Cal-Tennessee Postgame Quotes
Sept. 6, 2006
CALIFORNIA LOCKER ROOM
Head Coach Jeff Tedford:
"We weren't sharp. We didn't execute, catch the ball or tackle. That's unusual for us. Give Tennessee the credit. They have big strong guys who did an excellent job. Without a doubt, they outplayed us. You had to be on the sidelines to see how big and strong they were.
"They had max protection and threw the ball quickly. They made huge plays off the hitch route. We missed the tackles. You can't play a good team like Tennessee and let that happen. Craig Stephens is one of the toughest guys on the team. He's a hard working, physical guy. It was disheartening to lose him on the opening kickoff.
"Syd'Quan Thompson will come back from this. He's trying to make plays. We have a great trust and belief in him. He has a cast on his hand.
"We dropped balls and protections broke down. Tennessee has a very good defensive team. This is one game we can learn from. There's a lot of faith on this team. I think they'll come to practice tomorrow with a good attitude. There wasn't anything in the game that should have confused us. I think our defensive line got knocked off the ball. Tennessee has a big, physical offensive line. We'll look at the tape and see what happened.
"Nate Longshore did well at times. We dropped balls that were there to be caught. It's not all on Nate's shoulders.
"It was a hostile environment, very, very loud. The atmosphere was pretty impressive. I was impressed with the crowd and the home field advantage it created. Our guys came in emotionally ready, with a good mindset. I didn't get the impression during our preparation that they were taking anything lightly. Tennessee was a better football team that executed better.
"We need to wrap up and tackle better. They made three big plays, two of which were 5-yard hitch routes. We'll evaluate the quarterbacks."
QB Joe Ayoob:
"They played well. They were fast to the ball, and we made some mental mistakes. You can't do that against good teams, especially on the road, and the result is what you saw.
"It was very humbling. When you come out and get beat pretty soundly, you kind of take a step back and look at things. Now we've got to start from square one again. Go back and work on our techniques and things, and go back and get our basics down again so we can come out and compete with these teams. I'm confident that we're going to do that next week.
"I think I played well. I didn't know who I was playing against, first-string or second-string, but I thought I made some good throws and good reads. There are some things that I could have done that I didn't do, but I think I played well.
CB Daymeion Hughes:
"We can only go up from here, and we have to use this to grow to get better for the rest of the season.
"They got some pressure, but I think the main thing was stopping the run. We didn't do a good job stopping the run. They were running downhill against us for most parts of the game. We've got to be better stopping the run, and that comes down on everybody, not just the defensive line or linebackers, but everybody.
"They didn't really come with anything that we weren't ready for. We were prepared. We just didn't execute, and that's our responsibility. We've just got to come out next week, and that's the bottom line
TENNESSEE LOCKER ROOM
Head Coach Phillip Fulmer:
"I'm obviously very proud of our football team. I honestly can't sit here and tell you that I didn't expect it. We prepared extremely well. We came out of the dressing room ready to go. That corny little motto (Fired up, focused and prepared) seems like it's working so far.
"Whether we won or lost, we were going to play our hardest. I'm proud of our staff, and I'm proud of our team. David Cutcliffe has energized our offensive football team. Defensively, we continue to play our rears off. We've got some depth issues on both sides that we need to address. Looking at the long haul, (depth) is going to be a big factor.
"I'm tremendously pleased that David Cutcliffe has meshed so well with John (Chavis).
"The guys were ready to play. We've been waiting for this. It's been a physical spring, a tough summer and the last few weeks have been very demanding. But when you win, you have fun. And that's why you play.
"There were a lot of plays out there that won't make the ESPN highlights or get mentioned in the newspaper. But guys made unselfish plays. There were a lot of things on both sides of the ball that made me proud.
"We expected to win this football game ... and be Tennessee"
WR Robert Meachem:
"(Erik Ainge) had a really good day. He has a lot of work to do, because we all have a lot of work to do. We all can get better.
"(The receivers as a unit) played real hard today. We have a new coach, and when you have Trooper Taylor (as your position coach), with all that energy, how can you get tired?"
QB Erik Ainge:
On UT's first play from scrimmage: "It was a called play. Robert (Meachem) is as good of a receiver as you're going to find. We decided to take a chance. It shows the confidence coach Cutcliffe has in the offense.
On new Offensive Coordinator David Cutcliffe: "If he told me to play without a helmet or a mouthpiece with one cleat, I would do it. Anything he tells me, I'm going to do. I think we've all bought in as an offense.
DT Justin Harrell:
"It was a great performance by the defense. We were very prepared for this team coming in. We knew what we could do. We knew we'd have to play a lot of snaps coming into this year. We go with unbelievable effort, and everyone was trying to get to the ball and gang-tackle. We knew we wanted to dominate the line of scrimmage and get to the running backs as best as we could and show (California) this isn't an easy place to come in and get a 'W.'"
LB Jerod Mayo:
On preparing for two quarterbacks: "Coach (John) Chavis did an excellent job of giving us two gameplans coming into this game. I give a lot of credit to coach Chavis and his staff."