Facebook TwittertagBoard

Media / Press Quotes

December 29th, 2011
Robert Griffin III Post Game Quotes
Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III on-field quotes
 

Immediate Reaction:


 

“We ran the ball in the second half, I don’t know we had close to 500 yards rushing, maybe more, and Terrance Ganaway did a hell of a job.”


 

What was it like scoring like that?


 

“It was unbelievable to come out here, I mean 67-56, this had to be one of the most-watched TV games of all-time.”


 

First bowl win in 19 years, what does that mean for you?


 

“It brings a huge smile.  It means all these people here came to watch us put on a show, we put on a show and did it for them, so we are excited.


 

Have you played your last game in a Baylor uniform?


 

“I have no idea.  I am going to enjoy this game right now with my teammates and we will get to that later.”


 

When will you make that decision?


 

“Pretty soon here, probably.”

December 29th, 2011
Baylor Post Game Press Conference
Head Coach Art Briles, Robert Griffin III, Terrance Ganaway, Elliot Coffey, Kendall Wright

 

 

Q. Terrance, do you want to talk about the way to close out your career, what a performance you had tonight, just break it down for me.


 

TERRANCE GANAWAY: If you don't mind, I would like to close out our career as a team. It's all about Baylor. Offensive line played really well, Robert, all the receivers, took a lot of pressure off me. So just going out there and fighting for a win, that's what we all did, and luckily I was able to put my stitch on the end of the season.


 

Q. Coach Briles, have you ever   


 

COACH BRILES: I'd call it a big piece of yarn. I'm not sure it's a stitch, but I appreciate your humility there, Ganaway.


 

Q. Coach Briles, have you ever seen such a game with that many touchdowns and that kind of scoring?


 

COACH BRILES: No, I really haven't. I think a bunch of us in this room could say they haven't, also. That was crazy. It really was, it was crazy. And I don't think it was so much that    I don't think you look at it and say, well, the defenses aren't playing well. I think it was just the ebb and flow of the game. You get in games like that, and that's just the way it goes, and you just keep fighting. If you get one little stop or one little break or a turnover, then it can help you win the football game.


 

That's kind of what helped us there toward the end. We got a turnover, they missed a field goal, and we capitalized just like they capitalized on turning over on us in the first half. Real clean football game on both sides of the ball.


 

Q. Terrance, you talked about it, but the offensive line, talk about them, and how key was that up front for them to win that battle up front?


 

TERRANCE GANAWAY: It's been key all year. They've been winning a lot of battles. That's why we're a 10 and 3 team. Not many teams are like that now. When you have a great offensive line and great players around you, you move the ball easily.


 

Q. Terrance, what was it like just kind of running out there? It looked like there were holes through that middle for everybody really. What was it like just running the routes?


 

TERRANCE GANAWAY: Offensive line. It goes like to offensive line. Those guys played their tail off the whole season, and they fought hard tonight.


 

Q. Elliot, with the way the offenses were scoring so much, how did you guys keep your head up on the sideline?


 

ELLIOT COFFEY: When you have an offense as potent as we do, it's always hard on you to let them score, but at the same time it's regrouping, and it helps us really keep pushing to see them do as well as they do, so that really kept our spirits up. They always had something positive to say whether things were going right or wrong, and it really just helped push us through and helped us get the win at the end.


 

Q. For Robert, at any level have you ever been a part of this, I'm talking flag football, this kind of offensive output?


 

ROBERT GRIFFIN III: No, I haven't. We walked into walk through a few days ago, and the scoreboard said 72 72, and we're thinking, oh, no way. Pretty close. I'm just glad we won the game, and defense stepped up big there at the end when we needed them to.


 

Q. For Elliot and Coach Briles, Elliot, that yard down 18, talk about the way you were able to turn it around and get some defensive stops there late.


 

ELLIOT COFFEY: I mean, I similar situation as earlier. Had to really sit down, assess the situation, understand what it was we were doing wrong, realizing that it's one or two people slipping up, and if we can get everything together, I've been saying this all season, that the defense works as a machine, and if one part of it is messed up, it trickles downhill and hurts all of us. So we had to make sure that the later it got, especially in the clutch time like 4th down we needed to make a play, we understood that that's what we had to do and we did it.


 

COACH BRILES: Yeah, really you don't look at it like you're down 18, you just look at it and say, now, if we score we'll be up by one or two. What's this chart say in this part of the football game? Because you've got to score, and we were just thinking, okay, we keep scoring touchdowns, we've got a chance to win the football game. That was kind of our mindset on the sideline. And it just worked out that way.


 

Like Robert mentioned, had some big stops there toward the end defensively, and that's    really in a game like that, you make one or two stops, you've got a good opportunity to win.


 

Q. Robert, can you talk about obviously the pace of the game? Back and forth, back and forth, seesaw, the whole thing. Y'all go down 18 and then y'all steadily move the ball down the field. Talk about the comeback.


 

ROBERT GRIFFIN III: I mean, it was a great game to watch I'm sure, so the people at home were tuning in I'm pretty sure. But you don't think about that during the game, and I looked up at one time and it said we had 718 total yards. That's unbelievable. To come back the way we did, down 42 24, just speaks to the character of this team. It's been that way all year. This isn't our first rodeo, like the old saying says, and we've done it time and time again and the team stepped up big once again.


 

Q. Robert, I think you've been asked already three or four times already, how does this win affect the speed of your decision of coming back or going pro?


 

ROBERT GRIFFIN III: I want Baylor Nation to enjoy this. It's not about me. Obviously I have a decision to make, I guess, within two and a half weeks of the deadline, but we're going to enjoy tonight. We'll enjoy tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next day and then whenever I have to make that decision, I will.


 

Q. Coach, can you first of all, just talk about what it's like to have the add on four years into your career at Baylor, ten wins, a Bowl victory now. How has this process been for you overall?


 

COACH BRILES: When you surround yourself with good people that care and love each other and believe the same thing, you've got a chance to have success, and that's really as witnessed by these gentlemen on the panel up here and our players in that locker room. I mean, that's what we have. When you've got people all pulling the same direction, you've got a chance to get there, and fortunately we've been able to get there, and this is just a tremendous win. It really is, because we had a lot of things working for us going into the game.


 

But on the flipside, a lot of that works against you, also. Washington had a lot of ammunition coming in, and we did a great job of surrounding ourselves and taking care of our fort, so to speak, and getting the win.


 

Q. Coach, talk about Keith Price's play for Washington and how difficult he was to cover tonight.


 

COACH BRILES: I thought he was    just really had a great night, really, really just kind of stepped out and played extremely well with a lot of confidence and made some    threw the ball extremely well, had some good scrambles. He's a good football player, and the games they got in trouble in this year, he was injured, and he got healthy and got right, and he played awfully well tonight.


 

Q. Can you talk about the adjustments that you made at halftime on the offensive side of the ball, and was it a case of taking kind of what the defense was showing you?


 

COACH BRILES: You know, we really didn't    the only thing we kind of talked about was slowing down a little bit and running the football. I've got a bad personality trait that is    doesn't have a lot of patience to it, and so I've got to watch    we've got a couple sayings. I won't say what they are, but we'd like to try to score every snap, so sometimes you can't do that. Sometimes you've got to slow down, work it a little bit, and grind it out. So we knew with Robert, with Terrance, if we wanted to run the football, felt like we had to run the football, needed to, that we could, and that happened. Even when they came out and scored on the opening drive we still stuck to what we needed to do at halftime, and it paid off for us.


