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Kentucky-Akron Postgame Quotes




Sept. 18, 2010

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Kentucky Head Coach Joker Phillips

Courtesy ASAP Sports

COACH PHILLIPS: First, our injury report, Moncell, the turtle had a hamstring (injury), I didn't know turtles had hamstrings. Winston Guy had a laceration on his hand, got it fixed at half-time, and was back in the game. Stuart Hines got an ankle, Randall Cobb got an IV at half-time and then got heartburns and doctors just wanted to check him out. But by the time they had checked him out and cleared him, we had just scored and we just thought that we were going to just keep him out for the rest of the game.

Offensively, we had been talking about, you know, finishing and playing fast in the second half and doing those things, and we kind of neglected to tell them to start fast like we had been.

So it's like get a hole, cover holes up, and you get one part of your game fixed and then another one, another hole appears, and another hole appears. We thought we had corrected starting fast, and we tried to work on finishing and now we went back to starting slow.

But a lot of that has to do with preparation, especially on offense, Thursday's practice offensively, we didn't -- it was a lot of mental errors and we did not practice as fast as we had been, so a lot has to do with the way we prepared on Thursday.

Defensively we had been stressing all week to see if this defense could start slugging people and played outstanding, routed the defense, came out, played 60 minutes of great football. We gave up one at the end but in the defense, did an unbelievable job of making this team go backward. Didn't create turnovers like we had been doing but we didn't give up big plays, didn't give up yardage.

Special teams, finally got the kick that is needed, that's what we've been talking about, making sure we got great kicks. I think Mansour kicked all but one in the end zone and kicked one out-of-bounds, which cannot happen and late in the game we wanted to see our coverage team cover and we thought they did an outstanding job of covering, which has a lot to do with personnel. We have a lot better personnel in the game this week, was able to get some defensive guys in the coverage teams.

Winston Guy did an unbelievable job of covering the kicks, and that's what your safeties should be able to do. They have to be able play defense but they also have to be special teams guys. Those guys are hyper-tech guys that should be physical enough and big enough to take on people, and they also need to be fast enough to play on your coverage team. Really proud of our special teams effort and also our defense.

Offensively, I'm proud of the way we finished.

Q. On the UK run blocking and the UK running game …
COACH PHILLIPS: Block? Well, I mean, Locke has done a really good job of trying to improve himself this off-season. We have talked about him pressing, pressing the blocks, and hugging blocks is what we are talking about, hugging blocks. He had one run where he broke out on the right side, the visitor's side, near the goal line. It was just him and a safety, or a corner. And I went to him and he made a move about ten yards from me. Nobody's going to make -- anybody miss making a move 10 yards from him. I went to talk to him about pressing him. If he gets up on the guy and gets a little bit closer to him and makes his move then, now he has a chance to break the tackle.

And then couple of plays later, probably the best run I've seen him run is one where he bounces to our sideline and looks like he's about to go out of bounds and he steps on the guys' toes and puts hit foot on the ground and gets vertical and gets us about six or seven yards. That's a great run and you probably didn't notice that. That to me is a great run.

And the last one he ran for the touchdown is a really great run, also. He's hugging his blocks, and that's the thing you have to do is make the receivers right. You have to make the offensive line right. You make the offensive line guys right by hugging their blocks.

Q. On the sluggish start …
COACH PHILLIPS: The way they warmed up, the way we came out at pregame, I talked before the game was, I mean, we looked like we were sleepwalking during the warmup, during the pregame. I challenged them before the game, you've got to play with intensity, you've got to play with excitement and you've got to play with passion. I didn't see that out of us the first quarter. We didn't do that. I wanted to pull them up and give them a reminder of what we had just talked about in the locker room, because we synched it, we did. We synched that. We cannot relax.

And they will see next week, you can't relax. You play like that, like we did in this quarter next week, you'll be down two or three touchdowns. We cannot relax and not play with excitement, not play with passion, not play with enthusiasm.

Q. On penalties …
COACH PHILLIPS: Definitely. We had five penalties up until that point in the first quarter. We had five penalties. We had a guy that didn't go on the field and had the field goal team -- that's lack of focus and we wanted to get this team back focused. And it was evident during the pregame, that we weren't. We just tried to address it pregame in the locker room before the game, yes, and then we thought we needed to address it at that time.

Q. Did you think they were thinking about playing Florida next week?
COACH PHILLIPS: I wasn't thinking about them. We talk about playing, I mean, living in the moment, and the moment was playing Akron. Hopefully we'll start thinking about Florida, hopefully some of them have DVRed this team and watch them tonight, but we can't look ahead, there's no way.

