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Post Game Quotes

Nov. 3, 2012

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes |  Photo Gallery 1  |  Photo Gallery 2 

Head Coach Ellis Johnson
Opening Statement...
"It looked like a game we could've won. At the end of the day, I think we had 56 yards of passing other than one strike. It's suffocating our offense; it's keeping us from being able to open things up in the running game. We hit some runs up in there for some good gainers and then, sometimes, had to grind it. Our running game was somewhat effective. The inability to throw the ball effectively right now is smothering our opportunity to have a good offense. I thought our defense played hard through most of the game. There was obviously some times where we didn't play well, but I thought they were tired and the field position flipped on them a few times in the second half. I looked out there a couple times and we had true freshmen at quarterback and both running backs back there. All of them are brand new players. I think that explains some of it, but at the end of the day, we're just not playing good football. Again, the turnover ratio, this time, was balanced. That's an improvement but I think we're still turning over the ball at times - we had a big turnover on the end of a big play and took all the air out of the ball. It's just hard. I'm really running out of things to tell the players as far as what to do to fix it. We just have to keep coming back and correcting things and practicing hard and keep grinding. I thought there were some things we've improved on, but we just cannot sustain enough plays in a row offensively to move down the field and get points."

On the locker room morale...
"It's tough. They are just down. There have been games where they have come in and been mad. There've been games where they've come in and been almost floored. I think right now they are just drained. I think they really felt like they had a ball game they could've won. They came in at halftime, we have a double-digit lead. There were some things we weren't doing well. You have to always go in there and fix all those in spite of a big lead. I think a lot of our points came off the field position. We only had (18) yards passing at the half. There were issues there that needed to be fixed. We came back out in the second half, hit a big strike, got it going. Next play, ball on the ground. I think the inability to effectively finish drives and throw the ball at key times, it just keeps coming back to haunt us."

On the play of the defense...
"I thought overall they played very hard. I thought they did some really good things, created some field position for us early. The fatigue, not only were we not scoring points, there were times where we went three-and-out. That starts to wear on a defense. We're very thin on defense to start with. Obviously, we did not play that well in the second half, at times. I think a lot of it can be attributed to the fact that we didn't have any possession time and they were back out on the field. That gets you tired and it also gives the other team a chance to use more of their game plan. If you keep the ball away from them, they have to look for something to be successful with, but if they get enough possessions, they can kind of poke around the see what they can do well. Then, all of a sudden, you have a problem on your hands. I give UAB a lot of credit. They were down double digits, came back out in the second half and just steadily came back and cut it away. I thought their players played very well in a bad situation. We were our own worst enemy tonight."

On if he expected the season to play out this way in the preseason...
"I never had any illusions about this being some kind of cake walk when you don't have a proven quarterback, and (the ones you do have) are all juniors, sophomores or true freshmen. None of them have ever played to any extent in a college football game. Each one gets hurt at various times, one of them didn't even start the season and comes in in the sixth week. You lose two of them in the third ball game, another about three weeks later. You've got two others out in between. We've started four different quarterbacks this year, five have played, we've had 18 starts missed by guys who could legitimately be called your regular starters. All of that is very hard to overcome. That being said, you can't dismiss the fact that I don't think this is a very well coached football team. I have to look at that and say, `Why not?' I have to figure out what can we do better. It's very difficult for players of that experience level and that young to take over. I think the other thing is not ever having one of them step up and be `The Guy,' we didn't have anyone to turn to as a leader. We haven't had a leader there because no one has been able to play there every week and play well. This is a football team that had been used to that for two or three years. At times, we didn't play well around them. It wasn't all their fault. There were times where other guys with experience could've played a little better and stepped up. Defensively, I knew we were going to be young and probably hot and cold a little bit. We had some good speed and athleticism and all of a sudden the injury bug starts pulling them out of there. We've lost two defensive ends, lost a starting corner, lost two or three other guys for weeks at a time. There have been a lot issues that we have tried to overcome, and we're not a great football team to start with. I just think that sometimes we've been our own worst enemy. Probably, for some of these guys, it becomes a confidence thing. In a transition year, it's very tough even when you win a couple. When you don't win a couple, it's very hard on the players and I understand how difficult it has been for them."

