Postgame Quotes | Arkansas 24, Auburn 7

Wesley Hitt - Getty Images

Coaches and players from both Auburn and Arkansas offer their thoughts on what transpired at Jordan-Hare.

Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizik

"You saw the game. We had two weeks to prepare, and I really felt like we had two good weeks of practice. I certainly didn't expect to play like we played today, but the reality of it is, today we did all of the things you can't do and win, and we know that. Offensively, you can't turn the ball over five times, and this is the result that you get. We missed big opportunities. Eight sacks. Offensively, one of the most poor performances I have seen in a long time, just point blank. Defensively, we started out slow and for three quarters defended the field pretty well, made some big third down stops. Again, when we needed a stop, when we pulled the game to a 10-7 game, we couldn't quite come up with a stop there. But again, I thought it was all around, it was a team loss. Again, we are going to go back to work, and we are going to continue to figure out how to fix it. The bottom line is that the Auburn fans and the Auburn Family, they did not deserve this today, and I apologize to anybody who came to the game to watch it. It was a good football team talent-wise, but we certainly have plenty of opportunities to play much better. We just didn't get it done. So, it is no excuses, and that is about as simple as I can put it."

It looked like at times today, Auburn's offense regressed...

"I think you can start with turnovers and sacks. I don't have to go any further than that. You have five turnovers, and you have eight sacks, the offense has regressed. So, I think that is pretty self-explanatory."

On what Auburn's quarterback situation is...

"We changed at halftime. We just felt like we needed a spark. We needed something a little different, and that doesn't mean that's the way it is going to stay. We felt like at that time, again, we needed something different, and we did it, and we will go back and re-evaluate it again this week and see where we are. That doesn't mean the change is permanent. Kiehl (Frazier) handled it well."

On if you fear how the change will hurt Kiehl Frazier's psyche...

"I thought he handled it really, really well. I talked to them both at halftime by ourselves, us three, told them what I was going to do, and we did it. So, I am not going to look back and second guess that. Again, we will move forward and look and see what the next thing is, but that is what we did today."

Why did the quarterbacks struggle?

"Until you look at the film right now, and you really see all of the reasons that it appears a quarterback doesn't play well, you don't know all of the reasons. You don't know the pressures, and where they are coming from. You don't know who missed who on the blocks. When you have eight sacks right now, there are a lot of different reasons why a quarterback didn't play well. So, I am not going to blame everything on a quarterback. Just like I am not going to blame everything on a wideout or the offensive line and so, we are not going there, but you obviously have to go back and re-evaluate a lot, and we will do that."

Did Auburn have a sense of urgency going into this game?

"We understand where we are at. We have won one game so there has been a sense of urgency in everything that we do. Again, that is why I felt like we had two weeks of practice, and I felt very good about our practices. What I saw out there today was very disappointing in terms of the quality of our practices versus the results of the game today. It wasn't exactly what I had expected. Again, that is on us, and we are going to continue to work forward."

Are you still confident in Mike Blakely carrying the ball after his fumble today?

"We are going to have to go back and really look and re-evaluate. He had some good runs. We have to go back and see exactly why that happened, but anytime you have guys that fumble the football, you are not comfortable with any of that. It doesn't mean that you are afraid to put them back into the game or that he will never carry the ball again. I'm not going to say that, but he wasn't the only one to put the ball on the ground today. So, we have to go back and reassess that as part of many other things, we have to reassess."

Was the air let out of Auburn after Arkansas went ahead 17-7?

"I felt like our defense played really well in spurts today. That was a very potent offense. We know that. They have good players over there. The quarterback is extremely gifted and talented and good at his trade. When we needed the stop at the beginning of the third quarter when we brought it to 10-7, we didn't get the stop. So, that was disappointing to see on our defense. We thought we had some energy. We started the game with a little bit of energy and a little bit of momentum, then I think they went on a 75-yard drive at that point, which is very disappointing. That's why I say it is a team loss. We had our chances, and we missed big opportunities out there. We had receivers running open that we threw the ball over their head when it was protected. Again, it was a completely unacceptable offensive performance all the way around. Again, I can't put it any more clearly than that."

When you went to Atlanta for the opener, was there any way you would think Auburn would be 1-4 now?

"I don't ever think that way. Ever. I always think that we are going to win. It is a journey that we are on right now. It is a tough one. There are peaks and valleys that you have to live through in your life. We are going to keep going through the valley and keep working. I don't' know any other way to do it, and I am not changing."

What did you think about the Auburn fans leaving early?

"I didn't see fans leave, but I don't blame them. I don't look in the stands so I don't know about all of that. It is just disappointing to see a guy fumble (at that point Mike Blakely fumbled in the fourth quarter)."

Did you see enough from Clint Moseley to change the number of his reps before you see the film?

"No. I can't say that. I can't say that because he was under duress some today and some when he wasn't, he made some errant throws and again I think he just has to look at everything. An errant throw could have been a receiver not breaking a route off at the right time. Again, the game moves fast. You have different reasons for execution that was very poor, and I am sure as we go back and look at it tomorrow, there will be poor execution by quarterbacks, running backs, offensive linemen and wide receivers. I am sure of that, and tight ends."

Is this an open quarterback competition?

"Again, we will make those decisions as we go and we really re-evaluate this film."

On what needs to be changed for Auburn to finish the games stronger?

"I think it is going to depend a lot on exactly what we see on that film. The bottom line is that we have looked at it. We have evaluated it. We have practiced it, and there is something there that is missing, and we have to do a better job of figuring out exactly what that is."

Arkansas Head Coach John L. Smith

Opening Statement...

"Number one, I credit Auburn. They're a good football team. They're very athletic and they're a good crew, so give them some credit too. What I want to credit is our kids, our football team played their hearts out today. Relentless effort, relentless effort, relentless effort. They deserve the credit along with our coaches. Our coaches put together a great plan regardless of who was in there. We had some injuries again and guys going in, guys going out, but we all contributed. We all played extremely hard, so I'd like to keep this very short and let you start talking to the players because they're the ones that did it, and they're the ones that deserve this credit."

On Paul Petrino moving to coaching in the box...

"A little bit of a change. We had talked about it in a staff meeting, and I said that's always where when I was a coordinator I felt more comfortable. If you can get your adjustments made on the field, if you have confidence in those people down there making the adjustments that I want to make then let's do it, and he was all for it. I think it was good. I think he did a great job in coming back and not always over-adjusting with the people sitting down studying what I did call, what I didn't call, what do I have to go back to. I think it was a positive."

On the first-quarter drive and missed field goal...

"We didn't vary from the game plan and we were not behind in any situation where you had to vary it. We had to keep running it even though we weren't getting the points that we wanted. Personally, I thought we totally controlled the first half, and we didn't have the points up there that we would've liked to have had, but I'll give them some credit too. They have a lot of guys out there that are pretty good athletes. We stuck with it."

On getting turnovers...

"We finally got some turnovers, and that's been key. Like we talked about all the previous games, that's the difference. A couple of great jobs, a couple of interceptions in the endzone, a couple of fumbles--we still don't need to put the ball on the ground late, but I'm not going to talk about anything negative."

On what the win means to him...

"Number one, it's exciting because this is why you play the game. You want these guys to have success, and you know how hard they work. If you would have seen us practice last week, you would've come off and said `This is not a 1-4 football team.' They went out and they worked hard, and they had energy. It's a credit to them and the coaches for keeping them there. We just have to build on that. We have to get ready for Kentucky. By the way, you do know Kentucky's coming, right?"

On the team's eight sacks...

"It was critical. We felt like we could coming into the game. Our defensive plan was to bring some pressure, bring some heat, and we didn't vary from that. I think Coach (Paul) Haynes up in the box did a good job of `Don't let me get conservative. Keep me going.' We're talking all the time and he's talking and I think he did a good job with that. That was crucial for us."

Auburn Player Quotes

RB Mike Blakely

On the game...

"It was a tough game. We fought until we couldn't anymore, but we just didn't execute like we should have. We'll get back in practice this week and work harder."

On the offense during the second half...

"We started trying to gash them. We came in and talked and knew what we had to do. We just went out and tried to execute the way we know how."

On preparation for the upcoming games...

"We just need to come together and eventually we'll start clicking."

RB Tre Mason

On the game...

"We didn't play up to our expectations. Our own expectations for us is really high and we didn't meet those expectations as you can see. We should have come out with a W. That's our game plan as it is every week, but everything didn't go as planned. We just need to come back and work hard."

On the offense during the second half...

"We tried to attack the perimeter as little bit. We put Clint (Moseley) in the game and got things rolling with a short pass game, but we have always had the same mindset as a running back group. Just go and get it. If it's not there, make it there. We just did the best we could and we need to rally together as a team now, figure out our errors and correct them."

On preparations for the upcoming games...

"There isn't much to say about that. We have the pieces to the puzzle and we just need to put those pieces together."

WR Emory Blake

On the game...

"Defense played pretty well, and we didn't do our job."

On his involvement in the game...

"We just threw it more. They were really focused on stopping the run. We felt like their weakness was their secondary, which it was, we just didn't take advantage of it."

On the touchdown play...

"A lot of teams know that when Sammie (Coates) comes in the game we try to go deep, so Sammie ran the deep ball and I came out and ended up being open."

