Kentucky-Central Michigan Postgame Quotes

Sept. 10, 2011

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Kentucky Head Coach Joker Phillips

COACH PHILLIPS: All right. The injury situation: Winston (Guy) tweaked his hamstring and Martavius Neloms had a stinger. Besides that we got out of this game pretty healthy.

They say there's no such thing as an ugly loss. Well, we just had another not-so-pretty win. But we are 2-0. Probably about a third of the teams across the country are 2-0. We found a way to win this one.

I think the turning point was the fourth down. Our guys did a good job on fourth-and -inches of stopping them, then our offense did a good job of converting to get us back in the game.

Our defense played outstanding after the third series. I think they scored on the first three series, and after that our defense threw a shutout, which is what we expect for those guys.

Again, we didn't play very clean offensively, but when the time came to step up, I thought they stepped up and made some plays and got the ball in the end zone and did a good job on the 85-yard drive.

It was a deal that I asked the guys to pick me up. It was a deal where on fourth-and-inches we could kick the ball and go up two scores or we could go for it and go up 14.

We did a good job of making the play. Morgan ran the naked. It wasn't open. Tyler Robinson did a good job of blocking the perimeter getting Morgan into the end zone. We made plays when we needed to. That's the name of the game.

Our defense created, I'll call it three turnovers. The biggest one was the fourth down. That was a turnover to me. We had way too many turnovers, especially one we lose the possession right after the second half. That's losing a possession when you fumble on the kickoff return.

But we got a win. Again, we'll enjoy this thing and get ready to go next week.


Q. (Question regarding starting fast.)

COACH PHILLIPS: Well, I mean, I don't consider it a slow start. Our defense held them to a field goal. Our offense came back and we had an opportunity to get the ball into the end zone. Again, drop showed up. I don't consider that a slow start. It was an even start. I think if we make the play, I think we started off pretty fast.

We have to make the plays we're capable of making. We're more than capable of making the one we didn't make on the first drive.

Q. (Question regarding the offense struggling.)

COACH PHILLIPS: Nothing surprises you. You just got to be ready to play the next play. The next play was them going for it on fourth-and-inches. Our defense did a good job of stopping it.

Yes, our offense struggled. I think the energy that the defense went out on that fourth down and created a stop, which is a turnover, I think that fed into our offense and making the big play they made immediately afterwards.

Q. (Question regarding the passing game.)

COACH PHILLIPS: I don't know if we stopped it. They caught a lot of quick passes in the flat. We did get some people in his face and got some deflections - some. Sometimes the guy that's on the line of scrimmage has to expand to the outside to try to get underneath the quick outs. A couple times when we did do it, they weren't able to complete those passes.

Q. Starting with the touchdown pass, is that the kind of offense you've been seeing in practice that you want to translate to the games?

COACH PHILLIPS: We've been making some big plays down the field. That's what we expect. The guys have been getting behind people. We just hadn't been making them. We didn't make them the first game. We want to throw the ball down the field.

Last week we were two-for-two, with the other two being drops. La'Rod (King) last week was a touchdown. Gene (McCaskill) had a huge play down the middle last week. Again, we want to throw the ball down the field. La'Rod had two big plays. Those are what we call gap plays, game-altering plays. La'Rod had two. The first one down our sideline got us a chance to kick a field goal in the first half, then the huge play after the fourth-down stop. We want to throw the ball down the field.

You have to start with the run. We have to start with the run, then get people committed to the line of scrimmage, then have an opportunity to stick in it our running back's belly and try to get behind people.

(Josh Clemons), he gave us a chance when we broke the tackle. Now your running game gets a little bit more confident, you get a little more confidence up front coming off the ball. Now it gave us a chance to throw some of the play-action passes.

Q. More drops again today. You talked all week about giving other guys a chance. Is there going to be more of that?

COACH PHILLIPS: Those two guys deserved to play, especially if the other guys aren't making plays. We'd like to get E.J. Fields in there in the mix also. He's a guy that had a good week of practice last week; didn't get an opportunity this week.

He missed last week because of suspension. When you do that, guys move ahead of you. Aaron (Boyd) and Demarco (Robinson) moved ahead of him.

