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Tennessee-South Carolina Postgame Notes


(Opening Statement)
"We fought them hard, but we are just a mess on offense. We can't run it, we struggled to throw it. We had the ball twice in the red area and we turned the ball over. I don't know what else you can do defensively. We didn't stop the run very well in the second half, that's for sure. They went on a 99-yard drive. For the most part we just couldn't get anything going on offense. It was a real struggle. Give them a lot of credit. It's tough and we have to move on."
(On choosing to put Matt Simms in the game)
"I'm not going to get into the competition [for playing time] part, but Justin [Worley] had a tough day out there. A couple of interceptions in the red area he has to learn from. It's hard. He struggled a little administratively -- had to chop some timeouts."

(On considering Simms earlier in the game)
"I wanted [Worley] to keep playing. He made a couple nice throws and we just wanted to try to get him in a rhythm. We didn't help him. We didn't run the ball. I was disappointed in that. I thought we would run it better. I don't know why."

(On the momentum shift with Rogers' missed TD opportunity)
"We had a lot of opportunities. We dropped that which was a touchdown. We got the ball on the three [yard line]and lose two on the first play and throw a pick and then we get another turnover. We had three opportunities there and went 0-for-3 on them. We took a shot on third-and-one and we had been 100 on quarterback sneak until the last two weeks. We can't get a sneak on a fourth down. It's tough right now."

(On the effects of South Carolina's third quarter drive)
"I thought we responded. We tried a surprise onside. That didn't go well. Then we had the pick down to the three and then they went 99 on us. That was tough. It ate up the whole third quarter and we didn't get the ball. Then we came out and pushed it a little bit to the 50 and then we got the turnover but then we still couldn't do anything. It was deflating to watch the drive but then after that we went out and made some stops. They kept pushing us. We were wearing down. It wasn't from lack of fighting. We couldn't move the ball on offense and couldn't score. Then we just struggled with the handing it off and the pull. It's the same old deal. It is hard for us to do both well. We stop the run then we give up big plays throwing the ball. We hold number one to 17 yards but they [get four or five yards per play]. We don't have enough stoutness to go tackle them and make it second and ten. So it's second and six, third and two, first and 10. You keep worrying about number one over there on the big play... That has been the struggle all year. At the end of the day we held them to 14 points and created two turnovers - both in the red zone. That's pretty good. I would have taken that in a heartbeat if they said, `Hey. You are going to hold them to 14 and the defense is going to give the ball to the offense twice in the red zone.' You are feeling pretty good. We are struggling right now on offense. I don't know any other way to say it. Execution is bad. Throwing and catching is bad three weeks in a row. We have to find some answers.

(On what was discovered about Worley)
"He did some good things and struggled at some things. I expected it to happen. It's his first time and he just hasn't had the work. He has been the three - that's what we forget. For eight months he has been a three and then for two weeks he has been a two. It's tough. He's going to be fine. He will learn from it and get better. He does some good things."

(On sticking to Poole on carries)
"Marlin [Lane] was pretty much out this game. [Curt] Maggitt was out. A lot of our young guys are beaet up. We probably should have run Jeron [Toney] a little bit. We could have put him in. Marlin went in one play but he was out. He didn't practice all week. We will look at it. We will have to find a way to run the ball better. We have to play some more backs and have to block."

(On the reasoning behind the onside kick)
"We thought we had a chance at it and we did. We just didn't execute the kick. It was there. We just didn't execute. We executed it perfectly Thursday and we just kicked it a little hard. We were just trying to get something going there in the first half but it didn't work."

(On using timeouts early)
"It is a struggle in the huddle. It's hard to know what's getting said. It is not all getting said. We are in there a long time. You are going, `What's going on?'"

(On calling a timeout because the long snapper wasn't on the field)
"He thought it was an interception. So he got out of the pit when everybody else ran in."

(On going for it on fourth down)
"We were in our territory in that gray zone. One time we jumped offside and that's again a new quarterback. It's a play we run a lot but his cadence is different. He said it differently than the way Matt [Simms] said it and we jumped. That's part of it. A lot of little things become big things out there - they just do. It was six inches [on Worley's sneak]. They knock us back and we can't dig it out. We need to not sneak it with Justin and Matt."

