Coach Meyer: The plan to win was to play great defense and I do not really believe we did that. We did have three sacks and allowed 326 yards so it was not awful, but when we need to get a stop at the end of the game, we can play better. We need to challenge the out cuts a little bit more by our young corners and continue to get interior pressure. I thought our defense played very hard, but it just was not enough obviously.
Coach Urban Meyer
For turnovers, we had two and only created one so obviously we did not hit that goal. In the red zone, we were three of four with two touchdowns. We had a field goal blocked, which obviously could have been the difference in the game. It was a low kick. You have to walk away with a touchdown when you have first and goal like we did. Kicking game, we only hit five goals but the positive is we have not allowed a return yard off punts. Auburn had 42 percent third down conversion and we had 41 percent. We ended up losing the game and you can tell why if you look at the stats there.
Champions on defense include Javier Estopinan, who played his best football and it is great to see that. He had that ACL surgery and was playing very well before he injured that a year ago and he’s a great young guy who is playing very well. He had two tackles for a loss and for Javier that is excellent. Jermaine Cunningham played his best football as a Gator with a tackle for a loss and five assists. Major Wright played a very good game starting as a true freshman. He was 100 percent in opportunities of making a play in the back end, which is how you evaluate a secondary player. Wondy Pierre-Louis, a sophomore, was four of five making plays and played his best game so far. So you can see that there are improvements. Player of the game was Brandon Spikes, who played very well. For only his fifth game starting, he is starting to play like more of a veteran.
On offense, Eric Rutledge played well again. We do not ask him to do a lot other than block, but he does a great job for us. Kestahn Moore, who we need to get a little more touches to, graded out a champion. Cornelius Ingram played very well. Other champions include Jim Tartt, Jason Watkins, David Nelson and Maurice Hurt. We did not have an offensive player of the game.
On the state of the team following the Auburn game
Yes, we can be right back in this thing with a win. Our guys know that. I think on the east side of the SEC, every team has a loss except for Kentucky and there are some excellent teams in the east. Last year I used to do this thing called the state of the union and I realize that it is just the nature of the beast that people will start talking about the BCS and that stuff. What I would do was every Monday I would talk to the team about the country and what was going on. If you want to talk about USC, talk to me because at least I have done some research. We would actually talk about that and this year there is none whatsoever because we are not at that point yet. We are a team that needs to tighten up coverage and get that punter to line up the right way. That is the punter coach’s job to get that done. We should not waste time talking about that other stuff. The only thing that matters is coming out today and having a good practice, not putting our caps on inside out for rally caps. We have to get better. But I was really impressed when I started seeing names like Major Wright, Pierre-Louis, Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes. That is powerful stuff. There is not a lot of football played among those guys so that’s pretty good. Every human being is measured when they get hit. It is about how you react when you get hit square in the face and we got hit hard. That was a frontal shot at home.
On the distribution of the ball on offense
I probably worry about that too much and like I said, I have to worry about getting that punter lined up on the fake punt. We do have some dynamic playmakers. Last week Bubba Caldwell, Percy Harvin and Riley Cooper did not practice so all of a sudden the speed of the offense drops a little bit. I think most of those guys are in for practice this week and there is timing and other issues that we have to address.
On his emotions following the Auburn game:
“You don’t get angry at players, you coach players. Our job is not to criticize players. Our job is not to say we have bad players, because that’s absolutely not true. We have very good players, and it is certainly not our players fault. Its repetitions and teaching, that’s why they call us coach. So I’m angry at myself and our staff, but anger is not the right word. We’ve got to finish the job. We’ve got a job to do and that’s the good thing about getting the opportunity to do it again this Saturday.”
“Since I’ve been here, it seems like that defensive line keeps plugging guys in there that NFL football players. They are the one team right now in the SEC that seems a little different every year. They lost four players to the first round last year, and lost some key guys the year before, so they have been able to recruit very well.”
