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December 30, 2017

Steven Parker

Pasadena, California

Q. Can you talk about the challenge that Georgia presents?
STEVEN PARKER: I mean, they present a lot of challenges, especially in the defensive end. You know, just with how they, you know, how they get into formations and how they lock everything up. You know, everything is going to be kind of a challenge as far as stopping the running game and that's going to be the biggest key of this game.

Q. Is there anything that you're impressed by?
STEVEN PARKER: Definitely. Actually one thing I'm really impressed by is player play-action pass and their receiving core. Their receiving core isn't really talked about a whole lot but they actually have some pretty nice receivers.

Q. And the running backs?
STEVEN PARKER: Definitely, the running backs, they have three versatile guys that can go, so we're going to have be ready to stop them.

Q. How would you sum up your season, not just as a team, but for yourself, personally?
STEVEN PARKER: The team is as close as it's ever been in my four-year journey. We've had a lot, a lot of success as far as in practice and in getting everybody right as far as preparation goes, and to get us ready for each and every game.

So that includes scouts; that includes second team, third team, first team. You know, everybody. Everybody on this team. Everybody is growing closer together and everybody has been practicing hard and preparing hard.

Q. As captain, what is your job?
STEVEN PARKER: My job is to be in the film room, basically putting this defense together, helping this defense together. So really molding everybody and being the grew to the defense as far as communication and making sure everybody gets the call.

Q. Have you seen anything close this season?
STEVEN PARKER: I wouldn't say. So I feel like Georgia kind of has their own unique type of offense. It's similar to Ohio State but I wouldn't stay it's Ohio State.

I feel like they have their own brand which is more of an SEC-type of brand. It's kind of what we faced last year a little bit versus Auburn. You know they are going to try to come at you, and they are basically going to try to run the ball and establish the run.

Q. What would you say you do to prepare mentally and physically to prepare for games?
STEVEN PARKER: I'm sorry, what do I do? Mentally and physically, I just try to make sure that I'm prepared as far as a captain goes. You know, making sure that I can call out some of the things that they are going to do or run on particular formations and being ready to go.

Q. What do you think about the activities you guys have done this week?
STEVEN PARKER: I love kind of what the Rose Bowl does. They really make sure we get the football side of it but yet we get to interact a little bit amongst each other. It makes the game a lot easier to come by, and the week easier, you know, just because you have different events to kind of glue the team together a little bit, especially since we're not together around the Holiday season.

Q. Do you worry about your teammates being overwhelmed?
STEVEN PARKER: No, not at all. I feel like this is a special group right here, and I feel like everyone on that field, I know every one of us is ready for this game. This game right here, we've been talking about this since, you know, last winter workouts. You know, it started in there, and then it came on to be, you know, in summer that we really started to mold together closer and closer and then fall camp, as you know, went by smooth.

So I feel like each and every season, this is what we've been talking about, and this is what we made it.

Q. What's it mean to play in the Rose Bowl game?
STEVEN PARKER: It's a blessing. I've grown up watching the Rose Bowl my whole life. One of my favorite games, actually, was the USC-Texas game and that right there, it still gets me till today. I'm like, man, I was going for USC that game or that day. It was a great game. Vince Young put together a great drive at the end to fin tissue out but that's one of my favorite all-time games.

Q. Does Baker Mayfield remind you of --
STEVEN PARKER: I would say you could say that, but then again, Baker is Baker. I feel Baker is his own unique brand. He's going to be remembered in college football for a long time.

Q. In the off-season, was there anything --
STEVEN PARKER: I feel like everything was pretty smooth, the transition between players and coaches, really adjusting to it on the fly. I feel like everything was smooth and it went as far as it should have went.

Q. Has anything changed or --
STEVEN PARKER: I feel like he tried to keep everything the same. We have a rhythm here at the University of Oklahoma already. He didn't want to change that. He basically wanted to make ongoing and making sure we keep ON setting the standard.

Q. They have a really deep running back rotation. What are differences --
STEVEN PARKER: They are physical, so on defense we are all going to have to show our physicality. I would say there's one or two running backs that are a little bit more versatile than the others as far as getting a chance to split them out ride and basically the running style in general. I feel they have three unique backs that are going to be some hogs and ready to go.

Q. How difficult is it to keep up the physical mentality, coming into a game like this, when you have three talented running backs, and the expectations?
STEVEN PARKER: It's our expectation. It's our expectations, that's what we're practicing each every day, thudding up and if we're not thudding up, we're going live as far as one or two periods and that's just to get you go ready for the game and that's what we did last year versus Auburn, so there's a lot of similarities.

Q. What can you say about the support staff?
STEVEN PARKER: Support staff and equipment staff, they are awesome. They make sure that we are all dressed and ready to go and make sure we have the freshest gear, and we love them for it.

Q. What about their offensive line, you're going against one of the best teams in the country at home.
STEVEN PARKER: You know, that's the thing, we have a physical offensive line. So we get a lot of great looks, even if it's not first team, but -- second team rather than first team. We're getting a great look from those guys right there, even our scout team.

We have a lot of great guys that are going to be up-and-coming as great players. So they are really giving us a great look as far as what we're going to see on a Georgia offensive line with all the push and the physical activity.

Q. Talk about the young guys in the secondary, how they prepare. They were only playing high school football a year ago.
STEVEN PARKER: All of our young guys are ready to go. Each person that we put in there, they already know the situation that we're in. They know how to play. They know how to go out there and compete. I feel like with our young guys, we go out there and we have fun together.

That's one thing right there; if they are having fun, they are not thinking how big the game. Is they are just thinking about, you know, the situation that they get to be in and how blessed that they are.

Q. Will this game be a chance for redemption for you guys from two years ago?
STEVEN PARKER: You could say it was like a redemption. I feel like that game right there it was more of us learning from our sis takes and it's kind of what we did. We got to that situation two years ago against a great Clemson team. We beat ourselves in a way but they also came ready to play and this is going to be, you know, another opportunity right here that we get to take.

Q. Are you surprised that you're here --
STEVEN PARKER: I wouldn't say that it's surreal or surprising to us. We already know that we had a special group and we've been running with it all season. A lot of people haven't believed in us but we wanted to instill that belief in other people. We always say, but we're all that we got. I really strongly believe that.

Q. Been a crazy week, I'm sure, but what have you enjoyed most so far?
STEVEN PARKER: Honestly, I love Disneyland but the stand-up comedy was actually pretty funny yesterday. We got to see some great guys right there live and that's something new that I've never got to experience. I had a ball.

Q. You've accomplished a lot, and you obviously want to get a win, is that your wish for the new year?
STEVEN PARKER: Definitely to go ahead and get a win. I would say, you know, just for my family and other families around the world to be blessed and be safe for the new year and just bring in the new year as far as a whole.

Q. Do you want to give a shout-out to friend and families back home?
STEVEN PARKER: Oh, yeah, shout-out to my mom and dad, my sister, my brother. Shout out to just all the fans.

Q. Do you have any concerns about Baker ready to go?
STEVEN PARKER: No, not at all. We're just basically making sure that he gets what he actually needs. He's fine. Baker's fine.

Q. Has he been able to go 100 percent in practice?
STEVEN PARKER: Yes, sir. Baker has been able to go 100 percent in practice. He's still been interacting with us outside of football. We all know Baker. He's doing fine.

Q. Do you guys give him a hard time about being sick?
STEVEN PARKER: We always give him a hard time, so it's nothing new.

Q. What's it been like this week?
STEVEN PARKER: It's really just been a great week of practice. You know, we've been running and gunning as far as practice goes, and on top of that, we've gotten a chance to go to some crazy events like Disneyland, the stand-up comedy. Those two right there probably highlight the most in my mind, but those were great days right there.

