TR: How did you get the nicknames Thunder and Lightning?
Hill: I was just clowning around one day and one of the reporters asked me we had a name for ourselves. It was raining that day, so I just said "Thunder and Lightning." He ran with it.
TR: Who's Thunder and who's Lightning?
Spears: He's Thunder. I'm Lightning.
TR: Let's talk Virginia Tech. The story you hear told most often about them has to do with their quarterback, Grant Noel, coming back from a torn ACL. No one is sure yet what he can do since he didn't have to do very much in the game against Arkansas State. How important is it to get a pass rush on him?
Hill: I'll put it like this: we're going to hit him. He better be ready for that.
They have a good team. We're seven-point underdogs. We'll let the media do all the underdog rating and whatever. We're just going to go out there and show them what we've got. We hope they're bringing it because we're bringing it.
TR: Coach Saban has talked about how LSU has played tough games on the road and enjoyed success, with the SEC Championship game being the most recent one. How does that experience help you with going into a tough place like Blacksburg?
Spears: It helps because we prepare to win regardless of where we're playing at. We try to make their place our home, and we've been successful with that since last year.
We're just going up there to play ball. You just have to tune the crowd out and can't let it be a factor when you're playing. There are eleven guys on the field that's on your team, and you just have to go to work.
TR: We don't have the privilege of watching you guys scrimmage, but based upon depth charts some new guys have come into the mix as pass rushers, like Bull Hurley and Ryan Willis. Are these guys going to be able to provide you with backup?
Spears: They're pretty good. We've got some solid guys, and coach has stressed a lot that they're going to have to make a contribution because you can't play in the SEC with four players up on the D-line.
Bull Hurley is a big strong guy who works hard, and really harder than anybody I've ever seen. Ryan Willis, they moved him to linebacker and he's doing really well over there. They're just looking at those guys to step up and they've been doing pretty well.
TR: Kenderick Allen has said when you two were being recruited that he didn't take the attitude that his job was in danger. He thought ‘bring them on' since it would make the team that much better. Is that how you feel about wanting to get these backups up to speed to where they can help out both of you.
Hill: Oh yeah. Neither of us feels threatened. We have to play them to win – it's a team sport and you can't be selfish. When one of the guys says he needs help on a play, I'll be quick to help them. I didn't have that privilege last year because the season was going by so fast I had to kind of pick it up as the game went on.
It's been good though that they've been picking it up for themselves. Coach Saban has kind of been on them letting them know, "Hey, we need you to be ready to play. It's not time to be freshmen. You can throw that out the window because you're playing college football right now."
TR: It sounds like the same situation you both faced a year ago. You had to grow up in a hurry. Can you look into the eyes of these young players and see that they're capable of handling it?
Hill: They had the same look on their face that I had. One minute you could be out there getting "pancaked." The next minute you could be 40 yards down the field covering a running back. You never know what could happen, so you have to grow up overnight. It's an experience.
TR: Going back to your recruitment, a lot of hype was given to having two All-Americans in the signing class. When did you have your first contact with one another and were their any conversations about LSU?
Hill: A couple of photo shoots and then at the All-Star game (in Dallas). We all cliqued up and said we were going to come here and said, "We're going to run it."
TR: Had you talked much about committing to LSU together?
Spears: He and Mike (Clayton) committed first, and Marquise called me and asked, "Man, whatcha waiting on?" I said I was weighing my options, kinda playing the game. But he was like, "Man, you're talking to your boy," and I told him I was going to go on and commit (to LSU). I did it the next day.
He and Mike played a big role in me coming (to LSU) because I wanted to be around good people, and I had been hanging around them since t