FAU vs. Auburn Postgame Quotes
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Sept. 24, 2011

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Auburn Locker Room

Head Coach Gene Chizik

"Obviously, we were glad to win the football game tonight. No question about that. I was really proud of some guys that I thought stepped up to the plate. Of course, we will know more when we watch it tomorrow, but guys like LaDarius Owens who I really thought stepped up, played a lot tonight. Both defensively and some special teams really showed up tonight. I am really proud of guys like that. Jermaine Whitehead, obviously a young guy, who is starting to play more and more as the weeks go by, and he had an interception tonight for a touchdown and played well in other aspects of the game as well, special teams being one. So there were some guys that I was proud of. Brandon Fulse came in and played the whole game and did some nice things. Another young guy that I think, again, probably took another step forward. So, there are going to be some spots like that of some guys who we are proud of. They got their shot tonight and the bottom line is I think there are some things that we can build on. Defensively, obviously three interceptions was a big thing for us and being able to return one of those for a score and set up some field position situations for us defensively was big. So, I thought there was some improvement there. We didn't play like we wanted to play the whole night, but we certainly showed a lot of improvement in my opinion. We will know more when we watch the film. Offensively as we all know, we struggled, and we have to get some things corrected there. That was from the opening play on really. We never really got into any kind of rhythm. So again, we have to go back and look at offensively where we can improve. We are very happy to win the game. No question about it. Three and one in the month of September with a very tough month of October ahead of us as we know. Again, we will continue to work every day to get better as a football team."

Is it a concern that in a game like this QB Barrett Trotter was under a lot of pressure?
"It is a concern. There is no question about it. A lot of times I felt like Barrett was running for his life tonight. It is not necessarily an offensive line deal or a running back deal. It's collectively a lot of different things in there. I felt like he was scrambling for his life a good bit of the night which is concerning to me. There is no question about it. I just don't think all the way around when you are talking about running game, whether you are talking about protecting the quarterback, I thought it was a very below average football game all the way around from the beginning to the end, and it never got better. So, we have to go back and really look at some things. Again, we have an opportunity to be a very productive offense as we have seen. There's no question about that. But, we dropped balls tonight which we normally don't do. We had some passes that should have been directed into a better spot, and we didn't get them there. We got pressure on the quarterback several times tonight when we should have been able to protect him. Again, you saw it. It just wasn't a very good performance all the way around, but again, we scored 30 points. We won the game, and we will build on all of the positives tomorrow and get all the negatives corrected."

Is it a concern that the offense struggled?
"I am always concerned in any phase of the game about playing well, but over the test of time in the history of the offense right now, we know we have a chance to get better and improve, and we know that it has the capabilities to be explosive. There is no question about that. I don't know exactly where exactly every issue was until I watch the film, but we will be able to identify it real quick, and I can tell you that we will go back to work on it tomorrow."

On holding out some players and how it affected the continuity
"Well, we did. We had to play some guys you haven't seen play much. We had five or six guys that did not play in the game that are normally either starters or significant players in terms of numbers or reps. I think there were six total, but that's the way it goes. The next guy has to step up and make some plays. That's why I'm saying a guy like LaDarius Owens, who stepped in when a Dee Ford couldn't play and showed up a lot. Brandon Fulse played for Philip Lutzenkirchen and did some nice things. He did some things right now, obviously, a freshman would do ... a true freshman would do, but again, I think there are a lot of guys across the board that really did step up to the plate. If we are continuing to be in these situations to where other guys have to come in and play, they just have to step up to the plate and deliver like Jermaine Whitehead did."

On Auburn's upcoming October schedule
"I probably really don't have to stand up here and say a whole bunch about it. You guys know who we are playing, and you know how it is going to unfold. So, it is going to be an extremely tall order, and we are going to go in and next week's going to be South Carolina and that is all that we are going to be focused on for the next six days. We are going to go and play this SEC schedule like we do every year, and again, we are going to try to get better every day and every week, and we are going to go in there and have great challenges but embrace those challenges and again try to improve."