 

Q. This team's toughness, particularly on defense, the fact that you guys didn't give up and you got that stop there at the end, could you talk about how important that was to make that play there?


 

ELLIOT COFFEY: Yeah, I mean, the offense had done so much, it really does come down to the team concept. You've got to back up your boys, and they've been looking out for us all night, and it really came down to crunch time and we had to make a play to win the game, and that's what we did. At the end of the day, the numbers are what they are, but we got the win.


 

COACH BRILES: We've got the leading receiver in America down here. He doesn't get up here and talk very often. It's actually his first time, I think, up on the podium, so don't let him slip away without giving some insight because he has done a tremendous job for Baylor University the past four years as all these men have.


 

Q. Kendall, for you and Robert, for the running game to do what it did, talk about, you guys have kind of led most of those nine wins, but for the running game to do what it did today, how much does that say about this team, I guess?


 

KENDALL WRIGHT: We've just got a lot of weapons everywhere. G'way, Salubi stepped up. Nobody knew he was going to do that, and he stepped up and had a big game. G'way also had a big game. Nobody knew he was that big and could run that fast. Nobody knew he could move like that. I'm glad for him, and they had a great game.


 

ROBERT GRIFFIN III: Well, there in the second half, I found myself worried more about carrying out my fake than throwing a pass. Ganaway was doing a great job, him and Salubi. I did get a nice little block in there from Salubi in the first half, but when me and Kendall, when they called on me and Kendall to make a play, we did it, and it was a big gain down the left sideline. You've got to take what they're giving you, and in the first half we tried a lot of things and we put 21 points on the board in the first quarter, stalled in the second, and then we had to get back to bread and butter, run the football, and they were determined to make sure I wasn't going to get up the middle, so Salubi and Ganaway did a great job of running on the edges, Tevin with that long run that he had, it was amazing. I'm proud of the offensive line for stepping up so big. If they're going to take something away from you, you've got to go with the other thing.


 

Q. Talk about, I guess it seemed like when y'all were struggling a little bit awful, did y'all two decide to hook up a little bit, kind of stretched the defense a little bit and allowed the running game to open up. Talk about your connection and it seemed y'all just knew to go to each other a little bit.


 

KENDALL WRIGHT: I guess we've been hooking up for four years, and we've been doing it so long, it's mandatory, I guess. But I'm here to make a play when Coach Briles on Robert needs me, and when they call me I'm going to be ready at all times. That was my last time doing it, but I went out with a bang.


 

ROBERT GRIFFIN III: There's two types of defenses. That's ones that bleed fast and then there's other ones that bleed slow. In the first half we were trying to make sure we bled them fast, throwing the ball, and we were successful at it. But in the second half they totally went to soft coverage, and you have to run the ball when teams are doing that to you.


 

Q. Robert, did you wear any special socks today that you were able to put up 67 points, and did you let Terrance borrow a pair by any means?


 

ROBERT GRIFFIN III: No. Ganaway is good. He doesn't need socks. He doesn't even wear socks on game day. But I didn't have an opportunity to go out and go to the mall and look through the sock selection before this game, so I just decided we were going to finish the season with what I started with, and that was Cookie Monster socks. Obviously we were pretty hungry tonight, got 67 points, and I'm pretty sure everybody is going to hit it hard tonight, and by that I mean dinner, of course. (Laughter.) They'll be hungry. This is Baylor, people. (Laughter.)


 

Q. Coach Sarkisian talked about that 4th down coverage. He said that was the first time you guys had pulled that out, the double coverage on the receiver. Can you talk about that decision to switch up on the most important play of the game and that coverage?


 

COACH BRILES: Well, the good thing is it was about 4th and about 8 and a half so you know at that point in the game they've got to throw the football, so it allows    actually we were going to call a time out and they called one right before us on the 4th down. Phil actually wanted a time out to look at it and see what they were going to do, and they beat us to the time out fortunately, but I mean, it was a good adjustment defensively and came at a critical time.


 

But the great thing about being on the defensive side of the ball is getting people in predictable situations, and that's what you try to stay away from on offense. You don't want 3rd and longs because people are pretty much going to throw the football. That was the thing that helped us there. A 4th and 2 would have been a little tougher situation for us. But great adjustment defensively.


 

Q. Robert, I know you're obviously looking at the stats. When you see the numbers, 777 and almost 1,400 combined yards, talk about seeing that kind of output.


 

ROBERT GRIFFIN III: I mean, it's great. We've got three lucky numbers there, 777, so like I said, it's unbelievable to quote myself, unbelievably believable, but that's how we play. Nobody wins games 67 56 down 42 24 but Baylor University. I'm proud to be a part of this.


 

Q. Kendall, this game is going to end your collegiate career obviously. What are some of the things you're going to remember most when you look back on your career at Baylor?


 

KENDALL WRIGHT: Everything. I came here to help change the program with these guys, and I feel like we done that. It was just good playing with these guys, I'm going to miss them, so I plan on training here and being around them. When the time comes, whatever Griff do, that's when I get emotional, so I'm not emotional right now until he makes his decision because a smart GM would draft him and me. (Laughter.) Draft me this year and draft Griff next year. I'm hoping he stays. (Laughter.)

December 29th, 2011
Washington Post Game Press Conference
Head Coach Steve Sarkisian, Chris Polk, Keith Price and Jermaine Kearse

 

COACH SARKISIAN: Can I just start for a minute? I'll say the Valero Alamo Bowl and ESPN got what they were hoping for tonight. What a game. What a game to be part of for these guys. That's a good football team, obviously. We knew coming in it wasn't just about Robert Griffin, it was their entire offensive football team. They weren't the No. 2 offense in the country just for a fluke. They were good. We knew the challenges coming in for us offensively were not only that we had to keep pace but set the pace of this game, and I thought we were able to do it.


 

It's unfortunate that there's a couple just missed opportunities for us there in the second half that I think we could have really put a string to hold onto this game and put it in our favor, and we just couldn't do it. But what a great game to be part of. I thought our kids battled and competed, and it was just a back and forth game, one of those crazy ones that these guys will remember for a lifetime that they were a part of.


 


 


 

Q. Coach, definitely one for the record books. The offense, history out there, but just defensively can you talk about the effort and how frustrating that was for your team?


 

COACH SARKISIAN: It was frustrating in the sense that we knew they were going to move the ball. You don't average 571 yards a game over a season on accident. You're good. And you've got a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and a first round draft pick at wide receiver and a 240 pound tailback. I mean, they're good. Offensive line averages 320 pounds or whatever they do. They're a good team.


 

I think the part that was disappointing was the number of big plays that occurred. We just were there, especially early in the game, we're getting stops, 1st, 2nd, they convert a 3rd, convert a 4th down to keep drives alive, and then the breakdowns occur there in the second half where we just gave up big plays. That's the part that I think was the most frustrating aspect of it all.


 

Maybe part of that is their scheme and their offense and maybe we were fatigued to a sense of just how many plays and up and down the field the game was going. But again, frustrating that way, that the big plays occurred, especially in the second half.


