Kentucky-Charleston Southern Postgame Quotes

Nov. 6, 2010

Recap | Box Score | Notes | AP Photo Gallery  | Photo Gallery 

Head Coach Joker Phillips

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

COACH PHILLIPS: Injury situation, Ronnie Sneed has a stinger in his shoulder, and wasn't able to finish the game. He came out in the first quarter. Josh Gibbs had a hip flexor and he also did not finish after the first. Nick (Mellilo) went in and covered one kick, couldn't finish. (Martavius) Neloms got his ankle stepped on, and he came out in the fourth quarter. And Donald Russell got rolled up and hurt his back in the second quarter. So that's the injuries, so all of them should be back next week.

But one of the things we talked about is playing clean. We did not play clean. In the first half we changed one of our plans to win, and we turned the ball over on downs. That's considered a turnover, and that's my fault. That's me being selfish, it was.

Probably should have kicked the ball and played field position, but that's a sudden change. It's like a turnover and two plays later they're in the end zone. We've got to do a better job when we do turn it over.

I was just informed that we have turned the ball over and thrown an interception in the end zone three times in the last two weeks. So we can't do that. They go back down the field with that sudden change and go 80 yards, that can't happen.

The time of possession was 40 to 20 and you look at that first and you think no, it can't be. But at halftime it was 20-10, something like that almost 20-10, correct? And we gave up a couple of big plays on defense, and the offense turned the ball over two times. Can't do it, you cannot do it and survive in this league.

The thing you can't do is you can't go three weeks without creating turnovers on defense, and we have not created a turnover. Our offense created one but it was after a turnover last week. So we've got to play a lot cleaner to win next week. Any questions?

Q. Was it hard to get them fired up and ready this week?

COACH PHILLIPS: You know, I didn't think it was hard to get them ready because our guys were ready, I thought they were raring to go. We had really good practices.

You start thinking the weather changes, you start thinking well, it's going to be hard to get them going today. It wasn't. I told you guys after practice I thought our guys played in practice really well. The attitude was good. There was a lot of enthusiasm. So I felt we were ready to go.

Then you kickoff, -- usually you can judge this football team how their kickoff team covers kicks, and our first kickoff our guys ran down like their hair was on fire. That told me that our football team was ready to play.

We gave up a couple of big plays, and then offensively we don't get the fourth down. Then they converted, and I think that kind of took the wind out of our sail a little bit. But we battled back.

The thing is we didn't play clean. We didn't play fast at times but we won the football game.

Q. What did you think of Donald Russell's performance?

COACH PHILLIPS: He played good. He got the ball in the end zone. He made some big time runs. Both backs made some runs and they missed some runs, but he did what he had to do in this game. That is to hang on to the football and possess the ball at the end of each run and get positive yards.

Q. Your decision or (Derrick) Locke's decision not to play?

COACH PHILLIPS: His decision. If he can play, he'll play. He just didn't feel like he could protect the football and also protect himself. Locke really wants to play, but Locke really doesn't want to hurt this football team also.

Q. Can you assess the overall performance of the defense today and how you felt they played?

COACH PHILLIPS: We've got to make sure that we don't give up as many big plays. This football team that we just played put out a lot of trick plays on us. The thing we have to do is make sure if it's man-to-man coverage, stay on your guy.

They ran a sprint out throw back that it looks like a run, yes, it does. But your job is not to stop the run. Your job is to cover your man all over the field, regardless of what happens until the ball crosses the line of scrimmage.

We gave up the big play on that. We gave up a couple big runs with the quarterback. But they got stops when we needed them, that's the thing. They got stops when we needed them. But I think we've got to do a better job of creating turnovers, and we haven't created one in the last three weeks.

Q. That was the first snap ever recorded by (CSU) quarterback (Malcolm Dixon).

COACH PHILLIPS: I never saw that. I had to check the roster to see. I mean, he had never lined up at quarterback that we had seen. He obviously was in the game to run the football, and he's a good athlete, and he did a good job of running their offense. It was really their wildcat package really is what it was.

