Q&A With Mario Fannin, Part 2

Mario Fannin talks more about the upcoming season in part two of two of a Q&A session.

Click here for Part 1.

Is there a game on this year's schedule that you're really looking forward to right now?
Fannin:
Really I'm looking forward to all of the SEC games and looking forward to playing West Virginia again. I'm really looking forward to every game. This year we have the opportunity to do something special. We have a lot of special athletes on the team, and I feel like we're closer than what we have been before. I feel like we'll accomplish more this year than past years that I've been here. Like I said, we're all working hard out there as far as training goes. Everybody understands what we're here for. It's up to us as players to execute in the game and come out with a victory. I think we've got the mental toughness to do that this year.

October 3rd is the first road game of the year at Neyland Stadium and you'll also be playing against Coach (Eddie) Gran. Is that going to be meaningful to you?
Fannin:
Yeah, it will be real meaningful. As a matter of fact, I talked to Coach Gran not too long ago. I've got two teammates up there from high school—Chris Scott and Anthony Parker, who just went to the Vikings. I asked him about them. I can't wait to get to play in front of Coach Gran again and get to see him, talk to him for a little bit and play in front of my old teammate. Also, Eric Berry, to see how he's doing.

Did you play against Eric Berry at Creekside (High School)?
Fannin:
No, we met each other at a banquet for the touchdown club.

So in high school you had Anthony Parker, Chris Scott and Byron Isom blocking for you?
Fannin:
Yep, all on the line. That was a great line.

Do you know Andre Harris well?
Fannin:
Oh yeah. He was there when I was a senior. He was just coming in as a freshman. He played as a freshman. He's a great blocker and he'll work hard, too.

Have any of your teammates stood out and taken a leadership role this summer?
Fannin:
Josh Bynes. He has taken a great role right now. He's working hard and he has taken that initiative to be the voice that we need to keep everybody in line. Really all of the upperclassmen have stepped up as far as a leadership role. We understand that not everybody can lead, but we've got underclassmen that are going to look at us. They are going to see what we're doing or where we're slacking off in the weight room or as we're running and they're going to start slacking. We understand that and that's what the coaches have told us. Really all of us have stepped up.

Has your role changed a bit? You're an upperclassmen now, so do you feel like you have to take on that role?
Fannin:
Yes. I feel as though I've got a lot on my shoulders. I feel as though it's my job as an upperclassman to help the freshmen coming in, make them feel comfortable as well as show them that when we're here we work hard, as well as the classroom. I feel as though it's a lot of my shoulders. I want the team to be successful and I'm going to do whatever I can to make the team successful as well as my teammates. Everybody is on everybody's shoulders. That's something we all understand and that's why I believe we're so close this year. We realize what we have to do as a team to become a successful team.

What are your goals this year?
Fannin:
Just to help my team as much as I can, to become a better athlete on the field and to just keep training hard. I started doing some things on my own as far as drills. Some of my teammates have tagged along with me. Just basically be the leader that I always knew I could be.

Have Malzahn or Luper talked to you much about the Wildcat?
Fannin:
Malzahn talked to me about it right before spring. We never really got to it, but I'm pretty sure it'll come back around right before we start this fall.

How's your arm feeling?
Fannin:
Oh it's feeling good.

When was the last time you threw?
Fannin:
As a matter of fact, we were out there one day—me, Kodi (Burns) and Quindarius Carr. We were working on creating a play that we're going to show Coach Malzahn in the fall. I was out there throwing then, and that was about a week ago.

Are you accurate?
Fannin:
Oh yeah. I used to be all right in high school, but I'm pretty good now. I've got it down now.

What's your height and weight?
Fannin:
About 5-11 and 227.

As far as school, what classes are you taking?
Fannin:
I just finished a POLI class. It's basically an introduction to public administration. I have one more next (mini) semester. It's another POLI class.

What's your major?
Fannin:
Public administration.

How close are you to graduating?
Fannin:
I'll be graduating in December.

Does it feel pretty good to be getting close?
Fannin:
It feels great. I'm taking five classes this fall and I'll be done.


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