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Media / Press Quotes

December 29th, 2007
Post Game Press Conference December 29

--Speaker: Rodney Kinlaw, Penn State "We just kept pressing and the offense came around. I thank God. I thank my offensive line." --Speaker: Joe Paterno, Penn State Q: Talk about being down 14-0 and how the team responded. ?We started out good and missed a field goal; I felt we moved the ball well going into the game. But when you are down 14-0 you don?t feel great. We got a break on the turnover, that put is right back in it. I knew we had work ahead of us but I felt we could get it done.? Q: Game 500, does it feel any different than game 1? ?Game one felt better. Game one, I coached against Lou S. who just won a championship, who had been in the old AFL, who had been at Buffalo left to Maryland and won a bowl game 15-9. We had 3 safeties. Mike Reed, one of the greatest players, I have ever coached, was the defensive tackle caused all three. After the game was over I was a new coach, I looked for Lou. Lou was gone. Lou calls me up on Monday to apologize. He said 'I didn?t have the guts to go up to you and congratulate you. You guys stunk and so did we.' That made me feel good, for my first game.? Q: Talk about how the team responded to adversity. With Daryl Clark, were you pleased with the way he and the team responded? ?Yes, I have been anxious to get him in. I was looking for the right time. I think Anthony has been playing well and he hasn?t gotten much credit for dome of the really good things he has done. I think sticking Clark in during the season would have lead to more speculations. Anthony knew we were going to play Clark some; in fact they were in the game at the same time. We did that to kind of disrupt there substitutions. But he did well. He is a good competitor.? Q: Talk about Kinlaw and his performance. ?Kinlaw is a pretty good back. He has patience. The problem I had with Kinlaw was he was always in a hurry to take things outside. When he finally got a little more confidence, he has become a good back. The other kid is going to be good too. I think Kinlaw has done well and I am happy for him. He stuck with us, he never griped, never complained about not getting a fair shake. It is great to see a kid come through like that." Q: Talk about the goal and were you nervous were you that they were going to hang a 99 yard drive on you? "Well, obviously, I would not have liked that. We still had 7 or 8 minutes to go down the field. I would imagine they would have gone for the one point and go for the tie. All we would have needed was a field goal. That is what I told Mike to tell the guys upstairs. If they scored, no one needed to panic. Let?s get ourselves in position to kick a field goal. And when we turned them back that was great. Goal line stands are just a question of whether you make this call or that call. They had been running that play action pass to the fullback, and we thought that was what we were going to get. We were ready for that rather than the option. We just had guys make great plays.? Q: Talk about your line and how you felt they did? ?I felt they did well. Koroma and Taylor are both overweight and we need to get them down. They had to hang in there. The two best defensive linemen we had all year with Baker and Odrick were not available to substitute. So they had to hang in there and did a good job. Those drives were long drives. I was glad we were able to a couple of first downs to give them a little rest. I thought they did a good job.? Q: Talk about the three bowl games and how coming out with a win for the seniors and how it affects the program. ?Oh, I am delighted. I talked about to them about that about a week ago. I told them they are too good a football team to go out like that. You want to go out with something you can be proud of and they did.? Q: Did the offensive line exceed you expectations? ?Once we got healthy. We were bouncing all over the place with personnel early. We were not very consistent, but once we got healthy and they could practice.? --Speaker: Gary Darnell, Texas A&M "My opening statement is very simple. I just can?t be more proud of this bunch of guys who played as hard as they did in this situation and held their team together as well as they did. So it?s a true testament to what this team is about and it shows the kind of fight we can have at times. Q: Highs and lows of the season? "I?d say that the highs were high and the lows were low, but because of the character of the team everything works out ok." --Speaker: Mike Goodson, Texas A&M Q: Mike, I wonder if you can talk about the success you guys had running the ball tonight against one of the nation's best defenses. "I think we did pretty good. Coach put us in some good situations and my hat's off to those guys. They played lineback. We are as good as they were said to be and it just was a fight and they came out on top." Q: On that 93-yard drive, you know, where the fourth down was stuffed, what happened on that play for you guys? "They just came out and in a set that we were unprepared for. We ran our play and they just stopped us." Q: Mike, did you feel kind of like you guys were letting up? Or did they do something to really turn the tide? "I don't think it was us letting up. Like I said, those guys played well and they're a good team. When you have somebody like that, you just got to play the whole game. You've got to play four quarters and my hats just off to those guys." Q: Michael, you scored on a back-to-back plays, been zero long time touchdown. Talk about just the chance to score on the two plays. "It was exciting. It was a great deal to be able to get in the end zone twice. My offensive line played a big role in that. Those guys make it easy when your holes are that big to run through them." Q:Mike, can you talk a little bit about that fumble in the second quarter and what happened on that play? "Coach always told me to lock the ball up. I think I got a little loose with it and that's just what happens when you don't lock the ball up, I guess." Q: Mike, I wonder if you can talk about this maybe being a springboard for you next season. "I think everybody's looking forward to Coach Sherman and the new things and just got to come in this off season and work hard and get ready for next season." --Speaker: Chris Harrington, Texas A&M Q: Chris, the question I just asked Mike about the 14 to nothing lead, was it a case of maybe you guys letting up Penn State do something to turn the tide? "I think footballs about momentum in the first quarter we kind of gave it back to them and really they kind of held it for the rest of the night." Q: Chris, can you just kind of talk about the season, in general, now it's wrapped up? You're a senior. You've had a lot of highs and lows. Can you just kind of wrap it up? "Well, this season has been rough and, you know, it's kind of taken its toll on us and we've learned a lot and grown a lot and I'm just - I'm so proud of, you know, the coaches and the players and fighting through all the adversity and everything we fought through to come out here tonight and show up and actually - and we played our butts off. I know that we didn't win the game, but I'm proud as hell of them and I'm proud of Coach Darnell and I'm going to miss everybody and miss this place and I just - I wish them all the best of luck." --Speaker: Stephen McGee, Texas A&M Q: Stephen, obviously, how frustrating was that drive that was so long and you get down there and you don't get on the fourth and score? "It's just tough, you know, to get to one yard and think you get it in, and they just had one more extra guy than we had and they adjusted well to it and they were ready for it. Got to give them credit there. They made the stop, made the play." Q: When you got to the line, did you audible try and get out of it when you saw them shift or -- "No. They just flowed really hard after the snap. We had the right check. It was just a matter of execution. They just got out there. Their backers just really flowed and they I.D.'d the play." Q: You guys really weren't able to get that offensive rhythm that you probably wanted to in the second half. Was that a combination of their defense and you guys just not being as efficient and -- break that down. "They did a heck of a job adjusting. We really came out and we moved the ball well and they did a great job up front. Seemed like we had some opportunities and we shot ourselves in the foot with some penalties here and there and got behind the chains and it's tough when you have third and 20 and then on fourth and one you don't get it if you have little opportunities like that." Q: What did you say to the guys? You were 99 yards before you started the guys in the huddle. "Yeah. Just go out and let's just be Aggies. Let's just be tough, one play at a time, just like we've done all year." Q: Stephen, were you relieved after Hodge got that interception after you threw yours? "Oh, yeah. I mean, stepped up, made a big play and, you know, defense really hung in there and was tough on that. They're good. They're solid. They ran the ball extremely well and I got to hand it to all our guys. We fought our tail off, just came up short." Q: Stephen, when you talk about this season, just the highs and lows, and are you almost relieved it's over now what you went through? "It's just - It's been a battle and today I had to say goodbye to a lot of my best friends and it's not easy, but all I know is that you've just got to keep getting back up and you've got to keep moving ahead and moving forward, and I know God has a plan and I wouldn't trade this season for anything in the world." --Speaker: Cody Wallace, Texas A&M Q: Cody, just your thoughts on Penn State's line and offense and how they -- how you guys fared against them. "They've got a great team. They always filled a really successful program, and coming into the game, we knew their defense challenge for us." Q: What changed momentum? Was it them or you guys letting up? How did you see it? "I mean, it's tough to say. So many things happen in a college football game. I mean, we came out and put up 14 points, you know, pretty quick and we tried to keep everybody focused up because Penn State, we heard them earlier in the week talking about this game being a dog fight, so we knew they weren't going to back down and they just kept playing." Q: How hard was it, just the missed opportunities? You guys had several chances to get in there and punch the ball in and it just didn't work out that way. How hard is it dealing with that what could have been? "It's tough. A handful of plays in every game where you can pick them out and just think what might have happened, but, I mean, whenever we're down there on the goal line, it's fourth and one. That's just something where the other line's just got to step up, push those guys back and they made a heck of a play." Q: Cody, kind of sum up this year. You think a lot of ups and downs so close but, yet, just that far away. "Yeah. In a way. You know, we had some games that we played fairly tight and, player or two goes the other way and we can pull those off. But I mean that's just how college football goes especially this year." Q: How do you think the program looking forward what kind of shape is it in moving forward now obviously a new change in coach. "I think Mike Sherman's going to come in and do a good job. We've only met with him a handful of times but he seems like he's in going to come in and try and right the ship." Q: How is Darnell as the acting interim coach. "I think he did a great job. I really do. Him and all the assistant coaches did a great job. Over the last month or so. You know they tried to keep things as similar as they used to be. And kept us focused and we had a chance to win the game but just kind came up a double play short."

December 28th, 2007
Head Coaches Press Conference December 28

--Speaker: Joe Paterno, Penn State Opening Statements: ?Well, obviously, we're excited to be here. We've been here before and we had a great time and it's a great city. I talked to some of my players last night and they've all had a great time. We're trying to get them settled in and focused on the fact that we've got to play a football game tomorrow night, but I think it's been a great experience. I grew up, as a coach, admiring so much what was going on at Texas A&M. When John David Crow was playing down there and Coach Bryant came down and changed it around it had a great impact on me. I've read that book about how they turned that program around and they won one or two games before he came down and after that. It's been kind of fun and exciting to come play Texas A&M, in Texas, in a city as great as this city is and an arena as good as this one is. So we're excited.? On comments made at Pep Rally on December 27: ?Let me get this thing out of the way here. When I went out to speak, we were in the back room. Gary and I were just shooting the bull with a couple of his players and a couple of my players. We were back there and I didn't hear any of that. I think everybody's got to take things with a grain of salt. It's some young guy up there and he's trying to be funny and maybe he's accurate. I don't know. I didn't hear anything until my wife said it to me. I said, ?What was said?? I honestly didn't hear it and I don't particularly care about it. Sticks and stones will break your bones but, names will never hurt you. And who knows, I may have to walk off the field at halftime and get my crutch.? On Jorvorskie Lane: ?We've played against some big guys. The kid on Michigan State that ran the punt was a 260-pounder that really won the game for Michigan State against us. He's good. He's a heck of a back. He's a big, strong, tough kid and we work like a dog on our tackling and making sure we get our tails tucked under and don't try to out-muscle him. Texas A&M's got a lot of talent. I worry about McGee and the back and, obviously, we if we overplay McGee we're going to have problems with the running backs.? On A&M?s offense: ?That's a tough question to answer because I look so much at personnel more ? I let my assistant coaches, really kind of get a feel for what schemes they've got to get themselves ready for. You always have to evaluate who you're playing against and how you're going to do some things. In a couple of cases, Texas A&M hurt themselves where they had a chance to make it a game and where they had a chance to win. They did some things that --well, they lost a game. They didn't really get beat. They lost a game. I know that they were comfortable with what they did against Texas. Texas is a heck of a football team. They had a great change-up on so many things. Their play calling was excellent. Their schemes were good and I concentrated more on that. So it's hard for me to answer that.? On players that didn?t travel and concern about defensive line: ?Well, I am concerned about it. I'm concerned about the fact that we have a couple of kids hurt, too, our better kids that were starters got hurt. And then when we had to leave (Chris) Baker home, he was a starter. So we're a little shaky there up front, but you play with what you've got. The good thing about a Bowl game is that I knew we were not going to have those three kids two or three weeks ago and we've worked some other kids in there. So hopefully, the other kids will do a pretty good job. They're big enough. They're strong enough. We're not going in there with a bunch of undersized, under-athletic kids. Experience-wise, I'm worried about that. I'm worried about being alert to some things that Texas A&M can do. We've got a tough job ahead of us and we've tried to get those kids ready for that, but I think we're fortunate enough that we've had the extra time you have for a Bowl game. I wish we had not had final exams up until the time we left so that we could have maybe gotten a little bit more work with those kids, but that's what we've got. We've got to play with them.? On beating Tennessee last year: ?Well, I think we had a good off season. There's been a good squad to work with. We've had some off-the-field problems, you know, a couple of younger guys that were not smart enough to walk away from a fight. That kind of thing but I think we've had a really good off season. Had a heck of a spring practice. I think that we've worked hard to get ready for this football game. I think they're anxious to play. So, if we get licked, we're going to get licked. We came off the Tennessee game with an idea we could be a pretty good football team. Unfortunately, we lost a couple of games where we didn't do a couple of things that we could have, but I think we've had good morale and we've had a bunch of kids that can constantly come to practice and practice trying to get better.? On Saturday being his 500th game: ?This isn't my 500th game, is it? Here's the guy that's coached at 11 institutions. He's coached 36 years and you guys are worried about if I'm counting whether this is my 500th year. Guys, this is a football game. And it's a bunch of kids playing a football game. It's not my game. It's a bunch of kids playing each other. Sure, I've been in a lot of Bowl games but how many Bowl games are these kids going to play in? It's their game. I mean, Texas A&M and Penn State players are playing the game and I could care less whether it was my 500th or my fifth. To be very honest I don't think about it unless somebody brings it up and me just?No! It?s my 500th, huh? I always like to tell the story about the Italian who couldn't count. They asked him if he could count and he said, yeah, I can count, one, two, three. He said, 'Can you count any higher?' He said, 'Sure, I can count higher, one, two, three, one, 500.'? On Baker, Bowman and Timmons absence: ?Forget about it, will you? Let's talk about the football game, for crying out loud. They're not here. What do you want me to do? They're not here and you know why they're not here, forget about it.? On retirement: ?What are you talking about doing? Should we bring wives to these things? No. Sure. I can't talk about that. I even enjoy it. You know, we were talking last night about one of the staff girls that came down with us from Tim Curly's office. She's going to be working three to five years and she's going to retire. Gosh, what do you want to retire for? You're such a young woman, and she said, you know, I've been here 35 years. What are you going to do? She doesn't know what she's going to do. Why -- If I retire, what am I going to do? Why are you working? It's fun. I enjoy it. Well, enjoy it. So why are you throwing rocks at me, huh? Well, I don't know how long I'm going to go, you know. The good Lord's got some rhyme and reason for some things. I've been very fortunate. I enjoy it. I really thoroughly enjoy it. I said to somebody last night a couple of people were over at the hospitality suite at our hotel with us and said something like that. I said, now, if I wasn?t coaching, what would I do this Saturday? Cut grass? No. You can't cut grass in State College. Shovel snow? I don't like to shovel snow. What are you going to do? I don't play golf. I don't fish. I don't hunt. Now, maybe some of the other things you're talking about, I can still do.? --Speaker: Gary Darnell, Texas A&M, Interim Head Coach Opening Statement: ?I've got two things, from our standpoint. Certainly, it's an honor to be here. I think it's a privilege to be here, and the other part, in regards to our football team, I think we earned it to be here. I think that you're supposed to earn your way through life and I think our guys earned it. Once you're here, you understand how important it was or why it meant so much to try and get here and then you throw into the whole mix of things as far as the city, the Dome --the Bowl itself, the prestige of it. I remember there was a day I was sitting in the office and I was thinking, well, here it is, you never know for sure, but it was either going to be Lloyd Carr or Joe Paterno. I'm thinking, Wow. How is that going to be? Coach Paterno and I actually go farther back than Lloyd and I do, just from the standpoint of teaching and learning. The bottom line is, what an honor and a privilege it would have been to either play Penn State or Michigan. Either one of those or anybody else, as far as that goes, but as it's turned out, for our players, certainly our staff mingling with their staff. Seeing the prestige and the class that Penn State runs their program with, we'd like to feel like we do the same thing, the same way. A lot of things we do the same way. As far as how we feel about stuff and the style of football. Doing those things in this city, with the support it always stays special. A Bowl game never becomes unspecial to you.? Thoughts on everything that has gone on last few months: ?Well, my background certainly lends to the situation. I've been doing it for 36 years and I've been at 11 different universities. I've seen it from a lot of different ways and perspectives. I was in a similar situation when I was in Florida and we certainly played an outstanding team that year in a Bowl game. I recall one of the things that I draw upon. I have a little bit of a background in the military, and I think one of the most important things anytime in your leadership position is that you have the poise. Nothing would be more frightening than to be, the command pilot of a three-man jet and you've got the jitters. How do you think those other people feel? So I think it's real important in the fire storms that you have to remain calm, poised and focused on what you're doing and, with that the confidence and trust grows and then people can do their jobs. I know the bottom line of what we do, how our management style has been during this transition is to make sure everybody is capable. Make sure everyone is able to do their job. Texas A&M is very unique. Of my experiences at different universities, I don't know of a place I've been where every single person is competent and qualified to do their job that they're doing. I don't see any token employees anywhere in our system. The decisions I've had to make are very, very easy because I just ask, 'Are you doing your job?' 'Do you have any problems with your job?' 'Can I help you with your job?' I'm not changing things. I'm just directing things.? Reflection on last game with current staff and team: ?Truthfully, no. As a matter of fact, we?ve built in a couple of things to make sure they understood. We do something along the way we call a senior handshake, but it's a deal where we divide the team up by class, freshmen, red shirt freshmen, sophomore, juniors, and the seniors down on the sidelines and everybody goes through and they shake the seniors' hand. When you do that, you see a couple of things. It's really kind of a neat thing because when you see your whole team -- and I've told the coaches I've actually made a recruiting decision at that very moment because I could see the whole team how it looks class-wise and that sort of thing, but by doing that I wanted them to make sure seniors say, you've fought a hard fight. You've done a good fight. You've done your job. This is your last game. Now you other guys, you need to be getting ready. You need to see where you fit in this thing, too. So I think as far as the emotion of the last game, I don't feel like it's any different than it would be for our coaches, it's not their last game. You know, the only people it's probably their last game is the seniors that's not going on to play professional, but for everybody else there's another rainbow out there for them to go to and they'll be there.? On preparation for game: ?Well, the truth -- I think the biggest thing, we're not sick, and I think that was an undertone that we probably never really exposed, but I saw a team that they'd been traveling with colds, flu and all that stuff, so it was never mentioned before but we've come from close by. We haven't been in airplanes flying all over the country. We're healthier than we were a year ago, just in general. We just feel better. And so that's kind of a big thing so that and plus the comfort zone of being here having played in the Alamodome before. There's just a comfort zone here that certainly wasn't there. Everything was new last year. It was something new for them. It's just a better feeling, we?re at home. We know what we're doing. We feel good.?

