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Blue/White Postgame Quotes




April 24, 2010

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Head Coach Joker Phillips Quotes

Opening Statement...

"In the scrimmage today, I liked the competition. Some of you got with the players and talked about the scoring system, but I think it is fair. We have to get the defense off of the field. We weren't very good last year on third downs and getting off the field. That means third and one, third and two and even third and longs weren't very good. That has been a huge emphasis to get off the field. I think the offense did a good job moving the ball. There were some big plays, but the offense didn't get the ball in the endzone enough, especially our number one's (first team). I thought the two's (second team) did a good job getting into the end zone and we made some big plays with our running backs and EJ Fields made a big play which I was happy to see. With all three quarterbacks, I always want to stand behind the quarterbacks and see how they handle themselves in the huddle and I thought all of them commanded respect when they got into the huddle and they managed the line of scrimmage well, too. All three of them were able to get themselves out of trouble with their feet. We know that Morgan Newton can get himself out of trouble with his legs and he has the ability to erase a lot of bad plays. I was happy to see Moss (Ryan Mossakowski) move out of the pocket. Sometimes it is just a slight move needed to make a play. Mike (Hartline) did the same thing in moving himself and making big plays. Those plays went down the field also. That's the thing, when you move and start pressing the line of scrimmage, you have a chance to make some big plays because people start coming out of coverage and all three quarterbacks did that.

"The running back position, Donald Russell continues to plead his case and he is building a nice little resume as to why he should be the second-team running back. I was telling Jonathan George that number 23 was making a case for himself and that he needs to start making a case for himself also. We know Donald Russell can run the ball. I like the way he stepped up and took on a blitzing linebacker and hit Qua Huzzie right in the lips. Those things are key in protecting the quarterback. Offensive line wise, we need to protect the quarterback better than we did this spring. We know we can run the ball. We have a good running system and we can gain angles and numbers on people when we run the football, but we have to be able to throw the ball and be better protectors. The receivers are starting to make plays now. They are growing up and if you look at our top eight receivers, only two of them are coming fresh out of high school, the others were quarterbacks. Now they are starting to grow up and understand to lean and separate. The thing we have to do now is to get their weight down. There were too many guys slipping today. You can't slip. There is no excuse for slipping and when you are as big as we are, you really have to concentrate on playing low. There are way too many times when we slip, but we have a chance at wide receiver if we get that corrected. The first team defense did well and Danny Trevathan did well today. He was all over the field and that is the kind of leadership that we need on defense. He makes tackles behind the line of scrimmage, he is scraping and making plays, and he made a big-time interception today."

On who the best quarterback is so far...

"Not sure yet. I think this competition is way too close to decide in April. We will continue this competition to August and hopefully we can come up with a decision quickly. We need a guy to get the majority of number one snaps. I am not disappointed because I think we have an opportunity to win with all three of these guys. We might have to help them with some on the line of scrimmage stuff from the sidelines with the two youngest guys, but no I am not disappointed."

On if he thinks that Morgan (Newton) and Ryan (Mossakowski) caught up more than he came back to them...

"I think they caught up, I really do. The thing I like about Morgan (Newton) and Moss (Ryan Mossakowski) is that they played well in the stadium the last couple of scrimmages. They closed the gap more and I am happy with the progress that these two have made from day one. After day one, there were some concerns with me, but after day fifteen I am pleased with the way that all three of them have played."

On if Mike Hartline is a Senior SEC type of quarterback...

"He has won games in this league, that's the bottom line. He is a guy that we can win with."

On how Ricky Lumpkin played in this scrimmage...

"He was solid. He is a guy that has never really showed up a lot, but he has always played his responsibility. He has always been solid in doing whatever you ask him, on and off the field. He is as solid of a student-athlete that you can ask for."

On if the team is better at stopping the run now...

"I think we are. I think we have to get better linebacker play. I think we will be good up front. Outside and inside, I think we have to get better at linebacker and at filling gaps. I keep telling our safeties about the difference between good and bad safety play. To make plays, we have to tackle better and that is something we are going to have to emphasize when we come back in the fall. If we had tackled better today, the score would have been a lot closer. We missed way too many tackles today."

Player Quotes

#18, Randall Cobb, WR

On playing in front of a crowd...

"Today I think a lot of guys were nervous. We had a fan base here. It's something young guys have to get here and have to play in front of thousands of people every day. You've got to let those butterflies out and play ball."

On today's performance compared to the rest of spring practice...

"The other 14 days were probably some of the best days since I've been here, with us progressing offensively, defensively and moving the ball down the field."

On improvements in the offense...

"More receivers are making plays, our running backs are making good runs, offensive line is blocking better. I think it all adds up and shows we're getting better. Our offense is at the level now where we can be a top contender in the Southeastern Conference."

On the starting quarterback position ...

"I think a lot of things opened back up today with the quarterback play. They did great and they messed up things. I think it's good teaching tape and we'll be able to go back and look at this film in the summertime."