It was something that we had seen because we had seen it in practice every day, and that is their Wildcat package.

Q. Are you pleased with where you are?

COACH PHILLIPS: Hey, I'm .500. Yes, I'm pleased. We're 5 and 5, with two games left. A home game next week in our league, and senior day for guys. You know, about 16 guys that have been around here for a long time. Some that haven't been around here for a long time, it will be an emotional week for those guys, and we'll try to feed off of that.

Q. You said you need to get some momentum. Is this the kind of win you need?

COACH PHILLIPS: This is what we're talking about. We need this momentum, we need this feeling. We've been in this locker room for five out of the last six weeks that we haven't had this feeling.

So I think this is the momentum that we need to carry us through the rest of the season.

Q. Were you planning on splitting the reps at running back with (Donald) Russell and (CoShik) Williams?

COACH PHILLIPS: Yeah, that's what we had planned to do to play both of those guys. We were going to go two and one, one series, two series. But once Donald got rolled up from behind on the kickoff return, we decided to give them split reps or split series.

I thought both of them did a good job of getting the ball in the end zone and taking care of the ball first of all, and getting the ball in the end zone.

Q. Did you play the back-ups as much as you wanted to?

COACH PHILLIPS: No, you never play them as much as you want to. I would have liked to have seen everybody get in the game. I would have liked to have played a little bit more. Liked to have gotten a chance to get (back-up QB Ryan Mossakowski) in the game, but we weren't able to.

Q. Is it too early to say whether (Derrick) Locke and (Raymond) Sanders will be back?

COACH PHILLIPS: It's way too early. We'll have to see tomorrow. Again, both of those guys will be day-to-day. We'll see tomorrow if they can give us anything. Then just throughout the week, the same deal. It's been like that for about two weeks with Locke, so we'll see.

Q. Was there ever a time that you looked at the scoreboard in second quarter in a tie game and thought it would like an Appalachian State game?

COACH PHILLIPS: Yeah, definitely. You know, you felt like you had control, but you didn't have control. But when you look at the scoreboard it didn't say it.

We felt like just get a stop here and there, don't turn the ball over. We felt like we could score points. But, yeah, it was a time to look up at the scoreboard and say that.

Q. Did you get momentum because you played well or just a matter that you won?

COACH PHILLIPS: Both, both. We played a lot better longer. But also the fact that you won, I think can you get a lot of things corrected in a different way with the win.

Q. Can you talk about Danny Trevathan -- what continues to impress you with his play?

COACH PHILLIPS: The speed. You very seldom see Danny Trevathan. What is frustrating is when we're in position to make plays and you don't make plays. That is the frustrating part of battles on defense, you know.

When Danny is in position to make plays, he makes the play. He runs his feet, he runs through people, not to people, first of all. Then when you see Danny hit people, they go backwards.

A lot of it has to do with the way he runs. He's one of our faster guys on defense, and a really smart football player.

Last week we were getting some of the other guys a lot of reps because he was a little beat up, and just watching him on the sideline talking to our young linebackers about their assignments. That tells me that it allows Danny to play as fast as he's playing, he knows what is going on. He knows everything that's going on with this defense. So it allows him to play faster than a lot of our other guys.

Q. Seems like Craig McIntosh does a good job angling the direction of his kickoffs. How has that helped the kickoff coverage?

COACH PHILLIPS: Yeah, it does help. We wanted to see this. We challenged our kickoff coverage team also. We've gotten really excited about how E.J. Fields covered last week, so we moved -- E.J. actually went in and covered in the position that Matt Roark had been in.

And Matt Roark has been a beast on the kickoff coverage team, so it allowed us to move someone else off the team that we weren't covering as well. Put E.J. Fields back in there and insert Matt Roark. We thought that Brian Adams was playing good on that same team.

So the thing we wanted to do is keep the ball in play. I wasn't interested in kicking the ball in the end zone; I wanted to see these guys covered. Because that sets the tempo and that shows the attitude of the football team in how you cover kickoffs, and I wanted to see those guys cover. I thought they did an outstanding job.

