- Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizik
"I just feel really blessed to be around such an unbelievable group of young men, and this football team amazes me in different ways every week. That was an extremely good football team tonight, and I guess it was another way that we found how to win a game. I think it just goes in line with us finding a different way every week, but that again was such a team thing. It is unbelievable. Our special teams, that may be one of the best special teams all-around, coverage units, return units. Coach
(Jay) Boulware has done a fantastic job with our special teams, with field position. Offensively, I think we punted maybe twice tonight. They were spectacular. Defensively, we struggled for a while there against what is a very, very potent good offense. But, the thing that stands out to me the most is that at the end of the game we were able to get three turnovers to change the game. What that says in my opinion is that our football team is just resilient. Our defense is resilient. We know we didn*t play well all night, and there is probably numerous reasons of why. We will see that tomorrow on film, but when it was the fourth quarter and when we had to make plays and when we had to get turnovers, we got three. For all of the games that we didn*t do well as a team, we beat an extremely good football team tonight. That*s the bottom line. Again, my hat*s off to all of our players and our coaches. They made some great adjustments in there and players executed to the best of their ability, and we were able to win the game. Again, I couldn*t be more proud of this Auburn Family. Our fans tonight were off the charts spectacular as usual, and they deserve a lot of credit, too."
- Is there something that you can see that makes this team take it to another level in the fourth quarter?
"We just believe in the fourth quarter, the importance of that fourth quarter and how much time we*ve put in and trained and just emphasized the importance of winning the fourth quarter. We emphasize it daily, weekly. Our team gets together at the end of every third quarter, and basically the mantra is that if we are not ahead, we are going to win it and come ahead and get ahead, and that if we are ahead, we are going to keep the lead. That is pretty much it in a nutshell. They get together and they sprint down the field right now and the message is that we are going to have energy in the fourth quarter, and we expect to win those games, and I think we*ve found different ways to do that all year."
- Is there anybody in America playing football better than #2 (Cam Newton)?
"I don't have the opportunity to watch everybody in America, but I can tell you this: Number 2 is one spectacular football player, and I am not one to go out on a limb, but everybody in the world sees it. It*s not like I*m telling anybody anything new. He is a competitor. He wants the ball. He is humble. He keeps working, and he gives us a chance to win every week, and the level of play from our players around him needs to get elevated from every position in every spot. He just brings a dynamic to our team that I think if it will continue to get better can be special, but he has been playing and like I said, I haven't seen everybody, but he has to be playing as good as the best ones."
- When Tyler Wilson comes in for Ryan Mallett, does that change anything offensively with what they do or is it just a different trigger on the same gun?
I have to give him a lot of credit. It is the same idea, the same offense. He made some incredible throws. We didn*t play some of the coverages very well. Some of it was their receivers went up and just played better than our secondary. He put some of the throws * they ran the wheel route on a linebacker there for a long ball. He put it in the only place that you can put it. The double pass, he put it in the only place that you can put it. I thought he played very well.*
- Did you talk specifically about kickoff coverage after last week*s game?
"That team right there is filled with a bunch of freshmen, and they understand that their role this year on this football team because we were very poor at it last year, is to gain us field position. It is that simple. You have a bunch of guys who have really bought into that role, but if you look real closely right now, you are going to see guys that want to be on it. You are going to see Darvin Adams covering kickoffs. You are going to see Eric Smith covering kickoffs. Some of our older guys mixed in with some of the younger guys, they understand the importance of field position wins games, especially when you are playing very potent offenses, and I thought they were outstanding today."
- On Auburn' defense and its ability to flip the switch when they need to all season long
"We try not to let how we play be based on the circumstances around us. You can be playing very poorly, and you can get beat on this, and they can have a couple of 70 and 80 yard drives, but if you let that beat you twice then you are going to have a problem. We always talk about not letting something beat you twice so they just kept playing. We just felt like if we kept playing, kept playing and just keep chopping wood, something eventually has to happen good. Again, I think three turnovers in the fourth quarter was huge."
- On Auburn not throwing a pass in the third quarter and after they took the lead, it looked like you really turned up the tempo on offense. Does the fact that they took the lead change your approach there?
"Not really. Everything we do offensively is going to be based on what we think they*re giving us. It depends on what coverages they are in secondary-wise for wanting to throw the ball. It depends on do we feel like we have an advantage on the offensive line because their defensive line is worn down. We felt like at some points in the game we speeded it up because they were. We felt in some points in the game we didn*t need to do that, and we do other things because the secondary was giving us that. I don*t think there is any magic to it. We just try to do what we think is the best opportunity for us to move the ball run or throw."
- On Auburn's first blocked punt in a while
"Just a great job again by Coach Boulware scheming up the punt for the week. We have kind of gone after a couple lately. We felt like we were getting close. We work that every day. We felt like we could get one, and it was great to actually see them go in there and get their hands on one. Again, it is the overall special teams. It is the blocked punt. It is the kickoff return. It is the kickoff coverage. I just thought all the way around they were really good."
- Does the fact that you had to overcome mistakes again to win the game help you keep these guys grounded and not feeling too good about themselves?
"I don't think that is their nature. I think that their nature is more to be humble and every guy day by day has an opportunity to make himself better. I don*t worry about that, but certainly when you look at the film and see the mistakes that we made, you couldn*t be that way. We will go back to work tomorrow."
- As a defensive coach, can you imagine what it would be like to try to scheme against Cam Newton?
"I would think it would be difficult. I think he brings so much to the table because he is not one dimensional. Let's put it that way. He throws a really, really nice ball. He makes really good decisions. He usually doesn't make the same mistake twice usually. Then we all know what he can do with his legs. He is a special guy."
- How much of an emotional lift was the fumble return for a touchdown at a point where nobody was really stopping anybody?
