"I will say caught off guard was probably an understatement," said Mike Mularkey, who has inherited the 1-6 Titans from Whisenhunt. "I don't think anybody really knew this morning what was going to take place, but it was hard for me because of my relationship with Ken.
"It's time to turn the page and I'm looking forward to this opportunity with these guys and hopefully dig us out of the hole -- including myself -- put us in and move forward from this point on."
Mularkey said that a main point of emphasis will be improving the play of the offense, which enters Week 9 ranked 31st in the NFL.
"Offensively, we know we have not really been complementing our defense as well as we did earlier in the year and we need to get back to doing that," he said. "We'll do some things differently offensively scheme-wise, more things that I'm more familiar with -- with some of the offenses that I've had. I'm not gonna change the whole offense, but we're gonna do some things philosophically different that will help us."
The news conference took a more awkward turn when a reporter asked interim CEO Steve Underwood why general manager Ruston Webster had not joined them on the podium. Underwood replied with a matter-of-fact, "I didn't ask him to."
"The decision (to fire Whisenhunt) was made by our controlling owner," continued Underwood, referring to Amy Adams Strunk. "We were informed of her decision after offering her our input."
Underwood added that Webster had ownership's full support and said the GM will be part of the search for a full-time head coach.
"I don't think there was a single straw that broke the camel's back in terms of making a change," he said. "Amy has been considering it now for several weeks. She and I have had any number of conversations about it. She was in almost daily communication with Ken and Ruston.
"Having been around the business for most of her life, I think it was something that she decided as a process, not an event."