2011 ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL QUOTES - December 31, 2010

ARKANSAS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR GARRICK McGEE

Opening Statement...
"Well, first of all, we're excited as I'm sure all of our kids and our coaches have said. We're having a fantastic time, it's a great city and our preparation has been going well. I talked to our offense, the first night, about this [the Sugar Bowl] being the target that we've had in mind. We wanted to get ourselves in position, first, to go after a national championship. That didn't happen to us because of a couple of losses that we had, but we did get ourselves in position to play in one of the best games in the country coming up this week. So, our kids are really excited and I'm really proud of them. It all started with our senior leadership and our leadership from within the team. Our quarterback [Ryan Mallett] is a tremendous leader; DeMarcus Love is one of our captains, and D.J. Williams. And, then we had guys like Jarius Wright, Joe Adams and Knile Davis; Travis Swanson and Alvin Bailey. We had a couple of injuries to some key guys with Dennis Johnson and Greg Childs, and guys like Cobi Hamilton really stepped up for us. I'm really proud of this group, there's no doubt about it. We're really fortunate and excited to be here in town."

On Ohio State's defense...
"They're experienced. You can tell they have veteran players because it's like they understand what's going on. Their middle linebacker, #36 [Brian Rolle], he understands when you're running the ball or when you're running play action passes. A lot of times he beats the quarterback when he's moving out. Their linebackers do a really good job of showing their linemen on one side and then moving to the opposite sides. Their front and their linebackers are really coordinated when they're disguising which front they're going to be in. They have really good size in the secondary. The corners are big and strong and their safeties, they're tacklers, so this is an experienced group. They understand ball, they're really well-coached; so we've got our hands full."

On what running back Knile Davis brings to the team...
"When he came into his own, throughout the season, it took a lot of pressure off Ryan [Mallett]. There are some people in the world that say John Elway was one of the best quarterbacks of all time. But, when Terrell Davis came on the scene, he became a champion. I think that's what happened with Ryan [Mallett]. Earlier in the season, we were passing for 400 yards or so, and once we got into the 280 range and 300 range - Ryan [Mallett], his responsibility was to deliver the ball on third downs, so our running game could consistently move the ball. That took a lot of pressure off of him and allowed him to relax and play better ball. So, he's really brought a lot to the table, a lot of confidence. Our offensive line enjoys blocking for him. He's really studying. He understands fronts, he understands our blocking schemes. I think the main thing though is he took a lot of pressure off Ryan [Mallett]."

On the offensive line's ability to pass protect...
"Protection is an 11-man operation for us. It starts with the quarterback getting us in the right protections, understanding where the pressure could be coming from, understanding how the front sets, where you want to slide the center so you can get the right help. Then it's about our skill people, our receivers getting to the right spot at the right time. It's about timing. So, we teach protection as an 11-man operation. Again, they have really good pass rushers. I know 97 [Cameron Heyward] - he's one of the best guys that we've played against this year. They move him around; sometimes he's at end, sometimes he's playing the three-technique, which is outside shoulder of the guard. When you have a kid that has the ability of a defensive end but he's playing defensive tackle, he really can cause problems. I think that guy can disrupt the game by himself. We have to recognize where he is, and we have to really stick to our technique, that's the only way we have a chance against him."

On the speed of Ohio State's defense, especially compared to the ones Arkansas faced in the SEC...
"Nowadays, with the way recruiting is, everybody nationally recruits. I can't tell you that there's been a team that's been ‘the' fastest team we've played against. Nowadays, with the schemes and the coverages and the way you slant and angle your defensive front, the preparation and all the video that you have, all the time that you have to study all of the tendencies - everybody seems to be fast. We teach playing fast, it's a part of who we are, but the way you play fast is that you're prepared and you understand what you're going to do and how you want to attack, and you understand your opponent. That gives you the ability to play up to your speed. So, I can't tell you who the fastest team is we've played this year. I coached in the Big 10 for four years; so, all of the talk about Ohio State not being fast, I don't buy into that at all. There's a game I coached where they had us 47-zip at half time. So, I don't buy into that stuff that Ohio State's not fast."