December 27th, 2007
Texas A&M Offense Press Conference--December 27

--Speaker: Les Koenning, Offensive Coordinator Opening Statement: "Well, you know, when we accepted the Alamo Bowl, we were very excited. Gary was ecstatic when we did it and I told him, 'Gary, did you happen to look at where they're ranked defensively?' and he said, 'No, Les, I didn't.' I said, 'Well, they're a good defense'. They really are and we're looking forward to the challenge this week. I'm sure y'all know what they rank defensively. In rush defense, they're sixth in the country. In total defense, they're ninth in the country, and in scoring defense, they're eighth in the country, and in pass defense, they're 46th in the country. They have the outstanding defensive player in the country with (Dan) Connor, a really, really good player, good linebacker and very sound defensively. It'll be a really good ball game." On offensive impact, specifically in Texas win: ?I'm going to say this, and this is the best way to put this and I think it's absolutely true. I really don't think it's the plays you call. I don't think it's that. I think it's the execution of the players. You know, when we talked about the issue of the Texas game, it was tremendous execution on their part. They did one heck of a job. As you know, we've had some time to work before the Bowl game. We're not going to throw out the playbook. I mean, we've got that right there with us. We're going to do some things that we've had chances to practice. You know, when you go through it, you get this much time, there's obviously some things you can do." On him calling offensive plays against Texas: ?During Texas? It was the same way the whole year. I called them down to Coach Fran. If he didn't like them, he changed them." ?I'm going to tell you boys it was about the same thing the whole year. It didn't change. We did the same thing. The beauty about our system and what we do, the quarterback can tell you right here, we've game planned it all out by down and distance, by every situation you can put our kids into. It's just a matter of adapting during the game and making some changes during that time, but the whole week, we went through it. We practiced the situations, just like we're doing right now.? On Penn State's defense: ?Yeah. I mean, the last bunch that we faced that was rated this high was Oklahoma. We faced them this year. They were rated high when we came across them. They're extremely talented. They're a good football team. They're very well coached. They'll come at you if they need to pressure you in certain situations. They will play zone. They mix it up really well. They're predominantly a form of eight-man front or four-three with four down linemen. They have shown, in all the films that we have watched, that they can get within a three or three-man line.? On Penn State employing a Quarterback spy: ?They definitely have some defenses that they dropped some people from the interior back. And they can use those to defense us and that's part of their scheme. That's part of their zone pressure scheme that they run, also.? On Joe Paterno's winning percentage in Bowl games: ?I think it's a tribute to Coach Paterno and Penn State University. I think it creates consistency in what he's done and what he stands for. In our profession, as an Assistant Coach, you admire a man like that, truly, because he's endured the time and he's went through it, and I'll tell you this: We had a function with him last night and I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet him and his wife, and he's a down-to-earth, good man and coach that was just exciting to be around. And I think some of the things that they do and some of the things they put together at Penn State's been pretty awesome. I was talking to their Defensive Coordinator (Tom Bradley) and they told me their Athletic Director was a GA for them at one time, and so they definitely understand the ins and outs of football and what football coaches go through and what players go through. So they've got a strong tradition and rich program. Kids go there and they really enjoy it and they know what Coach Paterno stands for.? On offensive: ?It's been good. We've actually got Jerrod back this past week. I don't know if y'all recall this. Y'all might not know that his dad passed away last week, our second team quarterback, and it's been pretty tragic for him and his family. His dad was a high school coach in the area. We all went down as quarterbacks to the funeral. It was really a tough deal. We've gotten him back. He's had the chance to prepare this week. He will also be on the sideline with the headset on, so we'll have both of them working the sidelines for us. It's a great situation to have those guys around. So many times when you get into coaching and you go into a meeting room, you go, 'Oh, no'. My meeting was absolutely a blast. We've got a tremendous amount of great kids in that meeting room and they're absolutely a blast to be around. Relationships, like Stephen said, have been absolutely tremendous. It really probably won't hit you till it's not there and you're through with it, but it's been absolutely a blast with them. We're very fortunate to have Jerrod back.? ?Well, we've discussed that. T.J. (Senior quarterback)is studying to be a doctor. He's pre-med. He's been accepted into the medical school here in San Antonio and, also, the one at Texas A & M. I told him just because he's a doctor doesn't mean he gets the chance to change the plays. So he enjoyed that part of it a lot, and it'll be interesting to go through that and I think it's a really neat way to do it. You see so often in the NFL in different places where everybody's on the headsets and I think it's a great learning experience for them and, also, a great experience for our team, too. And Jerrod will be heavily involved in it, also, with Ryan Tannehill (Freshman quarterback).? On coaching future: ?Transition is part of our profession. We explain this to our players always. We will know a lot more after the beginning of the year. As you know, the cycle of coaching is a never-ending saga. A lot of you guys have a chance to report on that every day and there's jobs turning over. There's people talking to other people, and that's occurring as we're at the Bowl game in different places. We're very fortunate to have a great bunch of guys playing for us and we are very fortunate to have a bunch of great coaches around us, also. Probably the hardest thing of anything, it's really not for the coaches and the players, but it's harder for the families because your wife and your daughter and your son, they don't know where you're going to be here in about a couple of weeks or so, but the relationships that you've had with your players. The relationship that you've had with Texas A&M and things like that will always be in your heart for those guys and the players that you've been around. And, again, we're very fortunate to have this opportunity to be here in the Alamo Bowl with a great bunch of guys like we have right here." On player comments: ?Well, number one, I know Jorvorskie (Junior, running back) pretty well. I don't think he meant it that way. I really don't. Athletes are competitive by nature and love to compete, and we have an opportunity here to face a really, really fine football team. Connor (Penn State linebacker) is as deserving of every award that he can get, possibly more. When you watch him on film, I think probably Jorvorskie had not watched him in that early on film and has watched more film and I'm sure he's gained a lot of respect after watching film on him and he is really, truly an outstanding player and very well-coached player." Comment on Cody Wallace: ?Y'all don't really know Cody Wallace really well. He's a really great guy. I'll bring up a story that I had with him. I check curfew. Okay? This is a great one, now. I check curfew. So I'm going around knocking an all the kids' rooms. I come to Cody Wallace's room. He jumps out. He's wrapped in toilet paper. Okay? And scares the living tar out of me. I jump five feet back. Well, obviously, he got a kick out of that. Okay? So the next week, I've got to knock on his door again to check curfew. He's got a mask. It's a haunted house. Okay? The next week, I bring the policeman with me and let him knock on the door to make sure everything's okay. So he had a big kick out of us checking the room. He really did. I'm not going to tell you what the other guys did, but that one was pretty good." --Speaker: Cody Wallace, Senior, Offensive Lineman On possible home field advantage in front of record crowd on Dec. 29: ?I mean, it's been really neat this year. Our last game at Kyle Field was the biggest crowd in A&M history and then we're going to get to come to this one and it's going to be the biggest crowd in Alamo Bowl history, so that's pretty fun for us, but home field advantage, hopefully, it works out for us. I remember playing Army here last year and it was loud the whole time and the stadium is just a loud place to play. Hopefully it'll help us out a little bit." On inspiration from Stephen McGee: ?He's not your typical quarterback in regards to trying to duck out of bounds and avoid hits and when we're out there. We remind him during practice all the time, especially during pass skill. We say, 'Oh, yeah it must be so hard to stand there and throw the ball while we're out here working our butts off for you.' But to see him take those hits and just play hard and try to get every yard that he can that's something you definitely want to see out of him. Let's just hope he doesn't get hurt doing it." On if he would consider the season sucessful with win Saturday: ?Yeah. I definitely would. We're here at the Alamo Bowl this week and that's a big-time Bowl game. We're excited about it, and if we can be lucky enough to win this last game, finish eight and five, that would be a pretty good season for us, winning a Bowl game. Hopefully, it'll work out." On offenseive scheme due to Penn State loss of defensive players: ?I wouldn't think so, really. I mean, I know their front seven. They've got a great group of guys up there. All the linebackers and the D-line's are real solid, but you never know when a guy is going to rotate in or out. So I don't see us really knowing when or how to take advantage of them missing a couple guys.? On taking criticism: ?I'm sure there's guys out there that don't think I'm that good of a player and if they want to say that, then that's okay, but I'm going to go out there and try to prove them wrong if that's what they want to say before the game. I've been watching their defense and I think they're all good players. The linebackers are real good, getting off blocks, and the players that get in the right place at the right time. But the bulletin board material, we don't put a whole lot of thought into all that. It's just something to kind of read while you're in the locker room and waste a little bit of time, but it's not that big a deal.? On playing with Stephen McGee: ?It's been a lot of fun. We have fun on and off the field. Practices are great. If things are getting a little down or whatever we'll just kind of make fun of him a little bit and everybody will start laughing at him and it's good for all of us. We've had a good relationship." On team having fun during Texas game and carrying over to Saturday: ?I just want to elaborate a little bit more on what Stephen said. There's just certain times in the huddle where you can look at each other and you know that you're going to score on that drive and there's nothing that's going to stop us. So I think that's one of those things that he's talking about where everybody's just on the same page and everybody's got that same goal. Just getting in the end zone." --Speaker: Stephen McGee, Junior, Quarterback On plans after bowl game: ?I'm going to try to go deer hunting because I haven't gotten to go this year and, after that, I've got to get surgery, so that's pretty much my big vacation." On playing in the most attended Alamo Bowl crowd: ?Oh, yeah. We're excited. This is a great opportunity for a lot of us being Texas boys. I grew up in San Antonio, so I'm very familiar with this town and, of course, the Aggies are going to travel well no matter where it is. But since we're two hours from College Station, it's definitely going to play in our favor. We're going to have support no matter where we go and we're definitely excited about the atmosphere that's going to be here in the Alamodome. They've told us all week long this is going to be the biggest Alamo Bowl game in the history of Alamo Bowl's. That's all exciting for us as players and it's fun to take part in a Bowl game that is that well attended and looked up to, but it all comes down to just playing football for us." On passing game in Texas game: ?You know, we have a good time. I think every quarterback likes to throw it around. We just have fun scoring points and I think everybody out there on the field has fun winning and we're going to get after it no matter what. And we've gone through so much and I think that game, more so than any, was a game that I could look back and say that our guys actually had fun and I think you could see that in the way we played. Everybody was out there competing hard and getting after it but having fun doing that as well.? On taking advantage of Penn State's pass defense: ?They've got two really good corners that we think can be NFL-type guys and, of course, the linebackers are really good and their awards speak for themselves. We're going to have to be very sound, whether it's going to be running the ball or throwing the ball, because they're a very good defense. I think they're No. 9 overall and they are very good against the run and we've just got to be able to do both well. You're not going to be able to move the ball against Penn State effectively all day long if you can't run and throw well.? On his surgery: ?I've just got to get something cleaned up after the game." On the physical demand of this year: ?This is football. You don't sign up and not expect to get the crap knocked out of you every now and then. That's the sport we play. That's what makes it so fun. If you don't like that, then you probably should go play basketball or something because you're going to get hit up pretty good. I don't take any worse hits then these guys do having to play up front. And they remind me of that, too. They do a good job of that. They always remind me they take grenades for me and all that good stuff. I'm just typical. You're always going to get out there and get bumps and bruises, and there's definitely some games that have been tougher than others physically for me, but, that's just more of a mental thing for me than it is a physical deal.? On his high school years: ?Well, I'd like to always just be described as a winning quarterback." ?I handed the ball off and tried to get the ball as much as possible in high school and we were pretty good when we did that. We spread them out and did a lot of one-back stuff. I think the misconception, though, in high school is that we threw the ball every down. If you look at the stats when I was in high school, we just had a lot of big plays, didn't necessarily throw it 100 times a game." On changing to running zone read option at A&M: ?It's all about winning. We can sit here and talk about throwing stuff and running stuff. We've done this all year. I've tried to explain it a million times and I care less. Whatever it takes to win is what I want to do. I'll run it. I'll throw it. I'll hand it off. Just whatever it takes. Let's go out there and win and that's something that we always feel like could play into our favor and be successful when we're scheming up offensively. I'll do whatever it takes, man. I'm not into my stats or what I can get or what award I can win. That stuff is just so meaningless and petty to me." On playing last game with seniors: ?I have to be honest with you, it's not going to set in until after the game's over and probably until I return back in January and they're not there anymore. It's going to be tough on me. And I don't think that comes as any surprise to you guys because not only our offensive line, but there's a lot of seniors in this class that have been really good friendds of mine and that I'm going to miss a lot. Not just football-wise but just getting to hang out with them and it's going to be tough. You lose a bunch of good friends, man. It's not an easy thing to do. Eventually everybody's going to have to move on sometime or another and that's never easy for us, but I guess I think he'll be all right without me." On considering the season successful with win Saturday: ?I'm the kind of personality where you always want to win more and you want to do something better and improve and you always want to go back and change something. I think that's probably part of everything that I've ever done, but just knowing what we've gone through this year and how we've stuck together. I think there's more to it. We call it being a champion, not just on the field but off the field. There's so many good guys and it's hard for me to say that no matter what any outcome of any game would be. I couldn't feel like this group of guys hasn't displayed what it means to be a champion this year and, from that perspective, there's no way I could be disappointed." On his deer hunting past time: ?Yeah. I've been doing it since I was a real little boy. I guess that's something that Texas boys do. I love it. I'll go out and hunt anything that moves. Again, I'm a big blaster and I just let them have it, man. It's very relaxing for me. Some people would say that doesn't sound very relaxing at all, but I have a blast doing that for some reason. That may be kind of bad or sick in some way, but I enjoy it. I think Terrence (reporter from Houston Chronicle) is going to come with me sometime." On possibly being last game with current coaching staff: ?I guess it crosses the back of our mind but it just doesn't sink in until it's not there anymore and it changes. That's something that is so hard to accept right now or visualize because we're still doing the same things we've always done and having the same good time together and all that. So it's going to be real tough. Everybody knows how much I respect and admire everybody that's a part of this team and especially Coach Koenning and the relationship that we have and all the quarterbacks and guys like Cody Wallace. I mean, that's not easy, like I said, and it's going to be different. It's going to be hard on me, but I know that they're going to be fine. They're going to do great at whatever they do, with the kind of people they are and what they stand for. You always have a little peace in your mind whenever you know that about them.? On Nebraska game: ?I think it's fun whenever I see everybody else around me having fun out there competing and getting after it. That's what I like to see, more importantly. It's always fun to win. Everybody knows that. It's easy and it's always fun to win, but not only that, I think there's two moments this year that I really point back on, like our guys in the huddle, especially offensively, we were having fun and that was in the second half against Oklahoma State. Our guys got in the huddle and we had fun. We were getting after it and competing and it's one of those things where we just know we're going to be successful. And then you get in the huddle against Texas and it was the same type of feeling. And, certainly it's not the only two times all year, but it seemed like it was more overwhelming in those two situations than it was any other game." On growing up and playing football in Texas: ?Man, football's football. I mean, it's like its own little culture in Texas. Pretty much everybody follows football as a fan and it just gets bigger and bigger all the time and it's a big deal down here. When you go to a high school game down here, it's a big deal as well. I mean, it's not like your typical high school game. I don't know how to describe it except it's a really big deal to a lot of people. It's almost like a religion to some people. It creates a lot of excitement in this state.? If portrayals in movies do just to Texas football: ?They get pretty close. It's pretty crazy out there sometimes and I think a lot of times there's always rumors and it's like one of those things. Everybody from Texas rides a horse and wears a cowboy hat to school every day. I mean, obviously, that's not true, but, I mean, we're pretty country around here sometimes and we like our football. That's for sure." Comment on Cody Wallace: ?I'll tell you a story. My freshman year, as my first time against Texas, I think I've already told all our guys this, but he came up to me in the locker room and I'm really nervous and really serious because they went on to win the national championship. They had a good team coming in, and I'm sitting at my locker getting focused and here comes Cody 'Hey, Steve,' and I'm like, 'Yeah, man,' he's like, 'Whenever Reggie gets down in the game, I usually like to rap to him a little bit and I was just, you know, wondering, I figured you would probably like a little country song or something.' And I was, like, 'Yeah, Cody, whatever, you know, stop messing around or whatever. We've got a game to play.' Sure enough, man, like the second or third series, it was already going bad. I was like, 'Oh, this isn't good.' Cody peers in during TV time-outs and starts singing 'Ocean Front Property in Arizona.' We've got a pretty good relationship, so we have a good time.? On Texas game: ?There's just an air of confidence that you get and you can just feel it, and it's just everybody knows that no matter what play is called or what's going on, everybody's going to take care of business and we're going to be successful. There's just something about it. You just get this confidence and you see it in the guys' eyes. You see it in the way they're running, they're talking, they're moving, and you just know they're having fun and competing. I'm not trying to make it sound like that was the only time all year, but, I mean, it was just the whole game and through the good things and the bad things, it never changed. The guys just kept having fun and I think that's what football's all about."

December 27th, 2007
Penn State Defense Press Conference--December 27

--Speaker: Tom Bradley, Assistant Coach Feelings on players that are missing: "You know, to me, football is a game of attrition; they can be here one day and gone another so I never worry about it. It's an opportunity for someone to step up and just play and show us what he can do. And some of the guys who haven't been a part of the first two units can now get in and it's a good opportunity for them, so I never worry about that." Rolling with the punches on and off the field: "Well, we have to. We don't have much choice with that matter. I don't worry about if they're not here or who?s going be here because, you know, it's just a chance for somebody else. That's football. Guys get hurt; we lost (Jerome) Hayes, we lost good football players early in the year and a guy has to step up and play more." On Michigan State: "You know, we used have a lot of depth but we don't have as much depth anymore. Obviously some key positions, I think a lot of it, you got to give the guy (Brian Hoyer) credit, especially the throws he made. Some were sensational throws; one in the back end zone was just a sensational pass. And that's going happen. They're good players and they make good plays. On handling issues with West Virginia: "I'm flattered that I am mentioned in those circles, it's such a great university. I'm out in that area a lot and so sometimes it's a natural rumor that gets started." On if he was interviewed for West Virginia position: "It's all the speculation that goes on about all the different things." --Speaker: Jeremy Boone, Sophomore, Punter On difference between punting indoors versus outdoors: ?I've only been in a dome once before and that was when we went to Minnesota last year. The thing with a dome is, it's a great opportunity to see how your technique is because you don't have to worry about weather or anything. When we went in there the other day, it was just to see what I really have to work on. The biggest thing is just getting the ball in the air.? --Speaker: Dan Connor, Senior, Linebacker On Jorvorskie Lane: ?Yeah. It's going to be hard. It's always a challenge when you've got a big guy and he moves pretty well, too, so, it's a challenge going in but, like you said, we played a couple of big backs. P.J. Hill, the Michigan State guy (Jehuu Caulcrick) and a few other ones earlier so, I mean, we've got a little taste of it. I mean, he's going to be the real deal coming down the hill at 270, 275 pounds. You've really got to buckle up and be ready. No. 3 (Mike Goodson) is a talented player, too; fast, athletic and I think they compliment each other really well which is going to add another dimension to their offense. On effect of long lay-off: ?It doesn't seem like it's affected us in practice. I think it's helped the defense and has helped us defensively. Practice is going at a fast tempo, a lot of intensity and the most physical practices we've had. I think that the rest helped us. We needed it in a 12 game grind of the season in one of the toughest leagues. It helped us defensively. The offense, anytime we?ve played against them, they looked sharp. They looked ready to go so, in my opinion, we needed it and it's helped us a lot so far.? On effect of defensive teammates that did not make the trip: ?It doesn't affect us at all, to be honest with you. We've got a ton of talent at every position right now, the D-line. Going into the season, we knew how deep we were, so losing a guy here or there and losing a couple of guys to injuries, too, we haven't missed a beat. Phil Taylor is doing a great job, Abe Koroma, Ollie Ogbu. D-line looks real good. Linebackers are deep. It?s tough to not see your friends up here and being with you, but at the same time we haven't lost a step.? On how important this game is: ?Games like this are huge for the seniors, going out with a win. We still do have a bad taste from the Michigan State game. So the seniors knew this is a game we've been looking forward to, trying to pull it together and by the same token, the upper classmen, it just gives them the momentum they need in the off season. I know it helped us a lot last year, going out and beating Tennessee. It leads us right into winter conditioning and we go with a lot of enthusiasm and I'm real excited about spring ball and it starting up again. It?s big for the seniors and the upper classmen. We?re real excited about this. We've been waiting for this for a while now.? On A&M running game: "They have a strong running back. The first thing we have to do is stop their power run? As soon as you do that it's not as complex a game?The key to a game like this is to stop the power run." On playing in a dome: "I don't think (it will affect the team)?It's a good field, we practiced on it on Tuesday, so it's a good environment. I feel good in it." On last game for Penn State: "It's going to be tough?it's my last game in Penn State colors but at the same time I'm excited about it?At the same time it's something I'm looking forward to?It's my senior year, bowl game, beyond that, this is what you love, what you grow up to love." On the younger players: "There's a lot of enthusiasm in the younger scout team players?These guys are pumped and ready to play?I'm just as excited to see them play next year." On focusing on future plans: "It's (my mind) all on this game right now?I'll have plenty of time for that other stuff after the game?This whole week I've just been enjoying San Antonio and practicing, and (thinking) about the game." --Speaker: Maurice Evans, Sophomore, Defensive End On expectations for game: ?I think our scout team gives us a great look so we could expect anything on the field. It just comes down to being ready for the game on Saturday. That's what it comes down to.? --Speaker: Josh Gaines, Junior, Defensive End On the effect of the long lay-off: ?Speaking for the defense, all I can say is a long lay-over helps, because I was real sore at the end of the season, you know, those 12 games. I came back ready to practice. I was a lot faster, moved a little quicker off the ball, and we should be ready to go.? --Speaker: Justin King, Junior, Cornerback On Stephen McGee: ?He's a really good quarterback. You can tell he's got great leadership and demands a lot of his players. He is a presence on the field, which is a factor that a quarterback is usually known through stats for, but you can tell that he's the leader of the team and, like Sean said, he's two-dimensional. He can run and pass. He's just a very key asset to their offense.? On offensive expectations from Texas A&M: "We just need to coordinate and just be prepared for the option and run. It's our job to cover people so that's our first responsibility. And we've just got to stay on our toes and just play it like it's our last.? --Speaker: Sean Lee, Junior, Linebacker On Team Day at SeaWorld , December 26: ?Oh, yeah. I got to swim with the beluga whale which was fun. I kind of got lucky. It was supposed to be three people. I just kind of saw them walking in, I jumped in and they let me swim with him. I was in the water with him and holding him and it spinning me around like we were dancing which is kind of a cool experience.? On Stephen McGee: ?He?s a great athlete, a great playmaker. Can make plays throwing, running, you know. He's the toughest type of quarterback to play because he's not one-dimensional. He can beat you in a lot of ways. He's got a great drop and scramble, so we're going to have to watch out for that.? ?I got to see him at the FCA breakfast this morning. He's a pretty impressive kid. Seems like he's a good leader for them.? On getting back on the field: ?Yeah. We're excited. We're really excited to get back on the field.? On thoughts about Michigan State game: ?I think it's been in the back of my mind a little bit because we kind of went out on a bad note and we want to prove ourselves again. I mean, it's been more of a motivating factor than it has been a negative. It hasn't hindered us at all, so I think we're ready to go out and try to prove ourselves.? --Speaker: Anthony Morelli, Senior, Quarterback On his absence from Dec. 26 press conference: "It was just a lack of communication." On his feelings about comments made about his absence: "It doesn't matter to me. This is my last game. I'm going to focus on my team and what I need to get done. I'm real excited about this game. It was just a mix up. No big deal." On whose idea it was to come to press conference today: "I was going to come today. It was just a bit of a mix up. I went to SeaWorld with the family (yesterday). I'm here today. We can put that behind us and focus on the game now." On the legacy that he will leave at Penn State: "Let's talk about the game." On what he is doing in practice that is different since the Michigan State game: "Just working hard and executing." On his last game: "It's crazy. Time flies. I'm excited about it, but it will be sad to leave. I'm going to miss my friends at Penn State." On plans after the bowl game: "Once I'm done with school, I'm going to get ready for the next step." On his degree: "Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management." On Michigan State game: "Of course. I was down like everyone was. But we've put that behind us and are ready to focus on A&M." On being a quarterback at Penn State 'off the field': "I'm the type of guy that likes to lead his team and work hard in practice." On Pat Devlin and Daryll Clark: "I talk to Darryl a lot. I am willing to help both of them with whatever they need. I'm just a phone call away." On telling Devlin and Clark about his experience at Penn State: "You're going to have your ups and downs. At Penn State everyone's favorite quarterback is the backup. You're going to hear your 'boos'. When you win you're going to be the best quarterback in the world and when you lose they're going to be looking for the next guy." If he feels like he has been unfairly judged: "No, I don't. People have their own opinion. They can say what they want." --Speaker: Anthony Scirrotto, Junior, Safety On the secondary in the Michigan State game: ?I feel like we did a great job, actually. We knew coming into the season that we were going to have some difficult tasks ahead of us, replacing a guy like Donnie Johnson, but we've done a great job. We're a close-knit group and we practice hard throughout the week to get prepared for the game on Saturday and I feel like we did a good job. We can do better. You can always do better, but we're excited to go this weekend and we've been working hard this whole week.

December 27th, 2007
Texas A&M Practice December 27

--Speaker: Devin Gregg, Junior, DB on the team?s practices this week? ?Practice has been intense. We got off to a good start. We know it?s going to be a physical game so guys came with the right mindset and focus.? on being ready for Saturday night? ?I?ve been ready. I think everybody?s just been anticipating this game, we know it?s going to be a good one and a big one for us, and I think it?s a big stepping stone for us as we get ready to go into next year.? --Speaker: Earvin Taylor, Senior WR on the week of practice? "The week?s been great. We?ve just been practicing and having a good time at the same time, but our main focus is just winning the game on Saturday. Things have been intense. We?re going to do whatever it takes to win.? on his final collegiate game? ?I try not to think about it. I know it?s my last game but we just need to go out there and give it all we?ve got. Each of us is going to try to go out there and try to bring home a victory.? on playing against Penn State and Joe Paterno? ?That?s amazing, playing against Joe Paterno. He?s a legendary coach. It?s going to be amazing out there.?

December 26th, 2007
Texas A&M Defense Press Conference on December 26

--Speaker: Interim Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Gary Darnell Opening Statements: "I'd like to first say 'howdy.' It's a Texas Aggie way of saying things and doing things and that's how the atmosphere goes -- is there and that's how we feel about being here with the Bowl. I just don't know of a better situation for us at this particular time to have been able to come here and play in a first-class bowl, and I think the big thing for us, you know, with our players, work the way through it is that they earned the right to be here and I know they took home one of the most difficult schedules in the BCS and we fought our way through it." "They've maintained their poise and fight the whole way through and they've been rewarded with a really first-class week here and we take advantage of that. And, to their credit, at this point in time, we finished our last probably heavy workout today and with that concludes the heavy workout part of it, and I couldn't be more pleased with how they've handled up to this point." On readjusting to the Alamodome turf and some problems last time you where here: "I really felt like it was a significant difference because it's one of the things -- that's my whole motive for being there yesterday was that -- because I know -- I think they just put it down. It was, like, brand new that week we played on it. If you watched our tapes, I know on the first play of the game against Army that year, we missed six tackles. The guys were just everywhere. So, normally, you work out in a place before you do it and we didn't, for whatever reason, in that one, and it was probably a mistake and I didn't want to make that mistake twice, you know, and so after -- it's warn a little bit more so now it's a little bit more normal, I would say, so we did fine with it." On Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli and defending a guy who puts it up as much as he does: "Well, I think, you know, collegiate football is what it is. One week, you know, you play Texas Tech and the next week you play Oklahoma and it pounds your head off, you know, and you have to be able to adjust every week. You know, much has been said about, you know, the infamous 4-2-5. Well, everybody does some form of the 4-2-5. That's our defensive style, and the reason being is for the adjustment part of it." "And even during the course of the game, you know, I'm going to bridge to Galen as fast as I can get there. I mean, I know they throw that ball and they're power playing. God help us. That's how it's going to be and so -- but they're good enough that they stretch in both areas, and because of that -- and I think that's, you know, the beauty of collegiate football is that we have to be able to do both and when everybody gets hot -- you know, lots of times, it's a hot hand that day. You know, it's what it is and it's just not that way in the NFL. " "I think our last seven games, we played seven of the top 12 offenses in the country and so we've seen those things. That doesn't mean that we automatically will play well, but at least it's something we have seen and experienced." On serving as an interim head coach and his experience replacing Penn State's Galen Hall as an interim at Florida: "I know this, that I guess Coach Paterno will be getting excited because the last time I was there and coached, the team we played was the National Champions the next year. So, you know, we set the stage and they had a young team, very similar to what we're, you know, getting involved with here, and so it was -- we played Washington and our guys went through it and we played well up to a point and then that's the thing if I -- you know, I -- these guys will both tell you, the thing I've tried to implore on them as best I can is that, you know, this is a deal you may start off fast, but can you maintain and sustain the whole game long? And that's usually what's happened in most bowls. You know, someone finally kind of cracks in bowl games, normally, and -- as many as I've been around, anyway. And -- and that's the one thing -- if we can sustain for the whole 60 minutes, it doesn't matter because, I mean, we've played -- we've played against the very best this country has to offer this year, so it's -- you know, we understand how much it's left up to us if we'll just do what we're supposed to do." On whether he has kept up Galen Hall: "We have a couple of buddies and we still talk and then we finally caught up with each other and, you know, the --I've told you this story before, the first Press Conference, but back in the old days, when Galen was at Oklahoma and I was at Kansas State, well, you know, they scored every other play and so nobody ever stopped them, so we had talked to each other. So I called him the other day and I said, 'Galen, what are you going to run?' He said, 'Gary, I can't tell you anymore.' So now he's getting sneaky on me, but -- No. Galen's just, you know, obviously, an incredible mind and staying in touch with the game and I know that part of it, but I also know Galen doesn't play anymore. It's those guys he's coaching that we've got to worry about." On the importance of Jorvorskie Lane in your offense of being able to sustain a running attack to keep your defense off the field. "Well, smart money will tell you you'd better stand two or three of them in the middle. You've got to start off, so -- if that happens, you know, if he can,you know, make you have to commit extra to the middle, then that's going to open the edges up, you know, and now you've got Stephen and then you've got Goodson and those things." "You know, I don't really mess with offense. I do understand that style of offense, so -- and I watch the games, but I also know when you have a guy like Jorvorskie in the option team, particularly your triple option team, you've got to start from the dive out,and if that dive is as big as Jorvorskie, you've got to put some effort into it." On the need for a consistent running attack to keep the Texas A&M defense rested: "Well, I think, you know, in some of the games, our offense has certainly done that, but I'd like to think, also, we have quick strike capabilities, and if we do, I think we need to find that out. And I think this is a game, particularly the way it goes, I think we've got to just try to be as upscale as we can, as fast as we can. It's like I've told -- Well, I told Coach Koenning -- I said, 'Les, I really don't believe the drive is going to be what wins this game, you know, the Texas game a couple of years ago.' I don't know -- I can't imagine us going out there and just being able to sustain drive after driveafter drive. That's not going to happen and anything good come out of it. So, you know, I think we've got to be able to control the ball, but at the same time, I think we've got to take our shots." On comparisons between taking over as interim from Galen Halen at Florida to taking over Texas A&M: "It's very similar to what I'm involved with right now because Coach Fran and I are very close. I mean, we've worked on staffs together when I was the Head Coach and he was the Offensive Coordinator. You know, we've been on both sides of the desk. Galen and I are the same way and I used to thought you always used that term that, you know, say it was like family and, you know, brother got kicked out of the house and someone's got to take care of the household till he gets things squared back away and that's kind of what it is and, you know, our family, we lost a guy in Coach Fran and now we've got -- we've still got to hold it together and that's what we've done, and I -- and it hasn't been hard because -- I tell you, it has not been hard. I just want you to imagine, seriously, now, Texas A&M -- you know, I've worked at 11 different universities and I've never worked at a university where every single person is so qualified to do what they got hired to do. It's not always that way. You always have a token guy here or token --It's not that way at Texas A & M. Everybody's competent, so you know, and they're all professional and so it -- I lean on them." "I mean, these guys will tell you, at the end of practice, I'm saying -- I had how many guys making announcements this morning? Four or five, you know. If people have got something to say, they say it. They get up and do it. So I let -- you know, I let the machine run, but, you know, I'm not afraid to push the -- you know, turn on the key and hit the starter button and I'm not afraid to turn it off when it needs to be, but at the same time, I don't have to think that way, and it's just because it's really -- one of my penchants in life is management and I love to see people be able to do their jobs and to sit back and watch our players do what they do, watch our support staff do what they do. Administratively, even, you know, what they do. It's gratifying to know that you're part of that that's really good and, you know, nothing but good's going to come out of it." On his role with the offense as the interim head coach: "Really, my role in -- I'm in game management, you know, and I'll be on the headset. I'll hear what they say, unless I'm busy with the defense, but my job will be game management, game control. You know, the easiest way to decide -- You know, let's say we're on the 35-yard line. It's third and -- it's third and five. Okay?" "Then I need to be able to tell them -- say, 'Look, you've got two or you've got one. You've got two plays to make five yards and make a first down because we're not going to kick it,' or,'You've got one and it's got one, and that means he's got one play to make five yards, so if he doesn't make it, we're going to kick it.' So, I mean, that helps a play caller. So that's the only thing. Somebody's got to say if we're going to go to two or not. Somebody needs to say if we're going to affect a punt, you know. Someone needs to make that decision." "I'll be doing that and then, also, whatever control of the game. One of the easier ways to describe it is if it's game tempo, slow it down, speed it up, sit on it, you know, hurry, you know, go, hurry, hurry, go two, then. I can do those kind of things." On whether the open offense in the Texas game was because of the Lognhorn defense or the circumstances of Coach Franchione's last game: "In short conversations, I've had with Fran and even Les and, you know, watching the deal -- because, truthfully, I didn't see much of the offensive game, I swear, because you're busy and back there doing things. I do believe it's a combination of both, withouta doubt, though. You know, one, you -- You can't call yourself a good staff or a good professional if you can't take advantage of what people give you. You know, if you can't attack someone's weakness, well, you're really handicapped." "So whatever it was, there was an edge there and then, also, it was a time to go ahead and, you know, cut a couple of things loose and that's what happened and it played out well." On whether he changed personality as a Head Coach rather than Assistant: "I didn't want to because I have a very set demeanor when I'm the Head Coach, when I'm really the Head Coach, but I think what, you know, we needed -- we just needed someone that you could trust and that they knew that -- and I needed, early on, to let them know, 'Hey, guys this is not a real hard thing for me to do. I've been here. I've done it both ways. I've been a Head Coach a long time in a lot of different other places and I've just seen it.' " "So I wanted them to have confidence but then, at the same time, I didn't want to become somebody different and so I really do a little bit as it's always my style has been a little bit of role playing. I'll give you an example. This is the easiest way to say it. You know, when you're the Defensive Coordinator at Kansas State and that they hadn't won a game in three years when we went there or something like that, you know, you're kind of Jump-Up Jimmy on the sidelines. You're trying to put as much enthusiasm into it as you can, you know, and try to raise the level." "When you're at Notre Dame and you're Defensive Coordinator, I don't think they feel real good about Jump-Up Jimmy there, now. They want someone sitting on the sidelines,knowing what they're doing and who controls the thing. And so I try to sense, you know, what needs to be done and I do it. That way, And I think in this, I think in our situation here, without a doubt, because we have a strong culture, we have a strong family, you know, that there's nobody fooling anybody. You know, just we are who we are and we know how we got this way. Let's take that and go see how we can do against Penn State." On Darnell's role with the offense during practice: "I haven't been down to the other end of the field. I thought, just for kicks, I'd go down there today, but I was afraid they'd run me off, so I -- I stayed on the -- but here's what happens. In our practices, it's been a little bit different. We've gone against the offense more. You know, we do these little scrimmage things, so I see them and I see what they're doing and that's what -- and that's been my way of keeping up." On using what he learned when he was an interim head coach at Florida and if it helped him: "Just other than trust and reliability -- I'll give you a good example. This morning, our buses were supposed to leave -- wheels were supposed to be rolling at 9:45. We could have left at 9:35, but to try to make a point, if I say we're going to leave at 9:45, that's when it's going to happen. Our practices, if Isay they're -- it's an hour and 37 minutes long, an hour and 37 minutes, we're going off the field." "I just feel like, at this point, I want to make sure that they know I'm not playing games with them. We've tried to make intelligent decisions on how we need to orchestrate ourselves in practices, orchestrate the game plan and then do it, then execute it and just make sure, you know, that -- we're not trying to fool anybody out here, you know, just be able to trust each other." On the momentum to be gained with a bowl victory: ?What I see is that there was momentum coming out of the Texas game and then, you know, there was cold water splashed on it and that got washed away too fast, and, for that, I -- I'm probably disappointed, but as far as what this game could carry over to the next year, sure, with the fans and that sort of thing. For us personally, I think at some point, you have to appreciate you've done what you're supposed to do and you did it as well as it could be done and it worked, and you can live and you can go do whatever the next thing is.? ?And I think I've sensed that more than I do. We're doing this to carry on -- I think there like to be a -- there'll be, you know, rhetoric about, you know, want to play well for the seniors and that sort of thing. There's a part of it that if each and every guy can come out of this game, I mean, coaches, players, every one of them, and just stand up there that next morning and look at yourself in the mirror and say, ?I did my personal best,? you know, at that point, I don't know if you can do any better than that.? On who will step up at defensive end to replace Michael Bennett on Saturday: ?You know what? They just roll them through. I mean, Chris Harrington, Paul Freeney, Amos Gbunblee, I mean, it's a position, you know, for us. We roll them through and have all year long. I think they get about 30 plays each, regardless of who it is, and that's how it works out.? On the uncertain coaching future of him and his staff and whether it enters their mind: ?For me, personally, not at all. You know, the only thing that goes through my mind -- because if I never blew my whistle again, if I never chased another fat-legged or skinny-legged boy the rest of my life, you know, run around with the whistle after him, I could live with it. There's other -- I look around at the coaches on the staff and they're not there yet, you know, and so I'm way more concerned about that because I -- whatever happens with me, Iknow -- and I mean this with all my heart. I mean, I've had an incredible career and, you know, life has really been exciting for me and I know there's a lot of rainbow still left in mine and I'm not quite sure what it'll be, but wherever it is, yeah, you can expect to see a big old grin on my face.? On whether the coaching future topic comes up in staff meetings: ?When we sit down and have a staff meeting, there's probably close to 22 people in the room and then at the end of the staff meeting, at least two or three times a week, you know, I'll keep the, quote, core football staff there and then I'll talk -- ask them how they're doing. 'Has anybody got any information that'll help anybody else?? The one thing that's been, you know, a real positive, because they're not involved heavily in recruiting and things like that, they've been able to focus on what they're supposed to do so the players don't get cheated, and then there's been a little bit of time for them to be working on, you know, what their career -- where their future is going to be and then, also, they've got to do something you don't get to do in coaching. They get to be with their family some and that's, you know, I think -- and they know down deep ? they know down deep things need to be changed a little bit, but they'll all do just fine. I mean, these guys are pros.? On what he did with himself the last time he was out of coaching for an extended time. ?I had a great year. I traveled -- We traveled over 24 -- 25 different states, 25,000 miles, went to five different countries. Part of it was business; part of it was personal. I saw football games at every level, which was, really, the first the first game I saw as -- out there was the Army/Navy game. Just -- You know, I had friends -- Because I've been -- I've got a lot of friends in coaching, so they said, 'Why don't you come to the game.' So I did, so we just jumped on a plane and went.? ?And then -- I'd never seen an Ivy League game, so one of the guys who used to work for me was the Head Coach at Cornell, so I went to go see it and Columbia played and then I saw a junior high game. I saw a high school game.? "I've become good friends with Lloyd Carr because that -- Western Michigan's not very far from, you know, Ann Arbor. Lloyd and I got to know each other, similar backgrounds, and -- so I went to go see Michigan and Notre Dame play and that was the year that there was -- Michigan had, I think, five plays reversed, you know, the TV thing. I don't know if I'll ever -- The final game was -- Final score was, like, 17 to 14 and I was sitting in the stands and I watched both staffs run off the field and I purposefully looked at both staffs. You know, I saw --Michigan got beat. Notre Dame won, and I had -- you know, I had feelings for both places, but I got to thinking, you know, in the coaching thing -- and it's probably for the first time in my life because I've always been kind of a win or lose guy, you know. And I said -- Because I know that Michigan didn't doany less to get prepared. They didn't work any less hard than Notre Dame, and Notre Dame -- you know, it's something ? a little quirk happened that day. Notre Dame won, but I knew half of that field or half of the coaches on that field was just at a level they couldn't hardly breathe. I mean, they were in a rare atmosphere because they'd just won this huge game and, you know, 50 feet away, you've got the same number of coaches that can't breathe because of the tragedy that just happened. It's just -- It just amazed me about -- the emotion I saw, and I saw it and felt it like I'd never seen it before, because I never sat in the stands before, so that was a real experience for me." --Speaker: Red Bryant, senior, defensive lineman On his thoughts about playing in his last college game: "Well, my take, personally, is, you know, it was an up-and-down season, no grids. Each week, we played with all our heart. The coaches, they did their very best to prepare us well. No regrets, you know. A little bit on my career at A & M, I'm very pleased with the things I achieved while I was there, and I want to go out a winner. So I'm going to do whatever it takes, come Saturday, to help this team win." On how he has changed as a player and person since coming to campus five years ago: "I feel like, on the personal level, I've grown more as a man, as far as just understanding you might get a curve ball in life, you know, things not never as they seem. You know, my five years, I probably you know, I had some highs and I had some lows, been injured, you know. I've been able to watch the team on the sidelines." "I made mistakes and learned from them and just that, as a man, you know, I just feel like I've grown a lot and, you know, like Coach Darnell was saying about Coach Fran, that was hard on me personally because, you know, when I was being recruited, my first recruiting trip was to Penn State, and I remember when I came home, Coach Fran came to my home in Jasper and he sat down and he told my mom he was, like, 'If your son comes to A & M, I promise he will graduate,' and Coach Fran, he made sure all the pieces were in place for me to be successful.So for me, it's personal, personal from the standpoint of, I love Coach Fran. You know, I love him and it was tough to see him go through everything he went through in the end, but, you know, I just feel like me, personally, I done grown a lot over the five years, and like Dodge said, you know,I really thought about it all week. I've thought about the journey and I'm just enjoying it, you know. I'm not taking anything for granted and I'm ready to play." On whether he thought the experience is what he'd thought it be: "I mean, when you come to college at the highest level, you dream of playing for a national championship or even playing for a BCS game, but, you know,sometimes it just don't work out like that, but I can't sit up here and have a pity party or regret." "I always say, God's been good to me. I've got a bright future ahead of me, whether it be football or working in Corporate America. I've got great relationships, no complaints, because I could be in Jasper, you know, hauling for a living. So it's been a great experience. I'm very privileged and I've very blessed." On how far it is to Penn State from Jasper: "It's a long way." --Speaker: Mark Dodge, senior, linebacker On his thoughts about playing in his last college game: "It's just been an honor to be able to come and play for a university like this, especially with the teammates we have and just to be able to enjoy that, you know, and kind of taken this week and, you know, slowed it down a little bit and, you know, had fun at practice and just kind of joked around with some of the guys and just enjoyed it because we only have a couple more chances to be with each other." On the end of his football playing career and if he has had second thoughts about not pursuing a professional football career: ?Not really. I've set a start date. I start January 16th, working up in Dallas, so, you know, I've just -- I've had a great career in football. It's been something that I'll never forget, something I can look back upon my entire life and just enjoy it. So I'm definitely ready to move on, but I want to definitely go out a winner. I want to do everything I can and have no regrets, like Red said, with my teammates and celebrate one last time with those guys as we walk off the field.? ?On that note, Gary said I need to let everybody know I got engaged on the 23rd. I got engaged the 23rd up in Dallas, so I'm getting ready -- we'll be planning that stuff and moving there and, I guess, moving to the next chapter of my life. There's a lot of stuff you've got to prepare and arrange for that. So, you know, I had a great university prepare m for that and I'm ready to move on.? On whether Darnell has changed in his new role: "I don't think so. He's been alongside of the ball during practices since the changes happened. Practices haven't changed defensively at all. We've been going and doing the same period and going through our different stuff since it switched over."

December 26th, 2007
Penn State Offense Press Conference on December 26

--Speaker: Galen Hall, Assistant Coach Opening statement: "We're very honored to be here and to represent the Big Ten Conference in the Alamo Bowl. It's a great privilege forus. We're looking forward to a very good challenge and a good game against Texas A & M University." On Anthony Morelli not attending the press conference: "I wouldn't have any clue. We were told to come and this was it. No. Anthony, I'm sure, if he would have been requested or something, would have been here, has played very well for us this year. The only quarterback in Penn State history, I think, that has thrown for over 2,000 yards in his two seasons and a very, very good player for us, underrated by a lot of people." On Morelli not being available to media for since November 10 and whether that is bad example for a captain and senior quarterback: "I haven't thought about that, That's probably a good question that you people would have to answer. I mean, you have your own opinion. We don't think so. He's been a leader for us. He's a leader on the field, a leader in the football games, he leads -- you know, he's the leader of this football team and we're very happy with Anthony and there's not anything there that -- you know, to even be discussed about." On getting ready for the game and balancing next year's potential quarterback: "Well, we started early working wit the younger players, but we're here to win the football game. We're going to go with what has carried us this season. That's Anthony at quarterback, that's the rest of these guys. We're not looking forward to next season. We're looking forward to the game on Saturday night, and it'll be a very difficult game. The crowd and everything is probably going to be A & M and it -- it's going to be a very, very difficult game against a good football team." On his friendship with Gary Darnell: "I've talked to Gary, I think, once or twice since it's been announced. Gary played for Oklahoma State back in the late '60s, I think, starting linebacker for them. I was in Oklahoma then. I knew Gary whenever he coached on Jim Dicky's staff at Kansas State. Gary joined me at Florida in 1988 and coached for me two years there. So I've known Gary -- knew about him whenever he -- he's from Moore, Oklahoma, and knew about him when he played at Oklahoma State and knew him whenever he was with Kansas State with Coach Jim Dickey. So I'd say I've known Gary for about 30 years, probably. A very good coach, does a good job. Will have A&M ready to go play." On players that didn't make the trip to San Antonio: "Well, I think those are things that Coach Paterno has to answer, and there are some players that aren't here for various reasons, and I think that's his place to answer and I'm sure he'll take it -- take -- answer you whenever his time is." On his coaching status for next year: "I hope so. I plan to be back. I think we're all -- you know, we're not looking -- we're not looking ahead to next year, but as far as I know, I will be back and looking -- and I'm -- I'm looking forward to it. I think we have a chance to have a good football team, but, again, no, there's nothing out there with me. That's -- I don't even -- you know, don't even bring it up. I mean, there's no sense. I plan to be back. I don't have any time frame at all. Time frame will be whenever Coach Paterno decides that maybe, you know, he -- I -- I don't know. I -- No. We don't even discuss that. I mean, that's not even a factor in our being here. I mean, it really isn't." On Texas A&M's defensive set up: "Well they have they're four down linemen and they have two linebackers there's three linebackers however you want to do it the same thing Gary's been playing. In our league Michigan State is very similar. The team we last played. It has a very similar scheme to them. Just from -- everyone in our league is usually a four man front though so our guys are very familiar with the four man front. They play different configurations in the secondary with different people than we see but we are, you know, problems, yes, problems are big, strong, they're quick, two inside linebackers that are very good and play hashed. And but as far as schemes well I'll let those two kids take it." On shared offensive coaching role: "Yes. And that's probably a --about the simplest form you can put it. The thing about it we're up there together and we sort of plan out a series or say hey, we're going to do this on the first and ten and we want to throw in second and I want to run it no matter what it is on second and things like that against what we think we're going to get in those situations so it worked very well. No problems and it's been very smooth for us." "Has it worked, yes it's work. We haven't had a disagreement yet so I don't know how that's going to work. But yeah no it works I think Southern Cal I mean there where zero people people that do it they do it in the pros they do it in major colleges it's no --what it does is gives me more time to focus on the run game, Jay more time to focus on the pass game I think it's very efficient. On Anothy Morelli: ?I think Anthony has played extremely well for us. If you look at what he has done, everyone has high expectations of Anthony up here. Everyone is unhappy with the quarterback we have and they are always looking to the future. All the time, they are never satisfied with what we have. They think the next guy is better; he looses so they next guy will be better. Any quarterback has those difficulties to fight through. I think Anthony has played very well for us. He has directed this offense, he has taken charge of it, he makes the right checks, the right calls at the right time and he has done very well for us. I think people say, you lose a game you have to blame it on someone.? On critics opinions of Anthony Morelli's inability to play under pressure: ?Again, that is what they say but again, Anthony has made some very good plays for us. Anthony has not lost a game for us, we have lost a game as a group. Whether it is offense, defense, coaches, kicking game. But no one expects him to make a mistake. That?s part of the things that come with being a quarterback.? On Anthony Morelli not showing up for Press Conference: ?I don?t know anything about that. I was told to be here and these were the guys to be here. I don?t know, I mean you guys can write what you want. He is a leader and he is the leader of our football team. He plays very well for us. He has had a lot of pressure on him and I think he has handled it very well.? On concern about future quarterback: ?Yes, but we still have spring practice to go through and we have picked up Carolina and the Oregon St. (a very difficult game for us), so we will grow up pretty quick. I don?t think we have ever had, at least since I have been here, a two quarterback system. So you take and go with Daryll or Pat or whoever. That doesn?t bother me.? On how Anthony Morelli will be remembered: ?A quarterback that has directed two Bowl games, the first quarterback to have thrown over 3000 yards in two years and played very well for us.? On Michigan State game: ?It was just change ups. Just fake field goal, we have a fake field goal every game. It just happened that they gat called that game, it was set up and it got called. The use of Daryll, we changed it up and spiced it up a little.? On relationship with Gary Darnell: ?Jim Dickey was a real good friend of mine and we coached at Oklahoma it became time where I was looking for a Defensive Coordinator. Gary was at Kansas State they played us very well the last couple of years and I always thought they played good defense. I then went to Florida and Jimmy was already there. I said Jimmy what about Gary. Gary came in and did an excellent job for us. He was a secondary coach for us.? On Gary Darnell as Interim Head Coach of A&M: ?It is sort of funny how things go for him. Gary and I have talked over the years while he was at Western Michigan. We knew different people. We stayed in touch. It is sort of ironic. I hate to see what happens at A&M. I don?t like to see anyone let go. He is very sound, has his kids ready to go, he has kids lined up in the right places, very tough. They don?t make mental mistakes. That is a very good Defensive Coordinator.? --Speaker: Jordan Norwood, Junior, Wide Receiver On Anthony Morellli's absence at today's press conference: "Like Coach Hall said, I'm not really sure. We personally don't pay attention to when guys have talked to the media. I'm not sure when the last time I talked to the media was, so we're not really paying too much attention to that. But, I mean, we're just -- as a team, as an offense, looking forward to playing on Saturday." On Alamodome turf: ?It is something we think about and after practicing on yesterday it is not too much different than Illinois or Michigan.? On a win in the Valero Alamo Bowl carrying over to next season: ?It definitely carries on. We are going to be starting off-season workouts, probably about less than a month from now. So it definitely carries on.? On a win making up for dissappointments this season: ?I don?t know if a win makes up for anything. We do want to win the football game and avoid anymore pain this season.? On A&M crowd: ?We?re not really worried about it. I know we are going to travel a lot of fans also. To tell you the truth I?m not even sure it is going to be a majority A&M crowd. Is it going to be? We played in the Orange Bowl and had more fans than Florida State did, in their own state. We?re excited to see how many fans come out.? On how he is liking San Antonio: ?Some guys have spent time on the Riverwalk. I?m really enjoying my time here. I have some family down here. This isn?t my first time down here.? On his dad's new job at Baylor: ?It?s a great opportunity. I?m excited for him. I flew down here a couple days early to spend some time with him. My whole family flew down here.? On not spending time with family for Christmas: ?It wasn?t really something I worried about. I?m fortunate to be able to spend time with my family.? On dad's excitement about new job: ?He is very excited. The decision making process is always him asking myself, my other siblings, my mom what we think about it. We all gave him the go ahead. He?s excited to get down here.? On quarterback Darryl Clark: ?He is an athletic guy, has a strong arm, he can do a lot outside the pocket.? On if his is a Michael Robinson: ?That remains to be seen.? On Pat as a quarterback: ?Pat is a lot like Darryl, he?s athletic, with a strong arm, a real student of the game. He?s an athletic guy. I?ve seen him on the basketball court.? On dad at Baylor: ?He?s been there a few weeks now. I flew down here a couple days early so I could go up to Waco for a day. He?s actually in San Antonio now.? On preparing for the game: ?We?ve had over a month off. During some of the earlier practices, we worked a lot of the younger guys.? --Speaker: Derrick Williams, Junior Wide Receiver On Anthony Morellli's absence at today's press conference: "Today was the first day of really hearing that. You know, we really don't pay attention to and like Coach Hall said, Anthony's doing a great job with leading the team and everything and just getting the offense prepared for a tough team that we have to play this week." On what concerns they have about A&M defense: "Just like every team that we play week in and week out, it's going to be a tough game. They're going to be physical, you know. They're just as excited as we are to get out there on Saturday from a long break and, you know, to have great players and, you know, to have a new coaching staff and I know they want to do good for their new coach, so it's going to be a tough game and I think that we're -- we're prepared and I think that it's going to be a challenge against the defense. The only thing we've got to do is just go out and play with the confidence we have and we've been working really hard this week and everything should come together." --Speaker: Rodney Kinlaw, Senior, Tailback On rushing attack and what kind of role it'll play on Saturday against that A&M defense: ?From the tapes, they have two great defensive tackles, so we're just looking forward to going out there and playing the best game that we can play.? On Michigan State game: ?I was kind of down walking off the field after that especially being up by so much. It was pretty tough so I was just trying to go out there playing my heart out.? On not having Anthony Morelli at press conference: "I guess he thinks no one has any idea who he is. He talks to us.? On adjustment to playing indoors: ?No, it?s not going to be an adjustment. We?ve played on a facility and it?s the same type of surface and it?s indoor so it?s basically the same thing.? On coming out after days off before: ?I think we should be fine, everybody?s healed up, rested up, so we played our last game in November so we?re fine now. So I think we?ll come out good.? On future after Penn State and prospective agents: ?Yes, I thought about some training. Still to be determined (when asked about agent). No, I won?t. I?m going to be going back to South Carolina? --Speaker: A.Q. Shipley, Junior, Center On rushing attack and what kind of role it'll play on Saturday against that A&M defense: "We've seen the scheme before like coach said very similar scheme in the teams that we've faced this year they do different things where they might bring in a nickel instead of one of the linebackers but all in all it's really the same. The same scheme that we've really seen all along but like they've said before you know I mean they're very physical up front they've got two very good down kids inside and you know it's going to be they're to pose some problems with the line backers as well we've got to challenge them we've got to be able to handle them when the time comes." --Speaker: Rich Ohrnberger, Junior, Guard On rushing attack and what kind of role it'll play on Saturday against that A&M defense: "The same thought. It's nothing that we're not prepared for. We've been going against this defense now with our scout team for weeks. And you know they're front six are front seven depending on what personnel they have are aggressive big guys and they play hard football and we're going to have to play our best game against them."

December 26th, 2007
Texas A&M Pre-Practice December 26, 2007

--Speaker: Kirk Elder, Senior, Offensive Lineman On bowl week preparations: ?We?re feeling good. We?re wrapping up our physical preparation, and really getting into the last bits of the game plan, as far as mental focus. We?re going to Sea World today, going to the Spurs game tonight. We?re having a lot of fun down here. San Antonio is a great town. We?ve been going out on the Riverwalk, and there?s been a lot of activities for us. It?s a business trip, but at the same time, bowl games are a lot of fun for the players.? On his final collegiate game: ?This will be my last college game and probably my last game ever. I?m probably going to hang it up, I?m getting worn down after five years of playing here. I?m just looking to go out the right way.? --Speaker: Marquis Carpenter, Senior, Defensive Back On bowl week preparation: ?I think it?s been going real well. Today actually being our first early practice, it probably started off slow, but as we kept going I saw everyone getting more into the practice and that kept everyone going. We?re just trying to stay focused is the big thing, but we?re having a lot of fun too.? On getting to work inside on Monday and outside on Tuesday: ?It helps us focus a lot. I think yesterday was probably good for us to get in the Alamodome and get feeling of the Dome after playing in there last year against Army. It was a little humid last time. It was good we got a chance to get in there and practice yesterday. To actually come out here today (at Trinity University) in the cold and practice will help us get us ready even more.? On the matchup with Penn State: ?I?m looking forward to going against them, especially after watching film. They are a pretty good, a pretty solid team. There?s going to be some action in the air and on the ground. It?s going to be a lot of fun and competitive. I can?t wait.?

December 25th, 2007
Texas A&M Pre-practice Quotes on December 25

--Speaker: Interim Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Gary Darnell Opening statement: ?It?s our first practice in the Alamodome, and we?re ready to play. We want to be here (Alamo Bowl), we want to take in every part of it, and we want to enjoy practice. And that?s a hard thing to do for some guys on a bowl trip sometimes, but that?s part of it. Being here and having this great opportunity to play, we?re all excited for it. I know that?s a clich?, but it?s totally a reality for us?to come here, have a great time, and play as well as we can play.? On bowl week practices and how they differ from regular season: ?We had a really good week of practice last week. But this week, these three days, become critical for us. This is when we really start fine tuning. What we take with us today, we won?t be doing again until we play the game Saturday night.? On how he wants the players to react to everything that?s gone on around the program: ?I want them to keep acting like they?ve been acting. Our players have a value system to them, as far as how they learn to prepare to work and how they do their work. We want them to carry that and not deviate from it.? On being able to get inside the Alamodome and practice before gameday: ?That was really important to us. Last year, when we played Army in here, we really had a rough time as far as our footing. We weren?t adjusted. I can remember last year, we missed six tackles on the first play of the game, and guys were slipping around. Consequently, throughout the game, it happened a lot, so it became very important for us, somehow, someway, to get in here today and make sure we have ourselves adjusted to the surface we?re playing on.? --Speaker: Stephen McGee, Junior, Quarterback On Spending Christmas with the Team: "It's something we come to get used to getting to spend Christmas with our other family and all our brothers. We're going to get in the Christmas spirit and have us about a 22 period practice and get after it and get hot and sweaty just like mom would like to have it. We're going have a good time. My last focus is getting ready to try and beat Penn State." Redemption from Last Year's Game: "We want to come into this game and get ready and know we are going to play a really good opponent. We want to win this game and send the seniors out right. That's important to us. How we handle these next few days will determine that." On Team Since Texas Win and Coach Fran Resignation: "We're doing what's imporatant, that's playing together and sticking together as brothers and a family. We just continue to work hard and know that our focus right now is on winning the next game just like its been all year. As long as we keep that mentality I don't think anything is going to bother us." On Penn State Defense: "Really big and physical. They have two really good corners and some linebackers that are very talented as well. They'll come up and stick you. They're very physical and very well disciplined." Keeping up Momentum after Texas Win: "It was a big win for us but I think it's been three or four weeks now and we're mot looking for any momentum from that game. We're just hoping to get some really good practice and use that confidence from those practices." On Not Having Coach Fran "Yeah definetly. He's been calling and texting us saying, 'Go get it going. Ya'll have fun and get the win for me'." --Speaker: Chris Harrington, Senior, Defensive Line On Nittany Lion Offense: ?They?ve got a pretty solid running game. They key to us being victorious is to stop the run and make them pass and get behind early. I think we should be able to handle it. They do a lot more of the tradition two-back sets, a lot of odd formation, a lot of power running game. I think this year in the Big 12, a lot of people have tried to spread things out and get more in the shotgun and split backs doing the slice and zone. They?re more of a traditional style team.? Advantage of Playing in Dome Before: ?Just being on the turf and being in the environment, it gets a little warm in here once everyone gets in and shuffled in. It?s kind of similar to our indoor facility. It?s good to get in here and look around and get comfortable playing in the stadium.? On turning bowl games around: ?We?re just going to play our butts off and come out ready to play. Last year we came out and played a good first half and then kind of dropped off in the second half and that?s when they really got on us. Play four quarters, have fun, play for each other. As seniors, this is our last game, so go out with a win.? Different approach for this year: ?Our practices are pretty standard other then Coach Darnell being in charge now. That?s different. As far as the format of practice and how we go about our business, it?s pretty much the same. We know that we won that (UT) game in Austin last year and I think we felt a little good about ourselves. I think we learned that you?ve got to stay humble. You?ve always got to keep working in football, otherwise it will come back and bite you in the butt. So you just have to stay humble and keep at it.? Role with Michael Bennett out: ?Not really. He usually plays the other defensive end. It doesn?t really affect me. Our rotation is going to be a little different. If anything, that?s a little more playing time. We?re going to miss him. He could be a big help but he got injured in that last game so he hasn?t really been practicing. We?ve been getting along without him. Wish he was here, but we have to take care of business.? --Speaker: Mark Dodge, Senior, Linebacker Senior Year: ?This is the last one for me, the last one for a lot of us. We definitely want to go out of here in good style and remember it the way we want to.? Advantage of Playing in Dome Before ?I think it will be. The field is a little different. It?s kind of a rough field to play on. We were slipping a little bit in the Army game. It?s good to get in here and play. The bowl game, you think it?s going to be a nice, cool atmosphere, but once all the fans get in here, it gets pretty warm. It will be good to have that behind us and know what it?s like to be here and have a good home crowd. I think we will have a good showing from the Aggies.? Coach Darnell?s Change Effecting Defense: ?No, it really hasn?t changed. He?s really letting Coach Koenning run practice on the offensive side and he?s really staying with us. It hasn?t changed at all. He?s been with us the entire time.? Mental Approach to Bowl Game: ?I think last year?s guys were so excited to get out of Texas and get out and have some fun. We got there and everyone was wide-eyed looking at the ocean. A lot of guys have never been to California. Here, since it?s a lot of guy?s home state, a lot from right here in San Antonio, it?s not as big a deal with driving down here. We?re treating it more as an away game for us. Mentally, we?re just coming out and playing football and having fun.? San Antonio Guys into Tour Guides: ?There are a couple of guys who have been hanging out with them. My roommate Cody Beyer, he?s from here, so I?m kind of familiar with the area. It?s nice to have a guy like that to walk around with and give you the sights.? On PSU Offense: ?They have a good team and great coordinator and a good system. It?s going to be a fun and physical game. They like to push the ball on the ground and it?s going to be fun for us to defend that.? On Penn State's Anthony Morelli: ?They do run a lot of bootlegs. I think if we allow him to get out there and throw the ball on the run, it?s going to be difficult for us to stop. We just have to make sure that we?re scrapping and doing the things we have to do to keep him in the pocket.? --Speaker: Joey Thomas, Senior, Tight End Bowl Preparation: ?It?s always exciting. Bowl games are always fun with all the activities for us to do. It?s going to be fun to try and win a bowl game. It means a lot to all our seniors.? Playing in Texas: ?Most of these guys have played here since high school and for playoffs. It?s special to be around our hometowns.? Advantage of being in Texas: ?I think the biggest advantage is the 12th Man. I?ve heard crazy things about the ratio of fans. I know it?s going to be a great showing form the 12th man and an advantage.? Offensive Momentum: ?Different things happen in different games. Sometimes we show up, and hopefully we do. I know we have the motivation right now. We have a lot of things planned for the game. Hopefully we come out playing physical. I think that?s going to be the key.? Looking Back on Offensive Inconsistency: ?It?s hard to tell. We?ve played against a lot of good teams. Who knew that Missouri and Kansas were going to be so great this year? They played so well as a team. We had a hard schedule and it?s hard to pinpoint what downfalls we had.? Expected carryover from last game: ?Of course. Our main thing is to play physical. Penn State is a good, physical team and we?re going to have to match that if we?re going to play with them.?

