January 2, 2015
UCLA – 40
Kansas State – 35
A Postgame Interview With:
COACH BILL SNYDER
Q. Bill, are you going to remember the 10 points that you left on the field and the 14 points off of turnovers in the first half more, or are you going to remember a pretty courageous second half comeback that comes up a little shy?
BILL SNYDER: Well, I’ll remember both. I’m proud of our young guys, what I shared with them just a little bit ago. They didn’t give in, fought back. Not quite enough. But I’ll also remember the first half, as well, and all those things that you mentioned. My count we left 28 points on the field in the first half, and that’s our fault. It wasn’t anything other than that. UCLA is a very fine football team, played extremely well. They were just so much better than we were in the first half. The execution wasn’t there.
Q. What was your message to the team at halftime to get them to come out and start playing a little bit better?
BILL SNYDER: Well, some of it is probably personal. I alluded to a couple things. Houston was down today 27 points going into the fourth quarter and scored 29 and won the ballgame, so it’s doable, it’s manageable. Also some thoughts about whether we had heard a TV announcer indicate in another ballgame that a football team had quit, and that’s the last thing in the world anybody wants to hear on national TV, I assure you that, and I reminded our youngsters of that, that we weren’t about to let somebody say that about us. And they didn’t. They didn’t. They made the best effort.
We made some mistakes. Still, we played our way back into the ballgame, and then we played our way out of it. We’re still mistake prone, and at the end of the day, that was a problem.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the difficulty that Hundley and Perkins caused for your defense today with their rushing attack?
BILL SNYDER: Well, they’re both very, very talented young guys, and I think they use them extremely well. I don’t know what the statistics were, but there were major issues, particularly in the first half. In the second half we played well defensively until we broke down, and that was not not that he couldn’t run well, but we just broke down and didn’t fit we left a gap unfit and they put it in the end zone and that ended the ballgame, so to speak.
THE MODERATOR: We’re also joined by Jonathan Truman and Ryan Mueller.
BILL SNYDER: These are both defensive guys, and there’s nobody that cares more, there’s nobody that plays harder, there’s nobody that’s more of a family member, there’s nobody that’s a better teammate than these two guys right here. These two, tremendously so. When you’ve invested as much as they’ve invested, it is going to be painful, but they’ve been dynamic for our football program.
Q. What was the injury at the end? It looked fairly serious.
BILL SNYDER: Without having any X rays yet, we believe there was a fracture, lower leg fracture.
Q. Who was the player?
BILL SNYDER: Boston Stiverson.
Q. Bill, I believe Jake was sacked seven times. Can you talk about the pressure they put on him, and also moving B.J. over to right tackle in the game?
BILL SNYDER: Well, we kind of got out of sorts. We’re thin in our offensive line, and guys have to play multiple positions, which they do, but we had some difficulty with our protection. I mean, it was that simple. That’s what I was sharing a little bit ago. It was not that they weren’t making the effort, it’s just UCLA is a good pass rush team, they’ve got good guys coming off the edge, and they did, and they did so successfully, and consequently we took ourselves out of opportunities to get 1st downs and got into those extra long yardage situations. Those are pretty hard to overcome.
BILL SNYDER: Well, as I said, virtually all of our guys work at all positions up front, so it’s not that it’s just something out of the blue. Obviously he has had far less practice time there than he has at the center position, but we have to make do with what we have. But B.J. is like these guys right here; B.J., I mean, you don’t find a better person. You don’t find somebody that cares more about his football team. You don’t find anybody that works as hard, gives as much of himself. He’d play wherever you put him.
Q. The young man that just sat down to your right, he went out on top for K State, and him connecting with Jake on a couple more touchdowns in his last game, just remark a little bit on his career and what he was able to do tonight.
BILL SNYDER: Well, you know, it’s not what he’s been able to do tonight, it’s what he’s been able to do through his entire career at Kansas State University. Just what I said about these other two young guys, the two offensive players that have joined us have done exactly the same thing, and they’re the same kind of people. And you specifically asked about Tyler. Tyler is all the things I’ve said so many times. You’ve heard it. He works as hard as anybody can possibly work. He stays after practice. He does everything he can to try to get himself better. He’s a wonderful person. He cares about his teammates. He’s a great family man, a great individual, high character. All of these guys are. I could echo all those thoughts with each and every one of these young guys. They’re really special.
Q. Jonathan, talk about how you guys changed defensively because Hundley and Perkins just kind of seemed to not run wild but were more successful in the first half than they were in the second half.
JONATHAN TRUMAN: Yeah, I have to give a lot of credit to the UCLA coaching staff as well as their players. They prepared really well and they executed really well. In the first half, I can say that we didn’t run our fits very well defensively. Our coaches defensively did a great job game planning things. I think it was more the players. We just didn’t execute. We didn’t get the job done, and going into halftime we understand that we’re behind a lot, but this is a group of guys that doesn’t quit, and I’m just really proud of my team for pulling it together and trying to be the best that we can be.
Q. Tyler, what do you think the team’s mental reaction was when they got on you that early and you look up and see 31 6?
TYLER LOCKETT: I mean, honestly, we’ve been there before. Maybe not by that much, but we played TCU and was down 14 0 and came back, played Baylor down 14 0 and came back. Honestly, when it was 17 0, I knew we still had a chance. We’ve been watching a lot of crazy bowl games. We watched Baylor go up 20 against Michigan State and all of a sudden Michigan State came back. We just heard about Houston, down by 30 points in the fourth quarter, coming back and beating Pittsburgh. We understood at halftime we still had a chance. We’re a team who never gives up, we’re a team who will always keep fighting until it says 0:00 on the clock, and that’s exactly what we did. We had a chance to come back. We made a great rally. Everybody saw it. Unfortunately we just came up a little short.
Q. Jake, on that final touchdown to Tyler late in the game, can you describe that play and just the emotions that were going through as you guys headed off the field together after the touchdown?
JAKE WATERS: Yeah, that last play we just kind of we ran the same play the whole time down the field and just kind of hit different things. I ran for one, hit Curry for one, hit Lockett for one, 10 and in. I just told him we kind of looked at each other and knew, hey, just do a 10 in and go and just get a little variation off it and Tyler did the rest, got wide open. Walking off the field together, it was pretty emotional. You put so many hours in that people don’t see that kind of goes unnoticed, and for that to be the last time was hard to hold back.
Q. Jake, how much was the fact that there have been so many late comebacks, Baylor, Houston came back to beat Pitt, how much of that was on your mind in the second half?
JAKE WATERS: Yeah, that’s just a great example of what can happen, and we knew that we’re not going to give up, like Tyler said, until it says 0:00. I’m never going to count out my guys. We go into halftime and we’ve just got to correct the mistakes. We made a few plays here and there and we were right back in it, and we had a chance to win it at the end. That’s all you can ask for.
Q. Jake, was UCLA doing something with the pass rush that you hadn’t seen before or were they using their speed and getting in for the sacks?
JAKE WATERS: They changed it up. Every bowl game they provide stuff you haven’t seen on film or stuff you haven’t prepared for. And they’re great players, too, so they caused some problems for us. My O line did a great job, except a couple plays.
Q. Ryan, can you talk about the gut check at halftime, put it into words what you guys were feeling, anger, disappointment? What was the motivation, and can you describe how you reacted to it, please?
RYAN MUELLER: At the end of the
Q. At halftime getting ready for the second.
RYAN MUELLER: Well, before I answer that, first and foremost, I just want to thank Coach Snyder for the opportunity to play for this university. Coach is over here right now, but thank you, Coach, for the chance. You know, it’s been an honor play with Tyler Lockett, phenomenal athlete, phenomenal person, just a total workhorse for this university. I want to thank all the Kansas State fans that made the bowl trip down here. I know these bowl trips are expensive, but it was great seeing the whole stadium filled up with purple. I know we didn’t execute according to plan.
To answer your question, sir, we tried to come out the second half relentless, tried to be fearless, respect everybody, fear no one, and we just we tried, and everybody looked to their guy to the left, looked to their guy to the right, looked in their eyes and said I’m going to give you my absolute best for the next 30 minutes. We fought, we certainly didn’t quit, and UCLA was the better team. Hats off to Brett Hundley, tremendous quarterback, made some good plays, when he would throw the ball or run the ball, made a lot of plays on his feet, tremendous player. I’ve got a lot of respect for UCLA. They’re a first class program.
Q. Ryan, when you look up and you see the 17 0 deficit and the way Hundley was able to get you guys defensively early on, what’s going through your head at that moment, just being down like that?
RYAN MUELLER: You know, 17 0, that’s nothing. I’m fully confident in my offense, fully confident in Jake Waters, fully confident in Tyler Lockett. When we see 17 0, that’s nothing. Plenty of ball to play. When the clock is 0:00, that’s when it’s over. And that’s football.
Q. I was curious with both Jonathan and Tyler, you guys have played in a bowl game every year you’ve been here, just what kind of momentum or base do you think that could build for this program after you guys are gone?
JONATHAN TRUMAN: Yeah, just coming into this program five years ago, 2010, that was the first bowl game, that Pinstripe Bowl was the first bowl game that this program has been to since the Texas Bowl in like 2006, I believe, and I know there’s a lot of pride in this group coming in, just being able to get to that bowl game and then getting to four consecutive bowl games after that. There’s a lot of pride. Obviously winning the bowl game is the most important, but I hope that this group of young guys that we have, I know that they have the same attitude that this great class of seniors has, and they’re going to keep working hard and just keep working towards another bowl game and a win.
TYLER LOCKETT: Yeah, I mean, every since I was in high school, Coach Snyder came back, he really turned this program around. He’s done a great job. I watched Truman and everybody play whenever they were in the Pinstripe Bowl, and being able to come to Kansas State, it was just a great opportunity. I was playing under guys like Collin Klein and Chris Harper and Emmanuel Lamur, just some great athletes, great leaders who have the desire and motivation to win. So just being able to look at everybody who we had the chance to play with throughout the four years and seeing the bowl games that we went to, we went from a Pinstripe a Cottom bowl, we went from the Cotton Bowl to the Fiesta Bowl. Then all of a sudden, we acquired new people. New people, new transition, new players, that means we had the same style, just different types of players that we’ve got to be able to use. We went to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, finally won. The odds were in Michigan’s favor, and we came out there and we won. We proved to everybody that we could be able to win. Even being able to have the opportunity to be in the Alamo Bowl, we played a lot of great teams throughout this year. I’m not sure where people saw us ending in the Big 12, but we finished third. We played against TCU. We had a chance to win the Big 12, playing against Baylor, not too many people get the chance to win two Big 12 Championships at that, and we had a great opportunity for that.
And then also just ending our bowl game here in the Alamo. I would have rather finished it here than anywhere else. Of course you want to make it to the playoffs and stuff like that, but since we didn’t make it, I’m glad we came to the Alamo. They did nothing but show us love. They did a lot of great things, great events, we met a lot of great people out here, and unfortunately we lost, but I’m going to just miss these guys, and that’s really all I have. I think it’ll motivate our team next year, as well, because we ended with a loss so it’s going to motivate them to keep going.
COACH JIM MORA
JIM MORA: Well, first of all, it’s an honor to be sitting up here with these five young men. Tremendous representatives of all that’s good about college football, great student athletes, leaders, great football players, men of integrity. The ones that are leaving, and those are the three right in the middle, we’re certainly going to miss them and they’re going to have long and productive careers. We’re going to get to watch them on a lot of Sundays. But Eric, Owa and Brett have met so much to this program, and I don’t think it can be overstated the impact that they’ve had on UCLA football and the UCLA football program. We’re going to miss them tremendously. We wish them the best of luck. I want to just tip my hat to Kansas State University and their football program. They’re fun to play because they play the right way. They play hard, they play physical, they play tough, they’re disciplined. They’ve got a lot of class. They travel very well.
We came to a bowl came and it was pretty much a hostile environment. But these guys have excelled in hostile environments all year, were undefeated on the road, and then to our fans that made the trek from California, we heard them and we appreciate them being here. It means a lot that they would come all this distance to support their football team, and we certainly do appreciate it.
It was a heck of a football game. You know, they’re always going to be like that. You get out to a lead, and you get in an environment where you’re playing the No. 11 team in the country, coached be a future Hall of Famer, and you know that they’re going to fight back. We hung in there, and I think that’s been a symbol of our team, the grit, the toughness, the character, all year. We won 10 games this year with the toughest schedule in college football. We played 10 bowl teams. There was a few teams that played 11, but we played 10 teams that are playing in bowls, including Kansas State. Depending on what happens with the Washington game, I believe going into today the teams that we’d play that are playing in bowl games are 6 2, and so to win 10 games two consecutive years I think is a tremendous accomplishment, especially for such a young team.
Besides Brett and Owa and EK, we’re going to lose AJ, Hof, Jordon James, some other contributors, but we’re really a young football team. You look at Myles here. Myles is a sophomore. You look at Perk and Perk is a sophomore, and so I think the future looks bright for UCLA football. That’s probably enough, huh? I’ll turn it over to these guys.
Q. Jim, can you talk about what the biggest difference between the first half and the second half was for you guys?
JIM MORA: Well, we didn’t have the ball much in the second. In the third quarter I think we only had five or six plays. They had that time consuming seven minute and 32 second drive for a touchdown there where they converted the fourth downs and we had trouble getting off the field, and then we had the fumble and then they scored. And then we Brett made the nice run, went down and kicked a field goal, but we didn’t have a lot of plays in the third quarter. Any time you play a quality opponent let’s remember now, this is the 11th ranked team in the country. It’s not going to be easy. And you know what? It’s more fun when it’s not easy, man. These guys love to compete, don’t you? They love to compete. They love it when it gets tight and gritty. Yeah, we like to blow people out, but you find out who you are as a man when it’s tough like that, and we won, and that’s the objective. We won.
Q. Jim, I know penalties have kind of been an issue all season. Specifically today, was that one of those things that were just kind of standing in your way, especially in the second half?
JIM MORA: Well, I felt like in the first half we hurt ourselves with a couple of penalties, and certainly in the second half. Yeah, they started to pile up on us. We got a little emotional. It got tense. Like I said, some of those penalties were by young guys. They’re going to learn from those things. They’re going to learn how to relax in those situations and just execute. Every opportunity that you have to go out and compete is an opportunity to learn and grow and get better from, and I think that as we are this year from last year, next year we’ll be a much improved team in terms of penalties because we’ll be more mature. We’ll understand our system better. We’ll be more relaxed in pressure situations.
Q. Granted, the No. 11 team, you guys have been resilient, but what still needs to be learned to close out games when you have that kind of lead?
JIM MORA: Well, we won the game, so that’s closing the game out, pal. It’s not easy. It’s not easy. When you’re playing the 11th ranked team in the country, if they don’t fight back, then they don’t deserve to be 11th, and they deserve to be the 11th. Anyone that has a question about us closing out a game, walk right out onto that field and look up at the scoreboard and tell me who won the damn game. Goodness sakes. We just won 10 games for the second year in a row, in case you don’t know that.
Q. What was it about your defense that was able to get to Jake Waters so many times?
JIM MORA: Guys like Owa and Deon and Kenny and Eddie and those guys being tenacious, and Eric, tenacious in their pass rush, excellent coverage on the back end. You know, any time that you can rush the passer and have success, it’s a team proposition. It’s guys executing great in coverage and it’s guys being relentless in their pass rush.
Q. Jim, what did you see in Deon Hollins this year and his growth?
JIM MORA: He was our most improved defensive player this year.
Q. Paul, on that onside kick, that was you out there; did you recover the ball? It came to you. Did you end up with it?
PAUL PERKINS: Yeah.
Q. Tell me about it. Did you fumble it and get it back or hold on to it the whole time?
PAUL PERKINS: Yeah, we just go through a routine every day on Friday, picking our blocks and picking our assignments.
Q. You kept the ball, you didn’t fumble it?
PAUL PERKINS: Yep.
Q. What was going through your mind? Are you normally out there on the all hands team?
PAUL PERKINS: Usually we don’t get in that situation, but yeah, I’m on the hands team.
Q. What was going through your mind when the ball came to you?
PAUL PERKINS: I need to secure it, get this game over with.
Q. Brett, how does it feel to have played in your last game, and what was going through your mind as you were kind of going down the sidelines shaking hands with fans and your family?
BRETT HUNDLEY: I think speaking on behalf of all the seniors, it’s just a good way to go out on top I think for all of us. We really wanted this game everybody wanted the game, and we came in ready to get the 10th win of the season.
Q. Myles, your role as kind of a DB seemed to expand as the season went along. What did it feel like to get that pick?
MYLES JACK: It felt great to finally get an interception. Yeah, it’s been a while since I had one. I just remember just getting the guy and turning around and I knew the ball was going to be there because he kind of beat me over the top, but I just had a good release on him when I was with him and the ball just came to me. I tried to score, but I didn’t.
Q. Brett, can you just talk a little bit about Paul and what his development has meant to you and the offense this year?
BRETT HUNDLEY: Huge. Huge. Paul has always been to me the best back in the country. He showed that today. And I think this offense, having Johnathan Franklin, and then everybody is wondering who was going to replace him, Paul stepped in and did an amazing job, and has done that consistently this year every time he plays.
Q. Eric, can you talk about your emotion, getting that defensive player of the game trophy and kind of standing up there for the final time?
ERIC KENDRICKS: It’s pretty cool to end my Bruin career on the podium like that. I mean, obviously a dream come true. I put the work in this week in practice with my teammates. We all did, and that’s why we won.
Q. Owa, it seemed like you guys were a lot more aggressive on defense, especially to start the game. Is this kind of the style that you guys maybe wanted to play all season?
OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA: I think we did definitely play with an aggressive style this game, something that Coach Mora and Coach Ulbrich has been preaching to us all season, and I think it’s just our commitment at practice to executing our assignment, listening to what our coaches’ game plan is, and just today’s game was a testament to that. I think we’ve been really developing and meshing as a team all season, and I think what we did today is just a display of going forward what the defense is going to be like.
Q. Paul, describe your touchdown run and how that hole just opened up.
PAUL PERKINS: Yeah, the offensive line, like they’ve been doing all year, has been doing a great job. Couldn’t ask for a better group of guys up there. They keep improving every game, and man, anybody could have ran through that hole.
Q. Also, when they were making their comeback, there’s been so many late comebacks this year in other bowl games, Baylor, Michigan State came back, Houston came back on Pitt. Did any of that go through your mind at all?
PAUL PERKINS: Oh, no, I had confidence in our defense and our offense that we were going to get the job done, and obviously we did.
Q. I was going to ask Myles the same thing. Did you have any thoughts of losing that lead like some of the other teams in bowl games have done?
MYLES JACK: No, not at all. I had confidence in what we were doing and just what our offense was doing and what our defense was doing, and I just knew they just caught momentum for a second, and I knew we’d weather the storm, which we did, and gave the ball to Perk and he took it to the house. I knew eventually it would all even out.
Q. Coach, I was wondering if you could address your postgame exchange with Coach Snyder.
JIM MORA: With regards to what?
Q. As far as the handshake at the end.
JIM MORA: I’m not sure what you’re talking about, I’m sorry. Just a normal handshake, congratulate him and we go on our way.
Q. It looked like there were two hand shakes, one quick one
JIM MORA: Well, I ran into him again as I was working back to the podium. Good coach, man, he’s a great man, tremendous man. Honor to be able to compete against him.
Q. Myles, you’ve known Deon pretty good for a couple years now. What has he shown you this year that’s marked improvement?
MYLES JACK: I think just his level of determination, like Coach said. He’s our most improved player, and I think this year he really put it all together. He’s my roommate when we travel and everything, and just how hungry he is to help this team out and contribute. I think he was not frustrated last year, but he was just eager to get on the field, and he knew this year was his chance. I remember specifically playing the game, this game where he jumped offsides, and then the next play he made the sack. He apologized to us like 100 times. He was like, I swear I’m going to make it up. And the next play he made the sack. That shows you what type of guy he is. He’s eager to contribute, and he’s just improved.
Q. On the onside kick what did you see?
MYLES JACK: Coach Mora grabbed me, but I just wanted to protect my guys. It’s a dog pile, and it’s not a safe place to be, so I was just trying to protect my guys. Perk was on the bottom there, and Lord knows what’s going on underneath that pile, so I was trying to help him out.
Q. Eric or Myles, what was it like trying to contain guys like Sexton and Lockett?
ERIC KENDRICKS: I mean, he’s crafty. There’s a reason they won so many games and he was so successful this year. He definitely has a thing to him that you can’t really guard. That’s what makes him unique and that’s what makes him such a good competitor. But it was fun playing against him and we did our best to contain him, and I think we did a pretty good job getting some pass rush on him.
MYLES JACK: Me personally, I was guarding Sexton and I had to bring my “A” game the whole game. He was a great receiver. He was a great challenge. I just brought my best, and in regards to Lockett, you guys saw what he can do, punt return, kick return. He’s definitely a challenge, and he deserves all the credit he gets. He’s a talented player.
Q. Owa, what did you guys do defensively to get to their quarterback, especially in the first half, get all those sacks and hurries, quarterback hurries?
OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA: Honestly, we just were very aware of their situation, and we exploited it. We did a good job of watching film, the way they kind of like we knew they were a team that liked to do different splits. They liked to kind of keep things keep defenses on their toes, and I think what we did a great job of is picking up on it, understanding passing situations, how their splits were, their protections, how everything broke down, and I think guys like Deon and other guys on the D line did a great job of just attacking it and putting pressure on the quarterback.