Notes and Quotes from the Cotton Bowl

Check out some notes and quotes from the Cotton Bowl as both Auburn and Nebraska arrive.

AUBURN


AUBURN TIGERS ARRIVE IN DALLAS FOR AT&T COTTON BOWL


DALLAS -- The No. 10 Auburn Tigers arrived in Dallas by private vehicle today for the 71st AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Auburn will face the No. 22 Nebraska Cornhuskers on New Year's Day.

Head Coach Tommy Tuberville addressed his players with a brief meeting before the team joined Nebraska at a "welcome party" hosted by FOX Sports.

"For the first night, I wanted to lay down the law so the players know what to do and what not to do this week," Tuberville said about the meeting. "We have some young players who have never been to a bowl, so I wanted everyone to know what I expect this week. But we have a mature team so I don't expect there will be any problems.

"I told them to remember two things about their behavior this week: one, to stay focused on the game and two, to be respectful of the people who
Tommy Tuberville at the Cotton Bowl
Photo/ Mark Murphy
invited us here."

Nearly all of Auburn's 111 players arrived in Dallas this afternoon. Five players had not arrived as of 6 p.m. due to unforeseen traffic problems. All five were expected to arrive later Tuesday evening.

The Tigers have been off since Dec. 21 for the Christmas holiday. Starting QB Brandon Cox thought the Christmas break was good for the squad.

"It's good to get away from football for a few days," said the junior from Trussville, Ala. "I think we've come back refreshed and we're ready to get after it."

Auburn will work out for the first time in Dallas tomorrow from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at Ford Stadium on the SMU campus. The first 15 minutes of practice is open to the media to obtain video footage, then closed for the rest of practice.

"Tomorrow we will get our nose to the grindstone," Tuberville said. "Tomorrow will be a longer practice for us and we want to get started on the right foot as we get ready for Nebraska."

Following practice Auburn will conduct its Media Day at Ford Stadium, with Coach Tuberville and players available for approximately one hour.

Kickoff for the 71st AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic is slated for 10:40 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 1. The game will be televised nationally on FOX Sports and broadcasted nationally on radio by Westwood One.

-- 71st AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic --

Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan shakes hands with Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville
Photo/ Mark Murphy



NEBRASKA

NEBRASKA HEAD COACH BILL CALLAHAN

"It's the highlight of our year, and our players are excited to be a part of it."

"We have guys coming in from all over the country. We have guys coming in from different parts of the country. They're required to be here at 3 o'clock. We have a couple of guys who will be delayed because of weather around the country. But we had about 50 percent of our team fly out of Lincoln and the remainder will fly basically from their homes.


"That's the great thing about playing here in Texas. We recruit this area heavily. We have a number of players on our roster from Texas. It's been a focus of concentration in our recruiting efforts this year. We got a number of commitments already this year from the state of Texas, and I don't think there's any place in the country that does a better job than the high school coaches here in the state of Texas. They're fantastic, and the emphasis that they put upon football and their respect for the game is second to none. So we're excited about having the coaches out on Thursday. We'll have an open practice for the coaches from the Dallas area – or from any place in the state of Texas – to come watch us practice, be a part of what we're doing at Texas Stadium on Thursday afternoon."

"I thought we had pretty intense practices last week. We had six of them and spread them out over a period of seven days. We gave the kids a break after three and then resumed again. But we're anxious, we're looking forward to this game. I think our players are well prepared. They've worked extremely hard, and coming off the championship game we gave them about a week or so and then we reconvened and started placing emphasis on getting ready for Auburn."

On how Nebraska has put greater emphasis on recruiting in Texas: "We'll we've put more coaches down here, No. 1. No. 2, I think the visibility nationally in terms of television – I think we were on television 10 times nationally, and always televised in the state of Texas – that's a real boost. And of course just emphasizing the fact that we want to get players out of the state of Texas because of their programs. It's a process, and it's like anything in life. You have to have repetition, and we're repeatedly coming down here year after year, making more inroads, developing more relationships and finding more players to join our program."

Is most of the game plan in now? "It's all in. It's all in. It's just a matter of refining it now. … The four (practices) that we have, it will basically reflect a normal week's schedule. We'll have a bonus day, which will be tremendous. But tomorrow's practice will reflect an in-season Tuesday and the following day an in-season Wednesday. So we'll resume at that pace, but everything is in. We may tweak a protection or add a route or something like that. But other than that, it's all in."