Q. What does it say about your defense that they were able to gather themselves after the first couple series?

COACH PHILLIPS: Experience. Says a lot for their experience. Those guys have played a lot of football around here, and we expect that. The good thing is our team did not panic when we got down. They did not panic. At halftime we told them, Just relax, play, go out there and play with enthusiasm, have fun doing it, and good things will happen.

Immediately after, we turned the ball over (laughter). But the defense did a really good job of gathering themselves and getting the stop for us. I think they threw a three-and-out on that possession.

Q. How did Morgan Newton play?

COACH PHILLIPS: Again, he's got to make some of the throws that he's missing. We had some real easy, simple throws for him. We got to create some easy throws early. He's struggled a little bit to complete passes underneath. But I think he's throwing the deep ball as good as anybody we've had here throw the deep ball. We have to continue to do that. Say you throw five deep balls, you hit it on three, that's 21 points, a huge game-altering play, a game that flips the field also. We have to continue throwing the ball down the field with him.

Q. (Question regarding the importance of the victory.)

COACH PHILLIPS: Well, I mean, it was important for us to play well, especially as a team. I thought we found a way last week. The defense played really well last week. The offense did a good job late of putting the defense in a tough situation. I think that was a good team win. I think this was a really good team win. That's what we have to see.

It wasn't especially us playing well today going into this game, it was just important for us to play well, period, because of the performance we had last week.

Q. Talk about (OT Darrien) Miller.

COACH PHILLIPS: I mean, I looked out there one time, there were three true freshmen in the game. Yes, I've been bragging on those guys, but I didn't want to see three of them in the game at the same time either. It was Miller, the fullback (D.J.) Warren, then the tailback Josh Clemons.

Miller had one mistake, one glaring mistake on the sack. With experience, he will get that. It was a missed assignment by him. The linebacker walked up in the gap, he called a squeeze call, baited him, backed out of there, he wasn't able to get back out on the defensive end.

But I thought the thing with the offensive linemen, if you noticed that he's out there, then you know he hadn't played very well. I didn't even notice him being out there until I saw two true freshmen going at tailback, started counting them. Then I noticed we had another one at right tackle.

When you don't notice them, I thought he played good enough to win.

Q. (Question regarding Josh Clemons)

COACH PHILLIPS: He did. He had some good carries. I mean, unbelievable run when he broke the tackle. He showed speed. We thought he had good speed, but didn't know if he had that type of speed. He has game speed. He missed a couple runs also, which he'll be the first to tell you that. That will come with experience also.

But he's a really natural, really good runner for us.

Q. (Question on Morgan Newton running the ball)

COACH PHILLIPS: You know what, everybody gets more comfortable when it's open, when you block it right. I mean, he did look comfortable running it when there's nobody there. That's obvious.

But when it's blocked right, Morgan is a good runner. We have to run Morgan Newton this year to be successful. And we'll continue to do that.

Q. What can you do to get the defense settled in?

COACH PHILLIPS: Last week we scored after a turnover. I think that's a short field. This week they drove the ball on us. The good thing is we only gave up one touchdown, you know, and it was, again, a big play they threw over our head. The guy made a great play on it. I think the defense, what they did, they went in and created field goals, which was good for us.

So I view that as a positive, something to build off of, when the defense goes in there and plays their tail off, stops them, makes them kick field goals. It would have been huge if we went in those first three possessions and be down 21. I think it was a good job by the defense.

Q. What do you think this will do to your offense's confidence?

COACH PHILLIPS: I hope they build off of this. We got some good players on offense. The thing that our guys have got to do is just relax and play. Our offensive line is starting to play, starting to come together, starting to get healthy. I think that's huge. Hopefully we get the other two guys back.

But we know we’ve got some depth at tackle with the young kid getting the snaps that he got today. Hopefully we'll get those other two guys, that were injured, back next week.

Q. Two games weren't real pretty. Is this one better? Do you feel there was progress?

COACH PHILLIPS: I think definitely there was progress. We definitely played better. We didn't play very clean in the first half, but I thought we played pretty clean in the second half.

