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Team Announcement – Oregon HC Mario Crisotbal

Oregon HC Mario Cristobal opening statement: Thanks for having me on. Obviously, this time of year we’re on the road recruiting but it’s an honor to accept the invite for the Valero Alamo Bowl and play such a great program, a historic program, a championship program like the University of Oklahoma. Certainly, our players are extremely honored to earn this opportunity and never have been out there before. And we certainly look forward to the opportunity.

Question: You got the youngest team in the Pac-12, and you had another 10 win season, a PAC 12 North title and you beat Ohio State. What are you looking forward to in this year’s game?


Continued improvement. I think anytime you’ve earned the opportunity to play an extra game you want to see your team develop and continue to grow. Like you mentioned, there’s a lot of young players on the roster. They’ve worked extremely hard to put themselves in a situation where they’re capable of contributing and contributing to winning football, so another opportunity to some more practice sessions, as well as an opportunity to play a football game against a great program. So all in all, it’s a great opportunity.

Question: I know you like the recruit theory because your long snapper is right here from San Antonio. So tell us a little bit about the local knowledge and recruiting here in San Antonio.


The state itself, I don’t know what the numbers are. There’s players at all levels because the coaching is at such a high level, the level of athlete that is produced down there develops at such a high level that the entire country visits there to try to pull some talent. So, you can never underestimate the importance of a really, really good coach and developing in large numbers and it has certainly paved the way for not only what’s happened in the past but for what’s coming.

Question: What are your first thoughts on taking on Coach Stoops and the Sooners?


Well, I know he probably doesn’t remember but I remember when I was growing up working my way through becoming a coach and his record speaks for itself. The development of his players that he has built. He continues to have an impact on so many coaches and so many players because of his reputation so again, tremendous honor to be here playing with a coach like Coach Stoops.

Team Announcement- Oklahoma Interim HC Bob Stoops

Oklahoma Interim Head Coach Bob Stopps

Question: Coach Stoops, we saw you on the broadcast yesterday putting on your visor and your headset. Tell us how excited you are to put that back on and represent the Sooners again?

Stoops: Well, the Sooners are very excited to come down to San Antonio, the University of Oklahoma, our football team to have an opportunity to play against excellent an Oregon team.  You know with FOX Big Noon kickoff, I was in Columbus at Ohio State when I saw them beat up Ohio State. Coach Cristobal, the staff, they’ve done an excellent job. I said ahead on the broadcast, said “they want to be a big dog don’t come in to Columbus and don’t beat Ohio State”.

And I said during the broadcast, I expected them to play a great game, and they sure did. And so we’re, you know, we know we’ll have a big challenge there with Oregon. Again, Coach Cristobal and his staff have done a great job. And so we will look forward to being down there and me, being a part of things, hey, I’m excited the university wants me to do it. But the bottom line is we want to make sure that our players get an opportunity to finish the year in the right way. And then that’s what I’m here to help those players any way I can help and help this program in any way I can. And we’ll look forward to being down there with you in December.

Question: You were here in 2007 as part of the Big 12 game and won that game.

Stoops: Yeah, it was a pretty special day. Playing coach Gary Pinkel, Missouri team that was ranked number one in the country. Chase Daniels, a great quarterback. We played a great game. Sam Bradford had a heck of a game. Allen Patrick, Jarvis Lofton on defense and we got after Missouri pretty good that night and you know, beat the number one team in the country to win the Big 12 championship so it was a special night and I’ve always felt like I played in the Alamo Bowl because of that game.

Question: You guys have played Oregon three times. Any memories from those games?

Stoops: Well, you don’t want me to talking about the 2006 game. Somebody sent me a picture of my running back Alan Patrick, showing the whole world the football and the official pointing to the pile that Oregon had the ball. So but that’s water under the bridge. Listen, Oregon’s a great program. They do an excellent job. And you know, we know that and we’re, you know, our team will be excited to you know, to work and come down and be ready to give our best stuff.

Question: What do you got going on later this week besides coaching the Sooners?

Stoops: Yeah, I went from Big Noon Kickoff to the Big 10 championship game last night to being in Vegas right now for the College Hall of Fame festivities that are going on, so hopefully we hire a head coach, and I don’t have to go out recruiting this week.


Colorado Post Game Press Conference

Texas 55, Colorado 23

KARO DORRELL: Tough game. We didn’t play well, as well as we were expecting to play offensively. I think defensively they did some positive things in the first half. Unfortunately both sides of the ball wasn’t working well with each other. We didn’t have enough continuity, making some drives, scoring some points offensively.

I think our defense had a lot of plays. They started the second half in a tough spot with a couple plays in a series that went for a touchdown. We did not play well. There’s no sugarcoating it at all.


Q.  What does this game do for you as far as the positive steps you made this season? I counted 49 scholarship players available tonight. How close were you to maybe not being able to play this game?

KARO DORRELL: We got a lot of work to go. Yes, we were short a lot of people. But you know me, I don’t make any excuses. We got to play and figure out how to do it with what we’ve got.

I was expecting us to play better than that. I was expecting us to be more competitive. I was expecting a lot of it to be better than what it looked like. It just shows me I got a tremendous amount of work to do. Really that is what it is. There’s no excuses.

Q.  You need to more remember the way it started or the way it ended to move the program forward?

KARO DORRELL: I didn’t understand that question.

Q.  Is it more important to remember how you started, how you played the first few games, or is it important to remember how it finishes, a reminder of how far you still have to go?

KARO DORRELL: I think it’s the latter. It tells me, this game tells me, how much further we have to go for sure. It wasn’t anything indicative of what I thought most of the season was this year. But the last two games of the year I would say were pretty close.

Tackling was poor, inefficiency on offense, didn’t take care of the football. Things that really happened the last couple games versus Utah and this, these are the things we’ve been preaching and talking about. We didn’t improve in those areas. It’s unfortunate. But we got a lot of work to go.

Q. It felt like the flow of the game sort of seemed to change after it appeared Texas was going to be flagged for a targeting call in the third quarter. What are your thoughts on the targeting call? It looked like they were going to end up ruling it a targets before they waved the flag off.

KARO DORRELL: I mean, from my understanding, I felt Sam was sliding, him being a quarterback, was sliding at the time where he was giving up himself on the gain. Usually when you slide like that feet first, he’s showing that he’s giving himself up.

I thought that was definitely a foul. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. Some people saw it differently.

Q.  I know it didn’t end the way you wanted it to. Given the trials of the season, is there any sense of relief at all that it’s over and you’ve gotten through it, maybe some excitement you get to sink your teeth into whatever might come next for the program?

KARO DORRELL: It is hard for me to imagine any excitement right now. I’m just being honest. I’m not feeling that, being excited about anything. Even the games that we won this year. It’s really what did we do last, what is the final impression. Those are the things that’s kind of on my mind right now.

Now, the way I look at it, we have a tremendous amount of work to go. We got development. We have a number of issues that we got to get cleaned up, both coaches and players. I’m going to have a lot of work to do this off-season.

Q.  Sam missed some throws. I know you’re not into excuses. Is that throwing shoulder an issue?

KARO DORRELL: That’s a good question. I think he had a great week of practice. He was hitting all those throws in practice. It just didn’t happen today. He wasn’t sharp. It was unfortunate because we felt he had one of those weeks of practices that kind of showed the performances he was making in the first couple games of the season. Unfortunately it just didn’t work out that way.

We have just a tremendous amount of work to do. Not to take anything away from Sam because he’s come a long way. Like I said, he was a former safety we moved back to quarterback. He did some really good things for us.

For us to be a program that we’re expecting ourselves to be, we got to be better in a lot of areas. Our execution on offense has to be better, defensively we have to do a lot of things better. We just did not play at a level that I was expecting this team to be today.

Q. Could you expand a little bit on what you saw from Brendon, a guy coming out of camp described as being pretty raw. Couple touchdown drives. How do you evaluate what you saw from him? How encouraged are you getting to see him make his debut?

KARO DORRELL: To be honest, he probably was the bright note of tonight, I would believe. I think he came in in some difficult circumstances and engineered a couple good drives. He’s been doing a lot of that stuff in practice. It’s good to see him kind of gain some experience, gain some confidence knowing that he belongs at this level, playing against a good program, to have the kind of success that he had.

I’m very, very encouraged by his performance today, no question. I’m sure he’ll learn from this in terms of putting that feather of confidence in his hat, that he can move forward and continue to develop, feel like he’s a very, very qualified quarterback on the college level.

He was kind of the bright light of the office, where he kind of engineered a couple positive drives. I think it kind of engineered the team a little bit, too, when a couple of those drives happened. Hopefully that will be something that’s good for him to carry into the off-season and keep building on going into spring practice.

Q.  How is Jarek doing? How would you assess his night? He looked frustrated and hurt. Heck of an effort on the first touchdown.

KARO DORRELL: I think he’s fine. He had a little bit of a shoulder issue with a little ding, a little stinger that he had. I think he was able to come back in the game and play. But he’s fine. He’s fine.

He had a nice touchdown. I think it was tough getting some consistent run game tonight. I think he worked hard. He did as best he could, given what was out there for him tonight.

Q.  As you watched the game tonight, how close do you feel like this program is to a team like Texas?

KARO DORRELL: We still have a ways to go. There’s no question about that. We got to get a couple good recruiting classes in, which we started to do. It’s going to take probably two or three years to get to a level we need to be to feel like we’re the type of program that should be on a national level.

This was a good measuring stick about how far we need to go. That’s what it is. I know we didn’t have as many of our scholarship players here, but still we got so much work to do in a number of ways. We just need to kind of put our head down and get to work in this off-season and keep improving week after week, day after day, continue to just build this team, to build their confidence, build their physical skill sets.

There’s a lot of things we need to do. But it starts with just working hard, having a good mindset going into this off-season.

Q.  I know we got a ways to go before next season, if Sam does opt to return, are you planning on holding an open quarterback competition?

KARO DORRELL: I think we’re going to work through spring practice. Sam, I don’t know if he’s going to be available because he may have to have some surgery. We’re going to just develop the whole football team. It’s not just his position. We got to get better in so many different areas everywhere.

I think everything is always open for competition. Everything, every position. We want to play with the best players at every spot. Every year is a new year. Any starter that’s a returning starter, he’s got to prove that he’s deserving to be the starter. We need to build the depth of our program to challenge our depth that’s in those starting positions.

I think every year is always a different year. We’re going to build it the best way we can with the best guys we think can help us be successful.

Q.  You spoke about the numbers. Just to be clear, was there a point at which it appeared you might not be able to play this game?

KARO DORRELL: I don’t make that decision. That’s the people, the medical people, our doctors, the A.D., all that stuff. I just try to do the best I can with what I have.

Q.  Do you have any indication as to a potential timeframe where you might have a clear indication about your group of seniors, who is coming back, who might be parting ways?

KARO DORRELL: I do not. I do not. I’ll eventually talk with all of those guys when we get back from the winter break. We’ll sit down and talk about what their goals are, what our goals are. We’ll see how things work out after those discussions.

Texas Post Game Press Conference

Texas 55, Colorado 23

TOM HERMAN: I’d be remiss if I didn’t start by thanking our fans for coming out in such a crazy time in 2020, showing their support. They were definitely felt. I know not just me but our entire program and our players really, really do appreciate their support.

Happy to come away with a win, obviously, with a very depleted roster. I think we counted 18 guys that were on the depth chart to start the season did not play in this game. We started seven freshmen, started three freshmen and two sophomores on the offensive line with a freshman tailback, started a freshman Mike linebacker, freshman safety, freshman three technique in a bowl game.

I think it was the first time we’ve ever rushed for 300 and passed for 300 in a bowl game, finished the season with the second highest scoring offense in school history, I think a couple other superlatives that I’m really proud of.

Most importantly proud of our players. Man, what they’ve been through these last 10 months is indescribable, absolutely indescribable. They deserve all the credit in the world for going through what they went through just to get to this point. We got to this point. They had fun. They played for each other. It wasn’t always pretty certainly. We literally had guys out there that were playing their first snap of college football in the Valero Alamo Bowl.

Good thing there wasn’t a big crowd because we were coaching a lot on the sidelines, yelling at guys in terms of their assignment, so on and so forth.

Injury update, T’Vondre Sweat with a shoulder sprain, Brenden Schooler with a left ankle sprain, Alfred Collins with a collar sprain, obviously Sam Ehlinger with a shoulder sprain. He wanted to go back in. The medical staff would not let him go back in, did not clear him to go back in.

For those guys to go out, too, considering how thin we were, still finish the game the way that we did, I couldn’t be prouder, couldn’t be prouder. It’s always a good thing to end your season with a win, to send these seniors out with a great taste in their mouth, start the off-season with a lot of positivity. A really, really good sign of things to come that we’re capable of doing.


Q.  Can you talk about Casey’s performance. Could you have foreseen something as dynamic? When Bijan is cooking the way he is, how do you resist not feeding him the rock?

TOM HERMAN: Well, a lot of it was on the offensive line. We went through a bit of a lull there in the second quarter that we were just trying to jump start some things. We’re going to rotate our backs. We’re going to keep them fresh.

I think Roschon showed that in the second half, in the fourth quarter, with that run, being fresh. Bijan had some great runs in the second half being fresh. That’s kind of what we do. The missed opportunities in the second quarter in the run game, I don’t think any tailback, probably wouldn’t have mattered who was in the game.

As far as Casey is concerned, yeah, really, really proud of him. We knew at halftime that there was a strong possibility he was going to have to finish the game for us. Thought Mike Yurcich called a great second half for him, some max protection. This was a very, very complicated, complex, disruptive defense that we were playing. I thought Mike simplified the game for Casey, and Casey and his receivers delivered.

Really, really proud of them.

Q.  Back-to-back years you come in here and have a dominant performance. This year you did it with a lot of true freshmen. Did that feel a little bit different going into the off-season knowing you played that many young guys, maybe you can turn that into something in the next few months?

TOM HERMAN: I think so, yeah. I think to see all of these young guys perform the way they did. We didn’t play perfect by any stretch. We’ve got to find a way to defend the pass a little bit better and make plays on the ball on the perimeter on defense. We’ve got to find a way to not get so stagnant at times offensively. We went a few drives there that stalled out on us in the second quarter.

Other than that, yeah, I mean, I think I said it in my opening remarks, to see all of these young guys do what they did and win the game the way that we did, convincingly that way, definitely I think puts a smile on a lot of us coaches, on our faces, knowing what we’re going to be able to work with in the off-season.

Q. With all due respect to Sam, is it too simplistic or is it correct to say that Casey, DeMarvion, this is the future of Texas football?

TOM HERMAN: Yeah, I don’t think you need ‘all due respect’. I think that’s pretty obvious that the young guys are the future of this program. They played really well tonight.

Q. Do Hudson and Casey start out dead even assuming Sam does leave, or did you see a lot of meaningful action from Casey?

TOM HERMAN: Ask me again when spring ball starts. I have no idea.

Q.  How impressed were you with Casey’s calm and his arm?

TOM HERMAN: I mean, nobody was surprised. Maybe all of you were because he hasn’t played a whole lot. But we’ve seen him in practice for three years. None of us were surprised.

Q.  What goes through your mind when you hear that Sam is not going back? Have you talked to him after the game? Did he have anything to say to you?

TOM HERMAN: No, we talked on the sideline for a brief minute, just kind of explaining what happened. I didn’t even know when the injury occurred or what the mechanism was that caused the injury. I told him how proud I am of him. I would assume that he knows that by now, how appreciative not only me but this entire program and university is of him and what he’s done.

What went through my mind was the last two games. It’s next guy up. Casey delivered. Hudson delivered. Everybody around them delivered. We were able to rally without our leader in there. That’s a really, really good sign of a cohesive team that knows how to practice and knows how to prepare.

Q.  What kind of evolution have you seen with Bijan from the runningback we saw in September to the guy we saw against Kansas State and this game?

TOM HERMAN: Experience and patience. Stan Drayton has done an excellent job grooming him for those moments late in the year. I’ve said it ad nauseam. I’ll repeat it again. When a true freshman comes in in the summertime, especially in a summer like we were forced to have, everybody in the country was forced to have, it’s going to take some time for the speed of the game to slow down and for him to understand different fronts, different line movements, blocking schemes, the whole nine. Just the evolution of where he was from training camp until now is night and day.

I don’t think he’s hit his ceiling yet. He would be the first to tell you that. He’s still got a lot of work to do. But really, really proud of the way that he has continued to improve and practice and show us in practice each and every week that level of improvement.

Q.  What kind of statement did this game make that you and this coaching staff are the right group to lead the program going forward?

TOM HERMAN: I don’t think any kind of statement. I think the credit goes to the players. These players, these young players did a great job in preparation. They went out and executed.

Q. Now that you’ve made it through the season, 2020 is almost over, what advice would you give to your past self about getting through this year?

TOM HERMAN: I don’t know. I haven’t had a chance to even reflect upon that yet. I think this was unchartered territory for everybody. Hopefully we never have to do it again.

But like I’ve said before, the time for reflection is after the season when you’re not in the middle of preparation, you’re not in the middle of a game, or 10 minutes after the game has ended.

We’ll have plenty of time to reflect on things that we did well and things that we need to improve on.

Q. With all the opt-out you had before the game, you had no idea what you were going to get. What was your level of concern in preparation knowing you were facing a team that was on a little bit of a hot streak?

TOM HERMAN: We knew what we were going to get. We had full confidence in the guys that played. They practiced really, really well. I know it sounds cliché, I said it in multiple press conferences, that we had a great nine days of practice. I meant it. It showed tonight.

Q.  When you learned that Sam was done, it was Casey’s turn, what was your conversation with him like? What did you tell him? What did you want to emphasize with Mike?

TOM HERMAN: Mike is a pro. I didn’t have to say a whole lot. He knew. We talked at halftime about the plays that he felt comfortable calling with Casey. We talked to Casey about the plays he felt comfortable with, as well.

What was the first part of your question?

Q. What did you tell Casey when you told him it was him? What did you emphasize with him?

TOM HERMAN: Nothing really dramatic. We smiled. I said, You’re up, kid. I told him that I believed in him and his team believed in him, to go do you. And he did.

Q.  Was Denzel an opt-out or was he hurt? Why was he not available?

TOM HERMAN: Medical reasons.

Q. All of your backup quarterbacks were ready to play. How surprised was Ben Ballard? Was this part of the plan to put him in the last couple of snaps?

TOM HERMAN: I think when the game got to the point where we knew we had it won, we were going to play as many people as we could, especially seniors. I know Ben is not one. We wanted to get him in, make sure that everybody that was available touched the field.

Q.  Four years, four bowl wins, seems like it’s incredibly hard to win four straight games of any kind. What do you think it is that allows your teams to cut it loose, play freely in the post-season?

TOM HERMAN: I think the grind of the season, the urgency of preparing each and every week can be a grind. Every now and again that grind will sneak up on you and cause you to have a bad game.

When you have a chance to take a deep breath and have some fun with your teammates and bond a little bit, there’s not a whole lot of pressure of a game. You don’t turn these games around every five days.

It’s a little bit more relaxed atmosphere knowing that you’ve got time to prepare. The level of urgency, until you get to the last few days of preparation, it’s more about honing in on your fundamentals, improving. These young guys did not have a spring practice. To allow them to really hone their individual skills, get familiar again with the schemes on offense and defense. Then not have, like I said, the pressure or urgency of the repetitiveness of the grind of a season is really the only way to best describe it.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach.

TOM HERMAN: Thanks, guys.


Texas Post Game Press Conference

Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs Utah

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Tom Herman

Devin Duvernay

Joseph Ossai

Malcolm Epps

Sam Ehlinger

Texas Longhorns

Texas 38

Utah 10

HEAD COACH TOM HERMAN: Hats off to the university. Very classy organization in our dealings with them throughout the Bowl week. I couldn’t be more impressed and certainly you don’t win 11 games in the regular season without being an extremely well-coached team. I’ve got a ton of respect for Coach Whittingham, and the way that he does things, and just, you know, getting a chance to spend a couple different times with him at length, very impressive coach and I look forward to continuing a relationship with him because he’s one of the good ones out there.

Hats off to our fans. Wow. That certainly felt like a home game. I think I saw up on the scoreboard, 60,000-something in attendance. What an awesome job for them to come support us.

And then finally, our players. Wow, did they play hard and we knew that’s what it was going to take. We knew that this was probably going to be the most physical team that we played all year, and our guys rose to the occasion.

You know, we were about as healthy as we’ve been in quite some time. We were fresh. The guys enjoyed the Bowl experience, the entire month leading up to it. They had fun with each other. They bonded. And you know, they took care of their bodies, and when it was time to work, they worked their tails off. Had a great few weeks of preparation, and couldn’t be prouder of the way they played tonight, not just only in execution, but in effort and physicality. Just so impressed by them.

Q. Tommy, in your three seasons, you’ve always had your best success when you’re imposing your will on the opponent, metaphorically punching them in the mouth, and you did it again tonight. How do you get them to do it consistently, week-in, week-out, 13, 14 games?
HEAD COACH TOM HERMAN: Well, we’ve got to be healthy. We’re not to the point yet where our depth is where it needs to be. We’ve got to develop that depth to do that, and it’s got to be a mentality that permeates the entire organization. It can and it will, and that’s my job is to make sure — I don’t have all the answers right now on New Year’s Eve as to how to get that done. But I’m excited for the off-season to challenge these guys to understand what they are capable of when they do play that way.

This was an unbelievable learning experience for a lot of those pressure men and sophomores in that room. Those guys, you know, we had our ups and downs with that crew throughout the season, but I think throughout — not just tonight, the four hours tonight, but throughout the Bowl preparation, I think the label went on as to what it takes to win as a championship level, and I’m excited to carry over those lessons into the off-season.

Q. How many practices did you end up having for this Bowl game and how many are allowed? I think you said you weren’t going to hit the allowable or something. And for Joseph and Malcolm defensively, just talk about, you know, what was going on, you guys dominated the game, set the tone. Were they playing you any differently, Joseph, tonight?
HEAD COACH TOM HERMAN: We only practiced eight times. I think we went Friday and Saturday when our coaches got off the road and then we went Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, the guys home for Christmas, came back the day after Christmas, had basically what would be a Tuesday practice. We practiced twice here and had family Friday yesterday; that’s not really a practice. Yeah, it’s a misnomer. Everybody thinks that you get 15 just like spring ball. You get as many as you want, is my understanding.

So we’ve got to be smart, and certainly with the early signing period that has changed a lot of that dynamic with really only two weeks, and if you play in the Championship Game, one week to wrap up or mostly wrap up a signing class, so it leaves you much less time to practice. But it’s worked out well for us the last couple years because our guys are fresh.

But we’ve been doing that — we like to have fun during Bowl prep, we really do. These guys have learned when it’s time to relax and have fun, we’re going to do that and we’re going to do it full tilt. But when it’s time to lock in, these guys have really grown up and matured; that, okay, now it’s time to practice and meet and walk through and all that stuff and these guys have been dialed in to do that.

JOSEPH OSSAI: What was your question, how did we feel dominating?

Q. For Joseph and then for Malcolm, the dominating performance on defense and what was going on out there.
JOSEPH OSSAI: What was going on out there was just us having fun, and us having confidence in the defense, the defensive scheme. The coaches, I know they put a lot of time into preparing this game for us, and they wanted to put us in the best situation and the best situation possible.

So we just trusted them, we bought in 100 percent and went out there and executed. I think that was the key thing tonight was executing. We’ve done a poor job — I myself have done a poor job in the past of executing, and today I feel like we executed at a high level and the result was pleasing.

MALCOLM EPPS: I’m just so proud of us and proud of the defense. With eight practices, we put in almost a whole new defense that we never ran before, and you know, the way we brought it down and just got it down, reps after reps, knowing when it’s time to lock in and learn the defense, and me and Joe switching sides almost every play. The communication of the defense tonight was big, just being able to talk.

Those guys run a lot of 12, 13, 14 personnel. They try to play real, real physical with us and we started up front, made me and Joe’s job easy tonight. All we had to do was set edges and force the ball back to the linebackers and we did that all night. The way we got down this defense and the way we went out there and played with each other and for each other, it was something I’ll never forget. I’m just proud of all those guys in that locker room, that’s all I can say.

Q. You always talk about how you want your guys to be pros, and you know, they had a lot of things that could have been distractions with, you know, new coaches coming in, but they stayed focused and dialed in. Can you just talk about that aspect of them being professionals and avoiding the distractions that could have been there?
HEAD COACH TOM HERMAN: Well, you’ve got, you know, three captains up here and one future captain, and a lot of other leaders in that locker room that — distractions are only that, if you choose to let them be. These guys did a great job of tuning out the noise. I thought our staff did a heck of a job of not allowing all of that outside noise become a distraction, as well and two really good games. I mean, unbelievable games.

Craig Naivar and that defensive staff did an unbelievable job getting these guys ready for what they were about to face, and you know, the entire offensive staff with some wrinkles and adjustments in order to attack some things that we saw on film.

You know, this is — it would have been very easy; it would have been human nature for coaches to scatter, for players to scatter, for everybody to kind of splinter, especially knowing that the regular season was not what we had hoped going in.

But I think everybody knew that, you know, we had three or four weeks to rectify some of the wrongs that happened throughout the regular season, and these guys are, again, they are competitors. They want to win and they want to be put in the best position to win, and be taught how to execute it, and then go out and do it with their hair on fire, so to speak.

I can’t say enough about the leadership in the locker room, but also the staff and how professional they were in preparing these guys for this type of Bowl game.

Q. First for Sam and then Devin. Sam, from your vantage point what were you seeing from the line of scrimmage that allowed your offensive schemes to be so effective against a pretty stout defense? And Devin, take us through the three amazing catches, the separation — there wasn’t much, but take us through those three pretty amazing catches.
SAM EHLINGER: We knew coming into it that they were an incredible front seven, and the offensive lineman knew they had to be physical and win their matchups and they did exactly that. That allowed us to open up the run game and they had to load guys up in the box and they tried to take that away and you had guys like Devin and Collin and Brand the whole wide receiver room, it’s really hard for them to stop us.

All credit goes up front. Those are some really talented, All-American defensive players, and our guys did a great job of winning their matchups.

DEVIN DUVERNAY: Yeah, I knew 28 could run and he was a good player. I knew I was just going it have to out-technique him and out-physical him.

Sam did a great job putting the ball where I could get a chance in all three of those plays, and just made a play, come down with the ball.

Q. Sam, a couple days ago, you mentioned that it would have been easy for guys to have one foot out the door and Coach Herman touched on this before, but what did you see in these weeks of practice? What did you sense that made you feel that these guys were capable of this, because y’all were very confident heading into this game.
SAM EHLINGER: I think it’s a credit to our coaching. There was never any sense of unfocusness — I guess that’s really not a word.

But it was very professional. We understood what was on the table and we understand that’s the competition, and we knew the opportunity we had to play such an incredible team. Obviously they were fighting for a playoff spot a few weeks ago and we got the chance to play them.

We knew the opportunity and we wanted to finish the season off right for these seniors because of the things they have gone through this program. You think about the difference between their freshman year and now, I would say they have built a foundation of getting everything back to where we’re playing better football, and they have been through a lot, and it’s a testament to their character and who they are as people.

A lot of guys in their class have left, and these are the guys that stayed, and they are captains, some of our best players. Everybody wanted to play for them because of the love that we have for all those guys.

Q. Over these eight practices, what did you and your defensive staff see from Cort to have confidence in giving him a start today, and with you being down a few linebackers, how big was his play?
HEAD COACH TOM HERMAN: Oh, yeah, Cort’s a great story. You know, if there was a Scout Team Player of the Year award, he would have won it probably back-to-back years. He’s really tough, really physical and just understands football.

He sees the game really, really well, and we knew that — you know, we were going to be short in that area, especially with Joe and Jeff playing close to the line of scrimmage needing those guys to play close to the line of scrimmage. We were going to need him to be in that rotation and he came through in a big way.

Q. Malcolm, you’ve been the emotional leader of this team. You guys came out with a lot of juice early on defense. What message did that send to Utah, and also, how do you think your class has left this place going out, and what message did that send to your younger teammates coming back?
MALCOLM EPPS: You know, game day consists of a lot of walk-throughs and meeting together, being around each other a lot on game day. You know, we had two walk throughs today and Coach just had great juice. Just keeping everybody amped up.

We’re in the walk-through, basically doing a run-through because we’re so hyped up, ready to play. He’s giving great speeches and things like that and once the juices are flowing and you’re out there playing loose and you know the game plan and you’re able to go out there and play fast and play with a lot of confidence, and on defense we did that.

Just being able to fly around and make plays and have that swagger, and — what do I want to say — have that swagger and just have fun doing it. The way ball is supposed to be played; you shouldn’t be uptight playing ball. We out there having fun, celebrate with your teammates and things like that. That was great and that confidence rolled into the game from the first half to the second half.

My class and our legacy, you know, the ultimate goal is to win a National Championship, and win the conference championship. We didn’t do that, but we won three Bowl games in a row. That hasn’t been done here in ten years I think. It just show what you can do when you stay together. My class came in, we had a humongous class. We found a lot of people, and I think there’s only eight of us left — I can’t remember. It’s not a lot of us left.

It just shows you what you could do when you stay together with your brothers. We’ve been through so much together and the way we led this year, it wasn’t always on the same page, but it always was the same message that wanted to get through to the whole team. I couldn’t be more proud of everybody in my class.

Man, you know, the bond we formed together is unbreakable is. This dude sitting to my right is like one of my best friends. He barely talking, and I talk a lot and how we become best friends, I don’t know (Laughter). But without us being here that, would have never happened.

You know, I’m proud I got to meet these guys and proud that I got to spend some of the best years of my life with these guys, and pour out blood, sweat and tears every day with them. Our legacy is we stay solid with each other. We stay solid from the first day. We could have broke, but the core of our class stayed solid and I’m so proud.

Q. How much was this about simplifying and letting athletes do their thing? What is it about you and Bowl games?
HEAD COACH TOM HERMAN: Yeah, I think there’s an element of simplification. You want to be simple but not predictable. I think that’s the best way to describe winning defense and you know, when they know what to do and they can fly around, but you don’t want to play 100 percent of the same thing or else you’re going to get schemed up, so there is a bit of a cat-and-mouse in terms of adjustment.

I thought our third-and-long package was at its best tonight that I’ve seen in a long time. You know, I thought Coach Naivar called a great game and had a great game plan. These guys they bought into it and they flew around and they played really physical.

As for me and Bowl games, I don’t know. I have really good players. We, again, have always had kind of a philosophy of having fun during that time and working when it’s time to work and having fun when it’s time to have fun. Because again, you’re talking about a month in between ball games.

These guys, the first couple weeks, week and a half after the Texas Tech game, they are worried about passing their finals. Some of them graduating, all of that. Jamari needed to pass British Lit to graduate and he did it. We were so excited for him. I don’t know that I could pass British Lit.

So that first week and a half or so is about, you know, going down the wire academically, and then when school is out, there’s a lot of bonding that goes on and a lot of fun to be had.

You know, I think we’ve got really good coaches that when given extra time to prepare can find weaknesses, can find chinks in armors, and our kids buy in that — I mean, when you look at the four Bowl games that I’ve won as a head coach, it’s always been about physicality. Even going back to, you know, the University of Houston and Florida State, we held them to I think 30-something yards rushing, and we ran the ball really well.

And then, you know, the Texas Bowl, we’re playing the No. 1 offense in the SEC and we hold them to 13 points.

And then last year, we run the ball, which was not our strong suit certainly last year. But we found ways to be physical against a physical Georgia team, the best rush defense in the country and found a way to rush for 231 yards. All of that credit and hold them to 128 yards rushing — so all that credit goes up front.

But I do think the coaching staff deserves a small amount of that credit for finding ways to put our guys in position to be physical and fast.

Q. Sam and Joseph, a performance like this breeds a lot of optimism. What do you think will be the key, and how optimistic are you that this program can take that step again and get back to that 10-win kind of level?
SAM EHLINGER: Yeah, I think when we are healthy and having fun and playing for each other, and playing mistake-free, we’re really, really hard to beat. I’m very optimistic about the guys coming back. There’s a lot of young guys that have a lot of experience and are really, really good football players, so I’m very optimistic.

JOSEPH OSSAI: The one good thing, it’s never good to be injured, but the one good thing that came out of all the injuries was the young guys that got to play and the experience you gained, and that’s something you can only get during playing time. I’m optimistic about them coming back and the guys coming in with this new signing class and getting to get molded by Yancy McKnight. Excited about next season and to see what we do.

HEAD COACH TOM HERMAN: Just a side-bar to that, we were walking through special teams today, and I was looking at the starting 11 guys on the coverage team, and ten of the 11 were either freshmen or sophomores. Then I looked at the punt return team and I think it was 9 of the 11 were freshmen or sophomores.

You know, was a little bit nervous, but it’s also very exciting to see these young guys go out and make plays, and I think you saw that, certainly, with the punt returns that D’Shawn had tonight, too.

Q. Obviously last year’s win in the Bowl game, it was seen as a program-shifting win. How do you view this from a prism of moving forward as this being a big one that you guys can build off of?
SAM EHLINGER: I think it taught a lot of the young guys that when you play together, you play mistake-free, you have fun, and then you lock in and play mistake-free; that our talent can take us pretty far, and then once you add in mistake-free football, watch out.

And so I think that it’s a great — I don’t know how to word this — but I’m not going to do this again (Laughter). I’ll leave it at that.


JOSEPH OSSAI: Yeah, this was a great game. Gave the guys a lot of confidence in what we can do and what we stand for and what we can be on defense and how dangerous we can be on defense and equally on offense.

It was definitely an energy-booster and I’m glad we did what we did because now we have that confidence. It can take us and it can boost us into the off-season. We can have that on our shoulders and going through the off-season, because there’s no ballgame, so if you need to be reminded of something, it’s definitely great to go into the off-season with a win like this.

So we are going to take this win into spring ball and we are going to keep working on our craft and we are going to try to come back next season even better.

Utah Post Game Press Conference

Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs Utah

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Kyle Whittingham

Tyler Huntley

Devin Lloyd

Bradlee Anae

Zack Moss

Utah Utes

Texas 38

Utah 10

HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Pretty much give you the same summary that I gave our football team in the locker room there: It was a very disappointing ending to a very good season. This team won 11 games.

When you judge the entire body of work throughout the course of the season, these things, these guys accomplished some very good things. You know, the senior class, obviously it’s not the way we wanted to send them out.

But the last two football games, we got outplayed and we got out-coached. We have to figure out our problems and go back to work, get better, improve, continue to improve in all areas, but does not tarnish one iota of what the senior class accomplished. These guys have left their mark on Utah Football. Third-highest win total in Utah Football history, and keep in mind, the other two win totals were in a different conference at a different time. Way, way different. This is apples and oranges, what these guys did, as far as regular season and how they handled their business.

Proud of each of them. We’re going to have a lot of representation from these seniors in the Combine, NFL Draft. There’s a lot of these guys that are going to have a chance to play football for a long time. The rest of them that don’t have that opportunity all have their degrees or will have their degrees.

Like I said, very proud of these guys. A shame we didn’t finish stronger. Nobody is happy in our locker room. We’re all feeling disappointed, but like I said, it’s the time of year now where you judge everything and you’ve got to take a step back and keep things in perspective, and understand what you accomplished and what your deficiencies are and what you need to work ongoing forward.

So, questions.

Q. For coach and for Zack, offensively, especially the first four or five drives what was going on out there that you couldn’t seem to get any traction?
ZACK MOSS: We just wasn’t able to find a rhythm. We wanted to soften them in the run game and try and reduce some of that blitzing that they were doing. They were blitzing pretty much 80 percent of the game, so we tried to, you know, soften that up, but we weren’t able to do that. So you know, we had some offensive woes throughout the game.

HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Zack hit it right on the head. We didn’t make them play for the amount of blitzing they were doing. We have to be able to pick it up, get the ball down the field and make them pay. We didn’t do that. We didn’t do that and we weren’t handling the pressure like we needed to. They were playing all single-cut. The DBs were jumping on the single cuts, we needed to protect longer to get some double-cuts in there and we didn’t, and that was the theme of the whole evening. We just didn’t handle their pressure like we should have.

Q. Kyle, the whole season you were able to do really well on the offense, like just mentioned, the offensive line just not being able to pick up the blitzes. Was it something play-calling wise that changed that?
HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: This particular game?

Q. These last two games.
HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: You know, we got the same, you know, plays — not exactly, we change week-to-week a little bit but the same core group of plays. We didn’t play as well in the trenches in the last two games as we have or as we did in the first, what, 12 games? What did we play, 14 games?

The first 12 games we were much better in that regard. Defensively, we weren’t good enough tonight. It was special teams, offense, defense. There was no one phase that you point your finger at and so like I said, coaching. We’ve got to be better coaches.

Q. How much did you miss Jaylen and Julian, especially with Sam being able to do what he does?
HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Certainly you miss those guys, but they weren’t there and injuries are part of the game and next man up. Jaylen decided that he needed to sit this one out. You’re certainly going to miss two of your best players, but nobody cares. Like I said over and over, the coaches that sit there and whine about injuries drive me nuts because nobody cares. You’ve just got to go out and get it done.

Q. You spoke during the eight-game winning streak, every game was a Championship Game because you needed to win to win the Pac 12 South. Can you put your finger, after eight, nine and ten were hard to get or impossible to get?
HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Well, not impossible. For whatever reason, we were never able to get in a rhythm offensively the last two ballgames and we weren’t doing anything, really, as well defensively as we have done all year long: Tackling, covering, playing the run, gap control. Just for whatever reason, the last two games of the season, we were not ourselves.

Q. Bradlee, this is for you and actually for all of you guys, but we’ll start with you, Bradlee. What will you remember about this team, in light of the way the season ended what will you take with you that you’ll remember most?
BRADLEE ANAE: Just the love the guys have for each other. First thing everybody did was walk around and shake each other’s hands. You know, just goes to show you, it’s like the bond is there. It’s a disappointing ending, but the guys will always stick together, even in hard times.

Q. Devin, you’re the one underclassman in this group. How does this loss leave you feeling going into next season?
DEVIN LLOYD: I mean, you just want to go out and I mean, the seniors put in so much time into this program and whenever you’re not able to go out there and finish it for them, it’s just a failure.

So I mean, obviously it hurts, but we’ve got to come back and we’ve got to learn from this. Learn from our mistakes. But obviously you wish we could have got it done for them because they are the ones that got us here.

Q. For the three seniors, what this team might look like next year, can you speak to how healthy this program is with you guys leaving at this point?
ZACK MOSS: Those guys know the blueprint, you know, from the years and the work that we put in over the years. They know what it takes to be here. You know, going back-to-back championship games. Being South champions back-to-back years, they know the recipe.

It was different when we came in. We didn’t know that recipe. We had to learn and work through that, but now they, you know, have something they can work on. So I mean, I’m going to be excited to continue to watch the guys work.

Q. For Zack and then for Tyler, when the next high school football star from Florida calls you for advice and says, “What about Utah,” what do you tell them?
ZACK MOSS: It’s a great place to come and mature as a person, on and off the field.

If you’re really serious about your craft, this is a great place to come. The coaches push you on and off the field, and especially in the classroom. Me and all these guys up here, except for Lloyd, were able to graduate in three and a half years, and that’s the biggest thing. We can play football for the next two years, ten years, whatever it may be, but we always have our degree and we always have something to fall back on.

A lot of guys at a lot of different schools, coaches don’t really push them that hard to go ahead and get something like that, so this is a great place to just go ahead and mature and better your life.

TYLER HUNTLEY: Just like Zack said, it’s a place where you can come be great, and really leave your legacy and stuff like that. But just telling kids from Florida that it’s okay to take a risk to go across the country and you know try to accede what me and Zack kind of did and Demari.

Q. Tyler, from your perspective, what were you seeing on the field that Texas was doing defensively that just really didn’t let you all get going?
TYLER HUNTLEY: I just felt like they was just playing a little bit harder than us. They stopped us on key downs, third downs, fourth down, and that’s what happened.

Q. Can I ask all three seniors — Tyler, let’s start with you. What did you notice after the first eight games and all of the sudden things changed? You put yourself in a position and a lot of things to play for.
TYLER HUNTLEY: I feel like we just had great confidence those first eight games. We were just focused, and as the year started going on, injuries and stuff that like changed our schedules and how we prepared and stuff, and I just feel like this last game we took more of a vacation than really preparing for a game. That really came to bite us in the butt.

ZACK MOSS: Those first eight games, or that eight-game stretch, you know, it was — you know, you can’t figure out — what’s the difference from the last two games we played, but it’s just something different about each and every guy, even the back-ups. Having some injuries also affected that.

But I’m not going to sit here and make any excuses on what was the difference between this and that. But it was whatever it was, though?

Q. Did it get to be a challenge to keep something going like that, week after week after week?
BRADLEE ANAE: Yeah, I think we had, what was it, that eight-game stretch we had our foot on the gas pedal and took it off towards the end. I think that’s what it was, as far as intensity on both sides of the ball. Kind of just let off on that part.

Q. What did you think ever the way that Guidry played? When he did get caught in a one-on-one situation, somebody would make a crazy catch.
HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Yeah, good throws, good catches. He had good position. Just had to do a little better job finding the football. He was in position and wasn’t able to find the ball two or three times. That’s the toughest single skill in football is a deep ball that a DB has to find and locate at top speed and make a play.

I want to kind of piggyback on the question and answers to the eight-yard game streak. We play our best, but Oregon is a tremendous team and Texas might be the best 7-5 team in the country, at least talent-wise, or 8-5 now, talent-wise. Got to give them credit; they played well, both those teams and executed exceptionally well and that has a lot to do with it, as well as us not doing our part. They were really good teams we played.

Q. Texas had a lot of frustrations this year, 7-5 year. Did it seem to you like they played angry and wanted to unleash a lot of frustrations?
HEAD COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Well, they were well prepared. They played hard. They were well-coached. I don’t know if angry is the right word but they certainly played with a purpose and I didn’t think we came out there and you know, sleep-walked. We didn’t play as well as they did.

Like I said, you look at their guys, man for man, talent-wise, that’s got to be one of the best, if not the best, 7-5 teams in the country.

Head Coaches Press Conference

Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs Utah

Monday, December 30, 2019

Kyle Whittingham

Tom Herman

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We will now feature both head coaches.

Utah’s Kyle Whittingham, would you start with an opening remark, please.

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: First thing I want to do is acknowledge my good friend Kurt Kragthorpe back here. He’s been covering sports in Utah for 30 years. This is his last year. Me and Kurt go way back. Both our fathers coached at BYU. We ran around at Holiday Bowls together, played little league baseball together, high school baseball. A lot of history with Kurt.

He’s been our beat writer for the last few years. We’ll miss him. He’s going to have a chance to enjoy life for a while. Congratulations on a great career.

Excited to be here, like I said probably 20 times by now. We’re excited about this. The bowl has been as advertised. We’ve had a great time. Players have had a great time.

The events, just the whole layout, has been really great. We’ve been to the Sugar Bowl, as well, a few years back. This rivals any bowl that we’ve been to. We’ve had a great time.

Looking forward to the game tomorrow night. Should be a great matchup. Texas is Texas, what can you say? They have talented players, class program, a lot of history. Just one of those programs in the country that is kind of iconic.

It’s great for our guys to be able to line up and play a team like that, program like that. We’re excited. It’s been a great week of practice. Preparation has been good. We’ll see how we can play tomorrow night. That’s where we’re at.

THE MODERATOR: Coach Herman.

TOM HERMAN: First off, I want to thank Coach Whittingham for recommending the no-tie policy at the press conference. Thank you, coach. That was awesome (laughter).

The Alamo Bowl has been fantastic. We’ve had an opportunity since I’ve been a head coach to go to two New Year’s Six bowl games in the last five years. This one, like coach said, it absolutely rivals any bowl game out there.

The city of San Antonio, just the whole layout, everything being so central, is phenomenal for our players. There’s not a whole lot of travel time. Everything is within walking distance. They don’t have to get in a car when they want to have a night out, whatever it is. It’s just an unbelievable setup.

We’re excited as heck, like coach said. We’ve had some really good practices. We’re about as healthy as we’ve been.

I would like to take a minute to thank a couple guys on our team. We’ve got three seniors that have been invited to the NFL Combine. All three of them are invited to the Senior Bowl, as well. All three of them will be dressed and on the sideline and available to play tomorrow.

I think that speaks to their commitment, not to this program, but to this university. I want to thank Collin Johnson, Devin Duvernay and Brandon Jones personally. I think that’s really, really cool in today’s environment for those guys to go out there one last time for their brothers. I think it speaks to the fellowship, the relationships that are in that locker room, as well. They certainly don’t want to let anybody down.

Obviously Brandon is a little banged up, but he has practiced all week. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. But fully expect both Collin and Devin to play, play significant roles in the game.

Again, we’re thrilled to be challenged by a Utah team that played for their conference championship, won 11 games. They play unbelievably great defense. Obviously a challenge on offense with their ball control, with their ability to run the football. They’ve got a very veteran team, lots of seniors and juniors on both sides of the ball. There’s a lot of experience.

We know we’ve got a challenge. Again, we feel like we’ve had a good couple weeks of preparation, and we’re excited for it.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll open it up for questions.

Q. Coach, our first opportunity to ask you about Yurcich. What can you tell us about the process of hiring him and what can you tell us about him as a coach?
TOM HERMAN: The process went great. As I think I’ve told you guys, getting the defensive coordinator hire right was my first priority because obviously Chris Ash didn’t have a job. He was being courted by a lot of suitors. Not to say that we didn’t realistically look at many other candidates, which we did. We had our eyes set on Chris, wound up securing him.

So then we turned our attention to finding the right guy to lead our offense. Talked to five, six guys with great résumés that have great jobs, as well. We couldn’t be happier with Mike.

When you look at his résumé, I think the year at Ohio State is kind of like the icing on the cake. This is a guy that in his six years at Oklahoma State, you look at the numbers, they’re off the charts.

According to Coach Gundy, who I spoke to, he said he’s an unbelievable play-caller, very rhythmic, very detail-oriented in the way that he develops quarterbacks and offenses.

The thing that really stood out to me was his ability each year to kind of play to the strengths of the personnel. One year we’re going to be a run heavy team, the next year we have a great quarterback, successful really good receivers, we’re going to be whatever, fourth in the country in passing.

I mean, I couldn’t have dreamed of a better fit in terms of similarities, the way that we believe in offensive football. Yet a lengthy track record and résumé of success on that side of the ball.

Q. Tom, do you know how you’re going to split your coaching staff in terms of assistants? Will it be 6-4, the way it’s been?
TOM HERMAN: No, it will be 5-5. The one thing that Chris and Mike and I have both talked about is when it comes to special teams, let’s find the right guys, find the right guys offensively and defensively. When we were at Ohio State, we were top 10 in the country in special teams. Each coach ran a team. They did it really well.

But if there is a guy out there that fits, a tight end special teams, D-line special teams, that’s a feather in his cap, then certainly we’ll look at it that way.

Definitely five on offense, five on defense. The five on defense preliminarily, I don’t want to box myself into a corner, but in our early talks, safeties coach, corners coach, linebacker coach, then tackles and ends coach. Again, that’s far from being finalized.

Q. Tom, now that you have both coordinators set, what are your overall thoughts about going into 2020, where this program is headed with the two new hires?
TOM HERMAN: There’s excitement. I’m excited, I know that. I know that any time — change is hard. I don’t want to make light of that. Any time you change, it’s going to be difficult. There’s different personalities. This is going to be a very important off-season for me as the head coach in terms of teaching our culture and our way of doing things to some of these new coaches. I haven’t had to do that in a long time.

But I’m excited for that challenge, too. I’m excited to almost show off the way that we do things from a cultural standpoint and from an accountability standpoint.

I’m excited to learn, too, I mean, especially from these two coordinators. I mean, they’re guys that have unbelievable track records, philosophically they’re very aligned with what I think Texas football should look like. Obviously there’s nuances here and there that I’ll be able to learn, too.

Q. Tom and Kyle, as you watch the College Football Playoff semifinals, what you thought of those games? Is that making a case for four is plenty or would you like to see it expanded to eight?
KYLE WHITTINGHAM: First of all, I didn’t see the LSU domination coming. LSU is a good football team, but I didn’t see that coming. Maybe Tom predicted that. That was very surprising to me. The other game was obviously a great, competitive ballgame.

No, I don’t think so it’s a case for four. Maybe this year, but I don’t think overall. I think overall it should be expanded. That’s been my stance for a lot of years. Just because of what happened in one of those Playoff games this year, I don’t change my opinion on that.

TOM HERMAN: Yeah, I didn’t see the first game, much of it, other than the highlights. I was at SeaWorld riding rollercoasters with my six-year-old, Maverick, on his first big-boy rollercoaster. That was an experience.

I did see the highlights. Obviously having played against LSU earlier in the season, having recruited Joe, the relationship I have with him, I’m not surprised in the least that they’re having the season that they’re having, especially on that side of the football with him at the helm, those talented receivers, that offensive line. That’s a fantastic football team.

Then, again, yeah, I did see a lot of the second game. I was impressed with both teams. I mean, that was a knock-down, drag-out, four-quarter game that was very impressive on both parts.

I’ve said before that I certainly would be in favor of eight teams. I think it’s great. I think every other level of collegiate football has many more than eight. I do think there’s a way to find a way where you don’t diminish the bowl experience because something like this, for teams that aren’t in the Playoffs, is phenomenal, too. No other level has that. I do think that should be prioritized very highly.

Again, I don’t think it’s the biggest national issue that we have. I’ve gone on record as saying to me we’ve got to fix uniform scheduling before we tackle eight team Playoffs.

You’re oftentimes comparing apples to oranges. When it’s a committee making that decision, and there’s no hard-set rules as to what gets you in and what doesn’t, then that’s a difficult pill to swallow.

I do think the more the merrier when it comes to having a chance to win your sport’s national championship.

Q. Coach Whittingham, I heard that you have been the ultimate ambassador for the Alamo Bowl, from going around town, riding a Harley. Tell us a little bit about your experiences around here.
KYLE WHITTINGHAM: I’ve just taken advantage of all of the activities. I didn’t purposely try to become a stellar ambassador for the bowl. It’s been great. Like I said in my opening statements, just the way they’ve got things structured, the layout of the entire week that we’ve been here, someone was good enough to rent me a Harley, I don’t know who did that, my ops guy or the bowl, but thank you. I’m a motorcycle guy. That was right in my wheelhouse.

But between touring the Alamo, which I knew nothing about, I had that all backwards, I learned a ton when I went on the private tour of the Alamo, got myself straightened out on that.

The bowl itself, like I said, you do something for 20, 30 years, whatever they’ve been doing, you get good at it. They’re very good at what they do. Myself, my family, my team has had a great experience. I asked the team, I check in with them periodically with them, the captains, how is it going, too much downtime, too much activity, they said no, it’s been just right.

Great experience so far. Like I said, it’s a well-planned bowl and they do it right.

Q. Kyle, you never know what you’re going to get after the regular season, the space between bowl games. How do you explain your incredible success in bowl games? How difficult is it to gauge what you’re going to get from those teams?
KYLE WHITTINGHAM: The success is simply the hard work that the players put in. There’s no magic formula that we have that anybody else doesn’t have. It’s not some secret practice plan or process. It’s just the commitment that our players make.

We have had a good track record in bowl games. What it’s done is really perpetuated itself. Each group that comes through doesn’t want to be the group that lets the previous groups down. There’s been a standard set.

Each senior class and team that comes through the bowl situation, like I said, takes a lot of pride in what’s happened in the past, and feels obligated to do their part.

Echoing what Coach Herman said about our seniors, we also have a bunch of seniors that could have opted out of this game very easily. Every senior has decided to play. We did have one junior that declared early that opted out. He’s a little bit banged up, needed some time to recoup. We’re going to have seven or eight guys go to the combine. All those guys are here.

Everything that coach said about their dedication and being a team guy, wanting to finish what they started, I echo that. We’re very proud of those guys.

Q. Tom, the emotion of tomorrow night, the locker room, no matter what happens, probably the last time that group will be in the same room together, that’s got to be kind of a drastic shock to the system when you’ve been with these guys for so long.
TOM HERMAN: Yeah, especially those seniors. They hold a very special place in my heart and our program’s heart because when we got here, they were freshmen, just finishing their freshman year, most of them, having gone 5-7. We came in with a different way of doing things. It was very difficult. Some of their classmates decided that wasn’t for them.

All of these guys stuck around. They bought in hook, line and sinker, became leaders. I think we’ve only got I don’t know how many scholarship seniors, maybe 10, if you include Parker Braun. It’s really, really low. Five of them are captains, almost half of them became captains.

It’s impressive to see those guys’ fortitude, their commitment. They’re a very close class. When you start dwindling in numbers along the years, you get closer and closer as a group.

We want to be able to send them out knowing that they became the first group in the senior class in the history of Texas, the first in the last 10 years, to win three straight bowl games. That’s been a big mission of ours.

Q. Kyle, can you talk about Cam Rising, the development of your quarterback position behind Tyler as he gets ready to move on.
KYLE WHITTINGHAM: Yeah, Cam has been a great addition to our program. We were elated when he decided to join us. He spent all season running the scout team. Ineligible this year during the regular season and the championship game due to transfer rules. He got clear, he’s available for this game, has been taking reps behind Tyler, splitting reps with Drew Lisk. You may see him, you may not in this game. He’s available if we need him.

Just got a great attitude. He’s a good-sized kid, 6’2″, 220, good arm. He will be right in the mix for that starting job. He’ll have three years left. He’s done everything we asked of him this year. Like I said, he’s really been the leader of that scout team, he’s the guy that gets them going, takes charge out there. We think he’s got a bright future at Utah, but time will tell.

Q. Coach Whittingham, you are on the verge of being in the top 10. If you were to win this game, maybe you can get in. What does that mean to your program?
KYLE WHITTINGHAM: That’s something we have talked about. The reasons to win the game, not only because the bowl track record we have, but being a top 10 ranking, winning our 12th game, which has only happened two other times in Utah football history, sending the seniors out the right way.

There’s a myriad of reasons for winning the game, not that you need anything more than being a competitor, but those are carrots out there we have talked about. That would mean a lot to our program, bottom line, to finish out in the top 10. That’s definitely something in the forefront of our guys’ minds.

Q. Yesterday Sam mentioned it would be very easy right now for a lot of guys to have one foot out of door because of all the changes in the program. He said he hasn’t sensed that at all. Why do you think that has been? What has been the biggest challenge for the coaching staff to keep everything together amidst all the change the last month?
TOM HERMAN: I think these guys like being here, they like being part of this program. We’re all competitors. They have bought into the fact that these seniors deserve their best, the young guys have. I know that.

I don’t know that it’s been really a challenge to ‘keep them together’. Obviously the regular-season record wasn’t what we hoped it was. At this point that’s irrelevant. We’ve got one last game in the 2019 season. They’re all competitors. They want to win the game just as bad as they wanted to win game one, game two, especially because of their admiration for this senior class, too.

Q. Coach Whittingham, your overall impressions of the Texas offense and the challenges that Sam Ehlinger presents.
KYLE WHITTINGHAM: He’s the catalyst, in my opinion. He’s the guy that makes it go. Tremendous leader, at least it appears that way on film, when you watch him, TV game that you get to see his personality come out. Very good thrower. Over 3500 yards throwing, 500 yards rushing. Can hurt you both ways. True dual-threat. He’s a weapon, like I said. The guy that makes that thing go.

Offensive line is solid. The receivers are tremendous. Who catches a hundred something balls for nearly 1300 yards? That doesn’t happen very often. That’s impressive as well.

They’re balanced on offense. As a former defensive coordinator, that’s the toughest offenses to defend, the ones that are balanced. You have somebody that’s 80% run or 80% throw, that doesn’t present the challenge. Mike Leach might tell you. Was it last year he was here? Not as entertaining at last year’s press conference (laughter).

They got good players across the board, not just the guys I singled out. Like I said earlier in the press conference, it’s Texas. The state of Texas is a recruiting dream, I mean. To have that fertile of a recruiting ground right in your backyard, there’s a lot of good reasons why they’re a good football team and have been for years and years.

Q. Tom, about Sam, he said yesterday he’s going to seek out info from the draft advisory board, which guys like that probably should do. What is your thought on Sam’s future? Do you expect Sam to be here in 2020?
TOM HERMAN: Oh, absolutely. He’s already gotten those results back, yeah. But I do think he’s got a tremendous future at the next level. Again, I’ll say it as many times as I need to: he sees the game as good as any I’ve coached. Having coached some really good quarterbacks in my day, that’s certainly no slight on them, it’s a testimony to him and his intelligence, his toughness. That’s going to go a long way at the next level.

Q. Coach Herman, you inherited a program that didn’t go to a bowl game for two straight years. This is three straight. What does it mean to the young players to see this is kind of the norm, being successful in bowl games?
TOM HERMAN: Yeah, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword because they weren’t here for that first spring, that first season, the things that this senior class and junior class went through. They’re looking at them like, Man, you guys got it easy. You just walk in like this freshman class, walk into 10 wins, a New Year’s Six bowl victory, all that. You think those things just fall out of the sky at Texas.

Probably this season maybe on some levels needed to happen for some of those guys to realize that 10, 11, 12 wins, really cool bowl games just don’t just happen. They’re a product of really hard work, great relationships within the locker room, everybody kind of pulling in the same direction.

But I do think on the other side of that sword it is good that they realize that there is an expectation and a standard around here. The bowl games that we went to or have gone to in our three years here, those are really, really good bowl games. I’ve never been to a bad one, but I know the three that we’ve been to have been phenomenal for us. It is good for a lot of these young guys to understand that there’s very high expectations here at Texas.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coaches.

Texas Offense Press Conference

Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs Utah

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Herb Hand

Sam Ehlinger

Keaontay Ingram

Devin Duvernay

Collin Johnson

Zach Shackelford

Texas Longhorns

THE MODERATOR: Welcome, Texas offensive press conference. It’s my pleasure to introduce Co-Offensive Coordinator Herb Hand. If you could introduce who you brought with you today and give an opening statement.

HERB HAND: We’ve got four of our team captains here with Devin Duvernay. Devin was in a real cool deal, was added as team captain about midway through the season. Very well deserved. Collin Johnson, senior-senior. Devin and Collin both wide receivers, offensive lineman captain, senior Zach Shackelford, junior captain quarterback Sam Ehlinger, and sophomore running back Keaontay Ingram. Those are the guys that you guys came to hear about and hear from. I’ll just give you real quick, we’ve been very excited to be here in San Antonio. We really appreciate the opportunity to represent the University of Texas in the great state of Texas in this bowl game, and we’ve had a really good week of practice. The guys have done a great job of managing the events and different things that the bowl people have planned for us. They’ve done a great job of managing those as well as locking in during practice time, getting some good work in. We know we’re facing a tough opponent in Utah. A very successful team not only this year but just the program that Coach Whittingham has put together over his 13-year span there, or 15-year, excuse me, span there. Just a really impressive program overall.

So we’re looking forward to the challenge, and we’re excited about the opportunity again to be here at the Alamo Bowl.

Q. Coach, Utah’s defensive line specifically has been rated as one of the best if not the best in the country. Can you talk about the challenges faced with your O-line?
HERB HAND: Yeah, obviously they’ve got — I think they’re the No. 1 rushing offense in the country led by a couple of All-Americans, Bradlee Anae and Leki Fotu, No. 99, the defensive lineman, and No. 6, Bradlee Anae, who is seventh in the country in sacks.

Obviously they present a challenge. I mean, they’re very well-coached. They’re older guys that have been in the program for a while. They play extremely hard. I tell the offensive linemen all the time that when we work, it all works, and that’s our challenge.

We’ve had a good bowl preparation so far, and I know the guys are looking forward to playing on Tuesday night.

Q. Collin, 1 to 10, how’s the hammy, and how motivated are you to not only play your final game in burnt orange on Tuesday but to shine in it?
COLLIN JOHNSON: It’s always hard to put a percentage on a hamstring because it’s one of those lingering injuries, but I feel great. I’ve been practicing for a while now, so I feel great. I’m just excited to get back out there with my team and just play the sport I love, and that’s football. At the end of the day, people can argue it’s a bowl game, things like that, and a lot of people choose to sit out for whatever reason, but for me, it’s just something I just get another opportunity to play, if I’m healthy, which I feel healthy right now, to go out there and play the game I love, so it just comes down to that.

Q. Sam, obviously you’ve had some success in the past two bowl games that you’ve played in. Tell me what you’re seeing as the team prepares for this bowl games? Are you seeing any traits of that success maybe in previous years?
SAM EHLINGER: Yeah, absolutely. Obviously the coaching staff has done an incredible job the past two years in preparing us for bowl games, and I think the guys have a lot of fun. We go out and relax and then lock in and handle our business, and I’ve seen that this week for sure. I think this week we’ve had one of the crisper practice weeks that we’ve had all season, and guys are just flying around having fun and playing the game that they love.

I’m really excited to get back on the field.

Q. Collin, I know obviously this is not the senior season you envisioned. I was just wondering what it’s been like to deal with all the injuries, and I know you touched on it before, but what does it mean to get to play one more game in the state of Texas just about an hour and a half down from campus?
COLLIN JOHNSON: So this year has been beyond frustrating just being honest on a personal level. But at the end of the day, it’s life, and adversity happens. And I think football is a great kind of just vehicle to how life is because things don’t always go the way you want it to, but you have to adjust and stay positive, do it all, and being a team captain and stuff also helped me because I don’t only have to think about myself, I have to think about the team, and I have to think about how they look at me. So I’ve got to be a light every day I show up to work per se and practice and try to lead those guys, even if I’m not physically on the field.

But like I said, I’m just excited to get back to playing the game I love, and that’s football, and it just comes down to that.

Q. For Sam and for Herb, as well, what’s the transition been like with Tim no longer being the offensive coordinator but still coaching you as the quarterbacks coach? And then for Herb, what’s it been like stepping into this kind of interim role even though you still have Tom kind of doing what he does? How has your role changed and how has that been?
SAM EHLINGER: For me, nothing has really changed with the way that I approach and the way that Coach Beck and I work together. Obviously we’re still going to do everything that we can to prepare to the best level that we can, and I can’t say enough about how much he means to me and what he’s done for me throughout my college career, from developing me as a freshman all the way until now. All credit is due to him, and so I love him to death.

We’ve been having a lot of fun, and I don’t think really anything has changed. We’re going to put our nose down and do everything that we can to prepare the best way we can.

HERB HAND: Yeah, and then from a preparation standpoint, leading up to the game when we first started breaking down Utah and game planning and those sort of things, really it’s been kind of business as usual. First of all, Tim Beck is an incredible professional and an incredible coach, and I’ve been blessed to work with him for the last two years. But he’s just done a great job of managing the process of putting together the game plan. Coach Herman has been very involved, as he always is, as well as our entire staff, you know, of putting together our thoughts going in to get these guys prepared to play.

But just in terms of any difference, there really hasn’t been any difference, which is a credit to the professionalism of our staff, and also it’s a credit to these players, as well, in that when you have the type of season that we had, nobody is happy about the way things unfolded. We didn’t meet expectations, and the greatest expectations that we have in our program come from our locker room, not from anywhere else. We have great expectations that derive from our locker room, and we didn’t meet those.

It was a tough season in that regard, but the way that these guys have handled it, this bowl prep has been a credit to them, and again, the professionalism of our coaching staff and all the guys that worked together coming to do a job to put these guys in the best position to win.

Q. Keaontay and Sam, what’s been the message from Herman about the changes that have occurred, and what do you think the level of buy-in is with the players who are returning in terms of sticking with it?
SAM EHLINGER: Really nothing has been communicated because we still have a game to play, and ultimately none of those decisions or what happens is up to us. So I think that we’re all very focused on winning the bowl game, so there hasn’t been any communication there.

But then the buy-in level, I think everybody right now is — we’re having fun. It would be very easy for guys to kind of doze off and have a foot out the door, but I don’t sense that at all. I think everybody has done a really good job of being mature about the situation and controlling what we can control and going to work.

KEAONTAY INGRAM: From my standpoint, just feeding off of what Sam was saying, nothing has really changed. There hasn’t been really a different message. The same thing is going. Sometimes things happen. That’s life. That’s part of the game. And we’re just attacking the day just like any other normal day. I feel like we’re doing a pretty good job with that, as well.

Q. Keaontay, obviously Utah comes in with the No. 1 rush defense. What do you feel like you can personally do to attack that and make sure that you get your yards against a team like that?
KEAONTAY INGRAM: Just do my job. You know, nothing more to it. It’s just simple. They’ve got real good defensive linemen up front, front seven, especially with the coverage that they do. I feel like it’s nothing special, nothing that we haven’t seen before, but the only thing that I can do from my standpoint is just do my job, play my role and stay on the same page and the path that we need to in order to win the game.

Q. Devin, you’ve had a pretty interesting career since you got to the University of Texas, but can you touch on your journey from your freshman year when you made the decision to leave to come to Texas to where you are now and how everything finished up for you?
DEVIN DUVERNAY: Yeah, I mean, I just came here, felt like it was the best thing for me, and enjoyed the people I was around. So yeah, that freshman year, then they ended up with a new staff, a kind of down year, and then after that the off-season just started working, started working hard and just put my head down and tried to get better every day, no matter what skill set I needed to get better at, so I could be better for my team, get on the field and just produce, and whenever my number is called I can do what I need to do and just try to help my team win games.

SAM EHLINGER: I want to comment on that real quick. Being able to see the transformation and obviously the position move that Devin went through from when I first got here to where he is now, Devin has been a guy that every coach dreams of. There was no complaining. Obviously he knew what he was capable of when he stepped foot in here, and he got the opportunity to do that this year, and he didn’t say a word about it, he just kept working hard.

And now you see all the hard work that he’s put in. It’s a testament to his character, and he’s done an extremely good job of doing that, and he’s going to be a hell of a player at the next level.

HERB HAND: I would also like to say I think it’s a shame that Devin Duvernay was not up for any type of postseason award. It’s a joke to be honest with you. The guy led the country in receiving. I wouldn’t trade him for anybody.

Q. Sam, does this situation seem similar to last year because Utah had a chance for the playoff until it was in their last game? And do you have any perception of Utah as a program?
SAM EHLINGER: Absolutely. They are an incredible program, obviously very well-run. You turn on the tape and you watch those guys play football, and they play it the right way. They’re flying around, playing physical, stopping the run and doing everything that their coach clearly asks them to do. All my interactions and understanding of what they’ve done in San Antonio, I mean, they’re a great program, great people, so my hat is off to them. Incredible program.

Q. Does it remind you of Georgia getting left out of the playoff and being kind of bummed out, and Utah was on the fringe of being in the playoffs?
SAM EHLINGER: For me, their game plan and what they do as a defense is completely different. Big picture, it’s irrelevant to me right now as I prepare for the defensive scheme that they’re going to present on Tuesday.

Q. This is for the seniors, so Zach, Collin and Devin, can you talk about what it would be like going from your freshman year not being able to make a bowl game to the possibility of maybe closing out your careers and winning three straight bowl games, what that would kind of mean to you guys?
ZACH SHACKELFORD: Yeah, I just think it’s a credit to what Coach Herman brought here in terms of culture, getting guys to buy in and developing, building leadership among players. It just speaks numbers to that, character building of young men. Each year we take it one year at a time, and right now we’re just focused on Utah, and that would be awesome to finish with three consecutive winning seasons and bowl games. We’re working every day to make that happen.

COLLIN JOHNSON: Yeah, so our freshman year we didn’t get the opportunity to play in a bowl game, and the year after that won the Texas bowl, then the Sugar Bowl, now we’re sitting here today, and I think kind of ending on a high note and winning this game would be huge for us as seniors. So we’re just going to leave everything on the line and just do our best to lead one more time for the University of Texas and just go out on a high note. But we’re excited to play a great bowl game, and we’re just ready to get to work.

DEVIN DUVERNAY: Like these guys said, it’s a credit to the work we put in and just kind of being rewarded, being able to have a chance to win three bowl games in a row would mean a ton to me personally, just sending myself off and these seniors out on a right note, so we’re going to do everything in our power to do so.

Q. Zach, you talked last year at the Sugar Bowl about how much you were looking forward to being a senior and being in that leadership role with the offensive line. As it winds down, can you talk about that process, the leadership role you’ve been through this whole year? And then for Coach Hand, what has Zach meant to your room in terms of his leadership?
ZACH SHACKELFORD: Yeah, well, first of all, it’s hard to lead when people don’t want to be led, so a big credit to the offensive line room. Guys really are hungry and thirsty for knowledge and experience. I was happy that I could fill that role for some guys and step in there and help them out in certain areas of their game and certain — whether it be a scheme thing or just a workout thing or just life in general. And that’s one of my passions in life is leadership.

So you know, I really enjoyed doing that, and it’s been a blast. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, and that’s not how life is. But it’s been a blast, and I’ve loved every minute of it.

HERB HAND: Yeah, so having Shack in the room has just been an awesome asset, if you will, for the last two years, for me as his coach. He’s been basically an extension of our coaching staff in a way. What I really like about him is his attention to detail and the way that he approaches preparation, and he’s really set a standard for the rest of our unit in that regard.

Then the other area that I think where Shack has really excelled is just in accountability, not only personal accountability but accountability — holding other guys in the unit accountable to the standards that we want to play with, whether that be from a preparation standpoint or on game day, just the physicality that he plays with and his toughness and those intangibles that you don’t necessarily measure with metrics.

Just been a joy to coach, and I know what his aspirations and goals are. I think he’s got all the ability in the world to achieve those from a football perspective, but more importantly, he’s going to be a great man, and that’s what our goal always is in our program is producing guys like him.

ZACH SHACKELFORD: Also, Coach Hand is the best offensive line coach I’ve ever had, so it makes it easy to show up to work when you have the best in the business coaching you and developing you as a man, not only on the field but off the field, as well.

Utah Offense Press Conference

Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs Utah

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Andy Ludwig

Tyler Huntley

Darrin Paulo

Zack Moss

Brant Kuithe

Utah Utes

THE MODERATOR: We’re going to begin the Utah offense press conference. It’s my pleasure to introduce coordinator Andy Ludwig. Could you introduce the players you brought with you today and talk about bowl preparations in an opening statement?

ANDY LUDWIG: I will. I will start with the introduction to my left is senior running back Zack Moss, his left sophomore tight end Brant Kuithe, senior quarterback Tyler Huntley and at the far end senior left tackle Darrin Paulo.

Thank you for this opportunity to represent the Utah football family today. We are excited and have worked very hard in our preparation for this football game. We look forward to representing the University of Utah and the Pac-12 Conference against a very talented and physical University of Texas football team.

We’re very grateful to the people of San Antonio and the sponsors of the Alamo Bowl. We have enjoyed a great week of football preparation mixed with the best of what San Antonio has to offer.

Q. Andy, with Cam Rising being eligible, is he your plan to be the No. 2 backup at quarterback?
ANDY LUDWIG: He’s not. He’s the No. 3 quarterback for this football game. Drew Lisk will be the No. 2 quarterback. Cam Rising has been in redshirt mode the majority of the season becoming eligible here in the month of December for the bowl practices. He has repped predominantly with the scout team through the majority of the year. He has not had great exposure to the Utes’ offensive system in terms of taking actual reps, so he will be the third quarterback in this football game.

Q. Andy, with Texas’s defensive staff changes, do you expect to see what they’ve done for 12 games this season, or do you have to factor in some other possibilities now?
ANDY LUDWIG: Well, we are preparing for other possibilities. Again, how much can change in three weeks of practice, I don’t expect wholesale changes, but all the statistical data that we’ve accumulated in terms of breaking down film is pretty much useless with a new play caller calling the defenses, but you have to have a starting point to go off of so we’re going off of what we see on tape. We feel very confident in our preparation so far, and that needs to put us in a great position to adjust on the fly, which is going to be an absolute necessity in this football game.

Q. Tyler, what do you feel like you’ve learned in the last three weeks or so since that championship game?
TYLER HUNTLEY: We just learned that we’ve got to take every play as if it could be your last. We’ve got to fine tune a lot of things over these past three weeks, got better as a team, and just looking forward to this game.

Q. Coach, what has Tyler Huntley’s leadership meant to your team this year?
ANDY LUDWIG: I think Tyler Huntley, Tyler has a great leadership presence about him. I believe it all starts with his work ethic and passion for the game and his passion to be a great teammate. He’s a leader of the offensive unit, he’s a leader of the football team, and you really can’t ask for much more out of a young man in that regard, especially in his senior season. Again, he’s worked very hard in his bowl preparation. We’re looking forward to him and all these men up at the front row, the entire Utah football team, putting on a great show this Tuesday night.

Q. Zack, can you talk about what you’re going to be feeling when you walk out that tunnel on Tuesday night, your last time putting on a Utah jersey?
ZACK MOSS: It’s really hard to put into words what I could possibly be feeling that night putting on this jersey and this helmet one more time with my guys. It’s going to be definitely special to me, and it will be a night that I remember forever. But it would be a lot sweeter if we come out of here with a W.

Q. Tyler, you’ve been very efficient passing the ball this year, completing a really high percentage. What’s the key to that within your offense, how you’ve been able to get that done?
TYLER HUNTLEY: First it’s preparation with Coach Lud, Coach Lud do a great job of preparing the whole quarterback unit and the whole offense for what we expect out of the defense and how we’re going to attack that, and just a lot of film study and just knowing where my receiver is going to be and how they’re going to get open and everything.

Q. Tyler, do you feel like Utah as a program is still kind of under the national radar because it is a more remote location, it’s not in the south or southeast, obviously, and you have the late night Pac-12 at dark kind of thing?
TYLER HUNTLEY: Yeah, definitely. Utah hasn’t been on the map for a little bit now, and it’s an improvement of the program, just getting better over the years, and you can see it, and we’re making great strides, and it’s only going to go up from here. I feel like we don’t got that exposure as other teams on the other side, but we’ll continue to go out every week and try to show everybody why Utah should be considered whenever you’re talking about good teams.

Q. Tyler, can you just talk about getting over the Oregon game and being so close to the College Football Playoff and the hurt? Do you feel like you guys can bounce back from that?
TYLER HUNTLEY: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, we was kind of sad, you know, very sad. But we’ve got another great opportunity to win another game right now, so we’ve got to go out and prepare the past few days as we’ve been doing, just getting ready for this game and just fine tuning the mistakes we made in that game.

Q. Zack, what are your thoughts on that? Are you confident the team can bounce back and get back to that level you were at when you won eight straight games?
ZACK MOSS: Yeah, definitely a small hiccup in our way that we had in that game. But I think our guys have done a really good job over the couple weeks of just being out here, being back in Salt Lake, preparing for this game and moving past it. We can’t dwell on a game like that because you won’t be able to move forward, and that’s in life. I think our guys have done a really good job of just making sure that we’re focused for this game because this is the one that really matters right now for us.

Q. Darrin, what’s been working for you guys as an offensive line this year? And then Zack, obviously you get all the love and the yards, but what’s it been like running behind those big guys in front of you?
DARRIN PAULO: Well, it’s been good. I think everyone knew that we were inexperienced. That’s what everyone called us, but it was good to show everyone what we can do, and when we have guys like Zack and Tyler behind us, and Brant running good routes and all that, it’s always good, and a confidence booster for us up front knowing that we’re protecting for a reason and straining, so it’s always nice having those guys in the back, but I’d like to think we did really well this year.

ZACK MOSS: They’ve been great, from the beginning of the year to now. They’ve allowed me to do a lot of good things, going with those guys and Coach Ludwig putting me in the position to do a lot of good things. But everyone knows the offense goes as the O-line goes. If you don’t have a great O-line and they’re playing very inconsistent, then your team is going to be very inconsistent. Those guys have really done a great job just being consistent all year, which has allowed me to go ahead and do a lot of good things for this offense.

Q. Zack, as under the radar as Utah might be, what are a couple guys from Florida doing in Utah? What is that connection?
ZACK MOSS: Just enjoying the time.

Q. How did they find out about you and why were you interested in Utah to start with?
ZACK MOSS: Well, Tyler probably could explain it a lot better than me. They were actually — him and our receiver, Demari Simpkins, were actually recruited by Utah before me. They committed, they came up there on visits and things like that. I at the time was committed to the University of Miami and still trying to figure things out on my side. But I mean, they came up, the coaches, I don’t know if they saw highlights or something like that, they liked me, so that was lovely. But we decided to come out here, us three guys from Miami, chasing a dream, trying to better ourselves as young men but also our families’ lives, and I think over the past few years we’ve done a really good job of just growing with each other, being there, seeing guys just mature on and off the field, and it’s been really good.

Q. Tyler, can you follow up on the experience coming out of Utah?
TYLER HUNTLEY: Yeah, they did a great job of sending Dennis Erickson down to come and get us. He had all three of us over at Demari’s house, and yeah, he just explained to us what Utah could be with us coming out and everything like that, so they just did a great job of winning us over.

Q. Tyler, is that the first time you saw snow was on that first recruiting trip?
TYLER HUNTLEY: Yeah, for sure, that was the first time I seen snow. I jumped in it, and I never jumped in the snow again after that. I was sick for about a week, so I learned my lesson.

Q. Brant, can you just talk about the senior class? You’re kind of the transition guy here. Can you talk about the guys coming back and the future of the program and maybe talk about what these guys have done to put the program where it is now?
BRANT KUITHE: Yeah, just after last year, just going to the off-season, we just really made a big focus of the seniors to take the reins and everybody else has got to follow. Did a great job throughout the whole off-season and throughout the season. Just got to finish it off this last game. The juniors are going to have to step up, and a lot of guys are going to have to put it — get in big roles, because there’s a lot of seniors leaving. I really think that if we start off this game strong and finish strong and just make a statement going into the off-season.

Q. Brant, what kind of contingent do you have coming over from Katy to watch? You’re obviously probably the closest —
BRANT KUITHE: Yeah, big Texas fan growing up. Not so much now. But that’s how a lot of guys go from not really getting recruited from loved Texas teams. But it’s good to be back. Played here once, so looking forward to it again.

Q. What game was that?
BRANT KUITHE: We played Cibolo my junior game.

Utah Defense Press Conference

Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs Utah

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Morgan Scalley

Bradlee Anae

Francis Bernard

Terrell Burgess

Leki Fotu

Utah Utes

THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us for the Utah defense. It’s my pleasure to introduce Utah Defensive Coordinator Morgan Scalley. Coach, could you introduce your players and open with an opening statement about how bowl preparation has gone?

MORGAN SCALLEY: You bet, Bradlee Anae, defensive end, we’ve got Leki Fotu, defensive tackle, linebacker, Francis Bernard and safety Terrell Burgess. Fired up to be here. I’ve recruited Texas for 12 years, and always — everything is bigger in Texas. Football is big. It’s big time. So to play Texas here in this setting in a great bowl game, we’re fired up. Quality opponent, their offense starts up front. They do a great job, especially with the quarterback being a running threat of running the football, and then with their wide receivers, long kids that we’ve got to be able to body up and cover. They’re efficient on offense, do a great job of securing the football, as well. So we’ve got our work cut out for us, and we’re excited to play.

Q. Bradlee, when Texas played Georgia last year, Georgia fans and a lot of people said, well, they didn’t really want to be there. They’re already knocked out of the CFP. You guys are in the same position Georgia was. How fired up and motivated are you to play in this bowl game?
BRADLEE ANAE: Just ready to go. We have one more shot as a group of seniors here to leave the program better than we found it, and so we’re fired up and ready to go.

Q. Morgan, Coach Naivar was just in here and I think he said y’all are a damned good team, like 50 times. What do you think has been the secret to y’all’s defensive success this year, and specifically how has Bradlee been able to have such a great year when just on paper he might be a little undersized but has fantastic stats?
MORGAN SCALLEY: Well, first of all, we have good players. We have good players. We have senior leadership, upperclassmen leadership, best we’ve ever had, I think, at the University of Utah, and it goes a long way. When you have players that buy into your culture and your way of doing things and they hold other guys accountable to it then you have something special. I also believe our best players are our hardest workers, so usually you’re having to harp on guys, practice hard, we don’t have to do that at Utah with this group.

Next year that may be a different story. We may have to get that going a little bit. But very good players, upperclassmen lead by example and hold people accountable, and then in terms of Bradlee, as long as you’ve got a high motor, okay, and he’s athletic, you’re going to make plays. And he’ll be the first to tell you that having a good secondary is another reason for his success. Having guys that can cover. But Bradlee, since the moment he stepped on campus, has had a high motor and a high care factor, and it’s the reason why — are you leading now? Are you the leading sack —

BRADLEE ANAE: I need one more.

MORGAN SCALLEY: Well, get it. Geez, let’s do it. And can’t say enough about the rest of these guys. Again, it’s all about the players, and going to miss these guys a lot. Going to miss these guys a lot.

Q. Terrell, from a leadership standpoint could you talk about getting a guy like Jason Shelley acclimated on the fly in only three or four weeks?
TERRELL BURGESS: I think it’s just — in this program we teach a lot, next man up, and he was asked to move to safety, give him a better possibility to get on the field, and I think he’s acclimating very well. It’s hard to teach somebody any position, but if they’re willing to try and do it, that’s what makes it easier. It’s been going well. I’m excited to see him get on the field at some point and see what he can do.

Q. Terrell, what specifically have you learned from the Oregon game? It’s been almost a month now?
TERRELL BURGESS: I mean, we try not to talk about games. We’re on to Texas now. But I think we just learned that we’ve got to make tackles. We’ve got to win — it sucks to lose, but it happens. Anybody can lose on any given day. They had a great scheme. They played a great game. But we’re on to Texas now.

Q. Morgan, what does a guy like Jav Guidry do to your defense, and is he y’all’s answer to Devin Duvernay on Texas’s team?
MORGAN SCALLEY: Well, he’s one of the answers. That’s a dynamic football player. But Javelin is a dynamic football player. When you can win the 100 meters in the state of Texas and in the state of California, there’s something special about you, okay. He’s got a ton of speed. Very underrated football player on our team. Not a lot of people talk about him because not a lot of people go at him. So excited for that match-up when he does get that match-up, and any time you’ve got defensive backs like that that can cover, that can cover man-to-man on a consistent basis, it allows you to do some different things up front, bring pressure in ways that you couldn’t if you couldn’t cover. He’s a valuable piece to what we do.

Q. You said y’all recruit Texas and you head it up. Do you have several coaches recruiting?
MORGAN SCALLEY: We have three in the state of Texas.

Q. Do you have three in other states?
MORGAN SCALLEY: Well, the majority are going to be within our Pac-12 footprint. We draw the majority of our skill players out of California. Florida has become a big part of what we’re doing recruiting-wise, and Texas. But yeah, three in Texas just because we’ve had strong relationships there and have been able to get some quality players.

Q. Is Utah maybe the most underrated program in the country?
MORGAN SCALLEY: I don’t know that. I don’t know that. I know that we love our players, and Kyle Whittingham, could not coach for a better man. He runs a quality program. You saw that he got the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year, and he deserves it. He preaches integrity. You look at our academic track record, and there’s a reason Utah has been successful. It’s in large part because of Kyle Whittingham, and he’ll point it back to these guys. It’s all about the players.

Q. Morgan, how would you describe how the secondary has come together in these three weeks without Jaylon Johnson and Julian Blackmon?
MORGAN SCALLEY: Well, you know, coming together, they are together. They’ve been together since day one, adding a piece like Jason Shelley. It’s easy when they’re willing. And he’s willing. And he’s done nothing but get better every day. Nephi Sewell has practiced with us. Obviously a lot more since he became eligible.

But this is not a hard group to get to bond, to get to gel. You know, in terms of facing an opponent like Texas, they’ve got to get to know the scheme. They have to know what are their strengths, what do we have to stop, what are our strengths, what can we draw upon.

So it has not been hard getting them to gel because we’ve already had that. But in terms of them working together, right, having a guy like Jason that’s never played on the defensive side of the ball, having a guy like Nephi that’s fairly new in terms of being eligible, that’s been the thing that we’ve been working on, and they’re practicing well. Very, very solid practices throughout bowl prep.

Q. Francis, what are your overall impressions of Texas and what you’ve seen on film so far?
FRANCIS BERNARD: Just to echo what Coach Scalley said, they’re a good team. Offensively they do good things. Just like Coach said, it all starts up front. They do a good job trying to establish the line of scrimmage, and so once they can do that, they’re able to do multiple things, whether it’s run the ball, whether it’s get the ball to their receiver, No. 6, or run the ball with the quarterback. So they’re a good team. We’re excited to play, and it’s going to be a good ballgame.

Q. We’ve talked a lot about how you guys coming back this year was kind of a nice thing for you to be able to kind of play together. What’s it mean now to just actually finalize that in a bowl setting?
LEKI FOTU: Just means a lot to finish this year with the guys that we came in with our class. You know, we still have a test to make this a special one, and we look forward to doing that next week.

Q. For Leki and Bradlee, Jaylon decided to not play in the game. Why did you guys decide to play in this game when the trend for a lot of guys around college football are to skip the bowl game? Why is this so meaningful for you?
BRADLEE ANAE: It’s another shot at proving some more stuff you have to prove for yourself, another opportunity to put some good film on for whoever is watching.

LEKI FOTU: Just same thing as Brad. On the one hand, I feel like I owe it to the program. I’ve never been the type of guy to miss a game for anything, and also just to play with everyone one last time.