Each guy on our sidelines was picking out a guy who they thought was going to make the play and telling the other guy. Hey, I've got Matt Roark this time or I've got Brian Adams.

So we wanted to challenge our kickoff cover team, and they did. They covered outstanding which I think tells us the attitude of your football team.

Kentucky Players

#23, Donald Russell, TB

On his first 100-yard game...
“I just found that out, so I’m pretty excited about that. It’s the first time in my career that I have had over 100 yards so it feels good.”

On the week in general...
“It was a situation where everybody took it out of hand. It was nothing harmful towards anybody. I still practiced hard, I still prepared hard on what I had to do, and I just played really hard.”

On if he felt more pressure this week...
“Not too much. I talked to Joker (Phillips) about it. Everybody thought we were on different pages about everything, but once I knew he and I were on the same page, I didn’t have to worry about anything else.”

#26, Coshik Williams, RB

On if he was surprised about Derrick Locke...
“I have been talking to Derrick (Locke) all week and he felt that he wasn’t at full strength, so he didn’t go today.”

On his performance against Charleston Southern…
“It felt good. There were some things I did today that I have been waiting on a long time for. I was happy I got a chance today and everyone saw what I did on the field.”

On the start of the game...
“I was pretty relaxed. We still had to prepare like we would for a Southeastern Conference game. I liked my cut blocking today. I had two good cut blocks and I was happy about that.”

#53, Ricky Lumpkin, DT

On Kentucky’s overall effort...
“It is a win. It defiantly was not the cleanest, but its a win. Even though we got turnovers, we have to stop them. It is one of the things that has plagued this team all season. The one game we stopped the opponent in was Mississippi State, but we lost that game. We can’t play like that next week. If we do, we are going to be singing a sad note.”

On preparation for Charleston Southern...
“When you look at the beginning of the NCAA season, you saw Virginia Tech lose to a Division II school. Like our coach told us, “It may not seem like a big game, but if you lose, we are going to be the ones on ESPN.”

On concern about losing...
“No, at 14-14, I was more disappointed at how they got the 14 points. We had the ball, and turned it over at the twenty-yard line. They drove all the way down the field. That’s not supposed to happen, no matter who you are playing against. We have to at least hold them to a field goal, or try to keep them on that side of the 50 and get the ball back to our offense.”

#5, Mike Hartline, QB

On how important this win is…
“It is big. We came in understanding who we were playing and how we should play, but this was a big game. If we acted like it wasn’t a big game and we had lost, these next two games would have been even more crucial. I am glad we came in and got it done. This wasn’t the cleanest win, but we played well, put up the points that we needed to and I feel that we played well.”

On if he thinks the team played as good as they needed to…
“Offensively, I do not think that we did. There definitely should have been more points put up on the board. There were still too many wasted plays, still some things where we should not have been put in a third and long situation with the offense that we have against their defense. No disrespect to them, but we came out and wanted to play hard and aggressive. Some drives we just got behind ourselves.”

On the bottom line being that this team just needed to get a win…
“We really did. That is the best way to put it and we really need a win with these next two coming up. There are still two tough games of SEC play left, but I am just glad we came away with a win today.”

#18, Randall Cobb, WR/QB/HL/KR/PR

On how the team played on offense today…
“It was not the kind of performance we expected. Regardless of who our opponent is, we need to come out and execute every play, every down and we did not do that tonight.”

On the reason behind the team’s slow start…
“I do not think guys were motivated as much as they needed to be. It is kind of hard to get motivated for games like these, but you have to find a way and you have to continue to push through it.”

On how big this win is going into the last two games and attempting to become bowl eligible…
“It is very big. We needed to make sure to secure the game today and definitely with these last two games. It is going to be rough and we need to make sure we all do our jobs.”

#21, Winston Guy, FS

On the play of Malcolm Dixon…
“We were so focused on No. 11 (Andrew Trudnowski) and watching him on film. We knew he was more of a passer than Dixon; Dixon was more of a runner.”

