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Post-Game Quotes

Auburn Post-Game Quotes

Auburn vs. Alabama

Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium

November 27, 2009

                                                             

Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizik

"They are a very good football team, but again, I want to say I am really, really proud of every guy who played in an Auburn uniform tonight. We played with a lot of heart and we fought all the way down to the end. We have built a great foundation for what we are going to do in the future, and I am just very proud of our kids. I appreciate our fans supporting our guys as we were running off the field which is not surprising. I am very proud of our team. Obviously, I'm disappointed that we lost. Again, we are looking forward to down the road." 

 

On the start with calling anything and everything to get something going and it worked       

            "I just felt like we had to be aggressive in this football game. It was things that we prepared for, and we felt very confident that if we executed them well, they had a great chance of them working. We were just going to be aggressive. The onsides kick, we knew that was something that we were going to do, and they were just aggressive with it and we felt like that was the best way to get everybody into the game and into the swing and get some positive things happening early."

              

What impressed you most about today?

            "A lot of things. They hung in there. They really made some big stops at critical times. They played really well. We played real good run defense today. Again, that is what we knew we had to do in this game to even have a chance to be in the game is play really good rush defense. Coach (Ted) Roof did a great job with that, and I thought our defense played really hard all night. We were put in some real bad positions with a couple of turnover situations. We were put into some  bad positions with a couple of kick returns that got away from us. I am really proud of everybody on our defense tonight."

 

Is this game indicative of how much your team has come over the last 11 months?

            "I don't think there is any question. I don't think you can sit there and watch our football team play against Alabama and not think that. We've come a long way. Again, we said at the beginning of this that we were going to build a foundation for what we know is right. We are going to do it right, and I don't think there is any question."

 

On Jonathan Evan's first college start

            "I couldn't be prouder of Jonathan Evans. Let me tell you something. There weren't any backups after that. I was going in. If you look at our whole defense right now, you can go from beginning to end and find out who we weren't playing with today, and that's how well they played. Because there's a bunch of them right now that weren't playing today. And the ones that had to play that stepped up, they stepped up and played and they delivered today. I am proud starting with Jonathan Evans." 

 

On Neiko Thorpe going one on one with Julio Jones and not giving up what seemed like any big plays

            "Well, one of the things we were trying to do was switch in and out of enough coverages where he wasn't always man-to-man. If he were on Julio's side, sometimes we were in zone and sometimes we were in man, just trying to get a healthy mix in there so you could never get a bead on exactly who was on whom ..and if they were, what coverage we were actually playing. I am sure Neiko played well tonight." 

 

On Auburn not having many 2-minute offense situations this year at the end of the half or game to score, and were you disappointed in how you handled that in this game after getting behind?

            "The last series, obviously, we would have liked to have gone down there and score a touchdown. Again, they fought down to the end. I'm not disappointed with anybody on our team ... nobody."

 

What did you say to the team after the game?

            "I just told them that we are not walking out of here with heads down. We are a family. We are a family when we win. We are a family when we lose. Nobody has to like the outcome of this game, but everybody in that locker room who played did what we asked them to do. They fought for 60 minutes in a game that was really, really tough, and I said that we were going to build on that from there. Unfortunately for the seniors, it is the last home game ever that they are going to play here, but we have a bowl game, and we are going to have another good opponent to play. We have one more game together as a team, and our aim is to go win that game. Again, we are not walking out of this building today with our heads down, but we are going to know right now that the future is bright." 

 

Terrell Zachery, WR

Overall thoughts...

"I think we did a good job overall, but it would have been nice to come out of here with a win."

 

On 67-yard touchdown run...

"It was a result of everything that we've been doing all year and it paid off for us in that play."

 

On how the team will respond...

"We still have the bowl game left and we need to finish our season strong."

 

Antonio Coleman, DE

Overall thoughts...

"It is a tough lose. We got out there and fought and did what the coaches asked. It came down that one play."

 

On pressuring Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy...

"It was all me. That all came straight from the heart. Everything I had, I left it on the field today."

 

On playing in his last Iron Bowl...

"It is a tough loss, but I love each and every one of these guys. They came out here and they fought like they asked us to do. They did that. There are going to be better days. It is a tough loss, but I have to move on from it and get ready for our bowl game. There are a lot of great players on this team that are going to be coming back and there are going to be better days."

 

On where the team goes from here...

"We're going to take some time off. We have to get our minds off of football and focus on grades. We don't know who we're playing or what bowl game, but we're going to continue to work hard with Coach (Kevin) Yoxall and all the other coaches. We'll be alright.