Q. On Joker comparing former UK running back and teammate Mark Higgs to senior running back Derrick Locke
COACH PHILLIPS: Similar to Higgs in that he's a home run hitter from any part of the field. Probably catches the ball better than Higgs. Probably able to return kicks a little bit better than Mark, but Mark was a pretty durable back, also and pretty explosive back. But he's a good, all-around player because he can play receiver, and he can play out wide, he actually returned punts tonight, which is what we were hoping to give him a couple of opportunities before conference play started and we were able to give him a couple of opportunities tonight. Really liked the fact that he went in there and stood in there and was able to catch one with people around him. That gives dividends for us down the road.

Q. On starting conference play next week …
COACH PHILLIPS: My guys who played with me will understand this statement. You guys might not understand this statement. Coach Claiborne used to say, we'll be stretching, and we would count to 10 after -- once he thought we were deep into the stretch and he would wait five seconds and say now we start. We were thinking now, dang, that's 15 seconds.

Well, now we start. Conference play starts and it's going to be one of those battles that you can't relax. You cannot relax and be distracted not be focused at any point in the game. You cannot come out and sleepwalk through a quarter, you can't do that, because you'll be down 14, 21 points.

Q. Do you have all of your questions answered heading into the conference games?
COACH PHILLIPS: One of the things I liked, we were able to play a lot of people. There were a lot of really good young players that we'll need to count on: The big fella inside, Rumph, he played really well for us. (Nermin) Delic got some snaps. Priester got some snaps and was able to return a couple of kicks for us which was big for us.

Those kickers, those young tight ends, we were able to get a lot of young people reps which will allow us to have depth throughout the season hopefully and if some injuries should occur, got some guys we think can step up and make big plays for. We did get some questions answered. Mike Hartline, second week in a row he's thrown for 70 percent. Our receivers are making plays. Had a couple of drops early in the game, which is again lack of focus of the whole football team early, but we were able to regroup and catch those passes. Those are things we talk about, also. Got to throw and catch, okay. We had to throw and catch, and we had a couple of drops which cost us opportunities to continue moving the football.

Q. On if Cobb’s health is a worry for next week …
COACH PHILLIPS: No, it doesn't worry me. Randall, he'll be ready to play this week and if he has a problem, we'll get him IVed and get him back in there. He'll be ready. No big deal.

I mean, it happens every week with a lot of players, get IVed at halftime. That's nothing unusual.

Q. On the turnover battle …
COACH PHILLIPS: No, we stress it a lot. That's our plan to win; our plan to win is to win the turnover battle. We have to win the turnover battle. We haven't turned it over and we've created four up to today; we didn't create any today.

But you look, when we watch games on Saturday morning, the teams that turn it over are usually the teams that are looking sloppy and usually teams that are on the losing end, and those are things that we have been stressing. Late in the game, that's the thing I was stressing to say, don't turn it over, don't turn it over. I think it does a lot for our football team when the ball is not on the ground.

Sanders made a that great play on the punt that we hit, the ball was on the ground and he got on it, recovered it, so that helped us out in that area.

Q. On the play of tight end Jordan Aumiller
COACH PHILLIPS: Aumiller, yeah, I knew you were going to ask that, you always try to get his name in there. No, Jordan had an injury, he had a bruise. He had a bruise and was able to get back in the game. We just wanted to get some other guys some reps. We need him next week and we need him for the rest of the season, and I need you to be in here to ask questions about him.

Q. What about DeQuin Evans?
COACH PHILLIPS: He got dinged a little bit, a little queasy, but he was able to play, he was able to go back in the game if needed.

Q. On Derrick Locke running behind his blockers …
COACH PHILLIPS: What happens is if he's not real close to his blocks, if he cuts inside and the defender is able to get off the receiver -- or the blocker loses leverage on the guy, because the guy is able to take a flatter angle. But if he hugs the block, is really close to the block, it's harder for the defender to get off the blocker in time.

He has worked really, really hard on that aspect of his game. I asked him to go, I'm not sure if he done it, but I asked him to go watch Mark Ingram, at Alabama, does a real good job of pressing the line of scrimmage and hugging his blocks and coming off the heels of the blocker; step on the heels of the blocker; therefore, the defender can't get off in time to make the play. He did a really, really good job on the last two runs that I explained to you about. But the one run that he had a chance one-on-one to make the guy miss, he didn't step on the guys toes.

Thank you, guys.

