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Arkansas at Kentucky

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas at Kentucky

Post game quotes from the Arkansas-Kentucky football game on Oct. 18, 2008

Arkansas Head Coach Bobby Petrino

Opening statement …
“That’s a hard one on us. We had a lot of chances to win that football game, starting in the first quarter when we had the ball down in there and didn’t get any points, and fumbled on the one and threw an interception on the one. All of those things add up and end up hurting you. We had chances in the end to run the clock out and fumbled it back. Obviously we feel like our defense has to come up with the stop at that time and we couldn’t do it. Give credit to Kentucky, they hung in there and made the plays at the end of the game and we didn’t.”

On if they thought about taking a safety at the end of the game…
“No we didn’t thing about taking a safety at the end of the game. There was a lot of time left on the clock, which was the biggest difference between this game and last week (against Auburn). We felt like we could get a good punt. We had been punting the ball well. A safety just never crossed our minds.”

On losing Michael Smith…
“He got banged up a little bit. He probably has a concussion which is scary because we don’t know how long he’ll be out with that. It’s a shame because he was playing his heart out, doing a great job running the ball, catching the ball. But, we have to have other guys step up and make plays. But, that hurt us a lot losing him. Certainly we had opportunities. We just didn’t get it done. I think it hurt, there’s no doubt about that, but we have to be able to have other running backs make plays. We have to continue to keep a good tempo and continue to run the ball and throw the ball. It wasn’t that Michael wasn’t out there, it was that we didn’t continue to play as an entire offense that we were doing earlier.”

On if it is easier to motivate a team after a loss like this opposed to the loss against Texas…
“I feel like our team will continue to practice hard and will come back with a good attitude. We’re right there. We just gave it away. I shouldn’t say we gave it away. We didn’t make the plays to win the game, and they did in the fourth quarter.”

On what happened at the end of the game…
“They got pass protection and gave him (Mike Hartline) time, and he stood in there and made good throws. We didn’t execute in our coverage, and we didn’t execute in our pass rush.”

On the play of quarterback Casey Dick…
“I think we missed some things. I think we had some opportunities for some big plays particularly early, under threw one, over threw a couple other ones. I would have liked to get that one early in the game when London’s (Crawford) on a post route and actually the corner fell down and we over threw that. I don’t feel like we were real sharp in our passing game.”

Arkansas Players

#11, Casey Dick, Arkansas Quarterback

On how bad this loss hurts …
“This one hurts. We thought we had the game in control, and the bottom line is that we have to find a way to play good at the end and make plays. No matter what we are doing, we have to move the ball and play well.”

On how difficult it is to play without Michael Smith…
“It is tough, but that is why we have guys back there behind him to come into the game and run the ball. We lose and win as a team, and we now have to regroup and go from there.”

On what went wrong at the end of the game…
“We didn’t execute as well as we could have in the second half. Whatever it may be, we have to go back and look at what we could have done better in the second half and get better.”

On what happened with all the illegal formation penalties…
“I guess I wasn’t letting them get set at the line of scrimmage. I don’t think we were lined up wrong. That is my job to make sure everybody is set, so I have to do a better job.”

#63, Jonathon Luigs, Arkansas Center

On playing without Michael Smith…
“It was tough. He is one of our veteran guys. He has done a lot for us throughout the season. When we needed him in there to make plays, we didn’t have him in there. We aren’t blaming it on De’Anthony (Curtis). We win as a team, and we lose as a team. We aren’t pointing fingers, but it would have been nice to have had Michael (Smith) out there.”

On what happened to turn the game around…
“I guess we just weren’t making the blocks when Kentucky was getting the carries. I think we did a good job up front, in the first three quarters, but that’s why we play four quarters. We weren’t able to get it done tonight.”

