Head coach Bobby Johnson:
Q: Coach, it seemed like the running game was hard to get going today, but you seemed to do a good job passing the ball. Could you talk about that?
A: Well, we also had Brian Kovolisky out, and we had a bunch of people substituted in there. They're the fifth-rated defense in the country, and it was hard to get it going. It's hard to sustain it... you can get it going sometimes, and we had some good drives in the first half. It seemed like we'd get it down to the 35 or 40-line, and couldn't move it any further. So that's why they're that kind of defense. It's pretty tough on our substitution quarterback situation, having to go in there and run that well on all cylinders.
Q: What would you say about Steven Bright's performance? He was 7-of-9.
A: He was 7-of-9? Steven has a good arm. He's a good quarterback. In the situation he went in there, I thought he did pretty good, fairly well.
Q: In between those two big plays they made [in the second half], you lose Jay Cutler. At the point where you really needed stability, to make a quarterback change at that time was very difficult.
A: It was difficult. We have a lot of confidence in Steven, but Jay is our playmaker. He makes everything happen. The play where he got the touchdown on the next play-- he called that play. He makes things happen for us. Our guys have a lot of confidence in him. They think somehow that he can make a play, so that's hard to replace. It was a tough situation at that time, because we had given up some big plays at that time. But it was a valuable lesson for Steven.
Q: The line gave up quite a few sacks tonight. Are you concerned about your ability to protect the quarterback?
A: Well, we had Brian Kovolisky out. We had Elliot Hood in the game. We had Nigel Seaman in, so we had some substitution situations. But again, that's a pretty good defense. At that time we had to throw the ball downfield. We couldn't try to dink them and get a first down. We needed to get the ball downfield and get a touchdown. We were behind. That puts a lot of pressure on your offensive linemen, and it gives the defensive linemen a license to sort of rear back and go.
Junior quarterback Jay Cutler:
Q: Could you talk about your injury, and how you're feeling right now?
A: My neck feels a little stiff from that late hit in the third quarter. It just pressed my neck straight down and I felt numb for a second. I'm going to get X-rays, but I'm fine.
Q: What changed on that 83-yard drive at the end of the first half?
A: We made big plays. We rolled the pocket out a little bit. Marlon [White] had a big catch down there at the goal line. A lot of it was just playing well. We had good play calls. We were trying to keep them off-balance, and I felt like we did on that drive.
Q: When you were planning for this game, what did you feel you could do that would be effective against a defense that good?
A: They're good, but they're not world-beaters. They played aggressively a lot, and I don't think our line really handled it that well. But we had a good game plan in. They didn't give us anything that we hadn't seen them do already. I wish I could have played more in the second half. But we just have to do a little better in the second half and the fourth quarter. We've got Florida next week.
Sophomore receiver Marlon White:
Q: The offense played pretty much a perfect game against Eastern Kentucky, no penalties and no turnovers. Today the offense had eight penalties and turned the ball over a couple of times on fumbles. Was there a difference in mindset?
A: No, I mean, we were happy that we could move the ball like we did. We just weren't satisfied with the fact that we couldn't stick it in the end zone. A couple of times we got in the red zone, got a field goal blocked and stuff like that. I don't think it was a difference in attitude. We came in the game with the same mindset we've had all season. In the first half, we played a whole lot better than we've been playing. We were playing the No. 18 team in the country, so we weren't really surprised. We come into every game expecting to win.
Q: These were some awfully good cornerbacks you faced tonight. Would you say these are the best you've faced?
A: Yeah, they do a lot of things good. Yeah, I'll say they're among the best that I've seen this year.
Q: Did they do much trash-talking with you?
A: No, they were all pretty cool. There wasn't a whole lot of trash-talking going on. They showed a lot of respect and were very friendly.
Q: What would you say the team's mindset is after this game?
A: Um... we've got to beat Florida next week, basically.
Q: Was anything said in the postgame meeting about the fact that you're not going to be bowl-eligible this season?
A: No, nobody said anything about it in the postgame talk. But I think everyone realizes that's what's up. It's impossible now for us to win six. We only have three games left. We realize it, but it's unspoken.