 

Chris Todd, QB

On pregame mindset...

"We really wanted to come out and get aggressive early in the game. We wanted to come out strong and execute the game plan. Everybody felt fine coming into the game and everyone felt good. We wanted to come out here and get ourselves into a battle because that is what the Iron Bowl is."

 

On game momentum...

"We knew going into this game that there was going to be ups and downs. We were able to come out early and put some points on the board and that always gets everyone excited and the momentum going. We stretched it out to the end and had the ball last. We were in a tough position."

 

On the final pass of the game...

"It was one of those plays at the end where we needed to get the ball close enough to put it in the end zone. We were able to get across the 50-yard line. We sent some guys up there and tried to make a play. With them dropping everybody back, it was tough for us to make the play."

 

On emotions of his final Iron Bowl...

"I wanted to come out here and give everything that I have for all the other seniors and all the other guys on the team. I didn't want to leave anything out there. It is an exciting game to play in and a great way to end the season. Unfortunately, we came up short. I just wanted to leave everything out there for my team."

 

Darvin Adams, WR

Overall thoughts

"I thought we came out and played and I think we did good as a team."

 

On 72-yard touchdown catch...

"We knew the corner blitz was coming and Coach Malzahn called the right play at the right time."

 

On moving on from here...

"We just have to keep doing what we are doing."

 

Andrew McCain, OT

Overall thoughts...

"We knew we were playing a great football team and that's how we prepared all week. Everybody in the locker room fought really hard and we executed the game plan. When the clock ran out, they were the last one's to score and that happens sometimes. I'm so proud of the guys I've played and I wouldn't trade this group for anybody."

 

On his last home game...

"This was just an unbelievable game to be part of. The reason you come to Auburn is because of the Auburn people. This is a special place to be from the coaches all the way to the fans. This game is a special thing to be a part of. That is why Auburn is different; because of days like today."

 

On Alabama's defensive line...

"A lot of our gap-schemed stuff was hitting them early so they decided to get an odd front and blitz us a lot. All of that stuff threw us off. We started picking it up, but it was just too little too late. They are very athletic so if you leave one guy free, they are going to make a play. When they got adjusted, we didn't have the time to adjust ourselves."

 

Mario Fannin, RB

Overall thoughts...

"We came out and played well as a team. Alabama is an excellent team and they just had that one extra drive that put them ahead."

 

On his contribution to the offense...

"Being able to help the team anyway possible is what I want to do. That is what the coaches' goals were and I tried to execute them the best I could. "

 

On moving on from here...

"We've have a bowl game coming up so we have to stay focused. We can use this next week as a break for us to get these nicks and bruises cleared up."

 

 

Alabama Post-Game Quotes

 

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban
Opening statement...

"First off, both teams played really well. Auburn's team played extremely well, played with great tenacity. I have never been more proud of my football team. I said it would be our most significant and our greatest accomplishment if we came down here and won this game. Under the circumstances, like the short week and a tough offense to prepare for, they had a good football team that we were playing and then to get behind in the game 14-0, we never lost our poise and kept playing every play in the game. We gave up a big play in the second half and we just kept playing through it. That may have been one of the greatest drives I have ever been associated with in the fourth quarter to win the game. I just can't say enough about how proud I am of our team. I also can say I have a tremendous amount of respect for their team and the way they competed and the things they did today. I knew it would be tough at the start. When these guys go off from the script, they have all kinds of formations and plays, like double-passes, reverse passes. Most of it is stuff you haven't seen before. We knew we were going to have to play through it. They got the onside kick and got two scores ahead, but again this team is all about character, discipline, and overcoming adversity and perseverance by our players. If there is one thing our team has not been challenged by this year, it's that. We didn't play a great game today. It's a great win for our team and I have never been prouder of a team in terms of the way they won. We didn't play our best football and we need to learn from that, but at the same time the character that we showed and the resilience that we showed to overcome the adversity in the game, on the road, getting behind, I don't think you can say enough about the character, the competitive character, that this team showed today and that's what I am most proud of."

 

On the final touchdown play...

"They called run. I didn't just want to play for a field goal. I guess I tried talking them into throwing a pass and then we got out there and lined up, I wanted to throw a pass, so we called timeout to throw a pass and that's the way it went."

                                            

On what they can learn from today's game...