Kentucky Players

#5, Mike Hartline, QB

On the start of the game for UK…  
“It wasn’t a little flat, it was really flat. Just again, you can see we had things going the right way but just penalties can just demoralize your drives. There were some plays left out on the field that we should have made. Definitely short-down distance plays that we needed to make, we didn’t make. Those are the things next week that we can’t have happen. When you’re in a hostile environment and we start the Southeastern Conference, we can’t have those types of mistakes.”

On Joker’s intensity to get the team to turn their play around…
“It was pretty close (to a 10). Coach Sanders was up there too. He was a little fiery about it but we knew we were just killing ourselves. We knew that they weren’t stopping us and we knew we just had to clean it up, focus, regroup and sadly it just took a little longer than we needed it to.”

On if he could see their slow start coming before the game…  
“You could, but I knew we were prepared and we had a good game plan and we’d go out and play hard. We might have gotten a little too comfortable, to say the least, but it was good for us to get put in a tough situation, for us to come back out and play hard and see where we’re screwing up and fix it up and put the points up that we did.”

On Derrick Locke’s zig-zaging touchdown run…
“It was an excellent run. Few guys can make that type of run, especially when we have some communication problems up front with what happened – and we’ll get that straightened out. But that’s what Derrick does, he just makes plays. He sees creases and he hits them hard and he doesn’t look back. He’s a playmaker and that’s what we expect out of him.

On not turning the ball over this season…
“It’s incredible. It makes it great and you can see how in certain situations, if we did have turnovers in some pickles throughout these three games, how it could definitely turn around the game. I’m glad we’re just staying confident in ourselves and taking care of the football and keep progressing and moving drives. We just have to cut out the penalties.”

#15, Martavius Neloms, CB

On the slow start to the game…  
“I think at the start of the game we kind of underestimated them, but we were trying to get a feel for what they were going to do. But as we got a feel for them I think we picked it up and did a really good job.”

On what Joker told the team at the beginning of the game…
“We have to pick it up. Don’t let down. Play 60 minutes – play 60 minutes of good football. Smother them and get the win.”

On the importance of getting off to a good start next week…  
“It’s very important because we know if we get off to a good start it will be good momentum for us to try and get the win on the road.”

On starting SEC play…
“It feels great. It’s an honor to get a chance to start in the SEC. I just have to get out there and play the best of my abilities and hopefully getting me team a win.”

On what it will take against Florida…
“A long, hard week of preparation at practice. Practice hard. Practice fast every play so it’ll carry over to the game.”

On what the defensive backs have to do against Florida…
“We have to play great technique. We’ll practice on it all week and I think we’ll play really well against them.”

#24, Randall Burden, CB

On Joker’s message to the team on their slow start…  
“Yeah, it got across pretty well because after that everybody started playing like we know how to play.”

On the type of routes Akron’s wide receivers ran against them…
“They were just running like a crack-and-go, and they’re something hard to play but it wasn’t anything we can’t prepare for.”

On the improvements they showed this week compared to last week…
“Every week we have to play better. And this week we just came out more focused. We had a few slip-ups but we did a pretty good job.”

On if the team is ready for Florida now after three games into the season…
“I think we are, but we still have Florida to watch film and probably see the things we messed up on. All we can do is just watch that and see the mistakes we made and just come out next weekend and play a better game.”

#22, Danny Trevathan, LB

On how important was it to come out and make a statement and shut them down …
“I feel it was very important to do that. I think we’ve been under looked since we gave up a couple yards but then we went out there and shut them down a little bit. I look forward to next week to see what we can do.”

On Joker getting on you guys when you were a little flat …
“Guys, we weren’t really talking this game. I think guys got in their head that we have to just go out there and be about and not talk about it. I sensed a little negativity but we pulled it together and Coach Joker pulled used together and called a timeout we all got back out there together and went back to work.“

On how was Joker during that timeout …
“He was enthusiastic. That’s probably the nicest way to put it, he got to us. We really look up to him for that.”

On if that timeout fired up the team …
“Coach Joker does a good job of getting us fired up. I think that’s a little difference between him and coach Brooks, but coach Brooks was good at that he just had his own little way of getting to us one-on-one. Coach Joker has a relationship with each player and he really helps us.”

On what do you expect next week in terms of speed against Florida …
“I feel like our linebacker core is pretty fast, our defense is pretty fast and we do a good job getting to the ball. It should be a great game. They are a really good team as always but that should really test us and see how we’re going to play in the SEC.” 