On what this loss means…
“Saying we gave the game away is an understatement. We had them (Kentucky) right where we wanted them, had them where they were about to quit. Somehow they found their way back in the game. It’s a tough one to swallow. We just made tons of mistakes, with penalty after penalty we just shot ourselves in the foot tonight. We can’t do that on the road, especially in the SEC. I don’t have the words to say how disappointed we are as a team.”

Kentucky Head Coach Rich Brooks

Opening Comment …
“David Jones had a bruised arm. It hit the nerve on the elbow, but he came back in the game and finished. He’ll have an awful sore arm, but I think he’ll be alright. Marcus McClinton strained a knee, but obviously finished the game and made a huge play at the end. Myron Pryor got low and bruised a shin and an ankle. Micah Johnson injured the ankle that has bothering him all along, but he obviously was back in there at the end as well. He was hobbling at the end of the game.

This obviously didn’t go to script. We struggled early. We seemed to do some good things and then we would undo them in the first half. We ran the ball better in the first half than we have been usually running it, but we seemed to come out with no points. I’ve been around some strange games, but this ranks right up there. When it did turn, there was no question that our players believed they could win. We had our time outs and we used them pretty well in the middle of the fourth quarter. It was just a very strange game, and I’m proud of the way our players were able to hang in there and compete and battle. Once we got a spark, the energy definitely got up there on our football team and on our sideline. This ties the biggest comeback in Kentucky football history. Mike Hartline showed a lot of character and guts. We used Randall Cobb as quarterback in the first half, but he did a lot of good things at receiver. I have to give Arkansas credit, they moved the ball very well and gave us some problems. The good news is we were able to get the win.”

On Kentucky ‘s comeback…
“Well I think it’s huge. I told them in the locker room football is a reflection of life in a lot of ways. When it’s the very darkest of the very worst, you have to keep on believing because giving up is not an answer, it’s not an alternative. For them to actually make it happen and make those words real, I am very proud of them.”

On Mike Hartline’s performance…
“Mike is a very confident guy and his confidence has been shaken recently. It was probably shaken early in this game. I don’t think there has been a young quarterback that has been able to come back and do this at Kentucky in a long time. In a game where the only way we can win it is to throw it and he made the plays necessary to win the game. I hope this does a lot for his confidence and other’s confidence in him.”

On Kentucky ‘s red zone defense…
“Our red zone defense has been pretty good all year long. We haven’t allowed too many teams to score down there, but Arkansas was down there many times. I’m very proud of the way the defense sucked it up and made the plays down there. We let them on the edge too much on the running game and they were able to get the yards.”

On Randall Cobb playing receiver instead of quarterback…
“He’s played both positions. Mike Hartline understands the passing game better than Randall does at this stage as a quarterback. He understands coverage and checks. Randall is an explosive player as a receiver. He’s the one guy we have right now that has the speed and ability to get open. He has the ability to get open and make plays. That’s something that has been lacking from our offense all year long.”

Kentucky Players

#30, Moncell Allen, Tailback

On his performance…
“I felt that I just needed to get the ball down the field. I wanted to carry the load. I got my opportunity to do it. I just did what I had to do.”

On the character of the team…
“The character of our team is just that we have things that we have to straighten out. Once we do, we’ll be good.”

On running the ball…
“It felt great. I feel that I’m in better shape now and can carry the ball a little bit more. When I got the ball I felt that I could do tremendous things with it. I improved today. I can’t wait to get some more carries and see what I can do.”

On experiencing more opportunities at running back…
“(Alfonso Smith) has the speed and I have the power in the backfield. With (Derrick Locke) out, it’s hard for us to keep our heads up. He’s one of our main running backs. Someone has to do something. (Tony Dixon) was able to step up at running back. I feel that we’re all going to get our chance to run the route.”

On if the game was the biggest comeback he’s experienced…
“It’s pretty much the biggest comeback (7-20) we’ve had. Some of the guys on the sidelines were down, but I think that most of us thought we would come back. We’ve come back from deficits like that. We had to dig it out to win, but we were close enough to get there.”