On Trovon Reed's and Onterio McCalebb's injury status
"I can't right now. Onterio McCalebb got hit very good, and Trovon did too. It was a physical game out there, especially in some of the open field collisions that both of those happened to be, but we will know more tomorrow."

On Auburn's special teams
"I am just really proud of them. I wish Cody (Parkey) would have hit that field goal at the end. It is the first one that he has missed all year. But, I am telling you, our coverage units, our kickoff coverage unit, you look across the board right now, we have guys covering kicks tonight that have never covered them before. LaDarius Owens being one. Joel Bonomolo being one. You have a bunch of new names, new guys out there. I feel that, again, those units, our punt team, they give us a chance to play field position and win games. They really do so I am very proud of them. They have to keep coming on. They take a lot of pride in it, and we will continue to improve in that."

Are you happy with the field position on kickoffs?
"If Cody (Parkey) is not kicking them out of the end zone or at least not kicking them where they can't return them, our coverage units are really, really coming on, and it doesn't matter who we are putting in there. I just think conceptually the scheme that we have, Coach (Jay) Boulware has done a great job with that, and they have a good feel for it, and they are playing well."

On Jermaine Whitehead's interception return for a TD
"I think it was really big. I think it was the timing as you just mentioned. The timing was big, and again that was something that I felt like we needed just because we are struggling so much offensively. So, it was good to see our defense to do that, but it was certainly good to see a true freshman, and he's been improving every week. He really has. He's been improving every week. So, it was really good to see him do that tonight."

Is it hard to focus on just yourselves in a game like this without losing focus?
"I think that every week you work on us, but it was very apparent particularly at that point defensively that we really had to spend a lot of time working on the details, the little things. But, we did it offensively as well. We went back, and we did a thorough self-evaluation for three weeks. You do that every week, but not as thorough like I felt like we needed to do it this past week for preparation for them. But, there is a fine line in there somewhere with really working on the opponent vs. working on you, and you have to be able to draw that line and figure out where it is, where you can't work too little on your opponent and too much on yourself. We will always be self-evaluating. We will always be again, trying to figure out ways to improve Auburn, and the balance is again, working on your opponent as well."

Linebacker Jake Holland

On interception...
"It was a cover two. I just ran my assignment, turned around and the ball was there."

On defensive performance...
"I felt our defense was on point today. We were all on the same page and were hitting with intensity. I thought the defense played a great game and as a team we turned it on in the second half."

On 3-1 start heading into road contest against South Carolina...
"I think it's a good start to the year. We're about to hit this stretch against some strong SEC teams. I'm feeling good about it and the rest of the guys on the team are. I think everything is going to work out just right."

Defensive Back Jermaine Whitehead

On interception return for touchdown...
"I had it in my mind that I wanted to make a name around here. I just wanted to make a play for my teammates, whether I'm playing with them or behind them. We've been watching film all week and saw that was one of their favorite plays. I looked back and saw the ball coming and my eyes got big. I couldn't hear anything until I got into the end zone."

On difficulty of coming down with the catch... "I'm a football player. We live for those types of plays. God was with me and just led me."

On that interception return being a spark for Auburn...
"I wasn't even thinking about it. I just knew I made a play and was looking for a way to make another one."

On increased playing time...
"The playing time right now is increasing and I like it. I'm just learning as I go and listen to the guys in front of me. They are coaching me up very well. "

Running Back Michael Dyer

Thoughts on the game...
"It was a good game. The defense played really hard. They really stepped it up on tonight. The offense still has room for improvement."

On being the team's leading rusher in tonight's game...
"The offensive line did a great job. They gave me good holes to run in and the wide receivers did a great job blocking too."

On what the team needs to improve on most...
"We have to go out there and focus on the things that we do best, and not worry about them. We need to work on the plays that we know that works for us."

Defensive End Corey Lemonier

Thoughts on the game...
"It went pretty well. The defense made a lot of great stops, and we were able to build off of that."On what was improved the most from last week's game..."We did a lot better at communicating. We are just trying to make plays and that's it."

