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--Speaker: Gary Pinkel, Missouri Head Coach On the game: ?It?s close games like this, where it comes down to a close play and those are very difficult and they (Northwestern) played an exceptional game on both sides of the football. They have a really good football team. My hat?s off to them. I know how difficult it is for them. That being said I?m very proud of our football team and the battle that we played. Defensively we did a lot of good things against a really good offensive football team. We had some turnovers on our offense that put us in some difficult situations. On missing the field goal at the end of regulation: ?I?m proud of our football team. Everyone on our sideline knew that Wolfert was going to make that. He does it all the time. I thought we really got it together really quick right after that. I thought we really responded well. We made the plays that you have to make to win the game in overtime. With the slant route that Chase (Daniel) hit with Jeremy Maclin and the plays we had prior to that. And on defense with that last sack. When you get a sack in overtime, especially when you need 7 to win, it?s huge. On the overtime win: ?Chase started his career as a freshman coming in the 4th against Iowa State and goes down a couple drives and ended the game in overtime. He?d never had an overtime for the rest of his career and then he ends his career with a win in overtime.? On Chase Daniel: ?The great make up of this guy (Chase) is that he had the adversity of the game but he still drove it down the field in overtime to throw a winning touchdown. You know I see Brett Favre and you watch all those great NFL quarterbacks that have bad games but you find the way to make plays. And that defines who he (Chase) is and what he is about.? On overall defense: ?I think they did a lot of great things, no question. Especially in the 4th quarter where we had a couple back to back stops. I think we just take 2 big plays away and it was a really outstanding performance by our defense. We talk so much about the seniors. What defines those guys is when they will come back for many years in the future to bring this team back or the Cotton Bowl team back. I tell the guys, especially our young players, is that they are all graduating in May if they haven?t already. That also makes up the reason why they are successful on the field as well as off the field. On this team?s legacy: ?If you want to define this team with the stats for a three year period of time as far as record, bowl games, bowl championships as far as North Division Championships as far as all graduating from college. I can go on and on and they are great kids. --Speaker: Chase Daniel, Missouri Quarterback On finishing career with overtime win: ?Coach over here is pretty smart. It was just an awesome game overall. (My career) started off and ended with overtime wins. That?s pretty cool.? On the team?s rough start: ?I didn?t play as well as I wanted to for the first half at all. You just have to battle. Would I have liked to not throw those picks. Yeah of course but, I take the win any single day over numbers. To have this senior class and to have Coach Dave Christensen and to leave Coach Pinkel with a win that he will always remember this senior class by is something that I cherish very deeply in my heart. It hasn?t set in that we played our last game.? On the missed field goal at the end of the game: ?Wolfert?s money. He?s the most accurate kicker in the NCAA history. He doesn?t miss. I honestly didn?t watch the kick too much. I was on the ground and just hoping and praying. And when you miss it you have to fight. And what a better way to go out then to play some more football. You?re only promised four quarters and to get extra overtime is something that we like and something that we feel good about.? On the last game of his Mizzou career: ?What a great time to be a Tiger, especially on the field. The fans we had stayed to the very end. We watched the balloons and confetti drop. I?ve never been in a situation like that before. I was just glad that I could help the team in the end.? On Maclin?s punt return: ?When that punt went up in the air and didn?t have very much hang time I said, mistake. You all are going to pay for it. This was really important to win this game. This was huge to win this football game. If you want to take time to write down all the things they have accomplished and set a bar for it I think it will be pretty remarkable. The good news is that that just sets the bar higher for the next group which is awesome. I can?t really put into words what they have done and what they have accomplished. I?m so very, very proud of them. They?re such great, great kids.? --Speaker: Jeremy Maclin, Missouri Wide Receiver: On the punt return for a touchdown: ?It was actually supposed to be a right return. They sent everyone to the sidelines. A lot of times on punt returns you make one guy miss and there?s a lot of open field so I stuck it up the middle. They run a unique style of punt coverage as they have four sprinters instead of two. It definitely takes a good jobs of our guys holding them up and putting them on an island all night. That gave me time so I could pick and choose where to go.? On entering the NFL Draft: ?There?s a lot more I want to achieve at this university. I?m going to sit down and talk to coach Pinkel, Coach Hill and the rest of my teammates and my family to see what the best decision for me. --Speaker: Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri Linebacker On making big plays: ?During the course of the game we called a particular blitz. We came off the edge very well each time we ran it. We didn?t get there some times but we made our presence felt. One time Coach Pinkel called ther blitz and me and William Moore met at the quarterback. It was just a big play for our defense and the next play William knocked the ball down. It was just a sign of relief and a sign we ended our season on a good note. And we sent the seniors and Coach C out with a win. It was just exhilarating.? On Maclin coming back: ?I?m his roommate. I can probably get him to stay. On celebrating his 21st birthday with a win: ?You know I don?t think so. It was such a great day to be a Missouri Tiger. It was just fun to be out there flying around and I was happy to make some plays for my team. Once it was overtime the offense really did a great job of getting that touchdown and the defense went down and held it. It?s just a great birthday present.?
Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald
“First and foremost, I want to thank the entire committee and staff of the Valero Alamo Bowl. It was a great experience for the Northwestern football program to be down here in San Antonio. The hospitality was first class – the way our players were treated was incredible. We cannot say thank you enough. Our 23 great seniors battled through as much adversity as anyone in the country. To see how they’ve persevered and grown as men – I couldn’t be more proud of them. I told them in our locker room that they may not be coming back in the locker room with helmets on, but they’ll be coming back sometime to sing that fight song. Credit Missouri, as they made the plays down the stretch that were needed to win a football game. I can’t say enough about our players and coaches who stepped up and battled while sticking to our plan for the most part. Just a few big plays here and there were the difference in the game. Our program took a big step forward this year much in part to those 23 seniors.”
On quarterback C.J. Bacher play in the game:
"C.J. had a great month of preparation, I thought he was very focused and played maybe his best game of the season."
On Tyrell Sutton returning from injury to play in the Alamo Bowl:
"To see guys step up after coming back from injury to help their football team is great. We've got a tremendous running back tradition at Northwestern, and Tyrell Sutton did a great job representing that list and I couldn't be more proud of him."
On Northwestern's impact on the game's final score:
"Our guys were relentless on defense and held their offense in check. We thought if we could hold them under 30 points, we had a great chance to win the game. Obviously we were close, and 29 points would have made the difference. I?m proud of our young men and the way they played. We stuck to our game plan pretty well. We've just got to find a way to run one more play. We?re going to look to do one more rep and find a place to make one more play. We were proud to represent the Big Ten Conference tonight, and hopefully we proved that we can play a little bit of defense in this league as well.? On the loss of right tackle Desmond Taylor: ?Kurt [Mattes] stepped up well in Desmond Taylor?s place. He?s been chomping at the bit for an opportunity, and he played well today.? On responding to adversity and injuries, what today?s battle says about the team: ?First, we recruit character young men who understand that they?ve got to keep fighting on every play and good things will happen. When someone went down, someone else stepped up. As a coach, you tell your players, you?ve got to prepare as if you?re the first string player and then when the opportunity presents itself, you?re ready for it. That?s part of life and part of football, and I?m proud of the way that our guys stepped up and did everything that they could to help our football team be successful.? --Speaker: Quarterback C.J. Bacher Do you feel as though you were able to prove some people wrong tonight? ?Our goal tonight was to win a football game and we unfortunately weren?t able to get that done. Missouri made one more play than we did and credit them for that. As coach said, this was not a moral victory for us. We came into this season with the goal to win a bowl game, and unfortunately we weren?t able to do that. In terms of the overtime period, Missouri made more plays than we did, and that?s why they are Valero Alamo Bowl Champions.? --Speaker: Running back Tyrell Sutton On coming back from an injury to play in the Valero Alamo Bowl: ?To get the opportunity to get to go back and play with my brothers was great, especially versus it ending after the injury at Indiana. I played my last game with my brothers and I?m happy to say that.?
