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December 29, 2017
Q. What's it been like this week?
RODNEY ANDERSON: It's been amazing, really. This is the first Bowl game that I've been to with a team where I can actually participate in the practices and the game portion when we get to that. So I'm excited.
Q. Get it out of the way right away. How have you been able to put this whole situation behind you? How have you been dealing with it?
RODNEY ANDERSON: I just relied on God throughout this whole thing with my family. They helped me stay focused, and you know, they just kept telling me I had to rely on my faith and my family and the truth is going to come into light. I've got that behind me and just concentrate on football.
Q. It must have come as a surprise --
RODNEY ANDERSON: It came as a surprise to me but you know, I mean, all you can do is pray and that's what I did. I prayed for myself and I prayed for her and I prayed for everybody involved in that situation.
Q. Georgia gets a lot of credit for their running game?
RODNEY ANDERSON: I feel confident in our game and I know Georgia feels confident in their game, so that's going to make for a great game.
Q. What's the biggest thing when you look at their defense? What do you see in Georgia's defense?
RODNEY ANDERSON: They are big and physical. They like to stop the run. I feel like they are going to be challenged with our passing game. I mean, it's not like their pass defense is bad, either. They are an all-around good defense and I'm excited for the challenge.
RODNEY ANDERSON: He can do it all. He's fast side to side but he's physical enough to stick it up in the hole. He's just a great all around player.
Q. Have they seen an offense like yours?
RODNEY ANDERSON: I think this will probably be the best defense we are going to play this year, or so far, and I feel like this is the best offense that they have seen this year. So I mean, it's going to be a good contest.
Q. Is there anything wrong with saying that you guys have to outscore the teams that you have to play to win a National Championship?
RODNEY ANDERSON: A win is a win, so whatever we've got to do to get the win, I'm down for it.
Q. What can you tell us about -- did you learn anything about Georgia through him?
RODNEY ANDERSON: I just know he's got some friends on the team, so no like secret intel, but he's excited to play the game. Obviously being from Georgia, he's got some friends on the team and he's a great running back and I'm happy to have him on this side of the ball.
Q. Has it been a situation where you've mentored him or anything like that?
RODNEY ANDERSON: Of course, the running back room as a whole, we've worked as a team. It's a very competitive room so we are always making each other better.
Q. What is it with the friend ships with these guys?
RODNEY ANDERSON: I feel like it's easy to form friendships with someone who is protecting you. Aside from that, they are great guys. They are always funny and animated and doing things together. A really close-knit group and I enjoy being part of that. I'm glad they let me be part of that.
Q. What is it like in your house -- do you eat just as much at the O-linemen?
RODNEY ANDERSON: There's always an abundance of food, so I feel like nobody ever goes hungry.
Q. When did you start forming friendships with O-linemen? Was it high school? When did that kind of start?
RODNEY ANDERSON: I've always been pretty good friends with the offensive line, I guess starting in junior high when football really became a big deal.
Basically we'd have different positions and the O-Line would always try to find the running backs and we'd come and crash our dinner and eat all of our food. Nobody was really that upset about it. It was all in fun. It was good having them around.
Q. You're still friend with linemen from high school?
RODNEY ANDERSON: Oh, yeah, I talk to them almost every day.
Q. Who are they?
RODNEY ANDERSON: Luke, Garrett, those are the two -- Gabe Montez's brother, and Jessie, he's on the defensive side. He's who I really keep in contact with.
Q. Did you know about that?
RODNEY ANDERSON: It surprised me.
Q. What was that like?
RODNEY ANDERSON: I saw them the night before the game in the hotel. They came and visited with my family. It was really cool to see them. I was truly surprised. They just kind of popped up out of nowhere. I didn't see them coming, which is another -- it's weird. You never -- you feel like you see a big guy coming.
Q. How is Hayden?
RODNEY ANDERSON: He's doing good. He's doing really well. I think he's got some internships lined up that he's trying to think about doing this summer. He's moved on from football. He had a great football career but he's moved on very well.
Q. I'm sure he has moved on, but at the same time -- there have to be moments.
RODNEY ANDERSON: Yeah, I'm sure there are, but you know, he does a great job supporting us in whatever game we're in, whatever position we're in. He'd be with us the same way if we were having a bad season.
Q. Do you practice ever or some?
RODNEY ANDERSON: He comes up. He's always still around.
Q. Do you worry about the ordeal you went through earlier, do you worry about what it means to your reputation; forget about the ramifications, legal, that's gone. But do you worry about your reputation?
RODNEY ANDERSON: I feel like my reputation, I feel like I've done a really good job building up my reputation to this point. I feel like I built it on my faith and my family, and so I feel like people who really know me know that, and you know, if you don't know me, then hopefully you can see it through the people that do.
Q. It seems like people who do know you, you'll be an easy sell. You're a high-profile guy and you'll be high-profile for years to come.
RODNEY ANDERSON: I mean, I'm not really worried about it to be honest. I'm focused on football and I'm focused on my team. That's about it.
Q. At a crucial time in the season -- did it make it difficult --
RODNEY ANDERSON: I don't think so. Obviously it came as a shock but like I said before, I just focused on family and my faith and I feel like I really started to believe that if I focus on my faith and my family, you know, God takes care of everything.
Q. Do you feel like you had good resources in family and friends? Some representation said you were shielded from the worst of it.
RODNEY ANDERSON: Yeah, I guess so.