 


 


 


 


 

Q. Can you talk about Keith's performance tonight, four touchdown passes and he looked like the healthy Keith Price.


 

COACH SARKISIAN: I thought he was awesome tonight. I think we'll have a hard time the rest of the Bowl season to see another quarterback play better than Keith played tonight. And I think    I even got probably more excited than I normally do on the one touchdown one just because I was happy for him that he got to play the style of football that I know he's capable of playing, when he can really utilize his legs as well as throwing the ball down the field.


 

He had a great bounce in his step. I thought he threw the ball with real conviction down the field, stood in the pocket, and then again showed his creativity to improvise when there was opportunities to do so. But a tremendous performance quite honestly. I couldn't be more proud of him.


 


 


 

Q. Keith, when you were down 21 7 what were you talking about offensively to get back into the game?


 

KEITH PRICE: We just knew that we needed to score. We needed to score fast, just to give our defense a boost.


 


 


 

Q. Chris, the play where you fumbled, kind of an unlikely play for you to do that. Did the ball just kind of come out there or what happened?


 

CHRIS POLK: My helmet was coming off, but great running backs don't fumble in a situations like that. They hold onto the ball. You know, it's obviously something I'm going to have to work on. But I really felt like right there I let my team down. I've just got to continue to get better and just work extra hard and just have the overall belief.


 


 


 

Q. Steve, you talked about the frustrations on defense, and it was actually a school record for yards allowed in one game. How shocking is that, and does a game like this make you reevaluate some things?


 

COACH SARKISIAN: I'm not shocked. Those guys averaged 571 yards a game. I saw them, I think, have almost 700 yards against the same Texas defense that held Cal to 100 something yards last night. I'm not shocked that Baylor moved the ball. Again, the disappointment came with the big plays in the second half of the game. That's the ultimate disappointment. You know, I'd be naïve to think we were going to come in here and shut Baylor out. You just don't all of a sudden does that occur.


 

So that part of it is not shocking to me, but there is definite frustration because I think there were opportunities for us to make some plays on them that in turn they made plays on us. The touchdown Robert has on the run, I felt like we had him sacked by three different guys and he escapes and scores a touchdown. The long run there late in the third quarter right down on our sideline, I felt like we got the guy bottled up on our sidelines, and boom, he goes down the sidelines for 70 or 80 or whatever it was.


 

That part is the frustrating part to me. Numbers are numbers, records are records, all that kind of stuff. That doesn't change your perception or view of things. There's a style of play in which I think we need to pride ourselves on playing, and that didn't happen tonight. That part is the frustrating part.


 


 


 

Q. Keith, can you talk us through that last offensive series? On 3rd down it looked like you might be trying to do a shovel pass and they had it kind of guarded, and what happened on the 4th down play?


 

KEITH PRICE: I kind of figured I was going to Kasen the whole time and I told him to make a play for me and I threw the ball too hard. If I put that ball on his numbers or throw a catchable ball in there, he's going to come down with it. He's been coming down with those catches all year. I've just got to throw a better ball.


 

COACH SARKISIAN: I think to back that up for Keith, to Baylor's credit, that was a coverage they went to for the first time all night, where we had been getting an isolation back there one on one with Kasen, and they really went to a double coverage on him, and they did a nice job. Credit to them.


 

3rd down play was a shovel pass with an option, and as we went to run the shovel, actually Chris I think was on the shuffle, kind of got knocked off. Their defensive line got some penetration that negated the opportunity to throw the shovel and we had to go to option two, which was to James, and just off his fingertips.


 


 


 

Q. There was a stretch there where your defense was all over the field, in particular Josh Shirley and Hudson and Ta'amu, all freshmen. Can you talk about how that happened and what it says for   


 

COACH SARKISIAN: Well, I think football, especially college, is about momentum, and there was a point obviously in that game where momentum was really on our side where I felt like our defense was feeding off our offense, our offense was feeding off our defense, and we really got some momentum going there and got a chance to make them a little bit more one dimensional where they had to start throwing the ball more than they would have liked that allowed us to rush the passer a little bit better. It's some encouraging signs that we've got some good young football players that are playing and making plays for us and in my opinion have gotten better as the year has gone on.


 


 


 

Q. Jermaine, five catches, 198 yards, this is your family up here, your second family. How special has this ride been for you at UW and to go into the locker room with the guys?


 

JERMAINE KEARSE: It was pretty disappointing with the loss, but this has been one of the best times of my life, to get to play this game with these guys up here. Coach Sark has done a great job changing the program. I went from 0 and 12 to two Bowl games in a row, and playing with an amazing quarterback like Keith, he's always smiling. He's a great person. I'm glad I got the chance to be around him and play with him and play with a guy like Chris Polk. No matter what happened in the fumble, Chris Polk is a beast, and he's going to continue to be a beast from now until whenever he stops playing football.


 

It's just a good opportunity to play with these guys, and I'm happy I got to.


 


 


 

Q. Steve, 8:15 to go in the game, they were up 60 56 and you got the ball at your own 22. Talk about your thought process in terms of trying to expire the clock and score and what have you. You had a 4th and 1, you went there on your own 31 and so forth. What was the thinking there?


 

COACH SARKISIAN: Well, the thinking at that point was okay, it's a one score game, which is what we always like to get to. If you can get to a one score game, my goal was let's see if I can make this a one possession game, and I thought we had a great chance to do that. We got ourselves across the 50 there, and by running the football, converting some 3rd downs, convert a 4th down, and the idea was to keep working ourselves to get us to 3rd and mediums, 3rd and shorts to keep the clock moving and then ultimately give us a chance in the red zone to win the football game late. And we were on pace to do that, and unfortunately the 2nd down play goes astray, puts us in a 3rd and long, 3rd and long, the shovel, goes astray, and it put us in a difficult 4th and long situation which obviously wasn't the plan of that.


 

Again, credit to Baylor. I don't know how many snaps we had in the game, like 75 snaps, and that was the one snap of the game they doubled Kasen. So credit to them. Good job.


 


 


 

Q. Can you just talk about the chess match going back and forth with Coach Briles and what are your emotions going back and forth when it's such an offensive slugfest like that?


 

COACH SARKISIAN: Well, I think the emotions are that you can't go into a shell. You have to stay aggressive. I think the natural thing to think is in a game like this against a team like Baylor you've got to try to keep them off the field. The reality is you've got to keep pace. You've got to score with them. You can't let them start pulling away. When it got to 21 7 in my mind, we've got to score. I probably would have went for it on 4th down on my own 20 on that drive, too. We had to score. And then we got momentum back in our favor to keep the pace and then extend ourselves out.


 

But again, it's just unfortunate because I think there were some chances for us there to even extend the game more, and we just couldn't do it. We just couldn't take advantage of it.


 

So you know, back to the drawing board on that end.


 


 


 

Q. Chris, you've always been a team first guy, but how cognizant, if any, were you of how close you would have been to the record? You said in the past that was a record you'd like to get. Was that going through your mind?


 

CHRIS POLK: That was never on my mind. Over here, what got us here is the team, so you come to the Bowl to win, you don't come just to have individual records. But I've never    I wasn't really even thinking about that. I was trying to do whatever it takes to win rather than have 100 rushing yards or two, as long as we get the win, and I did my best, and I didn't leave my teammates out to dry and did everything I could. That's good enough for me.


 


 


 

Q. Steve, you talked about getting back to the drawing board in terms of some of those things. Can you talk about the other side of the ball and what that means in terms of getting back to the drawing board?