--Speaker: Northwestern Head Coach, Pat Fitzgerald Opening remarks: ?We are excited to be here. Our week in San Antonio has been phenomenal for our entire football family. We could not be more thankful to Derrick Fox and the entire Valero Alamo Bowl staff and committee, who have been tremendous in their hospitality. It?s been a long month, and we believe that we have done the things consistently to put ourselves in a position to be prepared for the opportunity to play against as good of a football team as we?ve played all year. As we?ve prepared through all of the challenges that Missouri presents, our guys have been focused on football when we need to be focused on football, whether in meetings or in practice, and in a few short hours we?ll have the opportunity to compete. We?re honored to be here and I?m looking forward to the game.? On what it?s like to coach for the school where he played: ?When you first arrive on campus, everyone knows who you are while you?re trying to jog your memory as to who they are. It was a dream come true when Randy Walker interviewed me and offered me the secondary job at Northwestern. I have great respect for the coaches that have been in this profession for a number of years. To have the opportunity to go back to your alma mater at the age of 25 to coach in the Big Ten as an assistant football coach is a dream come true. To go back and have the opportunity to coach the position that I played and to lead those men to be the best they can be is nothing but exciting. The last three years have been very humbling. Initially, it was a very difficult time to deal with the tragedy and to work forward with our men and the Walker family, but in all, it?s very exciting [to be coaching at Northwestern] and its great to be home.? On the toughest decision you?ve had to make in the last three years as a coach and who to go to for coaching advice: ?I think every day presents its own unique and special challenges within a football family. To put my finger on one specific decision that I?ve had to make would diminish some of the other choices that have happened within our program. From a coaching standpoint, I stand upon our great assistant coaches. We work together and challenge each other as well as any coaching group in the country. Outside of our coaching staff, I have a great mentor in Gary Barnett. Whether it?s with our thumbs or by voice, we talk quite frequently. I?ve been very fortunate to be around some tremendous men from a coaching standpoint, including Coach Pinkel. I believe the lessons that I learned from Randy Walker while being an assistant coach under him for five years have molded me into the coach that I am today and prepare us to do the best job we can in developing our players.? On your 1-0 philosophy while preparing for each game of the season in conjunction while being on the verge of a 10-win season: ?Our leadership council has done a great job of refocusing back to our basic approach of being 0-0 every week while aspiring to be 1-0 after each game. It?s a very similar feel to going into your season-opening game, having roughly 15 or so practices to prepare for the opportunity. You want to make sure that your focus and intensity in terms of a sense of urgency are in the right spot as you get closer and closer to game time. It?s our job collectively as a coaching staff to get the team focused, locked in and ready to play against a great opponent. Our approach is the same, it has been consistent and hopefully we?ll be able to play our best game tomorrow night.? On the approach of coaching a team that doesn?t have a large amount of bowl experience: ?I want our guys to take the same approach to this game as we have in our other 12 opportunities this season. There are going to be built-in distractions at a bowl game and we know that. But it?s been an exciting week, especially for our seniors. Our guys understand why we?re here: we have the opportunity to compete against the Big 12 North champion in Missouri. We need to be completely focused and prepared to do that, and our guys will lock it in today for that.? On the game being billed as an offensive shootout: ?[An offensive shootout] reads well and looks good on TV, but at the end of the day it comes down to our teams trying to play their best football on Monday night. This game features have two very high-powered offenses, two very physical and fast defenses and two teams that execute very well in the kicking game. Both teams are very disciplined and have been very successful this season with nine-win seasons in our respective conferences. I think all of that goes out the window when the ball goes in the air and then it?s about two groups of young men competing with everything that they have in them to play their best football of the year.? --Speaker: Missouri Head Coach, Gary Pinkel Opening Remarks: ?Derrick Fox and the committee, the volunteers have made this a great bowl game. San Antonio is a great city. There have been 17 bowl games and this has been one of the best bowls I have been associated with. We are very thankful for that and our families, for our team, and for our staff. What a great presentation. I agree that you get to a point where you want to start playing football. I think both teams are like that and you get that way. That?s the exciting thing about it, we are playing a great Northwestern team. Our ability to focus will ultimately determine how we play with all the distractions that go along with a bowl game. That will determine if we can play our best. It?s my job to get our team focused and ready to play and thus far I have been very pleased with their efforts. They have focused with they needed to focus in meetings and in practice. They have also enjoyed themselves. We are going to lock in here pretty quick and we?re excited about the great opportunity.? On Chase Daniel and what he has meant to the program and his last game: ?We have had that question asked a few times over the last few weeks. As you know it?s not only Chase, it?s all the seniors and all the contributions they have made. I think it?s very typically with you have a quarterback that has had success and we had Brad Smith for a few years that had great success and his role was to help Missouri start winning because we hadn?t won for years. He achieved that and now he?s with the Jets and graduated and did great things. Chase Daniel and his crew, their role was to win at a consistent level and win at a higher level. Chase and I are very close just as I am with a lot of those guys. I?ll miss him. I don?t think I am sorting that in right now, I am so focused on trying to play our best game and making sure our team is ready to play, but certainly I love those guys and Chase. We?ll be close forever. What a remarkable impact they have made to Missouri football. Now they are passing the torch on to another group of guys. I always remind everyone that four years ago nobody knew that (Tight End Chase) Coffman was a two star recruit out of Kansas City; no one knew who he was and Chase Daniel was too small to play at Texas so he came up with us. Tommy Saunders was a walk on. All of a sudden four years later these guys and William Moore and all these others we know. We are thrilled for our seniors. This also for us is a way to honor Aaron O?Neal. We have honored him since his passing a few ago. I put this bracelet on at his funeral and I have had it on ever since. I wanted to wear it till he graduated and this is his year to graduate with his senior class and this would be his last game. I?ll take this off after the game like a lot of our players will. There?s a little bit more than the seniors here, including Aaron O?Neal.? On Chase Daniel being sick earlier this week: ?He?s fine. He?s 100 percent. He?s a warrior you know that. He?s good.? On the senior class? off-field accomplishments and the differences of intensity between this year?s game and last year?s game: ?First of all, the intensity is the same. I don?t think it?s any different. This game is the last game of the year. You want to win the game for many reasons and I don?t think it?s really any different than a year ago as far as preparation intensity and wanting to win and be successful and playing your best. Our whole team and I?m sure Northwestern does the same thing because Pat (Fitzgerald) does a great job, they all do community service all the time. There isn?t a member who hasn?t done community service once, twice, or three times or more in our calendar year. Our seniors lead that and they?re a part of that and how we organize things and how we kind of set up our leadership roles that we have within our football program. All our seniors I think, except like six or seven right now have graduated. I think four or five graduated prior to last Saturday then we?re finishing up our normal class loads. They will all be graduated in May. We?re very proud of that and I think that also says a lot about them, their character and what kind of people they are. I always point out to the younger players to look at the veteran players not only from the football player standpoint, and winning standpoint but also from the academic side too that there?s a reason why we?ve been successful. It?s not just because we have a bunch of great football players and good kids running out there but we?ve had the total type player and those are great role models. They?re great visual aids for our younger player to see and we?ll refer to that and when we had that kind of success I always use that in reference to our younger players so they can hopefully develop and mature the same way. On Northwestern?s coping with Randy Walker?s passing in addition to the proximity of Aaron O?Neil?s death: ?Yes, I know Pat has done a wonderful job. I know in some respects what he went through. I went to the funeral. Randy and I played college ball against each other when I was at Kent State and he was at Miami-Ohio. We got to know each other then a little bit and then I was the head coach at Toledo and he was the head coach at Miami-Ohio and that is when our relationship grew in that way. We had places right across from each other down in Florida; in fact he and Tammy gave us their realtor. We used their realtor and while at the convention, I said that some day we would be sitting at Starbucks talking when we are old and gray, criticizing coaches and media. I remember the day, I was working out at about 5:30 in the morning and I stopped and moved close to the TV and I saw Randy?s picture on the screen, it was very difficult. Him (Fitzgerald) being able to get the team all together and pull through all the dynamics there, we face the same thing in a different way. Randy was a great man, a great football coach and a great father, I can relate to all that because he was a personal friend.?