December 24th, 2007
Texas A&M Team Arrival

--Speaker: Interim Head Coach Gary Darnell On His Position as Interim Head Coach "Because I've had a little bit of background with this its really been a great exprience because when you have a great organizationn like we have and everythings in place its really been unique because we've had a lot of free time to focus on the bowl. I told the coaches time and time again you better take advantage cause you'll never have another one like this. Recruiting was done and the bowl was picked so they didn't have to be out running around. They could just focus on the bowl game." On What it Would Mean to Win this Game "Winnings always good. Our opportunity to play Penn State in this particular bowl with their bowl record and to go against Coach Paterno, it really can't get any better then this." On the Uncertainty of the Coaching Future "I'm 100 percent sincere. From a personal standpoint I've always had an exciting life and know there's going to be a lot more exciting things out there. But really as far as the role I play right now I've been in this situation in two or three different ways. Its a matter of priorities. When you get your priorities set as far as players, coaches and their families and the great effort that it takes win something like that it falls into place. It's fairly seemless to be honest with you. As structured as it is at Texas A&M. The structure stays in place and the people as confident as they are everything works in the right way." On How Well Players Prepared Mentally for the Game "We started off with our focus. Responsibility, toughness and fun. If we did these things correctly we could win. The responsibility part comes how Coach Fran ran the program. Two things from that. They have always been held accountable and they understand their are consequences to what they do if we don't do things correctly. The other part of it is there's not much mystique about how we run about our business. We're a blue collar team so the toughness part of it is truly trying to keep the fun and make sure they enjoy this bowl while keeping that edge toughness wise. That's one of the biggest challenges but one I think they can handle." On What Keeps Him in Football "Two things. Young people and the sport of football. Without a doubt going to the aspect of what football represents to the sport. It's a team culture thats why its supposed to be a sport that teaches you values and lets you have values. Then the players themselves. I think oen of the things we miss out some of the times is people don't take enough responsibility and thats the responsibility of leadership of young people. I don't think we have a better example professionally then Coach Paterno. If you've ever served on the American Football Coaching Board of Trustees you learn to look at football a whole different way then what it is. You don't look at it as an entertaining venue. You look at it as a type of sport that teaches young people the largest team culture of all team culture sports. So those things you tye it all together and its very meaningful to be in a situation like this." On Getting Used to Not Knowing Future "Well you learn to live with a lot of belief. You always know the highs are wonderful and whatever the lows are they'll pass. I look at our staff right now and I really only have one remorse about any of it and its certainly not the coaches. The coaches understand the liability that goes with it. The people without a doubt that have to pay the highest price are the children of the coaches. When they go off to school and the antagonism they get from those places its really unfair at that point. But the other part of its is, like I say, the highs you'll really enjoy and the lows will pass."

December 23rd, 2007
Penn State Team Arrival Press Conference

--Speaker: Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno On Texas A&M crowd: "We played them in College Station. They?re loud and enthusiastic which I think will make a good football game. People don?t realize they beat a good Texas team and they lost to a few really good teams, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas.? On Ending the Season on a High Note: "We could have won another game or two but now we?re here to have a little fun and play a good tough football game. It?s really what we make of it. If we win it would be ideal but I think its going to be an exciting game.? On 500th Game: "I don?t think about that I?m just thank the good lord that I?m able to stay so long. The professional we?re in you have to understand that they love you one day and two days later they don?t. To be able to have survived this long I think is a credit to the institution more then it is to me.? On Penn State?s Reputation as 'Linebacker U': "Success succeeds success. If a linebacker wants to go someplace where the linebacker position is important then they have a tendency to gravitate that way.? On Impact to Penn State: "I?ve tried to have an impact on the institution that goes beyond football and I try to get the kids to do that. Football has been a big part of Penn State. We started with 28,000 seats and now we have 107,000.? "Fundraising gives me an opportunity to benefit the university and raise money for scholarships for kids, not just for football. You try to do the best you can and do make with the good you?ve got to help the whole university.? On Recent Birthday: "Whether you?re 80 or 81 you get up in the morning. You?re a little stiffer here and there but that?s about it. I?ve been lucky and have good genes.?

December 17th, 2007
Players' News Conference at Texas A&M's Valero Alamo Bowl Media Day

--Speaker: Jorvorskie Lane, Junior, Tailback On how things have been going: "Coach Darnell is doing a real good job right now of adapting to being the head coach. I mean, he's done a real good job of keeping us fresh and the situation with Coach Fran we knew that he had -- you know, he had to really be a man to tell us that he was stepping down and he stepped down and let Coach Darnell took over. Coach Darnell has done a real good job of keeping us real fresh and giving us time off to ourselves. We know in our minds that Coach Fran's not there, but you know-you know what I mean. We know he's missing but practice hasn't changed. It's just football." On going through preparations for the game knowing next year's offense will be different: "Well, as a team we know it's coming, but right now, instead of going to the Alamo Bowl just to go, we're trying to put 'champions' on our ring. The coaching staff is doing a real good job of really putting in a game plan to where we will be successful and get to the point that they're telling us that we're playing for each other and we're playing for the seniors. It's a business. We know what's going to happen is going to happen, and some might stay, some might not, but other than that we're just looking to win the Alamo Bowl." On his plans for senior year: "My degree is more important to me right now. It hasn't changed. I'm going to stay for my senior year." On whether he's met with Coach Sherman: "We talked to him the first day, actually when they announced he was coming, and we talked a little bit. I liked him." On losing a lot of the offensive line after this year: "I'm going to miss them a lot. They've been here since day once since I've been here. They're all big brothers to me, so I just -- I'm going to just miss it, you know, just how they were around me." --Speaker: Kirk Elder, Senior, Offensive Lineman On the mood of the team: "For me to say it's not weird (not having Coach Fran around) I would be lying to you because, you know, he's been the head coach for so long. Nowadays in college football you spend more time with your coaches than you do with your mom and your dad and your family. But we haven't lost a step. You know, we're still who we are we're still going on -- since we've gotten back into it it's been real good. The guys are excited to have one more shot to play I'm excited to have one more shot to play and just going out and doing what we do." On how Coach Darnell has been: "Great. I ran into him Sunday after the Texas game down in Bryan -- I was eating with my girlfriend and he was with his wife, and we just got to talking and right away he came and told me we're going to be about responsibility, going to be about toughness, and having fun, and about winning. And he's been great, just great. The whole staff has." On the last game as a unit for the offensive line: "It has begun to hit me. It's probably going to be the last game I play in, ever. And I'm going to miss these guys. I'm not going to miss going out and necessarily, you know, playing a game -- playing the games are fun -- but really and truly it's the relationships you have and the camaraderie you have. There's not many places or things you can do you to have this type of friendship that we have together and I'm just going to miss these guys so much." On the attitude following the Texas win this year as opposed to last: "I think last year there were, you know, some thoughts from the team, some guys, that 'Hey, we just whooped Texas at their house,' and maybe there was a little arrogance. Maybe it was 'We've finally arrived. We're going to go out here and kick these California dream boats around', and obviously that didn't happen. I don't think that's the case this year at all. I really don't. I think guys know that we're about to play a Big Ten team, one of the great programs of college football, who have built their team around being tough, running the football, playing great defense, and being big, strong, physical guys. There will be no arrogance going into this game." On playing Penn State in your final game: "Or playing Coach Paterno. That's a great honor. Not many people ever get to do that. He is college football. He is Penn State football. It's going to be great." --Speaker: Mark Dodge, Senior, Linebacker On practice without Coach Fran: "Not much different. Coach Darnell is keeping things similar. There hasn't been much of a change or adjustment from the team. We went out there and went through the periods and kind of kept it similar, but you know, guys are working real hard and hustling a lot out there. They're enjoying practice. Bowl games are supposed to be fun and we're going to make it fun and that's something we've kind of focused on as a team, going out there and enjoying the game of football." On his final game and plans after football: "It's just been a great experience to be able to come to a place like this and play this game of football. But, yeah, I'm actually moving to Dallas -- I have a job with a company called Trinity industries and I'll start January 16th I believe. (I'll be going through a) Management training program. They brought me in there to propel me through the management and work my way up through the company." On thoughts of the NFL: "I've talked to them, but I turn 27 next month. It's catching up to me. So I'm ready to hang up the cleats -- it would be a lot of fun to go try, but you know, I've got a great opportunity in front of me and I think football has opened that door and this great University has given me a chance to get my degree. I think I'm ready to move onto the next chapter, become an alumni and come back and sit in the stands now and watch the games instead of trying to kill myself." --Speaker: Stephen McGee, Junior, Quarterback On what he's seen of Penn State's defense on film: "Well, they're great players and obviously their history speaks for itself. They're a great defense, and we understand up front their front seven is really big and they'll stick it to you if you let them. We've got to try to dodge those guys I guess. We want to use our speed to try to get away from them because if you let them get involved and make plays they'll really stick it to you." Om his reaction to Coach Fran's resignation: "You know, it was tough. I mean, whenever you lose a guy you've been around for four-and-a-half years, and you really look up to and you have a good relationship with, it's always tough. That's not easy. Coach Darnell's come in and done a great job. He's a great coach and he's done a great job of leading this football team and having a good time, but more important than that, getting the guys ready to go and play a game. All of our coaches have really done a great job of preparing us and practicing us hard. We've done things differently because every coach has their own flavor and own way to do stuff but nonetheless it's been very productive." On changes in the game plan before the Texas win: "We were throwing it around, and that was fun. That was the biggest thing. We took some shots and we were very balanced I think even at that. We got the ball in some receivers' hands and let them make plays. I think the biggest difference than most of the games all year is we had receivers that got a lot of yards after the catch, which is always big. You like to see those guys make plays once they get the ball in their hands and they that did that and that was really good for us. I think everybody enjoyed it. We were having fun out there and playing for each other and understanding the circumstances and everything." On interaction with Coach Sherman: "We've had two team meetings and kind of talked to him, so that's been really good. He's kind of burning his candle on both ends right now because he's got a lot to do. He's trying to hire a staff here. He's trying to recruit and keep recruits, then he's trying to win games on Sunday and get his offense and game plan done throughout the week. As you can imagine he's got his hands full right now but even considering all that going on he made time to come and try to get to know us as players and meet with us as players." On maybe 'bridging the gap' between two coaching staffs as the quarterback: "It's a game we all love to play and just a honor and a privilege to be able to do it. We play for each other and we always remember that. You never want to have to go through something like that but when you do you've got to be able to accept that and know you can't control all that that goes on outside. We're going to play our tail off for Coach Sherman like we did for Coach Fran, and we're going to play for each other and that's what's really important for us."

December 17th, 2007
Head Coach's News Conference at Texas A&M's Valero Alamo Bowl Media Day

--Speaker: Texas A&M Interim Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Gary Darnell Opening Statement: "We're honored and proud and excited to be going to this bowl game and playing the particular team that we're playing. Two things: It's represented by first of all a quality bowl and we're playing a quality team and I think that's justification for some guys who played really hard and earned the right to go." Any motivation for you in coaching against Joe Paterno? "It's not extra motivation but it's -- a satisfying feeling, you know. If this would be my last football game to coach in, boy what a great thing to be able to coach against Joe Paterno and in that environment. I just made a statement a while ago that there was a long period of time I didn't like Joe Paterno, and that's when I was young, had never met him, and didn't know him, but I thought I had all the answers and only knew what I read. I got to where I played against him a few times and when we played against each other in the Fiesta Bowl a few years ago then I really learned to appreciate him and for everything he does. Once you've ever served in the American Football Coaches Association you take a different view on the support of football. Coach Paterno was the President of that once upon a time, so when you have that kind of background that you see the whole big picture and then still maintain your principles and values as a football coach, and certainly has a program as well-gripped as he has, to play against someone like that -- yeah it's special." What's it been like for you personally, this whole situation? "My future is not uncertain. I know whatever it is, it's going to be exciting. Sometimes, you know, a guy like me is that guy playing poker who wants to hurry up and deal again see what it's going to be. But the thing for me personally is that -- I feel, oh, fortunate that I know what to do. I've been given the opportunity here to do what I know is necessary to do and then the response people are giving me now, whether it's players, administration, or whomever, gives us a chance to be successful. Which then gets back to the whole purpose of why you'd want to be successful, and certainly that would be the players and the coaches and their families." Can you talk about some of the awkwardness that exists during this time? "It's really pretty interesting because there's almost none, and the reason why -- first of all, the recruiting class is done and not only is it done but it's been done for a year and a half. This thing is two years ahead of itself right now. So it's not one of those that -- you know, that -- I mean, our coaches would have been out this month recreating '08 or '09 signees so that part's okay. And given the circumstances that the other staff is not able to come in here until the end of it, so that gives you a focus. It's unique how positive it is because we come to work every day and our job is to maintain this program until the next guy gets here. I tell you how I told the players. This is the simplest way to help you understand it: anybody in here that served in the military understands that. You go and you take over a base or you become a commander and while you're there that's called the watch. That's your watch. Okay? And when you have those kind of organizations in our military -- it happens every day, base commanders turn over every day, but it's seamless transitions, because everyone is responsible, everyone is capable, and everyone understands the lines of communications. They can all do their job. This is a perfect example. And then we'll finish, and the next guy's going to come in here and have his go at it, and it'll be his watch, and he'll be here four, five, six years, whatever, and then there will be another one." The guys who are here right now, they need to find a job. Surely they're trying to take care of themselves and their families. How do you keep that focus? "The easiest way to find a job is play well. Do a good job coaching. And plus, you know, these aren't rookies. These guys -- they're connected and they're known in our profession as extremely good coaches. As far as the coaches themselves, the coaches will be fine. The tragedy is the coaches' families. And there's no ifs ands or buts about it. Coaches deal with it. If you can't deal with it you don't need to be in that profession, but that's not to say your family can, and that's where the hurt -- if you see a coach who has a long look on his face -- that still doesn't take away from what it's like to go home at nighttime, sit an at your dinner table and tell a 14-year-old daughter you don't know where you're going to be living next year. That's when it gets hard." "Just from a profession standpoint, at some point -- and I've said this. If you're at a BCS school and you can't deal with that you don't need to be at a BCS school. I'm just saying the support has turned from support to entertainment now. Any sport psychologist in the country will tell you that. It's long gone past just the combative spirit of who's the great athletes. Are you going to throw it? Are we going to be entertained today? It's become entertainment, and so with that, it becomes callous and insensitive and that's just how it is. So if you want that then you do that. If you don't want that and you don't understand that, then you need to go do something else." You mentioned the best way to get a job is play well. Do you look at this game as an audition of sorts? "We've already auditioned. These guys have been coaching 25, 30 years. A lot of auditions in behind them. It's truly -- that part of it could be as much style as anything. Someone is looking for a style of coach, he might see that. An option coach, or whatever kind of coach, and you saw that and you were trying to do something different than what you're doing or you saw them do something similar to that, and that guy can help us, he can work with us." Do you go into it with an 'I've got nothing to lose' kind of calling? "You can but that's not our nature, because yeah there's something to lose. The dignity of the players. That's way too high a price for those young men to have to deal with. If you put yourself in a slip-shod, half-interested atmosphere, I can't imagine being more disrespectful to young people. I think adults are disrespectful enough to young people without doing something like that." How much does your role during the actual game change? "As far as game management, the biggest thing that would happen would be someone has to say if we're going to go for two, or someone's got to say when we're down and say - the easiest one is 35-yard line, third-and-six, someone needs to be able to say you've got two plays or one play. Someone has to make those kind of decisions, and I would do those kind of things, but as far as personnel or plays or all that sort of thing I won't be doing that. But with the speed of the game I might -- you know I can have something to do with that as far as management. We're too slow, let's speed it up, go no-huddle, whatever it is. A change to control the tempo of the game can come from a head coach's perspective without calling the plays." You won't change any offensive plays? "No, I wouldn't. There's no reason for me to. Those guys -- I know they know what they're doing. The tempo of the game is probably the biggest thing, tempo and management of go for it, not go for it, those sort of things." What do you expect from Penn State? "(PSU assistant) Galen Hall's not told me yet. But he's going to get asked again. But, you know, some things don't change. I mean, you know they make their living by being sound. They like running the football, play-action passes, then what we call break contain, where they boot passes or sprint out passes, and then not giving up the big play defensively. And then when they get behind on defense they'll blitz it like crazy so that's kind of a standard formula. The biggest thing is they will not beat themselves. Some of those guys are never disappointed with 5-yard plays, and I know they feel that way about it. If they make all 5-yard plays they're going to beat you. So you've got to find some way to make some of those 5-yard plays zero- or 1-yard plays."

