Kentucky-Ole Miss Postgame Quotes

Nov. 5, 2011

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Kentucky Head Coach Joker Phillips

Injury report …
“E.J. Fields had a hip pointer on about the first play of the game. He tried to come back and just couldn’t feel it, so he went back out. Donte Rumph had an ankle. He missed the second half. He tried to go back in but couldn’t make it back for the second half. Ridge Wilson had a shoulder that we will evaluate tomorrow and see how he is. Bud Depree went in and gave us some quality snaps.

Opening statement …
“Where do we start at? Big win. Our plan to win that we go over every week is first win the battle. Win the turnover margin. Again we didn’t have any turnovers. Not sure of our record when we don’t turn the ball over, but that is two weeks now (NOTE: UK is 7-1 under Phillips when it wins the turnover battle). That is how you win games. You look at last year. We turned the ball over three times against these guys. This year we made them drive the field and that is how you get yourself a chance to win. Run the football. We had a 100-yard rusher. The other one is stop the run. We didn’t stop the run like we would like to but we didn’t give up many big runs. We gave up the big run on the reverse early in the game and that hurt us. Get ourselves off the field on third downs, 7-for-17. We gave up a couple early in the game. And then keep ourselves on the field on third down. We were only 5-of-13; that was not good. But the thing we did was we also won field position, we won the fourth quarter and we got the ball in the end zone in the red zone. Those things equal wins. As long as we stick with our plan we feel like we have a chance to win games.

“We also did some special things on offense and defense. One was how we protected our quarterback. Our deal was to make sure we kept him upright and keep him clean. But a lot of those things he has to do on his own, which is help the protection, get the ball out of his hands when he needed to, defeat man coverage which we did a good job of beating man-to-man coverage. Whether it is running away from them across the field, and we actually got behind people today in the first half, we had some chances for some big ones but they came out as foul balls. We got behind them and they were foul balls, but in the second half we hit some home runs, which you have to have when people play you in man-to-man coverage. Defensively we got ourselves off the field on third down and caused a turnover that was big. And in special teams we didn’t flip the field on our return game but we did flip the field on our coverage teams, so that means it was a total team effort. All phases did a great job to help us win the football game.”

On the play of freshman quarterback Maxwell Smith
“Max did an unbelievable job of picking himself off the ground. He did take some hits now, but he did a good job of picking himself up off the field. To me a big-time quarterback takes it right in the lips and stands in there and delivers. He is performing like a freshman at times with some of the things he is doing but at times is he showing bit-time flashes of being a great quarterback for us.”

On if Maxwell Smith will start at quarterback next week …
“He definitely deserves to be the starter next week. We aren’t making a quarterback controversy or anything like that. He deserves to be the starter next week.”

On if getting Coshik Williams involved in the running game has opened up the passing game …
“I was thinking that as soon as our offensive line starting getting healthy we started getting banged up in other positions. But we started making plays. CoShik (Williams) is seeing things. Once you can run the ball, once you can do one of the things good, it helps the other phase. When you can run the ball, it helps you throw the ball because you get more people in the box because they say we have to stop the run, we can’t give gaps to the run and we throw the ball. You get more one-on-one coverage and we said we have to beat man-to-man coverage. Once you start throwing the ball it helps you run the football. Then it becomes a cat and mouse game. When we are able to do one of the things well, I think it helps the other areas of our offense.”

On getting quality plays on the deep passing game …
“Another hat in the box and again our goal was to beat man-to-man coverage. In the first half, it was a foul ball. We tried to throw to (La’Rod) King, we tried to throw to (Matt) Roark but in the second half we hit a couple of them for home runs. Now you start playing a little softer in your coverage, you start putting a safety over top of those defenders and we start the running game.”

On the deep passing game …
“I think today definitely it was there. It’s our receivers’ jobs to get them into cover two, the two safety looks. Then it becomes our running job to get them back into one-safety looks. And you just keep going back and forth and we did a good job of that today. Our run game did a good job of getting them into single-safety looks. Once they went into single-safety looks our receivers did a good job, and our quarterback did a good job, of saying we weren’t going to let you play us in single-safety looks. And we got some two-safety looks and we got back to the run game.”

On if Maxwell Smith was given many checks to make at the line …
“We tried to take most of them out of his hands and let him play. A lot of that stuff that we were doing was just check with me, meaning check with coach (Randy) Sanders.”

On how Maxwell Smith looked pregame …
“He was relaxed. I think last week helped that, a lot. He went in and had a good week of practice and just came out and played.”

