Aug. 30, 2003
TENNESSEE COACH Phillip Fulmer
"I was really glad to get this win. Fresno State gave good effort out there today. We should have knocked them out early. It's a building block at this point. We will get better in areas. I was concerned about this game. Fresno is a good and tough team.
"The kicking game worried me a bit today. The defense answered the bell. We had a young kicker that grew up in James Wilhoit and another that came out of the woodwork in the Ryan Fusco. James is going to be a good one. I think he just got a couple of those bad kicks out early.
"We ran the ball well. We have the opportunity for longer runs. We've got work to do in the passing game. They schemed us well after we started on fire.
"Casey did not play very well today. He ran the team well even though he didn't throw the ball extremely well. He did make some nice plays. You can't throw an out that late. That's what happened on the interception.
"I thought Gerald Riggs was going to have a big half before his injury. All our backs are running hard.
"We hit a play in the passing game early and that kept us moving. We should make them pay for playing the safeties playing down like they were.
"The defensive line got a good start. They took a nice step forward. We got our hands on some balls that but didn't get any interceptions. It is a nice stepping stone.
"The success on the first drive was converting on third down. I really think we have the opportunity to be a good running team. We are not running as well as we are capable of.
"I'm proud of the way Dustin Colquitt bounced back. Everyone gets hit, even a kicker.
"I though we had tight coverage and kept the pressure on. We need our young safeties and corners to come on.
"We were our own worst enemies with the two interceptions. They made us work for what we got."
Michael Munoz, OT: (on playing more physical) "We made an emphasis on that during the offseason. Everybody was on a man and (Cedric Houston) ran incredibly hard. I think today was a great example of a team win. Everybody was pulling their own weight and we really took care of our objectives."
(on moving the Fresno State defensive line) "That's one of our goals from week to week and we really don't try to underestimate an opponent before we get to them. We have to watch film and see the good things that happened during the game and take the bad so that we can go into next week and be a better football team. Fresno State is a good team. They played hard, they were out there for four quarters and they gave it their all. I think we were the better team today."
Cedric Houston, TB: "As far as my running goes, I give all the credit to my [offensive] line and (fullback) Troy Fleming. I think on a couple of runs I should have scored, but I just tried to run hard and take care of the ball. The offensive line made my job a whole lot easier. They had holes everywhere, so I just had to pick one. I feel like I'm reading holes better and running a little harder."
Kevin Simon, LB: "We really didn't blitz that much. Our front four was getting to them. Fresno State is a very capable team. We really need to focus more on getting better as a team as Tennessee than a win against Fresno State. It was good to have everyone back and out there. Having all hands on deck made us a better team. I felt good today."
Rashad Baker, CB: "I heard they came in here wanting to pass a lot. Once we shut down the run it was easier for us. One thing we wanted to do is come in and play all four quarters. That was something that was missing at times last year. I'm really proud we played together as a team."
Mondre Dickerson, DT: "We were in good shape. We ran a lot this summer. The defensive front did a pretty good job. We worked all week to prepare for this game. Sometimes when you work hard and get them in a deficit we say don't let up and put on more steam."
FRESNO STATE COACH Pat Hill
"Our kids played hard and didn't fold. This team won't fold. We had our chances and didn't get it done. We not on the same level personnel-wide with Tennessee, particularly on the road. The defense played well enough to keep us in the game. With 23:37 time of possession and 75 plays to 48, it's very hard to function.
"They made a big play at the start, ran the ball well and made the stops. We didn't get the job done up front. Tennessee controlled the line of scrimmage. We had only one of eight offensive linemen who had played in a Division I game. Jeff Grady was throwing off his heels a lot. We didn't do a good job of protecting him. Tennessee has a very good team, with a big offensive line. Their defense runs well. They will have a good football team.
"We need to get ready for Oregon State. I looked out there and saw 6-8 freshmen playing on defense. All of a sudden, we have a youth movement. We have a lot of work to do offensively. I thought Richard Marshall made a big play, when we kind of baited them into the hitch route. It avoided a shutout.
"We had one drive get to the 12 and end up at the 36. We didn't have enough offensive output. We didn't turn it over and that was one of our goals. We couldn't get the ball to our weapons. The offensive line situation affected the running and passing game equally. There weren't a lot of clear pockets. We'll probably have the same offensive line next week.
"It was hard to lose the two offensive linemen, but we have to get these guys ready. Oregon State will have a good defense and run the ball well. We showed we're not ready to play Tennessee. Our personnel wasn't up to their personnel."
CB Richard Marshall: "I feel we should have played harder. I am not happy about the outcome of the game. I know I scored but this is a team game. On the interception the receiver thought I was going to press him and I backed off and our coaches told me that if the receiver takes the inside move that he would run and out and I sat on it. He ended of running a hitch but I was right there for the throw and I picked it off."
QB Jeff Grady: "We didn't get anything going all day. They pretty much shut us down from the get go. We had opportunities and I missed the big throw on the seam route. It would have been a big play, but we missed it. They didn't do anything different defensively than we expected. We knew what they were going to do schematically and we were fine; we just didn't make the plays."
RB Rodney Davis: "We just have to get rid of the small mistakes we are making out there and get it done. Coming into this game we knew it would be packed. We knew we would come into a hostile environment and we knew we had to come out and get it done, and it just didn't happen today. They had a really good defense and it was frustrating not being able to run the ball, or let Jeff (Grady) sit back in the pocket and be able to throw. They just shut down our offense and I take my hat off to their defense."
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