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Media / Press Quotes
Mike Gundy, Head Coach
On the Valero Alamo Bowl win and how the season played out:
I'm going to get to that question first. But I wanted to thank the Alamo Bowl and the people of San Antonio. I couldn't do it out there during the trophy presentation because of the delay. It was hard for me to talk. But I want to thank the Alamo Bowl staff and everybody for what they've done. They've been tremendous. We've been very fortunate to go to a number of bowls now obviously the past five years and even past that when we took a year off for the three or four after that. These guys were awesome.
Our team had a great time. The people here and the facilities, we couldn't be more proud to be tied in with the Alamo Bowl. I wanted everybody to know how much we appreciate it. Oklahoma State would love to be in this Bowl again someday.
Reflecting back on the year, you know, I mentioned to the team in the hotel before we came over here that we started this back in January after we didn't play very well in the Cotton Bowl. When we came back we had a meeting as a team. The first thing that we talked about was there had been a lot of seniors that have left a legacy for the other guys to pick up where we left off. These guys made a commitment to do it. I've talked about it all year. But I can't stress the importance of what those seniors and these key players on our football team were able to accomplish this year. They made their mind up all through winter conditioning and spring football, summer conditioning on their own. Then when we started the season, things worked out very well for us. We played well against Washington State, caught Tulsa at the right time. We were able to get a great kick and win the A&M game. Then we go to Lafayette, don't play very well in the first half, get some big play by our key players; defense played well. Go to Tech and win, and so on and so forth. After the Tech game I thought this team must be a little bit better than what people really thought.
The key is the chemistry these guys have. For me as a coach, I couldn't give a better example than prior to the game when we were able to walk through that hotel, and there's probably 10,000 Oklahoma State people lined up in that hotel for our players. That's what college football is all about. To see young men have success on and off the field and be able to develop relationships with the fans and the people, it's really special. So when you reflect back on it, there's game we won on offense this year, there's games that we won by our defense playing well, and then our special teams. For example, tonight, we had a number of players make some plays, but I don't know if anybody was more important to our team than Dan Bailey tonight. He punted awesome. Had two long field goals in crucial situations. He kicked off very well. The reason I bring him up is that's an example of what this football team's all about. Another guy stepped up and made a play. So I couldn't be more proud for the seniors, for the football team, and for Oklahoma State. Winning 11 games is very difficult. It's not easy. I'm very proud of them; looking forward to getting started again in January.
On the Cowboys defensive game plan was going into the game:
Well, Coach (Bill) Young on the defensive staff had been really good in the latter part of the season. We had a tough game against Nebraska. We had a couple tough plays against Oklahoma. We have a lot of confidence in the staff and their ability to, one, stop the run, and then two, rally in the red zone. If we've given up some yards, this defense has forced turnovers and held our opponents to field goals. So they were able to do it again tonight. But the interceptions that we made and the ability to hold them to field goals was obviously a big part of the game. We didn't play very well offensively in the second quarter and early in the third quarter. During that time, the defense had a lot of big stops.
On how special this season is given the low preseason expectations:
As I mentioned in the press conference yesterday, been doing this for six years. I'm convinced now that accountability, discipline, structure, character, and trust is more important than some of the plays that we draw up. I feel very confident in all the aspects of our football program, from the effort, the team chemistry, accountability, our academic support, strength and conditioning support, everything involved. That's the reason why these guys are having success, because they're buying in. They're not doing it for theirselves, they're doing it for the guys next to them. It's a great team effort.
On Justin Blackmon running the length of the goaline before scoring on his first TD catch:
To be honest with you, I didn't know he did it. Somebody came up and told me later. I was unaware of it. But, you know, we've always played the game with class. When you practice for a month, you get in a game, sometimes you do things like that. I'm for him doing more of that for us. I like touchdowns. So the one thing, we don't taunt players. I don't like to taunt. He's just cutting across the field, having a little fun, proving his ankle was back to normal (laughter).
Brandon Weeden, Quarterback
On what Coach (Dana) Holgorsen has meant to the team this season:
I think he came in and instilled confidence. He brought a different attitude. Obviously, he's a very laid back guy. I think everybody just bought in. He's a fun guy to be around, but he's also a very good offensive mind. Fortunately we had pieces in place to make this thing work. He's a great play caller. The guy can really call plays. You know, I'm happy for him. He's never won 11 games. For Coach Gundy, as well. Words can't describe it. I can't describe it. It's a special feeling we're feeling right now.
On the now vacant offensive coordinator position:
I want to be able to enjoy the win. I want the team to enjoy the win. When we come back from break, I want to set down with some of our players on offense. I want to hear what they have to say. I want to know how they feel about what we're doing on offense. I want to know how much they really know about the system. I want to set down with our coaches and visit with them and find out how much they really know. I don't know a lot about it. I was planning on learning next year. But lesson learned for me. It's the same way that I dealt with Coach Fedora's offense. I sat back and watched it for a year, and then the second year I got in there and learned it. I'm expecting to learn it from these guys. I'm expecting to learn it from our coaches, and then make the decision what's best for our football team. We're going to be very exciting on offense. We're going to throw it and we're going to run it and we're going to play fast, just like we have. There haven't been any decisions made on this position at this time.
On being disappointed that the season is over:
Yeah, I mean, I'm kind of having a hard time taking my pads off. It's been a rollercoaster, the way we started. Like Coach Gundy was talking about, ups and downs as expected. We just kept the course, stayed focused on what we were trying to do one week at a time. Yeah, I mean, coming in here thinking you're going to win 11 games, I'll be honest, I don't think there's many guys in the locker room that did. But we all knew that if we came together as a team, anything could happen. We could even beat anybody on our schedule. Yeah, this feeling right now, like I said, it's pretty special. It's a special group of guys. I think the reason we had so much success, one, is we don't have any distractions; two, is there's no "I" guys. It's all about us as a team. There's nobody that's worried about themselves individually. That's the reason we won 11 games.
On Justin Blackmon:
I mean, yeah, absolutely. If not more. He's a special player. I think he kind of got mad at me a minute because I wasn't throwing the ball early on. He said, Throw me the daggum ball. I was like, okay, we'll see what happens. I think the next play we threw the bomb. He is just a competitor; he's a very smart football player. He's made me better; he's made this offense obviously a lot better. Guy is an excellent player. He's done it all 13 games. He's probably been the most consistent player in the country. That's why he won the Biletnikoff Award.
Markelle Martin, Cornerback
On whether he was worried about Arizona quarterback Nick Foles and Arizona's passing game coming in:
I think the main thing is we was concerned about what we could do. We knew they were going to catch some passes, run the ball a lot. For us to be physical, come up, attack the ball, continue to buy into our plan was going to work well for us. The defense did that. They attacked the ball and forced turnovers.
On the personal foul penalties here that kept Arizona drives going:
We just kind of brushed it off. When you're trying to be physical defensively, those kind of penalties just happen. Brush it off, line up, play the next play.
On his 61 yard interception return for a touchdown:
We was in a man coverage deal. We had made some tweaks to it during the week. That route actually gave us problems during the week just trying to plan for it. Our corners and our coaches trusted the safeties could make the play. I just broke on it. We had good pressure from the D line. It was kind of like a dream.
Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver
On his 70 yard touchdown catch:
I mean, you know, it was a big play. It was a great play called by Holgorsen. I think it changed momentum, gave us a lot of spark as far as offense. Kind of made us want to come out, get it more. I think it gave us a lot of momentum.
On running the length of the goaline before scoring on his first TD catch:
I just went out there having fun. You know, it's a Bowl game. We practiced three weeks with our own team. I was just happy to be out there with another color jersey lined up across from us. I wanted to have a little fun. That's all it was.
On the season as a whole, where you've come from to where you are now:
You know, it's the whole offense really because it starts with the offensive line, then it goes to Brandon just trusting me, giving me the opportunity to get the ball and make plays. It even goes back to Holgorsen to calling the plays. It's the whole offensive group. It's a team effort. The defense pushes me every week in practice. The hardest coverage I've seen have been in defense, against our own defense in practice all week. It's really just a team effort. They push me; I push them.
Dan Bailey, Kicker
On his mindset coming into the game:
Well, I mean, one thing that Coach DeForest and Coach Gundy always tell us is, “you're only one play away from starting.” Just because I started on kicks doesn't mean I'm one play away from punting. You have to be ready at all times. Luckily I've been kind of practicing with Quinn all year and kind of just hanging in there. It really wasn't a big deal. I mean, kind of caught me off guard a little bit. But, you know, I didn't really have time to think about it. I just went in with the mindset to have fun with it, enjoy it, it's my last game. Not everybody gets the opportunity to do all three in their career, so it was kind of a fun way to end my career.
On the possibility of leaving college early for the NFL Draft:
I still have to talk with my family. We'll talk about it and we'll make a decision here pretty quick.
Mike Stoops, Head Coach
On what type of effect could this loss have on this program:
Well, it's hard to say. Obviously we're not there yet. There's still a lot of room for improvement in a lot of different areas. We have to reevaluate, you know, all aspects of our program: coaching, philosophy, personnel. That's obviously the most important part. It's unfortunate. I thought we prepared well. We should have played better than we did. Turnovers were certainly a big part of it. Just lack of execution is a big part of it. Like I say, I don't know. We'll have to reevaluate a lot of things we're doing within our program. It's hard to say. It's disappointing we didn't play better in back to back bowl games. We lost to two really good football teams. There are no excuses. They played better than we did. They were a better team than we were tonight.It's disappointing. I just know we're better than the way we've played here of late. For whatever reason, we didn't finish very strong.
On the interception return for a touchdown shifting momentum:
No. I thought our defense was playing well. Obviously we busted a coverage on the long touchdown. I thought we could fight our way back in the game because I thought our defense matched up well. I thought we would be able to give ourselves a chance to get back in the game. I thought the couple scoring drives before the half, not getting points, really hurt us. We had a couple opportunities there. You know, the play before the half, I thought it was 4th and 25. That was my fault. Again, I thought offensive interference lost a down. So we just missed those opportunities to close it to a two score game.
I don't know, offensively we struggled every gain getting down to the 30 yard line and not being able to push the ball any further. That was a story of a big part of our season offensively. But defensively I thought we'd be able to give ourselves a chance to get back in the game.
On the team’s disappointing end to the season:
Well, it's hard to say. I mean, again, there's good in every season and there's bad. Obviously the end. I don't know. Those are questions, obviously disappointed we didn't finish. We played a schedule on the back end. Again, there's no disgrace in losing to the quality teams we did. Again, I'm proud of our players. I'm proud of what we've accomplished up until this point. You know, it's disappointing we didn't go further. But, again, we have to do some things to get better as a program, and that's universal. That's not just me, it's not just the players. This is a philosophy that it takes to win in big time athletics. That's what we're in. Again, I'm really proud of our players, what they do on a consistent basis. Now, we're far from perfect, all of us in this room. So I'm not going to criticize my players. They play hard and they prepare well and they're a very disciplined group of guys that I enjoy. So we'll retool, regroup, and bounce back. We did this year, but everyone thought, again, we lost a bunch of guys. But tomorrow I'll be excited about the future. We got good players in this program, certainly some good quarterbacks to build this team around. Again, our players will fight back and we'll try to do a better job next year.
On Blackmon’s 70 yard touchdown:
We were rolling that side, pushing our coverage over to Blackmon. It was just a mental mistake.
On what the program could change before 2011:
COACH STOOPS: Obviously, our ability to run the football or identify with the run game is something that offensively we need to do a better job more consistently. If we're going to have our big sets, then our big players need to play big. For whatever reason, we've struggled this back end of the season running the football; play action passes need to be set up off the run. That's what we like to do. But we need to get better at that. Again, we need to run the ball better, more efficiently offensively. Defensively, again, I thought replacing those two defensive ends, we have some great interior players, young players. I think we have some great secondary guys. I think we have all the linebackers back. So, again, I'm excited about what we're doing philosophy wise defensively. We may need to retool some things. But, again, I think we have a great nucleus of players coming back. We lose some great ones every year. That's what happens. But, again, all these guys sitting at the table tonight will be back. Again, we have some great players. We'll see what Juron does, but I think Dan Buckner can be an immediate impact guy to add to an already great stable of wide receivers. Again, I'm encouraged by what we have coming back. Change is good every year. We all go through it. But we'll compete. Like I say, our players, we'll get better. I'm sure the Pac 10 is going to be just as competitive as it is. But we'll match up. I'm confident of that.
Nick Foles, Quarterback
On how OSU’s defense caused problems for the passing game:
They did what we studied. They were moving around a lot and did a good job of mixing stuff up. It was on me. Those balls just weren't good throws. One was too low, one I threw it too late. On my part, just wasn't a good job on those passes.
On playing in his home state of Texas:
I was excited just to be in my home state, real close to where I grew up, play in a place that I played three times my senior year. It was exciting to go out there. I didn't play near as well as I wanted to. The outcome wasn't what we wanted. He worked hard. The guys fought and gave everything they had on the field. Like Coach said, the mistakes were too much to overcome. That's on me, on everybody on the team. We win as a team; we lose as a team. We'll move forward and have a great off season, be back next year.
Robert Golden, Safety
On Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon:
He was a great receiver, had great technique. I feel like we held him down pretty much, just getting one big play for 71 yards. Other than that, he didn't do too much. He's a great receiver. He's one of the best.
On Blackmon’s 70 yard touchdown:
The defense and the offense, we always get a chance to come back and compete. We never was really out of the game. We kept trying to fight, and they just made more plays than we did.
Mike Gundy, Head Coach
On the team’s contributions to the Valero Alamo Bowl victory:
Well (OSU receiver Justin) Blackmon is so elusive and so physical and (OSU quarterback Brandon) Weeden has such a great touch on that ball, but what a great job by our defense and (OSU kicker) Dan Bailey.
On Oklahoma State’s defense:
They’ve done a great job throughout the year. They give some plays but they force turnovers and they continued to do it. That’s what changed the game and Dan Bailey being able to punt the way he did was really, really good.
On reaching 11 wins:
Our goal is to have an opportunity to win every game we play and we fell short a couple times this year, but for these seniors to win 11 games means a lot. They will always have a special place in my heart and our coaching staff’s heart because those guys have paid the price. Nobody gave them a chance and they won 11 games.
On the possibility of Blackmon and Weeden leaving early for the NFL:
I think they both need to come back. I think both of them can mature. I know that they can develop and they can really, really be good football players next year for our team and for themselves, I think they can elevate themselves in the (NFL) draft. We’ll sit down and talk about it but I really feel like they need to be in college next year.
Ugo Chinasa, Defensive End
On getting pressure on Arizona quarterback Nick Foles:
You get the pressure on the quarterback, he thinks about the pass rush instead of the receivers running their routes so you confuse him a lot and then you force turnovers.
Bill Young, Defensive Coordinator
On Markelle Martin's Illegal Hit
It's extremely frustrating, but the rules are for a reason, you have to protect these young guys, you can't have a lot of guys getting blown up.
On Markelle Martin's Performance
Just outstanding, just like he has played all year long, an excellent football player. Really tuned in on the sideline, you could look him in the eye, he had the eye of the tiger.
On Success of the Last Couple Years
It's been wonderful. The last couple year's have been really, really satisfying for us as coaches and the players have responded so well and done such a tremendous job. The chemistry and togetherness of our coaching staff and players, particularly defensively has just been phenominal. The three guys I work with on defense are the three best defensive coaches out there.
Nick Foles, Quarterback
On how to move on from the loss in the Valero Alamo Bowl:
You look forward. You instill confidence (in the team). You have a great offseason, you keep moving forward and you can’t look back. We didn’t end this season like we wanted to but I know what type of team we have; I know what type of people we have. We will move forward. I’ll make sure of that.
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State Head Coach
Valero has been awesome, San Antonio has been tremendous, we’ve had a great week and it’s been a lot of fun. The Alamo Heights practice facilities and everyone involved has really made it a good week.
I know our players have had a lot of fun. Again, I want to congratulate Arizona and Coach Stoops. Being here, it’s been fun to watch them on tape. As Coach (Stoops) said, there’s gonna be a lot of skill on the field and it should be a very exciting game to watch. I’m sure ESPN is really fired up to have them on their primetime television. We want to think everybody for the hospitality this week. We’re looking forward to getting it kicked off. It’s always fun to be here for six or seven days but then you kind of get excited about playing the game once you get close to it.
On team distractions concerning Holgorsen the pending decisions for Weeden/Blackmon; on his other coaches not feeling distracted:
I think there are some distractions, I’m glad they feel that way. For ten days or so there was a lot to talk about it. College football has changed. Head coaching changes that happen in early December, which then fires off coordinator changes, is much different now than it used to be years ago. I think that certainly affects the players. I don’t know that we’ll ever be able to correct that. When you finish a season you’d like to go to a bowl with the players and coaches that have earned the right to be there, and work hard and enjoy being around each other. Fortunately for us, with the excitement surrounding Coach Horgolsen it happened early enough where it kind of settled down the last two weeks. But I don’t think there’s any question from a coaching standpoint that in those situations it is a bit of a distraction because we’re all on such a routine in the way that we prepare for practice and the way we script for practice. Each coach has certain responsibilities and then if you don’t have a coach in that area somebody has to make up for it and make it happen. We’ve been able to do that but we’re fortunate that we have Orie Lemon and Brandon Weeden and some mature players that were able to help us ride the wave. I think they practiced well the last couple of weeks.
On whether the bowl’s schedule of events impacts team preparation and focus:
The setup here is very good because we have our own practice facility and we can set our own times. It’s been convenient for us to have meetings in the morning and practice in the middle of the day. It’s went very well. We had a small restaurant fire yesterday and had some fire trucks show up so I think all the coaches’ kids were fired up about that. But we were finishing up on meetings and heading out to practice anyway. The routine has been very good here because of the way the practice sights are set up.
On if they’ve spent more time on kick coverage in practice since Quinn Sharp is unavailable:
Not any more time than we do in any bowl preparation. Dan Bailey has worked for the last couple years on kicking and punting. It’s unfortunate that Quinn is not here because he’s had such a great year, basically the last two years. But Dan’s been able to step in and because he’s worked at it for a couple years we’re able to keep our routine the same.
On his personal accomplishments as head coach this season:
Well, personally I get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing the players have success. I know a lot of times, from the media standpoint, you guys continue to ask me about me. But we have 127 guys on our team and some of them of very talented, some of them aren’t. Some of them came in somewhat ready to play college football, some of them didn’t. But to watch them mature and grow as young men and, just like last night at the bowl function we had, I enjoyed sitting there and watching the players from both teams get up and have a good time and be involved in activities where there teams enjoyed seeing themselves and seeing their teammates have fun. Like Bo Bowling. I was watching Bo Bowling and I was thinking that Bo Bowling was in a very difficult situation, not only football wise, but with his life a year ago at this time and now he’s come back, he’s going to graduate from college, he’s had a great senior season, he’s got a smile on his face every day. That’s really an enjoyable part for me personally.
College football for coaches, there’s going to be some ups and downs from this point, more so than ever in my opinion, because of the parity that’s out there. So I think you have to keep in perspective what’s really important. Obviously, we have to win football games but we’re in the business to develop young men and when we see them have success off the field it’s an enjoyable part. This season we’ve had a number of players who have committed themselves and stayed focused and been able to have a good year and have a lot of fun. When you can finish a season in bowl game preparation and the players still enjoy being around each other and the coaches are enjoying each other, then as a head coach I get a lot of enjoyment out of that because it’s not always that way. Being in (coaching) 20 years there’s a number of years I’ve been with teams and, as the season finished up, they didn’t really want to practice and they weren’t excited about being around each other so we’ve been able to work through that this year and they’ve enjoyed themselves. For me personally, I get a lot of satisfaction out of that.
On how bowl games help build into the next season:
The first thing you get from the people involved in your program in bowl preparation is that it’s a great opportunity to work a lot of your young players. We haven’t been able to do as much of that lately because we’ve been concerned about those young guys staying healthy in order to give us a good demonstration, a good look in practice for our first and second team. We do have a certain segment of practice, early, the first two or three of four practices where we let the young guys get out there and have some fun and scrimmage and then we taper off and get back into a practice routine more like the season. I don’t think there’s any question that if you’re fortunate to be in bowls and you’re practicing in December, you’re keeping your team together and they’re still lifting weights and they’re still training, I think it’s a positive for your program, but more so from a recruiting standpoint. The players that we’re all chasing, that we’re trying to get to come to our school and be a part of our program, they’re very aware of the bowl of the bowl situation. So if you can keep a consecutive streak of bowl games going on I think it shows where you’re heading as a football team and certainly helps in your recruiting. We all know the very most important thing we do is recruit good people and good players and it makes our job a lot easier.
On the late 8 p.m. start for the Valero Alamo Bowl:
We’re trying to keep the same routine. We’ve made the adjustment in the past few years, playing these late games based on of television. You kind of change your routine a little bit but the players have started to adjust. We play a lot of 6 o’ clock games and some 7 o’clock games but we did play one 8 o’clock game in Louisiana but we try to keep the routine the same.
On this past month:
I would say dissappointment would be an accurate assessment, where we finished, we're a little frustrated. But again, I have to look at where we're at as a team, and as a program, and the way you compete and how realistic chances you have of winning every time you step on the field and that's the overall view that I take. And really don't feel bad about where we're at as a program, and how close we are. Certainly there's some areas where we need to improve to take the next step in trying to accumulate more wins and continually compete for championships. We fell short in November and December, but again, I still feel like our program is stronger and is continually getting stronger each year. We replaced seven starters on defence from a year ago, really pleased for the most part the way we competed defensively and offensively. Kind of wish we would have been able to run the football a little bit better this year, that was something we didn't do as well as we would have liked. And then I think probably our biggest area of dissappointment probably would have been special teams, just our overall performance in special teams. When you add all that up, that equates to about where we're at, we need to get better, in all phases a little bit better. We're not far off, again we competed at a very high level against a very competitive schedule, which I think in college football goes unnoticed, is the scheduling of who you play. And certainly when you look at the Pac 10, we've got the hardest schedules in the country, I think it's 1-10 or 1-12 when you look at all Pac 10 schedules. So the accumulation of all that, the wear and tear, I think we're all effected by it. Just talking to Mike about what their going to go through next year, with nine conference games, that's a different animal. And I don't think the Pac 10 gets enough credit for doing that and that's why other conferences don't do it, because they understand the totality of losses goes up when you play more conference games and that's what's unfortunate. But those are, we can talk all day, my feelings on that, it really doesn't matter, we play the schedules that are set, overall, I'm very pleased, very proud of the way our kids compete.
On Arizona's defense:
I think that the edge pressure that Arizona has on defense and what they're getting on the perimeter, coverage-wise, in my opinion, has gone unnoticed. It's not something you really talk about because I think the media feels like when you're preparing to play a game against an opponent that you're always going to try and talk good about them. I've watched Arizona play several games during the season because they play so late at night, after our games. I've been home, I've watched them play, and I thought they had better edge pressure than what people thought and I thought they've done a better job in the secondary than what people have talked about. It'll be an interesting matchup, cause obviously our strength on offense is our ability to make plays on the perimeter and our opportunities that that provides for us to run the football, so I think it's going to be a really good matchup.
On OSU and Arizona Meeting Three Times in the Next Two Seasons
I don’t think it will have an affect as much on game planning as what people think because what coach just said about comparing notes with Bob, personnel is different. The plays and the defensive schemes that Arizona has, I am sure there will be similarities and the offense at Oklahoma State, there will be plays that look the same, but it’s based on who is rushing the passer, who is playing safety and how well that linebacker runs, and can that left tackle protect, and can that wide out make a play, and can that quarterback make a throw. Personnel is a much bigger issue than schemes. Most coaches that are coaching at this level are pretty good coaches, and they understand x’s and o’s. There will be some differences, but most guys know how to draw up plays, so it’s more based on personnel in my opinion than the schemes.
On Keeping Players Focused and Motivating Them With Wildcat Billboards in Town
I have never been big on that type of motivation. I still think it’s based on your preparation and pride you take on going out and playing the game and competing. Again, I just don’t know that going into a meeting and saying there is a billboard out there that says this is Cat Country, and saying you guys need to play hard today is just not going to do much for the team. What we have done in the last month, and that’s no disrespect to the billboard, I like the billboard to be honest with you, it’s a good looking billboard. In fact, Oklahoma State has had some billboards down here in Texas at times that have gotten people’s attention. I think it’s all good, it’s fun, but I just don’t know bringing that in a team meeting is going to do much for us. I think the preparation is done, and the pride they take in competition and understanding that when you go play a game, we try to win every game we play and put everything you can into it on, I would say Saturday, but I guess it’s Wednesday and then you go on down the road.
On Increased Expectations of Oklahoma State Football Program
I think our expectations have been raised because we have had success, which is good. One thing that has changed in Stillwater with our Oklahoma State family, you know I have been around Oklahoma State football for a long time, and we have played in games over the years where when we lost and everyone thought it was okay and we just go back out started practicing and get ready for the next game. But in the last few years everybody gets upset and coaches don’t know what they are doing and players aren’t as good as everybody thought, and so the bar has been raised which I think is good. But our reputation across the country I think is changing some, which I think is very important. I still go back to what I said earlier, that we are going to work extremely hard as coaches and players are going to put a lot into it and we are going to try to win every game we play. I would like the say that every year we would like to win 14, but I know the chances of that happening aren’t. So if we do come up short in any game at any time, we are going to try to correct the mistakes that we made, and we are going to go back out and practice and get better and try to win the next game. I don’t think there is any other approach because you got to keep everybody going and moving that direction, so as a coach and as a coaching staff it’s important that we satisfy ourselves and the players and they compete and give themselves and opportunity to win each week. That’s the approach we take and what we have done for the last six years.
Mike Stoops, Arizona Head Coach
I want to again thank Valero for being such a big part of this week. Being involved in intercollegiate sports, enabling these players to experience something like this takes a lot of resources and certainly Valero continues to make this Alamo Bowl one of the best out there. I think its tradition gets stronger each year and certainly we are awfully excited about having a West Coast team or Pac 10 team involved in this game playing such a strong opponent from the Big 12. I think it gets a great credibility. I think its exciting for our players. Obviously we try to recruit as well as we can in the state of Texas so it gives us a chance to show the people of Texas what football is like on the West Coast. Hopefully tomorrow we can go out and add to the legacy that has been left behind by a lot of great players. I’ve been involved in the game one other time – Drew Brees scored when I was at Kansas State in the last, I think, 20 seconds so maybe Nick (Foles) can bring some of that magic with him from his high school here with us. Just excited to be involved in such a big game, playing such a great opponent in Oklahoma State. I think you’re gonna see a lot of skill on the field tomorrow night -- two teams that play awfully hard and try to mirror each other in a lot of different ways. We’re just now in final preparation and excited to go out and play a good, clean game tomorrow night.
On if the team will prep differently during its walk-thru since it’s the program’s first game inside a dome:
Not really. We’ll throw the ball around probably. We don’t do much the day before the game schematically or strategy wise unless there’s some things that we feel like we need to clean up. We’ll do a little more than we usually do just to get a little bit better feel of the place. We’ll run around, throw the ball around a little bit more than we do but I don’t see that being a difference in this game.
On the changes to special teams implemented for the bowl game:I think the biggest thing for us special teams wise, we changed some personnel. Went to some of our more reliable, had to go to a lot more starters just because of the lack of productions and coverage and returns. We really fell off the second half of the season so that’s where the biggest changes were made. William Wright will be back returning punts. He’s been much more explosive than what we’ve had back there. Hopefully we can just get on track and create some field position with a little bit of a change in personnel.
On whether or not he has seen the Arizona Wildcat recruiting billboards:
Yes I did. I saw them last night, thought they were great. It’s really neat to see. We’ve been very fortunate to get some quality players, not as many as we would’ve liked, but I guess when you look at the players that we’ve got from the state of Texas they’ve all been very productive, very complete football players. That goes to the high school coaching, the attitude and effort is very significant. That’s why you see such great players continually come out of the state of Texas and go to a lot of different places to have some success.
On the difference between the team’s focus this year compared to last season’s Holiday Bowl:
We seem to be much more focused on some of the details of the preparation. From my vantage point I see a difference in our attitude and our practices and hopefully that will carry over to tomorrow night. A lot happened a year ago and hopefully we’ve learned from some of our mistakes. What you do as you get older, through these bowl experiences I think you evaluate each one – what’s the good part and the bad part. Certainly there’s a lot of bad in all the stuff we did leading up to the game. But I just feel we understand what kind of game this is gonna be. Getting embarrassed a year ago was a tough feeling. We’ve never not competed an that’s not what our program is about. This is a team that’s competed since day one when we took over this program. I look for us to compete in a lot better way tomorrow night.
On how prepared his team is for the Valero Alamo Bowl:
I think we’ve had great preparation. I think we’re excited about competing with a top level team. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a win but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t played well throughout the course of the last month of the season. We just need to play better as a team, make a few more plays and just do what we’ve been doing. We’re not far off and our players have not lost confidence in what we’re doing. I feel good about our team, we’re not in flux. I just think we’ve taken this challenge and been through some times, played some really good football teams over that stretch. We just have to learn to play better and it’ll prepare us for this game tomorrow night.
On the late 8 p.m. start for the Valero Alamo Bowl:
This is usually when we do start. This would be 7:15 p.m. our time so this is pretty standard for Arizona. We play a lot of late games. We usually go to movies the day of the game just to keep distractions (down) and get them away when it’s this late of a game. That’s the only thing that’s a little different when we play a night game.
On the main ingredients of an upset win:
Having balance, I think in your team, is critical, our ability to be able to run it and throw it, I think offensively, is what you look for. And then you have to play well in all three phases, offense, defense and special teams, usually is what wins you football games, if you play great defense and you're great on special teams, you're probably going to be in the game. You play good in defense, good in special teams, and good in offense, you're definitely going to win the game, so winning two of three phases or winning all three phases, enables you to beat good teams, and that's what you have to do, that's what we're going to concentrate on, playing as complete as we can in all three phases, that may seem generic but that's really what happens when you beat good teams, in any of the upsets that we've had, whether it was against Iowa, whether it was against USC, whether it was against Oregon, those were all, we played good in all phases, we didn't necessarily play great in all phases, we played very good in all phases.
On his familiarity with OSU coaches:
It's hard to prepare for, I don't care if you've seen it for twenty years, their ability to execute, their ability to get the ball out of their hands quick, their ability to space the field, those are all characteristics, getting the ball out quick, those are all characteristics of a good offense, they execute very well and obviously the trigger guy [Weeden] makes it work and certainly he's a very talented player. It doesn't matter as much knowledge as you have, you understand routes, what kind of routes they like in certain situations but still it gets down to execution on both sides of the ball.
On if it means anything to play an old Big 12 foe:
There's certainly no feelings from the past, somebody asked me that a long time ago, I've been gone from Oklahoma for seven years now, so whatever great games we had with Oklahoma State are far away and obviously, my affiliation to Arizona is very unique, the only game, I watch college football, I watch their team, but the only game that means anything to me is the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game, that's only because my brother, Bob's affiliation to Oklahoma. But besides that, Mike, we're all friends in this business and I think the longer you're in it, you have more respect for people who go through what you do day in and day out and what we have to deal with has changed a considerable amount and trying to build programs, which we have tried to do, this has been fun to be with Mike this week, but my affiliation, it means nothing, this is all about Arizona and winning for Arizona and that's it really
On asking Bob for advice on playing OSU:
We talk, basically what you talk about is, I look at all the film, this is what I see, I see things this way, is this how you, it kind of reaffirms what you're seeing, whether these tendencies are true, it doesn't matter, each play is different, they're all drastically different, they look alike, a lot, but the plays will be different, they're the same plays but they're just different, so there's not a whole lot you can do, they have a lot of diversification in their offense and a lot of offense.
Tim Kish, Defensive Coordinator
We’ve had great preparation these last couple of weeks getting ready for the game. We have nothing but the utmost respect for Oklahoma State University offense. We know this is gonna be a tremendous challenge for us. It seems like in the Pac 10 there’s a tremendous challenge every week. What’s unlikely is we’re sitting here talking about the team that’s number one in the country in total offense. I don’t think that goes as highly regarded when you’re playing the likes of Oregon and some folks like that then you really realize you have a tremendous clallenge on your hands, going up against this kind of offense. We realize that, we respect that, we prepare that way and we’re looking forward to the challenge here Wednesday night.
On preparing his defense for OSU wide receiver Justin Blackmon:
I’ve been asked that question already a couple times and I’m gonna tell you, the hard thing about (Oklahoma State’s) offense is they’ve got several tremendous receivers. It’s not just Blackmon – he seems like catches everything within 10 feet of him so he’s his own entity. The other receivers in that corps are really gifted athletes and we respect them as well. It’s gonna be a challenge to us because we can’t throw all our eggs at one receiver and expect to leave the other guys isolated. So that’s gonna be our challenge going into this thing.
On evaluating defensive back Trevin Wade’s performance during the team’s preparation over the last month:
He’s had great focus out there at practice and he’s been a good leader. I think his preparation has probably been the best it has been all year, so from that standpoint we’re enthused by that and that’s usually a reflection of his play at the end of the game.
On compacting the amount of the team’s bowl preparation from last year:
I think sending the guys home for a couple days really made a big difference. We were there for almost eight or nine days last year in San Diego. It’s just an excuse to say that’s the reason we didn’t come out and play well. (This year) we had plenty of time to get prepared at home when we weren’t on the road recruiting. So we felt like we had an opportunity to let these guys go home and be with their families. Even though they didn’t get to spend Christmas Day with them, they were there prior to and I’m speaking for all four of them that they appreciated having that little break in between. It helped when we came back here and got into San Antonio Christmas Eve and went out and practiced Christmas Day. The focus has been tremendous with our players. The energy level has been up, the enthusiasm has been up and we expect that to transfer over to Wednesday night’s game.
On how preparing has changed without former Co-Defensive Coordinator Greg Brown:
I’m sleeping at the convention center meeting room across from the hotel. You know, it’s been interesting. We have a routine that we go through setting up the gameplan and obviously I’ve been doing most of that myself. Certainly, Coach (Mike) Stoops has been voicing his opinion on some things that we want to have in the gameplan and ready to go for Wednesday night. We want to have enough ammunition going into the game but we want it to be simple enough to go out and execute. We know the challenge we have ahead of us is trying to stop them and trying to make them out-execute us. That’s kind of been the plan for this whole thing.
We are short a coach. You know, Joe Salavea is coming in as our defensive line coach. He’s been here for three or four practices right now. It’s great to have him around our guys. He’s a great motivator and it will help having him on the field Wednesday and we’ll take care of the other position after the bowl game.
Brooks Reed, Defensive End
On leaving the Arizona football program as a senior:
When I first came in here in ’06 we hadn’t been to a bowl game in nine years. We were that class that was starting that rebuilding state. I didn’t start intil 2007 but a lot of these guys, this is a huge class, I felt like we’ve had a huge contribution to the success this program has had in the last three years.
On his initial reaction to facing Oklahoma State’s offense:
I knew they had a pretty good offense. I didn’t know they were the best total offense. As soon as I started watching film I noticed they like to throw the ball around. Obviously, as a defensive lineman, as a pass rushing defensive end, that’s a good thing. (Rushing the passer) is what I like to do.
Ricky Elmore, Defensive End
On the team’s first game in an indoor stadium in the history of Arizona football:
I wasn’t really aware of that. I know the weather shouldn’t be a factor. It’s still football, it’s still a turf field, I don’t think being inside a dome is gonna change of the aspect of the game.
On leaving the Arizona football program as a senior:
We came in with a chip on our shoulder. We’ve had our ups and downs and definitely mad a lot of strides. But we want to leave this program somewhere where they can keep on building. That’s the way these seniors want to go out. We’ve been working real hard these last five years and we want to leave it on a good note.
On his initial reaction to facing Oklahoma State’s offense:
I really don’t follow any other football besides the Pac 10 so when I heard who we were playing I did a little research and when I found out I started watching some film and just saw their offense was a lot like ours. We go against our offense day in and day out so I think it’s something we see a lot. You know, quick throws, getting the ball out, the screens, the pass, pass, run. We’ve got to make plays all around the field. It’s just going to be a really good challenge for us because they are a really good offense and they have a lot of playmakers.
On the Wildcat senior class:
When we came in, we just had high expectations of that class. I think it was one of the higher ranked recruiting classes that ever came to U of A. Plus our program was in a position that we weren't really proud of. A lot of the guys just came in with expectations to work hard and turn this program around and get it back to the spotlight that we wanted to be in. When you want to work like that, and turn a team like that, you get really close with your teammates and the seniors. And even my brother, we've been playing football together ever since I was eight years old. It was more of a brotherly atmosphere along with a lot of the guys, you're doing all the workouts, you're going to school together, you're doing all the meetings, you just spend so much time together. This class was just real close, we graduated some guys last year that we miss a lot, I think these guys just want to go out for each other and play for each other."
On his twin brother being forced to walk away from football with heart problems:
"It's hard when you have to walk away, especially your twin, you're always a lot closer with a twin brother than a normal brother. It was hard but i think it was motivating at the same time, he was ready to show me a lot of things, how to be stronger and help me get through a lot of things I had to go through in the last five years."
On his gameday face paint:
"Everyone's been hating on it back in California, but I have to do it."
Joseph Perkins, Safety
On Oklahoma State having more fans in attendance and how the defense plans to adjust to the crowd noise inside the Alamodome:
Really, when you play at Oregon, I don’t think it gets any louder than that. That place rocks all the time. Being indoors it should be a fun experience. The crowd noise, we actually love it so we should be fine.
On leaving the Arizona football program as a senior:
We’re just trying to keep the mindset right for the freshmen now. We all know this will probably be our last game for me. The others, they’re gonna go to the (NFL). But we wanna go ahead and keep this going from now on, instill it in the freshman and make it look like they’re privileged to go to a bowl game. When we first got here the Las Vegas Bowl was something totally new for us so we’re trying to get the freshmen to know that it doesn’t come easy. It’s a fight to get bowl eligible.
Paul Vassallo, Linebacker
On whether Oklahoma State’s offense resembles any Pac 10 offenses:
Besides our team, I think a little bit of (Arizona State). They like to use the screen game and the quick pass game to get their offense going. We were able to have some success at getting the quarterback at ASU so hopefully that continues.
On coming out of high school without a college scholarship:
I did go to a small private high school, I think my graduating class was right around 120. Talking to the guys, we kind of just make fun of each other about it, especially me, one of our linebackers, R.J. Young, I think he went to a school of 4 or 5,000 people, I had 500 in mine, I think the size may have had something to do with it, I'm not really sure why, but I definitely was a non-scholarship guy coming out of high school.
On choosing Arizona over Iowa State after junior college:
I don't think I could have asked for anything more, Iowa State, the weather was a lot like home, the snow and everything, so I kind of wanted to stay away from that, when i found out the three linebackers were all graduating, I definitely was intrigued by that.
On the success he's had this year:
I expect success from myself, but as to what extent, no, I couldn't really tell you i expected this and that, but i always have high expectations for myself.
On receiving a yelling from Coach Mike Stoops:
I think it's all the same, regardless of whatever coach is in your face, you just want to make sure you get it right the next time so you don't have the same conversation over again.
Brooks Reed, Defensive End
On Getting to Quarterback Brandon Weeden
That’s always key, especially in an offense like that. I know they have only given up nine sacks all year. They are very efficient at getting rid of the football and hopefully we can have good coverage down the field.
On Losing the Last Four Games
We have to try to redeem ourselves. The last four games we didn’t get to the quarterback. It was disappointing knowing we left a lot of opportunities on the field, but we know that we are that close. If we come out great this game, that will just propel next year’s class
On Trying to Win his Final Game at Arizona
That’s the goal, especially since we missed that opportunity back in Tucson. Going out with a win against this team is even greater.
On Relationship with Senior Defensive End Ricky Elmore
We have been friends the whole time I have been here. I pretty much roomed with the guy freshman year. It’s been really fun playing next to the same guy. He does a really good job of getting to the quarterback on big downs, I wish I could have done the same.
Dana Holgorsen, Offensive Coordinator
On his relationship with running back Bryant Ward early on:
He was extremely mad when I got the job. Wouldn’t look at me, wouldn’t talk to me. Probably a whole month went by and we started putting in the offense, he saw that he was gonna play a little bit and due to the fact that he was one of our better players he ended up playing about twice as much as he did last year. So, you’re welcome.
On Bo Bowling’s impact on the offense :
Really did a great job this year. Gave us a lot of leadership. He wasn’t with us in the spring but if he would’ve he probably would’ve been first team all conference. It took about half a year for me to figure out he was one of our better players.
On Brandon Weeden:
Really improved this year, just from game one to game twelve I’ve never coached a kid that’s shown that much improvement from the first game to the last game.
On Justin Blackmon:
He bailed us out of a lot of situations early, but me and Brandon (Weeden) weren’t very good. We figured out if we just threw it up to him then we’d have a chance at winning a few games.
On Kendall Hunter:
I came in and got all these questions about how much I’m gonna run the ball, are you gonna throw, are you gonna lead the nation in passing, blah, blah, blah. My whole thing was if we hand it to (Kendall) and he’s getting yards then we’re gonna keep handing it to him. He’s really the guy that made us tick. Having a threat like that in the backfield really made it easy to call plays. It really opened up some stuff down field.
On developing multiple talented offense players throughout the season:
We’re not really doing our job if we’re not getting better throughout three weeks of practice. I go back to the Kansas State game, the one game when we didn’t have Justin (Blackmon), when this guy, Bo (Bowling) stepped up and I think had 10 catches and 100 yards. I think seven of them were third down catches or whatever it was but that game where we didn’t have Justin was a turning point with Brandon (Weeden) as far as understanding the whole offense and getting other people involved. Josh Cooper had a huge game that game and Bo did and Joseph Randle did so it really opened up an opportunity for some other guys. The previous couple games Brandon would get the ball and just stare right at Justin and throw it to him and we’d throw a few touchdowns and he’d come off to the sidelines and I’d still be getting into him pretty good because it was a just a horrible decision. But that was part of the maturity process and starting to understand what the offense was about and getting other guys involved.
On Levy Adcock’s impact in the offensive line:
I’ll tell you one thing about the offensive line that really is pretty impressive, with only one returning starter and it really not being much of an issue. We figured out the most important piece of the puzzle and it was the guy we never talked about all year. I forgot Levy (Adcock) was even on our team. If you’re not really mentioning him that means he’s doing a dang good job. The fact that we never had to mention him all year was pretty impressive.
On Bo Bowling’s development in the offense:
I’ll tell ya, we should have figured it out against (Texas) A&M. He had a heck of a game against A&M, which was game four. The thing about Bo is, because he wasn’t here in the spring, we switched him around about four times. He played every single position for the first six games and when we finally settled him in at one position he became a really key part to the offense. He did a really good job of hanging in there.
Brandon Weeden, Quarterback
On going from third-string QB to starter in one year and having to adapt to a new offense:
Once I knew Dana was coming in I was extremely excited. I knew with the guys that we had in place we’d have a chance to be pretty special. It took some time, as expected, to get things going. But without these guys, everyone at this table, this offense wouldn’t have clicked the way it did. Everybody bought into the system, a total group effort, and it just made things easier. We got better every game and speaking for these guys everyone had a lot of fun doing it.
On how the layoff might affect the timing and speed of the offense:
No, we practice at a very high tempo. Everything we do is full speed. We’ve thrown the same routes like I say for a month straight. I don’t think the timing itself should be an issue. We’ve been doing it since the spring, we do the same stuff every day. My timing is pretty good with these guys.
Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver
On the chemistry with quarterback Brandon Weeden:
Last year we worked together a bunch with the second group and third group. Over the spring we just worked hard, tried to learn the offense, get something going, and it just kept building from there. We just keep getting better every time.
Levy Adcock, Offensive Lineman
On the offensive line giving up only nine sacks this season:
We started gelling in the spring and in the summer we went through little summer workouts, getting to know each other better and working at a fast pace. In the fall everything started clicking, running on all cylinders.
On having an older teammate like Weeden:
It's been great, really, cause he's the grownup on the team. He stepped right into the leadership role, he already knew what was going on, he'd been around the block a few times. Everybody already knew who the leader of our team was, it was nice.
On Weeden’s demeanor off the field:
You can just tell, when we're in the locker room and everything, he just seems like another 21-year-old man, that's about it. You don't even notice he's 27, he's just like a regular player.
On Weeden's demeanor on the field:
He has great poise, nothing gets to him really. He's just real calm about everything, he just takes control of everything.
Bo Bowling, Wide Receiver
On when he started to feel comfortable with the offense:
I think it was probably around the time of the (Kansas) State. That’s when I started feeling good and like Coach (Holgorsen) said, not having (Justin Blackmon) there, a lot of balls started coming my way so I got a chance to make plays. I think Brandon (Weeden) started feeling a little more comfortable with me, throwing to me and once I had a game like that I continued the rest of the season doing good.
On what was most difficult thing about his development this season:
Just knowing the offense. It’s pretty simple but once you have it down, you’ve got it down to a tee. You’re not thinking on the field and that’s the main thing. The less thinking you do out there, the more you’re reacting and the better you are.
Kendall Hunter, Running Back
On his ability to adapt to Holgorsen’s offense:
I just do what I can to help my team out. Also, I had to get back out there to the field, to the game I love like I used to because I was sitting out all last year. I told myself ‘I’m going to do what I can to help the team out this year.’
On his expectations heading into this season:
The first year, I didn't even know I could get it, they just kind of popped it on my, I was like, 'are you serious?' and I had to ask them again, 'are you sure? are you texting the right person?' cause they told me in a text message. But the second year I was striving for it, it's something I wanted to get again, when he [Holgorsen] first came in, I was like, 'well, what am I going to do?' The first thing when I heard it, I was like, 'oh well, I guess I could try linebacker.' Those were my first thoughts. It all worked out for the best actually, I got to play, he [Holgorsen] said twice as much, but it's really been about four times as much. It's been really fun, I've had a really good opportunity.
On offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen:
His offense is supposed to be this passing offense, spread offense, and we end up having two fullbacks and a running back back there, and everyone's like,' oh, what's going on here?' So I think it says a lot about us, we're willing to change and make sacrifices to do what we need to do and get out there, but when it was put in, me and [David] Paulsen were definitely licking our chops.
On running back Kendall Hunter:
It feels good because the fullback-running back relationship, it's pretty strong. If I'm not on the same page as him, I could get him hurt, and that will put a lot of pressure on you to do better and pay attention and know what you're going to do. It's been cool, I'm really glad that he's been so successful and that maybe I could help him out a little bit.
Brandon Weeden, Quarterback
On Avoiding Distractions
It’s not talked about much inside our locker room much, it’s really not. I think once Dana decided to come back and said he was going to coach everybody was pretty excited. Everybody realized that’s what we needed to win this game, so I think my situation and Blackmon’s situation, no one really talks about it, I haven’t talked to Blackmon about it, so it’s not really an issue. I think guys are staying focused on what’s important and that’s winning this game.
On Chemistry of Offense and Dana Holgorsen
He reminds us that we mean a lot to him as an offense and he wants to win this one just as bad for us, because he has never won 11. The reason he came back and wanted to coach was because of all the guys on this offense and we have done something pretty special, so he wanted to be a part of it.
On Arizona Defense
They are going to throw some different stuff at us I am sure. The nice thing is we have a pretty good game plan in, that we feel like we can attack any look they give us. If we can run the ball successfully and keep pounding it in, we can open up the passing game. We only worry about what we can control, keep doing what we are doing. I am sure they have watched a couple tapes, and I have a feeling I know what they are going to do. Give any coach four or five weeks to prepare, it makes it tough.
On Playing Quarterback in the System
I have a pretty good feel for this offense. I was telling Dana it would be nice to have one more year in this offense just to see, but I am starting to feel pretty comfortable. I enjoy this system. It’s quarterback friendly system, that’s what I said from the first day. It’s fun if you’re a quarterback.
Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver
On Being Healthy
It feels great. Being over there on the side on the bike and not being able to move around, really hurt me and slowed me down. Being able to be out there and move around feels great.
On Distraction of Getting Asked About the NFL and Whether Holgorsen Leaving Will Affect His Decision
It really hasn’t been that bad. I really haven’t been bothered with it too much. I don’t think about it.
It won’t play a part with him going. I am sure they will find someone just as good as him. I am sure it will be fine.
On Brandon Weeden’s Improvement
The first game was just like run the deep ball and throw it that way. Now he’s starting to go through his reads a lot better. You can see him go through his checks and when I am coming out my route I can see him looking at the other guy and know he is coming back to me and not just looking right at me. So you can tell he is getting the feel of it and starting to get in his rhythm.
On Holgorsen Staying for the Bowl Game
We are still doing things the same way. Practice has been the same, nothing has changed. He is still our coach until after the game, so we listen to him, pay attention and right now he’s leading us.
Mike Stoops, Head Coach
On the pulse of the team:
“It’s been good. I think we’ve had really good practices. It’s nice to be here. I think our kids were excited to get back on the field and excited for Wednesday. The weather’s been good. It’s been fun. We’re going to see some sights of San Antonio today and go to Sea World and do a couple of things.”
On replacing secondary coach Greg Brown, who left to coach at Colorado University:
“We won’t change what we do. [Graduate Assistant] Ryan Walters has filled in and done a great job. I’ve helped Ryan with some of the game planning and fundamentals of what we want to do and get accomplished in this game. But Ryan’s done a great job. [Defensive Coordinator] Tim [Kish] has done a great job of getting Ryan prepared. I’m just a little more hands on, probably, than usual.”
On the Oklahoma State offense beyond the big names:
“The quarterback understands distributing the football and that’s what’s key. And that’s a lot like our offense. If somebody wants to take one receiver out of the game, you have to have complimentary players that you feel comfortable throwing the ball to. That’s certainly the case with our team and it’s not different with them. If you want to take a player out of the game, you can do that. But you’ve got to know how to get the other players the football and they certainly do.”
On the prospect of finishing the season strong:
“I think we’re anxious to play. We understand what kind of team Oklahoma State is and we know we have to be well-prepared in this game. We didn’t present ourselves in a very good light a year ago, so I think there’s some extra motivation in going out and playing well. We have a lot of respect for what Oklahoma State does. We’re excited to compete. It’s been a very competitive season in the Pac 10, but I feel like we’re rested and ready to go.”
Joseph Perkins, senior safety
On finishing strong after a tough end to the regular season:
“I think mostly we’re pretty much forgotten about it. We’re pretty much upbeat, happy to be here, happy to be playing in a bowl game. [Arizona State] beat us and they’re still at home. So, it’s just an experience right now. I don’t think many people are even worried about that anymore.”
On the Oklahoma State offense:
“They’re pretty good. I don’t think there are too many offenses we’ve played that weren’t too good, so that’s how it is in the Pac 10. You just keep playing good teams and it’s no exception for the bowl game.”
On the rest of the OSU offense after the big names:
“They have a good receiving corps. They’re all good, it’s just [Justin] Blackmon gets more balls than most of them. [Josh Cooper] 25, he’s a good receiver; [Bo Bowling] 9’s a great receiver; they have [Michael Harrison] 7 in the slot, and the other tailback, number 1[Joseph Randall] and 31[Jeremy Smith], they’re all good. They’re pretty much loaded. A lot of people, it’s nothing we don’t see in practice every day in our offense.”
Paul Vassallo, junior linebacker
On the Oklahoma State offense:
“On tape, they look good. They look a lot like our offense, a lot of the same formations and stuff like that. I was looking online, I think they have like six All-Big 12 guys. They have a very talented offense.
On the OSU offense:
“They throw the ball really well. They like to throw it deep to Blackmon, but they also will take the underneath stuff as well.”
On the other offensive players beyond the big names:
“We can’t focus only on the running back [Kendall Hunter] or [Justin] Blackmon. We have to make sure we cross all our T’s and dot all our I’s.”
Bill Young, Defensive Coordinator
Obviously we’re very excited to be here. It’s a great opportunity for pour program to play in such a nice program and be in the city of San Antonio. We have tremendous respect for the University of Arizona. I’ve had the opportunity to coach against them several times. I know the type of program and players Coach Stoops is running so it will be a great challenge and one we’re excited to be involved with.
They’re very similar to the University of Oklahoma. There’s some other teams out there that they run some plays like but if you look at them from top to bottom they’re a power running football team with two running backs and a tight end. Then they’ll get in some one backs set. In particularly, when they get in a four receiver set they throw the ball quite a bit and put it down the field. They do a tremendous job.
Practice has been unbelievable. Our players have really responded. Every day they’ve come to work and worked their tails off. They’ve prepared themselves in the meeting rooms, in the weight room and on the practice field. There will really be no excuses come gameday because they’ve done everything that can be asked of them.
On what problems Arizona Wildcats receiver Juron Criner presents for a defense:
He is a really good receiver. He is an excellent player from the standpoint that he has all the tools. He’s a very tall guy, has great speed and has really good body control. He’ll be a draft choice someday soon. They do a lot of double moves with their receivers similar to what the Oklahoma Sooners and some of the other teams we’ve played have done. We’ll really have to be on our toes when we get in situations like those. At the same time you can’t be so cautious that you’re giving ground and they’re running 15-20 yard outs on you all night long.
Andrew McGee, Cornerback
On coming back from injury and reflecting on the Oklahoma game:
Going back to last year when I was being more like a cheerleader, it’s been a great journey. I’ve had to have a lot of faith and work really hard. It’s been real fun to see that I could come back from injury and play a full season. It’s going to be great to finally play in a bowl game so I’m thankful.
On potentially helping to lead OSU to its best record in school history:
We talk about it all the time. We want to be the best team ever. You know, as a team doing it for the seniors, that’s what we want. We always talk about finishing strong so that’s what our goal is.
On the chance to win 11 games:
Everybody likes to make history. Everybody wants their name in some kind of book for doing something. More for me, [I want to win for] my other teammates, the other seniors. I’ve been here for two years; those guys have been here for four. They had some ups and downs, so I would really like to win it for those guys, who’ve been right here, battling with me. And for the fans, we have some really great fans. And the coaches, that’s been at Oklahoma State and lives Oklahoma State Cowboys, that’s what their life has been. So it’s something that we want to achieve for them, so they can have a part of it also.
On exceeding expectations:
I like David and Goliath stories. I feel like it’s an amazing thing. Just like the movie - I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it - it’s called ‘Facing the Giants.’ It’s one of those times, if people looked at you as being small and then you go out and do big things; it shows that you have the faith to do it. And a lot of people said we didn’t have the talent, but we relied on other things. Football and competition is not solely on talent all the time, but we believed in each other. This has been the closest nit team that I’ve ever been a part of.
On returning after a neck injury:
I was definitely advised not to [return], by everyone, except my dad, pretty much, and our coaches. The neck specialist, he told me that I didn’t have more risk, but he didn’t advise me to. Our trainer said he wouldn’t let his son do it, so it was a lot of negative to it, but that’s why I just gripped onto faith. I feel like I’ll be okay to go out there and play. If my risk wasn’t higher than I feel like that was fine enough.
On the decision to return to football:
When they said it was okay, I didn’t think twice at all. I wanted to play football, it’s something that I love to do, and I definitely wanted to come back my senior year and play with these guys. It didn’t take much time, I had my neck brace off, start working out and I was right back out on the field.
Orie Lemon, Linebacker
On coming back from injury, the Georgia game & his evolution from high-school QB to all-conference linebacker:
Coming off that injury last year it was very tough for me. Not just because I missed the game of football but because the group of guys that left last year was the group of guys I came in with. So to see them go out and fight every day was very hard for me. But I grew mentally as a person and physically on the football field. I did everything I needed to do. It motivated me harder because I was thinking something I didn’t do right last year was the reason I got injured. I don’t know if that was the cause, but it motivated me to get back out there and get ready for the next season.
On coming back after the Oklahoma loss:
It was a tough loss for us. We hadn’t beaten them since I’ve been here and I wanted to leave beating them. I think it really hit everybody the next week whenever (OU) played the Big 12 Championship. We had that mindset since week one that we wanted to get to the Big 12 Championship and win it, and knowing that we had the chance if we would’ve beat (OU) it was really tough. But we came together as a group and went back to practice, had fun with each other and went back to work.
On symbolism of finishing his career in Texas:
It’s very symbolic. I’m very grateful to finish our last game in the state of Texas, not just for Oklahoma State fans but for our families who come to the game to watch us play. Some of them haven't been able to come watch us play because we were playing in other states. It will be great for us to win this game in Texas.
On how his college career has played out:
I don't want to say it was a lot different from what I expected because I knew I was going to play somewhere and I was going to make the best out of wherever I was playing. I came in and I was ready to play and I wanted to do whatever it took to get out there on the football field to help my team win. Coming in I was playing quarterback and I was there for a couple of weeks. Coach Gundy came in and said ‘hey we want to try you at fullback,’ and then I ended up at linebacker. (Gundy) was a great leader for me. He told me what I had to do and what I need to do to get better and he led me through the way.
Chris Donaldson, Defensive Tackle
On added satisfaction of beating preseason expectations
We practiced hard. No one outside our program had confidence in us but our coaches had tremendous confidence in us and we had confidence in our ourselves. We went out this summer and we worked hard. Our goal wasn’t to work harder than the guy beside you but to work harder than any people in the country. It paid off for us this season.
Bill Bedenbaugh, Co-Offensive Coordinator
We really appreciate being here. I coached in the Big 12 for seven years and I know I was at this bowl in 2001 when we played Iowa. San Antonio is a great place. This is an awesome, prestigious bowl game and we appreciate the opportunity to come down here from the Pac 10 and play Oklahoma State. I competed against Oklahoma State for seven years. Bill Young wasn’t there when I was, he was at Kansas so I know what a tough challenge this presents for our team. Our players have worked extremely hard. We had six great practices back in Tuscon and two good practices here. Got to put in some things, take some things out and we’re just extremely excited for the game.