I wanted to tell you guys, we gave the game ball, last week was to (new UK president) Dr. Capilouto, we gave it to him. Wish I could have put a bigger score on the other end. But this week I had a young man's wife come into my office that's over in Iraq, Marcos Alaniz. His wife brought in a UK flag with a plaque. I'll give you one quick line. It said, 'This flag was flown in the enemy's face.' I like that.

Then I got a chance to get him on Skype, which is something that Tee Martin just taught me. He did not know that it was me. His wife said she talks to him every day on Skype. I said, ‘Let's Skype him. I think I know how to do this.’ We got him on Skype on my iPad. When he showed up, he had a UK hat on, and behind him you could see a UK flag. He did not know it was me calling him.

After talking to him, and his wife presented the flag at that time to me, just knowing that we got fans across the country, guys that support us, I got cold chills in talking with him as he teared up talking about our football team, how it's like family to him.

So we're going to send the game ball to his wife, send it over to the guys over in Iraq. I think they're in Providence, Iraq. We'll send a game ball to them.

Q. (Question regarding Louisville head coach Charlie Strong.)

COACH PHILLIPS: We'll see next week. I mean, we'll see next week. When we play those guys, everything goes out the window. We understand that. It’s become a real healthy in-state rivalry. We'll enjoy this one and get ready for it tomorrow afternoon.

Kentucky Player Quotes

#12 - Morgan Newton - Quarterback

On what caused the slow start against Central Michigan today...
“There was just a lot of timeouts early and guys patting you during those timeouts can really throw you off your rhythm. We just have to find a rhythm early and make things happen out of the gates.”

On how it feels to be 2-0 thus far...
“I feel better than if we were 1-1 or 0-2. But I know as well as everyone else that we haven’t played to our potential. We know that if we continue to play the way we did during the WKU and first half of this game we won’t stay unblemished.”

On the touchdown pass to La’Rod King in the third quarter...
“I’m going to be honest, I thought I overthrew him. Everyone was yelling lets go deep right here, and he was wide open down the seam. That was a huge play for us and changed the momentum.”

On what you can take from this game against Central Michigan going forward...
“We realize that we are 2-0 and have found ways to win games thus far. We understand how poorly we have played but we made some things happen today that we can build on.”

#21 - Winston Guy - Safety

On the fourth down stop which led to the touchdown in the third quarter...
“I was in on the play but I’m not sure if they gave me the tackle or not. That was a huge play for us as a unit because from that point forward we just kept telling ourselves three and out, three and out.”

On freshman running back Josh Clemons’ touchdown...
“Josh is a great player and really stepping up as a freshman. I’m not surprised at all by the way he is playing because he has such a strong lower body. I’m sure that Coach Phillips has a lot of high praises for him and he deserves it. His play gives him an opportunity, and pushes Raymond Sanders so it’s helping the team out.”

On what Winston Guy will tell the guys who haven’t experienced the Louisville game...
“We are going to soak in this win tonight, then be in here tomorrow to correct our mistakes from today’s game. Louisville is a great team and I’m not going to take anything away from them. In a rival game it’s a completely different atmosphere and I think we have the advantage playing on our home turf.”

#16 - La’Rod King - Wide Receiver

On having his first 100-yard game ...
“I’m grateful and blessed but this is a team effort and not something I’m focused on.”

On the offensive momentum in the second half ...
“It took awhile to get our chemistry down. Once we made a play and got our composure, we started to relax.”

On getting the win today ...
“We’re continuing to get better. We’re happy to be 2-0 and now we have to get our minds on the next game against Louisville.”

#22 - Danny Trevathan - LB

On creating more turnovers this season...
“It’s all about the turnovers; coach has been emphasizing that. It’s about making plays and we’ve been making plays. If we don’t make plays we have to do more push-ups. It’s about stops on fourth (down) too.”

On the importance of winning this game going into a huge rivalry game next week...
“It was just important for us to get the win period. The Louisville game is next week, so we just need to enjoy this win and next week we know it’s all about Louisville.”

On what he wants to accomplish this season...
“We want to win an SEC Championship; we just want to compete in the SEC. We just want to improve and become a better team overall.”

On if the coaches tell the defense they need to help carry the offense early on...
“We tell ourselves that; the coaches already know that. We have 11 starters returning on defense, we have a lot of seniors on defense and a lot of guys that have been through this program and know how to play on this field. The offense will catch up, we have a lot of young guys out there, but the offensive line will carry that bunch.”

