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Auburn Post-Game Quotes

Oct. 11, 2008

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Auburn Head Coach Tommy Tuberville
'It's been a tough week. I put our guys in a tough situation. I thought they fought hard, real hard. We didn't have a lot obviously on offense. Defensively, we couldn't get off the field. They did an excellent job. You can't take anything away from them. It was just a tough night and a tough week overall. I feel really tough for our players. We struggled in every area. We can look at offense, but it wasn't just offense. We struggled on offense. We struggled in a lot of different areas. The last field goal we missed put us in a bind. We could have gone ahead with that last field goal instead of having to go for it. Again, we are going to find out the character of our team. We are going to have to dig deep. We are going to have to dig hard. We are not playing very well right now. We are not coaching very well. Things keep snowballing on us. We need a little time to adjust and time to get people well and healthy. We have a few days to get ready and go. We don't have a regular week this week but we do have a lot of good teams coming up that we definitely have to improve on. 'I am very disappointed obviously in this loss but again you have to give Arkansas credit. They came in and executed very, very well.'

Did you make the mistake of not waiting to the open week to make a staff changes
'No. It wouldn't have made any difference. We run about the same thing. It was late obviously and we couldn't make a lot of adjustments so we basically stuck with what we put in on Tuesday. We made a couple of changes. It wasn't a lot of difference than what we have seen the last few weeks. It wouldn't have made any difference.'

Arkansas was last in the league in rushing defense and it seemed like Auburn tried to line up and run the ball
'When you are about last in the league in throwing offense, you put them all up there and that's what they did. They forced us to throw the ball and we completed 10 passes all night. You have to be able to take advantage of what they give you, and we weren't able to do it. They did a good job. They went in with their weakness and adjusted it against our strength, obviously throwing the ball and forcing us to throw it, and we couldn't convert.'

What is Auburn's quarterback situation?
'We are going to have to really look at it hard. We looked at a lot of different things this week, and with the open week next week we will have a chance to look at several different scenarios. You have to be able to have consistent drives. Even as bad as we played and coached in terms of offense, we did have a chance right there at the end and couldn't convert. That's how the game went all night. We will be looking for something. We are not going to jump to any conclusions. We have a couple of guys who we might look at. When they do what they did to us on defense tonight, you have to have somebody to throw it downfield and be able to catch it.'

Were you surprised how well Arkansas moved the ball on offense?
'Yes. They kept us off balance. They did a good job of throwing crossing routes vs. man coverage, and we were able to force a couple of turnovers early in the first half which gave us some points and took their momentum away. In the second half other than the opening kickoff, they just didn't make any mistakes. They made a lot of third down conversions and of course, the run was huge. The guy (Michael Smith) can run the ball and no doubt about it, it kind of reminded me of a couple of years ago when we couldn't stop the run. It is a little perplexing. We are beat up on defense, but that is no excuse. We knew going into the game that some guys were going to have to play whether beat up or not just to be able to have two-deep. They did a good job executing.'

What do you tell the team after a tough game like this with 5 games left to play?
'They know our situation. They are at practice every day. They understand our struggles and the situation of where we are at. We are going to have to make a lot of changes on offense to be able to move the chains and get first downs. We had the ball 24 minutes and they had it 35 minutes. You are not going to win a lot of games doing that. You have to be able to put together some drives whether you score points or not. We had a lot of three and outs and fortunately our punter had a good game. We ran back the kickoff return and gave us a chance. That was probably a game that we shouldn't have had a chance there at the end because of the way we played. They fought and they competed and that's all I can ask.'

Last week, you said you felt like Auburn lost to a team it shouldn't have lost (Vanderbilt). Do you feel that way tonight?
'This team is better than what we played last week. They came in and used their players. I know they've struggled during the year. They've played three pretty good teams back-to-back. They had to come back in the first two games of the year. They have a fifth-year senior quarterback. Heck, he made plays. We weren't at all shocked because when you've been out there before and you've been behind the center as much as he has, you have a chance to make plays. We can look at our offense obviously. We just didn't do very well on offense. We struggled and defensively, we gave up a lot of yards and gave up a lot of points and gave up some big plays. It is just not one side of the ball we have to look at. We have to get better on both sides.'

Is it going to take more than just changing the offensive coordinator?
'We just have to find a way to make plays. It is pretty obvious. You can run passing plays, and you can run running plays and you can do all of those things but unless you execute and get it done, it is not a mystery. It is 11 guys executing. I thought for a couple of weeks back a few weeks ago we looked pretty good. For the last three weeks now, we just don't have any consistency at all.'

You said you had a couple of options at quarterback, does that mean you are going to look at someone who hasn't played?
'Yes. We have to look at it. There were some times out there tonight that we had some throws that we have to make. You have to make them. They were there. They were making them on their side, and we weren't making them on our side. That is the bottom line.'