Missouri Defensive Press Conference December 27, 2008 --Speaker: Missouri Defensive Coordinator, Matt Eberflus On the team?s game preparations thus far: ? It?s been a great week. We?ve had ten great practices, two rookie-type practices back in Missouri and four in the indoor facility. And we?ve had four more since we?ve been here. These guys have worked real hard and they can attest to you that want to to make sure we have great speed, effort and leverage to the football. I?ve really got to hand it to our scout team players, the guys who aren?t normally in the limelight. They did a good job of simulating Northwestern?s offense. It?s been a great week for us.? On whether Northwestern is comparable to any Big 12 team Missouri has played: ?They are similar to our football team in terms of their formations and sets and their tempo of play. And obviously we see those guys in two-a-days and in spring ball so there?s a lot of carry over there. On how Tyrell Sutton being back impacts the defensive game plan: ?Well he?s just an outstanding player. He does a lot of good things. He knows how to run their zone replay really well. He?s really good out of the backfield in terms of catching. He does a great job with their screen package. He?s just another explosive player you have to be aware of.? --Speaker: Missouri Defensive Tackle, Ziggy Hood On how he received the nickname 'Ziggy': ?I got it from my grandmother, who couldn?t pronounce my real name Evander, so she called me by my favorite cartoon character Ziggy.? On the importance of winning the tenth game of the season: ?It probable means more because we have lost four games, but we don?t plan on losing another one. The preparation up to this game has been outstanding. Our coaches have been on us and getting us ready for this game, and the scout team has been performing well. We might as well reward ourselves with a victory and end the season with a tenth win.? On what the biggest obstacle for him and the defensive line will be for the game: ?Staying consistent, and when the big play happens don?t get too down on what happens. We are a good team too and they are on scholarship just like us. They are going to have good plays and we have to control what we do in regards to that play.? On the importance of stopping Tyrell Sutton impact throughout the game: ?He is a big and physical back and runs north and south. He really doesn?t dance too much and that?s what makes him more dangerous than other running backs because he is a hard runner. We definitely have to wrap him up through the hips and around the feet, especially to bring him down on the first tackle.? --Speaker: Missouri Linebacker, Brock Christopher On what he?s learned from watching game film of Northwestern: ?They?re real solid in every aspect of the game like their kicking game and offensively they?re real solid. (Tyrell) Sutton can make a lot of cuts that a lot of backs can?t make. We?ve got to be aware of that as far as keeping leverage on the football and the quarterback runs their offense well.? On having on game to prove their selves: ?I think a lot of guys would say the issue was we expected a lot more out of the defense when the season first started. We didn?t play as well as we wanted to, but 10 wins, there?s not a whole lot of teams in the country that have won 10 games in the last couple years and we realized that and it?s real important to all of us seniors to just go out and finish this and win this last game.? On how San Antonio?s been so far: ?It?s be a lot of fun just coming down with all your friends and being able to hang out, go to practice, get your work done in the morning, and the river walk is real neat. We?ve been hitting it up all week and just hanging out and relaxing.? On playing in four consecutive bowl games: ?It?s real important to us seniors. We?ve been here four or five years and we?ve been 3 and 1 in the last 4 years in bowl games. It?s real important to us.? --Speaker: Missouri Defensive Safety, William Moore About his health this season: ?As far as the rib injury, we have been cautious, but I have got enough physical action in preparation for the game. I have had a couple of other minor issues like an ankle injury, but it is all part of the game. You go out there and play hard and sooner than later I want to go out there and play hard, and try to go out with a win. I want to go out along with the other seniors with a win. I play hard and that is they way the game goes. I try to take care of my body the best I can, it is just part of the game. You start playing some of the best athletes in the nation and they are bigger, and stronger. That is just how it goes.? On the negative perceptions of the Missouri defense: ?I think I can speak for the rest of my guys when I say we go out there each week with the same mental aspect. We go other there and play football the way we know how and we play for each other. When it comes down to it, stats don?t really matter; we just go out there and play, no matter what team we play.? On how hungry Missouri is for this win: ?We are focused and we are hungry. It is great to be a part of this. There are great similarities with our teams and it is going to be a great game. We come hungry. Everyone wants to come out and play there ?A? game.?
Northwestern Offensive Press Conference December 27, 2008 --Speaker: Northwestern Offensive Coordinator, Mick McCall Opening statement: "On behalf of Northwestern and our entire football family we?re just really excited to be part of this Alamo Bowl experience. You probably haven?t even heard of some of our guys cause we?re such a great team. I think it?s really indicative of the type of players and kids we have in our program. We?re really excited to play for the 23 seniors that our leaving us after Monday night." On Tyrelle Sutton?s return from injury and the role he?ll play in the game: ?We?re excited to have him back. Tyrelle meant a lot to us and even though when he went out we went to different people and found other ways to win the football game, it?s awfully nice to have a guy like that that you can get the ball 20-25 times a game. We?re excited to have him back and we?ll let his play speak for itself.? On the development of the offensive line: "Coach Ingalls has done a great job. We?ve had exactly five new starters this year, a couple of redshirt freshman, a senior that moved over from the defense, and a guard that moved over from tackle. It?s still a work in progress, but those guys have done an outstanding job and taken to what we?ve asked them to do. They?re gonna get better and better.? On trying to match the Missouri offense: ?We?re not playing against their offense on the offensive side. We?re going to do the things we need to do and control the tempo. If we execute and do the things we?ve got to do then we feel pretty good. We?ve got a little saying that this game is all about us and it is. Missouri?s a great offense. We give all the kudos to them because they are really, really good. I?ve known some of those coaches and watched them play. We?re going to execute and play our game plan and see what happens.? On whether there was a time throughout the season when the offense started clicking: ?I don?t know if there was a true point where I could say I can mark that down right there. There were small times that C.J. (Bacher) got it, and it started clicking in. He?s a very smart player as all these guys are. They welcomed me in with open arms. They wanted to win and that?s the one thing we tried to change a bit, that it?s all about winning football games. It?s not about how many yards you have or touchdowns you score. That?s the mentality we took into this season and they grasped and took it right along with them.? On Missouri?s defensive abilities: ?They get a tough knock because they are very, very talented. The guys up front are very stout, especially inside. They got a couple of guy outside that can rush the passer, and two linebackers that get after it. Any time you?re playing and scoring a bunch of points and the defense gets hammered you get a lot more opportunities. When you?re playing Oklahoma, Texas and Oklahoma State, those guys are gonna put up some yards and points. Missouri?s defense is very physical and sound and they play with great speed. We?re gonna have to play our best football game to win? --Speaker: Northwestern Running Back, Tyrell Sutton On having to adjust to wearing a wrist brace while playing: ?Getting use to the brace, I?m out there catching balls everyday, blocking like nothing ever happened to my wrist so when I?m out there on the field I?m going to go out there 110 percent and not worry about any injuries and whatever happens, happens.? On being named a starter for Valero Alamo Bowl: ?I didn?t know. I?m just out here just playing, taking the opportunity to be out here with my brothers on the field, and have fun with these guys one last time.? On his rollercoaster experience at Sea World: ?I got on the Atlantis, one of only water ones and I didn?t want to do that in the first place because I knew it looked like a rollercoaster and so I didn?t want to get on it. So they take us up; I?m fine with going up. Then they turn us around and they took us down this little dip and I?m freaking out. I?m like 'Let me off, I don?t want to do this anymore'? and it was seriously the smallest drop. So they take us back up to really go down the slope to where the water is and I?m still freaking out and I couldn?t believe I just did this, and so after we finished they take pictures of it. You see everybody?s hand up. ?Sheed (Rasheed Ward) was right next to me, hands up in the picture and then u see me holding on screaming because I didn?t want to do it then they tried to get me on this ride called the Steal Eel and I was like no because it was long and too many dips so I sat with the parents.? --Speaker: Northwestern Wide Receiver, Rasheed Ward On potential opportunities to exploit Missouri?s secondary struggles: ?Throughout the year the motto has been 'it is all about us', so we want to come out and play our style of football." On the team?s visit to Sea World San Antonio: ?It was great! I had never been there; it was actually my first time. I got on a couple of roller coasters, I tried to get Tyrell on but he was scared. A couple of guys swam with the dolphins but I didn?t." On what concerns him about the Missouri defense from watching game film: ?Just going back to what we said 'it is all about us.' We feel that with the offense we have, we just need to be on point and use our face defense where we just want to cover two." On the one thing that you as a team sees it can take advantage of?: "We feel our receivers can get down the field without any problems as far as the line backers who can re-route them." --Speaker: Northwestern Wide Receiver, Ross Lane On Missouri?s secondary struggles: ?We are going to stick with our offensive plan and take what they give us. We are not going to do anything special just because they are Missouri. It?s about us and as long as we are operating at a high level and completing our passes and executing, it doesn?t matter who we are playing.? On his thoughts on the Big Ten versus Big 12 match-up: ?I think it?s fun for the players to get a chance to play a team like that, one of the better teams from a different conference. One of the top conferences, that is why we play. Everyone has a perception that the Big 12 had a great year and put up a lot of points, and many say the Big Ten had a bad year, but that is their perception. Each conference is its own.? On playing in his final collegiate game: ?I?m just happy to be here with the seniors I have been here with and I want to win. All we care about this year is winning games.? --Speaker: Northwestern Offensive Lineman, Keegan Kennedy On the potential impact of winning for the tenth time this season: ?It would mean a lot, we just want to go out on top. We have a great game plan and have been practicing really hard, we just need to execute, that is all that matters. We just want to go 1-0 on Monday night and we?ll feel great afterwards.? On his transition from defensive line to offensive line: ?Its been a long road. It started in the winter time working extra drills with the offensive linemen. Coach Ingalls, the offensive line coach, has done a great job working with me. Coach (Mick) McCall has done a great job as well. We are a really tight-knit group. We have helped each other out and have grown a lot, and I am starting to feel really comfortable at the guard position.? On the way Coach Fitzgerald runs practice: ?Oh I love it. He is in your face, talking trash to you. Its great, the energy he brings helps the practice run so much better. He is only 34 years old and played 12 years ago.? On the development of the offensive line over the season: ?A lot of people stepped up. Injuries on the line caused it to get shuffled around and Doug Bartels, redshirt freshman, stepped up at right guard. Ben Burkett, our center, has done a great job learning all the calls. Desmond Taylor moved from right guard to right tackle. A lot of people stepped up and really bought into the game plan.?
