Here’s some of what was said following the University of Alabama’s 34-20 victory at Tennessee on Saturday night.


“Well, you know that was a heck of a game for both teams. Rivalry games can be that way. I really thought our guys were ready to go in the beginning of this game. Played great in the first quarter and a half of the game, got ahead 27 to nothing in the game and I think when we did, we relaxed a little bit. You’ve got to give Tennessee’s guys a whole lot of credit because they sure didn’t flinch and they didn’t give up at all and they kept playing hard. Then it became a story of third down for us on defense time and time again. We got off the field on third down in the beginning of the game and stopped drives. Each one of their drives we had several third downs, four in the last one, where we could have got off the field on third down and just didn’t make the play to get off the field. Got to give them a lot of credit for their execution, but we didn’t do a very good job on third down. I think our players got tired a little bit in the game on defense. We played 46 plays in the first half which hurt us a little bit, but I was really proud of the way our guys competed in the second half. When they made the score 27-17, and we put a great drive together offensively and went down and scored, that was huge in the game. We had opportunities twice to finish the game on offense and fumbled the ball both times. Great drive to take the clock and the game, and then fumble the ball on the one-yard line. Really, it’s not important to score. The guy’s trying to score a touchdown, it’s probably not important to score. The only thing that matters is the clock, but it was a great drive. Great job by our defense when we fumbled it the first time to get out of it with a field goal which still kept it a two score game for us, and then the offense did a really good job of taking the clock and the game. It must have been a seven or eight minute drive to get it down to two minutes to go when we fumbled on the one-yard line. Really proud of the way our guys competed in the game. We didn’t play a complete game, in my opinion, in terms of the way we started. We didn’t sustain it throughout the game and that’s something that we really really want to do. If you’re going to be a dangerous team, if you’re going to be a dominant team, you’ve got to be able to sustain for 60 minutes in the game and we were not able to do that. I thought their quarterback that came in, number 11, really did a good job in the game. His athleticism gave us some problems, had trouble containing him a few times. They did a nice job with some of the quarterback runs they had built into their offense which was a problem for us. I thought our offensive team did a great job when they needed to. We had two three-and-outs at the end of the second quarter, when they kind of got back in the game with two scores to score 10 points. We played well on offense when we needed to and that was a great team win for us. It was a great team win for us. I’m still wanting this team to be a consistently dominant team like we were last week for 60 minutes in the game. You see signs of it, but we weren’t able to do it the whole time. I have to give Tennessee’s players a whole lot of credit. They had a good game plan. Their players did a good job. We didn’t tackle especially well, and we have a lot of things we can improve on. From an injury standpoint, Cam Robinson has a high ankle sprain. I don’t know what his status will be. They’ll probably determine that tomorrow. We’ve got a couple other guys nicked up, but I don’t think anything that’s going to be significant. Landon Collins just had cramps, so he went in and got an IV. A couple of guys have ankles, toes, sprained foot, sprained knee. I don’t know that any of these things are real significant, but I don’t know how long they’ll be out either.”

(On Amari Cooper’s record breaking performance)
“He played great. I mean, the guy’s a great player. When he plays fast, he’s hard to cover. Blake (Sims) did a really good job in the game throwing the ball. Blake made some huge plays, two scramble third downs to keep drives alive. Blake did a really good job of throwing the ball, and Coop did a great job of getting open. Obviously when you set a record, that’s something significant, but at the same time, I think Coop would probably be the first guy to tell you his teammates did a really good job of protecting for the quarterback. The quarterback did a good job of getting him the ball and he took advantage of the opportunities he had. The guy’s had a phenomenal season for us.”

(On Christion Jones status)
“Christion Jones tweaked his hamstring in pregame warmup and we tried to get him loosened up, but he couldn’t go. I don’t think it’s that bad, but we’ll have to see.”

(On the balance between getting Amari Cooper the ball and being dependent on him)
“Well, you know that’s kind of like saying you get 26 outs in the game throwing fastballs, so you should throw a changeup and then the guy hits it out of the park. I mean, should you play to your strengths or not? Now, we have other good players. Dee (DeAndrew) White did a good job in the game tonight. He had some big catches and did a nice job. We need to get some other guys involved, and I think that’d be great, but as long as nine (Cooper) is getting open and as long as we’re throwing him the ball, I don’t think we should tell the quarterback don’t throw it to him.”

