Alabama vs. Auburn Postgame Quotes
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Nov. 26, 2011

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Auburn Locker Room

Head Coach Gene Chizik

"It's been a lot of ups and downs this season for 12 games, and we've had some really good things occur in our 12 game season, and we've had some disappointments. This is certainly one of the huge disappointments. I have a locker room full of guys right now and coaches that are hurting and a lot of fans I know who are hurting as well. So, this is a tough day. This is a tough day. We wanted to keep the game close until the fourth quarter and have a chance to make a play here and there and have a chance to win the game. We got to the fourth quarter and felt like we were somewhere in that ballpark, and the fourth quarter got away from us. We kind of self-destructed ... threw, obviously, the interception for a touchdown (when we were) backed up. We missed some open passes and in the fourth quarter, we had been playing the run pretty well all day and let a couple of runs get out of there, and the game got away. It's my job as the head coach at Auburn to make sure that this program continues on the right path and that will happen here. That will happen here. We will continue to grow as a football team, no question about it. We will continue to move forward, and we are going to figure out what is next for us as a team but more importantly, we are going to make sure as a program right now moving in the right direction which again, I am very sure that's going to happen. That's the direction that we are going. It is very disappointing. Again, we had our moments, and we did most of the classic things you do in a football game against a great football team that allow you not to win. But, they played hard, and they kept fighting in there until the end, and that is what we expected them to do. So again, our goal from here is to make sure we grow and continue on a path that we know the Auburn Football program is going to stay on."

On Auburn's offense struggling more and more as the season went on and is there one thing you can point to as why?
"I think that a lot of the teams that we struggled against obviously were extremely good defensively. I don't think there is any question about that. We did the classic things that make you struggle on offense when you can't run the ball effectively, consistently. I don't think we protected the quarterback as well as we needed to and then when we did protect the quarterback, I don't feel like we were very consistent in throwing the ball and completing balls and not dropping balls. It just seemed like we didn't get in any kind of rhythm as an offense and again, traditionally we have played really good offense here, but we struggled. There is no question about it so I think it was all of the above."

On the defense and special teams keeping Auburn in the game going into the fourth quarter despite having only 44 yards of total offense
"Again, I sound like a broken record, but our special teams have been good all year. So, we expect them to keep us in some games. Our margin for error is very slim so if the field position battle is not one that we are not winning consistently right now, we are going to struggle. Obviously, Onterio's (McCalebb) return kept us close in the game. I think defensively for a lot of the night they hit us on a trick play earlier with the double pass, and they got us with a wheel out of the backfield early. We were stopping the run about like we had hoped to for three quarters I felt like, but again, I think our defense at times gave us a chance to stay in the ballgame. I think that our pass defense was not very good. I felt like I am not sure what it was ... 18 out of (23) ... so we struggled pass defense-wise. But again, we got a big play on the sack and got a score out of it which was big and then our score out of our special teams but that was as far as any bright spots of the game right now. That would be it."

Did you get any momentum after Onterio McCalebb's kickoff return for a TD and did it kind of remind you of the way the comeback started last season?
"Our crowd is awesome and of course, they got into it and that was big. It was not so much that here we go again, it was just keep playing ... just keep playing ... keep continuing doing the things we know we have to do to win the game. So, it wasn't here we go again, it was just let's keep fighting and let's keep playing and let's get this thing into the fourth quarter to be close enough where we can win it. Like I said at some points, I felt like we were somewhere in the ballpark."

On how close you feel Auburn is to getting back to competing for championships
"I think that becomes more evident when you take the time to really re-evaluate over a long period of time everything that you are doing which will be done at Auburn, and we will know more then. Like I said, we are going to keep growing. We are going to keep growing. We got a lot of experience this year for a lot of guys that will be invaluable moving forward, and we are just going to continue to grow."

On where you feel Kiehl Frazier is as a quarterback
"Kiehl has done some nice things. Kiehl has a ways to go in terms of being ready to run this offense, but it certainly doesn't mean that he won't get ready anytime soon. We will continue to work in that direction. He's got a chance to be a really good quarterback here. He did some nice things. He gives you a little bit of a threat both ways running it and throwing it. So, we took him slow because we felt like that's what he could do, and he did some nice things for us this year."Will you look at the quarterback situation going into the bowl game?"We will look at everything. We are going to look at everything. Every position."

Did you consider challenging the spot on the third down play that was marked fourth and 1?
"We talked about it, and we had already been down a timeout. I didn't want to risk that in case again, we kept it close enough in the fourth quarter where we were going to have to use our timeouts. So, that is why we didn't."

