Cotton Bowl Press Conference

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Dan Mullen and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley will speak with us at 5. You can watch live on YouTube.
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Mullen says it's a great honor to play in the Cotton Bowl. It's a historic bowl. They're excited for a top-10 matchup. These are the games players go to Florida and Oklahoma for.

Riley says he grew up in Texas, so he knows the history of this bowl and the great hospitality. He congratulates Mullen and the Gators for a great season. It's a great thing to be able to play in a bowl game in a year like this.
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Riley says it was a great game yesterday and a lot of fun to win a championship. He's proud to hold that trophy again and face a great Florida team in one of the best bowls out there.
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Riley says he doesn't know if they'll have any opt-outs yet. He hasn't met with his team since the game yesterday.
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Mullen says the competitive edge of the guys will motivate them. They're giving them some time off this week after playing eight straight weeks to get them mentally and physically fresh.
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Mullen says he hasn't watched Oklahoma play much, but he thinks they have great playmakers all over the field. He thinks it will be a great challenge for them. They have a QB that can scramble and make things happen with his feet as well as his arm, and they're very physical up front.
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Mullen says the '08 championship game was a crazy time for him since he had taken the MSU job already. He's never been more exhausted than he was then. That game was full of big-time talent and guys that are still playing in the NFL. It turned into a defensive game, and Florida's defense came up big. Percy Harvin put up huge numbers, and Tim Tebow carried them home. It was special to hold the trophy for about 30 seconds before heading to Starkville.
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Riley says playing in AT&T Stadium before won't play much of a factor in this game, but they've enjoyed playing in one of the best venues in all of sports.

Mullen says when they told the team that they were going to the Cotton Bowl, the first question was "Where's the game?" It's a great stadium, and they're excited to play there.
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Mullen says Kyle Pitts discussed going pro with him when he was injured two weeks ago, and they talked about the opportunity to play in the SEC Championship Game. He knew that opting out of the bowl was a possibility, and Pitts informed him after the game last night. He worked his tail off to play last night and had a huge game. It's a huge opportunity for Kemore Gamble and Keon Zipperer, and he expects them to fill that role.
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Riley says preparing for this game is tough with Christmas in the middle of things.

Mullen says this season has been a physical and mental grind. They'll be off through Christmas and do some scouting report things virtually. They won't practice until bowl week.
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Riley says the defenses have improved in the Big 12, particularly on the line. That's why offense has been down a bit in his league. He's interested to see how things continue to evolve.
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Riley says Kyle Trask has been impressive. He can beat you in the pocket or run it down your throat on third and short. They've got tremendous weapons around him. You can see the improvement he's made from last year.
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Mullen says Todd Grantham "will be our defensive coordinator for the bowl game." Pitts is the only one who's informed him of his future plans. Everybody else is just trying to catch their breath right now. We'll see as the week goes on if others follow suit.
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Mullen says they had a team Zoom meeting this morning. He wanted to hear their opinions on if they should play a bowl game or not, and the players were on board with it. Even though the 10-day window is tight, they were excited for the opportunity to play in this bowl game.
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Mullen says kids dream of playing a team like Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, and it doesn't take much motivation for his players to go play. His players are competitors.
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Mullen says Kyle Pitts is going to be a top-10 pick. If you look at Chauncey Gardner-Johnson two years ago, he skyrocketed his draft stock in the Peach Bowl. His guys will make the right decisions for them.

Riley says Florida has a lot of great weapons. The receivers have great speed and length, and they have a good scheme. It will take solid team defense to slow them down.
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That's all for today.
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