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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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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Mark Helfrich

Royce Freeman

DeForest Buckner

Oregon Ducks

TCU 47, Oregon 41, 3 OT

THE MODERATOR: Coach Helfrich, would you like to say something to start.

COACH HELFRICH: Congratulations to TCU for a great finish to a great game to watch. Certainly a tale of two halves from our perspective.

Very disappointed for our guys, not disappointed in our guys one bit. Fought like heck. Guys that were out there, couldn’t be prouder of their effort. These two guys are examples of guys that were banged up all year long and kept fighting.

They made one more play than we did. Just too bad to finish how much these guys improved, how much they fought and worked hard throughout the bowl prep. To end it this way is tough.

But we will forge ahead, build in every phase, go back to school and move on.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Mark, TCU obviously knew they had to go to their backup. Were you disappointed in the second half you weren’t able to generate more offensive with Lockie and a replacement center?
COACH HELFRICH: Sure. Those kind of things happen. Again, I thought we had some opportunities. That’s the tough thing about this game, is an end like that in triple overtime, that there’s one little thing here or there.

Obviously points were at a premium for us in the second half. We’ll take that as a tough pill.

Q. Mark, you said yesterday that you would need to see improvement in all areas, coaches, players, including yourself. Do you think you saw improvement today?
COACH HELFRICH: It’s impossible to answer a question like that.

The thing, everybody wants to point a finger at one person. Point it at me. Blame me. I’m 100% good at that.

Every single person, including me, needs to improve. This kind of game, there were so many odd things that happened, so many guys available, not available.

Our guys battled and they believed until the end. There’s a ton to be said for that.

Q. Coach, did you change your game plan at all once you found out that Boykin wouldn’t be starting for TCU?
COACH HELFRICH: Not really. I mean, yes and no. I think each individual has some strengths and weaknesses that are a little bit different than another in terms of 12 and 6, then 3, the guy that played a little bit of quarterback for them.

So from that standpoint, you’re going to do a little bit more of something or less of something. For a half, that worked really well.

Q. Mark, going into the end of the first half, you’re up 31-0. You lost some players, but when did you feel the momentum shift?
COACH HELFRICH: Well, I don’t know if I ever felt — I don’t think you think in those terms. I think you think in terms of making the next play. If we score one touchdown right there in that one period, it’s over. We had a couple chances on third downs, a couple turnover opportunities.

Again, we’ll go back and hurt. But, yeah, certainly Matt Pierson was also not available in the second half, as well as Dwayne. Yeah, you’re switching things around. I think Charles Nelson played every snap in every phase it seemed like for a while.

Again, proud of how our guys battled.

Q. Mark, did you consider with the lead and TCU coming back trying to slow tempo a little bit, doing more quarterback under center?
COACH HELFRICH: We did not consider the quarterback under center part. It’s kind of always a double-edged sword about the tempo part. Some of our best things were in tempo if you’re getting first downs, that’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of a scenario. That’s what they do well, is dial in to formations, all those kinds of things.

Yeah, we’ll go back and look at those things and evaluate them.

Q. Mark, I know that Vernon was not the only guy you lost. Is it concerning to you how different the team looked this year when he was healthy versus when he wasn’t?
COACH HELFRICH: We want every guy that’s in there to play great. That’s every side of the ball, that’s a backup, whatever, DB, defensive player, special teams player. Certainly you want quality and depth. That position is absolutely a premium.

Q. DeForest, how much energy did you not have? Did you feel like in the overtime, when you forced the field goal, maybe you could steal the game late?
DeFOREST BUCKNER: Oh, yeah, definitely. When we forced them to kick a field goal, it goes through everybody’s mind. We have a chance. Like Coach Helfrich said, all the guys, we fought till the end. We believed we could win. I’m just proud of everybody on how we fought all the way through triple overtime.

Q. Mark, it’s been a long time since you’ve had to play a backup quarterback, a couple months now. Did you have a feeling at all that you were in better position if you had to play a Jeff Lockie to maintain a game, complete a pass for a first down, allow room for Royce to operate a little bit there? Did you feel confident with Jeff going into this game?
COACH HELFRICH: Absolutely. I think, again, we have confidence in all those guys. If they go in there, we expect them to play great. It’s that simple.

Obviously we didn’t put enough points on the board there at the end. He battled great at the end, had a chance to make some plays. Again, that’s where it will be frustrating for all of us, again, starting with me, of why things happened, how things played out.

Q. Coach, at any point in the second half did you consider making a switch at quarterback or center? Can you talk about Royce’s performance.
COACH HELFRICH: Royce is a stud.

On the first part of it, kind of how a couple of other guys were banged up, there wasn’t a ton of options there available. It was one of those things where we were really close. On the play where he puts his knee on the ground, it’s a touchdown, the game is over.

It’s that kind of game where a two-inch knee tap or two-inch double move to Carrington, two double moves to Carrington, we have a chance to make plays. Those are those little things, when you’re talking about it in practice, Player A, Player B always have to be in sync and rhythm. Those are tough lessons right now to really learn.

Q. Royce, can you talk about the challenges of playing with the same edge up 31-0 as it took to build that lead?
ROYCE FREEMAN: Personally, me as a competitor, I didn’t take it as a 30-point lead or anything like that. I took it as 0-0. There’s different personalities.

Probably something we have to work on is continuing the momentum, learning how to finish games the correct way.

Q. DeForest, Kohlhausen looked like a different player in the second half. What did you see about TCU’s offense first half, second half?
DeFOREST BUCKNER: They were a lot more comfortable in the second half. They came out ready to play in the second half.

Like Royce said, it’s the finishing part we need to work on.

This whole year, especially on the defensive side, it’s been a struggle in the second half to finish games. Just like the Oregon State game, we had a 31-0 lead. We gave all of that up.

It’s something we need to work on, keeping that momentum going.

Q. Coach, both Vernon and Darren lost someone very special to them. Was this game particularly emotional for them or the whole team at all?
COACH HELFRICH: Obviously you’d have to discuss that with them individually. We all had conversations with those guys on some level during the bowl prep. Royce was close to Marquel, as well. I’m sure it’s that much more difficult in this situation.

Our guys believed till the end, they fought till the end. They were emotional till the end. We got beat.