On Auburn's play calling at the end of the game going for the go ahead touchdown
'We had to take advantage of what they were giving us. They were playing inside and were giving us the fade route. We threw a couple of them. They were very close. Those are plays that you have to take advantage of because down at the goal line when you have nine up in the box and you try to run it, it takes away from what you are trying to do. You have to run your offense.'

Auburn Quarterback Kodi Burns
Thoughts on the Auburn offensive performance...
'We started off really slow and we did not play consistent. Overall, we are average right now. '

On his touchdown in the third quarter...
'It was just a little quarterback run. They asked me to stick my head in there and that's what I did.'

On improvements necessary during the bye-week...
'We need to improve on a lot of things on offense. Tonight we cut down on the penalties, but we have to stay consistent. We need to start driving the ball better, putting it in the end zone and fighting for better field position.'

Auburn Tight End Tommy Trott
On the team's overall performance...
'I thought the defense played hard. They ran the ball on us and they stopped us on our own run. They caused us to get out of what we wanted to do. We came out hard with our game plan in the first half and we saw things working. We have to learn how to throw and catch because I had a bad drop tonight. It is not the coaches, they had a great game plan, we are just not playing and that is the offense.'

Thoughts on the Arkansas defense...
'Their defense brings people down late. They blitz, they slant and they do a lot of crazy stunts. That is their game plan on defense. Our game plan was the freeze in order to see where the blitz was coming from and to call the play that we thought would work. We called quick passes and thought that they would eventually have to play base defense. We thought that we could easily beat them, but we never executed the first part of our game plan. We did not make the quick game work in the first half so we were never able to make them stop slanting, looping and blitzing. It just makes things more difficult when you can't get them to quit doing that and we did not.'

Auburn Running Back Tristan Davis
On the performance of the special teams, despite the loss' 'It meant a lot for me to score on a kickoff return. I've been trying to do that for the last two years, but none of that means anything unless we get the win. I'm a team player, that is why I am on special teams even as a senior. I have to lead my team on special teams, that is why I give a good effort every time I go out there. That still does not mean a thing to me right now because we lost.'

On scoring on a kickoff return and recovering from early-season injury...
'It feels pretty good, but I am still a little bit nicked up. My speed is coming back and I am getting more looks in the games. I was excited when I got outside. I saw the Arkansas guy coming in, but I knew he was not going to catch me. I have been working really hard trying to do this.'

On senior leadership...
'I'm pretty sure that us seniors are going to get together and talk about what we need to do, especially at a time like this. Since I have been here, I have not seen two SEC losses back-to-back or this many losses this early in the season. We just have to come together as a senior group and as a team, we have to pull it together. A team is a reflection of the senior leadership and we have to do a better job.'

Auburn Defensive Back Neiko Thorpe
On filling in for injured DB Jerraud Powers' 'I know how to step up and put on some big shoes. I just tried to go out there and play to the best of my ability. Their quarterback played really well and made some big plays.'

On his interception in the second quarter...
'I was playing pressure. The guy I was guarding did a slant, I saw the quarterback make the pass and I jumped on it. I tried to make it to the end zone, but they caught up to me.'

Auburn Defensive Lineman Sen'Derrick Marks...
On the Auburn defensive performance' 'We played terrible. We did not play like ourselves today. When you go out there and play like we did today, you get beat.'

On the Arkansas passing game...
'We let them make too many big plays. We didn't come out like we usually do. We need to get our defensive identity back and pick ourselves back up.'

On Arkansas Running Back Michael Smith...
'He is a great back. He may be smaller than a lot of backs, but they all do the same thing, they run the ball. He hit all the holes. He hit them when they were big, he hit them when they were little.'

Auburn Linebacker Chris Evans
On tonight's loss...
'We were not playing with focus. They are a tough team. We have to get everyone back up, focus and execute next week.'

On the Arkansas offense...
'Their running back (Michael Smith) was real quick behind the line. He is smaller than a lot of backs, so he could hide behind the line. They have a good bunch of receivers who could get open. They block well off the ball and made some big plays.'


Quoting Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino

'It was a hard fought game and we're happy with the outcome. I can't say enough about how hard our assistant coaches and players prepared for this game and the attitude and character we showed all week long in practice and the way we kept fighting in the game. A lot of things happened in this game that could have made it turn the other way, we didn't play great special teams, but I think our offense did great, we moved the ball very well. We were able to run the ball and throw it. I'm very happy with the poise Casey Dick showed. Defensively, I thought we did a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage. We were able to stop their run and put pressure on their quarterback. It's a good win for us.'

On controlling the line of scrimmage...
'It was a great football game. They made plays, we made plays. Our players really stepped up and executed and played with a lot of heart. It was very hard fought, we hung on and won the game at the end."