--Speaker: Northwestern Defensive Coordinator, Mike Hankwitz On trying to defend Mizzou?s attack: ?We?ve faced the spread in the Big Ten but every spread is a little different and Missouri presents some new challenges. Not only they have great talent in a veteran quarterback in Chase Daniel, who completes 74 percent of his passes and with quys like Maclin and Coffman and Alexander to throw to, he?s got great weapons and I think their strength is his experience, finding the receivers, getting rid of the ball. He also has the ability to scramble, what I think is lost in all their statistics and their running attack, they?re a little different then some of the teams we?ve played. They like to pull at people, create extra gaps in your defense. We?re going to have to be at our best to stop that. We?re going have to just mix up our coverages, try to get our hands on footballs, and create some bad plays for them. They don?t give you a lot of things; we?re going to have to make those things happen." On a certain game where the team was coming together and he saw their potential: "I think the key to our season has been the consistent improvement but I thought in the Duke game we had to make stops at the end to win the game. The way we kept fighting; same thing at Iowa. Iowa had first at goal I believe at the six and yet I had extreme confidence in our ability to stop them. Our players came up with the plays and made the stops. I think that?s one of the things I?m most proud of this group is the competitiveness, the fighting attitude. We?re going to fight til the end, try to come out on top and we?ve come out on top in a heck of a lot of games and that?s going to take our best effort that way this game. We tried to instill the attitude from the beginning that the whole key was going to be improvement the whole season from week to week, day to day and I saw that and hopefully that continues through this game." On Missouri being the most potent offense Northwestern has faced: ?If there was another one more potent I can?t remember it. Yes, from a yardage standpoint and a point standpoint. It?s just impressive. I actually had more hair and I didn?t have any gray before I started watching Missouri but no, they are very potent offense but our guys like challenges and we?re excited. We?re here to play them and we're looking forward to the match up.? On primary thing to be focused on facing Missouri: ?Trying not to give them anything cheap, not trying to throw it over our head and make big chunks of yards in one play or give them a cheap touchdown, try to make them earn everything. That's kind of an old coaching axiom but you must do that in this game because they?re potent enough as it is, we can?t let them get the cheap touchdowns by throwing it over our head. That would be one of the top things we have to do.? On worrying about the risk of an aggressive defense: ?We know it?s a tradeoff but a lot of our sacks came in zone blitzes and we had another number of them coming in just four man rushes where we weren?t just all out blitzing and leaving our secondary hanging out to dry. We try to pick our spots, mix it up, and the zone blitz package has been very effective for us. It's a little bit harder to zone blitz a team like Missouri because they are so much empty and you?ve only got three quick receiver threats. It's a little easier to zone blitz and match up with things but they give you the five quick receivers and their empty look and it?s harder to do that but we?ll still mix them in there and pick our spots.? On Kevin?s (Mims) technique that really helps him fulfill his potential: ?We have a saying that you?re only as good as you?re technique because you?re going to play against people of equal ability, sometimes better ability. They?re going to have equal desire but it?s the technique that you utilize that?s going to make the difference between making the play and them making the play and I think our players have bought into the improvement and working on technique, but (Kevin) is one of the best students of the game; understands what he needs to do. He maximizes his ability by using great technique by being consistent, by keying, and that?s why the players refer to him that way. One of the best forms of leadership is by example and when you?ve got guys working like that and studying like him, Brad (Phillips) and John (Gill) and Corey (Wooton) do then the young players see that and it helps set an example of what they need to learn who to do to become successful." On what was intriguing about this coaching job: "I was super impressed with Coach Fitz (Fitzgerald) and his passion for Northwestern, the approach he takes with his team, the way he leads it, the way he disciplines them. The family atmosphere is the thing that?s been probably as gratifying as anything. We have a great team attitude and a great chemistry offensively, defensively, coaches, players, and its just been a very joyous year of coaching and a very gratifying year. I talked to Coach (Gary) Barnett when I knew they had an opening at Northwestern and he said you?d love it there. People are tremendous. They?re great and the players are great and as I talked to Coach Fitz, I just felt very good about the future of Northwestern football and where it was headed and I felt like I had a chance to contribute and be apart of it and everything I felt at the time has more than come true." --Speaker: Northwestern Safety, Brad Phillips On key to stopping or slowing Missouri?s offense: ?Listening to Coach Hank. Executing our game plan, being in the right place at the right time, making plays we?re capable of playing just like we?ve been doing all year." --Speaker: Northwestern Defensive End, Kevin Mims On importance of a bowl win for Northwestern program: ?There?s a great group of guys playing on this defense, playing on this team and we really look at it as the best team environment we?ve had since we?ve been here. So getting win number 10 for this season would be incredibly important, but just having one last opportunity to play with these guys on this team is the real value of this game. To get this program where we want it to go, getting a tenth win will be important and getting the first bowl win since ?49. I think in order for this program to keep building, we need to use this games as a springboard for next season." On returning to Texas and who?s coming to watch: ?The number?s probably going to be around 50 to 60 people coming to watch, coming over from Houston. I played my first game of my senior year of high school in the Alamodome and now it?s kind of coming back full circle. It?s pretty fun pulling up to the Alamodome yesterday for practice, we had pictures taken out front which brought back memories. It?s a lot of fun just getting to come here with a new set of guys.? --Speaker: Defensive End Corey Wooton On the risk with having a very aggressive defense: ?There?s always a risk but Coach Hank is the one who worries about that risk and we just do whatever he says. We just stick to the game plan and just do the best we can to be able to get after the quarterback, and we?ve had pretty good success doing that.? On what 10 wins would do for ur football team for next season: ?It would be great. Like John (Gill) and them said up there it would set a mark for teams to come. It would set a precedent to say that we?re a program that?s going to win from now on. We?ve got a lot of young guys playing this year. I think the majority of our defense would be coming back next year, same with the offense. We?ve got a young offensive line. The tradition should be that we continue along, keep getting wins and keep getting to bowl games.? On the opportunity the Valero Alamo Bowl gives to make a statement on a national stage: ?It?s a great opportunity. They have one of the most prolific offenses in the country. Chase Daniels, Jeremy Maclin, Chase Coffman they are great offensive players. It will be the greatest challenge we?ve faced all year. We just want to be out there and prove that we can play with anybody in the country.? --Speaker: Defensive Tackle John Gill On the imporatance of their two-game winning streak and getting to 10 wins: ?Incredibly important to get to ten wins like Kevin (Mims) said. We just want to have a springboard into next season. This is a really special group of seniors. We want to leave our mark here. Ten wins, not many teams have had ten wins and it?s been a really long time since we?ve won a bowl game so doing both those things would really help. On how Coach Hankwitz has coached this season and his first impressions of the defensive coordinator: ?He?s done such an incredible job. He knows what he?s doing, obviously. He comes up with great schemes, he puts us all in the right positions to make plays and we all love his coaching style. He likes to have fun but he?s serious when he needs to be. We all love the kind of defense he runs. It?s aggressive and lets us makes plays. And the stats show how much we?ve improved.