Q. In such a busy week, how do you focus?
STEVEN PARKER: It's beneficial. It gives us a chance to get away from football a little bit. We're practicing, you know, all morning for the most part, or having meetings and practice, you know, all that stuff goes together. But you know, when we get some free time, it's finally a chance to really just relax and settle down and get your mind off of football and have a couple of laughs and be with your teammates. It's a great deal.

Q. What do you see in the Georgia offense?
STEVEN PARKER: I mean, you know, just by watching film and you know, studying. The biggest things that you see is that we're going to have to be physical but we've been physical all year, so there's nothing that's going to change. It just going to be our mentality out there on the field.

Q. What do you see from Jake?
STEVEN PARKER: Jake, he's a great leader. He's a guy that I feel like will make some bad throws if we get some pressure on him. He's a young quarterback but he's ready to go.

Q. The inside -- making sure --
STEVEN PARKER: It's huge for the secondary. For the secondary, we have to be ready to go at all times. You never know when a pass is going to come your way. All you can do is basically just align and study, study, study. That's the biggest thing right there. There's some alignments where we can call out pass or there's some that you can call out just run. So we're going to have all hands on deck and ready to go.

Q. How different is it going into this Bowl game without J.T.
STEVEN PARKER: I mean, Tre has been doing a fantastic job. J.T., you know, he's been building backup and he's been doing better and better each and every day, each and every week. Especially after he had gotten hurt but tray Norwood has done an exceptional job stepping in and basically he's just bawling.

Q. Does he seem like a freshman when he's out there playing?
STEVEN PARKER: Not at all. I mean, Tre Norwood, we're close. We're a family right here. So as far as my DBs and my wolves, we love each other to death and we could put anybody out there on that field and know that we've got each other's backs.

Q. Obviously a lot of talk about Georgia's secondary, but in the back end, you, specifically -- how important is it for you to play well?
STEVEN PARKER: It's very important for us. We have to get the defense lined up and communicating, ready to go. You know, it's very important for us to have a great game because we can't let anything behind us as safeties go, and also, we can't let anything go unknown. So we have to basically open our mouths and make sure that everybody gets the right call.

Q. Obviously a lot of people are worried about their secondary players making tackles, but you guys, how do you feel like you match up, specifically coming up and tackling?
STEVEN PARKER: We feel like we match up with them very well. This is a physical group but we are also a physical group. You know, I know that they have seen, you know, a lot of different defenses, but I feel like ours is going to be the one to really, you know, have a bittersweet game and kind of shut some people up. But we have to go out there and do it on the field. It's not talking. It's about all the actions that you do.

Q. What do you tell guys like Tre and like Kenneth, what do you tell them getting ready? Are they getting antsy?
STEVEN PARKER: Definitely getting antsy. We're definitely all getting antsy. We've been off football for about a month now as far as not playing a game. We're all antsy to go and we're all ready to go. Those young guys, you really don't have to tell them much. They have done it all season long. If they are coming in and they are stepping up, then we're all coming in and stepping up. We all have each other's backs, like I said.

Q. This is a huge game, playing Georgia, and you had to prepare a lot. Is there any moment that you step back and say, man, I'm at the Rose Bowl and this is surreal, it's my senior year?
STEVEN PARKER: For me, I expected to get here; not I, but we, expected to get here as a team. You know, this is something that we've been talking about all season, all year long, excuse me. You know, starting from winter, going to summer, going to fall camp. We worked our butts off, so I really feel like, you know, we deserve to be here and we've concerned to be here, both of those. For us, this is just a great opportunity, you know, to be at the Rose Bowl and get the chance to represent our university.

Q. Anything you guys took from the experience a couple years ago in the Playoff?
STEVEN PARKER: I mean, it's definitely helped since we've been in a big game like this, at least some of the seniors, you know, in this class. You know, for us, we get to tell them kind of the things that we didn't do the first time. You know, why it's important to do it the second time.

So the little things is the things that matter.

Q. For you personally, is there anything that you felt like you didn't do a couple years ago that you made sure to do this year?
STEVEN PARKER: As an individual, I didn't have the greatest game as far as tackling goes. But also, you know, speaking as a safety, you know, I feel like we didn't also have the best communication. I feel like this year, it's been a lot better communicating. It's just about going out there and making some plays.