On the play of running back Mike Smith...
'He hit a homerun, and that was really great. He played really well all night. He showed a tremendous amount of poise and had a lot of carries; 21 in the first half. I was concerned about that, that's why I thought we would have to throw it a little more the second half, but then he breaks a long run for a touchdown, that was very well blocked, and he made a great cut. Taking all of those carries he showed great toughness. He's very quick and doesn't take a lot of big hits. He's very good at slipping and sliding. Auburn hit hard and ran to the ball very well tonight.'

On the rewarding win...
'It's very rewarding. It shows that the hard work we put in is paying off. It shows the ability of our players and their great attitude. They continuously come to practice and work very hard. The effort of the coaches is also great. It's just nice to see all of that hard work pay off. We're very happy with our players and coaches.'

On difficulties of the last few weeks...
'We needed a win. The good thing is that we've been showing progress. We're going to try to build on that and stay positive. I can't say enough about our players not getting down and still coming to practice and working hard. They did a great job and it shows they have great character and that our leadership is really starting to come through.'

On third down success...
'We executed really well. We had a really good game plan and good protection. We're real happy with our offensive front, coming in their defensive front was a worry for us. Auburn is very fast and very well coached. Our offensive line did a very good job in protection. We threw and caught the ball and made good plays. We made plays on balls that were very close to the ground and ones that were high up in the air. We knew where the sticks were which is very important, we're growing up a little bit.'

Quarterback Casey Dick
On getting the win after a couple of hard games...
'I don't think I have ever been more happy of a group of guys in my life. We have been through a lot in the last couple of games and it's easy to see how we have gotten a lot better. We've grown as a team. We came out and executed well. We knew if we could get the ball in the fourth quarter, in a close game we would have a chance. The bottom line, we just went out there and executed, had fun and stuck together.'

On Michael Smith's long touchdown run...
'it was a check at the line of scrimmage. We checked based on their defensive line technique and they gave us the right defense. The offensive line did a great job of pulling it through with a couple of fantastic blocks. Michael made a couple of guys miss in order for us to get the big gain.'

On the first quarter field goal...
the whole time we knew we could move the ball. We've been moving the ball since we started [the season], we just haven't been able to score. We put a humongous emphasis on that in practice this week. It helped us a lot in finding ways to execute and score when we had to.'

On the reverse play touchdown...
'It's a play we've had since the beginning of the year; it just hasn't been the right situation to run it. Joe [Adams] made a great throw and put me in a good position to catch it. That is my first touchdown catch, ever, so it was fun.'

On third-down conversion success...
'It was studying extra by watching a lot of film. We tried to figure out their [defense's] tendencies on third down. A lot of it was just making sure that all of our coaches were on the same page and making the best calls in each situation.'

On the team's confidence heading into today's game...
'I knew we had a chance going into the game. The bottom line was that we had to come in and execute. We've moved the ball on all of our opponents. This game we found a way to put it into the end zone. Now we have to keep finding ways to score and make the big plays. Everybody's confidence was really high and everybody was excited. We knew we had a good game plan. We felt confident in what we were going to do both offensively and defensively. I felt that our defense played well this week, they came out and played an excellent game today.'

Tailback Michael Smith
On his 35-carry game...
'I'm just glad we came out and got the win. To be honest with you, I didn't even know that I had that many carries, but I think my body knows it. It was a physical game and I took some big hits, but it wasn't that bad.'

On being able to avoid the big hits...
'They got quite a few big hits on me. They were a fast, physical defense and you have to give them credit; they contained me very well. When I am called, I have to get in there and get the job done.'

On his 52-yard touchdown run...
'That play was checked for an outside zone. The offensive line did a great job of getting to their man and giving me just enough time to find the hole.'

Center Jonathan Luigs
On Michael Smith's touchdown...
'He made a really good play. I pulled around and got up to the hole, two guys [Auburn defenders] came in and I tried to take one of them, and then he [Michael] made both of them miss. He was then able to make a couple more people miss, but all along he was able to get to the first downs and make the plays we needed to really open up the running game. It was a team effort.'

On the team's confidence heading into the rest of the season...
'It's great to get a win, especially when you go on the road and you're playing a team like Auburn, they're a good team. We were able to come together [as a team], especially the past two weeks. Emotionally, we went from feeling down to a big high after this game. We'll see how that high helps us.'

Nose Tackle Zach Stadther
On the defense's performance...
'The defense has really stepped up all together. Everybody did their job and I was happy with the way that we played. Honestly, I was a little surprised at how well the defense played, but we work hard every play and give 100% every time we step on the field.'

On the biggest challenge as a defensive lineman...
'They [Auburn] had a lot of cut blocks and a couple of double teams that forced the defense to make some adjustments.'

What does this game mean for you heading into the rest of the season...
'People are going to start believing in us now. We can play; we had a couple of stumbles in the first few games, but I really think we showed what we can do today and we're going to have confidence heading into the Kentucky game.'



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