On coaching at Arkansas ...
"I love that place. It's close to my home. I really fit in there really well. It's good to see that Coach [Petrino] got an extension. If we continue to do our job and we continue to win, we could possibly hang around for a few more years. That's always good.


WIDE RECEIVER - JOE ADAMS

On maintaining composure and balance...
"Coach talks about it, you know, to stay calm. Go out there and when you are warming up have fun but to not get too overexcited."

On Ryan Mallett's leadership and maturity...
"Ryan [Mallett] has kind of cooled down a bit. He's a leader, so you expect him to help pump you up (for games). He's been under control."

On where the team was two years ago until now...
"I remember the Texas game and the Alabama game, those two were back-to-back and blowouts too. Just to come this far from what we've been through. A lot of guys grew up since then. I think the team is much more of a unit than we were then."

On being surprised about being in the Sugar Bowl...
"This is something we've talked about (Adams' freshman class) since we got on campus. We wanted to be in a BCS game. That was one of the reasons we came to Arkansas."

On believing in Coach Petrino and buying into the system...
"We believed in him, it was just everyone had to buy into the system. We knew (as a group) we could make it this far."

On the preparations leading up to the game...
"Everyone is calm. Guys are ready for the game and ready to get out there and compete. We've been off for a while. Everybody is ready to play. We've got our timing back, guys running around fast, just like a regular game for us. We just have to make sure everyone comes back in shape."

On the tradition of Ohio State and the opportunity to play them ...
"Every kid dreams of playing a team like Ohio State on this type of stage. Just to be able to play against Ohio State, which has one of the best defenses in the country; it's going to be a good game. We have one of the best offenses in the country."

On the experience of Ohio State's defense...
"They have 24 players coming back and guys that know what they do. They will come out and play hard and keep a level head. Everyone on our team just has to come out and play at their best."

On being able to experience New Orleans and the city's culture...
"I've been in New Orleans since last Friday. I have some family that stays down here. I am always in New Orleans, so I eat a lot of the food."

Any recommendations on the food...
"I like the shrimp po-boys, that is my favorite; maybe a hot sausage sandwich."


RUNNING BACK - KNILE DAVIS

On his experience this week in New Orleans...
"I love New Orleans. I was able to do a little site-seeing on Bourbon, things like that. I got to practice in the Saints' Superdome; it was pretty neat. I am just enjoying myself."

On Arkansas' game plan and planning for Ohio State's defense...
"We have had a few good practices out here. I am looking forward to the game and to see how it is going to work out. They are aggressive, they are big and strong. They are a real sound defense and it is going to be a fundamental game. If I had to compare them, I would compare them to Mississippi State. They were real physical...physical defensive line. They ran to the ball. You would always see their guys in the picture before the camera went out, so I would compare them to Mississippi State."

On other teams accounting for him as a running back and are teams covering more...
"Definitely coming on at the end of the season, I was more of a "shocker". Plus Mallett - they have a game plan for him, so I am under the radar still. He is so good and definitely hurts you, so Mallett helps me out. We definitely have a restricted run game now because it has saved us in a few games, earlier. It is great to have two dominate phases of the game. Every now and then, they will try to be over- aggressive. You can't do that too much because it will hurt you. I have definitely seen more guys in the box than I had seen earlier in the season. They have definitely shown that they respect our running game."
On his 1,000-yard rushing season towards the end of the season and not getting the carries early on...
"If you would had asked me if I was going to rush for 1,000 yards this season, I would have definitely told you no. But that was Coach Petrino trying to get all of us touches (in the beginning of the season). We are all good and we all came to run the ball. He was trying to find a way to get all of us the ball. Towards the end, he went with a different plan and that is how it worked out. It was hard getting three carries. You love football, you don't want to be on the bench, and you want to start. I just had to be patient and work extra hard, so I could finally get my opportunity and, when it came, I had to take advantage of it."