Q. What does it mean to have a guy like that -- in a tough situation?
RODNEY ANDERSON: It means a lot. You know, a guy like that, being a teammate; I was just saying, I relied on my faith and family and friends, and they always had my back in situations like that.
Q. Was it tough for the offense --
RODNEY ANDERSON: At first maybe but I just trusted in the people that were around people, people that were closest to me, and obviously it worked out. Truth came to light.
Q. What do you think about their defense?
RODNEY ANDERSON: I think they are a great defense all around, really. They don't have many weaknesses and so it's going to be a great contest.
Q. What do you think will be the challenge?
RODNEY ANDERSON: I don't know that there's -- I mean, honestly, everything, really. I feel like they are the best defense we've played so far. It will be a good competition.
Q. What about it?
RODNEY ANDERSON: Physicality, all very athletic. Honestly I really don't know what else to say other than they are all around athletic and good all around defense.
Q. Any opponents you've played this year --
RODNEY ANDERSON: Not really to be honest.
RODNEY ANDERSON: It can help us to a certain extent. I mean, obviously Auburn's offense isn't our offense. There's some things we can take, some things we can't. We take what we can.
Q. What did you get through the first three or four weeks during the season, you weren't playing very much, had a lot of belief in yourself and knew what you could do but you weren't playing much and the team was having success. Were you thinking, man, this wasn't going to work out?
RODNEY ANDERSON: No, I never really got to this point. I don't think I ever let myself get to that point. Like I said, with the other situations, I always rely on my faith, my family and friends. I just let God lead me to the whole thing. I'm a hard worker and I never really lost confidence in myself. I just put my head down, kept working and it paid off.
Q. Was it just the opportunity --
RODNEY ANDERSON: I guess just the right mixture of all of that, I guess. I got in there around the Texas game and got to showcase what I can do and what I've been working on -- rest of the season.
Q. Were you hesitant as a player -- now, you're just a pin ball, just bouncing off everybody, but in September, you weren't getting to play and when you did, the production wasn't all that high. Is there a secret?
RODNEY ANDERSON: I don't know if there's a secret. I just kept working hard. Hard work really does pay off I guess. I feel like there's a little bit of hesitancy just because I've been outside of the game for two years with injuries, but there's part of the game, injuries.
Q. When you had your second injury last year, who did you turn to for inspiration? Because when it happens two years in a row --
RODNEY ANDERSON: I turned to my faith, my family and any friends. That's pretty much all I'm about.
Q. When you say family and friends, who are you referring to?
RODNEY ANDERSON: Family, obviously my family, my immediate family. And then friends is -- they can also be thought of as family, as well, my football teammates, and then I have really a close-knit group of friends that I keep in contact with, and then my little brothers -- they are pretty much my family, too.
Q. Your teammates, people from OU?
RODNEY ANDERSON: My teammates now, mostly my teammates here at OU and my friends from Katy, as well. They mean everything, really. They are great on and off the field. They are some of my best friends here. I don't know what I would do without them.
They have more in common honestly than you would think. They have done a great job and I love running behind them and I wouldn't strayed them for anything.
Q. They haven't won a title --
RODNEY ANDERSON: I don't know that I'm really too focused on a national title right now. I'm focused on this game and I just want to get out there and do the best I can do.
Q. The position you're in now --
RODNEY ANDERSON: Just can't take anything for granted. We have to practice hard at all times and when the time comes, play hard.
Q. Have you got a chance to look at what they do and have you compared them?
RODNEY ANDERSON: I mean, we're definitely always studying Georgia. We really put a lot of time into that but we also focus in ourselves, as well.
Q. And the importance of running the football effectively, how big was that?
RODNEY ANDERSON: Running game is always a part of our game plan. It's always a significant part. It complements the pass and the pass complements us.
RODNEY ANDERSON: It definitely helps because it makes him a threat. When there's people keying on him, there's not people keying in on others. Puts people in tough situations.
RODNEY ANDERSON: When I first got here, Bobby came early with me -- and he was rooming with Tay, his roommate and me and Tay were able to move out before Bobby was. We lived together and then once Bobby moved out -- inaudible.
Q. Great roommates?
RODNEY ANDERSON: Great roommates. We keep to ourselves when we want to relax but at the same time we can come down stairs and have a good time with each other and chill.
Q. Two years, been incredibly consistent --
RODNEY ANDERSON: In my opinion, I feel like they need -- I feel like they are the best offensive line ever. I wouldn't trade them for anybody.
RODNEY ANDERSON: Obviously AJ Peterson, I guess he's the most, I don't know, the most recent that I've just been looking at as a significant player.
Q. Is there a particular player you model your game after?
RODNEY ANDERSON: I just kind of do what I do, I guess. I don't know.
Q. What does your wristband say?
RODNEY ANDERSON: It's Jeremiah 29:11. Pretty much Katy, the community of Katy came together and gave me this wristband. They started wearing them, too. It was really cool.
RODNEY ANDERSON: No, I honestly think that it motivates us and it shows that we can do it. Big 12 isn't some little brother. We're right up there with everybody else.
RODNEY ANDERSON: I don't know, I mean, I feel like we're just looking at this like it's another game that we've got to prepare for. Obviously it means a little bit more because it's a Playoff game. If we win, I guess it's going to quiet some people.
RODNEY ANDERSON: That we're just as physical as anybody else.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports