On being in the Cotton Bowl:“We’re excited to be at the AT&T Cotton Bowl. It’s certainly a thrill for any school from the state of Texas, any players from Texas or anybody who even has a pulse and watches football because of the storied tradition of this bowl game. All right, that’s the best opening statement I’ve done in quite some time.”
On letting more players speak with the media than usual:“What they might say has really never been one of my fears.
Opening Comments:“We are excited to be here in Dallas. I’m happy to say that everyone arrived safely last night. The Cotton Bowl has had a great tradition and maybe more importantly a great reputation amongst college football programs and college football coaches. I can see why. The hospitality has been great since we’ve been here.
“We are looking forward to this week. It seems like it has been a long time since we played, because it has.
On the game: “We expected to play well. Sometimes I think you get into some passive positions when you don’t. We really put some emphasis on that. We did and the players did and we expected to play well. I’m really proud of what they got done.”
On Tennessee DB Roshaun Fellows: “One of the biggest keys was getting Roshaun Fellows healthy. Our defense played well throughout the year but getting Roshaun healthy made a big, big difference and a big impact today.
The outstanding offensive player will receive the Sanford trophy. Rick Clausen, the quarterback, congratulations to you.
For the defensive player, the McKnight trophy will go to Justin Harrell, who is defensive tackle.
Coach, if you'd like to give us your take on the game, give us some opening comments.
COACH FULMER: Obviously, very, very proud of our football team and staff.
COACH FRANCHIONE: Well, I like the way we played this year in regard to taking care of the football. And you can't help a team like Tennessee by turning it over like we did. Three of them in the first I imagine 17, 18 minutes of the game. I'm not trying to take anything away from Tennessee's effort, they're a good team, deserve to be ranked where they are.
We moved the ball in the opening round, going back down to tie it.
On Tennessee: “I’ve been around Tennessee long enough. I knew what they were going to play with. They are a very talented football team, and in my opinion we’re not where they are yet. I think we’re heading in that direction. Coach Fulmer and his staff have done a great job year after year. That’s why they have a chance to compete for an SEC championship and national championship every year.”
On the play of Texas A&M: “By no means did we play anywhere near where we can play.
“Congratulations to Dennis (Franchione) and Texas A&M on their success. Our team is very excited about playing in this football game.
On his connection to Texas A&M Defensive Coordinator Carl Torbush: “It goes back a long way. Dan Brooks is really where it gets tied in. Dan Brooks is our defensive line coach and he and Carl coached together at North Carolina. We hired Dan from that staff probably 11 years ago. Since that time, there has been a lot of things that have gone back and forth. É In the coaching profession when you play somebody, that’s your competition and that’s the way you’ve got to look at it.
On the week of preparation thus far: “It has really been good. The kids have been focused. We’ve had some very, very spirited practices. Guys have gotten after it. É We’re a high-rep organization. We do a lot of teaching on film. That has probably been the roughest part for us because the Cotton Bowl does such a great job with festivities and keeping our kids going. We’re trying to squeeze in some film work and be able to watch that in the morning.
On whether it is special to play Tennessee in a bowl game after having grown up in Knoxville: “I’m not sure I thought we would ever be playing Tennessee again after we left the University of Alabama. It’s kind of interesting because just a year ago we spent a great deal of time with the Tennessee staff talking X’s and O’s with them. People would think it would make a lot of difference, but it’s usually the guys running those X’s and O’s.
On being at the SBC Cotton Bowl: “This is the third Cotton Bowl I’ve been a part of as a coach. I came here in 1989 when we played Arkansas and then again in 2001 against Kansas State. We are excited about the weather as compared to the game against Kansas State. We are certainly excited to be here.”
On the Texas A&M Defense: “The thing that jumps out at you when you look at the stats is the pass attempts that they have had (against them).
Opening Statement: “Over the years after attending different bowl games around the country, this is absolutely the very best. As far as a host city and host individuals, they make you feel very welcome to their community. They go out of their way to make sure the team, their staff, and the support personal have a good time as well as for example the facility that we’re able to practice in today and yesterday gives us the best opportunity to prepare for a game so we appreciate very much all help and the hospitality.
Overview: “It’s great to be here finally. It’s nice to get back to work and practice. We’ve had a good time while we’ve been here a short amount of time. Today was a good workout. We practiced in full pads. We’ll relate this week primarily to a normal week of preparation. Today was kind of a bonus day. We’ve had enough breaks in our practice schedule. It was good to have this day. .. I thought we had a good, spirited workout.
“Before I get started, I want to talk about our seniors which are the best group of young men in the country. They have done phenomenal things, not only all season but they’re entire career. What they have meant to Ole Miss and our program, they have raised the bar.”
“I also want to congratulate Oklahoma State on a great game that they played and the great program they have. They’re first class in every way.