"We've Got To Work On Just Finishing Games"

RUNNING BACK ANTHONY DIXON: Q: That was your fourth-straight 100-yard game, but can you enjoy it? "Not as much as I like. I set out this year to play tough, lead my team to victories, and have fun doing it. It's just not happening right now. There's some positives to take with it but you can't really enjoy it like I want to."

Q: How frustrating is it to lose these tight games? "It's very frustrating. If it ain't one thing it's another, you know. You just have to put it all together and get it right. I think we can do it, I think we're going to do it, we just have to stay in fight mode and keep trucking."

Q: When did you realize your last touchdown was coming back? "Kind of once all the guys got up in my face, I looked and saw the referee running up to the head official. I knew that was bad news."

Q: Walk us through the long touchdown where you dragged tacklers? "It was really bad tackling on their part. I don't choose to go down, I'm just in fight mode and Coach tells us to pump our legs and keep the ball tight and fight for yardage. Definitely after that one-yard thing we went through with LSU I'm definitely not trying to go down, I'm fighting for every inch."

Q: Did you thank Tyson for the last shove that got you over the line? "Yeah, it's a team effort! We talk about we have to do it together!"

LINEBACKER CHRIS WHITE: "We knew they would pick up some yards. What did they have, 500? Yeah, their quarterback plays with a lot of confidence and knows their offense pretty good, so there is no way of shutting down an offense like that. But we had to try to limit the big plays and I guess we didn't do that good enough."

Q: You did stop some drives and force a couple of interceptions? "I mean, we played decent. But just the big plays are hurting us. If we just eliminate the big plays we'll be alright."

Q: What makes it so tough to defend with all the underneath throws and misdirections? "Yeah, back in the old days you could stop offenses. Nowadays there is no way to shut down an offense like that completely. They're going to score points, they're going to make big plays because there are too many weapons on the field. You just have to try to limit the big plays."

Q: Coach commented on how many of their yards came after catches? "Yes, we have to do a better job of open-field tackling. And we just have to play better."

Q: This was a third-straight tough loss, what is the mood now? "I mean, we lost last week by 11; we lost to LSU by six, and we lost today by seven. So they're all close, we just have to get over that hump and win some."

Q: What did Coach say in the locker room? "He told us to stay out of trouble tonight, come back tomorrow and work hard. And just keep working hard, because if you let down then we'll have a letdown in the season. But he said we can win some big games still."

QUARTERBACK TYSON LEE: Q: What happened on the fumbled handoffs? "Just my fault. I just need to put the ball in there better, especially when we get in the red zone or in tough situations you can't hurt yourself, hurt your team. We've done that the past few weeks. I have to work on it more."

Q: Were you trying to bring the ball back or give it to them? "Today I tried to pull both of them, I have to get a better grip. They're doing what they're supposed to do, clamp-down when they need to. I just did a poor job of pulling it out. That's something I have to continue to work on."

Q: Talk about their pass defense and the two picks? "I thought we executed the passing game. There were two times the pass shouldn't have been thrown, especially the last one. We were in field goal range and we put ourselves out of it, then turned the ball over. I can't do that, and I did that today."

Q: At 17-17 on third down, was the plan to go for the first down or set up the field goal? "No, we were trying to move the ball. We'd been moving the ball the whole game, the offensive line did a good job of opening the line and really establishing the line of scrimmage. We tried to do that, we just turned the ball over."

Q: Were you surprised when they called over the line of scrimmage on the third-quarter pass? "I was. I guess…I just can't do that. I thought I was behind the line but I wasn't. Especially on a play like that, Coach puts the ball in your hands to make a play on fourth down, you can't let the team down like I did." Q: It looked like there was room to run for first down, but Leon Berry came open? "Leon did a good job staying on his route, defensively they weren't where they needed to be. I guess I wanted to make a play for my team, if I do that it's a different ball game."

Q: Is the frustration building in the locker room? "I would say frustration is building. At the same time we're a family, we're a team. We understand it, we see improvement, we see progression. One thing we do see is we're hurting ourselves and that is what hurts the most. Put all the time in and you hurt yourself. It's different when another team comes in and hurts you but when you hurt yourself there's not much you can say but look past it, try to get better, and get ready for next week."

