Outback Bowl Update: Player Quotes
 
 
 
MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins
 
MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins
 
 

Dec. 29, 2011

Video Coverage:
Bowl Luncheon | Day 4 Practice Report | Players at Splitsville in Tampa

Day 4 Photo Gallery | Bowl Central

TAMPA, Fla. - Following the Outback Bowl Team Luncheon on Thursday afternoon at the Tampa Convention Center, several Michigan State and Georgia players met with the media to discuss the upcoming matchup in the Outback Bowl on Monday, Jan. 2.

Prior to the luncheon, Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins was named the 2011 Lowe's Senior Class Award winner, which is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. To read the complete release on the award, please click here.

After MSU's fourth bowl practice at Jesuit High School,

Michigan State Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On playing their 14th game of the season...
We'll be all right. We've had a lot of rest since December 3. Fortunately our offensive line has done a great job protecting me. I haven't taken many hits. I'm feeling great, our team is feeling great. We're going to be well-rested for this one.

On the Georgia Bulldogs...
There's a lot of teams in the Big Ten with quarterbacks that do a lot of scrambling. Georgia has a quarterback who is more of a pro-style type player which is a little bit different for our defense, but something they're used to seeing in practice with the offense that we run. They have a tremendous defense. I would say their defense is as good if not better than any defense we'll play in the Big Ten. I think it shows with the amount of yards they've been able to sustain in terms of being the third best defense in the country with regards to yards allowed. They're a very, very talented defense and will be a great challenge for us.

On the SEC speed versus Big Ten power:
I think it's too simplistic, but I think both conferences are very good when you look at it. It's not just speed or power, it's just overall strength in the ability to play the game of football. The SEC is loaded with not just speed, but they're loaded with size and strength. I think the Big Ten is not just loaded with power; it's loaded with fast players. I think there are teams all over the conference to show that.

On the similarities of both teams:
We'll be ready. We're hungry for an opportunity to make amends for what happened on December 3. Especially as a senior class and speaking from my perspective as a senior, I want to finish the right way with a win. It's hard for me to imagine leaving as a senior with my last game after a loss. We're going to do all we can. We're facing as good an opponent as we've faced all year and it's going to be very, very challenging. Our preparation this week has been what it needs to be and we'll continue to work as hard as we can to be ready.

Michigan State Wide Receiver B.J. Cunningham

On whether he thinks about his last game as a Spartan...
I don't really try to or try not to. I've got a couple more practices left, one more game, I'll hang out with my teammates and just soak it all in.

On the seniors finishing with a win in the Outback Bowl...
That's it, to complete the season, complete our legacy here and leave a mark here. That's what we want to do, win out, win this bowl game and keep it moving.

On not being able to participate in Michigan State's last two bowl games...
It was frustrating, just coming in and knowing I couldn't play or practice. I'm in the film room watching the other team knowing I could do something to help the team. Everything happens for a reason. The last bowl game I played was against Georgia in 2008 (2009 Capital One Bowl). This is kind of fitting. It's going to be fun. It was fun when we played them then and it will be fun this time around.

Michigan State Tight End Brian Linthicum

On missing a chance to play in the Rose Bowl...
I've let that go. Of course every once in a while someone will say we could be at the Rose Bowl right now, we could be doing this and that. It is what it is is how I feel about it. Sure we could be there and play for a Rose Bowl. Instead we're here and the opportunity that we have is to make a statement to the nation that we can not only play with teams in the SEC, but we can beat them.

On whether he has thought about his last game at Michigan State...
To be honest, not really. I've kind of lived that way this entire season, especially with our last game at Spartan Stadium and senior day. I kind of don't think about the emotional side of it. I'm not a guy that shows a lot of emotions in that kind of sense. Probably after it's all said and done I'll think about it more and it will dawn on me. We've been so focused on preparation that my thoughts haven't been on this being the last time I'm going to play with these guys. I'll think about that after a game and hopefully we'll win and it will be an exciting feeling.

Michigan State Free Safety Trenton Robinson

On the team Georgia is most comparable to in the Big Ten...
If there was one it would almost be Wisconsin, almost. But they don't do as much as Wisconsin...They've got big linemen too, so this will be fun. It will be a nice challenge.

On Georgia tight end Orson Charles...
He's good and he's their leading receiver. We're going to have to key in on him because they like to get the ball to him.

Michigan State Strong Safety Isaiah Lewis

On the keys to winning against Georgia...
They've got a good passing game, good receivers, good running backs, and a good quarterback. We've just got to hold them down, do our job, and let the offense go out there and score some points.