 

COACH SARKISIAN: Yeah, we obviously have a position to fill already on that side of the ball with Demetrice there, and that process will begin tomorrow. I didn't feel like we needed to be distracted with that heading into the Bowl game. Everything we do in our program will be evaluated, myself included. We've got to figure out some issues of why things are the way they are and how we can improve as a football team in all three phases and beyond that, more than just the three phases, on the field. Off the field, as well. It's obvious we need to improve. We need to get better on the defensive side of the ball, and it'll be addressed and addressed as quickly as possible.


 


 


 

Q. Can you maybe explain the difference between this team and what you saw in Oregon? Were they faster? Was it the same defensive game plan you used, and can you talk about Keith?


 

COACH SARKISIAN: Well, I think the difference with Oregon and these guys quite honestly is the quarterback's really ability to throw the ball, and the difference in the back, the back is a lot heavier than what Oregon plays with. The style is very similar in that they're up tempo and all that, but different styles at quarterback and different styles at running back were different challenges for us. When you're chasing around LaMichael and De'Anthony and Kenjon Barner, that's different than really trying to tackle Ganaway pouring right down at you at 200, 245 pounds. Then when they stress you on the edge, then comes that speed factor again.


 

So different that way. The game plan I think was similar but not identity. But that means we had calls that were similar to what we used against Oregon. We had things that we added for this game, as well.


 

But they're a good team. Baylor is a heck of a team, and there's a reason why that kid won the Heisman Trophy, and there's a reason why they won ten games and beat some pretty good teams on the schedule.


 

As far as Keith goes, I can't say enough about the performance. I felt heading into the game this would be a game where we could see Keith Price's, what I've kind of known that he could be, that his teammates know he could be. It's just unfortunate he had to fight through injuries all year long and had to be a pure pocket passer. At the end of the day I think that helped him. We obviously see the athleticism that he possesses and the plays he made with his feet tonight, but also the ability to stand in the pocket and deliver the football down the field from under center or in the shotgun. He's a very versed player at the position. He's got a great understanding of our system, tremendous leadership qualities, a great competitor, one of the best I've been around. So I think his future is very bright and I think our future is very bright because of what he brings to the table.


 


 


 

Q. Are you concerned at all moving forward that you may not have the right scheme in place defensively, the right personnel defensively?


 

COACH SARKISIAN: You can keep asking me the same question. I've answered it three times. I'll say it one more time. As a program collectively, I'm going to evaluate everything. I am concerned about some schemes for us offensively, as well, and on special teams and on defense. We obviously need to improve, and we'll look at every facet of it to see if we can improve with what we have or if we've got to go in another direction.


 


 

December 28th, 2011
Head Coaches Press Conference
Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian and Baylor Head Coach Art Briles
Play WAV audio of this Press Quote

 THE MODERATOR: Welcome to our head coaches' press conference for the 2011 Valero Alamo Bowl. Coach Sarkisian, Washington Huskies are the visiting team this year. If you could give us an opening statement, please. 

COACH SARKISIAN: Sure. Again, I'd like to thank Valero and the Alamo Bowl for the hospitality we've received since we've been here. This has been nothing short of a first‑class event thus far. The hospitality we've received not only from the Bowl but from the entire community of San Antonio has been tremendous. I know you our kids have enjoyed ourselves. 
 
Just like anything, come the end of the week, I think we're excited to go play the game. That's why we're here. We've got a tremendous opponent in Baylor, and what Coach Briles has done and his team, obviously a very exciting football team. We're excited to play. The 8:00 kickoff is a killer, long time waiting around tomorrow, but we'll try to find something to do. 
 
But again, just to reiterate, it's been a fantastic week. The hospitality has been tremendous, and very honored to represent the University of Washington and the Pac‑12 conference in the game. 
 
THE MODERATOR: Coach Art Briles, head coach of Baylor, they are the home team this year. Coach Briles? 
 
COACH BRILES: Thank you, Rick. Just ditto everything Steve says. First of all, we're very respectful of the Washington Huskies and what he in particular has been able to accomplish the last three years to bring their program where it's at today. A tremendous amount of respect for the way they play the game, and really the way the players are and the way he leads them through it. 
 
That's always the fun part of a Bowl game is that you really get to know people on a different level than you ever do throughout the season because during the season we're all just locked into what's going on within our own team within our own conference and you never step out unless you do it the first three or four games, the non‑conference games. But most of them are never at this magnitude. 
 
We're excited to be here, honored to be here. San Antonio, as the people from Texas know, is an outstanding city, very progressive, very family friendly, and it's a great place to have a Bowl game because they don't have right now a Division I‑A university around this area. It's a big deal. It's a big deal for the people of San Antonio and certainly a big deal for us at Baylor. 
 
Q.      Can you guys talk about how having the Heisman winner adds to the magnitude of this game? 
 
COACH SARKISIAN: Well, now I've kind of been on it from both sides of the fence, having some time at SC there with some different guys, when Carson won it and when Reggie won it and heading into those games. I think it generates some obvious national excitement to the game, to where the national media is very interested in our ballgame, maybe a little bit more so than they would be otherwise. 
 
I don't think that Baylor ourselves are preparing any harder because of Robert winning the Heisman Trophy, but I do know it's great exposure for both of our clubs in this game because I do think there's going to be a few more eyes on the ballgame and the interest level is there and it's piqued there and deservedly so. Robert is a tremendous player, and I think as we learned here, especially throughout the month of December, not only is he a tremendous player, he's a great person, and you could see that in the interview process.
 
I think he represents Baylor University extremely well, and I think he represents college football extremely well. On that note, I think it just adds to the excitement of the ballgame. But again, I don't think that we're preparing any harder because of that or Coach Briles and his staff are preparing any harder because of that. I think we've prepared the same way regardless. 
 
Q.      Coach Sark, I think there's about 25 guys on this team that were on that 0 and 12 team. I know you've heard this before, but how gratifying is it for you personally to have this team in two Bowl games in a row and headed in the right direction, especially for those 25 guys that were at the lowest of lows?
 
COACH SARKISIAN: Well, it means a lot. As you guys know, I'm not a big, kind of, reflection‑type guy, sit back and reflect on the times that we've had and what we've been able to do. But this month I have in a sense because of ‑‑ again, because of what our seniors have been through from the very beginning to where they are now, and we kind of do a senior salute here the last day of practice, which was yesterday, with the guys and brought them up and reiterated that to them, as well. None of what we've done in three years could have ever been possible without the efforts and the willingness that goes guys put into this thing. They deserve all of this that they're receiving. 
 
I'm very, very happy for them to get this opportunity to go to their second straight Bowl game, a fantastic game. Again, wouldn't be where we were without them, and just ‑‑ you think about the roller coaster that they were on from day one to where they are today, they've left a mark on our program, and they should be proud of that. 
 
Q.      Art, Coach Sarkisian just talked about how he had to rebuild. Do you see some similarities there with the way y'all had to rebuild between the two programs? 
COACH BRILES: Yes, I do. I mean, without question, because we initially went in there in 2008. I'm not sure, but I don't think they had won a conference game in maybe a year or two. I remember the first time we won a conference game, that was a big deal. 
And just like Steve said, I'm not into sitting around and talking about what has been. I mean, we're concerned about what will be, and that's the way we look at it from day one. Our guys have certainly worked hard to have this opportunity, and hopefully we'll man up enough to take advantage of it. 
 
