Tennessee Players UAB Postgame Quotes

Freshman LB Henry To’o To’o

On how much forcing turnovers has been emphasized in practice:

Vols LB Henry To’oto’o / Credit: 99.1 The Sports Animal

“Takeaways (are) huge. The coaches push us every week to try to get a ball out, get an interception, or just make something happen during practice. So, to be able to see it happen on the field was great”

On what the defensive game plan was:

“Just come out and be aggressive. Coach Pruitt and the entire coaching staff kind of just told us throughout the week that the most aggressive team is going to win. That’s how we tried to come out today and play.”

On how Derrick Ansley helps his players within a game and their relationship with each other:

“Coach Ansley, he’s a man. The way he comes up with schemes and stuff like that, and just the entire coaching staff, they all come together as one to be able to make us play how we play.”

On how the earlier adversity has helped the defense improve:

“It was big. It was a big piece. We didn’t like the results on our beginning of the season. Nobody likes losing, but it brought us together. It brought us to kind of tell each other that we don’t want that to happen again. We’re making steps and that’s a big part.”

 

Freshman RB Eric Gray

On waiting for an opportunity to impact the offense:

“It’s really about just trusting the process. Tim (Jordan) and Ty (Chandler) are great backs and I learn a lot from them, so being in practice with them, seeing them throughout the games, being able to watch film with them, they’ve really taught me a lot, as a freshman.”

On Jarrett Guarantano playing six days after having surgery on his hand:

“It just shows how tough he is, to come back from that. I didn’t think he was going to play, and he came in there and did what he did today, it just shows you how tough of a player he is and the type of personality he has.”

On how the team is focused on becoming bowl eligible:

“We kind of just want to stay one step ahead and focus on the next game, next week. But we are definitely itching to go to it, for sure.”

 

Redshirt Senior OL Brandon Kennedy

On the improvement the team has made in the past few weeks:

“I think the one thing that’s helped us the most is, obviously the wins, but also just being able to execute when needed. I feel like going out and being able to score on particular drives, that’s what really helped us and getting that juice has helped us win. I feel like that’s what’s been helping us.”

On what it was like to see Bryce Thompson snag three interceptions in the first half:

“It’s always great to see the defense get stops and get interceptions. It really gives us juice, as an offense, to go out there and change the field (position) and have a sudden change. We just want to capitalize off of it.”

On how the team is focused on becoming bowl eligible:

“Most definitely, we just have to focus on one game at a time, because without winning one game, you can’t make it to the next. We just focus on next week and we’ll get there, eventually.”

 

Sophomore CB Bryce Thompson

On his three interceptions:

“Obviously it was perfect play calling. The first one I was in the flats and my man went vertical to the safety so I went to help out the linebacker over top. The quarterback threw it right to me and that was all she wrote for them.”

On his time away from the team and how Coach Pruitt handled the situation:

“I feel like Coach Pruitt handled it the best he could. At times those three games away, just not being around my team for three weeks it did hurt, but it was definitely a learning lesson and I’m just glad to be back on the team with my family honestly. I feel like with anybody they would be thankful for having this opportunity right here and that’s what I am. I’m extremely grateful and I couldn’t thank the University of Tennessee and Coach Pruitt enough.”

On where he is physically compared to last year:

“Definitely I’m feeling more confident. I like the way our defense is playing, they’re making it extremely easy for me to come back because everybody else is playing so well, so they can pick up from our mistakes and I have no doubt in them at all.”

 

Junior OL Trey Smith

On the Team’s confidence level:

“Everyone loves winning. A win is a hard fight and hard earned. I would say it’s easier I think, the mentality always stays the same; we’re going go to work, we’re going to prepare each week on our opponent, focus on them, go to work and do what we have to do to be successful.”

 On the progression of Darel Middleton:

“He’s a hard worker, really a great guy. He’s blessed with a lot of physical attributes, obviously his immense size and stuff like that, but a hard worker and working his tail off everyday. I’ve seen him play better and he’s playing his butt off.”

 

Redshirt Junior QB Jarrett Guarantano

On the challenges he faced getting ready to play with his hand injury:

“There was a lot honestly, having surgery Sunday then trying to get my hand back to normal. There was a lot done on it and thankfully Geronimo and the staff really got me right and I was able to play tonight with a cast on, which was able to get the job done for tonight so I was proud of it.”

On his confidence level:

“I was always told to have unwavering confidence and I think throughout the season obviously there were peaks and valleys and at this point I’m back to normal and I’m feeling really good about the guys are playing around me and how I’m playing right now. Obviously, there’s a lot of things to fix and a lot of room to get better but my confidence is there and I think the team’s confidence is there as well.”

On Coach Pruitt’s toughness:

“Coach Pruitt and I have a good relationship. Even today I made a stupid mistake in the red zone and I was throwing off my back foot trying to avoid pressure and it was stupid, and he got on me and rightfully so. I expect him to coach me hard as I want him to, and it’s not a love-hate thing its always love with him and me.”

-UT Athletics

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