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December 3, 2017

Drue Tranquill

South Bend, Indiana

Q. In 2014, if I remember right, you tore your ACL against Northwestern. Did you go on the Bowl trip?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I was there, yeah.

Q. What are your memories of watching that from the sideline?
DRUE TRANQUILL: Well, I remember wishing I was out there. Electric game, game-winning field goal. I remember just the season we had had, going undefeated, and then kind of sliding there the second half of the season. It was a great win for our team and super exciting.

Q. Coach Kelly was just talking a little bit about he thought the team was not just physically fatigued, but maybe mentally and emotionally maybe a little bit more worn down in November. Do you agree with that, and if so what may be could be done differently to avoid that?
DRUE TRANQUILL: Yeah, I think any way you dice it up, it was a long season, right. Having not gone to a Bowl the season before, you start your preparation for the next season earlier, and we got after it in winter conditioning and spring ball and fall camp and into this season.

When you look at it, four of the last 16 we play are in the Top-25, and so it's emotionally draining. Getting yourself up to those games and being able to perform at your best and preparing mentally and taking in a new game plan each and every week; knowing the stakes of each game, that definitely wears on you, and I think that showed a little bit at the end of the season in guys being tired.

Q. Seemed like this year, you look at the Stanford games, teams that try to line up in traditional sets and run at you, that's when you've been at your best. What about your game and that style of play allows to you bring out your best?
DRUE TRANQUILL: Are you talking about me personally?

Q. You personally, yeah.
DRUE TRANQUILL: I think just the physicality I love to play with. The downhill approach I like to have to my game; in terms of attacking teams downhill, being physical in the run and the pass game.

I think when you look at those games, they are all against, you know, big opponents. I love to perform against each and every opponent, but Coach Kelly always says players have to make plays in those games, and our conditioning this off-season, I think always before this season, it was kind of like, you know, we've got a lot of great players around, like someone will make that play.

But for me, my mentality all throughout this year was: I have to be the guy to make that play. I have to make that play. I think I try to translate in those games. So I was able to make some plays. But we had guys making plays all over the field.

Q. When Coach Elko got here, first practise in the spring, you were still playing on the back end, and then you were moved down. Now that you finish the regular season, now that you're able to step back, what do you think the position change and change of scheme was able to do for your game?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I mean, I think it brings out my traits a little more in terms of my combination of size and speed and strength and being able to disrupt receivers and knock them off their routes. Being able to be destructive on the edges in terms of allowing them not to get the ball on the perimeter. It allows me, also, to come off the edge and blitz, to keep pressure on the quarterback. It allows me to do a lot of different things that weren't necessarily doing as a hash safety.

Q. When you look at a game like this against LSU, what does a game like this for LSU present to you guys -- what does a win, if you were able to win, play well, what does it say about your season? Does it change your season; does it not? Big picture, what opportunities do you have in a game like this against an opponent like LSU?
DRUE TRANQUILL: It's a huge opportunity. I don't think it's going to make or break or define our season. I think when you look historically, the SEC has been dominant over the past ten years. And so to have an opportunity to go against a second SEC opponent this year; they are going to be physical, they are going to be tough and they are going to have playmakers all over the field and we're going to have to match that.

It's an incredible opportunity on that end for us to cap off our season and get a tenth win. I think that's important for us and important to send out our seniors that way.

Q. The matchup against LSU, just the fact that as you mentioned, an SEC team and you guys obviously have seen what they have done over the years; is there an excitement going up against a team like that?
DRUE TRANQUILL: Yeah, I don't -- I'll say this lightly, because I grew up loving Auburn, so I don't like LSU. So I grew up, my parents always raised me not to like LSU. So to have the opportunity to go against them, you know, it's an honor, and I really look forward to it.

They are a great football team historically when you look at it. And you know they started this season rough but they are really hitting a hot streak, and one of the better teams in college football right now. It's an exciting opportunity and I'm looking forward to it.

Q. I know you didn't play in that game, but you were there and obviously you saw what happened going into 2015. How much did that win over LSU boost the team going into the off-season?
DRUE TRANQUILL: It just built a lot of confidence. I think a lot of guys didn't have a lot of confidence heading into that game and coming out, when you see you can beat a quality opponent and a first-round draft pick in Leonard Fournette; I think he gave a lot of guys confidence heading into next season.

Q. Do you think that team needs that going into next year with the way the last month has gone?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I don't think we necessarily lack confidence right now as much as guys got a little worn out down the stretch. I don't know that we need a boost, per se. I think it's just a great opportunity to go out and get a tenth win.

Q. Being 9-3 from where you were is a great achievement, but is there a disappointment with the way the last month played out?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I don't think -- I mean, obviously we wanted to be in the playoffs. That was our goal heading into this season. That was our mission. That's what we set out for ourselves is to win National Championships and graduate our players.

You have higher goals for yourself, but I don't know that disappointing is the right word.

Q. I'm sure you've seen college football, a trend, some guys will pass on the Bowl game to preserve their NFL future. Do you get that perspective as a player and is it something you would entertain?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I don't know that for me personally it's something I would entertain. I don't know even if I was projected as the top pick in the draft that would be something I would entertain. Granted, I'm not in those shoes -- yeah, I'm not in those shoes (Laughter).

It's an interesting idea but I think me personally, like the pride I have for the university and the opportunity they have given me, I don't know that's necessarily something that I would want on my record.

But then again, guys, it's a business decision. I don't think it's anything against the university or against their teammates. I think when you look at it from a financial standpoint, it makes sense for some guys.

But yeah, I don't think it's anything against the university. I think it's more of a business decision and some of those guys probably hate to make that decision, but they see it as the best opportunity for themselves.

Q. Is it you get the decision, but it's not a decision you would make yourself?
DRUE TRANQUILL: Yeah, I think I understand what some guys are doing when they do that. I mean, if you look at a guy, a close friend of mine, a teammate like Jaylen Smith, guys are going to point to that and, like, see what happened there. I mean, I understand it, yeah.

Q. I'm assuming that you put your name in for feedback with the underclassmen -- what do you want to find out from there?
DRUE TRANQUILL: What I can get better on, what they perceive as my strengths or weaknesses. I believe now they have changed it to first, second or comeback. So we'll see what they say, just to get some feedback.

Q. Is that something that would impact your decision?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I don't know that that necessarily will. Obviously it's feedback and you'll take all the feedback you can get.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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