--Speaker: Missouri Offensive Coordinator, Dave Christensen About the preparations for the bowl game: ?Practice has been going very well for us. We had our last padded one today. We'll be in just helmets tomorrow. I think we had three really good days of work down here. We had good preparation in Columbia before coming down. Our team is extremely excited about the prospect of playing Northwestern and are looking forward to Monday evening." About Northwestern: "They are a little different than most defenses we see in the Big 12 Conference. They're not as heavy of a blitzing team at this time, about 16 percent on the season. They are a very sound defense technique-wise, assignnment-wise. They do a great of keeping everything in front of them and not getting out of their gaps and not making mistakes alignment-wise, coverage-wise. They don't have many blown assignments. They're very, very disciplined, very physical and I know the guys up front are very, vert stout. Their linebackers run well. Their secondary are very athletic. They're just a little bit different than what we see on a week-to-week basis in the Big 12 Conference." --Speaker: Missouri Quarterback Chase Daniel On playing with teammates the caliber of Jeremy Maclin and Derrick Washington: ?It's awesome. They are one of the top two playmakers in the nation. It defintely helps me out and makes me look like a better player. With J Mac, his speed is the first thing that comes to mind and his vision. With D Wash, his vision as well. He's not even worrying about the person in front of him making him miss he's worried about the guy farther down the field and what he's going to do about that. I think he set the record for most touchdowns by a running back in Missouri history for a season. He lead the nation in scoring at one point so it makes my job a lot easier." On winning 10 games and recording back to back 10 win seasons for first time in school history: "It's definitely something we want. It's a goal we set. Coach Pinkel has always told us if you win 10 games you are among the elite in the nation. Missouri has never won back-to-back 10 win seasons before and also if we win this we'll have averaged 10 wins the past three seasons. It's definitely something we want to get done and something we have been working toward." On how a win would erase the disappointment of last two games: "We want to go out on top, especially the seniors and the coaching staff. Obviously Coach C is leaving after this game as well and just making everyone happy especially ourselves. We felt some disappointment the last two games and we don't want to feel that again. We just have to go out there and execute the offense, execute the defense, execute the special teams and put all three phases together and hopefully come out with a big win." On Northwestern's aggressiveness on defense: "As Coach C said, they're coming 15 percent of the time and that's nothing compared to what we see in the Big 12 and the type of blitzing we see in the Big 12. But I think they are very physical up front with aggressive schemes. They switch the lines on passing downs to get to the quarterback and lead their conference in sacks with around 2.5 which is a lot. They are a really good defense and only allowing 360 yards per game or something like that so we have to play our best game. We can't get caught up in numbers we just have to execute the offense." On finishing his career in Texas: "It's something that I like to do and obviously I have a lot of family down here just as every other Texas player is going to have. It's an exciting time. I have played in this stadium a lot so I'm familiar with it and hopefully just come out with a win." --Speaker: Missouri Tight End Chase Coffman On establishing a bowl tradition at Missouri and the string of three straight bowl games with 38 points: "We're trying to put up as many points as we can each game. As far as the bowls go, that is what you aim for each year. Get as many wins as possible and get to the best bowl game possible. If you go to bowls consistently, your program gets better, you get better recruits coming in. All around for the program it's positive stuff." On how the program would benefit from a 10-win season: ?Just getting more media coverage and getting your name out there more for everyone else to hear. It brings more attention to the program. That?s how you get recruits and money donated to the program. Just get that name out there in a positive way so you can get better and better each year.? On Missouri?s improvement during his career: ?It?s been great. That?s what we?ve all dreamed. We?ve pretty much all come from winning programs in high school and we try to keep it going. Every year we?ve won more games and hopefully they?ll be able to do it after we (the seniors) leave.? On how his team has enjoyed San Antonio: ?We?ve definitely had a great time. It?s a great experience as a team just to get to hang out with your teammates. They?ve got a lot of great events and here and the Riverwalk is great. Our hotel is attached to a mall, movie theatre, IMAX. Today we?re going to Sea World. They?ve got a lot of stuff lined up for us and we?re having a good time.? --Speaker: Missouri Wide Receiver Jeremy Maclin On his personal goals for the bowl game: "Just go out with a win. We haven't played up to our potential the last two games. With all of the stuff that is going around with coaches moving, players, seniors leaving just go out on top nobody wants to end the season with a three game losing streak and that 10th win would definitely mean a lot to us this season." --Speaker: Missouri Running Back Derrick Washington On continuing the strong of good outings in bowl games by Mizzou running backs: "For the past two years, Tony has set the standards high for the running backs in bowl games. He came out and competed great and for me to come out this year I'm really looking forward to this. When I get the ball in my hands I try to make the best of it because it might be my last carry, it might be my only carry but if I get the ball I trying to do what I can. You know the lineman are going to do their job regardless and that's just better for me." --Speaker: Missouri Offensive Lineman, Kurtis Gregory: On the offensive line being the unsung hero of Missouri?s offense: ?When we?re getting our job done and they?re getting their awards I feel like we get a part of it too because if we weren?t doing our job they wouldn?t be doing what they?re doing. You always want to go out there and do your best. Bottom line we?re blocking for Chase (Daniel) and opening holes for Derrick (Washington). Bottom line for us is we?ve got to get our job done. If someone hits Chase that?s bad, so that?s our goal to not let anyone touch him and open holes for Derrick.? On Missouri?s focus offensively facing Northwestern: ?We always say first down first. It seems like if we can get a first down it just makes things easier, takes the stress off and gets things rolling. What we get to rolling we feel real comfortable. I just like how we get the ball away quickly, especially on our three-step drops. If you play a really aggressive team it feels like you don?t have to block anybody and the ball is away. It?s so fast.? --Speaker: Missouri Kicker, Jeff Woffert: On the prospect of being only the second kicker to win the Valero Alamo Bowl?s Offensive MVP recipient: ?If I?m put in a situation to make some important kicks I?d like to come through with them. Obviously, the chances are pretty slim I?d be an MVP selection. It would probably be someone on our offense.? On what it is like to be a part of prolific offense like Missouri?s offense: ?It?s a lot of fun. It?s a very good opportunity to play with some of the players that I?m playing with now. We score a lot of points and we?re in scoring range a lot so I?ve got to be on my toes, ready to go all the time. Nine times out of ten we?re going into the endzone instead of kicking, but I?ve still got to be ready.?
--Speaker: Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald On Northwestern?s second practice in San Antonio: ?Number 1 to be back in our game week, our typical Tuesday practice. It?s a physical day for us. Always focused and always mental from a standpoint of getting prepared, but this is one of our more physical practices for game week and I thought we did a good job.? On 70 degree weather in San Antonio: ?This is country club weather now. This is beautiful for us and to be here is a tremendous opportunity for our football team. It?s funny this morning when the fog broke and the sun came out it was a thing of beauty for us.? On practicing Christmas Day in the Alamodome: ?It?s good. We?ve only played in one dome this year so to get in and get a lay of the land. We?ve never been in the Alamodome, not one young man in this program has been in there, me included. So to get in there and get the feel for the facility and actually go through a practice, more than just a walkthrough, is something I felt was important. Being Christmas Day we wanted to do something different to change up the tempo and change up the venue. I know the guys are excited to go in there tomorrow.? --Speaker: Northwestern Linebacker Prince Kwateng On physical intensity of Wednesday?s practice: ?There was some hitting going on. We pride ourselves in trying to be physical and Monday will be a great chance for us.? On Northwestern being the underdog in the Valero Alamo Bowl: ?I feel like we?re always underdogs. That?s our mentality. We just want to go 1-0 every week. We can only focus on what we can control. We can?t control what anyone else says about us or thinks about us. It much more important for us to focus on what we need to do to go 1-0.? On what Northwestern needs to do to defeat Missouri: ?Just contain the passes and don?t give up any big plays. Just read our keys and focus. Just attack on offense and attack on defense.? On practicing Christmas Day in the Alamodome: ?I?ve never been inside the Alamodome. It?s a great opportunity for us. Everybody?s really excited to get in there. It?s a privilege to be down here.? --Speaker: Northwestern Running Back Tyrell Sutton On how he?s feeling in practice in regards to his injured wrist: ?It?s great to be back out here with my teammates. It?s been a long six weeks not practicing with them, but to be back out here with the guys is terrific. Everything is fine. Some of the guys don?t want to hit me in (his wrist), but I tell them all the time if I?m out here just treat me like I?m as healthy as can be. Missouri's not going to take it easy on us so there?s no sense beating around the bush about it. Might as well get acclimated to the pain.?
--Speaker: Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel On 70 degree weather in San Antonio: ?It?s lovely weather. We came from unusually cold, single digit weather the last four or five days so we?re excited about being here. We had a very good practice. I thought players worked hard and that?s what we really want to do is practice hard, we want to make sure our meetings are very focused and have a good time the rest of the day and zero in at the end of the week.? On his impressions of #20 Northwestern: ?I think they?re a very well coached football team. They?re very disciplined. To win nine games in the Big Ten that?s a huge statement and I think they?re a very hungry team too. They?re very talented so it?s one of those kinds of games where you?ve got to keep mistakes at a minimum. The kicking game is going to be important and we?re going to have to play well to win.? On what he expects from injured Northwestern running back Tyrell Sutton: ?I expect he?ll be back. He has great quickness and he?s a tough runner. They use him a lot of different way. He?s probably one of the top running backs we?ve faced for sure. You?re not going to stop him. You?ve got to contain him the best you can.? On the Valero Alamo Bowl being Tight End Chase Coffman?s last game as Tigers: ?I can go down the list with all the seniors, but Chase Coffman is one of those guys I have tremendous respect for. I don?t care what the score is, I don?t care what the weather is, any conditions at all it really does not matter to him. He plays at the highest level at all times and that?s probably the greatest compliment we could have for any player. Obviously, winning the Mackey Award being kind of the national Heisman for tight ends, I?m very, very proud of him for that and for being first team All-American. He?ll play well because he always does. That?s just the way he is and how mature he is. He?s also a great leader for our football team.? --Speaker: Missouri Quarterback Chase Daniel On Missouri?s first practice in San Antonio: ?We had a great practice today. It was great to come out here and compete and get after it a little bit and just have some fun. That?s what the main point of this bowl is to have fun, but when its time to work you know, we want to have great practices.? On his impressions of Northwestern: ?They?re a great defense. They keep everything in front of them. They try to pressure you into different situations so they?re a great team. There?s a reason why they won nine games in a tough league like the Big Ten so we?re excited about playing them.? On returning to Texas to play in the Valero Alamo Bowl: ?It?s great to be back here in the state of Texas. I finally got some good Mexican food last night for the first time in a while. I?m excited about it. I?ve got a lot of family coming so that?s good too.? On his team?s focus leading up to the game: ?We definitely want to win 10 games. It?s a great vacation for us, but I?m treating it like a business trip and so is the team. We?ve got to go out and execute on offense, defense and special teams all together and come away with a win.?
