The following are player quotes after the 21-17 loss to Tennessee in Oxford.
QB Micheal Spurlock: (On the three-QB system) This time the three-headed monster didn't come out on top, but I thought we all contributed and did the best we could. We had some key turnovers that hurt our offensive performance, but we played hard and we played as a team. I am very proud of that. We're heartbroken with the results, but pleased with our effort and unity. (On putting a lot into the game and not letting the loss devastate them) We're down right now - we just lost a huge game in our season and it hurts - but we have an open week to lick our wounds. We put a lot into this game because we tabbed it a one-game season knowing we had an open week coming up, but we will bounce back. We are going to heal up and put everything we have into beating Auburn. (On feeling they could play with UT) We felt like that from the first snap. We didn't let it get us down when UT got up 14-0. Very few SEC games that are as evenly matched as this one was are won in the first quarter. We just kept playing and plugging. We knew it was going to be a 60-minute game and that's what it ended up being. (On the QB rotation) I love it. It's hard for an opposing defense to practice for two quarterbacks, let alone three. Defenses have to play us more honest. It's a team effort and we're three people who trust and respect each other. We all want to do whatever it takes to win. (On who gets snaps and when) You have to be ready, baby. Keep everything strapped up tight. At any moment, it could be your turn, so you better be ready.
QB Ethan Flatt: (On the close game) You have to give UT credit. Our defense played great, but we didn't handle their pressure down the stretch. We weren't able to run the ball early against their front and that kind of set the offensive tone for us. We should have produced more offensively, but the Vols had something to do with that. They were in man coverage a lot and blitzed more in the second half. We were able to get some guys open down field, but the pressure didn't allow us to get off a lot of good throws. We played a little better coming out in the second half, but we weren't able to finish things. It looked like we had some running lanes at times, but their speed would close the lanes quickly. We didn't feel we were going to make a lot of big plays, but we did feel we'd make one or two and we did feel we'd be able to drive it better than we did. We weren't able to do that much tonight.
CB Travis Johnson: (On the frustration) This is really bad because we should have found a way to win this game. Last year, we win this type of game. This year, we haven't pulled it off. (On the last UT drive) We knew what they were going to do, but we couldn't stop it. We played our heart out, but they hit us with two big plays at the end that we should have never given up. We knew the long fade was coming, but they executed it perfectly. We played more as a team on defense tonight. We played as hard as we could and executed for most of the game. There are some good things that happened out there for this defense tonight, but right now they are buried in a loss. (On the early going when UT got up 14-0) We had never played UT before and it took us a couple of series to get adjusted to them. Once we did, I thought we controlled them very well until their last drive. (On the defensive calls) We felt we could confuse their young quarterbacks by moving around some and I think we accomplished that after we settled down. We played a lot of base, but we moved around a lot in it and disguised things that confused their young QBs. (On bouncing back) Even though we lost, we played like a team tonight and if we all realize that and keep our heads up, we'll be OK.
LB Patrick Willis: (On UT's offense) They came right at us and were successful early, but after we settled down they couldn't run the ball on us. We could feel the momentum shifting our way. We got several three-and-outs on them and really felt like we were going to take this one. It's disappointing, but we have nothing to be ashamed of. We didn't slop around or let up or give 98%. We gave it all we had and just didn't come out on top to a great program.
QB Robert Lane: (On his play) I played hard, but it can still get better. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm learning more every week and will be prepared for Auburn. I thought the whole team played hard and with a lot of enthusiasm and that's what it takes in the SEC. All these games are going to be close - it's just a matter of getting it done at the end. (On his development) I'm getting more and more comfortable with every snap, but as I said, I've got a lot to learn. When I get in a game, I get in a zone and for the first time in my college career, I was in a zone tonight. That felt good. I felt I had command of the offense in terms of what I know how to do. Now I just have to keep expanding my package. The coaches have gradually expanded things for me - which is good - and I think I am gaining more of their trust. I'll do anything for this team and like my position right now. (On being ready to play more) I think I am, but I want to do whatever it takes for this team to win. I don't care about my playing time as much as I do winning.
CB Trumaine McBride: (On the game) We played a good game overall defensively, but we shouldn't have given up that last drive by Tennessee. All we can do now is put this one behind us and get ready for Auburn. I have mixed feelings - on one hand I am very disappointed we lost, but on the other I think we came together as a team tonight. We need the open week - to get healthy. We will be ready for Auburn. (On the defense) We had good chemistry tonight. Everyone stepped up and came together. We've been working hard to get to this point. It's just a shame we didn't get the win with this kind of performance against a very good opponent.
TB Vashon Pearson: (On the game) We had opportunities to win, but couldn't get it done. We have two weeks to get ready for Auburn and figure out the things we did wrong. (On the running game) We didn't get much going out of the tailback slot. That was frustrating, but I tried to stay patient. It didn't go like we wanted, but that's the nature of athletics on this level - sometimes it all clicks and sometimes it doesn't. It didn't click for us offensively tonight, but we have to put this behind us and get ready for our next opportunity.
C Chris Spencer: (On the game) This one hurts deep because we had it and let it get away. I'm not taking anything away from UT, but we had it in our hands and let it slip away. I felt the whole time we were going to win the game, even in the last minute. (On UT DE Parys Harralson, his cousin) He tipped his hat to us after the game, but that's not much consolation. They were big and pretty up front, but I didn't think they were anything we couldn't handle up front. They were good, but we've played folks like that before and won. (On bouncing back) We've got guys who know how to bounce back from tough losses. We'll handle it. I will say we need the open date to get healthy and regroup, but we'll be fine. We put everything on the line tonight and will do the same against Auburn in two weeks. (On the running game) We were OK in some areas and not very good in other areas. Tennessee cut off some of our plays, but we found some others that worked a little. We should have been able to run more, but at times we didn't execute.
LB Rob Robertson: (On the defense) We played a lot of base tonight and we like that. We feel we can line up and beat people. I think being in base so much tonight allowed us to play more aggressively. (On UT's offense) It was similar to ours, but not the same. There was no advantage there. (On the outcome) We played better, no doubt, but we still turned some guys loose and gave up a couple of big plays. We minimized big plays some, but not enough to win. We played hard and battled, even at the end. There was more unity out there tonight - we had a lot less busts and we played with more emotion tonight. We battled all night and that's what it takes on this level. I was very pleased with the way we handled their running game, for the most part.
S B. Brown: (On the game) We played with confidence and we played to win. It felt good, but we still came out on the short end. We played excellent for the most part, but had some breakdowns early and then a couple late. (On his interception and TD return) Coach Driesbach put me in a good position to blitz and I saw the QB roll back to the right, so I was reading screen left. He never saw me. He just turned around and threw it right to me. After Bryant (Thomas) got hurt Thursday, I had to take up the slack and study hard today on my assignments.
DT Michael Bozeman: (On the defensive front) I was proud of our whole defense tonight and I thought we played well up front once we settled down, but I can tell you this, we take no satisfaction in losing. This is no moral victory for us. We came to the stadium tonight to win. (On the open week) It's important to us. We need it to get healthy and get refreshed. We've been going a long time without a break and it's coming at the perfect time. We are going to be OK.
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