Kentucky-Louisville Postgame Quotes

Sept. 17, 2011

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Kentucky Head Coach Joker Phillips

COACH PHILLIPS: Injury report: Gene McCaskill hurt his back and did not play after the first quarter. Larry Warford hurt his ankle late in the game, and we will evaluate it tomorrow. He did go back in the game, but we'll evaluate it tomorrow and see how he does and how he'll be.

A game of missed opportunities again. Offensively we started fast, missed a couple opportunities to get the ball in the end zone. We had an error made that did not allow us to get the pass to Josh Clemens in the end zone, and we had to come away with three points.

We had a missed opportunity on the fumble early in the first quarter, but we got a big play, got a big play, and we turned the ball over. That's one of the things that we put a huge emphasis on in a game like this. Turnovers are the key, and running the football is the key, and I know people want you to throw the ball all the time all over the place. I would have much rather ran the ball for 255 yards and threw the ball for 35 yards, much rather. I would have much rather sit there with 500 or 600 yards. But running the ball is the key to winning games. You look at them, they ran the ball for 181 yards, they had zero turnovers, and that's the difference.

Like I said, it's a backyard fight, backyard brawl between two good football teams. Regardless of what anybody thinks, two good football teams were out there playing today, and it was missed opportunities. When a person in a backyard brawl drops his hands and gives you his chin, you've got to take it. You've got to take it, and we missed opportunities by putting the ball on the ground, not playing clean, which allowed them to take advantage of us.

I thought that E.J. Fields really stepped up and did a really good job for us. Again, when another receiver is struggling, he gets a chance to go in the game and was a guy that took advantage of an opportunity. All he did was go in and catch seven passes and a touchdown, but we've been expecting it from E.J. a long time, okay, but he's got to show it to us every day, and I expect him to do that every day.

I thought our defense battled their tails off, had a couple short fields and did a good job. But we just can't give up the big play. Had two really big pass routes that they hit us on, two fades, and again, the difference in the first half, they threw and caught, we did not throw and catch. Again, a game of missed opportunities by us.

Questions?

Q. Can you talk about the play of your offensive line?

COACH PHILLIPS: Well, I mean, when you run the ball for 35 yards, it's not good enough, and we gave up six sacks. I'm not saying they were all on the offensive line, but still not good enough. So it would be crazy for me to sit here and say they played good enough to win.

Q. Why do you think he (Josh Clemons) struggled to run?

COACH PHILLIPS: Well, I mean, the one thing you've got to do is put a hat on a hat. We had a couple runs that we thought were blocked pretty clean, and at that time we would stumble and fall, we thought had a chance to come out, and then you've just got to win one-on-one battles, and I don't think we won a lot of one-on-one battles, enough one-on-one battles to run the ball efficiently.

Q. What did you think of Morgan tonight?

COACH PHILLIPS: He fights, he scratches, he claws, he does some good. But there's some things that we've got to get cleaned up with Morgan, also. I mean, I think our guys played with great effort on offense. I don't think we played good enough to win offensively.

Q. What did you think of the freshman Teddy Bridgewater?

COACH PHILLIPS: They did a good job of running the ball downhill and staying ahead of the down and distance with him and not getting into third-and-longs. I think that gives a young quarterback a chance to play. You know, ran some nakeds with him, ran some quick game with him, again, which gives him a chance to give the young guy a chance to play.

Q. Would you saying that Louisville won the game in the trenches?

COACH PHILLIPS: Definitely. They rushed for 181 yards and we rushed for 35 yards, we had six sacks against us, so yes.

Q. Is that disappointing that they beat you at the line of scrimmage?

COACH PHILLIPS: Yeah, it's disappointing that they beat us, period. I mean, they beat us. They beat us because the score was 24 to 17. They beat us, period, not because of them being able to rush the ball for 181 and us only being able to rush it for 35 yards, not because of that. It's because they beat us, period.

Q. Is that a toughness issue?

COACH PHILLIPS: No, because we've got tough kids, because our defense, those guys are doing a really good job of flying to the ball and tackling. We tackled better. The thing we have to do is, we have to hold the point and then we have to make sure that we open up holes for our backs and give them a chance.

Q. You said at times in the past that to have the type of season you all want to have you have to win this game. I know it's early in the year, but where do you go from here?