On what needs to be worked on most for next week...
"We need to keep working on what we have been doing most. We need to keep working with that."

Wide Receiver Emory Blake

Thoughts on the game...
"The defense played really well. From an offensive standpoint, I feel like we need to do a lot better at making plays and execute better."

On what the offense could improve on...
"We just need to keep working hard. When plays come our way, especially on the perimeter, we need to make them. We can't have any dropped balls, because Barrett (Trotter) has a lot on his plate. We don't have to be perfect, but we need to make plays."

On getting a touchdown reception in the last seven games...
"God has really blessed me. I just keep working hard and hopefully I can keep on scoring."

Running Back Onterio McCalebb

On his 51 yard touchdown reception...
"Coach Malzahn called the play and everybody did what they had to do. The line did what they had to do, the quarterback did what he had to do, the receivers did what they had to do at blocking and then I got the ball and I saw the seam and knew I could take it."

On the Auburn running game...
"We went out there and didn't really run the ball very much, but we've got a great opportunity next week to come out and run the ball against South Carolina. We need to come out and do what we do best."

On next week's game at South Carolina...
"We've got to go out there and get better next week for South Carolina. It's a conference game, they're a very good team, but we are too. We've just got to practice and do what we have to do."

Quarterback Barrett Trotter

On his performance tonight...
"I'm happy to come out with a win but we didn't play very well at all. We had a lot of small details that made a lot of difference in how many first downs we had and how many scores we had."

On his touchdown pass to Emory Blake...
"It's the route we work in the end zone, so we felt comfortable with it. We felt like we knew what the defense was going to do and we just went out there and made it work."

On where the team can improve...
"We have a lot of improvements we need to make before next week at South Carolina. They are a great team so we have to get ready for them."

Safety Neiko Thorpe

On his interception tonight...
"I saw an opportunity where the ball hung in the air and I went up and took advantage of it."

On the defensive performance tonight...
"I feel like we did a lot of good things and some alright things but the good thing is we have our film and we'll come in tomorrow and make our corrections." On taking the next step...
"We always want to go higher and take the next step so in order to do that we have to correct our mistakes so they won't happen again."

Kicker Cody Parkey

On his field goal performance tonight...
"I was hitting them well and I thought I was able to do pretty well. On the last one it kind of snuck up on me and I didn't hit it as well as I wanted to. Three of four is pretty good but there's still a lot of room for improvement. So I'll just have to go off that."

On his kickoffs for touchbacks...
"I was able to hit two or three kickoffs out of the end zone so I was able to continue to help my team with that. I had a couple of them that didn't go to the end zone but they had really good hang time on them so we were able to cover that. So overall I think we had a pretty good day."


Florida Atlantic Locker Room

Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger

Opening Statement...
"Obviously, the first half like we had here tonight was very well received by me and the coaching staff. We had been talking to them a good deal about playing against these very good teams and that there will come a day when we play well enough early in the game along with the third and early part of the fourth quarter, that we will have a chance to win. We thought if we could do that, it would be a major step for our program. We thought we had something going in the first half, in particularly the defense, which had an outstanding game as it was. The offense at least moved the ball and kept it away from them for a quite a while. It kept the mistakes to a minimum. We were poised going in from the first half and coming out for the second half to see if we could hang in there a little bit longer. Obviously, the first two possessions after that with the interceptions, the hypothesis was dead for now." "Even in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach, I thought we did some things that we hadn't been doing before. As I look at these stats, I was pleasantly surprised that we had as many favorable stats and had a very competitive game on the stats scoreboard. Obviously, a great play for a touchdown is worth three great plays on defense that don't multiply into a touchdown. There is a great deal of happiness in the locker room. They feel that they've done something that we are all looking for and they were all looking for. They feel that this game, following the first two major blows out that we had, gives us a reason to have self-confidence and to build to a point and time where we can play in our conference with a legitimate chance to win."

