On the Missouri program: “In the old Big Eight, when I was at Oklahoma State, we always thought that the University of Missouri was the golden jewel.
On Arkansas TB Darren McFadden: “He’s a physical runner. He’s got great speed and great vision. He’s a kid that has the ability to hit a crease, but he’s also good at powering over you, too.”
On preparing for Arkansas with or without McFadden: “We expect to see the whole group there. It’s going to be a great challenge for us. Offensively, they do a lot of things, and we expect him (McFadden) to play.
On his offensive philosophy: “Football is the acquisition of talent. Acquiring talent is the way you win football games. Now, you’ve got to coach them after you get them there. But if the spread offense were the answer, North Texas wouldn’t be where they are right now. … It’s not offenses. It’s those players. What was recruited to Arkansas was a great covey of running backs. You have three guys who are going to be drafted, two of them probably in the first round.
On matching up against Arkansas’s man-to-man coverage: “It’s going to be a challenge for our receivers to get open. We’ve faced man coverage a little bit this year and had some success, but they certainly bring a different level of athletes.”
On covering TE Martin Rucker with a cornerback: “You put a cornerback on him, and he’s still 6-foot-6. We’ll see. From a physical standpoint, you would think he would have an advantage against a smaller guy on him.
On moving from the administration to become interim defensive coordinator for the Cotton Bowl: “I’ve had to study and stay up at night. I feel like a kid back in college trying to do my homework. It has gone well. It helped having coached a year earlier. The reason it has been an easy transition is because the kids have a good attitude and have worked hard. When they do that, you can put up with the results.”
On the problems presented by the Missouri offense: “The biggest problem they present is that they’re different.
HEAD COACH GARY PINKEL
Opening Statement: “We arrived yesterday (Wednesday) as you well know. We had some plane issues and showed up about three hours late. We call that ‘distraction control,’ but a week before the game I wouldn’t really worry about that. We’re here, we’ve arrived and we’re excited about being here. We’re excited about playing in the Cotton Bowl.”
“Our schedule will be to practice mostly in the mornings; get up and have meetings – focus meetings, kick meetings, position meetings – and then come out and have a real good practice.
Opening comments: “It is an honor and a privilege to be here. The Cotton Bowl is a tremendous venue for any college football team in America. It is a first-class bowl. … These people are first class in everything they do. We just really are very, very honored to be here to represent the SEC and the University of Arkansas.
“It has been a long journey this year. It’s documented about the University of Arkansas. … It has been a turbulent year to say the least.
On the Nebraska offense: “They’re an outstanding offense. … They’re averaging over 30 points a game, and we hold them to 14. Our kids played hard. On the (Nebraska) touchdown pass, that was my fault. I missed their personnel going into the game. There was a little confusion, and we just didn’t get lined up. They put together just one other drive. They hit a draw on us for 25 yards. … It was something we had worked on.
THE MODERATOR: Coach your thoughts on the game, please.
COACH TUBERVILLE: First, I would like to say thanks to the Cotton Bowl and AT&T. What a great week we all had. It's been wonderful. Nebraska, what an excellent football team. We were lucky to be in the game after the first half. And that's typical of Auburn. Win and win ugly. And we did that today. But we found away. And that's how this team's done it all year long.
COACH CALLAHAN: We're disappointed in this game today, but we have got to give credit to Auburn. They were tremendous offensively and defensively. They stiffened up at the crucial time to shut us down, so you’ve got to credit their defense. I thought that of all the teams that we played this year, that was the fastest defense with the most speed we have seen.
On the fake punt: “They are very confident in their return game and they go safe block. And so you start getting up toward midfield and they start going safe, especially with our record of running trick plays. So we knew we had to do it somewhere deep in our own end, and it’s a gamble and we ended up losing on that deal. It happens”
How tough is it to overcome when you give them a 9-yard touchdown and a 15-yard touchdown? “It’s really tough.
Opening comments: “Our players have had a great time. We took a little bit different approach this year on how we handled our preparations. Over the years, we normally have had all of our game plan put in before we get to the bowl site. We thought this year we would do it a little bit differently. We had about half of it put in by the time we left Auburn about a week and a half ago. The beginning of this week, we started putting in the other half.
Would it be your dream for Auburn to run right at you? “Auburn is a very good football team. They have many weapons. We’re just going to try to do our best job we can to defend them.”
How do you prepare for playing against a healthy Kenny Irons and Brandon Cox? “I knew they had their nicks. This time of year almost every team in college football has their nicks and injuries. We’ve gone through the same things throughout the season.
Opening comments: “After 12 games, this is as healthy as this offense has been. We’ve struggled and battled with some bumps and bruises. But we’re feeling pretty good. And we’re practicing better than we’ve practiced in a long time simply because we’ve played with the guys that we played in the first game against Washington State. Nebraska will obviously offer a formidable opponent in that they are a very technique-sound team.