OFFENSIVE TACKLE - DeMARCUS LOVE

On what this game symbolizes for Arkansas...
"This means a lot to the whole state, the whole Razorback Nation. This is our first BCS game. We want to come out and build off of this. Even though I'm not going to be here next season, I want to have something there for next year's team; have a lot for those guys to look forward to. Everyone in the state is a Razorback. We don't have any intra-state rivals. There are no pro teams. Everyone is on Arkansas' side. The big thing for us is to make everyone happy. Everyone is depending on us and counting on us to do good. "

On the win over LSU to close out the season...
"Coaches stressed that we couldn't worry about what Auburn or South Carolina did, we just handled our business and, once that was done, we had to sit back and watch."

On Ohio State's losing streak to SEC teams affects Arkansas...
"We don't get into the streaks or statistics, I don't know why that is. We just can't look at that. They are coming to beat us. We got to come out and have a good mindset. We can't look at the lack of success they've had against SEC opponents. I'm pretty sure they are looking to end that streak and we are looking to add on to it."


QUARTERBACK - RYAN MALLETT

On how to be successful against the Ohio State pass defense...
"First of all, by not throwing the ball, that's the main thing. We have to have good technique, throw and catch; block and tackle. That's how we will get to them."

On the five suspended Ohio State players playing in the Sugar Bowl...
"I am glad they are playing. You don't really want to play anybody that isn't at full strength. I am glad they get to play."

On today's practice...
"Today, we had a great practice. We came out fast, strong and physical. It's like any other week. Tomorrow will be a Wednesday practice and each day we need to get more into the game plan and make sure we know what is going on."

On his first trip to New Orleans...
"It's my first time. The food down here is great."

On playing in the Superdome...
"It's a big stadium. I didn't know it was quite so big until I walked in and looked up. It's pretty big."

On Ohio State applying a lot of defensive pressure...
"I've heard that all season. I just expect it from a top defensive team. They are one of the top ten defenses in the country. I wouldn't expect anything less from them."

On getting a win over Ohio State...
"Obviously, I would love to get a win for the University. We are trying to start a tradition of going to a BCS game every year. To get a win over Ohio State would be special."

On if the game is "extra special" after playing at the University of Michigan...
"I wouldn't say so, because I don't go to school at Michigan anymore. I go to Arkansas. As far as a rivalry, it's our first meeting between the two teams, so it's not quite as intense. It's a little bit different."

On Bobby Petrino's impact on his decision to attend Arkansas...
"A little bit. After I talked to him and got to know his defense a little bit, I got excited about the opportunity to play for him. That pretty much sealed the deal."


TIGHT END - D.J. WILLIAMS

On his family history, how far he has come and the public's reaction...
"I would say just a lot of recognition for my family and a lot people coming and saying, "We had no idea." I think the most amazing part, which really means a lot to me and my family, is the number of people in Little Rock and back in Texas that have come out, said something about the situation that they're in and that they had no one to come and talk to, and that is the biggest part of the story. We want to reach people and let them know that we're here for them and, amazingly, it has helped people come out and say stuff, which is pretty cool."

On how the team struggled in Mallett's first year...
"From what I remember, the way I saw it, it was the players and the coaches. We weren't sure what to expect. They came in with a new style and a new system. We had a lot of players not used to change and that was a very tough year. The year after that, you could see people start buying into the system and understanding that we need to bond together, as players, in order to have a better season. The third year, it was the players bonding together and the coaches coming together as one. Everyone getting on the same page and bonding to the whole system; understanding that we're together in everything that we do. So far, that has led up to us having a great year this year. Understanding the system and understanding that we're together in everything that we do."

On what a win would mean to him on Tuesday....
"It would be huge, you know, one for the whole state of Arkansas and especially for me, being from the state. Having my last game as a Razorback going out with a win; but, either way it goes, I've had a great career here and I'm excited just to be a part of this game."


On the Buckeyes defense...
"In a game like this, it's really going to be about who's not going to hurt themselves, but who is going to go out and win each individual battle. There are going to be a lot of one-on-one matchups and you're going to have to beat their guy. It's not going to be who's going to get knocked down the most, but who is going to stand up on that last time. I think it's going to come down to the end of the fourth quarter and it's going to be a great game, and an exciting one to watch."