Head coach Gary Pinkel
Opening statement
“The non-conference schedule is over and we are starting league play. We are excited about that opportunity and preparing like we do every Monday with our staff. Game planning. Players, except the ones for media, have the day off. Most of them start watching video and getting that stuff done and get caught up with school and such. Congratulations to Michael Sam for the SEC honors for defensive lineman of the week. That’s the third time we had it this season. He really played well and he was all over the field. I’m excited to see him play at that level. We are playing Vanderbilt now, obviously at their place. Coach Franklin has done a great with job with that football program. He is really a heck of a football coach. They are a really disciplined defensive football team. They had Ole Miss and they had a chance to win. They were going to win it with a minute and half left in the football game. Ole Miss is a really good football team. They came back in the South Carolina game and had a chance to win that. They are really doing well. They’ve got a good football team. Very impressed with them. On offense, their quarterback is very talented, very mobile. He runs around and makes plays, he extends the play and does some great things there. Obviously, they have one of the best wide receivers in the country. They will be a great challenge for us and we are excited about getting to compete and get this game won.”

On the team’s depth at running back and splitting the carries between the group…
“They, all three, are competing, and the great thing is that they are all friends too. They are all starters. We knew about Henry Josey, and what he will do and he is back. He is looking better each game. Murphy has done some great things. Russell Hansbrough is the guy I talked about during camp last spring, and you see this sophomore this a very talented guy. Like I said before, they are different in a few ways but alike in a lot of ways. It is a competition, but they are good friends. They all want the ball all of the time. It is a good situation that we have.”

On Andrew Wilson’s impact on the defense…
“He is a captain, and he is a very dedicated team guy. He is one of those guys that walked in like that. You did not have to prove anything to him. He is going to be part of team. He goes by how they do things around here and this is what we are going to live by. He has that kind of attitude. He has always been very physical and a very explosive hitter. He just strikes you. That is kind of what we have known him for and found out when he was younger that we could see him doing that. We had him on a bunch of kicking units and we still have him on some now. He gets so many big hits and really physical tackles during games. He obviously just has matured and is doing a lot of good things. I think it is a little bit of him missing half of a football game, and it is not like he needed this, but once you take away something that you love and you are sitting in a locker room watching it, all of the sudden every single play is like the most important play I ever played. I might be speaking offline, but knowing him and his competitiveness, I’m sure that had a lot to do with it.“

On the playmaking ability of the defensive line…
“I think we are doing some good things up front. That is where it starts is at our line of scrimmage, for both sides of the ball. That allows you to play on offense and defense. I think we are coming along. Obviously, the tests are going to get bigger here. We understand that and physicality of the plays. I am pleased with the players thus far, their work ethic and the tackle position. Marvin Foster really played well in there too. Here is a senior that has been hurt the whole time he has been here. He has been staying healthy and his leadership has been really outstanding and it is really nice to see that. Him making contributions since Matt Hoch is out of there and the team really needs him and it is neat to see that.“

On his feelings towards entering SEC competition…
“They are all big tests. It is the next big test. The next one is bigger and bigger. I think we will see overall from our non-conference schedule to our conference schedule, there is no question. The competition is tougher and more competitive and that is good.”

Sophomore Offensive Lineman – Evan Boehm

On the bus rides to the stadium before games…
“During that bus ride you get to focus on a lot of different things. I think that will be very helpful for us. Sometimes you can get antsy and anxious, but you just need to sit back and relax until you get to the stadium. When you get there, then you know it’s time to roll. It is very exciting.”

On the differences in mindset between non-conference and conference play…
“Honestly, the coaches have done a great job of saying that we are going to continue to play and practice like we have all year. We didn’t take it easy or practice easier because it was a non-conference game. We went out there, and practiced just like as if we were in Alabama, Florida or Tennessee. That is what has really helped us out a lot here. Coach Henson and Coach Walker and the rest of the offensive coaches have kept on us that we need to practice to get better each and every day.”

Senior Cornerback – E.J. Gaines

On trying to prove something at the upcoming Vanderbilt game…
“Definitely. I think it proves that we can win within the conference, and also be successful on the road. Winning on the road is something that great football teams have to do, and everybody obviously has to play away games. Starting off with a road conference game is going to be pretty exciting.”

Senior Quarterback – James Franklin

On SEC play being a bump in competition, in comparison to non-conference play…
“It is just like every other game. We are going to prepare the best we can, for any opponent we face. We aren’t going to let it get to our heads, and psych us out or anything like that. Just prepare as best we can.”


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