What gave Auburn the most trouble against Alabama's defense?
"I just think they were tough to block up front whether it was run blocking or pass blocking. They are just a really good defense. You don't become the No. 1 defense in the country in about every category by accident. They are what they are. They are extremely talented. They are just a very good defense."

Defensive End Corey Lemonier

On emotion of the team...
"We had our ups and downs. Alabama did a great job of tracking us. Their running game was successful. We have to use this as fuel for next year and for the bowl game."

On forcing fumble in the first half...
"I was just trying to make a play. That's my job. That's why I'm here. We've got to get this nasty taste out of our mouth. When we get to the bowl game, we'll expect to dominate."

Defensive Tackle Jeffrey Whitaker

On his performance today...
"This is 365 days of not getting the taste out of your mouth. You can't go out there and get a win and forget about it. It's very personal. The deal is you embrace it, remember it and don't let it happen again."

On time until bowl game...
"I'm going to work on stepping up my leadership heading into next year and getting my body right. At the end of the offseason, it will be the best shape I've been in in my career. As far as the defensive line, we are all coming back next year. We are one big family. We just want to work on making it better."

On the Alabama offensive line...
"They were very tough - very physical. I'm not going to say they put in more effort than we did. Hats off to them. They played a great game."

Quarterback Kiehl Frazier

On today's game...
"We have a lot to work on. We just have to regroup for our bowl game and end this season with a win."

On the offense's slow start...
"They are a really good defense. They are No. 2 in the country, so we knew it was going to be tough."

On what needs to be improved for the bowl game...
"I don't think we need to work on anything specifically. We just need to improve our entire game plan. We know what we have to do to make sure we win our next game."

Running Back Onterio McCalebb

On today's game...
"We went out and practiced hard all week, and we never stopped battling tonight. Alabama has a great team. We have to put this one behind us and get ready for the bowl game."

On trying to get into an offensive rhythm...
"We tried to deal with what we could. We tried to come out and get a victory, but we were cut short."

On his 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown...
"Coach Boulware made the right decision with the play call. We knew we had to execute. Once I saw the hole, I hit it, and after that, I knew nobody could catch me."

Offensive Lineman Brandon Mosley

On today's game...
"Alabama is a great team. You have to give them credit for what they did. They have a great offense and a great defense. Our defense came to play today, and the offense didn't execute as much as we would have liked to."

On the offense's performance...
"It made it really tough going three-and-out as much as we did. It was tough."

On playing his last game in Jordan-Hare Stadium...
"I just feel blessed to be here. I don't regret my decision to come here. It was the best decision for me coming out of junior college. I love it here. I will always be an Auburn man, that's for sure." Quarterback Clint MoseleyOn his 39 yard punt..."As a quarterback, when the bright spot of your day is a punt, it's never a good thing."

On the flow of the game...
"They're a really good team, we knew that coming in. We played really hard at the beginning. Our defense played great and kept us in the game. We couldn't get much going on offense. Coming out in the second half the kickoff return got us back in the game we got our momentum. Unfortunately we could never capitalize on it. That's has to happen when you play good teams you must capitalize on every opportunity, and we didn't."

Linebacker Eltoro Freeman

On the loss to Alabama...
"I think everybody played hard. We obviously missed out some, which allowed big plays to occur. It cost us early and at the end of the game. We had a chance and a good opportunity to come back. We allowed that big run at the beginning of the game, we allowed big pass plays. Other than that I think everybody gave great effort, the game just didn't go our way."

On the second half adjustments...
"Our No. 1 goal at the beginning of the game was to stop the run and as a whole we thought we could do that. As far as passing, they got big plays on that. I'm disappointed in the rushing defense, like I said when you blow that long run you're disappointed in that. But other than that I think the defense had a solid game. Except we didn't contain the big plays and the big plays got us."

On his performance tonight...
"It was average. I think I could have done better. I gave my teammates all I had. I went out there and played hard and tried to make a difference. I fault myself, I had an opportunity to make the tackle on that long run but I missed the tackle and I have to make those plays. But we didn't win the game so it doesn't matter how I played."