Q.      Last year down at the Holiday Bowl, underdogs, this year a lot of attention on Baylor because of their Heisman Trophy candidate. Flying under the radar, a little less publicity, does that give you a little added incentive, put a little chip on the shoulders?
 
COACH SARKISIAN: I don't know. Again, I talked about this last year, and kind of to reiterate what I said about Robert winning the Heisman. Again, I don't think that we're preparing any harder because we're underdogs. You know, I think we've got a formula that we feel like is successful that prepares ourselves for Bowl games, and we utilize the formula. And that wouldn't matter if we were a 30‑point underdog or a two‑touchdown favorite. That's never going to change, at least as long as I'm here. 
 
We've got a formula that we believe in, and much like last year with Nebraska, revenge last year wasn't I don't think a reason why our kids went out and played well in the game. I think it's because we prepared well, and we believed in the process and believed in the plan and went out and executed the plan and prepared ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally for that moment. 
 
Hopefully one of these days we'll be a favorite in a game, in a Bowl game. That means we're getting better and we're improving. But until then, this is where we are, and we've just got to continue to work and grind at it, and that's not going to ‑‑ again, that's not going to affect the way we prepare or the way our kids believe in themselves or whatnot. That's the perception of what's going to happen in the game. We have to ultimately go out and play the game. 
 
Q.      Steve, I wonder if you could fill us in on Keith's condition after the week down here and how much better off is he now than maybe he was at the end of the season. 
 
COACH SARKISIAN: Well, probably the best he's been since the beginning of the season, since the initial ‑‑ when he injured his first knee there early in the season there, I think it just ‑‑ from a movement standpoint he feels good, and I think from a movement standpoint it makes him psychologically feel good, too. He feels better about himself, the smile is probably a little bigger now as he's getting going, and it's been obviously advantageous for Keith to have four weeks to get ready for this game, not only mentally and understanding the game plan but physically to get his body right. I do know that he feels good, and it's noticeable. I can definitely see that he feels much better.
 
Q.      As a follow‑up to that, how will your offense be different with him being a little bit more mobile than we saw this season? 
 
COACH SARKISIAN: Well, I don't think that we're going to change a whole lot. I think there were specific games this year especially where I just knew he couldn't move very well and we had to protect him that way, whether it was via protections or whether it was via getting the ball out of his hands much quicker. I do think now that he's got the ability to maybe extend plays a little longer like he had been earlier in the year, and so I think you'll see a little bit more of that maybe just from his natural play maybe more so than what we're doing schematically offensively. 
 
Q.      Coach Briles, last year you guys made your first Bowl in a long time, seemed happy to be there. What's changed for you guys this year? 
 
COACH BRILES: Well, we certainly didn't finish last year like we had hoped against Illinois. You know, we played a good football team, first and foremost, and a very experienced team, a team that was coming away from two years removed from a Rose Bowl Game. They had a lot of experience on their football team in a Bowl atmosphere where we had zero. I think definitely our mental attitude this year is quite a bit different than it was a year ago. We were a little excited, a little happy, a little proud of ourselves, and we had no reason to be. 
 
So our mentality is quite a bit different going in this year. Hopefully our guys have settled down and understand that it's a 60‑minute game and we have an opportunity to go out and prove ourselves. 
 
Q.      In talking to some Bowl officials here, they've been struck by some of the camaraderie that your two staffs have shown at the functions and also how you two guys have interacted. I wonder if you can talk about maybe the association that your programs have been able to get during this week. 
 
COACH BRILES: I mean, the dinner the other night was pleasant. It was good getting around Steve and his staff and our wives and everything, the ADs. So that was really a great time. It's kind of like I alluded to earlier; you get to meet people on a little different level when you're around them more like the Bowl atmosphere. It's been good. We're all fighting for the same thing, but we're all fighting for the same cause, too, collegiately and athletics, football in particular, keeping the game great, but at the same time we're fierce competitors and that's why we're where we're at. 
 
COACH SARKISIAN: I think just to piggy‑back it, I've been to where it hasn't been as pleasant as this, obviously, but I think there's a level of respect, and you respect what another staff does and what they put on the field and the way their kids conduct themselves and the way their staff conducts themselves, and I think Coach Briles and his staff have been tremendous, and I love our staff that way, as well.
 
I think, again, as Coach Briles touched on, we're obviously both here to win. That's why we're here, to play the game. But there is a level of respect for what guys have been able to accomplish and what they've been able to do, not just this season about what they've been able to do since 2008, what we've been able to do since 2009, and then comes just can you get along, do conversations flow or don't they, and I think it's been natural for Art and I from day one, and I think it was for our staffs the other night, as well.
 
Q.      How do you think Robert has handled all the Heisman distractions and remained focus in practice?
 
COACH BRILES: As you know, that's the great thing about Robert. Robert is Robert. He's not going to let outside influences deter his determination and his effort and his discipline. That's why he's who he is and that's why he's what he is. None of this has caused any distractions for Robert one bit. He's a guy that is okay being by himself. It's caused him maybe a little more private time, but that's Robert in general. 
 
That part of it has not been an issue. The great thing about him is that he's ‑‑ his focus entirely since he got back from New York has been prepping himself and getting ready for this Bowl game. 
 
Q.      Coach Briles, most of the media predicted that Robert would indeed win the Heisman. In that time leading up to the announcement did you let yourself believe that, and what was your thoughts once that announcement came out?
 
COACH BRILES: You know, I didn't watch the video on how to respond when a player wins the Heisman, so I was ready to scream and holler, and I looked around and everybody is sitting there straight faced. I was certainly in different company. I needed to be back at Waco where people were getting to show their emotions a little more. 
We thought he had a good chance going in, simply for the fact of how he's played, and he hit some big plays in some high time viewing areas across the nation. That certainly plays into it, especially toward the end of the season. But when you look at the full body of work, what he's been able to accomplish not only this year but last year, it's pretty impressive. 
 
Q.      Steve, as a former quarterback, did you find yourself getting impressed with Robert a little more watching game film and having an appreciation for what he does on the field? 
 
COACH SARKISIAN: Robert, he's just a tad better athlete than I was when I played (laughter), so yeah, I appreciated the heck out of the guy. I mean, he ‑‑ you watch him, and before you do anything, you always look at a guy's stats and you look at a team's stats and you're wondering, okay, what's going on here. To think, okay, at I don't know how many games of the year, Coach, but at one point he's got more touchdown passes than incompletions, and I think it's about four games into the season, and you think to yourself, well, he must just be dinking and dunking the ball around, and then you turn on the film, and they are chunking the ball down the field. So the accuracy down the field, I think, was what first got me going, wow, this kid is special. 
 
And then obviously the play‑making ability, his understanding of their scheme, his ability to keep the tempo at the up‑tempo speed that they play at, and then to throw in the fact that the guy can run. He's just one of the best players I've seen, and I've been around some pretty good ones. But I think more so than just being a great quarterback, he's a great football player, and that's what makes great quarterbacks. He's a great football player. 
 
Q.      I know both of y'all are kind of offensive minded, but can you talk about facing the challenge of balanced offenses on the other side? 
 
