SEC Coaches Speak

Each week the Southeastern Conference head football coaches are available to sportswriters on telephone conference calls. Here are the highlights of today's teleconfernces.

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula

"We had a good practice yesterday. We realize that we're back on the road in the SEC. We have our hands full in Mississippi State."

(On BCS): "The only thing we can control is ourselves. We can only give it our best each week and hopefully that will be good enough."

(On Tyrone Protho): "After the surgery, our doctors said 6-12 months. There are so many things with an energy like that – it has to take it's time and run it's course. We aren't going to push it and that's his biggest thing is to understand not to push it."

Mississippi State Head Coach Sylvester Croom

"We've had good practices this week. We've played a few teams in the top 10 and Alabama may be the best of the bunch. We look forward to playing them on our campus."

"Right now we need to get a conference win and that's what we're looking for this week. We're playing two of our biggest rivals (Alabama and Ole Miss) and have a road game (Arkansas) in the next three weeks. We haven't won a road game in awhile so that's another goal for us."

Tennessee Head Coach Phillip Fulmer

"Obviously in this point of the season we are not where we want to be or expected to be. The kids have played hard but we've been our own worst enemy. We've improved in many areas but we need to make some progress offensively."

"It's much harder when things aren't going as well. We're looking for improvement everyday and we're playing as best as we can. You never make excuses but you have to look at what causes your demise. The greatest lessons come from the hardest times. You just have to evaluate why things have happened."

LSU Head Coach Les Miles

"We're coming off the North Texas game and our health is better than it's been. We've had a couple of practices and looking forward to a very capable Appalachian State team. This team is a good football team and it's allowing our players to study and prepare for this week. When you look at the film and see what ASU is capable of you realize that you need to concentrate on this week."

Auburn Head Coach Tommy Tuberville

"We're looking forward to this month. November is always a fun month in the SEC. This week, we're looking forward to the challenge of Kentucky and look like we'll be close to 100% health-wise. We've had a couple of good practices and look forward to another good one today."

"We play our two big rival games in Georgia and the Iron Bowl at the end of the month. Our fans always look forward to it and it usually has something to do with who will play in the championship game."

Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer

"It's great to be back home this week. We look forward to a great environment in Gainesville. We're facing a team (Vanderbilt) with the best quarterback in the conference. They also have a lot of speed on defense."

"There are three or four reasons why we did it. We had some injuries; we needed to protect our quarterback and the nature of the SEC right now. The elements of our offense are still there we've just made the decision to change some things."

South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier

"We came out of the Tennessee game very healthy. We were very fortunate last week to come out ahead. Arkansas is a very good team that has lost several close ones. They're a lot better than their record indicates. They're a great rushing team, at the top of the conference while we're at the bottom of the league."

Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt

"We didn't practice Monday but went full pads yesterday. We'll look a little harder on areas we don't usually have time to concentrate on. Shockley practiced yesterday and was actually able to get under center. He did fine and had no set backs at all. Today he'll get a good bit of what we're doing and by Monday he'll be back in full."

Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson

"We're looking forward to going down to Gainesville. We had last weekend off and hopefully that helped us get refreshed and get a couple of guys healthy."

(Getting bowl eligible): "That's been a goal for us even before the season started. We know we have to take the next three games one at a time and know we have to win one of the three. It would be great to win all three of them and take the question out of it."

(On Jay Culter): "It would be hard to put into words what he's meant to this team. He's meant a lot to us and the fact that he came back to us this year shows his commitment to Vanderbilt."

Arkansas Head Coach Houston Nutt

"We had a good practice yesterday and we're looking forward to another one today. We're playing a South Carolina team who is coming off a gigantic win last week against Tennessee."

(On South Carolina being a rival): "I think our fans get into it. When Lou Holtz was there that was a natural tie with him having coached at Arkansas and now with Steve Spurrier who is such a name in this league there is a draw there."

Ole Miss Head Coach Ed Orgeron

"We've had a very good day of practice yesterday. We're looking at Ethan Flatt being the starting quarterback. He hasn't won the job but has a chance. Hopefully we can produce more points offensively. We've pleased with the way our defense has practiced. We're working our kicking game and working toward our final stretch."

Kentucky Head Coach Rich Brooks

"We got a much needed win last week. Unfortunately, we lost Braxton Kelley who tore his knee up and is out for the year and also lost (Fatu) Turituri. The good news is we got our first conference victory. This week we're looking at the upper echelon of the league in Auburn. Getting a first down against these guys is tough and will be a real challenge."

(On number of injuries this season): "We've had 21 surgeries on the year with these two new ones. I've never been through anything like it. It's almost bizarre."

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