Is the loss to UT tougher to take after setting a high standard to start the season?
"It's definitely hard to be able to start 5-0 and then you lose four games straight, and then we win one and come back and then lose the way we did to Tennessee. We're just going to have to bounce back, and do what we've been doing all season... penalties are a big part of it, and turning the ball over. Those have mainly been our problems on offense. Our defense is doing pretty well right now. The first five games we did great offensively. We were probably top in the SEC as far as moving the ball, and red zone efficiency. We're just going to have to get back on track before we go to this bowl game."
It's been a long season. How are you feeling at this point?
"My body's pretty good. We work out during the summer for things like this. We work out in the heat for an hour to two hours. So, (the coaches) prepared us really well for late in the season. We have a few injuries. We don't have a lot, but they're really minor injuries right now. So, we have time. We have Wake Forest coming up. We're going to work hard this week, and we have a little time before the bowl game. So, we'll have plenty of time to get healthy."
Have you watched film on Wake Forest yet, and what have you seen?
"I actually just watched film a little while ago. They have a big, athletic physical offensive line. Tennessee is pretty athletic and big up front, but I'd say that Wake Forest on film looks a little bit more athletic."
Did the amount of Tennessee's rushing yards leave a bad taste?
"Yeah, a little bit. Coming into the season, losing Gabe (Hall) and Theo (Horrocks) and (Jonathan) Goff, our middle from last year, we knew teams would try to come in and establish the run on us every game. So, from offseason workouts last year, we took it upon ourselves to say that teams aren't going to run the ball on us. We know that they're going to try to run, so we're going to have to stop them. We go into every game knowing that we're going to have to stop the run."
How much pride do you take in the fact that this team has succeeded without the big-name players of the past?
"It feels good to finally get to that point, but obviously the guys in the past have played a big part in it too... helping the young guys, just keeping everybody motivated and just being positive role models to help us. The guys after us will keep doing the same thing and just keep building on it."
Talk about your career at Vanderbilt and how it has progressed.
"It feels like it was a long time ago (when he arrived on campus). Time goes by pretty fast. It feels good to get to this point right now. I feel good about the position that we're in as a team right now. We just want to keep on playing and finish up strong this year."
Is the team hoping for a seventh win in order to get to a warmer weather bowl?
"The game is a game to me. I'll be happy to play wherever we can play. This week's important though. We're going to go about it like any other week in the season, just practice as hard as we can, learn from our mistakes last week and try to capitalize on that."
Has Coach Bobby Johnson's message been that six wins is average, seven is more?
"Definitely. Our program is getting better every year, as you can tell. Our goals are higher and higher, and we're starting to reach those goals. We might fall short, but we got games like Kentucky where we came through. We didn't quite make it against Tennessee, but we're going to push through."
How much complacency set in heading into the Tennessee game?
"Not at all. I don't think you can be satisfied with anything when you play Tennessee, being our rivals. So, I don't think there was any kind of complacency. Things just didn't go our way Saturday, but we're looking forward."
Talk about what you see from Wake Forest.
"They're a good team. I feel like when we played Wake Forest and also Duke this year, they were both pretty good teams. Their programs have also come a long way like ours. I think they'll be a great opponent for the last game of the season."