Is this a business trip or a pleasure trip? "It's both. We try to eliminate distractions and any disruptions. The only thing we ask of our players is that when we meet and when we practice we have their undivided attention. And really that's all you can do as a coach because this is a reward for them and it's an opportunity to enjoy Dallas and enjoy the bowl experience. But when we get together as a team, business is business. And they've been great about that."

On offensive lineman Matt Slauson, who missed the last two games with a leg injury and injured a knee again in practice last week: "He did get nicked up that last week so it'll be determined where he's at physically tomorrow when we hit the practice field. He has a little bit of a sprained knee."

On running back Brandon Jackson, who suffered a broken hand in the Big 12 championship game: "They're keeping him in a cast, and it's a smaller sized cast. They're about ready to progress to a splint. I think that will take place either sometime today or tomorrow. … We'll watch it carefully. He'll just have to carry it (the ball) in his other arm. I think the big thing is he feels comfortable carrying the football. He's going to get hit on it, that's obvious. But our training staff will do a great job putting together a splint that will protect the area that's been injured. But aside from that, a lot of guys have played with it, so I don't expect he'll be any different."

Is running back Cody Glenn ruled out for this game? "No, not at all. In fact, he had run last week, prior to our departure, or prior to our team breaking. So we have not determined anything of that nature. And I was optimistic coming off the last practice that he was out and running and progressing."

On running back Marlon Lucky, who lived in Dallas as a youngster: "Marlon is a quality football player. He's been carrying quite the load in practice with the three other backs being down. He's a tremendous worker, a great effort player. … He's had a tremendous year. He's progressed consistently in the passing game, in running the football. He's been a complete back for us, and we're excited about his growth, excited about his future."

CB CORTNEY GRIXBY

"We got about four days off. Got to go home (to Omaha) for Christmas, eat a little bit, be with the family. Just spend time relaxing a little bit. … Last practice was last Thursday. We practiced in the morning and then everybody pretty much went home and we got some days off."

"We put the game plan in last week. Down here it will just pretty much be all review."


Are you anxious to play again after nearly a month off since the Big 12 championship game? "Oh yeah. We play football. That's what we're here to do. We're always excited to have a game."

Last year, Nebraska got such a great jump off the Alamo Bowl win. Do you put that same kind of stock into this game? "Oh yeah. You always have to go into each game ready. The caliber of teams we play in bowl games, Michigan and this year Auburn, these teams are national championship caliber teams. So it's always exciting to get out and play teams of that caliber."

"You always want to end on a good note. Last year we went into it with high hopes of winning, and it catapulted us into the summer
. … You want to end with a victory so that your off-season will be picking up."

FB DANE TODD

What's the significance of this game for the program? "First off it's a bowl game. It's significant to go to a bowl game every single year. And then the goal is always to win the game, because you don't want to put in a whole month's work and effort and then not perform at your best. We're continuing the streak of bowl games at this point, the one we broke. It's significant and it's another game, another opportunity to go play football. The last game of the year is always the thing everyone remembers about the season. You don't remember the first few games or even the middle of the season. You remember the last one you played. That's the one you always go back and dwell on. Everybody puts forth their best effort in the last game."

Is there significance in beating Michigan and Auburn back to back in bowls? "Not really. This is a new season, a new game. Auburn's a great football team, just like Michigan was. We've definitely got our work cut out for us."

What was the mood of the team when they got back together this morning? "Oh we all have a good time. You get away from all your friends for a week or so and get back together again, it's just fun. I can't believe I'm going to have to put up with all the guys from Texas while we're down here though. Those guys are going to be unbearable. Guys like Greg Austin over there – he's all smiles because he's right at home. Those guys are going to be talking about how great this place is. I think it's wonderful. I like Dallas, I like Texas, I'm happy to be in this bowl game."

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN MATT SLAUSON

Slauson was wearing cowboy boots and a cowboy hat.

"I got the boots for Christmas and I got the hat last year at the Alamo Bowl. I figured as long as I was here, I might as well fit in."

"I'm real excited. This is huge for us. The Cotton Bowl is the next step toward getting to the national championship. We would love to have been playing in a BCS Bowl. But I feel we're going to be playing a better team here. It's really going to prepare us well."

"Auburn will help us more than playing Boise State. Boise State is a good team. But we see more teams like Auburn in the Big 12."

On his injury suffered last Wednesday in practice: "I had a sprained MCL, hyperextension and bone bruise, but I'll be fine."


-- 71st AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic --

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