Kentucky-Western Kentucky Postgame Quotes

Sept. 15, 2012

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Kentucky Head Coach Joker Phillips

Joker Phillips: Injury report: Coshik Williams has a hip strain and could go back in, finished the game; Cartier Rice, quad contusion, had it in the spring and missed most of the summer with it. Got it again; Max Smith had a bruised shoulder.

Hard-fought game, real physical team, but I thought that we matched them. We still really think we've got a good football team, just didn't make enough plays. Can't turn the ball over, and I count five, gave the ball up on downs early in the game, in the first half, turned the ball over too many times, had the ball on the ground a couple other times.

Defensively, again, keep them snapping the ball, made plays when they needed to, couldn't get themselves off the field when they needed to.

Any questions?

Q. Do you worry about keeping this team together?

Joker Phillips: No, I don't. I don't.

Q. What did you see in the last play?

Joker Phillips: What did I see? I saw a bubble screen throw-back, we're in man-to-man coverage, only guy you don't have a man accounted for is the quarterback. Great play. Great play by the -- I thought we had the first guy down. He broke a tackle and was able to get it out to the quarterback. He's the only guy that we don't have covered in man-to-man coverage.

Q. On why Western Kentucky got off to a good start …

Joker Phillips: Well, we weren't as accurate in the throw game. We didn't do a real good job of throwing and catching. Max, a couple of them got away from him, and you can't give a good football team a short field, a team like Western, a real good football team that's just competitive and tough. Can't give those guys short fields, and we gave them short fields in the first half.

Q. Seems like you had a lot more at risk.

Joker Phillips: I don't think a lot more to risk. We're both lining up and playing football. We've got to play the guys that are on our schedule. I don't consider it more risk. They're a good football team. They've come a long way, no doubt about that. Willie (Taggart) has done an outstanding job with his team. Again, made more plays than we did tonight.

Q. Can you talk about your defensive line?

Joker Phillips: Yeah, we didn't do a great job of getting off blocks. I thought that there was times there was some stalemates at the line of scrimmage, but now it's time to release and get off blocks and make plays. A few times we didn't do that. But I thought, again, those guys are fighting hard. You could see the back standing behind the line of scrimmage trying to rally, trying to find a hole, and then at the last minute he comes out the back end.

The one thing we have to do is continue to hold our gap. Got to keep not only your guys but you've got to keep your body in your gap. Sometimes we got out of it and gave the guy a chance.

Q. What did you say to your team?

Joker Phillips: Well, I mean, that's us. That's our business. Again, we give credit to Western Kentucky again, but what we say in our locker room is our business. It's family. I don't know what you told your family today before you left, but that's our business. We're going to talk amongst our team in our locker room. Our locker room is our locker room.

Q. Some fans would be concerned that such a young team would hang their heads.

Joker Phillips: They had an opportunity to hang their heads today. They had an opportunity down in the first half and even late in the second half. They had an opportunity. This team is a team that I know I've heard the word soft a couple times, and this team is not soft by any means. This is a tough -- you think because of the offense we're running, but we're not a soft football team. We've got some tough individuals in that locker room.

Q. How disappointing was it at the start of the second half? You had gotten the momentum at the end of the first half and then --

Joker Phillips: Well, I mean, you've got to get yourself off the field. We did give them the momentum back to start the second half. But we went right back down and regained it. We just never got it back until late in the game. We did some really good things offensively. We did not throw and catch the way we have been, but there were some big plays still made. For us to be efficient offensively, we've got to make more than we did tonight.

Q. Did you consider going for two?

Joker Phillips: No, we didn't. We thought, again, we had the momentum and we just decided that we hold or continue to try to play overtime. It looked good at the time, especially after we got the ball back and put the ball in the end zone. But we did not. We did not consider it at that point.

Q. Did you see a roughing the passer?

Joker Phillips: No, I did not see it. I did not see it. I wasn't watching the quarterback, I was watching the ball and took my eyes off the quarterback. So we led with our head.

