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- September 5, 2022 at 4:00 pm #20425Mark WheelerForum Owner
Q. Got in late last year. It was kind of like a learning year for you. Just what was your mindset in the off-season to kind of get yourself ready and prepared to be an impact player this year?
TYREAK SAPP: Just kind of put my mindset on just working and working for it, just working with the team, working with this D-line that I’ve never worked with before, and just ready for this season.
Just all this work in the off-season and during the spring, and then when these guys came in, they gave me new life, something to live, something to breathe for, just a new breath that we’ve got some more opportunities come in, and it’s going to be big time for me to be able to play this year. I can really provide for this team and be able to be a productive player for this team this year.
Q. So the new staff kind of rejuvenating for you?
TYREAK SAPP: Yes. Man, they came in with energy. Even though it was a new staff, it’s kind of hard to gain trust early and somebody just come in there and being able to trust them like we built over time. They told us they understood it was going to come slowly, but it was going to come surely. They kept their promise from then till now.
Q. Your emotions when you saw Amari make the interception there?
TYREAK SAPP: Oh, man, it was like — it’s unexplainable. I was just so happy and just like one of those electrifying moments in football where you can’t really explain it with words. It’s all just reactions from there. I was so happy for Amari, and that was the crazy thing, it happened on my first game ever playing. One of the best parts about it is I contributed to that.
Q. How do you come down from that emotional high, get refocused, and just stay the course?
TYREAK SAPP: You got to understand you can’t be complacent. You’ve got to understand that there’s room for improvement, and the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. You’ve got to take that for what it is and move on to the next week and have laser beam focus on the next team and get ready for your next opponent.
Q. That sounds like a Coach Chaos expression.
TYREAK SAPP: Yeah, that’s Coach Chaos (laughter). The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.
Q. Is there some validation that you guys go nine months building this thing, is there a little validation in not only winning, but beating a top ten team like that?
TYREAK SAPP: There’s a little validation, but we understand as a team there’s validation, yeah, we work for that. But we’ve got to understand there’s a lot more work to put in. We need to understand we can be a lot better and there’s a lot of things we can improve on, and we’re going to keep improving on those during the week, day in and day out.
Q. Coach Napier talked about some of the misalignment in the second half. Can you guys clean that up this week getting prepared for Kentucky?
TYREAK SAPP: Yeah, we put that film to rest, and we’re going to get that cleaned up, making sure everybody is on the same page. Obviously that was my first game ever in The Swamp, and I can tell you right now, The Swamp is real. You’ve got to buckle up and be ready for that.
I think we’re going to be better on the communication factor on things and just be a better team. Just playing team defense and understanding what we’ve got to do and our alignment just being in place.
Q. You think the crowd noise impacted that a little bit. You think you guys couldn’t hear or something?
TYREAK SAPP: Just a little bit.
Q. Just watching the film and having coaches critique you, does that bring you off your high?
TYREAK SAPP: It brings you down a little bit, but you accept that because you understand this is what you need and this is what it’s going to take for us to be better and us to improve throughout the weeks, throughout these games week in and week out, just being better against different opponents.
Q. What’s the wild dog mentality? Where does that come from?
TYREAK SAPP: Wild dog mentality, the African wild dog, that’s a pack mentality. We have a pack mentality. We play for each other every game. We play every snap for each other. We would lay our lives on the line for each other each and every snap. We make sure we do that and make sure we hold ourselves to that standard.
Q. Is that what Billy’s building? If you had to take something from that game, what is Billy and the staff building?
TYREAK SAPP: They are building a tough, mean, nasty team ready to play anybody. Any type of high combatants, we’re ready for that. That’s what we’re trying to be.
Q. At what point do you come down from, okay, you just beat the seventh ranked team in the country. That game’s over and behind you. At what point did that happen for you, and now it’s all about Kentucky?
TYREAK SAPP: Yesterday. It happened for me yesterday. Yesterday evening when we came in, we came in new week, new everything. Just got to change your focus, got to get off your game day high and got to understand we’ve got a big time formidable opponent coming in. High combatants. It’s a team we lost to last year. So we’re just looking forward to putting our focus on them and getting ready for that team.
Q. Hot combatants?
TYREAK SAPP: High combatants. They are combatants. It’s a war. This game is a war. They are combatants.
Q. I’m going to ask about the Spencer tweet again. What is the 80 percent efficiency rate? He tweeted out wild dogs lead with 80 percent efficiency rate. Do you know what he’s talking about there?
TYREAK SAPP: If he did tweet that, I don’t know about it.
Q. What does the chant sound like that you guys do?
TYREAK SAPP: So we basically say I’m a dog, I’m a villain, competition, I’m a killer.
Q. Who would you say is the leader in the front seven for you guys?
TYREAK SAPP: The leader in the front seven is most definitely V. Mill. But I always call, my big leaders that I always look to, these are guys I looked to in the game yesterday for me to keep me down because it was my first rodeo. There was a lot of emotions and a lot of nerves going on.
So I was looking at V. Mill, Cox, and Dex. Those are my guys. Those are who I look to. Those are my big brothers. They kept my head in the game, and that’s the reason I was able to play a stop and do my job for the defense.
Q. What does he do? I was going to ask you and bran ton about Ventrell. He was all over the field the other night.
TYREAK SAPP: V. Mill is a phenomenal player. He plays his heart out every play. He understands the job. He understands the situation. He’s going to do everything in his power to make sure that he gets his job done and understand and make sure everybody else get their job done because he knows he’s that general in the middle.
Q. Is there some vocal leadership that goes with that?
TYREAK SAPP: He’s most definitely a vocal leader.
Q. Could you explain a little.
TYREAK SAPP: He’s going to let you know every play, what you got going on. He’s going to reassure you everything that you need. He’s going to just keep you in. He’s one of those guys that’s played a lot of snaps in his career. So when you go on the field with a guy like that, you’re pretty comfortable. You can play pretty confident because you know you’ve got a guy behind you. He understands what’s going on.
Q. When you went to bed, did you fall asleep immediately when your head hit the pillow, or did you stay awake for two hours replaying the ballgame?
TYREAK SAPP: The night after the game, man, I’m not even going to lie. I went to sleep probably about 4:00 a.m. You’ve got to relive that moment. You just kind of gather your thoughts after the game and really just understand what happened, especially for me, especially me being my first time having the opportunity to actually put on that uniform and actually go out there and play in that game, in that caliber of a game.
It actually just took a lot for me to gather my thoughts and understood what happened. I was just proud of what happened. Immediately after the game, I got right back to work and got right back on the film.
Q. So you were running highlights in your head?
TYREAK SAPP: I wouldn’t say that (laughter). I checked in with the boys. You talk to all your boys. You make sure everybody good and everybody talk to each other, and we let each other know how we feel and our thoughts on everything.
Q. What time did you have to get up if you’re falling asleep at 4:00?
TYREAK SAPP: You pretty much could sleep in. You sleep in. They start later on.
Q. That’s good. You’ve seen Dexter’s approach to the game since you got here. Has anything changed about it? What stands out to you about the way he approaches his craft?
TYREAK SAPP: Dex is one of those guys, he has a business-like mentality, but he understands — even though he’s now been playing this game for a long time, he understands what it takes and how to actually prepare for a football game. He just lets us know week and week out we’ve got to come with a dog mentality. We’ve got to come prepared.
He’s been on a good team in 2020. He played on that team. He got an opportunity to play with them. So he understands what a championship mentality is. He understands what the preparation is and what your mental mind state has to be in to play in games like that.
Q. Did you get some headphones?
TYREAK SAPP: Oh, yeah, for sure, my boy A, man. Love the G-man. The G going to look out. He has a family mentality. He’s just a great guy to be around. He loves the team. He loves the guys. I love being around Bichy (phonetic). That’s big bro for real.
Q. What’s the bovine stand, man? I know you guys chant before the game, but what was the talk down there?
TYREAK SAPP: Our talk is we protect, we defend every blade of grass. We don’t care where it is. We defend every blade with it all. We fight for every blade of grass no matter what.
Q. If you think about Chris McClellan getting in there for his debut, what do you think about that?
TYREAK SAPP: I see him, young guy can play, man. I love that key come out with a fight. Even though he didn’t get as many opportunities, but I think that kid has a bright future ahead. He’s a big kid. He plays fast. He’s excited. Like that’s one guy who we’re going to have to watch out for. He’s going to build his way up for more playing time and get more opportunity that the ceiling goes on.
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