On the importance of the passing game and the evolution of his receivers throughout the season:
It’s extremely important. Any time you can run the football, we haven’t done it as well as we would’ve liked this year, but any time you can it forces the safeties to get involved in the running game. We’ve been effective enough running it to where people will bring them down and we can throw the ball over the top. We also have the ability to spread people out. We’ve got great receivers, a great quarterback that can distribute the ball, the thing he does is he’s evolved into being able to understand defenses and get the ball out quick which obviously helps me out. (Foles) does some great things. He understands where the defense is gonna be, he studies it, and those are the things that really help your passing game – having a great quarterback, an offensive line that can protect and running backs that can get into their routes and receivers that understand when they’ve got to be hot and where they have to be on the field. As the season has gone along that’s kind of been our bread and butter.
On whether his team’s focus in practice is better than in previous years:
[It’s better]. This isn’t coach speak. These guys know me well enough to know I don’t BS. We had six of the best practices that we’ve had this year back in Tucson. Today wasn’t unbelievably great. We’ll get some things fixed about today but yesterday was another great practice. I feel good about our players. I feel good about how they’re working and I feel good about how they’re preparing. These guys want to win. You have to understand most of these kids have been here when we went to the Vegas Bowl and then when we went to the Holiday Bowl last year. The difference that you come out of those games with is just how you’re feeling, just your experience in the bowl game of winning a game. I can go back and tell you every bowl game that I’ve been in whether we won or lost. I can’t tell you what other place we’ve been. There are great experiences for these kids but the most thing and the main reason we’re here is to win a game.
On whether there is a magic number to hit offensively against Oklahoma State:
No, you can’t think about that. Our guys have the mindset that you go out there and we preach to them, and I learned this from (former Texas Tech head coach Mike) Leach, that 11 guys go out there and do their job every single play. That’s the only thing that matters. You can’t worry about the scoreboard. You can’t score on every single play but you can do your job every single play and we’ve got 11 players who are good enough that every one of them does their job every single play we’ll have a chance to score. That’s all we can do. We can’t worry about what Oklahoma State does on offense. We can’t worry about the scoreboard. We can’t worry about the time. These guys have to go out and do their job.
Nick Foles, Quarterback
It’s really exciting for me to be back at the Alamo Bowl. I’m from Austin and I grew up coming to the Alamodome watching games and I was fortunate enough to play in three games my senior year. Just to be hre and going against a Big 12 team is really exciting for me. To be in Texas and show my teammates what’s it’s like to be here. It’s been a great trip so far.
On the evolution of the younger receivers:
All the receivers this year have grown up. After last season we all came together and over the summer and through the spring and fall camp we really worked hard and pushed each other to get the timing down. We all played together last season and coming into this year all of them felt more confident and worked hard during summer workouts. When you have confidence you can play a lot better and it’s shown on the field.
On changing the team’s mindset after a disappointing finish to the season:
We’re just getting the mindset that we’re starting over. A bowl game is a new season. It’s almost like you have a camp going on and then you move forward. We’re moving forward with workouts. We had a week straight of just workouts, getting our speed and explosion back. Once we hit the practice field I could just tell there was a little different vibe. Everybody had a little bit more movement. It’s just the excitement. Everybody is excited to play in the Alamo Bowl and just to be out there playing. There’s a lot of teams not playing in a bowl game and we’re fortunate to be one of the teams who are playing. We had a lot of senior leadership this season, a lot of guys who stepped up and kept the team together. Even though we didn’t end the season they way we wanted to, we we’re in most of those games and competing really hard. I think the key is continuing to move forward.
On the team’s struggles running the football this season:
We play against some really talented defenses and we were able to throw the ball real well and we did open up the running game sometimes but we have a talented bunch of receivers so we try to get them the ball. We do want to run the ball. Like Coach (Bedenbaugh) said if we run the ball well they’re going to start bringing those safeties down for safety support and you can get them on play action, you can get them on all sort of things. We did run the ball well when we wanted to. You’re not going to gash (the defense) every single play but our running backs made plays when they needed to and that’s because of the offensive line. I think the thing that anchored us this season was (the offensive line). Our offensive line, I think, was all seniors. When you’ve got an all senior offensive line who’ve had that much time to play together I think that’s the thing that’s going to anchor you and I think that’s the reason we were able to throw the ball so well and gash them when we did.
On the Oklahoma State defense:
They’re a very talented defense. You hear a lot about their offense but just watching their defense, they’re very athletic. That’s the one thing if you look at their whole team they’re very athletic. They’re like a lot of the teams in the Pac 10. There’s a lot of fast, athletic teams and that’s what we’re going up against. It’s going to be a fun game. You want to go against great defenses every game because it’s a challenge to your offense and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Nic Grigsby, Running Back
This is a great experience coming down here to San Antonio. I can stay on the Riverwalk, just be with my teammates and have a nice camaraderie with the team for the last time me being a senior.
On his health heading into the Valero Alamo Bowl:
Over the past six game my ankle has been bothering me but I’ve gotten a lot of treatment, been in and out of the treatment room and I’ve been practicing. It’s going to be a big deal for us to get the running game established to help Nick (Foles) get the ball out to the receivers. One they start coming down on (the running game) it’s going to open everything up and once they start opening everything up with the pass it’s going to open things up for us. (Running back Keola Antolin) is going to do a great job of hitting hard and (running back) Greg (Nwoko) is going to come in hitting hard. I’ve just got to be a spark here and there.
On the balance between running and passing:
We run the ball, we're going to do what's helping us. If running the ball is helping, we're going to run the ball. If throwing the ball is going to win us the game, we're going to throw the ball. That's basically what it is, it's not we're going away from the run. We're throwing the ball cause it's winning us the game. When we've got to run the ball in crunch time, we're going to end up running it.
On the improvement of the passing game:
We just have some guys making plays when they need to make plays. [Nick] Foles throwing it up to David Douglas, the undername receivers, like David Douglas, we got [William] Bug Wright, A.J. Simmons, a lot of young guys like Terrence Miller and then we got big Juron [Criner]. We throw it up to them, and they come down and make plays. It's lovely, it helps the offense out, that's all it really is. We really have the spark plug in the game, because [David] Hill is more of a downhill runner, he can catch the ball great out of the backfield. I'm usually the big play guy out of the run game.
On his nagging ankle injury:
That's why I've been so frustrated and so down about the situation. It's a living thing, running backs can't run on bad knees and ankles. So the best thing you can do is get the treatment, get back healthy and come out.
On his status for the Alamo Bowl:
Almost 90 percent. We got a couple more days, I probably won't go [practice] for a couple more days. In the next few days, I probably won't go, just let it rest. And come gametime, I'm going to unleash. I'm trying to unleash out there.
Adam Grant, Offensive Tackle
I’m really glad to be here. It’s been a great trip so far. Just got done with Sea World, a little abs workout with a walrus. The Riverwalk is amazing, it’s a great place and I’m definitely happy this is my last bowl game.
On the progress the football program has made during his 6-year career:
Me coming here the first year I think we went 3-8, 3-9 or something like that. Just to go to a bowl game was a big deal for us. We were just trying to scrape at 6-6 just to get in there. Our goals now are set higher. We’re trying to get to the biggest bowl we can and three (consecutive) eight-win seasons would be great. I know the coaches are pushing for us to get better and I think we are. The program has definitely hit the corner and we’re getting the improvement we sought.
On having a committee at running back:
They're all great running backs. Greg's [Nwoko] the power guy; [Nic] Grigsby's got that shift that I haven't seen in any other guys on our team; and Keola [Antolin] is just a burst of lightning when he runs through holes. I'm happy with either guy out there, the whole point is just to get yards, we'll see what happens in this last game.
On the importance of running the ball:
We've been doing the run a little bit more this week, especially when we were back in Tuscon. I think our coaches definitely want to run the ball against these guys. They like to play two high safeties, that's seven guys in the box. If we get some men on those guys, definitely make holes for [Nic] Grigby and [Keola] Antolin.
On whether the offense needs to score 30-40 points to stay in the game:
You've got to [think that way] with these guys [Oklahoma State]. They have a phenomenal offense, but I have a lot of trust in our defense. I hope Brooksy [Reed] and Ricky [Elmore] have a great night, that's all I can hope for.
On the tough end to the regular season:
It's just one of those things, things just don't go your way, the little things, getting two blocked kicks. That first one, I watched it on film, it was a good kick, [the defender] just got up. Things like that happen, it's tough.
On the prospect of ending on a high note:
I'm so excited, it's my last year here. I love going to U of A, it's probably the one of my best experiences I'll ever have. Playing with Nick [Foles] and [Nic] Grigsby over there, I couldn't be happier. [I] just want to end it on a win with these guys.
On heightened expectations of the team:
We definitely have expectations now. Us as individuals, we want to win and goto bowl games. But I think our fans and everyone in the Tuscon community want us to do it. So we don't want to let people down, we've got to play it for each other and for them.
Nick Foles, Quarterback
On Offensive Coordinator Seth Littrell and how he and Bill Bedenbaugh work together
Coach Littrell, he’s a great coach. Him and Coach Bill, they are co-coordinators, so they work together, but he has brought a lot of fire to the offense. He doesn’t say a whole lot but when he does, it really matters. When he needs a spark he gets us going and I am glad to have him here as a coach and I am glad he’s here.
It’s hard to say, but they work well together. They are like best friends, and from what I have seen they work really well together, all our coaches work together and contribute to our offense and that’s what we like to see.
