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December 31st, 2009
Texas Tech Coach Lincoln Riley
Texas Tech Coach Lincoln Riley
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On what its like to be calling plays in the Valero Alamo Bowl:

It’s great. It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time. I feel ready for it. I’ve had experience from being a quarterback and from being with coach Leach for many years. Anytime he was gone that’s what I was responsible for so I’m ready for it.

 

On whether his play calling will differ from Coach Leach’s gameplan:

There’ll be a few things different. You can’t do a whole lot just because of timing. There’ll be a few new wrinkles. The way I call things may be a little different than Mike (Leach). How it is exactly I can’t tell you; one because I don’t know and, two because I don’t want Michigan State to know.

 

On what he learned most from Mike Leach:

To believe in what you stand for. It’s in the way he handled everything. That’s why the offense was so successful. We get high school coaches coming in all the time asking, ‘what play do you run here?’ The biggest thing is not what play you run but believing in it. Everything we did from practice to playing was totally committed. That’s why we’ve been good on offense.

 

On how players feel about (Mike) Leach being gone:

Different players have different feelings. Anytime you have 120 players you’re going to have people who have different feelings about things. There’s some players out here who don’t like me, I promise you. Being a coach, that’s how that works. I think it’s easy to say that when somebody’s gone but I’ve had a lot of former players come back and tell me that ‘Coach Leach was hard on us why he was here and I didn’t understand but now that I’m out of here I can see why.’

 

On whether he has talked to Adam James:

I told him I know were on different sides of the fence on this deal but he’s still my player. All the threats on him and his family are completely ridiculous and I told him if he needs help as far as feeling in danger I’ll help him out any way I can.

 

On his previous comments about Adam James undermining him as a coach:

I’m not going to comment about that. I sent my feelings in on December 26 when they were having the meeting with Mike. I’ve got to worry about Michigan State now.

 


On whether he can move forward with Adam James on his team:

Yeah, we can. People make mistakes on both sides. Throughout this whole thing things probably weren’t handled right by all people. People make mistakes. That’s part of it. You’ve got to learn from it and move on.

 

On whether he has talked to Leach:

I haven’t. He’s got a lot of things going on and so do we if we want to win this game.

 

On whether the players are divided on Leach’s firing:

I don’t know. We’re trying to move forward but it’s hard to say. These practices have been special. These guys are working. The tempo has been great and it’s a tribute to these coaches and especially the job (Interim Head Coach) Ruff (McNeill) has done, considering the situation, has been pretty amazing.

 

On whether Leach got a fair shake:

Who cares what I say to that?

 

On whether he expects Adam James to remain with the team after this season:

We’ll revisit that. He’s not going to play this week because of the injury. I don’t know. That’ll be up to him and his family. If it’s best for us and best for Tech for him to be back then he will be and if its not then he won’t be. I can’t be thinking about that right now. I’ve gotta be thinking about Michigan State and the guys that are playing right now. He’s not playing right now so he’s not in my thoughts right now.

 

On what his relationship with Coach Leach is like:

We’re very close. He brought me in as a walk on. He brought me in as a graduate assistant. He gave me an opportunity to assistant coach at 23 when no one else in the country would have.

 

On whether he was hurt by Leach’s firing:

I can’t lie, he’s my friend. He did a lot for me so yeah, it did (hurt), but it’s not going to stop me from moving on and moving forward playing well in this game and hopefully after that.

 

On what he will tell Leach when he speak to him:

I’m very appreciative of him and all he did for me. He did a lot for me that a lot of people wouldn’t have.

               

On whether it’s bittersweet getting a chance to call plays in this situation:

It will be after but its not now. I’m fired up. I can’t wait. I’ve been waiting for this forever. I got a great staff around me. We’ve got a great plan. We’re excited to go play and our guys are to.

 

On what he will work with Adam James on in the future if he remains at Tech:

Just things that I’d share with him about how he can become a better player and I usually try to keep that between me and the player. Just things on the field that he can work on to get better.

 

On whether Adam James has character issues:

We’ve all got character issues. There’s always some things we can work on. I address every part of it with every player, not just him.

 

On how Ruffin McNeill has done as Interim Head Coach:

No one would have handled it better. I literally found out 30 seconds before Ruff told the team. I had little time to gather my thoughts but I knew the guy in charge, he’s ready for it. If I could pick anyone in the world to do it, I’d pick him.

 

 

On whether Leach’s firing has damaged Tech’s image:

That remains to be seen. I can’t really answer that. All I can control is what I control. I can control going and calling a good game. If we’re lucky enough to be back we can solidify a great recruiting class that we’ve got coming in and we’ll keep rolling.

 

On whether he’s nervous about calling plays:

I will be before the first snap but once Potts catches the first snap I’m ready to roll.

 

On whether he’ll go for it on fourth down:

Might as well. No, that’ll be Ruff’s call. But if he’s ready I’ll have a good play ready to go.

 

On what has been the biggest misconception in the reporting of Leach’s firing:

I think just how divided the group is and how big a distraction it is. All you see on TV is the negative things. If you turn on ESPN it’s all negative things and now my favorite part of the day is practice. These kids are ready to play. I don’t want meetings and practices to be over. Usually in bowl games your enjoying the festivities and all that but for us its practice. We’re going to roll into the Alamo Bowl ready to play.

Texas Tech Quotes to come later

December 31st, 2009
Michigan State Post Practice 12-31-09
Defensive Coordinator Pat Naduzzi, Linebacker Greg Jones, Defensive End Trevor Anderson and Saftey Danny Fortener
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Pat Narduzzi, Defensive Coordinator

 

Opening statement:

Can’t wait for the game to start. I think our kids and coaches are very anxious. We have had some great practices down here. Got to go to the Alamo Dome and get a good practice in there which is really helpful to our team. The kids are practicing hard. We are excited to put the plan in place and watch it work. Watch the flaws, because there will be flaws like there is in every game and work through it. But it will be an interesting game.

 

On prepping for the game:

It is just like any other game. We are trying to simulate what the offense does. Their split is a little bit bigger but that’s no big deal. We will try and make those smaller by some of the things we do. Everything is the same, but they just do different things with the routes they run.

 

On change in play calling at Tech:

I don’t expect it to be different. Obviously, they will not change what they do over night since it was so productive. So what they will do will be the same. What you don’t know as a coordinator and as a staff is what they may change in terms of when they call a different play. But the thing I don’t know is who will be calling it. Every coordinator would run the same defense but it depends on who is calling it for what they do in certain situations.

 

On what have you focused on to get ready:

Every day we have had an 8-10 minute span of in space tackling. Where we are just trying to get the kids in position where they can make a tackle. We are just trying to emphasize a way of them wanting to get more. I really think we have done that and will continue to do that. We are just trying to get the kids motivated to want more and think about it every down.

 

On the impact young players have had on his defense:

Looking at some of the young guys we have that have performed well, I’ll start with the youngest baby that we have is Corey Freeman who has the opportunity to come down to San Antonio and get his first practices as a football player. He’s shown little spurts that he’s going to be a flashy player for us. I think he’s going to have a chance to help us next year and maybe replace the big loss of Trevor Anderson.

 

We’ve a lot of young guys step us, Dan France, Denzel Drone has become an explosive player for us. From where he was day one, that guys made a ton of plays. He’s become real explosive and he’s confident in what he does. On the back end Johnny Adams is playing a wide out, playing a little DB and helping out in scout field so we haven’t seen as much from him on defense as we’d like to. Dana Dixon in the secondary has done a nice job. Denicos Allen has done a nice job for us. He’s got a knack to find the football. Chris Norman has went from
A to Z here. I think he’s playing a lot faster now. Jairus Jones, safety, is we could he’d be playing in this bowl game but he’d be burning his redshirt. He’s getting better and that’s what bowl practice is for.

 

On trying to pass rush against Tech’s quick attack offense:

We’re going to send them in different ways they haven’t seen and sometimes we’re not going to send them. That’s for them to figure out. We’ve got to get pressure on them. Teams have gotten pressure on them. We’ll find a way. The pressure is going to come with good coverage too.

 

 

Greg Jones, Linebacker

 

On facing the passing offense of Texas Tech:

It’s not going to be an easy task going against their passing offense. The quarterback sits behind a good and big offensive line and they work well together as a unit. We are going to have to bring everything we have in order to get to the quarterback.  It’s going to be a great challenge.

 

On what the team focus has been since getting closer to kickoff:

The focus is going towards the game and the guys have had some fun. We are enjoying our time here but we are doing our best to prepare for the game.

 

On whether questions about Tech’s powerful offense have gotten old:

I feel like they can talk about their offense as much as they want. It’s not going to get to us as a defense. Obviously we know we’ve got to get better against the pass. That’s been a focus for us. Just make sure we tackle and make things happen.

 

On the relationship between him and Eric Gordon:

Initially, when I met Gord we were competing for the same spot for a long time. When we finally split sides we started to work together and communicate. I think the world of Gordo. He’s been a really great friend off the field and on the field we communicate well. When one of us makes a mistake we just kind of look at each other and know. We get going.

 

On what he has done to help Michigan State:

I’m just doing my job. I can’t do it without the defensive line doing their jobs and the back end helping out. I’ve used all the tools from the coaching staff and apply them to the field and never give up on a play. I’m just doing my job like everybody else.

 

 


Trevor Anderson, Defensive End

 

On what has the team learned since the distractions have taken place:

We have been facing adversity all year long on the field as far as missed tackles here and missed field goals.  Every team around the country has their downtimes. This year we really found out what type of guys we had , we came down here and acted with a lot of class. We all showed up for what we were supposed to, went to meetings, and were disciplined.  We want to move forward from what happened.

 

On the chemistry of the team:

We have pretty much been facing adversity all year long on the field with stuff not going our way. But as far as the character of our team we have a lot of good guys on this team. Every team in the country has its down moments off the field, but this year we found out what type of guys we have on our team. We came down here and acted with a lot of class.

 

On pass rush and overall prep for Texas Tech:

We have gone over some things that have gone really well, but once again our scout team has given us a great look. I think we will do well on the pass rush. The linebackers reading the routes will be some of the keys and we have a good rotation of guys in the front four that will be able to come in a good rotation.

