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Bucs/Panthers quotebooks

By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 28, 2002



Coach Jon Gruden, on Carolina rookie defensive end Julius Peppers and the rest of the line:

"He's got an unbelievable future. So does (Kris) Jenkins, this inside tackle from Maryland. He is a load. And when you put (end Mike Rucker) in there and you have a lot of scheme issues you have to deal with, John Fox and (defensive coordinator) Jack Del Rio, they're a handful on defense."

* * *

Running back Aaron Stecker, on his recovery of the muffed punt:

"I think somebody in front of me tried to pick it up and scooped it with one hand, and I just jumped on it. By that time, everybody was pulling my helmet, kicking me. But I was on top. Nobody had their hand on it or anything."

* * *

Quarterback Shaun King, on coming off the bench for a key completion to Karl Williams:

"It shows that for all the work I do during the week, I'm going to get into the game sometime. It was good (Gruden) had the confidence in me that when I'm called upon, I'll do the job."

* * *

Safety John Lynch, on Martin Gramatica:

"I think Martin was waiting for this day. We've had problems with that unit that haven't been all his. If we can get the ball down for Martin and get it set and give him some protection, he's going to hurt some people."

* * *

Quarterback Rob Johnson, on the Panthers defense:

"On the second play of the game, I got hit harder than I've ever been hit. It was a rough game."

* * *

Johnson, on his performance:

"I wish I would've held on to the ball on the fumble. He just poked it. That was bad. But other than that, I thought I played all right."


Coach John Fox, on playing a rookie quarterback:

"We didn't add any plays or really take a lot of plays out. I don't want to say we pulled in our horns a lot with him. We utilized him a little more as a runner and used a little bit more things on the corner with some spread-out types of things."

* * *

Quarterback Randy Fasani, on Nate Webster's third-quarter hit:

"For a second there, I was seeing black and sparkles and didn't feel too good. Then I got my sight back and just jumped up. You've got to be tough. I felt like I just wanted to stay in. I have to stay in. I'm the starting quarterback."

* * *

Rucker, on the loss:

"It's just hard to understand what happened out there. That fourth quarter is a beast, and we've got to get it back."

* * *

Rucker, on the Bucs' field goals:

"It doesn't matter how good an offense you have. We're responsible for the points on the board. We've got to be tough enough as a defense to push them out of field goal range. We just didn't get it done in the fourth quarter."

* * *

Fasani, on dealing with the pass rush:

"I wasn't flustered. I prepared myself. I think I can be a good quarterback in the NFL. I'm tough. They kept talking a lot of trash, trying to beat me down. That is not going to work. But just being tough is not going to win the game for you. You've got to make good decisions and play well."

* * *

Fox, on what made the difference:

"Our margin of error is not great enough that we can afford to make one mistake. That fumbled punt proved to be costly and the difference of winning and losing for our team."

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