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.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
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?
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.