#5, Mike Hartline, QB

On the starting quarterback position...

"I battle every time, do the things that are expected out of me, then everything will take care of itself. But all I worry about is my teammates around me, their opinion, my coaches' opinion and my own opinion. That is all I need to focus on.

"It's my time. I'm not going to let anyone take this away from me. It's my senior year and I want it more than anybody else. I just want to make everyone aware that I'm putting everything on the line for this team and for us to win football games."

On the offensive performance in the Blue/White Game...

"There were definitely some little plays that got under my skin that I didn't complete. As far as execution, it was sloppy with the offense. Myself, I let a couple passes get away from me and our receivers dropped some passes. We have to clean some things up."

On his knee injury...

"My knee is 100%. No anything whatsoever. The brace is on as a precaution, a lot of quarterbacks around the country are doing that now. It hasn't been giving me any problems."

On competing for the starting quarterback job...

"Everybody wants a spot. I want the spot. Spring is the time for improvements and I think we all did some great things today."

On today's performance...

"I think I made some really good plays. We got some first downs, a couple three and outs. I made some pretty good throws, like little throws I need to make. We need to keep our composure and keep our technique well all the way down the field. A few throws got away from me.

"I'd give myself a C+. There were some little plays that got under my skin.

On the importance of securing the starting job in the spring...

"I don't think it really matters, either way. Before the Louisville game of course, but by the time spring's over, I don't really think the coaches are going to say anything anyway. They're going to let it ride until the summer and to the fall.

"I've just got to keep improving. You keep going up and stay on top of your game. You don't take a step back. When there's a chance to practice, you practice. You work with your guys. And other than that, you just stay on top of things.

"You don't take anything for granted. With this being my senior season, I don't want any `what ifs' at the end of my senior season. I'm putting it all out there on the line and I'm not having any regrets.

"It really helps. Coaches are aware of that and other guys are aware of that. You just see the field a little bit better and when that happens, the game slows down, you can make better reads and get our offense into better plays and have the best opportunity for our team to win. Maturity definitely pays off.

"Knowing Coach (Joker) Phillips, I think he knows in the back of his mind what he wants to do and he's just going to let it ride until summer. Right now we have a great competition at quarterback at the University of Kentucky.

"It's my time. It's my senior year and I want it more than anybody else. I just want to make everybody aware that I'm going to put everything I can on the line for this team."

On getting injured...

"You hate to see that happen to anyone, especially a guy like myself that has a key role in the offense and was doing so well and at the top of my game. When that goes down, you've just got to play through and get better. I think Morgan (Newton) came in and the offensive line and everybody around him did an excellent job of persevering. They won two big away games and that just shows what kind of team we have."

"Right now, I'm a hundred percent. No soreness."

On being a senior...

"This is my last go- around. I'm going to do everything I can to help my team win. "

#55, DeQuin Evans, DE, Sr.

On seeing limited time today...

"I got a series in yesterday, but I understand what my coach is trying to do. He's trying to hold me off until the fall. I was a little frustrated, not being able to go out there and compete with my boys, but at the same time I understand what's going on. No regrets though. Freak accidents happen during the spring."

On his thoughts on the spring game...

"We work so hard during practice. Now we do stuff to show how the hard work is paying off. Pass rushing is getting a lot better. The hunger is there. The speed is there. We were getting off of the ball real good. The main thing we need to work on now is playing the fourth quarter as good as we play the first quarter.

"I think this was a good learning experience, especially for the young guys. They made some good plays, and the bad plays they did mess up on weigh out.

"We need everybody to get better and have confidence going into the summer, so they'll work hard and have great confidence going into the fall."

#53, Ricky Lumpkin, DT

On the defensive line...

"You've got to finish. I think the defensive line got a lot of pressure. I know we are still considered the weak link. But, I know for a fact that we're changing that around. We're getting back there. I see guys flying around. I have faith in this defensive line that we can do it. We've just got to finish. If we can finish, we can be great.

"We can be a great defensive line. We have the guys to do it. We have short stumpy guys that will sit there and clog up the middle. Then, we have tall long defensive ends that come off the edge. We just need to play with some things and get everything working."

On improvements in the defensive line...

"The way we attack, we aren't catching (the offensive linemen). At times this spring, we are still trying to catch. If we don't catch, it makes a huge difference on the film. Next thing you know, there are no holes. We're clogging it up. One thing we need to do is keep getting the edge. If we can do that, we'll be great. When I say catch, we weren't attacking the offensive linemen. This year, we're attacking them."

#23, Donald Russell, TB

On his performance in the Blue/White Game...

"It boosts my confidence a lot. I'll go and watch film and see how to get better. Now I know I'm capable of doing it. I showed the coaches and proved to myself that I can do it."

On his 35-yard reception...

"I saw the linebacker and he came flat. So, I took it up field I knew that Mike Hartline was looking. So, I looked up, saw the ball and focused on the ball. I knew it was coming, so I just had to catch the ball."


 

 

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