Q. Morgan, we’ve talked kind of ad nauseam about how you switched players up in the program. Can you kind of break it down, the move for Jason to the defensive backfield from your standpoint? Does Coach Whitt come to you and say, hey, we want to put Shelley at safety; what do you think? Give us an idea how this works.
MORGAN SCALLEY: Well, the conversations had do you think he can do it? Well, athletically we thought he could do it. How that conversation went with him, I have no idea. He said yes, and it’s my job to coach him up. He’s a smart young man that is athletic, and again, it’s one thing when you get a guy like that and you’re teaching him, and they go back and the next day you’re not seeing any improvement. Well, he goes home and works on it, and the next day all of a sudden he’s weaving the right way, he’s doing things that you’re like, okay, I can tell you went home and you practiced. He’s doing that.

So that’s why I expect him to have success. How early that success is going to happen, we’ll find out. But very excited to coach this young man.

Texas Defense Press Conference

Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs Utah

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Craig Naivar

Caden Sterns

Malcolm Roach

Joseph Ossai

Brandon Jones

Keondre Coburn

Texas Longhorns

THE MODERATOR: I’d like to start the press conference and welcome the Texas defense. It’s my pleasure to introduce Texas Interim Defensive Coordinator Craig Naivar. Coach, I’d like you to introduce your players and if you could open with a statement with how the bowl preparations are going.

CRAIG NAIVAR: Outstanding. Coming down from this end, there’s Caden Sterns, Malcolm Roach, Joseph Ossai, Brandon Jones and Keondre Coburn. Just had practice this morning, a really good round of work. Had some good work done in Austin before we came down, and putting the finishing touches on the game plan, guys running around excited about what we’re doing this morning, and excited for the activities these guys are doing as part of the bowl game and earning this reward for their season.

Q. Coach, how invigorating, how different, how seamless has it all been for you to take over the interim D coordinator spot this month?
CRAIG NAIVAR: Todd did such a great job of setting up our system and what we do and how we go about doing things, so it’s just following up with the things he’s laid before us. These guys have done a tremendous job of responding to that situation. It’s not an easy one, not a fun one. You lose a family member, and we all understand that we were a part of that. It wasn’t just Todd Orlando. We had a gigantic hand in everything. You could make — build a million excuses and reasons why. We’ve got to accept it is what it is, and respond the right way and go forward from that.

The staff that’s with us now and these guys have made it really easy.

Q. Coach Naivar, what has been your message to the defense in light of the coaching changes and possibly future changes? And how has that impacted your bowl preparations?
CRAIG NAIVAR: Good question. As I just mentioned, the night that everything happened, we had a defensive team meeting, and as I just said, you lose family members, other coaches on this staff were loved by the players, and it’s tough. Like I said, you take ownership in why it happened and move from there, and then the biggest part of kind of the message is we as coaches are now faced with a ton of adversity as far as what are the future changes, what happens. And we’d be complete fakes and phonies to sit there in front of these young men and lecture them on being mentally tough, responding to situations, fighting through things like this and kind of mailing it in and not having a great demeanor in how you go about doing things.

I think that’s really, really important as far as that goes.

The message has been exactly what Coach Orlando would have said: Let’s bust our tail, work hard, we’ve got a tremendous opportunity, we’ve got a chance to send some seniors out with a bowl win with three straight wins in bowl games, and I think that’s important.

And the other thing that I shared with the group that sometimes they fail to realize is yes, we didn’t meet expectations, yes, we had problems. We weren’t as good as we wanted to be and we didn’t hold up the standard we needed to. But in the last four ballgames, I believe the number is — we held opponents’ scoring offenses to an average of 11 points under their scoring average. Three of the four teams are bowl teams that has a pretty good offense. Once Coach Orlando was able to get some pieces back, although not completely healthy but got pieces back, we were making strides, and we’ve got to continue to do that.

The young guys, the guys gained experience this year, need to continue to build on it and work on it in these bowl practices and continue to attack it. Like I said at the end of the day, we as leaders, we as people that sat in these young men’s living rooms or know their families very well would be a disservice and be phonies to not bust our tail and do everything we can to not send these guys out the right way regardless of our situation. That doesn’t matter. Winning a football game on New Year’s Eve is what matters.

Q. Keondre and Joseph, a lot of these bowl games come down to who really wants to be here and is motivated to play. Why is Texas motivated to play? Why is this important?
KEONDRE COBURN: I mean, it’s just another opportunity to play football. Playing in December is very huge for players in college, period, even high school. So just to have the opportunity to play again is really huge for us.

JOSEPH OSSAI: We’re all motivated to play any chance to go out there and showcase your skills and have fun with the people you work so hard with is a blessing, I think. The other teams — there are a lot of other teams out there that their season ended early. Very appreciative to be here, and we’re ready to get to work.

Q. Craig, you’ve got a couple guys up here that are definitely coming back next year. What would you tell Keondre or Caden or Joe or anybody that came to you, because in some cases this is their first reality of how this is a business. What do you tell them going forward?
CRAIG NAIVAR: Well, I think it’s accountability and ownership. We as coaches have the biggest brunt of that accountability and ownership of what happened. There are very high standards in what we do, and it’s life lessons when you don’t meet certain standards. There are results, there are consequences, there’s positive and negative consequences. Holding the trophy up in the Sugar Bowl last year was a positive result. Not playing in the conference championship game and reaching some of the goals we wanted to is a consequence. It’s part of that. It’s part of life.

One thing that I think that’s important in all of this, not just winning or losing football games but learning life lessons. You’re going to face adversity. Sometimes it’s created by yourself, sometimes it’s not. But you’ve got to learn how to respond, and how you respond is a thousand times more important than actually what happened to you.

Q. Brandon and Malcolm, y’all committed to the previous coach, played y’all’s freshman seasons and then this current staff came in. What were some of the first things that this current staff said to you to engage with y’all and get y’all rowing the boat for them and now that this is your last game for this staff, what are your thoughts looking back on that process when they came in?
BRANDON JONES: I think the biggest thing that we took from the coaching staff, obviously they didn’t recruit all of us, and just how the situation was. I think we ended it the right way. I think the biggest thing that they brought to us which kind of opened our eyes was how close knit and when you’re a close knit team and when you really trust the process and just being a part of that whole culture shift really opened our eyes.

I know personally just being around the type of guys that have came in with me and the guys that came behind me, just how important that relationships are, and just being real all the time. Stuff doesn’t always go your way, obviously, and sometimes you don’t — you’re not able to — you’re not put in the situation that you want to be put in, but these coaches really strive to make us — have taught us a lot of stuff in football that also goes with stuff in the real world, and I think it’s made me and a lot of the other guys better men at the end of the day.

MALCOLM ROACH: Can you restate the question, please?

Q. Malcolm, when the current staff didn’t recruit you, you had to basically — when they got here, they kind of had to reengage y’all. What was that process like, and then looking back on it, what are your — just your reflection on playing for this staff even though they didn’t recruit you?
MALCOLM ROACH: You know, everything wasn’t smooth sailing from the beginning. But just like my parents always tell me, everything happens for a reason. You know, one day you’ve just got to look at yourself and say, you know, nothing is going to happen, the old staff is not coming back and you’ve got to work with what you have. Before you know it, you just been around each other so long you start having love for one another, and things just start clicking. You know, we just realized that we just had to work, and we work hard, and this staff pushed us more than I’ve ever been pushed in my life, and just like Brandon said, they just didn’t prepare us for football, they prepared us for life with just things we did within practice and things we did within being accountable, being on time for things like that.

That was basically the biggest thing. Time was a big factor in that. You just can’t adjust overnight. But we learned that things weren’t going to change, and we had to fall in love with it, and that’s what we did. We gave this staff our heart. We opened up to them. We had a lot of good results from that. You know, like I say, everything happens for a reason, so I can’t complain at all.

Q. Craig, two questions for you. First one, you mentioned the last four games of the regular season once you guys started getting some guys back. A lot of those guys were in the secondary, where you’re coaching. What were the strides that you saw made and how important was it to get those bodies back and how important was the health of this defense to having success? And then also, you’re a Taylor guy, you talked about growing up going to Texas baseball games and being a UT fan. I know this isn’t the way you wanted to be in this position, but what does it mean to you personally to be in such an elevated role as defensive coordinator of the University of Texas, a school that you grew up loving?
CRAIG NAIVAR: Sure, I’ll answer your second question first or second statement there. I’m blessed every day I get to wake up and represent this state and this university, so yeah, things don’t always go the way you want them to, but there’s also been a lot of positives in our tenure here and things like that, so excited about that. Excited to be with these guys this morning and all that good stuff like that.

You know, that’s a positive.

Going back to the injury part of it, we can give a million different excuses of what and why things happened this year. When you take the final look at what led to everything, Coach Orlando had a really tough task every week of going through the injury report and who’s playing this week, who’s healthy, who’s not, who can do this, who can do that, so the inconsistencies were one guy is not playing maybe a specific position continuously so you can build upon prior game plans and do those things, then it creates a challenge.

But it’s something we’ll respond to and do the best we can with that. But it’s been fun to get those guys back, guys that are leaders back there, guys that can get guys lined up and allowed Coach Orlando and ourselves to do more things versus sometimes with a little bit less experience, try not to ask too much of a guy that was not yet ready to do that. That’s through experience, that’s through confidence, that’s from getting on the field and playing, and that’s the only other way you’re going to gain experience is doing that.

Q. Brandon, curious what you were thinking during that initial team meeting when you guys learned that Coach Orlando had been let go. What were your thoughts and feelings, and did that make it sort of initially difficult for you to focus on this game with everything that was spinning around the program?
BRANDON JONES: It was definitely tough. I know some of the older guys, we, I think, knew how to handle it a lot better just because we’ve been in that situation before, obviously.

But we have total faith in Coach Naivar, and we knew that if anything, with Coach Orlando not being here, he would want us to finish the way we knew he wanted us to finish. I think we handled it a lot better than I initially thought, and we really just came together as a defense. And like I said, we have full faith in Coach Naivar, that he’s going to be able to get us in the right place at the right time, execute it at 100 percent and do whatever we can to win. But you know at the end of the day, I think with Coach Orlando getting fired, it just kind of gives us some fuel and motivation to have a bigger reason why this game is so important to us.

Q. Malcolm, a lot was made of Georgia not wanting to be there last year in the Sugar Bowl when y’all handled them so well. Utah is in a very familiar situation. They were left out of the playoff when they lost their last game. What do you think their motivation will be, and do you think you guys will be more motivated than them?
MALCOLM ROACH: I can’t answer that, what their motivation will be. I’m not in their locker room, so you’ll have to ask those guys.

But I know we’re going to be motivated. We always are. Like Keondre and Joe said, it’s another opportunity to play. It’s me and Brandon’s last opportunity to play with these guys. We work our tails off together, so we’re going to have the same motivation we always have playing for each other, and that’s the biggest thing that’s going to drive us.

Q. Coach, a question for you. When Coach Herman told you about the changes that were going to happen and he told you you were going to be the interim, what can you say about what that conversation was like? And the second question is are you trying to carry on Todd Orlando’s defense, or are you trying to do different things and add maybe a little bit of your own spin to it?
CRAIG NAIVAR: Sure. The initial response was anger and disgust at myself for things that I could have done better to help Coach Orlando and still be here. He’s one of the premier defensive coordinators in the country, and that hasn’t changed just because he doesn’t have that job. I consider him a very, very close friend, but he’s a damned good ball coach, and he has a great system in place. We would be foolish as ever to try to reinvent the wheel and try to create something different than what we’re doing.

As every game plan has, you do specific things for that opponent, but we have a system in place. It’s a great system, and we’re going to execute it to the best of our ability.

Q. Coach Naivar, what stands out about Utah offensively, their biggest strengths?
CRAIG NAIVAR: Yeah, any Utah team you’ve ever seen play, they’re a physical, tough oriented team. They do a tremendous job coaching their kids to be tough, and they get the right type of guys that do that. They’re equally as good at running and throwing the ball. If you’re going to load the box up, the quarterback can do good things with it. If you want to sit back there and keep people over the roost they run the ball down your throat. They’ve got a lot of experience on offense, at the skill positions especially, and they have bred upon the success they’ve had this year. They present a task that’s not just one-dimensional in what they do.

Q. Joe, I know that you have expressed a lot of admiration for Todd Orlando. For you, how difficult was learning a new —
JOSEPH OSSAI: It was tough, especially because I haven’t been through anything like this. But like Naivar said, it’s hard when you lose a family member. We had our differences, but it was all love at the end of the day.

But we’ve got to move on, and we have a great, great system in place. With Coach Naivar, we trust him, and he trusts me, too, so we’ve got to do what we can to win this game.

Q. Caden and Craig, Caden, I know you talked throughout the off-season of the frustration of dealing with the ankle injury and the surgery and coming back. What was it like dealing with the knee injury and how much are you looking forward to getting on the field for this game and putting some good tape out there? And Craig, when Caden is healthy and right, what does that do for this defense?
CADEN STERNS: So yeah, obviously dealing with all these things, I was very — was really draining, mentally and physically, and just to get back on the field as much as I can because I love playing with these guys next to me and for the dudes in the locker room.

But again, just to also be in this game, to come back home and get back to my roots and play in a place I’m familiar with means a lot to me, as well.

CRAIG NAIVAR: Obviously he’s pretty damned good when he’s beat up. He’s really good when he’s not. I think what’s really — things that will never be said or known, which I have the utmost admiration and love for these guys like they are my own sons is what they have gone through physically and what some of these guys have fought through, from early in the season, not just mid-season, not just late. You guys will never know some of those things. But it’s pretty damn amazing what some of these kids have done, and I say kids, young men have done.

Again, I get up every morning fired up that I get to be around these guys, knowing what they’re about, knowing what they fight through, knowing what they’ve gone through. It motivates the heck out of me to be my very best for these guys.

Q. Malcolm and Brandon, we’ve talked a lot about how you guys were here when Texas didn’t go to bowl games, and I want to ask you both, what is it like to maybe finish with a three-game bowl winning streak, and where do both of you think this program is headed into the future with all these coaching changes that are coming?
MALCOLM ROACH: You know, to be able to go out my freshman year, not make a bowl game was disappointing. But I mean, you learn from it and you just try not to let that happen again, and we didn’t let that happen again.

To go out and win two straight on the verge of trying to win three straight, you know, it’s exciting. That’s something that we want to get done. I don’t think it’s been done here in a long time, I think. But you know, just trying to go out there and win another game, that’s what it really comes down to. Just trying to go out on a high note with our careers and trying to send these young guys out with a lot of positivity going into the off-season because it’s always big coming off a win at the end of the season.

But I just see this program going up, you know. Just had a nice recruiting class come in. You know, a lot of guys who wasn’t supposed to play this year got a lot of playing time, especially in the secondary, and you know, losing a guy like Brandon back there, it’s a lot of guys that played a lot of downs this year, and I feel like they’re going to have a lot of experience going into the next year, even being sophomores and some juniors coming up.

I just see this program going up even more.

BRANDON JONES: Yeah, I would say just being — not being bowl eligible our freshman year to making a bowl the next three years, the biggest importance that comes with playing in a bowl is the extra practices and how important those are and getting that chance. I know me and Malcolm spent like a month at home just watching the games and stuff, and having those extra practices really develops, and it kind of builds that overall experience, and getting those extra days of practice.

I definitely see Texas, obviously we’ve made a bowl the last three years, and it’s always, I think, since this coaching staff has been here, it’s been going in the right direction, obviously. Like Malcolm said, it’s just exciting just to be able to play another game with these guys. I love them like they’re my real brothers, and we’re just going to do what we can do.

Texas Team Arrival

Coach Herman

Just really briefly: Excited to be here in San Antonio at the Alamo bowl. It’ll be a great experience for our players and I’ve

never coached in one of these but I have heard and talked to a lot of colleagues that said, this is as good as it gets when it comes to bowl games so excited to be here.


 Q: Any update on players, injuries, anything with guys back in practice?


Coach Herman

Collin [Johnson] is running around great.Ryan [Bujcevsky’s] doing well, he’ll be our starting punter. 


Q: Any update for Jordan Whittington? 


Coach Herman

It’s going great, obviously had to have another procedure with complications from the prior surgery but he’s in great hands with Dr. Meyers, who is the best in the world. And we think we finally, we are on the right track to progress so hoping, hopefully by the time you winter workout starts, he’ll be clear to clear to go to Anthony took a group, just spent all this guy.


Q: Talk about the seniors getting to finish off in Texas and just how cool it is to be right down the road and play a team like Utah


Coach Herman

Yeah, it’s huge. Our senior class has done something pretty special. These guys will have an opportunity to win a third straight bowl game for the first time in 10 years, or over 10 years I think 2006 through 2008 was the last time Texas had won three straight bowl games so we really want to see them do that. And to do it against an opponent like Utah that had an amazing season 11 wins in front of what will hopefully be a heavily burnt orange plaid crowd, that’d be a really neat way to send our seniors out.


Q: Those seniors they played for the previous coach for one year and then they played for you for three. What can you say about the fact that even after that first season that they came to play for you and are at this point now.


Coach Herman

I can’t thank them enough. They all stuck around, they all probably knew how difficult it was going to be. I think that even as 18 year old freshman, they knew the challenges that were ahead of this program to get us back to where we believe that we need to be. They could have easily said ‘hey I’m not up for that,’ and they all stuck around. They all contributed quite a bit to our success and again can’t thank them enough.


Q: Can you talk about your offensive coordinator search, where it is? Do you feel like it’s wrapped up or what can you tell us?


Coach Herman

No, I can’t tell you much other than pleased at the way that it went, pleased that I had the opportunity to talk to as many quality candidates as we did. We knew that we got to get this right, but it’s got to be not just right for the masses but right for Texas, and right for what we believe in and who we want to be on that side of the ball, and so I’m very pleased with where we’re at on that timetable. 


 Q: With that in mind, is this the last time you think you’ll be having a play sheet in front of you and calling out plays as head coach here?


Coach Herman

You never want to say never, but I hope so. I know, I was a better head coach when I didn’t have that responsibility, and I owe it to this program to be the best version of me. I think just the way I’m wired works, some people that works well for some it doesn’t. Some have tried it both ways and have fallen in love with one way and not so much the other way, but I know for me, you feel like you become a jack of all trades and master of none and I don’t ever want to rob Peter to pay Paul and diminish my ability as a head coach to, to try to be the best offensive play caller that I can be. And so you never want to say never, but hopefully this will be the last time for a while. 


Q: Will you have any early enrollees practice with you? 


Coach Herman

No. I think it makes sense if you’re playing in the playoffs, especially if you make it to the second round, because you can’t bring them to the bowl site. They can only be on campus and we will have only had, by the time everything’s done, eight practices just because the way recruiting calendar works, the shortage of coaches that we had. Then it has to time up with their graduation, their Signing Day, all of that stuff. I mean we’re talking, maybe one or two practices, it just didn’t didn’t make a whole lot of sense.


Q: What did you feel like you got out of the on campus practices in terms of the development guys, and did any of those guys that you didn’t get to see in the regular season look like they’ve made progress? 


Coach Herman

They all have. I think the offensive line stands out to me. David Gbenda’s having a heck of a few days of practice. He’s got a great motor. Kenyatta Watson is someone that’s got a very bright future here.You know it is nice to know that we’re going to have Josh Thompson for two more years. I know he’s not a developmental guy per se but to see him over on the scout team gives you a lot of hope in the back end there in the future. Kennedy Lewis has a bright future here. Obviously Marcus Washington continues to get better. Jake Smith has had a heck of a few weeks in terms of practice. I think he’s kind of on the other side of the kind of freshman comp and really continuing to progress. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some guys. I think our two young safeties. I know they’ve started games so to say that their developmental guys but Chris Adimora and Tyler Owens have really shown glimpses of improvement. 


Q: We didn’t see a ton of Casey Thompson, this year but do you still like the trajectory Casey’s going in?


Coach Herman

Oh, yeah. We had some guest coaches that were at our practice yesterday and I had one kind of nudge me and say ‘hey, that backup you guys got is pretty dang good’ and I said ‘yeah he’s really, really talented’ and, you know, when he gets his shot there’s no doubt in any of our minds that he’s got the skill set to be a championship level quarterback here


Q: What is the key to playing in a bowl game to with the layoff,  the change of schedule and all the dynamics that go into a bowl game?


Coach Herman

Have fun. I think when as an assistant having been different ways of doing things, some head coaches, treat it like it’s training camp; we don’t. We want to have a lot of fun. We want to get our work in. But then, especially when you get to the site, you have one objective, and that’s to win the game. We talked a lot about that yesterday as a team. The second objective, everything else becomes secondary. Having fun, enjoying San Antonio, enjoying the camaraderie with your teammates all of that, but once you hit the bowl site and you’re here for those four or five days, the biggest objective is to win the game.



Derek Kerstetter

Q: Derek it’s been a wild time, right, with the coordinators, being replaced. What’s been going on with the players, and how do you think the locker room has handled all the change?


Derek Kerstetter

Oh good. We believe in Coach Herman is doing. I mean, he’s obviously the leader of the program so we believe in whatever he says is the best thing for us, so we just look to our leader and he says he’s going to do whatever he needs to do so, we believe in him. 


Q: What are your thoughts on finally being here after practicing on campus and how did those practices go?


Derek Kerstetter

I’m super excited here. I’m from San Antonio so just being home for me is really exciting. I’ve seen this game since I was little, so it’s exciting to finally get to play in it. As far as how we’ve been practicing, we’re practicing to win the game and just do the best we can. So, we’ve had some good practices. I’m excited about what we’re going to show on Tuesday night, New Year’s Eve. 


Q: Do you feel like any of the changes with the coaching staff affected how practice was? Did you sense maybe a wake up call on Monday with your teammates? 


Derek Kerstetter

We just have to take everything one step at a time, go 1-0 and just handle and control what we can control. All that is up to Coach Herman, we don’t control any of that type of stuff.  


Q: You guys have seen some good defensive lines this year. How does Utah kind of stack up with some of the teams you’ve seen in terms of their defensive front, and what stands out about their defense when you watch on tape?


Derek Kerstetter

They’re a good D line. They play hard, they play to the whistle and they focus on stopping the run, so that’s just like many other D lines in the Big 12. They focus on that type of stuff too, so we haveto bring our ‘A’ game and do the best we can against them. 


Q: You mentioned having memories of the Alamo bowl growing up. What are the things that stood out to you for this game?


Derek Kerstetter

I’ve gone multiple times. It seems like someone will always have a ticket and just ask you to go when you’re from San Antonio, so I’ve seen many times when TCU was down by like 35 and came back to win that game versus Oregon I believe it was, and just many different things like that. It’s exciting to be back in the Alamodome and be back in the ‘210.’


Q: When you look at Bradlee Anae, the pass rusher for Utah, why is he so good?


Derek Kerstetter

Just because he plays the whistle. He plays hard. He’s very finesse. He does a bunch of different moves and he just constantly makes you be technically sound and just work your craft and do the best you can. 


Q: You guys as an O line finished strong in that Texas Tech game. How did you guys try to build on that in bowl practices knowing the kind of defense you’re getting ready to play.


Derek Kerstetter

Just knowing the kind of offense we are. We’re one of the best and we believe that, and just knowing that we got to continue to do what we can do to be the best that we can be. It’s just taking it one step at a time and just focus on getting better, whether it’s different steps or different techniques, we just got to focus on those things and we’ll be successful. 


Q: What were the ticket requests like when they found out that you were coming down here? 



Jeffrey McCullough

Q: How’s it been with all the change, with [Todd] Orlando out and [Craig] Naiver coaching y’all?


Jeffrey McCullough

The team is trying to stay focused, day by day, in and out, just doing our job. That’s not our job, so we just let Coach Herman do what he has to do and we believe that he’s going to do what’s best for the team. We just keep playing and staying in our roles as players. 


Q: Do you feel like you guys are doing a good job with any emotions that might have come with the coaching change? 


Jeffrey McCullough

Well we realize it’s a business, it’s not personal. You always hate to see a coach go and when love them very dearly, but that’s what Coach thought needed to be done, so we’re just gonna do our part and keep working because there’s nothing we can do about it.


Q: Your class committed to the previous coach and after your freshman season, Coach Herman came in here. You all had to buy into him and now you’re here for a third straight bowl game. What was that process like when he first showed up, and how has it been now at this point, playing for him even though you didn’t commit to him?


Jeffrey McCullough

I think it goes in correlation a lot with life. Things don’t always go as planned, so you just have to adjust. You can’t sit there and pout because you didn’t get your way, or you didn’t get the boss you wanted or something like that. You just have to keep pushing we’re all adults here and we have to act like it. 


Q: How exciting is it to finally be in game week and at the site of the bowl?


Jeffrey McCullough

Oh, it feels great walking through the door with all my brothers finally. We’ve all been kind of relaxed, but this was a great experience being able to walk through have a really welcoming committee into San Antonio was great. We appreciated it, and we can’t wait to get to work here and have a great bowl.


Q: What challenges does the Utah offense present to you guys, especially the linebacker core?


Jeffrey McCullough

As always, they have great athletes, so we’re gonna have to figure out a way to stop them. We have our way and we’re going to go work on it and try to perfect it so that we come away with the win. 


Q: The last two years you guys have won bowl games. What have you found that kind of helps you prepare and be ready for the game?


Jeffrey McCullough

Our X-Factor I’d have to say is Coach McKnight and his staff. They keep our bodies in pristine shape. We go out there every day and we’re ready. No matter what we have to ask, they are ready for it. 


Q: What do you do for the younger guy to say ‘hey, it’s a business trip, but also enjoy the moment?


Jeffrey McCullough

You just have to remind them, remind them constantly. Just show them the way. It’s more of a show on the way type of thing, so when we get in meetings or in practice we’re not messing around, but if we’re out on Riverwalk and you’re of age, you know you want to go have a good time, then go.Go enjoy yourself.



Utah Practice Availability 12/26

Utah Practice 12/26/19

Head Coach Kyle Whittingham

Tight End Brant Kuithe

Wide Receiver Jaylen Dixon

Defensive End Bradlee Anae


Q: Opening Statement

Coach Whittingham:

“First practice after a few days away, the energy was overall it was good for four days off. You want to see them come out with a lot of juice, lot of energy and also hope they retained all the things you worked on that first nine practices. It was it was a short practice and very productive.”


Q: Biggest key to defense

Coach Whittingham: “Well I think we’re good at all three levels of defense. Our front has played well and we have pretty good players up front. The two linebackers – Devin Lloyd  and Francis Bernard– have been very productive as well and made a bunch of plays, and then the secondary has really been efficient.

Q: Challenges Texas QB Sam Ehlinger presents

Coach Whittingham: “Well, he’s a great leader and that comes across on film. He’s the guy that is the catalyst for their offense, a big strong guy can run the ball effectively and he’s been throwing the ball exceptionally well this year.”


Q: Playing against Texas in Texas

Coach Whittingham: “Like I said just same mentality, same philosophy. Same things we talked about on the road during the regular season apply to this game. Well, the biggest thing is it really has no bearing on next year but send the seniors out the right way and that’s the biggest motivating factor. There’s still a lot of, you know, big things like this team’s playing for a 12-win season and Top 10 ranking so there’s a lot on the line. But the biggest thing is for us to have the seniors leave on the positive.”




Q: How was your first practice after a couple of days away?

Brant Kuithe: “Good energy, feel sharp out there. So good to see the guys and just get the chemistry back but felt like we just left yesterday you know just got to get to work and take it day-by-day


Q: What jumps out about Texas’ defense?

Brant Kuithe: “One of the biggest things that jumped out about them is that they’re just physical and big. We have to get ready and expect pressure and go with the flow.”


Q: Playing in Texas against Texas?

Brant Kuithe: “It’s not going to be easy but we’re used to talking about that stuff. We have to get used to hearing each other in the huddle. We don’t really have really sign signals we just have to get used to the sound.”




Q: How are things going so far?

Jaylen Dixon: “Been great so far. I grew up in Texas, so I’ve been here from town for, like, vacations and stuff so it’s been nice. I like coming back and seeing everything.”

Q: Treating this as a business trip

Jaylen Dixon: “Definitely, yeah. This is a big game, you know, to get that 12th win. And that’s like the main thing right now and we’re just really focused on it and like you said, it’s a business trip. So, coming back to Texas and just growing up and knowing that school and just knowing of you know the like the history and the culture, and it’s just huge so just can’t wait to get out there.



Q: Showcasing your skills in final college game.

Bradlee Anae: “People will be watching something like this yeah of course this is another opportunity to show your skills scouts or whatever it might be. I look at it as an opportunity not a risk.”


Utah Team Arrival with Coach Whittingham, DT John Penisini and RB Zack Moss

Q: How does it feel to finally get this thing going and get to the city?


Coach Whittingham:

“It’s great! It’s great to be here, our guys are excited. We’re coming in from a lot of different destinations so we’re not all here yet, but before the end of the night we should all be here and ready to start practice tomorrow morning.”


Q: How’s practice has been going so far up to this point?


Coach Whittingham:

“Really good. We got nine practices in Salt Lake City, sent them home for Christmas and we’ll get four more in at the site right here this week.”


Q: What’s the message to the team as far as it’s a business trip, but also let’s have fun?


Coach Whittingham:

“The message is you have to be able to differentiate when it’s time to go to work and when it’s time to have a good time. Traditionally our guys have been really good at that, being able to get dialed in when we need to for practice and meetings and when it’s time to have the bowl events and enjoy the city then they will do that as well.”


Q: Coach take us through what this day was like for you, waking up this morning probably celebrating Christmas and then traveling.


Coach Whittingham:

“We had Christmas and this morning and didn’t need to get to the airport until about four o’clock, so it was a great day to spend time with the family. And all the families were excited to get on the plane and get to our destination so it’s like having two Christmases.


Q: Why do you want to give the guys a couple of days off before meeting here?


Coach Whittingham:

“It allowed them to get home. Otherwise they’d be in Salt Lake City, away from their families on Christmas day. Our administration has been so supportive, we were able to fly all our guys home to their respective destinations and then fly them here. We’ve played in several post-Christmas bowl games in the past, and in the ones that we’ve had enough time to have a full week of practice, prior to the game we done to send them off.”



Q: What are some of the challenges that this Texas offense presents?


Coach Whittingham:

“They have playmakers. The quarterback, he’s the catalyst, he makes it all happen. Big strong kid, good arm, over 4000 yards total offense. They have a receiver that has over 100 catches, over 1200 yards. A couple running backs that are very productive, offensive line is playing well, so they’ve got a lot of things we have to deal with on offense. Defensively, their very sound, very solid, quarters-based team. With new coordinators things to change a little bit so there’s a few unknowns.”




Q: How excited are you to finally be here and get this thing going?


John Penisini:

“I’m excited, I’ve never been here before, so it’s nice to finally touch down and see what San Antonio is about, but I’m just grateful to be here.”


John Penisini:

Q: What was that like having a couple of days off to spend some time with family and friends before you came down here to take care of business?


John Penisini:

“Oh, it’s nice. We rarely get breaks but I’m from Salt Lake, so I go home every now and then, but it’s so nice seeing all the boys get to fly home and see their family.”


Q: From a player’s perspective, how do you balance, this is a business trip, but also I want to enjoy this and have fun and get to see a lot of stuff?


John Penisini:

“Coach told us to enjoy the experience but you when you have the chance to balance it out, watch film, always keep your opponent back in your mind and just stay focused.”

Q: What are some challenges you are going to face as you play Texas?


John Penisini:

“Aggressive O-line. They have playmakers on the outside, receivers, the running back is good, and the quarterback can run, and he has an arm. So, pretty much the whole offense, they’re really good.”



Q: How excited to finally get this thing going and get here to San Antonio for this business trip?


Zack Moss:

“It’s very exciting and it’s good to finally get into town. It was a great welcome downstairs and it’s going to be a fun experience for us.”


Q: How are you going to balance this week?


Zack Moss:

“Our coaches do a good job of helping us understand that this is a business trip at the end of the day, while also allowing us to have a lot of fun and downtime. We keep in the back of our mind that this is a business trip.”


Q: You’ve had some time now to see what Texas defense has done throughout the year, what are some of the challenges that they present for you?


Zack Moss:

“They’re very athletic, very long defense. It can create a lot of problems for us if we allow it to happen. That goes for any team that we play, but they are a very good defense.”


Q: What do you like about your offense?


Zack Moss:

“The guys want to continue to play for each other, we get another chance to go out here and do it one more time for our fans. I’m ready and very excited to see what we’re going to do this time.”


Q: How do you sum up your season as an individual?


Zack Moss:

“It’s not over yet. So, I’ll sum it up by saying I have a lot more things to do for this team and we can come out here and win.”

Valero Alamo Bowl Head Coach Press Conference

Q. Both of you have great quarterbacks. Can you both talk about each one of your guys, what they bring to this game.

TOM HERMAN: “I mean, I think Sam Ehlinger is certainly the gas that makes our engine go, not just offensively, but as a team. Phenomenal leader. He’s a 3.8 GPA student in the McCombs School of Business. Already part of a start-up business. He’s, like I like to say, a marry-your-daughter type of kid.

We go as he goes. He’s had a tremendous season, as I’ve said. I think he finished sixth in the country in passing yards this season. Obviously we’ve got some talent around him at receiver.

He’s much more to our team than just a guy who throws the football and hands it off. He’s the heart and soul of who we are, is really a daily embodiment of our culture and how we do things.”

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: “As far as Tyler Huntley, a lot of common ground there. He is the leader of the leaders. Most teams have a bunch of leaders, but there’s usually one guy that everybody looks to. Tyler is that guy.

He’s been in the program four years now. Absolutely playing his best football of his career. Was in the Heisman conversation for a while there. Tremendous completion percentage, 75% completion percentage. Only threw two picks during the regular season. Unfortunately we had a couple in the championship game.

He’s a guy that is a fanatical preparer for football games. He never stops. We’re eight minutes out from kickoff, he’s in the locker room in his book taking notes, jotting things down. Just a relentless preparer.

He’s a competitive kid and tough kid. He went through a stretch mid-season where I’m going to tell you most people would not have played. In these two or three weeks, he didn’t miss a snap, continued to battle.

He’s meant so much to us. Very, very rarely do you find a good football team that doesn’t have good quarterback play. We’re fortunate to have had that from Tyler this season.”

Q. You both have had success in the post-season, especially in bowl games. How do you balance letting the young men have fun, but this also being a road trip, a business trip for them also?

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: “That’s the operative word, ‘balance’. You have to make it a good experience for them. It can’t be all just drudgery and beating them into the ground. You have to be able to strike that balance and make it a good experience for them.

We have a tradition at Utah, the bowl season is very important to our guys. It almost self-perpetuates from year to year because the next group doesn’t want to be the group that lets the previous group down in bowl play. It’s not hard at all to get our guys excited about playing in a bowl.

You’re exactly right, there’s a time for football and a time to work hard and practice, but there’s also time to have a lot of fun that will be a great experience for them.”

TOM HERMAN: “I think the same thing is true. We have a lot of fun during bowl preparation, not just at the site, with the activities that the bowl provides, but even before we head to the site, we have a lot of fun when we’re practicing. I think once finals are over, the kids can take a big, deep breath, allowing us to go in and really bond.

I think the bowl experience, because there’s no classes, it’s much like training camp in the fact that all you’re doing really is playing football, practicing football, preparing to win a game. You’re around your teammates so much more than you are during the regular season.

But much like Coach Whittingham said, it’s about balance. We’re trying to win a football game, too. I do think the motivation a lot of times also is twofold: one is for the senior class, to make sure they go out their last game as a Texas Longhorn victorious, but also to propel some of those younger guys into the off-season and have some positivity as you head into winter conditioning.”

Q. Kyle, talk about what Morgan Scalley means to your team since now that he’s got a new deal. And, Tom, what has the message been to your current roster, the feedback from them since you made the decision to replace both coordinators.

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: “I can’t say enough good things about Morgan. When he was a player here, just a fierce competitor. We were in the Mountain West Conference at the time. He was the Defensive Player of the Year, MVP of the Sugar Bowl — the Fiesta Bowl. Just a competitive spirit and a competitive fire second to none. That transformed and translated to his coaching career.

For a lot of years he’s been the face of Utah football. He’s a home-grown guy, right there from Salt Lake City. Immediately after finishing playing, we hired him on the staff in a role, he wasn’t a full-time coach, but he was on the staff, working with the program. As soon as I had the opportunity and the opening on the staff to hire him full-time, we did so.

His coaching, just the progress that he’s made, where he is right now, he’s been our coordinator for four years. He gets exponentially better every single year. This year the defense he was able to coach and put on the field was tremendous. Top 10 in virtually every defensive category.

To be able to get him locked up for the long-term contractually, Utah is where he wants to be, so we’re elated and grateful to our administration for making that move and putting the contract in place. That will keep him in Utah for hopefully a lot of years.”

TOM HERMAN: “You asked about the team and the players. I think there was a little bit of balance between accountability, especially on the defensive side. They all love Coach Orlando, as do I and my family. We always will. So the players, there was a lot of them that felt like they had let him down.

At the same time I think there’s a lot of positivity, a lot of excitement about what the future can hold. I think they all know, especially on the defensive side of the ball, that the level of play consistently was not to the standard of the University of Texas, that it needs to improve.

I think they were very appreciative of myself and our administration for addressing that fact, making sure that we play better and produce at a much higher level on that side of the ball.”

Q. Tom, coaching changes, how have you seen that play out on the recruiting trail? How are you feeling with the signing period starting early? You’re both Urban Meyer proteges, what have you seen from each other since working under Urban Meyer?

TOM HERMAN: “The recruiting trail has been great. Our class is extremely solid. Really it’s a much simpler discussion with recruits than I think people realize. Assistant coaches want to be coordinators, and coordinators want to be head coaches. To think that you’re going to play for the same position coach and/or coordinator for your entire career, that’s pretty rare.

The trust has to be in myself as the leader of the organization, the strength of the staff. Then really all of the other reasons why you commit to a place like the University of Texas. You commit to Texas to get an elite education, one of the top public schools in the entire country, to lay some roots in the number one city in America in Austin, Texas, and to develop a network of very powerful people that can provide opportunities for us once you’re done playing football.

To the Coach Meyer question. From what I’ve heard of Coach Whittingham’s program, the very little I’ve seen, certainly the physicality element is one that stands out. I know that we pride ourselves in being physical. I’m sure he does, too. I know in my time with Coach Meyer, that was certainly a big point of emphasis, too.

I’m sure over the seven days when we’re together, we’ll probably have a lot of stories that we can share. Tremendously thankful to Coach Meyer for his mentorship, the opportunity he gave me at Ohio State. I’m sure Coach Whittingham feels the same.”

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: “Yeah, as far as Urban, back to 2002, a coaching change. I was on the staff at Utah. Coach Ron McBride who had been there several years was let go. I felt like I was the next guy. I was ready for it. When Urban got hired, I was disappointed because I thought, like I said, I was prepared to take that on.

As it turned out, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Just to be able to work for Urban for those years, he retained me as a coordinator, was invaluable to my development as a coach. His meticulous approach, detailed everything that goes into running a football program on a daily basis, I was able to observe that and work through that.

Like I said, two years later I was a much better coach before Urban got there. Continue to stay close friends with Urban. To this day we talk every couple weeks. But, again, can’t express enough gratitude for what I learned during the course of that two years. It was a huge benefit to my career.”

Q. Kyle, I know you’ve already addressed this morning about whether or not players have come to you talking about skipping the bowl game. My question for both coaches, would it be tough to blame a kid if one did come to you opting to skip the bowl game and worry about the combine? Would it be tough to blame a kid for worrying about himself at this point?

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: “I’ll defer and just say, What Tom said (laughter).”

TOM HERMAN: “I think ‘blame’ is a strong word. As coaches, we certainly understand that some of these players have to make decisions that they feel are right for their future. Once that decision is made, we support them.

We have always advised our guys to play in the bowl game, one, to be able to travel and experience the bowl game, two, to prove to the NFL how good a team player you are.

Again, we’re not the only ones advising them. But once they do make that decision, we certainly support them in all of their endeavors.”

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: “I’m of the same mindset.”

TOM HERMAN: “See (laughter).”

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: “It depends a lot, if a kid is a first five pick or first 10 pick, maybe that’s different than your second or third round. Each individual situation has to be weighed separately and judged separately.

I’m of the same opinion, it’s a different day and age. This wasn’t even a topic a few years back, things have really changed. If an athlete is definitely wanting to forego the bowl season, move on, then we’ll support him as well but don’t necessarily agree with it all the time.

The main thing to me is they’re listening to the right people. Coach mentioned we’re not the only ones in their ear. As long as they’re getting good information, making a decision that is the right one. I believe more times than not you can help your draft stock by playing in the game, finishing your career.

Again, it’s a different dynamic that’s been introduced just recently. I think coaches are still trying to get their head wrapped around it and what the best approach is.”

Q. Kyle, do you have any players that have been ruled out of the game due to injury at this stage?

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: “Yeah, we lost our two safeties, first and second team free safeties, almost within minutes of each other. That was Julian Blackmon and R.J. Hubert, to season-ending injuries. There’s only one game left now, but fairly serious injuries.

It’s disappointing. We’ll have to figure out a course of action. But unfortunately Julian and R.J. won’t be available. Beyond that, everyone seems to be in pretty good health.”

Q. Coach Herman, Collin Johnson, his possibility of playing the bowl game?

TOM HERMAN: “He’s progressing. As I told our local media, we expect him to be ready to play. If he continues to progress the way that he has, hopefully we get him back into practice sometime next week.”

Q. Kyle, I’ve worked out for six straight days. What is your workout streak and how do you stay motivated?

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: “It’s kind of a sickness now. I’ve been doing it for a while. What do you want to know? How many days I’ve done it?”

Q. How many days you’ve done it and how you keep motivated.

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: “It keeps me sane. If I didn’t do it, I’d go insane. It’s more for a mental deal than physical. We’re right around four thousand days, give or take. Leave it at that.”

TOM HERMAN: “Straight days?”


TOM HERMAN: “That’s real (laughter)? Walking, running?”

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: “Elliptical, stair-step, swimming, every day.”

TOM HERMAN: “Four thousand?”

KYLE WHITTINGHAM: “For sure (laughter). I’m constantly trying to outwork my diet, which is hard to do.”

Team Announcement Coach Call-In

Q: Opening Statement


Tom Herman: “Well we were a young team I appreciate you having me. We are thrilled to be represented at the Alamo Bowl. We’re a young team that had some injuries and we didn’t exactly meet our expectations, but I think our kids play really hard. We’ve got some good young talent, and we’re excited to be there.


Q: What leadership does Sam Ehlinger bring to the team?


Tom Herman: “I call him a ‘marry your daughter’ kind of kid. He makes great grades he’s an unbelievable young man, he’s a great leader he was our only non-senior that was a captain. He leads by example and by his voice and his production on the field. He’s a heck of a player, a heck of a competitor and really, really represents our way of doing things the right way.”


Q: What do you think about the stingy defense you’re going to face in Utah?


Tom Herman: “I don’t know a whole lot other than what the stats say but I do know, Coach Whittingham and his reputation. I know both of us worked for Coach Urban Meyer and coach Whittingham has had some unbelievable defenses in the past and this year is not much different. The stats that you read in terms of rushing yards, yards per play all that stuff. We know that that our offense is going to be in for a big-time challenge. Our defense as well. I know their quarterback, as you said, is second in the country in completion percentage, he’s a very efficient guy that has led them to the Pac-12 Championship game. Without yet studying either side on video I do know that coach Whittingham is going to hang his hat on defense and this year is no exception.”


Q: Opening Statement


Kyle Whittingham: “First of all, we’re excited for our first trip to the Alamo Bowl. Quite a few players on the roster are from the state of Texas so that’ll be a good experience for those guys to be able to get back home and play in front of some of their family. We’ve got a lot of respect to this Texas team. They have some really good players and then obviously the quarterback with over 4000 yards total offense and we’ve seen him throw 100 catches for over 1200 yards. Texas itself is steeped in tradition and there are a lot of positives there, so we’re excited about that. We feel like our team played good football this year. We came up a little bit short on the last game but with an elite quarterback, running back and defense we’ve got some things going for us. Texas, when you’re watching them play again LSU and Oklahoma, those were both one score games. They have a lot of talent, and it should be a great matchup.”


Q: Who are some of the seniors that are the foundation of your team?


Kyle Whittingham: “This senior group is special with back-to-back Pac-12 South champs. We’re senior laden on defense, but not on offense. We have very few seniors on offense but defensively we do have a bunch of seniors particularly in the front. We have three guys we think are as good as any defenders we’ve ever had here. We feel like we have our best defense at the University of Utah, at least since I’ve been here and that’s a while. I’ve been here 25 years and statistically it bears that out. Offensively we’ve got some emerging stars like Brant Kuithe our true sophomore tight end from the state of Texas, ironically, but he has had a tremendous year and is really turning into a star for us.”


Q: What does it mean for you and your team to play in San Antonio, especially for potential recruits?


Kyle Whittingham: “We have three main footprints Southern Cal, in state here in Utah and in Texas. The majority of our team is comprised of players from those three areas. It’s going to be great exposure for our team in a program to come to San Antonio and be able to play in that state and have recruits take note of that. And, of course, playing Texas adds to that as well. That gives even more Texas flair to the game.”


Iowa State Post Game

MATT CAMPBELL: Let me start with this from my end of things. First of all, I’ll again say this about Valero Alamo Bowl. Incredible experience for our kids this week, first-class organization, first-class event, beyond grateful to represent the Big 12 and be able to be a part of this event. You know, from my end in terms of — I think I should say another great thank you is to our fan base. You see the energy and the excitement that they have been so loyal to us, not only through the good times but through some of the tough times, and what an honor to be able to put them on this stage and to be able to be in this environment. They were incredible tonight and we’re beyond thankful to them and their support for us.

Really for this football team, really simple: I’m really proud of what this team stands for. I think if you look at our football team and our football program, you’re talking about a team that just like you saw tonight, never quits, plays with elite attitude and elite effort, is a team that demands to continue to get better. I think the missing piece for us right now is in the detail, and you want to take the next step in this program. We had to learn how to be consistent, we had to learn to prove that we could win with consistency here at Iowa State. We’ve proven that. Now to take the next step in this program, it’s detail, and it’s really what got us tonight really in all three phases of the game. Big kickoff return right before half, some silly mistakes in the pass game early. Obviously a tough fumble, and then some missed tackles early in the football game, and I think it comes down to that. But I’ve got a lot of respect for Coach Leach and Washington State. They didn’t make those mistakes, and ultimately they won the football game.

Q. Matt, I’m just going to start at the beginning. What interpretation did you get about the spearings?
MATT CAMPBELL: Yeah, I didn’t, and I guess that’s where a little bit of my frustration was, that there wasn’t any communication with that. And like I said, it’s a crazy environment. The officiating crew has got a lot going on so I get that and I understand that. My frustration during the football game was just getting an explanation. Now, I should be better than that, but really didn’t get any in those unfortunate situations. What I was really proud of, though, is our kids’ tremendous ability to overcome the loss of two what you would say would be very good football players for us this year.

Q. In your estimation, was the second one spearing?
MATT CAMPBELL: It’s really hard until I see the videotape. Obviously, like I said, the officials got a hard job, and I’ve got the utmost respect for any officiating crew that comes out here and does what they do, and I think they’re working as hard as they can to make the right call, so I have to go with that obviously would have been the right call.

Q. Just take us through that two-point conversion and the options that were available and what ultimately happened.
MATT CAMPBELL: Yeah, obviously our young center struggled at times tonight in terms of hearing the cadence, and that’s unfortunate. We thought we had a really good play. There were multiple options that would have been a part of it and thought we had the perfect play called. But again, those things happen. We went back then and had a couple options on the next play, as well, and just weren’t able to execute in a critical moment.

Q. You’ve talked about winning in the details. What are some of the biggest ones you want to get fixed up, and what gives you hope that you’re going to get them fixed up for next year?
MATT CAMPBELL: Well, I would certainly think our kids and how they played give us hope. Nobody — I couldn’t ask for a group of kids to work any harder than what our kids do, and I really think this group has gotten better as this season has gone on, and it’s a really young football team in a lot of ways. It’s got a chance to have a senior class that’s maybe — there’s a lot of guys that played a lot of football in this upcoming senior class that have had a huge impact, so I think our leadership coming into this coming year has got a chance to be really special, which is exciting from my end of it. I think that’s a credit to the last two senior classes and what they’ve taught us of how to do things the right way. And you know, I really just think it’s detail. Again, I’ve said this and I always say this: Our margin for error with the people we play and the opponents we play against has always got to be small. Tackling in space, running and converting the right routes, throwing the ball to the right people, taking care of the football, those things gotta be the different maker, and you turn it over three times in a football game like we did today, it’s really hard for us to win, and it doesn’t matter who we play and that’s not to knock Washington State at all, because they are a tremendous football team. That’s just we got to know who we are and what gives us the best chance for Iowa State to be really successful.

Q. You mentioned details. Seven false starts. How much of a factor is it to not play for a month, to have a month between games?
MATT CAMPBELL: Yeah, I really don’t think it was a huge factor from that standpoint of it. I really think the noise was a major factor, and especially for our young center, who has played really good football for us. And again, I put that as much on me as anybody, where do we need to have a different cadence. We tried to do some different things to help him out throughout the game, but it certainly got really loud in there at times, so I think just handling the environment more than anything, especially as those environments continue to escalate with the noise. We’ve got to do a better job, and that’s really on the head football coach.

Q. After Brock started 1-4 with the two interceptions he finished 7 of 23. What did you see from his ability to settle in there?
MATT CAMPBELL: Yeah, you know, gosh, I didn’t think Brock was even bad early. I think he made the right reads, and it just — a couple unfortunate situations, their guy made a great play on the ball and just some situations that were what they were, but it’s what I love about Brock, his moxie and his consistency and it’s great to have guys like Hakeem and David to get the ball to, and those guys made some great plays on the ball. But I think what he has the ability to do is play the next play, and it’s what makes Brock Purdy really special. I thought he did a lot of things in a really powerful way tonight that continue to show his growth. It’ll be really fun to watch him and get him into the winter and watch him continue to grow.

Q. Hakeem, talk about your game tonight. What made you — what were you able to be so successful at tonight?
HAKEEM BUTLER: I think the coaches had a good plan coming into the game with everything, and that’s pretty much it. They had a good game plan, and I just tried to execute to the best of my ability.

Q. Brian and then Marcel, you guys obviously knew all week that this was the No. 1 passing offense in the country. What was able to work so well for you guys in slowing Minshew and that group down and getting to work in short fields a couple times? What was working especially early in the second half when they couldn’t really get much going?
BRIAN PEAVY: I would say playing together, playing as 11 as 1, pursuing to the ball. Like you said, explosive offense, No. 1 offense, you kind of do what you got to do to slow them down and playing as one unit that was our goal.

MARCEL SPEARS: Totally agree with Peavy, everything he said.

Q. Hakeem, just to follow up on the coverage, was there anything you saw in the coverage that just opened up the game for you?
HAKEEM BUTLER: With their corners, the way they played and the safeties and things like that, we studied them a lot. We had a long time before we had to play them, so we got to understand them really well, and we just saw some things that we really liked and just attacked at will.

Q. Brian, Coach was saying earlier how much the senior class had imparted to the rest of the roster. What are some of the things that you’ve left behind as a legacy at Iowa State as a senior?
BRIAN PEAVY: Yeah, first off, definitely not settling for less. My years here, we had two-win seasons, three-win seasons and now we’re kind of changing the culture of the program. So what I wanted to leave as my legacy is basically we before me, putting your teammates before yourself, and just serving, and I think I did a good job with that.

Q. Hakeem, where are you right now with the NFL, and what’s going to go into that decision, just trying to get an update from you?
HAKEEM BUTLER: We just lost a game, so it’s kind of hard to even think about going anywhere. I’m just focused on what just happened right now.

Q. What’s the process for you over the next couple days?

Q. Brian, what did you say to Willie Harvey at halftime or after that game, being a fellow senior, and just the situation of him having to depart that game the way he did?
BRIAN PEAVY: Yeah, that’s a tough way to leave your senior year, your last game. But I know we talked about being physical, and I guess when you’re going full throttle, it’s hard to let off. We respect him for that, and we had his back, and that’s kind of what I told him.

Q. Matt, what was your thought on David’s fumble? There’s some thought that it might have been a forward motion thing or when he came to the sidelines what did you tell him?
MATT CAMPBELL: Well, I don’t have to say anything to David because it’s just like every one of our guys, mistakes happen in a football game. You know, I believe in our players. I trust them. I love them. I know none of those mistakes that happen are meant because of a lack of trying. You know, I think we went right back to David and we went right back to some guys early in the football game, and you just continue to let your great players make great plays, but mistakes happen.

Q. Matt, when you look back on this season, I guess what are you going to represent? How would you kind of define how it all went?
MATT CAMPBELL: 1-3 to 7-8 and the ability to turn the tide, it’s gutsy. I think if you look at the teams that started the football season 1-3 around the country and the teams that had the ability to recover like this group did, it’s really powerful. And I think this group has got a really powerful story. Obviously we came up short tonight, and that’s unfortunate, but I think those shortcomings will only guide us going forward, but what this senior class, what this team did this year, really powerful because I think a lot of people wrote us off at 1-3 and probably should have, but the reality of it is, in our walls our kids kept believing, and I think that’s more powerful than anything else going on, and to be honest with you, I think it’s why these kids can leave this — wherever they’re going tonight and tomorrow, they can hold their heads really high because what they’ve done and what they’ve stood for in changing a culture like Brian said, it continues to change in a really positive direction, and for that I’m really proud of this group.

Washington State Post Game

Q: Peyton, just talk about the challenges that Montgomery presented and what you all were ultimately able to do defensively to gut out the win.
PEYTON PELLUER: Yeah, I mean, he’s a big, physical back, and we knew we were going to have to tackle well all game if we were going to stop this offense, and there were times that we did, and they capitalized, so my hat’s off to them. When it came down to it, we tackled, got them down when it counted the most, and so I can’t credit my defense enough for that.

Q. Gardner, just tell us what you were seeing as you were reading the defense. Y’all weren’t going to the long ball, but what was presented to you and how did you capitalize?
GARDNER MINSHEW: They do a good job of mixing up the looks. Most of the time they’re going three deep, drop eight. It’s kind of hard to just get behind them when they’re doing that, and they had a good plan for us, luckily our defense came up big today and we were able to come out with it.

Q. You guys set the program record for wins in this game. How do you reflect on what this group was able to accomplish this year?
MIKE LEACH: I think the most impressive thing this group did was they improved every single week. I think that player-wise and coaching-wise we didn’t have any selfish people that were thinking about their own agenda, and if we did, then they were overshadowed by those that thought about the team first, and I thought they — as a result we were able to steadily improve each week, and I thought that was critical, and Iowa State is a great football team. There are very few teams I’ve played that I have more respect for than Iowa State. I thought they did a great job, but I’m really proud of this team and how we were able to grow this year.

Q. Coach, just talk about what worked offensively tonight.
MIKE LEACH: You know, stuff generally worked. The biggest thing we battled is we’d go through little stretches and all of a sudden drop a ball or get a penalty or give up pressure or something like that. I really did think that most things worked if we executed it, and when we did execute it, we marched right down the field. But I thought we hit a few stretches where we weren’t as consistent as we’d like to be.

Q. Coach, you had Iowa State down 21-7 and the Cyclones battled back. What did you think of the Cyclones’ effort tonight?
MIKE LEACH: Well, honestly the same thing I thought going in. You know, the biggest thing we battled, I guess, with the Cyclones, I felt like they’ve got some tough players, and I knew there would be some of this, was the explosives that kept drives alive, because I thought we did a pretty good job, and then at times they got off the hook with the explosives, and some of that is a credit to some of the players they have. But the thing is defensively we didn’t allow that to discourage us, and they did a good job taking the ball away from Iowa State, I thought.

Q. Gardner, I’d like to address this to you and Mr. Pelluer as far as just the legacy of this team. You guys are really leaving an indelible impression on the program. This team has won more games in one season than any other team in history. Talk about how fulfilling that is to you and the other seniors.
PEYTON PELLUER: Speaking for myself, this is what I came here to do is to leave my mark with the group of guys like we have here. We set a high standard at the beginning of the season because we had great expectations of what this team was capable of, and so we’re just thankful that we had this opportunity to get this 11th win and leave a winning legacy that Borghi and Jalen here are going to keep going.

GARDNER MINSHEW: One thing I’ve always been told is to leave a place better than you found it, and I felt like myself and these seniors have definitely done everything that we could to create these great work patterns, these winning mentalities that hopefully these guys carry on, man, because this place could be really special. It is really special. And to be a part of it’s an honor, and I can’t wait to see what they do in the future.

Q. Gardner, you set the Pac-12 single-season passing record with your performance tonight. What is the significance of that accomplishment for you?
GARDNER MINSHEW: It’s not nearly as significant as 11 wins being a school record at Washington State, but I mean, obviously it’s an honor. There’s a bunch of players that have helped me get to where I’m at. We’ve had more guys catch big-time balls than anybody I’ve seen this year, so I mean, it’s really a team. It’s an offensive reward, and just to be a part of it, it’s pretty cool.

Q. Peyton or Jalen, does Marcus know that Deion Sanders came to his defense for that pick six and was he pretty excited about Prime Time coming to his back like that?
JALEN THOMPSON: Yeah, he was pretty excited. After the game, he showed everyone, was like Deion Sanders tweeted to me. He’s pretty lucky. I wish I could get tweeted by Deion Sanders. But Marcus played great today, and he did his job, and you saw what happened. He made big plays.

Q. Peyton, everything that happened to begin this season in the off-season and then just what you guys accomplished, can you reflect a little bit just from the incredible down to how you guys rallied into one of the best seasons if not the best season the Cougars have ever had?
PEYTON PELLUER: Yeah, anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger I feel like. This team just really meshed together, got closer as a unit with every bit of adversity that we faced, and with that, you know, we learned to handle success well, as well. So I’m just blessed to be a part of this group. This was such a fun season. I had a blast. Each game, each practice, each day, and I’m going to miss playing with these boys.

Q. Coach Leach, you guys had a lot of stops in the red zone. They out-gained you guys by almost 200 yards, but what can you say about the effort by your defense despite giving up those explosive plays?
MIKE LEACH: I thought the turnovers was outstanding. As far as the yard differential, turnovers are part of what costs you a few yards. When you get to the end zone you stop. But I thought they were an efficient and aggressive team. Defensively they’re one of the best red zone teams in their conference, and then they’ve been stingy with everybody as far as getting points. I thought, again, like I say, we did a good job getting turnovers, and I think in hindsight, we wish we’d be better at stopping the explosives, and then offensively we wish we’d be a little more consistent.

But that’s why you have these games is to fight it out and see what happens, and we were fortunate to come out on top, and I think a lot of that has to do with our players and their ability to just focus on the next play and not get rattled by the results, and we truly did play until — throughout until the end of the game. We finished the game, and I think that’s what was critical, and I did think this would be a hard, long battle, and it was.

Q. Coach, you talked about how proud you were of this team. Can I ask you specifically about your senior class. They won a lot of games here. What are you going to remember about them most?
MIKE LEACH: Well, they’re on outstanding class, and they’re part of what built the foundation for us to start going to bowls since I’ve been there. They’re a group of guys that worked together, and they played early, and then as a result of their diligence, they’ve developed a vision of bigger things and higher aspirations were possible, and I think that they brought a lot of young guys with them through their example.

Q. Coach, just want to ask you about the setting here. You came here when you were coach at Tech, the setting here at the Alamo Bowl tonight. You guys drew 60,000 and change. That’s the largest Alamo Bowl attendance since 2005. I wanted to ask you, this dome is 25 years old, be it ever so humble, but what kind of a setting is the Alamo Bowl? What would you say? What’s it like here?
MIKE LEACH: Well, the setting is outstanding. The facility is naturally a loud facility, and then the Alamo Bowl does a great job promoting their bowl, and San Antonio is a city that sells itself as far as being a great place to go, and then both of our teams brought a significant number of fans, and then also I think within the state of Texas there’s a lot of people that just love football and are going to attend a football game if you’re having it. And so I think they brought great energy to the game, as well.

Q. Peyton, could you take us through that takeaway? It kind of looked like you had the only vantage point on it.
PEYTON PELLUER: Yeah, no, it was just kind of weak really, and they’ve been running that with the jet motion throughout that game. Jahad and I knew it was coming. They had a blocker up on me, and I had to get through him, and Montgomery was right there on the other side, and I just got my hands on the ball, and it was pretty loose, so I yanked at it and ended up with it. I don’t know, it was a fun play. Glad the offense could capitalize on that for sure.

Q. Max, going back to roughly a year ago, you kind of waited a day there before officially signing with the Cougars. What is this moment for you, to have this sort of impact in your first year, and then take me back to that moment when you did sign with them, and was this everything you were hoping for?
MAX BORGHI: No doubt, looking back, it’s just unbelievable. Getting that 11th win and doing all this as a freshman, words can’t explain it. It’s still sinking in to be honest. Just more than grateful for everything, and I’m more than happy with where I’m at right now. Shout out to Gardner and Peyton. They’ve really led me as like older brothers, and I love them both, and I’m going to miss them. They definitely deserve both those trophies right there, and yeah.

Q. Peyton, between the third and fourth quarter, you gave a passionate speech to the team. What were you saying to those guys in that moment?
PEYTON PELLUER: I was just telling them, you know, we’ve got 15 minutes left to play as a group. These last moments that we have together as a team, just leave it all out there. You’re going to remember this for the rest of your life. This is what we worked for all off-season, all season, and so it just kind of came down to that, and I was just kind of trying to inspire the troops and rally them and get them to finish that fourth quarter because I feel like we’re a good fourth-quarter team, and we just needed to finish that game, and we did.

Q. Peyton, can you talk about the two-point conversion, what you guys saw there and how you were able to smother that play up and seal the game with that play?
PEYTON PELLUER: Yeah, I think they started in empty, and we were dropping eight, cover two, Tampa two that we like in the red zone, and quarterback stepped up, kind of got flustered, so shout out to the defensive line for getting pressure on him, and as the low player I had to come up and stop him, and he threw that pass to Montgomery, and Willie and Marcus were there and just tackled, like I said. We didn’t make all the tackles tonight, but we made them when they really counted, and that was one of them.

GARDNER MINSHEW: I just want to say thank you to these coaches, this team, this university for really taking me in. I really didn’t know what to expect coming into the situation as it was, and man, just the family that we’ve developed, man, these brothers of mine, it was only for a short time, but man, it means so much to me, and I couldn’t be more appreciative.

Head Coach Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Coach Campbell, could you start with an opening remark.

MATT CAMPBELL: Yeah, first and foremost, I want to give a thank you to Derrick Fox and his great staff embracing not only, to be honest with you, our players but our players’ families, and certainly our fan base. It’s been a tremendous first-class experience all week. Beyond grateful for the support we’ve been given, the opportunities to play in this football game.

THE MODERATOR: Coach Leach, can you tell us how the practices have been going this week.

MIKE LEACH: I thought they went pretty well. We got good facilities, easy to get back and forth. I think practice has been pretty good.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Matt, what makes Brock so effective, especially in the fourth quarter, despite such a young age?
MATT CAMPBELL: I think the biggest thing for Brock is he’s been able to lean on some of those players around him, with obviously David and Hakeem and Matt Eaton, the tight end position continuing to grow within the offense. I think that’s been probably what he’s done the best, is play within himself.

I think for a young guy, especially at the quarterback position, it’s what you hope to see, is a guy that doesn’t try to do too much, has the ability to play within himself.

Q. Both of your quarterbacks are top four in pass rating in the fourth quarter and overtime. What have you seen from your quarterbacks, the ability to make plays in critical moments?
MATT CAMPBELL: Again, I think that goes back to what I talked about with Brock in terms of his preparation and detail. I think for a young guy, understanding the system and really working hard off the field to be able to know what to do in critical moments, critical detail, be able to execute, I think that’s a lot of his maturity off the field that’s allowed him to have that kind of success.

Q. Coach Leach, what is your formula for finding a quarterback, then molding that quarterback into what you like it to be?
MIKE LEACH: Really it’s remarkably simple: find somebody that’s accurate, and don’t compromise accuracy. Everybody says all he has to do is work on his accuracy. That’s where you start. You don’t work on accuracy, you start with a guy that’s accurate. Now you want a guy that can make good decisions. You can impact that as a coach.

After that, have all the other things, does he have quick feet, a strong arm, is he fast. I can’t think of anybody in the NFL Hall of Fame that’s got all five of those things, but I think you have to get those first two, then you can continue to polish them.

You want a guy that the team draws from that elevates the team, that makes the other players around him better. That’s kind of an intangible thing that I think you have to see. It can be developed, but I think you got to see that happen. From there, it’s just persistence. The coach refuses to go away, keep making him do what you want, you know.

Like Woody Allen says: 90% of life is showing up, so make sure you show up.

Q. Coach Leach, what is your lasting impression of the state of Iowa and the people in Iowa?
MIKE LEACH: Outstanding people in Iowa, very down-to-earth people in Iowa. It was a great place to be. I was in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, of course, Iowa Wesleyan College. Of course every town has some unique thing, unique place, unique story. Iowa is kind of a fascinating place.

It was kind of funny, Iowans love Iowa. There’s actually a great book, I think it’s call Breakfast in America, by Bill Bryson, and he’s from Iowa, he talks about Iowa, travels across the U.S.

Anyway, this is going to happen in this bowl, too. Folks from Iowa, they’d be going somewhere really cool. They’d be heading to, I don’t know, Disneyland. Yeah, we’re going to go to Disneyland, see what all that Mickey Mouse stuff is all about. Then when it was time to go, they’d be at the airport a couple of hours before the plane left. They’re on the plane, get back there, then they go to Maid-Rite or something once they get back, have their coffee.

They’ll say, Yeah, we went down there to that Orlando area, went to Disneyland, a little of that. It was nice. Ain’t nothing like Iowa, though. Ain’t nothing like Iowa, though (laughter).

People are enthusiastic about the place, it was a captivating place.

Q. Coach Leach, you spent a lot of time in the Big 12. When you’ve been scouting Iowa State’ defense, what have you seen that has allowed them to have so much success in a conference known for a great offense?
MIKE LEACH: I think they transition really well. I think that’s the biggest thing. The hardest thing about a defense is everybody going to the same place in a synchronized fashion. They do a good job of that. They run to the ball well.

I mean, you got kind of a second level of people that are trying to be involved both in the run and the pass. They do a good job of transitioning that way without leaving any holes.

Q. Coach Leach, as somebody who used to be in the Big 12, you probably have a good understanding of how difficult it is to win there. Could you talk a little bit about the success that Coach Campbell has had, just how he’s been able to do what he’s done in a tough league.
MIKE LEACH: I think we’re in quite similar situations. I think our teams are similar. But, yeah, Iowa State is a unique spot. I think it’s a place that once you get your players up there, they embrace it. I think you have an immediate identity, then you just kind of rally around that.

I think he’s done a fine job. I think it is a tough league. But I think they’ll continue to have success there, too.

Q. Coach Campbell, I know we’ve talked about it a lot, but how would you describe how challenging and rewarding it’s been to see the team go from having sort of an what-can-we-do mentality to we’re-doing-something mentality?
MATT CAMPBELL: Yeah, I think you reflect on it a little bit because you see this senior class, you’re going to be with them for two more days. It’s a group, just like last year’s group, that really went through some really hard moments during the early stages of their football career.

I think Coach hit it on it a little bit ago. You want to give players hope, an identity, give them a chance to become the best versions of themselves they can be. That’s what’s been rewarding about watching these last two senior classes really take ownership in the program, really start leading from the inside out.

To me, it’s been really rewarding to watch these young men be able to have success and be able to create an identity for this football program.

Q. Coach Campbell, I know you read Coach Leach’s book. Spending time with him during bowl week, has your impression of him changed or been about the same?
MIKE LEACH: Give them as gifts (smiling).

MATT CAMPBELL: I was trying to help everybody with Coach’s book sales (laughter).

For me, I’ve always been such a great admirer of Coach. I have used this term a lot: coaches that are trying to do something rather than trying to be somebody. I think as a young coach, playing for a guy like Coach Kehres at Mount Union, I was fascinated with what made him tick and be successful.

As you look at Coach’s career, as a young guy, coming up through the profession, watching his Texas Tech team, now Washington State, you have an admiration for how his kids play, the success he’s been able to have, sustain in this profession. It’s certainly been an honor to be a part of this with Coach Leach.

Q. You guys were at the pep rally yesterday. What is that event like for you and your teams? How does that event compare to other bowl game experiences that you have had since you’ve been a part of so many of these?
MIKE LEACH: I think it’s unique. I mean, it starts with having a river. But I think it is a unique deal. On the stage there, it’s a little harder to get the full feel of it because the microphone is a little distorted, it echoes a little bit if you’re holding the thing.

The people I’ve talked to, you probably have a better perspective of this, the visual of it was quite impressive, with the boats full of players, then just the way the whole thing appeared and came across with the spirit squads and all that.

I heard from the frontside it was very impressive. From the backside, it was impressive, too, so…

MATT CAMPBELL: I’d echo the same thing from Coach. Obviously being on the river, having the opportunity for our kids to come down in the boats, I think was really well-received from our young men. I think really a first-class experience for everybody involved.

Q. Coach Leach, as the ‘quarterback whisperer’ of college football, what are your thoughts on Brock Purdy?
MIKE LEACH: Good player. I think the best thing he’s done impressively is he’s been effectively able to take the reins at a young age and elevate the players around him. I think that’s the hardest thing. I think sometimes a young guy doesn’t feel entitled to lead because everybody has been there longer than they have, things like that.

It appears to me just watching film from the outside, he’s kind of embraced that role as being the guy that guides the offense there.

Q. Mike, you’re a history buff. How much fun has it been to spend a week in a historic city like San Antonio? Did you learn anything about the Alamo?
MIKE LEACH: I did go to the Alamo. Fascinating. A lot of details and nuances to the Alamo that are impressive. We had a guided tour through, did just a tremendous job of that.

I’d like to explore more. I mean, actually practicing and meeting more than exploring. Some days I wish it was the other way around. But, no, this really is a great city to check out.

Q. Coach Leach, what stands out about Matt Campbell and his coaching style as a rising star?
MIKE LEACH: I think a lot of passion, enthusiasm. I think he’s passionate and enthusiastic, so then I think his players are, too.

Dec. 26, 2018 – Washington State Coordinator/Player Press Conference


TRACY CLAEYS: Today we’ve got two great leaders for our football team this year in the seniors, Peyton Pelluer and Hunter Dale.

STEVE SPURRIER JR.: We’ve got two outstanding players quarterback Gardner Minshew II and Jamire Calvin, who’s a sophomore.

Q. Coach Claeys, talk about the game this weekend.
TRACY CLAEYS: We’ve had a good time since we’ve been down here. It’s a good city, a lot of things to do, and at the same time, had great practices. The guys have been focused and prepared. It’s important that they’re fun but they’re a lot more fun if you win. But the city has been great to us. The Alamo Bowl has been great to us, and we’ve had a good week of preparing, and looking forward to the game.

Q. Coach Spurrier, can you talk about the Iowa State offense, what you knew before, what you know now?
STEVE SPURRIER JR.: I know nothing about their offense and don’t know anything this week about their offense. Haven’t watched them at all. Yeah, Iowa State is a talented team. They started off the year 1-3 and 7-1 the last eight games, so they’ve got a lot of momentum. They’re kind of standard in the front, they play a three-man front and they mix it up in the secondary a good bit. Their leading tackler No. 12 does an excellent job flying all over the place. They’re a sound team. They tackle well. We’re going to have to play well and execute well to beat these guys.

Q: Coach Claeys, can you tell me what the process was like for you coming in this year?
TRACY CLAEYS: Well, the best thing was they didn’t change a whole lot. I thought it was better for me to learn some things, and we changed as little as possible. Obviously personality-wise there were a couple things that I like to do that they weren’t doing much of, but I would say 80 percent of it was built around what they’ve already been doing, and they’ve been great. We had to get to know each other, but like I say, had great senior leadership, so overall, the transition was really pretty easy.

Q. Peyton, last season your season was cut short due to injury. This season you’re leading the team in tackles. What have you learned in your recovery process, and how has it impacted your game this year?
PEYTON PELLUER: Yeah, I think I’ve had a different perspective on football coming back from that injury. I’ve had a newfound appreciation just for the game itself. Each practice is that much more fun for me just because I’ve never really sat out like a full year like that before from an injury, so I guess before that injury I kind of took it for granted a little bit. This season has just been that much more fun, one, because we’ve been winning. I’ve got a great group of guys around me, guys like Hunter Dale on the defensive side of the ball that help me out and allow me to make plays when I’ve got the opportunity. But just having that new appreciation for this game that I’ve been playing since I was just a little kid just makes it that much more fun.

Q. Gardner, is there one more thing going to go viral before game time?
GARDNER MINSHEW: There’s no telling. We’ve got a lot of personality on this team, so I’d probably keep some cameras around just in case something pops up but there’s nothing in the works yet.

Q. Peyton, your defense as a team has improved a lot since you came to the program. What differences have you seen and what was the turning point for you as a group?
PEYTON PELLUER: You know, we’ve got a close-knit group of guys. We have fun together. Each practice is just a blast, loads of energy. Coach Claeys, like he talked about earlier, came in, didn’t really change much, new verbiage here and there, but for the most part we did what we’ve been doing the last couple years. I feel like that really helped out the young guys because it is kind of a younger defense, and they just keep getting better week in and week out.

We try to focus on getting better each week, especially with all the practices we’ve had this bowl season. We just try to focus on getting better and prepare our butts off each game, and this week is no different.

Q. Hunter or Peyton, you played against a lot of good quarterbacks in the Pac-12. Who have you seen that compared to Brock Purdy’s play in the Pac-12?
HUNTER DALE: I mean, in the Pac-12 they do have a lot of good quarterbacks, and because he’s a freshman, I think he’s doing a phenomenal job leading that team. He’s making his receivers better and he’s making everyone around him better, too, and it looks like he’s giving his people around him a lot of confidence and each quarterback has his own style. I really wouldn’t compare him to anybody in the Pac-12 because I think he has his own style, and we’re going to have to do a good job of containing him and showing him different looks and things like that. He brings his team up, and he elevates their team’s play.

PEYTON PELLUER: What he said.

Q. Coach Claeys, could you talk about their receiving running back? Hakeem has got a lot of hype. Do they compare with anything you’ve seen on tape, those two?
TRACY CLAEYS: Well, it’s a matter of with their size and their skill levels, having a running back and two big wide receivers and got a tight end that runs good as they make you defend everything. Vertically and horizontally, they make it hard to cheat anywhere and then mixing up their tempos on you, it’s a challenge, but each week is, and we’ve had good practices, but looking forward to it. But it will definitely be a challenge with their talent and some of the things they’re doing.

Q. Jamire, their defense has had some success against some air-raid schemes all year. What have you seen from them and their safety Peavy?
JAMIRE CALVIN: Just kind of a leadership role. He kind of leads the whole defense, comes down, makes good tackles. Actually they’re a really good tackling team. Just going to have to go out there and do what we do every week and just make plays, set holes in zones and come out with a victory.

Q. Coach Spurrier, when you were at South Carolina you went to a lot of bowl games with your dad and won a lot of bowl games. What impact does a bowl game have on recruiting?
STEVE SPURRIER JR.: Yeah, bowl games are big, especially as you get into later in December and January where everybody is watching them. Everybody sees this, and Washington State we have pretty good reach. We’ve got a lot of kids from Florida, Michigan, Texas. To be in the state of Texas obviously means a lot for us to be here. We need to play well. We’ve brought a good team with us, and we’re looking forward to putting on a good show. But yeah, it definitely influences kids. They get to watch you play, and they want to see a team that plays well, that plays hard, that has fun and can win games, and we’ve done that a bunch this year. We’ve got an opportunity to be on TV a good bit, and GameDay coming out there to Pullman was a big deal for us, so any time you’re on TV and you’re representing your program, it’s a big deal, and it’s a big deal.

Q. Gardner, I’m just curious, how much would someone have to pay you to shave off your mustache?
GARDNER MINSHEW: I don’t know if it’s even in dollars right now. You know, maybe I’d trade it for like three wishes from a Genie or maybe, I don’t know, executive power of the United States of America, something like that. But to put a dollar figure on it is just absurd. So good question.

Q. Gardner, what do you think running out of that tunnel, what is going to be going through your mind when you see the big crowds, the Friday Night Lights, the only game on TV?
GARDNER MINSHEW: I’m fired up. We’re glad to be here. You know, I always kind of imagined when I run out of the tunnel, kind of like Mike Winchell running out on Friday Night Lights. I’m in Texas so I’ll probably do something like that. It’ll be a lot of fun. It’s a huge stage, big bowl game against a really good team, and we’ve just got to go out and do what we do, and the rest I feel like will take care of itself.

Q. Jamire, with neither USC or UCLA going to bowl games, you being from Southern California, your family and friends down there, have they sort of adopted Washington State?
JAMIRE CALVIN: I would hope so. I mean, that would help a lot. There’s a lot of good guys that come out of California. USC and UCLA kind of been on the decline, but I’m sure they’ll get it together and figure it all out. They’re historically great programs, but hey, come join us at Washington State.

Dec 26, 2018 – Iowa State Coordinator/Player Press Conference

JON HEACOCK: I think first and foremost, we’d be remiss not to thank the Alamo Bowl committee, the people here in this town, the city. It’s been an outstanding opportunity. Alamo Heights, our host for practice, everybody has just been truly first class and I know on behalf of all of our staff, very appreciative of all of that. Practice is going well. We started out with our Tuesday practice and worked our way through today and through the week and our guys have worked really hard

Q: Coach Heacock, you guys have already faced four of the top 11 passing offenses in the country, now you get a chance to face the No. 1 passing offense. How do they compare or contrast to other air raids you’ve faced this year?


JON HEACOCK: I think first of all, this offense is different than anybody really that we’ve played. I think the quarterback obviously well documented, going to be a first-round draft choice, tremendous player, tailback is a tremendous player, and I just think it’s a different offense, and unless you would just really view and see all the games, it is very different. They force you to do different things, will have to do some different things, and I think it helps us in honesty because we have seen parts of it, we have not seen all of it like you see with Coach Leach’s offense.

Q: Coach Gordon, how has the offense evolved throughout the season?


JOEL GORDON: Well, I mean, it’s been a work in progress. You know, we’ve had guys, new guys step into new roles all year long and played with a couple different quarterbacks, played with a good group of running backs. We’ve had a bunch of wide receivers step up and do different things and new guys at the tight end position, and it’s really just been one week at a time, getting through an injury here or there at a position and going one week at a time and figuring out who’s ready to step up that week to try to help us win a game, and there’s been a lot of guys that have proved that they could do that.

Q: What is it about your offense that makes it be able to have success when you have injuries, just different quarterbacks, since you’ve lost David, you’ve been through a different quarterbacks, all that type of stuff?


JOEL GORDON: Well, having some depth for sure, I mean, we’ve got a great group of running backs in that room, and Coach Scheelhaase has done a great job of getting Johnnie Lang and Kene Nwangwu ready to go when their number has needed to be called. The same could be said in the wide receiver room with Coach Gasser and Coach Golesh in the tight end room. Our offensive line, we’ve had some guys that didn’t have a lot of experience coming into the year, and we’ve had some injuries there, as well, so it’s been a group effort. Our coaches have tried to do as much as we can one week at a time to get the guys that are healthy ready to go, and our coaches have done a really good job with that.

Q: Willie, how does your mission on Friday differ from facing West Virginia?


WILLIE HARVEY: Obviously, like Coach said, their offense is like no other, but we’re going to take it just a regular game. We’re going to approach it the same way.

Q: I’ll ask Brian the same question, please. How is this different than West Virginia?


BRIAN PEAVY: Oh, man. I’m just going to piggyback on what they said. Like you said, another air-raid offense, but different personnel. They have guys that can make plays all over the field. One thing Coach Heacock tells us is to view it as a day like yesterday, and I’m going to approach the game as such.

Q: Coach Heacock, how would you describe the perfect Cyclone defender, like the attributes you could look for in a defensive player?


JON HEACOCK: Well, I think these two guys sitting next to me would probably be a good way to start. I think our guys, and I think I would just talk about our group as a whole. I think our guys, I think what we do is one thing. I think how our guys do stuff is what is different. In my 35 years, I think it’s built on trust amongst the players. I think these guys truly care about each other. I think our unit is different and such, and I guess I can speak because I’ve been doing this 35 years, I think our room is different from the standpoint that they really, truly care about one another. They hold one another accountable. Our defensive staff cares about each other. They care about those kids, give them an opportunity to have success. We practice extremely hard. We prepare extremely hard. So I think if I were starting to build one of our perfect defenders, it would be based on how they do the things, not what we do schematically. And I think that’s where I would approach what I think are these guys have led as leaders, tremendous work habits, tremendous practice habits, and like I said, they truly care about each other and our coaches care about them and they care about us. I think it’s more how you would build that group, that guy.

Q: Coach Gordon, since Brock took over against Oklahoma State, what is his biggest progress in eight games, and where is his next springboard step?


JOEL GORDON: We’ll worry about the spring when we get out of this game, but he’s gotten to the point where there’s play calls that he’s heard. There’s experiences that he’s had in games now, going for most of the year, and going into that first year, he didn’t have any of that. So just the opportunity to have some kind of comfort level, getting some experience has been huge for him, and he hasn’t been perfect, he’s been pretty good, but just continuing to learn about the offense and learn about defense. He’ll continue to go down that road when we get to spring practice, and I think he’ll continue to improve.

Q: Willie and Brian, could you each answer specific to this question: What’s it been like to — as redshirt freshmen go through losing seasons and now having a chance to win 17 games over back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history? Can you put into perspective how special this time is for Cyclone football?

BRIAN PEAVY: Yeah, it’s very big for Cyclone Nation, all the support they gave us through those two-win seasons, three-win seasons, and to basically give back to our community, like I said, they’ve been there through the ups and downs. That’s been big for this program, not only us. Just to see the fruit of our labor, and it’s perfect how coach Campbell came in with trust the process and you can see it in our journey and how our process has went.

WILLIE HARVEY: Just to piggyback off what he said, we owe everything to Cyclone Nation, being with us through the two and three-win seasons, and not so much the wins, but just the fact that Coach Campbell came here and he really changed the process and he changed what we thought as players. He changed my life forever because after my second year I really was done with football.

Q: Coach Heacock, can you kind of put into perspective the resiliency of these two guys next to you and what that’s meant for your program to have the kind of success that you’re having?


JON HEACOCK: I think part of that goes back to the question that was asked earlier is how do you build that person, and I think it’s all of these guys. I think it’s David and Hakeem and Willie and Brian. I think it’s built. I think watching them change work habits and lifestyles, and they were part of that. They were the ones that did it. It wasn’t coaches involved. This is player driven. We’re blessed to reap some of those benefits as a coach. But our players changed what’s going on in our program. We gave them some leadership, some guidelines, but these guys did it. It wasn’t me on defense or coaches. It was players. You know, they led with love in their hearts and work habits and perseverance and all the things that it takes when things aren’t going good, and that’s when you really measure what kind of people they are, and that’s why you’re looking at where we are today is because of the kind of people that they are. Very talented on the football field, winning in the dark, what these guys have done and the rest of this football team is based on what happens outside those lines that you all see.

Q: We talked to JaQuan Bailey the other day and being able to recognize schemes and tendencies, and with him being one sack away from the school record, what kind of growth have you seen him make on the field but also the understanding of schemes and being able to be a part of the defense and do his job?


JON HEACOCK: I think tremendous growth, but again, it goes back to the same thing. I think what these guys have brought forth — I think our seniors and underclassmen have bought into preparing to win and that process that is really hard. It’s hard for adults. It’s hard for a coach. It’s hard for all of us in this room to follow a process, and when things aren’t going good, keep following the same process. These guys did, and he has done that through leadership of our seniors, and he bought into it, and he changed his world, in all honesty, and how he plays and how he prepares. It isn’t by accident. Those guys have worked really, really hard.

Q: Brian, looking back on those early years those first couple of seasons when you were going back through those tough times, now that you’ve had some time to reflect, how difficult were those first couple of seasons?


BRIAN PEAVY: Yeah, just reflecting, I would say it’s very difficult being a young guy entering college and really not knowing what the process was. You just know the culture that you’re in. I think my heart is — I reflect on my hardest thing was how do I get out of it because I’m a guy that I’m new to it and this is all I know so how do you get those wins and overcome adversity. These were things I didn’t know, and now reflecting on it, I would say that was the biggest challenge. Basically learning how to trust the process and how to believe in yourself.

Q: David, what role can the offense take in helping out your defense stop the best passer or slow down the best passer in the country?


DAVID MONTGOMERY: We’re going to compete to do what we try to do every Saturday, being able to fool the offense and make plays, taking the small plays and making the most out of them. The defense, I’m 100-percent sure they’re going to do their job and do what they need to be doing for the proper moment. We’re excited to see what happens, and we’re all prepared the same way we’ve been preparing to go forward the right way. We’ll just see what happens.

Q: Jon, what role can your offense do in helping you guys combat this offense of Washington State?