"I think that remains to be seen. I think that sometimes when you don't play well and win, guys have to be smart enough to learn from that. We didn't have a lot of emotion. We didn't play with a lot of passion. I can't really understand that. I am not sure if it is because of the short week, if we were tired or the distractions, but it was a difficult preparation. It says a lot about their team but I will say that I am most proud of my team and the way our guys competed in the game to overcome the adversity. We expected a tough game. We got a tough game and we overcame what we had to to win the game. I think this is the first team in Alabama history to win 12 games in two regular seasons in a row, so we kind of made history out there today. There was nothing that I could say. Only the strong survive, but the strong still get their ass whipped and that was my message to the team. I shouldn't use that kind of language but we did survive because of our character and resilience. You have to win games like that and I am proud of our team the way they did it."

 

On Julio Jones...

"I think Julio played his best game today because he made big plays in critical times of the game. Not big plays in terms of yards, but big catches that kept drives alive. He blocked and was very competitive. He's played better and better these last three-or-four games. He's healthy. He's fast. He's practicing better and I think he is playing with a lot more confidence. Hopefully we can get him the ball down the field more and he can make some big plays."

 

On winning off a short week...

"To win the state is a big, big thing for us. They know most of the guys on the other team. I know it's a big thing for our fans. I actually think the players need an emotional break. I think playing a game like this at the end of the year and being in the SEC Championship Game, I didn't like it that we had a short week this week but I like it because we have an extra day. It was hard to get our players back last year after a very emotional game in the last game of the season and then go right into the SEC Championship Game for another big emotional game. We are going to give them tomorrow off. We are going to stretch and stride on Sunday, which is an optional thing for the players to do. We are going to try and give them some time to recover. I don't think we have anyone injured badly. Mark (Ingram) has a hip-pointer. I didn't talk to the doctor to see how bad it was but he has to rest and recover and get back to playing good football."

 

On his decision to throw on the last play...

"We needed four yards. They were in goal-line defense and it's hard to gain four yards on one play. I felt like if we got into a goal-line formation they were going to think that we were going to run. Sometimes that's when you get the best plays. It is the easiest coverage to throw in because they are all coming to get the run, and that's exactly what happened. Greg (McElroy) made a good throw. It's a safe play."

 

On Javier Arenas punt return that led to a field goal...

"I think the biggest thing it did was flip the field position. We were struggling with field position. We were backed up. It was actually a block. We had our best opportunities when we pressured them because they had the blocks. Javier made a great individual effort. Our kickoff return was big too after they scored to get the field position again."

 

On what worked on the final drive...

"We drove the ball but we had to convert on several third downs. We finished our blocks a little bit better. They played a lot of eight-man fronts and a lot of double-synch, which they haven't done that much before. They certainly played a whole lot today to stop the run. I think when you get in a situation like that it's a little more difficult when it's a run-pass type of deal. Not that we were in the two-minute offense. It was the end of the game so they were a little bit softer and we were able to run it a little bit better and keep throwing it on third down."

 

On the defense down the stretch...

"I thought it was big when they got the ball on the 45-yard line after we were backed up. We got tackled for a loss and sacked on third down which kind of pushed us back. The defense played pretty well in the second half except for the big play (Darvin Adams' touchdown). We had a corner fire and he ran a double-pattern. He looked at the quarterback and it was a big play, but other than that I thought after the first quarter the defense played pretty well the rest of the game except for that play. They had a lot of big plays and they didn't let them drive the ball."

 

On adjusting to trick plays...

"We made some adjustments, we always make adjustments. I think the biggest thing is the players settled down. And that is the biggest thing, to get the players settled down. On the reverse we rotated the coverage wrong and we had no run support over there. They motioned a guy in the backfield, which we should have gone from one rotation to the other and we didn't do it. It's just a matter of all that stuff that they see and making the proper adjustments. Once they start to see it, you can show it to them and they kind of understand it and don't make mental errors, I think that's the biggest thing. We have to keep the side boards on the defense on those kinds of plays and don't let them run the ball inside, which we did. It was the big plays that really made the difference and they did a good job of executing. I am not taking anything away from them but we didn't always play it exactly right. It was their formation variation and that probably created some of the mistakes."

 

On Greg McElroy's play...

"He did a good job in this situation. That was a great drive. I think when you make those plays on third down, I think everyone gave him the opportunity to do that. We didn't always have an opportunity to do that today. We didn't protect him real well at times. We didn't get open like we needed to. There were a couple of times where he could have made a couple of better decisions but he made all the right decisions in the critical times of the game. I think that's what great competitors do. He has been a great competitor for us all year long."

 

On Auburn stopping the run...