Alabama Locker Room

Head Coach Nick Saban

Opening Statement...
"I don't think there are really any words to describe how proud I am of our players. The people in our organization that have worked so hard this year, all the players who made a commitment and have worked hard continuing to improve throughout the season, and certainly played the way we asked them. Challenged them for the best game of the season. It wasn't perfect, but it was one of the better games that we played on offense and defense. Really okay on special teams, except for kickoff returns, but that's something that we need to work on. I'm really pleased, happy and really proud of our players and coaches and people within the organization that make such a contribution to the success of this team this year. We have a lot of respect for Auburn, their team played hard today. Our guys played a tough game. We were fortunate today to come out on top. I'm really proud of the effort that they gave, and all of the work that they have done all year long. Our goal today was to play our best football game, and to play the best that we could play. I'm satisfied with what our players did. This team only lost one game in overtime to a very good team that is No. 1 right now. I think we have a great football team, a great bunch of young men who have done a wonderful job, and they have played some really dominant football on both sides of the ball."

On Vinnie Sunseri's play...
"Vinnie did a good job. He made a few mistakes, but he made adjustments. Their offense is very difficult to make adjustments for. I think he did a wonderful job out there today."

On SEC football...
"All I know is that after being in this league for 10 years, there are a lot of good football players, teams and programs. Competition in this league is very difficult. It's something great to be a part of. Anywhere you go it is going to be a difficult place to play in this conference. I would think that people would think that this is a very good conference."

On team's improvement over the past three weeks...
"I think that the last three weeks we have improved a great deal. I was proud of the way our team played at Mississippi State. We had a lot of guys that were banged up. We have most of our guys back today, which was beneficial. Last week I thought we played well offensively. We were in a difficult circumstance on defense, and we probably did not do a good enough job as coaches getting our team ready. Today, I thought we played really well against a good Auburn team."

On Trent Richardson...
"To me, Trent Richardson is the best football player in the country. You love saying that about someone who is such a good person, and someone who does so much to serve other people. He is a great teammate. He is a leader. He cares about everyone around him. His performance and production pretty much speak for itself. I will say this, he will be the first one to tell you that the offensive line does a pretty good job blocking up front, and that attributes to his success."

On potentially playing for the BCS National Championship...
"I would be excited for our team if they had the opportunity to play for the National Championship. I think they deserve it, and I think they have worked hard. They have all made a tremendous commitment. We didn't do the things that we needed to do in the LSU game to win. If we got another opportunity to play whoever in the National Championship it would be great for the University of Alabama and all the people in our organization."

Running Back Trent Richardson

On potentially solidifying the Heisman Trophy...
"I feel like the team did. They did a great job, the whole offensive line did a great job. The defense did a good job, too, keeping us on the field. I don't think it would have been as successful of a game without them. So I don't think I did it, but rather they did it."

On the gratification after last year's game...
"We were in the same situation going into halftime, so we came into the locker room and we all told ourselves that we needed to make sure that we went out there and played. That is one thing we did. We acclimated ourselves going into the second half and that's why I think we played better."

On possible rematch with LSU...
"I'll speak on my team's behalf; I don't think that the game is over. I already had some buddies at LSU call me and say `See you in New Orleans.' I can't wait to possibly meet them there again."

On having more carries...
"Anything it takes to win. If that's what it takes to win, I will do it. I'm a team player and I will gladly stick my neck out for my team."

Defensive Back Dre Kirkpatrick

On Vinnie Sunseri's first start at safety ...
"He played great. I told him to stay focused and that if he had any questions, ask me or Robert Lester."

On the defense as a whole...
"We followed the fundamentals, and we did the things the coaches told us to do. We were able to react on what we saw and I felt that we did a great job overall."

Defensive Back Dee Milliner

On if LSU an Alabama are the two best teams in the nation...
"I think everyone knows that we are the two best teams. Both are great teams with good defenses."

On his interception...
"Our defensive line did a great job. They were playing up and we were playing zone. After I got it my teammates made some great blocks for me, and I just ran it back."

On defense unit as a whole...
"We executed our game plan. We tried to make them one-dimensional by taking away the run and making them throw the ball and we did that."

Quarterback A.J. McCarron

On the offense's play...
"All of the credit goes to my offensive line. They don't get any credit, they're always overlooked. They deserve the credit."

On if Auburn's defensive game plan...
"When you have Trent Richardson in the backfield, they're going to try and take away the run. It's nothing that we haven't seen all year."

On importance of winning against Auburn...
"We definitely had to win this game. We knew what was at stake. We just had to come out and play our game and that's what we did. If we wanted a chance at getting back to the national championship, then we had to win this game, and that's what we did."

On if Alabama deserves to play in the BCS National Championship...
"If you're a team in our situation, who wouldn't think they deserve to play in the national championship? As a team, we think we deserve it, and hopefully we get the nod to do so."