Kentucky-South Carolina Postgame Quotes

Oct. 16, 2010

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Head Coach Joker Phillips

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

COACH PHILLIPS:  First the injury report.  Kevin Mitchell, got a tweak in his hamstring, his left hamstring, on the PAT field goal.  You guys explain it.  I don't know how an offensive lineman can tweak his hamstring on a PAT field goal but he did.  Martavius (Neloms) has a concussion, and we'll take a look at him tomorrow.

And (Shane) McCord.  I almost said Quinten McCord (former UK wide receiver).  Shane McCord has a left groin.  I'm still shaking.

What an effort.  But we've given this type of effort every week.  We've given this type of effort every week.  We made a lot more plays today, especially in the second half; we challenged our guys at halftime, that we were in a street fight.  We're in a street fight.  I'm in a street fight.  I want to see who has my back.

And we drive with 80 guys, and all 80 of them had my back, all 80 of them.  Really, our defense, for what they did, all they did is come out in the second half and give up 103 yards and throw a shutout to one of the best offenses in the conference.  Offense scored when they needed to score, put together some big-time drives.  The 95-yard drive was as good as I've ever seen.

When we really, really needed something to get us going, they put together an unbelievable drive.  And our special teams, when we needed a play there, our punter punted them back and our guys ran down and pinned them back and gave us the short field.  We started playing on the short field.

All three phases played their hearts out.  But we have seen that every week.  We've played this way every week.  We made more plays this week.  And we had a lot more confidence.  And confidence comes when you make a play.

You make a play and then the next play you feel a little better about making the next play.  And we had a lot of guys that made plays.  I don't know if you guys heard anybody on this football team talking about Derrick Locke being out.  I love Locke to death, but we've got to run 11 out there.  Nobody said anything about DeQuin Evans.  Our football team just rolled their sleeves up and went to battle.

And I really like how they're fighting, period.  They're fighting, scratching and clawing.  I asked them last night, I went over and saw the ‘65 to ‘72 (former UK head coach Charlie) Bradshaw team.  I'm a big-time Kentucky history buff.  And I got a chance to talk to those guys, got to see Mrs. Bradshaw and Mrs. Pale.  When you talk to those guys over at the K House, every time they talked about our players, the passion, the strength in their voice, first of all, how they felt about how our team was playing, the passion that they felt in their hearts.

And I asked our team to play with that type of strength that I heard over there last night, to play with that type of passion, to play with that type of heart.  And they did.

Tell us what's in your heart --

COACH PHILLIPS:  Everybody knows what this program means to me.  What it means to me a small town Kentucky boy getting a chance to lead the program that he's grown up loving and a lot of people said I wasn't supposed to love this place, but I guess I'm stubborn.  I made the decision in '81 that I wanted to come here and now being in this program and seeing those young men in there, living out their dreams, it is a dream come true to me, and I'm living it.

The last couple of weeks, what was that like for you and the players?

COACH PHILLIPS:  It was fun.  It was fun.  It was a lot of excitement.  You know, what we've asked our kids to battle back from and for them to see the rewards, because we asked them to battle back from a tough loss to Florida.

They battled back and played their hearts out at Ole Miss, and we asked them to battle back from that tough loss and they came back and battled their hearts off and when we played Auburn and we asked them again.  That's three tough losses.

Two of those losses, 10 points.  Those are two really tough losses back-to-back.  And for us to ask those guys to battle back from those two tough losses and for them to give us the type of effort -- all week.  It just didn't happen today.  It happened on Sunday when we came in.

And Sunday was just a day to get the soreness out, to lift, and they lifted their tails off.  And the running, it gets their soreness out and they ran their tails off.  Then to see the way they prepared themselves on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  And then we hit the bus on Friday.

The way they went about their business -- it was a business trip.  The way they went about their business says a lot for this football team.

On the game-winning touchdown…

COACH PHILLIPS:  We ran a little underneath route.  Everybody's been talking about, ‘On third down, why do you run the underneath routes?’  I guess we've been hitting the underneath routes enough that the corner jumped it.

