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Kentucky-Jacksonville St. Postgame Quotes




Oct. 22, 2011

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Head coach Joker Phillips

Joker Phillips: Well, our injury report, Raymond Sanders has an ankle, his right ankle, P.C. Cobble has a left shoulder and CoShik Williams went out late in the game with cramps. But we talked about wanting to see some improvement; some of the things we improved on. We threw and caught the ball better. We dropped some balls, but we did throw and catch it better. We had a couple guys that made some plays down the field. La'Rod King did a great job of attacking the football. We ran the ball, which is one of the things that when you're a struggling football team you have to do. We're struggling offensively, and we ran the ball for 340 yards.

A couple things that we did not improve on: We didn't improve on our ball security; way too careless with the football. And we talked about our coverage teams, and we let the guy get outside of us on the last kickoff coverage, the one to start the fourth quarter, and hit us for a big return. And we'd been really, really good at the coverage teams.

We also put a lot of time into our return and didn't get a lot of return yardage. Only had one opportunity to return on the kickoff return. And then the punt return, Daylen (Hall) got one chance and had to go in for a catch.

There was some improvement, but we've got to improve even more next week.

Q. On the success of the running game being CoShik Williams or the offensive line...

Joker Phillips: It was a combination. You can't run well as a running back unless the guys are doing their jobs up front. He was making people miss in the secondary once he got there and running through some tacklers, but they did a good job of getting him started, the offensive line did.

Q. On Martavius Neloms' sack and fumble return for UK's first touchdown...

Joker Phillips: Well, he got us started. One thing we needed is a play, three series offensively and turned the ball over in the second series, I think - second or third series - and we needed someone to make a play for us. We even made a play in the running game and if we didn't turn the ball over, that would have been a huge momentum swing to our side with that big run. But then they got the momentum back immediately with the fumble. And we needed someone to make a play, and (Martavius) Neloms did. He got a sack, caused a fumble and a return for a touchdown, so that got us going.

Q. On the play of CoShik Williams...

Joker Phillips: It was really important, and I mentioned earlier in the week that CoShik (Williams) had had a really good week - really good two weeks - and it showed up. It was good to see him get some results out of his hard work because he had done a really good job all week. So it's very important. And it was even more important once Raymond (Sanders) went down. John-John (Jonathan George) got a chance to get some carries. And it was unfortunate that he put the ball on the ground, but he got another couple of opportunities and got the ball in the endzone for us. It was very important for Shik (CoShik Williams) to have a good showing.

Q. On this win going into the final five games of the season...

Joker Phillips: Well, I mean, it definitely helps, definitely helps. I mean, it's the second -- we were trying to play this as the second season. We had two seasons; we were 2-4 in the first season, and we got to take one game at a time in this second season. We're 1-0. We've got to go to work tomorrow, got to get to 2-0. We've got a tough SEC opponent that had an open week to prepare, but we've got to deal with it off the open week that we just came off of.

Q. On if he thinks his team forgot how it feels to win...

Joker Phillips: Well, you definitely try to savor that feeling, no question about that. I don't think that our guys have forgotten how to win. I wouldn't say that. It was just good to come away with the win, but I don't think this team has forgotten how to win.

Q. On the victory...

Joker Phillips: It's big. It's big for all, and especially big for the quarterback, because he carries most of the burden when you don't play well. Carried the ball well. Again, it's unfortunate that he put the ball on the ground, but he's got to protect it. We tried to get him more on the perimeter. We've been running him up inside, we tried to get him more on the perimeter and make some good runs and make some throws. He was 10 of 16, made some really big throws, especially the two touchdowns. You could say they were good catches, but somebody has got to throw them, so he made some really good throws for us, also. It was important for him to come out and have a good game, also.

Q. On if he told Morgan Newton if he doesn't have an open receiver to tuck the ball and run it...

Joker Phillips: Definitely, definitely, definitely. The thing that has to happen at quarterback, things have got to happen fast. Is he open? Is he open? No, let's go. "Let's go" means get the ball out of my hand or pull it down and run it. We can't have minus-yardage plays, and he did a good job of managing the game as far as not taking those minus-yardage plays.

Q. On the play and improvements of the offensive line...

Joker Phillips: Those guys have been playing better every week. That was the group that was getting better. It didn't show because we weren't making any plays on the perimeter. Weren't making the right cuts sometimes. We took some sacks. But those guys have been the group that's been improving the most. They've been improving ever since those guys had a chance to play together. And they've been together for about three to four weeks now, and it was big for those guys, for us to rush for 340 yards because it usually means that they've done a good job. So they will understand that.

Q. On Kentucky's two turnovers...

Joker Phillips: I told you, protect the football. We've got to protect the football. You can't get the ball down on the 2-yard line, or actually the first one, we can't have a huge run and have a chance to get the momentum on our side and put the ball on the ground. I mean, you can't be going into a situation where you're trying to put the game away, get to the 2-yard line and put the ball on the ground.

Our defense did a good job of taking the ball away, and then we gave it back. We fumbled twice, and we gave up two. You can't do that. You especially can't do it in these next games that we've got coming up and have an opportunity to win.