COACH SARKISIAN: Well, I think that's the beauty of football in the sense that why I love offensive football, and I'm sure Coach Briles does, as well. The more things you can do really well, the tougher it is to stop, and to have balance on your offensive football team where you can run the football, throw the football, utilize the play action pass game, spread people out, run with the quarterback, the more you do well, the tougher it is to stop. Ultimately in this game these are two teams that can do a lot of different things, and that's what makes the challenge of playing defense. 
 
I don't envy our two coordinators in this game, at least on the preparation side of it. Nick was pulling out whatever hairs he had left there getting ready for the game here. That's a challenge, but that's the beauty of football. That's why we do what we do. You love that side of it and you love the preparation aspect of it. You love the teaching to the players of getting them prepared, and it's in all three phases quite honestly. But these just happen to be two very balanced offensive football teams that are extremely challenging on defenses. 
 
COACH BRILES: Great answer. Great answer. 
 
Q.      Art, Robert Griffin, your quarterback, receives an awful lot of acclaim for what you guys have been able to accomplish. I wonder if you could tell us about Robert Griffin, the offensive lineman, and what he's been able to do for you this season. 
 
COACH BRILES: Big Griff? The good thing about Big Robert, first of all, is that he's done an outstanding job for us, came less than two years ago from JC, so he's kind of been on the fast track. He was a two‑year guy at JC and a two‑year guy at our level, so he's had to kind of get there in a hurry. Now, the thing that helps him is he's very gifted physically. He's a big kid that carries his weight and carries his body really well. 
It's hard sometimes to stay as mentally tight as you need to when it's on that fast of a track. So I respect the way that he's been able to hold everything together, to come in and develop the leadership role for us, especially through some tough personal times for him, which he's actually going through right now. That makes it even that more evident of his maturity and his growth since he's been with us. 
 
Q.      Coach Briles, you ended the regular season with five straight wins. How much of that momentum do you feel like you still have, or is it dampened any by the break?
 
COACH BRILES: You know, you hope you keep it, and the thing we were saying, toward the end of the season, we did get hot there toward the end and that's the way you want to be as a football team, and when you get hot at the end you just have to maintain it for a two‑ or three‑week period. You don't have to carry it the whole season. If you start out hot, it's hard to maintain the whole season. So we finished up on a pretty good note as a team. 
How much we've lost in the last 23, 24 days, you know, we'll find out tomorrow night. But I feel good about our effort. I feel good about our spirit. We still have a lot of enthusiasm. That's tough to have when you start August 3rd and guys still feel good about being on the practice field and still believe that they have an opportunity to be better. That's the thing that we talk about. We want to finish with the best game that we've played this year because why shouldn't you. You get three more weeks of practice, you get to play another quality opponent, you get to get on the field for another 60 minutes. You should be better, and that's kind of the way we've approached it. 
 
Q.      Coach Sark, RG III getting a lot of attention, rightfully so, but just your thoughts on your running backs and what Chris Polk means to this team?
 
COACH SARKISIAN: Well, a tremendous career, first of all, for Chris, up to this point. To go over 1,000 yards three consecutive seasons and to be knocking on the career rushing record's door here at the University of Washington says a great deal when you look at the quality of backs that have come through this University. 
 
As I've touched on with Chris, the growth that he's made from the day we stepped on campus, not only on the football field but in his personal life, in the classroom, has been the thing that has probably been most impressive to me and makes you as coaches ‑‑ there's little things that make you proud along the way, and he's definitely one of them. 
 
The fact that he's already earned his degree from the University of Washington, the fact that he's probably been, and this is not to take anything away from a guy by the name of Jake Locker, away from him, but he's probably been the biggest reason why we've climbed as quickly as we've climbed from the depths of 0 and 12 is our ability to win all of the times that have gotten tough on us, to rely on No. 1 to run the football, to win tough games late in the season, and his not only physical but mental toughness to take on those amounts of carries and to practice the way he's practiced speaks volumes. 
I think back to the beginning of the season. There's so much that happened since August to get to this point. Eight days before our first ballgame he's having knee surgery to get himself prepared to play, and he wasn't not going to play in that game. He was playing in that game, and he goes out and I think he rushes for 130‑something yards, and it's just ho‑hum. Chris goes for 130 and ho‑hum. 
 
I couldn't be ‑‑ I couldn't thank probably one player more than this guy for what he's given to our program and hopefully we get him for 13 more after this one, but we'll see. Chris and his family and myself have a tough decision to make after this game, and we'll put all the facts and the much needed information on the table, and again, we'll make a really educated decision. He'll make an educated decision, one that he feels great about and his family feels great about and one which we can support him with, whatever that is.
 
Q.      With Demetrice Martin leaving down to UCLA, can you talk a little bit about practice the last couple weeks without him there, how the guys have responded, anything really different? 
 
COACH SARKISIAN: I didn't notice it, quite honestly. I think Donte Williams has done a tremendous job, our graduate assistant, stepping in and coaching the corners. That's his specialty. As you guys all well know, our practices are pretty spirited as it is, and so quite honestly no, and that's not to slight Demetrice. Demetrice is a very good football coach. I just think that one individual or two or three aren't going to change the way that 130 go out and approach the day, and so I thought our guys have practiced extremely well. It's been spirited, it's been competitive, and so that's where I feel like we're at. I feel like we've had a nice month to get ready for the game. 
 
Q.      Coach Briles, a bunch of people have asked Robert about his decision. Obviously after this game, he's mentioned he's probably going to make it after the Bowl game, but there's clearly some thought there leading up to this after the Heisman about going pro. Can you just talk about the discussions, if any, that you've had with him about that decision and again how he's handling his thought process, controlling all the media hype around whether or not he could be a top ten pick in the NFL? 
 
COACH BRILES: Well, I mean, how he's handled it, we kind of touched on it earlier. Robert is a guy that's extremely focused and disciplined into what's in the moment, and that's his first objective is to go out tomorrow night and help us win a football game. That's really all he's been concerned with, like I said, since he got back from New York. 
 
He's certainly got, and his family, have a great opportunity, a great decision to make, and their plan all along for the last two months has been we'll talk about this once the game is over. 
 
Q.      Coach Sark, with Baylor's potent pass offense with Kendall Wright and RG III, how do you prepare players like Sean Parker and Cort Dennison mentally? 
 
COACH SARKISIAN: Well, I think the first is, especially early on in our preparation, the one thing that is the hardest to simulate when you're getting prepared for an offense like Baylor is the speed factor. Kendall Wright is a tremendous receiver, and the speed at which he plays the game, he's got tremendous football speed. 
 
So one thing we did try to do earlier in this preparation process is we did a lot of ones versus ones to where Sean Parker, Cort Dennison, Desmond Trufant were defending Jermaine Kearse, Kasen Williams, Devin Aguilar, Keith Price, Chris Polk, so to get the speed of that to where it needs to be to get themselves prepared, but ultimately you've got to understand schemes and you've got to understand leverage, and you'd better know which guys are fast and which guys aren't so you take good leverage, because if you don't they're going to run right by you. 
 
Q.      Coach Sark, you talked last night right out of the gate at the pep rally about the pageantry of everything going on. Can you expand on that and what you meant by what you said? 
 