(On South Carolina's defense as compared to LSU and Alabama)
"They are a good defense too, but gosh. It's hard for me. We have to play better on offense. We had a lot of opportunity. And they have a lot of good players. They whipped us upfront. Protection was pretty good but throwing and catching is not what it needs to be. We were 2-of-14 on third down, which was our strong suit early in the year. That's what we did well. We are a different football team right now on offense. Very different."

(On Matt Simms handling the quarterback situation)
"He has been great. I am really proud of him. It's a hard deal when you're the starter and you've been replaced, then you're the starter and you've replaced. It's a hard deal and so I'm proud of Matt.

(On the decision to not kick the field goal on fourth and one from the 27 yard line)
"It was one yard. I just felt like it was so short and the field goal was long. It was a forty-something yarder and Mike [Palardy] didn't hit a good one. If it had been fourth or 7 or 8 I would have probably kicked the field goal. We probably should have kicked it. If he misses it, we lose. Those times you're in the gray area and your guy has a 45-yarder [you consider] the odds of him making it versus the odds of gaining four yards. That's really what is going through your head. What are the odds of him making it versus 10 yards depending on the down. You're playing percentages once you're in the gray area."

(On getting pushed back on sneaks)
"If you look at our running stats, there was nothing to say we were going to hand the ball off and get it. We are not very good at anything right now."

(On the game being within reach)
"I told the team we fought hard and they should be commended for that. We kept fighting the fight and created some opportunities that we haven't done on defense. We hadn't had very many takeaways and we got them at some critical times and created opportunities. Those were some good things - they were. But we are not good enough right now. We really are not very good to beat anybody unless we get some things corrected."

(On the play of South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw)
"We knew -- that was a concern for us going in: zone read and quarterback draws. We didn't do a very good job of tackling him."

(On the injury to Brent Brewer)
"I know he couldn't go back in but I don't know what the extent of it is.

(On the plan for containing Ashlon Jeffery)
"We felt like if we didn't give up big plays to him we had a chance to win the football game. I think that's what happened. We held them to 318 yards.They ran the ball well on us. It is hard to create negative plays when you play a lot more pass coverage than we normally do in games so when they hand it off, we are not disruptive enough to get them to second and 10, second and 11. They get ahead of the chains. It's kind of bleeding a little bit. But we stayed in it and we created opportunities. We just didn't execute. We threw two picks and can't run it in. It's not really complex I don't think."

(On the absence of Tyler Bray and Justin Hunter)
"They have different qualities... It is hard to expect 17 freshmen and sophomores to play like Hunter and Bray. Every good football team you need two or three dynamic playmakers on offense and defense. That's what you have to have to be a good team. When you don't have them and nobody is filling that void, it becomes tough. Right now there is not a whole lot of dynamic playmaking going on. We have to find them."

(On simplifying game management)
"We did [simplify administratively], but there are so many things out there from a cadence standpoint. You have to have some checks. You have to. And he just doesn't have a lot of experience. We were in the Friday walkthrough just trying to hard count. It was a disaster. It takes some time. He has to practice. He'll be okay. In the meantime we have to figure out how to win a game. That's the trick. We have to do a better job coaching."

Tennessee Junior TE Mychal Rivera
(On Justin Worley's performance)
"I think there was a lot of pressure on Justin, but I'm still really proud of how he stepped up and did the best he could. We all made mistakes out there, including Justin, including me. All 11 people on both sides of the ball. I just want to continue pushing on with them as an offense and look forward to the rest of the season."

(On South Carolina scheming for freshman quarterback)
"They were moving a lot and doing a lot of complex things, and unfortunately we didn't handle it very well."

(On Worley's demeanor in huddle)
"He handled things really good. He's been a leader all week. He's been really confident. Even after he threw those interceptions, he still came in really confident in what he came to do. That's what he is: a really confident player."

(On Matt Simms)
"He's really confident too. He stepped up and delivered some good balls. We just hope good things for both of them."

(On not scoring from three-yard line)
"That was a real turning point in the game. It was really difficult when that happened. It was really unfortunate and disappointing."

(On how South Carolina's defense compared to Alabama and LSU)
"South Carolina, they're a real physical team. They've got some good defenders. I don't know if I'd put them up with Alabama or LSU but they're pretty good as well."