"They played eight-man fronts. They were in a lot of double-sync. I think when people play in that, they anticipate. We probably weren't as prepared for it as we should have been."

 

On the team's confidence during the final minute...

"I know it is something that our team hasn't been challenged with. You just play the next play. You just have to go with the play that will give you the opportunity to make the most success out of the next play. That's what we tell our players all the time and that's probably why they didn't lose their poise when they got behind and it's probably why they didn't lose their poise at the end of the game and they made plays to win the game. You just focus on the next play, finish that play. Every play has a history and a life of its own and you have to focus on that play regardless of what happened on the last play. I think that that sort of resonates with our players. That's how you compete, that's how you play. I think that's how you look at it. You just play the game and you get the result. I think that's the best way to compete. Everything is based on the results. Great competitors can play in that moment and great teams can play in that moment. I am not saying we have a great team, I am just saying that our team is able to do that tonight. That was important and us finishing that game was important to get the win."

 

 

Eryk Anders, LB

On Auburn's trick plays early in game...

"All those plays are a result of either a player or the whole team being where they aren't supposed to be. They took advantage of us early. We got everything under control and were able to pull out the win. We knew what they were going to do and we knew they were going to try trick plays. I think we just came out over-excited and a couple of people missed some plays and they got out on us."

                 

On getting pressure on Chris Todd...

"We tried to cause confusion for the offense and we did that a few times and were able to hit the quarterback."

                    

On his pass interference call...

"As long as he didn't get the ball, I was fine with it. It was 15 yards better than where he was. I did my best, but got the interference call."

 

On what the team will learn from bad start...

"We learned to keep our poise early, take deep breaths and be where we were supposed to be. Everything will take care of itself."

 

Brandon Deaderick, DL

On Auburn's trick plays...

"We knew that it was a big part of their offense and that they were going to come out with trick plays and a lot of gimmicks to try to keep us off balance. We needed the first couple series to regroup. The tempo was fast and we didn't have a lot of time to think. It wasn't anything we hadn't seen in practice. We just settled down into our game and started playing Alabama football."

 

On possible first half doubt...

"We have confidence in our offense and didn't have doubt. I knew the defense would step up when we needed it. This team plays very well when under adversity. It is something we pride ourselves in. We haven't been in a situation like that this year. We showed true character. On the last drive, the offense played great."

 

On watching final drive from sidelines...

"What I'm going to remember is that we did score a touchdown. That is going to stick in my mind. That was huge because we didn't want to go for the field goal. We wanted to try to get that score and go for two."

 

On the importance to Roy Upchurch scoring the final touchdown...

"It doesn't get any bigger than scoring the final touchdown in the Iron Bowl. He did a great job today when he got his opportunities."

 

Roy Upchurch, RB

On the final play...

"The coaches really opened up the playbook for me this week. I just waited for my number to be called and went out there and executed. They originally had a different play called in, but I was yelling on the sideline for them to put my package in. They did and I went out and executed. I was just ready to get in the end zone, so when they threw the ball, that's what I did. It doesn't get any bigger than winning the Iron Bowl. At the beginning of the play, someone grabbed my face mask so I started to panic, but I caught the ball anyway. Scoring a touchdown give you chills and it's a good feeling. I just had a feeling that it would work and that I would be wide open in the end zone."

 

Mike Johnson, OL

Overall thoughts...

"It was a hell of a game. It was really tight. Auburn was well prepared. It was a real big gut check for us right there at the end. We just came through."

Thoughts on the final drive...

"We just kept thinking keep playing away. There was nowhere else to go. It was just time to come together, do things on offense and put points on the board.

 

Thoughts on Auburn's defensive line...

"Auburn's defensive front is really talented. They had fresh legs and a good game plan. They came in there wanting to get the quarterback and they did that on a few occasions. They are a talented group of guys, you can' take that away from them."

 

Mark Ingram, RB

On possible first half doubt...

"I didn't have any doubt at all. I know this team has a lot of heart and character. We've worked so hard to get to this point. Even all the stress we were under. We did what we had to do and fought to get this win."

 

On being the Heisman candidate and Player of the Game...

"It was a team effort. They focused on not letting me have a big day, so other players stepped up. Trent Richardson stepped up and played well. Roy Upchurch had a big catch and Julio Jones also had a big game. If they stopped one thing, we knew we would have to execute with another."

 

On Roy Upchurch catching game-winning touchdown...

"It is great for him. He was banged up a little bit, but he went in there and made the play. We all have each others' back and we're happy for him."

 


 

 

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