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.