 

On looking at Texas Tech’s offense:

We have practiced all of the similar routes that we are used to seeing. It’s not like they run these foreign routes that come from Venus or Mars. They are all routes that we have seen all year, but again the big factor is what they do after they run that route. It’s not the routes they run, but how they run them.

 

On the direction of Michigan State’s program:

The program man, I want to come by in a few years and be on the sideline for the Rose Bowl game or wherever the National Championship game is. Hopefully I can get a couple of passes.

 

On how the coaches have done getting the team prepared for the Valero Alamo Bowl:

I think they handled it the best way possible. They did exactly what they had to do to get us ready to play in this game mentally and physically. Not everyone was happy with (the suspensions) but I think they handled it the best way possible. We’re kind of tired of hearing about it. We understand whatever happened happened. If we could turn back the hands of time we’d stop it before it happened. You can’t fix it. But in this game we look forward to beating Texas Tech and getting on with our lives.

 

 

Danny Fortner, Safety

 

On extra prep for the amount of passes:

We have done extra conditioning, to get in shape and get used to flying to the ball. But besides that we have pretty much been doing the same things we have been doing.

 

On fundamentals and reading their opponent:

We are going to keep it as simple as possible so our kids can play and I think that’s our philosophy going into every game. We will have some new tweaks and changes, but for our guys it will be the same stuff but just in a little different package.

 

 

 

About the direction of Michigan State’s program:

We’re trying to get better as program every year just like we get better every day. I think this program’s going to get better every year. You see with the recruits coming in that huge as a program. They’re getting better as a program and hopefully we’ll be seeing roses out on the field at Spartan Stadium pretty soon.

Quotes to come soon

December 31st, 2009
Head Coaches Press Conference
Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio and Texas Tech Interim Head Coach Ruffin McNeill
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Mark Dantonio, Michigan State Head Coach

Opening statement:

First of all I just want to thank the Valero Corporation, the Valero Alamo Bowl, the people of San Antonio and all the Michigan State Spartans who traveled down here this week for this event. We’ve had an outstanding time here. It’s a great city, great hospitality and we look forward to wrapping things up here January 2.

 

Texas Tech is an outstanding football team. They play with great energy, great emotion. I congratulate Coach Leach and Coach McNeill for the job they’ve done.

 

We look forward to the opportunity to play. It’s been almost six weeks since we played Penn State so we’ve sat there with a different kind of taste in our mouth for quite some time. We’ve worked extremely hard to represent Michigan State on the field and off the field Saturday so we look forward to that opportunity.

 

On preparing for Tech’s offense without Leach:

I think every football team has a system and that system starts with the head coach and the offensive coordinator but that filters down through the whole staff. The majority of Tech’s coaching staff has been there for seven, eight, ten years so we’ll see the same system. You can’t reconstruct the wheel in that short of a time. We’re looking forward to the same type of thing unless you’ve (McNeill) got some tricks up your sleeve which I’m sure you do.

 

On the dedication of Michigan State’s players:

I think our players have done an outstanding job as far as focusing on what we have to do. The goals have been to handle our situation and handle the adversity we were going to be facing. I think we’ve done that with integrity and represented ourselves off the field. Now we look forward to the third goal and that’s representing ourselves on the field. Our football team has done a great job handling adversity which all teams have to deal with at some point in a football season.

 

On his thoughts about Tech’s situation and Leach’s firing:

First of all I’m not qualified to speak on that and I’d pretty much leave it at that. As far as Coach McNeill and what I had seen prior to that incident, when I saw their football team move around and interact on the field I saw enthusiasm. I saw a football team going in the same direction. They’ll come to play and there’ll be great leadership there. That’s been proven.

 

On whether the atmosphere has been sullied by both team’s off the field situations:

I think there’s been a lot written and a lot said in the media, which there usually is. I’ve just to distance myself from that as a football team and myself and I’ve tried to concentrate on the things I can deal with. I can’t deal with all these other things. What I can deal with is make sure we know what they do, make sure we’ve had some live reps to be ready and make sure we know what we need to do on the football field that’ll help us win a football game. It has not diminished Michigan State’s football team’s resolve. We’ve had a tough year. Our whole year has been about handling adversity from the first game on. From the Central Michigan game to the Notre Dame game to Iowa game. We’ve lost some close games at the end but somehow, someway we found a way to get here and once we got here we were determined that we were going to have a positive experience off the field and a positive experience on the field and that has yet to be determined.

 

On whether he has worried that Tech’s coaching change could distract his players:

No, we really haven’t. We’ve tried to deal with the reality of the situation, our situation, which was getting ready to play a good football team. A lot of people have the opportunity to sit at home and read newspapers and read the internet, watch t.v. and those sorts of things but our players have really been focused in meetings and on the football field and going to Sea World or whatever the bowl experience would allow them to do. I really don’t think they’ve put themselves in that chair to watch all this. They’re here as an active part of this bowl experience. So when you’re in that fishbowl as opposed to outside that fish bowl you’re there and dealing with what you can deal with. You really don’t have time for distraction. I think it raises and eyebrow but then you move on.

 

On how the last month and dealing with player suspensions has affected his life:

First of all I sleep fine and my diet is good so I haven’t starved myself or anything like that. What the situation has done is take away from football. It’s taken away from recruiting. My time is spent dealing with a problem instead of dealing with a football issue. But once that Saturday when I talked to our media we’ve been able to concentrate and move forward. I don’t think there are a lot of bad people in this world. I think there are people who make bad choices and those choices have consequences. I can eat and I can sleep because I think I’m trying to do what I believe is right.

 

On prospect that team could burn out in first quarter:

In any football game you’ve got that ball that’s going to bounce a certain way. In terms of burning out I want to make sure when we get to the football game we’re ready to play. We need to execute. Enthusiasm is going to play a part in any football game but I think we’re looking to remain consistent in our level of enthusiasm. Especially with the type of offense they use, there’s a lot of movement so you have to be ready to line up and play that next play. I guess it’d be a slow burn if we burn out, maybe 0-0 at the fourth quarter. I hope our guys show up ready to play. That’s been our focus, for six weeks. Before we knew who we were going to play. The focus was who we were going to play in a bowl game but more of it was how are we going to play in a bowl game. I know there’s risk involved in saying that but we came to play because of what’s gone on, we came to play because of what this season has held for us. When we were 1-3 the goals start to change but we found a way to fight back and a way to get in it. We’ll be ready.

 

On how Keith Nichol will be used in the Valero Alamo Bowl:

I was wondering when that was going to come up. Keith will play wide receiver, he’ll play quarterback and he’ll be on the field quite often. He’s proven to be a quick study based on knowing the offense at quarterback. I figure we’ll let the cat out of the bag on Friday but I think it should be noted how great of a job Keith has done. He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s 220 pounds with a 38 inch vertical and 10.6 long jump guy and he can catch. It’ll be interesting to see how he plays tomorrow. I know he’s looking forward to it.

 

 

On how Keith Nichol has done adjusting to playing receiver in practice:

He’s done excellent. We’ve got good football players. We’ve got guys that played other positions in high school so we’ve made it work. He certainly is a guy who can do a lot of things. It’ll be a positive story and we need some positive stories. Cousins has faith in his as a receiver, he can punt return as well. We’ve known all long he’s an explosive athlete but he’s operated at quarterback this whole time as well. Obviously we only have two quarterbacks and he’s one of them.

 

On how Kirk Cousins has progressed as a quarterback and a leader:

Kirk has been an outstanding player and representative of our football team. Not too many players are named captain as a sophomore before they’ve ever started a game. I think that says it all. He’s a tremendous person, a hard worker, very intelligent. He has a great arm, physically gifted as well and the nice is he has two more years to play. When he came in, ironically Keith (Nichol) was the guy who was committed to Michigan State and then went to Oklahoma. (Quarterbacks Coach) Dan Enos had both those camp throwing right beside each other and there was a lot of similarity in how they threw the football. When Keith decided to go to Oklahoma we decided to take Kirk Cousins and Nick Foles and we got two good quarterbacks. It’s exciting to see him (Cousins) perform and it’s also exciting to have Keith back at Michigan State. Good things are the future for both those guys.

 

On how expectations in bow, games have changed for Michigan State’s program:

I think it’s important to win your last football game because that sets you up a little bit for the next season. It sets you up for spring practice. If you don’t you move on, you get things squared away and you move in a different direction. We’ve been to bowl games the last two years. We played a very good Georgia football team last year, a team that was a preseason number one pick. I thought we represented and had opportunities to win the football game. The year before that we played (Boston College), a number two team that lost the (ACC) championship to Virginia Tech and we had opportunities to win that football game. What we have to do is take opportunities and make good on them. We’re learning; it’s a process. Texas Tech has been to 10 straight bowl games so these things take time.

 

On the long term decision on how Keith Nichol will be used offensively:

Those decisions are made in the future. The situation we became involved in and the necessity of the numbers kind of predicated that we move Keith. Because he knows the offense as a quarterback, knows what people are doing, knows the formations and motions, it was an easy transition for him. He’s worked on his own a lot and worked with Kirk. He has tremendous ability. He’s a bigger, stronger, faster Blair White if you put it that way and Blair has been very successful here. We knew when we recruited him that he would be a viable part of the football team and that he would make plays for us.

 

 

Ruffin McNeill, Texas Tech Interim Head Coach

Opening statement:

It's been fantastic from the moment we were invited. Nothing but first class in every event. Our kids and families have enjoyed it immensely. I had my first taste of Tex Mex here at La Fogata about 15 years ago. I tried to fins that restaurant last night. I want to congratulate Mark on the job he's done at Michigan State. They play in a tough conference like we do. Week in and week out you're tested. You play BCS competition and you better bring your A game. Mark has always done a great job with schemes and fundamentals. They've also had to deal with adversity and they've handled it well. We are looking forward to getting focused, prepared and tightening the screws up. We just want to make sure we put our best foot forward.

 

 

On this game being a head coaching audition:

All the controversy has taken away from the players so I'm ready for the game to get here so we can put a lot of focus on how the teams are playing. When I first thought about coaching my Dad called me an idiot, so I'm a coach's kid. He said to make sure your body of work that you put on the field speaks for itself and stands out as your resume. I know Mark and we're ball coaches. I love coaching, our kids and the parents of our kids. Let there be no question there. I'd be honored to take care of their most prized possessions cause I'm a Dad, too.

I have a lot of respect for Michigan State cause they've been through a lot of adversity as well.   

 

On his relationships with players on and off the field:

I try to live by an If-Then Theory. If I work hard then you should work hard and if you give me respect then I should give you respect. The kids on all three side of the ball, special team included, having been at Tech for 10 years, I roam and recruit them all. I go to everyone home offensively and defensively. the kids know how I am. I tell them what I expect and what we're going to demand. I'm not afraid to coach them hard or love them hard. .

 

On how an Alamo Bowl win would benefit the Tech program:

Let's don't get caught up in the emotion. Let's make sure the execution, tempo and technique are our priorities. And making routine plays as well. We've always lived by “Play the next play.” Some good and bad things are gonna happen tomorrow, on all 3 sides of the ball and for both parties. Getting knocked down will not be new for either ball team. Mark and I have gotten together and hope to continue our coaching friendship. Our wives get along and everything. But I'm really looking forward to the game and the challenge ahead.

 

On the possibility of each team burning out early in the game:

That's one of the things you worry about. I know Mark (Dantonio) has gained the love and respect you have to have as a head football coach and he's also been in a coordinating position. The kids love both of us and they're ready to fight and lay down for ya. You also want to make sure you focus at the task at hand. Make sure you understand the down & distance and the different situations that arise as the game goes along. The kids have done a great job staying focused at the most critical times. We've had four good days or practice and I'm very excited for our guys. They'll be some highs and lows and we have to make sure we're ready to handle either one.

 

On how he’s handling the newfound pressure:

Pressure to me is growing up and we make two thousand a month as a family and our bills are three thousand. That's pressure. This is the fun part, the coaching part, the film stuff part, the part of getting your team ready to play. I enjoy the challenge. I'm able to lead a group. When I was a position coach I prepared to be coordinator and when I was blessed to be a coordinator I prepared to be a head coach and now I have the opportunity to act in that role. I've asked for guidance and wisdom and it's been there. I'm also watching what Mark's doing and cheating off of him. It's better to cheat than repeat. I'm looking forward to the competition and challenge more than the pressure.

 

 

 

 

 

On how valuable Sunny Cumbie is to the offensive gameplan:

Sunny is guy who waited his turn. It sort of goes back to the old BYU philosophy. After Kingsbury it was B.J. And then its was Sunny's turn. He's been around the program as a player, waited for his opportunity and ended up being MVP of the Holiday Bowl. Then he went off and played and came back as a coach. He's done a great job working specifically with the quarterbacks so I feel comfortable with him in that situation. He'll be the eyes and ears for Lincoln from the box. Lincoln understand the offense. Both of them came from this system. I told them both a few things that I would like done. My interference, even though I've been around the offense for 10 years, I've had to defend it for 10 years, too. I've given them some instruction along the way. Sunny is very valuable because he understands the offense, the thought process by the quarterback and vision from the box about what's needed for specific situations. I feel good about him.

 

On if he’s been in contact with Leach and whether the team will be noticeably different going forward:

He's not just my friend, he's one of my best friends. He game me an opportunity. I told him I loved him and asked him if he needed anything. He said hang in there and be yourself. I think we got to do what we do. There's certain things in preparation you have to do as a head coach.

 

On what he sees in the Michigan State offense and how he feels about the development of Kirk Cousins:

They do a great job moving the football. They give you a lot of formations, from standard I to multiple tight-end looks to five wide. Both quarterbacks cause problems and have been very productive in their offensive plan. They both run well and do a great job with audibles. They've got BCS and top Big Ten players much like we've got some good guys in our family. We've had to bear down and stay focused. Hopefully we'll be able to play and defend based ont  he formations we say and they plays they run. We have great respect for the way they move the football.  I stole some things that he did when he was at Ohio State when they spanked us like a little baby. Defensively we've done a great job and they've got a great linebacker who I've asked if we could borrow for a couple of plays. We have a lot of respect for what they can do in all three categories, offense, defense and special teams.

 

On how much of Mike Leach’s personality is still with the team:

That's be hard to tell. You're talking about the guy who's the winningest coach in Texas tech football history.

He led us to more bowl games in Tech history and has really put us on the map nationally. That's not something I want to lose. If the opportunity presents itself to become the head coach at Texas Tech, that's something I want to build on and take it to another level. I'm blessed to have been a part of that building of the house. I've been very fortunate. I think we share in the success and accolades. I think Mike has set the tempo for us and I'm not trying to run that personality off.

 

December 31st, 2009
2010 Valero Alamo Bowl Michigan State Post Game-January 2, 2010
Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio, Kirk Cousins, Ross Weaver and Greg Jones.
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December 31st, 2009
Texas Tech Postgame Press Conference-January 2, 2010
Quarterback Steven Sheffield, Running Back Barron Batch, Interim Head Coach Ruffin McNeill, Acting Offensive Coordinator Lincoln Riley, Cornerback Jamar Wall, Offensive Lineman Brandon Carter

 

Quarterback Steven Sheffield:

Opening Statement:

Why is everyone always so serious in here all the time? Why is that? I’m not going to be that serious. I don’t want to answer any questions about Coach Leach and Adam James. We can talk about the game.

 

On going for it on the two fourth down plays in the fourth quarter:

We executed them and I’m glad we went for it. There was kind of a debate on the second one about whether we would go for a field goal or go for it. We’re close so we might as well go for it.

 

On how he felt to get on the field in the game:

I was excited. I’ve been excited to redeem myself since Oklahoma State. I played a horrible game but my foot has been getting better. I’ve wanted to be on the field since day one. Things have been going so well. The practices have been good and me and Potts are both throwing well. In my mind I wanted to start and I wanted to play every down but I was excited to go in.

 

On whether he expected to play:

Lincoln Riley came up to me and asked me to warm up. I was (a little caught off guard) but I’m glad he came up to me. We needed to win and I was trying to win. It’s fun when you get to win. You can go in there and over think things or hesitate or you can go in and know you’re going to win and just win.

 

On overcoming adversity:

I was telling a lot of guys on the field that we had a lot of adversity all week and we talked about overcoming it. This whole week wasn’t really about the team. We’re were on the news here and the news here and this and that so I think it was real special for the team to come together and the coaches to come together. Especially Coach Ruff (McNeill) steeping in for the head job and getting this win. I’m proud of everyone.

 

On how he felt to provide a spark to the offense:

Not starting the game (it felt good) coming in and getting my team a spark. Whatever it takes to get a win.

 

 

Running Back Barron Batch:

On how the team feels about Interim Head Coach Ruffin McNeill:

Speaking for everyone we all want Coach Ruff to be the next head coach. That was kind of us just showing that. There’s no divisiveness amongst the team or players or anything for that matter. We fully support Coach Ruff and we’re ready to run through a brick wall for him.

 

On what he would say to Coach Leach is he spoke to him:

I think the best thing for Tech and for Tech fans right now is just to move on. I looked up in the stands and I saw ‘Team Leach’ and ‘Bring Back Leach’ (signs) and Leach ain’t coming back. That’s how it is. We got what we got. We got the coaches we’ve got. We got the players we’ve got. The best thing right now is to move on and understand we’re still a very good football team with good players and good coaches.

 

 

Acting Offensive Coordinator Lincoln Riley

On Taylor Potts’ performance in the Valero Alamo Bowl:

Potts played well. The biggest things about make that decision at the end of the game was going back to Oklahoma State and after we looked at that film we saw that he didn’t play and the guys around him did not play as well. Sometimes in this offense because we’ve got so much on the quarterback, if it’s not working you immediately want to say it’s the quarterback and that wasn’t the case there. He moved the ball well and got us going early. That first touchdown was a real momentum boost. He got dinged up a little but. It was a call that wasn’t definitive about whether or not he could play but I went with my guy on it. Part of that had to do with him (Potts) and part of it was that this guy right here (Sheffield) has ice water in his veins. I knew putting him in a pressure situation that he’d get it done. Both touchdown drives and the fourth downs were big.

 

On whether he was nervous in the game:

I felt good. I was a little nervous going in but after that first play I was ready to roll. It was the longest day ever with that 8 o’ clock kick. But the players made it easy for me. They’re the ones that executed. I think our tempo really bothered them. You saw their guys cramping up, especially their (defensive) line. You saw them leaning over with their hands on their hips. We talked all week about playing fast and our big guys up front played well, they dominated the football game from beginning to end.

 

On why he pulled Potts for Sheffield:

I wasn’t as much for the spark but it happened that way. But I wouldn’t have pulled him (Potts) if not for the injury. It was nothing to serious but something enough that I thought it might hurt his performance.

 

On how satisfying it was to see Potts play well:

It’s good because he’s had a lot of doubters. This goes back to how we play as an offense. We talk about problems when we’re still in the Top 10 in the country in offense. Some of the problems we’ve had this year, stuff has been put on them maybe in the media and by people who do not what we do offensively. It hasn’t all been him so it’s good to see him do well. I told him after the game he deserves that MVP award.

 

On the conversation that led to Tech going for a first down on fourth-and-14:

We communicated with Ruff. He was going to make the decision. That had already been decided coming into the game. He asked me if I had something that we liked and if I felt good about it and I said ‘yes, if it’s up to me I want to go for it’ and he did too. You could see it in his eyes. He wanted to go for it just like everybody on our team.

 

 

 

 

 

On the uncertainty going forward as a program:

It’s tough. We’ve got to control what we can control. We needed to come out and play well tonight and we did that. We beat a good football team out there. If you can name another situation where another university handled adversity in that short of a time, I’d love to hear. We came through. We proved this team in capable hands. It was tonight and hopefully it will be in the future.

 

 

Offensive Lineman Brandon Carter

On the emotion of the team this week:

It was difficult just because of the situation and we had no idea we were going to be faced with this. We arrived at the hotel and 30 minutes before our meeting we were made aware of the situation. I think the team did great looking past. Even in that practice every one was like let’s move on and let’s go practice. I think the coaches did a great job of keeping our focus on the game and not in the media and the distractions. We all came together as a family and pushed through.

 

 

Cornerback Jamar Wall

On who he would like to be the next head coach:

I’d like Ruff to be the coach for everyone’s sake. New coaches mean you have to bring in new staff and everything changes. A lot of guys are well know to our system and our defense so I think if he (Ruffin McNeill) stays in the system nothing will happen but us getting better.

 

On what he would to Coach Leach if he spoke to him:

That I’m sorry that it happened. It’s part of coaching. You can be here today and gone tomorrow. No days are ever promised. I’m sure he won’t have any problems finding jobs. Maybe now because all the jobs are taken but next year he’ll definitely find a job somewhere.

 

On the state of Tech football:

We stay together as a family. I mean Adam James, it wasn’t all him that did it, there were things leading up to it and we’re going to stick behind him 100 percent. As long as we’re together and we’re still winning we should have our fan base.

 

 

Defensive End Brandon Sharpe:

On who he would like to be the next head coach:

I think it would be the best decision. Ruffin is a great guy, a motivator. It would be a great idea to keep him here. Everyone loves him.

 

 

Interim Head Coach Ruffin McNeill

On the state of Tech football:

I know that in Red Raider Nation that there’s feelings both ways but I have faith in our fan base, faith in our alums and faith in Red Raider Nation that they will unite just like tonight. It felt like Jones (AT&T Stadium).

 

On how he feels after winning his first game as head coach:

This was the most challenging week I’ve had in my 29 years of coaching. It was a fun challenge though and this is the most rewarding night I’ve had in my coaching career. I love those players.

 



 

On his team rallying late to win:

We’ve been there before. It’s not the first time we’ve been behind. It’s not the first time we’ve had adversity. The main thing I had to do was get them settled down. They were so hyped I was having to do them down yesterday and then today I got a little hyped at the hotel and in the locker room it was really intense. Asked them to play hard was not the problem. Getting them to settle down and do the little things (was the challenge).

 

Quarterback Steven Sheffield:

Opening Statement:

Why is everyone always so serious in here all the time? Why is that? I’m not going to be that serious. I don’t want to answer any questions about Coach Leach and Adam James. We can talk about the game.

 

On going for it on the two fourth down plays in the fourth quarter:

We executed them and I’m glad we went for it. There was kind of a debate on the second one about whether we would go for a field goal or go for it. We’re close so we might as well go for it.

 

On how he felt to get on the field in the game:

I was excited. I’ve been excited to redeem myself since Oklahoma State. I played horrible game but my foot has been getting better. I’ve wanted to be on the field since day one. Things have been going so well. The practices have been good and me and Potts are both throwing well. In my mind I wanted to start and I wanted to play every down but I was excited to go in.

 

On whether he expected to play:

Lincoln Riley came up to me and asked me to warm up. I was (a little caught off guard) but I’m glad he came up to me. We needed to win and I was trying to win. It’s fun when you get to win. You can go in there and over think things or hesitate or you can go in and know you’re going to win and just win.

 

On overcoming adversity:

I was telling a lot of guys on the field that we had a lot of adversity all week and we talked about overcoming it. This whole week wasn’t really about the team. We’re were on the news here and the news here and this and that so I think it was real special for the team to come together and the coaches to come together. Especially Coach Ruff (McNeill) steeping in for the head job and getting this win. I’m proud of everyone.

 

On how he felt to provide a spark to the offense:

Not starting the game (it felt good) coming in and getting my team a spark. Whatever it takes to get a win.

 

 

Running Back Barron Batch:

On how the team feels about Interim Head Coach Ruffin McNeill:

Speaking for everyone we all want Coach Ruff to be the next head coach. That was kind of us just showing that. There’s no divisiveness amongst the team or players or anything for that matter. We fully support Coach Ruff and we’re ready to run through a brick wall for him.

 

On what he would say to Coach Leach is he spoke to him:

I think the best thing for Tech and for Tech fans right now is just to move on. I looked up in the stands and I saw ‘Team Leach’ and ‘Bring Back Leach’ (signs) and Leach ain’t coming back. That’s how it is. We got what we got. We got the coaches we’ve got. We got the players we’ve got. The best thing right now is to move on and understand we’re still a very good football team with good players and good coaches.

December 30th, 2009
Michigan State Offensive Press Conference 12-30-09
Offensive Coordinator Don Treadmill, Quarterback Kirk Cousins, Center Joel Nitchman and Wide Receiver Blair White.
Play WAV audio of this Press Quote

 

Don Treadwell, Offensive Coordinator
 
On his Alamo Bowl experience:
On behalf of Michigan State we are tremendously excited. We feel truly blessed. The hospitality has been outstanding. We haven’t had to get up and shovel any snow or anything like that so that part has been great. We have a tremendously worthy opponent. Texas Tech does a good job of flying to the football. I’m not sure about any one player, but as a unit they get to the football, they are very athletic and do a phenomenal job of defeating blocks up front. They remind us of a team in the Big Ten like Iowa and they’re gonna give you a heck of a time doing what you want to do based on them knowing their assignments and being very sound.
 
On the role the running game will play in being successful against Tech:
In the big picture, each game that we go into for the most part we focus on being very balanced. Which means were gonna have to be able to run the football. That’s the foundation of what we do. And when you play such an explosive opponent I’m sure it will be to our advantage to be able to run the football and take some time off the clock. If we are throwing the football Kirk will throw where his reads take him. We won’t handcuff ourself either at the same time.
 
On the importance of his receivers in the offensive gameplan:
Blair has been big in and Keshawn Martin has been great. I think it has been very neat and positive that some of the young men that have a had a limited role at best have an opportunity to get a lot of reps in preparation for this bowl game. During these extra practices a lot of these guys have had a chance to be coached up and to get in touch with what they need to fundamentally as we get closer to the game. One thing your always working toward is having depth. You always have to have a plan B. The tights ends have always been a big part of what we do. I’m sure a lot these guys are very excited to get on the field.
 
On A.J. Jimmerson’s performance in practice:
Another senior, he has certainly been the journeyman. He does a variety of things for us. He’s been tremendously involved in special teams throughout the year. With the lack of experience at some positions he’s been key to our team in so many ways. He just wants to win and he gives 100 percent.
 
 
On learning about his team:
We’ve had to mix around with different personnel groupings and figure some things there in the past month and we’ve got a pretty good feel for what were going to be doing on Saturday. What we do have is some great receivers. We’ve got Blair and Keshawn (Martin) who have shown what they can do all season and that hasn’t changed and that’s not going to on Saturday so we’re very excited about getting them the football. We’ve also talked all season about the four tight ends we have and how we’ve tried to use all those all those guys. We’re going to plan on using them as much as we can Saturday night. We’ve got a great game plan in, a lot of offense in. There’s a lot there and we’re excited for the opportunity to go showcase it.
 
On having extra practice time for bowl games:
You get to work hands on with your younger players and it’s really beneficial to the team and coaching staff as a whole. It helps us build a foundation at every position. After we lose a couple of seniors that are here with me today, there are some other guys who’ve got to step up in a hurry. Nothing can beat bowl opportunity as far as time spent to do that.
 
Joel Nitchman, Center
 
On how experience at Valero Alamo Bowl is different than past bowls:
I don’t know if there’s too many differences overall. It’s definitely nice to know what we’re doing now. We’re getting used to the bowl scene and I know that’s something these coaches we’ll be moving forward with. There’s definitely a maturity now. We know how to handle ourselves in these bowl games. We know how to prepare and give a good, strong showing. The more experience we get the better we’ll be.
 
On the chemistry between the offensive line and the Spartan’s two freshmen running backs:
I think its huge having chemistry between us and the two running back. They’re two talented, talented running backs so they really make us look good at times. We just have to execute on our side and if they get a little bit of a seam they’ll take it and they’ll go far with it. Knowing what they like to do and the kind of cuts they like to make it doesn’t really affect our blocks but at the same time its nice to know where he’s looking to go.
 
Kirk Cousins, Quarterback
 
On the opportunity to play in the Valero Alamo Bowl:
I’m very excited. We we’re just talking this morning at an FCA Breakfast and someone mentioned having an attitude of gratitude. Sometimes you need to just look around and realize the position you’ve been able to be in and it’s not because of anything I’ve done but because of the opportunity I’ve been given. I’m very thankful for that. I’m living the dream to play in a bowl game like this and have an opportunity to play. We just practiced in the Alamodome yesterday and I found myself looking around at the stadium and saying I’m not in high school any more. This is pretty cool. We really want to win this football game. We’re going to rely on these guys here and a lot of other guys. It’s going to be a full team effort to win this football game.
 
On using audibles to affect Tech’s defense:
We’re always trying to evaluate, every snap what the defense is doing and getting the best play possible but at the same time Coach Tredwell is going to put us in a great position all game long. We’ll just roll with what gets called and if I feel like we need to get in a better play or what I’m coached to check out of then we’ll do that. At the same time we have our reads, we have our indicators of what we’ll look for and we’ll go from there.
 
On the Mike Leach situation.
It is something that doesn’t change what we do. We can’t control what goes on there. So we just need to focus on what we need to do to beat Texas Tech. Whatever goes on over there, goes on over there is there business. It is not really our concern we just need to focus on what we can control and that is this football game and getting a win on Saturday.
 
On coming home and getting congratulations from old coaches and friends.
We were able to go home on the 21st and Christmas and see a lot of family and friends at home. It was fun to go home and reminisce some old memories with some former teammates. I have a couple buddies who thoughts about road tripping down here. It was fun to just go home, walk the halls of the high school and seeing some old coaches and teammates.
 
On facing Texas Tech pass rush:
It’s a great challenge and its exciting to go up against that kind of talent and to go up against the best when you play college football. We definitely got that opportunity and they are very talented pass rushers up there, so we are going to have to be on top of our game definitely.
 
