They have tons of running backs. How do you guys prepare for that?
"We watch film. They run the ball pretty hard. They have a lot of different backs. They are strong and run hard. But we have put in preparation. We (need) to make sure we tackle, gang-tackle as a group and play hard."
Going back to last season, you guys have defended the run well. Is that something that you guys are confident about going into this game?
"Yes sir, that is what we pride ourselves on, stopping the run. Everyday Coach Collins talks about stopping the run. To be one of the best defenses in the nation you have to stop the run. We alway go into practice to stop the run. In games you just kind of go out there like it's your backyard and have fun and stop the run."
Is this the kind of game that you like as a linebacker because you are going to have running backs coming at you the entire game?
"Yes sir, it's exciting. I love physical games. Last week, we didn't get much action because they threw the ball around a lot. This week, it's going to be downhill physical game. We are ready for it."
You were around Cam Lawrence for a year, your redshirt freshman season. Did you learn things from him while he was here?
"Yes sir. Being around Cam for one year was big for me. I watched how he prepared, how he watched film, how he told guys to come in and watch film, how he keyed on things. That helped me a lot."
You have watched Benardrick McKinney for a couple of years. Does it surprise you, even now, how much he knows about the game?
"Yes sir, it is exciting playing beside him. We are out there, we have great conversations with each other. One of our teammates said we are like spaghetti and meatballs. We are (always) right beside each other even if we aren't on the field. He knows stuff. And he makes me play better because he can help me out. And there are things that I can help him out with."
How do you think you have done replacing Deontae Skinner? He was second in tackles last year and you are second this year.
"I feel like I have done a pretty good job. Skinner was a big-time guy here. Those are real big shoes to fill. But I accepted the challenge and feel like I am doing pretty good. I just have to keep getting better and play hard."
Do you feel like this team is getting the respect it deserves this year?
"I feel like it. But like Coach (Collins) said they don't just give you respect. You have to earn it everyday. That is what we practice for. That is why we study film. All of the things we do is so that we can be one of those teams that everybody is talking about."
Does it drive you if you feel like you aren't getting enough respect?
"Yes, that makes you work a little harder. Everyday we want to get the respect that we feel we deserve. And we play with that little chip on our shoulder. Coach tells us we have to play with a chip on our shoulder."
Have you guys asked Preston (Smith) to back off and let you win some awards?
"(Laugh) No sir, it's all about him keeping the offensive linemen off of us, he makes plays. It's all about having fun. You can't take anything away from him. He's playing hard. You can't anything but congratulate him."
What have you seen from him that is different about him since the Liberty Bowl?
"He has his motor going. Once he gets going there is not too much you can do to stop him. It's great playing behind him. You appreciate guys like that. All of the defensive linemen (are good). We have one of the top defensive lines in the country. It's easy for me, B-Mac and Matt Wells to make tackles when you have guys like that in front of you."