COACH PHILLIPS: We've got a chance. It's still a long season. We're only three games into it, and it's good that a lot of these young players were in a game like this, which is an SEC atmosphere. I think that really helps the young kids that we're playing with. We'll go to work tomorrow and get ready for our SEC opener.

Q. On the play of CoShik Williams

COACH PHILLIPS: Well, I mean, we got into a spread the field a little bit and went into a two-minute mode. It opens up some running lanes for us late in the game, and we actually -- I think Shik's biggest runs were off pass plays. His biggest runs were off pass plays because his longest run was only nine yards, so most of his big runs were off being able to dump the ball to the back on pass plays and giving him a chance to get up the field for us.

Q. Did Josh Clemons get nicked up? He didn't play much.

COACH PHILLIPS: No, but he did play. He played a lot. He probably played more than CoShik (Williams). We didn't have the ball very much in the third quarter, and Josh was playing two series and Shik was playing one. We went three-and-out and were going backwards in the third quarter, had crappy field position, couldn't get anything going, and I think that's the reason why it looks like he didn't play very much, because when his series were up, we went three-and-out, or one time I think we went four-and-out. The one time on the one-yard line, our offense did a good job of getting it out of there, but we were stalled after about five or six plays. That's the reason why you didn't see him as much.

Q. Louisville has been good at sustaining the run anyway. What was the plan in terms of trying to get the running game going?

COACH PHILLIPS: Well, we've got to run the football. Again, like I say, we've got to try to run the football because it opens up all the other things that we want to do with the play action. That also gives you a chance to run past people because they stack the line. That gives you those chances. So we've got to try to run the football.

Q. Did you see the play where they ripped the ball out, it looked like you had the first down --

COACH PHILLIPS: Yeah, it's a deal where we've got a chance to have the ball first and goal, I think it was inside the 10-yard line, and we catch a hitch route and they just got the ball out. Didn't see a replay, really couldn't see it because I was on the far end away from our bench, but it can't happen. Can't happen. Can't happen. We expect our guys to -- it's zero coverage, which means they bring an all-out blitz, we expect our guys to make people play when they bring zero coverage, we throw a hitch route, make a move and walk in the end zone.

But we didn't do that. We made a huge mistake that put us at third and six or seven, and we just didn't convert on the -- I'm sorry, fourth and six or seven, and we didn't convert it. We go from having a first down to having a fourth down, and we got hit as he was throwing the football trying to convert the fourth down.

Q. Preseason you said the offensive line would be the strength of the offense for the first time.

COACH PHILLIPS: Well, we all said that. We did return four starters and a guy who had started some games, so we said -- it's not just me, we all said that. It hasn't happened. It has not happened. I don't blame it on injuries and all those things, or I don't blame it on having played together. We've just got to get better. We've got to get them better. We have got to get them better as a staff.

Q. Last week Charlie (Strong) was saying that he felt like your team was ahead of his team. Have they made up that --

COACH PHILLIPS: Well, that was a ploy to get his team ready to play, I understand that, and I just think that we've got to continue to work to get our football team better every week. I'm not comparing my team to their team. Today they were the better team obviously, but I'm not comparing my team to their team.

Q. What do you tell your guys in the locker room?

COACH PHILLIPS: I mean, it was a game of missed opportunities. That's what it was. It was a game and a hard-fought game like this, you cannot, you cannot miss the opportunities. You've got to make people pay when you get in the secondary after catching a big pass and we've got a chance to have the ball in the red zone, we can't put the ball on the ground. We can't let them convert first and 15 two times in a row. We can't have a punt blocked. Our defense did a great job of getting them stopped, but we can't do that. It takes your stinger out for a while. It took us a while to get back from that. And it also gives the other team the momentum when a punt is blocked.

Again, it was just a game of missed opportunities, but a hard-fought game. I really appreciate their effort, but we can't miss opportunities.

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Kentucky Player Quotes

#19- E.J. Fields - WR

On his career game …
“It felt really good to get my opportunity to play and make some plays on third down, and then the touchdown.  But it’s a little bittersweet because we couldn’t come away with the win.”

On getting the call tonight on several big plays …
“Being on the sideline requires that you are always ready to play when your number is called. I had jitters but being confident is a huge part of being a receiver.”

On getting his first career touchdown …
 “It felt really great and was a big confidence booster. The jitters that you talked about were gone after that. I’ve seen that play a million times in my head, and have practiced that play many times. To get in there and do it in front of all the fans felt great.”

#70- Stuart Hines - OL

On what Kentucky can take from the loss …
“We just have to put this one behind us and start preparing for next week. We can’t sit here and put our heads down, we have to move on.”

On the team coming together after a disappointing loss …
“I’m behind all my guys 100% and we are all behind each other. The coaches are all behind us, and we just lost a tough game. We have to move on and finish the rest of the season.”

On the offensive line and what they need to improve on …
“We just have to focus in on what we have to do. We have to focus in practice and bring that same focus to the field on Saturdays.”

#12 - Morgan Newton - QB

On how much pressure he felt from Louisville’s defense…
“I felt fine. On a couple of the six sacks, I just got to do a better job getting rid of the ball. We just got to do better.”

On how he felt throwing the football in the game …
“I felt more in a rhythm. It was tough early. I felt like we could have had some plays go either way as far as making plays happen in the passing game.”

#16 - La’Rod King - WR

On how Kentucky will respond from this loss.,,
“We’re gonna bounce back. We’ve got Florida in SEC play next week and we are going take this feeling and put it in our back pocket and use this motivation to our advantage.”

On doing a better job in the passing game tonight than the first few games…
“Definitely, we are stepping it up and we got to continue to improve, trust our reads, and listen to our coaching.”

#21 - Winston Guy - S

Louisville Head Coach Charlie Strong

Opening statement…
“This is a tremendous team victory for our team. We had said earlier to our team that we needed to have a statement game and after how we played last week we needed to come out and have a great game. The reason this is so important; we talk to our guys about changing the culture of this program. We’ve been down for three years and last year we had our year and you see us bounce back but we needed a statement game to change our culture and I mean in our university too. You see students walk around our campus with UK shirts and I always say to them if you’re going to walk around with UK stuff on you must have not got accepted to you UK but you are here so let’s support our school. You see alums who have graduated from our university that still have UK stickers on their car. We play two games early without selling out the stadium. Our alums should come to watch our players play and not worry about who we are playing. We have to change the culture within our program and if we continue to win then it will change so we have to change it ourselves.”

On traveling Louisville fans…
I love it, I came down here and spoke last year and we probably had 150 alums there, it’s great. It’s important for our university because they may always say we are the “step-child” but it’s important we start to win because then we can get the alums to support our university.”

On limiting Kentucky’s rushing attack…
“That’s what we needed to do on defense, stop the run. Our defense put enough pressure on the quarterback and made (Morgan) Newton make some bad throws and we ran him down. It was so critical to contain Newton.”

On saying that Kentucky was the better team before the game…
“I told the team on Thursday if we go play, then we are the better team. Our team has to play with some confidence and once you play with confidence you start believe. I told them it was all about them, we talk about changing the culture but it starts with them.”

On his feelings after this game compared to last year’s…
“It’s a game we needed to win as a statement game. It’s a victory, we should all be happy and it’s our state rivalry so we should all be happy about this one.”

Louisville Player Quotes

21 –Adrian Bushell - CB

On the win …
“I’m at a loss for words right now. I’m just happy to be a part of it really. In coming here, I just heard so much about Kentucky. I’m tired of hearing about it. I wanted to get out there and make some plays and see what I could do.”

On getting back in the swing of things …
“It’s kind of crazy trying to get back in the groove of things, getting back in shape and getting back and accommodating the style of the team.”

66 – Alex Kupper - OL

On the win …
“We haven’t won in a four years and to get it back is a special thing and to come here and do it with the support of the fans and everything. The tide is swinging our way”

On the play of the Louisville offensive line …
“First couple of games we hadn’t really stayed in the rhythm like we have talked about. We played turnover free tonight and we didn’t let little penalties bother us and we ran the ball pretty efficiently.”

93 – Roy Philon - DT

On the game and having family supporting him at the stadium …
“I’m from here it was a big game for me. It was a statement game for me just for me starting out. Going out there and trying to do my best.”

On Coach Strong’s reaction to the game
“It makes me feel really good. It is a little bit of success that we got. It’s one more step on the ladder that we have and it just makes me happy knowing I did my job.”