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December 1, 2014

Bud Sasser


CHUCK DUNLAP:  Bud, thanks for being with us.  Before we take questions, could you just talk about being back in Atlanta for the second straight year.
BUD SASSER:  Awesome feeling.  We worked really hard to get here.  We knew it was going to be harder the second year, but we knew we had a shot at it.  We made that our goal, and we were able to reach it.

Q.  Hey, Bud, two quick questions.  First off, what turned this team around after the Georgia game and the way you guys performed that day?  Was it something overnight?  Or was it kind of a gradual thing?  How did you get here after losing a game like that?
BUD SASSER:  I think it was really gradual actually because we weren't necessarily hitting on all cylinders even after that game.  What we did was continued to improve each week, and we didn't worry about what was being said about us outside of our program.  We just tried to make sure we stayed together and worked hard each week and try to make improvements.

Q.  And I wanted to ask about recruiting rankings.  Missouri never does well in recruiting rankings.  Yet here you guys are back‑to‑back SEC East Champions.  Do you guys use that as motivation when you see your class is ranked 40th nationally and at the bottom of the SEC?
BUD SASSER:  Most of the time, no one really thinks about it here.  It's more of a family atmosphere.  So no one's really worried about your rankings or what star level you were when you came in from high school.  Everybody's just here to get the job done.  Coach Pinkel does a great job of getting us all on the same page so we can do that.

Q.  I'm just curious, as far as how you guys were able to get back here when you consider you lost your starting quarterback, two starting defensive ends, and so many guys.  How were you guys able to get back to this position with so many key players left from last year's team?
BUD SASSER:  Guys have got to step up, man.  I think everybody on this team has done a great job of that.  We're put in a position to go out there and perform each week.  And just like those guys did last year, who had their best year on their last year, a lot of us were able to do that same thing this year.

Q.  Hey, Bud, with Maty, have you seen any, I guess, tangible differences in him now as opposed to the start of the SEC season?  Have you seen any kind of real changes in him from those first couple of games?
BUD SASSER:  Yeah, he's definitely playing a lot smarter.  He's having a lot more patience, and he's taking care of the football.  He's trying to make the right decisions while he's out there.

Q.  And you guys, as a receiving corps, how much more do you feel like you're helping him out than you were in the first couple SEC games too?
BUD SASSER:  I feel like we're being more consistent than we were at the very beginning of SEC play, and we're also making some of the big plays that need to be made in the game to kind of change the momentum for us.

Q.  I was just curious, did you guys learn anything last year with your experience at the SEC Championship game that you think will help you be a little more prepared maybe this year?
BUD SASSER:  Yes, and I think that was really staying poised and making sure that we just stick together while we're out there in a hostile environment even though the momentum can change so quickly in that game.  And just making sure everybody stays together and not giving up on the game plan and giving up on what we've worked on the entire year to be there.

Q.  This is sort of falling off on a question here, but I know last year in Atlanta you guys had to at least make an appearance at the Georgia Dome Friday when you guys don't typically do walk‑arounds at the opposing team's stadium.  I just wanted to ask if there was anything, as far as the schedule leading up to the game, if you guys feel more prepared with that, even though you don't normally do walk‑arounds.
BUD SASSER:  Can you ask that again?  Is this all from last year or this year?

Q.  From last year, how you guys normally don't do walk‑arounds at the opposing team's stadium.  You kind of had to show up at the Georgia Dome just for media availability.  I was just wondering‑‑
BUD SASSER:  I mean, it was something different, but we've been taught well here to handle the sudden change, if something were to all of a sudden come up like that where we can't do what we normally do.  You just have to take it for what it's worth and just go play ball.
At the end of the day, it's still a 100‑yard field.  So we've got to be able to play.

Q.  Do you feel you are deserving of a spot in the 2014 playoff?
BUD SASSER:  Are we deserving?

Q.  Yeah, if you're the SEC Champs.
BUD SASSER:  You know, honestly, I think it will play itself out.  We don't worry too much about what can result from a win.  All we want to do is win.  We want to be the champion.  We want to be the SEC Champions.  So that's what we're worried about.

Q.  What did you guys‑‑ what changed for you guys after that game against Indiana?
BUD SASSER:  Really, we realized that we can't go out and just play a C‑plus game and expect to beat anybody in this league.  So we realized that, and we just tried to make improvements from then on.

Q.  Just wondering in the short time you've been looking at Alabama, what are your impressions of their cornerbacks?  In particular, Cyrus Jones.
BUD SASSER:  They're all talented, and they all play with a high level of confidence.  That's a swagger that they all bring to the table.  But they'll be a good challenge.

Q.  From a wide receiver perspective, how difficult is it going up against a defense like Saban?  They play a lot of press.  Do you enjoy doing that as opposed to other teams that just sort of sit back and let you do what you want to do?
BUD SASSER:  Yeah.  It's always great to have a nice challenge out there, someone who will make you think a little bit.  Once you figure it out, it makes you feel pretty good, and your confidence level goes even higher.  We're looking forward to it.

Q.  When you see Alabama give up the amount of passing yards and big plays against Auburn, I guess, how do you react to that?  Do you feel like, hey, we can make those same plays?  How do you react when you see the type of big plays that their secondary gave up?
BUD SASSER:  That's it right there.  When you see something like that, it's like, hey, it can be done, and all you got to do is make sure you're executing your plays all around the field and from every position.  Big plays like that will happen.  Just got to stay patient and just execute.
Thank you.

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