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.”