Capital One selection – Tuberville quotes

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville took part in a teleconference with Capital One representatives and Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez Sunday afternoon

Opening statement

"Thank you very much. On behalf of our football team and our university and our fans, we're really excited about coming back to the Capital One Bowl. We've had two great experiences there in the last, I guess, five years, and it's been a wonderful, wonderful time.

"I've been to most of the bowls across the country in my coaching tenure and this is by far one of the best times that our players have, because it's so many things that the people there in the Orlando area offer and the hospitality which they bring forth, it's just a fun time.

"We're looking forward to it and to play against coach Alvarez again. He and I have gone against each other several times over our coaching career as assistants and now as head coaches.

"We are looking forward to the challenge. We've had an opportunity to look at a little bit of film on what they've done and how they've done it. Every year they are one of the most physical teams that we see and so we're looking forward to bringing our team in.

"We feel like we've had a pretty good team that's finished strong. We've had a couple setbacks, but we feel like that we played very well during the year and got better.

"We've got a lot of young players, a young quarterback and we're looking forward to the challenge.

"Coach Alvarez, I know, is probably looking forward to watching from the stands or from the press box the next few years. This is his last challenge. I'm excited about that. I'm excited about going against him again and, again, he's brought a lot to college football. We're going to miss what he's brought to college football. He's brought a lot to our sport and it's going to be fun for us to challenge him in his last college game."

On the potential to finish in the top five this year with win in Capital One Bowl, after finishing No. 2 in the nation last season:

"After coming off a 13-0 season last year and going into this season losing our entire backfield, four starters, four guys that went in the first round of the NFL Draft, we didn't know what to really expect with a lot of young players.

"Anytime that you lose that many starters, that much experience, that kind of talent, and be able to work your way back into a Jan. 1 bowl is a goal of all coaches. It means that we were successful. Maybe we didn't get to the BCS so-to-speak, but to have an opportunity to be in the top 10 at the end of the year after finishing No. 2 last year in all polls, I feel like it's been a successful year for us.

"Then to have an opportunity to play against another Big Ten team. We've had an opportunity to play several over the years. It's always a great challenge. It's always a fun game. It's always a hard-nosed, hard-fought game.

"We've played Michigan in the Capital One Bowl, we've played Penn State and now to play Wisconsin, it's going to be a thrill for our players."

Did you spend any time lobbying for a BCS bowl?

"There's no reason to do that. Those people have a tough enough time as it is. The thing that you can do as a coach and as a football team is try to play your best and try to work your way up the ladder and hope that things work out.

"We have no regrets. This is a great bowl and, as I said earlier, and I really meant this, this is a true reward for the players to have an opportunity to go to the Capital One Bowl because of what they do and how they do it. There's so many things to do.

"It's something that our players and coaches and fans always remember. We're really excited. We really are about playing in the Capital One Bowl and about playing a team of Wisconsin's caliber and playing against Coach Alvarez again, for second time, I guess, in (three) years."

Regarding personnel losses from last year. At what point in this season did you realize that this team could win nine games and get back to a January bowl? Did you have a good feeling about it?

"I thought after, I think it was our fifth game, we played South Carolina, and they were 3-1, had played very close to Georgia to on the road and we pretty much named our score in that game.

"We learned a lot about quarterback. He grew up in the game. He since has become a better quarterback. He's a young man that's really grown up over the last couple years.

"We found out more about our about our running backs, who took over for Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams, who obviously were pretty good football players. That was another big question mark.

"Defensively we've gotten better each year but that one game we felt, our guys felt like that they became a much closer football team because of how we they played and how we started the game and we were pretty much dominating.

"That was pretty much our turning point this season. We've played some good games. We've played pretty consistent most of the year. But what I was most impressed with with all of our players was the consistency that we've had all throughout the year."

After being shutout of the BCS title game last year and arguably being deserving of a BCS game this year, are you fed up with the system?

"This is the best system that we've ever had. When I was back at Miami (Fla.) years ago, there was times when we were the No. 1 team in the country and we didn't play the No. 2 team. This is the best system that we can come up with, I guess without having a playoff system.

"But sooner or later I think we've got to come to grips with at least having a plus-one, have an opportunity for more teams to have the chance to win the national championship at the end of the year.

"This is a great sport. There is no perfect way to do it. We were left out last year. You can say we were left out this year. But it's really not true. We're going to a great bowl. I wouldn't trade it for anything, and we're just looking forward to it."

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