Sophomore Quarterback Tim Tebow
On how the team will respond to the Auburn game: “I think we will respond well. I really do. Everybody was heart broken over it and agonizing, and I think that’s what shows how much the guys care and I think we are going to bounce back. It was a tough loss for us and we are going to come out today and work hard and try to get ready for LSU. We did have a team meeting, and I think it went really well. I think it was very similar to last year in that guys were very upset, disappointed, and agonizing because our guys care so much. I think we’ll really have a week where we will try to rally around the leaders and the coaches and kind of get back to basics. Coach Meyer and his assistants really work on discipline, doing things the right way on and off the field, working hard, winning the game with special teams and just outworking teams. That’s what we’re about and we’re going to try to get back to that. That’s how we’ve been successful, that’s how we’ve won games, and that’s how we are going to be successful this year.
On motivation for the LSU game
“I think there is a lot that guys are going to take as motivation. That’s one of the things that he talks about that we’re going to do what made Coach Meyer’s program great in the past, outworking teams, winning special teams in games, going out there and out-practicing people and having hard practices, doing everything right on and off the field and in the classroom. I think that is what we are going to try and get back to and go about everything that way.”
On the keys to playing well against LSU
“I think the number one thing for us on offense is putting ourselves and keeping ourselves in manageable situations, situations where we have opportunities to get first downs and not getting ourselves in second and
16, second and 15. Versus great teams and great defenses you can’t just keep getting first downs on long situations. We need to put ourselves in manageable situations where we have third and five, third and short and keep getting first downs. We can’t put ourselves in long situations where we have to force the ball down the field.”
On running the ball
“I don’t know, we are just trying to win games and do whatever we can to win the game, whatever it takes. As far as taking hits or anything like that, I feel fine and my body is good.”
On the LSU defense
“The number one thing is their coaching. They have a great defensive coordinator. The next thing is they have great athletes, guys that can go out there and make great plays. They have Glenn Dorsey, they have guys all over the field, Ali Highsmith is probably one of the best linebackers in the SEC. They have guys all over the field that can make plays. They are a defense that makes plays and they make the offenses do what they want. We were watching film and they do a great job of that. They push the offense into a position where they get their big boys making plays up front and they do a great job of creating turnovers and getting the offense into situations where they got to force the ball out. They make a lot of big plays with their secondary getting interceptions. They do a really good job.”
On Coach Meyer following the Auburn game:
“It was a tough loss for him and for all of us. It was a game that we felt shouldn’t have gone the way it did. We have to give Auburn credit, they came out and played really well and hard but there were opportunities where guys should have made plans. I’ve seen him heartbroken several times and pretty upset. We had an opportunity and it is tough, it’s tough for him and he takes it really seriously, but I think he handles it really well. He believes in our team and he handles it really well.”
On the confidence of the offensive line
“I think our confidence of our offensive line is high, I think they have done a great job all season. Auburn did some things to us with great players and made plays up front, but we have guys like Jim Tartt and Drew Miller that are blocking hard and blocking long all night and giving everything they have. So the confidence in the offensive line is high and I’m proud of them.”
On the Auburn game
“I was very confident that we were going to drive down there and get a game-winning field goal. I had confidence in the coaches, the play calling and the team that we were going to score. It just started off with the first play off a screen that didn’t work the way we wanted to. Then second down we ran an option play that didn’t work the way we wanted to, they did a good job of stringing it out and they made a play and there was third and 16 or whatever it was. We can’t put ourselves in those situations.
On Coach Mullen
“I’m really proud of Coach Mullen with having the pain. After our Friday night dinner he had to go in and have surgery. He was a warrior. He would apologize for messing up my pre game routine as the quarterback but I look at him and he just had surgery but he didn’t mess up anything but give us more motivation. I’m sorry we couldn’t get a win for him but for him coming back and calling a great game against Auburn. I know he’s still hurting but he’s getting us ready for LSU and he’s doing a great job. I kept in contact with his wife and made sure he was alright. It was scary but he’s a competitor and a warrior and get back out there just like a player would. I’m proud to have a coach that does stuff like that.