On returning to the field after the Big Ten Championship...
I'm trying to go out and have the best game of my season. Coming off of something like that people are looking at me wondering how I'm going to respond. I'm looking to respond in a positive way. I'm trying to show people that a thing like that, it's not going to hold me down at all. I'm going to keep on playing my game and I'm going to keep succeeding like I have the whole season.

Georgia Quarterback Aaron Murray

On the Outback Bowl experience...
I love Tampa. I grew up going to Raymond James Stadium all the time watching the Bucs play, so it's going to be awesome to be able to play in that stadium. The Outback Bowl did a great job of organizing some awesome events. Going to Busch Gardens was a great time, going to the beach and Splitsville bowling, they did a really good job of keeping us entertained. I know the guys are loving it.

On the Michigan State defense...
They like to impose their will when it comes to knocking guys around and bullying guys. They also have some very talented defensive backs. They trust a lot in man coverage, they allow them to man up, press them, get in their face and try to disrupt them. Our offensive line is going to be ready for battle. Our receivers are going to have their A game and get off the press and create separation.

On preparing for Michigan State...
They bring a lot of pressure, especially on third down; they bring different packages here and there. But that's what's good about a bowl game, you have three or four weeks to prepare and watch more film, to practice their blitzes. I think we have a very mature team with guys that are able to adjust and bring it.

On the similarities of both teams...
It's an unbelievable matchup. We were in our championship game, they were in the championship game. They were pretty much one play away from being in the Rose Bowl. They're a very talented team. It's going to be a lot of fun. I know I'm excited for the game, I know they're excited. It should be a good one.

Georgia Tight End Orson Charles

On the Michigan State defense...
They're definitely great, they definitely fly to the ball. They look impressive. Just watching them walk in they look very impressive, they look like an NFL team. Statistically their defense is just very good. I'm excited to play the game and just can't wait to get out there.

On whether there is one person to pinpoint on the defense...
I feel like you can't really pinpoint one person, you have to keep your eye on the whole defense because they're going to come at you from different angles. They lost their last game to send them to the Rose Bowl, so I'm pretty sure we'll get their best punch at this game.

On finishing the season with a win in the Outback Bowl...
Nobody wants to end their season losing a game. We want to send our seniors off on a good note, possibly get 11 wins. We'll be the eighth team to get 11 wins in a season and I think this is our first time getting 10 straight wins. We're definitely excited about this game.

On playing in his hometown in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium...
God has a plan for everything and I feel like God set this all up. Playing with my high school quarterback and playing at Raymond James, where we're from, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in the stands, everyone from Plant (High School), a lot of people from my church, I'm just excited.

Georgia Center Ben Jones

On his Outback Bowl experience...
I've loved it. Tampa is a great place. I love the weather and the atmosphere down here. Being down here, 75 and 80 degrees, it's really brought a lot of life to our players and team. We're just coming out every day and working hard and having a great time. It's been a great experience. Through my four years this has been by far my favorite bowl and I'm glad we're here this year.

On the Michigan State defense...
I think they're a very sound team, they don't make a lot of mistakes. That's the key for defense, when teams make mistakes, that's when you have big plays. Their front four is really good. They have guys that can cause havoc for the quarterback back there.

On finishing his career in the Outback Bowl...
I'm a senior and I definitely want to go out as a winner. There have only been eight 11-win teams and I definitely want to be in the record book and be a part of one of those teams. That's our goal right now, go out and get this next win.

On quarterback Aaron Murray...
"Murray's a great leader, a great player, but he's by far one of the hardest workers on the team. I think that's why he's so successful. He's in there before practice, we sit there watching film just me and him. After practice when everybody else is going to eat we'll watch film and go eat supper together. I think that's why he's been so successful, because of the time he puts in in the film room."

Georgia Cornerback Brandon Boykin

On the Michigan State offense...
It's a high-powered offense with an experienced quarterback and great receivers across the board. They also have great a great running back. They've got weapons all over the field. It's going to be a challenge for us to stop them and completely take them out of the game. I think we're capable of doing it. We've got a great defense and guys that can make plays.

On finishing his career in the Outback Bowl...
I'm having mixed emotions about it. It really hasn't hit me yet that this is my last game as a Georgia Bulldog. I think once I get on that field and get going I'll play my heart out to make sure this last memory is a good one. I'm definitely excited about it and want to come out of it with a victory.

On preparing for a bowl game versus a regular season game...
It's a longer process so you've got to make sure you keep your focus throughout the whole week as opposed to three days of practice then you're going to a secluded place. We've got a little bit more freedom during the bowl, so it's important that we monitor each other, especially the captains and the seniors, to make sure the young guys are staying focused.