COACH SARKISIAN: Well, at first, I do what I do because I love college football. I think this is the ‑‑ this sport just epitomizes why we love athletics in general. You've got 105 kids or so on your roster, some of which are Heisman Trophy caliber type players, some of which may not play a snap all year or all career long. But as the team comes together and that locker room comes together with coaching staff and with fans and with alumni, that pageantry of college football, our dog walk in pregame when we're at home, the band playing, the pep rallies last night, those emotions are why our kids do what they do, and that's why I do what I do. I love seeing it. 
 
I am the biggest fan of Bowl season. I love watching teams play. I can't wait tonight to watch Cal versus Texas. That stuff is why we do what we do. So that event last night was just another opportunity to embrace, to enjoy, and hopefully our kids are doing the same.


Q: The tempo that Baylor plays at is very similar to that of Oregon. Do you feel as though your experience with that helps?

STEVE SARKISIAN: I think it’s helpful for sure. Our guys have seen the speed at which they go and I think that what we’ve done offensively in incorporating some no huddle stuff and an up-tempo level of play dating all the way back to last spring has helped in that as well. That was strategically part of why we did it. It’s added a dimension to our football team that has been good for our offense, but has helped our defense to feel comfortable in that setting. I think that so much of the no huddle offense is that it doesn’t feel comfortable for many; it almost feels chaotic and that’s the worst-case scenario for a defense. You’ve got to find your comfort zone and I think our defense has done a better job of that.

Q: Is there a key to substitutions when facing the no-huddle offense?

STEVE SARKISIAN: I think they key is that you need to sub early in the game. You can’t wait until a guy gets tired. You have to have a rotation in place. You have to sub early so that in the third and fourth quarters of the game, your guys are still somewhat fresh and not so fatigued.

Q: You’ve been through this situation before where you’ve had quarterbacks who have pondered entering the NFL draft. How different is the dynamic of a running back in Chris Pope?

STEVE SARKISIAN: The dynamic is just the different position and assessing the draft that way. For Chris at this point, this is a business decision. This isn’t a matter of what feels fun or what feels right. He’s earned his degree and played great football for us. Now the question is, ‘Is this the right draft for me?’ and ‘Am I projected in the right spot to do what I know I’m capable of doing?’ and ‘Could I benefit more and could I improve more by coming back next season and what might the draft look like next year?’. That’s what a lot of the discussion needs to be about. It’s not about emotion or taking a certain number of carries. That’s the tough realities to go through. We’ll go through it all and we’ll do it the right way.

Q: Do you have an idea when that evaluation might come?

STEVE SARKISIAN: We’ll assess it right when we get back, quite honestly. The NFL advisory is back, we know.

Q: What is the status of safety Will Shamburger?
STEVE SARKISIAN: He’s doubtful.

Q: Are the practices down here being closed off to the media part of the game planning for you guys?

STEVE SARKISIAN: Yeah. I felt like it was needed for us. We’ve been exposed now for quite some time and I felt like when you come down here and we get ready for the game, we needed an intimate setting for us. I thought it has gone very well and our kids have responded to it. In some aspects, they’ve almost embraced it. That’s not forever. For these five practices, I felt it was needed and it’s gone well for us.

Q: Should we expect a big change from the way your team plays with the time behind closed doors?

STEVE SARKISIAN: I don’t think you can change everything. I think as always when you have good coaching staffs that there’s going to be new wrinkles to different things. You can’t install a brand new offense or defense in three weeks. But there will be some wrinkles I’m sure for both teams that will be unique to this game. Some will go unnoticed quite honestly and some will be obvious to the common fan’s eyes.

 

December 27th, 2011
Baylor Defense Press Conference
Defensive Coordinator Phil Bennett, Linebacker Elliot Coffey, Nose Tackle Nicolas Jean-Baptiste and Defensive Tackle Tracy Robertson
Play WAV audio of this Press Quote

PHIL BENNETT: First of all, I want to say hello to Kate. She was my beat writer when I was at SMU. Awful kind to me, too, and I always appreciated that. 

Nick Baptiste is our senior nose guard; Elliot Coffey is our Mike linebacker; and Tracy Robertson is our defensive tackle. These are our three seniors. 
 
First of all, one of the things I've told them all year, we started the season, we had a very inexperienced team. I think we had lost our top seven tacklers from the year before, and obviously with new ones coming in I was moving people around. Last year Tracy played defensive end. He moved inside. I think Nick was the only guy that really stayed at the same position. Actually he played three technique some. Moved him to nose. Elliot was an outside linebacker, came to Baylor as a safety, moved down ‑‑ had been an outside linebacker, we moved him to Mike backer. I told them, I said, it's going to be a little bit of a transition. 
 
But the thing that I'm proud of these guys ‑‑ I told them from the get‑go, I wasn't worried about stats. One of the things I was worried about, and you've seen our offense, is just being able to get the ball back to our offense, and I think the last five games, I doubt many people have had as many takeaways as what we've gotten the last five games. I think that's due to understanding the scheme and also that I understand what they're capable of doing. 
 
Obviously when you have inexperience it takes you a little bit of time to develop who you are and what you are, but I like ‑‑ these kids have been resilient the whole year. They have really ‑‑ you'll see, we'll play hard, we'll play fast, and we'll play physical. And I think that these three guys in particular have set the foundation of what we can be in the near future. 
 
Q.      Can you talk about Washington, what you've seen on tape? 
 
PHIL BENNETT: Yeah, the first thing is they're a multiple grouping offense. They play ‑‑ they have two really good tight ends that are huge. One of them is a freshman All‑American. He's a guy that they showcase in what they're doing. Their back is outstanding. Their quarterback I think is a sophomore. As the year went on, when they played in the Apple Cup it was obvious he was the difference in the game. He was able to make plays that led them to victory. 
 
Their offensive line has gotten better and better. I told their line coach last night, I think they're a very physical offensive line. Multiple formations, they make you line up right, and if you're not smart enough to line up right, then you're going to have some problems because they'll get your angles and get you outnumbered. 
 
I think obviously they're balanced, and when you have a back ‑‑ I think he's rushed for 1,200, 1,300 yards, and with us, like a lot of people, they're going to try to control the clock and try to keep the ball out of our offense's hands. We've got to find ways to get the ball to our offense. 
 
Q.      I have a bigger picture question. You've been around some years and lots of different places. What have you seen in what Art has done at Baylor in your year here, to see what he's done to really turn this program around? 
 
PHIL BENNETT: Well, first of all, the first thing is that he's brought some really good athletes. If you look at us, the guys that he's brought in the program, they're good football players. And then the other thing that he has done, and I've said this from the get‑go, and I know it's a cliché word, but he's changed a culture. And I think these kids will tell you, there's a difference between hoping to win and expecting to win. The thing that I've really enjoyed about Art is the way he's managed this team. 
 
We had a spell in there where we lost a heartbreaker to Kansas State. We came back and pretty well won the game against Iowa State, and then we had a loss to A & M that was very close to the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter they took it away from us, then we got a disaster at Oklahoma State, and we had an open date between that. 
 
And what I liked, and I thought it made a huge difference, we didn't panic during that time. We had a big game against Missouri coming up, and we didn't ‑‑ we stayed consistent in what we believed in, and I think the kids knew that. There was things that we knew we had to correct, and I just think that the culture aspect and being ‑‑ knowing what to expect. 
 
He told the kids today, we're not going to change how we got here. We're going to be furious on offense, we're going to be fast, and we're going to take chances, calculated chances, and he said we're going to find ways to get stops on defense. And I think the kids ‑‑ the belief of what he's doing is really starting to take place along with having better players. 
 