JON HEACOCK: Well, again, I guess I show my age sometimes. I’ve been around a long time, and I’ve always said we play the best defense when we’re standing on the side. My calls are a lot better. You know, I’m really smart when our guys are over there behind the bench. So that’s important. And our offense, I think the blessing for us has been we’ve been a team. Our offense has helped us. Our defense has helped us. Our special teams has helped us. And we’re going to have to help each other again on Friday night. That’s the only way we know how to have success.


Again, we’re playing the best defense we can play, we’re error free over there where we’re standing. Them guys are behind me. They’ll help us. We have to help them and I’ve always said you have a great defense when your team needs you the most (indiscernible), and that’s what we’ve been working hard to do.

Q: Hakeem and David, how has the bowl experience, how has it been different this year from the way it felt this time last year?


DAVID MONTGOMERY: The experience is definitely different being two different places. I think the mentality is the same, though, as far as what we’re trying to do, trying to handle the task at hand, having to prepare for another big moment, for a large stepping-stone for our team and for this program. So yeah, the environment is different, but the weather is way better here, but the mentality is the same as far as where we’re trying to go and where we’re trying to take the program.


HAKEEM BUTLER: I would say it was very different being in two different places, of course. Last year it was a lot of people’s first bowl game, and we didn’t really understand the experience, but we experienced it, we handled it, and we came out with a victory. This year we know how to prepare and how to take care of ourselves, and we’re just enjoying ourselves and getting ready for the game.

Q: Brian, you’ve got nothing to lose. This is your last game. Tell me something about Jon that nobody knows.


JON HEACOCK: I mean you could still lose playing time.


BRIAN PEAVY: Man, that’s a setup question. Oh, man. I mean, Coach say the wisdom teeth, man, as a guy that can tell you about your life before you live it. He’s helped me with decisions, and I didn’t know where to turn, and like I said, he’s a guy with experience, a guy to knows how to lead you down the right path. I guess not many of you guys know that, but if you look at our defense, we’ve made turnover margin changes. If you just look at his coaching you’ll see what kind of man he is there.

Q: David, how about you, what’s he like on the practice field?


DAVID MONTGOMERY: I would just say he doesn’t let you settle for less. He just wants you to get to your full potential and that’s something I learned from Coach and something I really appreciate, because before we weren’t like that but you can tell he really loves and supports everything you do, but he wants you to give your all, and he’s going to get the best out of you every day.

Q: David, you talked about taking the program to the next level. What’s that look like, and what’s the ceiling for this program moving forward?


DAVID MONTGOMERY: Yeah, I think if we continue to prepare the way we prepare and we sacrifice as much as we’ve sacrificed and more, the ceiling is untouchable. I feel like it’s high. So I feel like if we as a team, as a family, because I think a lot of people get that confused, a team and a family, but this is a family. Like a teammate is my brother, Willie and Peter are my brothers, as well. So I think that being what it is will definitely help us in the future raise the bar because that’s always what the plan is is trying to get better, for our players as individuals

Q: For Hakeem and Brian, thousands of Cyclone fans are arriving as we speak. I know this is a frequent topic, but can you speak what it means to have the support and the San Antonio takeover from Cyclone fans that’s expected here this week?


BRIAN PEAVY: Yeah, that Cyclone Nation, definitely known to travel. Like I said before, I know we’re doing this for our community. They believed in us when we were nothing, and we’re here to serve them now. Yeah, you’ll see red and gold all over San Antonio this weekend.


HAKEEM BUTLER: Yeah, Cyclones, like I said before, they’ve been with us through 3-9 and they’ve been waiting a long time. They’re traveling to see a bowl game, and last year was pretty cold, and so this year, better weather. The turnout, nobody knows who is coming really.

Matt Campbell Post Practice Availability 12-24

Q: How was your first practice of the Alamo City?

Matt Campbell: Good day, and obviously great to be outside great weather for us.

Q: Coach, how would you say your preparation has gone to this point?

MC:  This is a football team that certainly loves football and, you know, I think one of the meanings in that is, you know, we really like to practice, and our kids understand that process what it takes to do that. I thought last week had a great week of practice preparing to get down here and I thought our kids are really good job today.

Q: Do you structure them differently than you do in the regular season, do you try to look for different stuff or do anything different?

MC: We really don’t. I think the biggest difference is that we practice in the morning, you know, once we get down to the bowl site, you know, really on purpose because I want our kids to be able to, you know, certainly enjoy the afternoon. And so, you know, coaches, be able to get with their families and their wives and their kids. And then our players to be able to enjoy kind of whatever bowl events we have. So I think that’s the biggest difference for us, but how we do it, what we do, you know, not, not much different.

Q: You’ve played four of the top 11 pass offenses in the country during conference play. Do you see any similarities between them and Washington State?

MC: You know, I think the biggest challenge is you know you’re getting the master of it. I think when you get that you’re getting a great teacher that’s teaching that quarterback, you know he’s got all the answers. So it’s a great challenge for us. And then when the quarterback is really special, there is an even greater challenge. So, you know, I suppose. Obviously, you know, we’ve seen some spread offense to that have played this way. But to the extent of what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, no and so it’ll be a great challenge for our defense.

Washington State Team Arrival – Mike Leach Transcript

Transcript of Mike Leach availability – 12/23

Q: What’s it like to finally be here? 

Leach: It’s great to be here. We had a good trip this morning and just great to be here in San Antonio. Great to be in the Alamo Bowl and looking forward to a good week and a good game.

Q: What are your thoughts on Iowa State good team

Leach: They’re a good team. Similar to us in some ways. I think the theme is that they’re a team of achievers. You know, they’re very good on defense and they play real hard.

Q: Gardner’s outfit today.

Leach: That’s kind of tradition. A guy sent that and he has worn that for years and years to games. Someone mailed that in and he used to wear it to every game and wanted to retire the thing. I don’t have all the details but saw it sitting in the office, there’s a backstory to that about a guy that wanted him to christen it one last time.

Q: From a fashion standpoint, just how much do you like the jacket?

Leach: I don’t know –  it’s very 70s. You know I grew up in the 70s and was glad when they ended. Because the music improved after that – they talked about it for about a decade but it got better after that.

Q: What do you see when watching Brock Purdy (ISU QB) film?

Leach: I think he was pretty good to begin with and he’s just gotten more tuned in with his other players. He is a good player, Iowa State does a lot of good things like the all the teams we played. The most important thing is to focus on ourselves and be the best team we can be.

Q: Any flashbacks of Seneca Wallace?

Leach: I mean yeah, but I’m pretty sure Iowa State has flashbacks of my teams too. Seneca was certainly a great player.

Q: What are some of your favorite things about San Antonio? How do you balance the players enjoying everything about the city but also realize they have a game?
Leach: They just have to focus during football time. Be locked in during football time.


Q: You saw the Christmas card, right?

Leach: Yeah, there’s a bunch of guys that wore ugly Christmas sweaters – they are kind of in style. So anyway, we got a bunch of players wearing them that warm on the trip up here. Anyway, the quarterbacks all got one and they all had different one and got a hold of me and asked if I’d be in their picture and I was happy to be in their picture and felt fortunate that I didn’t have to wear a sweater. 

Iowa State Team Arrival

Transcript of interview with head coach Matt Campbell:


Q: Bowl week is finally here – have you sensed how excited the Iowa State fan base is?

Matt Campbell: We’re really fortunate to have one of the best fan bases in college athletics. So there’s been a great buzz around Ames, Iowa and the fan support has been tremendous all year. They’re excited to come down here.

Q: What are some of the non-game related things that you all are looking forward to?

Matt Campbell: The biggest thing is obviously the River Walk. Everyone is excited to do a little searching through the River Walk.

Q: Has your bowl approached changed since you’ve been at Iowa State?

Campbell: It really hasn’t. I mean, every team is different and every situation is different but we’ve always kept the same mentality, no matter what bowl game we’re at. It’s always a great opportunity to put a finishing touch on a football team.

Q: How do you manage this week and plan everything out?

Campbell: It’s that process of understanding when it’s time to go do football, we’re locked into that process, but also enjoying what these young men and so I think there’s a fine line. I thought last week we had a really good week of preparation and detail.  I think we come down here and really try to refine the game plan that we can.

Q: What’s it like as coaches to be here in San Antonio and all this kind of be real right now?

Campbell: I think it’s really exciting for our program, university and our fan base. You know, I think opportunities like this or you know what you’re really work hard for all year long. So I know our kids are really excited about this and I know our fan base is as well.

Q: You guys have experienced the bowl game preparation with holidays around. What kind of experience did the team gain from last year’s bowl?

Campbell: I think the coaching staff, we’ve been together and fortunate to be a part a lot of these together. But for our kids, that experience a year ago went through the length of a season and certainly the opportunity came with is a real positive.

Q: What does it mean for you to sign that extension before this bowl game and kind of put that behind you?

Campbell: Really important. Really, you know, I think more than anything, it’s validity for our staff and our coaches and certainly positive for everybody involved.

Dec. 6, 2018: Golf Classic Press Conference – Mike Leach/Matt Campbell/VAB reps

THE MODERATOR: Joining us today we have Valero Alamo Bowl president and CEO, Derrick Fox. We have our vice president of wholesale marketing and international commercial operations for Valero, Eric Fisher, Washington State head coach Mike Leach, and Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell, and this year’s chair, Michael Kiolbassa.


MICHAEL KIOLBASSA: Thank you for joining us today at the Valero Alamo Bowl golf classic. I think I’m the only one dressed like we’re going to play golf up here. I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling since Sunday when we announced No. 13 Washington State and No. 24 Iowa State will be playing in the 2018 Valero Alamo Bowl.

A lot of my excitement for this matchup has been because these programs are led by two of the most respected coaches in college football. On behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl, I’d like to welcome Coach Campbell and Coach Leach to San Antonio. Congratulations to both of you on your team’s excellent season. We appreciate you bringing your teams and exciting fan bases to San Antonio.

Our organization has been fortunate enough to have amazing community support since our inception. ESPN was our first sponsor in 1992. Before our inaugural game in 1993, Valero confirmed their support.

When the opportunity to move up in bowl pecking order presented itself five years ago, Valero provided us with the resources to lock down deals with the Big 12 and Pac-12 to make us the number one bowl game outside of the CFP.

With us, joining us this morning, is Valero senior vice president Eric Fisher. Please join me in applauding Eric and Valero for helping us improve our selection rights so we can bring such outstanding teams to San Antonio.

ERIC FISHER: Thank you. It’s really our pleasure to be part of this bowl. We’re so proud of the long-standing relationship that we’ve had with the Valero Alamo Bowl. We just couldn’t be more excited about this game and the matchup we’ve got. Really looking forward to that.

The other thing I think we take great pride in, with Valero and the Alamo Bowl together, it’s the opportunities for higher education we’re supporting in this community. A pillar we hold dear and support. At the same time we do that, what a great economic boost we get to give to the city through this partnership. City of San Antonio is a great part of this, a great place to have your teams and fans enjoy.

On game day, not only with the Alamodome be filled with fans, but millions will be watching on ESPN. I think there’s always an anticipation as some of the exciting things that have happened in the Alamodome. I think that’s going to continue to happen this year. Equally exciting is the vibrancy this city has to offer and we get with all these great fans coming to San Antonio. I think your fans are going to have a great time here.

We’re also thrilled at Valero with the new Big 12 and Pac-12 agreements. That has delivered five straight top-25 matchups, really amazing when you think about it. Also allows us to pick teams with such great loyal fan bases as Washington State and Iowa State. Really thrilled to have your folks here this year.

With you guys having won seven of the last eight games, I think your fans are going to be excited to travel and get to San Antonio. Hopefully have some great weather for you. I was explaining to Coach Campbell, it’s not always like this this time of year. Game day usually turns out fabulous for us.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who contributes to the success each and every year of the Valero Alamo Bowl. Derrick and his team obviously do a great job. There’s volunteers, city staff, all kinds of people that get involved to make it a great event. We’re just thrilled to be part of this must-see matchup. Think it’s going to be a great day. We look forward to game day.

THE MODERATOR: We thank Valero for their support. We can’t overstate how valuable it has been for the growth of our organization and how they impact our community in so many tremendous ways. Let’s give them another round of applause for what they do for this community.

For our first 21 games, most of our matchups feature at least one unranked team. Since improving our selection rights with the Big 12 and Pac-12 five years ago, we’ve received at least one top-25 pick on each side, and basically now the average team playing in the Valero Alamo Bowl is ranked 14. Think about it, the top 12 teams more or less are in the CFP, and we’re averaging 14 in our matchup the last five years. Tremendous accomplishments by these two great conferences and great coaches with us here today.

We’ve also been known for a great run of fantastic finishes. No pressure, coaches. Since 2005 the Valero Alamo Bowl has had 10 games where the outcome was not decided until the final minutes. The common denominator in those highly competitive games, outstanding head coaches. This year’s matchup is no different.

I’d like to introduce Iowa State’s head coach Matt Campbell. In Coach Campbell’s third year leading the Cyclones, they finished the regular season with an 8-4 record, and a school record six conference wins, earning him Big 12 Coach of the Year honors for the second time.

Coach Campbell has led the Cyclones to the best two-year run in school history. This season, his defense held points below their scoring average 10 times. A win in San Antonio will have the Cyclones have the school record for wins in a season.

Coach Campbell, on behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl we’re thrilled to welcome you and the Cyclones to San Antonio. I’ll turn it over to you for some opening statements.

MATT CAMPBELL: First and foremost, we couldn’t be more honored to represent Iowa State University, our athletic program, to be able to play in such a prestigious bowl game. I know when these bowl announcements got made on Sunday, the excitement around our university, certainly our student-athletes, were second to none.

We’re humbled and honored to be here and grateful to be able to represent Iowa State University. Quite honestly to be able to play a program like Coach Leach has built at Washington State, the season they’ve had, we certainly know the opportunity and the challenge ahead of us. But really look forward to the opportunity to be here.

THE MODERATOR: Now let’s talk to another Coach of the Year in Coach Leach. This is Coach Leach’s seventh season as the head coach of the Cougars. His 48 wins at Washington State are the third most in school history. Last season he became the first Cougar head coach to lead WSU to three straight bowl games, and this year the streak extends to four.

He led the Cougars to a 10-2 record in the regular season, tying the program high for wins in a season, meaning a bowl victory would set the Washington State record.

This week Coach Leach was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year, an award he also won in 2015, marking the Valero Alamo Bowl as the only bowl game with two Coach of the Year winners in their games. Congratulations to both these coaches.

Coach Leach, on behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl, we’re excited to welcome you back and have your Cougars here in the Valero Alamo Bowl for the first time since 1994. Because I know you’re not big on opening statements, why don’t you tell us what your being named Coach of the Year is like.

MIKE LEACH: Well, I hadn’t thought about it very much. I’m going to ask Matt what he thinks, then I’ll pretty much stop at that.

It’s exciting. I mean, we have great coaches in the Pac-12. To get that distinction, it’s an honor. In the end, it’s a team honor. I think it says a lot about our team. All awards are team awards. I guess I don’t feel like I earned Coach of the Year, I feel like our team, the Washington State Cougars, earned conference Coach of the Year.

I think that’s a team award. There’s a lot of people involved. We have players throwing balls, catching balls, blocking, tackling, creating turnovers. All awards are team awards. That’s a team award. I’m very proud of our team to win that distinction.

THE MODERATOR: Shall we turn it over to some questions?

Q. Coach Leach, I was wondering if I could get some of your thoughts on what Matt Campbell has accomplished at Iowa State, then talk about the defense that they’ve produced this season.
MIKE LEACH: Well, I think it’s really impressive. I mean, I played at Iowa State a number of times. They played at our place before Coach Campbell was there. I know it’s an impressive and unique place. I think he does a great job on defense.

The biggest thing is they just keep playing extremely hard. Everybody, whether you’re on offense or defense, you face a certain amount of adversity. One of the biggest strengths I think they have is they just keep playing no matter what, relentlessly, till the clock says 0-0. I think that’s one of the highest compliments you can give any team or any side of the ball.

They’re certainly very good on defense, very complete group, but also offense as a team.

Q. Coach Campbell, you’re battling the nation’s best passing attack. Talk about the problems that presents for your defense.
MATT CAMPBELL: Again, I think you go back to what Coach Leach has done really in terms of shaping and really changing the game of the football in a lot of ways in terms of passing attack.

You watch the success they’ve had, been able to build a tremendous foundation. Again, I think it goes down to fundamentals and details. Like coach said about playing hard, I think also what’s critical in this sport is fundamentals, details, having a really great foundation to what you’re about.

You turn the videotape on and you see a very well-coached football team in every aspect of the game.

Q. Coach Campbell, you had a thousand yard rusher in Montgomery and Butler. Talk about their games this year.
MATT CAMPBELL: Yeah, they’re two young men that certainly have guided a young freshman quarterback from the middle of the season on. They’re two guys that have unique leadership ability, as well as talent. Those two have played the best when we needed them the most to kind of usher in a really young quarterback in terms of giving our football team the best opportunity to have success.

Q. Coach Leach, Coach Campbell has four young children. Do you have any parenting advice you can give him?
MIKE LEACH: Well, I got four older children. You got to be a little bit like Coach Campbell’s defense: just keep perservering, keep signing up and showing up.

I’ll tell you, it goes pretty fast. It goes pretty fast. They’ll be out of the house before you know it. Boys, girls, what you got?

MATT CAMPBELL: Two and two.

MIKE LEACH: See that consistency, very consistent (laughter). I’m 3-1.

But, no, it’s an impressive deal. The thing is, though, it is funny that it goes quick. Just as they’re leaving, you don’t want them to leave. When you get down to the tail end, you say, We’re going to have this house to ourselves. That part is good, too.

Q. Coach Campbell, did you review the Swing Your Sword book that Coach Leach wrote?
MATT CAMPBELL: I did. I’ve got a lot of respect as a young coach looking at coaches that have sustained success, coaches that build programs. I think sometimes in our profession there are guys that are trying to be somebody or trying to do something. From afar, watching Coach Leach, how he’s built his programs, the way he’s done it has been really impressive.

I did have the opportunity to read his book. I’ve got so much respect for what coach has done not only at Washington State but Texas Tech, the way he’s come up and built programs. Just a lot of respect and certainly enjoyed reading the book.

Q. Coach Leach, 11th win, is that a rallying point for your team since your school has never gotten to 11?
MIKE LEACH: Yeah, I think so. The biggest thing is we talk a lot about improving, just getting a week better. That’s important to us. Then, of course, just like Matt said, I think virtually everybody in America needs a couple copies of Swing Your Sword. They make great Christmas gifts coming into the holidays (laughter).

But, no, shoot, I think we’re thrilled to be at a bowl, we’re thrilled to have a game, thrilled to have a challenge. Our team has done a good job just being fired up about having a game and playing it.

Q. Coach Campbell, we heard you often have theme music for practice. Do you have something in mind for San Antonio?
MATT CAMPBELL: It’s the holiday season, so I think Christmas music will certainly get us at least down here through Christmas. After that, we’ll have to figure that out. But at least the holiday music this time of year is pretty good.

Q. Mike, obviously you’re a man of history. What have your experiences in San Antonio been like, what do you know about the city, whether you’ve been to the Alamo? What has been your previous experience here?
MIKE LEACH: I’ve always loved San Antonio because they got these old gorgeous buildings. One of my favorite places is the hotel bar at the Menger, looking at the pictures, history, everything going on there, from Teddy Roosevelt to Babe Ruth to ghosts.

I’ve heard little bitty things on how the city is designed, how the river was developed, stuff like that. I’d like to know more about that. I don’t know as much about that as I’d like. I’ve read and studied some on the Alamo. An omission. I’ve gone by the Alamo, thought constantly about, I’ll go to the Alamo. I run out of time. Next time, next time. Have to make sure I go this time.

I have read some and studied about the Alamo, which is captivating. Pretty much when you get right down to it, it only took a couple years for the settlement of the statehood of Texas, almost a microcosm of our country, took place in a short period of time. I’m very interested in that.

Just San Antonio kind of looks and feels right with the unique buildings, unique architecture, that whole setting. A lot of places, you go downtown, it’s a mess, it’s an ugly gun and knife area. San Antonio has a gorgeous downtown. San Antonio is one of places you would like to live downtown, at least I would.

Q. H&H Car Wash is your spot. Do you have a spot here in San Antonio you try to go to?
MIKE LEACH: There’s a lot of places in San Antonio. I don’t have one specific one, although Bohanans was very good last night. We got to meet the owner-founder. What an impressive place that is. That’s one thing about San Antonio, food-wise you can’t go wrong.

I haven’t seen it commingled with car wash food here in San Antonio, but I’m not saying that it’s not. I’ll bet you somewhere that it is. Actually in L.A. I had a great car wash food place I used to go to right by my house.

Car washing food is a good combination. If somebody is looking for a business in San Antonio, that probably would be a good one.

Q. Coach Campbell, would you rather leave your house with the lunch that included a meal with onions or forget your watch?
MATT CAMPBELL: I don’t like onions, so forgetting my watch would be the way I’d go.

THE MODERATOR: On behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl, Mike Kiolbassa, he’s been smiling since Sunday, it wasn’t just a scripted thing, he’s been our leader all year long. Obviously Eric is our leader all year long. The two teams and fan bases have responded tremendously to the bid here in the Valero Alamo Bowl. We look forward to having a lot of red I guess on the River Walk, some crimson. Both teams have been tremendous. The excitement level has been outstanding. We’re delighted with the matchup.

Again, thank you very much for your partnership with us. We look forward to a great game, and thank you for coming to San Antonio. Appreciate it.

Dec. 2, 2018 – Team Announcement, Mike Leach & Matt Campbell

Q: Opening Statement

Mike Leach: “I’ll tell you what, on behalf of Washington State, we’re honored to get the chance to go to the Alamo Bowl. I’ve been before and it’s a great bowl. It’s a place that a lot of the members of our team don’t get to get out to very much so we’re excited to be there.”

Q: What will it be like playing in a dome?

Mike Leach: “As long as you all have good footing then we’ll be happy.”

Q: What has Gardner meant to you all?

Mike Leach: “Gardner’s done a tremendous job in terms of just having a presence out there and leading our team. He really just elevates the entire team and his story of how he got here is just really impressive.”

Q: How do you prepare for Iowa State?

Mike Leach: “Well they’re just a good, solid and well-coached team and they have been for a while. And just like a lot of the teams in our conference, it’ll definitely be a challenge.”

Q: How important is it to bring your team and university down to San Antonio and the state of Texas?

Mike Leach: “It’s really exciting, especially when you consider the Alamo and all the history of San Antonio. There’s a lot to do and the best thing is that everything is within walking distance from the hotel. I’ll tell you one thing, anyone who can’t get excited about going to San Antonio isn’t a person that gets excited about very many things”

Q: Opening Statement

Matt Campbell: “Well, first and foremost, thank you. I know behalf of our football program and our university were beyond grateful to be selected. We certainly know the tradition of the Alamo Bowl. We certainly know the reputation and you know, we’re humbled and honored to be able to accept the opportunity to come play at this great bowl game. You know, I think this football team is a team that is really special. It’s been one of the most unique groups of young men that I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach. It’s a team that’s really been defined by its ability to overcome adversity and you know, ironically, I think we’re all defined that at the end and this team has really lived that from the start of the season, with its first game getting cancelled and then a little bit of a slow start. Its ability to win seven of its last eight football games and then playing really good football along the way. So we’re really fortunate. We’ve got great player leadership at almost different position group on our football team right now and I think the one thing you would say about this program and this team is we play the game the right way.”

Q: What has putting in true freshman Brock Purdy done for your program?

Matt Campbell: “Yeah, I think he’s (Purdy) had a profound effect on our football program and in a positive way. I think it’s a situation that this young man came in and really earned. He’s a very dynamic football player and a young man that in his high school career had the same effect quite honestly. You know, Brock really rebuilt a high school program at Perry High School in Arizona and then was playing for a state championship in his senior year in the biggest school division. Some of those leadership traits are certainly what we looked at when we started to recruit Brock. We came in with a lot of confidence. And the thing I really appreciate about him is he earned the right to get on the football field. And so, you know, when he did that, for us, it certainly was a spark plug, because he certainly took advantage of his opportunity when it came his way. And really, since that point, our football teams has really taken a huge step forward.”

Q: How do you prepare defensively for Washington State?

Matt Campbell: “We certainly know the mastery behind the offense that Coach Leach and really what his program has always stood for. It’ll be a great challenge for this defense. He is not only a master of the craft but also of knowing how to put his players in the right position to be successful. It will be a great test for us this defense. But this is a defense that has kind of evolved over the last two years to have lots of moving parts to it. Coach Heacock, our defensive coordinator and our staff on that side, have really done a good job and they put our players in the best position to be successful. So certainly a great challenge ahead of us, but also a great opportunity.”

Q: Coach, you were named Big 12 Co-Coach of the Year again. Speak a little bit about the change in culture in Ames over the past three years.

Matt Campbell: “Just really fortunate to have a great coaching staff. You know, I think the biggest thing for us from the time we got to Ames is getting everybody to pull in the same direction. And we’re fortunate to have a great administration and fortunate to have great people within our walls here within our football complex. And, you know, it’s one of the things that I really appreciate about Ames, Iowa, we’ve got an unbelievable fan base that has really been loyal to our athletic programs long before myself, or our coaching staff got here. And we’ve been able to really tie that fan base to the administration and tie everybody in this facility, all moving in the same direction. It’s been really powerful, and, you know, just really grateful to have so many great people around us.




Dec. 28, 2017 – TCU Post-Game Press Conference

Thursday, December 28, 2017

TCU Horned Frogs Post-Game

Gary Patterson

Kenny Hill

Desmon White

Nick Orr

Travin Howard

TCU – 39, Stanford – 37

GARY PATTERSON: First off, I think you have to say a lot about Stanford. I’ll tell you what, I can’t say enough good things about David Shaw and his wife, the kind of people that they are and the kind of team that they run. A couple plays, we’ve been in a couple where we lost, Iowa State kind of the same way. So finding a way to win, come back, get to 11 wins, this group of seniors, for their opportunity to win 11 ballgames and then also 40 in their career I think is really cool. To get to the 160 landmark, also, for them to be a part of that I think is cool. And really just the kind of people, I said before the season I really like this group. I didn’t know whether we were going to win very many ballgames if we were or not, but the bottom line is coaches love coaching guys that are good people and they work hard, and this group does that.

For me, it’s been a blessing to be a part of it. I love them just like I told them in the locker room, the whole senior group. The next group up, they can’t drop the ball. This group worked too hard to get us where we were, and we’ve got some big games starting out next year, and you’re saying, Coach, you just got done winning a game, right?

But I think that’s why we’ve been successful, because we don’t just stop, and so for us, I’m just really proud of the group of kids and the staff to overcome all the things they did, and really in the end, you didn’t play with Darius Anderson. We had guys banged up as you head into the season. You had a couple losses to Oklahoma.

That’s what I told them, really in the 15 games you lost to Georgia in the bowl game, the two tailbacks they had, the last game of the season last year, you played against two Heisman Trophy winners, you played against another Heisman Trophy winner tonight. You played against two of the best quarterbacks at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. The whole group, we just — it’s been a battle the whole season.

You can’t say enough about what they’ve been able to accomplish and get done. I was kidding Kenny, go be the most valuable player offensively and throw a pick. Imagine that. Good way to battle back.

Desmon, talk about your punt return; looked like a reverse field on that play. What did you see and how did it feel?
DESMON WHITE: You know, the punter left it in the air hanging. I believe he outkicked his coverage, and I just got in there, I seen green, and I just took off running.

It was a big play in the game, what was your reaction?
DESMON WHITE: It felt good because I just got done fumbling, so I wanted to make up for that fumble and help the team out, and that’s what I did.

Desmon, you were a pretty prolific high school quarterback; you throw one pass in college, and it’s a touchdown to Kenny. What can you say about that?
DESMON WHITE: I don’t know, maybe I need some more passes to throw. (Laughter.)
Kenny, seemed like kind of a slow start, adjusted midway through the game, end up a winner. Was this game kind of a microcosm of your career?
KENNY HILL: I don’t know. I mean, it’s — really just came out to this game and tried not to do too much at the beginning, and then everybody kind of got on me a little bit, and we just all calmed down as a team and buckled down and got a win. That’s what we needed to do. It’s what these seniors wanted to do. We didn’t want to go out like how it was headed, so we had to turn it around.
Coach, two years ago you switched out of the black shirt, purple worked, purple worked again today. Down 11 at the half —
GARY PATTERSON: I thought about changing, yes. I actually put it on, to be honest with you, then I took it off and said, nope, they’ve been on my you-know-what for like two months to wear purple. I haven’t wore purple all year, so I was staying in it, so they’d better have won so I could wear it again because if not it would be another year before I wore purple.

On your answer to Kenny about a microcosm, I don’t think so. I mean, he left here a winner. Everything he’s done since he got here three years ago has been on this kind of spiral, going straight up climbing the mountain, from everything he bought into — I just said to him, you’re just trying to do too much. Run it if you’ve got to, but don’t throw it to them. You’ve got a lot of good players. You can’t turn the ball over against a Stanford. You’ve got to play in the red zone, you can’t turn the ball over.

And really it came down to one stop, and we made them kick a field goal a couple times and missed one and another one, but the difference in about six points, so you’ve got to be able to — you’ve got to be able to make plays, and they came back.

Kenny has been unbelievable. He’ll be successful in life, and so that’s the real winner. All these guys sitting up here got a chance to be successful in life.

Kenny, you have the distinction of being the only player in college this year to run for a touchdown, catch a touchdown, and throw for a touchdown pass in one game. You did it twice. What are you going to tell your kids about that years from now?
KENNY HILL: I mean, they’d better not say I’m not an athlete or something. I’ll pull up the film and show them that I can play a little bit. I told Des just like I told Turp the first time, please, man, if you throw it to me I’m going to score this, and I was like, man, I’m going to get you this touchdown pass, and sure enough, got it for him. I told him — especially I told him today, I said, hey, man, big day, big day, you’re going to have a big day, and he came out and balled, so I’m proud of him.

GARY PATTERSON: We threw it better than what Turpin did on the kickoff return, I can tell you that. Jiminy Christmas.

Desmon, you also scored three different ways in the game today. What does it say about the versatility of your offense that you have so many weapons you can use in different ways?
DESMON WHITE: Yeah, Coach Cumbie does a great job of utilizing my abilities. Like I said, I was a former quarterback, so he knows I can throw. I played receiver for four years. I just tried to come out and play my best game for my last time in a TCU uniform.

Coach Patterson, as you think about the games that Kenny gave for you and Desmon did and also Jalen, as you recruit in the future, are you looking for those type of versatile guys more and more in the game?
GARY PATTERSON: Yeah, you know me, I’ve never been a guy that liked just a true drop-back guy. Andy was probably as close as we’ve ever had to being that guy.

Being a defensive guy, it’s just you play guys so differently. Like the difference of how we play Oklahoma State, which he’s an unbelievable thrower, unbelievable quarterback but doesn’t run comparably to Baker, where he can take off and he can run for 70. It’s totally different how a defensive guy, how you have to defend people and how you can help people over the top if you’re not worried about the quarterback.

And so I’ve always been — if you’re ever asking me and I ever get a vote, and I do, as a general we’ll always take one that has some capability to beat people with his feet. Obviously Kenny did that again tonight. I wish he would have even did it more, especially in the first half. But it all turned out good.

Kenny, how does it feel to end your college career with a come-from-behind win?
KENNY HILL: It feels really good. In the first half, we didn’t play bad, like just not how we needed to play. To come back and win with this group of guys, who they accepted me the minute I came in, it feels great. It means everything to me.

Gary, two years ago you were down 31-0. It was only 21-10 today at halftime. You must have felt like you had them right where you wanted them. Maybe next time you’ll lead actually at the half.
GARY PATTERSON: I don’t know. The bottom line to it is we need to start faster. If you want to win championships, whether it’s the Alamo Bowl or Oklahoma or anybody else you play, you can’t dig a hole for yourself against good football teams. You know, we fought back tonight, and especially right before the half, I felt we had a chance because we got back in the ballgame and we were going to get the ball.

I was hoping that when we got the ball back and then we tried the Hail Mary I thought we got close enough that possibly we could get a field goal, but then it was 4th and 3 and I didn’t want to give them the ball with 30-some seconds on the 42-yard line and have an opportunity for them to pick up some points. You can’t give Stanford any points, so you had to be smart. Even though there was a lot of the crowd thought I was wasting seconds, but we thought we’d take one shot, and then we get the ball — we could have made it 13-21, come out, get the ball, and then it’s 20-21, and you go about your business. The extra point missed just about cost us because then we had to go for two. So you just — again, every point counts, every play counts when you play good football teams, and this was no difference tonight.

All these guys all made plays. You know, it’s amazing how much your team does when they have a high intellect how to play the game, and everybody sitting up here does. All of them have played in championship games, both Des and Nick Orr here, they both played in a championship game — they didn’t win the championship but they were there a couple times. Kenny won it. Travin is over here, he was also a safety and moved. I don’t know how many tackles he got tonight, but probably ended up with over 300 tackles in his career. I think how many did you have to get over 100? Two? I guess you probably got that. You know, we’re all a lot better coaches when we have better instruments to move around and do things, and so these guys have been unbelievable.

Coach, with the win tonight, the Big 12 has now won four straight over Power Five opponents in bowl games. What does that say about the strength of the conference?
GARY PATTERSON: Yeah, and the two teams, at least the one, was shorthanded. You know, last year we won our bowl games. Everybody says — and like I told everybody, like I said after the Oklahoma — you need to try to defend them, these offenses. I mean, you’ve got two of the best quarterbacks in the country. You’ve got one of the best, a couple of the best running backs in the country. Everybody has one of those guys.

And so everybody looks at it because everybody runs so many plays, and then they say, well, we don’t play any defense, and so, you know, it’s — everybody has it.

For me, I’m going to be really interested to see how Oklahoma does just because. I mean, we’ve defended a lot of people. I defended Georgia at the end of the year last year, and now I know they’re a better football team, better up front and doing things, but then I’ve also defended Oklahoma a couple times. They were not the same football team offense or defensively at the end of the year that they were when they began the year. You know, I’m going to be really interested to see how that all turns out.

Gary, I’d like to ask you, you’ve ended your season here twice obviously in the last three years. I know obviously you guys would want to be in that college playoff if you had your way, but I’d just like to ask you about the atmosphere here. It’s kind of a unique stadium. Obviously it’s not AT&T Stadium in Arlington, but it’s still not a bad atmosphere.
GARY PATTERSON: Number one, I wouldn’t take a backseat to anybody. I mean, our kids, I think — you can ask them, Nick or Travin haven’t answered a question here, but I’ll let you listen. Like I said on the field, the way we’ve been treated, for our fans to come here at the last moment, the atmosphere and how loud it gets, it wasn’t as full as it was the last time we played here, but it was still over 55,000 was the attendance, so that’s an unbelievable bowl game.

And with the River Walk and how the people, the hospitality, everything went on — what would you guys add to that, Nick, you and Travin?

NICK ORR: I mean, I ain’t tripping that we had to play here the last two or three years. I’m just glad we came out of here with a win. I mean, it’s a good stadium, good turf to play on. It’s always exciting to me, and both endings was good, so that’s something I can always say and be part of that we came back. That’s something that I’ll never forget.

And yeah, everybody treated me good.

TRAVIN HOWARD: Yeah, any bowl game is a good bowl game. I’m just grateful to be here. Thinking coming out of high school I was almost not here. I got my offer at the last minute, and I would just like to thank Coach P for giving me the opportunity that he gave me.

Desmon, when you learned Jalen Reagor was coming to TCU, this is a guy from your neighborhood, your neck of the woods, what was your reaction?
DESMON WHITE: I was excited because he’s about 10 minutes from where I was. I knew him when he was growing up, and I knew he was a good player since he been in high school, and he just keep getting better. As long as he keeps working, he’s going to be a great player here at TCU.

What did you think of his touchdown?
DESMON WHITE: We needed it because I just turned the ball over, and he came back and made a great play.


Dec. 28, 2017 – Stanford Post-Game Press Conference

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Stanford Cardinal Post-Game

David Shaw

David Bright

JJ Arcega-Whiteside

K.J. Costello

Harrison Phillips


TCU – 39, Stanford – 37

DAVID SHAW: First of all, Gary Patterson is a phenomenal football coach. Got an outstanding program. We all kind of knew how this one was going to go. Got two teams that fight and scrap and never quit. It was going to be whoever made the most plays was going to win the game, and that was TCU tonight. Once again, proud of our guys for how we fight. If there’s anything that’s a calling card, that’s what it is; whether we’re up, we’re down, whether we’re playing well, we’re not playing well, we’re going to fight all the way to the end. We did that again tonight. Just didn’t make enough plays and gave up too many plays.

And not taking anything away from TCU. Didn’t play our best game, but we fought all the way to the end.

Very proud of the senior class that’s leaving us, a special group of guys. Special group of guys, and many of you in San Antonio found out this week how fortunate I am to coach these guys and be around these guys and work with these guys. I think our coaches do a great job because it’s not just us telling them what to do and they go do it. We engage with these guys. These guys are brilliant; they’re bright; they’re sharp. We find out their preferences, what they like, and try to help them be the best that they can be. I’m just so proud of these guys both on and off the football field.

Going forward, we’ll see a lot of guys have some decisions to make whether to leave or not, but when I look at what’s coming back, and there’s so much work to do, but I’m so excited, so excited for what we have coming back on this football team, and there’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of things that we can improve and so many areas that we are going to get so much better.

So many guys played tonight. I have a firm belief that when we start next year, you may not recognize them. I think we’re going to make a huge jump, and I think we need to.

But as for tonight, I’m proud of this football team, and I can’t say it enough. I’ll say it again and again and again. To sit there at 1 and 2 and where we were the beginning of the season and fight all the way back to the Pac-12 Championship game and fight really hard against a good TCU football team with all the guys that didn’t suit up tonight and all the guys that got hurt tonight, for us to keep rolling guys out there and make this a battle says a lot about the guys on this football team, says a lot about our mentality, says a lot about what we believe in these young men that they can achieve.

With that, we’ll take questions.

Coach, I believe Justin Reid went out in the second quarter. How much did that contribute to this defeat as far as your defense went?
DAVID SHAW: Well, I don’t think it’s just that because guys went out there and still played well. But not having one of the best players in America at his position is difficult. Being without Alijah Holder who’s playing at such a high level is difficult. Losing Curtis was difficult. Losing Frank Buncom was difficult. So there are a lot of guys that didn’t finish this football game that started and a lot of guys that didn’t even start the football game. But we never used that as an excuse. We coach these guys, we train these guys, and we get them to go out there. We had a lot of guys that showed up in there and actually played really well. You know, there early in the first half we let the quarterback out too many times and we had opportunities to put points on the board, both field goal and running and throwing that we didn’t take advantage of offensively. The lead should have been bigger, but we knew the team was going to come back. We knew we were going to fight back.

We knew Kenny Hill was a special football player who can run but also make some big throws. We didn’t take advantage of every errant throw, but he came back and threw some absolutely beautiful balls. That’s what kind of player he is. He’s streaky, and he got hot.

You guys have senior day, you have final senior practice, but this is really the end for this group. Can you talk about what Harrison and Dave have meant to the program specifically?
DAVID SHAW: Well, for anybody that’s ever been around us, I’m very, very consistent. Some would say boring. But I believe football starts up front. It’s just where it starts. Starting on the defensive side, Harrison, you’re not going to find too many guys that have a season like he just had. He’s phenomenal. The physical strength, the athleticism, just outstanding. Over 100 tackles for an interior defensive lineman just doesn’t happen. That’s all heart, it’s all determination, it’s all effort, and a little weight room strength on top of that.

And David Bright on the offensive side, fifth-year senior captain, we’re going to run the power play, and there’s a significant portion of our offense where we want to run at Dave. Consistent, steady, does what he’s supposed to do, and then when we need him to, oh, put him back out there to tackle and put him back out there to guard.

To have that comfort level in a guy that we don’t have to worry about him that he’s going to get his job done, that he’s going to give everything he’s got, those are the guys you want out front of your program. Those are great examples that you want your young people to follow, both the guys on our football team and our children. These guys are outstanding human beings that are going to accomplish so many things in and out of football in the future.

Coach, if you could talk about the effect the hand-in-dirt injury and the glove had on K.J. and how you feel he handled it tonight?
DAVID SHAW: Yeah, it didn’t seem to bug you too much, did it, K.J.? Played through the ball well. No issues at all, didn’t affect play calling, didn’t affect his play.

J.J., I see the 43 on your arm there. What’s the significance of that?
JJ ARCEGA-WHITESIDE: That’s for our teammate Ryan Beecher. He couldn’t make the trip. Just keep him in you guys’ prayers, but in due time you’ll know why.

Harrison, how do you think your defense played, and especially what did you think of Kenny Hill’s performance?
HARRISON PHILLIPS: You know, I think a lot of us individuals, myself included, really want a lot of those plays back. I can speak for myself, it definitely wasn’t my best performance. Very tough offense to go against. They broke a lot of tendencies.

Kenny Hill is very dynamic. They’re very well-coached. They just made plays, and those long drives, a couple big plays, the game got caught back up to us really quick. I think for right now it’s really important for us as a defense to kind of just look back on the season as a whole and rather not tonight. I know individually I don’t want to just be thinking about the plays. This is what’s going to motivate me all off season, and this is what’s going to be engraved in my brain to help me push further and push harder and run faster. But for right now as a whole, I think we just need to look back at what we did as a defense and the turnovers we made and the way we stick together and the way we dominated the red zone, bent and never broke. We definitely could have played better, and we tip our hats to TCU, but they came with their best game.

K.J., it seems weird in a game where you guys put up 37 points, but did you feel like there were points left out there on the field today, and just where do you think you could have done a little bit better?
K.J. COSTELLO: Absolutely. Coach referred to it early. There was a lot of points left on the board. I felt like there was times we really snatched the momentum, and then there was times where we had the momentum and we let them grab it back. Personally, I mean, there was a lot of throws that I wanted back. At the end of the day, we’re all battling injuries, like Coach said, we had five guys go down on defense. We’re all willing to fight until the end of the game. I don’t think that’s any doubt. But at the end of the day it comes down to execution for us. It’s about us, and it’s a really good feeling when you know you let a game go when it falls back on you. It didn’t have to do with what TCU was personally doing, it was a couple mistakes that we were making at the end of the day, and that’s a really good feeling knowing that heading into the off-season there’s a lot of things we did well. There’s a lot of areas that I’m looking forward to working on in the off-season.

David, I know it’s a really difficult way to go out on your career, but you did contribute to a school record for Christian McCaffrey two years ago and again for Bryce Love tonight. How does that feel, and some thoughts about Bryce Love and his performance in this game.
DAVID BRIGHT: Yeah, I would just say overall you get pretty emotional because it’s all the guys in the locker room, all the guys up here, guys like Coach Shaw and all the coaches that make our team special. But obviously up front we could have played better and seized a few more plays.

Bryce is just a warrior. He really is. All season battling through injuries, and wanted to go out there and play with us. It’s just special and amazing. We love being able to block for him.

Dec. 27, 2017 – Head Coaches Press Conference

Event: Head Coaches Press Conference

Date, Location: Wednesday Dec. 27, Marriott Riverwalk
Persons Quoted: TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson and Stanford Head Coach David Shaw



DAVID SHAW: First of all, thanks to everybody for being here. The week has been outstanding. I think you ask both groups of coaches and players, they’ve had a blast. The hospitality has been off the charts, and it’s about time to play a football game. We’re just about ready to get this thing going. I thought our event last night was great and says a lot about the two programs. We’re in the middle of an event, a guy compliments both teams on how well they’ve behaved, how well they’ve been mixed together, how much fun they’ve had. So I think it says a lot about both programs, and it’s just exciting to be a part of it.

GARY PATTERSON: Yeah, I would say that doesn’t happen very often. I would echo what Coach Shaw said. This being our second time here, obviously the hospitality has been unbelievable, the people. I always feel badly to be honest with you because I come here and I’m one of those guys that works too hard. I really leave saying I wish I would have spent more time with Derrick and Mike and all the different people that put on the event with Valero and the Alamo Bowl to be a part of it, just because it’s a great city, it’s a great time to be around it, and really to be honest with you, I echo the same thing David talked about, just the kind of kids that we both have on both sides.

We understand that we’re going to have to get out for tomorrow night. That’s what we do. But you know, to know that it’s a three-hour ballgame and you’re going to walk away and it’s going to be more about other things, kids coming out of TCU and Stanford, what else they want to do with their lives.

It’s been a fun occasion, and we’re excited about the ballgame. You get a chance at the end of the year, all of us, to try to play a game so you can see how you roll into the next season, see how guys do this, and make people proud at your place.

Win or lose, what you want to do is you want to play well. I think that’s the biggest thing is you want to play well, and you want to leave your kids with a great taste in their mouth.

Coach Shaw, what are the specific things in their defense – this is a terrific defense that they have – that concern you the most, and what particular players are you most impressed with?

DAVID SHAW: Well, I think with any good defense, it’s a combination of scheme and players within that scheme. Coach Patterson has been a great defensive mind for a long time in this profession, and what a lot of people don’t see is the subtleties, the line stints, the movement, the effort with which the guys play, the subtle changes in coverage. They do it so well and do it at such a high level. That’s the biggest thing. It’s not just the pre-snap read and the post-snap read, both run and pass, the way their guys move and the way their guys fit.

Coach Shaw, talk about your bowl preparation as you’ve matured as a head coach. You’re 3-0 in your last three bowl games. Has your approach changed, and what leads to that success?

DAVID SHAW: You know, I’m a coach’s kid. I’ve been around this thing my whole life, and I was a little kid running around the bowl games, going all over the place, so for me, I want everybody that comes to a bowl game to have a good time. I want them to enjoy themselves. When the kids have free time — hey, I wanted to have free time. I want them to enjoy the environment, enjoy where they are, have a good time, and at the same time, when it’s time for work, we’re going to get on the field and we’re going to get after it. We’re going to practice hard. We’re going to meet very intensely and make sure guys are locked in so that they come away from this with a great memory of, you know what, hey, I enjoyed San Antonio; I had a great time. But at the same time when it’s time for football, I did what my coaches asked me to do, which was go hard.

That’s the biggest thing for me. I’d hate to walk away from a bowl game with guys not feeling like they enjoyed themselves, and at the same time not feeling like they gave it their all. So we try to do both.

Coach Shaw, what similarities do you see between your coaching style and that of Coach Patterson’s?

DAVID SHAW: Oh, yeah, that’s an easy question. I think when you put both films on, you see effort. You see guys that care about each other. You see guys that care about what their responsibilities are. You see guys playing with passion and emotion. You know, as a football coach that’s what you want to see, and a high level of execution when you get it is awesome.

But you want every play on your film to represent what your program is about, kids playing hard, kids playing fast, kids playing together, kids playing with passion and emotion and trying to do their jobs.

Gary, is there a team in the Big 12 that reminds you of Stanford, their offense?

GARY PATTERSON: Probably — I don’t think so, but probably close is Iowa State. Come at you big, as far as their size, offensive line, tight ends, wide receivers. I’d probably say Iowa State is probably that team that’s like that. Early gave us a lot of problems, but they come right at you, well-coached, play hard. They have a plan. They’re not around the place — they understand what they’re trying to do and how they’re trying to attack you and how they do it, and Stanford is the same way.

They’re not going to get crazy if you can’t stop the simple stuff. I mean, they’re going to come at you. They’ve got a great tailback, and what makes him a great tailback, also, is they put him in positions and they do great job executing. If you see somebody stop a scheme in the first half, you need to understand there’s going to be adjustments in how they’re going to block you the second half, so you’d better be paying attention to what’s going on.

And defensively I don’t think they get enough credit, either. I think if you watch them, sometimes people say you look on film — a lot of times what they say about us, about, well, they don’t look fast, and everybody I’ve talked to, you’d better be careful about Stanford, they can run. They have a lot of length. They’re going — when they get in the red zone they play big. You have to get ready for them, and I think it says by — he’s been three out of the last four Pac-12 Championships since they’ve started. Stanford has won them and they’ve been a part of them. I think that says as much as anything about what they’ve done as a program. At the end they’re one of the last guys standing. That’s what we’re always — we’re always trying to get done is we’re trying to be one of the last guys standing.

You know, and as David said before, I think both of us pride ourselves in the way our kids play, the effort. When you talk to the NFL guys, they say the same thing probably about the Stanford guys; they say, well, you’re from TCU, we’re not worried about you because we know you’ll do whatever you’ve got to do to make the team; you’re not going to embarrass us. And I think that’s as big a compliment as you can have within your program, that you teach your kids how to have accountability, work hard. They want something else in life besides football when it’s done. But when they are playing football, they’re going to get after it, and that’s exactly what you want as a coach.

You know, and after tomorrow night, then you have to go back and you’ve got to build a team again. Some of those seniors leave and do those things. I’d probably say Iowa State was the team that probably fits that as well as anybody does when it comes — because they’re big and they have a lot of length, and they’re very good.

Coach Shaw, ever since the Oregon game, we’ve seen Bryce Love hobble off the field from time to time, but at the same time turn around and come back and make a great run. What can we expect out of him in this game, especially after four weeks of rest?

DAVID SHAW: Well, I think the biggest thing is he’s been really smart. We all know the thing with ankles is you’ve just got to get off of them, so he’s been off of his ankle for a long time. This week has been kind of a ramp-up week. He’s practiced some, he’s been on the sideline with the trainer some, just to continue to get that flexibility back and try to get that explosion back. He’s not going to be 100 percent until next year. Hopefully next year he’s with us. But he’s a tough kid. He’s going to go hard. He’s going to play as hard as he can. He’ll play through pain. It’s not a big deal to him. Hopefully he’s closer to 100 percent, but I don’t think he’s going to be 100 percent.

Coach Shaw, what is the status of Walker Little and any of the other injured guys?

DAVID SHAW: I think Walker, we have one more physical test today. If he makes it through today, he’ll play. If he does play, he’ll rotate in. He won’t play the whole game. He hasn’t played the whole game in a long time. I think he wants to play. We’re going to put him through some stuff today just to make sure he’s structurally okay. He made it through the other day pretty well practicing part of practice, not the full practice. So if he can make it through today, then he’ll rotate in. He’ll spend some time on the field.

How long do you think you’ll be able to use the lesson of the comeback here two years ago, and will it remain effective for you?

GARY PATTERSON: That lesson went away. I think Coach Shaw has been using it, too. For us this will be my 18th bowl in 20 years here, so I mean, you’d better not look backwards very long or you’ll find out you’ll get slapped across the side of the head because we’re not playing Oregon anymore, we’re playing Stanford. The biggest thing for us is we understand we have to play very early. You haven’t read about us in the papers, the front page, not the sports page, so that’s a good thing this time around, because coming into this, that was kind of what I was coming into this morning. Actually it was the FCA breakfast. I got that phone call at like 4:00 in the morning and then I was going to the FCA breakfast at like 7:00.

But all lessons we all learn. It’s a different football team, playing a different football team, and so for us, it’s always been what TCU has been about. It’s never been about we’re out of it, whether it’s that ballgame or anything else. We’ve always believed that you have to represent until the end.

As I told that team at halftime three years ago, I said, I didn’t raise my voice or anything else because in our hallway we have the front of the panel of this bowl game with those teams on it and we have the scores, and basically I told the seniors right now, it’s 31-0. I mean, you’re going to come back here for 30 years and walk down these hallways. Is that what you want it to read, because this is going to be your last ballgame, is that what you want it to read. So that’s basically what we said and what we did, and obviously you know the rest of the story. But it’s a whole different climate this time just because of the type of team we’re playing, and yeah, it’s three years later, so…

Coach Shaw, we’ve asked a bunch of your players all week about this, but can you just talk about the significance between a nine-win and a 10-win season, which you’d have if you were able to win tomorrow night when you look back at things?

DAVID SHAW: You know, it’s one of those — I don’t know if it means that much more, but double-digit wins always looks better than single-digit wins. More wins is always better than less wins. But I think for me, it’s still about how you play and how well you play. You know, I think you always want to finish the season with a win and all that stuff. I don’t know that it means that much more. It looks better, I know, on T-shirts and all the stuff that you put on. But it’s one of those bars that sometimes you set as far as getting to 10 wins. But I mean, more than just — it’s not a big difference between nine and ten; it’s just one more, but you always want to try to win.

Has that experience what you went through caused you to change any of your restrictions on your players —

GARY PATTERSON: No. He went back out. He went back out after bed check, so no, our kids in general, they act right. They know — I sent two homes at the Rose Bowl. Biggest stage you could possibly be on at that time for us at TCU. There’s an expectation level of what we do and how we do it, and it doesn’t matter if you’re the best player or you’re the walk-on. It makes no difference. We all represent TCU, and you’ve got to understand when one screws up, then we’re all that. Whatever they did, every guy on your team is all that. You’ve got to be smart, because again, what I said earlier, this is not about teaching them to be great football players. That’s not the total package. It’s about when you leave, we say at TCU, it’s not four, it’s 40. What we try to do from 22 to 62, what are we trying to bring in. If you’ve been somewhere — like now we’ve been here 20 years; my first set of seniors are 42 years old. You’re 42 years old; we’ve had over 400 graduates come out of TCU since we’ve been a part of the program. 300 something of them came back after the spring game, and they all know the expectation level and they all have their stories. Some it takes them five years to come back because I’m not real happy with you, and then as they get older and more mature, they figure out what we’re trying to get done because it’s never personal to coaches except that you’re trying — you turned over somebody’s kid — somebody’s kid, they turned them over to you so you could help them in their progress to become a man in life and to go out and represent in the proper manner. That’s what we get done — people ask me — I said, because I’m kind of crazy on the sideline. I said, you guys should try to be a defensive coordinator with no-huddle. You watch me tomorrow night, I’m going to get out — unless he’s decided to go to no-huddle —

DAVID SHAW: Yeah, we changed our whole offense.

GARY PATTERSON: Every eight seconds you’re trying to get a call in. If you’re not, you’re trying to match what they do. If you’re just — if I was just acting like a head coach, I could just stand there. But that’s not what I do. I still help call defense and do things. How do you — it’s all about winning. It’s not about what you guys think or what the interpretation is. I tell my players, there’s Coach P and then there’s Gary. Coach P is two hours in practice and three hours on game day, and then there’s Gary; once they walk off the field, it’s about us. That’s what we do and how we do it. And Corey and Coach Shaw here are the same way as far as what we try to get done with young people. Try to make them into somebody. It’s help be an extension of their parents because they turned them loose to us for four years, we made a promise most of us sitting in their living room that we’d help them get a degree and help them grow up and do all that. Some of us still believe that winning is not the most important thing that we do.

Coach Shaw, you said a minute ago that with Bryce Love you hope he’s with you guys next year; is that still an open question? Basically what’s his status for the future?

DAVID SHAW: Yeah, he hasn’t made a decision I don’t believe. He’s just thought about the bowl game, and after the bowl game I’m sure he’ll talk to his family. We were able to spend a lot of time together going to the College Football Awards and Heisman and all that, and he’s just — he said, Coach, I’m just getting ready for the bowl game. I’ll worry about that other stuff when we worry about it. He’s just excited to go and play. I don’t know that he’s leaning one way or another. He really hasn’t put a lot into it. He’s just trying to get his ankle as healthy as it can be so he can come and play with his teammates tomorrow night.

GARY PATTERSON: Yeah, and I’m really excited about that, I want you guys to know, for him to have four weeks of rest. A healthy Bryce Love, just so we all — holy-moley.

On that very topic, who have been the running backs that your team has faced over the course of your career at TCU, and how does Bryce Love, talking specifically about breakaway-type running backs, and how does Bryce Love fit into that group?

GARY PATTERSON: Well, obviously he’s one of the best. Just in our four losses, two of them to Oklahoma and one to Georgia we played last year in the bowl game, the running backs they have at Georgia we played a year ago, which when you ask me types of teams, probably Georgia and Arkansas were also teams that are very similar to the way David — the way Stanford does things. But you’ve got those guys there, the guy that played at Oklahoma this year is very big and powerful. I wouldn’t say he’s the same, but he’s a good player. But we’ve seen some guys all the way back to playing Oklahoma with the guy that was playing at Minnesota that came out of Texas. We’ve seen some awfully good tailbacks in our time, and we’ve had some bad days and we’ve had some good days against those kind of guys. But what I do know that you have to do is you’ve got to play great leverage and you’ve got to be able to tackle. If you don’t do any of the above, then usually it doesn’t turn out real well for you.

But what I like best about Bryce Love just listening to David and watching from afar is just the way he handles everything else in life. Football is really important, and he wants to be a great player, it sounds like he wants to play at the NFL level, but the bottom line, he also wants to go into — wants to have a great profession when he gets done and help people and do things. I think that’s one of the things I think that sets him apart from a lot of the guys that we’ve played through, like an Adrian Peterson or the guys — I don’t know as much about the guys that are playing for Georgia. But I know in both cases, you have to play with a lot of energy and you have to play a team defense to be able to even slow down anybody that’s like that.

It’ll be a — and I’ll be honest with you, our kids were really excited — when you get to this time of the year, you don’t want to play — you watch some of these guys that didn’t play in bowl games, your kids, if you have a good football team, they don’t want to play against average. They didn’t come and play all year to play against average. They want to play against the best, win or lose. That’s what you step on the field for. You want to play against the Bryce Loves of the world. You want to play against their defensive tackle. You want to play against guys that are playing at a very high level because you always want to match yourself because it helps your resume. If you can play well, then you help — when the NFL guys turn on the film, it helps your stock because they see you play against good people, good offensive linemen, good defensive linemen, good tailbacks. If you can tackle him in open field and you’re a safety or you’re a linebacker or somebody like that, you help yourself. And so for our kids, and the way TCU has always approached things, we’ve always wanted to play against the very best, and definitely Bryce Love is one of the very best.

For us, that’s what it’s about, and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. It’s just your kids — if you have kids that like to play the game, you don’t want to see two or three, you want to see the first one, because that’s what you got to the end of the season to do. That’s why you want to play in the biggest bowl you can play in or whatever you do because it gives you an opportunity to do that, and I think they’re really excited about that opportunity, just because of the kind of kid he is and the kind of player he is.

Gary, Kenny Hill, he started somewhere else with a flash, didn’t end up working out for him there, he came to you. It can’t necessarily be easy for a leadership position like that in a transfer. As a quarterback, how would you sum up his career with you at this point?

GARY PATTERSON: Well, you know what’s the interesting thing is I get known for a defensive guy but we have two NFL quarterbacks right now, Trevone and Andy Dalton, then Kenny. Really what I do with Kenny, which I think ended up — you don’t know when you do it whether it’s going to be smart or not, but basically I didn’t let him come to TCU initially. He’s from Southlake-Carroll, which is close, came back, he went to junior college for that spring, and we got all the hype off, the media off of him, and then he kind of just snuck into TCU in the summertime and he got a chance.

Basically I just told him that the only rules were that he had to come over to all the spring practices so I could get to know him. As a head coach you’re in charge of 120 some guys. Every individual is different. And you know, I knew him — we recruited him out of high school and he came from a great family, very athletic family, good parents, and so you know, so what is it that didn’t turn out the way it did.

To be honest with you, ever since he’s been at our place, he’s been great. School-wise, off the field. I’m sure there’s things I don’t know as a head coach. Head coaching is kind of like being a parent. You’re the last person sometimes to know. But usually in a town the size of Fort Worth, usually I have my little birds. I know pretty much what’s going on as a general — he’s been great. And I think he’s appreciated this second opportunity, and to be honest with you, we have, too. He’s really tried to be everything we’ve wanted him to be and within his abilities to help us win football games.

I think his emotion when we lost our first ballgame against Iowa State I think to me summed it all up because he was very upset at himself, at a lot of things, just because he was coming back here to prove that he was the kind of player that he left high school in. He’s going to walk out of here, he’s going to get his degree, and not only in football, but his dad was a baseball player, his younger brother is a baseball player, and he probably has an opportunity, to be honest with you, to be a guy that could go in the organization — be a guy that could be a baseball player. I allowed him, I think, last spring or this summer to work out, and so — to get his opportunity to be able — so they could see. He just said it went well. I didn’t ask any more. I figured I’d find out at the end of the season how that all went down.

But you know, again, it’s our job to help — we all have jobs, coaches, we have jobs because of young people. I think we forget sometimes it’s our job once we keep our jobs because they play well and they win ballgames, how do you pay them back. You pay them back at the end because they never quit being — for what we say, they never quit being Frogs. You’re still writing job recommendations, you’re still making phone calls, you’re still doing all the things that you need to do to make sure you give them a chance to be successful just like they’ve helped you become successful.


Dec. 26, 2017 – TCU Offense Press Conference

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

TCU Horned Frogs Offense

Sonny Cumbie

Curtis Luper

John Diarse

Kenny Hill

Kyle Hicks

Matt Pryor


SONNY CUMBIE: We’re here with our starting quarterback, Kenny Hill, a fifth-year senior from Southlake; John Diarse, outside receiver from Neville, Louisiana; Matt Pryor, senior offensive guard, offensive tackle. I think he would like to be known as a tackle more so than a guard. And Kyle Hicks, our senior running back, No. 21.

It’s been a great week in San Antonio. This is our — obviously we were here two years ago. For me as a player, as I played in this bowl game. I’ve been here as a coach, I think this is the third here, so San Antonio is one of the best cities in the state of Texas. We enjoy our time here. The practice facilities at Incarnate Word are awesome. It’s a short drive over. So that convenience on top of the hospitality that the Alamo Bowl have given our players, and I think that’s the main thing any time you go to a bowl game is how much it’s a reward for your players and how much they’re able to enjoy it together one last time.

This is a really special group that’s done a lot, has had a great season, 10-3, and I think has accomplished a lot together, and so it’s been fun for one more — I guess a couple more weeks for these guys, and just really enjoyed everything that the Alamo Bowl has done for our players.

Coach Cumbie, Stanford’s defense in the third quarter is significantly better than what it shows in the first half. Can you talk about what you’ve seen from them on film and what they’re able to do from half to half to get so much better?
SONNY CUMBIE: You know, just overall defensively, they’re a well-coached unit. They’re very big. They’re physical. And you can tell they’re a group that doesn’t give you anything easy. They’re well-coached. They’re smart, obviously. Being in the right place, and I think that has a lot to do with the experience of their coaching staff with the halftime adjustments they make, and so it’s a big challenge for us, obviously, tomorrow to go out and to try to match their adjustments, as well. I think we’ve been, for the most part of the season, pretty good in third quarters. It will be good to see when we come out from halftime and really the whole game against them.

Kenny, what are the things that you’ve noticed from the Stanford defense so far? Anybody stand out to you in particular in that defense?
KENNY HILL: Really just the entire defense. Like Coach Cumbie said, they play hard. They’re really physical. They just — I mean, they get after you. They’re sound. They don’t get beat — I mean, they make you earn everything, so it’s really just go out there and execute the way we have been, and I mean, just don’t make mistakes because they wait on you to make mistakes, so you have to go out there and play your game and play well.

Kenny and John, I know you guys weren’t here the last time TCU played in this game, but what are some of the tales you’ve heard from guys like Kyle and Coach Cumbie, Coach Luper about the last time they played here?
JOHN DIARSE: Just the experience in itself, and that game being one of the most popular games in TCU history. I was talking to Mark earlier about it, and I was actually on my way home, and I flipped it on and said, TCU is losing, that’s kind of a shocker. And it actually turned into a good game, like a really, really good game. The entire week just Coach Patterson just reminded us to just stay focused on the task at hand and just be sure that we came here for one mission, to come out 1-0 and give the seniors the best season that we can have. But also have fun, man; enjoy San Antonio just like Coach Cumbie said and just take in the experience one last time as a senior.

KENNY HILL: Same thing he was saying. I mean, I’ve been saying especially with the seniors, Coach P talks a lot like two years ago when they were here at halftime, he was just saying, how do you want to be remembered. You’ve got to walk through the hall and you see the score up on the wall. You don’t want to be remembered like that. So it’s really just seniors taking leadership and grabbing a hold of this game and coming out with a win.

Matt, can you talk about playing against Harrison Phillips in this game and what you’ve seen from him on film?
MATT PRYOR: Obviously that he’s a really physical player. He causes a lot of disruption on the line. But I feel as an offense, if we come out there and battle them with our physicality and our tempo and overall just execute our plays, we’ll have a really good game.

Kyle, what’s this game going to say about how you are remembered, like Kenny was saying, the way this season, this team is remembered?
KYLE HICKS: How does this game say like how we’re remembered? I don’t know. Hopefully we’re remembered as Alamo Bowl champs 2017. But really looking forward to this game. Stanford is a great opponent, and we know they’re going to come out and give us their all, and we’re going to do the same, as well, just go out there, execute our plays and just make simple, routine plays and hopefully win the championship.

Coach Luper, can you talk about the different ways that you guys use KaVontae? I think he’s scored in every single way that you can score this year. Can you talk about his development and how you guys use him?
CURTIS LUPER: Well, first of all, he’s a very smart football player, so we move him around — in order to move him around, he has to be really smart and have a good football IQ, which he does, but we’ve tried to keep the defenses guessing, so you’ll see him everywhere. You’ll see him in the backfield, you’ll see him inside receiver, outside receiver. We may even snap it to him a few times.

Coach Luper, can you talk about Kyle Hicks and his development since he’s stepped on campus?
CURTIS LUPER: Well, I think we’ve been here five years together, so I’ve seen it all from him. He battled a knee injury early. He had a knee injury his senior year, so he battled that his first year here. But his very first year he was a 3rd down running back for us, which is really hard to do because most guys in the evolution of a running back, the pass protection is something that they learn last because they’re more excited about carrying the football, but he was able to do that for B.J. Catalon and for Aaron Green early on, and he’s evolved into a complete football player. Just last year when he was healthy, he led our team in both rushing and receiving, so I expect him to go out with a bang this Thursday.

Kenny, how eager have you guys been to get back on the field since the Big 12 Championship game?
KENNY HILL: Yeah, you know, that game leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I mean, lucky for us, we’ve got one more. That’s the best way to get rid of it. You come out and play again, play well. We’re looking forward to it. We’ve been talking about it this whole time. We’re here, we need to go win this. So it’s just — I mean, just comes down to playing well, playing the way we can, and executing the way we can, and come out with a W because I’m not trying to go out my senior year with a loss.

Coach Cumbie, can you talk about the evolution of your screen game and the way you guys use it both inside and out and kind of what you need to Kenny to make stuff like that work?
SONNY CUMBIE: Yeah, first with Kenny in terms of getting the ball out of his hand quickly, and he’s probably one of the most accurate quarterbacks I’ve ever been around, and particularly with the screen game, he gets it out fast. That’s one of the most important parts of it is the ball placement, and we’ve got a lot of playmakers on our offense, and it’s really just trying to get them the ball in space as fast as we can and let those guys — we have an athletic group up front in terms of our offensive line, and I think you just try to create a bunch of different ways to get your playmakers the ball in space, and so the screen game is probably one of the more easier things for us to do besides just handing them the ball or snapping the ball and getting those guys the ball in space and to let them go to work.

Kenny, can you talk about you have one of the top passer ratings under pressure, so under duress what do you think makes you perform so well?
KENNY HILL: I mean, we practice it a lot. I mean, we do blitz check at the end of every day, so it’s the last thing you see is just blitzes and stuff like that, understanding where blitzes are coming from, watching film, and then just having trust in the receivers and the O-line. I know the O-line will pick up as many as they can. It’s just — they’re going to do their job up front, give you enough time to get it out, and it’s just trusting the receivers to make a play, get off the line, beat their guy. It’s just that trust in everybody.

Coach Cumbie, as you guys improved from six wins a year ago to 10 this year and potentially an 11th, how much of that fell on Kenny and the way he improved for you?
SONNY CUMBIE: You know, I think with any team, everybody — you evaluate yourself as coaches, as players individually after you come off a season like we had, and you look at how can we be better and where did we fall short, why did we fall short in those areas, and how can we coach things better, how can we teach things better, and I think the players were really challenged themselves. We have a lot of highly motivated kids. In particular on offense, we have a lot of seniors that are very highly motivated. They have to take a lot of pride in their performance, and they knew that they were a really good football team, and for whatever reason we came up on the short end last year, and we didn’t like to, and I think all the guys sitting up here with me and the guys back in the hotel that really took it upon themselves to — how can I make myself a better player, which ultimately will make this offense better and will make the team better, and I think you see that with all the guys on this table and the rest of our seniors.

Kenny playing quarterback in this offense is — it gets a lot of — you get — we talk about it all the time, you get more credit than you deserve and more blame than you deserve when things are going well and vice versa, but he’s done a great job. Definitely different demeanor in the standpoint of his approach, how he’s prepared, and I think the results — you’re excited to see the success that he’s had and all these guys just because of the work they put into it, and they’re good players.

Matt, can you talk about you started in California, made the decision to come to Texas, you’re putting on the pads for the last time. Talk about how the season has been so well and you’re getting accolades. Have you reflected at all?
MATT PRYOR: You know, I feel like at the end of it, this is a blessing. Coming out of California, I wasn’t even supposed it make it to a D-1, let alone I didn’t think I would. I was supposed to go to a JuCo, and going that route I never knew how it was going to turn out. But coming up to the senior year, I want to end it with a win, obviously, but I feel like my achievements have been good thanks to my coaching staff and everything and all the bonds I made with my family on the team, yeah.

John, two of your nationally recognized plays were the catch in the Liberty Bowl last year and the Big 12 Championship. Do you have anything in score for Thursday night?
JOHN DIARSE: Man, you can never plan those things. It’s just one of those things that just happened. But I do work consistently just on doing better. Just like Coach Cumbie said, finding different ways to be better, finding different ways that I can make a play when it’s my turn, and just trusting the O-line and Kenny and Kyle and everybody else to do their part, as well. All I’ve got to do is just deliver.

Dec. 26, 2017 – Stanford Defense Press Conference

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Stanford Cardinal Defense

Lance Anderson

Justin Reid

Bobby Okereke

Quenton Meeks

Peter Kalambayi


LANCE ANDERSON: Next to me I have starting safety Justin Reid; to his left, starting inside linebacker, Bobby Okereke; next to Bobby is starting cornerback Quenton Meeks; and finally on the end, starting outside linebacker Peter Kalambayi.

I think we had a great week of preparation. We’re excited about this opportunity, playing a top-15 opponent that has a very explosive offense, a lot of great skill players, so it’s going to be a great challenge for us. But I’m really excited that we have the opportunity to go out and play another game as a defense, as a unit. Really like how we have improved as a defense as the year has gone on. We’ve had our challenges, but I think we’ve gotten better and better. You look at their run defense, and it hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve gotten better and better as the year has gone on.

We’re excited to go out there and play as a unit one more time. We’re excited about playing a good football team.

Peter, what have you seen from the TCU offense? What are the things that impress you about them the most, especially what’s your thoughts about Kenny Hill?
PETER KALAMBAYI: One thing that really pops off the film is their speed overall. Their receivers are fast, the backs are fast, the quarterback himself is fast, and on top of that, their tempo is fast. A lot of times they choose to go high tempo with a fast-paced offense, very similar to the Pac-12 offenses that we’re used to playing. It’s nice to play another high-tempo offense, similar to a lot of the Pac-12 teams we’re playing, and we’re excited for the challenge.

Can you talk about memories you have from past bowl experiences and how it’s shaped your approach for this week?
PETER KALAMBAYI: Yeah, so this being my fifth bowl, fourth one I’ve actually played in, it’s always a good time going to these bowl games, enjoying time at all the events with your teammates and doing fun stuff, but at the end of the day, we’re here to win a football game. And as I’ve gotten older, I’m getting a better understanding of how to do both and have fun but also focus on the game, and I try to pass that on to the younger players to make sure their heads are straight and make sure they’re ready and locked in to go every day at practice and watching film on top of having fun at the bowl events.

Quenton, how have things gone for you this week in San Antonio? Have you had a chance to enjoy the city very much? And specifically, I don’t think you got in to swim with the dolphins, right, at Sea World?
QUENTON MEEKS: No, that wasn’t me.

I know that Brandon got into it, though, right?
QUENTON MEEKS: Yes, he did. I’m actually pretty jealous, I’m not going to lie. I really wanted to do that. But I got to see some cool animals. I got to see some Burmese pythons, a bald eagle, and a porcupine, and I got to pet all of them and take pictures with all of them, so it made up for it definitely.

And what are your thoughts about Kenny Hill and their receivers, as well?
QUENTON MEEKS: I mean, like Peter was saying, they’re very fast, they’re athletic, like to get the ball to their playmakers in space, like to do a lot of horizontal passing, a lot of screen passes, and then hit you over the top deep. So you’ve just really got to stay disciplined. They like to go fast, go tempo, so it’s important for us to get the call quickly and get lined up and know our assignments so that when we do get out there that we know what we’re doing and that the pace doesn’t get the best of us, but we’re used to seeing it. We see it all year in the Pac-12, so it’s just another offense that we’re used to going against, but they’ve got a lot of talent, so you’ve got to be on your P’s and Q’s.

Can you just talk about how creative and diverse TCU is and how you balance preparing these guys for everything you might see versus the sense of like trying to cram everything in that you might see?
LANCE ANDERSON: They’re definitely creative. There’s a lot of diversity in their offense. A lot of different ways to get their playmakers the ball, whether it’s 18, 25, one of the running backs. They’re going to put them at unique positions; it might be a reverse; it might be some kind of screen. They’ve got double passes, all kinds of stuff. So for us our biggest challenge is just to go out and do our job, execute our defense, be disciplined with our eyes, be assignment sound. If we do that, I think we will match up well.

Could you talk about your in-game adjustments when you talk to Justin during the game and how you incorporate that into this game?
LANCE ANDERSON: On game day I’m up in the box, and I think that’s easier for me just to be able to see everything from up there, and we’ve got constant communication with the other coaches, so we’re always going back and forth and discussing things, so those guys, whether it’s our DB coach Duane Akina talking about the DB’s, Coach Hansen talking with the inside backers, Coach Reynolds with the D-line, so we’re getting feedback on what these guys are seeing, what they’re thinking, and then we can start to incorporate that into what we do. There’s always some feeling out from the opponent, too. You go in, you have an idea of what you might see, what they might do, but they always have a few new wrinkles, and especially going into a bowl game when there’s been that extra prep time, and we’ve got to be prepared for the unexpected and just go out and execute our assignments.

Bobby, have you thought about putting on your pads for the last time as a Stanford Cardinal and walking through the tunnel?
BOBBY OKEREKE: Not exactly sure if it’s my last time yet, but definitely excited for another game coming up.

What do you think walking through the stadium is going to feel like on game day?
BOBBY OKEREKE: It’s going to be pretty cool. I’ve never play in a dome before. Talking to some of my teammates who played in the Army All-American game here, they said it was crazy, loud environment, so I’m excited for it.

Can you talk about a strength of Coach Anderson and how you think he would be as a head coach?
JUSTIN REID: I guess I’ll start. The amount that Coach Lance Anderson knows is incredible, the type of schemes we do here at Stanford University, it’s compared to NFL schemes and NFL environments, and that’s why so many of our guys are able to transition into the league so easily, because it’s not like they’re learning a whole bunch of new concepts and new schemes. We already are equipped with the tools from what Coach Anderson teaches us through our installs and throughout the year to be successful in the league and be successful in college and all around.

I think Coach Anderson would be an incredible head coach if he chose to do that, if he chose to pursue that as his career, because he has the right type of mentality about it; he has the right type of work ethic. He puts in the work and he cares about his guys to do well and succeed.

BOBBY OKEREKE: Yeah, I’ll follow up on that. Coach Anderson does a really good job with us preparing us through the week, but I would think the biggest thing is probably in-game adjustments. Coming in at halftime, he’s up in the box looking at everything, and he’s able to detail exactly what we’re doing, and he’s like, you know what, we’re going to mix in some different calls, maybe we’ll go two high, maybe we’ll go one high, and just really putting us in great positions to make plays and trusting us to make plays.

QUENTON MEEKS: I would probably say play calling. You know, being the son of a defensive coordinator and someone who his dad had to go through play calling and knowing how difficult is probably is to call a game and know what the offense is doing and the amount of studying that a coach has to do, especially a defensive coordinator in our conference, to know the offenses because the Pac-12 is so diverse, and I feel like we have the best calls of any defense in the nation, and we always are able to match up to our opponents extremely well no matter who we play, and that’s just a testament to Coach Anderson, how hard he works. You need that in a head coach. You need somebody who’s also going to motivate your players to do better and to want to play for you, and that’s one thing that when you come to Stanford, you know that playing for Stanford’s defense, we’re expected to be great, and Coach Anderson definitely lets us know that that’s the expectation, and you want to play for a guy like that, that has the expectation to be great and has the expectation in all of us to be great, and that just raises your level of play.

PETER KALAMBAYI: I think in terms of becoming a head coach, Coach Anderson would definitely be a great head coach. Firstly if you talk to the other coaches on the staff, you hear Coach Anderson is the last guy out of the building almost every night. He works extremely hard in compartmentalizing all the different parts of the defense, and I think even if he had to deal with an offense, too, he’d do a great job making sure everything meshed together, understanding how things, special teams, offense, defense flows together and how they could all fit together. And on top of that, like Quenton said, he holds us always to a high standard. Even if we win a game, how can we get better. And he doesn’t allow complacency in his defense, and I think he would do that to his team, too, and he’d definitely make a great head coach.

JUSTIN REID: I’d love to see more defensive-minded head coaches, too, in and around the conference, too.

Continuity with the coaching staff has been kind of a hallmark with the Stanford staff. Why do coaches stay, and how does that continuity help the program?
LANCE ANDERSON: It’s just a great place to coach. First off, it’s a beautiful area, great place to live. Coach Shaw is tremendous to work for, and you see here to my left the kind of players that we get. That’s one of the reasons I love it so much at Stanford is we’ve got great guys to coach, guys who want to be great, guys who want to go play at the next level, who want to be the best they possibly can. But the other thing, these guys have other aspirations, too. They come to Stanford, they’re going to get an education, and whatever football may end for them, and hopefully it’s a long ways down the road after they’ve played a long time in the NFL, but they’re going to have a powerful degree that’s going to go allow them to be very successful in other parts of life, as well. Those are such attractive things.

I think we’ve got a tremendous defensive coaching staff. Coach Akina is the best DB coach there is out there; Coach Hansen, tremendous linebacker coach; Coach Reynolds on the defensive line. We’ve got a great chemistry. We work really well together, no egos. It just makes for a lot of fun coming to work every single day, and I think we enjoy that, and no reason for it to change.

Bobby, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions about the running backs. Darius Anderson, I’m not sure what number he is, but their top runner, what do you think of him? Does he remind you of anybody in the Pac-12 at all?
BOBBY OKEREKE: They’re good. I think running style, they run a lot of read, a lot of boss, kind of similar to maybe like a Washington or a Cal, but they do a really good job. They’re not going to hurt themselves, they’re not going to really make negative plays, they’re just going to get their yards and keep rushing.

Bobby, what have you seen from Bryce Love this week? Does he look like he’s 100 percent?
BOBBY OKEREKE: Yeah, he looks fast. He looks good.

As good as ever?
BOBBY OKEREKE: Yes, I would say so.

Justin, can you talk about the different ways that they use Turpin? They seem to find just about everything for him to do. He’s pass rushed, caught a touchdown pass this year. I think he’s got return touchdowns. Can you talk about what you’re seeing from him on film and how they like to use him?
JUSTIN REID: Yeah, KaVontae is a very explosive player, and it’s great for them to have a player like that because you’ve got to put your playmakers in spaces so that they can make plays. So they move him around; they put him in the one spot to catch screens; they put him in the two spot to just do all types of different movements. They sometimes put him in the backfield so he can get the ball there. They just try to find unique ways to get him the ball so that way he can do what he does and try and create yards and make some plays for them so that way they can get points down the line. Going against him will be a fun challenge for us personally because you always love to go against good players. It wouldn’t be a fun bowl game if you didn’t have star players to go against, so we’re definitely excited for the opportunity to go against him.

Quenton, you’ve stepped up in past bowl games with game-changing plays. Is there something else that has you flip on a different switch for a bowl game when the lights are brighter?
QUENTON MEEKS: I guess it’s just that you have so much time to prepare, so you just have time to — during the bowl game you get time to relax and recuperate and reflect back on the season. I go back and watch all my games I’ve played throughout the season and just see what I need to work on, whether it being the strengths or whether it being the weaknesses, and just go on and try to put together a kind of finale to the season that the fans will be proud of and that will definitely help my team win. I love winning, and I’ve always — a bowl game is like the championship game to your season, and you want to always go win on a good note, and I just put a little extra focus, I guess, into a bowl game. But it’s not like it’s intentional, it’s just that when you have more time, you just have more time to look at little things and get little details that you wouldn’t with just a week’s time to prepare.


Dec. 25, 2017 TCU Post-Practice

TCU Post-Practice

12/25 at University of the Incarnate Word

Interview: TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson


How was your practice today?

Practice 11, yesterday was really good. A little bit cooler today but our kids liked it. Most of our work got done before we left Fort Worth but today was a good day. Everybody did what they needed to do. It’s always good to be together with these guys on Christmas.

Does it help knowing that you were here two years ago?

Yeah, I’m sure it helps because it’s not our first shot. These guys out here at Incarnate Word, working out here, they have been tremendous. Our guys are kind of doing checkmarks, same hotel. Everybody is more familiar with it and they feel comfortable. Then you get a different football team to prepare for and play on Thursday night. There’s never been a bad Bowl game, to get a chance to come do this and meet the people you get to meet, and San Antonio has been great.

Do you rely more on the coaching staff or leaders of the team to help your young players prepare for the Bowl game?

We always spell fun W-I-N. That’s how we do it. We practice hard when we come back into bowls now until we get to the end where we’re in shorts. The younger guys, if they don’t learn it now they’ll learn it later. I think the way we practiced last year to face Georgia in the Liberty Bowl carried over to the off season. You never want to end your season on a loss.

How much do your guys enjoy the off the field activities at the bowl game?

I think we had some that had too much fun the first night. They struggled the first practice but we didn’t go home so you have to let them get that out of their system. Outside of that it’s been a good deal. Our kids know how to act, some of them have been to five bowl games so all of that is fun.

Anything in particular from two years ago that you really enjoyed?

I just like coming down here. I like the city. I stay so busy, my best time is 30 minutes after the game is over because everyone signs with their parents and I’m just in charge of me. I like bowl practice because you get to be around the kids a lot. Everybody then starts coming to town to be a part of the bowl game and that’s really fun because you get to see a lot of people you haven’t seen since last June. I’ve been in a dark room watching film or playing bowl games.

Any reason you and Coach Shaw are close friends?

We have been on trips together with Nike. We stay busy but our wives have a lot in common. I think the way we believe that you need to grow kids up, it’s more than just football. Stanford is that way, TCU is that way. When they leave, you want them to have a foundation for how to be successful in life. How to treat people, accountability, work ethic. We worry about kids and we worry about the profession because of everything that’s going on with it.

Dec. 24, 2017 – Stanford Offense Press Conference

Sunday, December 24, 2017


Stanford Cardinal Offense Press Conference

Offensive Coordinator Tavita Pritchard

Tight End Dalton Schultz

Fullback Daniel Marx

Quarterback K.J. Costello

Offensive Lineman David Bright

Full audio

Moderator: Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to introduce Stanford offensive coordinator Tavita Pritchard. Please introduce your players, coach, and give an opening statement.


TAVITA PRITCHARD: Immediately to my left, Daniel Marx, Dalton Schultz, K.J. Costello, and David Bright.


It’s been a great week so far. I think between the events we’ve had, just the city of San Antonio, the hospitality has been amazing. We’ve really enjoyed the different venues that have accepted us in. The hotel has been awesome.


In terms of the last couple days of preparation, our guys are getting after it the right way. They have a good time when they have their off time, then when they’re hitting it, we’re getting ready for this really good football team we’re going to face with TCU.


Moderator: Questions, please.


Coach, Talk about their defense. What have you seen on tape?

TAVITA PRITCHARD: I think what you see from this TCU defense is they play extremely hard. They’re a defense that knows their identity. Obviously Coach Patterson has been there for a long time. He’s done a tremendous job, not only with that program, but with that defense specifically.


They don’t just play hard. They’re a bunch of smart players on that side of the ball. A lot of former quarterbacks. They really know how their pieces fit together. When you couple that with the extreme effort they play with, they just present a lot of issues.


David, in your career you’ve played multiple different positions on the offensive line. What enables you to be so durable and versatile on the offensive line?

DAVID BRIGHT: I think it’s a mindset to embrace the longer I’ve gone on in my career. To be honest, just being selfless. I’ll do anything for this team, whether that’s playing left guard, left tackle, right tackle. They’re two different positions. Looking from the outside, people might not realize that.


It’s been a lot of fun. Like I said, I’ll do anything for these guys, any position I need to play.


David, when Bryce invited to you the awards show in Atlanta, how did that go down? What was your reaction?

DAVID BRIGHT: I mean, it was a great experience. Also Jesse Burkett, our center. To see Bryce get that award, he’s such a deserving guy. He put in so much work this year for us.


It’s so much fun watching him progress throughout the season. Getting the award was just a nice cap-off, I would say. Being in Atlanta was so much fun, as well.


Dalton, with Bryce, do people forget sometimes you throw the ball, too?

