Clausen: 'We earned it'

Rick Clausen might be developing an identity crisis. First, his photo was identified as ''Casey Clausen'' on the SECsports.com website Saturday night. Then Bud Ford, UT's director of media relations, introduced him as ''Casey'' at Tuesday's news conference.

Of course, the entire Vol team may have an identity crisis these days. Despite going 7-1 and beating Georgia in Athens en route to the SEC East title, the Vols aren't getting a whole lot of respect these days. They suffered a 34-10 homefield loss to Auburn during the regular season, and most observers figure the margin will be even greater when the two collide Saturday night at the Georgia Dome in the SEC Championship Game. That's partly because Clausen -- Rick, not Casey -- has moved from No. 3 quarterback to No. 1 due to injuries.

''A lot of people say we shouldn't be here,'' Clausen said. ''But we earned it and we ARE here. So we're just going to go out there and make the most of the opportunity.''

The fact Auburn is a prohibitive favorite may work in Tennessee's favor. The Vols are not expected to be competitive -- let alone victorious -- so there is little pressure on them.

''We're just going to let everything hang out, go out there and play,'' Clausen said. ''In a game like this, you can't go out there being hesitant and being scared. You have to go out there and just play. Opportunities like this don't come around very often, so you have to go out there and make the most of it.''


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