Mike (Hartline) went through his read.  The corner jumped this time, over the top.  That's how we got him open.

A little like deja vu on the sidelines, came narrowly similar to last week?

COACH PHILLIPS:  Yeah, it did, because I told our guys, when we had seven and a half (minutes), I said let's take the ball down the field, hold it for seven and a half minutes and score and get out of here.

We left way too much time on the clock.  We wanted to run, catch the ball and fall down on the one so we could get it and run the clock down, but he didn't.  (Laughter) But I just felt that this was a big opportunity.  We would get a stop, get a penalty on the thing, punt return.

But we got the ball.  And we put our offense out there and they did a great job of going in there getting points for us.

Do you think this is Mike's best game ever?

COACH PHILLIPS:  Best game?  He played good.  He played really good.  I have to look at the film.  I mean, I said it last week that I thought he played one of the best games I've seen out of a quarterback.

But for him to stand in there and take some of the hits, this is really the first time he's taken some hits. For him to stand in there against a blitz on the last drive that he got hit right in the face, and he delivered one on the left sideline that I think that was a big-time throw.

I think he probably made big-time throws with people in his face in this game.  Best game?  I have to look at the film to see and then make that assessment.

Defensively, the last two games, the first half, the other teams pile up 700 something yards, the second half in both games, been completely different story. 

COACH PHILLIPS:  We didn't make any (adjustments) today. I tell you what happens we had a couple of opportunities to get ourselves off the field in the first half.  We didn't make a tackle or didn't get over the top of a corner route or those things, didn't get in our gap.

In the second half, we did.  We sent some blitzes in the first half that. When you send the blitz, he makes two guys miss and he walks in the end zone.  We sent some pressure and they bring it back out of the backfield and make an unbelievable throw on the long one that (Marcus) Lattimore made on our side.

I mean, just dropped it over our ends that are peeling, because when you blitz you usually expect the back to step up and take on one of the linebackers.

But if he doesn't, our end has to peel.  He goes out and he made an unbelievable throw on that one.  The second time our end didn't peel with him and he got behind us.

But our defense is playing really good, especially in the second half giving up 103 yards in the second half and shutting these guys out.  And they're playing inspired football, especially in the second half.

What's it mean to end the streak?

COACH PHILLIPS:  It was a big win.  We've got to get wins.  At 5-3, we'll have a chance to win in the East.  We will.  I don't know what the other teams are doing on this side.  I know it's a big game for Mississippi State.  No clue with that one.

But at 5-3, we'll have a chance.  We'll have a chance.  The only way we can get to 5-3 is the winning tonight.

What about (Chris) Matthews tonight, I thought he played well?

COACH PHILLIPS:  He did.  He played really well.  He's been playing really well.

Chris, he's a battler.  He has our back.  I say, it's 80 guys in there.  All 80 guys in there had each other's back and Chris is one of those guys.  All he did is go out there and make play after play after play especially on third down, I think that's big.  When you're 6-5, 6-4, doesn't matter how tight they are, you're open when it's a 5-9 guy.  He made a huge play on the dig route when they're all over him, safety breathing down his neck.  That's what he's got to do.  That's what their guy does.

We expect Chris to make those plays.

Talk about the interception, the play in the end?

COACH PHILLIPS:  (Anthony) Mosley and Cartier (Rice).  Just had three deep, and that's the coverage you want to play.  The corners have to be over the top, deeper than the deepest, and they were.  They tried to throw a fade route.

We should be playing downhill on that play and we were.  A couple of times we weren't playing downhill on that play.  If you get deeper than the deepest, which is Football 101, you get deeper than the deepest and play downhill on that fade route, we should make that play.  I thought it was a great call and the guy made the play for us.

THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

Steve Brown, Defensive Coordinator

On the changes they made at halftime …
“We made some changes at half and we felt like we were doing a good job of stopping the run. Our offense did a great job of scoring us some points and we made the plays when we had to.”