"This was not a win. This was a loss by a vastly superior team. This was an exercise for a developing team to rise up on several occasions and look very good. So, there is hope and more belief and we can build on that. We have the makings of a hell of a defense. I'm not sure where we are on offense, with the exception that we have enough individuals who need to come together as a team and don't do stupid things with the ball and be able to once again make the big plays that we haven't done." "I will go home tomorrow morning at somewhere around 5 o'clock, the staff and myself will return to the laboratory at mid-day or before and prepare for our meeting with the team at four o'clock. We start a new phase of our 2011 season and one that needs to hurry up and get better."

On halftime mood...
"I think they echoed the same thing that I echoed or said to them. We had talked about a situation like that developing to that point, if we could have carried it to the third quarter, then we would've been in that situation. We failed the test of winning, there is no question, but we are at a point in time where we are playing the defending national champion, the two-time national champion and the Big 10 conference champion in a matter of three weekends on the road, in front of their biggest and best crowds."

On offensive line...
"If you look at the stats here, if you take touchdowns out and field goals out, it's surprising this thing could be as close as a tie as you could get."

On QB Graham Wilbert after the interception...
"I don't think it rattled him. I just think he was trying so hard to be successful. He's taking too great a risk for the rewards that would be given. He's still the starting quarterback and we go on from here."

Running Back Alfred Morris

On the offense's performance overall... "We put some drives together and got some points on the board. We did a lot of good things that we can build on but also saw things we need to correct. This was the first game this year in which we actually did what we wanted to offensively, I am proud of our performance."

On what the offense was doing right...
"We had heart and went out and had fun today and it showed, especially in the first half. Going into halftime down 6-10, it could have gone better, but unfortunately we had the pick six and then another interception that lead to a score. All in all, it was a good showing today."

On the performance of the offensive line...
"The offense challenged them to put the game on their backs. Nothing starts without them whether it's a pass or a run. For the most part, they rose to the occasion and i am proud of them for that."

On heading into conference play with some momentum...
"We have a chip on our shoulder now heading into conference play. I wish we would have got it done early in the season, but everything happens for a reason so I am excited that we do have some momentum to build on. We couldn't get any worse, so I'm just thankful."

On the touchdown...
"Coach called the play and that play he called is almost 100 percent. We needed a spark, so I just refused to go down. I thought about running them over at the goal line, but i decided to try something new so i jumped and got spun around. It was a score nonetheless."

On scoring the first touchdown of the season...
"It was getting disappointing that we could not put anything together. We don't count field goals as scoring, so for us to get into the end zone was very, very important. Now we have some confidence behind us heading into conference play."

Quarterback Graham Wilbert

On what the team can build on going into the future...
"I thought overall we improved in a lot of areas. We took a few gambles that did not pay off. By throwing three interceptions, I gave them 10 points. Offensively, we drove the ball down and had some success building on drives, getting some first downs and finally getting it into the end zone."

On the first touchdown...
"It is just a monkey off our back. It is just something that we now know that we can do. There was definitely some pressure this game to get the ball into the end zone."

On the improvements on offense this game...
"I thought we had some good practices this past week and we got better as a team. We won some of the one-on-one battles that we were talking about in practice."

On getting into conference games...
"It is just nice that we will be able to move the ball a little bit and score some touchdowns."

Linebacker Cory Henry

On interception to start the game...
"It was auto coverage. I had scoop job, so I saw the inside a little bit. I played good coverage and he threw the ball right to me. I was surprised it was right to me. I didn't think it was going to be the first play of the game."

On what it was like going off the sideline afterward...
"It felt good because it set the tone and it let us know we could play with them."

On the defense this year...
"We're going to have a good defense. That was a good team out there. We just have to keep working and keep getting better."

On the confidence this game gives...
"It gives us a lot of confidence. "

On feeling like they had a chip on their shoulders...
"I don't even know who had a chip on their shoulder. I knew we just had to come out here and play hard and not give up."