Quotes provided by UA Sports Information.
Head Coach John L. Smith (opening statement) -"It's a great day to be alive. Good day. I want to start by complementing our football team again. The players came out and did a great job preparing last week. They took the game plan, everything that we did, their emotions, their excitement that they practiced with and took it to the game field and had far fewer mistakes than we had had. Those guys deserve a tremendous pat on the back. Now we have to build on that. They have to continue to do that this week. That's what we are going to attempt to get done. We came out last night and went through the video, got corrections made and ran through them a bit. Now we have to come out tomorrow and do a great job preparing for Kentucky. It's a lot to build on, but our coaches did a great job last week. I want to complement them on their preparation and their ability to keep the players excited and motivated. It's just a credit to the players and the coaches for getting it done and let's continue on. We are excited to be at home again back in front of our crowd. We're very, very excited about that. It was good to travel a little bit because we have a few more"
Head Coach John L. Smith (on LB-Alonzo Highsmith) -"Alonzo is going to have to be operated on today. I think they do that this afternoon, and that is unfortunate. We can't afford any injuries particularly at that spot. With what has taken place we are going to have to bump some buys around to fill that void. When you look at it, you are without your two starters in Tank (Wright) and Highsmith. Now what we have to do is move some guys in, Jarrett Lake, Matt Marshall and the two freshmen (Otha Peters and A.J. Turner) will see time. It will probably be a little bit of filling the void by committee. All of them are going to have to get ready to go and be ready to practice and be ready to play hard."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on if the staff has a timeline for LB-Alonzo Highsmith's return) -"We do not. To my knowledge he would be done for the year."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on losing LB-Alonzo Highsmith) -"It's a big blow because you are without your two middle linebackers that you were hoping to start the season with and continue on with. It's just something that we have to do and I think our football team realizes that. We've had to adjust for other guys missing time. Whoever is there has to step in and make plays and that's what we've tried to tell them over and over again, not only last week. 'Whoever is in this room can make plays or they wouldn't be sitting here. Go to the field and do it.' We are going to keep saying that and we are going to do it. Whoever is out there is going to have to go to the field and play. I tried to tell the freshmen, 'You're through being freshmen. That's over and your learning curve is no excuse.' We have no excuses. We can't make mistakes. We go to the field, we play hard and we make plays."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on an opportunity to string together victories) -"Definitely. We haven't gone into a game that we didn't feel like we had the opportunity to win. That's the way it is this week as well. Hopefully, you get your bye week and it's a situation where (Tenarius Wright) could be back and ready to go, (Chris) Gragg could be back and ready to go. You've got another week to put in time into guys knowing a position because of the bumps we are going to have to make this week. We have to go to the field and get really well prepared for this game, this week. Go to the field, get a win and then onto the bye week."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on if he has been part of a team with this many injuries) -"Not that comes to recent memory. You always know there is going to be one, maybe two. We've had some serious ones this year. The season-ending ones are the ones that just take the wind out of you. You don't want to ever see that for one of those young men who put in so much time and effort to get to where he is and then not be able to play the year."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on showing the team video of good plays this season) -"Our purpose in doing that was to let them know that everyone can make plays. 'You wouldn't be sitting in this room if we didn't believe you could make plays and that you're a great football player.' We all have to believe that, understand that, go do that. Take what you do on the practice field to the game field and go make plays. That was the purpose. For them to understand and I think they do understand. It's just seeing it again and saying 'Yes, that's me. I did that. I've got to go do that again.' It was good."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on DE-Trey Flowers being named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week) -"Congratulations to Trey. What a great thing it is being selected the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week. He deserves it. It was great to see him go home and smile and have such a great a day. It's great for him to do that. That was exciting. We give different awards, special teams, offense defense and our 'Guy that finishes the game' was the defense. So we gave that award to the entire defense. They deserved it. They played hard. They battled the entire game and gave us turnovers. I thought it was much better than it had been as far as we talk about holding the rope a lot. The offense holds the rope for the defense and vice versa. We did it more as a team. When the offense sputtered, the defense came in and did a great job. You have to give those guys a lot of credit. We try to pat them on the back as much as we can, but let them know that tomorrow we give them a kick in the tail and get better and go to the field."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on LB-Terrell Williams) -"Terrell Williams is good, and he is accepting that he's been placed in that role now where he has to be the leader and the guy that everybody looks to. I was talking to him last night, 'You really have to start being more vocal because you have all these young guys around you, so start being more vocal. Get everybody lined up. That's part of your responsibility now. It's not just lining yourself up right. It's making sure you can get everyone else lined up right as well.' Hopefully you are putting a little pressure on him as well."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on the freshmen on defense) -"It's the best class since I have been here in the last four years. This year's class overall, not only just defense. Offensively it's the best class. They are doing well. (Deatrich) Wise is a guy we've spent a lot of hours talking about. Do we redshirt him or do we not? He is good enough to play, as is (JaMichael) Winston. He is more suited for the run, Wise is more suited for the pass. They are both going to be outstanding players. That is just an example of two. Then you have the linebackers that are going to play, (Darius) Philon is going to be a good player, (Defonta) Lowe is going to be a good player. You see the number of receivers. We've been traveling (DeArthur) Cowan. There's a freshman that has a role. You still may see him play that role this year. It's really the best class since I've been here."
Head Coach John L. Smith (on establishing the run game) -"It's always been something every week that we try and work on and get done. The good thing is that we have some depth there. Jonathan Williams has been getting better every week. We were hoping to get Dennis (Johnson) some more rushes. When he is breaking tackles and doing what he can do, Dennis is having a good day. We wanted to continue with that. Hopefully Knile (Davis) will be back and ready to go this week."