(On offensive frustrations of late)
"It always gets a little frustrating at times, but that's we've got coaches for, to push us on and push us forward. That's what we need to do with the rest of the season, to look forward and not look back, to know that we've still got stuff to play for."

Tennessee Freshman WR DeAnthony Arnett
(On his increased role in the offense)
"My role has expanded ever since Justin (Hunter) went down in the Florida game. I have been expected to step my play up by all the coaches. I expect to get the ball more and more every game."

(On his two seam route receptions)
"It is trying to get outside the man. I stay four yards outside the hash and if the hole is open you have to take it. (Justin) Worley hit me, and I made the play."

Tennessee Senior CB Prentiss Waggner
(On covering South Carolina junior wide receiver Alshon Jeffery
"Our plan was to stay in front of him and be physical with him. We wanted to create mismatches for him at the line of scrimmage and then have help over the top. We did job of that and did a good job of tackling him on the screen routes."

(On this interception)
"We have been pushing each other in practice to get turnovers thinking that would carry over to the game. I read the quarterback's eyes and made a break on the ball. I had Rod Wilks and Brent Brewer playing over the top, so I knew I could play much more aggressive and that is what I did."

Tennessee Sophomore DT Maurice Couch
(On his play in the game)
"I was executing what I have been coached to do. I kept using my technique and working to keep the guards off our linebackers. We played hard, and I am proud of our guys."

Tennessee Senior LB Austin Johnson
(On holding South Carolina to 14 points)
"With the two turnovers and getting good field position, I definitely would have taken that. Before the game I was talking to the defense and we saw it said South Carolina, 0, Tennessee, 0. I said to the guys that we needed to keep them at zero the whole game. That's what we need to do. Bad stuff is going to happen, but we just have to play better."

(On the defense creating turnovers this game)
"We thought we did well getting the ball there and the offense did fine. They will continue to work at that. Towards the end of the game, we had a sense that we were going to have to score for this team. We haven't done that sense the first game of the year. We need to make sure we keep creating turnovers and just keep working on it."

(On the South Carolina converting on third downs)
"It was our fault. We were getting beat on first and second downs. They were getting big runs on us and creating 3rd-and-1 downs every series. It put us in a bad position and that's our fault. We need to do better on first and second down. If we do that, we will get them at third down and longer yardage than just one yard."

Tennessee Freshman LB A.J. Johnson
(On not being able to stop South Carolina on third downs)
"It's hard to stop 3rd-and-1 and 3rd-and-2 downs. That's one of the hardest plays to stop on defense. We have to get better on first and second downs and creating longer yardage on third downs.

(On the team's mentality after the loss)
"I believe everyone is frustrated. We are upset with ourselves. But we just have to keep working hard and getting better. I know we say that every week, but we have to continue working hard in practice and get a win under our belt."

Tennessee Senior DL Malik Jackson
(On the loss)
"It's frustrating, but as a defense we can't look at what the offense does. It's our job to go out there and play defense wherever the ball or wherever the offense finishes. We just have to go out there and finish. It's easy to point fingers, but we are a team. We win as a team and we lose as a team. We just need to go out there and play."

(On the 11:35 third quarter offensive drive by South Carolina)
"It was tough. They took up the whole quarter. They are a good running team. They came out and did what they wanted to do in the third quarter. We had trouble stopping them. They switched some things up and we just didn't play good defense that quarter."

(On South Carolina's two-type shotgun style offense)
"Coach [Wilcox] watched filmed on that and we practiced it this week. I really thought we didn't play good defense and it's nothing on the coaches. We knew they were going to do it, and we didn't execute the calls that Coach Wilcox called. We just were misfit on our end and messed up. It's nothing they did."

South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier
(Opening Statement)
"Well, we won the game somehow. We weren't pretty on offense most of the game. Ran the ball well, gained a bunch of yards, not bad for a guy (Brandon Wilds) that made his first start and got a bunch of carries. Connor (Shaw) had a bunch of carries and yards."

"We're not a very good passing team right now, that's the way it turned out. I'm not much of a passing coach any more, but we're 7-1, somehow. That's the most important thing. Had a lot of possession time there in the second half and finally made a bunch of third downs. Our defense was super."