Q. Talk about Jonathan George's performance tonight.

Joker Phillips: Yeah, I mean, Jonathan is a guy that has been around here a long time, continues to battle. He's got some really good players in front of him, and again, a guy that does everything right, does what he's supposed to, and it was good to see him get an opportunity, and not only get an opportunity but take advantage of the opportunity.

Q. How does it make you feel that Raymond (Sanders) had a career night a week ago and couldn't play tonight?

Joker Phillips: You've got two kids, right? He's like a kid to me. Kids sometimes don't do little things that they're supposed to do, and we hold our kids accountable. We're not going to sit him out four games from now, we'll do it now. That's the thing.

We hold our guys accountable here.

Q. Were you expecting a trick play kind of thing?

Joker Phillips: Well, yes, you've got to expect trick plays, but again, we were in man-to-man coverage. The only guy you can't account for is the quarterback, and they threw the ball back to him.

Q. Are you surprised Max hasn't been more consistent?

Joker Phillips: First of all, nothing surprises you. This is a game played by 18 to 22 year olds with an oblong ball. It doesn't always bounce back up to you. Nothing really surprises you. Max had been very accurate. Tonight he wasn't. He wasn't -- especially early. But I thought he was really close on some of the throws, especially in the last drive, and then he stepped up and made a real big throw to the (DeMarcus) Sweat kid.

Q. Will you try a different alignment with different personnel or what will you do defensively?

Joker Phillips: Well, we have to continue to get better. Again, it wasn't alignment. The thing we have to do is do a better job of getting off blocks and making big plays. On the naked, we've got to chance to sack for a loss in overtime, and we don't make the play. The thing we've got to do is just continue to get better fundamentally.

Q. What do you say to fans?

Joker Phillips: Well, we've got a lot of young players. We've got a lot of young players, and we'll continue to play them and see how much better they get from week to week.

Q. How concerned are you that you weren't efficient in the run game?

Joker Phillips: Well, what concerns me more than the running game is the turnovers. The turnovers are, again, one of the things -- last week, didn't turn the ball over. We put up 40 something points. The thing that we cannot do offensively is turn the ball over. In the running game sometimes you get outnumbered in some of those little quick screens that we throw. That's a run to me. The (DeMarcus) Sweat catch last week, that's a run. That's a toss sweep in this offense. The running game does not concern me. The thing that concerns me is how careless we are with the football.

Q. On Willie Taggart’s postgame comments …

Joker Phillips: You know what, let me just tell you guys this: This game has done so much for me, and it has done so much for Willie, also. I will tell you what I told my football team, okay, before the game. I respect Western Kentucky's football. I watched Jimmy Feix carry Western Kentucky to the 1-AA championships and how he ran the program and how much this game has done for me and done for everybody that's in that room. I'm not about to disrespect something that has done so much for me and my family, okay.

It's their program, and it's this game. I played this game longer than most, okay. You don't get to play this game 15 years, okay. And I'm not about to talk about an opponent and their program. I'm not about to, okay, that's me. Say what you want. Say I'm not a tough guy. I'm a tougher guy because I'm not about to talk about somebody else's program.

I played at the highest level, and I've never heard guys talk like this, I really haven't. It's a shame that the game has gotten that way. We're not going to do it here at Kentucky. We're not going to do it here at Kentucky, as long as I'm here, okay, so what everyone is saying, say it.

Q. On what he told the team in the locker room after the game …

Joker Phillips: I told them, I respect their program. Respect it. Jimmy Feix is one of the guys I really respect in this business, the way he built that. He's the one who allowed Western to be a 1-A school, so I respect him that much. I respect Willie. I think he's doing a hell of a job there, and I am not about to talk about somebody else's program or have our kids run their mouth. We're not going to do it.

Thank you.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Players

#27, Aaron Boyd, WR

On the loss …
“It was a tough loss, any loss is tough to swallow. We kept on fighting, we didn’t give up and we came back. They made one more play than we did. We got to take it like a man. We got to keep moving on we got a game to play for next week.”

