
    “I think we played an okay first half because our head was on fire and it is was the No. 1 team coming here. Then I think we got complacent and we were relaxed. I don’t know why, but we do that. We have got to figure out how to change that. We have to.”

    (On if the defensive was worn down in the second half)
    “I don’t think it was wearing down. I think it was just ‘want to.’ We knew they were going to come out in the second half and try us again. Like Coach Dooley said, it was a test of our manhood. I think in the first half we did an okay job. Then we got relaxed. We knew what was coming. We knew that they were going to run the ball at us and pretty much run the ball the whole time. It was our job to stop them. We have got to get on it and change it now.”

    (On what to take from the loss today)
    “We need to minimize our mistakes against a good team. We learned today that we make mistakes and they are magnified. If you make mistakes and a good team doesn’t make mistakes, then they are going to get after you as LSU did to us today. It’s just a learning experience. We learned today that to beat a good team you have to minimize your mistakes, you have to execute, and you have to use details in what you do. That’s something we will take for next week against Alabama.”

    (On Simms checking the plays at the line of scrimmage)
    “We had a game plan that we wanted to go up there and look to see what they were doing. He was able to check the plays to what we did. He just did his job and what he was coached to do. That’s what we all have to continue to do.”

    Senior defensive lineman Malik Jackson
    (On the defensive performance in the first half)
    “We just came out fighting and told ourselves that we were going to play a good half of football. That’s what we did in the first half. We watched film all week and we knew what they were going to do. We knew they wanted to run the ball so we stuffed it up, but the mistakes killed us and we just have to stop making all the mistakes.”

    (On what went wrong with the defense in the second half)
    “We went out there in the second half as we always do, ready to go and fired up. They got their scheme together and knew what they were going to do. We knew what we were going to do, but we made a lot of mistakes. Like I said, you can’t win the game if you make mistakes against the No. 1 team in the nation. You have got to play physical, tough and smart football for four quarters, and we didn’t .”

    (On how physical the game was)
    “I believe that was one of the most physical games I have ever played in. In the first half, we were all hyped up and ready to play.”

    (On the physical differences in playing LSU as opposed to Florida and Georgia)
    “We knew it was coming. All during practice, we were preparing for it and playing downhill. We came out playing hard in the first half, and unfortunately we didn’t do the same in the second half.”

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