Nov. 18, 2013
SENIOR KICKER/PUNTER MICHAEL PALARDY
(On the emotions of Senior Night)
"I'm not really looking at it as my last home game. I'll worry about that after the season and worry about those emotions and feelings. Right now we're trying to get win No. 5, and we're just focused on beating Vandy and preparing for them this week. We know we've got a nice test ahead of us, but right now we're focusing on preparing for them and going out on Saturday and getting win No. 5."
(On the loss to Vanderbilt last year)
"I think they just outplayed us. I think that was kind of evident. We don't look at this game and compare it to last year's game because it's different teams, different seasons. We know Vandy is a very good team. They've had some success with wins this year. We're just trying to make sure we play our best game. We haven't played our best game yet this year, so we're hoping to get win #5 and play our best game against them."
(On a change in the rivalry with Vanderbilt)
"Well, I mean, playing in the SEC, every SEC team is your rival. Every game is a rivalry game, no matter who you're playing, no matter where you're playing or what time of the year you're playing. We've just got to take it one game at a time. The biggest thing is not worrying about past years or what people have said, the results that have come in past years like I said. We've just got to take this game as the only game and get win #5."
(On having his most consistent year)
"I feel a lot more confidence in myself. The coaches have built a lot more confidence in me, and it kind of shows. It shows in practice, putting me in situations where I'm under pressure to kind of simulate those game time plays where I have to perform to my capabilities. That's kind of been the biggest thing for me, just going out there and being as consistent as possible, and just making sure that I make plays whether it's punting, changing field position, pinning them deep, or putting points up on the board in field goals."
(On handling all kicking duties)
"It's kind of unconventional. Going into spring, that was my goal to be the starter at all three and to be as competitive as possible because there were guys behind me, younger than me, whatever the situation may be that wanted to come in and take my spot. I had to do my best to make sure that I didn't allow that, whatever I had to do to make sure that didn't happen. I just wanted to go out and perform the best way that I could ever since Coach Jones got here in the spring, and it kind of worked out for the best."
(On bowl game being the focus of the program)
"We know that one of our program goals is to make it to a bowl game and win a bowl game. That's ultimately what every team in college football wants is to make it to a bowl game and win a bowl game. We can't get to a bowl game if we don't win game No. 5, and that's kind of the biggest focus right now is taking it one game. We obviously have an ultimate goal and we want to reach that goal, but there's different steps you have to take to get there.
"That's kind of the biggest thing that we're focusing on. Coach Jones always says, "You can't get to six if you don't get to five first," so that's kind of been the biggest thing. Like I said, ultimately yes, we have that goal of going to a bowl game, but we have to make sure that we play our best football for the next two games."
(On his thoughts after the Vandy game last year)
"To be honest with you, I don't remember much. I try not to remember it. It was kind of a disappointing season on all accounts. For me personally, I just wanted to make sure that something like that never happened ever again. On national television getting beat like that, it's something that you don't want to happen. I just remember being upset, but at the same time telling myself to do everything I possibly can to make sure something like that ever happened again."
(On coaching rumors being a distraction during last season loss)
"No, not at all. For me personally, I don't know about other guys on the team but I can speak for myself when I say that there was no distraction. We just had to go out and play the way we knew we had to, but we didn't come out successful."
SENIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN JAMES STONE
(On playing his final home game Saturday)
"I have tried to not think about it. I am trying to approach this like I have approached every other game. I can think about it after the game, but right now, I am focusing on being prepared for the football game."
(On senior night being a distraction)
"It can be when you are off campus, but once you get into the complex, you see everyone else focused on the game. This makes it easier for me to get focused when I am around the team. I am trying to speed as much of my time in the complex and school to keep myself busy and be ready to go."
(On viewing Vanderbilt as a different team now)
"I feel like they have a great program right now. They play hard. They play for each other. They have obtained a lot of respect for that."
(On accepting that the senior class was a rebuilding class)
"It is not as tough as it seems because when you see someone leading you like Coach Jones, you see what he is trying to institute into a program that you love. You take pride in that, and you take pride in trying to build what he is trying to build. It is something special."
(On cadence issues since Joshua Dobbs has taken over)
"It has just been a guy not hearing or something like that. We have been working and trying to eliminate those issues."
(On pre-snap issues being a problem now)
"It is something that you just have to eliminate. We have been doing extra stuff after practice with Dobbs to work on timing and making sure everything is happening at the same time. We have to make sure that it doesn't happen again in a game."
(On how offensive line has done this year)
"I feel like guys have been hungry. Everyone has been trying to work and improve as the year has gone on. We have been trying to address our inefficiencies as we move forward."
(On importance of eliminating pre-snap penalties)
"It is extremely important because we are supposed to be a discipline football team. Pre-snap errors do nothing but kill drives and kill series. They keep us from putting points on the board, and they keep us from winning."
(On the difficulty of starting nearly every game since freshman year)
"You get banged up along the way, but you get a lot of experience and a better appreciation of the game and the work you put in. As you get older, you start to realize the importance of recovery and keeping your body in shape at an early age. After awhile, you learn to go to the training room after getting tired."
(On this game being more significant because he's from Nashville)
"It probably will after the game, but right now, I am trying to approach this as I normally would every game. The whole team is taking this very serious because of the rivalry that it is. We are not trying to let any emotion affect the impact of this game. We are focused on doing our jobs to execute."
(On three offensive lineman being from Nashville)
"We have talked about this game, but we are just focused on this game because it is the next game up. We have to win in order to get this team to a bowl game."
(On importance of getting to a bowl game)
"It is extremely important to go to a bowl game. It is important for Coach Jones, the team, and the senior class. We need to do anything that we can to make a bowl game."
(On the Vanderbilt game last year)
"It was bad, and I just tried to erase that. It was a letdown and a disappointment."
(On comparing off weeks)
"I think we had a good off week. I feel like guys are really focused when coming in for the practices. I feel good about the off week."
(On what a player needs to see from a coach during off weeks)
"We look for him to stay on us and keep us focused on things we need to improve on. He lets guys know what they need to improve. He gives you encouragement when you are doing good."