On the season moving forward …
I'm trying to enjoy every single minute I have to wear this uniform, whether we win or lose. I'm just going to work hard either way and never give up.”

On thinking you had the game won when the team tied it …
“We knew we would score, I just try to keep my offense’s heads up, some people were down, just try to keep high spirits. I knew we would come down and score and make it again.”

#94, Taylor Wyndham, DE

On trick play at the end …
“Whenever you’re down like that, close to the goal you got to be expecting anything, it happens. It was a good executed play, set us up perfect. Walked in for the touchdown”

On improvement as the game went on…
“We did. We came out a little slow. We were trying to fill out the offense. They had a good game plan on what they wanted to do. As the game went on we progressed and adjusted. Proud of my teammates for what they did.”

On what the team needs to do to stay together, younger guys
“We just got to remember it’s a long season, this is only the first three games. It’s disappointing to be 1-2 right now, but you still have nine more opportunities to go.”

#16 La’Rod King, Sr., WR

On the loss …
“Tough. We played a very competitive game. We came out and played. We came up short. They had one more play than we did.”

On Maxwell Smith’s performance…
“It’s a learning experience.  Max has come through for us so many times.  We have to bounce back.  We are getting ready for Florida next week.  We have to learn from mistakes, watch game film and correct them.”

On the team’s togetherness ….
“This was a challenge for us. (This was) the first time we were actually hit with adversity.  At the end of the day, it’s going to be us against the world. It’s just us out here playing.  We have to hold each other accountable for our mistakes and come out and play the next play.”

#11, Maxwell Smith, QB

On the loss…
“A loss doesn’t feel good, but we have to stick together as a team and keep fighting. We have a really tough opponent next week. We have to get ready for them, and prepare for them the best we can.”

On his play tonight…
“I obviously did not play very well. A couple of them were just miscommunications. I just didn’t see them. I saw the one guy that took it back to the one-yard line. I got flushed up in the pocket and I was at my last read and I tried to fit it in, and it obviously did not work out for me. The next one, I did not see. He just read my eyes. He did not have any other responsibilities and so he just picked it from me.”

On  what Joker said to the team…
“He said that we have to stick together, and that is what it is always about. We still have practice, and we still have nine more games. It will be all right. The road definitely does not get any easier.”

#2, Alvin Dupree, LB

On the team’s excitement after taking the lead …
“We had a confidence boost, and we thought we could come back and win. We did not execute the plays like we thought we would.”

On the two point conversion…
“They got us off guard. We had to expect everything, but we did not expect that.”

#25, Jonathon George, TB

On getting momentum…
“It was a great feeling just to put points on the board. It was a great feeling, but you cannot get too excited. We have to come out next week and be ready to play.”

On his game …
“I always tell myself to be ready to play, because you never know what might happen. It just shows that you always have to be ready to play.”

On the team’s next step …
“We are moving forward. This game is over, and we have a quality opponent with Florida coming up next week. We are going into a hostile environment. We are going to go at it in practice, and we have to move forward next week.”

Western Kentucky Head Coach Willie Taggart

On the final play call…
“Our guys had been calling for that play all game. We had said once we get to the 40 yard line, we’re going to call it but I didn’t get to call it. I knew our defense had been struggling the last part of the game, they weren’t playing with the same energy and the same intensity that they were playing with early in the game. I told our guys, ‘if we score we’re going to go for it all. We’re playing to win, we’re not going to another overtime.’ But when we did go to overtime, I brought our team together and was like, ‘hey this is what we do. We’re the overtime king, whenever we go to overtime, we win.’ Our guys were fired up, they understood we were back in our neck of the woods being in overtime, they went out and played well.”