--Speaker: Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald About weather in San Antonio: ?After leaving Chicago (in minus 5 degree conditions) we couldn?t ask for anything better. On first practice in San Antonio: ?It went great. Obviously the facility (Trinity University) here is great. It?s a great place for us to train and prepare for the tough opportunity we have against Missouri.? On his impressions of Missouri since team announcement: ?I?m not any more pleased than I was the last time we visited. Obviously they?re very explosive offensively and in the kicking game they?re physical and fast. (Jeremy) Maclin is an All-American punt returner. Defensively they?re very sound, very aggressive and very physical. There?s a reason they?re the Big 12 North Champs. It will be a great challenge for us and we?re doing our part to get prepared.? On his team?s focus in San Antonio: ?Like every game it?s a business trip and it starts with the way you come down with your attitude and the way that you work throughout the week. We?ll have fun at the events throughout the week and our guys will enjoy the (San Antonio Spurs) game tonight.? On his injured players progress in practices: ?Maybe initially when Tyrell (Sutton) came back he had a little rust. This is I think his fifth practice now or his fourth practice so he?s getting a little bit better. Every day he?s getting a little more confident and every day we?re getting him in better shape. We?ve added some quality depth with guys going down. We?re still missing a lot of key components and I think that?s what is so impressive about our football team this year is our ability to persevere and fight through those injures.? --Speaker: Northwestern Defensive End Corey Wootton About how the team?s first practice went: ?It went well. It was more of a mental day. Just getting the jist of things, getting the play calls down and getting communication.? On his impressions of Missouri?s offense: ?They?re great players. Chase Daniel is an amazing quarterback. Jeremy Maclin is an explosive receiver. They have guys like (Tommy) Saunders who is a great receiver and (Tight End Chase) Coffman. They?re a really dynamic offense. They bring a lot to the table so it will be a challenge for us.? On what impresses his most about Missouri: ?Just how quick they get the ball out. They do a lot of three-step drops which keeps defenses from getting a lot of pressure on them. A big thing for us will to get our hands up and get our hands in the passing lanes.? On his team?s focus: ?We came here to win. We want to have fun while we?re here, but we came here to win.? --Speaker: Northwestern Wide Receiver Eric Peterman On how Northwestern?s first practice went: ?It went well. Trinity is a great location and it?s a great field. We?re just happy to be in San Antonio.? On weather in San Antonio: ?We?re used to this weather. We?ve walked around in it. In Chicago there?s actually a lot more snow and a lot colder so this is great weather for us. Compared to what we?ve been in the last couple of weeks with four or five inches of snow and just the other day it was in the negative degrees so it?s definitely tropical here compared to that. It?s like two different worlds how this can be winter to some people and tropical to somebody else.? On his impressions of Missouri?s defense: ?They have good d-linemen who are going to get upfield and get to the quarterback so we know we?re going to have to throw some quick routes. In the secondary they have great athletes too. Even though some people have put up numbers against them, they?re still a good defense. I think it?s just a product of the Big 12. There are some great offenses in the Big 12 and their numbers are lower than what their talent shows on the field.? --Speaker: Northwestern Quarterback C.J. Bacher About weather in San Antonio: ?It was a perfect day for practice. You couldn?t ask for a better temperature when you?re running around.? On Northwestern?s focus: ?We?re focusing each day on getting better and dealing with what we need to do each day to come out on top.? On his impressions of Missouri?s defense: ?They?re very fast and athletic and they?ve got a ton of playmakers who are always around the ball. We?re going to have our hands full, but we?ve got to focus on ourselves and executing our plays.? --Speaker: Northwestern Running Back Tyrell Sutton About weather in San Antonio: ?It?s a lot warmer than it is in Chicago so it felt great. This is cold? This is perfect football weather for us. We?ve been (practicing) inside for a while now so it feels good to be back outside. On how the team?s first practice in San Antonio went: ?It went good. It was a short practice. It was to kind of to get us back in the swing of things. Tomorrow we go back to hitting and the basics.? On what he has seen while watching Missouri game film: ?They?re very fast. They have a great group of defensive players who just go out there and fly to the ball. They do a lot scheme wise, but when they do they?re coming for us.?
Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel
On his team?s hectic day traveling to San Antonio: ?
Well, we had a little adversity getting here because of the road conditions in Columbia. We had to fly to St. Louis. We?re excited to be here. It?s been unusually cold in Missouri and we?re very excited about not only being here for the bowl game, but also being here in San Antonio. We?ll have a good time and enjoy the weather.? On playing #20 Northwestern: ?We?re excited about playing Northwestern. They?re very strong team. They?re good in every area.? On his team?s excitement about playing in San Antonio: ?We're happy to be in San Antonio. I?ve been here before for conventions and San Antonio does things right. The Alamo Bowl does things right. The weather here right now is a lot nicer than Missouri. So we?re excited about having a good time and we?re playing a big game.? --Speaker: Missouri Quarterback Chase Daniel On the matchup between #23 Missouri and #20 Northwestern: ?Two great teams going at it. Two teams going for their tenth win. If you win 10 games in college football these days you?re pretty good.? On returning to San Antonio to play in the Valero Alamo Bowl: ?I?ve been here (San Antonio) quite a few times. It?s fun. It?s a cool town with the Riverwalk. We went down to the mall a little earlier and saw that. The hotel is real nice. The accommodations are awesome. The Alamo Bowl staff does an awesome job. We?re excited about this bowl.?
--Speaker: Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald About excitement upon reaching San Antonio: ?Based on leaving (Evanston) at minus 5 degrees this morning we?re ecstatic, but more importantly for the opportunity to represent our university,? Fitzgerald said. ?For 23 great seniors it?s their last game. We play a great Missouri team and it?s going to be a great challenge for us." About trip to San Antonio being a business trip: ?I think you can see by the way we?re dressed we?re here for business and its going to be a great challenge like I said, but we?re excited for this opportunity and excited to be in san Antonio.? About challenge Missouri presents: ?It?s a huge challenge. (Missouri is) the Big 12 North champs. The explosiveness they have on offense, the skill they have on defense, and the kicking game. This should be our stiffest challenge of the year.? On what he notices about Missouri: ?Number 1, their consistency. They have been able to score points on everybody and move the ball on everybody. Defensively their ability to take the ability has been impressive. They?ve had a few a few speed bumps here lately against Kansas and Oklahoma, but pretty consistent throughout the course of the year. ?Jeremy Maclin is not only a great receiver, but a great kick returner so there is a lot that we?ve picked up on, but our focus has really been ourselves and what we?re going to need to play our best football in our game of the year this Monday.? On weather in San Antonio: ?I saw 40 (degrees) when we got down here and when we got off the plane it felt great. I think its supposed to be in the high 70s here on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It will be nice.? On Tyrell Sutton and his hand injury: ?He?s doing great. He?s listed as probably now. He went though the last three or four practices we had. He?s shaking the rust off a little bit; getting his timing back with our offense.? On This team?s focus leading up to the 2008 Valero Alamo Bowl: ?Number 1, focus on what we need to do on the practice field and then have fun when we?re not on the field or in meetings and to enjoy this opportunity together. There are a lot of teams watching us play and getting ready to watch us play. We?ve got a great opportunity to represent our university and the Big Ten Conference against a great opponent in Missouri.? --Speaker: Northwestern Quarterback C.J. Bacher On excitement upon reaching San Antonio: ?It?s nice to be here. We?re happy to be in the (Valero) Alamo Bowl. We couldn?t wait to get down here to San Antonio.? On what he has picked up while watching game film of Missouri: ?They?re fast and athletic so we definitely have our hands full.? On his impressions of San Antonio: ?This morning in Chicago it was about negative 2 or negative 3 so it?s very nice down here. I?ve never been to San Antonio. I?ve been in Texas twice, El Paso once and Houston once. I?ve heard its great here on the Riverwalk. There?s a lot of activities and a lot to do.? --Speaker: Northwestern Running Back Tyrell Sutton On how his injured hand is doing: ?It?s doing good. I?m ready to play. I?m 110 (percent). Whenever I?m out there on the field nothing really matters.? On how it has been having to sit out since Oct 25: ?It?s been a hard time. It?s been very humbling and a very easy road back to healthiness. On his team?s studying of Missouri on film: ?That was one of our advantages with Missouri still being in school and us being out. They were still doing finals while we were practicing and breaking down film a lot. It?s like going back to the first game of the season when we had a lot of advantage to break down film and come and do things right on the practice field.? On his first time in San Antonio: ?The closest I?ve been to here is in El Paso. This is the furthest south I?ve ever been and I hope it?s going to be a good trip.?