DALTON SCHULTZ: Yeah. I was looking up a stat the other day, one of the highest deep-ball percentages in college right now. Kind of having that confidence in our quarterback and building that throughout these last six games, I think, has been huge.


I do think people forget that we can kind of sling the rock. Kind of having that dual threat in K.J.’s arm and in Bryce’s legs it great.


K.J., the TCU defense, what jumps out at you most about them? Up front? The back? The middle?

K.J. COSTELLO: Starting off up front, I think they play very aggressive. Coach described them very well. We’ve been studying them for about two, three weeks now.


Getting into the back end where I focus a little bit more, they primarily stay in one to two defensive looks, but play a lot of different variations out of that.


Like coach said, they got a lot of quarterbacks back there, quarterback-minded safeties. I think they got a corner on the fourth year starting. They have a lot of experience in the back end. They like changing up the looks, potentially fooling the offense.


At the end of the day, they have a lot of trust in the back end. It’s going to come down to us making plays over them.


K.J., your teammates have said they like your attitude in the huddle. What do you say during the game that makes them feel comfortable?

K.J. COSTELLO: At the end of the day, coach has really instilled in me, we call it driving the ship. I like to tell Jesse that he drives the ship up front, I kind of steer it from the back end.


At the end of the day, I got to instill a sense of confidence when it’s third and four, third and six, when I feel like it’s time to make a big play. I got to remind the guys situationally.


At the end of the day, that’s my job. They got a lot of things to worry about, a lot of one-on-one matchups up front. I got to remind them when it’s time to make a play, let them feel what I’m feeling, kind of see through the same lens that I’m seeing through.


Daniel, you got invited to go to the Heisman. How did Bryce invite you? What was that experience like for you?

DANIEL MARX: That was phenomenal. It was Monday. We were looking for them to release the Heisman names. We realized Bryce was getting there. A few hours later he shot me a text, Do you want to go to New York with me? That was phenomenal. I read it, was almost in disbelief.


Such a tremendous guy. That goes back and reflects well on him. He feels like he wants to take the guys that he feels deserve it best. That’s what he conveyed to me.


Unbelievable opportunity. Great experience to be with him, go through all the things that he was doing. It was an unbelievable time.


Daniel, During the interview at the Heisman, his parents said he needs to call home more, eat less candy. Do you have something he should improve on?

DANIEL MARX: Gosh, he’s very dedicated to everything he’s doing. The second he realizes he needs to do something, he’s right on it.


I’m sure he’s called home a few times more and eaten a little bit less candy each day.


Dalton, what are your expectations about playing your final game on Thursday night?

DALTON SCHULTZ: Honestly, I can’t remember who described it, I think Coach Shaw, when we were playing our final home game: Don’t underestimate the emotion that comes on with playing in that final game.


That’s kind of my mindset going into it. I know it’s going to be emotional, especially for all these seniors who might be their last game, might not. I’ve prepared myself for that. There’s going to be a lot of big plays I think in this game. There is a lot of emotion. That’s kind of what happens.


The Alamo Bowl, the history, a lot of points scored. We have to kind of ride the storm. This offense has never been up and down. We try to stay as levelheaded as possible. I think that’s going to be the focus going into it.


Daniel, you last game as a senior.

DANIEL MARX: I think Dalton hit it right on the head. You’ll just feel a little bit more emotion, walking out of the locker room, being with your teammates, playing on the field as a team. I think that’s exactly right. It will feel very emotional.


But we’ll be ready to play. It will give us a little bit of an edge, you know.


David, being the northern California team, TCU is a few hours from here in Texas, do you feel like the visiting team, the underdogs, the foreign guys? Do you feel right at home?

DAVID BRIGHT: Yeah, I mean, we talked about it earlier in the week, it’s kind of a home game for TCU, which is fine for us. We’re going to have our support from all our families. Whatever Stanford fans travel down, we’ll embrace that, to be honest, go out there, play our style of game.


David, what do you think of the weather here?

DAVID BRIGHT: It’s not too bad, honestly, the weather. Maybe a little colder.


Coach, what makes K.J. so successful on throwing the deep ball?

TAVITA PRITCHARD: Hmm. What makes K.J. successful throwing the deep ball? I think you really have to start that with all the components that takes to get the ball there. I think that starts up front with the protection unit. We put a lot on these guys, not just K.J., the guys up front, the runningbacks, tight ends who help in protection.


TCU has a tremendous third down package that they get in and do a lot of different things. We put in a lot of study on these guys against a lot of teams to be able to keep K.J. upright.


When it comes to making the play, K.J. mentioned it, we’re going to have opportunities this game, we’ve had them in past games, to where K.J. has to put the ball up. We talk a lot in the quarterback room about giving those guys outside a chance. We don’t always have to throw the perfect ball, but if we at least put them in a position to make a play, more often than not we feel like our guys will go do that.


I think K.J. has done a good job of facilitating that. Again, I think it’s really about the whole unit.


Coach, TCU does shut down people in second halfs a lot. Does that approach how you start the game with your scheme?

TAVITA PRITCHARD: You know what, I think Dalton said it. We try not to change a whole bunch based on who we’re playing. Obviously we want to know our opponent, know going in kind of how they’re going to try to attack us, things like that. But we always try to start fast. I don’t think anything’s different in this game.


Now, that said, knowing this is a TCU defense, like I mentioned earlier, that knows their system extremely well, I think we know we’re going to have to make some adjustments at halftime to try to combat that. For a team that plays as hard as they do and as smart as they do, we know we’re not just going to be able to keep the same game plan the whole time. We think we’re going to have to throw some different things at them, really play at a high level.


Moderator: Thank you.

Dec. 24, 2017 – TCU Defense Press Conference

TCU Horned Frogs Defense

Defensive Coordinator Chad Glasgow

Linebacker Ty Summers

Safety Nick Orr

Linebacker Travin Howard

Defensive End Ben Banogu

Full Audio

Moderator: Good afternoon. Our first press conference is with the TCU defense. It’s my pleasure to introduce TCU defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow.


If you could introduce the players you brought with you today, give an opening statement.


CHAD GLASGOW: First of all, we got Ty Summers, a linebacker for us. Homecoming for him. He’s a San Antonio product. Travin Howard, another senior linebacker next to him. Ben Banogu is next, defensive end. Then Nick Orr is a safety for us.


First of all, we want to thank the city of San Antonio for giving us the opportunity to be back here again. We talked about it’s a homecoming for Ty Summers because he’s from here. A bunch of our football team has roots in San Antonio. Derrick Fox, the Alamo Bowl organization, have done a great organization. Mike Ciscowski last night, had a heck of an event. It’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience so far.


Had a great practice today. Looking forward to the game.


Moderator: Questions, please.


Coach, as you look over the two games against OU, do you chalk it up to that’s one of the best offenses that’s come along in a long time in college football?

CHAD GLASGOW: Well, Oklahoma is a very good football team. The Big 12, week-to-week, you got to get ready to go play. You get some opportunities to make some plays. We didn’t make some plays we needed to go make against a good football team. We had chances.


Our deal is to go win championships. Doesn’t matter who we go play, we have to find a way to stop them. We didn’t do it those two games.


Ty, talking about your homecoming, have you had flashbacks to that tremendous bowl for the ages when you came back? Have you thought about that?

TY SUMMERS: Of course, I mean, it’s been on our minds. One thing we took from it I think the most is to start fast this time, not make it so difficult to come back, just come out, hit the ground running the first quarter. That’s what we’re taking away from that game, translating into the next one.


Coach, you’ve been at TCU for a while now. Where do you rank this defense among all the defenses that you’ve seen over at TCU?

CHAD GLASGOW: One of our goals every year is to give the senior class the best possible year that they can go have. A bunch of these guys up here are seniors, a couple of them are. It’s their responsibility from a leadership standpoint to go lead the defense. That starts back in January of the previous year. Our bowl practices right now are for the 2018 season, when other guys are going to step up, be seniors, be expected to lead the defense.


This is a group that some guys have stepped up different places that needed to step up, some guys that hadn’t played. Ben hadn’t played in a college football game till this year. Some of those guys have really stepped up, made plays for us.


We’ve got a next-man-up philosophy and mentality that when a guy steps and gets his chance to go play, we want him to go play great. That’s kind of how we practice, the expectation we have, and what we want to push them to go do.


This defense is really good. They’ve performed well. It’s a credit to how they go out and work on a day-to-day basis, the situation they put themselves in to be successful and execute the game plan.


It’s a really good defense that plays hard and fast. I think that gives us a chance to go be good because of how hard we play. They’re athletic guys that can run. We put a premium on speed.


Travin, as one of the elder statesmen of the defense, what do you see specifically from the younger guys on defense like Ben in terms of how they’re playing now, their potential for the next few years?

TRAVIN HOWARD: I just see them growing up. I try to lead by example, just trying to take them under my wing really. They’re growing very well. Their play speaks for itself. They’re coming. Heck of players.


Travin, what are your memories from the bowl game, when you were defensive MVP, memorable plays of that game?

TRAVIN HOWARD: My most memorable play would be Denzel breaking up the pass at the end of the game. That was my favorite play. People ask me this all the time. That’s the play I go to.


CHAD GLASGOW: A good Alamo Bowl memory of mine. There’s a coach that coaches at John Jay High School. His name is Chuck Lawrence. Coach Lawrence was the head coach at Navarro Junior College when Zarnell Fitch was playing there. Coach Lawrence got the opportunity to come to the bowl game a couple years ago when we were playing here. Somehow in the heat and the excitement of the bowl game, Coach Lawrence ended up with his shirt off, circling around after we scored to take the lead.


Every time you go in John Jay High School, that’s what you get from Coach Lawrence, the excitement of that Alamo Bowl. We’re sure this one is not going to be any different.


I can promise you that will never happen with me (laughter). Maybe we can get Coach Patterson to get the right shirt on to begin with this year.


Nick, have you thought about what it’s going to be like putting your pads on for the final time as a Horned Frog?

NICK ORR: Yeah, it’s going to be mostly just because I’ve been playing so long for them, built a lot of good relationships with people on the team, with the coaching staff and everything.


I’m excited, though.


Nick, can you tell us about your football family, with your brother, your dad. What have you been talking about this game, in general growing up in that family?

NICK ORR: I mean, just growing up, I can tell you we argued a lot. A lot of people don’t really know that. I mean, we’re just real competitive, just how we’ve always been. We’re always very supportive of each other, too. I think that’s what helps us.


Like with Zach, I mean, obviously he made it all the way. We always try to follow him. He does a good job of leading by good example to us. Will lead my little brother.


Got a great older brother that coaches at De Soto. He does a great job. He’s the one that set the standard for us, always led by good example for us, always helped us believe in ourselves, so…


CHAD GLASGOW: Better not forget about Mama Orr either.


NICK ORR: She is what holds everybody together, my dad included.


Ben, you told us one of the reasons you came to TCU was to play defense for Coach Patterson. What have you learned about that side of the ball?

BEN BANOGU: I feel like when I first came into TCU, I was more of a raw athlete, kind of running around, making plays. Being in this defense, being around guys that understand football at a higher level, it really made me more of a smarter football player. I was able to make plays knowing what I was going to get. If I ever had a question, if I ever needed help, like during practice or film, my teammates and my coaches were always able to help me, help me expand my game.


I guess the best part about being with this team was being a smart football player not only like on the field but in the film room, too.


Ty, since you grew up here, you’ve been to other bowls, how does the Alamo Bowl compare? I don’t know if you ever came to one when you were growing up here. The way it’s grown in stature, this is the 25th anniversary.

TY SUMMERS: Yeah, no, I mean, the Alamo Bowl does a great job. I mean, I can speak for all of us. We all enjoy everything that goes on. They take care of us really well. Especially for me, of course, because it’s my hometown.


So to be able to come back and be able to have the opportunity to play here again, that’s a blessing. I’m excited to play a team like Stanford. They’re a great team.


Yeah, I think the Alamo Bowl does a fantastic job. Obviously that’s why they’ve grown in stature, like you said, the 25th year.


Coach, it’s not every day you see an offense like Stanford’s in the Big 12. How do you prepare for a physical offense like Stanford lining up in the I-formation? How do you simulate that in practice?

CHAD GLASGOW: Fortunately we’ve had some extra practices being a bowl game. Stanford has a mentality that they want to go run the football. They’re a very physical football team. You have to go match their physicalness to have a chance to slow them down with some things. We’re trying to make practices very physical, emphasize tackling, play with great leverage, eyes, doing those things.


Like I said, fortunately we have more than three practices in a week to go get ready for it.


Ty, your teammate Travin made 333 tackles in three years as a linebacker at TCU. What do you think when you hear that number?

TY SUMMERS: I mean, it’s ridiculous. You think of what it feels like to go and hit someone one time, the effect it has on your body, someone else’s. To do that 333 times, with violence. He comes in there, he is not just like wrapped (indiscernible). It shows how tough he is, how athletic he is, just consistent.


I’m trying to keep up with this guy over here going into this next year after he’s out.


Mr, Howard, what jumps out at you, when you watch film on Stanford, about their offense?

TRAVIN HOWARD: Like coach said, they’re physical. You have to come to practice with your mind ready to be physical. Every play, you got to be willing to give up your body, go hit somebody. That’s what they’re going to do.


Of course, they have their runningback, Heisman candidate. You have to respect him as well. Pretty much do (indiscernible), everything will fall in place.


Ben, Ty trained some at defensive end, moved back to linebacker. Just describe how you have performed as a defensive line versus going into the year.

BEN BANOGU: For us as a D-line, we were being told we were going to be the weakest link. We had a lot of great players leave from our front seven last year. We really made it a big deal for us, guys that were able to come in and play, not just play, but we needed to play well.


It was good having Ty come down and play a little defensive end for a little bit. Watching Ross, Corey, all those other guys grow. It was pretty good.


I’m just kind of proud for the type of effort we had out there on the field because, like I said, in the beginning a lot of people thought the D-line was going to be the weakest link. I felt like we came out with a purpose this year, so I’m proud of those guys.


Ty, Bryce Love, what are your impressions of him? What makes him the great back that he is, Heisman Trophy candidate? He was a little dinged up in the regular season, but what makes him special?

TY SUMMERS: As you mentioned, he was fighting an ankle injury. To be able to run for almost 2,000 yards like he did, it just shows he’s got grit. He’s a great player. We played a lot of great runningbacks. I mean, his skill, he’s shifty, really elusive. You can’t go in there and break him down. He’ll make you miss.


We have to be ready to go, fly around, throw our bodies around, give ourselves the best opportunity.


Nick, when you look at the offensive line for Stanford, see those weights, what do guys in the secondary think about the job that the defensive line has to do against those guys?

NICK ORR: A lot of times we know we’re not the biggest defense most people face. We know we’re going to have to play leverage, good leverage, just good technique. That’s how you have to beat size.


Moderator: Thank you, guys.

Dec. 23, 2017 – Stanford Post-Practice

Event: Stanford post-practice

Date, Location: Dec. 23, Alamo Stadium
Persons Quoted: Head Coach David Shaw and running back Bryce Love

Head Coach David Shaw

How much better do you expect Bryce to be having had this chance to rest?

“Hopefully a lot better. Hopefully we get to see what we saw earlier in the season. Now he hasn’t been slow by any stretch of the imagination, but he just hasn’t been 100%. And there’s a difference. When he’s 100%, I mean that guy got to 1000 yards in four and a half games. Just never seen that before. This is a great defense; this is a great run defense in particular. So hopefully we can have him as close to 100% as possible.“

How close are you to settling things on the coaching hiring front?

“We’re moving in the right direction. A lot of hoops we have to jump through. We aren’t in a rush necessarily with this week being game week. But I’m getting close. We’ve narrowed it down to a few guys and I feel comfortable where we are. “

TCU profiles as a really good defense, but they have been hurt by big plays. What is something you’ve seen on film from them?

“The thing is they’ve been hurt by big plays, but they’ve also made a lot of big plays. These guys hit the QB, these guys get tackles for loss, these guys get turnovers. You can’t underestimate the heart with which these guys play with. And the more you watch film, the more you see it. You’re looking at a team that played a really good Oklahoma team really, really well. And Oklahoma kind of pulled away at the end but it was tough sledding on both sides of the ball. That’s all you can do, watch those two games, and you’ll get a lot of respect for this group.”

Bryce Love, Jr., running back

How did everything look at practice today spirit-wise?

“It’s like game week. Everyone’s up and excited to play. And like I touched on yesterday, everyone’s excited to go out there and compete.”

How do you prepare the younger guys on the team for the bowl week experience?

“The coaches did a great job leading it out for me, and I know for me during my freshman year going to the Rose Bowl and having people like Blake (Martinez), Christian (McCaffrey), Kevin Hogan, to lead the way for me and show what Bowl Week is was really great. Kind of like how you touched on, it’s a fine balance between having too much fun and going out and competing but touching the football is fun in itself. Just having the opportunity to compete is really something we enjoy and to be in a place that some of us have never been to and having the opportunity to play a team we usually don’t get to play or ever really play again is something we look forward to.”

What are you most looking forward to outside of practice and the game itself about being in San Antonio?

“I’ve heard a lot about the Riverwalk. I can’t swim, but I enjoy seeing it from afar. A lot of people go down there and tell me about it so I’m looking forward to seeing that.”

How would it feel to have a 10-win season with an Alamo Bowl win as opposed to a nine-win season finish?

“That’s obviously one of the goals we have going into the season. In reality, it is just a one game difference, but there’s something about that tempo that we set our minds on and knowing that we’ve won that many games is kind of a standard we’ve been upholding year in and year out since my freshman year. We just want to uphold that tradition and stay locked in on that.

What’s the best thing TCU does on defense?

“Their speed and athleticism. They fly around all day and do what they’re taught so well. Everyone has their own responsibility on defense and they’re all out there making plays and sending blitzes from deep. They all come down the field as if anyone could be making the tackle. That physicality really stands out.”

Dec. 23, 2017 TCU Team Arrival

Event: TCU Team Arrival

Persons Quoted: Head Coach Gary Patterson, cornerback Ranthony Texada, and running back Kyle Hicks


Head Coach Gary Patterson

How have the last few weeks been with school and practices?

“Well no time off, we had finals. And then we went straight here. So it’s pretty normal for us. They don’t let us practice during finals. So we’ve gotten 9, 10 practices in, and we’ll have another 3 down here.”

A day or two before you were down here last is when your AD (Chris Del Conte) took the UT job, so I just want to get your thoughts on losing him?

“He was great for us. It was no change. So we just moved a guy up and so we got Brett. We wish him the best and it’s time for us to keep going. “

How’s the bowl week schedule now that you get here and the balance between the workouts and getting ready for the game.?

“The way we do it, we’ll be in shells and shorts. We’ve been doing hard practices, that’s the way we do it. So we’re down here. Tomorrow we’ll have a shells practice, and our other two practices we’ll be in shorts. So basically all of our hard work is done.”

How does it feel to be back in San Antonio?

“We’re glad to be in San Antonio and be at the Alamodome, against a great opponent. Our kids are excited. It’s one of those things we got here a little early and so we’ll go out and take a picture at the Alamodome as a group, and then go to our practice site, and then go down and go through a meeting, of the do’s and don’ts, of how we do things down here. Because you always have freshmen that have never been here before, never been to a bowl site, how we represent TCU, and then getting the rest of the night off, getting up in the morning, having meetings, and getting ready to go.“

Do you show your crew that game from two years ago to relive the moment?

“We’ve played a lot of football games. We’ve played 24 or so games since then. For us, we’ve got to be ready to go. It was a different opponent, a different time, different QB, a lot of things different.”

How excited is your team for this game?

“We’re excited. There’s no bad bowl game. So for us, a chance to stay in the state of Texas, come down to San Antonio, be apart of the Valero Alamo Bowl, it’s awesome. You couldn’t ask for anymore.”

Ranthony Texada, Sr., Cornerback

What do you remember about the game two years ago?

“I do remember it. I didn’t play, unfortunately because I was injured. But I just remember it being crazy a game, something I’ve never seen before. So hopefully this one’s just as exciting.”

What’s the general mood about this game?

“Everybody’s still excited you know. It’s another game we get to go out there and play for this university and we’re excited to go out there and play hard.”

What do you see from Stanford? They got off to a slow start, but they’ve been rolling pretty good the last couple months.

“They’ve been playing really good football and we’ve got to come out here. It starts this week, a good week of practice and they’re going to play hard and we’re going to play hard. So it’s going to be a great game.“

What’s your first thought when you see a guy like Travin Howard?

“Hard worker, smart football player, can really do it all. He’s the leader of our defense. He brings the energy and that’s just the kind of guy he’s been since he’s been here.”

Kyle Hicks, Sr., running back

From your perspective, what kind of a season was it for you guys?

I think it was a really good season for us. We had a lot of young guys grow up and they also did the best job to give the seniors the best season possible which is the goal. I think we had a pretty good season and now we’re back here at the Alamo Bowl ready to go and take the game.”

How does it feel to be in a top 15 matchup?

“It’s definitely going to be a great game. Stanford has a great team and we’re looking forward to this matchup. Like you said, they’re a top 15 team so we’re ready to play them.”




Dec. 22, 2017 – Stanford Team Arrival

Valero Alamo Bowl: Stanford Team Arrival Interviews with Head Coach David Shaw, Running Back Bryce Love, and Defensive Tackle Harrison Phillips


Head Coach David Shaw

How does it feel being in San Antonio?

“Great to be here. Great to be here. Guys are excited, some of the guys got in early, walking the river walk, taking advantage of the sights. And the rest of us just got here and there’s a lot of excitement and guys cant get enough of it so far. So cant wait.”

What’s practice been like for you guys leading up to this week?

“It’s been good. We had finals. So we had to get through finals and we had three really good practices. And I challenged the guys to say, we need to develop some muscle memory. We got to get used to TCU before we get on a plane. Give a lot of credit to our players for taking it very seriously and working really hard. We had a couple physical practices before we took a little bit of a break… Took about three or four days off and then showed up here. So we’ll see how much retention our guys have. But I trust this group, that they’ve prepared, and we’re ready to go.”

What do you know about TCU and watching them on film? What are some of the situations that they’re going to present to you guys come game day?

“Well I’ve known Gary Patterson for a while now. I have all the respect in the world for him, both as a football coach and as a man. He prepares his team. They play hard. They play physical. When we turn the film on, you see it. Guys are running to the ball on defense, and they hustle. They go full speed. Offensively, they’re always going to have a dynamic quarterback. They’re always going to have a good runner. They’re always going to have different ways to attack you. (Not only) the screens, but also down the field. As well as being a physical running team. So they present a lot of issues for us.“

What kind of crowd are you guys expecting out here on Thursday.

“You know, I’ve heard about the games here, and how passionate people are. So I know it’s going to be loud, I know it’s going to be exciting. It’s not lost on me that we’re playing TCU in Texas, not too far away from TCU. So TCU will have a lot of their fans here, which will be great, so I think it’s going to be a great environment.“

Bryce Love, Jr., running back

What do you think of the city [of San Antonio] so far, have you been here before?

“I think I came here for the Army All-American Combine a few years back, so I didn’t really get to explore it back then, but I did get to walk around a bit today. Nothing too crazy yet, but it looks like a beautiful place so far.”

What do you know about TCU’s defense and some of the challenges they may present?

“Beyond anything else that stands out about them is their run game and defense. They’re just so fast and physical with the point of attack. They do what they’re taught and they execute really well. You can really see why they’ve been so successful.”

What have made you [and Stanford] so successful this year?

“I have to give credit to everyone around me: the other ten people on the field who are executing their assignments and doing their part to make the play work out. I’m just out there, taking what I see and using what the defense gives me. The offensive line…they’re out their making their blocks, the QB is out going through his fakes…the receivers are out there blocking down field and running off the corners. So I’m putting it on everyone else except me, honestly.”

What expectations do you have for yourself on Thursday?

“I mean I always go out with the same chip on my shoulder more so than anything else. I want to go out and give my best for the team and just play to the best of my ability.”

Do you think this game could be a good showcase for you to play in the NFL?

“I mean you have to put good things on tape, but that’s down the line and I just try to play the best that I can right now.”

Harrison Phillips, Sr., Defensive Tackle

Talk about preparation coming into San Antonio. What’s it been like?

“We’ve been really fortunate to have some time off. Obviously prior to this, everybody can rest up, get our bodies back really healthy. But we know we have a really tough opponent. Very fast offense and a very good defense for our offense to face. We’ve just been really locked in and feeling really good about what we can do with this time off and I’m just excited to strap on the pads with everybody again. “

What do you know about San Antonio? Have you been here before?

“I came here my sophomore year of high school for the Army All-American combine. But I really didn’t get to go out and see things. I was just here in the hotel, and worked out, stuff like that. But I’m really excited to see what it’s like and so far, the hospitality’s been fantastic and being the 25th annual bowl is going to be a really good time. “

What do you know about their offense?

“They’re a very dynamic offense, and I think it’s going to be a really good test for us. Fortunately, we’ve played a lot of hurry up speed tempos. Washington St seems like a very similar type of offense, with a RB at QB almost. TCU, they’re very athletic, they can stretch you out wide, and can tuck it and he run it at any point. So sacks are going to be a premium if we can win on first down and create a long field position, it should be a very fun night for us. “

What do you need to do defensively to make sure they don’t get their motor rolling?

“I think number 1, we need to tackle. The way our defense is set up, there’s going to be one on one opportunities for us and them, and we have to be the person to get them down and rally and play third down defense, and red zone defense. And if we do get beat, let’s rally, get them down, and go play goal line defense. So they’re going to throw punches but we’re going to wear them down like we have all season and ultimately win when we need to win.”

As a senior, do you seniors look at this almost as a showcase for you guys playing on Sundays?

“Definitely wouldn’t be the first showcase of what we can do. Because this process starts so young, if you’re an NFL guy, they’re going to have seen you since your freshman year. But this is an opportunity where you can jump tremendously. You’re on people’s radars now. And you look at Solomon Thomas from last year; it looked like maybe he was a second round guy, maybe late first. But he had a fantastic bowl game and he jumps up in the top ten conversations. So we’re going to be one of the only games on, it’s going to be a very good game vs. TCU and us, it’s going to have a lot of eyes watching and I’m sure all 32 teams of the NFL are going to have some type of scout watching or there. It’s just another place to platform. To the seniors, the most important thing that we’re thinking about is that this is the last time you get to strap up with your friends, your brothers and your teammates. That’s about the only thing that should be on your mind right now. Live in the moment, smell the roses, and go out one last time with your team with a win.

Is that easier said than done?

“I don’t think so. Not for me on a personal level. I’m just ecstatic and so happy to be here. A lot of decisions to be made obviously following the bowl game. But right now I’m just focused on getting all my guys backs, finding out what they got for Christmas, seeing all the cool bowl stuff we get and go practice hard and win a game.”


Dec. 7, 2017 Head Coaches Press Conference

Q: Coach Shaw, can you talk about Stanford reversing course of your 1-2 start, to be able to win eight of the nine remaining games?

DAVID SHAW: I think it’s our environment, the kind of people that we have, starting with our coaches. I talk to coaches all the time about modeling the behavior that we want our young men to have because they’ll follow our lead. Our coaches never lost faith in what we’re capable of.


We got back to work in a very difficult time. Our guys came in with such unbelievable attitudes. During that 1-2 time, we still had some lineup changes, a couple guys got injured. Our guys came back to work every single day.


We’re excited about making the team what we thought it could be. So for our guys to be faced with all the things that happened, that didn’t happen way back when, which is everybody on social media telling you how terrible you are, to come back and still get back to work.


We had outstanding practices, we had energy, passion. Our senior leadership and junior leadership I thought was outstanding, as well, every single day. Then we got on a bit of a run.


When positive things start to happen, it’s another sign of character, too, to where positive things start to happen, guys take their foot off the gas pedal. Our guys continued to fight the rest of the season.


Q: Coach Patterson, what do you remember about that Valero Alamo Bowl game two years ago?

GARY PATTERSON: We were getting our butts kicked in the first half. That’s the first thing I remember. Our kids fought back.

I think that’s one of the things that’s been one of the staples of our program, like David talked about. When we’ve had great runs, there’s always been an underlying foundation that we’ve been doing it so long, nobody ever panicked. You kind of pick up. You have great leadership.

Our kids come in, everybody always wants when you come back and play better the second half. To be honest with you, we have a wall outside of our offices. Basically it’s the program. They put the score, the program of the bowl game, what the score was.

I just told the seniors, I said, Here is what you get a chance to look at the next three years. What do you want it to say? Do you want it to say 31-0 or are we going to fight back, find out what we’re made of? We got a couple breaks, good things happened.

I just remember, everybody will remember Bram Kohlhausen, a walk-on quarterback. A week after we get back in January, he walked into my office and said, Don’t you wish you would have played me more now? You know how it is.

We had Trevone Boykin. As usual, there’s part of a game as a head coach you’re not very smart. That’s why I changed shirts, to become smarter with the color. Then you come back.

It was just a great environment. Kids had a great time. We’re going to try to enjoy it and have a great ballgame again.


Q: Coach Patterson, are you going to wear black or purple shirt?

GARY PATTERSON: I haven’t decided yet. Probably because they’ve been on me so hard, our colors are purple and white, I’m starting to lean towards the purple a little bit.

Kind of a fashion thing. By the end of the season, us stocky guys, we don’t look as good on high-definition TV. It’s a thin thing. Helps you out a little bit. I’m going to see what I look like by the time I get to the 25th, 26th, make a decision.


Q: Coach Shaw, what was Bryce Love’s reaction to being a Heisman finalist and who’s going with him to the awards shows?

DAVID SHAW: — Bryce is such an interesting young man. Biology major. He wants to be a doctor. He’s the most positive kid to be around. Very understated. Once you I found him, I went to go shake his hand since there was no party to see for the announcement or anything. We were downstairs and he was texting his family and I said “Congratulations” and he said “Thanks Coach”. That was it. No fanfare. Nothing exciting, just happy-go-lucky. The kind of attitude I expect him to bring to the awards show in Atlanta. David Bright and Jesse Burkett, bringing his fullback to the Heisman ceremony. Daniel Marx. Wanted to recognize those guys that do all the dirty work that don’t get the publicity and credit. That’s just the kind of young man that he is.


Q: Coach Shaw, about the 2,000-yard mark, is that of importance to the team? What does that say for Bryce to get there?

DAVID SHAW: As usual, it’s probably more important to the other guys than it is to Bryce. Bryce just shrugs his shoulders at all those things. Most rushes over 50 yards record, all that stuff, he kind of shrugs his shoulders, Okay, that’s great. When is practice?

Just a positive young man that doesn’t want the thing to be about him

He’ll tell you, too, he gives a lot of credit to Christian McCaffrey. He watched Christian go through all this stuff and never changed. Bryce is the same guy that he was last week, two weeks ago, three years ago when we recruited him: a positive young man that just wants to be part of the football team.


Q: 35 seniors were recognized at your last game, Coach Patterson. How much do you want to send them off on a positive note?

GARY PATTERSON: Our number one goal each year is to try to have the best year we can for our senior group. This will be 40 wins for them, in their four years there. It’s one of those that we started with coming off the season, we had a year ago. This will give them an opportunity to have three 10- or 11-win seasons in the last four years. A great group. They went through some injuries, went through a little bit of a struggle.


Those are the memories that I always remember anyway. Younger guys can have more games. But I really when we get to the bowl site, Kelsey and I really try to do a great job of focusing in on remembering what we remember about the senior class, 20 some seniors.


As far as scholarship guys, you have 13 or 14 guys that paid their own way and have been part of the experience, really have added to our football team. I don’t think they get enough credit for all the things that they do. You’re not getting all the other benefits sometimes. Some of the guys are on scholarship. How do you repay them, give them an opportunity to understand that they were just as important as what any other kid that walked in our doors was.


A lot of fun. Every year as they go on, I think they become even more memorable because you understand they’re really people, really are what it’s all about. The game is important. You want to win the game for your university, do all that. Really when it’s all said and done, it comes down to the people.


Those 35 seniors will be remembered. I have a job because of the job they’ve done, the hard work they put in, all the things that go along with it. Very appreciative of what they do.


Q: Coach Patterson, how do you feel about how your defense has played this year and how it compares to other defenses you’ve had in the past?

GARY PATTERSON: It’s always hard. Players are all different. We knew we were going to have to play better than we did a year ago. We were not happy with where we were. We weren’t happy, to be honest with you, in the final drive of the championship game. Our group has a high expectation level. We knew that Oklahoma was a very good football team.


But they have a lot of pride in what they do. And we understand we’re going to have quite a matchup with Stanford as far as what they do and how they do it with a great tailback, unbelievable offensive line, big tight ends that they always have, length at their wide receiver position. It’s another challenge.


The thing that people sometimes forget about bowl games, there’s part of it you’re preparing the bowl game. The other part, if you’re doing the right thing, being there 20 years, is you’re also preparing the next season, moving guys around, having extra practices, start growing up your younger players. You’re just starting spring ball whenever it starts in March, start building your football team? Not if you want to be great, not if you want to be consistent.


So for us these 12 or 13 practices we’ll get an opportunity to do getting ready for Stanford will also be practices where you’re finding out once those 34, 35 seniors leave what kind of football team do you have left, how are you going to grow it up so you can win football games.


We have Ohio State early on our schedule, I think third game. You start out, then you have Big 12 season. I’m one of those guys, if you want to stay around for a while, you don’t stay shortsighted. You know you’re going to play a great team in Stanford.


Coach Shaw would know that I’m not a tongue-in-cheek person. I’ve already been watching. I understand all the difficulties that they already bring to the table on both sides of the ball.


So for me, I think that’s what people don’t realize about good coaches. That’s why David has been good, I’m sure, also. You’re always preparing as you go forward. That’s one of the things you do with the bowl game. You don’t just get ready for that bowl game, you start looking at what you’re going to do with your team once those guys leave and who is going to be your next guy, how do you start having conversations with him so he can be the next leader, starter, all conference guy.


That’s the exciting thing for coaches, the way we look at it, at least from our standpoint, that is we get an opportunity as a defense to see the guys that are coming back, to grow some guys up, see how they do against a very good opponent, then know what we got to do when we get to January and the off-season.


Q: Coach Patterson, what kind of challenges does Stanford present as an opponent?

GARY PATTERSON: Well, I mean, like I just said, they’re a length team. They do a good job. I call them, they’ve been recruiting, an NFL-type, where you have a lot of length across the board, both offensively and defensively. They play well on special teams. Special teams are important. That tells you have great leadership. Your coaches have made it important.


The continuity that David has had on his staff, what they do, for us, it’s really a good matchup. It puts us in a situation of understanding we have to be able to match up against somebody like that. Then going into the recruiting season, in the spring, what do we have to do if we have deficiencies of what happens to us in the ballgame, how do we change that, make ourselves better so we can be better when we go into the fall. I’m always a guy that’s always working on those kind of things.


Stanford is one of those teams that creates challenges. You heard the record of how they’ve done in bowl games. They’ve been in four championship games. They won three of them. They know how to get ready for these kind of ballgames. That’s kind of the way TCU is.


I don’t believe there’s such a thing as it’s a good bowl game if you lose. I’m one of those guys that believes there’s no time where you’re — you’re always trying to win. I always felt like winning bowl games is very important because they’re a way to skip into the next season. You want to go into the next season with a positive. That’s the way we’ve always looked at doing these.


We come down and enjoy ourselves. When we practice, we practice. When game time comes, it needs to be important to play the ballgame. It makes it a lot easier when you play a great opponent and a team that you respect and you know that plays really hard. You watch them on film also. They play very hard.


Those are the kind of people that I respect. Talent is talent. But when it comes down to it, attitude is everything that I look at because we’ve made a living at TCU of outlasting our opponents. When I watch somebody that plays very hard, there’s a lot of respect factor there. Stanford plays really hard.


Q: David, one of your former assistant coaches just got a head coaching job at Rice. Your thoughts about Mike Bloomgren taking that job.

DAVID SHAW: Very excited for Coach Bloomgren. He was a first-hire when I took over as head coach, going from offensive coordinator to head coach, coach the offensive line, run game coordinator. We were both trained by Bill Callahan, an offensive line coach, assistant head coach at the Washington Redskins.


Right off the bat I expected to have a 10-minute conversation with Mike to talk about the job. We talked 45 minutes to an hour. We’ve always been kind of step-in-step philosophy-wise. He’s been kind of my right-hand man for a long time now. I’m very excited for him.


Not only is he ready, he’s been ready, been ready for a couple years now. I know he’s going to do a great job down there. Plan is right now to coach through the bowl game. Everyone at Rice has been great, were very open to it, of course.


We started our search for the next guy that will take his position. But very excited for him and his family. He’s ready to go. We talked the other day. We’ll continue to have conversations about that transition that he’s excited about, and the mountain that he’ll have on his shoulders for the next month, kind of serving two masters.


We’ll make it very easy for him. He’s got a big job to do. We’ve got a great staff to support him. He’s developing a staff to be successful at Rice, as well. We’ll find a way to make this work for him.


But the bottom line for me is I’m so happy for him, so proud of him. I know he’s going to do a great job.


Q: Coach Shaw, talk about Harrison Phillips, what makes him so dominant?

DAVID SHAW: Harrison is one of those fascinating individuals. Everybody has them on every team. With all the stuff that happens in college football, I would love for more stories to be about these types of people, as opposed to all the stuff that gets reported on, all the crap that gets reported on.


All-American wrestler in high school, coming out of Nebraska, which is huge. Loves the weight room. Can bench press the weight room. But he’s one of those guys, there are more hours in his day than there are in our day. Double major with a minor. Helps start a class at Stanford. Leads our team in community service. Does extremely well in school as he continues to load things on top of himself. Oh, and by the way, he’s all conference, ends the season with a hundred tackles from the defensive line position, which doesn’t happen.


Just outstanding. Every single day he’s pushing himself, challenges himself. He’s a strong player. He’s a flexible player. He can drop down and into the splits at any time at 295 pounds, which is ridiculous.


But one of the biggest things for me is you see his heart, you see his toughness every single day. He plays hard from snap to whistle. There are times we just have to rest him because if you leave him out there, he’ll stay out there all day because he just loves to play.


Q:Coach Shaw, you have the two players on your roster from San Antonio. One of them has played, Richard McNitzky. What has he brought to team? How does he feel about coming home?

DAVID SHAW: Richard is a long snapper, right? Midway through his first year, you want to make sure that everybody else knows who he is. Goes over and shakes his hand, introduces himself. They kind of practice on the other side of the field.


But a very positive person. Has all the traits that you want there. Very consistent, dependable. He works extremely hard. Has a lot of passion, a lot of pride in his performance. He’s one of those guys that wants to be perfect and will snap, protect and go down there and cover.


You talk about all the athletes that you have on special teams, nobody ever talks about the long snapper. He’s been able to get in on a couple of tackles. The guys get excited for him because he’s one of those guys that shows up every single day and does his job and doesn’t ask for anything. He’s one of those guys in your program that you just love to have.


DERRICK FOX: Coach Patterson, Coach Shaw, thank you very much for participating here today. He know your time is very valuable. If we didn’t know it in advance, you saw firsthand what quality people these people are, what great programs they run. On behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl, welcome and we’ll see you here in about three weeks for what will be another memorable moment and great game in the Valero Alamo Bowl.


Dec. 3, 2017 – Team Announcement Press Conference

Coach Patterson on coming to the Valero Alamo Bowl

“On behalf of the Athletic Director and the rest of the TCU clan, we are just excited to be in our second Valero Alamo Bowl against an unbelievable opponent and a very good friend of ours, David Shaw. For us to have an opportunity to possibly win our 11th ball game of the season and send our seniors out in style, we know we’re going to play a great opponent and we also know we’re going to play an opponent who’s very physical. We’re very excited about the matchup and to be able to stay in the state of Texas and be able to help our recruiting process and I look forward to getting back on a winning pace. We want to thank all of you for the opportunity to be in San Antonio on the 28th and get an opportunity to represent TCU one more time [this year].”

Coach Shaw on coming to the Valero Alamo Bowl

“All of us here at Stanford are so excited and so grateful for this opportunity to go to the Valero Alamo Bowl. I’ve spent some time in San Antonio, my wife and I have, and we absolutely loved it down by the Riverwalk and we just can’t wait to get back down there and experience the very well-known hospitality. I’m excited to see Gary Patterson again. Gary is one of the best coaches in America. Every year he fields an unbelievable team with greats guys that play really hard for him. His coaching staff and their character shows itself every single year. We’re excited for this opportunity to come and play a great team on national TV in a great venue. Can’t wait to get there.”

Coach Patterson on exceeding preseason predictions and how the football program performed this season

“One of the things we felt was that we had a group coming back that really works when we get into two-a-days. I told people before the season ‘I really like this group of guys’. They know how to work, they have a great time, and they treat each other right, they’re like family. You know, it was one of those groups that you love coaching: when you get around a group of guys that want to do right things and have a goal in mind. For us, our mindset is ‘Eyes up, keep climbing’ and we just go out everyday to prove that we’ve been the program that TCU has been in the past which we tried to accomplish this year. And we believe we’ve been able to do that. We’re excited about our season and how it turned out and we’re excited about the [Valero] Alamo Bowl and an opportunity to test ourselves against a really good football team, Stanford. TCU is excited. I think the Valero Alamo Bowl will have a great group of kids that will come and try to give a great ballgame and will try to represent TCU in the right manner.”

Coach Patterson on TCU’s defense and Travin Howard

“Travin is a typical TCU guy. He was a safety coming out of high school that can play many positions. He plays hard and plays hurt and banged up. He was out for a couple of weeks and came back for the Oklahoma game in the Big 12 Championship game. He is what every coach wants. You want 100 Travin Howard because he’s going to be a constant team player. He’s always going to do what’s right for the people around him and he plays really hard and he has a lot of athletic ability. And we’re going to need a lot of those guys in this ballgame.”

Coach Shaw on Stanford’s performance overall this year

“The biggest thing to say about our football team is with such high expectations of us at the beginning of the year, some of them probably a little unfounded with a lot of question marks going into the year, we started of the season at 1-2 with a lot of doubts and a lot of naysayers and a lot of things around the program or people saying things, but inside the program our guys got back to work. And one of the things I’ll say about this team is that we’re unbelievably resilient, which is to me the most important characteristic of any human being: ‘Can you bounce back from adversity’ ‘Can you bounce back from tough situations’. So to start 1-2 and then win 8 of 9 games after that and come back and find our way to the Pac-12 Championship game and then end up only 3 points down from winning that game, really only a yard from winning that football game, says a lot about our character and a lot about our toughness. And with Bryce Love to play that last part of the season on one ankle and to be in excruciating pain with hardly any practice and going every week thinking we’re best to sit him out, the day before the game he runs out there and makes some cuts and can kind of accelerate and says ‘Coach, I can go’. We throw him out there and just when we’re about to pull him, every single game he rips out a 30-40-50-60 yarder. He’s just an amazing person, amazing football player, and we’re going to need to give him as much rest as we can give him before we play TCU knowing that story defense they’ve got going there. We’re going to need him at full strength or as close as we can get him.”

Coach Shaw on Bryce’s character off the field

“As Coach Patterson was saying, you always have a few guys every year that you start to talk about and wonder if people actually believe what you say because it doesn’t sound real. We’re talking about a kid who’s listed at 195-200 pounds or whatever he is. But to lead college football in yards after contact says a lot about how tough and how physical he is. He loves to run the ball between tackles. He’s not a scat-back that likes to go outside. He loves to run the power play and right down the middle of the field, that’s just his mentality. And by the way, he’s Pre-Med and is taking biology classes. Last summer he worked in a stem cell lab doing stem cell research. He wants to be a pediatrician and be a doctor for young people. Every single day he smiles no matter how much pain he’s in. He loves life, and he’s a positive influence on everyone he meets. He’s just one of those guys in college football that we need to tell more stories about on every single team: these guys that are real people and are great people that you want your sons to look up to and be like.”

Coach Shaw on K.J. Costello’s development

“We have a relatively complex system that takes quarterbacks a while to take a hold of and we put a lot on his plate as far as calling three plays in the huddle and as far as having an extensive audible package, a ‘kill-and-alert’ system, and a pretty hefty wristband that takes a while to learn. And to go into his second year and being kept off the field because of an injury early on, and for him to come out and finish the game against UCLA and have one heck of a game against Arizona State. He came back later in the year and he’s a gun slinger. For him, he’s got a lot to learn to do everything perfectly, but what he is is gritty. He’s a fighter and when the chips are down, he’ll step up in the pocket and throw the ball as well as anybody in America. He’s got a lot to learn. He’s got a long way to go, but we know in the future he’s got a chance to be really special.”

Coach Shaw on final thoughts heading into the Valero Alamo Bowl

“I’m so excited. So much gets talked about in college football, a lot of things that don’t matter. But these bowl games are special. These bowl games are an opportunity to work with young people and get some extra practices. It’s also a way, as Coach Patterson said, to send seniors off in the right way against a great opponent in a great, cool venue. And with all those things that lead up to the game, you want to be apart of everything and enjoy the whole experience, and then come back and play one heck of a football game against a great opponent. I just can’t wait to get there.”

Coach Patterson on final thoughts heading into the Valero Alamo Bowl

“I would also second that. I think what people don’t understand is that one of the things I still fight for is bowl games. I think they’re a reward to the student athletes and experience for kids to get to go somewhere that they’ve never gotten a chance to go to before to not only play against a great opponent that you don’t normally get to play against, but also a chance to meet new people and experience something in your life that some people may never get a chance to do again. Even though we’re from the state of Texas, there are many kids that have never been to San Antonio so this will be their first time to be apart of the Riverwalk and be apart of the hospitality and to be apart of that kind of venue and that kind of game is truly a lot of fun. Again, not only do I want to congratulate Coach Shaw on his team because of the way they play and the way they do things, but also to the Valero Alamo Bowl for giving us both the opportunity to put on a great show and ballgame and know that no matter who wins and has more points, both of us [Stanford and TCU] are winners. Thank you very much.”


Dec. 29, 2016 – Oklahoma State Post-Game Press Conference

Mike Gundy

Mason Rudolph

Jordan Sterns

Vincent Taylor

James Washington

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Oklahoma State – 38, Colorado – 8

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Oklahoma State players. Questions, please.

Q. Mason, the offensive efficiency that you had tonight, coming back and rolling that into next year, I know one game doesn’t make the whole next season, but what do you feel like you can take away from this game in terms of what you can accomplish for next year and what are your personal goals for next year?
MASON RUDOLPH: I think this is definitely going to help propel us into the off-season, keep us high, encourage us to have a great off-season mentally and physically, really get after it.

Tonight I think we just executed. Kind of got a little bit of a bitter taste out of our mouth. I told the guys pregame, Let’s let all the frustration out. Really executed well. These guys here, heck of a job on defense. It was almost a shutout until the end.

Hats off to the defense. Just proud to be a part of this. Way to execute tonight.

THE MODERATOR: We’re also joined by Coach Gundy. We’ll continue with questions.

Q. Mason, they had some injuries on their defensive backfield, their coach just revealed to us. When you look back at the Pittsburgh game, they decided to play you man-to-man, James had 296 yards receiving, did you think they were going to have problems?
MASON RUDOLPH: It was a good secondary, we knew that going in. We felt like they hadn’t been challenged all year. Coach Gundy wanted us to take some shots, challenge them on the outside. We did that. Made big-time plays, receivers came down with it. Made my job a lot easier.

Q. Jordan, almost the first shutout since 2012 for Oklahoma State. What got into guys defensively tonight?
JORDAN STERNS: Man, we just know what we’re capable of. The last three games of the season, I think the defense really played great. We played with a savage mentality. That showed today.

So really it’s just about being physical. We were. We didn’t want any points on the board. We showed that against TCU, a little bit against OU until the second half when we started playing a little slow.

We got a lot of fast guys on the defense. We definitely showed that tonight.

Q. Mason, can you talk about the trick play. You really lowered your shoulder at the end there.
MASON RUDOLPH: Yeah, we practiced that a lot throughout bowl prep. Chris made a great play. Kind of some leakage there. He did a good job of getting it to me. We ran that a couple years ago at the Cactus Bowl. Got a lot further than we did then. That was fun. Fun to pull out one of those trick plays and execute it well.

Q. (No microphone.)
MASON RUDOLPH: In hindsight, I probably should have hurdled him. I don’t know if I got that in the tank.

Q. Vincent, you were defensive player of the game. Talk about that, how you feel about that, how proud you are of that.
VINCENT TAYLOR: It’s just an honor. I couldn’t do it alone. My teammates helped me out, from Mote, to Eric to DQ. We just executed the plays. I guess all my plays came from my teammates, so I thank them.

Q. You had a sack on Sefo. You were able to stop the run and the pass. What was the key tonight against them?
VINCENT TAYLOR: Winning your one-on-one battles, executing the plays that our coaches called.

Q. James, you had a lot of open looks tonight, one-on-one coverage. When you’re standing out there and you know the play, know you have man-on-man, Mason is looking to you, what is that like? Did the one that hit your mask motivate you as well?
JAMES WASHINGTON: I’d say it did. Kind of ate me up. Couldn’t do that without the offensive line blocking for Mason, Mason throwing great passes. I have to thank my team for that.

MASON RUDOLPH: Doesn’t happen often.

COACH GUNDY: Got up, ran back to the huddle, made another play. Didn’t show any emotion, played the next play.


Q. James, were you surprised as much single coverage as you got early on? When you did see that, did you know what type of day you’d have?
JAMES WASHINGTON: Not at all. Like Coach Gundy always tells us, they did it for 12 games. They’re not going to change anything now. We kind of watched film and did what the coaches told me to do. We executed pretty good, I thought.

Q. James, to have the type of day that you did, to get injured in the third quarter like you did, what’s going through your head? Was that a painful experience?
JAMES WASHINGTON: It wasn’t at all. I had teammates there to help me get through it. Our medical staff got me back right. I came out and cheered my team on, finished the win.

Q. Jordan and Vincent, how much fun was this game playing here in your hometown with friends and family, being able to put on this kind of a show?
VINCENT TAYLOR: Really before the game, I went up to Sterns. I told him, We playing at home, let’s put on a show. We managed to do that and came out with a victory.

JORDAN STERNS: Yeah, it was just fun to fly around, come back home, play in front of the people you love. Then with your brothers, you work all off-season to get here. It’s truly a blessing to finish here.

Q. How many tickets did you end up getting?


Q. Sterns, tell them what you said at the end of the prayer?
JORDAN STERNS: I told them to have fun. My last game, I wanted to share it with my teammate. You don’t get this back. Coach Gundy does a good job of preaching that. I always absorb it, just living in that moment. I think we did a good job of doing that, soaking it all in.

At one point I was looking in the stands. It’s crazy because it’s over. But, man, truly a blessing. Just extremely grateful for Coach Gundy, the coaching staff, giving me a scholarship, then these people I met. It’s an honor, so…

COACH GUNDY: They’re being humble on defense. Basically what we asked them to do a month ago was to come out and be physical and stay on the attack, pressure the quarterback and hit hard. That’s what we asked them to do, that’s what they did.

Q. James, expectations for next season are set in how a team finishes its bowl. With you and Mason coming back, what do you think this sets you guys up for expectation-wise next season?
JAMES WASHINGTON: I think it just sets us up to do greater things. We have Marcell and all of our weapons back. I’m looking forward to coming out next year and doing the same thing, hopefully ending with a great outcome.

Q. Mason and Jordan, confetti, fireworks, balloons falling from the ceiling, a big party. You were posing for pictures. Describe the scene.
MASON RUDOLPH: ‘Big Daddy’ over here, he kind of evaded the Gatorade dump. It kind of pissed me off. He saw us, got away at the last second.

It was fun, man. I think only winning the Cactus Bowl a couple years ago, just playing in a bigger bowl with more fans, playing in a hometown with Sterns, Vincent, it was a home feel. We had a great crowd showing. That’s what you play for, what you work for all year, those moments when you get to look up at the balloons and just think about what it took to get here.

JORDAN STERNS: Yeah, man, I just kind of stood back and reflected just on how far we’ve come as a team. Even how far I’ve come. I just watched James and Vincent go up and receive their award. Man, took it all in. Like I said, this is last game back home. I’m extremely proud of everybody on this team, coaching staff, everybody. I was just reflecting, thinking about how grateful I was.

Q. Mason, when you talk about what it took to get here, what are you most proud of when you look back on this season and this team?
MASON RUDOLPH: I think after hitting a couple road bumps early, just a demoralizing loss against Central Michigan. Just the leadership of this team, Coach Gundy, being able to challenge us to come back that next Sunday and just work our butts off, put our heads down. He told us our backs were up against the wall after we lost to Baylor. To go on that streak like we did, rise to the occasion, was really proud of this team and the leadership of this team.

Q. Mason, I know the PAC-12 got a lot of hype as well as the SEC, Big Ten. What did this win over highly regarded Colorado mean for people to follow Big 12 football?
MASON RUDOLPH: I thought Colorado was a great team coming in. I still do. Obviously it’s one of the strongest conferences in the nation. I think we’re 2-0 against the PAC-12. Really excited about that.

I think there’s a lot to be said about the Big 12, as well.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, players.

We’ll continue with questions for Coach Gundy.

Q. Did you see anything different in your defense tonight, aura or vibe? What was different?
COACH GUNDY: As I said earlier, if you give the cliff notes version of what happened, our plan was to be ultra-aggressive on special teams. We had some other things planned we weren’t able to use based on the looks we saw. Offensively for the most part we’re always aggressive.

Would have been more, but the latter part of the second quarter and the second half, the corners and safeties were playing so far off, we didn’t have very much game plan built for that style of play because they hadn’t played that way all year.

Then defensively I challenged them the first practice in a meeting to blitz, to attack, to be aggressive, to be the most physical team on the field. That’s what they did tonight. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it didn’t. But it worked for us tonight.

Q. Eyes in the back of your head, is that another reason for the mullet?
COACH GUNDY: The mullet kind of blocks the view. When you’re as small as I am, you play at this level, you have to learn to avoid contact at all times. Eyes in the back of your head helps. Mason is bigger. He could take more hits than I could.

Q. The San Antonio quartet really came to play, as the whole defense did. Talk about them a little bit.
COACH GUNDY: Well, I couldn’t be more proud of all of them. These guys that are sitting up here, they played well tonight, we won a big-time game, and they’re great young men. That’s who we are. Vincent Taylor, Sterns, Mason, James, this team, they’re quality young people. The group from San Antonio, Austin Hays, Sinor was terrific tonight. As I said at the start of the bowl, I didn’t realize how many players we had on this team from this area that have made a huge impact on our program. It was fantastic for all of them to get an opportunity to play well tonight.

Hays makes the huge catch on third and 12. You guys can tell. I love my guys. I’m proud of ’em for who they are, what they stand for. When they play like this, it makes it even more rewarding because they put a lot of time and effort in and they deserve it.

Q. What percentage of man-to-man coverage would you say they gave James tonight? Close to a hundred, wasn’t it?
COACH GUNDY: I would have to know total plays up midway through the second quarter, and they stopped after that. We had 74 total plays. I’m going to say probably 15 of 20 until he went out they were in man coverage. But that’s what they do. Even when they’re in a zone coverage, essentially it’s man. That’s what they live in.

Q. How surprising is that? That’s what Pittsburgh does. Colorado has better defensive backs than Pittsburgh.
COACH GUNDY: Colorado has six guys on defense that are going to get a chance to be in the NFL, whether it’s drafted or in a free agency, whatever. There are six guys being evaluated by the NFL.

I can’t speak for them. I’m just guessing. Two of the deep balls were right there in front of me on our sidelines. James just ran right by that guy. Maybe they underestimated how fast he is. The one he dropped… He just blew right by him. It just worked for us.

Q. On the passing, nobody has thrown all year. The game plan looked to be to attack them. Why did you feel like you could do that against them?
COACH GUNDY: I think Mason throws a nice, deep ball, and I think we have guys that can go get it. We practice throwing the deep ball a lot. I think it makes us better.

This year we were able to run the ball effectively, which added to our offense. Worst-case scenario against a defense that plays that way, there’s the ball being thrown down the field, two guys going after it, one on defense, one on offense. The guy at defense is at a disadvantage because he not only has to defend the play but he can’t interfere. The offense has an advantage. In that style of defense, you’re going to get that look. That’s really what we do.

Again, until the second half, they started playing so far off, we didn’t have many opportunities there. It added to a few different things we could do in the running game.

Q. Blake had two big catches tonight, one for a touchdown, goes from walk-on to scholarship, playing in his last game. Talk about him.
COACH GUNDY: He falls in the category of these other guys. He comes from Tuttle, Oklahoma. One of those guys that should have been recruited, wasn’t. He came in, we put him on scholarship. We’re really good to miss him and Zac Veatch for what they bring to our offense. They’re good receivers, tough. They’re smart, understand our offense.

I couldn’t be any more happy for them. Some of the things you didn’t see tonight, Jarwin made catches and did a lot in the blocking area. Zac Veatch was really physical in our running game on the backside on their good player, I think 98, 38. It’s got an 8 in there. Then Jhajuan Seales, how physical he was in the blocking game tonight. Those guys really pounded on him.

I think that set the tempo. By halftime, I felt we had delivered a lot of blows and it would be tough for them to recover.

Q. Back to your San Antonio quartet. Through the team’s arrival, festivities, culture of the city of San Antonio, what are your thoughts?
COACH GUNDY: I hadn’t been able to get to that part yet.

The Valero Alamo Bowl is awesome. We were here I guess six years ago. They have made big-time upgrades. It’s a great week for us. Our fans, our family, our children, our players, they’re going to do good anywhere they go because we’re appreciated wherever we are.

But the people in San Antonio, the River Walk area, the practice facilities, the food, the hotel accommodations, the staff, the dinners we had, the luncheon was awesome. The luncheon was an hour and it was exciting. Nobody wants to go to a two-hour luncheon. They did it the right way.

They have upgraded this bowl, and it was fantastic. I’m excited we were able to play well here, especially with as many players as we have from this area and the state of Texas.

Q. You talked earlier this month about what the win here in 2010 did for you going into the next year. You got a similar bump two years ago with the Cactus Bowl. Do you think the performance tonight can carry into what you want to do in the spring and fall?
COACH GUNDY: Well, what you asked me that about a month ago, I said, There’s not any guarantees one way or the other. But it certainly stimulates a lot of excitement with the players, the fans, the recruiting, the overall concept. Chances are you’re talking about a team that’s going to finish top 10 in the country. Double-digit wins for five of the last seven years. At some point in the top 10 in the country seven of the last nine years.

A win like this doesn’t guarantee anything, but it certainly means a lot for the seniors, the organization and the people that put a lot of time and effort into success.

Q. The Colorado players said when they came up to the podium they felt like the fact that you had bowl experience and they didn’t made a difference tonight. What do you think about that? What do you think about having success on a night like this, what that can do for your young players?
COACH GUNDY: Those comments could be very true. They haven’t been to a bowl in a while. It’s different. These guys understand how to handle themselves. I said that during the week. Colorado was thrilled to death to be in a bowl, their fans and everybody, the coaches. And they should be. They had an advantage there over our guys because it was important for our team to understand preparation for this game. I’m guessing that we had an advantage based on we’d been there, we understand it. That could have helped us. I would not disagree with that.

For the young players on our team, they’ve got a lot of weight on their shoulders because they have to continue on with their seniors that left us. Fortunately for us, that challenge was with Sterns a year ago. It’s continued each year here at Oklahoma State. We’re just fortunate to be along for a heck of a ride.

Q. You carry a lot of momentum with offense next year. Two of your offensive line starters are gone. Do you like the young group of offensive linemen that you bring back?
COACH GUNDY: We’re going to miss those guys, yes. Wilson has been a warrior for us. He ought to get a degree in kinesiology without even going to class with all the treatment he’s had, the medical help, the rehab. Then Victor Salako was awesome. What a great take for us to bring him in and start two years at left tackle. A great young man. Humble. Makes 3.5 GPA, is going to graduate, never says a word. Great family.

It’s exciting to be around young men like that. But now we have to have two other guys step up. We have young guys in our program. What’s helped us is I think we’ve settled in on how we want to run the ball, more so than we have in those three years that weren’t very exciting running the ball.

We should be more consistent in how we block. We have good backs. Obviously 27 is coming back. We’ve got young guys redshirting in our program that we like.

I think we can have up to eight linemen next year that can play. I would love to play a first group, then after the fourth series put another group in and play. We may be able to do that. We’ll see.

We’re excited about them. But they certainly are going to have to get some quality reps. We need to stay consistent with what we’re doing so we get quality reps and we don’t waste our time.


COACH GUNDY: Thank you.

Dec. 29, 2016 – Colorado Post-Game Press Conference

Mike MacIntyre

Phillip Lindsay

Sefo Liufau

Colorado Buffaloes

Oklahoma State – 38, Colorado – 8

THE MODERATOR: We’ll start with Colorado. Sefo, did you want to start with a statement about the game.

SEFO LIUFAU: The game sucked. It’s kind of obvious. I don’t know what you guys want me to say.

It’s pretty frustrating the way kind of things happened. Just didn’t come out with all things firing. I think in the beginning we moved the ball a lot as an offense but weren’t able to capitalize.

Like I always say, it falls back on me, not being able to get the ball going, not being able to get the drives finished. Just a tough one overall.


Q. Phillip, you guys obviously have taken a lot of pride in your preparation, focus all year. Didn’t seem to be there tonight. Did you feel like it was not there?
PHILLIP LINDSAY: I mean, we prepared the whole two weeks, three weeks we had. We had a good game plan.

I mean, it comes down to pretty much just playing football. When the scheme goes out the window, when you have people on both sides going at it, it’s a dogfight. It’s about who is going to be more physical. We knew that going into the game.

Oklahoma State is a physical team. You could see the experience of them being in a bowl game, and us just not getting there, getting back to how it was before.

Q. Sefo, what was your injury in the first half? What happened on that play? Did you have a hard time convincing coaches to put you back in?
SEFO LIUFAU: It’s the same injury from Michigan. High ankle sprain. Hurt it again. Against University of Washington, the PAC-12 championship game. I don’t know how much the guy weighed, but when he landed on it, it’s not comfortable. Even if you don’t injure your ankle in the first place, I think it’s still going to hurt if a larger fellow lands on it.

Coming out of the halftime, I didn’t say anything. Coach just said they’re going to go with Montez. When that happens, you just accept it and move on.

Q. Sefo, you see coach there as you’re coming off the field. What is going through your mind when you see him? He’s waiting on the field to give you a hug and a high five.
SEFO LIUFAU: It’s all over. I’m pretty composed now, which is kind of surprising because I didn’t think I would be. I think I left it all out on the field.

Just to see that and know that you’re not coming back, it meant a lot to just kind of see the guy who helped start it all, who believed in us, trusted in us, and gave us the opportunity to help turn the program around.

Q. Phillip, what did they do defensively that slowed you guys down? Did they do anything you didn’t expect?
PHILLIP LINDSAY: We just didn’t execute. That’s what it comes down to. First we have to get the first first down. That’s how our offense rolls. Two, we have to complete passes. That’s big in our offense, our receivers.

That’s pretty much what it is. We have to get in a groove. That’s what our offense is based on, based on tempo, getting the first first down and moving the ball. When you’re off balance and you can’t do it, do both things, it’s kind of tough.

Next season we have to go back to the drawing board and tweak things up. We pretty much have this whole offense coming back, other than Sefo and Alex Kelley. We have a good start on next year.

Q. These last two games, Colorado wasn’t there, how much does this hurt the pride?
PHILLIP LINDSAY: It definitely hurts. Anytime you lose a game, it hurts. People can say we’re overrated, all that. But when you go out there and you win games, you win 10 games, you know that’s not a fluke.

We just didn’t put a game together. When you deal with injuries, as well. You look at our receivers, we had a couple on defense that weren’t as healthy as we wanted. That matters going into a game, making sure all your starters are healthy.

Q. Sefo, after two tough losses in these last two games, I’m curious how you view the entire season? It was a great season for Colorado football, but it didn’t end in the last two weeks like you wanted.
SEFO LIUFAU: Let’s put all the X’s and O’s aside. We got out-executed tonight, okay? We can all agree on that.

If you take our season as a whole, look at what we’ve done in the past, going four wins or less, those four wins are against teams that are not powerhouse teams or teams that are fully recognized on the national stage, to being double-digit wins in the PAC-12 conference, I think it’s strong.

Of course we lost to U-Dub, they’re in the national playoffs. We lost to Oklahoma State. They’re a very good team. I think they finished 10-2.

X’s and O’s aside, I enjoyed the season a lot. I love these guys. The big chin sitting next to me, I love him, too.

We did something special. We didn’t finish with an exclamation point. The wheels on the bus kind of fell off. But I wouldn’t trade this season or these teammates for anything.

Just to be able to get Colorado back into people’s minds, not just saying, They’re just another team, to be able to get 10 wins and set a good foundation for Phillip and Steven, who all have good potential and promise. I’ll be watching in years to come because I think they’ve got something good going. It’s just a start, in my opinion.

Q. Sefo, when people look back on your career at Colorado, what do you want them to remember about you?
SEFO LIUFAU: I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m just one of the guys.

Quarterbacks get too much of the blame and too much of the praise. I’m just a cog in the machine. Obviously you saw when I came out that Montez fully excelled in this offense. The offense is in good hands.

I just want to be remembered as a guy for my teammates, someone that would put it all on the line for them. Just want everyone to know I gave everything. I may not have been the most talented, but I gave everything I had.

PHILLIP LINDSAY: He’ll be remembered as one of the greatest quarterbacks coming out of the state of Colorado. He has numerous records he broke. He’s a warrior. That man, he puts his body on the line for us 24/7. Everybody sits here and asks questions and stuff. If you go out there and get hit by a 340-pound man all day, get up every down, remember plays, put myself and other people in the right positions, that man right there, he’s going to go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Colorado. Everybody knows that. You guys should know that.

Q. As a returning player, what will these two final games stick in your craw heading into spring and next fall?
PHILLIP LINDSAY: We got a taste of something great, something that Colorado is used to getting back in the day. Now it’s back.

Everything is kind of new for a lot of us, a lot of these young ones coming in. Now that we kind of got our feet wet, been in the PAC-12 championship, the biggest stage in the PAC-12, the Alamo Bowl, one of the biggest stages. Now it’s about going back to the drawing board. Now we know how to get there, and it’s about finishing. It comes down to finishing. We were inexperienced.

Oklahoma State has been in numerous bowl games for many years. They keep going. Now it’s time for us to get back on that track and start going to many more bowl games. It’s going to be second nature to us again, just like this year.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Sefo and Phillip.

We’re now joined by Coach MacIntyre.

COACH MacINTYRE: I’ll take any questions.

Q. With their downfield passing attack, especially with James Washington, how much of that success is attributed to just straight line speed, and how much of that can you make adjustments for and coach against?
COACH MacINTYRE: He made some great catches. We were in good position. Quarterback made some good back shoulder throws. He’s a good player. He’s done that all year long. He’s an excellent football player.

Q. You waited on the field to have a moment with some of your guys. Why was that important to you?
COACH MacINTYRE: It’s important because this is the first 10-win season in 15 years that these seniors have done. They truly rose this program from the ashes. It was a burnt house when these seniors got here, totally burnt to the ground. They built a new one.

The most improved team in history of the PAC-12, over a hundred years of football. Top 25 for the first time in 11 years. Top 10, I don’t know how long that’s been, finished the regular season in the top 10. I don’t know how many years that’s been. Played the nation’s seventh toughest schedule. If you add the last two teams, I imagine we’re even higher. Wasn’t a cupcake schedule. All the teams that beat us were top 10-teams when it’s all said and done. First sellout in how many years, I don’t know. First bowl in 10 years.

The future is bright because of these guys and what they’ve done. Not going to hang my head or have them hang their head or anything whatsoever in what they’ve done this season. That was a very good football team out there. We didn’t execute as well as we would like.

They truly did it. I’m so blessed that Jesus Christ gave me the opportunity to coach this group of men and how much they’ve helped me mature, how much I’ve watched them mature.

In the locker room after the game, it was a really neat, neat time. Those young men will be remembered to me, should be remembered for a long, long time for what they’ve done for Colorado football.

Those are a lot of reasons why. I also wanted to see a lot of them. Instead of doing it in the locker room, I wanted to see them one last time coming off the field. They’ve given everything they’ve had when nobody believed in ’em. Now everybody believes in ’em. If anybody says one negative thing about them, they’re totally wrong.

It didn’t end like we’d like it to, but wow, what they’ve done, they set a foundation for us to keep improving. That’s the next step in the process.

We got to this point, now we got to get through this process. It’s all been a process along the way. I am so proud of them, of those seniors, and everybody in that locker room, but especially those seniors, the way they’ve led, the way they fought, what they’ve done. It’s to me really, really impressive.

Q. As talented as you guys are in the defensive backfield —
COACH MacINTYRE: We were hurt. Two of them were hurt. They played hurt.

Q. How difficult is it for you as a staff and those guys on the field to come up with a plan to defend Washington, as good as he is?
COACH MacINTYRE: Tried to play. Tried to play as hard as they could. We had some freak injuries that were crazy that happened in our practices. It was just crazy. They tried to play. They hadn’t even practiced in over a week and a half. They tried to play and give all they could.

They’re a good football team.

Q. We talked going in about Oklahoma State’s experience in this type of situation, your guys’ inexperience. Did you see anything tonight that had anything to do with that?
COACH MacINTYRE: Like I said, these guys are unbelievable. I’m proud of what they’ve done.

Q. You talked about the seniors as a group. Specifically Sefo, just a few words on the end of his career.
COACH MacINTYRE: Sefo helped us get to a 10-win season this year. He battled. He was our warrior all the way. Helped turn the program around. Had, I don’t know, almost a hundred records he broke while we weren’t a very good team. This year we were a good team. If he had that team around him for four years, think about how good he’d have been. He would have broke every record. Very proud of him. Proud of his leadership, what he’s done.

He set a great example for our juniors, sophomores, freshmen, redshirt freshmen, of the way he leads, how he handles and carries himself. He’s an amazing young man.

Q. Mike, you said you got to this point now, the challenge is to get past it. When you look at your team’s offensive inefficiencies in the last two games, what do you see there and how does this team go about getting better?
COACH MacINTYRE: I saw a bummed up quarterback on an ankle that couldn’t throw as accurate as he would like. We tried to go with Steven. He wasn’t as accurate as we would like. He wasn’t where he usually is. I don’t know why. So we put Sefo back in and tried to go. That’s what I saw in these games, a little bit of inaccuracy. He was trying on his ankle.

The third play of the Washington game, and those teams are going on defense, they did some good things, too. But if you’re just off a little bit here and there, a third down here, a first down pass, you could gain 15, 20 yards, kind of get your momentum going.

We broke a ton of records on offense this year. Our offense is light-years ahead of where it’s been. We’ll just keep working on it. We’ll had a have a lot of guys back. We’ll have some young guys that we redshirted that I definitely think can help us. We’ll have some linemen that can help us that have gotten bigger and stronger like Timmy Lynott did this year. We’ll be able to add some guys in next year and bulk up our line better. We’ll have some skill guys, plus some guys that got hurt in camp that are really good. Steven will have a lot of reps, some other quarterbacks on our team, some hopefully that are coming in that I think will help us.

Q. Would you share with us anything about what you told the guys in the locker room after this game tonight?
COACH MacINTYRE: It’s just really between us and them. They kind of did everything. It was really special. Haven’t been in a locker room on a final game when it ended that way with that much respect for the seniors. A true love and respect of those guys. That’s what I expected to see. It was pretty special.

Q. The guys you’re talking about that were hurt, was it Ahkello and Chido?

Q. What was the injury?
COACH MacINTYRE: Chido had turf toe, which was freaky. He had the same turf toe in high school that had him stay out nine months. He was doing nothing really. So he stayed off of it and tried to play. Played okay, but wasn’t quite himself.

Ahkello got fell on top of accidentally. It was a weird deal. Hurt his shoulder a little bit. He wasn’t able to lift his arm above his head till yesterday. He wanted to try to play. So he toughed it out and tried to play.

Q. Although you had the injuries, do you feel like you missed a beat because you had to change your defensive coordinator?
COACH MacINTYRE: No, I don’t think we missed a beat at all. I think that Washington caught the ball on us some. They made one run at the end, we were trying to blitz it. They didn’t really have much running. You wouldn’t say they ran it down our throat. Rudolph made a couple good throws, which he does. Washington beat us on a couple things.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

COACH MacINTYRE: Thank you.

Dec. 28, 2016 – Head Coaches Press Conference

Oklahoma State Head Coach Mike Gundy and Colorado Head Coach Mike MacIntyre.

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and Colorado coach Mike McIntyre. Coach Gundy, if you could start the press conference with opening remarks.

COACH GUNDY: Again, always want to thank Valero, the Alamo Bowl staff, Wells Fargo. We’ve had a terrific week. San Antonio, the people in the community, it’s been fantastic. The food, the atmosphere, Alamo Heights, our practice facilities, the Marriott Hotel staff, as always, it’s been great.

It’s been four, five years since we’ve been here. There’s been considerable changes with the bowl, and they’ve been fantastic. It’s really been a great week for us. Looking forward to playing the game. Coach and I were just joking that you get places, you hurry up, wait, you get ready to play a game.

We’re looking forward to it. As I said, very excited about playing Colorado, a team that’s had a tremendous season, plays hard, very, very well-coached. I feel like this is the best bowl matchup of the year. Again, I know how everybody feels about the Playoffs.

But terrific matchup with quarterbacks that have had great success, skill players with success at the wideout spot. Colorado’s defense, could very well be the best defense we played. The secondary, I know they’ve got six guys on that side of the ball being evaluated by the NFL.

It’s a great matchup. A lot of respect for coach, to be able to win the awards that he’s won this year. I’m sure he feels like those are staff awards. But he’s done a tremendous job.

Looking forward to the game. Hopefully we can put on a good show for you guys.

THE MODERATOR: Coach MacIntyre.

COACH MacINTYRE: Our young men have had a great time here in San Antonio. It’s been a blast. Our guys haven’t been to a bowl for a long time. Our fans are really enjoying it, I know. It’s exciting.

We keep watching Oklahoma State on film day after day. They’re extremely talented. It’s going to be a very, very tough contest. Mike has done a great job for a long, long time. Has an excellent, excellent program. Our guys are excited about getting ready to play.

Mike and I were talking, it’s kind of like your first game of the year. You get ready to play, play, play. Now we’re ready to go. We still got a day and a half it seems like before we get there. But we’re excited about being here.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Coach Gundy, on the lightest note possible, after this game, will you or will you not retire the mullet?
COACH GUNDY: If I would have known it would have been such a distraction, I would have cut my hair in August.

I think I’m going to make that decision based on my 12-year-old’s grades. If he improves in his math classes, then I’ll cut it, otherwise I may antagonize him for another month or two.

I have had one request to keep it until Media Day next August, but I don’t know if I can go that far. It’s been a lot of fun with the players.

Q. You said it started because of a disagreement between you and your son, that eventually you’d grow it till you got your way. Is it safe to say you’ve gotten your way?
COACH GUNDY: They’re very embarrassed. As a parent that has teenage boys, you can understand I’ve gotten my point across to them.

I’ll also make it clear, there was really no argument. I make all the calls in the house. Talking about with my children (laughter).

After the TCU game, I told you guys, I got hit in the face in the TCU game. I did admit I hadn’t been hit that hard in at least a week since I came home late and asked for supper (laughter).

Q. Coach Gundy, the announcement yesterday, the official announcement by Mason and James to come back and be part of the team next year, huge for the program. Their individual legacies just continue to have a chance to grow. What could you see this time next year, their place in OSU history?
COACH GUNDY: They’ve been very fortunate to have each other. They’re quality young men that work hard. They’re very dedicated, they’re humble. They understand the team.

What I’ve been most pleased with those guys is throughout their career, there’s been times that we run the ball more based on the defense we see, and they’re okay with it. A lot of times James doesn’t get a lot of passes based on what we see. Neither one of them come to us and say, We need more touches.

Hopefully they can stay healthy. They’ve been great leaders for our team. Guys like that only come through every so often. All of you out there know, if you follow the game closely, little league, high school, all levels of college ball, the NFL, if your quarterback is playing pretty good, you have a guy that is a tough guy that will take a chance, you got a chance to have a good team. That’s really where they’re at.

So we were very excited about them making the decision to come back and be a part of our team next year.

Q. Does that mean they get to play in the bowl game or are you going to hold them out for next year?
COACH GUNDY: We’re still going to sign them up for the bowl game.

COACH MacINTYRE: Aw, shucks.

COACH GUNDY: I thought about if you want to trade that freshman you have, trade for him (laughter).

Q. Coach Gundy, I know Larry Coker dropped by practice this week. What were those conversations like?
COACH GUNDY: It was good to see Coach Coker. He goes way back with our family, coaching. Coaching me in college, then obviously with my brother. Big part of the Oklahoma State family. It’s good to see him.

He’s doing very well. It’s interesting, when you’re around those guys that have been involved in the game for really 50 years, how much they miss it when they’re out of it. But it’s good to have guys, people like Coach Coker, stop by practice.

Q. Coach MacIntyre, can you put into words again how meaningful this bowl game is for Colorado to return after all these years.
COACH MacINTYRE: We were the last team in the major conferences to not go to a bowl. It’s a big deal. Our young men heard it every day. I’ve heard every day since I’ve been there. Now to kind of get that monkey off your back is good.

Also this senior class, to end it this way, it means a great deal. It shows that if you keep putting forth great work ethic, not listen to everybody, just keep working hard, you can accomplish a lot of goals. So it’s a great life lesson.

For our fans, for our student body, they’re really excited about being here and going to a bowl game. It rejuvenates that. Hopefully it will sell more season tickets for us next year, keep growing our program. It definitely is a big deal to be in this bowl game.

Playing against an excellent football team that I definitely feel like is a top-10 football team. If they don’t have that crazy play at the beginning of the year, they are. They’re an excellent, excellent football team. It’s going to be a great game.

Q. Coach Gundy, I know that crazy play is history now. You’ve probably put it behind you. If anyone maybe had a legitimate gripe, it’s you guys. How much of that plays into your preparation for this game at all?
COACH GUNDY: We approached it afterwards that there will be situations in life that our players are faced with that aren’t fair. We all know that, the older you get.

At that time our focus had to be the next game, which was Pitt. We made sure that we understood you can’t change some things, you can only move forward. We talk about that in our organization, control what you can control. Once we knew it was out of our hands, we moved forward.

I made comments on it throughout the year based on my personal opinion in the situation. It’s interesting with young people, our players, the millennial age, they move so fast with the information they have, social media, what’s out there, they go to whatever is popular the next day.

That is one area that makes coaching a little easier than it was years ago, is they move on to the next subject so fast. I don’t really think they put much thought into it at this time.

Q. Coach MacIntyre, Colorado is a place that has a national championship, has competed for Big 12 championships. When you got there, achieved this rebuild to where you’re at right now, I know you don’t want to live in the past, but what were some of the challenges you had to overcome specific to Colorado?
COACH MacINTYRE: Well, the past, we embrace the past, we really do. It’s everywhere. You walk by the Heisman Trophy, Rashaan Salaam who we lost this year. You walk by the national championship trophy. It’s the first thing our guys see when they walk into our new locker room every day. We have a ring room and national trophy championship sitting right there. We embrace it. It’s a great thing.

The other side of it is, when we got there, our program was really down. We were the worst program in major college football. Coach Rick George has built new facilities for us. Now we’re back up at the top echelon of the facility area. Everybody has embraced us, the fan base has come back. All of that is there.

We just needed to, I guess, put a little bit more water on it, a little bit more fertilizer on it, it will grow again, because the history is great.

The cool thing, I bring back a lot of players to speak to our guys from the different times. All of them to a man came back and said, Hey, our history is great, but you need to set your own legacy and your own history. Our kids kept hearing that from guy after guy. They said, We’re tired hearing about our past, we want to see the new future. That meant a lot.

We’ve embraced our former players. They come around practice, different times. I love having them back. We embrace that. We’re very proud of our history.

These young men now want to make their own legacy, and they’re starting to do that.

Q. Coach Gundy, it was reported earlier this week that J.W. Walsh was hired at ACU as a full-time assistant. Have you talked to him yet and your reaction, two years out of college, full-time gig like that?
COACH GUNDY: I have not talked to him. I had discussions with our staff, actually a couple of the players that have.

It doesn’t surprise me. He’s got a long history. Dad is one of the most successful high school coaches in Texas football. He’s really a coach on the field.

You want your son to grow up and be like him. He’s going to do everything right all the time. He doesn’t see obstacles or roadblocks, he pushes through.

He’ll spend some time there. I’m going to guess he’ll move on. Before long he’ll be at a pretty high level. I would say someday, some point, probably back at Oklahoma State.

Q. Coach Gundy, a chance to get double-digit wins, a fifth season in seven years for this program. Total wins over four or five years ranks among the best in the country. What is the significance of seeing that for the program again?
COACH GUNDY: Well, I think those comments are positive for our program. In doing this for a long time now, each week is a new challenge. You guys that follow us know that my comments will always be that no matter if you have a big win on Saturday or a tough loss, the most important and key ingredient in college football is to be able to come back Sunday and go to work.

So we’re playing a great football team. It’s a challenge. We’re responsible as coaches to get our players prepared during that time to play the very best that they can. Once it’s kicked off, they have to go out and have fun. In a sense, they’re warriors, they’re gladiators, the guys that play this game. But the game has to be fun for them. That’s the challenge.

We always want to win, but it’s important that they go out and have fun after they’ve dedicated themselves to the team in preparation for each game.

Q. Coach MacIntyre, when you play in a championship game like you did a month ago, obviously the emotions are high. What were the keys after that game to heal guys and get them ready to where they’re prepared for this kind of big stage tomorrow?
COACH MacINTYRE: Playing in the PAC-12 championship game was an exciting event for our team. It’s kind of like a mini bowl situation, a lot of pomp and circumstance around it.

We didn’t play as well as we would have liked. Washington had a lot to do with that, of course. But we came back, started back to work, watched the film, put it behind us. They went on and took exams. When we started on Oklahoma State, we started just like we would any other game and approached it that way.

The guys get over it pretty quick. Coaches linger on it a little bit longer. As a coach, you have to make sure you don’t enforce that last game, carry it with you, not place negativity on your players.

Once they watched tape on Oklahoma State, they got nervous. Our players realized how good they are, and are excited about playing in this game.

Q. Coach MacIntyre, college football is not a patient game. Campus about an hour north here, Charlie Strong asked for patience, he didn’t get it. What were your conversations like with the administration during this rebuild? Did you have to ask for more time?
COACH MacINTYRE: No, I didn’t. We were so bad when we got there. Just a little bit of improvement. They saw improvement every year. Even though we were short on the scoreboard a lot of times, you could see our team improving.

When I first got there, If you could just stay till halftime. That’s what people asked me. We didn’t stay till halftime all the time the first few years. Then we got it going.

Last year was a year where I felt like our young men really matured, understood what they needed to do to be successful. We kept building. We were able to retain players. We had the biggest junior, senior class that they’ve had since the 2001 team that won the Big 12.

Retention was a big thing I noticed when I got to CU. Players were not staying. They had small senior classes. As a matter of fact, one of our fifth-year seniors got up and said there were only seven seniors in his first class when he got here. You’re not going to be able to win that way.

We’ve been able to do that. Our president, chancellor, AD, have been phenomenal. Everybody associated with us, even David Plati has been awesome (laughter). It’s been neat.

I just hit the right time when everybody understood where we were going. They were thriving to be successful. We were able to do that. We just kept building to try to get better.

Q. Coach MacIntyre, there’s been a lot of conversation about the fact that in your two regular-season losses, you didn’t have Sefo Liufau. In Michigan you lost Derek McCartney. Talk about the process of overcoming that, not having a guy that was the backbone of your defense, still ending up the season with a defense ranked atop the PAC-12.
COACH MacINTYRE: It was interesting, Sefo goes down. Most Colorado people don’t know this. Sefo goes down. We kicked the football off. Our kicker blows his Achilles, who was having a phenomenal year. Next play on defense, Derek McCartney tears his knee up. All three of those guys are roommates. The house they live in, nobody will ever live in again, I told them when they were gone.

Losing Derek, he’s going to New Orleans after this game for the Good Works Bowl. He was one of the 11 people picked for the Good Works. He’s just a phenomenal leader for us, too. He’s a legacy. He’s Coach Max’s grandson. He means a lot to our program in a lot of ways. 6’5″ and a half, 255 pounds, can rush the passer, is a force. We definitely missed him.

We had to tweak a few things. That’s one of the reasons you see Ryan Moeller. We felt like playing Ryan Moeller, because we started playing more teams that were spread teams. We kind of tweaked a little bit.

Missing Derek is big. The great thing about Derek is he’ll be back next year. He’s going to be going to med school. He started his prerequisites for that. We’re excited about having Derek back. He was a big loss, not only on the football field but off. We had a strong senior class. So they filled in well for him.

Q. Coach Mac, your team returned 56 upperclassmen this year, most out of any PAC-12 school. What kind of mentality and work ethic have these older guys instilled in some of the younger guys in the program that will shoulder this team in years to come?
COACH MacINTYRE: They built it. The culture they’ve developed, it’s good when you really don’t have to say much as a head coach on work ethic, being on time, how they’re supposed to be dressed. They just do it.

That’s what I’ve seen, the work ethic, them holding each other accountable. There was a couple times I went down to summer workouts. There’s guys standing outside the gate. They won’t let them in because they didn’t get there early enough. The players ended up punishing them.

They just had a great mentality. They understood what it took. I’ve always said, as you come in as a freshman, you kind of want to be part of a team. If you get to play, you’re happy. As a sophomore, you just want to play. As a junior and senior, you just want to win.

As you keep that mentality going, they pass it down to the younger guys, they’ve done that. We just got to keep the culture going, restart it after this bowl game with a new group of guys.

Q. Coach Mac, have you thought at all about what it’s going to be like to see Sefo walk off the field the last time in a Colorado uniform?
COACH MacINTYRE: No, I don’t want to do that. I’ll enjoy watching him play his last game, the other seniors, just like Mike will enjoy watching his seniors play.

In the locker room, there will be a time that I’ll think about it, but right now I’m thinking about us trying to find a way to win the football game.

Q. Coach Gundy, you bring back Washington, Ateman comes back for his redshirt year. When you look at this receiving corps, could it rank among some of the best receivers you’ve had all time in program history based on what these guys have done already?
COACH GUNDY: We’re very fortunate to have a really quality group of mature receivers that have had a considerable amount of experience playing in big games, with the addition of Ateman coming back. Really, we lose Fields and Austin Hays. Stoner was able to play for us some this year until he hurt his foot. We’ll get him back. Then we’ve got some young players that we feel really good about.

They could be a good group if they put the work in, like they have in the past, stay humble and understand the commitment to the team. They’ll have a chance to be a pretty good group of receivers.

I kind of envision playing three to four of them four plays, then running four more in, doing that throughout the game, if we’re fortunate enough for them to stay healthy and on track.

Q. Coach Gundy, can you talk about the significance, the impact that Jordan Sterns had on this program, four-year starter, the unique opportunity playing his last game in his hometown?
COACH GUNDY: Jordan has been a great leader for us. As coach was talking about with the seniors, they learned to lead and bring the young players along.

Sterns is a throwback player. He kind of goes back to the days of the ’80s of guys that will strike you and enjoy the contact. Goes against human nature for two people to want to run into each other. There’s some players that are somewhat genetically unbalanced and they’re willing to do that. Sterns has been one of those guys up to this point.

His toughness, his leadership, kind of what he stood for, has really helped bring our football team along over the last few years. He’s from right here in San Antonio. I’m excited about him. We’re looking forward to his future down the line. Certainly we’re going to miss him when he leaves.

Q. Coach MacIntyre, you mentioned earlier you lost one of the greats in program history in Salaam. Do you have anything planned as a team to commemorate him?
COACH MacINTYRE: We’re going to wear a decal an our helmet for him, honor him that way. Our guys walk by his trophy every day. There’s flowers around it now. It’s something that we notice every single day.

I didn’t know him real well. I got to know him these last four years. I remember seeing him play as a player, of course, on television. Every time I remember Rashaan, he always had a great smile. He was very, very humble. I really appreciate Rashaan and what he did for the CU program.

Q. Coach Gundy, you were just asked about your outstanding receiving corps. A comment from your perspective on the challenge of facing what Coach MacIntyre puts out there on the back end of his defense.
COACH GUNDY: You have to be play-by-play, right (laughter)? I was going to say, you’re in the wrong profession. You got to get on Game Day.

The other comment, they brought up giving coach the time, one of the big issues, a smart move with the administration with Colorado, great move on their part.

But I said this earlier, that I think this is the best back end that we faced all year. They have range, they’re long. They’ll attack you. They’ll go up, challenge for the ball. The different style of aggressiveness in the back end presents a lot of issues for teams they’ve played, is difficult to find a way to attack.

So I think it’s going to be one of the neat matchups. We’ve got a few receivers that can make some plays. They’ve got guys back there that have had tremendous success. That’s what makes this such a great bowl game, along with all of them, but I think this is a matchup that everybody will be excited about watching.

Q. How have you felt about the job Coach Tumpkin has done? Will we see him put his own spin on things tomorrownight?
COACH MacINTYRE: Joe has done an excellent job, so has Charles Clark, Jim Jeffcoat. Everybody that’s been working with them has been good.

We’ll keep doing the same thing. You can’t change. We’ll keep doing the same thing we’ve been doing. We just got to play better than Oklahoma State does. They want to play better than we do.

But talking about their receiver corps, their quarterback, they’re excellent, excellent, excellent. Reminds me of USC, which they have excellent ones. We’re lining up against USC’s receivers and quarterbacks. They’re special players.





Dec. 27, 2016 – Oklahoma State Offense Press Conference

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Mike Yurcich – Offensive Coordinator

Mason Rudolph – Jr., QB

James Washington – Jr., WR

Chris Carson – Sr., RB

Austin Hays – Sr., WR

Zachary Crabtree – Jr., RT



THE MODERATOR: This afternoon’s press conference will feature the Oklahoma State offense. It’s my pleasure to introduce offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. If you could introduce the players you brought with you today and talk about how the bowl prep has gone.

MIKE YURCICH: Sure. First of all want to thank the people at Valero and the Alamo Bowl. The hospitality and their generosity is second to none. It’s been a great time, great experience, and practices have wrapped up. We’re going to go into our final phase here now, and we’ve had 13 really good practices we feel, and now as we close in, I think it’s 53 hours now until game time. It’s now time to just kind of lock it in and let the bodies recover and keep thinking about our assignments, our schemes, and I know the guys — I know myself, we’re really looking forward to this ballgame. It feels like a long time coming, and a great opportunity for us.

But with me today are five tremendous, tremendous young men, and there was a theme this year for us as a program: Development of the person and the player. Coach Gundy, Coach Tudman, I call him a life coach, he does a lot for us, strength and conditioning, obviously. But he’s a tremendous voice, and he delivers messages to our team on a weekly basis. I think Coach has done a great job of making sure that all of our guys understand that this is a game. It’s a game to be played, it’s a game to be played with toughness and competitiveness, but at the same time, off the field, we also have to develop the person, as well.

It’s a joy for me to share the stage with five young men who are tremendous people, as well, starting right here with Mason Rudolph, a tremendous player, recruited him out of South Carolina, came all the way to Oklahoma State, saw an opportunity, and we hit it off, and it’s been a joy to coach him. He’s a very mature young man. People ask me all the time what makes him effective, and I really feel it’s his demeanor, his even tempered, never get too high, never get too low as a quarterback in this profession or as a college quarterback at a big program like ours, you’re going to face some criticism. You’re also going to face some pats on the back when you do well. His ability to stay the course and stay steady regardless of success or failure has made him improve, and he understands what it takes to win. He also understands that he hasn’t arrived. He’s always looking to do more and to become a better player. I respect him very much, and thank him for all he’s done for us as a program.

Next to him is James Washington. James, I mean, what can you say? The acrobatic catches, the explosive plays down the field, allowing you to — when we run the football and there’s two safeties high and then they drop down a safety and play it low, usually you call 28’s number. He’s an electric player, and I can’t say enough about this young man’s character and what he is to our program from a leadership standpoint, a guy who leads by example, who is very consistent. You have to really kind of pull the reins back on James because he always wants to go, go, go, and we’ve got to make sure that he’s ready for the games. He’s just a tremendous effort guy, and he’s very consistent.

Chris Carson, next to James. Chris, recruited him out of junior college, out of Butler, and I’ll tell you what; Chris is exactly what we hoped he’d be. Physical, tough back who really overcame a lot of adversity this season, came back really strong from an injury, and has really produced in a big-time way, physical, punishing back that’s just really an all-around back that you never have to sub out in any situation. He’s the man.

Next to him, Zach Crabtree. Zach, a lot of experience, a lot of snaps. He’s all ball. He’s all football man, and the guy is going to be a coach one day, and he’s a fun guy to be around. He keeps it light, but yet when game time comes, we run it his way because he’s a very consistent, tough player, and has emerged as one of our leaders on offense.

Last but not least, Mr. Hays, Austin Hays, from San Antonio, from Reagan High School. I’ll tell you, Hays has done a heck of a job. He was here before I got here, and he knows a lot of football. He’s played just about every position in the receiving corps. We move him outside to inside. He’s battled injuries, he’s battled through injuries, and he just brings a great side of it from just a player/coach type guy. He’s coaching the young guys up. He’s got that experience. He’s in the back of the line, and you know he’s always talking football, and if somebody is not in line, he’s going to smack them and get them straight. You have to have that type of leadership, and I appreciate, we appreciate everything that he’s done for us as a program.

He said to us earlier that he’s interested in getting into coaching. I told him he’s absolutely insane to start this journey as a coach, but he said he wants to GA, so that’s the type of mentality he is. I told him, your dating life I hear is pretty good, and it’s drastically going to change when you take a GA position. You know that, right? In a couple years, man, on Saturday night when you’re grinding on film, I told you.

But that’s the introduction.

  1. James, Mason, you guys made an announcement on Twitter coming back. Can you talk about what went into the decision, and I’m sure Cowboy fans everywhere are celebrating today, but go through the last few days for you guys.

MASON RUDOLPH: Yeah, I think it was a long thought-out decision with both myself and James, I think. We were in pretty similar positions. I think both of us, we know we can compete at that level. That’s going to be next year. If we made the jump this year I think we would have both been ready, but we also know just what college means to us and what we’ve been enjoying, we’ve been enjoying these first three years, and we know the tremendous talent and opportunity we have next year coming back.

We’re both really looking forward to not only this game and capping off the season right with an Alamo victory, but also just a great off-season, just making sure that we are improving our game mentally and physically and then just kind of putting an exclamation point on both of our careers.

JAMES WASHINGTON: Just basically like he said, just come back and have another year with our brothers. I look forward to coming back and having another year with him and everyone else, and plus we get degrees. It’s worth it, so why not. But yeah, pretty much covers it, what he said.

  1. Mike, can you talk about the impact of that decision, and then by extension the fact that these guys are going to be together three full seasons at the end, just the legacy potential that Rudolph to Washington has for Oklahoma State football.

MIKE YURCICH: Well, I think they understand what’s at stake. There’s a lot to it, and you would have to ask them, but I would suspect they understand what all returns and what’s at stake for us. I think the biggest thing that James said is he said education, and that’s a beautiful thing to hear. That’s what you hope your son says if he’s ever fortunate enough to be in that position. These guys know that — I think you have to credit our head coach and the fact that we keep things joyful to a certain extent. It’s fun to play the game, it’s fun to practice at Oklahoma State, and I think our guys, when we come out and when we go to practice, they play with joy, and I think that’s a big deal. If it was a big grind-a-thon and it was just tough, as some of us do remember back in the day, maybe guys are more apt to come out. But I think this is not the first time this has happened at Oklahoma State, so Coach Gundy, his experience, and I really feel that these guys enjoy playing together. We have really good camaraderie on our team, and that’s a credit to the players. We all want as coaches, we all want to manufacture camaraderie and create camaraderie, but you can’t. It has to come within the players and they have that. It’s special, and I don’t think they want to let it go. They’re having fun.

  1. James, how much of this was a discussion between the two of you, or did you both kind of come to the same decision separately and then came together?

JAMES WASHINGTON: We both kind of talked with each other and coaches and kind of came up with the idea that it would be best if we both came back to just get another year of experience. It wouldn’t hurt. But yeah, I’d say it’s between both of us.

MASON RUDOLPH: Yeah, I’d say we both obviously consulted with our families and whatnot and close friends, but we made the decision that was best for both of us but to be able to do it together and to talk throughout the whole process, it was great. Yeah, like I said, we’re excited for the future.

  1. Chris, what enabled you to return from injury in the middle of the season and play at your best down the stretch of this season?

CHRIS CARSON: It was just the support I had from my teammates and everybody coming around and supporting me. Just made me want to come out there and work harder, and seeing the success that the running game had with Justin Taylor and Rennie Childs and all the running backs competing together, just made me want to be a part of that.

  1. Austin, Zach, could you guys talk about the chance to have another 10-win season? This could be the fifth 10-win season in seven years. You guys have been around and seen how good, and what that means for you guys have been a part of that?

ZACH CRABTREE: It’s big. It’s always something. I remember coming in here and Coach Gundy talking about that from day one. Any time you can hit double-digit wins at this level, it’s huge. Not many people in the country win 10 games a year, and so this game has big-time implications on it for us. We want this 10th win. It means a lot. It’s just the middle level of success, just puts you in elite company, and we’re there, and we want to stay there.

AUSTIN HAYS: Just for me, being here five years and having a chance to have three 10-win seasons, that’s unbelievable. There’s probably I think Coach Gundy told us the other day, there’s only eight or nine teams in the last four years that have won more games than we have, and to be a part of this has just been so special, and then for the guys coming back, to beat a top-10 team in Colorado and to make that our double-digit win would just be huge for the guys coming back, to create that momentum going forward and to propel them into having a great year next year.

  1. Mason, can you talk about what you’ve seen of Colorado’s secondary on tape?

MASON RUDOLPH: Yeah, I think so. Really tough defense, really run to the ball well, 3-4, a couple of real physical corners. We’ve seen that on tape thus far. Bigger guys, longer guys at the corner position. I think it’ll be a great challenge for us. I think comparison wise in the Big 12 you could compare them to a West Virginia style defense, just tough-nosed and great players, tough players. I think, like I said, it will be a great match for us, and we’ve really prepared well, like Coach Yurcich was saying, this whole bowl prep, whether we were in Stillwater or here, and I feel really good about where we are.

  1. Zach, you have a great one-two punch of running backs in Chris Carson and Justice Hill. Is there a difference in blocking for the two guys with different strengths and skill sets?

ZACH CRABTREE: Not necessarily. You’ve still got to block the play the same way. You’ve still got the same guys to block. But they have different running styles, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to give them space, give them a chance to make a play, and they both usually do. I wouldn’t say there’s really a difference, more just do your job the same way every time and give them a chance to get to the second level and go make a play.

  1. Chris, didn’t get a chance really to ask you this after the awards ceremony for the team, but not only did you play so well at the end of the year, but you were voted a captain by your teammates, and at Oklahoma State that kind of means more than a lot of places because it’s done after the season and your picture is mounted and so forth. What were your thoughts when you heard you’d been voted captain, and what does that mean to you?

CHRIS CARSON: At first I was kind of shocked because there’s a lot of good players on the team that are deserving of that award. I mean, it was just a blessing that the teammates voted me as a captain. I’m honored and privileged of it. I’m going to take advantage of it, and it’s a blessing, like I said.

  1. Zach, how excited are you to be getting another year with Mason and James?

ZACH CRABTREE: Really excited. This team has got a lot of potential next year, obviously, with those two coming back. If we get a big win Thursday, beating Colorado and kind of propel us into the off-season, it just begins to lay the foundation for what’s to come next year and the expectations for next year. Those two coming back, we’ve got a lot of experience and a lot of talent. There’s no telling what the limit is. But just excited. They’re both good kids, fun teammates, they’re good to have in the locker room, and both are good leaders, good guys to be around, so it just makes it enjoyable to be with them, and just excited to have one more year with them.

  1. Chris, I don’t think they’ve started to arrive yet, but I expect a lot of Oklahoma State fans to show up at some point for this game. I know they did last year in New Orleans. What are you expecting when it comes to fans and excitement and just the buzz as game day gets a little bit closer?

CHRIS CARSON: I’m just expecting a lot of Oklahoma State fans to come out and support us just like Colorado is going to have their fans. It’s going to be a great fan base for both teams. There’s going to be a lot of atmosphere, and just ready to get it started.

Dec. 27, 2016 – Colorado Defense Press Conference

Colorado Buffaloes

Joe Tumpkin – Safeties Coach

Tedric Thompson – Sr., SS

Jimmie Gilbert – Sr., OLB

Jordan Carrell – Sr., DE

Chidobe Awuzie – Sr., CB


THE MODERATOR: Could you tell us how the week has gone for you?

JOE TUMPKIN: The week has gone real well. I think our kids have been focused the whole entire time as a football team. We came down here and really just kind of been honing in on what Oklahoma State is doing and just kind of getting our fundamentals and prep back and getting the things oiled back up since it’s been a little bit since we’ve played.

Q. Joe, throughout your career, what are some of the experiences that you think really sort of shaped who you are, maybe some of the stops that kind of shaped your coaching philosophy or has it been a blend of all the places you’ve been?
JOE TUMPKIN: It’s been a blend of some of the places that I’ve been. I’d say coming back from high school and my high school coaches and that was a big fundamental for me, Coach Uspensky, Coach Manion back in Miami. Coach Awrey, who’s the head coach at Concordia River Forest, he was the first guy I worked for at Lakeland College. He was a big influence. But probably recently, Phil Bennett, Coach Wannstedt and Gary Darnell.

Q. Jimmie, take me back to some of those first years in the program when the team was struggling; what gave you hope or made you confident that Coach MacIntyre was the guy to really lead this turnaround that we’ve seen now in his fourth year.
JIMMIE GILBERT: He’s always been pushing like the first four years that we were trying to build a foundation, coming back from those tough years that we had, we were really focusing on just building a program from the ground up and the seniors in years past were really emphasizing on doing their thing, and this year we’re just trying to build up from where they left off.

Q. Joe, the previous experiences you’ve had in bowl games, are you drawing anything from that as you’ve gone about preparing your defense for this week?
JOE TUMPKIN: Yeah, you know, the biggest thing when you get there is doing the prep before you get to the bowl site, and I think the amount of time that we spent and the practices that we had before that, that was really where you’re coming in here. Coming into the bowl site because of all the activities and the schedule that we have as a football team, you want to make sure you keep it short and precise and just focus on the little things and work things through there. But the majority of our work was done before we even got here.

Q. Coach, it’s not often you see college quarterbacks that are in a program for sometimes three, maybe four. You guys got a guy who’s been there a while but so does Oklahoma State. What have you seen out of Rudolph and how maybe that longer-term experience has impacted what he does for them?
JOE TUMPKIN: He runs it. I mean, they go on how he goes. He’s the guy that makes the engine go, in a sense. He puts them in the right place, he makes very good decisions in there. He’s very well-coached. I think what he does is he sees it, makes his decisions, and puts those guys in a very good position. He doesn’t make very many mistakes. You don’t see very many mental mistakes come out of him. He doesn’t make bad decisions.

Q. Tedric, what challenges do you anticipate from the Oklahoma State passing offense which is ranked 10th in the nation?
TEDRIC THOMPSON: I think just how big and how physical their receivers are. I think these are some of the best receivers we’ve faced all season long. It’s kind of a Pac-12 opponent because of how much they pass, but they also have a great running game. We’ve got to trust in our corners that they’re going to play a great game, and as safeties we’ve just got to try to help our corners out as much as we can. I just feel like how big they are, they’re big and they’re fast at the same time, so it should be a good challenge for us.

Q. Coach, what did you see on film from Oklahoma State’s true freshman running back, and are you kind of impressed that he’s been able to do that as a true freshman?
JOE TUMPKIN: Well, I think both their running backs run hard, and what they do a nice job of, he’s got good vision and he’s able to see some seams and some holes and then once he gets in there, he has a burst, and he’s tough to bring down. He break through some tackles. His yards after carry is pretty good, after contact is pretty good. He runs low, and he’s going to be a challenge for us for our guys up front.

Q. What did you guys take away from the game against Washington? They kind of ran the ball really well. What did you guys do as a defensive line regrouping after that to set a focus for this game?
JORDAN CARRELL: You know, we broke down the film. We corrected our mistakes and throughout these last couple weeks of preparation, we’ve really toned into our technique and fundamentals and just really focused on coming back together and going out on top one last ride.

Q. You guys have been off for a little over three weeks I guess to this point in time. How do you guard against not being sharp being that you haven’t faced game action for over three weeks?
CHIDOBE AWUZIE: Well, in practice it’s pretty much a game every day. We’re always trying to get better and compete with the scout team and our own offense, and that really helps us get the speed of the game, and finishing on balls and stuff like that is stuff that that Coach Tumpkin, Coach Clark and Coach Mac emphasize every day, so we just try to get to the speed of the game in practice, and that usually helps us during the game.

Q. Can you address how important it is for the seniors, speaking for all of you guys up there, to finish this game, finish this season with a win?
CHIDOBE AWUZIE: It’s very important. From our freshman year we’ve been told that that was our goal was to go to a bowl game, and then this year we realized that we were good enough to play in the Pac-12 Championship, which is good and all, but from the first day here, I feel like that was our first goal was to go to a bowl game and to finish out with those seniors at the time, and those seniors didn’t get a chance to play in a bowl game, the next seniors didn’t get a chance, the next seniors didn’t get a chance, and now it’s right here in front of us, so I feel like we’re playing for our own dreams but also for theirs that didn’t get a chance. We want to finish out strong and make sure that we secure our legacy.

Q. Jordan, what has been the biggest factor that has allowed your defensive line to create such good chemistry and play consistent all season long?
JORDAN CARRELL: The trust and the brotherhood that we formed throughout the off-season. We’re pretty close off the field so that correlates to what we do on the field. We just want to be great, so we’re all three seniors, and we just play for our whole team.

Q. Jordan, can you talk a little bit about your partner Samson and Josh and their stories of bouncing back this year?
JORDAN CARRELL: Yeah, both those guys, they’ve faced adversity but they didn’t let that detour their ultimate goal of playing football. You know, I’m proud of those guys and what they’ve gone through and how much they’ve overcame and the amount of work that they’ve put in this off-season has really shown on the field, what they’ve done this year.

Q. Jimmie, given you guys’ history and having some losing seasons coming into this year, it would have been natural for you guys to just have the goal of going to a bowl game, but you shot higher than that. How important was it to set the bar higher?
JIMMIE GILBERT: Last year we realized we could play with these teams that were blowing us out in years past, so with that in mind, we set our goal higher. We felt that we had the ability, we had the chance to win the Pac-12 South, and we did. We felt that we had the ability to win the championship, which didn’t turn our way, but at the same time, you’re not trying to limit your team to just something small, something that can be achieved easily, so by having these bigger goals, it really allowed us to push harder and do things that people didn’t expect us to do.

Q. Coach Tumpkin, after the Pac-12 title game and the fall to Washington, have you sensed in the last three weeks that this is a really hungry football team?
JOE TUMPKIN: Definitely. You look at one of the things I sensed about our whole football team and especially us on defense is that they are a brotherhood. They do a lot of things together. They clown around together, they work together, they get on each other together. They’re probably one of the — in my 22 years, probably one of the tightest groups I’ve been around, and when you have a successful football team, a lot of that comes together. They know each other. You watch them communicate on the field. You watch them how they talk to each other in game situations. A lot of times they’ve been around each other, they know each other, they believe in each other, they trust each other, they’ll fight for each other, and that’s one of the biggest things that has showed our success this year.

Q. Tedric, you had six career interceptions coming into your senior year and you’ve surpassed that with seven interceptions this season. What do you attribute your success this season to?
TEDRIC THOMPSON: My teammates, really. I think my teammates always push me. I’m probably one of the quietest guys on the team, but I look at everybody from afar, like Chidobe, Afolabi who’s my roommate, Ahkello, I look at all those guys and see how much they push each other during practice and during the film room and stuff like that. If you go back and look at the interceptions I did get this year, it wasn’t really me. All I did was catch them and I dropped a lot, but the D-line got a lot of pressure, the linebackers underneath routes, and then our coaches — Coach Clark, Coach Tumpkin and Coach Mac — how they stretched the film room and stuff like that, and me being able to watch film and my teammates helping me. An example was the two picks I got during Stanford. The first one I caught, it was just because the D-line got pressure and I just dove for it. And if you go back and watch film on the second one, Chidobe told me the route right before the play. It’s just stuff like that that shows how close we are, so like the interceptions I did get was really because of my teammates.

Q. Jimmie, can you talk a little bit about just how Colorado fans have reacted this year to what you guys have done? How did you guys see the fans react to this season and what are you expecting out of them this week?
JIMMIE GILBERT: One thing that Coach Mac has really shown us is just the faith that the fans had. We had influenced a lot of people, just giving them the will and the drive to do things that when they say they have hard times, just watching our team light back into their lives, that really touches you because it lets you know that what you’re doing around isn’t just on y’all, it influences the whole circle around you, and people from afar also have their eyes on us, and we’re hoping people who at first weren’t even Colorado fans weren’t even paying attention to us, but when they see we can go from zero to 100 really quickly, that really motivates us to do harder and won’t let their goodwill go to waste.

Q. Joe, Tedric mentioned that Oklahoma State’s passing game is a little bit reminiscent of some of the Pac-12 offenses you guys have faced. Their wide receiving group as a whole and James Washington specifically, do they remind you guys of anybody you’ve played this year?
JOE TUMPKIN: I think they’re very similar to Washington offensively, what they do, how they do it offensively, the quarterback is the key, same thing with Washington’s quarterback. Us being able to control and stop the run is going to be key for us, and then keeping them off their play action game.

Q. Tedric, the match-up between you guys, your defense, and Oklahoma State’s offense, I think a lot of people are saying it’s one of the better match-ups in the non-New Year’s Day championship bowl games. Are you guys excited about seeing how this shakes out?
TEDRIC THOMPSON: I think we’re just a competitive group, so we’re excited to play every single game. We take nothing for granted, but because of how competitive we are and how competitive I’m pretty sure this offense is, we’re looking forward to it, looking forward to the challenge, and we just expect a great game because they’re just not going to hand it to us, we’ve got to go out there and compete like we’ve been doing all season, so it should be a fun game.

Q. Jordan, we just heard Coach Tumpkin compare Oklahoma State to Washington offensively. We haven’t seen many teams run against you guys up front like Washington did; do you and Josh and Samson got a little chip on your shoulder heading into this game after what went down in the Pac-12 title game?
JORDAN CARRELL: Yeah, we’re ready to come out and play physical. We’re going to apply our techniques and do our job. As a whole defense, we’ve just been pounding our technique and just dialed into the scheme that Coach Tumpkin has prepared for us. We’re ready to go out there and make up for what happened the last game.

Dec. 27, 2016 – Colorado Practice (#3)

Colorado Head Coach Mike MacIntyre and junior defensive back Ryan Moeller.


Head Coach Mike MacIntyre

On the last practice before the bowl game:

“It went well. We do kicking game every day. We go through all the different scenarios today. Defense and Offense scenarios. It went real well. They seem excited about playing and light on their feet so it was a good day.”

Vincent Taylor for OSU has blocked 4 kicks this year, what have you seen from him?

“Well they move him around and get him in some spots to go block it. We got to make sure we protect correctly. So far this last half of the season we have been very good at that, since the Michigan game. So we felt good about that. Our field goal kickers are kicking the ball much better. We definitely need to know where he is and be prepared.”

Is Vincent Taylor a pretty disruptive player that you guys have to account for?

“Yeah, he is. He is a disruptive guy. They play so aggressive on defense and cause a lot of turnovers. A lot of their guys make plays, thats why they are 12th in the country.”

On any rust since they haven’t played in a month:

“Both teams have it. We are both in the same situation. We went good against good a lot and we have done that throughout the year. The better our team is, the more speed we have everywhere, which helps you do better in the games. It helps your whole team improve. That is one of the reasons why we are a better football team this year too. We have better competition throughout our team. So hopefully that will keep the speed of the game going, but we will see when we kick it off.”

Appreciation of being in a bowl game:

“Our guys are extremely excited about it. I think that our fans are probably relish it more than some of our guys, our older guys definitely do because they have been through it, some of our younger guys they just think this is the way it is suppose to be. I know that we are excited about it. I know everyone around our program is.”

After Utah, did you sense you were that close?

“I did. I sensed that we had a good football team. Coming back I knew after spring practice I thought we were good and then halfway through camp I thought we would have a chance to compete for a Pac-12 Championship, which we did. We didn’t win it but we won the Pac-12 South, which is a big jump for us. So I felt that we had a team that could do that.”

Anything different about playing in a Dome?

“It’s louder. It echoes, the sound of it. So you will have to do more silent count and that type of thing. Playing in a stadium where it’s going to kind of be like almost like the CSU game in a way that it will be a semi constant roar I would imagine. In a dome it is a little bit harder to hear. Even when we go into our indoor complex, when you talk in their it is harder to hear. So we have worked on our silent count and that type of thing if we need to do that, which we have done that on the road quite a few times. We kind of treat it as a road game.”

What are the strengths of Joe Tumpkin as a coach?

“He is very knowledgeable on the front end and on the back end. Some people can understand the front end, some people can understand the back end, but he understands both which is what you need to be able to do to be able to coordinate and understand it. He gets along with the players, he understands our scheme real well, and the guys really respond to him.”

What is the bowl plan/schedule?

“I did a bowl plan at San Jose State, and I left right before it, so I used the same one that we had developed there. I called around some coaches that had been in the Alamo Bowl and then I talked to David Cutcliffe for a long time about what he has done. I went to bowls when I was younger and all that type of thing, so it was kind of a combination of everything.”

Do you think the players are prepared and settled in?

“I think they have handled it real well. I think they are fresh. I think they are ready to go. The thing that you have to understand is that you have to have everything prepared before you get to the site. You don’t have time to game plan at the site, so we just practiced it all there and repeated it all here. It was fresher for the guys and the coaches know exactly what is going on. We had our game plans done and ready to roll.”

Do you think you have found stability at the quarterback position?

“Both guys are good quarterbacks. They are very reliable, they play well, so as I have said for a long time Sefo [Liufau] has meant everything to us as far as turning it around. I also think Steven [Montez] is a really good player behind him. You have got to be deep at quarterback and you have got to have a lot of good ones, so that is a key ingredient. Even in Pop Warner football, you have to have a good quarter back to be able to win. I feel like both teams do, and hopefully our guy has the winning edge, so we’ll see.”


Ryan Moeller, Jr., DB

On the season so far:

“I think having a postseason was one of the most important aspects of what we wanted to achieve. I think the Pac-12 Championship was a great next step, because if we went to that game then we would be in a bowl game. I think as far as tendencies and setting your goals for the season, setting for the conference championship and then the bowl game after that.”

On expectations for next season:
“The momentum will be the biggest stronghold for the team. We have a lot of returning guys, but we’re losing a lot of guys too. Throughout this season, many different guys have been able to play in many different spots. They know what it’s going to be like, so those first game jitters will be out of the way. Coming back, everyone will be ready to go and aspirations will be high, and they should be.”
On the legacy of the this year’s team:
“I think we’re definitely anxious to leave a legacy, to leave the legacy we want to leave. We recognize the previous years that it’s unfortunate when you lose and when you can’t send seniors out right. Fortunately now, we have the opportunity to do it again. I think that’s definitely a big part of the legacy we want to leave.”
On Coach Tumpkin:
“I think repetition is the biggest thing he preaches. Just like the rest of the coaches preach knowledge equals confidence equals playing fast, if you can’t go out there and execute, that means you didn’t have the knowledge. That goes back on him and his job. He definitely reinforces that and gets his nose in there and makes sure you know what you’re doing. He’s not afraid to yell at you, and that’s a good thing because if he’s not yelling at you, then he doesn’t care. I definitely think all these coaches care about us a great deal. I don’t think there’s been much of a difference, and I think the rest of the team has rallied around it. When Coach Levitt being gone, that’s what happens, that’s football, that’s business. I think everyone has done a great job with the transition and doesn’t seem like it’s really affected anyone on the defense.”

Dec. 26, 2016 – Colorado Practice (#2)

Head Coach Mike MacIntyre, junior safety Afolabi Laguda, sophomore linebacker Rick Gamboa speaking after Colorado practice.


Head Coach Mike MacIntyre

On practice…

“We had good intensity, we flew around to the ball. I was excited the way the guys came to practice today, the weather was nice, the sun peaked out today, so I think that helped get the guys going also.”

On the change in weather…

“You know, a lot of people haven’t been to Boulder when it’s 45 degrees and the sun is on top of you, you’re sweating. It doesn’t feel like it does here because there is no humidity in the air. We practiced inside a couple days when there was snow and it was 72 degrees in there like it will be in the dome, so they had a good time today with it.”

On progression of the team…

“Yeah I am. They have been focused in meetings, focused and ready to go at practice. I hadn’t had to take out the Louisville Slugger and try to get them going, you know type thing. They really had a good practice.”

On Coach MacIntyre’s role with the safeties…

“Just having extra eyes in practice, Charles [Clark] handled all the meetings and everything. They did all the meetings together all season long anyway, and they split up a little bit. It’s gone well, I have just had my eyes out there a little bit more.”

On transition with Joe Tumpkin taking over the linebackers…

“Looks good! It looks good and it’s a relatively smooth situation. The linebackers know what they’re doing, we’ve been doing the same thing all year, and just trying to get used to what Oklahoma State would do, and just trying to hone in on that. It’s been good.”

On the amount of seniors on the roster and easy transition…

“I think so, but you know we have an experienced defense and they’ll do fine.”

On feeling healthy during the season and going into the game…

We do feel fairly healthy, but you feel that way then you’re 10 plays into the game and someone can tweak an ankle or something happens. I feel good about the guys we have going out there to play and I feel good about the back-ups. Just like we have all year, people stepped up just like they thought they weren’t going to play much and they stepped up and played well. We will definitely need that this bowl game. That’s going to happen.”

On the number one thing that worries you about Oklahoma State…

“Well, there is a bunch of things that worry me about Oklahoma State. I would say first of all their defense causes a lot of turnovers. They are very aggressive, they tackle real well, they are physical, so we have got to come with a physical state of mind on offense. We didn’t protect the ball very well in the Pac-12 Championship game. We have got to make sure that we protect the ball, but we still have got to throw it, compete, and make plays. We can’t run quarterbacks sneak every snap. Offensively they are extremely explosive. To me they are the most explosive offense, like Washington and USC with their skill guys. I think they are that good. They are very talented also.”

On significance of playing in a bowl game…

“Number one for CU it has been a long time. The last time CU won a bowl game was 2004. We are kind of starving so to speak. We need to go out there and play well and hopefully take the “W” just like Oklahoma State wants to. They have been to nine bowl games in a row, so our guys are extremely hungry about playing, and so is our fan base.”



Afolabi Laguda, Junior, Safety

On bowl practices…

“They have been cool. It is definitely different to get out to a new state and practice in a new facility, so it has been a good experience”

On Coach MacIntyre’s more hands on approach with the safeties…

“Coach Mac has a background in coaching DB’s, so he has definitely given us his words of wisdom. He has definitely given us some knowledge. Just how to practice like a pro, to be consistent every day. He is a good example of that. Coach Mac has definitely been on us about being consistent and not having a performance slump in a new state.”

On having an enjoyable bowl experience while remaining focused on the game…

“We are just here to win a game. The festivities that come with the bowl game are great, but our focus is to win the game and send the seniors out on a good note. I know what my priorities are, and I know the older guys on this team do as well.”

On reflection of the Pac-12 Championship game…

“It wasn’t a good way to go out on the regular season. It was bad because we had a long gap between the regular season and getting on the field again, but it keeps that fire in our belly, so, I think we will be ready to come out this Thursday. ”

On challenges the team will face due to Oklahoma State’s defense…

“They are definitely a great group of tight ends. Both of them are all conference performers, so, it just shows you what they can do. We just have to read our keys and trust what we have been doing all season.”

On significance of playing at the Valero Alamo Bowl…

“It’s huge. It is definitely making CU great again. That was our mission at the beginning of the season, so just to get that next bowl win is a big deal.”

On opinion of humidity, and the game being indoors…

“I am from the South myself, so, the humidity doesn’t bother me too much, but it is very humid. Takes us back to Hawaii last season.”


Rick Gamboa, Sopohomore, Linebacker

On the intensity of the team…

“There was a lot of intensity, and focus throughout practice. That is one of the main keys for us. There are a lot of things going on for us outside of practice. We come out here, want to stay focused and make sure we pay attention to what is going on.”

On balance of being in a different atmosphere and being able to stay focused…

“No, it hasn’t been too difficult. Off the field we are going to have fun and enjoy ourselves while we are out here, but once we get back onto the field, then we know its back to business. We have one goal for why we are here.”

On working with Joe Tumpkin…

“It has been fun. It is a little different from how Coach Leavitt was. Coach Tumpkin has been helping us a lot, especially this past couple of weeks with the couple of changes that we have been having. Overall, it has been good.”

On Tumpkin’s coaching style vs. Leavitt…

“Coach Leavitt was a little more hyper and more abrupt about things. Tumpkin would rather talk to you and make sure you understand what is going on. It’s just the little things that he has been helping us out with as a group.”

On if Coach Leavitt reached out to the team…

“He texted and called a few of us just to make sure we set a goal and the seniors go out the right way. That is still the same goal for us. He knows we will play hard and we just want to make sure that the seniors go out on a good note.”

On significance of playing at the Valero Alamo Bowl…

“I think it’s big. It is the first time any of us have really been at a bowl game. We all want to make sure the seniors go out on a right note and we want to make sure we give them the win. We want to restore the legacy as one of the best teams in Colorado history, and its just going to be a lot of fun for us to finally play in a bowl game. ”


Dec. 26, 2016 – Oklahoma State Defense Press Conference

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Glenn Spencer – Defensive Coordinator

Ramon Richards – Jr., CB

Vincent Taylor – Jr., DT

Jordan Sterns – Sr., FS

Tre Flowers – Jr., SS

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the Oklahoma State defensive press conference. It’s my pleasure to introduce Oklahoma State Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer.

GLENN SPENCER: Just in general, we had another good practice today. It’s special, I know, for all of these guys. It’s back home for them, but I want you to know we didn’t prop these guys up here just because they were from a few-mile radius of here. All these are great players for us and have been since they arrived in Stillwater, took a chance on us when we were down here recruiting them, and very proud of these guys, probably more for how they handle themselves off the field just as much as how they love to play defense and play with a passion on the field.

I’ll introduce them to the left and go all the way down the row. Vincent Taylor to my left. As you know, you just look at the stat sheet, he’s been very productive, good leader, very quiet young man, but he’s always handled himself great, and I’m just glad he’s had the recognition this year just because of a lot of production that he’s had. He’ll be the first one to tell you a lot of times his production comes off of other people doing their job, but he’s got the innate ability to snatch off a block and make plays with his arm. Very glad he’s up here with me and down here with us.

Next to him, Jordan Sterns from down here, another young man that I remember going in and recruiting him. Actually I was recruiting Ryan Simmons and there was a little sophomore running around the field just tagging people left and right, and the coach said, you’ll be back for him, and I said, he might be kind of small. He said, Coach, you’ll be back for him. Jordan has been an impact player since the day he came on campus with us, a very productive, great leader, probably one of the emotional backbone guys of our team and definitely of our unit. Definitely be sorry to see him go this year.

Next to him we’ve got Ramon, Ramon from down here in Brackenridge. Again, the day he got here and played as a freshman, threw him out here on the field and he has the great ability to mix a love of playing the game with competing. You just spend around two minutes around him and you can see that gleam in his eye, and he’s what you need out there. Those guys got a lot of pressure on them on the corner, and just from meeting him in high school, he’s an unbelievable, misdirection, make-you-miss kind of quarterback and a great track guy, tremendous academic young man, and he’s one that I was amazed when we came in here he wasn’t getting recruited real highly at the time. He’s been a great addition, a great productive player for us, and I’m glad that he’s going to be back around with us.

Last one down at the end, Tre Flowers, Slim. He is from Judson High School. I had all those still guys on the team in Madison that I didn’t know if I could get a Judson guy because they’re supposed to be rivals but I’m glad he took a chance on us. Tre is a very quiet young man and wants to be great. He loves football, has great length, which enables him to cover a lot of space, and great attitude.

All these young men have been a great reason we’ve had some success on our side of the ball causing turnovers and creating havoc and creating short fields for our offense. It’s nothing to do with Xs and Os, it has to do with the character of these young men and playing unselfish and them playing for the guy beside them. So I’m proud to be associated with them, and I’m glad they’re here to represent us.

Q. Glenn and Jordan, could you two talk about just the significance of the chance to win 10 games this year and sort of add to the run of really impressive seasons that this program has put together, what that means to you guys individually but also the program as a whole?
GLENN SPENCER: You know, it’s kind of — until the season is over, with me, it’s always been — I don’t like to reflect and I don’t like to kind of summarize things until it’s all said and done, because if we don’t do it, we’ll be sitting back and saying, why couldn’t we get 10. But without skirting your question, we’ve had a string of success around here, and I try to get these guys just to think about the next game, and maybe when their career is over, look back and kind of see the superlatives.

But yes, I mean, it’s — and because of these guys we’re in a position where that’s the expectation in Stillwater now. Maybe when those first guys were around, it wasn’t, just to be able to get to the Alamo Bowl was something special. Now that we’re here again, it’s my second time around, I don’t — yeah, these guys weren’t here the last time. That was ’10.

I guess we just love to do things right. We love to win the right way. I loved for these guys to leave our program knowing that they’ve gained a lot about life, about being a brother, about sacrifice, and then if you can win 10 games and win bowl games, that’s an awesome thing, too. So I don’t want to diminish that at all. But I just love the process to go through with these young men.


JORDAN STERNS: Yeah, like Coach was saying, just enjoying the process with your teammates. We work hard all off-season with winter conditioning with Coach Glass and then just to be able to go out there with your brothers and just have fun, you know, and enjoy the moment, enjoy each of these games, especially being my last game as a Cowboy, I’ve been taking in every last second with these guys up here and with the guys that aren’t in here, as well. But you know, it’s just fun to win games.

I think back to my sophomore year when I think we were 6-6 or whatever it was, and it’s not very fun, but at the end of the day, we came so far as a team and bonded so much that it’s fun to look back and just reminisce on those days that we were struggling.

Q. Glenn, now that you’ve had a chance to look at their running back Phillip Lindsay on tape, does he compare to someone that you’ve played in the Big 12, and what do you see as sort of his major strengths?
GLENN SPENCER: How about you guys? Baylor had Chafin that was good like that, slashy guy. Reminds me a lot of Justice, going against him in practice. I’ll tell you, he’s so tough for his size, people will bring pressure and he doesn’t give it a second thought putting his chin on the linebacker in pass pro. I know talking to Coach MacIntyre, they said he’s a really emotional leader for them, and you can see how he plays.

Boy, I’m trying to think of any other players that might be that slashy guy and can bust. He’s his own guy. We respect him a lot, and mostly I always tell these guys to respect authentic toughness, and I think he’s a real guy. I think he’s an authentic tough guy, and that’s why I respect him a lot, and they’ll be a great challenge to try to win this game.

Q. Glenn, obviously you’ve got your four guys from the San Antonio area who have been a big part of your defense. How much did the last Alamo Bowl trip influence these guys being here now, and just coming back, could there be a new wave of San Antonio players?
GLENN SPENCER: Yeah, I don’t know how old these guys were. Was that in ’10? I’m sure that you just ride from the airport to our hotel, and I see the billboard, so it’s all about branding, right, and it’s all about these guys. When Coach Spencer comes into their school, hopefully we’re not just another school. I think success breeds success. That didn’t hurt.

These high school coaches around here are very good coaches, but they’re also very protective of their kids, and when you get — even the guys before them, the Zach Craigs and Ryan Simmons and the Kris Catlins up there and you treat them right, right? You push them to get their degree and they live with a degree, and they leave with some substance besides just tackling right, and getting off blocks. Now, I think there’s a good word there. And these guys are a credit. These guys are continuing the exposure of us down here by their success, so when we come down here now, it’s not even like it was then. It was like, wow, Vince Taylor, Ramon, Tre, Jordan. That’s where these guys are balling at, and they’re having fun and they’re having success. So I think that’s just a textbook way to entrench yourself in an area, these kids doing right, these kids doing what they’re supposed to, these kids leaving Oklahoma State with a degree and handling themselves on and off the field that all of the Oklahoma State people are proud of.

Q. Along those lines, I’m asking this as you’re flanked by four guys from greater San Antonio, but Coach Gundy was saying Monday when you got here that he always thought this area was kind of under-recruited. Obviously I know Dallas and Houston has got more people, but what do you think of the talent pool here in San Antonio, and do you think it might be an under-recruited area?
GLENN SPENCER: It might be, and I hope it stays that way because I’ll take these guys every year. It’s funny, I told a story the other day when I first got to Oklahoma State nine, 10 years ago, I’m the new guy on the block, I’m from the East Coast. I’ve very rarely been across the Mississippi River. They threw me down here I think because there would be players — that Houston area, that DFW area, that East Texas, but it took a couple years. Now I think it’s getting recruited a lot more now, and these four guys to my left are the reason why. They’re saying, geez, these guys from San Antonio are beating our tail every year. Last time I checked, our record against Texas schools was pretty stout, and I think they’re all getting smart, which is bad for me, bad for us. But it’s these guys that have — they made the reputation.

Q. Vincent, last year in the bowl game you were kind of the hometown guy, you had that New Orleans connection from back before Katrina. Now you kind of get to relive that. What was your reaction to finding out you get to do it two years in a row?
VINCENT TAYLOR: Well, one of the things my dad always mentioned to me is it’s just a sign from God. He took me back home last year to play in the Superdome for the Sugar Bowl, and now he’s taking me back home this year to my second home to play in the Alamo Bowl. It’s a great experience I get to share with these guys and my teammates and my coaches, and I’m looking forward to it.

Q. Ramon and Tre, if you guys could just talk about coming back out on the field after the Bedlam game. You guys had played 11 pretty solid game and then the big plays, for the secondary to come out and have a chance to get a little redemption, is that something y’all have talked about, and how much is that part of the psyche heading into this game?
RAMON RICHARDS: The big thing that Coach Spencer and Coach Gundy stresses, we learn from the past but we never really look back at the previous games. So we learn from our mistakes, we correct what we didn’t do right the first time, and we just move forward. We don’t need any losses to fuel us. We’re the type of guys that come out there and we create our own field and our own motivation. We don’t need to create fuel on a kind of rivalry. We’ve been grinding the last couple weeks. I think we’re ready to go ahead and get a W.

TRE FLOWERS: Just to piggyback off that, that’s what we reached off the secondary, just having the DB mindset, just having a short-term memory. That’s one thing we’ve got to get over, and there’s big plays to be made on Thursday.

Q. Tre, what do you see as the biggest challenges that Colorado’s offense is going to present for you guys as a defense?
TRE FLOWERS: Just it’s kind of a different style, but in the same, they play like a Big 12 offense. They do tempo stuff and they’re real physical, so that’s always a challenge to us. We always want to be the most physical team on the field, and we’ve just got to make plays.

Q. Jordan, you recalled what year you were in the last time OSU was in the Alamo Bowl. Do you recall seeing the name brand or do you recall that game when it was played down here?
JORDAN STERNS: Honestly, no. I’m just being honest. But I’ve always liked Oklahoma State for some reason just growing up because of the colors and then just different things. I used to be a running back. I used to like Barry Sanders. When Oklahoma State offered me, I thought — I mean, I was really excited. I remember calling my mom and just being pretty emotional about it. I mean, it was a pretty easy decision. They’ve been winning games ever since Coach Gundy got here, and the year they offered me they just won the Fiesta Bowl. It was a no-brainer for me.

Q. Ramon, you played quarterback in high school; how have you transferred those skills, that skill set to playing defensive back at a college level?
RAMON RICHARDS: I kind of use it — I see a lot of things, try to anticipate a lot. Sometimes it gets the best of me, but at the same time some big plays come out of that. Playing quarterback back in high school, that’s when I started to expose my leadership skills and abilities, and then when I got here to Oklahoma State, my role kind of progressed as a leader in the secondary and then it was starting to progress as a leader on the defense. But a lot of them skill sets, just kind of anticipating what the offense is thinking, what the quarterback sees, so I can anticipate what kind of routes are coming my way.

Q. Ramon, I know you’re a Brackenridge graduate. Do you take that with you and does that kind of motivate you, especially early on in your career, the fact that you’re one of just a few?
RAMON RICHARDS: Yes, sir. That’s something that we talk about a lot, I talk about with my friends back home from San Antonio. I think before me, as far as Brackenridge goes, Sam Hurd was probably the only person to come out of Brackenridge, just the area, the inner city of San Antonio. Not a lot of people come out of there so when I got my offer, it was really a big thing just for the area, and my friends back home. I still talk to them. And my family, they know I’m not doing this for myself. I’ve got a lot of people that I’m carrying with me. I do this first of all for God. I’ve got to give him all the glory, but at the same time I do this for the guys that don’t get the opportunity because it doesn’t come often.

Q. Ramon, back in July is when Mike Gundy mullet mania began and here we are six months later and that thing is still flowing. Are you surprised it’s gone on this long and will you suggest he cut it at any point?
RAMON RICHARDS: Him wearing a mullet? I’m not going to say nothing. But if we continue to have success, if he has the mullet, let him keep the mullet. Coach Smith might be next. I might get me a mull let.

Q. Glenn, Ramon was talking himself about his growth as a player. He’s always been a vocal guy since his freshman year, but how have you seen him mature this season taking on the starting role?
GLENN SPENCER: Well, I mean, I never want to quell a young man’s personality, and you’re right, you spend a few minutes with Ramon and you’re attracted to him. That’s just him, that’s going to take him a long way in life. You just try to keep it channeled, and I think it’s the older guys. I’m sure he’ll tell you, the Gilberts and the Petersons and the guys those who came in front of him, Brodrick Brown, Perrish Cox, he wasn’t around then I don’t think, but anyway, there’s a culture, I think, that we have there, and so it’s their personality, and then over time it gets intertwined with what we as a group believe in and what we stand for and what we stand against while we play the game, so it just kind of melds together. And he has done that. He’s to the point now, I think, where when he gets corrected on something, he knows why, and it’s not like I’ve just got to make this grand play every snap, I’ve got to do my job first, and then as I do that, I’m going to do what’s best for the team, and if I do it like I’m supposed to in my role, I’m going to end up making some good plays, big plays, too, like Vince has this year.

I think it just melds together over time, and it’s more of the culture that these guys set. They know I don’t have to get ticked off too many times, they’ll know it, and they try to police everything before I reach a boiling point in some areas. So the expectations are there, and he has grasped a hold of that, and now he’s got those young corners around him now, so the roles get reversed through time.

I think they’re going to start picking up the dos and the don’ts and the expectations from Ramon.

Dec. 26, 2016 – Colorado Offense Press Conference

Colorado Buffaloes

Darrin Chiaverini – Co-Offensive Coordinator

Brian Lindgren – Co-Offensive Coordinator

Jeromy Irwin – Jr., OL

Phillip Lindsay – Jr., RB

Sefo Liufau – Sr., QB

Devin Ross – Jr., WR

Shay Fields – Jr., WR

THE MODERATOR: It’s my pleasure to introduce the co-offensive coordinators Darrin Chiaverini and Brian Lindgren.

DARRIN CHIAVERINI: It’s great to be here in San Antonio. Obviously this is a big-time bowl for us and our football team. Just excited to be down here and be part of such a great tradition.

Q. Jeremy, when you look back to last season and suffering the ACL tear and getting back to where you are here, how much more satisfying is it to be in this position back home after having gone through all that?
JEROMY IRWIN: Oh, it’s very satisfying even just making the postseason since we haven’t done that in a while here and especially recovering from that injury. You know, being off the field isn’t really fun obviously. So being able to come back on the field and being able to contribute to a very successful year at the Alamo Bowl is very gratifying for us, my teammates.

Q. Darrin, spending a couple years in the Big 12 with Texas Tech, what did you learn about this OSU team and their reputation?
DARRIN CHIAVERINI: We’re going to play a very, very talented football team, well-coached, speed on offense and defense and special teams. I was always impressed with the job that Coach Gundy and their staff does in all phases. Defensively they’re going to give you multiple looks. They’ll play a three-down, a four-down, bring zone pressures and also play some man. We have our work cut out for us. Definitely proud of these guys, just to see their development throughout the year and what we were able to accomplish as an offense and as a football team, really, really proud of this group. Obviously Coach Lindgren and I working together for the first time was also a lot of fun working with him. We did some really good things this year and want to keep working hard to put on a great show for San Antonio and for Buff nation.

Q. Brian, can you talk about the development of Sefo Liufau, your quarterback, from when you first got him under your wing and how he’s developed since then?
BRIAN LINDGREN: Yeah, you know, he was kind of thrown into the fire there his freshman year, and I think it was maybe the fifth game against Arizona State, we were going to try to redshirt him as long as we could in that year, and our starter was struggling in that game, and we said, you know what, we’re going to throw him in there, and it was Todd Graham was bringing blitzes from everywhere in that game, and we were struggling up front, and he went in there and first drive led us down for a touchdown against those guys, which was pretty impressive.

Very excited about the way that he’s developed. It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch it and be involved with him. He’s just an impressive person, and he’s faced a lot of adversity in his time at, Colorado from injuries that he had to overcome this past off-season to just kind of the ups and downs and kind of going through building a program. We were very young when we started out with a lot of these seniors and guys that have been here, and they’ve taken a lot of lumps, and he took a lot of heat as a quarterback during those tough times, and just to see him and how he handled it and to stick with the process and keep working hard, it’s been a real pleasure to see him kind of break through this year and get us to where we’re at today.

Q. Phillip, from what I understand you have two cousins who actually played at Oklahoma State. What was your family’s reaction when you found out that’s who you guys were playing in the bowl game this year?
PHILLIP LINDSAY: I mean, both my cousins did play for Oklahoma State at quarterback. Both of them were excited to hear that I was going to be in the Alamo Bowl. Actually my cousin the quarterback actually did play his first bowl game in the Alamo Bowl versus Purdue I want to say. It was exciting to hear that and be able to joke around with them and everything else, and they will be attending the game, so it’s exciting.

Q. Sefo, can you speak to Jeremy’s performance kind of protecting you this year, and having kind of gone through that same off-season recovering that he did, what’s just your sense of him coming back and working to protect you?
SEFO LIUFAU: Yeah, he’s done a very good job of rehabbing and getting himself into the position that he needs to be so that he can play at his best this year. I was hurt around the same time he was, and just to see all the hard work that he put in and seeing him stay over breaks and not go home just so he could have the opportunity to play on the field was a great feeling for me just to know that he wanted to be back as bad as I did. He’s played very well this year. I always joke with him, he’s one of my good friends on the team, and so I’m just happy, and I think he deserves everything that he’s gotten this year.

Q. Phillip, Tony was your head coach, correct, in high school?
PHILLIP LINDSAY: Yeah, my uncle was my head coach back in high school, and then it’s his son, so that’s my cousin. It’s Tony Jr. that you guys are talking about. He was also a coach. He was the offensive coordinator back in high school.

Q. Tell me what kind of coach he was.
PHILLIP LINDSAY: Quiet, kind of reminds my of Coach Lindgren actually. Quiet, kind of lets everybody do their thing, and let’s just play ball.

Q. I don’t know if Darrin or Brian wants to address this, but Oklahoma State’s defensive line is a real strength for them. What have you seen out of their fronts, and specifically Vincent Taylor is a guy that has kind of made a name for himself at a position that you don’t actually have a lot of names, but the overall defensive line and specific what have you seen out of those guys?
DARRIN CHIAVERINI: They’re very active. You’re going to get a lot of twists, a lot of stunts. They’re going to play some Okie, play some four-down. They do a really, really good job of getting to the quarterback, and what I’ve noticed, they do a really good job of creating turnovers and that’s been a strength of their defense, something we’ve got to obviously avoid as an offense, but they’re impressive what they do, not only on their defensive front but also on the back end. Their safeties are talented. We have our work cut out for us and we’re excited to play. Obviously the last time we played we weren’t at our best, and we want an opportunity to get back out there and show what we’re about.

Q. Devin, for the receiving corps, the conference you guys play in is very pass happy, throw the ball a lot. How have you guys been able to stand out?
DEVIN ROSS: Maybe it came from the off-season. That’s where it started. When Coach Chiav came in and Brian and him came together to get the game plans together and practicing every day, just getting the raw concepts and the connections with the quarterbacks and us. It’s just a process, and we just represented and showed it in the season throughout, and I’m proud of our success and I feel like we can get even better for this game and for next season, also.

Q. Brian, how do you evaluate just how your offensive line and the experience that it’s had this year, how that consistency has sort of helped you guys to get to where you are?
BRIAN LINDGREN: It’s been huge, and I think that Klayton Adams, our offensive line coach, this is his first year working with those guys, he does a tremendous job of getting that group together. But for the most part, we’ve been able to stay healthy the whole year, and in the past, a year ago, that had kind of hurt us, and I think it’s really important when you can stay healthy for most of the season, and those guys get used to playing with each other.

But those guys have gone up against some pretty good defensive fronts and have held their own. I’ve been really proud of the way they’ve competed week in and week out, and I felt like we got a lot better as the season went on, and like I said, Coach Adams has done a good job with that, and we’ve had some leadership from some of the older guys, Jeromy Irwin, Alex Kelley, that has helped, as well.

Q. Coach Chiaverini, Devin was asked about being in a pass-happy conference and how did their receiving corps stick out in a pass-happy conference. That’s all you lived in. How would you compare? I know you’re not going against Oklahoma State’s offense, but how would you compare the offenses in the Big 12 that you worked in in that league and the Pac-12?
DARRIN CHIAVERINI: Yeah, you’ll see a lot of similarities with concepts and schemes. I think the one thing that you see in both conferences is you see elite quarterback play, and that’s what makes teams go. In college football you notice the teams that are throwing for a lot of yards and scoring a lot of points like Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, those schools, Oklahoma, they have very good quarterback play and they also have very talented receiving corps. So this year for us and our progression and how we progressed throughout the year, Sefo had an unbelievable year, but also what we were able to do with him is open up the run game for him, too. So you’re able to get some six-man boxes, get some five-man boxes, and then when they want to play man, we’ve been able to hurt some people with Devin and Shay and Bryce Bobo and also getting Phillip Lindsay going has been huge for us. So to answer your question, I think you see a lot of similarities because of quarterback play and also open concepts where you are playing three, four-receiver sets, and that’s a lot of similarities that I see.

Q. Sefo, your head coach has won about every Coach of the Year honors that there are this year. What do you value most about his mentorship and leadership in this program?
SEFO LIUFAU: I think the biggest thing for me and probably most of the other guys is how much he actually puts into the program. A lot of people on the outside won’t really see it, but just to know that he gives everything to us to make sure that we’re successful, it really means a lot for us, and we know that he’ll go to bat for us, and that’s something that’s really appreciated by the guys and myself.

Q. Sefo, what was your initial thoughts when you knew you were going to have co-offensive coordinators this year, and how do you feel like that dynamic has worked out this year?
SEFO LIUFAU: I didn’t know what to think at first. I’ve never really heard of a co-offensive coordinator kind of system. But throughout the year and throughout — as the year progressed, it’s been wonderful. I think the cliché of saying two minds are better than one or however it goes, it’s been great. Each one has their own strengths and weaknesses, and they’ve both helped me grow a lot as a quarterback. They’ve helped this offense grow tremendously and allowed us to do a lot of positive things this year. It’s been nothing but great things. Coach Lindgren, I’ve been with him for four years now, and he’s always on me in a quiet way, always letting me know. And then Coach Chiav is kind of a little more outgoing with fire. He’ll let you know you messed up when it happens and so it’s been great overall just to have both of them back there helping run the offense.

Q. Shay, can you talk about your development specifically, your game this year and how you think you might have gotten better and what you improved over years past?
SHAY FIELDS: I mean, I would say I’ve come a long road, leadership wise, skill wise, talent wise, kind of like the speed drills we kind of did over the off-season, the cone work, the hands, getting on the jugs, it all made me a better player that I am today. It just comes with the hard work that we all put in, especially since I knew I had some weaknesses so I asked some of the other players what can I do, other drills and stuff, and it all comes as a team effort.

Q. Brian, you guys played in the Pac-12 Championship, now you’re in a premier bowl game. Colorado hasn’t played in these level of competitions in a long time it feels like. How has that really impacted the recruiting trail for you as coaches?
BRIAN LINDGREN: It’s been — he’s going to speak to this year as the director of recruiting — director? Recruiting coordinator. It’s all these titles now. It’s been unbelievable. You know, just being able to play, I think, the last three or four games of the year we were playing nationally televised on Fox national, and that’s been huge, just for people to be able to — kids to be able to see us play on that stage, and then also I think the excitement that winning created around Boulder as far as our home crowds, and I think those last two against Washington State and Utah were great crowds at Folsom. It was packed, it was loud and people were standing the entire game and it was just a really live environment, and recruits were able to see that. It’s really helped a lot, and then the building of that new facility has helped a little bit for us, as well.

DARRIN CHIAVERINI: You know, obviously my background playing at Colorado and being on some bowl championship teams, this is where Colorado is supposed to be. This is where we’re supposed to be. You know, winning I think it lit a fire not only from our alumni and people that follow the program, but kids that we’re recruiting or the kids that are committed to our class, they didn’t get a chance to see Colorado like I did growing up. So it’s been great not only for recruiting, for our players, for everybody around the program, but in my mind, this is long overdue. This is where we’re supposed to be. We’re supposed to be in the national spotlight. We’re supposed to be on national television, and it’s been — I take it very personal because being a Buff and someone who wore the Black and Gold and someone that sung that fight song hundreds of times in those locker rooms, I think it’s where we’re supposed to be, and I can’t really express it in the words that I want to, but when you talk to kids and you see them talk about CU football and you see people wearing the logo and wearing the brand, it’s special, and it’s just the beginning for us. We’re heading the right direction.

Q. Sefo, your opposing head coach Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State is a former quarterback, and he’s kind of hard when he describes quarterbacks, and one of the ingredients in a great quarterback that he especially likes to see is toughness, and he’s complimented you several times before they got to San Antonio about what kind of tough player he thinks you are. Talk about that aspect of your game, and also getting a compliment from an opposing head coach on your toughness.
SEFO LIUFAU: I think I got my toughness from my dad and him being in the military, and I think starting in third grade I went and I was with the unit all the time doing PT, which is just working out in the morning. I was never allowed to complain really or say anything, so it helped me really mature very quickly, and to be able to get a compliment like that from the opposing coach is just an honor.

It’s just a blessing to be able to receive that honor, and yeah, we’ll just try and display that toughness again when we play Oklahoma State.

Dec. 25, 2016 – Colorado Practice

Colorado Practice: Head Coach Mike MacIntyre, senior tight end Sean Irwin and sophomore corner Isaiah Oliver.


Head Coach Mike MacIntyre

How does it feel to be in San Antonio?

“It’s great. Our kids had an excellent practice today. The facilities at UIW are superb, we got everything we need so it was a good day.”

Is it hard to practice on Christmas Day?

“You’ve got to be a good guy, you’ve got to know how to compartmentalize. Its what guys can do, I tell the to compartmentalize. Enjoy their time, but when we get ready for meetings and football practice they’ve got to be focused and locked in to be physical or we wont have a good game so today they did that and they’ve been doing that the whole practice time.”

Are you treating this like just another week?

“Yeah, we really kind of had our Tuesday yesterday, we were full pads there. Had a longer practice today, we’re in shells so its kind of a Tuesday/Wendesday.”

How did practice go?
“I thought it went well, they were focused, they’ve been moving around. I thought we had an excellent practice. The other days when we were back at home we took about 45 minutes afterward to practice with the younger guys, we’re not doing that now cause we’re cut for time. But everyone practiced real well.”

Is the team over the Washington loss?

“I hope not all the way. I hope they still have a little bit of that in their gut. Because I imagine that Oklahoma State has a little bit of their Oklahoma game in their gut. You want to get over parts of it, but you also want to realize you want to kind of get that taste out of your mouth so to speak.”


Sean Irwin, Senior, Tight End

Do you have any Christmas traditions that you had to adapt to being on the road?

“Just seeing my brother John who’s in the military, so yeah just not there at home.”


A little unique practicing on Christmas Day?

“It’s definitely better though than practicing in 39 degree weather.”


How was practice today?

“It was great, it was a smooth practice you know, we got our core work in out in Boulder but we are getting everything put together and it’s going smooth.”


On coming back from the loss to Washington:

“I mean that was a pretty bad loss for us so we just want to carry that into the bowl game so come in there physical and ready to hit some people in the mouth.”


What has been the biggest difference for you guys this year?

“This summer you know we had a lot of conditioning and stuff and just putting people to the test and kicking people out and just figuring out who wants to be on board and if you weren’t on board you were either getting kicked out or jumping on board so a lot of team bonding and a lot of hardship.”


What is the one thing that you would want the fans to know about the Colorado football team this year?

“This just didn’t happen after night. I went through a lot of these losses to get to these wins, so yeah there is a lot of history behind it.”


How good does it feel to get all these wins finally?

“It feels great man, it hasn’t hit me yet.”


Isaiah Oliver, Sophomore, Corner

Practice today, how did practice go from your perspective?

“Practice went well we were focused, ready to play, and something that Coach Mac stressed all week before we got out here is that when we come out here all of these activities that we do, it’s easy to lose focus, but I felt like we came out here as a team focused.”


Is it better to practice in beautiful seventy degree weather as opposed to 39 degree weather back home?

“Yes most definitely. The weather is really nice out here right now compared to Boulder where it’s like  snowy every other day so I mean that was a lot of fun for the guys.”


What’s been the biggest difference for you guys this year? 

“Most of the credit just goes to the seniors, and their leadership that they brought on to this team. After going through what they went through for 3 years of having losing seasons I mean they were really ready to work and  ready to lead the young guys like myself to have a winning year so I mean I credit them for everything.”


What can fans expect to see when y’all take the field this Thursday?

“I mean what we’ve done all year is we just play fast and tough and that’s just really what we set out to do every time, and how we set up on the field, it’s something we haven’t done the past three years, but it’s something we’ve gotten a lot better at this year and something that we have done every game. So for someone who hasn’t really seen us play that’s just basically what we do, and you’re going to see us go 110 percent every single play.”


What do you know about Oklahoma State and what are going to be some of the keys to getting a victory on Thursday?

“They are a really good football team and they have a really great offense that is really prolific and that can throw the ball around and everything like that and score a lot of points so we really want our defense to come out and play a really good ball game and really stop them.”


What team did y’all play in the Pac-12 that would remind you of them, or is everyone in the Pac-12 kind of like that?

“Most similar would be Washington State just because of how much they throw the ball and I mean we played a good game against them so just really trying to get back in that mindset and get ready for Thursday.”


Best Christmas gift you ever got?

“I don’t know, I’d probably say a car. I did get a car for Christmas a couple of years ago, yup.”


Dec. 24, 2016 – Colorado Team Arrival

Colorado Team Arrival interviews with Head Coach Mike MacIntyre and senior quarterback Sefo Liufau. 

Head Coach Mike MacIntyre:

What was your first reaction on finding out you were coming to the Valero Alamo Bowl?

“We are excited about coming to the Alamo Bowl. When I was coaching at the the Dallas Cowboys with Bill Parcells, we had our training camp here. We are excited to be in San Antonio playing in a great bowl game.  Last year’s game was unbelievable with TCU and Oregon so our guys are excited about being here.”

 Now that you are in San Antonio, does it feel like a bowl game?

“When we pulled up, I told my wife we are at a bowl game which is exciting for Colorado Buff Nation and for us of course. Getting here is great for these young men to experience this. They worked so hard to be able to enjoy it. Then have a great game.”

Does being in San Antonio for Christmas present any challenges?

“It does, but then they have a long break afterward. We’ll start a week later than we did last year so they will have a good 20 days after the bowl game is over to get home and relax.”  

What’s been the biggest key to this year’s success?

“Number one, we have a lot of good football players. But we have a great fortitude in our team, great character, they have been through a lot.  We say they don’t blink anymore and I think they earned the right to enjoy what’s going on this season. Our seniors have built a legacy for this program and this is a great way for them to go out and play in the Alamo Bowl.”

Sefo Liufau, Senior, Quarterback:

What was your first reaction on finding out you were coming to the Valero Alamo Bowl?

“I was very excited, just the fact of being in a bowl game again and being in a very big bowl game. In the Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma State is very exciting. Its gonna be a great game, just overall ready to get going.”

On the team’s turnaround this season:

“The amount of success really comes from the chemistry we built with the team, over the Summer a lot of guys took some criticism and being able to perform after that I think in the past it was really tough for us to give each other criticism and be able to perform after. So, just building the team chemistry and playing for each other that was a big thing for us.”

Keys to victory over Oklahoma State?

“Definitely take care of the football, thats a big key especially on my part. I didn’t have the best game going out last time, after that I just think putting up points. I don’t really study their offense because thats not what I’m going against, but from what I can tell they can score some points. So, I think its important for us to score some points in this game.”

Explain “The Rise”:

“It’s a big slogan around there right now, everyones making t-shirts about it, everyones talking about it. I just think its: turn the program back around and for the seniors who have built a good foundation for years to come, my hope is that this is just the start of something special and they only go up from here.”

How has bowl prep gone?

“Very well. We even practiced today before we got on the flight, it went very well I cant complain the guys are putting in a lot of hard work. The fact that we’ve never been in this situation before and the amount of good practices we’ve put in I’m very exited for this week.”

What do you make of the San Antonio welcome party?

“A lot of hoopla, a lot of people and fans welcoming us in. Its just a great feeling to finally be able to make it to something like this.”

Excited to finally be in San Antonio?

“Definitely. We’ve been kind of in hiding these past couple weeks. So to finally be here and to finally get closer to the game I think thats the biggest thing. Just being able to experience and be a part of this with my teammates and finally make a bowl game its really special to me.”

Dec. 24, 2016 – Oklahoma State Practice (#2)

Oklahoma State Head Coach Mike Gundy

On your first night in San Antonio:

“We had a great night last night. We had a little get together at the hotel with some Oakley sunglasses, so that was a lot of fun. The players were able to experience the River Walk in San Antonio, so we’re looking forward to a good work out today then they’ll have quite a bit of free time once we finish up around three o’clock.”

What was your assessment of the first practice?

“We had a good practice, it’s always a concern when they’re home for two and a half days to get them re-focused. We have a fairly mature team and we have enough guys that have played in bowl games that understand the importance of us being here for this hour and 45 minutes. So, I was pleased as were the assistant coaches.”

On players being away from family during the Holiday:

“They have each other. They spend more time with each other and the team than they do with their families. So that really fills in. Most of them won’t have family here, the local guys will be able to get away and be with their families which is awesome. We sent them home for two days prior to arriving here, for that reason. To have their Christmas and be with their families. They have each other so that’s really what they’ll use as family while they’re here in San Antonio.”

Number one on your Christmas list?

“To get them all here on time, and to keep them all healthy until we get to the game.”


Jordan Burton, Senior, Linebacker

What was your assessment of the first practice?

“I think it went well. Pretty much similar to the practices we’ve been having in Stillwater. Pretty productive, got a lot of good things done.”

On preparing for a game during the Holidays:

“In the game that we play, at this level we kind of learn to block things like that out. Just get the job done how we see fit. We’re like brothers, its like a family anyways. We probably spend way more time with each other than we do with our actual families. We’re with each other nine or ten months out of the year.”

Best gift you ever received?

“Lite Bright when I was little. Might be showing my age a little.”


Chris Lacy, Junior, Wide Receiver

What was your assessment of the first practice?

“Guys out here, fired up, we’re ready for the game. Just getting the game plan together and just getting ready.”

On Colorado:

“Their DB’s are really good, so us receivers are going to have to really be on our game to be able to make plays against them. Their defense is really good.”

Is it hard to practice on Christmas Eve?

“I actually forgot it was Christmas Eve, someone said it was Christmas Eve earlier and I didn’t even know. So its not really that bad. These are my brothers, besides my family I wouldn’t want to be with anybody else. It’s great being around all these guys,”

Best gift you ever received?

“Probably when I first got my PS3, back when PS3’s were hot.”

Dec. 23, 2016 – Oklahoma State Practice

Oklahoma State practice: junior safety Tre Flowers (Judson High School), junior defensive tackle Vincent Taylor (Madison High School) and senior wide receiver Austin Hays (Reagan High School).

Junior Safety Tre Flowers:

Describe the feeling when you found out you’d be coming home to play in San Antonio?

“It was good. The first thing was getting everybody their tickets. My final number was 18, I’m grateful for that. I send everyone else to my mom now.”

What does it mean to play in San Antonio?

“It’s great, my friends are all home from their bowl games, and they’re all home for Christmas break. My families here, and it’s a great feeling knowing they’re gonna see me play finally. I cant wait.”

Is there more pressure playing at home?

“No, it’s business as usual. Its harder to play in front of people you don’t know. I know my families going to be proud no matter what.”

On Jordan Sterns’ impact on the team:

“He’s left a tremendous impact. How he goes to work every day. I think he’s what they call the “Cowboy way” you want people like Sterns, you want to surround yourself with people like that all the time. He’s a great person to be around.”

On Colorado:

“They’re really physical, they run the ball pretty well and they got a deep ball. Their quarterback’s real physical. It’s all about stopping the run, and making plays.”


Junior Defensive Tackle Vincent Taylor:

On coming home to San Antonio:

“It was great, last year I went home to the sugar bowl, now I’m coming to my second home. To be out here is a pleasure, to be out here with my teammates, we’re excited. I’m looking forward to all my family coming.”

On having four teammates from San Antonio:

“It just goes to show you how Oklahoma State is recruiting, they recruit big in San Antonio and other Texas areas. So having these guys that you’re close with on the team, now to come back home to play with them is awesome.”

Game plan for Colorado:

“Really just go out there and cherish the moment, have fun. Execute the plays and win your one-on-one battles and do what the coaches ask you to do.”


Senior Wide Receiver Austin Hays

Reaction to finding out you were heading to the Valero Alamo Bowl:

“It was awesome. Really could not believe it, I mean before the season started I couldn’t draw a storybook ending like this. Just the amount of people, my whole family is here, all my friends are here and after five years of being at Oklahoma State and being at good bowl games, just being able to come back to San Antonio, the people are always so nice and the hospitality has been great so far. I’m just so happy to be here. Its special.”

Is there more pressure to perform in front of family and friends?

“I think it’s the other way. I think it kind of takes pressure off, makes you feel like you’re at home. This is where we used to play our YMCA football games at Alamo Heights, being around the area and all the nice people and friends and family – I think it takes pressure off.”

How do you rate your season so far?

“Good. My past three years I haven’t been healthy the whole time, so for me to stay healthy the whole year and contribute when I can has been a great ride. I think because I’ve stayed healthy, I view it as a success.”

Keys to victory?

“Don’t turn the ball over. Play four quarters. We’re so happy to be here. Colorado is a great team, we have so much to play for. Top 10 team in the country. For the guys coming back next year, it’d be a great way to start the year.”

Dec. 23, 2016 – Oklahoma State Team Arrival

Valero Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State Team Arrival Interviews with Head Coach Mike Gundy, Junior Corner Ramon Richards (Brackenridge HS) and Senior Safety Jordan Sterns (Steele HS).


Head Coach Mike Gundy:

On recruiting student-athletes from San Antonio:

“About five or six years ago we felt like there was quite a few players in this area that were somewhat under recruited. We jumped in and have had tremendous success. And when I’ve looked at the impact that the young men that are from the San Antonio area have made on our team, I was a little surprised myself. I guess I haven’t paid as close of attention to where they were all from, but there’s been a tremendous impact on our team. Not only this year, but for the last five years from San Antonio players.”

Is San Antonio under-recruited?

“We think so. There’s so much hype around Houston and Dallas, and in general the state of Texas, you’re talking about 350 Division 1 players a year on average. It’s a little more remote when you get outside of San Antonio you’ve got to drive around a little bit to find some guys. But we feel it’s been somewhat under recruited the last six or eight years.”

Is it nice when you have that many players who can point you in the right direction in San Antonio?

“They know where to go, I’ve heard them talking to the players. The age we live in with social media we can get instant information. Of course I’ve got three boys, two are 12 and 15 so they’re pretty good at working those phones. We’ve been here a number of times not only in bowl games, but this has been a vacation site for my family and ever since I’ve been a little kid. So, we know a lot about San Antonio, we have our favorite places to eat at.”

How do you rate San Antonio as a bowl city?

“San Antonio has a great location for a bowl, because they have the city and the River Walk. The hotels are awesome, the players can walk and get to places for them to have entertainment, same thing with the families, the children, it’s just a great place. And we have a terrific place to play a game, we know were playing in an awesome environment, its going to be 72 degrees so we’re looking forward to playing the game in the Dome.”

On the attitude of the players coming into Bowl Week:

“I like our attitude. You know what’s interesting, both teams played in the conference championship game, and I’m sure they wanted to win just as much as we did. And you go through a week or so after you lose what would be a conference championship game, to get the guys back up and going. Our first couple practices, as I shared with local media back home were pretty average, but since that point the leadership and the chemistry of the team has taken over and they’ve been tremendous.”

On balancing a business trip while having some fun:

“It’s not difficult, but what we’ve always done is the first couple days we’ll work out and practice but they’re on their own. We give them a time that we think they should be in at night, but were not going to check them, that’s their responsibility, they’re big boys that need to learn to take care of themselves. As we get closer to the game, our curfews run right up until 11 o’clock and we kind of corral them in. But they’ve earned this, there’s 365 days of hard work and this is a great opportunity, and it should be one of the best weeks of their life as a college football player. To be here, and be part of a team, and be in a bowl setting. So, we want them to enjoy the experience, and then as we get closer to the bowl we’ll kind of bring them in.”

What do you make of some student-athletes skipping their bowl games?

“That’s a great question and I know someone was going to bring that up. I can only go on my history, and I would have never bypassed a bowl game to miss one more opportunity to play with my teammates. Everybody is different, I was not a first round pick, so I can’t speak for others but at some point it looks like this is going to increase and this is going to grow, I think it’s sad from the standpoint that you’re only in college once. We all know that when we’re in college we don’t realize it’s the time of our life, we get out and we’re in a hurry, we’re in a rush, if you get married you have kids and things start to really move fast. So, I would always encourage the young people to enjoy the college life. The NFL, again I have not been in it, but I know people who are, is definitely a business, and college is so much more about the spirit and love for the game. So, not that I would say that I’m against it, I would just say that in my opinion when I was in college there’s no way I would have missed an opportunity to be in a bowl game.”

What do you make of the focus of the Top 4 teams and the College Football Playoff?

“We all want to be in the playoffs. But, if you fall short and get to come to the Alamo Bowl – are you kidding me? You’re talking about a big time bowl, a #10 team vs. a #12 team in a dome, to be in San Antonio for a week. For me, I’ve been in college football since 1986 and I don’t think the bowls have lost any luster based on the CFP playoff system, in my opinion.”


Junior Corner Ramon Richards:

On being home in San Antonio:

“It feels good to be back home. I ran into a lot of friends when I was downtown last night, and it feels good to be back in San Antonio. I got back two days ago. The city is exciting, and there’s people who might even see me in my Oklahoma State gear, and they’re excited to go to the Alamo Bowl. This city is a big sports city, they love the Spurs, they love whatever sports are played here, so they’re excited for the Alamo Bowl.”

On playing Colorado:

“Colorado’s a good team. I’m excited to play against them. They have some good receivers, and that will be a good challenge for us. They have a quarterback who can make the wheels turn, a running back who can make guys miss, and I heard they have a great defense. I’m excited to play against them.”

What was your reaction when you found out you were going to the Valero Alamo Bowl?

“I started texting people. After the game we lost, you obviously don’t want to lose, but at the end of the day there’s always another game and we heard we get to come down here to San Antonio and it’s always exciting to play in front of family and friends.”

On your season so far:

“I think I’ve matured throughout the season. I think I’ve had more fun as the season progressed. I’ve had my ups and downs, like any other player would, but at the end of the day I think I’ve continued to get better and continue to mature. I feel like this game is a great game to show who we are and set us up for next season. I’m proud of my progression and my maturity as I’ve grown throughout the year.”

On San Antonio being an under-recruited area:

“I believe that San Antonio has a lot of athletes that I feel are overlooked, guys such as myself and Jordan Sterns and Tre Flowers who will have an opportunity to go the next level. I feel like there are a lot of guys in this city that can play at the next level. There are guys that I graduated with and guys that I’ve played with who can play at the next level.”

On playing for the city of San Antonio:

“Everyone knows, there’s no secret about it. I let the guys know that I play for everybody in the city. I don’t just do this for myself, I do this for my family, my friends and guys who didn’t get the opportunity to play.”

On having teammates from San Antonio:

“They played a great role as far as me being comfortable at Oklahoma State. I remember on my visit the first guy I met with was Austin Hays, and he welcomed me. Guys like Jordan Sterns and Tre Flowers who I kind of knew in high school but I didn’t really talk to, I ran into those guys and they took me in and they helped me mature, especially since all of us had to play our freshmen year. They’ve helped me, and they still help me to this day.”


Senior Safety Jordan Sterns:

On playing at home in San Antonio:

“I was happy, getting to come home one last time for my last college game, playing in front of the people that I love and the city that I love [means a lot].”

On playing in the Alamodome:

“It’s just fun, the dome obviously and the stadium and all the people who come out and watch you play. I played in it a few times in high school, and I had some of my best games there. It’s just fun, like I said, the atmosphere, the crowd and the support you get when you play in the Alamodome.”

On San Antonio being under-recruited:

“I would say so, but over the last couple of years it’s definitely picked up. My little brother was heavily recruited and guys all over the place are starting to get the exposure, and I think that has a lot to do with social media and guys being able to show what they can do through social media.”

How does it feel to be home?

“I’ve been home since the 21st, and all I’ve really done is lay at home and chill with the family. I’ll probably go after practice today too. I really look forward to showing off the city. I brag about my city all the time, so it’s going to be fun to show the guys around.”

Dec. 8, 2016 – Golf Classic Head Coaches Press Conference

Valero Alamo Bowl: Colorado vs Oklahoma State

Thursday, December 8, 2016

In attendance:

Lamont Jefferson

Mike MacIntyre

Mike Gundy

Derrick Fox

Gary Simmons


RICK HILL: Good morning. On behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl, welcome to today’s press conference here in San Antonio. Proceeds from today’s event will benefit the Valero Alamo Bowl Scholarship Fund. This year we’re announcing the winnings on scholarships December 14th. We’re proud to announce we’re going to have one winner from every public San Antonio high school and established private school.

Today for the press conference, I’m joined by Valero Alamo Bowl chairman Lamont Jefferson, our president and CEO Derrick Fox, on the end we have Valero’s Gary Simmons, and the two head coaches from the participating universities, Mike Gundy from Oklahoma State and Coach MacIntyre from Colorado.

Lamont, if you could kick off the press conference.

LAMONT JEFFERSON: Thank you all for joining us here today for the Valero Alamo Bowl Golf Classic, on a perfect day for golf, of course.

We’re pleased to have some very distinguished guests with us here today. On behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl, I’d like to welcome Coach Mike Gundy and Coach Mike MacIntyre. Welcome to San Antonio.

We’re excited, very excited, for this matchup. It’s going to be a great game. It’s what a lot of the media are calling a must-watch bowl game this season.

Three years ago, with the help of our title sponsor, Valero, we had the prescient idea of promoting a contract with the Big 12 and the Pac-12 conferences, which have for the last three years resulted in top-15 matchups, last year one of the most exciting in bowl history.

This year is going to be no different. This is going to be a great game between some very exciting especially offenses – I’m sure they’ll argue that defense is the key. We’re very proud to have them and thankful for our Valero title sponsor to promote all of this.

We’re joined this morning by Gary Simmons, the Valero senior vice president of marketing and strategy. So please join me in welcoming Gary and thanking him for his title sponsorship and Valero’s title sponsorship and promotion of our bowl game.

GARY SIMMONS: Thanks, Lamont. On behalf of Valero, I’d like to express how excited we are to be part of what should be a fantastic football game between these two top-15 schools.

This will mark our 15th year as the title sponsor. We’re proud to support the Valero Alamo Bowl and its mission to promote higher education while providing an economic boost to the city of San Antonio.

In addition to all the excitement going on inside the Alamodome on game day, we hope the fans have the opportunity to enjoy all that our city has to offer for the holidays during bowl week.

Thank you to everyone who contributes to the success of the Valero Alamo Bowl each year, the city of San Antonio, these two great schools, and most importantly the fans who travel by the thousands from across the country to support these teams.

Derrick, we’re certainly looking forward to another exciting bowl season. I’ll turn it over to you to introduce the coaches.

DERRICK FOX: How about another round of applause. 10 years as a title sponsor. Quite an accomplishment.

The 2016 Valero Alamo Bowl features two outstanding universities with two tremendous football coaches.

I’d first like to introduce Coach Gundy. This is Coach Gundy’s 12th season as the head coach of the Cowboys. He boasts a record of 103-50 while at the helm. This year was Oklahoma State’s seventh nine-plus win season in the past nine years. The 2016 Valero Alamo Bowl will be the 11th straight bowl game as the head coach. Of his six bowl wins, one came here in 2010 here at the Valero Alamo Bowl.

Coach Gundy, on behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl, we’re thrilled to welcome you and the Cowboys back to San Antonio. I’ll turn it over to you for some opening comments.

COACH GUNDY: On behalf of President Hargis and the athletic director Mike Holder, our football team, and Oklahoma State University, we’re very excited to be here.

This is a tremendous bowl. We want to thank Valero for your support and all you do for college football. What more can you ask for. You’re in a great town, got a great setting, got great food, great weather, Texas high school football, and you’re in a community where people love to be involved with college football.

