Bruce Pearl Weekly Press Conference

January 28, 2008

KNOXVILLE (AP) -- Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl says former Volunteer quarterback Peyton Manning briefly converted him from a New England Patriots fan to an Indianapolis Colts fan last year.

The Boston native claims to be a die-hard Patriots fan, but says he rooted for the Colts over the Patriots last season in the AFC championship game.

The Rocky Top coach says he is friends with the Colts quarterback and that was enough to change his allegiance for a short time.

Pearl says he'll throw his support back to New England when the Patriots face the New York Giants in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

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INTERVIEW OF COACH BRUCE PEARL BEFORE GAMES
AT ALABAMA TUESDAY AND AT MISSISSIPPI STATE SATURDAY:

1. With an SEC game coming up Tuesday, how are the Vols coping with the scheduling that TV requires?

A - "It's great to have television. It's a big part of our resurgence. They like us on the road because we show we can be competitive, and they like us at home because the building is so attractive. Personally, I don't like Tuesday night games because it makes us practice on Sunday. I like giving the kids Sunday off for lots of reasons. It's like a true day off, and I think there's nothing wrong with putting a day aside for the Lord if you can. But we will take Wednesday off when we have a Tuesday game."

2. How important is the physical presence that Duke Crews, now back after an illness, gives the Vols?

A - "It's very important. You couldn't ask a much better opening night for him than he had Saturday. We need his physical presence and his work on the boards. He appreciated the warm welcome he got from the fans Saturday night."

3. What is responsible for the improved play of Alabama, which is host to the Vols Tuesday (9:00p, ESPN)?

A - "They made 11 threes against Auburn and really shot the ball well. They can shoot from the perimeter with some good threats inside."

4. After the first month of SEC play, how is the race for the conference crown shaping up?

A - "Florida, with two good road wins already, is as about as far along as they had hoped to be, maybe even farther. The Vols are where we thought we would be at this point. Vanderbilt has had a very tough schedule. Out West, we knew Mississippi State and Arkansas would be impressive. Mississippi is tough, too."

5. What can the Vols expect Saturday (7:00p, FSN) when they travel to Starkville to face Mississippi State?

A - "Mississippi State is very strong, picked to be one of the better teams in the conference. They are a veteran team. They have a real good physical presence. The game could have implications involving the SEC championship. They're really athletic. It's all about matchups: How can we stop them and how can we score?"

Above Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information


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