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"It's a good challenge. Tennessee is a hot football team right now. They've won their last four football games. They're obviously a member of the SEC. They've got a lot of talented players. We've only had a brief opportunity to look at a little bit of their tape, but they've got some outstanding wide receivers that play extremely well. They've got a running back that's on the cusp of having a 1,000-yard rushing season this year. They've always had very good athletes. I've played them one time previously as an assistant coach at the University of Miami – we played in the Sugar Bowl back, I think, in 1985.
"Derek Dooley, the new football coach, has just done a terrific job installing his systems that he brought from Louisiana Tech. He's got a great pedigree. I think everybody here is certainly familiar with his father and all of the things that he's accomplished. Derek's done a great job. He's been a part of Nick Saban's staff that won a national championship at LSU. He comes from a great football background. Just watch the tapes – the two or three games that I've been able to watch, they're very fundamentally sound in all of their schemes. It should be a lot of fun."
Do you have a take on the Cam Newton situation?
"Not on camera."
Do you anticipate losing any juniors to the NFL draft?
"I don't anticipate any. We certainly hope not. Unlike last year's class, there's probably not as many that would fall into the category of somebody that would be significantly highly thought of enough to go in the first round. If you're not going to go in the first round, it really isn't a prudent and smart idea to go out early."
Is there any anger that this season could have been so much more?
"I don't think anger at all, more disappointment. We know that the guys involved – there's no hatred or bad blood towards them at all. Those were our teammates and our brothers and we don't hold any grudges whatsoever. But it is disappointing, not only for us, but for them, because they weren't allowed to play with their team."
Have any of the suspended players apologized?
"Not in a team address, because they're obviously not with the team as much anymore, but I've definitely talked to each one of the guys and they show extreme remorse for the whole situation. Not only did they let themselves down, but they feel like they let the team down."
On facing Tennessee:
"I think it's a great program. It's a SEC school and they've been dominant this year, conference-wise. So I just think it's another opportunity for us to prove we're just as good."
Is going pro in play for you?
"It's just a decision I have to think about after the bowl game... It's a blessing from God. Whatever I feel like he puts on my heart for me to do, that's where I'll go."
On lessons from the season:
"If there's one thing that this season has taught us, it's to stay calm, stay collected and keep your nose to the grindstone. There were a lot of times where I would realize that I didn't even know the score. Besides keeping up with the down and distance, we didn't really look up to see the score. We just kept our noses down, kept playing hard and hopefully things would end up good. But I think [Coach Davis] has been a person that shows that if you keep your head down and keep working, things will end up for the best. That's really been a big theme of our season."
On playing Tennessee:
"It's always good to play a team with a big name, especially in a bowl. It's basically a home game for them. So it's very exciting for us to go down there in that type of atmosphere and try to upset Tennessee."
On playing in one of the better bowl matchups of the year:
"I think we got fortunate in that aspect as well. But I also think we deserve it. We went through a lot this season as a team, and we've overcome a lot, so I think it's a benefit of going through that adversity."