Head Coach Garrick McGee
Opening Statement...
"We were getting it handed to us in all phases but defense; I believe they were doing a good job. We were not doing things right offensively tonight at all. I thought that they played deep in coverage and wanted to take away the passing game, so we had to make some adjustments and commit to running the football. And our kids just showed some poise and they went in the locker room and they were confident in the locker room and it was just another example of teammates growing up and starting to understand that when you're down 16 points it doesn't mean anything it just means you're one touchdown and one stop away from being back in the game. I'm really proud of our kids and proud of our coaches."

"Me and Ellis know each other pretty well, he knows our plan, but we had to go in and make an adjustment and commit to putting our fullbacks and tight ends in the game and really being physical and letting our offensive line really dominate the game. When you're playing good defense like we were. That gave us the opportunity to run the football the way we did."

What did you say to those guys at halftime?...
"We need to play better. What I really said was we need to trust in who we are. Trust the things we do every day. Trust everything that we've talked about since day one that I got the job. And if you just trust in that, you know, things will work out."

Southern Miss Players
Jeremy Hester
On what the team is thinking...
"At this point we definitely feel like we have to keep on pushing. That was a tough loss, pushing it the whole game and to have a lead (for much of the game). We just have to keep our heads up. It's hard. It's hard for some players, because they have never been in this position. I have never been in this position before. We just have to keep our heads up and keep pushing."

On leading at halftime...
"Going into halftime it was very exciting because this season we have not had a chance to go into halftime that way. Just to be going into halftime leading was a great feeling. We felt like we were doing what we had to do and that was executing, putting hat-on-a-hat and taking care of business. After that, things just went downhill."

On the blocked punt...
"That fumble (earlier in the game) hurt me. The say `let it go' but sometimes it is hard (about the fumble). When punt return was up I told myself that I had to redeem myself and I was going to get that punt. I went and got it and I felt a lot better after that."

Anthony Alford
On the turnaround in the second half, after a good start in the first...
"We just had to come out to be more aggressive in the second half like we were in the first half."

On what is going through his mind right now...
"Getting better, that is the only thing on my mind. I hope this is what is on everyone's mind. Like every week, I want to go out there and win every game, but as you can see it hasn't been a good season."

On the team...
"We are getting better each week as a team. The record may not show it and the scoreboard in the fourth quarter may not show it, but we are doing better things every week as a team and coming together more, but we still have work to do."

On fighting through injuries this season...
"It is frustrating. I want to play every game. I am not going to say it messes up your rhythm, but coming in as a freshman the main thing is - you have to get reps. (The injuries) messes with your reps."

UAB Player Quotes
Patrick Hearn
What made you guys play different in the second half?...
"He just put emphasis on keeping our composure, stop the turnovers and lazy playing. But other than that was just to execute and do the things as we were coached."

Being a Mississippi native, how did it feel to win this game?...
"It felt comforting - very comforting."

What's this win going to do for UAB for the rest of the season?...
"Hopefully, we can win from here on out and give momentum to the younger guys going into the following season."

Talk about how the defense stepped up over the course of the second half...
"The defense was pretty sound - I think coach told them to put a stop on a lot of the big plays, runs and other things. I think they took it well."

Marvin Burdette
What was the defense able to do in order to get the win?...
"Coach came in after the first half and said we just have to keep our poise and our game. Everybody thinks that, because of our record, we have nothing to play for. But that's not true - we always have something to play for, whether it's developing your game better or giving effort for the person beside you. We took the game and kind of dedicated it to all the guys from Mississippi this week. It was a good day and I'm proud of the guys because they played hard and I'm just glad we got the victory."

What does this do for the team coming up on the last three weeks of the season?...
"When you do the right things, you have victories and that gives hope for the rest of the team. There's a very good chance we can make the record better for the end of the season."

What was this game to you on a personal level?...
"Any time you come back to your home state [Mississippi] when you felt like you weren't wanted, you always feel like you hold something over their heads when you win. It was a good feeling."

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