--Speaker: Derrick Fox, Valero Alamo Bowl President/CEO About Northwestern and Missouri in the 2008 Valero Alamo Bowl: ?On behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl, we?re thrilled to have this match up between Northwestern and Missouri in the 2008 Valero Alamo Bowl. And we?ve got two nationally-ranked programs, two teams going after a tenth win, and I guarantee you, we?re going to have a great, great match up come December 29th." --Speaker: Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel Opening Statement: "Well certainly, we?re honored to be a part of this 2008 Alamo Bowl. We?re playing a great team in Northwestern. I should congratulate Pat, which I did personally, for being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday night. I was a part of that, and what a remarkable and great honor that is. We?re excited about playing this game. We?re excited about the opportunity. Both teams are 9-3, both teams want to win ten games, I think we?re singing the same song on both sides of the fence. Certainly, we?re excited to be here. I told my players, and they?re very well aware, of San Antonio. They know it?s a great bowl. It?s a great city, and a combination of both those things, we?re thrilled to be a part of it." On recruitng in Texas: "Well, this was a win-win for us in many ways. The one is certainly, the state of Texas is a priority in our recruiting. We?ve got 28 players from the state of Texas on our team. We have eight starters, several others that play quite a bit. Other than the state of Missouri, it is where we go down and recruit the highest level of student-athletes in the country. We?re excited about being here. This is where we spend a lot of our time. The coaches in the area, inviting them to practices, as I?m sure Northwestern will do, I think it?s just a win-win for all the families and all involved. On building a winning tradition at Missouri: "I think you develop a great closeness with your seniors, as Pat mentioned earlier, too, they?re the leadership of your team. A lot of those guys are the guys that had a lot of choices to go a lot of different places, and for us, they came to Missouri. These guys, for our seniors, will be four straight years in a bowl, and five out of the last six years for our program. So we?re certainly making progress. All of our seniors have graduated. All 22 will graduate this December or May, so all 22 seniors. We?re very proud of them for that. They?ve had great leadership, and I?m excited for them for this opportunity. I think the consistency of winning?s really what defines a program to begin with, and then you want to continue to win at a higher level. So this is a part of the process of building our program and playing in this great bowl game." On opinion of need for a college football playoff system "I have my opinion. You may not like it, but I?ll give it to you. I think college football is very unique. One of the great things of college football is every single week the national championship?s on the line like no other sport. I think college football right now is more popular, makes more money, has more fan base than in the history of our sport. I think the first thing you have to suggest is why would you change that. I like the BCS system. I have no idea what Pat thinks about this, and we?ll hear that in a minute, but I?m of the plus one theory. You maintain the bowls, you maintain all of the BCS bowls, one plays four, two plays three, and the goal is to get in the top four, and then you have one more game. To me, you maintain the integrity of college football, and every single week, the national championship being on the line, so you maintain that and you still have a goal to be in the top four." On need for change to Big 12 tiebreaker rule "As y?all know, we had some great teams in the Big 12, probably the South has as good a numbers there, maybe like the perfect storm, as you?ll probably ever have. I think what we will do as coaches and athletic directors is we?ll revisit that in May and figure out what the best way is. And if the best way is currently, we?ll stick with it. I think we?ll kind of visit it and maybe decide to go another way. We?ll wait and see." On Missouri receiver Jeremy Maclin taking tight end Chase Coffman as his guest to the College Football Awards Show in Orlando, Fla.: "Jeremy Maclin is up for the Biletnekoff Award tonight in Orlando at the College Football Award Show and he came in our office at the beginning of the week and said he wanted to take Chase Coffman with him and I have never heard of that before. Generally you take your parents with you, which and he will do. He has very limited tickets to it. We had to find out NCAA wise if he could do that or not, which we always have to do and we find out he could take him. It?s a huge statement for Jeremy Maclin and what kind of person he is, how caring he is. He?s a team player. He has all this light shining on him he certainly wanted to bring his teammate with him and have him be a part of it. I think that?s a great statement for Jeremy and his character." On influence the presitigious Missouri journalism school has on Missouri's football program and on Valero Alamo Bowl being billed the Journalism School battle: "We?re very proud of journalism school. I was fortunate that over our bye week in September I was invited to Bristol, Connecticut and did some interviews at the ESPN facility. I think they have 21, or 22 people on that site that are graduates from the j school at the University of Missouri. I came away from that with the remarkable pride that they have in where they went to school, where they graduated. It was overwhelming to me. We had a luncheon with all these journalists and Missouri graduates and I was very impressed. I?ve always had great respect for the journalism school, but I was very impressed with how much pride they have in the University of Missouri and the journalism school." On what Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald has accomplished as his young age: "It?s amazing. This guy has a great reputation as you know. We talked about him being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was obviously a great player at Northwestern and won a Big Ten championship. He?s very well respected. He?s done a remarkable job in a few years of continuing to build that program. I?m a little envious that he?s that young and it took me longer to get to this spot. It?s a very well coached football team. I haven?t seen a lot of film. I got a chance to see just a little bit the other day. As you well know we just finished last week and we?ve been out recruiting and been in New York, but I know they play great defense. I know they?re well coached, they?re very disciplined, They?re very physical and tough and that comes from his personality and what he?s about. It?s going to be our challenge to. He?s been very kind to the Un of Missouri, but in the Big Ten if you?re 9-3, guess what, you?re really good. So he?s done a great job." --Speaker: Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald Opening Statement: "We are genuinely excited to be here. Derrick, thank you very much. Mike, thank you. Jennifer, I?d like to express our thoughts and our prayers from our entire football program at Northwestern University to you and your entire family. This is an exciting time for Northwestern Football. To be here with nine wins, to represent the Big 10 Football conference, and the Valero Alamo Bowl, is a tremendous opportunity for our football program. When the word came down that this was going to be the opportunity, our young men were ecstatic, very excited, and then very disappointed that we had to play a great team in Missouri, but it?s amazing how the gamut can change in emotion. It?s gonna be an obviously huge challenge for us, to win nine games in the Big 10, shows the kind of team that we have. We had to persevere. We have ten kids from Texas on our roster. To have their families come down and enjoy San Antonio, our 23 seniors, one last opportunity to be a part of our football family, we couldn?t ask for a better opportunity, but it?s going to be a huge challenge against a great football team, and we?re very much looking forward to it." On which Big Ten team Missouri reminds him of: "I have seen a little bit of film. I haven?t seen enough to be very educated in my response. I?ve watched coach?s team on special teams primarily, and great skill, great speed, very tough, very physical. The amount of different number jerseys you see in their special teams shows a commitment by coach and his staff to play very sound and aggressive in the kicking game. From our standpoint, there?s a lot of similarities now in college football. Back when a neck-roll guy like myself played in the Big 10, it was four yards and a cloud of dust. And now we?re all in this spread offense, and we all have our own personalities based on our coordinators and how we look to attack defenses as head football coaches. The spread is definitely in vogue, it?s really changed the landscape of college football, and we?ll see two spread offenses on the 29th in prime time to a national television audience. It should be very entertaining." On preparing for Missouri: "It?s going to be a great challenge, there?s no question about that. The similarities in our offenses, both being in the gun spread, will give us an opportunity hopefully to have solid practices, great preparation to prepare for the opportunity. We?ve seen some similar teams, just going back the last month of our season, the last four games. Illinois, a common opponent for the both of us, runs a similar offense, Ohio St., Minnesota, Michigan, so we?ve seen similarities to what we?ve seen in the past, but it?s going to be a huge challenge, though, based on the personnel that Missouri has and the talent they have offensively." On need for a college football playoff system: "From a playoff standpoint, I look at it from a student-athlete perspective, and if we were to institute a playoff currently, we would probably have some games these next two weeks when we?re in the midst of finals for our student-athletes, and I?m not quite sure how we would do that. So from a planning standpoint to make that change, I?m not quite sure exactly the direction that we?ll go. From a Chicagoan, a young man that dreamed of playing in bowl games, and as part of the Big 10 conference, you look at the cities that are impacted, you look at all the young men that get to go to play in bowl games, and the fans, and the tradition that are accompanied with the bowl system, I think that would be very hard to replace and to change, and for our league, the Big 10 championship is on the line every single week. There is no championship game in our league, so every game is for the championship. I think if we were to change the structure that we currently have, it would make it a huge, systemic change, not only for the national landscape, but also for the Big 10 conference. I?m fully in support of the BCS system and the bowl games. The plus one and all that, I haven?t done enough research, coach, to understand that. This is my first bowl game as a head coach. You?ll have to excuse me from being na?ve. At the end of the day, I believe in the system that we currently have and I think it?s great. It?s a win-win. It?s a win for the conferences, and it?s a win for the student athletes." On influence the presitigious Northwestern journalism school has on Northwestern's football program and on Valero Alamo Bowl being billed the Journalism School battle: "From being in New York and Gary was there. It?s the mecca of media in New York and all the reporters that we had there when I was at the Hall of Fame, it was made crystal clear the expectations that our journalism grads have. There?s the power of the pen, the internet and TV camera. They made sure to point it out crystal clear the challenges that they have internally in their offices. I think Mike Greenberg called it the Journalism Bowl. I?m not sure what he called it. But it?s a great opportunity, I don?t want to speak for Gary, but for both our programs. 10 wins means your season goes from good to great and to have that opportunity for both our teams it will show everyone in San Antonio and everyone here with the Valero Alamo Bowl how important this game is for both our programs and it?s going to be a great challenge for us and we?re looking forward to it. If our fans can have a little more fun with it I think that makes it even more special." On the impact former Northwestern and Colorado Head Coach Gary Barnett had on his career: "I think back to, first of all when he came into my living room in 1993 and gave me the opportunity to attend Northwestern. I wouldn?t be here today if he didn?t find a stiff guy that thought he could make a few tackles for him and have the opportunity to earn a Northwestern education. I?ll be forever indebted to him for that opportunity. Then to be under his leadership and have him give me an opportunity to be on his coaching staff at the University of Colorado was just very enlightening. It was a great opportunity for me to grow and learn. He?s very close, he?s a very close friend. I think there?s some storylines there with him being a Missouri grad. We are quite close. We talk quite frequently, more with text messengers now, but we still talk quite a bit. He?s a close friend, mentor and just a tremendous person." On how he acclimated himself to becoming a head coach upon the sudden death of his predecessor Randy Walker: "We don?t have enough time to tell you everyone I spoke to in those brief few weeks. It seemed like a blur thinking back to when we lost Coach Walker. The most important thing at that time was no. 1 Tammy Walker and Jamie and Abbie and the walker family, Coach?s (Walker) brother Rob and the entire Walker family and help uplift them in our support for the Walker family and help our players through a very difficult and tragic event in their lives. Football was very insignificant at that time. Then to move forward each day, one day at a time, to try improve our relationships with each other. We had just come off a great year, a Sun Bowl appearance to lose Coach in July the way we did tragic is not the right word. Words cannot describe how difficult it was. I?m very proud to say that we have done the best job we can to continue on Coach?s legacy. It?s a little ironic. I believe Coach Walker?s first bowl game was here at the Valero Alamo Bowl as A northwestern head football coach and to have my first bowl game as a head football coach here I think it?s just another link between him and I. I?m just humbled and honored to continue on his legacy." On what it would mean to end Northwestern?s streak of bowl losses: "Well I can?t say that I?ve been around the players enough in the last two weeks to do a whole lot of motivating. Maybe from a far. There?s a lot that?s out of our control week in and week out and what is in control right now is the way we prepare to take on a great Missouri football team. All we can do in this opportunity is go 1-0 and there?s a lot of significance that you keep labeling after that. Ten wins, having our seniors leave successfully as champions of the Valero Alamo Bowl champions, to get the monkey off our back of a drought of bowl victories. I could continue to go on anad on and if we focus on that we?re not going to be maybe in the right frame of mind, the right attitude to be prepared for the opportunity that Monday evening. Our focus will be to consistently prepare to go 1-0 ion the challenge and it will not be easy by any stretch of imagination on both fronts. Number one to prepare with the distractions that go along in a month after finals and moving our program from Chicago down to san Antonio and then to be a part of a great, great week of festivities. We?ll have to be focused and disciplined in our approach and preparation and then obviously to take on a great Missouri football team and that challenge speaks for itself." On whether he will mention the bowl losing streak to his players and use it as motivation for the Valero Alamo Bowl: "Absolutely. I think that will speak for itself and I think you I(the reporter) will do a great job in Chicago of hammering that home. I had two opportunities as a student athlete to get that monkey off our back and two as an assistant coach and now as a head football coach. I wish the challenge was a little easier, but nothing is easy in life and this experience will make our entire football program stronger."
--Speaker: Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern Head Coach About playing in the 2008 Valero Alamo Bowl: ?Were very excited. I couldn?t really express into words how excited we are to come down to the great state of Texas. A state that we have 10 great football players from and a great opportunity for us to play a tremendous football team. We?re very excited.? About being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame: ?We could not be more excited for that either. My wife Stacy and I are getting on a plane first thing in the morning. It?s going to be a great celebration. I think if everyone thinks back to the mid 90?s here at Northwestern we had two great teams that went 15-1 in the Big Ten. We accept that honor on behalf of those two great teams.? About the strengths of his team: ?On offense we?re led by our senior quarterback C.J. Bacher that has really done a tremendous job for us, not only this year but for multiple years in our program. A great leader. A young man from Northern California that set multiple records here in his time. We?re in the shotgun spread offense. You?ll see us in multiple formations. We believe we?re very explosive. We believe in getting our players in the best formations to execute the best plays that we possibly can.? ?There?s no greater turnaround maybe this year statistically and on the field from a results standpoint than our defense and the job that Mike Hankwitz and our defensive staff has done.? ?In the kicking game we?re a ball club that I believe is sound. We play hard. We do some things maybe a little bit creative, but I think we do some things that are fun to watch.? About the opportunity the Valero Alamo Bowl gives to his team: ?Just overall, in general, (we're) a football team that is very excited be at the nine win mark. Ten wins will be a huge milestone for our football program. To win a bowl game and have the opportunity for that is one of our main goals. To say the least we are very excited about coming down.? --Speaker: Gary Pinkel, Missouri Head Coach About playing in the 2008 Valero Alamo Bowl: ?Well certainly we?re excited to participate in the 2008 Valero Alamo Bowl. San Antonio is a great city, a great sports town as we experienced last year when we played in the (2007 Dr Pepper Big 12) Championship game there. We have 28 players from our team from Texas and eight starters on our team from Texas so that?s one of our #1 recruiting areas beside the state of Missouri. We won the Big 12 North. We finished the season 9-3 as you well know. We played a tough team in Oklahoma last night, which is perhaps one of the better football teams I?ve ever seen.? About the strengths of his team: ?We have Chase Daniel who is a Texas quarterback and is exciting; Jeremy Maclin who is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. Sean Weatherspoon is one of the top linebackers and William Moore is one of the top safeties so I think we?ll bring a talented group of players. We?ll play at a very high level. We?re very, very excited about being part of the Valero Alamo Bowl.? About coming to a familiar recruiting ground (Texas) and home to many players on the Missouri team: ?We always take a great deal of pride in that. Last year we were in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, which is great. This year we?re in San Antonio and honestly, I couldn?t pick a better place for us. (It's) A fertile recruiting ground for us and San Antonio is so well respected. A great tourist town, so many great things to do. For many, many reasons we?re very excited about it.? About Northwestern and Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald: ?Pat has done a great job of building that program in a short amount of time. I have great respect for him. I just saw, you kind of live in your own little world, but I just saw some stats (on Northwestern). Obviously I knew they were 9-3. They?re nationally ranked. They have had an excellent season and he?s (Pat Fitzgerald) a heck of a young football coach and doing a great job. I?ve got to learn more about them. I just know they?re one of the top teams in the Big Ten this year. You?ve got two nine win teams competing against one another and I think that going to be a great challenge for us.? On his team?s use of the three weeks leading up the 2008 Valero Alamo Bowl: ?It?s a long season. We?re going to take a few days off. We?re going to finalize the schedule tomorrow morning. We probably have to start getting in some practices this week as a matter of fact. We have finals week the following week, which is a week later than we normally have it, which that doesn?t fit well for us either. Obviously, we?ll have Christmas down there, but we?ll get our final schedule and practice wise, we?ve been practicing all through up to this point. Our players need some rest this week, but yet there?s a lot of value in getting a lot of young players work that we all do in this business in terms of getting your future players work and we?ll include that also.?