Q: You and Sean Brauchle have gone back and forth this season, it's been tough on both of you to get in a rhythm? "Yeah, it's been really tough. Sean is going through a little funk, I went through a little funk there. Finally things are starting to click."
PUNTER HEATH HUTCHINS: Q: Two weeks in a row you've been dropping punts where you need to, when you need to? "It seems that's the only time I can do it! But I guess it's the best time to do it, there's something about pressure."
"Even in practice, any time we snap it from the one and I one-step it I'm dropping it to the other 30. Coach Mullen is always like ‘competitive excellence, competitive excellence', and any time your number is called come through. My number was called and I came through. I need my number called more often, I don't know what the deal is but when it matters I came through!"
Q: On that big punt you sent the return man way back, and he lost more ground on the return? "I saw him running backwards but I didn't know if he looped it or whatever down the field. I was actually scared he was going to take it around the corner and bring it back on me or something, kind of like happened to Ole Miss today. That's the worst thing, get a good punt and out-kick the coverage. But when we needed it we came through."
Q: You had one punt dropped inside the twenty like at Florida, but this one bounced backwards? "Yeah, we called a right-pooch, and we actually tried to take a penalty to get me a little room. But pooching is one of those things."
Q: Talk about the job Derek, you, and everyone on special teams did? "Coach Mullen said before we did a walk-through today on special teams, that special teams alone can win this game if everybody comes through and does their job. We didn't want to do it alone, but you take away that guy's 15 points it's a whole different game."
TAILBACK LaDARIUS PERKINS: Q: Talk about your game? "Tonight was a big game for me. I mean, the o-line went out and did their job. "I made some plays, other guys made plays. No doubt everybody stepped up tonight so that was a big victory for us."
Q: Could you tell in the second half everybody was pushing more? "Yeah, everybody picked it up. I mean, Coach Mullen gave us a speech during halftime and we picked it up a lot after that."
Q: Did you feel you had to take more of the load with Vick Ballard out? "We felt we had to pick it up, because Vick is a great player, a great runner. So all the backs had to pick it up and take the load."
Q: Could you evaluate how you played? "I feel like I played pretty good. I could have played better, I mean, there were some times I could have broke a few tackles and a few times I missed protections or whatever. So I feel I could have played better."
Q: Sometimes you would be stopped for a short gain or a loss, but come right back and break a good gainer? "I mean, it was just missed communications and stuff like that with the offensive line. But we all got it together and picked it up and it resulted in another big run after that."
Q: When did you guys find out Vick would not start? "We really didn't know, until like yesterday basically. We really didn't know for sure what was going to happen or whatever, we just went along with the flow."
Q: Did you feel it was a chance for you? "Yeah, I felt me and Robert had to step up and do our part to get us a victory today."
Q: The first touchdown, when all the blocking went one way and you and Chris swept the other, did you see it open up? "Yeah, I saw it opening up. I should have got wider on the sweep but we still got a touchdown out of it and that's all that matters."
SAFETY ZACH SMITH: Q: UAB moved the ball but when you really had to make some stops, the defense did? "Coach (Manny) Diaz does a good job of holding it until the right time, and then giving them something they haven't seen. When I got pressure on a few times, we didn't call that for a while; and then that last time we had more than they could block and they had to rush the ball out and (Johnthan) Banks made a good play breaking it up."
Q: It would have been easy to get frustrated with all their second and third down conversions? "It seemed they always had a little check-down ready, or somebody in the flats. That comes from having a good quarterback, he did a great job of just staying in the pocket and finding somebody in the flats or somebody to dump it off to. But our defense stands up when we're supposed to."
"I mean, our motto is just do your job, your 1/11th. And the coaches know the right position to push in. So if nobody tries to do somebody else's job and we just do our job it usually turns out pretty good."
Q: You're one of the old Dogs who remember getting bowl eligible late in the year; now you've done it before October is out? "Right. It feels great. I think we got the sixth win against Alabama my freshman year, and beat Ole Miss for the seventh. It feels good right now, because we're taking them one at a time and hopefully will go on and get the seventh win against Kentucky."
Q: Coach said now it will be easier to handle the compliments; in fact he said this week students should kick y'all rather than pat y'all! "I mean, you can't listen to any of that. They've been very supportive, we have a great crowd every home game and on the away games the fans do a great job of keeping us in games. Especially tonight, they got really loud when they were supposed to."
Q: Did you play the whole game with that heavy wrap on the left thumb? "I had surgery on Monday. It will be good by, I'd say Kentucky! Hopefully, anyway!"
LINEBACKER CHRIS WHITE: Q: The defense could have gotten frustrated and chased plays, but it stayed under control and made plays at the end? "Yes, they definitely came out punching. UAB, I said they have an explosive offense which they do. We just made the stops when we needed to and our offense scored points when they needed to. And our special teams came up big, with that last fumble. It was a big win."
Q: And a big night by Derek DePasquale? "That was awesome. I thought he made three, at the end I said how many did you make and he said five! I was like, oh my gosh, that was big-time!"
Q: Was a letdown inevitable, especially after the big wins? "Oh, no, we're going to come ready to play. Kentucky is a good football team, they beat South Carolina, and they're definitely a good team. So it's going to be a dogfight, no doubt about it. so we have to be ready to play and come out on top."
Q: Will it be easier to focus without the bowl eligibility worries, the ranking breakthrough, all that? "I wouldn't say it's going to be easier. Kentucky is a SEC opponent and we're going to be pumped-up and excited. And we're going to come ready to play hard."