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December 28, 2019

Tanner Cowley

Miami Gardens, Florida

Q. Obviously this is a big game. What's it like for you?
TANNER COWLEY: Yeah, it's a huge opportunity for the program, first New Year's Six. I think it just shows the growth and direction. Just being here shows where we've been stacking up, but winning would just be huge for the program and the fans.

Q. For the unbroken growth, do you feel like you need to win this game or do you still feel like with nine wins and an ACC title there is still unbroken growth?
TANNER COWLEY: I think there's still unbroken growth regardless. We're obviously happy to be here but we want to win. We're preparing every day while we're here to win.

Q. What's it going to take to win? What have you seen from Florida's defense?
TANNER COWLEY: Yeah, they're an athletic defense. They're fast off the edge, so just holding up that front with myself and the tackles and just playing Virginia football and executing at a high level.

Q. Do you like the extra break? You've had some extra time to sort of scheme teams. Is that something you enjoy?
TANNER COWLEY: Yeah, yeah. I think I was talking with Joe the other day, how many times do you think you've ran some of these plays, and we're probably on 30 times a play with walkthrough and practice. We've got a good feel with the offense and good feel for what they're doing.

Q. Have you seen anything schematically that really jumps out about the Florida defense or anything strange they do?
TANNER COWLEY: Nothing off. Nothing we haven't seen yet. We're pretty prepared for it.

Q. Bowl week activities, is there a favorite thing outside of football you guys have done this week?
TANNER COWLEY: I've been going to the beach every day, jumping in the ocean, whether it's morning or night. I enjoy that.

Q. How much freedom do they give you this week?
TANNER COWLEY: There's like sporadic hours throughout the day, but today we have a big beach day planned for the whole team. We get a three, four-hour window.

Q. What was your kind of take on (indiscernible)?
TANNER COWLEY: I think luckily since I only had a semester with the previous staff, obviously things were different, but I wasn't too probably entrenched in what it used to be like, so it was easy to adapt for me. We obviously realized we do things different than anybody else probably in the country.

Q. About the jersey numbers, were you at first like, he's the coach, I'll do it, or were you like, oh, yeah, that makes a lot of sense? What was your take?
TANNER COWLEY: I think everyone at first was probably a little nervous, am I going to get the number I want. But it's played out. It's played out since then, and now people are excited for that night, and it's turned into a great night for the team.

Q. You've probably answered this a few thousand times, but the idea of going for the 10th win, seems like you guys talk about that a bunch. When did that become something that was sort of a goal that you were talking about?
TANNER COWLEY: I think we addressed that after the Louisville loss when we put up each possible record and said, which do you want to be. Coach said we can be here at I think it was 6-6, something like that, or we can be down here at 10-3, going into bowl week it would have been. That's what we addressed then, and everyone -- we kind of said, well, we want to be in that lower section, so we realized that we could be there.

Q. You mentioned that you were here for a little bit before. To be where you are right now, on the cusp of 10 wins, in the Orange Bowl, having played in the ACC title game, I'm sure it's what you wanted, but when Bronco first got hired, did you think, by the time I get to this year we could be there?
TANNER COWLEY: After 2-10, that was a tough season, and really -- we didn't have any bowl experience from the year before, and I definitely didn't imagine being here and being in the ACC after that season. And then just watching the Military Bowl, the Belk Bowl, it doesn't surprise me that we've just continued to climb because of the steps that he puts in this program and how hard we work every day.

Q. It's interesting, and I guess it's the way it should work, that you guys have been very incremental. It just seems like every year, whatever was lacking the previous year, you've added. Is that surprising that you've been able to do it so clearly?
TANNER COWLEY: Yeah, it is -- if you look at it like that, it's very interesting to see. But I think we focus on a lot now, too, that first year, people were probably just happy to be there and go through it all, and now this year and last year there's been a whole different mindset going into this bowl week. We've been talking this week just about how great that winter and summer and off-season workouts were, spring ball, coming off that South Carolina win, how that just sticks with you. So that's obviously the goal again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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