On facing the defensive line:
They are strong guys, especially number 93 and their 3 technique are strong players. They are a very physical front that is very talented so we are going to have to be ready for them.
 
About dealing with the off the field distractions:
We are going to control what we can control. It is unfortunate what happened with Texas Tech and really not to sure how it is going to turn out but is really not our concern. We are just going to have to do what we can do for this game.
 
Again on the distractions off the field:
You can take it for what it is you see it on the tv and it is just a story that came up and eventually you have to switch the station. I hope it turns out for the best for them and we only can control what we can control.
I don’t want to see that happen to any team but we are not concerned with it. We will let them figure it out and deal with it.
 
Blair White, Wide Receiver
 
On his journey as a player:
Obviously this is going to be my last game. It’s pretty emotional. We’ve come a long way as team. We may not have had the year we set our goals on but we’ve got a chance to win a bowl game. It’s been a lot of fun with friends and coaches. I’m just excited to get out there one last time and compete. This is a great bowl game so a lot of people are going to be watching so it should be fun.
 
On players filling void from suspended players:
See what they can do, they are getting some experience and they are getting comfortable in there and its all for the better. The guys are sorry and I talked to them and they are doing alright and they will be ready to come back when it’s their time.
 
 
Having a bull’s-eye on his pack and the pressure of having less wide receivers on the team.
I kind of see it as a challenge and having this guys out, we will have Keshawn step in and some other guys will step in. If you want to call it pressure you can go ahead and call it that. But I am just excited to go out there and make as many plays as I can and if the offense will bring the ball my way then I am just that much more excited. I just really want to get this last win because there have been some negatives this year and we are excited to get out there Saturday and bring some positives back and get a win.
 
On Texas Techs defensive backfield.
Texas Tech is 8-4 if I am not mistaken so they have some guys who can play and everyone always talks about their offense and it being high powered. But, there defense is pretty good too. They have guys who can play and I believe they are second team or honorable mention all-conference. So they have some guys who can play and we have been watching film and will have to go and make some adjustments at the game.
 
On player suspensions and how the team feels at this point
Yeah I mean when it happens you are kinda surprised and like anything else there’s stages in it. And so now it’s like anything else in life something happens and you move on. There is always change and trials and tribulations, and this is one of those and we are just moving on and we are very excited and very confident that we can go out and win on Saturday.
 
On the benefits of bowl games:
I think that there is a little added pressure to win this bowl game with the things that have happened. And I think at the same time we are trying to enjoy ourselves down here, but we remember we are here to win the bowl game. And bring some positives back to the program. That’s one thing I am focused on and I’m not worried about going to Seaworld and having a great time or anything like that. I just wanna play football and get one more win for Michigan State.
 
On his performance during the last two years and what that does that do to motivate him:
Yeah and we talked about that. Coach D (Dantonio) mentioned that the last couple years, not that we didn’t have an emphasis on winning the bowl game but this year we made it our goal to you know to have fun and do the vacation type things we have to do but we are focused on winning the game this year.
 
On  Keith (Nichol) as wideout:
Yeah absolutely, I have been coaching him up when he has questions and when we are running out to get lined up, just kinda remind him if he has any assignment questions. But like Coach said he is one of the more explosive players we have on our team and he can do some things with the ball in his hand we will see what he can do on Saturday.
 
 

December 30th, 2009
Texas Tech Interim Head Coach Ruffin McNeill
Texas Tech Interim Head Coach Ruffin McNeill

To view video of the press conference, please click here.

Opening Statement:

The first thing I want to say is how happy we are to be here to play in this great, great Alamo Bowl game. We were very excited when the announcement was made. The staff was very excited. The players were even more excited. We’ve got some family things going on. There are some things out there that have happened, university things, things between two parties. It’s a torn situation because I love both sides. Coach leach had been a great friend and a great boss and Texas Tech has been a great university for me as well so you can imagine how torn that is. But the Alamo Bowl must overrule all this. The players must overrule all this. I’m very honored and proud to be a spokesperson for the football team and for our kids and our staff.

On his reaction to Leach’s firing:

We’ve had practice each day until 12. During the practice session one of the guys came on the field and let me know what had eventually gone down so I found out during practice. It was a tough situation, it’s a tough position. When I heard it was a little bit of shock but at the same time in this business you learn that anything can happen. You have to be professional at all times. One of the things I’ve been blessed with this entire and really since Coach named me defensive coordinator I’ve had a professional group to work with. The staff has been very professional from second one. All of you in your positions understand how professionalism makes your job easier. Once we heard we went on and had another productive day of practice.

 

On Adam James status:

Right now he is still under physical rehab so he will not be able to dress for the game. He’s been conditioning and walking with other players that are injured but he has not taken any reps so he will not be able to play in the game.

 

On getting his team prepared to play in the Valero Alamo Bowl:

The first thing is that our core unit of this football team has been solid all year. If you followed our football program we’ve faced adversity from the beginning of the season even throughout now, which is one of the best times of the season for a football team. So the core of this football season has dealt with adversity. The coaching staff, the major part of the staff I’ve worked with for seven, eight, nine seasons. Some of them are a bit younger. We’ve been in tough situations where we lost a tough game here or some things happened here negative or at the same time positive so this core group of players and this staff I’ve been blessed to be part of ten years has faced a lot of adversity. When you’re in a fight you, there’s two things, you can either take a punch or you can swing. We make sure we come out swinging. One thing we think we do as well as anyone is pick the flag up. I’m an army brat so when one man goes down this guy’s got to pick the flag up. So this staff from day one, when the suspension was announced we had to move on and Coach expects nothing less than that.

 

On whether he has spoken to Leach:

I have not spoken with Coach. Someone asked me how its been going and I said ‘it’s kind of like 95 miles an hour in a school zone.’ My biggest focus has been on the players, making sure the players stay focused. Keeping a cool head when everyone around you is losing there’s and at the same time making sure the routine, as close as possible doesn’t get off track. Really my whole career has been about making sure I’m dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s. Making sure our players are prepared and making sure our staff is prepared. We’ve had three up tempo practices. The execution has been really special on all three sides of the ball, offense, defense and special teams. We like the spirit. We told the guys the other day what’s in a team comes out of a team, same as a man.

 

On having to replace his friend in Leach:

It is a tough situation. I think one of the reasons we’ve been together so long was because we’ve both been through some situations. I know professionalism must override everything and that comes from experience. I’ve been at it 29 years now and I’ve been through a lot of situations, good and bad, success and some failure. I’ve learned from both. Experience has taught me to prepared for this situation. There wasn’t a moment we didn’t have to stop and say ‘okay what’s next,’ or ‘why me,’ it’s ‘hey, let’s go get it done.’

 

On his interest in becoming Leach’s successor as Tech head coach:

I’m very interested in the job. Maybe that’s a double yes with some exclamation marks. You journalists know about that, you know, some little dots. I know how to text a little bit. My daughter taught me how to text but yes I’m very interested in becoming Tech’s next head coach at Texas Tech.
 

My whole career, and my dad taught me this when I first got into coaching, every time you step on the field or at one time when I was head basketball coach, on the court, your product is your resume. I’ve adhered to that my entire time in coaching. The product I put on the field is my resume. At each position I prepared for the next. As an assistant I prepared to be a coordinator and I thought that way and as a coordinator I prepared to be a head coach. I’d be honored to be the next coach at Texas Tech.

 

On coaching staff’s solidarity with Leach:

I wish I could speak for the other members of the coaching staff. A theory I follow is if you give respect, you get respect back. As a coaching staff they know how much I respect them as individuals and as fathers in some cases and husbands in others. I’ve always respected our staff in the job they do, whether it’s on the field or off the field. Recruiting or in the classroom. I’ll tell you the conduct of our players in practice and the tempo of our practice, I think professionalism has overruled everything. The solidarity is there to make sure we do our best against a very good football at Michigan State. We know what we’re facing there and that’s been overlooked. I’ve spoken to Coach (Mike Dantonio) and he’s dealt with some adversity with his ball team is. The biggest thing we’ve got to do is stay focused at the task at hand.

 

On the players' reaction to Leach’s firing:

I sort of have a way of making the sure the kids look me in my eyes, you can probably tell that. That goes back to the respect factor. I broke it to them and I thought it was best that a family member broke it to the next family member. It was tough but at the same time I’ve got to make sure they understand what has happened and that we pick up the flag and keep going. I’ve got to go immediately into making we stay focused and that’s what is getting lost here is the football game Saturday night. I understand why because of the controversy but at the same time the reason we’re in San Antonio one is to enjoy the festivities but the main reason is to play a great football game against a great football team in Michigan State.

 

On what players said about Leach’s firing:

It was kind of ‘Coach Ruff, what’s next?’ Being in a leadership role there’s no hesitation, the next thing is to get showered and dressed, you’ve got Sea World coming up at 3:30. We’ve got a coaches event coming up soon. And they were asking about Shamu. I hope Shame shows up. I promised him they’ll be there so ya’ll back me up on that. Would you call Sea World and say ‘Shamu, Coach Ruff needs you.’ I know I’m making light of it but that’s what I said. I always talk about the schedule for the next day to try and alert them.

 

On the prospect of fans being upset about Leach’s firing:

To our Red Raider Nation. We have the best fan base I’ve been around in 29 years of coaching, 24 of those on the college level. We’ve always had a loyal fan base, we’ve had fans that have supported us. Tough times happen, tough people last. We’re a nation of tough people. I have no doubt that Red Raider Nation will step up and keep swinging, just like the football team has done this week.

 

On the recruiting class:

Well the biggest thing is…it’s very important we keep this class together. It will be one of the best classes we have signed if everything goes through. In these situations we will have questions, because they will come to Texas Tech for a number of things. Academic and graduation rate is number one. It’s the first priority they have done. The second is for the football team and the winning atmosphere we have created as well as the social environment of Lubbock. It’s the second biggest city in the Big 12. We hope to keep it together and keep everyone tight and I am very optimistic this thing will get handled quickly and I am looking forward to being a big part of that. 

 

On how much is the offense going to change:

If it can be faster it will be faster. I know from a defensive point of view what hurts the defense. I love this offense. This is the offense I wanna be a part of. So make that point clear. I love what we have done offensively here. I have prepared to be a head coach my entire time once the coordinator spot was given to me. And this offense is one we will run and keep running. Just like always see how many plays we can run.

 

On play calling:

I am looking forward to it (play calling). When the first everything happened it was a unique deal. I had to be a part of all three sides of the ball. I have always been a part of the special teams and the defense, but now making sure I have eye balls on all three. It’s gone really smooth, just like I knew it would be.


On Adam James:

I have always treated each individual just like I treat you guys in here, individually, not as a group. I’m not a guy who will go along with the crowd or what everybody else thinks I judge a man for what he is and I really believe what’s inside a man comes out of a man. For me I treat the players how I treat the players. I don’t judge them for whatever. A family is a family.

 

On gaining the head coaching position:

First what I have to do is make sure my body will work and my time in college football speaks for itself. I hope how I have conducted myself as a full time college coach; the body work speaks for itself. I am prepared mentally and physically and I am very ready for the position.

 

On becoming coach and if it will change his personality:

No if you know me, I have been this way the whole time. I think you have to be yourself. When it happened Monday, you step back for a minute but I said I’ma do me, I’m gonna do myself. I won’t change.

 
On dealing with Adam James remaining with the team:

Someone asked me have I spoken with Adam. The local guys know I speak with everyone. I’m the guy that can say just about anything to anyone and love them. I spoke with the whole team and let them know to focus on family. The first thing we’ve tried to do is try to develop a family and things happen in a family. I’m sure we can all attest to that. The stronger your bond in that family, the tougher you hang in bad times. I’ve said nothing personally to Adam but ‘hey just hang in there’ and to the team to stay focused. I haven’t really brought him out individually. I didn’t think it was a need to. I felt like the focus should be on the entire team.

 

On whether he has spoken to Tech administration:

We’ve been moving pretty fast. We had a recruiting meeting and then I got rushed from my shower to make sure I made it down to see you guys. I haven’t had a chance to speak with anyone. I’m sure that will happen in the near future.

 

On whether Adam James needs assurance that team is behind him:

I grabbed him on the elevator the other night and put an arm around him. I know its got to be tough on him. I think he realizes this, as well, that we’ve got to focus on the entire team. But I’m sure he understands where I am with him.

 

On what he will say to Coach Leach when he sees him:

First, that I love him. You know, we’ve been through a lot. He gave me my opportunity to come to Tech number one, made special teams coordinator after three years and then in the middle of a season made me defensive coordinator. It took a lot of backbone to do that in the middle of a season to make a change and make me defensive coordinator so that will never be overlooked by me. Then I’d ask him how he’s doing and the rest we’ll probably keep personal.

 

On whether Leach deserved to be fired:

I’d rather not respond to that. I think that matter needs to be answered by Coach Leach and his representation and the university. I’d rather leave it there if you don’t mind.

 

On his personal reaction to news:

I didn’t know it could happen, but if you happen to be in this business then this is a possibility at all times. So the shock was there, I say shock, you prepare for it but you just have to adjust. In our position, you put the focus back on the players. You make the players understand why we are here in San Antonio and you make sure the coaches understand what our job is. We plan this thing out and dot our I’s and cross our T’s. We as a staff are preparing for Michigan State. We just have to dive right in and that’ is what our staff is doing right now. They are back at the hotel watching film.


On the potential backlash toward Adam:

One of the things we have tried to do is to make sure that we have built the house on rock and not on sand. So when tough things happen, and this is a storm, that we can withstand those winds. I am very confident that our team, our family, our staff will put all focus on the family first and keep our priorities in order. These are our priorities this week. To have great practices, to have great tempo and technique during practices and to make sure we stay focused during football time. All three practices this week the meetings have been smooth and practices have been smooth. The team, the core of the team, who faced adversity throughout the year. And our staff, in my opinion have been as professional as I have been around, and have made the transition this week go a lot smoother. The coaches have taken that and gone along with that and done a great job.


On the fans:

I love our fans at Texas Tech. The community programs that I have been apart of, I know they know how I feel about them. I have done quite a few speaking engagements with our fans and are loyal fans at Texas Tech and they believe in not just who’s there, but what’s there. I have a lot of confidence in red raider nation. I feel they will unite and back our football team this week, along with our staff. They will rise and make sure Saturday night it’s loud and dangerous for our opponents in the Alamo Dome.

 

On meeting Mark Dantonio last night and what they discussed:

The coaching family and coaching world is very small, which is very similar to the journalism world. You see each other in different venues. I have followed Mark’s career as I think he has followed mine. We have known each other for a bit. So I have  a lot of respect for what he has done. He’s a defensive guy so I have always watched the things he might have called, or the schemes or strategies he may have used. The first thing we said was “wow!” and he said, “wow back!” We have both had a tough month and he said yep. We had a little embrace and we discussed it. He knows I have great respect for him and his football team and I know he has great respect for me and our football team. It was a respect deal. We told each other to hang in there. He was very supportive, as I was to him.

 

On the challenge of moving forward and maintaining focus:

I think it will be exciting. I am looking forward to it individually and I think our players are and I think our staff is. I’m looking forward to getting back from here and watch some more ball film. I’m looking forward to the meeting in the morning. Thursday is a big mental day for us. It’s a big special teams day. It’s as close to game like situations with noise as we can make it. , so it’s really a big execution day for us as a team on all three sides of the ball. I’m looking forward to that as well. We have some other events we will attend as a team and then we will go off to a separate hotel and get into some big mental time and film time on Friday. I think the team is excited. Again it goes back to the core of our team. We have been through a lot of adversity and I think our staff has been very professional. They have been ready and willing to do what I have asked and need it done. I appreciate those guys for that.

December 30th, 2009
Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio
Head Coach Mark Dantonio


From a mental standpoint, have you asked the guys to approach this bowl as a road game?

“Yes, it’s definitely a road game because we know the majority of fans there Saturday night will be there supporting Texas Tech. More importantly, it’s more like an opening game because we’ve had such a long time to prepare. We’ve kind of gone through the dog days of summer somewhat with those additional December practice dates prior to Christmas break, and we worked the players pretty hard. We have tackled some over the last five weeks but not at game speed and in space against a quality opponent. So from my perspective, it closely resembles a season-opening road game.”

Special teams often play an important role in season-opening games, so you have to feel comfortable knowing that you have two veterans handling the kicking chores, in Brett Swenson and Aaron Bates?

“We feel good about Brett Swenson and Aaron Bates, but there’s so much more to special teams play than just those two guys. We have to attack and tackle in space. Texas Tech has excellent special teams. We’ve been very impressed with Texas Tech’s kickoff returners Eric Stephens and Edward Britton. This is an opponent that plays with great energy and effort on special teams, and we have to be able to match that.”

Time of possession has been an important key for Michigan State the last three seasons (MSU is 15-3 when leading in time of possession during Coach Dantonio’s tenure, including a perfect 5-0 in 2009). So with the explosiveness of Texas Tech’s offense, how important will it be for the offensive line to create some running room?

“We have to be able to control the football, but more importantly, we have to be able to score. We have to be able to control the tempo of the game somewhat and limit their opportunities. Texas Tech has a very explosive offense, averaging 380 yards passing per game. It’s a team that will take some chances, including going for it on fourth down at times. So it’s going to be important for us to keep the time of possession in our favor, but that’s easier said than done.”

Talk about the progress that the freshmen running backs Larry Caper and Edwin Baker have made this season.

“The two freshmen running backs have done an unbelievable job, especially when you look at their grades in pass protection. A running back at this level must be able to pass protect and give the quarterback an opportunity to throw the ball down field. At this level, they see a variety of different pressures and blitzes coming at them. In addition, they’ve learned a variety of pass protections as well. So they’ve done an outstanding job of putting all of those things together. In addition, they’ve been productive when given opportunities to run with the football.

“We have to have some explosive running plays in this game, and they’re both capable of producing big plays. So when there’s a crease, they’ve go to break loose. They’re both excited about playing in this bowl game.

“With the additional bowl practices, we’ve been able to reaffirm some things with them, and at this point in the year, they’re a little bit more like sophomores than they are freshmen. There’s a big difference in what they can provide now than what they could provide do three and four games into this season.”

December 29th, 2009
Michigan State Post Practice 12-29-09
Placekicker Brett Swenson, Running Back Edwin Baker, Punter Aaron Bates, Nose Tackle Oren Wilson, Running Back Larry Caper, Defensive Tackle Jerel Worthy, Offensive Tackle D.J. Young

Placekicker Brett Swenson

On how both teams are dealing with adversity:
"We haven’t really been giving it much attention. I heard some things on ESPN but we realize we have a game to play and we’ve got to stay focused. The coaches haven’t said anything. They’s just trying to get us ready to play. Texas Tech is a great time and we know it’s gonna a battle."
 
Running Back Edwin Baker

On dealing with adversity:
"We know what we’ve got to do and it will come out on the field. We’ve got to focus and get ready to leave it all on the field. We work hard as a team and we know there’s a game to play. It’s all about keeping our focus and playing to the best of our abilities."
 
Punter Aaron Bates

On bouncing back after poor performance against Penn State:
"I feel alright. I really felt like I kicked well the whole year. Obviously, the Penn State game I was disappointed with how I played. But I've bounced back. I've kicked well in practice all week."
 
On playing in Alamodome:
"I'm excited. We're going to be in a dome so I don't have to worry about the weather. It's just going to be me and the ball and no worries about anything else. It's going to be fun. I look forward to it."
 
On mood of the team going into the Valero Alamo Bowl:
"I think definitely. We've got past the Penn State game and we're ready to play again. Texas Tech is a great team, the Alamo Bowl is a great bowl, we're playing in the Alamodome which is exciting for everybody and we're just looking forward to getting a win."
 
Running Back Larry Caper

On San Antonio:
"It's a beautiful city. Just from getting off the plane and the bus ride in we could see it was a beautiful city. Just being out of Michigan period and being in a bowl game is nice. We need to take care of business for the program."
 
On Tech's suspension of head coach Mike Leach:
"It really doesn't matter to us. We've still got to strap on the pads and go out there on Saturday."
 
On dealing with adversity:
"It’s been hard but we are gonna play hard and do what we’ve got to do to win. We can’t let these things get us done. We’re playing against a great team and we’re both dealing with things that we’ve got to get past. We’re gonna be ready to play though. It should be a good game."
 
Defensive Tackle Jerel Worthy

On the mindset of the Spartan defense on facing Tech's offense:
"It's kind of the midset we have going into every game, which is play fast and have fun. Coach Gill does a good job of putting pressure on us because he knows what we're capable of."
 
On his growth of a player:
"I've grown a lot. Every game for me this year has been a good experience. I've taken a lot from each and every game, whether we've won or lost. I've just tried to get some direction from the older guys."
 
Nose Tackle Oren Wilson

On the focus of Michigan State's defense going into the Valero Alamo Bowl:
"We're just focused on their offense. Their offense is great on film. There's no other way to explain it. It's going to be a big challenge but I think we're ready to step up to that challenge."
 
On playing against a Tech team without Mike Leach:
"I don't think its an advantage. They're still going to run the same offense. They're still going to have the same players. I don't think its a big deal at all. We're still going to have to play. The game is on January 2. None of that has changed. We're going to do what we have to do to win."
 
Offensive Tackle D.J. Young

On facing Tech's strong defensive line:
"We're focused on facing their pass rush. The guy I'm going against, Brandon Sharpe, is an All-American and had 15 sacks on  the year. I've looking forward to the challenge of shutting him down."
 

December 29th, 2009
Texas Tech Post-Practice 12-29-09
Interim Head Coach Ruffin McNeill, Defensive Tackle Richard Jones, Corner back LaRon Moore and Wide Receiver Austin Zouzalik
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Interim Head Coach Ruffin McNeill:

On how he felt after the second practice in his new role:
"I felt comfortable yesterday. Again it goes back to the core of our players. Our staff is very professional. We've been around each other some of us for 10, 8, 7 years. We understood what was needed on the field and our core players knew what was needed too. The transition has been pretty easy. We are making sure we stay focused right now. That is the biggest thing."

On the mood of the players:
"I think upbeat. I mentioned it last night. We have faced a lot of adversity as a team all year long so adversity is not a big deal for this ballclub. I feel very comfortable in saying that. I like the fact that our older guys have taken owenrship and accountability for the football team. Both practices yesterday and today have been very spirited."

On whether he has talked to Leach today:
"I have not spoken with him. The biggest thing right now I'm just trying to make sure I take care of my job. Let's make sure I do the possbile job I can this week. I haven;t had a chance to talk to him yet. I've been going like 95 miles an hour in a school zone. I'm sure we'll sit down and visit here."

On how the suspension was communicated with the players:
"I broke it to the whole team. I felt it was my position to do that. Again, there was some shock but at the same time I think becasue of the core of our team, I keep saying that, the adversity this etam has dealt with this year and again I mention the professionalism of our staff. After the initial shock we just knew he had some business to take care of. Wwe're facing a really tough opponent in Michigan State. They play in a tough conference and we had to get our focus right back and make sur we do our jo this week."

On whether he was surprised being named interim head coach:
"I've been preparing for this a long time. I'm ready to do whatever tasks are necessary. I feel very comfortable. I have been in leadership positions before and been coaching for 29 years, so a long time. Twenty-four on the college level and I have been in a lot of environments so the leadership role is not uncomfortable, running a program is not uncomfortable so I was not surprised and I was ready for it. And I'm ready to do my job. The biggest focus now is on the players and making sure our players stay focused."

 

Defensive Tackle Richard Jones:

 

On Coach Ruffin McNeil taking over the team:
We have been playing for coach for awhile, nothing has changed. The practice is still the same we are still doing drills like we used to. Everything is still the same, so there is nothing difficult or different about it because it is the same thing we have been doing.

Any damage done to the team over the last 48 hours:
As far as the players go, I don’t see anybody distracted. We are just coming out here to work and we are just focused on winning this game. We are not letting anything get in our way, we are just going to blur it out and coming out here to work.

 

Corner back LaRon Moore

 

On hearing about Coach Leach’s suspension:
We were pretty surprised when we found out, but you know we are grown men and we are a close team and a close family and we just have to rally around each other. We just have to focus on this one day at a time and come out and win against Michigan State.

On how big of a distraction this has been:
Coach Leach has talked to us about distractions all year. We have had distractions all year and he has taught us to overcome them. He has been preaching that since I was a freshman. We have been overcoming distractions every week, whether we lose a game or when we win a game like against OU we have to overcome that distraction the next week against Baylor.

Describe the player’s relationship with Coach Leach:
All he wants is the best for us. He pushes us and tries to make us better. He might go about it an unconventional way, but he wants to do is try and push us. We talked about that with the coaches and that is just his way of doing it. He is just trying to make us men and make us better and get the best out of us.

Wide Receiver Austin Zouzalik

On the distractions of the recent days:
We have just been listening to our coaches and what they stress. There is a Wes Welker quote that says he just concentrates on what he can control and that is just going out and believing in himself. So, we are just believing in the people that are here right now and they coaches are just really stressing that right now.

On playing for Ruffin McNeill:
Everyone is really willing to play for him. With just the attitude and intensity that he come out with. Everyone can see it on the defensive side, now its going to carry over to the offense too and we think that is going to be an advantage for us.


 

 

December 28th, 2009
Michigan State Post Practice 12-28-09
Keshwan Martin, Joel Foreman, Eric Gordon and Mark Dantonio


Head Coach Mark Dantonio-
It’s been about a week since the team practiced in full pads. Were you pleased with today’s energy level and effort? And how about the players’ retention?

“Yes, I was very, very pleased with today’s practice. We had a good run yesterday. It looks like guys stayed in shape over the Christmas break. It was a beautiful day for practice, and we got a lot of work done.

“There has been good retention. We’re 10 practices into our Texas Tech preparation, so there’s retention there. It’s just a matter of how quickly it came back to them after the holiday layoff. They’ve had a lot of information thrown at them, and they’ve been able to get that information back to us immediately on both sides of the football. The bottom line is that we have to execute and play with great fundamentals on game day. We also need to play fast and with excitement. Obviously, there are certain situations that we have to win on game day, and the ball has to bounce our way some too. The key thing is that we have to be focused and ready to play mentally and I think we will. In addition, we need to have our legs up underneath us.”

Is a bowl game almost a season in itself?

“A bowl game is almost a season in itself. After today’s workout, I told the seniors that we have only three practices left together. They need to put their best foot forward, so they can put themselves in a position to close out their careers as winners. The last game is always a big indicator of where you’re at (as a program) just in terms of how you play. We’ve been competitive in the last two bowl games (vs. Boston College in 2007 Champs Sports Bowl and vs. Georgia in 2009 Capital One Bowl), but we didn’t quite get the job done. We had opportunities to win both of those games. So we look forward to the opportunity and challenge of playing Texas Tech.

“For the returning players, there’s also definitely a carryover effect into next season. By the end of the bowl preparation, we will have had 15 additional practices, so we’ve been able to work on a lot on fundamentals. Hopefully, all of that fundamental work shows up on Saturday (against Texas Tech).

“It’s also a game in itself because we haven’t played a game in five weeks. So in a lot of ways, it’s like a season-opening game. With that long of a layoff, you don’t know how your guys are going to tackle in space or how well they’re going to catch the ball in a crowd. That’s why we went live (full contact) in practice today. There’s always risk (of injury) involved, but we made it through today without injury. So that’s a good thing.”

Two unsung heroes this season have been Keshawn Martin and Eric Gordon. During the second half of the season, Keshawn really exploded onto the scene, while Eric has been remarkably consistent and productive. Talk about their emergence as key players on this year’s team.

“Obviously, you noticed Keshawn Martin last year as a true freshman, but this year, he’s been a consistent playmaker. He’s made big plays as a pass receiver, kick returner, ball carrier and thrower. Keshawn is an excellent football player because of his speed and explosiveness. He’s also definitely a gamer. Keshawn is going to be a great player for us for two more years.

“All of our linebackers run well – under 4.6 (in the 40) – and Eric Gordon is definitely in that neighborhood. Eric is a good football player, and he’s had an outstanding year; however, he often gets overlooked because people focus on Greg Jones’ stats. Eric is very active in our defensive scheme, and he needs to have a great game for us against Texas Tech on Saturday.”

Wide Receiver Keshawn Martin-

On stepping in such a big game:

"I have been thinking about that a lot. It is my time to step up and kinda of be a leader. I need to step up and help the team. I think that is a big challenge for me to step up and help the team."

On how much playing time he expects:

"The coaches have been telling me to get ready, its going to be a long game and I have been getting ready. We have been working on conditioning and I am going to be ready."

On his big play capability:

"I think more people have caught onto it, since I am going to be on the field more they are going to have to look out for that too and watch out for the trick plays more because I will be out there more."

Talking about how the other guys are getting ready for the game:

"I have been talking to them and they are doing good and are going to be ready. I think they are ready to show what they can do too."

What has the experience of the last few weeks had on the team:

"I think it made us closer, Coach Tread (Treadwell) called us 'the few and the proud.' I think it made us closer and have each others backs to make get decisions."

Offensive Lineman Joel Foreman-

On being in San Antonio and preparing for the game:

"We are excited to be down here and we have been itching to get here ever since the season ended. Its great a city, we are having fun and exited to be here. It’s going to be a good time."

On practicing for the first time in 5 days:

"It felt great, we put the pads on today and yesterday we just ran and tried to get our feet underneath us. We had a pretty good practice and we are getting the kinks out from having about five days off over Christmas break. Overall it went pretty well."

What a win of this bowl game would mean to the team:

"Winning your bowl is very important; unfortunately we have not been able to do it the last two years. It’s important because it is the last game of the season and it is also the last game for the seniors."

Linebacker Eric Gordon-

Is this trip any different than a normal away game:

"We are doing everything we would do back in East Lansing as practice goes. We don’t have school going on during the day so we get to go out and enjoy ourselves a little bit during the day after we have our meetings and practice."

On being in San Antonio and getting ready for the game:

"The last few weeks before we were just staying in East Lansing and practicing indoors and we are just excited to be down here and be in Texas, for a lot of us we have never been to Texas so it is a great experience."

What are you focused on most in getting ready to the game:

"The have great wide receivers and Batch is a great running back, they will make plays and will be running one way and will just flip it around the other way. We just need to make plays and play our own defense."

About getting back into practice:

"I felt like for the first practice back after Christmas went really well, everyone is excited and the weather is better than the 20 degree weather back up in Michigan. It has been a great time so far."

 
 

 

December 28th, 2009
Texas Tech Post-Practice 12-28-09
Defensive Coordinator Ruffin McNeil
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 On tonight's practice:

"We've had some things were most teams would have folded. This team is strong from the core. We were strong today and we had a very up tempo practice. The focus was there and I was pelases with the mentality and the eoffrt of the kids."

On the adversity the team has faced this season:

"If you have follow us a little bit, everyone has had mishaps here and there. Youi know sometimes a player may not be available here or there but the team just kept moving on. Sort of like in the army when one first guy goes down the next guy come and picks the flag up. So I was proud of that. The kids have done that all year long."

On how he is going to prepare to be head coach:

"Today for example I making sure the offense had some tempo type of things going on too. I aired my voice a little bit. And that was fun to get a chance to yell at those guys a little bit. The main thing is make sure the tempo practice from offense, special teams and defense is going like it need for it to go. Making sure everyone knows the purpose of this week. San Antonio is a great city and the Alamo Bowl is a great bowl. We're very happy and excited to be here but we know we have a tough opponent in Michigan State. We needed total focus today and the players did. They had good focus today and I was proud of that."

On Michigan State:

"First of all, they are the number one passing offense in the Big Ten and third in total offense. They have done a great job moving the football and defensively they have an All-American, they play hard and their coach is a defensive guy. They will do a great on defense and a great job on special teams too. We know we have out hands full with Michigan State, they do a great job and they play in a tough league. Week in and week out they are tested just like we are, offensively, defensively and specail teams wise they do a good job. We know we have our hands full."

On how emotional it is with his friendship with Coach Leach and how the players are dealing with it:

"The biggest thing with the players is that I am an emotional guy; I get emotional when it comes to family and this is a family.  I am very close with our players and with our staff. I am very proud with the professionalism of our staff today."

On how he deals with the pressure:

"Pressure is when you make two thousand a month and your bills are three thousand. That’s pressure. Football is fun, I have not worked a day at Texas Tech because I enjoy where I work and who I work with. With pressure, you always want the team to do well and your group to do well."

What it means personally to get the head coaching job outside of the situation:

"The main thing is that it is a pride thing and you make sure you want to do a good job. I have a lot of loyalty to Texas Tech University, Administration, the athletic program and the football program. I feel very honored to have the opportunity to uphold my part and this week that is to run the whole football team. I am looking forward to the challenge and I think it is going to be fun."

December 27th, 2009
Michigan State Team Arrival
Head Coach Mark Dantonio, Offensive Tackle Rocco Cironi and Cornerback Ross Weaver

Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio:

On being on San Antonio:
We are very very excited about being down here in San Antonio and representing the Big Ten Conference both on the field and off the field.

Just recently we were sitting around talking about this game and all of the sudden we are at the bowl game and we are right back in it. The players are excited to be here and this is going to be a great opportunity here against Texas Tech.

I have been very impressed with their defense which has a lot to do with their coordinator and of course I am impressed with their offense as well. They are very tight on special teams so this is going to be a challenge for us and we are looking forward to it.

On time between last game and the bowl game and practice:
One of the important things about this is that this is the last football game of the year so you can springboard this into spring practice and give us the opportunity to win a seventh game. This is going to be a challenge; there is no doubt about it.

We have tried to be very fundamental during the early part of practice weeks and then the second-half of the practice week we have tried to concentrate on Texas Tech more and what they do.

On Texas Tech as a team:
When you look at them across the board they can do very many things very very well. They come to play and play with a lot of excitement. They are a good football team. There are a lot of good things that they have done and we are going to have to be ready.

As much as Tech passes, they also have a good running game. We have got to stop the run and contain their perimeter game as well because of all of their screens to compliment their running game. It will start up front and we will need to control up front and we have to find a way to get off the field since they are very good on fourth down.


Offensive Tackle, Rocco Cironi

On expectations of first day in San Antonio:
Relax and get acclimated a little bit. We have been working hard back home and practice tomorrow is going to tough and we need to work on some things.

On attitude toward the bowl game:
We came here to have a good time, but we still came here to play and win a game. As a senior I speak on behalf of the others that we want to go out with a win and send this program out on a good note for years to come.

On suspensions affecting practices:
We have had some guys step up and taken control of the position. They've made some changes here and there but nothing too big. They made changes that they hope give us a chance to win.

On slowing down Texas Tech's high powered offense: 
We are going to have to run the ball. We're gonna have to control the clock and keep their offense off the field. So our role is going to be bigger this week as we'll need to create holes for the running backs and allow them a place to run.

On Texas A&M's success against Texas Tech:

They run a lot of formations like we do and they converted a lot of third downs. They were also pounding it in their so it was good to see another team do that (against Tech).

Cornerback, Ross Weaver

On Preparation for this week's game:
Based on our preparation this is like any other game, of course it’s a bowl, it’s a big game, but we’ve been working on the right path plays and getting used to the different path situations they have and different formations that they run.
 
On playing a Big 12 Opponent:

It’s pretty tough, you go in it with a mind set that you have to play a hard game, it doesn’t come down to what they did, it comes down to how we played. We gotta make sure we’re prepared in everything, in every aspect of the game

On playing corner against a Texas Tech:
You take that as an opportunity to step up, an opportunity to make plays, they are a big passing team, they’re a big spread team, they have a lot of different passes out of their plays and out of their offense. This is an opportunity for you to step up and make plays when they need to be made and know what’s coming at you.

 

December 10th, 2009
AT&T Golf Classic
Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach and Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio
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Quotes from Valero Alamo Bowl AT&T Golf Classic…

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Club at Sonterra

 

Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach

 

Head Coach Mark Dantonio

On coming to the Valero Alamo Bowl…
"It’s great to be here in San Antonio at the Valero Alamo Bowl and we are extremely excited to have the opportunity to play Texas Tech. They are a great football team and I have great admiration for what Coach Leach has done with 10 bowl games in 10 years.”

 

On Texas Tech…
“I have not watched them much, but they had an outstanding season at 8-4. When you watch them play the way they did against Nebraska and Oklahoma you have a great appreciation for what they do on both sides of the ball.”

 

On Michigan States season…
“Are football team this year finished 6-6 in the Big Ten Conference, we have lost some close games but we are a very young football team. We have a young quarterback situation and he played himself into a starting role and led the Big Ten in passing efficiency, that would be Kirk Cousins. We are a young football team that starts two freshman running backs, but we are looking for good things as we move forward with our program.”

 

“Right now this is our third bowl game in three years as a staff, our practice time right is pretty much developmental as we will have our third this week and our fourth on Saturday. We will start preparing for Texas Tech next week.”

 

On Blair White and what he means to the team…
“Blair White has emerged as a go to guy this year and he has really spring boarded this year. He is a First-Team All Big Ten player for us and is a guy that continues to move up for us as a player.”

 

Head Coach Mike Leach

 On coming to the Valero Alamo Bowl…
“We are looking forward to a good bowl game and we know something about close games and young players and the rest. It should be a good matchup from that standpoint. “

 

On preparing for the bowl game that is weeks away…
“I think that is one of huge advantages in regards to being a coach and going to a bowl game you have the opportunity to work with your young guys on the front end of this. We have been in the midst of this the last couple of weeks you get to work with your young guys first and get them ready then you can work with the older guys as it gets closer and more specifically towards Michigan State.”

 

Does this game play a big part in you recruiting in San Antonio…
“We have always gotten a little from San Antonio since I first got here. It all started with a guy named Cliff Kingsbury, so we have had couple guys at all times and we have kept that pipeline going to this day.”

“We have had key players from this area over the years and there are a lot of Red Raiders from this area. It’s a place where you try to wrap up the recruiting in the evening because there are a lot of great restaurants down here.”

 

 

December 6th, 2009
Team Announcement Press Conference
Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach and Michigan State Coach Mark Dan Antonio
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Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach:

On 16th-straight bowl appearance…
 
“Thank you I appreciate it,” Head Coach Mike Leach said. “It took a lot of good players, coaches and people to do this. Fortunately, I was able to be a part of this and help get it done.”
 
On playing Michigan State…
 
“I don’t know a lot about them now, here shortly we will be exchanging video and we will know more about each other then. What comes to mind is a that they are a physical, hard-nose Big Ten football team that is really good at the fundamentals and it should be a good challenge. “
 
Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio:
 
On playing in the Valero Alamo Bowl…
 
“We are excited to come down and play in the Valero Alamo Bowl. I think it is one of those great bowl games and has been for a long time now.”
 
“This will be our third-straight bowl game which has not been done at Michigan State since the 1995-1997 seasons. So, we are very excited to come to the Valero Alamo Bowl and we are excited to play Texas Tech.”
 
“We are going to represent Michigan State and Big Ten Conference in every aspect of this bowl game on and off the field and we are very excited to come and play.”
 
About Kirk and Blair and what to expect from them…
 
“Kirk led the Big Ten Conference in passing efficiency this year and we as a team led the Conference in passing offense this year, so it should be a good battle.”
 
“Blair White is a First-Team All Big Ten Wide Receiver and he does a lot of good things for use. We try to get the ball in his hands quite often.”
 
“We have two young tailbacks that are true freshmen, Larry Caper and Edwin Baker, which we feature things around along with some very very good tight ends that we use as well. So, we will come prepared and we are very excited about this opportunity.”

December 1st, 2009
Head Coaches Press Conference Part Two
Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio and Texas Tech Interim Head Coach Ruffin McNeill
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