"The keys to the game were, obviously, holding those guys after we dropped the punt, holding them to a field goal. Then the interception, Cody Gibson running the guy down at the three yard line, so we gave Cody a game ball for that tackle. Then D.J. (Swearinger) got the pick, then the next time around Stephon Gilmore got the pick, so we had three huge defensive stands that they could have gotten 21 off of or 17."

"They had three chances to score, we had two and we managed to get touchdowns. Connor (Shaw) ran the ball beautifully most of the game tonight. Even though it wasn't very pretty for television, we're glad to get to 7-1 and know we've got to beat Arkansas next week."

(On the mindset of the team on 20-play drive)
"We had just thrown the pick, so we were trying to run the ball and Brandon (Wilds) kept picking up third-and-shorts. 20 play drive, I've only had one other in my life that long and it happened right here in 1982, Duke University, we went from the same one yard line over there to this one yard line and killed the clock. That was the 82 Duke-Tennessee game, except we did it then in the fourth quarter. I think that's the two longest drives in my career as a coach, both of them happened right here."

(On the offensive line play)
"We got a little surge there in the second half, some pretty good run plays called for a change, some good audibles called at the line, did some stuff that helped us a bit. But those interceptions we got right back from them after we committed those turnovers was the key to the game. Tennessee played well defensively, we didn't want to try much after that interception they almost scored on."

(On Freshman Running Back Brandon Wilds)
"He's a good back, I mentioned coming in that he's a good back, if we'll block for him a little bit he'll make some yards. He did that, he can make yards, he runs forward, has good body lean and can break some tackles."

Tennessee Sophomore QB Connor Shaw
(On the 20 play drive)
"Our defense really bailed us out. I threw an interception and they ran it back to the two-yard line. We ended up getting an interception the next play. Like I said, our defense bailed us out and the offensive line stepped up. Freshman Brandon Wilds stepped up and had a great game. He had well over 100 yards rushing. It was a great drive to go down and score."

(On managing the offense)
"When you have 96,000 (fans) here, you just have to manage the game and be smart."

(On freshman Brandon Wilds)
"He did a great job. Our offensive line helped him out a lot. He had a great two weeks of practice and stepped up and played really well."

(On if he and Wilds could carry the offense)
"I think so. I would like to believe so. We'll take it practice-by-practice, game-by-game. I think we are capable of doing that."

(On if the game plan was for him to run so much)
"Hats off to Tennessee on their passing attack. They really stopped us and forced us to run and Brandon did a great job."

(On the similarities between Wilds and Marcus Lattimore)
"There are similarities. Marcus is a great running back and Brandon proved tonight he is a great running backs."

(On the fourth down touchdown pass)
"We worked on that all week. Great play, great play call, great timing, great route, great catch. It was a good play."

(On if he could tell if the defense was keying on the run)
"I could. I had a good idea that they were going to come up. It was fourth and one, so play the run and it popped open."

(On if he was anxious on calling a pass play on fourth and one)
"I knew that it was going to be open. I knew that they were going to stack the box and play the run."

(On the third down success)
"Coach harped on we had to had to convert on third downs and our offensive line did a heck of a job blocking and the running backs played well."

South Carolina Junior SS D.J. Swearinger
(On how well South Carolina's defense has looked this season)
"It has been practice and our practice habits. We've been practicing hard and we're trying to get a shut out but we'll take (only giving up) three points."

(On his interception)
"It was a motion play where I was supposed to stay on my man, but I switched over to number 21 (Da'Rick Rogers). That's just me wanting to guard their best player."

(On the difference between South Carolina's defense this year and last year with interceptions)
"The last couple of years we knew we could make a bunch of interceptions. It was a lack of concentration. This year we are really concentrating on making picks."

(On the defense's ability to hold Tennessee on 3rd downs)
"The key was to get off the field on third down. We preach that in practice. It's all about effort on those third downs. That is really key."

(On the position USC's offense puts the defense in by not scoring as many points)
"We know going into the game we have to help pick up the offense at times. Whatever the offense does, we know we have to go out and do our job on defense."

(On firing up the team before the game as an emotional leader)
"I've been doing that for the last couple years. I'm the hype-man, I like getting everybody started."



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