Kentucky-Vanderbilt Postgame Quotes

Nov. 16, 2008

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Kentucky Head Coach Rich Brooks

Opening comments...
"First I'd like to congratulate Vanderbilt; they did a very good job. I obviously didn't get this team ready to play, even though I thought I did everything I possibly could to convince them how important it was to come out with energy. The first 30 minutes were awful. When we did stop Vanderbilt we let them off the hook with a couple of roughing the punter calls. In the second half, we came out with energy, got back in the game, made some plays on both sides of the ball, but again came up short, like we did last week. (Vanderbilt quarterback Chris) Nickson had a field day on us, running the quarterback run game. They would fake the speed sweep and bleed the back through to block for him. He hurt us a bunch of times and we let them off the hook on third down numerous times, continuing a trend that I don't quite understand on defense because we've played some good defense this year. We've yet to play a 60-minute game, offensively I think we had the ball about five minutes in the first half and it's pretty hard to do much. I wish we could have gotten a first down. We did get a first down, we ran a fake punt and then I make a great decision to go for it on fourth down, to try and get something out of the fake punt and they get a field goal before the half. So that was a bad coaching decision there. I just have to congratulate (Vanderbilt Head coach) Bobby Johnson, he's been one of the better coaches in this league for a long time and he's got himself bowl eligible now. They got after us, blocked us up front and did a good job defensively on us."

On the roughing the passer penalty...
"They protect the quarterback. I couldn't tell, I just saw a glimpse of one of the replays. He pushed him, but could he have not pushed him? I couldn't tell how many steps he took. You shouldn't push him if you can't. Obviously that's a huge play in the game, because we intercept the ball at about their 35- or 40-yard line and we have all the momentum going our way, and then they convert and go down and score on us right after that call. So that was the big turning point in the game."

On if the defense is worn down...
"One of the things is that what they do segments the defense, the speed sweep, the fake of the speed sweep, the quarterback run game. They added a little bit of a different wrinkle, leading the back, rather than sometimes they pull the tackle around and they didn't do that tonight and we didn't get a key on it a couple of times. We're not as physical attacking the ball right now. We do have some people that are hobbled a little bit, but everybody does this time of year. We just have to do a better job of taking care of our gap responsibilities. They cut back quite a few times and we over pursued, and they got some cut back lanes on us. The back (Jared Hawkins) and the quarterback did."

Kentucky Players

#18, Randall Cobb, Quarterback

On how he felt about the game...
"I went out there, gave it all I had and came up short two weeks in a row. It's just frustrating because last week in practice we moved on and kept our spirits up; then we come back this weekend and mess everything up. As a team this is a big bust on us. We wanted to go to a big bowl game. We had our opportunity tonight and we didn't get the job done. Vanderbilt is a tough team and they have talented kids. We had to match what they did and we didn't do that tonight."

On what happened in the first half...
"It's frustrating not to have many opportunities to get my hands on the ball, but things happen sometimes. I think our defense went through the same thing earlier in the season. It's part of the game; you're going to have your ups and downs. It's how you can over come them that's important."

#28, Tony Dixon, Tailback

On playing his last game at Commonwealth Stadium...
"I've had a great experience here at UK and I feel like I've come from the bottom to the top. It's a great place to grow up from a high school football player into a man. It's an honor to play here. The guys picked me to be a leader of the team this year and I'm going to miss them."

On playing Vanderbilt in the past...
"We've played Vanderbilt in the last couple of years where they needed to beat us in order to be bowl eligible. In the past, we've had close games with them and tonight we just couldn't pullit out. Like always, with a loss you have to bury it and move on."

#4, Micah Johnson, Linebacker  

On the disappointing defensive performance...
"It's tough. It is a tough loss in general. They made some plays on us and wejust didn't respond very well tonight."  

On why Kentucky started the game flat...
"It's not Coach Brooks' fault. He stressed day in and day out how important this game was and made it very clear that it was a must-win game for us. For the team to come out flat is not on Coach Brooks, it is on me being one of the leaders of this team."

#7, David Jones, Cornerback  

On his touchdown return...
"It was a great play from our defensive line, getting up and blocking the ball and then I picked it up and scored. We have been working on it all week and I got out in front and went to another level and made sureI scored. I wasn't going to let anyone catch me."  

On how down the team is after this tough loss...
"We are all pretty down right now. I will give a lot of credit to Vanderbilt, because they came in and wanted the gamemore than we did. It's hard to take this loss because it's senior night."   

Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson

Opening statement...
"We knew that going into the second half was going to be a battle and Kentucky did a fantastic job of coming back on us. But, we stayed in there and made some plays when we had to, and I thought we played a very fair, fine game and I'm proud of it."

On the feeling in the locker room...
"It's pride and joy no doubt about it, but we're not satisfied. We have two more regular season games to play and we're going to approach them like every other game we've had. I'm not going to lie to you; there is elation in the locker room right now and within our coaching staff. We've worked hard, and I'm proud of them for doing that and we went into a slide a little bit but we came out of it and played well tonight. That's what we asked them to do."

On Vanderbilt's game plan...
"We thought we would be running the quarterback a good bit so that's why we went with Chris [Nickson]. Mackenzi [Adams] was a little banged up still, but he could have played. But, to subject him to being hit all of the time probably would not have been smart. We put D.J. [Moore] in at wide receiver tonight and of course that payed off with two touchdowns. Jared [Hawkins] also ran the ball well. I felt like we had to keep the ball away from them, and we certainly did that in the first half."

On having the ball a lot in the first half...
"Well yeah because we weren't playing much defense. We had it and then they returned the blocked kick and got their points that way. Then we got the ball right back so they didn't have the ball very much."

On beating Kentucky...
"Anytime you beat anybody in the SEC it's a great win and Kentucky has been pretty tough for us. We've played well in most of the games that we've lost to them in the past three or four years, but there are just a few things here and there that kept us from having a chance to win those games. We came out on top in this one."

Vanderbilt Players

#17, DJ Moore, Cornerback

On the emotion of the game...
"It feels so good to get out and get our sixth win. We have been waiting awhile to get here after starting the season going 5-0. Since then we have gone 5-4 and it feels like a ton of bricks has been taken off our back after this game. We still have two games to play and we want to get two more wins to end the season. It feels so good to get this win tonight."

On the game...
"All of the coaches worked hard all week to get us the match-ups that we needed to have the best chance at winning tonight. It was certainly a huge team effort to get the points on the scoreboard and stop Kentucky when we had to. We had been practicing hard all week to get ready, and all of our hard work paid off. We got out and scored quickly and we played some hard defense tonight."

#3, Chris Nickson, Quarterback

On finally getting the sixth win of the season...
"Honestly, I don't think that I can describe it right now. It's an unbelievable feeling, and the best way to describe it right now would be `wow.' That's the best thing I can say. Maybe in a couple of days it will all hit home exactly what happened tonight, but tonight I am in a wow-like emotional state. It's unbelievable."

On if it was important to get off to a quick start in the first quarter...
"Absolutely, any time you score early it is good. It built our team's moral and gave our offense confidence and got us ready to play. It was a tremendous advantage for us tonight to go up 14, and if we don't jump out to that lead then you never know what might happen. It was a tremendous advantage for us."