Q. On the play of La'Rod King...

Joker Phillips: Well, I like the way he attacked the football. I've seen Coach Martin and those guys out there running the defenders on him, and that's the thing we hadn't been doing. We hadn't been aggressively attacking the football. You're going to be covered, and we said, this is open, OK. You want the quarterback to throw the ball to you. That's open. Especially when you're 6'4", you've got a 5'9" receiver, defensive back on you, and it was good to see La'Rod (King0 go and attack the football aggressively. He's a basketball player, and he's got to go get a rebound. That's what that was. That's what those are. We are throwing the ball up and go and attack the ball and get a rebound for us. That's what he did.

Q. Is this the kind of performance that will make guys loosen up a little bit, play relaxed?

Joker Phillips: Yeah, I mean, we had guys out there doing that, relaxing and just playing -- Morgan (Newton) was one of them. He was one of them, and you need your quarterback to be one of those guys who relaxes and plays.

In the end, it's still a game. It's still a game, and our guys have to play it like that. You can't get all uptight and put pressure on yourself. You've just got to go play, relax and go play.

Q. On what he learned from his football team...

Joker Phillips: You know, I think they're definitely listening. We talked about Jax (Jacksonville) State and how this is a dangerous football team, a really dangerous football team. Last year down 21 in the first quarter, this team came back and beat an SEC opponent. Our guys, it would have been easy for this football team after the kickoff return for them to come back, make a couple more plays and us turn the ball over and have them come back and win. But our football team accepted the challenge. They remembered what we'd been talking about all week, and accepted the challenge and put this team away.

Q. On Luke McDermott's interception...

Joker Phillips: It's better than Winston (Guy). (Laughter) Winston, we had the defensive lineman catch the ball, Winston dropped two interceptions. (Luke) McDermott is a guy that's a ball hog. He's always around the ball. He probably plays -- with the type of teams that we've been playing, he hasn't gotten as many snaps. We haven't played as many teams that are so-called spread that try to get the ball on the perimeter. We've played teams that try to run downhill at you, so that equals Donte Rumph, equals P.C. Cobble. And he hasn't had as many snaps, but the snaps that he does get, he plays them as aggressively as he does when he's the starter. So I'm proud of him. And again, that was another huge play for us to finish the game.

Q. On the crowd...

Joker Phillips: I'm proud of the guys, the people who came today. Those guys are -- the people that were at the catwalk were huge, were excited to be there, and our team was excited to play for them. So just happy that those guys came.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Players

#15, Martavius Neloms, S

On his touchdown...
"It was a big play for my career. Coach called a great play and my defensive backs covered for long enough to make the quarterback hold the ball so that I was able to get in there and make a play. The ball just bounced my way and I was able to make a play."

On how the defense performed...
"We feel like when we cause turnovers on defense, we'll be in a great position to win the game. We were able to go out there and cause turnovers today and we were fortunate to win the game."

On how the team's attitude changed after his touchdown...
"I think it changed our attitude. I was just a great play and once I scored we were able to really just get rolling. There was no looking back from there."

#16, La'Rod King, WR

On how big of a win today's game was...
"Every win is a big win. We have five more games left that we have to win. We have to turn the season around so in my mind we're 1-0 going into the second half of the season. We'll put this game behind us and get ready for Mississippi State."

On how a win like this changes the team's state of mind...
"Of course it gives us confidence. We know we can win. We've always been a good team. It's just having the offense on the same page that's been necessary. The defense has been carrying us the past six games and the offense needed to step up. That's what we needed to do so we did it."

On CoShik Williams' performance...
"It was crazy. He's a diamond in the rough. He's been here working hard. He's been out a couple times with injuries, but he came back. That guy is good. Hopefully this is a statement that he needs to get more carries and he'll take care of the ball and that he's ready to keep running."

#12, Morgan Newton, QB

On the offense play today...
"We played pretty mistake free and we handed it off a lot. We had some success that way, so it was really good for us."

On CoShik Williams' performance...
"He's just a guy that's seen the ups and downs. He's been through the tough times so it's good to see him come out and play the way he did."

#26 CoShik Williams, TB

On the win  ...
"It feels really good. Being out there with my teammates after practicing all week, it felt really good. It felt good to finally run against someone else for a change. The yardage kind of shot up on me. I didn't know I had that many (yards). It was fun out there for me."

On what this win means for the team ...
"For our team, with us being down and everything through the losses, this win right here brings us up. This game will make us practice harder for next week. This win is a big motivator for this team."

On how this win could help them next week ...
"We are excited and relieved. This was a big burden off our chest. It feels really good to come out with a win."

#40 Avery Williamson, LB

On creating turnovers ...
"In the games that we have lost this year, we haven't had any turnovers. Obviously, he (Coach Rick Minter) told us that we needed to get turnovers before the game. We came through with that."

On Coach Minter's chest bump ...
"Oh yeah, that gets us hyped too. Seeing the coaches get excited gets us excited too. It just adds excitement to the defense and the whole team."

