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November 28, 2011

Brandon Boykin


THE MODERATOR:  We have Brandon Boykin.  Brandon, while I wait on those questions, if you could give us a brief comment on Georgia reaching the championship game.
BRANDON BOYKIN:  Oh, man, the buzz around campus, around the state is just excitement.  The team is really excited.  Just ready to focus on this week.  Today is a big day.

Q.  Brandon, how much different a team do you think you all are from the last time you played in the Georgia Dome and also in terms of the big game atmosphere, do you feel like you all are going to be a little more prepared this week than you were the first time?
BRANDON BOYKIN:  Absolutely.  Totally different team from the first game in the dome.  Just everybody has a lot more experience, be able to play in that environment and know what it's like to play in the big game.  We had a lot of freshmen, a lot of young guys that had to play that first game against a very experienced Boise team.
Now that the season's kind of progressed, they aren't freshmen anymore.  They know how to play and play in those types of games.  We'll definitely be ready to play.

Q.  You all face some good receivers all year, Brandon, and LSU has certainly got their share of them, Shepard and Rueben Randle, who's about the top guy, about 6'4".  What kind of challenge does that present for you guys in the secondary, and how much are you looking forward to it?
BRANDON BOYKIN:  Oh, man, looking forward to it a lot, just in the big game on the big stage.  Like you said, LSU has a lot of great receivers.  We've been up against a couple of good receivers all year.  This will definitely be a challenge with the type of play makers that we have outside.
Just trying to work on fundamentals this weekend, just basically everybody doing their jobs.  I think we can be successful in the secondary as long as the whole defense does their job as far as the pass rush and the linebackers and the secondary as a whole.

Q.  Brandon, can you just talk about‑‑ as a cornerback, can you just talk about what you think of LSU's corners.  I'm sure you've seen them on TV‑‑ 17, Claiborne and 7, Mathieu‑‑ what you think about those guys and their play making ability.
BRANDON BOYKIN:  Awesome players, great play makers.  Every time you see them, they're constantly making plays.  There's never been a game where they're not.  Just ball hawks all around the ball.  I feel like that's what you need in order to be a great secondary.  They've done a great job of that.  Their secondary is a big reason why they have undefeated right now.
Our defense is ready to play, and ours is going to come ready to play too.  So it should be a good matchup.

Q.  I know you're going to have responsibilities with Rueben Randle and Shepard and those guys, but can you talk about LSU's ability to get the run game going, and what a challenge it's going to be for you guys stopping those four tailbacks.
BRANDON BOYKIN:  They've got so many weapons just in the run game itself, so many good running backs.  We've prided ourselves all year on being stout against the run.  Definitely going to be another challenge.  We'll definitely have to get ready for it this week.
If we can contain their run game, that will be a big plus for us and help us be successful.

Q.  Brandon, a lot has been made about Coach Richt and how he's brought you guys back after the 0‑2 start this season, ten‑game winning streak.  How much have the veterans and the seniors really helped to get this team back up?
BRANDON BOYKIN:  Big, big part of this was just the senior leadership, the poise that the guys stayed with and we have throughout the time when we were 0‑2.  Things weren't looking too good.  Just being able to keep everybody composed and tell the young guys that‑‑ just to continue to grind and think we were a good team.
Definitely can attribute a lot of the success to the seniors as well as the rest of the players.

Q.  Was there a moment where you guys were out the entire team and kind of had a speech?  What was that kind of like?
BRANDON BOYKIN:  Yeah, kind of, especially after the Boise game.  The Boise game, when we lost in the Georgia Dome, everybody was putting such a big emphasis on that game, and everybody was excited about it, and we kind of fell short.  People were kind of saying, oh, back to old Georgia, man, just like last year.
So I kind of wanted to make it a point to just step up and tell everybody to continue to grind and we were a great team no matter what this first game had.  And after the second game as well, people would continue to stay positive.  It definitely worked out for us.

Q.  Hey, Brandon, obviously, LSU's defense is one of the best in the country and comes up with‑‑ comes in with quite a reputation.  You do too.  Do you guys compare yourselves to LSU at all?  Are you kind of eager to kind of see if you can match what they do on the field?
BRANDON BOYKIN:  Yeah, absolutely.  I mean, statistics show that Georgia is one of the top three defenses in the nation in run game and, I think, total defense in some categories.  We're like No.3 in the SEC just because LSU and Alabama and all the great teams we have in this conference.  Just like you said, the matchup that we're going to have is going to be important, and definitely two big defenses going against each other.  It's going to be exciting.

Q.  A followup to that, I assume there's some satisfaction about your decision to come back for a senior year to be in this game.
BRANDON BOYKIN:  Absolutely.  Now looking back on that decision, I mean, I feel kind of like‑‑ it's just kind of funny.  I feel foolish for even considering it just because of the impact of this senior season on my life and the way that it turned out and just how much more I've learned and just the overall effect of just coming back for a senior year.  Definitely excited about doing that.

Q.  Brandon, I was going to ask you about that decision, and just to follow up on that a little bit, how close did you come to not coming back?  And was it the feeling of unfinished business to be done?  How big a factor was that?
BRANDON BOYKIN:  It was a huge factor.  I honestly was going to go to the NFL.  I kind of had my mind made up at one point.  And then I talked to Coach Richt, and it's funny, what happened was I actually came to the team meeting, me along with A.J. and Justin and all the other people who left.  It actually was like a snowstorm in Athens, a blizzard, and I got stuck here for a couple days.
Just over the course of those days, I started talking to Coach and all the coaches and just thinking about things.  I felt like it was kind of a sign from God.  Definitely made a good choice in doing that, and things have worked out well.

Q.  So you had actually decided to go?
BRANDON BOYKIN:  Well, I was still on the fence, but just sitting there thinking about it for that long, it was definitely something that I was considering.

Q.  And just follow up also on what you were talking earlier about the previous game this year in the Georgia Dome.  I know you were a veteran player at that point, but there were a lot of young guys on the team.  Can you remember just their reaction to the big game atmosphere in the dome?  Were there some wide‑eyed younger guys on the team that kind of had to adapt to playing in a game that big?
BRANDON BOYKIN:  Yeah, it's your first college game for a lot of those guys, and then the magnitude of it being in the Georgia Dome and against a top five team.  It doesn't really give you a chance to get adjusted.  It's like the SEC game, a big bowl game right in the beginning of the year, your first game.  So a lot of people were nervous and kind of had to get adjusted to the game type situation of a college football game.
They did what they had to do and got better.  Unfortunately, we didn't come out with the "W," but they all kept grinding and got better this season.  Definitely contributed.  A lot of those young guys have contributed to us being SEC East champs.

Q.  Hey, Brandon.  If you can, talk a little bit about Jarvis Jones and what you see in it his play and how he's improved as the year's gone on.
BRANDON BOYKIN:  When Jarvis came last year and he wasn't able to play because he had transferred from USC, just being able to see him out there in passing and in the film room, I could tell he definitely knew how to play.  I knew he was going to be a good player and be able to contribute once he was able to play.
All the things that he's done this year and all the accomplishments he's made and the sack records and the stats he's put up isn't a surprise to me or any of my teammates.  This is his first year really getting adjusted to the defense.  He can only continue to get better.  He'll definitely be one of the great linebackers to lead Georgia.
THE MODERATOR:  Brandon, thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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