Q: For the first time this year you played the entire game at quarterback, did it feel any different? "A little bit, just continually staying in the game and not having to come out. I thought we had a rhythm going for most of the game, a lot of guys made some big plays. But we didn't finish out like we needed to."

WIDE RECEIVER CHAD BUMPHIS: Q: You're wearing a boot, how did you hurt yourself? "It's just precautionary, I had the same summer injury. It didn't affect me, I hurt it a little at the end of the game on the kickoff return."

Q: Rushing dominated the gameplan but there were some big pass plays mixed in? "That's just how we do it, we're going to complete passes. But Anthony (Dixon) ran the ball so well we just had to keep giving it to him."

Q: How frustrating was seeing a flag on Dixon's tying touchdown run? "I still don't know what the penalty was! But they called it, so it was very frustrating."

Q: Here halfway through the season can you see what needs doing to progress? "We just keep doing what we're doing; just hold on to the ball. And we've got to score in the red zone, that's the main thing. Once we're in the red zone at least come away with three points. But keep doing what we're doing and it will be fine."

LINEBACKER K.J. WRIGHT: "They ran a bunch of slants and screens and stuff, and throughout practice we stopped that kind of stuff. But he's a rhythm quarterback and he found some holes in our defense. And when they ran screens they blocked pretty well and we weren't expecting it. So what they did worked. We just have to come out and execute our gameplan next week."

Q: With their no-huddle did you get time to adjust? "Well, it's extremely difficult to go against a no-huddle offense. Because you've got to get your calls in quick, get lined up quick, and everything speeds up. We practiced that stuff, just everything they do works real good for them. We just have to learn how to deal with that kind of offense."

Q: Late in the second quarter Houston really picked up the pace of getting the ball snapped even faster? "Yeah, I knew when they went on their sideline they were going to try to hurry up and run it faster. When they did that I'm sure they had two plays called before they even went out there. They did real good at it, we just didn't get lined-up in time and weren't fitting right."

Q: You seemed to try every set and formation, even no linemen? "They just executed when they had to. We didn't get off the field when we had to. We have to do better than that when the play is there to be made."

"We know the season is not over with. We have to come tomorrow ready to go for Middle Tennessee. We have a lot of football left to play and we plan on still getting the job done this year."

SAFETY JOHNATHAN BANKS: Was it anxious or exciting to make your first start against a passing team like Houston? "It was fun, and exciting. My teammates knew I could play football, they see it every day in practice. I just went out there and played football."

Q: When were you told you would start this game? "I wasn't really told, but I knew Zach (Smith) probably wouldn't be able to play so I practiced with the ones every day."

LINEBACKER JAMAR CHANEY: Q: Did you have the interception read? "I saw him checking, I didn't know he was going to throw it to that receiver but I knew what route the receiver was going to run."

Q: It seemed they picked on the linebacker underneath coverage much of the day? "They do that against any team. They go vertical a little bit but most of their receivers are little and quick, they try to get their athletes matched-up one on one. A lot of screens, bubble routes, stuff to get their speed one-on-one with linebackers and safeties."

"We had a good gameplan, I give my hat off to Coach (Carl) Torbush, he did a good job preparing us for the game. As a defense I thought we played pretty good until the last drive when the offense turned it over; to be a good defense you have to go back out there and get the ball back for them. That's what we have to improve in. We have to learn to close games out."

Q: What is the team's attitude after three tough losses? "It's tough. We're a couple of plays away from being 5-1 right now. I mean, probably not even a quarter away from being 5-1. And that's the bad thing about it, we know we're capable of being a top-25 team right now, we're just not finishing those last five minutes of every game. To be a wining program that's what you have to do, give that effort not for 50 or 55 minutes but the whole 60 minutes."

"You don't just build a program in one year. We keep fighting hard and showing how to play and how to things, it's going to go over to next year. We can't just think about this year but we have to think about the future."

SAFETY CHARLES MITCHELL: Q: Did you have the interception read all the way? "We were zero-coverage, I had the back. I saw the back coming out and ran up, noticed it was a screen. I think he was trying to throw it to the ground."

Q: Was it fun or frustrating to be a defensive back today, or frustrating? "It was fun at times and it was frustrating at times. They started speeding up everywhere, it was exciting playing a big-time quarterback. We just came up short today."

Q: Halfway through the season what does the team work on now? "We have to work harder. We have to work on turnovers, work on creating more turnovers. And we've got to work on just finishing games."

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