On what the win means for the program…
“It’s huge for our program, it goes to show how far we’ve come in just two years, going on our third year now and where we’ve been. We’ve been at the bottom, two years ago we came up here and they beat the bricks off of us. It was time for us to come up here and play like we are capable of. I told our guys before the game it was our time, we’ve been in the spotlight quite a bit since we’ve been here. It’s time for us to show everybody what we are capable of and our guys did that.”

On what he was thinking during Kentucky’s last drive…
“I was begging the ref, ‘please don’t do this to us, please don’t do it to us.’ But I wasn’t really panicking because, again, I feel good about our team in overtime. I wasn’t panicking, just staying positive because a lot of our guys were getting down and they were getting upset. I get upset and get down then we’re done. We just stayed positive and kept believing. We always talk about our ascent to greatness and at the top of that pyramid is the miracle of believing and our guys believed coming into this game that they can do it.”

On the start of the defense…
“I challenged our defense, really not our defense; I challenged our secondary guys early this week. We had a meeting on Sunday and I challenged them all, I don’t think they liked the way I challenged them but they are out to prove, to show what they are capable of. Those guys call themselves the air force. I told them they need to play that way, we need to see that. We see it in practice but everyone else needs to see it in the game. Those guys took pride in it, they told me every day and you’d watch them in practice, ‘we’re going to show you coach, we’re going to show you.’ I was like, ‘do something’ and they came out here and did something.”

On Antonio Andrews…
“Well, he was making plays, he was making plays after plays and he’s one of our better players. We felt like we could run the ball and I challenge our offense this morning, ‘I’m tired of hearing about Kentucky’s offense and we put up zero points last weekend.’ We know we’re better than that. It was time for us to come out and play the WKU way and out physical those guys. They talk about we’re a physical football team and they had to play physical, we wanted to come out and show them how physical we were. Antonio did a good job behind our offensive line, breaking tackles, getting yards after contact. I made a statement earlier in the year, that he could be our Reggie Bush and that’s what he’s doing for us, doing things that Reggie did for those guys back then.”

Western Kentucky Players

#6, Kawaun Jakes, QB

On what (Coach Taggart) said in the huddle for 2-point conversion…
“Basically act like we’ve been here before; don’t turn on each other stay strong. We play to win.”

On 2-point conversion play…
“I saw a good pass from Antonio over the line blocking and I just ran in the end zone. I just happened to be wide open.”

On what this win means…
“It means a lot this being my senior year and to beat UK, that’s a blessing. I was just playing for all my teammates and coaching staff, just put them on my back. Play to win, play for everyone that grinds with me everyday and all the coaches that put in the work and have faith in me, I do it for them.”

On how far this program has come and his excitement…
“I’m very excited. We just had a coaching change and everything just changed from there. Not talking anything bad about coach (Dave) Elson, it was just a big change, and you all can see it, too. We weren’t going to go four years and not win anything. Our goal is the Sun Belt championship and we just grind everyday. (We) just think about the positives and forget all of the negatives. That’s not in our power. We just work everyday.”

#5, Antonio Andrews, RB

On the throw (for the 2-point conversion)…
“It kind of surprised me with the throw. I was just doing it for my teammates. Make a play, play to win. We just had to execute that play and we did.”

On how it feels to beat SEC school…
“It always feels good. We just beat an SEC school. It just feels great. It was a great opportunity and we showed up (and) we won. I’m happy right now.”

#1, Jonathan Dowling, DB

On coming transferring from a SEC school…
“It doesn’t really validate, but it makes me feel a lot better. I can show people that I am supposed to be here. When I play any SEC school, or any other school, I feel like I have to make a play. With the defense playing as hard as they did, with the (defensive) line getting a great rush and the linebackers covering their people, it just put me in the right place to make a play.”

On them causing interceptions …
“Like coach Taggart said, he challenged us at the beginning of the week. He said, “you all aren’t playing like the Air Force” He was right. There were a couple players in Alabama where we blew some coverages. Things could have went a different way if we were in the right spot, so we just played attention to our keys and we did everything that we had to do today.”