What a great matchup. I followed Mike’s career, Coach MacIntyre’s career. What a tremendous year. I appreciate what he’s accomplished with a great team. The little bit that I’ve watched from being out on the recruiting trail, what an exciting team, and a defense that’s been really good. A big 340-pound nose guard, and a rush end that sacks quarterbacks, corners that play good coverage. Got a fantastic quarterback, running back. Got a good returner. Overall just a really good team. You guys should be proud.

The one thing that coach’s team has done is they play hard. As an opponent coach, that’s not something we like to see. We like when guys take plays off. Colorado doesn’t take plays off.

The reason they’ve had success, in our opinion watching them, is they play hard. They must have a great team concept. Coach has obviously done a great job.

We’re very excited about being here. As I mentioned, we’ve got a group of young men that are very committed to themselves, they’re very committed to our team concept. They’re unselfish. As a head coach, speaking for our staff, we couldn’t be any more proud of what these guys have committed themselves to.

This is a 365-day-a-year job. This is a great reward for them to come down here for six days and be at the Valero Alamo Bowl and play a great opponent like Colorado.

GARY SIMMONS: Now we’ll turn it over and talk about the Buffaloes with Coach MacIntyre.

This is his fourth season as the head coach of the Buffs. After a 10-27 mark in his first three years, he led Colorado to a 10-2 regular season on the way to the Pac-12 South championship. This season Colorado recorded the largest turnaround in the history of the Pac-12, going from 1-8, to 8-1.

Congratulations, coach.

Powered by a remarkable achievement, Coach MacIntyre was named the 2016 Pac-12 Coach of the Year and the Walter Camp Coach of the Year. Tonight you can tune in to ESPN and watch him accept The Home Depot National Coach of the Year.

Congratulations, coach.

The 2016 Valero Alamo Bowl will be Colorado’s first bowl appearance since 2007. They’re one win away from becoming the fourth Buffs team ever to win 11 games.

Coach MacIntyre, on behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl, we’re excited to have you here. I’ll turn it over to you for some opening statements.

COACH MacINTYRE: Our team and university and program is excited to be in a bowl game, to be here at the Valero Alamo Bowl. We’re the last big major conference team to go to a bowl, so it’s been a long time.

Now we’re playing Oklahoma State. Watched them on film. Wow, Mike has done an incredible job. I’d just like to say I used to watch Mike when I was a little bitty kid when he was at Oklahoma State throwing the ball around (laughter).

But I’ve known Mike for a while. His defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer and I went to college together at Georgia Tech. Just admired what they’ve done.

To stay at Oklahoma States as he has and build a program, nine-plus wins that many times, he’s very respected in our profession as a family man, as a coach, as a person. It’s just an honor to be up here on the stage with him and be able to come here and play in this great bowl game.

It’s exciting what our team has done, but watching Oklahoma State on tape, their quarterback, wow, you need to make sure he stays in. He’s really good. He’s excellent. Their offense, they do everything. They can throw the deep ball so well. Their running back, a freshman, Hill, he is amazing. They do a great job there.

Defensively they cause turnovers right and left, aggressive on defense. They have big safeties that might scare our guys to death they hit so hard.

The one thing that I think is a great mark of coaching that they do is they take care of the ball and they cause turnovers. You coach that. They possess and understand how important the football is.

It’s going to be an excellent game, a tough battle for us. Should be a lot of fun for everybody to watch, except for Mike and I on the sidelines as it goes. But everybody else will have a great time watching the game.

Really appreciate being here. We’re excited about it. Our guys will look forward to go to a bowl game. They haven’t been to one. These guys are old hat at it. I got to make sure our guys do the right things and enjoy themselves.

RICK HILL: We’ll open it up to questions.

Q. This game marks the renewal of an old Big 12 rivalry between Oklahoma State and Colorado. Can you speak about the renewal of that rivalry?
COACH GUNDY: I go all the way back to the Big 8, sadly enough.

That question’s come up. Colorado, in my days of growing up, playing college ball, is a very traditional football program. When I was coming out, through the ’90s, they were winning a lot of games. The Buffalo, what it means to college football, it’s pretty cool.

The world we live in with these millennials that we coach, they follow things for about two days, then they move on to something new. We probably have to remind them of that.

As Lamont said earlier, this is a great matchup for the Valero Alamo Bowl. The final rankings were 10 and ours were 12. When you look at the games that these teams lost to, they were to really, really good teams. I think that will do more for the game than anything. I know both teams are going to be excited about playing in the game.

Q. The last time you played them was 2009. I don’t know if you remember that game. Brandon Weeden came off the bench and sparked you to a comeback. Pretty wild game. Do you have thoughts on that game, remember it, playing against Colorado back then?
COACH GUNDY: I remember it well because we started the game with our backup quarterback, who had never played a snap in college football. At halftime he had zero completions. Then we put Brandon Weeden in in the second half and we were able to come back and win. Wasn’t a very smart coaching move on our part for him not to play in the first half, obviously. A lot of things in coaching you remember. That’s certainly one of those games.

Q. You brought up the CU defense a little bit ago. Can you compare them to any group that you faced in league play this year, and what makes them kind of a difficult fit?
COACH GUNDY: With Coach Leavitt and his history, their style of play would be somewhat like TCU. Again, nobody’s exactly. Trying to take away throws. They have skill in the secondary.

We’ve had a brief meeting, but feel like this could be the best secondary that we may have faced as a group throughout the year. They have a tremendous pass-rusher with pressure inside. Three-down look most of the time, some four-down versus a heavy set.

Overall the closest would be, over the last three or four years, TCU’s style of play in our league.

Q. Coach MacIntyre, the Pac-12 Network said the last five Pac-12 championship game losers went on to lose the bowl game. Do you think having such a young team that has never been to a game would be an asset for you to try to break that streak?
COACH MacINTYRE: I definitely hope so (laughter).

Our young men will be excited about playing in the game. We haven’t been to one, so they’re going to be excited about playing, excited about practicing, all those type of things. But we’re playing an excellent football team. They’ll be ready to play.

Q. Coach MacIntyre, walking by Rashaan Salaam’s trophy most days in the legacy hall, what is your impression of what he meant to the program?
COACH MacINTYRE: Rashaan always had a great smile. I always loved talking to Rashaan and being around him. He meant a tremendous amount to our program. He’s a young man that came out of San Diego. He came out of eight-man football. Three years later he won the Heisman Trophy. Pretty amazing.

He means a lot. We have a locker that we’ve always had in our locker room that is Rashaan Salaam’s locker from him winning the Heisman. It means a great deal to our program. A lot of our guys know him.

Definitely a sad day losing Rashaan. But I always think of him. I choose to think of him with his big smile, his great personality.

Q. Coach Gundy, can you talk about your recruiting pitch to get all these players out of San Antonio to Stillwater? How has that market developed for producing Division I talent?
COACH GUNDY: About six years ago, we started really looking at this area. We realized that there were players here that could be very competitive in the Big 12. We were fortunate enough to get a start with some of them.

In recruiting, if you take care of the ones you have now, they’ll become your best recruiters in the future. That’s what’s happened here in central Texas, the San Antonio area.

When you look at the guys, it’s either seven or eight that are with us. Five or six of those guys played a huge role in the success we’ve had the last three years.

The one advantage is you’re recruiting good people that have been raised right. They understand hard work. Texas high school coaches understand commitment. When we get them, they’re so polished. That plays a huge role in our success in getting young men that understand the commitment it takes to play and graduate from college.

Q. Coach Gundy, I know you’re on the road recruiting this week. There’s been some reports you were speaking with Baylor officials in regard to their head coaching vacancy. I’m sure your focus is on the game, but are those reports accurate?
COACH GUNDY: I didn’t hear half of what he said. No, I’m joking (laughter). That was pretty good, wasn’t it?

As everybody knows, I’m fully committed to Oklahoma State. Fortunately enough I’ve been around really good players. When you win games, your name gets brought up. I’ve read about Coach MacIntyre’s name, so I’m going to push this off on him.

There’s not any distraction. The question Coach Mac just answered about the history of games, PAC-12 champions, where they win or lose. It’s interesting. The millennials we coach now, they live day-to-day. They stay on their phones. The news for the day is the news for the day. Whatever happened yesterday, they don’t pay a lot of attention to it.

Distraction is not really a big issue. Our players will be excited about practicing and getting back together as a group for another 10 or 12 days and being at a great location at the Valero Alamo Bowl for a week.

Q. Coach MacIntyre, San Jose State, one-win team, 10-2, now coming to Colorado and doing the same thing. What are the important things in rebuilding the program?
COACH MacINTYRE: Number one, it’s to have a staff that’s totally committed. You have the same picture, you’re going the same direction.

The second thing is making sure that staff gets a lot of good football players that care about football, want to be successful. You set your expectations high. Young people push for that. They all want to be pushed. They all want to try to reach goals and dreams that they have to see themselves doing.

That’s what’s been so awesome about this team, is they’ve looked adversity right in the face for a few years and didn’t let it break them, they let it make them. That’s why we’ve achieved.

We have a lot of good, talented football players. Every football team that’s 12th or 10th in the country has got to have good football players, and we do.

But the commitment level they have to each other is exceptional. They did that through all the tough times they went through. No conflict, no story. That’s why I think our story is so good, because we had a lot of conflict. People like to see people overcome things. These are great life lessons for our young men as they go on with their families and future jobs, that they can reach back and realize they can overcome things people don’t think they can.

Q. Coach Gundy, when you look back on Saturday’s game, given the stakes and the opponent, was that a tougher one to get over than perhaps some of the other losses this season and in past years?
COACH GUNDY: Every game that you end up on the wrong side of the scoreboard are tough to get over for players. As coaches, we understand the commitment.

We ask our players to absorb information, to be fully committed, to take care of their bodies, do everything they can possibly do Sunday through Friday to go out and play a game on Saturday and have fun.

There’s about 132 teams that play at our level. Unfortunately half of them don’t win on Saturday. So if we were to ever hang our hat on a win or a loss every Saturday, this would be a sad profession, and it wouldn’t be a fun game to play for the players.

We want to win them all. But as a coach, as I said earlier, and what Coach Mac said, I think he’s stealing some of my thunder a little bit, but we teach life lessons. We’re committed to taking young men and in four to five years putting them out there in the real world. Hopefully we’ve prepared them to be successful socially, be good fathers, husbands, commit to society.

There’s a bigger picture. Not to discredit, we want to win them all. But I get over the games really fast because I believe if we think one second about the past, that keeps us from thinking about being positive in the future, then that’s one second that doesn’t give us an opportunity to be successful the next day.

Q. Coach MacIntyre, you have a whirlwind schedule this week with recruiting, you’re down there in San Antonio, you’re going to Atlanta tonight. Your thoughts on how big of a deal is this for the Colorado program, for you to be able to travel around the country, get Colorado’s name out there again?
COACH MacINTYRE: It’s extremely important. It’s a lot better than sitting home, for sure. It’s exciting for our program and does get our name out there. This game being televised on a Thursday night, national television against a great opponent, it will be exceptional for our football program and for our school.

That’s the first thing that they said what we were playing Oklahoma State. This is the first Big 12 team that they’ve played since Colorado left the Big 12. I wasn’t there at the time. Of course, Mike has been. So our people, the Colorado people, are very excited about playing a Big 12, Big 8 opponent.

I think that also adds more fervor to our fan base and to the people that are following the game. It makes it a lot more exciting.

Q. Coach Gundy, Derrick Fox mentioned this is your 11th straight bowl game as a head coach. You always talk about sometimes you and your team need a break from each other. This has been a natural break for you and your team. You go recruiting the week after the final. They go to final exams. What is your philosophy about how you welcome the team back when you get them back for bowl prep? You’ve been successful with preparing for bowl games. How do you look at this break, the time you come back together?
COACH GUNDY: Well, for us as coaches, we finished the game on Saturday at 4:00. The next morning most of us were on a plane by 7:00 a.m. A break from football maybe, but from the real world of coaching, not much of a break.

The players were back at it lifting today, so they had a few days off. But our approach, you’ve known me for a long time, when we get them together Saturday, the first thing that I’m going to tell them is how much I appreciate the commitment to Oklahoma State football. These guys are warriors. They put their bodies on the line throughout the year. They go out Saturdays, bang heads to play the game for each other, a game they love.

We thank them for their commitment to Oklahoma State football. We correct mistakes from the last game. We tell them about the positives from the last game. They will be excited about playing Colorado because of what they’ve done, their success, as coach said. They’ll look forward to preparation.

Then we get back into the role of what life is all about: the commitment that we’re going to make prior to this game. That makes it fun. You get into the chess match against two really good coaching staffs that understand and have played to the strengths of their talent, their personnel, and had a lot of success. That just makes it that much more fun.

RICK HILL: I’ll let Derrick close the press conference.

DERRICK FOX: I’d like to thank both coaches. Tremendous football season so far. We really, really are excited. I think the word ‘commitment’ is so appropriate. We’re committed to make sure you guys have a great time. I can’t control what happens in the game, you guys will take it from there, but we’ll make sure your student-athletes and fans will have a great time in San Antonio. You have that commitment from us.

Gary, thank you. You’re committed to us for 10 years, at least three more, and hopefully more beyond that. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you, Valero.

Colorado, Oklahoma State, best of luck. Media, thanks for coming. Have a great day.

Dec. 4, 2016 – Team Announcement Press Conference

Colorado Head Coach Mike MacIntyre on coming to the Valero Alamo Bowl

“We’re extremely honored to be able to play in the Valero Alamo Bowl. It’s exciting. I love the area of San Antonio, when I was coaching for the Dallas Cowboys we had our training camps down there, it’s a great area. Our young men are excited, we’re the last team to go to a bowl in the big five conferences so we’re excited to end that drought. Our young men are excited about playing a very excellent Oklahoma State team. It’s pretty cool, this is the first time since Colorado left the Big 12, that we’re playing a Big 12 opponent, so I know all our fans are excited about that.”


Oklahoma State Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer on coming to the Valero Alamo Bowl

“On behalf of Mike Gundy, who is bouncing around the country right now, I want to thank the Valero Alamo Bowl it’s a great honor. We’re excited to be headed back down to the great city of San Antonio. I’ve been at Okahoma State for nine years now so I was part of that 2010 team that came down there, and had a great week, got to play a great Arizona team that played well. The hospitality is unbelievable, it just so happens I’ve been that area recruiter down there for us since I’ve been at Oklahoma State, so we love San Antonio especially. I think half of my defensive starters are from San Antonio, so I’ve got a fond recollection, I’ve got fond memories, love going down there, and I just know from the last time our players have always said its one of the favorite bowls we’ve ever been to. Of course to play a great Colorado team isn’t going to be as fun. Coach MacIntyre well-deserved of the national awards that he’s getting, what he’s done with that program is remarkable and I want to congratulate him and say how much the Cowboys are looking forward to coming down.”


Coach MacIntyre on turning around the Colorado program

“It’s very exciting, and of course a lot of hard work, of course it all goes back to our players and our assistant coaches that have worked so hard. They’ve blocked out all the noise, put one foot in front of the other I always like to say it’s the three P’s: persistence, passion and prayer. Put them all together and just keep doing it over and over. Get a lot of young men that set high expectations and try to reach them.”


Coach MacIntyre on the health of quarterback Sefo Liufau

“I think he’ll be fine for the bowl game. He hurt his ankle, hopefully he’ll keep progressing on that. I think he’ll be fine.”


Coach MacIntyre on coaching his son sophomore wide receiver Jay

“I enjoy coaching my son, he’s a good player number 1, number 2 it’s fun to be around him. As a college coach you’re so busy, I know Glenn has kids, Mike has kids, you don’t get to see them quite as much as you like, you miss a lot of their games when they’re growing up. Now I get to see him every day in practice and see all his games, so that makes it special.”


Coach Spencer on recruiting in San Antonio

“I think its catching on now, sorry to say that its catching on now because 5, 6, 7 years ago everyone thought that all the players were in Houston, or in the Dallas area and I went down to San Antonio. Probably because I was the new guy on staff so they through they’d throw me down there where there weren’t many players and just let me flounder around, and it turns out these guys Jordan Sterns, Vincent Taylor, Raymond Richards I lose track of them all. You guys down there should be proud, it goes back to the coaches and the commitment they made in that area. The competition is phenomenal, when you get a Steele or a Judson or Reagan or I can go on, and those teams that get out of conference and into the state playoffs that’s huge and that area should be proud. We keep coming down there and we’ll keep turning over stones and try to keep the pipeline going.”


Coach Spencer on playing former Big 12 opponent Colorado

“First I’ll tell Mike, I don’t think he needs to rush it with that quarterback, they really need to nurture him back and hold him back…just kidding. When I first got here Colorado was still in the conference I remember making the trip up there and how pretty it was, I love the town of Boulder. A lot has happened since then in the Big 12 and all they’ve done is gone off and struggled for a while, it proves what a good man, the right man will do. If you get that in the situation, with those facilities, in that area of the country I think you’re going to do well and Mike’s done that. They’re a well-balanced team, looking forward to getting back off the recruiting trail after this week, and watching the tape. Mike and I go back, we both played football at Georgia Tech together, so we’ve got a history there and our families have spent a few years together up in Black Mountain at FCA camps – he’s a dear friend I can’t wait to meet him down there and see his family again. Again, it’s just neat how this things worked out.”


Coach MacIntyre on the senior class getting to its first bowl game

“Our young men are really excited, all they’ve heard since they got here is ‘get to a bowl game’ and they’ve done that. They’ve resurrected our University of Colorado football program, it’s been this senior class and our fourth-year juniors that have done it. So, I’m really excited about seeing them being able to run out that tunnel playing in a bowl game and enjoying that moment.”



January 2, 2016 – TCU Postgame Quotes

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Gary Patterson

Ty Summers

Derrick Kindred

Aaron Green

Bram Kohlhausen

TCU Horned Frogs

TCU 47, Oregon 41, 3 OT.

THE MODERATOR: Coach Patterson, if you could start with a comment on the game.

COACH PATTERSON: Well, obviously first half we didn’t play very well defensively. Third down, everything goes on. Second half, Vernon goes down, really kind of equals the playing field. These guys fought back.

I told them we had an opportunity in the second half to show them what our program was all about. We’ve had to do that before. Kansas State, I think we were down 35-10, turned around and came back.

It’s just been one of those teams. They’ve never really quit. They’ve kept creating opportunities, doing what they do. Really proud of them. Proud of all the TCU fans that came down and were part of the game tonight. Gave us a lot of energy in the second half.


Q. Coach, are you ever going to wear any color other than purple?
COACH PATTERSON: I did the same thing at Ohio State. I started in black, we were down 21-0. I will never wear black again.

I’m trying to look thinner. You’re not in as good of shape. To heck with that. At least that’s a good excuse.

Q. Expand a little on what the defense showed in the second half and how y’all were able to contain them to something like 20 yards before the overtime.
COACH PATTERSON: You know, really didn’t do much different except we tackled. We couldn’t get our hands on Vernon very well in the first half. Turned the guy loose, guy came out of coverage.

It’s one of those things where I quit trying to create things and let the defense do its work. They did a great job, I thought. We got the fumble on the kickoff return. I thought that was kind of a changeover. Got some momentum.

Even they punt, take two or three minutes, you’re probably going to be short some time to come back with those numbers.

I give those guys credit, they did a great job of playing leverage.

Q. Bram, is it fair to say this is going to be a night you’ll remember forever?
BRAM KOHLHAUSEN: This will be one I’ll tell my grandkids. I mean, this is a night I thought would never happen. But I honestly just dedicate it to Tre. He’s the one who showed me how to play like I did tonight.

Q. Talk about what you saw defensively from them that was able to open up your game in the second half.
BRAM KOHLHAUSEN: In the first half, we were shooting ourselves in the foot, penalties. Every time we got something going, we had a holding or unsportsmanlike conduct. In the second half, we got it together and were able to get rolling, pick at that 31 points.

Q. What was your halftime speech to get them to flip the switch?
COACH PATTERSON: I think people give coaches too much credit. About the same thing I’ve always told them. Go back to our roots. Our roots are we’re a proud program. That first half was not what we were about. Settle down inside the play.

If they decided to play, they’ll give themselves a chance. No matter what the score was going to be at the end of the ballgame, bottom line is TCU is always known for playing hard, playing for four quarters, doing the things we needed to do.

There’s no magic to that. You give yourself an opportunity if you go and play. Some of these fifth-year seniors, you look around, the guys that are here, Aaron, these guys have been doing it for a long time.

If you look at really our season, I was watching our highlight film at the luncheon yesterday, that gave me chills because basically it was storyline after storyline after storyline of catching the ball at the end of the game at Texas Tech, Kansas State, you keep going. Stopping on fourth down against Baylor.

You go down the list of plays that guys made at the end of the ballgame to give yourself a chance to win. Going for two points at Oklahoma. Bram goes and scores the touchdown. Six inches higher, you might be sitting here at 12-2, 12-1, 13-1.

For us, it’s always a game of inches, always has been. Just like the play that our guy made tonight at the end of the ballgame on the fourth down. He knocks the ball away. Six inches the ball is caught, we’re talking about first and goal.

Q. Aaron, talk about getting this win in San Antonio, what that means to you in your hometown.
AARON GREEN: I mean, it meant a lot. But most importantly it meant a lot for me to win my last game in purple with my teammates, with my brothers.

We’ve gone through so much. We’ve been through terrible seasons. We’ve been through people getting kicked off the team, we’ve been through distractions, injuries. We’ve been through a lot, man.

Just to be a part of us turning this around in the Big 12 means everything to me. So, man, these last three, four years that I’ve been here, it’s definitely going to be something I am going to remember forever.

Q. Bram, why were you having so much trouble in the first half? Short notice? One practice?
BRAM KOHLHAUSEN: We weren’t having any trouble really moving the ball except for the penalties. Once we got it together, we fought back in the second half. I mean, we’ve been doing this all year. We come back second half. Nobody had a doubt that 31 points, we could come back. Ended up being a three overtime game, got a W.

Q. Bram, did it feel like OU earlier on in the second half when you started to come back?
BRAM KOHLHAUSEN: OU was an example we were running off of tonight. I don’t think anybody walking out of that tunnel in the second half really had a doubt that with their quarterback out, 31 points, we get something on the board, we get a couple turnovers, defense plays well…

I mean, 31 points was easy.

COACH PATTERSON: I don’t know about easy, but I’m going to stick with him because he did it.

Q. Coach, how much did you guys enjoy coming here to San Antonio? How much of an impact did your San Antonio kids have on this team?
COACH PATTERSON: Number one, every great team we’ve ever had has always had a San Antonio guy on it. Coming here, as I said before we got here, one of my bucket lists was to play in the Alamo Bowl. Cotton Bowl, obviously in Texas, you’d like to play in the home state bowls one time before you were done.

This is our 16th bowl in 18 years. Obviously would like to be able to go down in New Orleans and play in that one one day.

To be able to be here, our kids had an unbelievable time. One of the things I think that’s coolest about this, when you play in your state, so many more of their friends, family and relatives get a chance to be here. They get a chance to ride home with them. Some of them are going on the bus, but they’re going home with their friends and their family.

To me, every minute you get a chance, because these guys work hard. It’s a 365-day-a-year job, college football is, if you want to be good anymore. If they get a break, be able to do that in their hometown…

For Aaron and Derrick, you have a group, a chance for them to wake up in the morning here in San Antonio, to be able to enjoy it with family.

I don’t know. I can’t speak for them, but I would have to say there can’t be a better experience because they’re going to remember it for the rest of their lives.

Q. Derrick, about the defense, you held them to 18 yards on 18 plays in the second half. Could you feel the game turning?
DERRICK KINDRED: The defense, we never really get down on ourselves. We had a terrible first half. Everybody was looking sad and things like that.

We got to the locker room, had a great speech. We just made a lot of plays. It just felt good playing on this defense tonight.

Q. When you see Bram dive basically head first and get flipped over, put everything on the field, what does that do on the other side of the ball? Does that get you riled up, ready to go?
TY SUMMERS: You should have saw the sideline. Guy is to go and sacrifice his body for the team, that’s something you have to respect. We appreciate him stepping up and doing what he did. Couldn’t have done it without him.

Q. You had a lot of stuff going on with your dad. What kind of emotions were spurred by that?
BRAM KOHLHAUSEN: Honestly, I was just focused on this win. When I saw my mom after the game, I bargained with a guy to get her down on the field. Just gave her a hug, started crying with her. I’d love for him to be here to watch this happen, but I know he was watching upstairs.

Q. Ty, you’re sitting with a bunch of seniors, you’re the only guy coming back next year. How does this set the tone for next year?
TY SUMMERS: You have to appreciate the leadership in these guys’ head. There’s some big shoes to fill. I think we have guys that are going to be ready to fill those shoes the upcoming season.

Q. Derrick, with everything that’s gone on this year, pulling out this game today, what do you think that says about your coaching staff’s ability to make things happen with you guys?
DERRICK KINDRED: Just shows that we have a lot of great players on this team. As you’ve seen all season, we had a lot of guys go down. Coach P did a great job of growing up the young guys. Also the seniors on this team, we did a great job of talking to the young guys, things like that.

It just shows a lot of heart, time put into this program.

Q. Why did you decide to stick with Bram?
COACH PATTERSON: He said it earlier. It was more penalties and things. We dropped some balls. I told the defense they weren’t having any fun. I mean, there were a lot of seniors, played a lot of defense, played the best in the league. Not anything good was going to happen if they didn’t have fun.

Offensively to me it started with the very first drive. I thought we started running the ball more. Took it off, went to play-action. I thought Bram made a couple of unbelievable plays as far as throwing it and running with the ball. He had the option play, we all looked at each other, he went down the sideline in overtime.

To win a ballgame like this to come back, you have to have a bunch of plays that happen for you. Kind of like in the first half, they had a lot of plays that happened for them. We block a punt, it goes forward. They pick it up, get a first down.

Second half, we caused a fumble on the kickoff return. We got a couple plays. You look at yourself, the one time we kick two field goals, put ourselves in a situation. You’re thinking it’s fourth and seven, should you go for it? But the odds weren’t in your favor.

They do a great job of dropping eight, rushing three when they get inside the 15-yard line. It’s tough to be able to get the ball that far down inside.

You just took things, made some plays. Probably if I was going to tell you I made a mistake, because they were struggling, we had two timeouts, we tried the on-side kick. We could have stopped them there. We get the ball on the 30, 35. I think we ended up with the ball on the four- or five-yard line after a penalty. Really our offense dug us out of a hole there, got a first down, did some things.

We were ready to fake a punt if we needed to. We came into the ballgame knowing we were — obviously they did, too, with the fake punt. A great job by the safety coming over and knocking the ball away to help the corners.

Again, you just have to have some of those kind of plays to get things done.

Q. Bram, twice in the game you went out with injury. What happened? What are the initials on your wristband?
BRAM KOHLHAUSEN: First time I went out, I did a flip, landed on my neck. I had a previous injury from high school with my neck. I didn’t know what was going on at the time. Got like chills down my arm.

I knew Foster was able to come in and play. He was as prepared as I was. Instead of getting the snap, fumbling that, I was trying to take care of the ball when we were on the goal line.

Second time I got hit in the ribs. I needed to go out for a play, catch my breath. I knew Foster was ready to go again.

Initials on my wristband are for Trevone. As sad as it is, anytime I read anything about him, it brings tears to my eyes. This one is for him. He’s the one who taught me how to play like this because he’s the most fearless guy on the field.

Q. Aaron, when you think about this season, the comebacks, players you lost, Trevone, then being down 31-0, what will you tell people about this year in a few days?
AARON GREEN: Just relentless, man. There’s just a point in time in this season when it seemed like nothing was going our way. I’ve never been on a team where we had so many injuries.

I just think that it shows how well our coaches are. I don’t know if I would be able to coach a team with this many injuries, still have these guys prepared to win every week, how many freshmen we played.

This is definitely one of my favorite years of playing football, one of my favorite teams just because of the adversity and the trials and tribulations that we have had to overcome to have this successful season.

I mean, like I said, man, this season, this game, Texas Tech, Kansas State, all of that, man, this is something I’ll be telling my grandkids 50 years down the road, man. I just love it, man. It’s taught me a lot, man. I’m just humbled to be a part of this TCU legacy.

COACH PATTERSON: Glad to hear both of them are going to get married someday.

AARON GREEN: Hopefully. Don’t have a girl yet (laughter).

Q. Coach, Aaron says he doesn’t know how he’s going to coach on that. Given the injuries, the freshmen playing, setbacks, where do you rank this on your years of coaching?
COACH PATTERSON: Every year is different, obviously. I told them about the middle of the season that I probably was going to remember this season even more than I was going to remember last year just because of everything that this group had to go through.

Really, we ended up playing 30 freshmen, 15 and 15 tonight. You lose an All-American wide receiver, you lose your best corner early in the season. There’s a lot of players we had out. Probably our best pass-rusher, James McFarland.

If you look back on it, it’s one of those things where you know it’s a program, you’re doing the right things. In the locker room, they’re talking about, I’m a senior, there’s no more Colorado circuit, it’s one of the drills they do in the off-season, to gain toughness.

It makes me know as a head football coach we’re doing a lot of things right within our program. Even though we’ve changed offenses, playing with young players, we’re getting guys to be able to fight through adversity and do the things they’re doing.

Still going to always have to tweak things. Knowing we had 21 guys graduate, I think you got guys that are going to get an opportunity to leave and have degrees, go out and do something with their lives.

Here is the thing about fighting through adversity. It’s not just about the football game. It’s about the next 40 years. You teach somebody when they get up in the morning, they have to fight for a living, be something in life, don’t let anybody tell you you can’t be something. If that’s the most important thing you’re trying to get accomplished, I think that’s what you get out of our program. You get all that.

You get an opportunity that if you’re smart about what you do, you work hard, you work smart, you’re always going to be able to put food on your table.

I don’t think they can ask any more from a program.

Q. Ty, can you walk us through the second half for you, the experience you had, the comeback, overtime, celebration.
TY SUMMERS: Well, I think it’s just a pleasure to be a part of this defense, this team in general. All our guys just encouraging one another throughout all the obstacles we faced this season, this game. We just found a way to rally back.

Like I say, it’s been a pleasure to be a part of it. I wouldn’t ask to be a part of any other team, any other defense.

January 2, 2016 – Oregon Postgame Quotes

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Mark Helfrich

Royce Freeman

DeForest Buckner

Oregon Ducks

TCU 47, Oregon 41, 3 OT

THE MODERATOR: Coach Helfrich, would you like to say something to start.

COACH HELFRICH: Congratulations to TCU for a great finish to a great game to watch. Certainly a tale of two halves from our perspective.

Very disappointed for our guys, not disappointed in our guys one bit. Fought like heck. Guys that were out there, couldn’t be prouder of their effort. These two guys are examples of guys that were banged up all year long and kept fighting.

They made one more play than we did. Just too bad to finish how much these guys improved, how much they fought and worked hard throughout the bowl prep. To end it this way is tough.

But we will forge ahead, build in every phase, go back to school and move on.


Q. Mark, TCU obviously knew they had to go to their backup. Were you disappointed in the second half you weren’t able to generate more offensive with Lockie and a replacement center?
COACH HELFRICH: Sure. Those kind of things happen. Again, I thought we had some opportunities. That’s the tough thing about this game, is an end like that in triple overtime, that there’s one little thing here or there.

Obviously points were at a premium for us in the second half. We’ll take that as a tough pill.

Q. Mark, you said yesterday that you would need to see improvement in all areas, coaches, players, including yourself. Do you think you saw improvement today?
COACH HELFRICH: It’s impossible to answer a question like that.

The thing, everybody wants to point a finger at one person. Point it at me. Blame me. I’m 100% good at that.

Every single person, including me, needs to improve. This kind of game, there were so many odd things that happened, so many guys available, not available.

Our guys battled and they believed until the end. There’s a ton to be said for that.

Q. Coach, did you change your game plan at all once you found out that Boykin wouldn’t be starting for TCU?
COACH HELFRICH: Not really. I mean, yes and no. I think each individual has some strengths and weaknesses that are a little bit different than another in terms of 12 and 6, then 3, the guy that played a little bit of quarterback for them.

So from that standpoint, you’re going to do a little bit more of something or less of something. For a half, that worked really well.

Q. Mark, going into the end of the first half, you’re up 31-0. You lost some players, but when did you feel the momentum shift?
COACH HELFRICH: Well, I don’t know if I ever felt — I don’t think you think in those terms. I think you think in terms of making the next play. If we score one touchdown right there in that one period, it’s over. We had a couple chances on third downs, a couple turnover opportunities.

Again, we’ll go back and hurt. But, yeah, certainly Matt Pierson was also not available in the second half, as well as Dwayne. Yeah, you’re switching things around. I think Charles Nelson played every snap in every phase it seemed like for a while.

Again, proud of how our guys battled.

Q. Mark, did you consider with the lead and TCU coming back trying to slow tempo a little bit, doing more quarterback under center?
COACH HELFRICH: We did not consider the quarterback under center part. It’s kind of always a double-edged sword about the tempo part. Some of our best things were in tempo if you’re getting first downs, that’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of a scenario. That’s what they do well, is dial in to formations, all those kinds of things.

Yeah, we’ll go back and look at those things and evaluate them.

Q. Mark, I know that Vernon was not the only guy you lost. Is it concerning to you how different the team looked this year when he was healthy versus when he wasn’t?
COACH HELFRICH: We want every guy that’s in there to play great. That’s every side of the ball, that’s a backup, whatever, DB, defensive player, special teams player. Certainly you want quality and depth. That position is absolutely a premium.

Q. DeForest, how much energy did you not have? Did you feel like in the overtime, when you forced the field goal, maybe you could steal the game late?
DeFOREST BUCKNER: Oh, yeah, definitely. When we forced them to kick a field goal, it goes through everybody’s mind. We have a chance. Like Coach Helfrich said, all the guys, we fought till the end. We believed we could win. I’m just proud of everybody on how we fought all the way through triple overtime.

Q. Mark, it’s been a long time since you’ve had to play a backup quarterback, a couple months now. Did you have a feeling at all that you were in better position if you had to play a Jeff Lockie to maintain a game, complete a pass for a first down, allow room for Royce to operate a little bit there? Did you feel confident with Jeff going into this game?
COACH HELFRICH: Absolutely. I think, again, we have confidence in all those guys. If they go in there, we expect them to play great. It’s that simple.

Obviously we didn’t put enough points on the board there at the end. He battled great at the end, had a chance to make some plays. Again, that’s where it will be frustrating for all of us, again, starting with me, of why things happened, how things played out.

Q. Coach, at any point in the second half did you consider making a switch at quarterback or center? Can you talk about Royce’s performance.
COACH HELFRICH: Royce is a stud.

On the first part of it, kind of how a couple of other guys were banged up, there wasn’t a ton of options there available. It was one of those things where we were really close. On the play where he puts his knee on the ground, it’s a touchdown, the game is over.

It’s that kind of game where a two-inch knee tap or two-inch double move to Carrington, two double moves to Carrington, we have a chance to make plays. Those are those little things, when you’re talking about it in practice, Player A, Player B always have to be in sync and rhythm. Those are tough lessons right now to really learn.

Q. Royce, can you talk about the challenges of playing with the same edge up 31-0 as it took to build that lead?
ROYCE FREEMAN: Personally, me as a competitor, I didn’t take it as a 30-point lead or anything like that. I took it as 0-0. There’s different personalities.

Probably something we have to work on is continuing the momentum, learning how to finish games the correct way.

Q. DeForest, Kohlhausen looked like a different player in the second half. What did you see about TCU’s offense first half, second half?
DeFOREST BUCKNER: They were a lot more comfortable in the second half. They came out ready to play in the second half.

Like Royce said, it’s the finishing part we need to work on.

This whole year, especially on the defensive side, it’s been a struggle in the second half to finish games. Just like the Oregon State game, we had a 31-0 lead. We gave all of that up.

It’s something we need to work on, keeping that momentum going.

Q. Coach, both Vernon and Darren lost someone very special to them. Was this game particularly emotional for them or the whole team at all?
COACH HELFRICH: Obviously you’d have to discuss that with them individually. We all had conversations with those guys on some level during the bowl prep. Royce was close to Marquel, as well. I’m sure it’s that much more difficult in this situation.

Our guys believed till the end, they fought till the end. They were emotional till the end. We got beat.

January 1, 2016 – Head Coaches Press Conference

Friday, January 1, 2016

Gary Patterson

Mark Helfrich

Coaches Press Conference

COACH PATTERSON: First off, I want to thank Derrick, Valero and the Alamo Bowl and San Antonio. It’s just been an unbelievable experience. I know Oregon has been here before. I’ve been down to San Antonio many times, but just as a team, the hospitality and everything that went on has been spectacular.

From us, our chancellor Victor Boschini, AD Chris Del Conte, we just wanted to thank everyone that’s been involved. It’s really been a great experience for us.

Obviously, as head coaches you all have to make decisions, do things sometimes you don’t want to do. Outside of that, our kids, our families, our players, everybody, has been spectacular.

THE MODERATOR: Coach Helfrich.

COACH HELFRICH: To echo what Coach Patterson said, to Derrick and Mike, everyone with Valero and the Alamo Bowl have been awesome. The people here are truly special in the way they treat us and the sincerity with which it’s done is impressive.

The city of San Antonio is an awesome venue. Our families and everybody involved in the bowl are having a great time, particularly a great time last night.

We’re excited for the challenge that lies ahead in TCU. Rob Mullens, our athletic director who is here, and on behalf of President Schill, thank them.

I will intervene on some questions I know are coming up, but Matt Lubick will be calling the plays tomorrow and also will be the offensive coordinator going forward, period. We don’t want this to be a sideshow.

A job audition against Gary Patterson is not your best one to be judged against, so we want to try to keep that off the table. Lub’s done a great job, as well as the rest of our offensive staff, trying to plan an attack against TCU.

Excited about that, excited about our players, how they’ve prepared. Again, looking to the challenge of tomorrow night.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Gary, can you talk to us about what Trevone said to you about his arrest, the explanation he gave you.
COACH PATTERSON: I didn’t talk to him. But let me say this to you. I was a little disappointed yesterday that everything that was basically talked to my kids about was about Trevone Boykin. We’re here to play Oregon. If we’re going to make this a press conference about him, then I think we’re ruining San Antonio and the bowl game and we’re saying everybody else that plays at TCU is not important.

We played an Oklahoma team without a Trevone Boykin and played okay. About every three years, I think I saw a stat where three out of the four playoff teams had to send somebody home. One of the things I don’t think people give head coaches enough credit for is trying to raise men.

Obviously, Gary Patterson and TCU would love, especially against such a good football team as Oregon, to have all your players. But I’d also like my starting offensive guard Naff, and I’d like my starting center Joey Hunt, and I’d like my starting linebacker and my starting safety and my starting corner and my starting defensive end, everybody else that’s disappeared during the season that we haven’t played with.

Unfortunate for him, because Trevone has meant so much to TCU. We love him. But he understands. It wasn’t even a conversation between him and I. I talked to him later. But it’s one of those situations. He was there at curfew. Then I get a call early in the morning that he wasn’t at curfew.

Everybody makes decisions. What I hope, one of the things we stand behind in our program is that you can help people, young people especially, learn from it.

Here is the thing that I don’t think many people realize. It wasn’t just Trevone that had to go home, but nobody asked about the other guy. That’s the thing that disappoints me. Nobody asked about the other guy. There was two that had to go home.

You’re not just teaching him, you’re teaching the other 120 guys that are on your team, that they understand all your actions have a reaction, and you have to learn from it.

Let’s just say nothing happened, but he’s bragging that he jumped curfew, went out, came back, played a great game, I’m going to have the same problem next year if we’re good enough to go back to a bowl game.

You have to take it. Everybody wants to be the head coach. They like that look at that last day of the month, that paycheck, until yesterday. Then I sit down at the barbecue last night, nobody sat next to me except my wife. You go everywhere, it’s like the hand grenade, you don’t want to be that guy because you sit next to him, you don’t know, something might blow up here. You have to take it.

Really my feelings went out for him and for my team because obviously he’s the starter. He’s a veteran. But we’ll play another quarterback and they’re do just fine.

Just like anybody else, I’m a fan. I want to see Vernon versus Trevone. When you stand on the sideline, coaches are kind of like fans, you want to see all of it. You came here, got to the end of the year, you want that last ballgame to be everything you want. Hopefully it is.

That’s the disappointing thing just for the kids and for him, all of them, that they didn’t get a chance to be a part of all of it. This is one experience that he didn’t finish it off, he’s not going to be a part of.

Hopefully that solves all that.

Q. Mark, when did you come to the decision to name Lubick the O-coordinator?
COACH HELFRICH: I don’t know if there was an exact moment. I think Matt is an outstanding football coach. He’s extremely detail oriented. He’s a very good recruiter. The players really take to him. Just tireless.

He’s been on both sides of the ball. He can approach it from the secondary perspective, a total defensive perspective, as well as quarterback or receiver or runningback or front. I think just as a group, our continuity as an offensive staff is a big strength. He was kind of the outsider that came in and added a bunch to it, at the same time meshed into a great group.

I don’t remember the day. It’s probably a culmination of years and being around him and seeing him operate.

Q. Mark, you had been so open that the Alamo Bowl was going to be a pre-interview for Matt to get the permanent offensive coordinator position. Do you think it helps him or the team or the offense knowing there’s a permanent guy up there? Was that your thinking naming him now than next season?
COACH HELFRICH: I think it was one of you guys that said it was an audition or job interview. That’s how it was approached. I remember answering that question.

I didn’t want every third and inches having a split screen of Gary Patterson and Matt Lubick, and going, This is his job on the line. It’s not that. It’s our players against their players. They’re really good. We tried to prepare our guys to play against them.

Q. Coach Helfrich, how comfortable are you having Coach Lubick call plays? Difficult time to do that for your first time. Talk about that.
COACH HELFRICH: We’ve drilled it. Again, it will be his first time. It’s always funny communicating with guys on the headsets. This isn’t the first time we’ve ever communicated that way. We’ve done a lot more called-situational work throughout the bowl prep than we would normally do. That’s good for the offense and the defense and for our players to kind of try to improvise more than just script it.

So much of what you do on game day is predetermined. Coach Patterson has his whatever short-yardage situations, end zone, whatever you parcel out in a game day, they’re done, laminated, ready to go. You do that collectively, then try to get in the best position.

On Tuesday, you’re trying to predetermine what the best situation is to be on game day. So much of it is just staying organized, staying a play ahead, anticipating those scenarios. Then obviously, they’re going to do something a little bit differently – we’ll see if he can divulge that here today – that we’ll have to adjust to.

Q. Gary, yesterday when we talked to Doug and Sonny, they said they were unsure who was going to be your starter tomorrow. Speak to the confidence you have in both those backup guys.
COACH PATTERSON: I mean, we were able to win at Kansas. Played both of them in Oklahoma. Probably if they were asking me, Bram, for the simple reason of the last game both of them played in, just because of the moment.

You guys were asking me, Would you rather have a new coordinator or new quarterback, I’d probably say, new coordinator, because the guy on the field makes everything happen. It’s premeditated what we’re going to do, his reactions to it.

Like I said yesterday, you guys don’t know the background. But Bram lost his dad that Saturday that we played Oklahoma. Ended up being able to play and doing things. He’s one of those kids that walked on, had a chance to play as a quarterback in the system. I said, Take all the time you need, and was back for Tuesday practice. He’s committed to TCU.

Foster Sawyer the same thing.

For me, it doesn’t make any difference which one of them starts. The guy that can throw to the same color, the guy that can move the ball. More importantly, I think it comes down to when you watch your kids on the field. I’ve always defined a great player by everybody around him is better when he’s on the field. The quarterback position definitely is highlighted when it comes down to those kind of situations.

I think probably they’re going to get a nod, it would probably be Bram. Either one of them is fine with me because after today, starting tomorrow, we’re going forward. You’re going to be playing with a different quarterback anyway.

Add Kenny Hill to the scenario, then a young quarterback, Brennen Wooten. So you kind of go forward.

Q. Coach Helfrich, how has that bowl trip to San Antonio differed than 2013, when you were a first-year head coach?
COACH HELFRICH: Very similar and a little bit different. Playing against a great coach and a great team, definitely a road-game type of atmosphere for us. Our fans have been awesome, have represented us well down here. But we’re going to be the minority in the building.

It’s a great venue. Got kind of a basketball, indoor feel. Loud, great venue for this game. The city of San Antonio has been awesome.

The differences are just the people, the voices of your team, the leaders of your team kind of change every year. Not every year, but sometimes. Just the voice of your team is that much different.

Those experiences are a little bit different. A great experience so far.

Q. Gary, can you talk about for your guys, what kind of feel or attitude have you seen from them in the 24 hours that they found out that Trevone wouldn’t be playing with them?
COACH PATTERSON: We had a great practice yesterday. One of the things is they’ve played without him before. You have to go forward.

I think the other thing that helps us, we understand the film, we understand the type of team we’re playing. You have a team that played for a national championship a year ago. A couple of players are gone, but a lot of them are back. They’ve been in this kind of venue. They understand the bright lights.

The hardest thing for me is, because of all the injuries we’ve had through the season, we’ve had to play 30 freshmen, 15 redshirt, 15 true.

So for me, really more the focus is getting them to understand with everything going on around them. Because when you’re at home or on the road, you have the hotel, there’s not anybody around, you can isolate them, get them to hone in what you’re trying to get accomplished. This afternoon, Look, gentlemen, we’re not going to go blow the third floor. We’re going to stay up here.

They know all their friends, relatives are downstairs. Everything is going on.

Really, it becomes more the mindset than it is those other guys. Been here 18 years. There’s some traditions of how you do things. Your older kids carry those. Really I’ve looked to them to make sure that they keep everybody where they need to be and how they need to do it. Obviously one of them didn’t.

If you can’t get ready for a ballgame like this, then off-season is not going to be that much fun, honestly. They need to get ready to go.

Q. Gary, the police report said there was a group with Trevone a couple nights ago. Did you have to make a decision to let some players play, yet suspend two?
COACH PATTERSON: Only two that I know. Should have had them come talk to me if it was a group because I didn’t see a group.

Q. Mark, will Matt continue to coach receivers or do you expect to hire a quarterback coach and receiver coach?
COACH HELFRICH: That is kind of to be determined. We have a great pool, got a plan that I’m very excited about that is probably going to happen. But he’s very versatile, the people we’re talking to on the outside are very versatile. After the game, we’ll address that.

But it’s kind of a to-be-determined type of situation in a very healthy, good way.

Q. Mark, you’ve addressed your offensive coordinator situation. Your defense has struggled a little bit in some games this year. How comfortable are you with the way Don Pellum has coordinated the defense? Will he be the defensive coordinator going forward?
COACH HELFRICH: Everybody has to get better. Somebody asked me a similar question the other day. I could get fired tomorrow. My boss might fire me right after this press conference. I don’t know.

We all have to improve, every single one of us. We’ve learned that around the world for a long, long time in sport, win now, do it exactly this way, shut everybody out, score 50. Reality is somewhere in between.

But we all have to get better, starting with me.

Do we need to play better on defense? Absolutely. Do we need to play better on special teams? Absolutely. Do we need to play better on offense? Absolutely.

Again, that all starts with me.

Q. Coach Helfrich, can you give us a comparison of TCU to other teams in the PAC-12 on both sides of the ball? Do they remind of you anyone else?
COACH HELFRICH: Offensively, they have, for us, not a great combination of kind of the Washington State Air-Raid-Mike-Leach angle, combined with several teams, whether it’s Utah or us, Arizona State run game. They do a great job of combining those two things well.

They have a few more formations than some of those teams. Obviously each quarterback have some nuances, but they have a core of things they do regardless.

Defensively there’s not really anybody like them in our conference. Obviously when you invent a defense, there’s going to be a lot of people that try to copy it.

The PAC-12 is a lot more 3-4 than the Big 12. So there’s some differences there.

Then special teams, whoever is really fast, can run and tackle. You’ve got returners that have times that go 10.0-something, 10.2-something. We don’t have that many guys lying around either. But very fast, sound, tough.

So a combination of all those things.

Q. Gary, how much does it change with Matt calling plays? Do you have any base of knowledge on him or do you expect much change from what Oregon does?
COACH PATTERSON: I think coach already answered your question. You watch from the sideline. Mark is very involved. The rest of their staff is very involved. I saw a comment, he really feels great about how they’ve meshed the running and passing game together.

Most of being part of a staff is getting along. When I hire somebody, I don’t hire somebody to be loyal to me. I put them in the offensive, defensive staff room, see how they get along, see how those guys like him. They have to spend 18 hours a day with them.

Probably many of you know, but Coach Lubick is also the older Coach Lubick’s son. He comes from an unbelievable family.

COACH HELFRICH: Thanks, coach (laughter).

COACH PATTERSON: So you’re sitting in a situation where I have one of those guys on my staff, a young GA, that since Coach Cross has been going back and forth between Missouri and here, that’s done an unbelievable job of coaching our linebackers. His dad still’s a great Texas high school coach, Coach Phillips.

Nobody has asked me the question, but let me say this to you. If you’re asking my opinion about the University of Oregon, I know they went from a senior-based secondary to a freshmen-based secondary in one year. Was good enough to get to a national championship game. They do an unbelievable job of coaching.

I’ll tell you one thing that’s hard about defending Oregon is how fast they do, the formations they use. It’s hard to dial in on them, speaking of somebody that’s done it for a long time.

Defensively they make it very hard for you to get big plays.

Then special teams, if you watch them on the film, they got guys back there, just like we do, that if you don’t keep in your lanes, if you don’t stay where you need to be, you don’t do your job, then bad things are going to happen to you.

It’s a ballgame that’s very similar with two teams that have a lot of speed, two teams that try to be innovative as far as how they coach, how they coach their teams, to try not just to beat you with athletes, but schematically get you outnumbered.

You have to make sure you do a good job of staying on your toes because they are. Both teams will use trick plays and gadgets to put you in a situation if you’re not disciplined to score easily.

If both defenses don’t do a good job of that, you’ll all be happy because it will be a high-scoring affair. If the defenses do, you won’t be happy, I’ll be happy, it will be a low-scoring affair.

I think you’re going to see a great ballgame in the three and a half hours.

Q. Mark, what was your reaction when you heard that Boykin wouldn’t play? As a coaching staff, what is the challenge of preparing for two different quarterbacks in two days?
COACH HELFRICH: Well, I think Coach Patterson handled it well. Like he said, we make a lot of very tough decisions. Commending him, that’s a very easy difficult decision in terms of teaching people exactly what he said, developing young men.

Hopefully everybody learns from an unfortunate situation. Nobody wants that to happen. It’s an unfortunate reality of every single program in the country in developing people. You have to make those decisions.

Going forward, you go forward. Has nothing to do with us in a lot of ways other than learning from it. As coach said, we watched the Oklahoma film, too, of an outstanding team that they had beat multiple times. Those guys are very good football players surrounded by very good football players. They have enough talent that a lot of people can play quarterback and make that thing go.

Q. Coach Patterson, have you been kind of waiting or wanting to play Oregon given that these two programs have been over the last decades developed into national brands of flashy programs?
COACH PATTERSON: I wouldn’t say that I’ve dreamed about playing Oregon, no. I mean, they score a lot of points. For a defensive guy, that would not be on the top of my Christmas list. That’s not happening.

But I think one of the things you need to do to find out where you’re at, what you’re doing, you have to play. Even in scheduling in non-conference, we’ve always had to find a stretch game. This year was Minnesota, next year is Arkansas for two years, then we have Ohio State.

I always feel like you have to play somebody outside your conference to find out your level, show your kids where you have to get to if you want to be one of those four playoff teams, you want to be a top-10 football team in the country.

Playing Oregon is that. One of the things we’ll get out of that, this is not mine as a quote, but you’re either winning or you’re learning. When you go to the bowl game, you can lose in the score, but really what you’re going to do is learn. You’re going to learn about yourself because of the type of athlete you’re going to play on the team that’s won a lot of football games at the end of the year, has won a lot of football games over the last 15 years.

You go back to the drawing board saying, We have to get better at this, this, this. It’s a win-win situation for us. When you look at them scheme-wise, you have the read zone, you got to get your eyes in the right place, great play-action. They have speed on the edges to get behind you.

For us it’s a great measuring stick going forward of how you play when you go back into your season in the spring, playing Baylor, Oklahoma, everybody else in our conference that we have to play that’s going to line up and run vertical.

It’s a great challenge for me as a coach, not only as a head coach, but also as a defensive coach, because now you’re having to think of ways that you can try to gain leverage and do some things that maybe you haven’t had to do in the past because of the way they do it.

I wouldn’t say I dreamed about it. Now that it’s here, I’m kind of like if I could have seen both quarterbacks play, I would have been a fan. Being in this business 33 years, you get to where you like to do things. This is a bucket list to come to San Antonio. You still want to go to the Cotton Bowl because we’re from the state of Texas. Sugar, three, we haven’t played in it. Orange going east. To get a chance to do that in this city against this kind of football team is awesome. I don’t think you want it any different.

It didn’t take me much to try to get our kids ready to go play a football game, I can tell you that.

December 31, 2015 – Oregon Defense Press Conference

Don Pellum

DeForest Buckner

Rodney Hardrick

Charles Nelson

Joe Walker

Oregon Ducks

THE MODERATOR: Our first press conference is with the Oregon defense. Coach, if you could introduce your players and open with a brief statement.

DON PELLUM: We’re excited to be here. It’s been a wonderful journey thus far. The hospitality, accommodations have been great. Our kids have been working hard. We’re feeling really good about where we are right now.

At the table accompanying me today is DeForest Buckner, Charles Nelson, Rodney Hardrick, and Joe Walker.

Q. When you first got here, you were talking about the matchup with Trevone, how difficult that might be. What is your reaction to the fact he’s suspended from this game?
DeFOREST BUCKNER: Yeah, it’s unfortunate for the team. Their team is still ready for us. Their backup win against Oklahoma a couple weeks back. They almost pretty much won this game. We were just talking about it.

It’s just one little pass. DB came up on his coverage. All he had to do was really dump it over, didn’t win the game.

They’ll be ready for us. We’re still preparing like every day, getting ready every day and all that stuff. We’re not taking it lightly.

Q. Don, you have put in the game plan for this game weeks ago. Given Boykin out, how does that change your approach on what you can do well?
DON PELLUM: They’re a very talented team. That program has won because they persevered through some injuries, but they have a lot of talent. In the times when the starting quarterback was out, they have other ways of running that offense. They have a wildcat system, the quarterback that played against Oklahoma did a nice job of orchestrating that. He has some skills.

Our preparation hasn’t changed. We don’t expect any letdown. What we’re expecting is an even more fiery team because they’ve lost something. They’ll come back. Sometimes when you’re injured, sometimes when you lose someone, when the troops rally, you can come back stronger. I think that’s what we’re going to get.

We’re preparing for the same offensive attack. It may be a wildcat quarterback, we don’t know that, but we need to be prepared for everything.

Bowls, you get everything. A bowl game is like the first game of the year. We have to be prepared for everything.

Q. Rodney, you were improving up until basically the second half of the Oregon State game. How do you get back to where you were?
RODNEY HARDRICK: All comes down to how we practice and how we prepare. We’ve been focused on finishing the season off the correct way. We put our faith in coach and trust the game plan so we can actually finish this one.

Q. Don, how did you get the news about Boykin? What was your reaction?
DON PELLUM: We were traveling to breakfast and one of the players mentioned it. I didn’t pay much attention. First I thought they were joking, then later on the way to practice, after meetings, kind of a buzz.

My reaction was the same. We’ve got to beat TCU. One of the things everybody has to understand, they have a ton of really good players. Right now if you look at TCU, they’re second in their conference tied with Oklahoma, tied for second. They were the best team in the state of Texas. A lot of great football players in Texas.

It’s not just the quarterback, it’s not just the receiver. There’s a lot of good players on that team. We have had to prepare the same way.

You know what, they lose some dynamicness at that quarterback position, but there’s play-makers all over the place. There was no excitement, jump for joy. Now we’ve got to be prepared for something else.

Q. When you practice tomorrow, will you make any changes in light of the developments?
DON PELLUM: No. Our game plan has to be able to handle a lot of different situations. We will not all of a sudden change everything. We’re going to do the same things we’ve been doing. Once we get in the game, we’ll have to adjust to whatever they’re doing.

Q. Don, you’re probably the sharpest-dressed individual at any press conference I’ve seen. What is your thinking?
DON PELLUM: That we were going to be here for eight days, so I needed three or four suits (laughter).

Also I’m always trying to provide a positive role model for these guys. Press conference, some coaches may take it a different way. This is a big deal. Everything football-wise is a big deal. It’s an occasion to dress up and be excited.

Q. DeForest, who was the first person you told when you were PAC-12 defensive Player of the Year?
DeFOREST BUCKNER: My parents. Called them when I found out the news, after I did a little interview, before they were going to air it, I wanted to let them know first.

Q. Charles, thoughts on the change in quarterback, your reaction when you heard, how it changes preparation for the secondary?
CHARLES NELSON: I don’t think it changes preparation at all. It’s very unfortunate for him. But the show must go on.

Q. DeForest, a lot of people hear that Boykin is gone, Oregon is ready to eat. Does it take away luster that you don’t get to go against their best?
DeFOREST BUCKNER: Yeah, definitely. Every time you go against a team, you want to go against their best guys. Like we said, it’s unfortunate for him not to be in the game, go against an elite player.

Like Charles said, the show must go on. They have other good players to replace him. It’s not just at the quarterback position like Coach Pell aluminum said, they have good players in the receiving corps, their runningbacks. We have to prepare for their best.

Q. Rodney, talking about the second half of that Civil War. Talk about the guy to your left right there, his return what that means for this defense.
RODNEY HARDRICK: Joe is great to play next to. We have a great chemistry. Great guy on and off the field. Helps out with the communication. He’s a great leader, as well.

Him being back on the field is great for us. It will help us out a lot.

Q. Don, as a coaching staff, what do you do in terms of curfews, talking to players, to avoid situations when you’re in a bowl game where they can be out at 2 in the morning?
DON PELLUM: I think most universities, you have a system. First, it’s year-round. Year-round, Coach Helfrich has a plan where we’re educating our guys. We bring in guest speakers. Every time something happens in the newspapers to a college football player, athlete, pro athlete, we’re going to use it as a learning experience, as an example for our players, here is where this person was, here is where you can be. A lot of those decisions are about that quick (snapping fingers).

We try to educate them year-round. We bring in specialists, former players, people that have had substance abuse problems. We bring a lot of people.

It’s a year-round process. At the end of the day the tough thing is that they are kids. DeForest, he’s growing. You have to continue that process of trying to educate them. At some point they’re out there and they have to make some tough decisions, but that’s part of growing up.

Q. Don, any kind of letdown, is that a concern at all?
DON PELLUM: Our players have seen the film. These guys are really good. I mean, they’re really good. You miss a tackle, it’s a touchdown, regardless of which guy it is. They roll guys in and out.

I’m not worried about that. We will have to play a great game on defense, play a complete game. I’m not worried.

Q. Will you remind these guys in the next 24 hours to mind your Ps and Qs sort of thing?
DON PELLUM: Coach Helfrich, when we arrived, he outlined and touched on all those different things, the conduct to adhere to.

I’m not going to touch on it, but our kids know. They all know. It’s a sad situation, but it’s a teachable moment.

Q. They also lost Josh Doctson. How much do you think they’ll change with that loss?
DON PELLUM: When you watch the film, when Doctson was out, there was another receiver that came in, probably 6’4″, extremely fast, extremely long.

I think their offense is going to operate the same. We’re going to approach it that way.

I didn’t notice a lot of different routes. I didn’t notice a lot of scheme changes. I notice they’re running a lot of their same patterns. So that’s what we’re anticipating.

CHARLES NELSON: Once he was out, they brought in the next man. It wasn’t anything different. Like we stress here, next man up. Somebody came in and got the job done. We’re going to deal with the man that we’ve got.

Q. Rodney, we hear about coach always trying to grow and develop you guys as players. What is your personal relationship with Coach Pellum?
RODNEY HARDRICK: He’s helped me a lot off the field, has shaped me more as a man as I continue to grow.

I mean, he’s helped me a lot. He’s very influential. He’s always been there for us.

Q. Going off that, why do you think he said you’d make a good coach?
RODNEY HARDRICK: I’m not sure. Maybe the smarts of the game, very knowledgeable of the offensive schemes and defensive schemes, and I would make a great coach.

Q. Coach Don, have you seen TCU’s backup quarterback?
DON PELLUM: When you watch their film, you see every single player because there’s extra time. I see pretty much the same offense. He may not run as fast, but the threat of a running quarterback…

I see the same type of offense. May not be the home run. But then again, they supplement that with a couple different other guys in there.

The offense to me has been the same. All those guys are capable. Once again, that’s a very talented team.

Q. What has your curfew been this week? As young men, how do you fight the temptation to not sneak out and go out?
JOE WALKER: I mean, like Coach Pellum said, Coach Helf kind of instills it into us throughout the year. Nobody has a desire to go out. We’re here to play a football game.

Our curfew, till game day, it just gets sooner.

Q. For all you guys. What sparked the incident was a heckling thing. Is that something that’s unusual?
RODNEY HARDRICK: We just decided to not pay attention to that kind of stuff. The opinions that we have within our team is what matters to us.

DeFOREST BUCKNER: We try not to put ourselves in that kind of situation, in other people’s territory, all this stuff. We’re in Texas. We got a lot of Texas fans. You don’t want to put yourselves in situations where things will get heated.

Coach always preaches, when something hostile comes amongst one of the players, we got to get our guy out. We’re not here to be tough guys off the field, to try to start up fights and everything. We just try to get our guy out and kind of turn the other cheek in a way, just walk away.

December 3, 2015 – TCU Offense Press Conference

Co-offensive coordinator Doug Meacham
Offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Wide receiver Kolby Listenbee
Tailback Aaron Green
 Co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie

TCU Horned Frogs
THE MODERATOR: I’d like to introduce TCU offense. Coach Meacham, if you could kickoff today’s press conference.

DOUG MEACHAM: I’d like to start off that we’d like to keep all the questioning on the field, things that matter from here forward. Kind of refer anything other than that to Coach P when he has his press conference. Appreciate it.


Q. Coach Meacham, who are you preparing to start at quarterback tomorrow?
DOUG MEACHAM: Still kind of up for discussion. Leaning between one of the two, Foster Sawyer is a candidate and also Bram Kohlhausen. So those guys. Probably leaning towards Bram at this point.

Q. Can you give the reaction when you heard Trevone would be suspended for the game?
AARON GREEN: Said he wanted to keep it on the field. I don’t know whether you want me to answer that.

DOUG MEACHAM: You’re always going to be disappointed when things like that happen. Could be any position, any level. You hate to see that happen to anyone.

At a young age, you make mistakes. Sometimes some guys pay a pretty big price. You hate to see that happen to anybody. You’re naturally disappointed, yeah.

Q. And the player’s reaction?
AARON GREEN: As he says, very disappointing, one of our leaders, he’s been a good player for us since he arrived on campus. Not just a good player, but a good person, a good brother. Whenever you see something like that, it’s extremely heartbreaking.

But, I mean, we’ve played without him before. We came here for one reason, and that’s to win.

Q. Aaron, is it going to be tougher for you to win, to be successful Saturday?
AARON GREEN: No, not at all. We went up to Norman without Josh, without Tre. We should have won that game. I mean, hopefully the outcome is different.

Like I said, we’re coming to win.

Q. Coach Meacham, with five weeks between the game, how do you find the balance between overcoaching and letting your players play?
DOUG MEACHAM: Coaches lose games, players win games. You have to find that balance. It’s a great question. Sometimes you can have paralysis through analysis. You overanalyze. We try to keep it as simple as possible.

We repeat, repeat, repeat. You see bowl games, you see people do great stuff, We should try that. You want to add another layer to the cake.

You have to maintain what you saw on film, stick to your guns, eliminate things as you go. We eliminated things as we went. We had a little bit much at the beginning and kind of melted it down to what we felt was good.

It’s tricky because you have such a large amount of time. You can overprepare. Actually have more plays than you actually can call. You have to be careful doing that.

Q. Sonny, can you talk about how you prepare now for a totally different quarterback with three days to go.
SONNY CUMBIE: One of the things about the last question, about how much time you have with bowl prep. With five weeks, Bram has gotten plenty of the reps. Nothing for us will change from a game-plan standpoint. All those guys, as a quarterback, you always have to prepare as if you’re going to be the guy.

It’s easier said than done, but I think over the course of the season, Bram and Foster have done a great job of approaching each week mentally with the things we ask them to do as if they’re playing.

Just excited to see those guys play tomorrow or Saturday. I don’t think there’s anything in the game plan that we’ve taken out. They’ve all reped it. I think they’re prepared.

Q. Sonny, can you talk about his strengths, Bram’s strengths, where he excels in the game.
SONNY CUMBIE: Bram has been in this offense a long time. When he was at Houston, he was in this offense. Transferred to junior college, came back.

One of the things about playing in this offense, especially at quarterback, is repetitions. He’s had tons of reps. He gets the ball out of his hands quickly. He does a good job with our fast screens on the perimeter. He’s a kid that’s really confident. He’s confident in his abilities.

His opportunity came around. I think you’re not going to see him run around as much as Trevone, but maybe he’ll find the runningback a little bit more in the pass game.

Excited to see him play.

Q. Sonny, two or three weeks ago, a lot of people didn’t expect you to be at this game. Your thought process about coming back to TCU, your plans going forward.
SONNY CUMBIE: There’s a lot of factors that go into decisions to be made. Quality of life, your family. My wife is due to have a baby boy in February, our second son. I think from a family standpoint, it would have been difficult to ask her to leave Fort Worth and move to another place.

Professionally, from a standpoint of quality of life and comfort, Fort Worth, the people of TCU have been unbelievable to our family. They’ve opened their arms to us, loved us really well. The people at TCU have made it really clear they want us there.

It had so much more to do with TCU with our decision to stay than it had to do with anything else. I was talking to our guys the other night. We won 12 games last year, the Big 12. This year we won 10 with a chance to win 11. Why not TCU? I believe in Coach Patterson, the foundation of things he’s done here. I believe in our kids, Dallas-Fort Worth, what a great place to recruit to. Our facilities are second to none. They’re not as big, but just as nice.

Coach Patterson has talked a lot about people make the plays. TCU, the people that are there, they love their players, they love their team. It was an exciting time to think about that. But whenever we got on our way back home from going down there, we knew what we needed to do, wanted to do, are really excited and at peace with the decision.

Q. Doug, can you give us some perspective on this Oregon defense, who they are comparable to in the Big 12?
DOUG MEACHAM: Well, they’re a little different. In the Big 12 you see a lot more man coverage. You see a lot more guys that like to get after the quarterback and blitz.

They have some blitz packages. I think they’re a little bit more of a coverage team. They get in and out of a bunch of different coverage types. There’s times where they’ll drop eight guys, probably a little bit more than others. They do a good job reacting and triggering to the football.

Really big up front. Kind of a team that’s going to make you stay in front of them and make you earn it.

It’s going to be a challenge.

Q. Kolby, can you talk about the two quarterbacks, what they bring, also your reaction when you found out Trevone wouldn’t be playing in the game?
KOLBY LISTENBEE: Really our job title as receiver is to catch the ball, make the plays, the blocks, everything we’re supposed to.

I mean, they both can play football pretty good. Foster can throw the hardball. Bram can made great decisions. The receivers job is to make them confident in us, catch the balls you need to catch and make plays if you need to.

Q. All three players. A lot of people are writing you off with no chance in the game Saturday night. How much does that charge you to come in and win this game?
KOLBY LISTENBEE: I feel like we’re all about shocking the world, really. Our motto this year was ‘prove them right.’ I mean, everybody counted us out, whatever. I think for this game, it’s ‘prove them wrong.’

I think we’re all a family. We’ve had a lot of adversity this year. We all came together and played as best we could. I think we have to go out there and believe in what we do, we have a chance to win this game.

AARON GREEN: Like the culture here, TCU, I feel like we always play our best games when our backs are against the wall. With our backs against the wall, me personally, I love when people count us out, when they count me out personally. I feel like that’s when I play my best ball. Go ahead, count me out.

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: Just like these two guys. Play our hearts out. This is going to be my last game with these two. My job is to protect the quarterback. If Tre is not there, I’m going to protect somebody else. It’s my job.

But this is my last game. I have to give the seniors the best last game.

Q. Kolby, do you feel let down because Trevone won’t be the one to throw you passes in your final college game?
KOLBY LISTENBEE: No. It would be cool to have him there because I’ve been playing with him the last four years. But the two other quarterbacks I’ve been practicing with the last couple years. I’m used to them, too.

I just have to go out there and catch the ball that’s thrown to me. As I said earlier, give them confidence in me. If the ball is in the air, got to make the play.

Q. Sonny, looking ahead to 2016, curious how has Kenny Hill done in practice and approaching his read-shirt year?
SONNY CUMBIE: He’s done a great job. I think Coach Patterson has seen him more at his end with the scout team. Every week, Coach Patterson brags how well he’s done. He takes it very seriously. He prepares with stuff we have him do during the week. He does a good job. He’s really excited.

Moving forward into the spring, I’m excited to see what he can do, what Foster can do, the kids we’re bringing in. Kenny has really handled it well and is really taking care of his business.

Q. Aaron, you are young adults. Young adults tend to make mistakes sometimes. As players, have you felt any added pressure of maybe going out since you’re so close to home, have friends here?
AARON GREEN: No, there’s not much added pressure at all. I feel like you just have to learn and know when to turn it on, turn it off, when to have fun, when to get to business.

I think sometimes when people blend that, I think that’s when you can get yourself in trouble. But for the most part, I think that you should have fun. I feel like you should go out and enjoy the city, do things such as that.

But you just got to make good decisions. Know when to be in your room, not break curfew, know and remember we’re here to play a football game above all things.

Q. Coach Meacham, can you confirm the report that Trevone was in his room when you did room checks last night?
DOUG MEACHAM: He was in his room when we did room checks, yes.

Q. Lighthearted question for Aaron Green. You tweeted that KaVontae Turpin opted to guard a backpack. What excuse did he give you guys?
AARON GREEN: His exact words was, I’m afraid of heights, son.

That’s how he talks with his New Orleans accent, his Louisiana accent. We tried to get him on, but he doesn’t do heights, so we just let him guard the backpacks.

Q. Sonny, you know Trevone, does this fit his personality? Do you feel let down, too?
SONNY CUMBIE: Trevone means a lot to me and my family. He’s a great kid and we love him dearly.

Q. Was that out of character for him?
SONNY CUMBIE: I would say so.

Q. All three players. I don’t know if you guys watched the Baylor game the other night where they didn’t have their quarterback, top runner or receiver. Do you take any inspiration what they were able to do?
DOUG MEACHAM: Aaron wants to rush for 650, it would be awesome.

AARON GREEN: I mean, I want to help him run 650 yards.

Q. Aaron, you’re one of many local players playing in this game. How excited are you to play in this game?
AARON GREEN: I’m extremely excited. What a better way to close out your collegiate career. At the same time I don’t want to make this game about me.

Like I said, these guys mean so much to me, the team means so much to me, this university means so much to me. I really just want to do anything I can to win this last game.

Q. Can you talk about the two quarterbacks, what you’ve seen from them, what you expect from them? What have you seen from those guys this year?
AARON GREEN: Me personally, I’ve seen confidence. When Tre went down against KU, Bram stepped in. He played the best that he could. Foster got in there and threw a touchdown pass that we needed desperately. The week after that we went up to Norman. Obviously Tre didn’t play. I mean, they both played well. We turned the ball over a little too much.

But Bram came in, he almost led us to victory. He didn’t think twice about it. He wasn’t nervous. So, I mean, I think they both bring confidence and they both understand the goal, and the goal is to win.

Me personally, I feel very confident with either of them back there.

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: Just like I said earlier, whoever is the quarterback there, I’m going to turn around and say, I got your back. We’re all one team. It’s not made by one guy, you know. It’s the next man up, so…

Q. Coach Meacham, DeForest Buckner, big force inside for the Ducks. Talk about the challenge you face with him on the frontline. Without Trevone now, is there any added pressure or challenges with another quarterback?
DOUG MEACHAM: No, I don’t think so. I think it’s the next man up mentality. There’s 11 guys out there. I think Big V is going to do a good job, whoever is matched up with that guy. He’s a really good player.

But I think you have to take the approach of as long as you know your assignment work, you are in the right spot, you play full speed, you’re going to have a chance. Our guys do a really good job of that. We’ve had a month to prepare. We watched every piece of film, studied each individual player.

In our minds, when the ball is snapped, I don’t think you’re going, Who is that quarterback? You’re playing ball. That’s what the other team is going to do. They’re going to do their job. Next man up.

Q. Doug, you see some quick strike offenses in the Big 12. Do you ever find yourself as a play caller having to call plays based on what the other team does offensively because of the number of possessions?
DOUG MEACHAM: Not really, no. Don’t really pay any attention to that. It’s what the defense is doing, how they react to us. Coverage rotation, numbers in the box, out of the box, things like that, blitz.

Sonny does a great job programming those guys, getting us in and out of plays, doing the right thing.

But not really. I think you can, again, get too far ahead of yourself thinking about what they’re doing when our main focus is what we can do against their defense more so than anything else.

Q. Doug, are y’all pretty much going to go with Bram at starting quarterback or wait till game time?
DOUG MEACHAM: I don’t know. I don’t know if I feel comfortable answering that right now. Maybe Sonny will. We’ll see.

SONNY CUMBIE: I think we’ll just go ahead and wait, see how they do with tomorrow’s jog-through and have an idea then.

Q. Doug, last 12 months I’m sure you both have received phone calls about other jobs. What excites you about staying at TCU?
DOUG MEACHAM: I’m from Metroplex. I grew up in Arlington. Did punt, pass, and kick in the Carter when I was a kid. I’ve had a unique opportunity. I coached at my alma mater, Oklahoma State. Now I have a chance to come and coach in my hometown. I don’t know many people that have had that opportunity.

You drive around the city, a lot of things remind you of when you were young. A lot of people that you went to high school with, family and everything. Fort Worth is a great town. It is a great city. A lot of great people, a lot of true Horned Frogs fans. I can’t say enough about it.

It’s the perfect mixture of size, but it’s not too big. It’s a phenomenal city. TCU is a phenomenal school, yeah. Very fortunate to be able to work there.

Q. Aaron, I know you’re very close to Trevone. Did you have a chance to talk to him? If you didn’t, what would you say to him?
AARON GREEN: What do you mean? From the incident?

He’s still my brother, still our brother. We love him, hope everything works out. I mean, I’m hurting from it. I’m not going to sit up here and lie. He’s a kid with an extremely bright future. Probably one of the best football players I’ve ever played with. He’s a good person, too.

So, I mean, you just hate to see that happen, you know. Like I said, I just pray that everything works out and he has another opportunity to get out and do what he’s great at.

Q. Kolby, we all know you’re very fast. What is it like to run 110 in just over 10? Is there a specific play you remember going as fast as you can?
KOLBY LISTENBEE: I mean, it’s pretty cool. Run track and play football. Going to Nationals, competing in it.

This season, we ran at SMU, the ball was overthrown, I was running with the dude, all of a sudden the ball was in the air, I took off. It felt pretty cool. Had a nice little burst.

The whole season, I’ve been kind of struggling, being injured and stuff. I mean, like game time or whatever, I put everything out and go out there and run as fast as I can, try to help out the team.

Q. Kolby, are you going into Saturday with more confidence than you would have if Tre was healthy for the whole season, given how we saw how Bram did against Oklahoma?
KOLBY LISTENBEE: Yeah, like Aaron said, we played before without Trevone. It would be cool to have Trevone, too. We play pretty good without him. We almost beat a team that’s in the playoffs right now. We still have confidence. We go out there and play for each other, stay accountable, get the victory.

Q. Aaron, do you feel like now you guys don’t really have anything to lose in this one? All the pressure seems to have shifted over to Oregon.
AARON GREEN: I wouldn’t say ‘nothing to lose’. Got big play-makers here on this stage. I mean, I don’t know. Like I say, it’s just another game. Of course, it’s a big game. Extremely good bowl game, so you want to win at any cost.

I think we still have enough what it takes, I know we have enough what it takes to beat these guys. That’s what we going to try to do.

Q. Doug or Sonny, did you get to talk to Trevone? Did he have a reaction? Did he address the team at all?
SONNY CUMBIE: No, I haven’t spoke to him.

Q. Is Tre going to stay in San Antonio or did he have to go home?
DOUG MEACHAM: I mean, what difference does it make? How many times are we going to talk about it?


December 30, 2015 – TCU Defense Press Conference

Co-Defensive Coordinator Chad Glasgow

 Defensive End Josh Carraway

Co-Defensive Coordinator DeMontie Cross

Linebacker Ty Summers

Safety Derrick Kindred

Safety Denzel Johnson

TCU Horned Frogs

THE MODERATOR: Our first press conference is with the TCU defense.

CHAD GLASGOW: We have a couple of San Antonio guys. Far end, we have defensive end Josh Carraway, then strong safety Denzel Johnson, then Derrick Kindred, known as Peanut, then Ty Summers.

THE MODERATOR: Talk about how the week is going.

CHAD GLASGOW: First of all, we want start by thanking Mr. Derrick Fox and the whole Alamo Bowl committee for giving us a chance to represent the Big 12 and Texas Christian University here in San Antonio.

We’ve had so many people in our program throughout the years from this city. It’s really a special place to us. We’ve had a good week. The people have been phenomenal, our practice facility. We’re staying at the Hyatt Regency, which is on the River Walk. It’s been a good experience for our kids and our families.


Q. Could you talk about the recruitment of Ty Summers? Was he coming in at defense?
CHAD GLASGOW: One of the things that’s been really fortunate about practicing down here and being my recruiting area for a long time, there’s been high school coaches at our practices. David Wetzel, who was Ty’s head coach, he came out to practice yesterday. Billy Hall, who was Derrick Kindred’s coach out at Wagner, he had come by today actually with his grandkids..

But Ty had played quarterback at Regan High School for Coach Wetzel and those guys over there. From a mentality standpoint and toughness, we were recruiting Ty to come in and be a linebacker for us. He’s done a good job of that early in his career, how Coach Wetzel groomed him football knowledge-wise and he stepped in and learned a lot linebacker-wise and he’s given us a lot.

Q. Josh, Vernon Adams doesn’t run quite as much as your quarterback. His ability to escape the pocket, does he remind you at all of Boykin? What are the keys against him?
JOSH CARRAWAY: I guess a little bit, but I don’t think he’s as athletic as Boykin. I think he definitely will try to run. He doesn’t do it as much since he got hurt.

One of the things we’ll have to do is collapse the pocket, make him be a pocket passer instead of look downfield and scramble a lot.

Q. DeMontie, talk about these linebackers coming together. At the start of the year, you didn’t have experience. You moved guys over from safety..
DeMONTIE CROSS: With the guys we had departing from last year, we knew we was going to be a young group. We knew we were going to do it by committee. Didn’t expect to lose the guys we lost early in the season.

In our preparation in the off-season, I think our guys understand the model we have, next man up. The guys came on, got a little bit of playing experience. I think it just kind of snowball effect for us, got confidence, started making a few plays. It’s amazing what happens when you can see yourself being successful, not only in practice, but games.

The guys are just really bonded well together. Here we are trying to wrap up this season. But very proud of these guys so far.

Q. Chad and DeMontie, could you describe what this season has been like with all the different players you had to shuffle in and out of the lineup? It was 22 starters you had over the course of the season. How have they been able to come together and play so well?
CHAD GLASGOW: I think DeMontie really hit the nail on the head when he said we have the ‘next guy up’ philosophy. Something that pervades through our program is it’s about going out and playing well, not just going out and play.

When you got a chance to play, we expect when you step between those white lines, you play TCU defense. We want to make practice harder than the game where they can be successful when they step out on the field. We have had guys that have stepped up and gone and done it.

A lot of the credit for this defense goes to Derrick this year. He broke his collarbone the Sunday before our first game against Minnesota. The trainers took him in and x-rayed it. They came out and said, It’s not good, it’s broken, probably won’t play.

He came out 10 minutes later and said, Coach, I’m playing in this game. He played in 12 football games with a broken collarbone, couldn’t lift his arm.

Just that from a leadership standpoint, toughness, how it went to the younger guys. Coach Patterson pulled him over three or four weeks ago, talking to him about some of the young freshmen, going through the growing pains..

He said, Derrick, why did you do that?

He said, Coach, that’s what we do.

I don’t think a stronger statement can be made for a leader of your football team to do something like that.

DeMONTIE CROSS: To echo that, one of the biggest things we talk about is being 1/11th. We need our guys to do their jobs, not do anything more than that. That goes into the next man up. We think of TCU as a brand. Defensively Coach Patterson has had that established his entire career.

I think the guys understand they have a tradition to carry on. With that in mind, attention to detail is always there in practice. I think it kind of breeds confidence once you actually get on the field and are able to contribute and play.

We’ve just juggled it, found the right pieces to work together. It’s presented us this opportunity to play against in this bowl game against a great team in Oregon. We got to go out there and do it one more time.

Q. Coach Cross, can you put into context Ty’s 23 tackles in the Baylor game?
DeMONTIE CROSS: If he remembers, I called him probably about midnight, almost 1:00 when I was sitting in bed with my wife. I didn’t even realize it till I got home actually.

The way I coach, I didn’t even know he made two tackles. I always believe in the next series, the next play. I remember getting home and giving Ty a call and I said, Great job. I didn’t even know he made the fourth down stop.

I thought what a great deal for a guy who started off not playing a lot, starting, back and forth. What a great job to finish the regular season that way.

Hadn’t had a guy that made that many tackles in a game before. Once I watched the tape, it was fun to watch. He was in and out, showing his athleticism, showing his toughness, what a great future he has to look forward to at TCU. I didn’t even know he had that many plays until I was at home and I started seeing the tweets going out and so forth.

Q. Didn’t know he made the fourth down stop?
DeMONTIE CROSS: I didn’t. When you’re getting bum rushed on the sidelines, I was getting ready for the next call because I wasn’t sure if they had it or not. We’re so trained, go to the next play, the next call, with the way offenses are nowadays.

When it surfaced that it was him, I wanted him to know how proud I was when I found out.

Q. Ty, what was your recollection during the game and what was your perspective looking back on the game?
TY SUMMERS: It was a fun experience just being able to go through that with my team. 23 tackles is one thing, but you got to look at the whole team. We did our 1/11th to give us that opportunity.

It was a fun experience. Baylor’s a good team. It was a good game. We fought hard. We got the win.

Now we’re moving on, getting ready for Oregon. That’s what we’re focused on right now.

Q. Derrick and Denzel, when you look at Oregon’s receivers, they are fast. The TCU receivers are also pretty speedy. How does going against them every day at practice prepared you to face Oregon? How similar do you think those two sets of receivers are?
DERRICK KINDRED: Our receivers are a lot similar to their receivers. Oregon has a lot of fast guys. We realize that. We just went through a week of practice, read our keys, do what we can for game time.

DENZEL JOHNSON: Yeah, I feel like they’re pretty similar, too. They’re pretty fast. We got fast guys on our team, too. Just doing our techniques against them in practice, it will just roll over to the game.

Q. Derrick and Josh, you two were guys who started all 12 games. Only three guys on the team that did that. As you watched this collection of guys come and go with injuries, what was going through your mind? Was it bad luck with injuries or what was your mentality in trying to play through all that?
DERRICK KINDRED: I feel like it wasn’t bad luck. Everybody gets injured. You have to fight through things like that. Me being the leader of the defense, like the coaches said, next man up. You have to have full faith in them.

JOSH CARRAWAY: I mean, from the first day, I ride the young guys really hard. When their name gets called, they know what I expect of them. This is nothing new to me. It’s just next man up. They know when they got to get in, they just can’t play good, they have to play well and do their job because everyone else is expected to do their job.

It is what it is, but we’re here now.

Q. Josh, talk about the last two games of Oklahoma and Baylor. How do you rank those performances?
JOSH CARRAWAY: I don’t really have much to say. Oklahoma, we kind of lost. We did lose.

Just my teammates really playing well. Coach P and the coaches, they just put me in position to make plays.

Q. Ty, can you tell me about that fourth down stop against Baylor, how you got through the line.
TY SUMMERS: Well, all I can remember thinking about that play was the practice before where we faced the same thing. Coach P, we ran right through it. I was too far on the right side. He got on to me and told me what to do. When that formation came up, it just kind of clicked.

Q. Derrick, could you take me through that broken collarbone you got. I take it it was in practice. What were you thinking when it happened? Were you giving any thought about not being able to play for a couple weeks?
DERRICK KINDRED: You know, when it happened, I kind of felt like something was wrong with it because I couldn’t get up, I couldn’t move it and things like that.

When we went and got the x-rays, they told me I fractured my clavicle. It kind of hurt me a little bit. A couple days before the first game, I’m supposed to be the leader of the defense, you don’t know if I’m going to play or not.

Like coach said, they expected me to be out for the season. It kind of hurt me once they told me that. They gave me the option to play or sit it out. Just me being all in for my team, I just felt like I could at least try to play through it one game, see how it feels.

I went through that game, and I felt great. I was hurting after. I was hurting bad. But, you know, I got a couple days of rest before practices and things like that. It was feeling better.

Each and every week it was hurting more and more, then I just had to fight through it. The season we was having, a lot of people going down, I felt like I couldn’t be that one to just give up. I just had to keep fighting through it.

Q. Chad and Ty, I’m not sure if you have faced a runningback like Freeman this year. I’d like your thoughts on him as a back and the challenges he may pose to your defense.
CHAD GLASGOW: Freeman is a good runningback and you can see it on film. He’s physical, fast, runs very hard. He sets up his blocks well and their offensive line does a tremendous job of blocking. They’re big and physical. You have to do a great job of tackling and you have to play with great leverage.

TY SUMMERS: I think from the film study we’ve done, I see him being a very athletic, very capable back. I’m looking forward to this opportunity to play him. We’ve faced backs that are tough and strong, Minnesota, Ryan from Oklahoma. Even the backs from Baylor, they run hard and fast.

I think it’s something we’ve learned from from the different backs we faced. I think we’re going to be ready for them.

Q. DeMontie, you’re going to get a chance to go back home to Missouri and join the new staff over there. Is this bittersweet to finish your career Saturday night? What are your thoughts about being a D coordinator with Missouri where you went to college?
DeMONTIE CROSS: First and foremost, it’s a great opportunity. But my focus of why I’m here is because I want to finish this thing out with not only the staff, but the players. I told them that’s the reason that I’m coming back.

I really hadn’t had a chance to soak it all up. But the fact of going back to Missouri… I’m here to win the game. That’s where my focus has been. It’s a tremendous opportunity to go back and join a guy I played with, so-called go home.

In the game of football, coaching, it’s all about opportunity. I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to be given that opportunity. But we’re here to win a game. That’s where my focus is at. I made sure that my players understand that. I’ve tried to be there all in each practice every day, so…

Q. Derrick, talking about coming to San Antonio, playing your 50th game, have you thought about what it’s going to be like on game day?
DERRICK KINDRED: It’s going to be real crazy. I’m going to have a lot of family and friends there watching the game. It’s just exciting. You play all your years in Fort Worth. Your last game in your hometown, it’s very exciting for me.

Q. With Coach Cross leaving, Coach Patterson has already said you’ll be the lone defensive coordinator next year. What does that mean for you and TCU?
CHAD GLASGOW: First of all, like DeMontie touched on, first I want to thank him for everything he’s done the last few weeks, to give us this opportunity to be here, how he’s coached these kids. He’s done a tremendous job.. He’ll always be part of the Horned Frog family. We appreciate everything he’s done. He’s special to us. We’re going to miss him when he’s gone, that kind of deal.

I’m real excited about the opportunities moving forward. Gary is involved defensively like everybody knows. It’s just neat to work with a bunch of guys who are selfless and want to find a way to go win football games. That’s what we’ve always tried to do with our kids, that’s what we’ll continue to do.

Again, we want to coach them hard and prepare them in practice where practice is harder than the game so when you get to game time, it kind of slows down and you can go play fast.

Q. Josh, in a game that nationally all the focus seems to be on each team’s offense, the point total is at the highest of any of the bowl games, do you take that to heart as kind of playing with a purpose when Saturday comes?
JOSH CARRAWAY: Yeah, I mean, we really take it to heart and really try to go out there and set it up. Even with the amount of injuries we have, TCU is TCU defense because it’s next man up.

We have a lot of great players on the defense that are young. Each practice they’re learning. We just go out there and try to give it our best. Ultimately it won’t be no hundred points like everyone thinks.

Q. Coach Cross, Ty didn’t make that many starts for you. What kept him out of the starting lineup?
DeMONTIE CROSS: I think just his opportunities. I think we had personal conversations one-on-one. We try to evaluate each guy each practice. There’s some games or practices that he didn’t practice as well or games where he didn’t play as well, then you had other guys playing well.

I think things happen for a reason. The season’s long. I always remind my guys of that. You have to stay ready. That’s the one thing that I’m most proud of, is he stayed ready. I told him, When your opportunity comes again, you have to cash in on it. He has done that.

But we try to make sure our guys understand you have to compete for your job every day. As long as the guys understand that, then no one ever gets comfortable. It’s hard to get comfortable at TCU. It’s a very unique place the way we practice and coach our guys. So the guys have to bring it every single day.

It’s an honor and a privilege to be a starter on TCU defense.


December 30, 2015 – Oregon Offense Press Conference

Wide Receivers Coach Matt Lubick

Wide Receiver Bralon Addison

Offensive Lineman Tyler Johnstone

Quarterback Vernon Adams, Jr.

Running Back Royce Freeman

Oregon Ducks

THE MODERATOR: We have Oregon offense. It’s my pleasure to introduce Oregon wide receiver coach Matt Lubick.

Coach, could you introduce your players and give an opening statement.

MATT LUBICK: First off, it’s an honor to be here. The Alamo Bowl is first class in every way you can be. We came here two years ago. It’s as good a bowl as I’ve been around as far as hospitality, the way people treat us.

Most importantly, we’re excited because we think we’re playing the best of the best in college football. Anytime you get an opportunity to do something like that, it’s pretty special.

I feel very fortunate to be around four of our best players, great leaders for us. At the end of the table, running back Royce Freeman, offensive lineman Tyler Johnstone, wide receiver Bralon Addison, and quarterback Vernon Adams.


Q. Matt, TCU has undergone a dramatic change this year, a lot of injuries on their defense. They’re known for linebackers, the productivity of the defense over the years. How would you compare and contrast this group with the groups you’ve seen before and what kind of job do you think they’ve done keeping this team together with all those injuries?
MATT LUBICK: Answer the last part. An amazing job. Over 19 years, I think Coach Patterson has been there, they’ve been known as being one of the best defenses in college football. We’ve had some of our coaches go study what they do. They’ve actually kind of been a team that people try to emulate on defense.

They’re athletic. They’re well-coached. They make you earn everything you get. It’s a tremendous challenge that we’re looking for.

Q. Vernon, I know you’re preparing for TCU’s defense. Do you have an appreciation for Trevone and his style of play given your both similar size?
VERNON ADAMS, JR.: Yeah, definitely. I’ve been watching him all year. I think he’s one of the best quarterbacks to come out this year and in the country. Hats off to him. He’s a really good quarterback.

I’m excited. This is my first and last bowl game, but I’m excited to get out here and show what I got, too, with these guys.

Q. Vernon, now that you’re playing in your one and only bowl game, your final game for Oregon, talk about your year. Has it gone the way you wanted it to? You had an injury, but things never go the way you planned.
VERNON ADAMS, JR.: I’m very pleased with how the year went. At first, didn’t really go as I planned. My senior year, so I was kind of hurt when I broke my finger and all that.

But we finished strong. We’re all playing really good football right now. We’re all excited to get out there, play against another team. We’ve been practicing against each other. Almost like fall camp kind of, been practicing against each other so much the past month. We’re just ready to get out there and play.

Q. Tyler, Alamo Bowl two years ago when you first tore your ACL. Now it’s your last game in an Oregon uniform. Is it fitting for you to end your career here?
TYLER JOHNSTONE: I mean, I’m not really thinking too much about last time we were here. I’m more focused on TCU, what lies ahead for us this week, this year’s Alamo Bowl.

Kind of a fitting story. It’s kind of where I first went down, where I’m coming back, I guess if that’s the way you want to play it.

I’m excited. No emotion as far as that goes for me. Not really nervous to play on that field. I tore my ACL on the practice field. Played on it a hundred times since. That part of it doesn’t bother me at all.

Q. Talk about the pride you take in having Royce as the number one rusher?
TYLER JOHNSTONE: That’s a huge point of pride for us. Obviously Royce makes it easy for us day in and day out. We enjoy Royce being here.

The rushing, it comes down to two things. That’s offensive line and the runningback’s abilities to hit holes. That’s definitely been a point of emphasis for us and a point of pride all season.

Q. Tyler, TCU has a pretty quick defense as far as the reputation goes. Talk about the challenge you will be facing with a defense like that.
TYLER JOHNSTONE: That’s the thing, TCU, they’re very mobile. The defensive ends get up field faster than a lot of the guys we’ve seen this year. They move around as far as their defensive line goes, a lot of slanting, a lot of twisting. We have to keep our eyes outside, the boundary blitzes, things like that.

That’s really the biggest challenge. They’re athletic and they’re fast. I think we’re up to it, like I said.

Q. Bralon and Royce, obviously talking with TCU’s defense, the over/under is 79 right now. When you hear both sides are supposed to go off on Saturday, do you take that as you have to build up to that or you know you can do that?
BRALON ADDISON: I mean, I think we all know it’s going to be a great game, two great offenses. I think we’re just more focused on executing our game plan, going out there and competing at the highest level we can, just trying to contribute to our part.

ROYCE FREEMAN: Same. I agree with Bralon. We’re just focused on what we have to do as far as offense goes. We know what we’re capable of. Kind of setting down some of the outside noise as far as how many points we have to score or anything like that.

Q. Bralon, talk about how nice it’s been when Vernon came back, the chemistry that you have with him. Almost all of your touchdowns came from him..
BRALON ADDISON: Vernon’s a great player, a guy that we missed a lot when he was out hurt. I was more happy that he was able to get back for his own personal reason. Him having to come over, only having one season, missing those games when he was hurt, I know that was probably tough on him. Everybody was doubting him.

We all knew what he was capable of, the things he could do on the field. I was happy he got a chance to come back and show them. People start to see how valuable he is to our offense. He’s helped us in a big way.

Q. Has your game day role been defined yet?
MATT LUBICK: We have a plan for that. Everyone’s role has increased a little bit just because of the situation. But we have a plan for that that I don’t want to get into right now, yeah.

Q. Matt, with Scott leaving for the job in Florida, are you looking at this as kind of an audition for the opportunity for being the offensive coordinator?
MATT LUBICK: Not really. My mindset is ever since I’ve been employed here, I wake up every day and try to do the best job I can do to help Oregon football win. I did that when Scott was here and doing it now that he’s left. We’re happy for Scott.

Every time you have a coach leave, you have to have somebody step up. A lot of coaches have stepped up and our players have stepped up. I’ve been very proud with the guys beside me, their leadership, how the team has bought into it, how we’re preparing for this football game.

Q. Vernon, I know you guys are focused on this. But looking past this, what part of your game do you think will translate best at trying to make it at the next level? Is it the arm strength, escape-ability?
VERNON ADAMS, JR.: I think mainly just extending the play. That’s not all me, you know. It’s Bralon, Dwayne, D.C. those guys. When I’m scrambling, they’re not just standing still, they’re getting theirselves open, you know what I’m saying? They make it easy for me.

A lot of times I scramble when I don’t have to. You know what I’m saying? They try to say the O-line is not doing what they’re supposed to. I’m scrambling when I’m not supposed to. That will be the big thing, extending the play, trying to get away from those big guys.

Q. Vernon, how much pressure did you feel replacing a Heisman Trophy winner?
VERNON ADAMS, JR.: No pressure at all.

Q. Have you talked to Marcus from time to time throughout the year? What has he said to you?
VERNON ADAMS, JR.: Yeah, I’ve talked to him a few times. These guys are closer with him. I’ve talked to him like when I signed here. He came to the USC game. I talked to him a little bit. In the beginning of fall camp, I talked to him. Gave me some advice, just to learn the offense as fast as I can, play as fast as I can. He knows I can get the job done.

Nothing big, though.

Q. Vernon, we spoke with the TCU defense. They said they’re going to try to contain you in the pocket. Are you comfortable playing within the pocket or do you feel the need to get out into space?
VERNON ADAMS, JR.: I’m definitely comfortable in the pocket. Like I said, sometimes I get out when I don’t need to. If they’re going to do that, that’s fine. Throw in the pocket, out of the pocket. Great linemen, receivers, running backs. They help me, make it look easy.

Q. Vernon, with TCU’s speed, the front seven, is it going to be tougher for you to do what you do with them being so fast?
VERNON ADAMS, JR.: Guess we got to see on Saturday. They are fast, though, on the D-line. They have some really great athletes in the secondary, as well.

So we’re just going to have to see.

Q. Tyler, last game for you ever after playing at Oregon for pretty much forever. Do you think it’s going to be an emotional game for you, excitement? Do you see it being emotional?
TYLER JOHNSTONE: I think it will be a little bit of both. Definitely going to be a little bit melancholy out there. However the game turns out, as you said, it being our last game, a lot of mixed emotions, a lot of excitement.

It was a long road. Playing at Oregon, this is my fifth year. The bond you create on this team, with this culture, I mean, the Oregon culture, it’s something that you’ll never have again.

That’s definitely one thing I’ll be missing after this game and one thing that’s going to probably hit me the hardest.

Q. Coach, whether you’re calling plays or not, it’s going to be a collaborative effort. You’ll be having some role in play calling. How does this game differ than like a Stanford game?
MATT LUBICK: It doesn’t differ a lot. When you prepare, you study your opponent, you figure out different things you do well, how you can attack your opponent. Whether it’s Stanford or TCU, both are a little bit different in their defensive schemes.

But once the game starts, your plan’s in place. You’ve already went through all the various situations. It’s just a matter of getting it out, making adjustments.

To make adjustments, everyone’s involved. Our players get involved in the adjustments. Our quarterback is hugely involved in the way we adjust to things. That’s how we’ve done it all year regardless of who the opponent is.

When the game starts on Saturday night, it comes down to one play at a time. Once one play happens, get ready for the next play. I’ve heard a lot of different things about scoring points, this and that. It really comes down to preparation, which I’m very proud of the way these guys have done, but when it’s game time, it’s one play at a time. That’s these guys’ mindset.

Q. Vernon, you’re not that big of a guy, but you have a pretty strong arm. Was that something you had to learn over the years or is it a fundamental thing that you can increase and get better at?
VERNON ADAMS, JR.: I think it’s just a fundamental talent, something you continue to work on. I played with a lot of different receivers during my life. Once I got here, a lot of routes after practice, at the rec center and stuff. Making sure your timing is right, getting the ball out on time.

I like throwing the deep ball, I practiced that a lot, especially over at my other school.

Q. Bralon, what does this experience to be back in Texas mean for you? Also, what does this bowl game mean for you as a springboard going into next year?
BRALON ADDISON: I think it’s special for me just because I’m from two hours down the road. Anytime we get to play in Texas, it’s special for me.

As far as going into next year, I think it’s just another game for us to get better and continue to compete. TCU’s a great team, a well-coached team. They’re athletic. It will be another chance for us to play against a great defense.

As far as offensively goes, I think it also will help us in the recruiting side as far as us coming down here and competing. I think it will showcase to Texas that guys on the West Coast can play with teams, we played Michigan State, teams from the Midwest, now Texas. I think it will help us in a lot of ways.

Q. Royce, you played in the All-American Bowl a week before Oregon played Texas. Did you stay around for that game? Did that affect you in any of the decisions?
ROYCE FREEMAN: Yeah, I ended up watching Oregon versus Texas. I enjoyed watching it two years ago. Yeah, it was cool.

Q. Vernon, there’s been a lot of talk about what might have been had you not gotten hurt. Have you allowed yourself to go there and think about that much?
VERNON ADAMS, JR.: I mean, everybody’s going to think a little bit. But I just see it as everything happens for a reason. I really take that to heart.

It’s not just me. Like I’ve said before, it’s not me, it’s the O-linemen blocking that extra second for me to get the ball off, the receivers getting open when I’m scrambling down the field getting away from DBs, Royce, giving him the ball. I’m running this way, he’s 30 yards down the field, touchdown. It’s not just me.

It’s tough, you know. It was my senior year. It was missing those three and a half games. But I’m glad we’re here. We’re all blessed. I’m very thankful.

Q. Vernon, talking about the video of you running around at the first practice. Was that you for the camera or is that you every practice?
VERNON ADAMS, JR.: No, you can catch me running around practice a lot. That was my first time back. I hadn’t been with the team since January. It just felt good to be out there, finally pass math class, get out there and have fun with my teammates.

Q. How about the bowl video, the first bowl practice?
VERNON ADAMS, JR.: Oh, this one? Yeah, dang, I didn’t have to tell everybody about my math class (laughter).

I really missed my teammates. I had a great Christmas with my son, my girlfriend and stuff. When I got back out here, it was just something I missed. I was so happy to be back out here running around, throwing the ball, being out here with my brothers.

Q. Vernon, you came right from the plane to practice, didn’t you?

Q. Did you have to spend the night in Dallas?
VERNON ADAMS, JR.: Yeah, we got stuck in Dallas, me and one of the other linemen, Shane. Tornado watch or something. We had to stay overnight there. In the morning, flew out here and came straight to practice, like five minutes before practice.

Q. How was it sleeping in an airport?
VERNON ADAMS, JR.: We didn’t sleep in the airport. We stayed at one of my buddy’s house.

Q. Royce, your consistency about the hundred-plus games, how do you keep that going?
ROYCE FREEMAN: I attribute it to Coach Campbell and how he teaches us runningbacks. Also the offensive line, they’ve been consistent. Their job is not easy, we all know that. They’re a great group of guys. I told them if they block for me, work with it, we’re going to make things happen.


TCU Team Practice – Dec. 29

TCU Team Practice Transcripts – 12/29

Head Coach Patterson

How did practice go today?

Perfect. We started a little slow. I was glad we did our Tuesday practice there. We ran around really well. It’s our usual to come down, get used to everything and see everything on paper. We’re going to practice, we’re going to play the ball game and then get revved up.

 Do you think the more bowls you play the more veterans you get at it?

Every team is different. Usually you find out how – I think you always find out about three series in who wants it the most and who’s going to win the bowl game.  If you watch enough – if you take off the playoff teams, I think you have to have a reason why you want to come and go do it because your season is over and you want that ball game because there’s no good bowl game unless you win.

How will playing on turf affect the game?

We played on turf most of our ball games this year anyway except for home but both teams have a lot of speed so everybody better tackle legs.

Have you seen guys from UIW’s coaching staff around here?

They’ve been here watching practice. All day. It’s been a lot of fun. You know a lot of high school coaches, guys we’ve known for a long time. It’s nice to be able to – to be honest with you – get a chance to see them, get around them. We’ve been going almost 100 practices so it’s just fun to talk to somebody else.

Are you going to the Spurs game tomorrow?

Probably not.  I’ll probably work on the Ducks. I think my team is but I’ll probably work on the ducks.

What can the team learn from the Spurs organization?

We all look at Coach Poppovich and say you’re all in. When you get a team that’s all in and it’s about each other, you’ll always have a chance to be successful. When we’ve had teams like that, we’ve been hot. A lot better successful than when we haven’t been. With veterans, with youth – so you have experience and guys that have that quicker step plus great guidance, which his staff gives to him. It’s just fun to watch the whole surroundings and how it works when you watch a Spurs game.

Wide receiver Ty Slanina broke his collar bone. Will it affect him in the spring?

Yeah, he tripped running a scout team. He made it sound like he probably would have played but he wasn’t playing. So I don’t know. We’ll have to see.


 Running Back Kyle Hicks

(On practice day 1…)

 It was good, it was really nice outside today. It felt good to practice again. Felt good after the day off to get back into the groove of things.

(On the long practice…)

 It was expected.

(What did coach Patterson get mad about today?)

 [Laughs] I really don’t know. He was in a good mood, he’s just happy to get here, just as we are.

(On Coach Patterson’s preparation and feelings towards the game…)

 We’re not going change anything up, we’re going to prepare for them [Oregon] the same as we prepare for anyone else. He [Coach Patterson] is excited for the matchup and we all can’t wait to play.

(What do you think of playing a team like Oregon?)

 They’re a great team, they play really hard. They’re fast and I like their uniforms.

(What’s Aaron Green told you about San Antonio?)

 He loves it, this is his home. He’s just glad to be home. I’m happy that he gets to end his college football career at home.

(How close are those San Antonio guys?)

 They’re really close! Always yelling ‘210’ to each other!

(On running back Aaron Green’s senior season…)

It’s sad to see his career end at TCU but I am excited for him to go onto the next level. It’s amazing to just watch him play every day, to become close with him and become brothers and teammates. I appreciate everything he has taught me.

He’s taught me to be patient, to trust my blocks and go out and do my thing.

(On playing on turf at the Alamo Dome…)

 It will be a better field than what we played on against Baylor [laughs]. It could make us faster.

(On several coaches coming back…)

 I’m excited to play for them for another 2 years. They’re energetic and fun to play for. I bring it every day for them.

(On quarterback Trevone Boykin coming back from injury…)

 He looks better than ever. He’s practicing well and running well and I’m excited about that.

December 28, 2015 – TCU Team Arrival

Quotes from TCU’s arrival at the Hyatt Regency:

Head Coach Gary Patterson

(How excited are y’all to be in San Antonio?)

Oh yeah, it’s great. You know, great opponent, great city. A lot of our kids haven’t been to the Riverwalk, haven’t done all this. They get a chance to play an Oregon team, [they] get a chance to be in San Antonio and play in the Alamo Bowl is just awesome.

(What do you hope to accomplish in the week leading up to this bowl game?)

Well everything we’ve done, we’ve done most of our work. We’re down here; we’ll be in shells one day and shorts the rest of the time. We had our “Tuesday” practice yesterday, our two hardest practices before we came. So, the biggest thing is to finish up, to get our legs back under us and get a chance to enjoy the city – work when we’re supposed to work and get a chance for them to enjoy the bowl game. It is a reward, but no bowl game is a good game unless you win. We came here to try to win a ball game and that’s the way we’ve always approached it.

(A lot of TCU fans have been here today, what’s the support been like leading up to the Alamo Bowl?)

Totally, they sold all the tickets out in the first day and I think you’ll see a lot more here especially the way TCU travels. I think they set a record as far as boxes, buying out and doing those kinds of things. When we travel, we travel. We may be a private school [but] what you’ll find out is there are 27,000 of us that go a little bit everywhere. I think it’ll be a great showing and I think you’ll even see more show and decide at the last moment they’ll come back and drive and be down here at the end. There will be a lot of purple.

(Gary, throughout the season you have dealt with a lot of injuries, how close are you guys…)

Oh, no. All those guys that got hurt are all enormous. They won’t come back until next year. The only guy who got hurt and could possibly come back is Doctson. Trevone [Boykin] is back and everyone else is definitely out.

(On not having Josh Doctson in the lineup…)

It’s a negative in some sense, but the other part is you don’t know what you’re going to do on offense because you don’t have a Josh Doctson. So we’re going to have to score some points if we want to beat Oregon.

(On his roster rotation minus Josh Doctson…)

It’ll be the same guys at the end. There will be a 3 or 4 man rotation, just like we do always.

(How good was KaVontae Turpin’s development for you late in the year especially when Josh Doctson went down?)

Well, I mean, they play a different position but obviously he [Turpin] was someone to go to and make plays and obviously not just on offense but on special teams. Turpin is going to have to be a guy that’s an inside receiver.

(On his players from the San Antonio area…)

Well, you know, it’s amazing how sometimes kids like to go away from home and its one of the things that once they realize they are coming back its kind of exciting for them to come back. You know, I haven’t asked about the importance of it. For us it’s about what we do as a team. We have a lot of San Antonio players through the years along with Ty Summers, both Derrick Kindred and Ty and our punter is also from just down around here. We’ve always had guys from the San Antonio area that have been good players for us. For us to continue to be what we need them to be we’re going to need to continue to have guys from around here. We always take about 2 or 3 every year that can help us play. They are always very athletic and always very tough.

(How does Oregon compare to some of the offenses you’ve seen in the Big 12)

 It’s like a Baylor, it’s like an Oklahoma. They’re a top 10 football team. They’re ranked #15 but their quarterback’s been healthy just like we’ve been healthy. You want challenges, you want a bowl game [where] both the teams have a high powered on both sides of the football. For us, guys on defense have a chance to find out what our stock is. And for us, we only lose a couple guys and play our young guys, who have really played their best defense near the end of the year. We have to play against an Oregon that has really good players and if we hold our own we know it’s going work well – for the spring and then for the next season. There is a lot of things you learn out here. We have a saying: “Either you win or you don’t. You don’t lose when you come to a bowl game.” For us we’re looking to see which one that is and hopefully it’s a win. Their coach and their staff I’ve known for a long time at Oregon. They do a great job. A lot of their guys are from Texas.

On dealing with players/coaches thinking about switching jobs/leaving early for the NFL Draft

I do the same thing with my coaches as I do with my players who might leave early for the NFL Draft—I give them the pluses and minuses of both. If it doesn’t work out I don’t want to be blamed. There’s the positives of it and I just tried to be honest with them. And there’s sometimes when I say that this opportunity, based on your personality, fits you or doesn’t fit you. So for me I just try to do the right things and then I leave it to them. A player goes out early, gets hurt and doesn’t make it, or if he stays, gets hurt or doesn’t make it then it’s my fault. So I just try to guide them and give them the best information I can and try to get them in contact. It’s the same thing I did with Sonny (Cumbine) or any my coaches. I just tell them to get in contact because coaches really have to do the right thing. That’s your personality, who you are, your style and the people that are around you. If you do that, a lot of people have the chance of becoming successful. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve stayed at TCU. All of us have our faults, our positives and our negatives. But I know what our positives and negatives are and I can work on them. Anybody who leaves is always taking a risk that it won’t work. There’s a reason why somebody was leaving. So you just really have to make sure. That’s what I tell my coaches all the time—just make sure it’s right because you don’t get a chance to take it back once you change.

When asked if he agreed to have a statue of himself put outside of TCU’s stadium

I don’t know if I agreed. Those silly kind of things are for when people go away. But there was a gentleman who had a lot of money and for five, six or seven years wanted to do something like that. Not just mine, but a couple of others as well. He hasn’t been in great health so I agreed to do something so that he’d get an opportunity to see what it was all about. For me, I don’t need those kinds of things to be successful. As the Chancellor said, if it helps TCU then that’s great. But I’m just trying to win football games.

Running Back Aaron Green

How does it feel to finish your career here in San Antonio?

It feels great. The first time I put on pads was here in this great city and now I get to finish my college career here.

It’s very special. Like I said, this city means so much to me. I was born and raised here. It’s just a special feeling.

Where was the first field you put pads on in town?

It had to be somewhere around Converse where I grew up.

Did you have dreams of being a college player back then?

Oh. Always. The dream of going to college and playing professional. Playing college football has always been a dream of mine. I’m just blessed to do it.

Have you been talking to the guys about San Antonio and what it means to you?

Not really. Try not to make this about me but about the team. You know, TCU football. All we want to do is win and that’s always been our goal so that’s what we are going to try to do.

Just makes everything that much sweeter. I wouldn’t change my role for anything. It’s taught me patience, it’s taught me adversity. It has humbled me a lot. I ended up with a great career at a great university. Im just happy the way things turned out.

What do you expect out of Treyvon this Saturday?

I expect greatness. He’s a great player. He’s been great all year and I don’t expect anything to change.

Is he back to practicing? Is everything all cool?

Oh yeah. He’s 100% ready to go.

What are your impressions of Oregon so far?

I was very impressed. They are a good team. They’ve always been a good team. I think it’s going to be a really fun game to watch. I think the fans are really excited to watch it… Two high power offenses so – and their defense is playing really well too.

Is that the thing that comes up with Oregon? You think of a high power offense?

I think of both of our teams when it comes to offenses. They put up points and we put up points so I think initially everyone thinks it’s offense but probably the team that plays the best defense is going to win the game.

Did you go to the Alamo Bowl growing up here?

Oh yeah, I went to a bunch of Alamo Bowls. The all-American bowls. I went to it all.

So you love the Alamo Dome?

Oh yeah. I’ve always wanted to play there growing up as a kid. In my high school career, I think I only played there once sophomore year.

Do you think Coach Patterson is a statue kind of guy?

I believe so. He has all-time career wins at TCU. He’s taking us to the BCS games. He’s been very close to winning national championships so he’s really put TCU on the map. I think he deserves it.

Just like he teaches us to be all about the team, he is all about the team and the staff as well. He’s not the type of guy to take all the credit to himself but I definitely think he deserves it.

Who have you seen step up in practice?

We’ve known for a while Josh wasn’t going to play but as far as people stepping up… The whole offense has stepped up. We got a lot of young receivers playing.

How big is this for TCU?

I mean it was big. I know I won’t be here next year but I was happy. I want to see my university do well. We got a lot of people coming back next year. Especially our offense is coming back.

What do you think about Kenny and Foster?

They are all really good. It’s going to be a battle next year. Like I said, whoever plays I know they are going to do great. I think TCU will be back on top next year.


Safety Derrick Kendrick

What was your reaction when you found out you’d be playing in the Alamo Bowl?

I was really hoping we would get a chance to play here because it’s my last season game, so just more intensity, and just being able to get here.

What does it mean to have your family at this game?

It means a lot, I’ve played a lot of different opponents throughout my years here at TCU. When I was a freshman they’d come to games up there, and now my last game they get to see me here. I had a lot of people calling me telling me they’re coming to the game so that makes it more exciting.

How do you feel your game has developed throughout your time at TCU?

I feel like it’s developed a lot.

Do you feel any added pressure going into this bowl game?

No pressure at all. I’m just here to have fun and play my last home game and go out with a bang.

What challenges does Oregon’s offense present to you guys?

They have a lot of great athletes who are very fast. They are physical, smart players, we just got to go out there and read our keys and practice hard and show them a game.

What have you seen from Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams Jr.?

He’s a great player and he leads the team well and it’s just something we have to key on when we go out there and play.

Challenge on playing Oregon and their publicized defense

It’s very hard for our offense, I’ve been wanting to play Oregon since I was younger, so getting to play them in my last home game is very cool for me.

Did you get a chance to play at the Dome when you were in high school?

Yes sir, we made a run in playoffs so I played in the Alamodome a few times.

What does it mean to finish your college career in the Dome?

It’s going to mean a lot. Like I said, just being home and playing in front of friends and family just means a lot to me.

How many ticket requests did you get?

I had a lot of ticket requests but unfortunately I couldn’t get everyone a ticket so a lot of people have to buy their own. It was crazy I had at least thirty-five.

Where are you taking the team to eat tonight? Favorite place?

I like Wing Daddy. It’s somewhere around here. I eat there a lot with my family.

You’re not taking them by the house?

Oh they can come by the house. Everybody’s welcome.

You’ve been banged up this year, what’s it been like?

It’s been a challenge, especially with me being a senior and all. I just have to lead the guys, I let them know that it’s going to be all right and that we’re going to get through this. I’ve been going up to younger guys, because you know we play with a lot of freshman this year, a lot of newcomers, it’s all about making them feel at home on the team and on the field.

You’ve been banged up most of the year, are you 100% now?

Yes of course I’m 100% year. I just want to go out there and have fun and play hard.

Does being 100% make you play differently?

I’ve been playing hard all year so you know I don’t think it makes a difference. It’s something I’ve overcome.

Have you been at practice full?

Yeah I’ve been practicing full throughout the whole season. If I have an injury I’m going to overcome it and fight through it.

After the Baylor game how sore were you the next morning?

It’s not that I was sore, I was kind of sick. Playing the whole game was rough. I was a little banged up, but it was all worth it.

On linebacker Ty Summers made a big a play at the end of that game

Ty Summers has come a long way, as for the rest of our freshman lineup defense. It’s pretty tough to come in and run the defense and he made a lot of great plays for us.

On “He’s one of your top captains even though he doesn’t start.”

I know it, it just shows you how much we practice.

On your TCU career coming to a close.

It’s crazy just knowing that this is our last game, but I’m just looking at playing and having fun.

On statue of Coach Patterson.

That’s great, Coach Patterson’s done a lot for this team. He’s a great guy. He really deserves it.




December 27, 2015 – Oregon Post-Practice

Assistant Coach Steve Greatwood

On the challenges TCU brings to the table

It’s a definite challenge. Their scheme presents a lot of problems. They do a lot of movement up front and a lot of big slants and angles with it. They’re basically trying to occupy two gaps with one defender. Your conventional zone footwork and zone concepts have to be modified and adjusted. We’ve been working our tails off on it and hopefully our guys will be able to go out there and stop some of those charges and let our backs do what they can do. But we all have to work as one. Running backs have to do a great job of pressing the line of scrimmage and getting linebackers to flow and fit. Our footwork has to be on the mark so we can stop the penetration and get up to the second level.

On the development of his offensive line this year

We’ve been fortunate that we’ve been able to keep everyone relatively healthy this year, unlike last year. So we’ve had really great leadership from our center Matt Hegarty, Tyler Johnstone and our other senior group which has been great. I’ve been very pleased with them. They’ve just worked hard with kind of a blue-collar mentality but it’s paying off.

On offensive lineman Tyler Johnstone’s injury vs. Texas in the 2013 Valero Alamo Bowl

Tyler is very focused and very motivated. When we first found out we were getting the bid here I said we’re going back to the scene of the crime. He can’t wait to go and get back out here and basically complete his mission. I can’t say enough about him. He basically tore his ACL twice and had to sit out all of last year. But he did a fantastic job of leadership for us. He was at every practice even though he knew he wasn’t going to play and just did a great job of keeping our guys focused.

When asked about the evolution of offensive lineman Cameron Hunt heading into his senior year

Well, Cameron has grown more than any other player I’ve coached this year just as far as his maturity, the way he approaches the game, his work ethic and attention to detail. I’m just really pleased with him. I see him as just a fourth-year senior being the cornerstone of the group next year. I’m going to put a lot on his shoulders but I think he’s at the point in his career when he’s ready to handle it.

When asked if he thought it was unprecedented that Hunt will be a four-year starter

Well we’ve had a couple. Tyrell (Crosby) will be one also and we’ve had some guys like Jake Fisher, although Jake was only a part-time starter as a true freshman. It’s becoming more and more of the norm, which is kind of a testament of times where we are right now.


Defensive Back Arrion Springs

When asked how he felt when he knew he was coming back to play in San Antonio

It felt very joyful. Then I realized I had to get a lot of tickets. But it’s really fun to come back home and play in the Alamodome.

On today’s weather being more like Oregon weather as opposed to Texas weather

It happens everywhere we go. Everywhere we went this year we brought the weather with us. I was enjoying 80 degrees, t-shirts and shorts for a long period of time until we showed up yesterday.

On his year

I had a rough start just trying to get some experience under my belt. I caught on late in the season pretty well and since then I’ve just been trying to get better. I feel that the whole defensive unit has stepped up since the first game.

When asked what he sees when he watches film of TCU

They’re really good, I’m not going to downplay it. They have good receivers, a good running back in Aaron Green and their quarterback is really good. We have to make sure we get some pressure, cover guys on the ball and try to eliminate the big plays on defense.

When asked if he played against TCU running back Aaron Green

I was a freshman so I watched. I went to the game and said “oh, snap”. But I watched him and he was pretty good.

On the unique challenges TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin brings to the table

He’s a great player. I’m pretty sure he’d be up for the Heisman right now if he hadn’t gotten hurt. So we just have to try and contain him and not let him get outside the pocket and extend plays with his feet. So we’ve just got to contain him.

When asked if Boykin’s running and passing skills make him a dual threat

Exactly, we’ve got to stay in coverage a little longer, maybe drop someone out of coverage to spy him a little bit and make sure he doesn’t just take off. So it’s definitely a defensive challenge.


Oregon DB Sean Kilpatrick

When asked how he and his brother Devin Kilpatrick, DB at TCU, ended up at their respective schools

We wanted to take different paths, so he went TCU and I just wanted to get out of state and be with Oregon. So it was just luck of the draw.

When asked how often he and Devin would talk to each other throughout the season

We would talk to each other about once a week. When we were leading up to the bowl, I was just telling my team how great of an opportunity it would be to play my brother for one last time. He’s graduating so this would be his last game and his last season.

When asked if he and his brother played against each other growing up

Yeah, a lot. This will be the first and the last time we play each other in college. It’s going to be great.


Assistant Coach John Neal

With WR Josh Doctson, Garry Patterson said he’s out – Does that change at all your feelings on the wide recievers?

Well, they got a whole bunch of them but when you take one of the five best wide receivers in the country out of the game plan yeah there’s a little bit of a relief – but they’ll replace him with somebody. They got a lot of production in that team and a lot of great speed. It’s a tough break for them but it doesn’t really change anything for us. We got to figure out how to stop everybody else. We have to stop the run too.

Talk about the evolution of your secondary and how it’s progressed.

Well, we are still working at it. We aren’t anywhere we need to be. We hope this game can give us some idea because they’re going to challenge us at a high level so maybe after the game, I’ll feel a lot better about it but we got Chris (Tewhill) back, so we got a healthy starter back that gives us depths, gives us a lot more knowledge and experience. The evolution is still in progress and this game is going to be a tell-tale.

Talk about DB Arrion Springs. Of course he’s the local kid and how he’s improved?

Yeah, he has. Arrion’s deal is when Arrion’s on, he’s a really good player and right now he just has to be one of those kids that learns how to remain focused and for a full game. When he does, he’s really good. I expect him to be really, really good this game. There’s a lot on the line and it’s a great deal for him being from here and playing a Texas school and playing a team as good as TCU. I expect him to have his best game of his career.

Does he have the makings to be a really good corner? How so?

Absolutely. Strength, size, and he’s intelligent. And when he wants to go, he’s really good. He’s a big guy. He’s almost 210 pounds. That’s a big corner.

Does he have that short memory that corners need?

I think so. He just needs to not lose his focus and when he does, he does lose it. When he doesn’t, he’s a good player.

What are the unique challenges that QB Trevone Boykin will bring to you guys?

It just puts a great deal of stress on us.  You can play perfect coverage, everything’s great, and he runs for 30 yards because he’s that talented. He can break the pocket. They got the quarterback run plays. Things that modern football has made defensive coaches hate football. He’s got it all. When he’s on, he’s really fun to watch. He’s as close to Michael Vick as I’ve seen in a while just in terms of his body movement, speed and the arm he’s got.


Tyree Robinson, DB

How did Darren find out about the news about New Mexico’s Markel Byrd?

I was the one who gave Darren Carrington the news because he didn’t know and it was just sad.

He grew up in your school district?


So you guys played together on the same teams?


How did you find out?

I found out from one of his cousins. It was late at night. Markell had called me and Darren and let us know he was going to come down. He had just gotten done playing his bowl game and everything. We were just sitting there waiting for the phone call and kind of figured something was going on just because he should have been home already. Once we got the phone call, it was kind of shocking. We didn’t know why him. He was such a good kid. He did everything. He played basketball, football just like me. We always played everything. Just athletes growing up. He played baseball and everything. Just to lose somebody like that who always gave it 100% with everything he did and I just think that the good die young. The only thing we can do is kind of live for him, especially me and Darren, because we were really the only guys from San Diego that still playing football and continue our dream.

How was it like picking up the phone and telling Darren?

It was hard just because I just didn’t know how to tell Darren. When I gave him the phone call and everything, I couldn’t even want to believe it. Only thing I wanted to do was be there for Darren. That was his best, best friend. He was my good friend but that was his best friend. I understand losing a best friend because I lost mine my freshmen year in Oregon.  All I can do is be around him and be around my teammates to keep me up in spirits. We are on a business trip right now, but right after the game, we are going to go right back to San Diego.

How has practiced helped?

 It does help just because the way our team is, the way our coaches are, you know, we are a family. As soon as everyone found out, we had numerous calls just checking on us, seeing how we were doing. We really appreciated that. Like I said, it’s never going to go away. The pain is always going to be inside. All we can do now is live for him because that’s what he would want for us and continue our dreams. We aren’t just playing for ourselves, we are playing for our whole community back home.

How did the team practice?

We practiced very well. Everyone was ready to practice. Everyone was excited to see each other. The momentum was just there. We try to keep that going and everything and get ready for TCU because those guys are practicing as hard as us.

How far have some of the young guys come since the opener?  Not sophomores and freshmen anymore or is there still a lot of work to do?

At the beginning of the season we had to tell them they aren’t young sophomores. They have to play big. Their opportunity is now. You can’t be out there saying ‘oh I’m a freshman. It’s going to be okay if I give one or two mistakes.’ You have to be out there and play with confidence. That’s one thing Coach Neal puts in our head. I think that they really have grown a lot, really matured out there on the field. They are out there talking in confidence now instead of just looking out there for the call. That’s one thing the young secondary has improved one which is helping me out there already too. Freshmen just out there being commanders but now we are out there listening to the young guys cause they’re out there making the correct calls. I think that’s going to help us out a lot. Like I said, everything is running really smooth.

On potency of TCU’s offense being a test to momentum for next year.

Definitely, TCU puts up a lot of points. I think every team we’ve play in the PAC 12 is similar to them, especially Washington State. They are going to air the ball out. They have that extra weapon, their quarterback Boykin is a running guy. He can throw the ball.  He can kind of do it all. I think he’s healthy now so he’s going to have a chip on his shoulder because they really wanted a match up at the end of the year, just like us. We just have to play our game.

Corner or safety?

Right now, it really doesn’t matter to me. I just want to show that I am an athlete and I am versatile. I am really comfortable at playing either or.


Darren Carrington

When did you first meet Markel?

We grew up playing Pop Warner against each other, he played for Las Toros I played for Clermont, so we knew of each other but then we played on the same basketball team 6th grade summer to 7th grade. We wanted him to come to my school for junior high but that didn’t work out. We kept playing each other for all of junior high on the same club teams, and the he ended up being able to come to my high school freshman year, and ever since seventh grade we’ve become best friends

Why do you think you got along so well?

I don’t know, I was closer to him than anybody in my family. I have two sisters, so for me to have a brother that was my quarterback was a dream come true. We just clicked right away. He had two older brothers, and they were close. Either I was at his house everyday or he was at my house. We had everything in common, we played every sport. Basketball, football, baseball, volleyball, anything, and we always played together. We were inseparable. We were like the same person.

When did you last speak with Markel?

I actually talked to him that morning, I FaceTimed him. I was waiting for him to come down, that’s the main reason I went home honestly. That’s the only reason I used to go home. We used to work out, hang out. We don’t get to see each other because they’re on semesters and we’re on quarters, and it was finally going to be our first Christmas together since high school. I talked to him that morning and I was like, “Bro, I got you some cleats!” and he was super happy. He was telling me that he was just getting in the car and they were taking off. I was just like “I love you bro, make it safe,” and he was like, “for sure brother, love you too, I’m going to call you when I get closer.” And then, he never called, and it was just tragic.

What does it mean to wear his number in the Alamo Bowl?

It means a lot to me honestly, I just know he’s in a better place now. He’s a man of God, just like I am, and I know that he is being taken care of up there and he’s watching over me. Just to wear his number down here on Earth means a lot, and hopefully I can put on a good show for him.

That’s 22?

Yeah, 22.

What has this last year been like for you?

Honestly this year has been a rollercoaster, probably the toughest year of my life. Coming from January 1st, the beginning of the year, from the suspension, and being able to come back off of that. Then, with my best friend dying, it’s been hard. But I’ve been able to stay strong and keep persevering through all my struggles. Honestly, I always told Vernon and Markel, because whenever I FaceTime Markel I was either with – he knows everyone on the team. They all know of him and know he’s my best friend. I always told Vernon – he and Vernon are like the same people. I always told Vernon that. He is the older version of Markel and Markel was my quarterback in high school and Vernon is my quarterback in college. It is just crazy how much of a resemblance there were and I feel like God put Vernon on our team for this last year. He knew this was going to happen and it’s just cool to have him around.

He was the guy that helped you through the suspension from last year and all the ups and downs?

Honestly, Markel was the first person that knew when I first found out. I didn’t even call my parents. I was too scared to call my parents. I called Markel and I was like, ‘Bro, I’m not going to be able to play,’ and he was just like, ‘It’s all good man like you going to be back. You’ll be back and whenever you come back, you’re going to put on a show.’ Then he told me, ‘forget the haters, man. I love you. I don’t care.’ Every day I talked to him. I didn’t want to talk to anyone else. I talked to him every day since high school. I talked to him every day, FaceTime him before every game. Every game since I’ve been in college and since we’ve been away from each other. It’s kind of hard being here but like I said, he’s here with me but he’s not here with me.

Hard to focus on football?

I feel like getting back to practice has helped me a lot. That’s one thing that we loved. No matter what. In high school if we got in trouble or had a bad day, whenever we came to the football field, it was all jokes and smiles. Just feels good to be back out here with my brothers. I lost a brother but out here, it feels good to just be around these guys that I love and love playing with. It’s just like high school again.

How did practice feel after a week off?

Actually I went home and I couldn’t do anything. I just stayed in the house mostly. I was honestly going through it. Back home, all I wanted to do was work out because whenever I work out, I feel like a sense of relief and I could relax. So I just stayed on the football field at home and today felt pretty good. Honestly, I think it’s going to be a good week and a good game.

Is the number change to 22 permanent or just for the Alamo Bowl?

We’ll see after this season. I’ll probably – I might make it permanent but we’ll see.

December 26, 2015 – Oregon Team Arrival Interviews

Defensive End DeForest Buckner:

What did you do during the holiday break:

Hung out with friends,  went to the beach, just kicked it like the old times and spent the rest of the time with family

On coming back in San Antonio

Definitely excited. San Antonio is a beautiful place, and we’re excited to play a good team like TCU, and it’s going to be a fun one.

How much did the match stir excitement when you found out you were playing TCU

It definitely juiced all of us up, a lot of people had this game as a semifinal game in the playoffs earlier on in the season, so being able to finish off the year against a team like TCU, it’s going to be a really fun one.

On TCU’s All-American receiver Josh Doctson being out for game

He’s definitely a huge weapon for them. It’ll ease up the pressure on the secondary and the whole defense in general so it’s a benefit for us and we just have to take advantage of something like that.

It looks like Treyvon Boykin is going to be healthy, what does that mean for TCU’s offense?

He’s going to be one of the best quarterbacks we go against this whole season. He’s a good dual-threat quarterback, he can hurt us with his feet, they’ve got designed running plays just for him, and he can hurt us with his arm too with the athletes he’s got around him. We have to really contain him in the game, try to limit the things he can do.

Does Boykin remind you of your quarterback, Vernon Adams?

Oh yeah definitely. Vernon can get out of certain situations, they call him Houdini sometimes, we just have to contain them [TCU] on the pass rush, try to keep them in front of us.

How did your trip go, how did you get here?

I came in with a couple other of the Hawaii guys, from Honolulu straight to Houston which is like a 7.5 hour flight.

How’d you spend 7.5 hours on an airplane?


On tweet: “Literally slept for 16 hrs…that’s a new personal record lol”

Yeah definitely. I got off the plane and I was with some of my friends, then the next day I fell asleep at like 3 in the afternoon and woke up at like 7.

Is that more than you’ve ever slept before?

Definitely more than I’ve ever slept.  Caught up on some sleep from finals week and all that stuff.

You’re here for a long time (8 days), and you’re obviously one of team leaders, how do you keeps guys in line when there’s the potential for stupid stuff?

Even before we left to go home, Coach emphasized that when we get to San Antonio it’s a business trip. The guys know when to handle business, and when to fool around, so everybody knows we’re here on a business trip and not on vacation. We have a purpose, a reason why we’re here, and we have to stay focused on the goal.

This trip is different from last year’s, how do you maintain the level you had last year going into the playoffs as this is a smaller bowl than last year?

To be honest, every bowl is a big game, there’s a few teams playing, and a lot of teams watching the bowl games right now, so every bowl game is big to me and the rest of the team, so we take it as serious as last year.

Over the last couple days one of Darren’s best friends passed away, did you reach out to him?

I was actually on my way to see him today, I wanted to visit with him personally. It’s a tough time having somebody pass away, I had one of my good friends back in high school commit suicide, so I know the feeling of losing a friend. When I see him today, I’ll definitely reach out to him.


Running Back Royce Freeman:

How does it feel being in San Antonio?

Feels good. I was here a couple years ago when I played in the All-American Bowl so like right across the street.

Any good memories?

It was a good experience to play at a higher competition and we are here playing a great bowl game so we have some high-power competition.

Comparing preparation from last year to preparing for a national title?

We are going to do the best with what we got. A lot of guys still want to play and go out strong and we want to put the seniors out strong and whoever else is leaving, so we aren’t thinking of the stakes of the game. We are just thinking about as another game that we need to go and win.

How’d you spend your week off?

I think that’s the most time I’ve had in a while

How did injuries affect the season?

A lot of teams across the nation go through things like that all throughout the year. We can’t make excuses for ourselves. Just worry about how you’ve been playing lately and how to continue to do that.

On getting back into a routine

Yeah, it’s interesting seeing the guys again. Seeing their faces. A lot of these guys you see them every day, you get kind of shocked when you don’t see them for a week. So once we get our team schedule going and practices and meetings and everything, I’m pretty sure it’ll be going back to business as usual.

What have you seen in TCU’s defense so far in the early film work?

Very athletic. Good defensive front. To reiterate very athletic all over, fast to the ball, so I mean that should be a challenge.

They are considered to be fast in the Big 12 – are they reminiscent of some Pac 12 defense you guys have seen?

I think every defense is different in entirety. They can be similar but not exactly the same. They are very well coached defensively, so I mean they are on their p’s and q’s.

Darren Carrington had friend pass away – have you reached out already?

I reached out to DC. I played basketball against him and Markel Byrd. So, I mean I knew Markel and it was shocking. I really didn’t believe it at first. Him and Tyree, I reached out to both of them. It’s a tragedy but we all want him to know we are here for him and we know what he’s going through.

How are his spirits?

I mean he took it hard so sometimes you give people space and embrace him with open arms when you need to.


Head Coach Mark Helfrich:

On the focus of his team

“We just touched down so that’s literally the first thing we do tonight is re-focus. We’ve got all hands on deck and we’re not missing anybody for any reason at this point. We want to get focused on winning a football game. We’re here to win a football game and have a great football experience. Anybody who has traveled this far and has spent this much money to get here wants to see a good showing on the field. So we try to get that going immediately tonight and try to get into a game-week process.”

When asked if everyone from the team made the trip

“Everybody’s expected. From a disciplinary perspective and from an academic perspective we’re good to go. We’ve got a couple of delayed flights and delayed connections here and there. Some guys are going to miss the meetings tonight, so we’ll get that going when they get here.”

On the team schedule leading up to practice tomorrow morning

“Team meeting on kind of the do’s and do’s of how we go about things. The Alamo Bowl people come and do a presentation on San Antonio and the Riverwalk and just general stuff that every bowl does. Then we split up offensively and defensively a little bit, we’ll lift, charge the system a little bit and then go to bed. Then we’ll get up, get on central time and get our bearings.”

On expected behavior of the team while in San Antonio

“There’s no difference whether we’re in Eugene, Oregon, San Antonio, Texas or London, England. We’re going to represent our team and represent ourselves and all those things go hand in hand. We don’t have a separate set of rules for bowl week and guys need to behave like Men of Oregon and do everything that that entails.”

When asked if the absence of TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson changes the Ducks’ defensive gameplan

“Not too much. He’s a dynamic, dynamic player but we’re focused on ourselves. There’s certain things they do and he does that are unique challenges, but we need to defend their team. Obviously, (Trevone) Boykin presents a tremendous amount of problems himself.”

On TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin

“There’s not really anyone like him in the Pac-12 this year. He’s not a huge guy in stature as a passer and what they do. But then he can really throw it and really run. He’s an elite passer, he’s an elite runner and they have a great system.”

When asked if he could compare Boykin to a single-wing tailback

“Well he throws a lot better than most single-wing tailbacks I’ve seen. That’s what makes him a unique threat. He’s just that total package. There’s not anybody that we’ve faced that’s really like him. He’s kind of like Vernon (Adams Jr.) as a passer, but a much more dynamic runner in how they approach it. We haven’t faced anyone like that this year.”

When asked about play-calling duties between him and assistant coach Matt Lubick

“Yeah, we’ll talk about in the next couple of days. It’s gone really well. You have to go with what your guys do really well and do it with confidence. Certainly we’re going to have a few changes with this much time to prepare. With them (TCU) having a few more bodies healthy they’re going to change. We have to be able to deal.”

When asked if he and his team are excited to be back in Texas for the third straight bowl game

“We’re definitely excited. We’re playing football. We get to do that together and not everybody gets to do that. This is an honor to be in San Antonio, this is an awesome bowl experience. It’s ironic to be in a situation to be playing four bowls in three years and having three of those four bowls be in one state, it’s new. There’s so many bowls now in Texas, I think there’s at least two or three today alone.”

When asked if he and his team are excited to be playing TCU in their home state

“It’s exciting until you watch film and realize how good they are. Coach (Gary) Patterson has done a phenomenal job. They are so good, so sound, so tough, and physical in every phase. Their special teams are elite, they’ve got world-class speed on offense, on defense and on special teams. The guys doing it are very and the guys coaching them are very good.”

On Darren Carrington’s relationship with deceased New Mexico football player Markel Byrd

“You do exactly that, you reach out. Tyree Robinson and he were childhood friends as well as Darren. It’s just an incredibly sad and unfortunate situation. You’re sitting there talking about things that matter like family and spending time with loved ones. Then something like that happens and it just shows how important this time is with your team, your family, and your loved ones. We’ll absolutely talk about it and we’ve already talked about it but it’s an unfortunate situation. But it’s another opportunity for a bit of a life lesson to realize how lucky we all are.”

When asked if he expects a high-scoring game

“Well I know every time anybody says that it makes the defenses really unhappy. I know my defense is prepared and I know Coach Patterson’s defense will be prepared. We’re bringing a whatever-it-takes mentality. We’re playing on the road, there’s no question about that. It’s going to be a hostile environment from our standpoint against a very good opponent. It doesn’t matter what the score is. I’ll take 3-2, even though I’ll be disappointed in the offensive output I’ll still take it.”

When asked if Oregon uses uniforms as recruiting tools

“It has become a recruiting tool. That’s something that I think is what we used to be known for. Our players are involved in that process a lot. I hope it’s the guys in the helmets that everybody talks about. But if that’s something that gets us in the conversation of recruiting and gets us in the conversation then we’ll take that too.”

When asked if he feels comfortable with his offensive gameplan

“It looks great on paper right now but it’s all about the players being able to execute with confidence. Again, that’s what we’ll do in the next coming week is just edit out rather than add to. Coaches always have this great idea on Saturday morning and put it into play but it ends up being garbage. But our guy had some really productive training sessions in Eugene and now we’ll come back down and here and just go through it again. We’ll do it twice in terms of our normal gameplan cycle.”

Dec. 10, 2015 – Golf Classic Head Coaches Press Conference

Valero Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs TCU Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mark Helfrich Gary Patterson

COACH HELFRICH: “Thank you, Derrick. On behalf of President Schill and the University of Oregon we’re well represented here with kind of our advanced team. Thank you to Mike and to Gary. The only negative of coming here is you play against a really, really good football team. But I have a ton of respect for Coach Patterson. I’ve known him for a long time, and just have the highest regard for what he’s been able to do. We are 1-0 against Hall of Fame coaches in the Alamo Bowl; we’re going to try like heck to make that 2-0. But I can’t say enough about what they’ve done. I think we have very similar seasons this year in terms of some untimely injuries and that kind of thing. But two extremely talented teams that are very excited to be in San Antonio. Our family and our program, our players are very excited to be back. So thank you.”

COACH PATTERSON: “Thanks, also on behalf of our Chancellor Victor Boschini and all TCU fans. As you saw how the tickets went and the boxes, TCU people are very excited to be here in San Antonio. This will be our first time to be here. But to play against such a great opponent. Obviously watched Oregon from afar, and Coach and I have come back a long ways as far as our roots and as far as people that we know through our years of coaching. So to play a team like Coach Helfrich said, really probably come down the same path this year of injuries and then getting, he’s probably on the other end where they’re getting a little healthier. We kind of got banged up at the end. But our team fought at the end to lose a two-point conversion to Oklahoma and win a double overtime against Baylor. So we’ve grown up quite a bit. Played 30 freshmen during the season as we went along. But really, it’s been a great team to play with. They’ve really fought. We’ve had our last-moment wins against Texas Tech and against Kansas State. So come down here and play a part of such a great bowl game, play an unbelievable football team in Oregon, I think is a jump start one way or the other. I think you find with a young football team that you either grow up and they find what they have to do next year to be able to play, and also have an opportunity possibly to win a ballgame so that on a national stage people understand, because everybody understands the kind of program Oregon has playing in the playoffs a year ago. So we feel like it’s a special time.”

COACH HELFRICH (On running back Royce Freeman…)

“Royce is a top-notch guy, first of all. Just a great person, comes from a great family out in the Inland Empire, California. He’s a guy that I think was very overshadowed, unfortunately, with kind of some early losses. He was out of any talk for individual awards and accolades. I know that doesn’t mean a ton to him, but it’s unfortunate for him. But working to be a complete back that can run, can catch. He’s a good protector, good route runner, but more than anything, he’s a great practice player. He comes from a long line of LaMichael James from Texarkana, Texas, a great practice player as a tailback, and that’s hard. Those guys take a beating, and for him to come back every single day in practice and work his tail off is a huge testament to the type of kid he is.”

COACH HELFRICH (On whether Scott Frost will be involved in the bowl game…)

“So the question is about Scott Frost and his role. Scott will not be involved in our game, which is unfortunate for him, but obviously he has a full plate with him taking over at Central Florida. He’s a guy that’s had a bunch of opportunities the last several years. I know Coach Patterson is going through a similar thing right now. But it’s a testament to our guys, to our players, to our program that he has that opportunity. Because of that, it’s unfortunate, again, for him that he wants to participate but can’t. But, yeah, basically we do everything collaboratively anyway from an offensive standpoint, myself, Matt Lubick, Steve Greatwood, Gary Campbell, and a Texas native, and Tom Osborne put together the game plans collaboratively, and it will either be me or Matt Lubick.”

COACH HELFRICH (On facing a challenging team in TCU…)

“Tough, hard, physical, fundamentally sound, really good football players in every phase. That, I think, is the hallmark of any great football team is how hard they play and then special teams. Those guys are very well coached, and they get that going back for every single team that Coach Patterson’s had, you can say that. Sometimes there are some ups and downs at this position or that position, but they play hard and they play for four quarters. So that makes you sit up on the edge of your seat. Offensively they’ve been phenomenal this year. Trevone Boykin, I think, it’s important for him to take a couple more weeks off and really get ready for next year, maybe get him ready for spring ball, I think, is vital (laughing). Yeah…but just a tremendous challenge, huge challenge.”

COACH HELFRICH (On team health at this point in the season…)

“Nobody is healthy at this point in the season. There are a couple guys that we had out of our last game that might be able to get back, but unfortunately our injuries were a little bit longer term than some. But we’ll show up and play like heck.”

COACH HELFRICH (On free safety Charles Nelson…)

“Yeah, we went through, as you said, growing pains is a fair statement. We had four senior starters last year, and obviously that changed at the beginning of this year. Through the course of the season those guys have matured, played better, and played smarter. 90% of it a lot of times, and Charles Nelson stepping back in there and learning the position on the fly, he’s a guy that’s dynamic. He would be kind of like the kid that places never event, swim meet, and goes to the track and does every event at the track and wins everything. That’s kind of how he wants to do football, and that’s a little bit harder. But he is a phenomenal football player. He’s physical and still has the ability to play in sprits on offense.”

COACH HELFRICH (When asked if Charles Nelson switching to defense was Charles’ idea…)

“Yeah, it was his idea. In the offseason we had approached him. One of his best attributes is covering kickoffs, and doing that lends itself to being a good defender, a good secondary player. We discussed that in the off-season, and he wanted to play offense. During the course of the season he kind of said, hey, I need to help the squad out a little bit, and he came to us, and we made that determination.”

COACH PATTERSON (On his team’s level of desire heading into the game…)

“Well, like I said from the very first when this was announced, I thought we were playing a playoff team. I think Oregon is playing at a very high level. I felt the same way last year against Ole Miss when we played in the Peach Bowl. It’s one more chance for our seniors. It’s a resume game. Everybody talks about Oregon’s skill players, but one of the biggest attributes they have, their offensive line is very, very good, very physical. You watch them throwing people around, throwing them down, doing things. It all goes hand in hand. But I think for our kids, it’s a resume game. I thought last year’s game, playing in a bowl game late where everybody gets a chance to watch really is a springboard one way or the other. And I think playing somebody of this level, there really was a team that had an opportunity to beat both the two teams that played in the Pac-12 championship game decisively, I think, speaks of where they came as a program and how they were playing at the end of the year. So having been in this position for 15 years, you can kind of give coach speak. But one things you have to do, if you know me any, you have to be honest. You have to tell your kids what they’re going into, who they’re going to play, and the kind of team that they’re going to be part of in a ballgame. I think if they’re not fired up, then they’re watching the wrong film. Everything that I’ve gotten from the time we found out who the ballgame was our kids were way excited. We’ve got a lot of young players so this will be their first one playing in this kind of a ballgame. You’ll have 30 guys that were red-shirts or true freshmen that grew up. So to play against this level of competition, I think, has to be very exciting and lets us know what we have to do in the off-season, win or lose to keep getting better so we can jump back and have a chance to win a conference title and get back into one of those four-team playoff games. So you’ve got to get ready to go.”

COACH HELFRICH (On quarterback Vernon Adams, Jr.’s accomplishments since arriving to Oregon…)

“The biggest thing is he showed up and went to work. It was very unfortunate the timing was kind of self-inflicted, not his fault, but self-inflicted of when he arrived for fall camp later than ideal and he just went to work. Probably the thing that said the most about him is after he’s hurt, he stayed in it. A lot of guys get to that point, whether it’s a senior or guy that’s coming out and they get nicked and dinged, they kind of shut it down. He did the exact opposite. He went back to work. He was mimicking the action on every single practice play when he was nicked and dinged. Lot of times that doesn’t happen. So I think just his work ethic won everybody over and has gradually improved within the offense and does some special things outside of the offense that make him unique.”

COACH PATTERSON (When asked if his defense can shut down Oregon with weeks of preparation…)

“I don’t know about shut down. I think what you try to do is you’re more prepared and you’re healthier. One of the things we’ve always had a chance to do is to get ourselves back. The way we’ve always prepared, I think, has allowed us to be — I think one of the things coaches like is by the end of the season your team is broken down, and it gives you an opportunity to get back in the weight room, to get back out running. So you’re rested, you’re stronger again, and your kids have an opportunity to really give yourself the best chance to play because you do prepare. Especially with a young football team, you know, and you’re playing — you’re talking about a team that has a quarterback like they do that extends plays, so you need more time to be able to understand how do you try to corral somebody like that? But as they do on their team at Oregon, one of the best defenses is your offense. For us, getting Trevone back healthy, being able to run the offense and do some things. We kind of sputtered when he struggled, and I think the same thing happened to Oregon. When you lose that trigger guy, it makes it very difficult when everything revolves around him to do the things you need to do. Then they get healthy and they play. For him, one last time, a guy that, you know, was a guy that was a Heisman contender to get him a chance to build his resume and show the kind of player that he is on a great stage in a great ballgame against a great team, I think, is perfect. So I think he’s very excited about this opportunity.”

 COACH PATTERSON (When asked if any offensive changes will be made before the game…)

“Obviously, everybody has a couple wrinkles, but I think one of the key things is to be able to execute at a high level. So I think you’ll see what we do. That is one of the keys to this offense is just try to educate at a high level and for your kids to play fast, especially against a team like Oregon that plays fast also. So you’ve got to be able to play fast. Obviously, you always have a few wrinkles that you try to do where your kids have time to do all of it, and I’m sure that Oregon will have the same.”

COACH HELFRICH (When asked if any offensive changes will be made before the game…)

“Yeah, I think Coach said it. Your conditioning, your timing are things that you’re trying to get back. I think at this point they’re tired, going through the gauntlet, the pressure of you-can’t-lose-type of moments. Coach had them rolling and had some guys dinged up. There is that mental. They need some time away. Believe it or not, they need some time away from us and be as normal as possible for a little bit while still preparing for finals and all the things that go on in their lives. Then you have to crank it back up and be great at special teams and cover well or throw and catch and do all those things to keep your rhythm and your timing so you can try to execute against a team like TCU.”

COACH HELFRICH (On what he respects about Coach Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs…)

“Culture. Coach Popovich, I think we’ve stolen a lot of just how they do things. How they establish, maintain, and ascend as a culture. Then as a Blazers fan, with LaMarcus Aldridge coming down here, that hurt by the way, just following his courting. Most NBA teams it’s all about money, and I, and what they can do for that person, and the Spurs kind of appear to do it how we try to do it. It has nothing to do with the individual. It’s all about us, and how can you be part of something great? How can you blend in and elevate a culture by showing up? So we have had nowhere near any percentages that they have, but we’re trying like heck.”

COACH HELFRICH (On the resiliency of his team after a 3-3 start…)

“Well, I think this says a lot about our players and assistant coaches of keeping guys focused. There are so many gurus and voices who have all the answers. To come in every single day and look at the film good or bad and own it and fix the bad stuff, continue to do good stuff and stay focused on the process. So I think it just, again, says a ton about their character. And the assistant coaches that kept them pointed in the right direction.”

December 6, 2015 Team Announcement Press Conference

December 6, 2015 – Team Announcement
Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich and TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson

Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich On coming to the Valero Alamo Bowl

“Obviously, we had the opportunity to be there two years ago. It’s a very great opportunity and very exciting opportunity for our team, our program and our fans to be back in San Antonio. Everybody at the Valero Alamo Bowl was fantastic to us, to our players and everybody who made the trip down a couple of years ago. Obviously San Antonio is great for everybody young and old. The only negative to the trip is playing another Hall-of-Fame coach and a great program that we have a ton of respect for. Our guys will be very excited to start to get pointed toward TCU and finish up recruiting and exams. I know this will put a little bit of pep in their step.”

Head coach Gary Patterson on coming to the Valero Alamo Bowl

“I would like to speak for our Chancellor and the University itself to thank the Valero Alamo Bowl in inviting TCU and its fans to come down and play against a very good football team in the Oregon Ducks. We also want to congratulate Coach Helfrich and his group. I’ve known Coach Helfrich and a lot of guys on their staff for many years and they just do an unbelievable job. Our kids are really excited about 1) playing in Texas, 2) coming to San Antonio and being a part of this football game and to get the chance one more time to really enjoy the 2015 season. On behalf of our staff, our Chancellor, our Board of Trustees and our University I just want to say thank you to the Valero Alamo Bowl for giving us this opportunity. We’ve already started practicing a little bit to try and put on a good show.

Patterson on his team

“Trevone Boykin, our senior quarterback, has done a fantastic job in his two years as starter. We probably wouldn’t be in the position we are in without him. He was hurt a little bit at the end of the year but we expect him to be at full strength come game day. He probably was at about 75 percent in the Baylor game but is really ready to go. I think he’s looking forward to it along with the rest of our kids. We were young on defense and it’s very well-documented that we had a lot of injuries in the beginning of the season. But we really grew up and played really well towards the end of the year. We got ourselves in a position to go for two for the win against Oklahoma up in Norman, but the group itself is really excited. We have a lot of San Antonio products on our team that are very excited about having the chance to come home and play in front of their hometown fans. We’ve got to get ready to go, we’re playing a very good football team.”

Helfrich on his team

“We had a few stomach bugs early, and as Coach Patterson alluded to, everyone gets a little nicked and dinged at some point during the year. It seemed like ours were kind of on top of each other early. I think our guys are playing with a forward lean and a ton of confidence. Now we’re facing a completely different in animal in TCU and Coach Patterson. It’s well-documented that he’s a great defensive coach, and coupled with one of the most dynamic players and one of the most dynamic offenses with all of the players around him, they can put up some scary numbers.”

Helfrich on recruiting: “For us, we obviously can’t drive to San Antonio like Coach (Patterson) can, but we have several players from the state of Texas on our roster including a couple of San Antonio products. That’s huge for them to be able to come back home and cool for us to have our brand out there. I think the key to San Antonio is just like a lot of the state of Texas: great schools, great coaching, guys that you know what you’re going to get. They’re coached well from the ground up and it’s (San Antonio) a fun place to be. I thought San Antonio was an ideal place for the families, the coaches and our families to have a tremendous experience thanks to Derek (Fox) and the Alamo Bowl Committee. The players had a great time, they had a combination of a big-time city with a small-town kind of feel at the same time.”

Patterson on Recruiting

For us, we’ve been here 18 years now and we have upwards to seven San Antonio products on our football team. We are here and have won ballgames because of our players who have come out of the state of Texas, and this year’s no different. Really all the guys we talked about, from our seniors Aaron Green and Derrick Kindred to our redshirt freshman Ty Summers, are all great players and come from great programs. They’re just great kids, and for us to be successful we’ll have to keep spending time in San Antonio and recruiting young people to come out of there. They have great families and great people.”

Patterson on the postseason experience

“Well, first, my philosophy is that you go to a Bowl to win. We’ve always had great experiences but you always have a little bit of a bad taste in your mouth if you don’t win your bowl game. We’ve always taken the philosophy that you go to win. It’s not just one of those things where it’s more of the gravy on top and you go just to go do it. We’ve always felt the bowl practices were the jumpstart for the practices in Spring Ball, grow up your next football team and also play well in the bowl game. The way we’ve approached it is we just always try to play our best ball game. For the preseason rankings and all the other things that go on, that’s the last thing for them to see. The opportunity for us to play on January 2, the day after the College Football Playoff game, makes it a playoff game for us. I think Oregon is a team that if they hadn’t had all their injuries would’ve been a Top-4 team. We feel like without a couple injuries we had we would’ve been like that. I think the key for us is to get healthy and try to go and play a great ball game. I expect two really good football teams to get after each other. I think the bowl game very important, not only to finish the season but it’s a jumpstart for what you do the following spring and how your kids feel about you and preseason polls. Obviously, all that helps with recruiting.”

Helfrich on the postseason experience

I think the biggest thing is that it’s just another chance to compete again and be together again. As 2015 transitions into 2016 it’s our last opportunity to have that group together. We always talk about ending the season on an exclamation point instead of a period. You’re working the system of sending out your seniors, ramping up the guys that are still in the program and set the tone for the offseason. I absolutely concur 100% about winning that last game, it’s huge. It’s a great stage the Alamo Bowl has set itself as the premier non-playoff bowl out there. I don’t think there’s any argument against that.”


UCLA Postgame Press Conference

UCLA Postgame Press Conference

January 2, 2015


JIM MORA: Well, first of all, it’s an honor to be sitting up here with these five young men. Tremendous representatives of all that’s good about college football, great student athletes, leaders, great football players, men of integrity. The ones that are leaving, and those are the three right in the middle, we’re certainly going to miss them and they’re going to have long and productive careers. We’re going to get to watch them on a lot of Sundays. But Eric, Owa and Brett have met so much to this program, and I don’t think it can be overstated the impact that they’ve had on UCLA football and the UCLA football program. We’re going to miss them tremendously. We wish them the best of luck. I want to just tip my hat to Kansas State University and their football program. They’re fun to play because they play the right way. They play hard, they play physical, they play tough, they’re disciplined. They’ve got a lot of class. They travel very well.
We came to a bowl came and it was pretty much a hostile environment. But these guys have excelled in hostile environments all year, were undefeated on the road, and then to our fans that made the trek from California, we heard them and we appreciate them being here. It means a lot that they would come all this distance to support their football team, and we certainly do appreciate it.
It was a heck of a football game. You know, they’re always going to be like that. You get out to a lead, and you get in an environment where you’re playing the No. 11 team in the country, coached be a future Hall of Famer, and you know that they’re going to fight back. We hung in there, and I think that’s been a symbol of our team, the grit, the toughness, the character, all year. We won 10 games this year with the toughest schedule in college football. We played 10 bowl teams. There was a few teams that played 11, but we played 10 teams that are playing in bowls, including Kansas State. Depending on what happens with the Washington game, I believe going into today the teams that we’d play that are playing in bowl games are 6 2, and so to win 10 games two consecutive years I think is a tremendous accomplishment, especially for such a young team.
Besides Brett and Owa and EK, we’re going to lose AJ, Hof, Jordon James, some other contributors, but we’re really a young football team. You look at Myles here. Myles is a sophomore. You look at Perk and Perk is a sophomore, and so I think the future looks bright for UCLA football. That’s probably enough, huh? I’ll turn it over to these guys.

Q. Jim, can you talk about what the biggest difference between the first half and the second half was for you guys?
JIM MORA: Well, we didn’t have the ball much in the second. In the third quarter I think we only had five or six plays. They had that time consuming seven minute and 32 second drive for a touchdown there where they converted the fourth downs and we had trouble getting off the field, and then we had the fumble and then they scored. And then we Brett made the nice run, went down and kicked a field goal, but we didn’t have a lot of plays in the third quarter. Any time you play a quality opponent let’s remember now, this is the 11th ranked team in the country. It’s not going to be easy. And you know what? It’s more fun when it’s not easy, man. These guys love to compete, don’t you? They love to compete. They love it when it gets tight and gritty. Yeah, we like to blow people out, but you find out who you are as a man when it’s tough like that, and we won, and that’s the objective. We won.

Q. Jim, I know penalties have kind of been an issue all season. Specifically today, was that one of those things that were just kind of standing in your way, especially in the second half?
JIM MORA: Well, I felt like in the first half we hurt ourselves with a couple of penalties, and certainly in the second half. Yeah, they started to pile up on us. We got a little emotional. It got tense. Like I said, some of those penalties were by young guys. They’re going to learn from those things. They’re going to learn how to relax in those situations and just execute. Every opportunity that you have to go out and compete is an opportunity to learn and grow and get better from, and I think that as we are this year from last year, next year we’ll be a much improved team in terms of penalties because we’ll be more mature. We’ll understand our system better. We’ll be more relaxed in pressure situations.

Q. Granted, the No. 11 team, you guys have been resilient, but what still needs to be learned to close out games when you have that kind of lead?
JIM MORA: Well, we won the game, so that’s closing the game out, pal. It’s not easy. It’s not easy. When you’re playing the 11th ranked team in the country, if they don’t fight back, then they don’t deserve to be 11th, and they deserve to be the 11th. Anyone that has a question about us closing out a game, walk right out onto that field and look up at the scoreboard and tell me who won the damn game. Goodness sakes. We just won 10 games for the second year in a row, in case you don’t know that.

Q. What was it about your defense that was able to get to Jake Waters so many times?
JIM MORA: Guys like Owa and Deon and Kenny and Eddie and those guys being tenacious, and Eric, tenacious in their pass rush, excellent coverage on the back end. You know, any time that you can rush the passer and have success, it’s a team proposition. It’s guys executing great in coverage and it’s guys being relentless in their pass rush.

Q. Jim, what did you see in Deon Hollins this year and his growth?
JIM MORA: He was our most improved defensive player this year.

Q. Paul, on that onside kick, that was you out there; did you recover the ball? It came to you. Did you end up with it?

Q. Tell me about it. Did you fumble it and get it back or hold on to it the whole time?
PAUL PERKINS: Yeah, we just go through a routine every day on Friday, picking our blocks and picking our assignments.

Q. You kept the ball, you didn’t fumble it?

Q. What was going through your mind? Are you normally out there on the all hands team?
PAUL PERKINS: Usually we don’t get in that situation, but yeah, I’m on the hands team.

Q. What was going through your mind when the ball came to you?
PAUL PERKINS: I need to secure it, get this game over with.

Q. Brett, how does it feel to have played in your last game, and what was going through your mind as you were kind of going down the sidelines shaking hands with fans and your family?
BRETT HUNDLEY: I think speaking on behalf of all the seniors, it’s just a good way to go out on top I think for all of us. We really wanted this game everybody wanted the game, and we came in ready to get the 10th win of the season.

Q. Myles, your role as kind of a DB seemed to expand as the season went along. What did it feel like to get that pick?
MYLES JACK: It felt great to finally get an interception. Yeah, it’s been a while since I had one. I just remember just getting the guy and turning around and I knew the ball was going to be there because he kind of beat me over the top, but I just had a good release on him when I was with him and the ball just came to me. I tried to score, but I didn’t.

Q. Brett, can you just talk a little bit about Paul and what his development has meant to you and the offense this year?
BRETT HUNDLEY: Huge. Huge. Paul has always been to me the best back in the country. He showed that today. And I think this offense, having Johnathan Franklin, and then everybody is wondering who was going to replace him, Paul stepped in and did an amazing job, and has done that consistently this year every time he plays.

Q. Eric, can you talk about your emotion, getting that defensive player of the game trophy and kind of standing up there for the final time?
ERIC KENDRICKS: It’s pretty cool to end my Bruin career on the podium like that. I mean, obviously a dream come true. I put the work in this week in practice with my teammates. We all did, and that’s why we won.

Q. Owa, it seemed like you guys were a lot more aggressive on defense, especially to start the game. Is this kind of the style that you guys maybe wanted to play all season?
OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA: I think we did definitely play with an aggressive style this game, something that Coach Mora and Coach Ulbrich has been preaching to us all season, and I think it’s just our commitment at practice to executing our assignment, listening to what our coaches’ game plan is, and just today’s game was a testament to that. I think we’ve been really developing and meshing as a team all season, and I think what we did today is just a display of going forward what the defense is going to be like.

Q. Paul, describe your touchdown run and how that hole just opened up.
PAUL PERKINS: Yeah, the offensive line, like they’ve been doing all year, has been doing a great job. Couldn’t ask for a better group of guys up there. They keep improving every game, and man, anybody could have ran through that hole.

Q. Also, when they were making their comeback, there’s been so many late comebacks this year in other bowl games, Baylor, Michigan State came back, Houston came back on Pitt. Did any of that go through your mind at all?
PAUL PERKINS: Oh, no, I had confidence in our defense and our offense that we were going to get the job done, and obviously we did.

Q. I was going to ask Myles the same thing. Did you have any thoughts of losing that lead like some of the other teams in bowl games have done?
MYLES JACK: No, not at all. I had confidence in what we were doing and just what our offense was doing and what our defense was doing, and I just knew they just caught momentum for a second, and I knew we’d weather the storm, which we did, and gave the ball to Perk and he took it to the house. I knew eventually it would all even out.

Q. Coach, I was wondering if you could address your postgame exchange with Coach Snyder.
JIM MORA: With regards to what?

Q. As far as the handshake at the end.
JIM MORA: I’m not sure what you’re talking about, I’m sorry. Just a normal handshake, congratulate him and we go on our way.

Q. It looked like there were two hand shakes, one quick one
JIM MORA: Well, I ran into him again as I was working back to the podium. Good coach, man, he’s a great man, tremendous man. Honor to be able to compete against him.

Q. Myles, you’ve known Deon pretty good for a couple years now. What has he shown you this year that’s marked improvement?
MYLES JACK: I think just his level of determination, like Coach said. He’s our most improved player, and I think this year he really put it all together. He’s my roommate when we travel and everything, and just how hungry he is to help this team out and contribute. I think he was not frustrated last year, but he was just eager to get on the field, and he knew this year was his chance. I remember specifically playing the game, this game where he jumped offsides, and then the next play he made the sack. He apologized to us like 100 times. He was like, I swear I’m going to make it up. And the next play he made the sack. That shows you what type of guy he is. He’s eager to contribute, and he’s just improved.

Q. On the onside kick what did you see?
MYLES JACK: Coach Mora grabbed me, but I just wanted to protect my guys. It’s a dog pile, and it’s not a safe place to be, so I was just trying to protect my guys. Perk was on the bottom there, and Lord knows what’s going on underneath that pile, so I was trying to help him out.

Q. Eric or Myles, what was it like trying to contain guys like Sexton and Lockett?
ERIC KENDRICKS: I mean, he’s crafty. There’s a reason they won so many games and he was so successful this year. He definitely has a thing to him that you can’t really guard. That’s what makes him unique and that’s what makes him such a good competitor. But it was fun playing against him and we did our best to contain him, and I think we did a pretty good job getting some pass rush on him.
MYLES JACK: Me personally, I was guarding Sexton and I had to bring my “A” game the whole game. He was a great receiver. He was a great challenge. I just brought my best, and in regards to Lockett, you guys saw what he can do, punt return, kick return. He’s definitely a challenge, and he deserves all the credit he gets. He’s a talented player.

Q. Owa, what did you guys do defensively to get to their quarterback, especially in the first half, get all those sacks and hurries, quarterback hurries?
OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA: Honestly, we just were very aware of their situation, and we exploited it. We did a good job of watching film, the way they kind of like we knew they were a team that liked to do different splits. They liked to kind of keep things keep defenses on their toes, and I think what we did a great job of is picking up on it, understanding passing situations, how their splits were, their protections, how everything broke down, and I think guys like Deon and other guys on the D line did a great job of just attacking it and putting pressure on the quarterback.

UCLA Postgame Press Conference

UCLA Postgame Press Conference

January 2, 2015

January 2, 2015

UCLA – 40
Kansas State – 35

A Postgame Interview With:


JIM MORA: Well, first of all, it’s an honor to be sitting up here with these five young men. Tremendous representatives of all that’s good about college football, great student athletes, leaders, great football players, men of integrity. The ones that are leaving, and those are the three right in the middle, we’re certainly going to miss them and they’re going to have long and productive careers. We’re going to get to watch them on a lot of Sundays. But Eric, Owa and Brett have met so much to this program, and I don’t think it can be overstated the impact that they’ve had on UCLA football and the UCLA football program. We’re going to miss them tremendously. We wish them the best of luck. I want to just tip my hat to Kansas State University and their football program. They’re fun to play because they play the right way. They play hard, they play physical, they play tough, they’re disciplined. They’ve got a lot of class. They travel very well.
We came to a bowl came and it was pretty much a hostile environment. But these guys have excelled in hostile environments all year, were undefeated on the road, and then to our fans that made the trek from California, we heard them and we appreciate them being here. It means a lot that they would come all this distance to support their football team, and we certainly do appreciate it.
It was a heck of a football game. You know, they’re always going to be like that. You get out to a lead, and you get in an environment where you’re playing the No. 11 team in the country, coached be a future Hall of Famer, and you know that they’re going to fight back. We hung in there, and I think that’s been a symbol of our team, the grit, the toughness, the character, all year. We won 10 games this year with the toughest schedule in college football. We played 10 bowl teams. There was a few teams that played 11, but we played 10 teams that are playing in bowls, including Kansas State. Depending on what happens with the Washington game, I believe going into today the teams that we’d play that are playing in bowl games are 6 2, and so to win 10 games two consecutive years I think is a tremendous accomplishment, especially for such a young team.
Besides Brett and Owa and EK, we’re going to lose AJ, Hof, Jordon James, some other contributors, but we’re really a young football team. You look at Myles here. Myles is a sophomore. You look at Perk and Perk is a sophomore, and so I think the future looks bright for UCLA football. That’s probably enough, huh? I’ll turn it over to these guys.

Q. Jim, can you talk about what the biggest difference between the first half and the second half was for you guys?
JIM MORA: Well, we didn’t have the ball much in the second. In the third quarter I think we only had five or six plays. They had that time consuming seven minute and 32 second drive for a touchdown there where they converted the fourth downs and we had trouble getting off the field, and then we had the fumble and then they scored. And then we Brett made the nice run, went down and kicked a field goal, but we didn’t have a lot of plays in the third quarter. Any time you play a quality opponent let’s remember now, this is the 11th ranked team in the country. It’s not going to be easy. And you know what? It’s more fun when it’s not easy, man. These guys love to compete, don’t you? They love to compete. They love it when it gets tight and gritty. Yeah, we like to blow people out, but you find out who you are as a man when it’s tough like that, and we won, and that’s the objective. We won.

Q. Jim, I know penalties have kind of been an issue all season. Specifically today, was that one of those things that were just kind of standing in your way, especially in the second half?
JIM MORA: Well, I felt like in the first half we hurt ourselves with a couple of penalties, and certainly in the second half. Yeah, they started to pile up on us. We got a little emotional. It got tense. Like I said, some of those penalties were by young guys. They’re going to learn from those things. They’re going to learn how to relax in those situations and just execute. Every opportunity that you have to go out and compete is an opportunity to learn and grow and get better from, and I think that as we are this year from last year, next year we’ll be a much improved team in terms of penalties because we’ll be more mature. We’ll understand our system better. We’ll be more relaxed in pressure situations.

Q. Granted, the No. 11 team, you guys have been resilient, but what still needs to be learned to close out games when you have that kind of lead?
JIM MORA: Well, we won the game, so that’s closing the game out, pal. It’s not easy. It’s not easy. When you’re playing the 11th ranked team in the country, if they don’t fight back, then they don’t deserve to be 11th, and they deserve to be the 11th. Anyone that has a question about us closing out a game, walk right out onto that field and look up at the scoreboard and tell me who won the damn game. Goodness sakes. We just won 10 games for the second year in a row, in case you don’t know that.

Q. What was it about your defense that was able to get to Jake Waters so many times?
JIM MORA: Guys like Owa and Deon and Kenny and Eddie and those guys being tenacious, and Eric, tenacious in their pass rush, excellent coverage on the back end. You know, any time that you can rush the passer and have success, it’s a team proposition. It’s guys executing great in coverage and it’s guys being relentless in their pass rush.

Q. Jim, what did you see in Deon Hollins this year and his growth?
JIM MORA: He was our most improved defensive player this year.

Q. Paul, on that onside kick, that was you out there; did you recover the ball? It came to you. Did you end up with it?

Q. Tell me about it. Did you fumble it and get it back or hold on to it the whole time?
PAUL PERKINS: Yeah, we just go through a routine every day on Friday, picking our blocks and picking our assignments.

Q. You kept the ball, you didn’t fumble it?

Q. What was going through your mind? Are you normally out there on the all hands team?
PAUL PERKINS: Usually we don’t get in that situation, but yeah, I’m on the hands team.

Q. What was going through your mind when the ball came to you?
PAUL PERKINS: I need to secure it, get this game over with.

