Sophomore defensive tackle T.Y. McGill was a surprising performer as a true freshman in 2011, starting once and averaging 18.7 plays a game. He had 19 tackles, including one for a loss, as a rookie, and he was the only true freshman on offense and defense to start a game.
That role increased significantly in 2012. McGill started nine games and finished with 43 tackles, including nine for loss and four sacks. He also had eight quarterback hurries.
McGill credits a natural maturation process for making him a better player.
"I can say that I learned that as time goes on, you can only get better," McGill said. "You never stay the same. I feel like I made good strides this year and have gone just as hard as I could and giving my teammates everything that I've had. I think that made me a better player.
"I'm very happy with the success that we've had as a team. I know that we could have done better. As an individual I just strive to become a better player every day that I wake up, and just to make my teammates love me even more and to know that I am going to give them all I got."
That will continue for the Music City Bowl. McGill noted that during the coaching transition "no one really knows what is going on."
"I am just taking it and floating in the boat," he stated. "We've been at the same routine we've had all year. Nothing has changed. We've come out and practiced and want these seniors to gout with a big bang.
"We still practice up-tempo like any other practice cause we know how offset our mind will be at the bowl site."