Opening statement… "Good afternoon everybody. I appreciate you being here. Another
great stadium we are going to play in this weekend. Mark (Richt) has
done a great job with the program at Georgia. They are obviously one of
the great teams in the nation with a bunch of great
players, and great athletes that play well. We understand that they are
probably one of the best teams we will play all year. We are excited
about the opportunity to play them. Our football team is certainly
working very hard for this weekend. We are in our
Monday preparation stages as we speak. We are excited about playing at
Georgia, and we will need every single day to prepare."
On the team's preparation for Georgia this weekend… "It is obvious that we are playing a great team on Saturday. We
played them last year and they were a great team a year ago, as well. It
is an excellent opportunity, and we are preparing as much as possible.
On defensive lineman Michael Sam's development throughout the years…
"I think right now he is not only playing steady, but he is playing at a
very high level. That is the difference now. I think he has had three
sacks in back-to-back games, which is very difficult to do. It doesn't
matter who you are playing against. It is kind
of interesting how kids mature and then all of a sudden change, and go
to a different level. He is playing at that different level right now.
He is a very good athlete, who runs well and is very athletic. I think
he is doing so well because of his energy level.
He is playing at a different level than he has ever accomplished before.
I could not be more pleased with his progress. It helps the whole team
and makes the defense play harder."
On Sam's individual effort this past week at Vanderbilt… "I think on his last sack Saturday, he ran the quarterback down and
drove him to the ground. It is just great to see him out there. He is a
great athlete. His playing experience over the years and high-level
energy has helped him. He has played consistently
throughout, and that is a really good thing."
On the depth and competition within the defensive line… "I think what happens is that it gives you the opportunity to stay
fresh. That is the most important thing. When those guys get tired, they
want a break at times, but certainly they would also like to get back
in there. We try to get our top guys back
in there on third downs, but it is also dependent on the field position
and other factors. We are playing quite a few players, as you know, and
they been really doing a good job."
On quarterback James Franklin's confidence and performance this season… "James is playing pretty well. This will be another test for him.
James' performance does not surprise me right now. His leadership is
great, and he is kind of what I thought he would be. There are people
around him that can make plays. If you look back
on the quarterbacks we have had, we also had great players able to make
plays around them. The offensive line gives you the chance for it to
happen, and gives him a chance to distribute the football. He is doing
an excellent job. We are very happy and pleased
with him in his playing and leadership."
On coach Andy Hill's influence on Franklin this season… "I think Andy has done a great job, and he took over for a
quarterback coach that was one of the best in the country last year
(Coach David Yost). He is just doing an exceptional job. I am very
pleased with him. The whole group is working very well together.
I told Andy that the other day. James has been very well coached for a
On the team's chemistry and determination so far…
"I said that in the spring. There is chemistry and determination on
this team. A combination of both of those, and high leadership skills
effects the whole team. This team wants to win. We are willing to pay
the price to do that, and I felt that these guys
had it in them. They have taken that goal really personal, especially
the seniors. Most of the seniors have been here for five years and they
went to bowls every year except last year, and they want to get back. I
really want them to do well too. I am around
them all the time. I see the determination, leadership and excitement
that they have every day."