On him having a good day individually ...
"It means that I am helping my team. That's all I care about, is helping my team."

#46 Ronnie Sneed, LB

On how it feels to get back to winning games ...
"We desperately needed it. I knew that everybody was going to come out of the gates with something to prove. It was a win that we really needed and I'm glad that we were able to get it."

On what this win does ...
"I think it boosts our confidence, especially offensively. We showed that we can pound the ball and run it down the field. Defensively, we were able to really shut them down and finish the game the way we wanted too."

On the difference between this game and the last few weeks ...
"We really axed out a lot of the big plays and the really negative plays. We were really proud of that, so I think it was just a confidence booster."

Jacksonville State Head Coach Jack Crowe

Opening statement...
"
These games have to be played a certain way when you play up. If you let it become about mistakes then this is the result you get. They are an SEC team, they have SEC players, they deserve all the credit. We definitely had our moments when we proved that we could play on this field. I was most concerned about tackling their quarterback, a very big, athletic guy. Their offensive line is a very big, athletic offensive line. I was most disappointed in the mistakes, 21 points off turnovers and five-yard penalties early. I was second-most concerned about our inability to get on a short field or keep them on a long field. Two kickoffs out of bounds, it seemed like we were starting from inside our territory every time. The rhythm of the game was our mistakes creating their opportunities. I really didn't like giving up that much rushing yardage, despite what might be the differences in the lines, that's too much of a difference. I thought Coty (Blanchard) got hit too much. We need to protect him better. I'm proud of Coty because he fought and competed although he made some mistakes. I'm proud of the whole team because I think they played hard. They came in and had an effective running game. (Kentucky had) 35 runs and 16 passes, they wanted to be the bullies on the block and they bullied us. There is a formula to win these games, we came here with that formula in mind, but it's one that you don't help them and take advantage of their mistakes and neither of those happened. They played a very conservative game to limit those mistakes. I'm proud of the kickoff return for Gabe. I'm proud of our running game, I don't think we pass blocked as well as run blocked.  We've got four games left and we have to make sure we don't have an emotional hangover after this."

On the Washaun Ealey's day...
"He had his game. I'm proud of the offensive line, (because) he had some holes to run through. I think if we could have put 220 yards passing with that then I think we could have scored 24 points and if we hadn't given them so many points then it could have been a 21-24 point game."

On the summary of the game...
"Turnovers and their run game pretty much summarizes it up. Also a lack of ability to keep them consistently backed up, the two kickoffs were not acceptable. That basically puts it in a nutshell. I was proud of our running backs that we didn't have any turnovers. We were 2-11 on third down and we didn't get in the red zone."

Jacksonville State Players

#7, Washaun Ealey, RB

On return to Commonwealth playing for Jacksonville State...
"It feels kind of rough just because we lost but we have to put that behind us and look forward to next week getting into conference play and get ready to compete."

On experience here now as oppose to when you were here last...
"It was a little different. I just came out ready to play and knew my teammates were ready to play too and we just came out and fought hard."

On early benching, and coming in and going at it hard...
"Just rotating backs, it mainly was his turn."

On Kentucky players remembering you from Georgia and any trash talking...
"No, they are great players (Kentucky), they have a lot of character. We were just jawing a little, but that's football and we were just out there having fun and trying to compete."

#11, Coty Blanchard, QB/P

On intensity of Kentucky being all business today, feeling they were not joking around...
"We knew they were not going to overlook us. We knew we were not going to sneak up on them. They had a good game plan, and I thought we had a good game plan. We did some good things, and left some things out there. We're just going to have to get back to the drawing board and try to be as perfect as we can be for Tennessee Tech."

On turnovers leading to opponents scoring points...
"They will kill you. I will take full responsibility for them and I felt like I put the team in a bind with them. I'm going to work so it doesn't happen again because they will kill you and we can't have that."

On hit he took while trying to secure the ball...
"We just had a miscommunication on the offensive line, I take full responsibility for that. That ball still can't be loose. Those things we have to work on, just the little things like turnovers."

On Kentucky just kept coming like what Chattanooga did in the second half, and if that's what it felt like or is that a good comparison...
"Not really, because I thought we moved the ball better than what we did against Chattanooga later. We ran the ball well I thought for the most part when we did run it. That's what we wanted to do in these games. I don't know if we went away from it, we just wanted to be balanced because Kentucky is good enough that if you focus on one thing they can stop it."

#49, Rodney Garrott, OLB

On how close he was to getting the guy in the backfield on that 1-yard run...
"I'm sick about it. I felt I left a few sacks out there on the field. That comes with focus, bring it next week."

On being dinged up...
"I don't know, I just know we lost and those two plays I missed could have helped us win. That will be motivation for next week."

On the experience last year vs. Ole Miss as oppose to UK...
"I would just say last year, there was so much unknown. That was my first time versus an SEC opponent. So many game-time things that were coming down to the wire like versus Ole Miss. This year they knew who they were playing and we knew who we were playing. The biggest thing was, they didn't expect a cupcake game this week."


 

 

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