On the confidence that this win gives the team .... 
“This is a phenomenal win for the Kentucky Wildcats. It’s a heck of a boost for our guys and I’m excited for them and proud of them. You saw some guys with tears in their eyes because they are happy, and that’s what it is all about and that’s what you play the game for.”

Kentucky Players

#8, Chris Matthews, WR

On the week leading up to the game … 
“I just wanted to go out there and work really hard. The coaches say when you practice hard you play harder. Coach (Tee) Martin said that he expected a big game out of me and I just wanted to step up and be there for him.”

On dealing with the previous tough losses …
“It was hard, but everyone knows about the idea of one heartbeat and we are all a family and we want to stick together.  Never once did we feel like throwing down the pads. We felt like we can win this and we still can. We will celebrate tonight and get back to work tomorrow.”

On the win rejuvenating the locker room … 
“Our plan is to win the (SEC) East and we are still on track to get that done.”

#21, Winston Guy, SS

On the difference in the second half …
“I think it’s our team just coming together. We don’t point fingers we just communicate and make sure that everyone knows their assignments.”

On being on the field when Anthony Mosley got the interception to seal the UK win …
“I felt so excited and was so happy that Anthony Mosley made that pick. It was game changing performance and I give him all the respect for making such a big play.”

On the difference defensively in the first and second half … 
“South Carolina was just making plays on us in the first half, but coach (Steve) Brown came in and told us what we needed to do. He did an awesome job of putting the defense in position to make plays and what he did is the reason that we won today.”

#18, Randall Cobb, WR

On the feeling of a big win like this…
“There’s nothing sweeter. We finaly came through. We never lost faith. We never, for one second, thought we were going to lose that game. We have had struggles at times, but we found a way to win, that is what it comes down to. We kept our faith and we found a way to win.”

On the emotion of the team in the locker room…
“The whole team had emotion in there. We have fought so hard all season and we came up short a few times. We found a way to win, we finally found a way to win. I cannot keep stressing that we never lost faith, we never gave up, we just kept fighting. That is what we are, we are the comeback cats. Hopefully we do not have to keep doing that, but if it comes down to it, we are never going to lose faith and we are never going to get down on ourselves.”

On how not to lose faith…
“It is hard not to give up. It is hard when times are tough, but that is when you pull through. When you can find the strength to pull through when things are not going right, that is faith. We found that faith tonight.”

On how he became so wide open on the last touchdown…
“Most of the game, I was being double covered. I had two men on me, but Chris (Mathews) was having an amazing game. That last play, Chris (Mathews) ran a little sit route and I ran the corner and the safety and corner jumped Chris (Mathews) because he had been making plays and getting the ball all night, which left me wide open. Mike (Hartline) stood in there and took a hit and we got the touchdown.”

On what it meant to break the all time touchdown record…
“Breaking a record means nothing to me, honestly. That is something I will look back on later in life, but right now just being able to get that win, I can’t love on my team any more right now.”

#5, Mike Hartline, QB

On how the team has the confidence to win tonight after three very difficult losses…
“We just have a strong commitment to this program. We have so many people around us supporting us. Coaches and even the players are dedicated to keeping our heads up and just knowing that each game is so close that we are right there, so if we practice a little harder and run a little faster, we can get it done. Sometimes there is a bad break in the game and things don’t go our way, but fortunately tonight they did and we got a big win.”

On Randall Cobb saying that Mike Hartline was the player of the game…
“Coming from a guy like Randall (Cobb) who is almost always the player of the game, that is nice of him to say. Obviously he had a fair share of great plays in this game making clutch catches on third downs and making great plays with his feet, so nothing could ever be said about how hard he plays.”

On his joy when he saw Randall (Cobb) catch the ball in the endzone …
“I was blown away because I didn’t really know what to expect when the ball came out of my hand. I knew what part of the field he was going to be in and what route he was going to run, but as far as if he was covered or not, I couldn’t really see because I got hit right after the throw. It is one of those things that sometimes it is just better to be lucky than good. That was great effort by him and I gave him a chance, so that was a great play by Randall (Cobb).”

On if this is the best game he has ever had…
“Probably statistically, it was. As far as effort and competing, yes it was. I think it is one of our best games as an offense, too. We were pretty one sided as far as passing and running, I wish we could have run it more. As long as coach has confidence in the throwing game then that is what we will do.”

#14, Anthony Mosley, CB

On how it felt to make the game winning interception…
“It felt amazing. When you hear the crowd and everyone is into it and we crack the record books, it felt really good not only for our team but for this state as well.”

On the importance of the tip drill and how it paid off…
“It was amazing, it is something that we always practice but when it really pays off, then you can tell just how important it is.”

On how big of a win this is for the program…
“With this win, we came into the game 3-3. When you have a record like that in our position, you are kind of at a crossroads where you can be 4-3 or 3-4. It helps boost our morale and it helps with the fans when they come back and to get excited against Georgia next week. It is really big for our momentum and our personal pride knowing that we can win.”

On if the team has to get a win eventually to keep fighting…
“Definitely, it is always mentally and emotionally draining if you win a close game like that, knowing that you have the opportunity to beat a top-10 team every week. We had a good top-10 team come in here twice and we are 1-1 on the top ten right now, so it is really good to know that we can finish and play with the best in the country.”

#22, Danny Trevathan, LB

On how it feels to keep coming so close and to finally get a big win like this…
“It is a sigh of relief but we know we have more work to do. The SEC East is up for grabs right now. Coach Joker talked about how three wins can win the SEC East and we just had to get this one. The team knew it, Coach Joker knew it. It just took us coming together as a team. Defense had to pick it up, offense picked it up and we just played until the end of the whistle.”

On how the team came together and chipped in during the second half…
“I get a lot of tackles because of them. It is a team effort. If I have a bad game, they have a good game; defensive line played good, and we just feed off of each other. It was a great atmosphere for us, we just have to start off better, that’s it.”

On what the difference has been in the second half…
“Just the attitude. I think we wait for them to strike first, but we need to strike first and deliver that first blow. We need to show them what we are bringing to the table and just pick it up from the beginning.”

South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier

Opening statement …  
“You’ve got to give Kentucky credit for all the third downs they made, and they made the fourth down. They just beat us. They stuffed us offensively in the second half. Marcus (Lattimore) went out early in the third quarter. We didn’t have much of a running game. But they stayed on the field most of the half and we had to punt a lot. It didn’t work out very well. Defensively, we had a lot of great plays on first and second down, but third down, I don’t know how many they made, but just about all of them second half I guess until they made the (fourth down). But anyway, that’s what happens in close games. You got a defensive guy who made a missed assignment, we tried to hang on in the corner of the endzone, had one-on-one with our receiver but Stephen (Garcia), it just didn’t come out of his hand very well. He got it inside instead of the outside corner, and they came by and got the ricochet pick just like the last three weeks we’ve had a ricochet off a guy to the defense. Yeah, we were in field goal range, I knew that, but I thought it was worth a shot to run a little man-to-man to the back of the endzone over there but we didn’t get the ball there. So it was a bad call. But give Kentucky credit, they kicked our tails in the second half and played a lot better than we did.”

On not throwing the ball to Alshon Jeffery on the final play…
“Well, I think if Alshon had been there the safety would have been over him. The safeties were hanging sort of a two-deep, and they were way inside. So it was a chance to throw one up to another receiver. No, I don’t think they would have played that coverage with him out there.”

On the extent of Marcus Lattimore’s injury…
“It’s just a sprained ankle is what they said. Just a sprained ankle. So he may be out a week or two, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

On Kentucky’s receivers finding ways to get open…
“Yeah, I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Coach Johnson and Coach Ward. We felt like we needed to zone them up I guess. They kicked us on the third downs. We played so well on first and second, and then here comes third and finally here comes fourth. We had so many good plays, but you have to play them all as we know. We have to play the entire game and we didn’t do it as a team tonight. Spencer Lanning punted beautifully. We got out of some jams. Their kid (Ryan Tydlacka) punted beautifully, too. We didn’t get a turnover, did we? We had a chance on the fumbled punt but we can’t get them. We don’t get them and it came back to haunt us.”

