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UCLA-Tennessee -- Postgame Quotes
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  09/01/2008

Sept. 1, 2008

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UCLA Head Coach Rick Neuheisel

opening statement
"I am unbelievably grateful to a lot of people for the opportunity to be here. A lot of people had to stick their necks out for me to get this chance - mainly Dan Guerrero and Chancellor Block. I'm grateful to the players for buying into the culture. They've gone through long and physical practices, dealing with some injuries, believing that with our depth we could come out and play well. I'm very grateful to our coaching staff for buying into the positive deal.

"Norm [Chow] did a masterful job of calming Kevin [Craft] down at halftime and calling a brilliant clock drive. DeWayne [Walker] did a great job - his defense kept us in the game. There was a turning point in the third quarter where our offense started to make some yards. We didn't go into the tank with the interception at the end of the first half. It's the fourth interception for the quarterback, and they all said `We've got your back.' It's a tribute to the kids, to the coaches, to everybody. It was a real thrill to be back on the sideline. We've got a lot of things to fix, but for an opening act it was a lot of fun."

on the quarterback situation
"Norm did most of the talking. I told him [Kevin Craft] that I threw four interceptions when I started out, too. And Terry Donahue waited until the third game to pull me. So I was going to be patient. He stayed in the present. The kids rallied around him and believed in him. You could see him grow in the second half."

on the team's defense
"DeWayne's defense kept us in the game. The seven points they had to make it 14-7 was an interception for a score. We came into the game with an idea of how to manage field position. I told him to be a little more conservative on their end of the field. I thought it worked to a T. It was a field position game. I told them at halftime, get it to the fourth quarter. And it was 14-10 by then, and that's all you could ask for."

on the team not getting discouraged
"The game is going to have huge momentum swings. It just does. There is so much passion with college football, not that there isn't in the NFL - a great game played by unbelievable athletes. But it doesn't have the same with everything hinging on every play. You have to weather the storm. You never know when you're winning and when you're losing. You don't hope for things. You just keep playing. I was really impressed how they did it."

on Kevin Craft
"He was gratified by the support his teammates were giving him. Football for a quarterback is a rhythm thing. When the ball feels good in your hands, you can do anything. He stayed with it. He made a throw to Dominique Johnson in the third quarter about 140 miles per hour from me to you, and Dominique caught it anyway. He started to play, and then I thought Norm [Chow] did a great job keeping within Kevin's comfort zone. I thought Tennessee got tired. I believed all along that he had it in him. Obviously the proof is in the pudding. I had no doubts in my mind that this was there. He's a coach's kid and wants to do well. He rolls with it. He did himself proud tonight in that second half. That's hard to do, coming back like that."

Tennessee Head Coach Phillip Fulmer

opening statement
"First off, I'd like to congratulate Coach Neuheisel and UCLA on a good win today. We made enough mistakes tonight to lose three, four or five football games. Whether it was offensively, defensively or the kicking game...you can choose any one of them. They are things that are fixable. I don't think we found any kind of rhythm on offense during the course of the evening. You have to give UCLA a lot of that credit. They did a good job getting on the pressure."

on kicker Daniel Lincoln
"It did not come down to one kick. You can't put this on Daniel Lincoln. Those long field goals earlier in the game - I don't expect him to make a large percentage of those. We just need to go back to work and see what we need to do to get better."

on UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft
"The kid is a coach's son...a very talented young man. He throws the ball extremely well. He threw four picks in the first half, but it didn't seem to faze him. I don't think it was rocket science. He just executed very well in the second half."


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