#18, Randall Cobb, Wide Receiver

On coming off of last week’s loss against South Carolina …
“Coming off the game last week, we had to remember to stay focused and get better. Coming into this game we knew we had to play with heart. There was a lot on our shoulders knowing this was a must-win game in to stay in the running for the SEC championship. It’s all about heart and seeing how deep you can dig to get the job done.”

On motivating the team toward the end of the game…
“On the sideline I saw everyone had their heads down and I told myself it was time to become a leader. I decided to say and do something. I started going to my teammates to tell them to focus and try to get the win.”

On the comeback…
“We knew we had to score to get back in the game. If we could get back on the board, the defense would have the chance to get us the ball again. On the last touchdown they were playing man-to-man coverage and Mike Hartline saw it and put the ball in my hands.”

#5, Mike Hartline, Quarterback

On his thoughts on the win…
“It’s really surreal. I don’t know whether to be really excited or just realize what just happened. Everything went so fast. I’m really proud of our offense the way they just didn’t quit. All the coaches still believed in us throughout the game. We weren’t going to quit even though we didn’t have much success in the first half. There is no quitting in the offense.”

On being able to kneel down in the last 30 seconds…
“It was unbelievable. I have never been able to be in that situation ever– even in high school play. It’s just never been that way where a certain amount of time was left and you come from behind.”

On keeping his confidence high throughout the game…
“You can never let yourself lose your confidence. I just kept telling myself that the game’s not over and we have plenty of time and two timeouts. We just need to keep going. I knew our defense was going to get the ball back for us. It left us in a position to score and that’s what happened for us.”

On his thoughts when he threw the interception and fans started leaving…
“If that reflects on me, I’ll say that it reflects on me. I mean, an interception is an interception. It’s going to happen. If you let that get you down with the rest of the game, then you’re not a football player or even a true quarterback. No matter how many picks I throw, I can’t hang my head about them. You have to keep player no matter the situation. We still had five minutes until the end of the game and only 14 points down, and we won the game.”

#99, Jeremy Jarmon, Defensive End

On how the University of Kentucky team came back…
“We just went out there and we kept playing. You saw guys on offense, you saw guys on special teams, you saw guys on defense that just didn’t give up. I didn’t see anyone give up in the last few minutes.”

On what kept UK in the game after the Arkansas ten minute drive…
“Pride. I mean, we don’t want to lose and in that last drive they ate up a lot of time. That frustrated us, but we didn’t give up. Micah (Johnson) did a good job of staying involved. He re-hurt his ankle or something and he was still out there trying to fight. And he was able to get that fumble and I believe that is what spearheaded us at about six minutes or so left.”

On what the last few minutes did for Mike Hartline’s confidence…
“I think it did a lot for him. Mike’s a good quarterback and he is learning. I think that every game he has gotten better at something. It’s good to have Randall Cobb to step up for us when we were down. We knew from day one that he was a different kind of freshman. We knew that he was going to come in ready to play. The coaches believe in him. Right now, he is proving himself.”

On moving the ball so quickly down the field in the fourth quarter…
“They definitely got things going there. It was a bit frustrating before, because we were getting tired on defense. We were still getting after it and we were still out there trying to give it everything we had. We never gave up, and we went out there and controlled what we did. We were able to give the offense another opportunity to win the game.”

#4, Micah Johnson, Linebacker

On coming back from an ankle injury…
“I’m trying to get better game in and game out. Also, I’m trying to understand that my ankle won’t be 100 percent for the rest of the season. I need to continue to fight and make as many plays as I can.”

On team motivation through the season…
“All of the guys want to keep on fighting. They have inspired me to keep fighting through my injury and I’m leaning on them. The heart they have showed is what football is all about. We believe in and inspire each other, and that is what we did today.”

On the importance of this win…
“This game is huge. It would have been a difficult situation to go to Florida 0-3 in the SEC. Getting this win lightens things up and if we can keep this heart and fight, with little mistakes, we can beat anyone.”



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