"It was great. Again, when that kind of game is going back and forth and everyone is moving the ball and people are having a hard time slowing everybody down, you are looking for that one momentum swing, in our case, on the defense because we were struggling. It seemed right after that, that gave them a little more oomph and a little more confidence, and then of course, we went down and had a turnover the very next series as well. Again, I am just really proud of how they finished."
- How hard was it for the guys not to get down when Aairon Savage got hurt after all that he has been through?
"I can't say enough about that young man. I don't know what the final prognosis is of the whole deal. We will know more tomorrow, but it breaks my heart. When I went out on the field and he is laying there and he is crying and he has tears in his eyes, that hurts me. This guy has done everything we*ve asked him to do to come back and be a football player at Auburn because he loves Auburn and he loves football, and that hurts."
- On being 9-of-9 in red zone opportunities and the importance of being able to execute
"I think it is probably one of the most important things that an offense can do. Going 9-for-9 down there is pretty special. It is hard to do. I think our guys have a lot of confidence down there. I think Coach (Gus) Malzahn has great gameplans week to week, and they are all different. When we get to those different landmarks on the field, and I think we have confidence when we go down there we can score."
Auburn Player Quotes
Onterio McCalebb, RB
- On kickoff return to the Arkansas one-yard-line
"The coaches came up with the perfect blocking scheme. I saw the hole and I was able to make a long run."
- On his second-quarter touchdown run
"It was awesome. Coach called the play and my blockers lined up and blocked. It was wide open and an easy walk in."
- On Auburn's rushing performance
"It was personal. We all had a lot of downplaying before the game people saying we were going to lose. A lot of people were predicting us to lose, but we just had to go out there and make a statement."
Demond Washington, DB
- On his 122 return yards
"That was not all me. The 10 guys in front of me did an awesome job tonight coming out and blocking. Onterio McCalebb opened some lanes anybody could run through."
- On his defensive performance
"I feel like I played well. We came out with a victory. We all played together when the times got tough tonight. We all played hard and stuck together as a team."
- On preparing for LSU
"We will come in tomorrow and do the same things we did this week. LSU is a tough team. Any SEC game will be tough. We are going to go back and look at the film and correct our mistakes. All we can do until next Saturday is go out there and work hard."
Kodi Burns, WR
- On personal performance
"I feel like I did alright. I had two pretty good catches and blocked well on the perimeter. We stuck together as a team and got the win. We pretty much scored whenever we needed to, even when we shot ourselves in the foot. Overall, I think we played pretty well."
- On LSU preparations
"We need to work on eliminating stupid penalties. Every time we get in the redzone, we need to get six instead of kicking field goals. We need to start scoring more points when we get in the red zone."
Josh Bynes, LB
- On Arkansas second-string quarterback Tyler Wilson*
"He did a great job coming in for (Ryan) Mallett. That's a hard quarterback to replace. Towards the end of the game, as a defense, we figured out what was going on and came up with some big turnovers."
- On his first interception of the night
"After I made the catch, I was looking for a cutback down the sideline but couldn*t find one. I like to hit people instead of getting hit."
- On the week ahead
"Our offense is tremendous. It is incredible to watch sometimes, especially with Cam back there. The LSU game is going to be a great one. They are going to bring their defense and we will have to do the same. It is going to be a dogfight."
Mario Fannin, RB
- On the offense getting 330 rushing yards
"We are getting better every week and we are finding ways to get things done. We work hard every day and that's why we have a great offense. We executed our plays well and we trusted our teammates."
- On another comeback win
"We just pulled together. Whether we win or if we lose, we are a family. We lean on each other, and we have faith in each other. It works out for us."
- On putting up 65 points
"Everybody did their assignments. The offensive line did a great job blocking, and Cam did a great job of operating the offense. We were running the ball downhill, so everything worked out for us."
Cameron Newton, QB
- On his performance
"It was amazing. We went out there and played as a team. The offensive line was the key. Running behind them, it just wasn't me. The whole running back core, all of them had an excellent game. So, it just wasn*t me running the football, the glory goes to the whole offensive line."
- On the comeback in the fourth quarter
"We are very resilient and we will refuse to lose."
Nick Fairley, DL
- On the defense's performance
"As a defense, out there on the field, we always want to be consistent. We are always looking to get a three-and-out. As long as we go out there and don*t let them score, we did our job and tonight we did that. Our defense may bend, but it won*t break."
- On adjustments made in the fourth quarter
"I'm not sure if we made any adjustments, we just went out there and settled down. By the fourth quarter, we went out there and said, "Let's go." The offense put up enough points for us to win. We just had to go out there and stop them, and we did that."
- On another comeback win
"This team has a huge heart. When we are together no one can stop us because we play together and we played together..."
Mike Blanc, DL
- On the defensive performance
"It wasn't one of our best performances, but we will take it because we came away with the win. In the second half, specifically in the fourth quarter, we did a good job creating turnovers. It wasn*t a perfect game, but we went out there and helped the offense out."
- On adjustments made in the fourth quarter*
"We knew we had to raise the level of intensity. We knew that starting in the fourth quarter we had a whole new game. We went out there and got after it and hustled and hustled and tried to get turnovers."
- On the fourth quarter comeback
"We're not going to break, we practice hard. We prepare hard during the week, so when it*s Saturday on game day it shows on the field."
Zac Etheridge, S
- On the game
"Defensively, we have miles of work to do. It is a win and I am excited. The offense did a great job putting up 65 points. So you have to give it to them."
- On fumble recovery for a touchdown
"I saw Daren Bates and Mike Blanc tackle a guy and I saw the ball pop out, so I just picked it up and ran. My hat goes off to the guys that smothered the ball and made the play."