#20 - Josh Clemons - RB

On his record touchdown run...
“I ran through the hole and I felt him hit me. I thought he was about to wrap up but he didn’t. When I felt that, I looked for a hole, I found one and I took off running.”

On proving if he can be one of the fastest backs in the SEC...
“Whatever can help me in the game. I know coach (strength coach) Rock (Oliver) is going to have us working hard every summer, so I know it’ll get better.”

On his reaction to the longest run in stadium history...
“I haven’t even really thought about that and I probably won’t. I’m just happy I got the touchdown and helped the team out.”

On if he thought he would have a 120-yard game two games into his career...
“I didn’t really think I would, but it happened, so I don’t really know how I feel about it yet.”

Central Michigan Head Coach Dan Enos

Opening statement...
“First, I want to give credit to Kentucky and Coach (Joker) Phillips. They did a good job coaching their guys, making halftime adjustments and changes. On the other hand, we were happy with a lot of things that we did. Obviously we’ve got to get better, but for our first road game of the season there were some encouraging signs. We’ve got to run the ball better and make some better plays on third down. There were some encouraging plays, but we’ve obviously got to just get better. Our defense played well at times and we just gave up a couple big plays that hurt us.”

On going for it on fourth-and-one in Kentucky territory...
“Fourth-and-inches and we ran one of our base plays. That’s what we do. We came here to win not to play not to lose. Our football team and coaches wanted me to go for it too, and if you make it maybe you sustain a drive and go score, but that’s how football goes.”

On their offense moving the ball in the first half...
“We were able to stay very balanced. We were getting yards on first down and putting ourselves in second and medium or third and short. In the second half there were so many times that we’d have a running play called and I’d look up and we’d be second and ten or second and nine. Any offense can get off scheduled because of that. In the first half I felt like we were staying on schedule but in the second we weren’t able to continue that.”

On UK’s game plan in the second half...
“Offensively, it seemed like they just started getting (Josh Clemons) the ball. I don’t think he carried it in the first half. That was the big adjustment I saw, he became a main part of the game. Their quarterback started running the ball a little but (Clemons), to me, is a good football player. I believe he’s a true freshman but he is going to be a good football player. Defensively, they went to some drop eight stuff in the second half and did well. They’ve got some big nose guards and linemen in there and we weren’t able to get any movement on them. We had guys blocked but couldn’t get any movement so it was much tougher to run the football. They probably got a foot up their fanny at halftime and probably came out with a little more fire in their butts as well.”

Central Michigan Player Quotes

#20 - Taylor Bradley - Defensive Back

On his interception...
“I just was in a great position. Coach called the right call. I was pressing and going for the ball and I looked up and it was right there and just made a play on the ball.”

On the game...
“Kentucky has a great team. They started off slow and in the second half they came out and the momentum was on their side. On the fumble recovery, the offense got the ball and that drive was a big momentum for them. They just came out ready to play (in the second half.)”

On what the defense thought about the fourth-and-one conversion...
“We were hoping they were going to get it. We thought we were going to get it and when something changed we had to go out there and play. It’s football, it happens. It was unfortunate we didn’t get it but our defense went out there and had to get a stop. It’s football. You just got to play. Play the next play. You just got to forget and play the next play. It’s all you can do.”

#8 - Ryan Radcliff - Quarterback

On the game...
“We had some opportunities that we missed and we left out on the field, especially during the second half and Kentucky capitalized on them. As far as the locker room goes, our guys are extremely disappointed in this loss but the same time, we are recognizing that it’s time to get our minds focused on Western and that’s what we’re going to do.”

On what Kentucky did in the game...
“I don’t think it was too much what Kentucky did, it was just us. As far as our execution goes, we got the ball in a good field position a couple of times. We didn’t capitalize on that. We had some third and short fourth and short that we didn’t convert on and you got to convert on those when it third and short and fourth and short. There’s no excuse not to.”

On the fourth and short...
“We were all with coach like ‘hey lets go for it’. We’re playing to win. We’re not playing not to get beat. We are going to come out and do whatever it takes. We supported Coach 100% and we were happy we went for it but at the same time you have to convert.”