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Thu, Dec. 29 - 8:00 pm CST
Big 12 Logo vs. Pac 12 Logo
Thu, Dec. 29 - 8:00 pm CST
Big 12 Logo vs. Pac 12 Logo
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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.