On the upcoming road games...

"Everything. We just need to get better as a group."

DB Jermaine Whitehead

On today's game...

"Tough loss. Team loss. We've got to grow up and get rid of the little mistakes."

On stopping Tyler Wilson and Cobi Hamilton...

"They are great players. They make plays on the field. We came in the game today looking for those guys. They are some go-to guys. We were going to be in position to make plays. We wanted to play tough on him and make it hard for him today."

On making changes in the second half...

"Energy. Having such an early morning game, we can't come out so flat. The second half we came out with more energy. We got hit and just couldn't come back."

On pass breakups...

"Preparation. They are a crossing team. Number 11 (Cobi Hamilton) was crossing. That is one of their favorite routes. I got a chance to get my hand on the ball."

DB Joshua Holsey

On today's game...

"We played a good game. We just had way too many turnovers. We weren't making the plays we needed to make down the stretch to finish out the game. We have to go back to the drawing board and start over."

On stopping Tyler Wilson and Cobi Hamilton...

"We had to recognize where he was at all times. He was a key guy. We had to make sure whenever he was on the field to recognize whether he was inside or outside, so we knew what was coming."

On making changes in the second half...

"The intensity. We had to play hard. The second half we came out with another level of intensity. We made sure we didn't give up any more points. We tried to do the best we can."

QB Clint Moseley

On finding out he was going into the game...

"He called us in at half time. He told me I was going to start."

On post-game conversation with Loeffler...

"He said that we are sticking together. This is the time where you find out the type of character you have. This is the type of situation where it is really hard to be a man. It's so easy to take the easy way out, but you can't do that, especially as the quarterback. We're not far off, it's just a play here and there."

Reaction on performance coming off a bye week...

"It's definitely disappointing and surprising. It's something that we worked so hard on, to not do. We focused and had good practices. It really comes down to us not executing. I definitely put myself at the top of that list. It was the right calls, just bad throws."

On the pressure by Arkansas defense...

"They gave the line a little trouble. There were times where we needed to throw the ball away. It's things like throwing it near a receiver that we have got to work on. It's not all line. It's something that we need to take responsibility for as quarterbacks, me and Kiehl. We need to get the ball out instead of having a negative play, third and 17 or 20. Third and 10 is manageable."

Arkansas Player Quotes

QB Tyler Wilson

On today's game...

"We came a heck of a long ways in a week. This team continues to stick together, despite everything that happens outside the walls and what's being said, and I just commend that. I'm glad everybody in our locker room has continued to fight."

On first drive and missed field goal...

"I was thinking `Here we go again,' you know. I felt like we had a plan this week that put me in a position where I felt we could be really successful. I was excited about it. The first play out of the gate was a play-action, deep throw. I hit Cobi (Hamilton), and I thought if we stuck to that and ran the ball like we had been doing on that drive that they were going to be tough stopping us. I felt good about it even though that happened."

On offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Paul Petrino moving up to the booth...

"I think I like to be kind of in the zone, and I think a lot of times offensively you get distracted by what's happening on the defensive side. I've tried to preset to the guidance of we're on the bench. We need to have complete and total focus on what we do. I had the headset on, so I could completely zone out of what the crowd was doing, what our defense was doing; they were doing a good job. So I liked that aspect of it. I think he could see the field better and make some calls that he wouldn't normally make."

On the win...

"This is a huge win for us. We would've liked it to be a win last week, but this is a big road win, and I'm excited. It's a great feeling to be back on that winning side."

DE Trey Flowers

On the defensive pressure...

"Coach let us loose today. He dialed up some blitzes and we just made sure we executed. A big thing was to just have confidence and go out there and make those plays, and that's what we did."

On simplifying defense...

"Like I said, coach dialed up a couple blitzes so it wasn't that simple. Pretty much we just knew we had to go after and in the backend make sure we stay with our man. We had good coverage sacks today, and it was just a whole defensive effort."

On coming back to his home state...

"It feels good. I'm back in my home state, and I had a lot of people in the stands rooting for me. I had a lot of family members, and I'm just glad I got to play well for them."

On building momentum...

"It's a big momentum push. We just had to get our push and now put the pedal to the metal. We have Kentucky next week, so we'll have to game plan for them and move forward."

RB Dennis Johnson

On his two touchdown runs...

"I was just trying to win, just a will to win."

On the sideline feeling after missing an early field goal...

"We knew we could drive and score. We told everybody to keep their heads up because we knew we would keep rolling, and eventually we would start scoring."

On today's win making up for some early struggles...

"It's going to wipe away some (things). People are going to say what they're going to say. But if we keep winning, it will wipe away a lot more."

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