Q. How is it for you as a DB knowing more about the opponent's running attack and passing attack than some of the teams you play?
STEVEN PARKER: We're ready at all costs. It's all hands on deck for the most part, so I mean, we're going to be readying to. I mean, if they run the ball a thousand times, we're going to be ready to go defend it a thousand times. If they pass it a thousand times, we'll be ready to defend it a thousand times.

Q. Usually winning a Bowl game is an elation, and it's at the end of your season, but here, there's really two games. How do you temper -- because the winner here, it's not the end of the mission.
STEVEN PARKER: It's not the end of the mission for us, but right now, this is the most important game that we're going to play. It's the next game. We can't think about the National Championship or anything like that because we haven't made it yet. So the most upon thing is about worrying about this game right here.

Q. You bring Baker Mayfield and they bring Jake Fromm, what do you see from him?
STEVEN PARKER: He's a humble guy that's going to be able to stand back there in the pocket. We're going to have to get some pressure on him. He's a great leader, great character, as far as his field discipline on and off the field, and we're going to have our work cut out for us in the secondary.

Q. You guys have probably been hearing it a lot, Baker Mayfield, he's been sick all week. Has he given you any words of assurance that he'll be fine?
STEVEN PARKER: We know we'll be fine. We know our quarterback.

Q. It's the worst possible time for something like this to happen; is there any concern?
STEVEN PARKER: No, no concern at all. I always think that you have to turn things into positives and he's turning it into a positive. You know, he's getting some rest that his body needs and like I said, he's fine.

Q. Lincoln was asked about Baker -- as a captain, have you felt any added responsibility?
STEVEN PARKER: Not added responsibility, because we have a lot of leaders on this team. Me, Oko, Orlando, we are all captains, but we're not the only leaders that are out there as far as offensively, defensively. You know, we have a lot more guys that can show up, guys like Mark Andrews, Dimitri Flowers, Will Johnson is up there. So we have some leadership.

Q. Given the fact that you have a new coach, here you are --
STEVEN PARKER: I'm sorry, what was your question?

Q. How surprising is it you're here with a new coach? Usually it takes awhile.
STEVEN PARKER: It's not surprising at all. With us, we already knew that we had a great coach. We already knew we had a special group, special coach, and a special group of players that we could go out there and win with. You know, if we did everything up to our expectations, we would have a great season and that's what's happened so far.

Q. What do you think he has brought different?
STEVEN PARKER: I mean, there's not a lot of differences, but then again, there is. We have a younger coach. You know, he's a little bit more hands-on, but with Coach Stoops, we feel like we would have had the same season just if we were with Coach Riley. Coach Riley has done a fantastic job with us.

Q. They have three excellent running backs; do you look at them as similar or all kind of unique in their own way?
STEVEN PARKER: They are all unique in their own way. They all have different type of styles. You have one that you can split out wide and play like a receiver and then you have two that are real running backs, but they have two different running styles.

So you know, with us, it's all about just tackling, tackling, tackling. That's the biggest thing.

Q. As a DB, do you prefer to face a team that you're more concerned about their passing attack or containing their running game?
STEVEN PARKER: As a DB I'm a player and whatever I get, you know, I have to respond to and react to, and that's what's going to happen.

Q. Pretty unique situation having to face a team in the SEC; how unique is this opportunity?
STEVEN PARKER: I've been very blessed to participate in everything that the Bowl has to offer for us. It's been a blessing. We've loved every minute of it and they have done a great job hosting this event.

Q. Is when you face a young quarterback, a freshman, like you're going to, do you fly around, blitzing, whatever you have to do, is that part of the game plan?
STEVEN PARKER: The game plan is to go out there ask disrupt and right now that's all we've got.

Q. But when you face a younger guy, maybe he might be more prone to getting --
STEVEN PARKER: That's very true, but like I said, it's just about making the other offense, the other team uncomfortable and that's our game plan right now.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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