On if the offense has been “fixed” …
“It is far from being fixed. Did we score every series? No. That is when you offense is fixed. We only score 13 in the first half. No it’s not fixed. It is far from being fixed. It is being repaired. It is in repair mode.”

On Maxwell Smith’s toughness …
“The guy is a tough individual. Tough mental guy. That is what it takes to play that position because there is so much stuff on the quarterback that he has to manage.”

On the team rallying around Maxwell Smith
“I don’t know if it was rallying around Max, our guys were rallying around each other. We have been talking about locking arms and going to work together and working for each other. It wasn’t so much for Max.”

On the fan support …
“The other thing I would like to do is thank the fans. I really liked the energy those guys had. You do not know how important it is for kids to see them out there. That was big and it was big in the fourth quarter.”

On the play of the receivers …
“What changed with them? They started catching the balls. I think that helps. Once you make a couple of plays and get a little confidence. And it changed with Max too, he started making some plays. The game started getting a little slower for him and he got some confidence. Our offensive line, those guys did some good things, even in those four losses that we had. You start to see those guys gain confidence. When players gain confidence they start to practice harder, they prepare harder and it shows up on the game field.”

On the season turnaround for receiver Matt Roark
“It has been a lot of guys who have changed their seasons around. Matt (Roark) is one of those guys who has changed his. He had seven catches today. This guy came in and caught 13 last week and has battled. He plays a lot of plays. He got dinged up on the first big one he caught and we weren’t sure if he was going to be able to go back in. He was dazed but got back in there and made some big plays. I am proud of him but I am proud of this whole football team. The way they have stuck together. We have talked about it, there is a lot to play for and this only helps.”

On Danny Trevathan’s 17-tackle performance …
“He had 17 again this week. He is unbelievable. Danny is definitely the leader of this football team, not only does he lead by the way he plays but he leads by the way he prepares for the game. Now he is starting to lead vocally. That has definitely helped bring some other people with him. Danny is trying to bring some people with him.”

Offensive Coordinator Randy Sanders

Kentucky Players

#26, Coshik Williams, RB

On the running game opening up the passing attack …
“It makes it really easy, and it opens up the passing game. We get a lot of deep balls, and new we have the receivers and quarterbacks on the same connections. It opens up the running game a lot.”

On the ability to throw opening up the running game …
“When you run the ball consistently, you get about six or seven yards a pop. When you do a little play action, it opens up the passing game a little bit more.”

On Maxwell Smith’s performance at quarterback …
“Max (Smith) played really well, and he protected himself really well, too. He made good picks when he saw the blitzes, and he made good completions.”

#22, Danny Trevathan, LB

On getting the win …
“I think we played pretty well tonight. We really got after the quarterback. I think we shut down what they were trying to do. (Ole Miss) had some big plays, but that all comes with football. You have to be able to adapt well and I think we played our type of ball today and I think we looked like a team.”

On his 17 tackles tonight …
“I just try to play off my guys and feed off of them. I just try to motivate those guys. The offensive line did a good job if shutting down the quarterback and trying to let me fill voids, and exploit the gaps. All the credit goes to the guys.”

On the offensive performance …
“It was pretty good. I have been telling them that they have to take it one game at a time and they have to step up. It’s going to be hard. We are in the SEC, and we have young guys. When you start winning, you start to get that feeling and I think the guys have that now. It’s going to be a good finish to the season.”

#16, La'Rod King, WR

On the main reason Maxwell Smith is so effective …
“That’s a really good question. He trusts us. It really just comes down to trust. I got his back, and all of our receivers have his back. He just has to throw it up and trust us. All of the balls he threw were on the money. The accuracy was great. We didn’t have to work, all of the balls were right there.”

On what his reaction would have been before the game if someone told him they would have thrown the ball 36 times …
“He didn’t do it. It’s awesome that he did it. That’s pretty crazy. He did look good. He did a good job. He took control of the offense, he was confident, and he was poised. Everything was good.”

On his overall thoughts on Maxwell Smith’s leadership abilities …
“You expect a quarterback to be rattled, but he was actually confident. He kept his composure and he played the game. We knew that he was capable of making plays not only with his feet, but his arm as well. He is a smart kid, and he made smart decisions.”

#11, Maxwell Smith, QB

On throwing 36 passes ...
“I actually didn’t expect to throw it that many times but I was ready to throw it that many times if I had to. I was ready to do it if I needed to.”

On his mentality before the game…
“I was really relaxed. I had all my teammates with me and we were just listening to music to get hyped before the game. I was just relaxed. I felt really good and I was confident about the game plan and we executed well.”

On the “fun” level of this game…
“In the beginning I was a little bit nervous but coach told me we have to get a touchdown so we can relax a little bit. Fortunately, we got the touchdown and then we were having a lot more fun in that third quarter.”

#46, Ronnie Sneed, LB

On how quickly the game seemed to turn around…
“Being down a field goal was nothing. We knew we still had a lot of football left to play. We were still excited and it turned in our favor.”

On whether the team felt like they were in a good position going into the fourth quarter…
“We definitely did. We felt that their offense couldn’t really do anything against us so as long as we didn’t let them score we knew that our offense could come back and get the lead. We hung on to it and we had a story book ending. We knew what we could do.”

On Maxwell Smith’s play today…
“I thought he played awesome. It’s good to see him out there and to see a young player getting repetitions like that. He really carried the offense. He handled it well and he does really well for the experience that he has.”

On how the offense’s success helps out the defense…
“We were bouncing around. It feels good because earlier in the season we were out there so much that we were really drained. It was hard for us to play as fast as we needed to all of the time. With the offense clicking the way they are and getting those first downs, it keeps us fresh and it felt good.”

#3, Matt Roark, WR

On how he transferred his success in the season …
“I set an expectation for myself and I push myself to meet it every week now. I didn’t really do anything different in practice or anything. I just kept going hard and working.”

On how the consistency helps him…
“It builds your confidence and it builds other people’s confidence in you. It shows you’re more reliable and stuff like that.”

On the trust between Roark and Maxwell Smith…
“That just comes from practice and we have landmarks we have to be at. He knows where they are and he does a good job of hitting us when we get there. If we’re not there then he’s still going to hit the landmark so we have to get there for it.”

Ole Miss Head Coach Houston Nutt

On Kentucky throwing a lot of deep balls at the beginning of the game …
“I felt like that’s the strength of this quarterback. When Newton went down and we found out that this guy would be starting we knew that was his strength, hand the ball off and throw the deep ball. They max everything up and throw some one-on-one routes. We were trying to stop the run and get them off the field but we put ourselves in some one-on-one situations.”

On settling for field goals on the first two drives …
“We missed a block on the first drive, we missed a couple blocks in the red zone that normally lead to scores. You have to give credit to No. 22 (Danny Trevathan), he is a football player, he makes a bunch of tackles. We stopped ourselves really and then we got a touchdown called back.”

On his feelings at the end of the third quarter …
“We felt good, felt good about the sideline and everybody involved. We were making plays, we just didn’t make any in the fourth quarter to win this game and that is what is really frustrating.”

On the missed pass on the first drive …
“I thought it hit his hands, I didn’t have a great angle but I thought it should have been caught. Without watching the film I’m not 100-percent but those are the kind of plays you have to make to win games in the SEC.”

On the effort of his team …
“I thought we played really hard, I thought we juiced up and went to another level in the third quarter. Bottom line, nothing is good enough when you don’t win and everything looks worse.”

Ole Miss Players

#1, Randall Mackey, QB

On critical penalties
“It’s our own mistakes as an offensive unit, we just keep backing ourselves up.  That’s on us.”

On settling for two field goals instead of touchdowns to start the game
“The touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief, they called it pass interference, I didn’t see it as pass interference though.  If we could have had those two drives back we could have killed them in the first quarter.”

On the penalties being due to a distraction because of losing games
“No, it’s just hard for a coach to call a play when it’s second and third and twenty-one.”

#14, Serderius Bryant, WLB

On if there is a lack of confidence on the team…
“A little bit in the second half, like it’s a different vibe.  We’ll keep bringing each other up though and I think we’ll have a pretty good team.”

On if he believes there is good leadership on the team
“I feel like there is a lot of good leadership.  There are a lot of good leaders on the team, we just have to step up and do what it takes to win.”

On if enough players on the team believe in what they can accomplish
“As of right now, I’d say no.  We just need to stay together, stay focused and get some wins and it’ll change the way they think.”

#12, Donte Moncrief, SE

On whether or not youth is the problem for the team right now…
“I don’t think it’s being young, I think there is just some stuff we need to work on.”

On how much Kentucky’s pass rush affected the passing game
“They were getting a lot of pressure on (Randall) Mackey, but Mackey is a tough quarter back and he stuck it out to try and get us a win.  I thought he played really well tonight.”

On how much the receivers had to break off routes
“We had to break them off a lot because the defensive line was getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback.”

On if he thought his first quarter touchdown catch that was called back for offensive pass interference was a penalty…
“It was a defensive back and a receiver in the SEC.  That’s how we play in the SEC we both battle for the ball and they just called me for it.”