(On Blake Sims on the drive that cut it to ten points)
“Made big throws on third down, made a big scramble on third down for a first down, and really really a great drive. Heck of a football game, you’ve got to give those guys a lot of credit. We knew this would be a tough game for us. It’s a tough place to play. We had an opportunity probably early in the game to put the game away and we didn’t do it. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit for the resiliency that they showed in coming back in the game.”

(On how the team handled Lane Kiffin’s return)
“I don’t think it affected any of us. I really don’t. Lane’s done a really good job for us all year. The players like him, respond well to him. He’s really a good coach and I think why all the people in Tennessee are pissed off at him is because they knew he’s a good coach and they were upset when he left. I get that, I understand that, but I know that there’s a lot of really good fans here. We have a tremendous amount of respect for Tennessee, the people that support this program. It’s a great program. I can understand why they would get upset. I understood why they burnt me at the stake in Baton Rouge the first time I went back there after going to the Miami Dolphins and then coming back to Alabama. I get it. We all have fans that are that way, but I think we all have a lot of fans that really appreciate when people do a quality job. I’m sure there’s a lot of our fans and Tennessee fans that realize Lane Kiffin is a very good coach.”

(On how his team has responded since the Ole Miss game)
“Well, you know I think that we’ve kind of played, I think we’ve got a team that’s sort of up and down a little bit. We struggled a little bit at Arkansas. We played great against Texas A&M. We played great at times in this game today, and played so-so in times in this game today. So, I think consistency in performance is what’s going to be the key to being successful down the road and I think that’s something all of our players need to understand, and I think they do understand that. We have to be able to play Alabama football on a more consistent basis. That’s something that everybody’s got to be committed to and all in to trying to do.”

(On if he had a plan in place for if Cam Robinson went down)
“Well, you know we think Leon (Brown) is the next best left tackle. So, it’s always been our plan that he would be the next left tackle if something happened to Cam Robinson. He practices there each and every week. You don’t like to make double switches on the offensive line, but when it comes to left tackle it’s a pretty important position. We think Grant Hill could play there. We also think Austin Shepherd could play there and Hill could play right tackle. So, I’m just hopeful that Cam’s going to be able to get back in a couple weeks and we won’t lose him for a long time.”

Armani Cooper, Junior Wide Receiver
(On performance)
“I felt great out there. I love playing at this stadium with all these people. I was just trying to take advantage of the things we were working on in practice.”

(On rhythm with QB Blake Sims)
“Blake has gotten better every single week. We’ve been able to develop some rhythm. Blake is a great person. That’s what I love about him. He’s very approachable, so if I see something, I can approach him about it and talk to him about it, and he’ll follow through with it.”

(On responding from Mississippi loss)
“I think we became more of a team in the fourth quarter of the Arkansas game. We came together. We were excited after big plays, and from that point on, we kept getting better.”

(On first play of the game)
“I knew we were going to run the play. When I ran out, I kind of thought I think the linebackers are going to blitz. I knew it was going to be a big gain, but I didn’t know I was going to score.”

Landon Collins, Junior Defensive Back
(On defense)
“We definitely came out strong early. … We had to get back into it. We had to show this game wasn’t over with and they were coming back. We were fighting hard. We just showed we were ready and played dominant defense and continued all four quarters.”

(On UT offensive changes)
“It was a different quarterback than we were expecting. We had to adjust our calls and then expected more runs.”


