Quotes provided by UA Sports Information.
Head Coach John L. Smith (opening statement) -"After reviewing film and studying there were a lot of good things and a lot of things that we have to improve on without a doubt. Just like everybody in the country right now, you are working on getting better. The good thing is we get a little bit of extra practice in today to get better. We have to make some improvement, that's obvious. I think that's what everybody's goal is at this point, but as you look at it there were some positives we are going to build on, and we are going to correct the negatives. Positive things again are our offense, with the exception of our ball security, which was not good. We are going to work on that and our kids understand that. We are going to make an effort to work on that during practice. Hopefully we will get our scout team to be more avid about trying to strip and trying to do all of those things. Again, you can't go contact during the week, but you can strip the ball out and do those things and we have to do that. Had we not turned the ball over there who is to say on the offense how many they could have put up. A lot of things were very good there. Defensively, I thought we played the run well the first half. We need to tighten up some things in the secondary, which we will work on that. We are going to work on tackling. We have some tackling circuits we are going to put in to try and improve on those things. I don't think that was near as good as it should be, but I guess after looking at it, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was at the time. That's the thing about video, it's never as good as you think and it's never as bad as you think. Defensively, the second half was good from the standpoint of not letting anybody in the end zone. Keeping them out of the end zone and making them have to kick the football. Field goals aren't going to beat you. If we can continue to do that, that's a good thing. I feel like we can get a lot better on that side of the ball. It was good to see our front trade off in there. Linebacker wise, (Alonzo) Highsmith and Tenarius (Wright) I think were a little rusty, and they will tell you that, just because they haven't been out there and they haven't practiced like the other guys the whole time. It was good for them to get some work in. We gave up about what the average was of the top-15 teams in the country defensively. I really like what I saw in some areas. I liked Nate (Holmes) coming back after bobbling the one. He was so apologetic. He was almost going to cry on the sideline, but that's good for a young kid to make a mistake and not crucially hurt you. It was good, and he did make one tremendous athletic run, which was good to see because it showed you his abilities. I though Dennis (Johnson) did a good job. I thought he went hard on offense and I thought he went hard on kickoff return as well. We just have to do a better job around them with making adjustments. That brings us to a point again as you look at these guys you have to go off of, to a degree, two years ago when we played them and then last year's video. What changes they've made there are going to be some adjustments going on on the sideline and some adjustments at the half, and that's what you have to do in the first games. I'm sure there will be something different. We are looking forward to going to Little Rock. That's been great for us. Our kids believe in it. They are excited about it. The walk there and the fans there are as good as it gets. It's a great atmosphere. We plan on going down there and playing a lot better than we did last week."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on the fumbles) -"Most were dropped. We won't allow ourselves to get away with the idea that those were stripped. We dropped the ball. We have to do a better job of securing it. From that standpoint that's our fault by not working on our ball security enough. They are all caused by something. It's just like a quarterback-center snap. Who are you going to blame it on? Is it the center or is it the quarterback? It's the quarterback's fault. Yes, you dropped the ball, you fumbled it, but it's your job to secure it."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on if he was surprised by WR-Brandon Mitchell's performance) -"Not necessarily. I think we have seen that day in and day out of practice this fall so it's not a surprise to us, but it may come as a bit of a surprise and I'm sure this is something the fans are like, 'Wow this guy is legit.' He can go down the field and catch it. He is very athletic and faster than most people think. Those big long legs are chewing up a lot of grass. I think as fans look at it, it might be a little bit of a surprise to them. From our standpoint, it was not a surprise. We expect him to be very good. Good outing for a guy's first try out of the blocks."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on the start to Saturday's game) -"I think it's usually year-to-year. I particularly liked this game. I didn't feel a sense of panic. Sometimes on the sideline you will feel a sense of panic from the players. There was no sense of panic at all. Everybody was very confident about what we had to do and what we can do, and what we are going to do."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on if the team's leadership helped last week) -"Without a doubt, I think not only the leadership, but your team maturity and understanding that we are going to win this game. We are better than this and sometimes that ball is going to bounce funny, but we are going to bounce back and make sure that it is going to start bouncing our direction."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on the offense taking control of the game) -"Once the offense started to get on a roll, the defense could feel it and it carries over, so we go out and make a stop and get it back and get a score. You just want to keep that rolling as long as you can. It was a great feeling to see the offense take control and do all of that."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on DE-Chris Smith being named SEC co-Defensive Lineman of the Week) -"Chris played well. Chris can play better than he did, but he made a lot of plays. When Chris knows what they are going to do he shouldn't be blocked. He should be able to beat the guy and get around the corner. We expect that from him. He played a good game, but he can do better."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on if it was his call to go for it on 4th down) -"Yes. That, for us, going into this is a good practice in that 4th down area and that scenario on the field. We know our drop-dead point of kicking the field goal, and so we have a 10-to-15-yard area there that's a 4th-down area that we are going to go ahead and practice that."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on WR-Cobi Hamilton) -"He is fine. He will be going today."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on K-Cameron Bryan covering kickoffs and punts) -"He is no longer a kicker. He is a coverage guy. He is fast and we had trouble all fall in holding him up. You put him on the scout teams to look at kick coverage, punt coverage and we can't hold him up and we can't get to the guy. He's the fastest guy we have. We are trying him over there. He has done a good job. He has a way of winding through like water finding the easiest way down. He is fast and we are going to continue to work him some. He's very, very athletic. He's a strong guy in the weight room and can run as fast as any of our guys, so why not use him there? He wants to do it because he knows that guy in front of him (Zach Hocker) is a pretty good kicker, so he's come in and said 'Coach, use me. What can I do? I want to help. I want to contribute.' He's getting a chance to do that, and I thought for his first game under the lights his eyes didn't get big and he went down and tried to do everything he could."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on encouraging the team) -"I don't know if they need a bunch of encouragement right now. They know and expect more out of themselves and more out of each other than what we did. You don't have to go in there and encourage them that much. They are encouraged because any win is an encouragement. At the same time, they are a little disappointed and that is good. We are going to go to the field today and expect to get better."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on WR-Javontee Herndon's preseason camp) -"He had an OK camp. We are trying to stay with him and stay upbeat, stay positive, stay working hard. If we can continue him on that upward roll, he is going to be the player that you saw. Others have to contribute as well. Now that we see it, we're going to expect him to be like that every week."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on ULM) -"They are going to spread it out according to what we have seen. Not as much of a running team as what we saw from (Jacksonville State) last week. They will spread the field and try to throw it a little bit more. We have to sure up what we are doing in the secondary and get off and put some heat on them. They are a good football team, and they have some new bodies. We just have to be prepared for whatever it is that we are going to see."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on S-Ross Rasner) - "Good performance out of Rasner. Probably one of his best games, if not his best. I thought he played really well. He did a tremendous job on the deep ball. He was great with his eyes and did not get caught up. He was very disciplined and covered the guy he was supposed to cover, and we are expecting more out of him."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on the WRs and QB-Tyler Wilson) -"Tyler plays a tremendous part in all of it. There were some tremendous throws out there. It's almost like with Tyler we expect every throw to be picture perfect. He expects that himself as well, but he made some great throws this week."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on if the team is looking past this week toward Alabama) -"No I don't think that is the case. I think we are mature enough and I think after this last week that if we go to the field and don't concentrate on getting better we are not a very smart football team. I think they understand what we have to get done, and we are going to influence them as much as we can. We have to focus on us getting better this week, not what happens next week. I think our guys are looking forward to another game before they play Alabama."