December 14th, 2007
Players' News Conference at Penn State's Valero Alamo Bowl Media Day

--Speaker: Jeremy Boone, Freshman, Punter How would you assess your season? "I would say it ended up pretty good. We had a great coverage team. I would have to give almost all the success to them. I had 10 guys that protected me for each game and guys running down the field. I had a great long-snapper. When you don't have to focus on whether the ball is going to be right, left, high, or on the ground, it makes the job a lot easier. I would definitely say we had a successful season." Is there a game that sticks out as your most memorable this season? "Not really. There were different highs and lows that came from each game. I was just trying to take each game and just try and get better. No game really sticks out in my mind because one game I might have had a long punt or the other game I might have been able to put guys inside the 20. Overall, I just think each game was a success." How did it feel to be recognized by the Big Ten? "It was a great honor and great for me to be recognized. I think it was better for the guys because we came in and last year, we were top two in the Big Ten. Coach Johnson, at the beginning of the year, said he wanted us to be number one (in net punting). To be number one in the Big Ten at the end of the season is just a great feeling for myself and the guys." What expectations do you have for the Alamo Bowl? "This will be my first game playing. I was able to go to the Orange Bowl and the Outback Bowl. I was able to follow (Jeremy) Kapinos all around. I'm sure he was glad to leave so I wouldn't be on his back the whole time. But I was able to see how he handled the different situations and everything. I'm just excited to be ready to go." Have you watched any film of Texas A&M's special teams? "Yes. It's just like any other team we've played this year. We're going to have to perform and we'll have to execute on special teams." --Speaker: Deon Butler, Junior, Wide Receiver Anthony (Morelli) hasn't been around the media since after the Temple game. Is there a reason for that? "No. Sometimes guys just don't want to talk to the media. Maybe he is focusing in on the game and stuff. Maybe there is a lot more important stuff going on then talking to the media right now. Obviously he has a lot of pressure on his shoulders, being the quarterback of this team. Whatever he needs to do to get ready and focus on this game, we will support him. I wouldn't look too much into it. He is just trying to clear his head." You don't think it has something to do with the frosty relationship he has had with the media? "No. I don't know how long that has been going on. He is the type of guy that speaks his mind. I don't think he is hiding form the media or anything like that. I think that it has more to do with clearing his head and focusing on the game." What has his mood been in the locker room? "It has been great. He is always upbeat around us. He is comfortable around us obviously so, he just acts like a leader of this team. He has been the leader of this team and has continued to look like that over these past few weeks. He just looks like a guy who wants to go out with a bang, and end it on a good note against A&M." Coming into this season you guys had a lot of expectations. What does this team lack that is keeping you from a national championship? "We came with high expectations. I think there are a lot of guys on the team that do not know what it takes to be an undefeated team. We have a good deal of guys that were on that 11-1 team, (in 2005) but a good deal of guys that were not on the 11-1 team. We know we are naturally talented and that we can play with any team in the nation, but it takes more then natural talent. Staying out of trouble off the field was a big thing that happened a lot this year. Just little things like that take away from the team. We need to trust our teammates and buckle down on those things. Talent is not everything when it comes to be on a national championship team." --Speaker: Gerald Cadogan, Junior, Tackle What has been the mood since the Michigan State loss? "The mood of the team has been good. Everyone has been working hard in practice and in the weight room. So that should carry over to the game. That is the basic mood." What do you know about Texas A&M? "They are a strong team. They are a team similar to us. They play four quarters of hard football so we have to play our 'A' game and be ready to play." Do you think they are down since they lost their coach after that Texas game? "No, they are working as hard as we are. It's going to be a great game. Whoever brings their 'A' game is going to win." You guys finished 8-4 and that is not a bad season for most programs. But how do you feel? Do you guys feel you could have had a better season. "Anytime you don't win them all, you could always be better. You know going into this game, you want to have a win coming out of it. So we are getting focused for that." --Speaker: Dan Connor, Senior, Linebacker Were you surprised to win the Bendrick Award? "I was definitely surprised. Going against James (Laurinaitis) and (Glenn) Dorsey from LSU was tough. I was nervous at the ceremony. But I was glad that they called my name." This bowl game is strength against strength, good defense against strong running game. Can you talk about that? "Yea, it is a good matchup. We are looking forward to it. We had a chance to look at them on tape. They have a real aggressive offensive line, big back, big quarterback and another quarterback that could hurt you. So we are looking forward to it." What goes through your mind after the Michigan State game and how badly do you want to get back on the field? "It left a bad taste in the mouth for me, the defense, and the whole team in general. So we are excited to get another chance. I think the guys needed some time off to freshen up and put the entire season into perspective. Everyone on the team seems excited to get another shot and play in front of national audience." How would you assess this season? "Well, we wanted to win them all. That is always our goal. But I think it was a good season. This bowl game is going to be big for us. We are excited about it and it's going to be the type of thing that can make this a memorable season." Were injuries on the defensive line a possible cause of some defensive struggles? "That didn't help. When those guys go down, you lose three or four guys that were starting at the beginning of the season. But the guys that were playing in the Michigan State game are real good players. But depth may have hurt us." --Speaker: Justin King, Junior, Cornerback "Sean Lee said even if he was a projected first round pick, he would stay. There is always a reason why you would leave. But can you convince us with a reason that you may not leave? I love my teammates here. I love the coaches. All these guys are my friends." Is there something for the defense to prove in this game? "We left the Michigan State game with a real bad taste in our mouth. We had to go through the pre-bowl practices, and the lingering taste of a loss does not feel good. We want to go out with a win." Why do you think this season turned out the way it did? "To be completely honest, I really don't know. I felt like we could have had a better record than this prior to the season. But I think the ball bounced the opposite way. Sometimes we did not catch breaks." Does the bowl game have any impact on your decision for the future? Do you have a timetable for your decision? "Probably not. I want to talk to my family and coaches and make the best decision for me." --Speaker: Rodney Kinlaw, Senior, Tailback How important is it for the seniors to go out with a win? "It is very important to come in after a tough game, so we just need to go out there and get a bowl win." How tough was the Michigan State loss and how important is it to go out and get one more win? "It was very tough, especially being up by 17 points, and not being able to hold on to the lead. It was very tough. I think we are going to go out there and try to win this game and go out on a positive note." Are you surprised the way Coach Paterno does things, meaning like not having email, just focusing on one thing only? "No, that is just the way Joe is. He probably has everything stored up in his head. He knows what he is going to do." How did you feel about the play on Brent Carter in the Michigan State game when you came out injured? "He came in and did a great job. I got dinged up a little bit and he came in and picked up where I left off. So he did a great job." How is Evan Royster? "He is good. He is practicing, so he should be 100 percent." --Speaker: Dan Lawlor, Junior, Fullback Describe the loss of Matt Hahn for the offense. "Losing Matt Hahn was a big loss for us because he's a great player. Coach Paterno told me I had to step up to the plate. Anything I could do to help the team and just did the best I could." Have you thought much about Texas A&M? "We've obviously been thinking about it because it's a big game and they're a really good team. We're going to start breaking them down and going from there. I'm waiting for the game and we're going to have a good time at the Alamo Bowl." Was it difficult for you to wait for your opportunity? "Yes, it has been difficult. That's how college football is. When you get your shot, you get your shot and you just have to make the best of it." How tough is it to get that opportunity when the guy ahead of you goes down due to injury? "You don't like seeing guys get hurt and the injury that Hahn suffered, it's a really tough injury. He's going to get back on his feet and he'll be alright. But seeing him go down, everyone on the team felt bad. It was a really bad injury, so it was hard to watch." The fullback position has changed since you were recruited. What has that been like? "We have really high-caliber receivers. We have Deon (Butler), Derrick (Williams), Jordan (Norwood), (Chris) Bell, and others that I didn't even mention. With our receivers, we can do a lot with the ball. With the fullback and running two backs, we can run the ball really well and that opens up the passing game for the receivers." Do you view this bowl game as a good chance to get a leg-up on next year? "It's going to be an important game. I don't like looking ahead. I take one day at a time. When the game comes up, I'm going to give 100 percent and give everything I have." Does it matter which back you're blocking for? "It doesn't matter. We have great backs. With Evan Royster back there or Rodney Kinlaw and Brent Carter is back there now since he switched over. It doesn't matter who I'm blocking for. They're always going to make the right reads and everything because they're good running backs." Did it change your mentality when you found out Matt couldn't play anymore? "At the time when he got hurt, my first start was against Ohio State, so I was going against the number one team in the country in my first start. I was anxious and nervous since I just wanted to get on the field, play, and do the best that I could do. It was a long week I would say." --Speaker: Sean Lee, Junior, Linebacker Have you filled out any (NFL) paperwork? You said you were going to come back, but have you filled any paperwork? "I am definitely coming back for sure, but I have filled some paperwork. Just because it can't hurt me." What if you heard back and it was good? "I would come back for sure. It is guaranteed that I am coming back. I am excited for next year." Why would you file the paper work if you knew you wanted to come back? "Because I know it can't hurt me. If anything, I just want to get an evaluation and see what I need to work on. I am always trying to get better. There is nothing wrong with getting evaluated." Would you want to stay outside, or do you want to follow the 'trend' here and move inside? "I would play whatever. I think they are very similar positions a lot of times. Maybe it is a little bit more physical from the middle and I like that to some extent, but it really doesn't matter. They have a lot of the same situations." What happened at Michigan State in the fourth quarter in your mind after you watched the tape? "We got beat...we didn't play well. I feel like the biggest problem with us this year is that we have been a little bit off and at this level it gets magnified. We didn't make a tackle here or not having coverage there, added up. They made some really nice plays and you have to give them credit. It is something that we need to get better at. We need to get more detailed like teams in the past. Especially like the team in 2005." What has been the mood since the Michigan State game? "Not good. It has been bad. It ruins your Thanksgiving break. You just want to get a win and go home for the first time since August and it would have been a great feeling. But, Sunday after the game I was just watching the tape and just felt depressed. The first half looks good; I watched the second half and it just looks terrible." You said the mood after the game Michigan State game was bad, and I am sure you have some built up anger. How good is it for you that Texas A&M is such a big running team? "That is great, and that is who I was hoping we would play. We could have played Texas Tech, but I wanted to play A&M because I wanted to play against a tough running team. Seeing them, they are tough and they have a great offensive line with a great running back who we are going to have to tackle low." Some of the guys have looked at the record 8-4 and said that it is pretty good. Is that good enough for Penn State? Is that ever good enough for you? "No. I look at the back of the games and see where we could be and it is frustrating. We are who we are and we deserve to be where we are because we didn't get it done in big games. It is definitely frustrating." Coach Paterno is going to be coaching is 500th game at Penn State during the bowl game. Can you take a step back from where you are, and look at how unique this guy is? You are playing A&M who has had eight coaches since Paterno has been here. "Whenever I think of past history and events, I think 'Wow, Coach Paterno was coaching then.' That is when it really hits me. He has been here for so long and to see him coach with the passion and integrity he has now, at his age, I find unbelievable and inspiring." Can this bowl game save this season? "We had some good wins and it has been fun. It is not necessarily saving anything. We want to end with a win, it would definitely improve our mood, especially after the last game." Will you welcome the challenge to be a captain next year? And what have you learned from the guys the past years that have taught you how to lead? "Yes, I would. The leaders have been great. They lead by example. At least from my perspective, on the defensive line, I have always tried to emulate them and how hard they work. How they live off the field. How their priorities are school, then football." Would you like to see Penn State and Pitt back together on a regular basis? "I would love to play Pitt. Being from Pitt there are a lot of guys on the team that I know. I got to play against them in high school. My brother (Conor) is the kicker there so it would be fun to compete against them." Any thoughts on playing your last game with Dan (Connor)? "It will hit me more next year when I don't have Dan there. I didn't have Paul this year. It is going to be brand new guys, but it is that time. Dan has had such a great career and young guys are ready to step up and play." --Speaker: A.Q. Shipley, Junior, Center Do you realize Texas A&M has had eight coaches in the span of Joe Paterno's career at Penn State? "It's pretty amazing when you look back on it, just being able to know that this guy has been around that many games and that many great players that he's coached against. It's pretty amazing to realize the uniqueness of 500 games." What did it mean to you to be named first-team All-Big Ten? "It meant a lot. I've worked hard to get to that position. At first, I was obviously disappointed to be moved over to offense, but I guess Coach Paterno knew what he was talking about. He's been there before and it ended up working out for the best." The last guy who moved to offense and wasn't happy about it was Levi Brown. Are you hoping to enjoy some of the same success? "I'm hoping I can enjoy some of that success. Levi is doing great. I think that was probably one of the best moves he could've made and I think it's the best move I could've made. I hope it works out the same." Any thoughts on the quarterback after Anthony Morelli? "It's going to be a tough battle, I know that much. Pat Devlin and Daryl Clark are both great quarterbacks. They've put in their time and it'll be fun to watch. It'll be interesting to see who comes out. They both do things differently from one another." Do you view this as the last game of the season, or as somebody who's going to be back, as a game that can set the tone for next season? "It's a little bit of both. Obviously we want to send the seniors out on a high note. We owe it to them and they deserve it. But in the same sense, you can tell there's a lot of young guys working hard and trying to make their point for next season. We're looking forward to it. There are a lot of guys returning and we know that. We just have to make the most of it." Why did the offensive line, in your estimation, make the strides it did this season? "If you remember, last year, there were guys that were injured. There was a different combination of starting offensive linemen at the mid-point of the season. I think Levi was out against Minnesota, (Robert) Price missed a game, (Chris) Auletta was in. There were so many different combinations. I think a lot of it has to do with how we kept pretty much the same combination all year. Plus, I think having Mike (Lucian), Gerald (Cadogan) and Rich (Ohrnberger) in there, we all came in the same class. We're very comfortable with one another. Dennis Landolt hangs out with us and we're all comfortable with each other. I think we just started to gel at the right time." --Speaker: A.J. Wallace, Cornerback, Sophomore Have you talked to Justin King about his possibility of going to the NFL? "No. We try not to talk about that too much. He's just really focused on his game and what's coming up for the bowl game." If Justin would choose to leave, how would that impact the secondary next year? "Everybody would congratulate him. We'd work hard. Anybody could step in and be good enough to play cornerback. With him possibly leaving, we'd still be set and be ready to go because we have a lot of talent at cornerback." Texas A&M has one of the best rushing attacks in the country. Does it change your mindset for what you do in the game? "You just have to look at them on film and figure out what tendencies they have. Say they have a good rush attack, but you also need to defend the pass. You have to be ready for both things. You can't focus on one thing or the other. You have to be ready for everything." Do you feel like a game like this can set the tone for next season? "Absolutely. It could help people get a boost of confidence for next season. It really sets the tone for the off-season. If you go in and win the game, it sets a good mood for the off-season. If you lose the game, everybody might be a little down. The off-season could be a little slower than what you want it to be. We'll just try to get the bowl win." How does the long lay-off affect preparations? "It can affect you because you haven't played football in a while. Teams in other conferences that played games (after Nov. 17) may have the game-speed down, but we should have no problem getting back up to game-speed. In getting ready, our conditioning coaches just made sure we did a lot of running and a lot of conditioning. So we should be prepared for the conditioning aspect. We should have no problem with that." You guys didn't have the record you wanted but you're still going to a bowl game. What's the mind-set going into the bowl game at the end of the year? "Everybody is excited. Everybody is excited and trying to keep a positive attitude. We're just trying to make sure we go out there, give it our best, and come out with a victory so we can set the tempo for next season." --Speaker: Derrick Williams, Junior, Wide Receiver In regards to Justin King filling out paperwork with the NFL, what has he said to you, and what kind of advice have you given him? "I haven't given him too much advice. Justin and his family are going to handle that. He is graduating and I am pretty sure his family is going to make a good decision for him and his future. I really have not given him any advice, but I am there for him and I will support him in whatever he does." Have you put in any papers yet, in regards to the NFL? "No, I haven't put in any papers. I want to graduate and I am going to graduate during the Spring, and then work on my masters. I will hopefully have my masters by next year. So I will be leaving here with my masters, and everything is going to work out well with that. I am trying to get my masters in sport's management or something like that." How has it been since the Michigan State game? You didn't look too happy at the end of that. Are you all ready to get back onto the field? "Yea, anytime you come out with a loss like that, especially when we had the lead like that. Just for the tables to turn during the game for Michigan State to come out with the win, everybody is ready to get out there and play another game. Just to get that bad feeling away from us. " How hard is it to sit around and wait for the bowl game? "It is bad. Especially out there at practice when you see guys trying to kill each other, because they are ready to go out there and hit somebody. Everybody is eager to put on a uniform and play." You have had a chance now to reflect on the season. This team had very high aspirations at the beginning of the year. When you look back, why wasn't the team able to achieve that? "It was just little mistakes from everybody. It goes all the way down from the players, to the coaches, everybody had some mistakes. Everybody had things to do with some of the losses that we had, because we had three games that we really should have won. It just didn't turn our way, and they were a better team then us that day." Joe has said that he is not in this building a whole lot this year because he works mostly from home. How much do you see him? "We see Joe whenever we have team meeting and that is usually once a week. You might catch him in the morning as you are coming in to lift. I talked to a lot of my friends from different schools, and they say that they don't see a lot of their head coaches that much either. I don't think that it is a big deal. Our assistant coaches do a great job of keeping in contact with everybody. If we have a problem we go to them to talk about those problems." Who do you think is going to replace Anthony next year in the quarterback position? "There are so many great people, so much great talent. We have Daryll Clark, Pat Devlin, and Paul Cianciolo. All those guys can come in there and make an impact for us whenever we need it. Daryll is a great talent. He is very smart when he is behind (center) as quarterback and he knows who to give the ball to. Pat is a good talent, too."

December 13th, 2007
Joe Paterno News Conference at Penn State's Valero Alamo Bowl Media Day

--Speaker: Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno Can you please discuss the contributions that Brian Norwood made to your staff, and why you picked Kermit Buggs to replace him? "Brian's been a really good asset to my staff and to me. He's been a good recruiter, good coach. His family has been a great addition to the community, and I'm going to miss him.He's a very, very likeable guy, and his family have been great people in the community, and I'm going to miss him." "But, Kermit Buggs has been a guy that came here as a G.A., and I liked him. I liked way he worked. I liked the things he did. He's bright. He stayed close to the program even though he was not on the field. And I think Kermit will do an excellent job. So you hate to lose a guy like Brian, but I'm glad we have a guy like Kermit hanging in the wing." Do you know how Jared Odrick and Jerome Hayes are progressing in their rehab? I am assuming they won't be able to play in the bowl game? "You ask me a medical question; I can't answer that. I doubt that either one will be ready in the spring. Obviously, that's two big losses. We've lost a lot of good football players. (Lou) Eliades and some other kids who aren't going to be ready to play, had operations. (Brennan) Coakley, you all know about Coakley, the young tight end who had to have an operation.So I don't know, really what to say about that. I'm really not good about it. I'm trying to concentrate on what we have right now and that's it." I was wondering will Knowledge Timmons and Chris Baker be able to play in the bowl game. Are they going to make the trip? "They will make the trip. And what I want to do is we'll see." Could you comment on the decision by the Big Ten to extend the season past Thanksgiving starting in 2009? Also, if you could talk about adding Oregon State, and the way that you managed to get a bye weekend next year, too. "We are adding Oregon State. I think that would be a good addition. And the coach, and the whole situation, I think it would be a good addition to our schedule. As far as getting beyond Thanksgiving, I think we need it. You sit around and you watch every other conference in the country's defense....How you work the open date in, we've got to figure out how we do that, because after Thanksgiving, that's fine. I like that. I like the idea it brought out things academically as well as physically. Everybody has a chance to have a couple of days off. It is a good move." With Dan Connor winning the Bednarik Award, it means linebackers from Penn State have won three in a row. Who knows, Sean Lee may be a candidate for a fourth. Can you talk about the evolution of Penn State as Linebacker U? Way back when, when you took over as head coach, was getting good linebackers something that you identified something that the program needed? "You know, to be very honest with you, I have no idea why that happened. I think we were fortunate that we have as Jack Ham. Jim Kates, he was as good as any of them. In fact, we played Kates, the inside linebacker on the split 6 defense and stuck them down and played him as a nose guard. He was a heck of a football player. Good athletes attract good athletes. I haven't got the slightest idea. You're right about Sean Lee. Sean is a heck of a player. Jerome Hayes was a heck of a football player. Hayes was not only an outside linebacker or a defensive end, but probably as good a pass rusher as we had." "I can't tell you the answer to that. I wish I was that smart. Your observation is correct. We've got a lot of good linebackers. Which ones are better than the other ones people ask me sometimes, and I hate to compare. Because I think what you give to one, you take away from the other, as many of you have heard me say before. But I think he certainly deserves all that he's getting. He's been an awesome football player for us for three years." Keeping in mind that you're not playing on New Year's Day this year, could you talk about managing the time and what your time schedule is going to be? How much you're going to get to practice and all that kind of stuff from now until the bowl? "Well, we just had a big, long meeting this morning. That's why I'm late...trying to figure out what is the best way to do it. Our problem is the university calendar is strange. We're going to be in the middle of final exams next week. And there is absolutely no space that we can practice next week, except for 6:00 o'clock in the morning. And to do that, the kids would have to run over and take final exams. So it's going to be very difficult." "I'm a little uneasy about how we're going to do it. We're going to practice tomorrow and Saturday. And we're debating whether we'll go Sunday and maybe one day next week, maybe Tuesday, because a lot of kids don't have final exams. A lot of kids are through after Friday's classes because they don't have exams next week." "You hate to keep them around just to practice. So I'm not sure exactly what we're going to do here. We're still debating that. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what the exam schedule is. I've talked to our academic advisor this morning. He gave me what we have right now with the idea that maybe some of the professors have changed some of the exam schedules." "I'd like to get seven or eight more practices in before we play the game. We're going to go down there and try to get everybody down there by the 23rd, Sunday. Which would be Sunday of a game week. Playing on Saturday, try to get four or five good days down there. But I'd like to get three or four before we get down there. I'm not sure exactly how we're going to do that. It's been a little bit of a battle for us." What sort of reaction have the players had to what happened in East Lansing, and do you sense they're very anxious to get back out on the field and erase that memory at the end of the season? "We'll find out. I don't know. So far the workouts that we've had; we've had four workouts, I think they've been good. The coaches have been on on the road recruiting. JT Thomas, our strength coach, and Jeremy Scott, who works with him, works on the conditioning and the running, says that the kids are doing a good job. So I think they're anxious to get going, get back out on the field. My job is to make sure they're prepared to do the job. As I said, I'll work on that in practice." Have you started watching tapes of Texas A & M, and what are you seeing? "Not a lot of tapes. I wish I had looked at more (before today). I don't know if we've played anybody with more talent than Texas A & M from what I've seen. I just bounced more questions off the staff. They look like that have awfully good athletes, great competitors. They've run really well on defense." "I had not really looked at enough tape for me to answer that question as specifically as I'd like to, because I had a busy week last week. We had a lot of recruits up; we had almost our entire recruiting class here this past weekend, which took up a lot of time. As I look at them...you lose to Missouri, you lose to Oklahoma, and you lose to Kansas, they're three of the better teams in the country. Then when you beat Texas with the kind of talent Texas has, certain things jump out at you." "As I said, I haven't really gotten in there and studied positions. I've looked to what kind of schemes are they going to use when we start talking about doing some things. I can have some input, though the staff will do most of it. This is going to be a real challenge." Given what Michigan's going through in its head coaching search right now, and what Wisconsin has done in the past and Florida State is doing with the succession plans, is the succession plan the better option in your view in situations where the current head coach has had a longer tenure? "I haven't got the slightest idea what you're talking about, to be frank with you. What's Michigan going through? Didn't they hire a coach?" Not yet. "Oh, I don't know. I think every school is a different situation. I think Barry Alvarez in Wisconsin, I asked that question, of Barry and Bret when he went up to the Athletic Director's job. He was comfortable with Bret being the head coach, and that was nice. That was a nice transition. I don't have the slightest idea what would be better for...what's Florida State doing?" They appointed Jimbo Fisher as the next coach when Bobby Bowden retires. "I ought to call Bobby and see when he's going to roll over (laughter). I'm kidding, I'm kidding. I don't mean to be flippant, because I think that's a serious question, but I haven't got the slightest idea what you're talking about. And I mean that, I'm not trying to be ..." The last time you played Texas A & M was in the '99 Alamo Bowl. That game being so close to A & M's campus, did that change the atmosphere of that game? You won 24 0, but how does that change the way you prepare for the game? "Not really. We're going to have a good time. I'm hopeful we'll have a good crowd there. I hope they sell the place out, have a lot of fun and have a good football game. But I really haven't felt that about that (A&M campus being close). We played Texas A & M at their home field and it was a great, great football environment and atmosphere. Enthusiastic and the whole bit. I'm assuming that would be what we're going to have at the Alamodome." "You know, hopefully, we can play on the road, if we consider it a road game. Hopefully, we'll have more people there at the Alamo Bowl than when playing Texas A & M down there. But, it's a bowl game. Fans are going to have fun, and we're going to go down there and have a good time. San Antonio is a great city. It really is, it's one of my great favorite cities.I have a son who was in Austin for a couple of years and I made a couple of speeches in San Antonio and been to a couple bowl games down there. We're looking forward to that part. I think we'll play well." "Obviously, we haven't practiced enough for me to say what we have and haven't, but I think we'll play well. I just hope we can stay healthy. Not get carried away and get banged up in practice and that kind of stuff, because we're banged up enough as it is. But, you know, we're treating it as a bowl game." The bowl game is your 500th game as head coach. Is that of any significance to you? "No, really, no. This is about playing a game. Bowl games are something that both clubs deserve. We obviously want to go down there and play and fight it out and try to win it as best we can. But I have not thought about it." How has Anthony Morelli's demeanor been since the Michigan State game? "I don't quite get that question. I think he's been fine. I think he's been fine. He's kind of an unsung hero of this football team." Justin King has filed paperwork to receive an evaluation from the NFL. Have you spoken to him about leaving? "Oh, I think that's up to him. I have not talked to Justin about it." What are you going to remember about this senior class? "Well, as I told them at Quarterback Club banquet, I said, I really appreciate the fact that they took a chance on us. And the first year wasn't a great year, but they've had three good years. They came within that close playing for all the marbles (in 2005), and I appreciate that. I really do. I think it's a been a good group. It's been a good group. I hope they can go out with a win. The Michigan State thing was not an easy loss for us. Not to take anything away from Michigan State, but we didn't do the job we should have done. And it would be nice to be down there with the Alamo Bowl and have a good win and have a good feeling." Have you made a decision on whether Chris Baker, Navorro Bowman and Knowledge Timmons will play in the bowl game? "I said they would be making the trip." Will the different academic calendar affect your ability to work with some of the younger players like you like to do at the bowl game? "Well, I'm trying to figure out the best way to handle it. I'd like to do both. I'd like to win the game, give ourselves a chance to win, for some of the young people. If we can get that, I think that's the best of all worlds when we can do that. It's tough to do that with the schedule, the academic schedule with final exams and all of that, and we're debating how we do that. If we're not careful, we're going to end up making it hard for the young kids and the chance to go out on a limb." "I think we've got to balance it. So it's almost a day by day thing. Whether we get it done; we're going to practice tomorrow, practice Saturday. After practice Saturday I'll take a look at some things and decide, "hey, can we do this? We can." We've got to emphasize one other aspect of it is stronger than the other. It isn't exactly 2 plus 2 equals 4. You've got to carry a little bit by the seat of your pants." You've said you'd like to coach another 3,4,5 years. How will you handle that with the University since your contract ends after next season? "I don't know. It's up to them whether I coach three, four, five more years, I don't know. I like to coach. I feel comfortable I can get up in the morning and do a good job. Maybe two, three, four, five, I don't know how many years. Hopefully, I'm not going to be a crotchety old man, and you know, not handle it. When it's time to go, go, right? I don't know. I just feel so good right now. I hate to put a timeframe on when I'm going to get out of here." "I think when I start to get the feel, I'll sit down with the right people and say, 'Hey, maybe we ought to start talking about my getting out of here if it benefits us.' But right now that hasn't even come up." Does how long you're going to stay factor into recruiting? You've told us in the past kids ask how long you're going to be there, and you say I can't tell them. But does it not come up that your contract's up after next year? "I tell them exactly what I just said. The way I answered the last one, I don't know how long I'm going to go." How much do you think it has helped the program that there's been so much stability through the years? "You know, I can tell you I don't know. You guys ask me questions that I never think about. I don't know. It's a year by year thing. And I try like the dickens to try to make sure we can do a good job. If I've said it once, I've said it 50 times; it's the staff that's important." Do you think it will help your program if the next coach stays a long time? "I haven't got the slightest idea." Can you assess the play of Jeremy Boone and will he be a scholarship player next year? "Well, he's done a great job. We haven't filled all the scholarships yet. Still, with the numbers and things like that, but he sure has done a great job." Do you have any indication of any other assistant coaches that might be moving on? "I don't, really. I was surprised that Brian moved on. But I got a call from the head coach, and he and Brian had worked together at Texas Tech and are close friends and their families are close. Brian had been at Texas Tech, so he has some connections there. But nobody's really given me any indication." Have you looked at anyone at any different positions? "Not yet...there are a lot of kids out there that are young kids that we have not played that are going to be really good football players. I keep counting on younger starters. I've played a couple of freshmen. But you've got to give them a chance to play in the position and have some time to really work with them before you start moving them around." "I have a plan to do that. It may happen after three days. We've worked with some of those kids at different spots, not at different spots, but where we could get a look at them at the position they've been practicing. And that gives us a chance to revise. We'll look at that. We're going to look at that." So, some of the younger players have gotten more work in practice? "Oh, yeah, we practice them. We practice them. We've been trying to work them in right now without stepping back from what we want to do; what I'll eventually do." How do you manage to sequester yourself from information that others know? "I don't have any email. Okay? I don't have any of that stuff, that's number one. Number two, when you don't pick up the paper, you can't read it, right? Let me give you a little of where I'm coming from as far as my attitude about getting up in the morning and going to work. If somebody says to me, 'Brian is interested in this job, okay?' All right. I don't pay any attention to them. Okay? I rarely spend a lot of time upstairs. Most of the time I spend is at home (office) because I've got everything there. I've got tapes, the fax machine on, I've got all that stuff going." "So in order for them to tell me 'so and so, and so and so,' they've got to call me on the phone. And if they call me on the phone, they don't. I have other things to do, forget about it.Say all that kind of stuff, every once in a while my wife will come home and say she was at the grocery store and, 'so and so said this.' She says; 'is that true?' And I say, 'what the heck are you talking about?' I'm not protecting myself in that stuff; I'm just not interested in it." You don't do the shopping, then? "Once in a while I'll get a case of beer, yeah (laughter)." Is that a luxury because of the stability of the program? "I don't think there's any question. I think I can operate. I'm not naive about my age and my energy, and I don't waste it. I don't waste any energy. I only waste what I've got to get done. I get up in the morning, I know what I've got to get done, and I get that done. There's a lot of things to do, and that's a luxury. But yeah, I think that's part of it. I think that is." How did the Oregon State game come about? "Well, we were trying to get a 12th game. And Fran's (Ganter) really done most of the scheduling. Our choice was a couple of people. Oregon State said they'd like to come east and play. They'll ask me, 'any issues about playing Oregon State?' And I said 'well, you know, is there someone easier?'(laughs) But we thought we needed it. A team that has had the kind of background that Oregon State has. And it's very encouraging. We thought it would be a good move, and that the fans would like it, so I said fine." Is there a return trip? "Not that I know of. They may have sneaked one in on me, but I don't know about it." Can you talk about the development of the linebackers and the job Ron Vanderlinden has done? "The reason I hired Ron was because we played against Northwestern, and I was looking for a guy that could handle linebackers. When we played Northwestern, they beat us (1995). The kid (Pat Fitzgerald) is now the head coach of Northwestern, the former linebacker. They were really well-disciplined. They played hard and tough on every play. And I always said to myself, 'boy, somebody out there is doing a heck of a job with that squad.'" "We had a player on our team, (Mac) Morrison who was an outside linebacker, his brother played at Northwestern. Two kids from up in the state of Washington. I needed a defensive coach. And I called him up and said, 'how about you and your wife having dinner with me tonight?' Ron's a heck of a coach. I've got a lot of good coaches, that's why I'm not ready to get out of here."

December 2nd, 2007
Team Announcement Press Conference-Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno

--Speaker: Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno About playing in the Valero Alamo Bowl: "San Antonio is a wonderful city and a great stadium. It will be a lot of fun for us and I hope we can play well and give you guys a good game. I talked to the team yesterday before we worked out and told them we are going to go to San Antonio. At that point we didn?t know who we were going to play, but now telling them we?re playing Texas A&M I think they will be more excited." How do you feel about coming to San Antonio: "You guys do a great job. You can just come down and have a little fun. You have so many things to do down there. I think they all will be excited and I think we will bring a lot of people down. It's been a good year and good group of kids to work with. It?s a bit of a reward to go to a bowl game and to go to a city such as San Antonio." Reflecting on the year and their opponent: "I think we tried to and we played hard. We have a bunch of good kids. Had a couple problems in the spring. When I told them we were going to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl before practice we had a pretty enthusiastic practice. We have a good football team and I think we are going to be pretty competitive with Texas A&M. I did see them against Texas and they looked like a good football team. It's going to be a challenge but its something we are excited about." On the season: "We played well and played tough. We just about won every game we played outside of Ohio State. I think we got better all the time. Our offensive line played better. Outside of maybe one football game we played well. We?re looking at coming down December 23 we have three or four kids graduating December 22. We're trying to get everyone down there the Sunday before the Saturday game."

December 2nd, 2007
Team Announcement Press Conference-Texas A&M Interim Head Coach Gary Darnell

--Speaker: Texas A&M Interim Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Gary Darnell About playing in the Valero Alamo Bowl: "We would like to say that we are very proud of our football team and that we earned the right to come to such an outstanding bowl. We?re flattered that the Valero Alamo Bowl would choose the Aggies and type that together with one of the most cherished programs in the nation, Penn State. We will bring the Aggies spirit in terms of our university and in terms of the football team." About the Texas victory: "The win at Texas validated a lot of hard work that you commit yourself to doing in being a good football team. We had been a good football team. We played a very challenging schedule this year. And yet still we kept the continuity and the strength of our team together. It?s an important game to our players and our fans. We were able to beat them the second time in a row. It?s quite a catch 22, now we get rewarded for that win by playing Penn state. We all know what a great program Penn State is and what credibility that Coach Paterno brings that not just to Penn state but the entire sport of football." About coaching against Joe Paterno: "This guy is going for his 500th game and I?m just trying to win one. What Coach Paterno and Penn State has done and what they stand for and the integrity of the game. It's an honor to play in a game like this." About him and his team: "Any coach has a legacy about how they go about their business. We have a center line theme of tough and that?s how we practice. We?re a blue collar team. It?s been a family. Family and tough is what we bring as a team. I?m from Arkansas so I?m not real flashy and they know that. Pretty much what I say they know I mean it. These guys know where I?ve been and the different arenas I?ve played in and there is some credibility there." About ending the season right: "It's how well we can reward our players for sticking together and doing the right them. One thing is to lead our players to their best effort and if we can do that then everyone can sleep at night."