Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer and Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin met with the media one last time earlier today. The two gave some final thoughts heading into tomorrow night's big bowl game. Check out what they said inside.
Lane Kiffin - Head Coach
On the significance of a win against Virginia Tech:
"(A win) is the next step for our program. We finished winning four out of our last five and finished second in the SEC East. Coming to what I consider a BCS bowl and playing a top-11 opponent who went to the Orange Bowl last year and had only one player drafted from that team shows how talented this team is that we're going to play tomorrow."
On the team's practices:
"It has been a little up and down, and we've been rusty. It's been hard practicing in three different sites going back to our first ones in Knoxville, and (having) a bunch of young players. We still have a lot of work to do. Our players have done a much better job of being focused the last couple days. This is a great bowl with so many events that it's easy to be distracted. We're all still here and accounted for. I like what they've done this morning already as far as turning it up and understanding it's time to play the game."
On quarterback Jonathan Crompton's development this year:
"I think Jonathan, from the first day I met him, prepared like a professional in the way he went about it and how hard he works. I don't think that much has changed. Our receivers are healthy after being hurt the first couple games of the year. I think I did a better job of planning around him and playing to his strengths. It all just came together for him. I wish we had another year, because it feels like we just got him running like we'd like him to."
On preparing for Hokies quarterback Tyrod Taylor:
"(Tyrod) Taylor is very difficult to prepare for. A lot of times you have running quarterbacks that don't throw very well. Unfortunately for us, he throws the ball extremely well. He makes such phenomenal plays throwing the ball, and we will have our hands full. As we watch the film, the player we compare him most to is (former Hokies quarterback) Michael Vick."
On defensive back Eric Berry's versatility for the NFL:
"(Berry) has a unique ability to play both safety spots. To play in our NFL-style (Tampa 2 defensive) system, and as much as my dad's moved him around this year, I think that's going to help him. They won't watch his film and see anything where they'll say, 'Oh, can he do that?' I think he's done a great job this season and he will be a really high draft pick and play for a long time in the NFL."
Frank Beamer - Head Coach
On the cornerback position battle between Jayron Hosley and Cris Hill:
"They both have practiced well. We're going to end up playing both of them. Both of them are talented enough. They just need to rise to the occasion. We haven't really talked about who will start. We've just talked that both of them are going to play."
On avoiding the bowl week distractions:
"We've had a good week. (I like) the way we've practiced and the organization of the Chick-fil-A Bowl people. Our players have done a good job of doing what they need to do."
On playing Tennessee:
"I go back to the final results. It's not where you start, it's where you end up. Anyone that's looked at (this season) would say this team's right at the top of the SEC. They have won four of their last five. We played Alabama and I saw how they played Alabama, and they took it right to them. If that field goal goes through at Alabama, we've got a different situation here. The bottom line is that we're playing one of the best, if not the best, teams in the SEC."
On keeping his coaching staff intact:
"I think having the staff together (for a long time) has allowed us to be consistent. We've been very consistent over the years. It affects a couple of things. I think for recruiting, you have the coaches going back to the same schools and developing relationships. When you get one player (from a high school), you've got a chance to get another. I think we're doing well in our recruiting now. Another thing is game preparation. We don't spend a lot of time in our meetings. I think at the game when you have five seconds to make a decision, the more times you have a chance (to make decisions together), you've got a better chance of getting it right. When you've got good people, which we do, you try like heck to keep them."
On whether the Chick-fil-A Bowl will lead to future games with Tennessee:
"Anytime you can play a quality opponent with great tradition, that's a good game. Looking at the schedules, I know we're tied up for a while and I think they're tied up for a while. To play a quality team like Tennessee, I don't think there's any question that it would benefit Virginia Tech. If we get (a future game) worked out at Bristol, Lane and I could race each other!"