#20, Derrick Locke, RB

On what was the conversation Joker had in the timeout when he had everyone huddled up …
“He basically told us we need to pick it up and play better, that’s all it was. He wasn’t going too crazy but he wanted to know that we weren’t playing like we needed to be playing and eventually it worked and we picked it up and started playing good.”

On if the team came out flat …
“Yes, we didn’t prepare like we should have. Early on in the week we were fine but Thursday’s practice, it was not good. We came out and played just like we practiced on Thursday and we weren’t ready. We just had to pick it up and find out what they were doing and finally play how Kentucky plays and we did good, we did fine.”

On what does getting 2,000 career yards mean to you …
“Nothing, absolutely nothing, 2,000 yards should have been here a long time ago. I went through some areas with injuries and I’m not concerned about the 2,000 yards I’m concerned about the yards I get for this season. Having 2,000 yards is good but oh well, that’s how I look at it to be honest.

#18, Randall Cobb, WR/KR

On why he went to the locker room, and never returned to the field to play in the second half …
“I went in to get some fluids at halftime, came back out, and I had a pain in my chest. The trainers checked me out, and by that point we were already up, so they didn’t need me.”

On the battle with him and the trainers about returning to the game …
“There was a little bit of that, but we wanted to be cautious. It wasn’t like it was a close game, and I needed to be in there. We wanted to make sure I was all the way back.”

On whether he has experienced this before or not…
“No, I haven’t. It happened, time to move on.”

On whether he thinks the team is ready for conference play …
“Yeah, I think we are ready. We have to go in and clean some things up, and be prepared, and have our preparation like we have for the last two or three weeks. We need to clean up our execution, and we also need to make sure we don’t have any lackadaisical plays out there where we go three and out.”

#8, Chris Matthews, RB

On Joker Phillips addressing the team on the sideline in the first quarter …
“The offense wasn’t clicking right, and we had dropped balls, and he just huddled us up and said ‘if you guys don’t want to get beat at home, then you have to step your game up.’ I don’t want to state the cussing, because yeah there was a lot of that. He means business.”

On whether he has seen any coach huddle around his team like that ever before …
“No, I have never seen it before. It’s unfortunate that he had to do that, but that’s what he is supposed to do. He is the head coach.”

On if Florida looming next week play into the team coming out flat in the first quarter …
“ No. He [Joker Phillips] stresses to us every day that we have to come out with mental toughness. It wasn’t successful for us in the early part of the game, but we picked it up.”

Akron Head Coach Rob Ianello

On losing the 6-3 lead…
“It did get away from us. The first quarter and some more we played them pretty even, toe-to-toe, and I liked how we fought, how we competed, and how we were executing on offense. I thought on defense we had done some good things, but we punted it back to them and gave them short field, and they got one (touchdown). Then I think we went three and out, or quickly got them the ball back again, and they scored right before the half. The offense at the end of the second quarter definitely put our defense in a bind, but I thought our defense was doing things well enough to give us chance to win.”

On what he told the team after the beginning of the second half…
“I just told them that wasn’t how I planned for them to come out in the second half. I felt like we had challenged them at halftime to come out and play harder than they did in the first half, and execute better and we did not show signs of that. They needed to make a decision right there on how they wanted this game to go and I think we made a little better run at it on defense, and we managed to score a touchdown right at the end on offense. We need to play better, we need to execute better, and the disappointment will come from that, particularly knowing that when they watch the video. We are going to know how close we really were to having this be a game for 60 minutes and that our margin for error, right now, is not high. When you make some mistakes like we did, and give up a couple of shot touchdowns that we should have had, then all of the sudden here they come, and from then on it was tough to get it back on our track.”

On dropped passes that could have led to touchdowns…
“Those would have had us right in the game, maybe in the lead. ‘Woulda, coulda, shoulda,’ is a great thing on Sunday morning, but we just have to grow from this, we have to take the good things from this game and grow those. [We must] take the bad things, like bad tackling in the second half and being on the field a long time on defense. My response to that is that if we tackle them, we get off the field.”

Akron Players

#7, Patrick Nicely, QB

On overall thoughts of the game...  
“Kentucky played a great game. They were physical in every aspect and we had a couple of opportunities early in the game. I thought we couldn’t capitalize and put ourselves in bad situations.”

On moving forward...  
“We are just thinking about the Indiana Hoosiers. Coach stresses coming out each game and trying to get better. We take this loss pretty hard but we are just focused now on the game next week.”

On playing in Commonwealth Stadium....  
“It was great. A great environment with great fans. Me and my teammates enjoyed playing in this stadium, it was a lot of fun.”


 

 

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