"We Didn't Step Up Like We Needed To"

TAILBACK VICK BALLARD: Q: On the carry in overtime did you think you were about to get in the end zone? "Yeah, I did. When I was falling I tried to keep my balance, the ground was slick and I slid about five or six yards. I saw the goal line and tried to stretch out to get the touchdown, just trying to make a play."

Q: Did you watch a replay on the video board? "Yeah, I did. It made me sick to my stomach."

Q: But it was an effort play, you were trying to make a play there? "Yeah, but next time I need to tuck it and give the team another chance."

Q: How do you evaluate your play? "I'll watch the film tomorrow and see."

"We fought back to put ourselves in position to win, the ball just didn't roll our way."

Q: What are your thoughts for the next game? "Just play hard and execute, and everything will take care of itself."

DEFENSIVE END PERNELL McPHEE: Q: What is the mood in the locker room? "I mean, everybody is sad, got their heads down. but I told them to hold their heads up, we went out there and fought and played a good game. I told them let's get focused and go practice tomorrow."

Q: Second straight week a team gets big plays on the defense, what was the reason? "I mean, missing tackles. That's all, missing tackles. And everybody running to the ball. So we're going to correct that tomorrow and practice it the rest of this week."

Q: The defense contained Arkansas well for three quarters, but they were going to hit a strike sooner or later? "We knew coming in that their offense was going to put up points. So our focus was to try to hold them to less yards than our offense, keep them running play after play and not give up big strikes. But in the fourth quarter they hit some big home runs."

Q: When they turned it over in the fourth quarter did you feel you would go win the game? "Oh, no doubt. Because I know they couldn't stop our offense. But their guys stepped up, some of their playmakers stepped up and made big plays."

Q: You finally got the first sack this season, and it was a big one? "Man, I just thank God for that, thank Coach for keeping pushing me, keeping pushing me." Q: Did you expect their running back Davis to have that big a night? "Not really, we knew he was a good running back. And we were pretty much in a three-man front so we knew they'd get yards. But we didn't know he'd get that many yards."

Q: So how do you do what you said, get everybody's head up for the next game? "How do we get motivated? This is a game that I love to play in and I know the rest of my teammates love to play in. so we get motivated because we're fixing to go have another chance."

WIDE RECEIVER CHAD BUMPHIS: Q: What was your injury? "I just rolled my (right) foot. I mean, I'll be fine, I'll be back at practice tomorrow."

Q: Talk about having a shot at the end of regulation? "Honestly, I can't remember much because I wasn't in, I was over talking to the trainers about my foot. But any time you're in a situation like that of course you want to come away with the win, not have to face overtime. But it's just something we have to learn from."

Q: Still you had the will to make plays and get it to overtime? "Most of that is from Coach (Matt) Balis, that's what they stress about us not giving up and fighting to the end. We had a chance to win, but we came up short."

"There was no doubt in anyone's mind, the way we'd been playing and the way we moved the ball, I thought we'd go right down and score."

Q: The offense was able to throw the ball well with more downfield throws? "Chris (Relf) has been throwing well. The way he practiced, you don't expect anything less. Most people don't see what we see so it's like a surprise, but to us that's what we see every day."

Q: Tell us about the night Chris Smith had? "Chris is real good, it was just a matter of time before he had a breakout game."

Q: What did you see from Vick Ballard? "The same Vick we've been seeing all year, a great running back, he's going to fight to the end. He just made some big plays for us."

Q: You spent a lot of time in the backfield tonight? "The coaches just wanted to put some movement in the offense and lined us up in the back. We had a few plays we ran the ball or would motion-out wide, just to cause confusion to the defense."

"Next week is going to be a huge game. And I'm pretty sure the coaches will get us ready for it."

LINEBACKER CHRIS WHITE: Q: That was a game of momentum swings both ways? "Yes, our offense definitely did a good job; defense, we just didn't step up like we needed to and we gave away too many points to win the football game."

Q: That's an offense you can stop many times, but they know they can hit you at any time? "They definitely have the confidence. It's all on us, really, but they did a good job and they have some explosive playmakers. But we can't win giving up 38 points."

Q: What did you see on the fourth quarter touchdown pass? "I'm not really sure what happened. It's just Ryan Mallett, if somebody is open he's going to find him. He found somebody open. We just had a bad play."

"They did a great job on some of the stuff we could have controlled, but just didn't. They're definitely a good football team. But we had a shot to win, and didn't step up when we needed to."

OFFENSIVE TACKLE DEREK SHERROD: "We kind of expected before the game that it was going to be a pretty high scoring game. And it turned out to be. Arkansas came in and did a good job, they're a very talented team. We have to go out next week and work harder."

Q: In the first half you established the passing game the best it's been this year? "Oh yeah, we had a pretty good bunch of pass plays and we executed and it produced a lot of yards. Whatever Coach Koenning calls we just try to go out and execute to our fullest."

Q: "We can't stop here. this game is in the past now, we have to look forward to a big game next week and come out and work hard each day in practice."

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MANNY DIAZ: Q: The defense gave a chance to keep the game going by forcing a fourth quarter fumble? "The game is never over until the referee tells us we gotta go, and for us to come up with a turnover like that is something that will give us confidence for a long time."

Q: What happened on the overtime touchdown pass? "We were in a blitz. The back goes out for a pass and we have to peel on that, and we missed the peel. I think that will be the most frustrating thing about tonight. Missed tackles, we have to improve on; but missed tackles are a two-person party, you have to give some credit to the person you're trying to tackle.

"Tonight we missed assignments, and we gifted them too many points. To me a missed assignment goes back on coaching, I have to take the responsibility for that. That is a really good offensive team, our kids played way too well to give them the touchdowns we gave them. We just have to do a better job of getting our guys ready."


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