On what happened after halftime that the defense started to stop (Malcolm) Dixon…
“The coaches just put us in better situations. We didn’t really know that (Andrew) Trudnowski was going to be running the ball like he did. We knew he was versatile and he threw it a few times, but they were running a lot of read options. It was really unexpected what they were doing out there, but after we made our halftime adjustments we started playing a lot better.”

On the overall performance of the defense and what they need to concentrate more on going into next week…
“I think we played okay. I will not take anything away from them. They are a FCS team and we are an SEC team. I feel that the plays they made were due to our okay performance. We could have done a lot better than we did and how we prepared during practice. I give our defense a C today. We knew what they were doing, we just were not really reading the plays like we needed to. We knew they were the underdogs, but they gave us a run for our money. Now we need to get ready and get prepared for Vanderbilt next week.”

Charleston Southern Head Coach Jay Mills

On Charleston Southern’s performance…
“I was (pleased). We’ve had a lot of adversity this year. We went from what I felt was a potential top-20 FCS team, to you go back to our second game against Wofford, we led with nine-and-a-half minutes to go. We didn’t make plays, they’re a top-10 ranked team. Liberty – I think they’re a top-10, top-12 ranked team – we go into that game and lose our starting quarterback who’s a tremendous player and we’re very much a quarterback-driven offense. We lose him and we’re still only down two points and we fumble it on the one-yard line going into the fourth quarter of that game. After that – it’s just been one of those years. We’ve had a lot of injuries, a lot adversity. This team very easily could have folded up their tents but they didn’t, so I’m very proud of them. Tangibly, they played hard. Intangibly, they played with a lot of heart.”

On the emergence of Malcom Dixon…
“It’s interesting because we went from redshirting him, then we had an injury early in the camp so we moved him to wide receiver, then he got hurt and missed about half of the year. When he got hurt, then we lost our quarterback so we moved him back to quarterback. Then we were going to need about two weeks to get him honed in a little bit, and all of a sudden we lost another wide receiver so we moved him back to wide receiver. And then he went back to quarterback again the last couple weeks. So he’s practiced the last three weeks at quarterback although he played one game as a wide receiver in the last three weeks. Finally, this was the week that he was prepared and we needed to be able to use his legs with the scheme we saw. We’re playing a team (Kentucky) that, first of all we have tremendous respect for, I watched them on film and I’ll tell you what; offense, defense, special teams, I know it’s been disappointing from their standpoint their record as well, but they’re a very good football team. Just a few plays away from being an upper echelon team. We were very impressed with the way they’ve been coached, the discipline and how tough they’ve played. But we needed, based on the scheme, to get an extra guy. To get an extra guy means you add legs and add the quarterback into the potential read of the offense. So that’s what we worked on this week. The coaching staff did an outstanding job in preparation as well, in all three phases, to put our guys in position. We had given up a lot of yards last week in rushing. I can’t say enough about how blessed I am from a coaching staff standpoint.”

On nerves putting in a freshman (Dixon) in an SEC stadium…
“Sometimes freshman don’t realize that. Sometimes the older they are they realize it, but no. (Malcom Dixon) was looking forward to it you could see it in his eyes all week. We took a little heat off him on certain things and made some calls on the sideline rather than some audible calls on the field he normally might do. But he’s a competitive person. He’s a high-character individual. I was confident. I didn’t want him to get the first couple plays at the line of scrimmage, but after the first couple plays I felt like we could get him into a flow of things. So, I was concerned about the first play. If I put him in on the first play I thought that might be a little too much.”

Charleston Southern Players

#15, Malcom Dixon, QB/WR

On the breakout game in his freshman season …
“It was a plan that we came up with early in the week, it was something we thought would be helpful for our team. We had prepared all week and the offensive line gave me a chance to help the team out.”

On being nervous to play in Commonwealth Stadium…
“Coach had talked about it all week, and growing up on SEC soil this is a lot of our dreams. I thought would be nervous but when I got out there it just felt normal.”

On the role that he feels most comfortable in…
“I do whatever the team needs. I just want to do what is best for the team so whatever they need I am there.”