Mullen: "Our Guys Expected To Win"

TUSCALOOSA -- "Obviously we're disappointed. That all falls on me as the head coach, making sure that we have our guys ready and in position to make plays. Tonight we didn't do that. A lot of plays were there to be made on the field, we didn't make them. Give Alabama a lot of credit, they made a lot of big plays during the course of the game."

"You watch them, they're a very talented team that's well-coached, that plays very, very hard. It's amazing how the ball bounces to the guys that play hard. So it's a reason they're the number-one team in the country."

"I think our team has done a great job so far this year of handling the adversity of success, right? We're going to see how we handle the adversity of failure this coming week. And that's a great challenge for me and the staff, the leadership on our team, to come back and respond. There's a lot of football left to be played, the season is far from over for us. The season is far from over for anybody in the SEC West at this point. So we have a really big home game I know next week, we're going to have to bounce back."

"I think our fans did an unbelievable job. I think all the support our fans give us, how much they bought-in how much they believed in this program, it really shows and I thank them for all of their support. And you know what, we need our biggest fan output of our season, our best home-field advantage that we've had so far this year next week."

Did the 21-0 start eliminate anything you wanted to do? "Well, I mean they came down and scored. We had the opportunity I think to get off the field on third down , and miss a sack. They end up converting on fourth down and go down and score. We had a great response, right down the whole length of the field; we run a wrong route, we had a guy open and end up two guys in the same spot, the other guy ran a wrong route. Then we just have a complete breakdown at the wing and get a field goal blocked. I think that hurt the momentum for us at that point right there."

"They came out starting fast and the things we've done in the past (when) we needed to respond, we responded to a point and didn't finish it off tonight."

You said Alabama played hard, did you think your team did at first? "Yeah, I think our guys played hard. I think our guys played hard four quarters. You know, we still have a lot of young guys that are still learning. And I think our guys came in… I think our guys are disappointed, I think they expected to win the game. I know nobody else out there probably expected us to win. And our fans, I loved that they believed in us; we didn't just believe, I think our guys expected. So I think they are very, very disappointed. They're going to have to see how they respond to this."

Turnovers and special teams obviously made a difference? "I mean a huge (difference). Turnover ratio, you know…little things. All the little things, you know? And little things to me come down to an attention to detail and complete focus. We'd talked about it, to win these games you have to have complete focus. You have to execute for sixty minutes. We obviously didn't do that, made some critical mistakes. The first half we converted two third-downs, then had them called back for penalties. Then we turn the ball over a couple of times. That doesn't allow us to flip field position, it doesn't allow us to gain the momentum during the course of the game. All the little things you need to do, we didn't do."

"It's as simple as we had two red-zone possessions. We throw an interception on the second one, I think it was 24-0 at the time, right? If we score there in the red zone it would have been 24-14 at that point. I mean a very different deal if we just score touchdowns in the red zone. All the little things you have to do in great games give them credit, they did and we didn't tonight."

After falling behind the defense did start forcing three-and-outs? "Yeah, I think our defense settled in in the course of the game. They got used to what was going on, the speed of the game. But we have to play better next week in every phase."

The 57-yard touchdown and nine-yard touchdown shortly after, were those breakdowns? "Well, yeah. I mean you're going to find little things. On the long pass we had a safety in the middle of the field, he went the wrong way. The first touchdown, I think we were supposed to contain; our linebackers didn't contain. Just little breakdowns here and there. And when you play a really good team and you make a mistake they're going to take advantage of it."

What happened on the end zone interception? "We just didn't get the ball high enough."

It's been a long time since you lost, what did you tell the team? "I told them, I'm really proud how our guys have handled success. And I think a lot of guys came here, they expected to win tonight. But we've handled success over the course of what, the last nine games we've won and continued to do the right things the right way. And we lost to an excellent football team tonight."

"One of the things we have to do now is see how we respond to that, how we handle the adversity of losing. And that's what we talked about in the locker room. The only way to do it is to come back, get back, hard work, commitment and sacrifice will make you successful. And those are the things we have to focus on. If we don't have great focus and great work ethic this week, and we're not completely locked-in on everything and feeling sorry for ourselves because we lost a game, we're in trouble."

"We don't control our own destiny any more in the West. But you know, Alabama's still got a bunch of tough games, LSU has a bunch of tough games, A&M has a bunch of tough games. And we have a bunch of tough games. So I don't think anything has been decided just yet."

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