Because for two seasons now the Bulldog defensive tackle has become the clear press room favorite. Especially so at his mid-week interviews where as much good stuff is said off-the-record as on it. For good reason too.
But to commemorate this senior’s final game-week podium appearance, it can be revealed on some sort of record. We have just had our last Tequila Tuesday with A.J. Jefferson. Not that any cactus squeezings were present to be sure…but more than a few media will tip a shot glass of, well, something to honor our man A.J. Hmmm, is there anything like a tequila sunset?
Now, on to the matter of the moment, the pending Battle for the Golden Egg:
What does this game meant to the folks in Summit? “It means a lot. I think it’s more TSUN fans than State fans down there. But, I still have a bunch of people, growing up I knew a bunch of older people and they messed with me last year and the first year when I first got here. So I’m sure they’re going to mess with me again about it, they’re going to sit there and text my phone, I’m going to have to hear it all week. Been hearing it some. So it means a lot.”
So somebody’s momma is going to Wal-Mart and have to put up with this, is that your Momma? “Probably not. I just got off the phone actually. I told her don’t log-onto social media this week. I told her to lock-in just like I’ve got to lock-in! I might tweet something on Friday, I might post a picture, but that’s about it. I told her don’t read no posts, and if some people text you don’t respond back. We’re just going to save it for after the game.”
This is the third different Ole Miss quarterback you’ve played, but does the style stay the same? “Yeah. The freshman right now they’ve got playing, I mean he does remind me of Chad Kelly. Except I think he does move a little bit better, though. Because we were watching film this morning and he kind of surprised me one play. I didn’t think he could move that fast. I knew he was an elusive runner.”
“And I was reading something the other day, some people compare him to like a modern-day Johnny Manziel the way he runs and stuff like that? I would say that, especially the way he escapes and he elusiveness in the pocket, I would kind of compare him to Johnny Manziel.”
How do you go about keeping him in the pocket? “It’s a lot, man. As a D-line coach, Coach Bake (Brian Baker) wants to go get the quarterback, just rush. But at the same time that can hurt you. Because you have some times where I might rush too far upfield and he might just run right behind me. Or I’m late coming back, or we might end up with three guys on the same side of the rush and he might see that.”
“So this is one of those games where you’re going to have to kind of hold your water and rush with vision.”
It’s a rough four or five weeks for the defense, how do you change that? “We just have to respond. Coach Mullen said after the Arkansas game, it’s going to be interesting to see how the defense responds. You know, can’t pick a better week to do it against these guys. Because it’s a big-time game for us. So nobody wants to lose, we can’t let emotions over-run us and just do too much or not do enough. You know, we’ve just got to buckle down and play ball.”
When you watch the missed tackles and missed assignments what do you think? “That we hurt ourselves. It’s just stuff that we did. I mean there’s no perfect defense, there’s no perfect play they could have called. That was on ourselves, we just have to make the plays.”
Richie Brown talked about Peter Sirmon getting heat lately, what is your opinion of him as a coach? “I think he’s doing good, man, first year as a defensive coordinator. I had a chance to talk him to the other day and asked him how it was going and stuff like that.”
“I mean at the end of the day he’s not out there on the field playing. And missed tackling, tackling is something we work on every day. I mean we do tackling drills every day. So that’s on us. I kind of hate that part of the game because coaches get blamed for most of the stuff.”
“But you know at the end of the day we’ve got to put our big-boy drawers on. And it’s us. It’s the players. We’ve just got to make those plays. Because we could have a game like South Carolina or A&M and you’ve got people saying he’s the best defensive coordinator in the nation.”
“We have a game like last week and like ‘awwww he’s this, he’s that’. But I mean…we just got to fix it. We’ve got to make him right. And we’ve got to make him a prophet, because he sees it. We’ve just got to make it right.”
Thanks, A.J. “Alright, guys. So who’s going to buy tonight?!”