Tennessee Post Game Quotes

Selective Quotes from Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer and from the 2008 Outback Bowl MVP Erik Ainge.

Phillip Fulmer Quotes

Opening Statement:

"It's just been a heck of a trip. Everything's been great. Obviously we're really proud of the win, without question. It finishes off a season that's been a very challenging season to say the least for our football team. To finish with 10 wins is a real honor for them. It does kick off 2008 for us in na positive fashion. I want to say a really special thank-you as I did in the locker room to the seniors. There's four or five of them that are really, really special to us, have been just outstanding players. But the whole group of seniors have been really outstanding as leaders this year on the field and off the field. I'm very appreciative to them."

On whether he's had a line that protected the quarterback as well as this year:

"No. It's been an amazing year that way. I complement them, the five linemen, actually eight that we've played during the course of the year. Greg Atkins (offensive line coach) has done a tremendous job, Erik (Ainge) himself in managing the protections. We're awful proud of what we accomplished from that standpoint. I don't think we gave up a sack today."

On the offense facing several third and long situations in the game:

"I don't know the stats on third down' I know there were way too many third and longs. To put a quarterback and a line protection in to manage that, you're putting yourself at risk. I know we converted a good number of big plays on third down which was huge. David (Cutcliffe) calling the plays, the quarterback making the throws, receivers catching the ball, the offensive line protecting; it doesn't happen unless the whole thing works together."

On Antonio Wardlow's interception to preserve a Tennessee victory:

"It's just so typical of our year. Ricardo Kemp's not here. He would have probably played that position. Somebody else steps up. Antonio has had some really big plays here. I'm proud of him for staying the course and doing what he's doing. He's been a real contributing partner to our football team."

On his team's defensive effort against the Badgers:

"Even when we started 1-2 there was reason for optimism for our defense. We were playing good defense and we would have things that would happen to us. We just had things that happened to us; we're out of gap or we don't cover somebody and they throw the ball in the flat like at Southern Mississippi and they run for 50 yards before anybody even gets in the film to be able to tackle them. We stopped giving people plays. Today we don't win that football game unless our defense has that kind of courage and toughness."

Erik Ainge Quotes

On receiving the Outback Bowl MVP:

"That's fun. We've had a great time since we've been down here. Everything Outback Bowl has done has been great. This isn't a one-man trophy. It's like Coach Fulmer said, that goes to the defense as much as it does me because without them all those stats don't mean anything; we lose the game."

On finishing his career with a win in the Outback Bowl:

"Winning and losing games, if anybody says that's not everything, they're lying. If we did everything we did and lost we wouldn't be feeling like we feel right now. You can win 3-0 and still feel great. I wish all our coaches the best. I'm sure they'll have great careers, and all the seniors that are leaving and hopefully the juniors if they come back. Winning the game puts that good face on it now for the next few months."

On Tennessee handling the Wisconsin defensive pressure:

"I'm not fast, but I'm fast enough to get away a little bit. The receivers understand that they need to cut their routes shorter and they need to get themselves open fast because I'm about to throw it. That's one of the reasons we've been so successful when teams have brought a lot of pressure. From the booth upstairs to the guys on the field and the sideline everyone understands what's going on."

On his performance in the Outback Bowl:

"The way I played off Atlanta to myself is that I've still got another football game. To come out here and to be as successful as we were today as a team and as an offensive team most of the game; that means a lot. That's all fun, but winning the game and having all my teammates in the locker room and all that kind of stuff, that's what it's all about."

On how much thought he's given to playing in the NFL:

"I'm just trying to get some Outback Steakhouse coupons first. They can go ahead and give me all of those they want now. I'll do all that. I'll be training and trying to figure all of that out. I feel lucky that I've been blessed to be able to be a competitor and do that as a job."

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