Q. Brett, how does it feel to have played in your last game, and what was going through your mind as you were kind of going down the sidelines shaking hands with fans and your family?
BRETT HUNDLEY: I think speaking on behalf of all the seniors, it’s just a good way to go out on top I think for all of us. We really wanted this game everybody wanted the game, and we came in ready to get the 10th win of the season.

Q. Myles, your role as kind of a DB seemed to expand as the season went along. What did it feel like to get that pick?
MYLES JACK: It felt great to finally get an interception. Yeah, it’s been a while since I had one. I just remember just getting the guy and turning around and I knew the ball was going to be there because he kind of beat me over the top, but I just had a good release on him when I was with him and the ball just came to me. I tried to score, but I didn’t.

Q. Brett, can you just talk a little bit about Paul and what his development has meant to you and the offense this year?
BRETT HUNDLEY: Huge. Huge. Paul has always been to me the best back in the country. He showed that today. And I think this offense, having Johnathan Franklin, and then everybody is wondering who was going to replace him, Paul stepped in and did an amazing job, and has done that consistently this year every time he plays.

Q. Eric, can you talk about your emotion, getting that defensive player of the game trophy and kind of standing up there for the final time?
ERIC KENDRICKS: It’s pretty cool to end my Bruin career on the podium like that. I mean, obviously a dream come true. I put the work in this week in practice with my teammates. We all did, and that’s why we won.

Q. Owa, it seemed like you guys were a lot more aggressive on defense, especially to start the game. Is this kind of the style that you guys maybe wanted to play all season?
OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA: I think we did definitely play with an aggressive style this game, something that Coach Mora and Coach Ulbrich has been preaching to us all season, and I think it’s just our commitment at practice to executing our assignment, listening to what our coaches’ game plan is, and just today’s game was a testament to that. I think we’ve been really developing and meshing as a team all season, and I think what we did today is just a display of going forward what the defense is going to be like.

Q. Paul, describe your touchdown run and how that hole just opened up.
PAUL PERKINS: Yeah, the offensive line, like they’ve been doing all year, has been doing a great job. Couldn’t ask for a better group of guys up there. They keep improving every game, and man, anybody could have ran through that hole.

Q. Also, when they were making their comeback, there’s been so many late comebacks this year in other bowl games, Baylor, Michigan State came back, Houston came back on Pitt. Did any of that go through your mind at all?
PAUL PERKINS: Oh, no, I had confidence in our defense and our offense that we were going to get the job done, and obviously we did.

Q. I was going to ask Myles the same thing. Did you have any thoughts of losing that lead like some of the other teams in bowl games have done?
MYLES JACK: No, not at all. I had confidence in what we were doing and just what our offense was doing and what our defense was doing, and I just knew they just caught momentum for a second, and I knew we’d weather the storm, which we did, and gave the ball to Perk and he took it to the house. I knew eventually it would all even out.

Q. Coach, I was wondering if you could address your postgame exchange with Coach Snyder.
JIM MORA: With regards to what?

Q. As far as the handshake at the end.
JIM MORA: I’m not sure what you’re talking about, I’m sorry. Just a normal handshake, congratulate him and we go on our way.

Q. It looked like there were two hand shakes, one quick one
JIM MORA: Well, I ran into him again as I was working back to the podium. Good coach, man, he’s a great man, tremendous man. Honor to be able to compete against him.

Q. Myles, you’ve known Deon pretty good for a couple years now. What has he shown you this year that’s marked improvement?
MYLES JACK: I think just his level of determination, like Coach said. He’s our most improved player, and I think this year he really put it all together. He’s my roommate when we travel and everything, and just how hungry he is to help this team out and contribute. I think he was not frustrated last year, but he was just eager to get on the field, and he knew this year was his chance. I remember specifically playing the game, this game where he jumped offsides, and then the next play he made the sack. He apologized to us like 100 times. He was like, I swear I’m going to make it up. And the next play he made the sack. That shows you what type of guy he is. He’s eager to contribute, and he’s just improved.

Q. On the onside kick what did you see?
MYLES JACK: Coach Mora grabbed me, but I just wanted to protect my guys. It’s a dog pile, and it’s not a safe place to be, so I was just trying to protect my guys. Perk was on the bottom there, and Lord knows what’s going on underneath that pile, so I was trying to help him out.

Q. Eric or Myles, what was it like trying to contain guys like Sexton and Lockett?
ERIC KENDRICKS: I mean, he’s crafty. There’s a reason they won so many games and he was so successful this year. He definitely has a thing to him that you can’t really guard. That’s what makes him unique and that’s what makes him such a good competitor. But it was fun playing against him and we did our best to contain him, and I think we did a pretty good job getting some pass rush on him.
MYLES JACK: Me personally, I was guarding Sexton and I had to bring my “A” game the whole game. He was a great receiver. He was a great challenge. I just brought my best, and in regards to Lockett, you guys saw what he can do, punt return, kick return. He’s definitely a challenge, and he deserves all the credit he gets. He’s a talented player.

Q. Owa, what did you guys do defensively to get to their quarterback, especially in the first half, get all those sacks and hurries, quarterback hurries?
OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA: Honestly, we just were very aware of their situation, and we exploited it. We did a good job of watching film, the way they kind of like we knew they were a team that liked to do different splits. They liked to kind of keep things keep defenses on their toes, and I think what we did a great job of is picking up on it, understanding passing situations, how their splits were, their protections, how everything broke down, and I think guys like Deon and other guys on the D line did a great job of just attacking it and putting pressure on the quarterback.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Alamo Bowl Postgame Press Conference

Valero Alamo Bowl Postgame Press Conference

January 2, 2015

January 2, 2015

UCLA – 40
Kansas State – 35

A Postgame Interview With:


Q. Bill, are you going to remember the 10 points that you left on the field and the 14 points off of turnovers in the first half more, or are you going to remember a pretty courageous second half comeback that comes up a little shy?
BILL SNYDER: Well, I’ll remember both. I’m proud of our young guys, what I shared with them just a little bit ago. They didn’t give in, fought back. Not quite enough. But I’ll also remember the first half, as well, and all those things that you mentioned. My count we left 28 points on the field in the first half, and that’s our fault. It wasn’t anything other than that. UCLA is a very fine football team, played extremely well. They were just so much better than we were in the first half. The execution wasn’t there.

Q. What was your message to the team at halftime to get them to come out and start playing a little bit better?
BILL SNYDER: Well, some of it is probably personal. I alluded to a couple things. Houston was down today 27 points going into the fourth quarter and scored 29 and won the ballgame, so it’s doable, it’s manageable. Also some thoughts about whether we had heard a TV announcer indicate in another ballgame that a football team had quit, and that’s the last thing in the world anybody wants to hear on national TV, I assure you that, and I reminded our youngsters of that, that we weren’t about to let somebody say that about us. And they didn’t. They didn’t. They made the best effort.
We made some mistakes. Still, we played our way back into the ballgame, and then we played our way out of it. We’re still mistake prone, and at the end of the day, that was a problem.

Q. Coach, can you talk about the difficulty that Hundley and Perkins caused for your defense today with their rushing attack?
BILL SNYDER: Well, they’re both very, very talented young guys, and I think they use them extremely well. I don’t know what the statistics were, but there were major issues, particularly in the first half. In the second half we played well defensively until we broke down, and that was not not that he couldn’t run well, but we just broke down and didn’t fit we left a gap unfit and they put it in the end zone and that ended the ballgame, so to speak.
THE MODERATOR: We’re also joined by Jonathan Truman and Ryan Mueller.
BILL SNYDER: These are both defensive guys, and there’s nobody that cares more, there’s nobody that plays harder, there’s nobody that’s more of a family member, there’s nobody that’s a better teammate than these two guys right here. These two, tremendously so. When you’ve invested as much as they’ve invested, it is going to be painful, but they’ve been dynamic for our football program.

Q. What was the injury at the end? It looked fairly serious.
BILL SNYDER: Without having any X rays yet, we believe there was a fracture, lower leg fracture.

Q. Who was the player?
BILL SNYDER: Boston Stiverson.

Q. Bill, I believe Jake was sacked seven times. Can you talk about the pressure they put on him, and also moving B.J. over to right tackle in the game?
BILL SNYDER: Well, we kind of got out of sorts. We’re thin in our offensive line, and guys have to play multiple positions, which they do, but we had some difficulty with our protection. I mean, it was that simple. That’s what I was sharing a little bit ago. It was not that they weren’t making the effort, it’s just UCLA is a good pass rush team, they’ve got good guys coming off the edge, and they did, and they did so successfully, and consequently we took ourselves out of opportunities to get 1st downs and got into those extra long yardage situations. Those are pretty hard to overcome.

Q. (Inaudible.)
BILL SNYDER: Well, as I said, virtually all of our guys work at all positions up front, so it’s not that it’s just something out of the blue. Obviously he has had far less practice time there than he has at the center position, but we have to make do with what we have. But B.J. is like these guys right here; B.J., I mean, you don’t find a better person. You don’t find somebody that cares more about his football team. You don’t find anybody that works as hard, gives as much of himself. He’d play wherever you put him.

Q. The young man that just sat down to your right, he went out on top for K State, and him connecting with Jake on a couple more touchdowns in his last game, just remark a little bit on his career and what he was able to do tonight.
BILL SNYDER: Well, you know, it’s not what he’s been able to do tonight, it’s what he’s been able to do through his entire career at Kansas State University. Just what I said about these other two young guys, the two offensive players that have joined us have done exactly the same thing, and they’re the same kind of people. And you specifically asked about Tyler. Tyler is all the things I’ve said so many times. You’ve heard it. He works as hard as anybody can possibly work. He stays after practice. He does everything he can to try to get himself better. He’s a wonderful person. He cares about his teammates. He’s a great family man, a great individual, high character. All of these guys are. I could echo all those thoughts with each and every one of these young guys. They’re really special.

Q. Jonathan, talk about how you guys changed defensively because Hundley and Perkins just kind of seemed to not run wild but were more successful in the first half than they were in the second half.
JONATHAN TRUMAN: Yeah, I have to give a lot of credit to the UCLA coaching staff as well as their players. They prepared really well and they executed really well. In the first half, I can say that we didn’t run our fits very well defensively. Our coaches defensively did a great job game planning things. I think it was more the players. We just didn’t execute. We didn’t get the job done, and going into halftime we understand that we’re behind a lot, but this is a group of guys that doesn’t quit, and I’m just really proud of my team for pulling it together and trying to be the best that we can be.

Q. Tyler, what do you think the team’s mental reaction was when they got on you that early and you look up and see 31 6?
TYLER LOCKETT: I mean, honestly, we’ve been there before. Maybe not by that much, but we played TCU and was down 14 0 and came back, played Baylor down 14 0 and came back. Honestly, when it was 17 0, I knew we still had a chance. We’ve been watching a lot of crazy bowl games. We watched Baylor go up 20 against Michigan State and all of a sudden Michigan State came back. We just heard about Houston, down by 30 points in the fourth quarter, coming back and beating Pittsburgh. We understood at halftime we still had a chance. We’re a team who never gives up, we’re a team who will always keep fighting until it says 0:00 on the clock, and that’s exactly what we did. We had a chance to come back. We made a great rally. Everybody saw it. Unfortunately we just came up a little short.

Q. Jake, on that final touchdown to Tyler late in the game, can you describe that play and just the emotions that were going through as you guys headed off the field together after the touchdown?
JAKE WATERS: Yeah, that last play we just kind of we ran the same play the whole time down the field and just kind of hit different things. I ran for one, hit Curry for one, hit Lockett for one, 10 and in. I just told him we kind of looked at each other and knew, hey, just do a 10 in and go and just get a little variation off it and Tyler did the rest, got wide open. Walking off the field together, it was pretty emotional. You put so many hours in that people don’t see that kind of goes unnoticed, and for that to be the last time was hard to hold back.

Q. Jake, how much was the fact that there have been so many late comebacks, Baylor, Houston came back to beat Pitt, how much of that was on your mind in the second half?
JAKE WATERS: Yeah, that’s just a great example of what can happen, and we knew that we’re not going to give up, like Tyler said, until it says 0:00. I’m never going to count out my guys. We go into halftime and we’ve just got to correct the mistakes. We made a few plays here and there and we were right back in it, and we had a chance to win it at the end. That’s all you can ask for.

Q. Jake, was UCLA doing something with the pass rush that you hadn’t seen before or were they using their speed and getting in for the sacks?
JAKE WATERS: They changed it up. Every bowl game they provide stuff you haven’t seen on film or stuff you haven’t prepared for. And they’re great players, too, so they caused some problems for us. My O line did a great job, except a couple plays.

Q. Ryan, can you talk about the gut check at halftime, put it into words what you guys were feeling, anger, disappointment? What was the motivation, and can you describe how you reacted to it, please?
RYAN MUELLER: At the end of the

Q. At halftime getting ready for the second.
RYAN MUELLER: Well, before I answer that, first and foremost, I just want to thank Coach Snyder for the opportunity to play for this university. Coach is over here right now, but thank you, Coach, for the chance. You know, it’s been an honor play with Tyler Lockett, phenomenal athlete, phenomenal person, just a total workhorse for this university. I want to thank all the Kansas State fans that made the bowl trip down here. I know these bowl trips are expensive, but it was great seeing the whole stadium filled up with purple. I know we didn’t execute according to plan.
To answer your question, sir, we tried to come out the second half relentless, tried to be fearless, respect everybody, fear no one, and we just we tried, and everybody looked to their guy to the left, looked to their guy to the right, looked in their eyes and said I’m going to give you my absolute best for the next 30 minutes. We fought, we certainly didn’t quit, and UCLA was the better team. Hats off to Brett Hundley, tremendous quarterback, made some good plays, when he would throw the ball or run the ball, made a lot of plays on his feet, tremendous player. I’ve got a lot of respect for UCLA. They’re a first class program.

Q. Ryan, when you look up and you see the 17 0 deficit and the way Hundley was able to get you guys defensively early on, what’s going through your head at that moment, just being down like that?
RYAN MUELLER: You know, 17 0, that’s nothing. I’m fully confident in my offense, fully confident in Jake Waters, fully confident in Tyler Lockett. When we see 17 0, that’s nothing. Plenty of ball to play. When the clock is 0:00, that’s when it’s over. And that’s football.

Q. I was curious with both Jonathan and Tyler, you guys have played in a bowl game every year you’ve been here, just what kind of momentum or base do you think that could build for this program after you guys are gone?
JONATHAN TRUMAN: Yeah, just coming into this program five years ago, 2010, that was the first bowl game, that Pinstripe Bowl was the first bowl game that this program has been to since the Texas Bowl in like 2006, I believe, and I know there’s a lot of pride in this group coming in, just being able to get to that bowl game and then getting to four consecutive bowl games after that. There’s a lot of pride. Obviously winning the bowl game is the most important, but I hope that this group of young guys that we have, I know that they have the same attitude that this great class of seniors has, and they’re going to keep working hard and just keep working towards another bowl game and a win.
TYLER LOCKETT: Yeah, I mean, every since I was in high school, Coach Snyder came back, he really turned this program around. He’s done a great job. I watched Truman and everybody play whenever they were in the Pinstripe Bowl, and being able to come to Kansas State, it was just a great opportunity. I was playing under guys like Collin Klein and Chris Harper and Emmanuel Lamur, just some great athletes, great leaders who have the desire and motivation to win. So just being able to look at everybody who we had the chance to play with throughout the four years and seeing the bowl games that we went to, we went from a Pinstripe a Cottom bowl, we went from the Cotton Bowl to the Fiesta Bowl. Then all of a sudden, we acquired new people. New people, new transition, new players, that means we had the same style, just different types of players that we’ve got to be able to use. We went to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, finally won. The odds were in Michigan’s favor, and we came out there and we won. We proved to everybody that we could be able to win. Even being able to have the opportunity to be in the Alamo Bowl, we played a lot of great teams throughout this year. I’m not sure where people saw us ending in the Big 12, but we finished third. We played against TCU. We had a chance to win the Big 12, playing against Baylor, not too many people get the chance to win two Big 12 Championships at that, and we had a great opportunity for that.
And then also just ending our bowl game here in the Alamo. I would have rather finished it here than anywhere else. Of course you want to make it to the playoffs and stuff like that, but since we didn’t make it, I’m glad we came to the Alamo. They did nothing but show us love. They did a lot of great things, great events, we met a lot of great people out here, and unfortunately we lost, but I’m going to just miss these guys, and that’s really all I have. I think it’ll motivate our team next year, as well, because we ended with a loss so it’s going to motivate them to keep going.


JIM MORA: Well, first of all, it’s an honor to be sitting up here with these five young men. Tremendous representatives of all that’s good about college football, great student athletes, leaders, great football players, men of integrity. The ones that are leaving, and those are the three right in the middle, we’re certainly going to miss them and they’re going to have long and productive careers. We’re going to get to watch them on a lot of Sundays. But Eric, Owa and Brett have met so much to this program, and I don’t think it can be overstated the impact that they’ve had on UCLA football and the UCLA football program. We’re going to miss them tremendously. We wish them the best of luck. I want to just tip my hat to Kansas State University and their football program. They’re fun to play because they play the right way. They play hard, they play physical, they play tough, they’re disciplined. They’ve got a lot of class. They travel very well.
We came to a bowl came and it was pretty much a hostile environment. But these guys have excelled in hostile environments all year, were undefeated on the road, and then to our fans that made the trek from California, we heard them and we appreciate them being here. It means a lot that they would come all this distance to support their football team, and we certainly do appreciate it.
It was a heck of a football game. You know, they’re always going to be like that. You get out to a lead, and you get in an environment where you’re playing the No. 11 team in the country, coached be a future Hall of Famer, and you know that they’re going to fight back. We hung in there, and I think that’s been a symbol of our team, the grit, the toughness, the character, all year. We won 10 games this year with the toughest schedule in college football. We played 10 bowl teams. There was a few teams that played 11, but we played 10 teams that are playing in bowls, including Kansas State. Depending on what happens with the Washington game, I believe going into today the teams that we’d play that are playing in bowl games are 6 2, and so to win 10 games two consecutive years I think is a tremendous accomplishment, especially for such a young team.
Besides Brett and Owa and EK, we’re going to lose AJ, Hof, Jordon James, some other contributors, but we’re really a young football team. You look at Myles here. Myles is a sophomore. You look at Perk and Perk is a sophomore, and so I think the future looks bright for UCLA football. That’s probably enough, huh? I’ll turn it over to these guys.

Q. Jim, can you talk about what the biggest difference between the first half and the second half was for you guys?
JIM MORA: Well, we didn’t have the ball much in the second. In the third quarter I think we only had five or six plays. They had that time consuming seven minute and 32 second drive for a touchdown there where they converted the fourth downs and we had trouble getting off the field, and then we had the fumble and then they scored. And then we Brett made the nice run, went down and kicked a field goal, but we didn’t have a lot of plays in the third quarter. Any time you play a quality opponent let’s remember now, this is the 11th ranked team in the country. It’s not going to be easy. And you know what? It’s more fun when it’s not easy, man. These guys love to compete, don’t you? They love to compete. They love it when it gets tight and gritty. Yeah, we like to blow people out, but you find out who you are as a man when it’s tough like that, and we won, and that’s the objective. We won.

Q. Jim, I know penalties have kind of been an issue all season. Specifically today, was that one of those things that were just kind of standing in your way, especially in the second half?
JIM MORA: Well, I felt like in the first half we hurt ourselves with a couple of penalties, and certainly in the second half. Yeah, they started to pile up on us. We got a little emotional. It got tense. Like I said, some of those penalties were by young guys. They’re going to learn from those things. They’re going to learn how to relax in those situations and just execute. Every opportunity that you have to go out and compete is an opportunity to learn and grow and get better from, and I think that as we are this year from last year, next year we’ll be a much improved team in terms of penalties because we’ll be more mature. We’ll understand our system better. We’ll be more relaxed in pressure situations.

Q. Granted, the No. 11 team, you guys have been resilient, but what still needs to be learned to close out games when you have that kind of lead?
JIM MORA: Well, we won the game, so that’s closing the game out, pal. It’s not easy. It’s not easy. When you’re playing the 11th ranked team in the country, if they don’t fight back, then they don’t deserve to be 11th, and they deserve to be the 11th. Anyone that has a question about us closing out a game, walk right out onto that field and look up at the scoreboard and tell me who won the damn game. Goodness sakes. We just won 10 games for the second year in a row, in case you don’t know that.

Q. What was it about your defense that was able to get to Jake Waters so many times?
JIM MORA: Guys like Owa and Deon and Kenny and Eddie and those guys being tenacious, and Eric, tenacious in their pass rush, excellent coverage on the back end. You know, any time that you can rush the passer and have success, it’s a team proposition. It’s guys executing great in coverage and it’s guys being relentless in their pass rush.

Q. Jim, what did you see in Deon Hollins this year and his growth?
JIM MORA: He was our most improved defensive player this year.

Q. Paul, on that onside kick, that was you out there; did you recover the ball? It came to you. Did you end up with it?

Q. Tell me about it. Did you fumble it and get it back or hold on to it the whole time?
PAUL PERKINS: Yeah, we just go through a routine every day on Friday, picking our blocks and picking our assignments.

Q. You kept the ball, you didn’t fumble it?

Q. What was going through your mind? Are you normally out there on the all hands team?
PAUL PERKINS: Usually we don’t get in that situation, but yeah, I’m on the hands team.

Q. What was going through your mind when the ball came to you?
PAUL PERKINS: I need to secure it, get this game over with.

Q. Brett, how does it feel to have played in your last game, and what was going through your mind as you were kind of going down the sidelines shaking hands with fans and your family?
BRETT HUNDLEY: I think speaking on behalf of all the seniors, it’s just a good way to go out on top I think for all of us. We really wanted this game everybody wanted the game, and we came in ready to get the 10th win of the season.

Q. Myles, your role as kind of a DB seemed to expand as the season went along. What did it feel like to get that pick?
MYLES JACK: It felt great to finally get an interception. Yeah, it’s been a while since I had one. I just remember just getting the guy and turning around and I knew the ball was going to be there because he kind of beat me over the top, but I just had a good release on him when I was with him and the ball just came to me. I tried to score, but I didn’t.

Q. Brett, can you just talk a little bit about Paul and what his development has meant to you and the offense this year?
BRETT HUNDLEY: Huge. Huge. Paul has always been to me the best back in the country. He showed that today. And I think this offense, having Johnathan Franklin, and then everybody is wondering who was going to replace him, Paul stepped in and did an amazing job, and has done that consistently this year every time he plays.

Q. Eric, can you talk about your emotion, getting that defensive player of the game trophy and kind of standing up there for the final time?
ERIC KENDRICKS: It’s pretty cool to end my Bruin career on the podium like that. I mean, obviously a dream come true. I put the work in this week in practice with my teammates. We all did, and that’s why we won.

Q. Owa, it seemed like you guys were a lot more aggressive on defense, especially to start the game. Is this kind of the style that you guys maybe wanted to play all season?
OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA: I think we did definitely play with an aggressive style this game, something that Coach Mora and Coach Ulbrich has been preaching to us all season, and I think it’s just our commitment at practice to executing our assignment, listening to what our coaches’ game plan is, and just today’s game was a testament to that. I think we’ve been really developing and meshing as a team all season, and I think what we did today is just a display of going forward what the defense is going to be like.

Q. Paul, describe your touchdown run and how that hole just opened up.
PAUL PERKINS: Yeah, the offensive line, like they’ve been doing all year, has been doing a great job. Couldn’t ask for a better group of guys up there. They keep improving every game, and man, anybody could have ran through that hole.

Q. Also, when they were making their comeback, there’s been so many late comebacks this year in other bowl games, Baylor, Michigan State came back, Houston came back on Pitt. Did any of that go through your mind at all?
PAUL PERKINS: Oh, no, I had confidence in our defense and our offense that we were going to get the job done, and obviously we did.

Q. I was going to ask Myles the same thing. Did you have any thoughts of losing that lead like some of the other teams in bowl games have done?
MYLES JACK: No, not at all. I had confidence in what we were doing and just what our offense was doing and what our defense was doing, and I just knew they just caught momentum for a second, and I knew we’d weather the storm, which we did, and gave the ball to Perk and he took it to the house. I knew eventually it would all even out.

Q. Coach, I was wondering if you could address your postgame exchange with Coach Snyder.
JIM MORA: With regards to what?

Q. As far as the handshake at the end.
JIM MORA: I’m not sure what you’re talking about, I’m sorry. Just a normal handshake, congratulate him and we go on our way.

Q. It looked like there were two hand shakes, one quick one
JIM MORA: Well, I ran into him again as I was working back to the podium. Good coach, man, he’s a great man, tremendous man. Honor to be able to compete against him.

Q. Myles, you’ve known Deon pretty good for a couple years now. What has he shown you this year that’s marked improvement?
MYLES JACK: I think just his level of determination, like Coach said. He’s our most improved player, and I think this year he really put it all together. He’s my roommate when we travel and everything, and just how hungry he is to help this team out and contribute. I think he was not frustrated last year, but he was just eager to get on the field, and he knew this year was his chance. I remember specifically playing the game, this game where he jumped offsides, and then the next play he made the sack. He apologized to us like 100 times. He was like, I swear I’m going to make it up. And the next play he made the sack. That shows you what type of guy he is. He’s eager to contribute, and he’s just improved.

Q. On the onside kick what did you see?
MYLES JACK: Coach Mora grabbed me, but I just wanted to protect my guys. It’s a dog pile, and it’s not a safe place to be, so I was just trying to protect my guys. Perk was on the bottom there, and Lord knows what’s going on underneath that pile, so I was trying to help him out.

Q. Eric or Myles, what was it like trying to contain guys like Sexton and Lockett?
ERIC KENDRICKS: I mean, he’s crafty. There’s a reason they won so many games and he was so successful this year. He definitely has a thing to him that you can’t really guard. That’s what makes him unique and that’s what makes him such a good competitor. But it was fun playing against him and we did our best to contain him, and I think we did a pretty good job getting some pass rush on him.
MYLES JACK: Me personally, I was guarding Sexton and I had to bring my “A” game the whole game. He was a great receiver. He was a great challenge. I just brought my best, and in regards to Lockett, you guys saw what he can do, punt return, kick return. He’s definitely a challenge, and he deserves all the credit he gets. He’s a talented player.

Q. Owa, what did you guys do defensively to get to their quarterback, especially in the first half, get all those sacks and hurries, quarterback hurries?
OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA: Honestly, we just were very aware of their situation, and we exploited it. We did a good job of watching film, the way they kind of like we knew they were a team that liked to do different splits. They liked to kind of keep things keep defenses on their toes, and I think what we did a great job of is picking up on it, understanding passing situations, how their splits were, their protections, how everything broke down, and I think guys like Deon and other guys on the D line did a great job of just attacking it and putting pressure on the quarterback.

Head Coaches Press Conference

Head Coaches Press Conference

January 1, 2015


THE MODERATOR: Coach Snyder will start with an opening remark about bowl week and tomorrow’s game?
COACH SNYDER: Well, as most of the players on both teams would probably tell you, they’re anxious to play and it’s time to play. It’s been a long time since the last ballgame for both of our programs. We’re just honored to be here, pleased to be here. It’s a wonderful opportunity to play against what I think is a tremendously talented football team in UCLA and extremely well coached. I think our players, our practices themselves have gone reasonably well. As I said, I think our guys are just anxious to play and hope they get some rest and make sure that they get their minds right, and that’s our job as coaches, I guess.
COACH MORA: First of all, I want to thank the city of San Antonio for welcoming the UCLA Bruin Nation. We’ve had a great time here, very welcoming, very warm. I’d also like to thank Valero and the Alamo Bowl Committee for inviting us, and congratulate Coach Snyder on a great year. It’s truly an honor for us to play such a great program as Kansas State and measure ourselves against one of the top teams in the country, and we’re anxious to do that.
We’ve had a good week of practice. The young men are focused. They’re anxious to play. I look forward to an exciting game, a well played game, two teams that I think play with a lot of integrity and class. It will be a tooth and nail battle, and as I said, I think a great measuring stick for where we are as a program playing against such an established program as Kansas State. So look forward to tomorrow night and all of the excitement that it brings. Just want to say thanks, again, to the city of San Antonio.

Q. You talked about great admiration with Coach Snyder. Have I learned anything coaching takeaways from your interaction this bowl week?
COACH MORA: We’ve had a couple of chances to interact. We haven’t necessarily spoken about X’s and O’s or philosophy, but just in general, observing a legend gives me a chance to learn. I’ve been very fortunate in my career to be around some tremendous coaches and tremendous administrators, and I’m sitting next to one of the finest that college football has ever known. I’ve enjoyed watching him deal with the media, deal with his players, listening to him speak to the crowds, and I think that I’m always in a position to learn and I try to do so.

Q. Coaches Snyder and Mora, thank you for being with us here on New Year’s Day. Happy New Year. Wanted to ask you all, we’ve seen a lot of great games here in the history of this game. Some tremendous offensive shows in particular come to mind. RG3 a few years ago put up 67 points or something, and it was a fantastic game that way offensively. You two guys have some pretty good offenses. What do you think what type of game do you think is in store for fans this year?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I have no idea. Sometimes our offense has been pretty good. Maybe they’re not as consistent as you would like all the time. I probably would imagine Jim feels the same way. If we have two good offenses, then we better play some defense on both sides of the ball. I think all of it is the same thing that you would say, ballgame in and ballgame out, you’ve got to do the things that give you a chance to win. We can’t afford to turn the ball over. I’m sure UCLA feels exactly the same way. I think we have to be good on our special teams. I’m sure they feel the same way. Defensively you can’t give up those big plays.
Same things you hear week in and week out. But they’re all true. They all manifest themselves in winning or losing, I think.
COACH MORA: I think it’s hard to predict what kind of game you’re going to see, but I know you’ll see two disciplined, well coached, hard playing teams. I know this. When you look at Kansas State on defense, they’re extremely sound. They play very well. It’s going to be tough to get yards and points on them. We’ve done some things well offensively this year, but they’re searching for a little consistency throughout an entire game, so that will be one of our goals. As coach said, one of the keys is protecting the football, blocking people up, getting the tough yards, and there will be tough yards against this defense.

Q. Coach Mora, now your third bowl game, talk about what your experience was and how you changed from year one to year three and how you created bowl week?
COACH MORA: Yeah, I don’t have near the experience as the man to my right has in anything, but particularly bowls. So it’s a chance for me to learn how to handle the week more efficiently, prepare our players better to be ready to go at kickoff. We’ve tried to mirror as much as possible what we thought was successful for us in the last two bowls through the week, most particularly last year at the Sun Bowl. Really what you try to do is create as much normalcy as you can in an environment that’s not normal.
At this point in time, after the luncheon, things then settle into the typical routine that you have created through the season leading up to kickoff. So that’s our objective.

Q. How many more years do you plan on being head coach at Kansas State?
COACH SNYDER: I have no idea, and how did I know you were going to ask that question? For those of you that are not local in Manhattan, this is the master of the question down here. He’s always got one that I never want to deal with.

Q. In that case, I was just curious, what keeps you young in this game? What keeps you going?
COACH SNYDER: Trust me, I’m not young. Jim said certain things that he didn’t have that I have. He’s got everything that I have with the exception of a hundred years. He does everything extremely well, so he’s not lacking for anything there.

Q. Kind of along the same lines, when the 49ers job opened up earlier this week, there was immediate speculation that they might contact you. Have you been contacted? If so, would that interest you to listen to them about what they might offer?
COACH MORA: I prefer to concentrate on this game tomorrow night at 5:50 against Kansas State University. I think you do everyone a disservice that’s put so much into this season and gotten to this point if you think about anything other than the task at hand, and the task at hand is kicking off and playing well against a great Kansas State team tomorrow.

Q. So it doesn’t become a distraction, can you just say now that I’m going to be staying at UCLA?
COACH MORA: I have no plans to coach anywhere but UCLA at this time.

Q. I remember you taking questions about that at a Holiday Bowl about UCLA a long time ago. That’s interesting. It strikes me that every program has to build their roster their own way. But over the last couple days we’ve had ten players in here, five were former walk ons and five or six from Kansas. Can you talk about how you’ve gone about building this roster and the unique script you’ve had to follow to get to this point?
COACH SNYDER: I can’t tell you that that segment of it is scripted. They’re young guys all over, and we’re kind of isolated in the midwest. An awful lot of people, I think, get overlooked because of that. When I say overlooked, it’s not necessarily the ability to run 4.3, 40s, and bench press 350 pounds and all that goes along with it. There are just character traits that are significant. You’ve heard me say this so many times that really are significant. I mean, you can put a young guy in a weight room and he can go from 220 to 300 if that’s what you want. I mean, you can do all those things. You remember a young guy, Jason Johnson came in a long time ago. Jason’s 215 pound tight end and spent we moved him to center, and pretty soon he’s a 305 pound center and he’s got a seven or eight year NFL career with it. It’s just being able to identify young people that have those character traits with value system in place that you know you can develop over a period of time. That’s true no matter whether they’re 4.3, 40 guys or 5 flat 40 guys. The character assessment is really a value to us.
Now that doesn’t mean that they don’t have some athletic ability. You take any of the guys that you’re talking about, whether it’s Jonathan Truman, B.J. Finney or Ryan Newman or any of those guys and so many more, I could go on and on. Those are the guys that came and are in the category that you’re talking about. But that doesn’t mean that they were without talent. I mean, they had the ability to play the game. What we’re interested in is how far can you go with it and what your value system will allow you to do. Is it going to temper your improvement or is it going to give you the opportunity to continually improve? And those guys have done exactly that.

Q. You know as much about dual threat quarterbacks as anyone around. Can you just talk about Hundley and what special problems he presents if your defense?
COACH SNYDER: Well, there’s always talk about how well he throws the ball, how well he runs with the ball. I think he manages the offense extremely well which is vital for a quality young quarterback. But those guys that can do it all and can bring it down and bring it out at any time, whether it’s on the perimeter or whether it’s inside, and that’s a threat that neutralizes your defense a great deal, and he’s good at it and makes good decisions with it, I think. So he’s got good eyes and plays the game with them quite well. He’s a very talented young guy.
From what I hear, I haven’t met him yet. But from what I understand, Jim could tell you, I certainly couldn’t, but he certainly seems like a quality young man and seems like a quality leader in the program as well. All of those things fit into that category. I think you have to have it all to be the kind of quarterback that he is.

Q. Coach Mora, having coached in both the NFL and college, I was curious how you think Coach Snyder’s schemes and philosophies would translate to the NFL if he ever did try it? Coach Snyder, what was it was there ever anything about the NFL, coaching there, that did intrigue you in some way?
COACH SNYDER: Well, I think the people from Manhattan, our area, could tell you that way back when there were all those opportunities. I’ve just never been interested in it. That doesn’t make it bad by any stretch of the imagination. It always concerned me when you’ve got players that make more money than their coaches. You kind of wonder who is the authority figure and that alignment. Jim can tell you more about it than I can. I remember a story.
We had a young player, I won’t mention his name, that was a quarterback in the NFL. He was a starting quarterback and the back up quarterback they brought in and paid him a substantial amount of money more so than the quarterback that we had, and the night before one of their ballgames, I don’t remember which one, the back up quarterback went to the general manager of the program or whoever was in charge, and they had some dialogue and the quarterback that I was familiar with got a call in the middle of the night and said you’re not starting anymore.
You know, it’s who has the control whether you can really coach or not. You see the same thing. There is talk right now in the NBA with a player and a coach and who has control over the program. That’s something that I’m not a control freak, but I think it’s important that you have control over your program, and I don’t know how much that exists. Certainly there’s most programs perhaps do have total control as a coach. I don’t know. But it didn’t seem like that, and that was my thinking why I didn’t venture into any of that.
COACH MORA: Football at every level in my humble opinion is about fundamentals, it’s about effort, it’s about discipline, it’s about technique, it’s about talent, it’s about having standards. I don’t think it’s about formations and plays. I think it’s about coaching. We used to say players and not formations and plays are going to win games for you. So I think you can take any style of offense and defense, and if you execute it properly with good players who have bought into the system, then you can have success.

Q. I can’t imagine you not being back because you’d miss the witty banter back and forth between us each week, so I’ll start off with that. But I’m curious over the years how successful have you been engaging the readiness of your football team, which seems like a silly question to ask, but I’m wondering how much capacity for surprise is there even at this stage of your career as it relates to the readiness of your football team to play a game?
COACH SNYDER: You know, it really isn’t a silly question. It’s one that I think Jim would ask himself the same question as I do. Is how well, how mentally ready is each member of your football team. And it’s different for each and every one of them. It’s not always something that you gauge correctly. I certainly haven’t always gauged it correctly. I’ve been surprised both ways, I think. Try not to, you know, try not to impose the impression that I totally have the answer. I mean you have a way that you approach each day of the week, and night before the game, and throughout the game you have a routine and you have certain things that you know are important. That you feel, at least, that are important in your program. We do, Jim does, and those are the things that you address. More often than not, those really are just experience over a period of time allows you to find that those things are appropriate for the preparation of your football team. But guessing exactly how they internalize it all is a very difficult task. It’s an impossible task, as much as anything. If you guess right, you’re fortunate.

Q. Coach Mora, Coach Snyder has had to answer this question weekly about Tyler Lockett. As someone who has coached on both sides of the college and NFL barrier, when you see someone like Tyler Lockett who doesn’t have the maybe prototypical size, how do you evaluate him as a receiver and his potential to move on to the next level?
COACH SNYDER: I think he’s a tremendous player. I think he’s got a lot of the same qualities as a young man like Marvin Harrison has. A guy that’s a precise route runner that is good after the catch, that’s not afraid to go over the middle. That knows how to read coverage and get himself open. You add in his returnability particularly as a punt returner, and this is a dangerous young man. In my opinion, he’s the best receiver we’ve played all year, and I think his statistics would prove that, and it’s going to be a great challenge for us.
But I think the skill set that he has translates well at any level. And I would imagine, and Coach can answer this, he’s probably one of the hardest working players on your team. So at least he plays that way.

Q. Coach, how do you address your team about a situation that happened in the BYU postseason game?
COACH SNYDER: Well, if you’re referencing the altercation, is that what we’re talking about? Again, that’s not something that you go in the night before a ballgame or during the course of the ballgame and say this is the way we have to manage these situations. That is engrained in your program from the very beginning. From day one, there is a code of conduct, if you will, for virtually any program in the country. I’ve certainly been watching as much tape as we do of Jim’s team, you’ll see that they handle themselves in an appropriate way.
It’s selfishness that creates those situations more than anything else. I think our young people have been good, spur of the moment reactions sometimes is hard to come by and difficult to assess. But I think you can’t wait. It’s just something that’s engrained in your players that these things do not happen. We are not going to allow them to happen, and it has to be a mindset, and you have to understand the value of it, and you have to have enough poise, I think, in order to walk away from those things. I’m proud of our young guys because they certainly do that and have done that.
COACH MORA: I think it’s engrained in the culture of your program from day one. You impress upon your student athletes that they’re going to play hard, they’re going to play tough, they’re going to play physical, but at the same time it’s mandatory that they respect their opponent and honor this great game.

Q. Coach Snyder, for those of us in a certain age group, Coach, has AARP asked you to be a spokesperson?
COACH SNYDER: No, but I have a card (laughing).

Q. Coach, this time last year you were talking about the preparation for the bowl game against Michigan and said it was one of the best preparations you’ve been a part of for a bowl game. How would you evaluate the preparedness of your team entering this one and what parallels have you noticed between this team’s preparation for this bowl game and last year’s?
COACH SNYDER: There were some similar situations. Again, that goes back a year ago, and what I can remember a year ago you can put in the palm of your hand. But there was that period of time prior to that preparation where, and you know the story, where we just weren’t into what we were doing. From practice standpoints collectively as a team we kind of had one of those get togethers and things changed. They only changed because players choose to change, and they made those changes and our preparation was very good from that point on.
I think it wasn’t to the same degree this year. But I think we went through a similar process, and I think our players have responded quite well. So I think we’ve practiced reasonably well. Up and down, of course, but reasonably well.

Q. You’re certainly deserving of the honor, but I was curious if it’s at all odd to be coaching and also be on the Hall of Fame ballot, and what your reaction was when you saw your name on it?
COACH SNYDER: Well, as any coach would be, you’re honored and pleased, but it makes you think back about all the people that have invested so much to allow something like that to take place. First and foremost really we talk so much about family and that means a lot of people. But my immediate family has gone through, as all coaches families do, they go through some trials and tribulations over a period of time to give you an opportunity to do the things that you do because it’s very demanding.
Sean’s here with me today, and his investment in all of that has been so very, very significant. Then you take all the wonderful young people that you have in our program and take all the very talented and wonderful coaches and support staff and administration, and all of the people that have been invested in it, it means so much. Hopefully it’s meaningful to them. I think for the most part, it truly is. And that really is, in all honesty, what transpired in my mind. So anyway, it was very humbling event.

Q. You took your offensive unit over to see Wounded Warriors at the Center For Intrepid. Could you talk about that experience?
COACH SNYDER: You know, it was really important for us to do those kinds of things. We have so many community service things in place. I know Jim does as well and that’s so valuable to young people and their development and their growth. When we went over I was really looking forward to our young guys having an opportunity to spend time with the Wounded Warrior aspect of Intrepid. It just happened to be a day that there weren’t a significant number of those individuals available. But we did have the opportunity to visit with a number of young guys that were, I thought I say young, young and not so young who had been wounded severely in the line of duty. It was a remarkable experience for our players to have the opportunity to share with them. It’s meaningful too. It certainly was meaningful to the people that they visited with.
But they walk away with a tremendous appreciation for what others do on their behalf. That’s the value of it and that’s what I look forward to in our visit over there. They were very gracious to us as well.

UCLA Offense Press Conference

UCLA Defense Press Conference

December 31, 2014


THE MODERATOR: This it’s my pleasure to introduce Noel Mazzone. If you could introduce your players and make an opening statement.
NOEL MAZZONE: Sure, Jordan Payton, one of our wide receivers from California. Where are you from in California?
JORDAN PAYTON: Santa Monica.
NOEL MAZZONE: Santa Monica, California. Next guy is Brett Hundley from Chandler High School, Phoenix, Arizona; Thomas Duarte from the three stripes Mater Dei; Jake Brendel from right here in Dallas, Plano East. And actually Paul Perkins, our running back Jake is the center, Thomas plays basically our wide position, and Paul, our running back from Chandler. Actually Paul and Brett played high school ball together at Chandler High School for Coach Aguano in Phoenix.
THE MODERATOR: Could you talk about the week and preparations for the game?
NOEL MAZZONE: Yeah, first of all I want to thank, you guys have done an awesome job. It’s been a lot of fun to be in San Antonio. I spent, I think, six years at TCU in Fort Worth, so I have some friends down here, and it’s been fun to get back, and a great job you guys do with the bowl.
I think practice has been going well. I don’t know, we’ll find out Friday night how well it’s been going, about 5:40. But no, it’s a pleasure to be here and have the opportunity to get a chance to play against Coach Snyder and Kansas State. Obviously a very good head coach and a very good program. I don’t know if they’ve won like 38 games over the last four years, so it’s going to be a great challenge, big test for us.

Q. Can you talk about your group and the fact that you’re so young and what you’re building here at UCLA?
NOEL MAZZONE: I’m trying to think, the only one that was there before I got well, Jake, you and Brett came in the same class, right? So it was really kind of a neat deal to come and be on the ground floor because we were such a young football team. I think there was a point last year where we started three true freshmen in our offensive line, and Jake is kind of the old man of the offense, in the O line, so it’s like, what freshman do I have to start next to this week, so it’s kind of been a revolving door.
They’ve done a great job. It’s been fun watching these kids grow up in the system and with Coach Mora, the culture that Coach Mora is developing at UCLA, and it’s been something that after doing this coaching business for 34 years, it’s given me a lot of great memories of I mean, it’s an experience that I haven’t had a chance to go through is to grow up with a football team, and this is the first time that I’ve had a quarterback actually play three years for me. It’s been a lot of fun.
I think Thomas now Jordan, Jordan is going to be a senior, too, right? J.P. is going to be a senior, so these guys are kind of the guys that laid the bricks, that built the foundation for the program, for what Coach Mora is getting done at UCLA. They dug the footings and poured the cement and all that, and I think they’ve done a great job and given us a chance to kind of build the type of program that UCLA will be proud of.

Q. Jordan, have you had time to reflect on everything you and your teammates are building and using this game as a springboard for next year?
JORDAN PAYTON: Yeah, just being able to play in this phenomenal program, being with Coach Mazzone and Coach Mora has just changed everything at UCLA. Getting a win Friday night would definitely help us springboard into next season, especially since we have such a young team, so definitely builds experience for us and starts 2015 off right for us.

Q. Jake, this is your third time in the last 13 months playing in your home state. Just talk about that and talk about how many friends and family are going to be coming down here for the game.
JAKE BRENDEL: Well, it’s always great to be back here in Texas. I just like the way of life around here. It’s always kind of a refreshing feel to come back here.
I have a few family members. I have my dad and my stepmom coming down, and then I have a few friends from high school because my mom and stepdad actually moved to Phoenix, so I don’t have any immediate family here anymore. But yeah.

Q. I’m doing a story on Jerry Neuheisel. Can you or any of the other guys talk about the exhilaration you guys had after the UT game and carrying him off the field and what all that was about and the feelings you have for Jerry?
JAKE BRENDEL: Yeah, just that whole game, it was actually pretty amazing. We really were neck and neck the entire game. We unfortunately lost Brett with like an elbow injury, so just knowing that we had a backup that was really prepared and knew the entire offense front and back, I never really stressed at all about it. I knew that Jerry would do a really good job, and he went out there and he led us to the victory. It was a really exhilarating win knowing that we have that depth at that spot, and if something were to happen to Brett again that we do have a successful solution for it.

Q. Brett, a lot of the K State players have compared you to Trevone Boykin for TCU. I was wondering if there was a quarterback growing up that maybe you patterned your game after in the pros or if there’s someone in the pros right now who you feel like you’re very similar to.
BRETT HUNDLEY: Does he still have to be in the pros right now?

Q. No.
BRETT HUNDLEY: I like Donovan McNabb. I talk to him at least once a week, and he’s been a good mentor for me. I’ve sort of learned from him and sort of developed things.

Q. How did that relationship come about with you and McNabb?
BRETT HUNDLEY: He lives in Arizona, and he gets his hair cut at the same place I do, so that’s sort of where I started.

Q. Thomas, can you make some comments about your bigger role in the offense, and what do you attribute that success to?
THOMAS DUARTE: I really attribute it to the preparation. I’ve learned how to prepare for games, prepare and practice and just get better every day.

Q. Brett and Paul, just talk about your journey together playing in high school and college, and can each one of you describe what the other one does best on the field.
BRETT HUNDLEY: It’s been fun growing up with Paul, and it’s an honor, and especially to be able to have somebody you grew up with and somebody you went to high school with, and our families have known each other since day one with the Cheetahs, and to have him playing for the same college team and to be in the backfield together, you always have that special bond. Paul is good at we’ll sit back there and talk to each other in the backfield, during the games, and we just have that special bond. We’re sort of good for each other.
PAUL PERKINS: Yeah, it’s always good having a friend in the backfield just to calm your nerves and in the heat of the game. It’s always good to have a former teammate and a friend back there just to help you see the game, slow the game down, and just relax.

Q. Brett, obviously you had high expectations coming into this year. A lot of people had those expectations for you. Where do you see your game this year? How has it grown on and off the field?
BRETT HUNDLEY: I think off the field the most, I think understanding the game, getting a better feel for it, and just growing physically on the field but as well as off the field understanding defenses, talking to Mazzone and putting together game plans and stuff like that. I think both sides.

Q. Coach, K State plays a really interesting kind of patient defense. They give up some things underneath. Can you talk about how they approach some of these offenses like yours and how your offense fits together with their defense?
NOEL MAZZONE: Yeah, obviously do a great job. I think they’re ranked 16th, 18th. I mean, they’re very high in a lot of categories. They don’t give up a lot of big plays, and they’re in a conference that play very similar offenses to what we do, you know, spread, tempo, get the ball out quick, and they do an awesome job of when you watch them play, they’re very well coached, all right, they’re very good in their run fits. They’re very good in angles and fitting and controlling their tackling on the back end. They’re really good tacklers. I mean, just a really well coached defense. They bend a little bit but they don’t break a lot, so I think like the key when you play for us is which I have none, is to have patience, because we’re kind of when you’re a tempo guy, you want to score on like three plays, and if you don’t, you start getting very impatient. You guys are listening to me, right, over here? You’ve got to be patient, all right, stay on schedule and just keep ourselves on the field. But no, it’s going to be a great challenge for us. As you watch the guys that have played this year, they’re lined up against Baylor and Texas Tech and Okie State and Oklahoma, all those kind of guys, and those guys have got some good offenses that they’ve controlled fairly well.

Q. Brett, K State has shown a difficulty handling a mobile quarterback. Have you kind of noticed that yourself, and how do you plan on attacking that and using your legs against this K State defense?
BRETT HUNDLEY: Running and throwing. You know, basically that’s what it comes down to, just running and throwing.

Q. Jake, can you talk about how far this offensive line has come looking back on this whole season, and given that none of the major guys are going to leave, can you talk about what you see for the future knowing that you’re going to have this whole group back?
JAKE BRENDEL: You know, just one really good thing that the whole UCLA football family does really well is like football never really stops for us. Just being able to come back with the same five guys next season is going to be really great. We can take this off season and really just hone in our skills and work on just our simple techniques and work on just a lot of the simple things, just break everything down, and really just progress as a unit. You know, it’s always nice to have five selected guys that are going to be starting, and then once the new class comes in, we can just see who fits in where.

Q. Brett, we had a social media question. The day after the bowl game is the Army All American game. Did you participate in that, and do you remember any recollections or any of the players you correspond with still today?
BRETT HUNDLEY: I played in the Under Armour game

Kansas State Offense Press Conference

Kansas State offense press conference

December 31, 2014


THE MODERATOR: Coach Dimel, if you could introduce your players and make a brief opening statement.
DANA DIMEL: Sure. Want to introduce starting off right here with Cody Whitehair, our offensive tackle; Curry Sexton, one of our wide receivers; Jake Waters, our quarterback; BJ Finney, our center; and Tyler Lockett, our wide receiver.
Obviously we’re very excited to be here in the Alamo Bowl. We feel like any time you have a nine win season, there’s a lot of positive things that go into it, and we know that we have a great challenge against UCLA. They have a really talented ballclub.
As I talk about them defensively, they’re very sound in what they do. They’re very good at not giving up big plays. They keep everything in front of them. Personnel wise, up front, they’re very solid. They have three a nose guard and two defensive ends that are very stout and do a very good job of stopping the run. They have some good edge rushers in their two outside linebacker positions, and then their inside linebacker, obviously Kendricks being the Butkus Award winner and Young being another good player there, so we feel like the second level of their defense is very good and has some real good athleticism. Myles Jack coming off the edge is an outstanding pass rusher and so is Hollins, No. 58. Those guys really create some issues in the passing game.
And then their secondary is very, very athletic and talented, and like I mentioned before, do a really nice job of making sure they keep everything in front of them.
As you look at them, their numbers might be a little bit misleading. They’re very similar to us as far as they don’t throw up those huge numbers, but they’re very, very efficient in what they do. When you start looking at 3rd down numbers, you start looking at red zone numbers, you start looking at even their passing defense, you know, you look at them and they’re ranked a little bit higher in the country, but when you look at their efficiency against the pass, they only give up about six yards per attempt, which is really, really good. They don’t give up many touchdowns in the red zone. They keep you out of the end zone, and they also have you kick field goals a lot down there, as well.
I think they’re going to be a real test for us as we go into the game Friday. Any time you’re playing a top 14 football team, you know you’ve got challenges ahead of you. We’ll open it up to questions after that.

Q. Talk about your offense. It’s kind of viewed as methodical yet always viewed as ranked high in yards per play.
DANA DIMEL: Yeah, that’s the thing we try to do more than anything is really look at the big picture of things and how can we most of all keep the defense off the field, number one, and number two, we’re very similar to UCLA when you start looking at efficiency stats and what we do in yards per attempt in the passing game. We’re really one of the most prolific passing teams in the country when you really start studying the efficiency of what we do throwing the football, and we’re really proud of that, and then we’re also the leading team in the country. We don’t punt and we don’t turn the ball over, so if you don’t punt and turn the ball over you’re doing something else, and that’s scoring, so I believe we’re No. 1 in the country in scoring efficiency. Those are things we pride ourselves in the most, being very efficient in what we do.

Q. Coach Miller, can you talk about the progression from Jake Waters from the time you recruited him until now?
DEL MILLER: Well, we were very fortunate in getting Jake to start with. Jake came off of a National Championship junior college team and led his team to a very high honor, and he also was completing a very high percentage of his passes out of junior college. We were able to inherit that to start with.
Jake also, he’s a very bright young man, very much a winner, very passionate about what he does, and he picked up our offense very well. I kept always talking to him about adding tools to his toolbox, and he probably knows as much as any of our coaches right now and getting us into the proper plays at the proper time. Just an outstanding young man, an outstanding quarterback.

Q. Jake, why did you choose K State and how has it turned out for you?
JAKE WATERS: It was probably the best decision I’ve ever made football wise in my life. I just kind of wanted to go to a spot that I felt comfortable and I felt part of the family, and on my visit Tyler was my host, and I met all the guys, met the coaches and it felt at home for me. Once I made that decision to come, I never looked back. I’ve been accepted into the family, and I respect these guys. I love these guys, love the coaches, and I wouldn’t trade my decision for anything.

Q. Tyler, your dad seems so happy on the sidelines when you’re breaking all of his records. What did he tell you in private?
TYLER LOCKETT: I mean, in private he was proud of me. I’m pretty sure it’s a great accomplishment for him to see his seed grow up and do great things just like he did in his time. So I think that for the most part, my dad just calls me and he tells me he’s proud of me. He appreciates everything that I’ve been doing on the field and off the field, and that’s one of the things that he’s been trying to instill in me growing up.

Q. The bowl record is 240 all purpose yards. Can you break it Friday?
TYLER LOCKETT: I’m not worried about that. Honestly the main thing that’s on my mind is winning the game.

Q. Curry, when you look at this defense, what do you see from UCLA?
CURRY SEXTON: Like Coach Dimel said, they’re very talented all across the board. Like he said, I don’t really focus much on their front four, but their linebackers are really talented, really athletic, guys who fly to the ball, and their secondary, they can all run very well. They’ve got great ball skills. Like Coach said, they don’t really let you over the top. We’re going to have to fight for everything we’re going to get against these guys. It’s going to be a real tough challenge. They’re a really talented, well coached group, and they’re going to make us bring our “A” game in order to do some good things.

Q. Del, I’d ask you to comment a little bit further on Jake and just the way he has played this year, the consistency with which he’s gone about it. I know you’ve coached a lot of good ones. Where would you put him in that grouping?
DEL MILLER: Well, he would certainly be among the very top. You know, I would never put them in ranked order because I’ve been very, very fortunate, very blessed to have some awfully good ones, and Jake certainly would be one of those.
You know, one of the things I haven’t said anything about, but he’s also a tremendous leader for our football team and a great mentor for our younger players, as well. He’s the heart and soul of his football team in my opinion.

Q. Question for BJ: How do you like the tempo of your practices so far since you’ve arrived in San Antonio, just the tempo of your practices and the attention to detail and that kind of thing? How is everything going out there?
BJ FINNEY: These past couple weeks with practices our tempo has been higher than it usually is. Our attention to detail is always there, especially with the coaches fine tuning things, getting different looks, making sure we get the right plays for the right looks, and right now these last three or four practices we’ve just been we have our entire game plan in, it’s just been fine tuning. We’ve had some good practices through this last week, so I’m pretty happy with it.

Q. Jake, just the group here has a rare opportunity of winning back to back bowl games. What would that mean to you to finish things out with back to back bowl wins?
JAKE WATERS: Well, it would be huge just to get a win against a great team. I’m not really worried about winning back to back, I’m just worried about winning this game for these guys because we’ve worked so hard and the coaches worked so hard to get us prepared. For us it’s like our last go around kind of with these seniors, but we don’t really focus on that too much, we focus on executing our stuff, preparing the right way and getting ready to play our best game possible.

Q. Dana and Del, just the season that Curry has had, close to 1,000 yards receiving, were you guys anticipating that kind of production from him, and how much has he meant to the offense?
DANA DIMEL: We really felt like losing Tramaine Thompson last year was going to be a tough person to replace in the system. Curry has always throughout his career been that playmaker type of guy, but he’s stepped up and really filled that big void we were concerned about with the loss of Tramaine. He’s been a pleasant surprise, but when you study his whole career he’s been playmaker the whole way, but he’s had obviously an outstanding season this year and seems to make every play when we need it.
DEL MILLER: Yeah, Curry can make plays for sure. When you combine Curry and Tyler, now you have a real problem. I think Curry has provided some awfully good leadership, too, for our football team, and yeah, it would be nice to get him over that thousand. I think we’ve got a great opportunity to do that.

Q. BJ, obviously this group has been huge for K State. You’ve been with Coach Snyder the entire way. What would it mean to get a big win for your last game in a K State uniform?
BJ FINNEY: Well, as you say, we’ve been here a long time. We’re not really focusing on it being our last time. We’re working towards a 10 win season, something truly special to have. Just one more win is what this group is really after against a great opponent. UCLA is a great team, and we’re going to have our hands full, but for this senior class, it’s about leaving a legacy, and we know that if we want to leave a truly special legacy, then we can’t get lost in all of our emotions and everything quite yet. We’ve done a really good job of staying focused and trying to accomplish the task at hand.

Q. Dana, yesterday I noted that there was four former walk ons up there out of the five players. Today you’ve got three Kansas kids, an Iowa kid and a Oklahoma kid. Can you talk about the unique way you guys as coaches, and Del, you’ve put together this team and kind of followed your own script that nobody else really follows?
DANA DIMEL: Yeah, when we’ve been asked in the past how you build a program at K State, there’s been a lot of people that have asked us those questions through the years how the program has been built. For me it’s evaluation, number one, and what we try to do through the recruiting process is evaluate talent and certain things that we think are a great fit at Kansas State, number one, and then number two, our player development. We really try to stress a great deal of player development in our system, and so these guys are all proteges of that. They’ve really come through the systems and developed themselves as players each and every day, so they’ve done it the K State way.

Q. Jake, UCLA has had some trouble stopping running quarterbacks this season. I know Eric Kendricks was kind of describing your running style as one of the more physical that they’ve gone up against. Is that kind of how you’ve seen yourself, you don’t really shy away from contact when you’re running like that?
JAKE WATERS: I don’t know about that. I’m not the biggest guy, but I’m just going to do whatever it takes for my team to get that extra yard, if it’s a 3rd down, selling yourself, laying your body on the line for your team to get the win, and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. I wouldn’t describe myself as a real, real tough runner, I just do whatever it takes.

Q. Cody and BJ, the running game has struggled somewhat in some games this year. I’m wondering if that’s been a disappointment, one, and also, if you still kind of keep plugging away for this bowl game because UCLA has had some trouble stopping the run.
CODY WHITEHAIR: Got to give it to UCLA. They’re a tough front seven, front six, whatever you would say. They’re pretty stout. But our guys have been working hard through the bowl prep, and we’ve seen some improvement both on the offensive line and in our running backs, so we’re looking forward to this challenge.
BJ FINNEY: Along the same lines, you can’t really stop working towards something you’re trying to correct and improve, the running game. We haven’t done as well as we wanted to this season, but the other thing you’ve got to look at, too, is we’re still building for next season, as well, so we always have to keep working on the run game, we always have to keep improving because we know if we can run the ball successfully we have an opportunity to win.

Q. Curry, you’re 45 yards short of 1,000 receiving yards. What do you attribute your breakout season to?
CURRY SEXTON: Tyler, Jake. (Laughter.) No, I’m just kidding. Yes, that is true.
I think just the system. You know, there’s a lot of things you can attribute it to. I think obviously being alongside Tyler is huge. Having a quarterback like Jake who constantly works to get on the same page as us is huge. The offensive line up front obviously with the protection, the system, the play calling, everything, has allowed me to be in spots where I’ve been able to make some plays, and I’ve been fortunate for all the people that have been surrounding me, so I can’t really attribute it to one thing, but those are some of the things that stick out in my mind.

Q. Jake, Coach Snyder took a bunch of the offensive players over to Center for the Intrepid to see some wounded warriors. Can you talk about that experience yesterday?
JAKE WATERS: It was a humbling experience. You know, you go over there, and we didn’t see too many of the patients or the wounded warriors or anything, we saw a couple, and hear some of their stories, it was kind of crazy because when you think you have it tough going through an injury in football or you don’t want to practice one day, and these guys are losing legs and can’t see, and it was truly humbling. I’m so glad I got the chance to go, and then seeing all the technology and the type of facility they have there is truly outstanding. I can’t give enough respect to those guys that do those things for us.

Q. Jake, can you talk about the fan turnout? What do you expect from the fans, 25,000 expected to be here? What can you say about that?
JAKE WATERS: Our fans are great. I expect them to be out in full force, loud, because that’s what they’ve done every single game, no matter how we’re playing or anything. Last year they still came out to every game, packed the Bill Snyder Family Stadium. I expect them to come out because we have some of the most loyal fans in the country and I really expect them to be out there just like a normal home game for us.

Q. Dana, can you talk about the senior class, kind of what they’ve meant to K State? Obviously they’ve been around for a while, but what have they meant for the K State goals?
DANA DIMEL: They had the challenge of coming in and rebuilding the program. They came back, and we got involved in it. We obviously had to take some big steps in rebuilding, and so they started from the ground up, just taking the principles that are part of our program and growing with them each and every day, and then they’ve accomplished some really special things, obviously having a chance to win a Big 12 Championship and then having a chance to challenge for wins again heavily this year, but the big thing they’ve done is provided great leadership and now they’re teaching the young guys, and the young guys are going to learn from what they’ve left as a legacy. They’ve really shown these young guys how to work hard and do things the right way, so we’re obviously very, very proud of them.

UCLA Defense Press Conference

UCLA Defense Press Conference

December 30, 2014



THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the UCLA defensive press conference. It’s my pleasure to introduce UCLA defensive coordinator.

Introduce your players and make an opening statement.

COACH ULBRICH: We have Eric Kendricks, Myles Jack, Owamagbe Odighizuwa.

We’re excited to be here. It’s an unbelievable opportunity to finish the season the way we want to, take these seniors out the right way. Kansas State is a great opponent. They’re going to challenge us, especially defensively.

We’re excited about it.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll take questions.


  1. I know you all are defensive players, but how has Brett Hundley been a leader for you guys?

ERIC KENDRICKS: I think starting in the spring, Brett really took charge of this team, play calling, improving his role as a quarterback, leadership mentality. Practice got a lot more competitive. We all embraced him.

MYLES JACK: Just the change in Brett’s demeanor, mentality pretty much starting in the spring, in San Bernardino. Pretty much took the reins over everything. He had full control over the offensive line. His understanding of the playbook, he knew what he was doing. He knew it just as good as the OC.

Just his development and everything, he’s been a leader, very vocal this year. When things aren’t right, he’s going to say something. His development has been phenomenal.

OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA: Just to piggyback what they say, Brett, he’s been a great asset to our team this year just from a leadership standpoint, his maturity, his understanding of football.

It’s been big for us as a team this year. It’s been helping a lot of the young guys who needed a figure to look up to and a role model and an example of how to carry yourself as a football player.

He’s been big for us this year. I’m excited we get one last game with him. He’s been awesome.


  1. Talk about the tone that Eric sets, give me examples of how he goes about it.

COACH ULBRICH: I think the greatest leaders, they’re authentic, they’re real, they’re genuine, they’re honest. That’s what he is. He’s not trying to be anybody but himself. He’s the same guy every single day, whether it’s practice, games, classroom, meeting room, he’s provided a great example for the linebackers, the entire defense.

I’ve said this more than once, I truly believe he’s the heart and soul of this team. Yeah, he’s a guy that makes everyone better, from the scout team guys to the starting guys. It’s going to be hard to replace a guy like that, it is.

MYLES JACK: For me personally, since day one, Eric has been that example for me since I got here. He’s been on me, always giving me ways to get better. I soak up everything he tells me.

It means the world. Like coach says, he’s going to be irreplaceable. There’s a reason he won the Butkus Award. I came into a great situation.

This is going to be my last game playing with him. I’m going to make the most of it and enjoy it.

OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA: I’ve had the opportunity and the pleasure of playing and being with Eric Kendricks for five seasons. Like everybody has been saying, he’s a great leader, like Coach Brich has been harping on, he pushes everybody to get better, he loves the game of football. It translates to how he plays on the field. UCLA has been very fortunate to have a guy like that to represent UCLA to the max.

Going forward, he’s going to do great things, but the type of person and leader he is, the type of work ethic he brings to the football field every day.


  1. Eric, where does that come from, that desire to do things the right way?

ERIC KENDRICKS: I think it’s how I was brought up, how I was raised, the values my mother and my family, like my father, instilled in me.

I guess I owe a lot to my older brother Michael as well. We grew up competing with one another. He never let me get away with anything, let me slide on anything.

Can’t really tell you where it came from. I guess it’s just who I am.


  1. Myles, does this feel like a pass‑the‑baton game for you, you being a leader of the defense next year?

MYLES JACK: I guess you could say that. Last year was Anthony, this year is Eric, and I guess next year it will be me. I guess you could kind of look at it that way.

Big shoes to fill. I have a long way to go for me to claim that position. Still have a lot of stuff I need to work on.

I guess you could say that. The time is coming up. I think it’s my time. I’m going to have to fulfill that role.


  1. Jeff, Coach Mora said some great things about Tyler Lockett. Can you say what you’ve seen on film?

COACH ULBRICH: He’s a pain in the ass now. He’s obviously being extremely productive. It’s funny because you watch tape, there’s times where you know he’s getting the ball. You think the opposing defense is aware of that as well. He finds a way to make the play.

He’s a guy that’s got great hands, runs great routes. Has an unbelievable knack to come back to the ball. When he gets the ball in his hands, he’s explosive, can make you miss.

It’s going to be a great challenge for us. Our secondary, they’re excited about this opportunity, to take a player of his caliber, see how they stack up. If you want to be the best, you got to play the best. He’s definitely in that conversation for college football this year.

It will be fun.


  1. Jeff, with K State’s offense, I saw a quote from Jim calling it exotic. How would you describe what you see from the offense? How tough is that to stop?

COACH ULBRICH: Yeah, it throws a lot of challenges. A lot of different personnel groups, a lot of different formations. It’s common with the trend in college football nowadays where it’s this run‑pass option stuff that it makes it extremely difficult for a defense. The triple option has suddenly become the quadruple option that you don’t have an answer for schematically.

We have to win our one‑on‑one battles. It’s not something where we can draw it up, say, This is how we’re going to stop it. It’s going to come down to guys playing with great technique and effort.

Schematically it’s tough, but at the same time the guys embrace it, understand it at a high level, play hard. They’re a physical team. It’s going to be tough. But our guys are excited about it.


  1. Owa, you were here in San Antonio for the Army All‑American Bowl. Do you remember anything about that game and do you communicate with any of the players that were in there?

OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA: About the game, I just remember having a great time, being so excited to play on a stage just as big as that.

I remember in high school when I was a sophomore, I saw that game for the first time, I think it was with Terrelle Pryor, one of the quarterbacks. I remember thinking to myself, One day I want to play in that game.

Just being able to play in that game was so exciting. Being able to compete at a high level with players around the country was something I looked forward to, something I relished when I was there. It was definitely a great time.

I had a lot of fun with guys that went to different schools. Definitely did keep in communication for a while with some of them. A lot of them was on the UCLA team, so it was even better.


  1. Myles?

MYLES JACK: Pretty much what I remember, it was a blast just playing against the top players in the nation. Played high school in Washington, there’s talent, but no talent like the All‑American game, guys you see on the cover of ESPN and everything. Coming out, competing, seeing where you measure up with those guys.

I enjoyed it. I enjoyed San Antonio.

THE MODERATOR: We’re also joined by Anthony Jefferson and Kenny Clark.


  1. Eric, can you talk about what you’ve seen from Kenny Young in terms of development this year and that he’ll step into your role? Is he ready to take that on?

ERIC KENDRICKS: When we started in San Bernardino, he was all over the place. That’s expected of a freshman. He’s a hard worker. He’s willing to fix mistakes. As long as you have those two combinations, you’ll be all right.

So far he’s soaked in everything I’ve had to say to him. He’s learned a lot this year. He’s become a better player. He’s not a freshman any longer.

I can’t predict what he’s going to do. I know he’s going to be a great player because he has a great work ethic. We can expect a lot of things out of him in the future.


  1. Kenny, what are you trying to accomplish this year, outstanding last bowl game?

KENNY CLARK: Same thing. Work hard. Stop the run. Stop the pass. Get a good bowl win.

It’s a good opportunity for us to get 10 wins this year, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.


  1. Kenny, can you talk about how you and Eddie dealt with the double‑teams?

KENNY CLARK: Just staying stout in there. They double‑teamed us, just gives the linebackers opportunities to make plays.

We take pride in taking double‑teams, just playing for our teammates, so…

We got to stay stout in there and do our job.


  1. Anthony, Kansas State’s wide receivers, can you talk about them.

ANTHONY JEFFERSON: They have a pretty good receiving corps. Leading them is Tyler Lockett, he’s a phenomenal player, dynamic player. He can do it on offense, special teams. He’s there go‑to target. That’s going to be one of our main focuses on maintaining him.

They have a really good quarterback, too, with Waters. If you control Lockett and be able to get pressure on the quarterback, we’ll have a good game, it will be in our favor.


  1. Coach, your role as a coordinator, have you approached this game differently?

COACH ULBRICH: Different just in the way that we’ve had more time to prepare so we’ve been able to give these guys a few more looks, few more opportunities to meet. It’s always beneficial for us.

Other than that, not much has changed.

You need to bring their offensive staff in next year, fight‑night weigh‑in, face‑to‑face altercations. It would be awesome (laughter).


  1. Myles, did you find Mexican food?

MYLES JACK: No, I haven’t went yet. I went to Hooter’s two nights in a row. Scratch that (laughter).

But I will get Mexican food tonight.


Kansas State Defense Press Conference

Kansas State defense press conference

December 30, 2014

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: It’s my pleasure to introduce Kansas State defensive coordinator Tom Hayes.
COACH HAYES: Thank you. Obviously we’re pleased to be here. We’re excited to be a part of the Alamo Bowl, the great committee hospitality they’ve shown us.
We got here in a hurry and we’ve been busy on the field, as you guys know. We’re excited to play. Our guys are ready to play.
You prepare a long time for a bowl game. Every team in the country does. But we are excited to be a part of this.
I want to introduce the players that we have here today, guys that have put in all the work and helped us get where we are on our defensive side of the ball.
First, Randall Evans. He has a tough job. Out there on an island a lot of times during the game. Started for three years at Kansas State.
Weston Hiebert, a special teams player, tremendous teammate, great leadership skills. All these guys have that going for them. That’s why they’re here sitting at this table.
Next is Ryan Mueller, defensive end, literally the hardest playing player I think I’ve ever been around. I admire him so much for that. There’s times when he plays his own defense once in a while, so I get on his case. Like to mess with him. He is an outstanding player. Been great for Kansas State.
Jonathan Truman, inside linebacker. We asked him to play Will, then Mike. He does a lot of things for us. He’s an outstanding player, as well. Our leader, making calls up front.
Then at the end is Dante Barnett, our free safety. He makes a lot of calls, gets us in the right defense, right checks. Has a lot of responsibility of making every call every game. Really fun to work with him because he does a nice job.
That’s the group. We’re here to help you any way we can.
THE MODERATOR: Joining Coach Hayes is special teams coordinator Coach Snyder. We’ll take questions.

Q. Tom, can you talk about UCLA’s offense, the things you’ve seen in the Big 12 over the course of this year are all seen in that offense and how that’s helped you prepare?
COACH HAYES: Clearly UCLA is an outstanding opponent, a heck of a team. They do a lot of the same things that members of the Big 12 do on offense, averaging 470 total a game, 200 rush, 270 pass. They try to be balanced. They work at being balanced, as all good teams do. That presents problems for us on defense because you can’t just gang up on one thing.
They have an outstanding quarterback who is completing 70% of his passes. That’s a high number in modern day football. They throw it down the field, short, make you run all over the field and tackle in space. They spread you out a good bit.
They have the ability to bring them all in in short yardage or goal line situations and do what everybody traditionally does, power the football as well.
They have a big offensive line that’s talented, young, gaining great experience for them this past season. They’re a really good offensive team, a good machine. It’s going to be a real challenge for us.

Q. Tom, who is going to start opposite Dante at safety tomorrow or in the game?
COACH HAYES: We’re going to start Nate Jackson in there. He’s been a backup nickel, backup corner. Now he’s playing safety. The good thing about Nate is he’s a mature player, a player that learns quickly. He’s had to because we’ve had two injuries at that position during the course of the year, so we’re down a few.
You know as well as I do, that this is the next man up business that we’re in. The next guy that’s ready to play happens to be Nate in this case. He’ll do a good job. He’s a guy that’s detailed in his assignments and will be a good partner alongside Dante.

Q. Tom, you’ve been in this rodeo before with others. How taxing has that become? I know it’s next man up, but just in the gelling part of everything, getting everything going in the back end with a new face?
COACH HAYES: It’s a challenge because there’s a lot to do. You have no margin for error. If Ryan’s group and the defensive line, if they make a mistake, the linebackers cover them. If the linebackers make a mistake, we’ll take care of it. The only guy back there in the secondary watching them is me.
It’s not easy, but it’s something that you have to understand going in. It’s one that I make certainly to the whole defensive teams, and our coaches do a great job of this as well. That is a backup football can’t settle for being a backup. He needs to be trying every day in the meeting room, on the field, in the weight room trying to become a starter. So when your number gets called, you get it done. To me that’s important.
That’s why it can work. Nobody likes injuries, but they happen. Dante is down at the end of the table. Ty Zimmerman went down, long time starter, the first game, he plays against Baylor two, three years ago. He had to go in there, he made 14 unassisted tackles in the game. Now, he had a couple of mess ups, too, as he’ll tell you. Again, inexperience. But he played and he’s played well since then.

Q. Randall, you’ve been in this position playing several different positions. Talk about Nate and what he’ll bring to the secondary.
RANDALL EVANS: Yes. Like coach say, Nate is our utility back. That’s what they call me. When you look at Nate, he is a guy who can play cornerback, nickel back, and now he’s playing safety.
That’s my roommate right now. I talk to him all the time. I told him, It’s an advantage for you. Once you know all the positions, you know where everybody is at in coverages. When he is a safety, he knows where the nickel and safety is supposed to be.

Q. You coached at UCLA. It’s been a little while back. Could you relate your experiences from that time, how much different it was to counter offenses in those days?
COACH HAYES: Well, it was different in many way. One thing is I had a lot more hair and it was dark (laughter).
Back in the ’80s, I spent a decade there with Terry Donahue, a tremendous football coach, tremendous opportunity he gave me to become the secondary coach in 1980. I was 31 years old. I spent a decade with that team. We were very successful.
We kind of were I think the champs of the PAC 10 at that time. We went to three straight Rose Bowls and won them all, won seven bowl games in a row, set a national record until Florida State beat it in the ’90s.
It’s about good coaches, good players, guys working together. Terry got that done and orchestrated. We had a great staff, stayed together the entire time. I have great memories, great family memories, of UCLA.

Q. Coach Snyder, does the competitiveness of this game mean you might try to be more aggressive on special teams?
COACH SNYDER: I think both teams look for that advantage they can find. As Coach Hayes was saying, when you have a lot of time to prepare, there’s a lot of things you can look for, try to take advantage of.
As we will, they will as well. It will be interesting what pops up out there.

Q. Tom, UCLA ranked number two nationally entering this game red zone offense. How daunting is that in the face of knowing what kind of offenses you have faced in the pair of Big 12 defeats? How do you guard against that?
COACH HAYES: The first thing you notice is they’re well coached in every phase, but they’re certainly determined when they hit the red zone. I don’t know an offense that isn’t successful that way. They’re all that way. If they’re making touchdowns instead of field goals, we’re having a long day on defense.
Our mantra is people moving to that area. We’re ranked fairly high in the country and in the conference. I think our players do an excellent job down there.
It’s going to be a good matchup because, again, our guys are working to keep them to field goals when they hit that spot, and they’re working to make touchdowns. Again, the battle is on.
That’s what you have to work on on defense, keep them out of their end. At least you don’t give them the touch, you give them the field goal.
Certainly it will be the same in this game.

Q. Coach Hayes and Ryan Mueller, UCLA has given up a large number of sacks. When you see those stats, does that make you more aggressive or stick with the same approach as you’ve had?
COACH HAYES: It’s interesting, people ask me about my approach. I’ll let Ryan talk about this, too. Each week we look at the opponent by strategies, but we also look at them by personnel. If there’s matchups we can find where you can get an extra advantage in rushing the passer, we try to find it. Every defensive team does that.
But the most important thing is that UCLA is probably not happy with that sack number. But they make a lot of good plays throwing the football, too. Whatever their number is, 36 sacks for the year, like I said, they’re probably not happy with that number, but they still make enough plays down the field to make up for those sacks.
What we have to do is make sure we make him uncomfortable. You can’t always count on sacks, but as we tell our rush guys, we’re trying to get after the quarterback and affect him, get in his face, cause a bad throw, give us a chance to pick a ball or whatever.
Ryan, you got it.
RYAN MUELLER: Coach Hayes pretty much said it all. We have to affect the quarterback. That statistic is certainly eye popping. Again, probably something UCLA is not proud of. It’s something we need to take advantage of and do everything in our power to get to the quarterback, get after him, either knock down his passes, tip balls, get those sacks, tackles for loss.
He’s an athletic quarterback. He can move around in the pocket. That’s something we’ve had trouble with. But next Friday presents an opportunity for us to capitalize and come away with a victory.

Q. Ryan, the zone read, UCLA runs a lot of that, you’ve seen a lot of that this season, starting with Auburn. What are the things you look for both in your individual jobs there on the zone read and how difficult is that to handle?
RYAN MUELLER: It’s not something that’s too difficult to handle. All the practices, we’ve worked on that. It’s trusting your fundamentals and taking your practice reps and applying them to the game reps, keeping an eye on the mesh. What I mean by that is when the quarterback is getting ready to put the ball in the runningback’s lap, whether he pulls it or not, that’s the mesh point. Just keeping on eye on that and don’t blink because you might miss.
JONATHAN TRUMAN: I mean, Ryan covered a lot of it. I piggyback off of what he said.
As a defense, we all work together as one unit. Obviously as a linebacker, I have different responsibilities than Ryan does. If the quarterback wants to pull it, that’s more Ryan’s deal. Who wants to give it to the runningback, that’s my deal. I have to make the right read, get in the gap, make my play if it comes to me.

Q. Jonathan, tell us about your journey from walk on to today.
JONATHAN TRUMAN: I get that question a lot from a lot of media all the time. Walk ons can attest to that.
It’s been a great ride. I’m just extremely honored to be on this team. To have come this far with my teammates, with my brothers, it’s been an amazing time. We just need to finish strong.

Q. You have four guys up here that are former walk ons, which is remarkable. What has that meant for your program, your dad’s program at Kansas State?
COACH SNYDER: In our walk on program, we’re going after guys, recruiting, whether they come in on a scholarship or whether they come in as a walk on. We’re recruiting those guys to be players.
Some schools don’t take that approach. They take the approach of we got some guys out here that can fill a scout squad. Our approach is more recruiting guys that can come in and be players.
Eventually if all goes well, they get rewarded with a scholarship and can continue to be successful.
That’s our approach to it. It’s kind of the heart and soul of the program. It’s what we built off of.

Q. Dante, do you have a memory about you and Tyler growing up?
DANTE BARNETT: I would say the first year we ever played football together, he invited the whole football team to his birthday party and he didn’t invite me (laughter). I was upset about that for about a year and a half.

Q. Randall, talk about what you think is going to be in your mind as you run through the tunnel on Friday night.
RANDALL EVANS: A lot of emotions running through my mind. Last game to be in this purple. It’s been a great journey. Never thought that last game would come to an end. But it’s coming to an end.
It’s going to be remarkable. We just want to finish strong and start fresh for the 2015 program. Talking about it with a couple other players, our first game, we played UCLA. Now we’re finishing our last game playing UCLA. I think that’s something real special just to finish the season out with.

Q. Coach Hayes, how would you define the personality of this defense?
COACH HAYES: The best term I would use is ‘hard working.’ They go a hundred miles an hour every day in practice. Do I have to get after them a little bit every once in a while to remind them to do that? Yeah. But that’s my job. I don’t have to do it very much.
This has been a really good group, led by a bunch of great seniors right down this row. As I’ve told them many times in team meetings, the team is going to go as they go. We coach the players, that’s a given. But every good team I’ve ever been on at anyplace I’ve been has been always driven by the ownership of the players. They take ownership of what they do. When they do that, I think you got a chance to be successful. These guys have done a great job of that.

Q. Dante, being the underclass guy here, what would it mean for you to be able to go out with 10 wins? Before Christmas, you talked about last year’s bowl win catapulted you.
DANTE BARNETT: Last year, that bowl game set the foundation to winning bowl games into the future. Going into this season, we wanted to have another big season, build on our season from last year. Getting a 10 win season has been our goal, or even better.
We want to finish the season with a win this year so next year we can go into the next season prepared to have a better season next year.

Q. Ryan, Coach Hayes alluded to the fact that you sometimes play your own defense. Do you agree with that? If so, whose defense are you playing?
RYAN MUELLER: I think I have to agree with that if I want to be able to play on Friday (laughter).
You know, sometimes when you’re going a hundred miles an hour, you’re not always going to play perfect. You might make some mistakes along the way. I’ve always been told that if you play the game as hard as you possibly can, good things are going to happen.
I can’t say the same thing for golf. If you hit the ball as hard as you can, you don’t know where it’s always going to go. But with football, sometimes it happens.

Q. Weston, talk about the special teams unit that leads the nation.
WESTON HIEBERT: It was a niche I found when I came in as a walk on. The coaches gave me an opportunity to get out there. I take a lot of pride in it because that’s my time when I’m out there. There’s a lot of guys on the team that do the same thing.
Jonathan started out playing on special teams. I think it’s a good way to get guys invested in a team, shows they can make an impact regardless of their time on the field.

Q. Ryan, tomorrow we’ll have the opportunity to talk to Jake Waters your quarterback. How long has it seemed since the days in Dallas? What has the journey been like witnessing what Jake has been able to do?
RYAN MUELLER: Well, I certainly saw the work ethic was there to be a great player from the moment Jake came onto the team and participated in workouts.
I kind of talked about this in our senior speeches, a lot of guys got up and spoke the night before Baylor. That was one of the things I said to the entire team, but directly pointing out to Jake, how much I admired his work ethic from the moment he got here.
When I’d be conditioning and working, I’d look across the field and I would see Jake competing. I always saw him finishing through that line first. That gave me confidence that our quarterback wants the number one spot, wants to be a leader.
For him to have that work ethic while nobody is watching him, Jake wasn’t aware I was looking over there counting on him to push himself. Every guy up here would say the same thing about Jake, he just works extremely hard. To see him thrive in the last two seasons that he’s had, we expected Jake to do that just because he works so hard.
Then this season and last season, he was able to show off his talents, get noticed for it. But certainly it’s something we all saw coming.

Q. For any of the defensive players. Oftentimes you guys are referred to as overachievers. Is there any kind of misconception to that label or something you embrace?
RYAN MUELLER: I think every guy at this table works extremely hard. To look at it that guys up here don’t have any talent would be absurd.
College football presents an opportunity to you to where if you take coaching, you believe in yourself, you apply everything you learned from your coaches and apply them out onto the field, anybody can be a good football player.
Yes, you have to have some athletic ability, which every guy at this table does possess. But at this level, you can be a successful player just by out working people.
That’s what everybody at this table does.

Kansas State Team Arrival

Kansas State University Head Coach Bill Snyder, Offensive Lineman BJ Finney, Defensive End Ryan Mueller

December 28, 2014

Kansas State Head Coach Bill Snyder at Team Arrival

On the bowl system
“Well I think it is important to a lot of universities and certainly to us. You can remember way back when Kansas State University had an opportunity to compete in bowl games and it did so much for our program. It bonded our following together. I always talk about having the three largest crowds in college football cross the state lines to see their team play and that wouldn’t have happened without the purpose of the bonding. That brought our Kansas State family together very, very much. But not only for us, but for other schools as well.”

The 1998 Alamo Bowl trip
“Well the things that come to mind real quickly is that it was a championship ball game that we played, had a substantial lead but end up losing that ball game and the disappointment that went along with it and then kind of dropping off the bowl picture and then we come to the Alamo Bowl and it is almost an exact replica of championship game.”

On bowl game preparation
“I like to think it has been time well used and if it isn’t then that falls back on me. I think it has gone about as well as it can. I think our youngsters are invested in it right now and I think we have had good practices. There can be a lot of distractions, obviously, but I think they’re prepared to deal with that.”

On UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley
“I think he is comparable to some of the young people we have in our conference, you know, the obvious two, Petty and Boykin, all are very fine and talented quarterbacks and I think Hundley