On Bowl Game Last Year
It’s old news, it’s in the past. We didn’t have a good game, we didn’t play like we wanted to, but that was a year ago and we are looking to move forward and do bigger and better things. We have to improve, we didn’t end the season like we wanted to, but it’s a challenge for us to get back going and we have to go up against a really great Oklahoma State team. It’s something I am looking forward to going up against and playing in the Alamodome again, I am really excited.
Ricky Elmore, Defensive End
Mike Stoops, Head Coach
Mike Gundy, Head Coach
On coming to San Antonio:
On arriving in San Antonio:
“My wife came in, she flew in with us. My family will be here Sunday and then Monday, so they’ll get two or three good days. It’s tough when [it’s a] Wednesday game. You’ve got to miss a lot of work, unfortunately, right after the holidays. It’s a nice time for them to get away. It’s a well-deserved break for our entire family. It’s going to be a fun week for us.”
On his first impression of San Antonio
Brandon Weeden, Quarterback
On the team's first practice:
“We looked pretty good. Our tempo was good, guys were flying around and seemed like they had pretty fresh legs. The enthusiasm was really good especially after a long day of traveling, everyone was fired up to be here and I think everybody was pretty excited.
"We narrowed our game plan down a little bit today and have a pretty good idea of what we are going to do offensively. We have five or six good practices to get a feel for it, but it was good to get out under the lights. We didn’t practice a whole lot in Stillwater, so it was nice to get out here and get some reps.”
On the team's first Practice and going for an school record 11 wins:
“I’m feeling good about things. Guys came out and we got what we needed out of everybody and came in focused and ready to work.”
“I want to win it. It’s great to know that I came here and get that 11th win and give the younger guys some motivation to come back next year and win 12.”
Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver
On first practice:
“It feels good. We have been off the last three days so it felt good to get back in the groove and everything is going well. We have to come out here and continue to get better, work hard and stay focused.”
On his health:
“I am feeling good. Real close to 100% and by game time I should be 100%. I am moving around well.”
On winning the Biletnikoff Award:
“I feel honored. It was a blessing to go down there and be up for the award. It was shocking that I got it and I felt happy to get it.”
On his decision to leave early for NFL and if Brandon Weeden leaving would effect his decision:
“I haven’t approached it yet. I am waiting until after the game, I am focused on this game right now. After the game I will sit down with my parents and my coaches and make a decision that’s best for me.”
“Brandon is obviously a good quarterback. If he decides to leave that would hurt, but really it will be a personal decision whether I come back or not and that’s something I will decide after this bowl game.”
Mike Stoops, Arizona Head Coach
“Thank you for your continued support of intercollegiate athletics and what you do for our young men as a reward to be able to go to such great destination points and play such great opponents. It’s really a special time of year for all of us and not being home for the holidays usually means a successful season and we certainly won’t be disappointed that we will not be home for Christmas. I know this bowl game does a tremendous job with hospitality for our players and our fans. We are certainly excited about the opportunity to be here.
To be able to play such a high ranked team is very special, and to play a program that six or seven years ago was a lot like ours. Trying to redefine themselves in college football, and certainly Mike has done that at Oklahoma State putting them in the upper echelon of college football being consistently ranked in the top 20, which is what we are striving to do at the University of Arizona. Kind of redefining who we are, that has been a difficult process, but I could not be more excited about where our program is and the way our kids compete on a weekly basis.
The Pac-10 was an extremely competitive conference this year with an out of conference schedule that played some of the best football and that certainly affected the end of the season, but it’s going to great for us to step back, reevaluate where we are at and prepare for a great contest against Oklahoma State. Certainly we feel like we have one of the premiere quarterbacks in college football in Nick Foles. A lot like Oklahoma State’s quarterback, you have to have a trigger guy who can put you in great situations, and we feel like we have a truly great quarterback from Austin Westlake in Nick Foles. Again, we hope he can play as well as Drew Brees, the last Westlake quarterback to play in this game. He stuck a dagger in us when I was at K-State on a final drive to pull out a win, so hopefully we can be on the other end of that this year, but we excited to be here in as competitive of a setting that there is in college football. We are going to do our best to put on a show for the people of San Antonio, our fans have supported us, that’s a big reason for any success we have had, and we look to have a great turnout of Arizona alumni and fans here for the game.”
On how the Valero Alamo Bowl will help Texas recruiting:
“We have recruited very aggressively in Texas, and we will continue to do so, we are the closest Pac-10 team to Texas, so that’s why we started this and have had success with the players we have recruited out of Texas. Hopefully this game will continue to give us exposure in the great state of Texas and help us with our recruiting.”
On Oklahoma State:
“I had the opportunity to watch the entire Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game three weeks ago. I know what kind of players Oklahoma has and to watch Oklahoma State compete like that, you can see they are a different team and program than they have been in the past. They keep knocking on the door if you keep doing that, something will happen. They are very close to making an elite step that is very difficult to do, and that we are trying to do that as well. You have to have a very complete program to make that leap. It tells me they have good players throughout their program, whether its offense, defense or special teams. That’s what really jumped out at me was how good they looked as an entire football team. That’s really what you have to do week in and week out to be successful.”
On potential changes to his coaching staff:
“Some things are out of our control, and you want to give coaches the best environment to be successful. I always think it’s a great compliment when people come after your coaches, it tells you they are good coaches, good people, good recruiters. I credit our players for getting these coaches promotions. Again, we will have some movement on our staff and I’ll evaluate what gives us the best chance to be successful, not only on the 29th but I have to look beyond the 29th into the future. We will make decisions that are best for our football team not only short term but also those who will be a long term fit for the University of Arizona. We want guys who want to be there, and committed to our program and what we are trying to do. We will evaluate that starting this weekend, it’s difficult recruiting, preparing for a bowl game and trying to hire coaches. We have to make sure we don’t make any hasty decisions and we make the best fit for the University of Arizona. Certainly the possibility of me coming out of retirement and coaching defense is there. For the secondary, I don’t know if that excites our players that much, but I am sure my role will probably have to change a little bit over the next three weeks.”
On benefits of brother at Oklahoma and matchup against Oklahoma State next year:
“There are some similarities between defenses at Arizona and Oklahoma. You look at every opponent at what they did, what they had success with, just like Oklahoma State will look at with a variety of our opponents. I think you look at all of that, we have different players that have different strengths and weaknesses than those at Oklahoma. So if it fits we look at it, and see how we can benefit. We are going to play three times over the next two years, so we will get pretty familiar with each other. It’s exciting, and it’s a great environment at Oklahoma State and we have a great environment as well. These types of games are really exciting in preseason, they are very demanding, but this will start the rivalry a little quicker than we thought, but again it’s going to be a great matchup. “
On the mindset of his kicker and team after Arizona State loss:
“We talked after the game as a team, no game comes down to one play. There were a lot of mistakes that were made, a lot of competitive plays that were made, so that’s football. If you’re in it long enough sometimes you will be on the good side or you’re going to be on the bad side at times as well. That’s how it goes sometimes and you just got to pick your head up and go back to work. You have to be strong enough inside and motivated enough inside to do what you can to prevent it. I am sure Alex will evaluate everything just like we do to see what he can do better, and that’s what I expect of him. I don’t see any long-term effects, he’s our kicker and hopefully he will come out and prepare over these next few weeks and be ready to go.”
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State Head Coach
“On behalf of the Big 12 and Oklahoma State University and our fans and players, we are very excited to be in the Valero Alamo Bowl. This is a special time of the year for our players and coaches, there is a lot of hard work that goes in for nine months, and for these young men to have the opportunity to be in a setting like this is great and that couldn’t happen without Valero’s support. The Alamo Bowl has been awesome, and obviously being in Oklahoma with a large number of players from Texas they are very aware of the Alamo Bowl. Our team is very excited about playing in this game, I know the fans are looking forward to coming to San Antonio and everyone is excited to come and eat good food and spending time on the Riverwalk.
We are excited about playing Arizona, this will be a great matchup. When you look at the bowl matchups I don’t know that there is a better matchup for an exciting bowl game. Arizona has established themselves as a football team that can compete with the best on any give Saturday. I think Coach Stoops would agree that if you don’t turn the ball over and you are in the right spot on defense you have the chance to beat anybody you play and that’s what you have in an Arizona team. Both teams have very good quarterbacks, both make plays, and one thing you don’t want to overlook is that both teams have played good defense at times this year. As a football coach you look back over your season, and at Oklahoma State this has been a very good year for us.
There have been times our defense played well, and our offense has kept its head above water most of the year, and we have been fortunate to be good in the kicking game. This is a good matchup because both teams will have a chance to move the football. Both defenses will be excited to stop the ball because all the talk is going to be about the offense. We are certainly aware of the challenge at hand. Our team is looking forward to spending some more time with each other, and we plan on arriving on the 23rd and looking forward to the excitement of the bowl game festivities.”
On maintaining team’s focus with potential coaching staff changes:
“The way it works with the coaches, you manage it day by day. You take phone calls of people who are interested in hiring your coaches and try to have a schedule when you practice and recruit. This is actually the busiest time of year for our coaching staff because we are trying to recruit and prepare for our bowl game, both of which are very important. We just take it day by day, as of 20 minutes ago our staff was intact, but at anytime that can change and I have always felt we have a lot to sell at Oklahoma State. It’s a good place to work and if there is a coach that has a better opportunity we don’t want to hold him back and we try to find another coach as quickly as possible. We just do the best we can with the opportunities that come our way.”
On exceeding expectations this year:
“We try to prepare to win every game we play. Sometimes we play teams when we have more talent and sometimes teams are more talented than we are. It’s our responsibility to put a plan together each week so we can win if our players play well and give great effort. Every win is important and that won’t change. Our program has had a good year and set the bar very high, but we have to prepare for this next one just like the last one if we want to have a chance to win the football game.”
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State Head Coach
On Valero Alamo Bowl invitation:
On the Valero Alamo Bowl invitation: