Wide Receivers Coach Matt Lubick
Wide Receiver Bralon Addison
Offensive Lineman Tyler Johnstone
Quarterback Vernon Adams, Jr.
Running Back Royce Freeman
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.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
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?
VERNON ADAMS, JR.: Yes.
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.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.