Given that Tennessee’s bubble status and Cuonzo Martin’s job status are hot topics in Big Orange Country, here are a few timely notes from Martin’s Monday news conference:
On contact with athletics director Dave Hart:
"I talk to Dave all the time. We talk about each particular game. Dave does a good job, win or lose, texting or calling just about the game. Other than that (contact), not at all. We just talk about basketball."
On the Vols’ ability to bounce back from Saturday’s gut-wrenching overtime loss at Texas A&M:
"I would imagine, as a basketball player, it would consume you, as far as thinking about it. But what I tell the guys is: We watch film, we learn from it, so when it happens again, you're ready when that situation presents itself. More than anything, that's the thing I talk about: Being positive with yourself."
On Tennessee’s flickering hopes of earning an NCAA Tournament bid:
"Our goal doesn't change, as far as making the NCAA tournament. It doesn't change. I think there have been some games where we had the opportunity but came up short, but that goal doesn't change at all."
On whether he thinks Tennessee still has a realistic chance to get an NCAA bid:
"Yes I do"
On negative comments about the program on sports pages, message boards and talk radio:
"We have talked about it before – even in July – not reading and dealing with things like that before the season even starts because obviously things get to a point (where they are distracting). As a coach, those are things we always talk about. You know those young guys will read what they want to read and see stuff when they are on campus. That is just part of it. You control it as much as you can control it as a coach and make the guys understand that they should consume themselves with their teammates and the task at hand – the next game. Learn from the last game, win or lose. That is all you can do as a coach. We talk about that stuff all the time."
On thinking about his job security:
"Don't waste time and energy on it. Just (let) the next game present itself, move forward."
On keeping focused on the games, despite the negativity:
"I’ve been doing it for years. For me as a ball player and as a coach, I’ve been consuming (myself with) what I need to do for years. If you put the work in, everything else will take care of itself. And again, I don't have that time and energy. If it is negative, I don't consume myself with it."
Martin press conference, per university