On the play of quarterback Stephen Garcia…
“Oh he was beautiful in the first half. He had one of his great, statistically, games ever. And he played OK. I think he played OK. There wasn’t much out there. You guys watched it. They kicked our tails in the second half and they made all the third downs. We have to play better on third downs, it’s as simple as that.”

On if this game is a testament to how hard it is to play on the road in the SEC…
“Oh no, we just can’t, as they say, put the nail in the coffin. We can’t put a team away. We just can’t do it, I don’t know why, we just can’t do it. We had numerous chances there to put them away, take over the game defensively or offensively here or there. We just can’t do it. So we were in a dogfight and they hit a fourth down play and our ball got picked off in the endzone and that’s the way it happened. We didn’t get any turnovers all night and we gave up a few. You just can’t win all the time without making some plays on special teams, making a turnover or something, getting field position, this that or the other. So we were back in the hole. We didn’t play very well on offense. The other team just beat us. That’s all you can say.”

South Carolina Players

#5 Steven Garcia, QB

On the second half …
“That’s what it looked like, we played very flat in the second half and it was bad. It was a bad second half for us.”

What was coach said on the last play …
“Just don’t take a sack. That was it because we just burned our last timeout and we took a shot in the end zone and it didn’t work out.”

On where South Carolina goes from here …
“We got to play four quarters of football. We can’t play a half and expect to win in the SEC on the road against anybody, or even at home. We have to put together a four-quarter game.”

On if the team is back at square one …
“A little bit. We just have to work harder and get ready for Vanderbilt and try to win up there. We have a bunch of SEC games here in a row and we got to win them.”

#21, Marcus Lattimore, TB

On their lack of offense in the second half …
Kentucky’s offense and defense, they did what they had to do to win.  It was hard to get things going. We tried but Kentucky’s defense played real hard. We just did what we could and they were playing hard.”

On going for the win instead of the field goal…
“No, I wasn’t surprised we were going to win the game. That’s what we’re here for. The guy from Kentucky (Anthony Mosley) made a great play on it.”

On how he is feeling…  
“I feel all right. I think I’ll be okay after two or three days when I can start running on the ankle. It was an isolation play and I ran in there and fell the wrong way and then the linebacker for Kentucky, he fell on it (ankle) too. I just heard it crack and I thought something really bad had happened but it’s just a sprain. ”

On if the loss tonight takes away from their win at Alabama …  
“No. I think we came in prepared. Kentucky is a good team. They beat us.”

#42, Travian Robertson, DT

On the defense in the second half…  
“We stopped the first and second down. They were beating us on third down, and when it came to third and long, we just couldn’t get off the field and that’s something we’re going to have to keep working on. I just feel like we had a lot of missed assignments.”

On being able to correct missed assignments …  
“Prepare. Every time we lose we always give them something. The Auburn loss and this loss, we gave them too much and any team in the SEC, if you give them something, they’re going to take it. We just can’t give teams stuff and we have to prepare better. ”

#10, Brian Maddox, TB

On this loss being hard to bounce back from …
“It was a tough loss. We just didn’t play good in the second half and we have to come back out on Monday and bounce back, we have to find a way to bounce back.”

On matching Kentucky’s intensity in the second half …
“We couldn’t convert. We couldn’t score and that is what it came down to. They converted on third downs in costly situations and we couldn’t do the same.”

On the frustration of beating No. 1 Alabama last week and losing to Kentucky this week …
“It’s a tough loss, we just have to bounce back from it.”

#6, Melvin Ingram, DT

On what happened different in the second half …
“We lost our poise and they outplayed us in the second half.”

On why South Carolina could not convert on third down in the second half…
“We just weren’t playing assignment football. We didn’t trust the next person to us and we were all trying to make big plays instead of playing together as a team.”

On the last drive of the game …
“They simply wanted it more than us and played harder.”