“I’m really, really proud of our team. Thought they showed some grit, some heart, some resiliency. Did not start fast, which we wanted to. I think, really, the storyline starts first and foremost with third-down conversions. We pride ourselves––our identity––in getting off the field on third down. We weren’t able to do that. They were 11 out of 15. On the flip side, offensively we started slow with the third downs. We were zero for four. Then after that, we were 11 out of 15 as well. I thought Joshua Dobbs provided a spark for us. But we made some uncharacteristic mistakes––late substitutions, 12 men in the huddle, some things like that that put us behind a little bit. Also, I thought along with the third down conversions, we lost contain on the quarterback. [Blake} Sims, you have to keep him and maintain him in the pocket, and we weren’t able to do that. [Amari] Cooper is an elite athlete. I think he showed it tonight. Again, great crowd, great environment. Thank you, Vol Nation. We just have to keep chipping away. We’re getting closer and closer to where we need to be, but I was proud of our players. I’ll answer any questions you may have.”

(On QB Joshua Dobbs)
“He adds another element in terms of the run game. We were able to run in the game. Any time you have a running quarterback that poses another threat to the defense in terms of gaps. I thought we could have played with tempo a little bit, but there were times we thought we’d use conditioning to a factor at times. The one turnover he had, he’s got to go down and square his shoulders. You’re playing against a very, very, very talented football team. A very good football team. For Josh to come in a play the way he did, I thought he executed some throws down the stretch­­. The one slant on the goal line, obviously where we had to kick a field goal­­, we need to get seven points there. Marquez North ran a great slant versus press man. Again, I thought he was in command, and I thought Josh showed some very good poise.

(On playing Joshua Dobbs or Justin Worley)
“We’ll continue to compete like we do. It’s just kind of the flow of the game with leaving [Dobbs] in. We felt we needed to run the quarterback a little bit more. That’s why we stayed with him. We’ll continue to rep Nathan Peterman. There’s no timetable on Justin Worley right now, so we’ll be in a wait-and-see mode.”

(On starting Joshua Dobbs)
“We’ll continue to compete this week, and whoever has a great week of practice (will start).

(On when Justin Worley became unavailable)
“Friday. We tried to get Justin ready, but he wasn’t anywhere ready. We had a couple game plans in place. Our offensive staff did a very good job in terms of the game plan and the preparation. I thought our kids played exceptionally hard. We had a chance, some opportunities, but we came up a little bit short. Again, when you play a talented football team like Alabama, every mistake you make is magnified because of their elite athletes. Losing contain, third down conversions––all those things come back to haunt you.”

(On Alabama WR Amari Cooper’s big game)
“Now everyone has had that. He’s a good player. He should be up there in the Heisman Trophy (race). If you watch them play, you’d see that.”

(On defending Amari Cooper)
“They do a great job schematically in terms of moving him around so you can’t match up personnel. They do different things with him, but he runs after the catch, makes every catch. He’s an elite player––very deserving to be spoken about in the Heisman Trophy race. I have a lot of respect for him as a competitor.”

(On Alabama’s 80-yard TD pass at 12:39 in the first quarter)
“Actually, they ran a late substitution in. This is a matching personnel game, and we felt play should have been held up a little bit. But, it didn’t work in that. So what happened was the nickel, based on where they aligned, was on the other side of the field.”

(On offensive line’s performance)
“I tell you what, being down two offensive linemen––and I’ll have to watch the video more––I thought we came off the ball. We were able to establish a run game. I thought Jalen Hurd ran exceptionally hard. Again, a spark with Josh running the ball as well. Having the depth that we all know about and being down two offensive linemen, I thought we did some good things. Some great building blocks in moving forward for the rest of the season.”

(On how Tennessee responded from a 27-0 deficit)
“They responded the way I would anticipate they would respond. Resilient, tough-minded, kept playing––they’ve done that all year. These are young men that are giving everything that they have each and every day in their preparation, in their week of practice, then today as well. They laid it on the line. We’re still learning how to win. People don’t want to hear that, but it is a process. I’m really proud of them. They hurt, and they understand. We lose the game, and Curt Maggitt gets the defense up in the locker room and talks about third down conversions. They are starting to think like we think. They are starting to say the same things we say. That’s the building, that’s the making a football program––everyone is all aligned. I’m starting to see that happen. I’m starting to [see] players take over each other for accountability in standard and expectation. I didn’t have to say anything. They beat me to that, and that’s great progress.

(On Dobbs in practice leading up to the Alabama game)
“He had a very good week of practice. So did Nate. I thought we had a very good week of practice. I thought our players were locked in. I thought it was a physical week of preparation. We had the confidence in both individuals because of their week of preparation. That’s what happens is you build a game plan, and you build trust and confidence in your game plan by the way you execute throughout the course of the week. They did some things in practice to build confidence in the game plan.”

On the effect of Josh Dobbs both offense and defense)
“It adds a whole other element and dimension offensively. You have Jalen Hurd in the back field and Josh Malone. Our tight ends, now, just can’t pin their ears back and come after you because being able to run the quarterback, move the pocket and do some different things.”

(On how Josh Dobbs feels he did tonight, building off experience)
“That’s a great point and we have to continue to build. He needs to be better next week if he is our quarterback. Again, it is all learning now. He has a lot of live game opportunities now this year. I think the live opportunities he had last year proved every beneficial. I thought he was poised, very calm and collective. Again, he has to continue to build on his mistakes and continue to rectify them and improve which he will.”

(On favoring which players on the offensive line)
“It’s really hard to comment right now. I just know that we had some long runs which have been no existent the past few weeks which is now great. With Marlin’s (Lane) run, Jalen (Hurd) had a couple but it is too early until I look at the video.”

(On tonight’s offensive game being a little confidence boost)
“You can talk about confidence all you want but how do you really develop confidence? Through your week of preparation and by having success. Again, we have to spring board the success that we had and continue to grow from it. We talk about red zone opportunities. We still needed to score touchdowns as opposed to kick field goals. It’s a game of inches. I felt the field goal kick at the end of the first half was needed for positive momentum for going into the locker room and Aaron Medley continuing to kick well in some pressure situations for us. I do believe some confidence was born tonight.”

(On why Alabama had such success on 3rd downs)
“Players making plays, we lost contain of (Blake) Sims a number of times where he scrambled keeping plays alive with his feet. We didn’t do a good job of containing it. I give them credit they have some very very good football players. They are the reason they are a top five football team. So I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. Again, it is a great lesson of containing the quarterback, a game of inches and they made plays. They have good players and they made some plays.”

(On Josh Malone’s touchdown)
“We have been waiting for that to happen. It came at a critical situation on 3rd and goal. I thought he adjusted to the ball well. Josh is just one of those freshmen who continues to work. We had a flu bug hit our football team this week. So Jalen (Hurd) missed two days of practice, Josh missed two days of practice. It hit our running backs. There were days we only had one healthy running back at practice throughout the course of the week. Our players did a great job of getting themselves ready. That tells you about the growth and maturation of this football team. So as a coach you worry about everything, we had an entire running back crew hit by the flu and Josh Malone. Josh had dropped ten pounds throughout the course of the week. Thursday night I’m at my son’s football game. My phone is going off. It’s our players texting me a picture of their plate at training table. Again that may seem trivial but again the care factor, the growth and maturity of this football team I like. I like this set of kids. I thought we had some anxiety starting the game. Those are all learning and teaching opportunities as we continue to move forward.”

(On Marlin Lane and Jalen Hurd’s health)
“First of all this is the healthiest Marlin has been and he is still not 100% so having him back on the field was great to see. Jalen continues to get better and better. Again, it was more of the flu bug this week then the previous injuries. But you know Jalen is Jalen. We are on the bus on the way to the Anderson Training Center today for a walk through. I go sit with him on the bus saying we got to go man, let’s go. He looks at me and says just give me the ball coach then goes back to sleep on his ride over. That is the poise and the confidence that he has.”

(On AJ Johnson getting a chance on offense)
“We got stopped short there. It is trying to do anything and everything to win a football game. Our coaches are working around the clock with the game plans. It is just trying to get the ball into the hands of our play makers. AJ brings a whole other element of toughness. I want to but it’s just trying to find every creative way to win the football game.”

(On Justin Worley’s status)
“He is disappointed. Anytime you are a competitor and you have worked as hard as Justin has worked anytime you don’t get the opportunity to compete it hurts you. He is hurting right now. We will see, I don’t know the long range forecast. We will know more forward. I know he is disappointed because he has put so much effort and energy into his senior year.”

(On Justin Worley’s injury)
“It is a shoulder (injury) and that is all I’m going to comment. I will know a little bit more probably tomorrow and Monday exactly the long term status. It’s a shoulder. He can throw the ball a little bit but when we tested him on Friday he didn’t have the zip and velocity that you would need to play at this level.”

Curt Maggitt, Junior Linebacker
(On message to teammates after the game)
“We lost our identity when we didn’t play to our capability, our level. Third downs is where we’re known for getting off the field and that’s where we let the team down. I told them, guys, we’ve got to be critical of ourselves and correct that.”

(On containing Alabama QB Simms)
“Simms is a really good athlete, one of the best athletes in the country for sure. We’re going to watch film and see where we can get better at.”

(On comfort in addressing the team in the locker room)
“I feel like I’ve got a lot of respect from the guys on the team. I feel like a lot of guys look to me. I want what’s best for the team and I want what’s best for the defense for sure. I feel like as a defense, we let the offense down. We’ve got to take pride in that, and we’ve got to take responsibility in that. Tomorrow, we’ll watch film.”

(On former players who were vocal in a similar way)
“The first person to come to mind is Herman Lathers. His passion for the game and pride.”

(On improvement of team since last year’s meeting vs. Alabama)
“Honestly, I don’t think very much about last year, with all do respect. I know I’m encouraged by our team. I know our offense has our back, and our defense has our offense’s back. Like I said, as a defense, we’re going to take responsibility for all the big plays and third down conversions. We’ll get that corrected.”

Derek Barnett, Freshman Defensive End

(On what defense did to slow Alabama down)
“We just corrected mistakes on the sideline and told each other we weren’t going to give up. We don’t care how many touchdowns they’re going to score. We’re going to play until the end of the ballgame.”

Joshua Dobbs
(On how he played tonight)
“I feel like I played well, of course there is always room for improvement. I know we had two turnovers tonight. So we got to eliminate that. The first maxim is “the team that makes the fewer mistakes will win.” So we have to do a good job of eliminating those turnovers in practice, but there is a lot of positives we can take out of the game.”

(On his ability to run being able to help the offense)
“It opens up a lot. Our line did a good job of making holes for me, and when they do that we also have Jalen Hurd and Marlin Lane as you said. Which are out two dynamic backs, and we have good weapons on the outside. So we are just able to use everyone.”

(On the mood of the sideline with a large deficit)
“Everyone was ready to play, everyone was ready to fight. We knew coming into the game it was going to be a dogfight, and a lot of punches were going to be thrown, but we just had to keep grinding and keep going. We knew we could have definitely come back on them. We just had to execute the plays and keep trusting the game plan.”

(On chemistry between he and the wide receivers)
“We have pretty good chemistry. Both of us, Marquez and Malone, they do a good job of staying after me throwing, just getting extra work. So, I mean that builds chemistry when you practice, have good chemistry it builds a lot of faith on the field.”

(On how their chemistry helped on the back shoulder throw to Josh Malone for a TD)

“It helped a lot. We practiced it throughout the week, and we’ve obviously practiced it throughout the season. So, we knew when we got that look we both were on the same page there, and Malone did a great job of coming down with the ball.”

Marquez North

(On Josh’s presence he brought to the offense)
“Oh yeah, Josh did a great job, just came out there moving the chains, doing his job, pulling it when he needed to, and making his right reads in progression.”

(On chemistry with Joshua Dobbs)
“I mean our chemistry is excellent. That is like my best friend, roommates. I know everything about him.”

(On getting the ball thrown to him more this game)
“I mean it’s always great to get the ball more. I did feel more in rhythm. Like I say, me and Dobbs have great chemistry.”

(On the offense getting started off slow)
“Man, I have to give credit to Bama. They came out with a lot of energy on both sides of the ball. We preached coming out strong, and that’s what we have to do next time.”

Josh Malone
(On having the flu hurting his play on the field)
“No it didn’t. I had it earlier in the week. So I got a chance to fully recover back from the flu.”

(On catching his first touchdown)
“It was to the field, and I had a had one-on-one matchup with I believe Tony Brown, and I Dobbs just went with the matchup and just threw the ball up and let me make a play.”​