Q.      Elliot, like coach said, y'all were 4 and 3 there. You've gone through a lot of changes. At that point, any doubts? Or did you think, it's going to come together? You were close enough where you thought it would all come together, that kind of thing? 
 
ELLIOT COFFEY: You know, it's hard to say there weren't doubts, but there was definitely an understanding. We shut up that following Sunday and Coach Kaz got in our face, our strength coach, and was like, when did you stop being Superman. You guys are getting interviewed, we're talking about you on the national news all over the place, and all of a sudden you drop two games and you're not the team that you were. So I think when he said that to everybody, it just kind of clicked, and we realized that yes, we had skidded a couple games, but it was about these next five, and we were going to go and we were going to win them.
 
PHIL BENNETT: One of the things that was interesting about that is we all ‑‑ the players knew it. When we played Missouri and after they had just beaten A & M, we knew that we had to show up. We had to ‑‑ it was our homecoming, and it really was. We sort of got a motto on defense, we became determined to get better, and that's one of the things defensively that our kids ‑‑ we said, hey, we broke every huddle, everything was just being determined and finding a way to win. 
 
Q.      Nick, what's it mean to you to start your career as a walk‑on and end as All‑Big‑12 and two consecutive Bowl games for yourself? 
 
NICOLAS JEAN‑BAPTISTE: Well, it's a big deal to me just coming from where I've been, and it's just ‑‑ I couldn't have gotten here without the coaches, my teammates and all that. They've helped me with the support and whatnot. I've came a long way, but I'm happy about it right now, and I'm not going to stop with just this. But I'm happy about what's going on now. 
 
Q.      Elliot, can you maybe just expand a little bit on their quarterback? Does he remind you of anybody, and kind of what he brings to the table? 
 
ELLIOT COFFEY: It's funny you ask that because I've heard a lot of comparisons with him and Griff, and that's just because he does have a strong arm, great decision making, quick on his feet. And similar to Robert, Robert can run, but his first thought is pass, so he definitely sits there in the pocket, and if there is a pass to be made, he'll do that before he tries to run and scramble, similar to Rob. That's the comparison I keep hearing thrown in my direction. 
 
Q.      This is for Phil. I'm with the Seattle Times, so we've seen some of your games but not every one, and it's easy to look at your yards given up per game stat and kind of draw a conclusion about your defense. Is that accurate in any way at all? 
 
PHIL BENNETT: You know, there's only one statistic truthfully that matters, and that's did you contribute to winning nine games, and if you looked at us defensively, from game one, TCU, which we got stops, but we improved probably 70 percent. In our conference, in the Big 12, because everybody is hurry‑up and you're playing so many snaps and we score so fast, I think that the ability to sit there and say, hey, they give up this many yards ‑‑ you know, I told somebody, I said, I've probably had the worst statistical year I've had, but I might have had more fun and probably maybe did one of my better coaching jobs along with the staff. And watching these guys develop, I think that we have become a contributor to this football team. In other words, don't let the numbers fool you. 
 
Q.      For those back in Seattle who haven't been able to really see much of your games, they're just focused on your offense. Tell us what people back in Seattle can expect to see from your defense. Maybe give us an overall summary of what you run and also what are a couple of things that you worry about going into this game that your defense has to do?
 
PHIL BENNETT: We're a multiple four‑man front. We don't play a ton of man. We're what I call a match zone, which is sort of a split between man and zone on route distribution. I think we're physical up front, and I think one of the things that we have evolved to is we get to the football, and we have tackled well, especially the last six games. We pick and choose our blitzes. I've said this many years; when you blitz, somebody's band is going to play, you want to make damned sure it's yours. And we've been successful. We've got some pressure. 
 
These guys have done a nice job, but we're not an all‑out blitz team. If I had to say right now, we're more of a cover team and more of a disguise team. 
 
We try to make people predictable. 1st down is crucial for us, trying to get them in 3rd and long and then create the match‑ups. 
 
At University of Washington the thing that ‑‑ the first thing I can tell you is the people that have played them, you have to be careful how much you load up for the run because they are an excellent ‑‑ they have a really nice play action pass and boot scheme, and if you sell out to be ‑‑ for the run, you're going to get hurt. I think that their receivers are big guys. They're guys that ‑‑ they're all about 6'0", 210, they'll be eating peanuts off our corners' heads because we're midgets. I think we're just going to have to really fight and stay on top of things. 
 
Q.      Tracy, obviously a lot of the focus this year has been on offense and Robert Griffin obviously. What's it been like, offense doesn't win a ballgame without a defense, so what's it been as far as Heisman hype on the defensive side of the ball? 
 
TRACY ROBERTSON: It's always big because they're getting more attention than us, but the biggest thing we have to do is worry about us. If we worry about us, like Coach Bennett said, we can be contributors on this team. We're the biggest thing, worrying about what we can do to help us win. 
 
Q.      Elliot, Washington likes to run multiple personnel packages and tons of different formations and motions. As the middle linebacker what kind of problems does that present for you and what do you have to do on the field to kind of make sure everybody is in the right spot? 
 
ELLIOT COFFEY: Well, the reason they change personnel and the reason they shift around is to get you off balance, to get you not set up to have these guys not sure if they should over‑pursue, if they should step to the gap or not. So what you have to make sure you do is before the ball is snapped, as soon as they line up, you have the front set up. If there's any changes that need to be made, you need to make them on point. You need to make them as soon as you possibly can because these guys don't need to be thinking about what they're going to do. They need to line up, they need to be ready to run. 
 
Q.      For Tracy and Nicolas, how important is it to win that battle up front, and then I know Coach Bennett said you can't sell out to stop the run, but to at least slow down that running game where they're not just beating you with the run. 
 
TRACY ROBERTSON: We have a saying when we go out to practice, it all starts up front. I feel like if we can do a good job setting the tone, giving our linebackers and our DBs the confidence when they see us out there playing hard and kind of controlling the line of scrimmage, that makes a lot of things easy. It makes coverages easier and it makes the flow for the backers a lot easier, as well. 
 
NICOLAS JEAN‑BAPTISTE: Basically the same thing Tracy said. If we control the line of scrimmage, it makes it a lot easier for the backs just to not have to worry about getting too close to the line of scrimmage and biting on those play actions and whatnot so they can worry about pass before it takes care of the run. 
 
Q.      Can you explain a little bit to those of us that haven't been around Baylor a lot about how big a deal it is to get a Heisman Trophy winner at Baylor, to elevate the profile of the Big 12 and also to get a home state Bowl game? 
 
PHIL BENNETT: First of all, I'll tell you a quick story. I came from University of Pittsburgh, and I knew just a little bit about Robert, and I remembered the first spring practice that I watched, and I thought, he's a runner, movement guy, scrambler. I remember walking off the field, and I walked straight to Art, and I said, wow, he can make every throw there is. I said, his release, his poise, his knowledge, his decision making. Somebody mentioned the word, he looks like another quarterback. I said, "He's better." 
 
So one thing I knew immediately is that we had an outstanding quarterback. And this year has been, as Tracy said, it's been fun because especially from the Missouri game on, we contributed, and we knew that the more times we got Robert and our offense in general the ball that more than likely great things were going to happen. Having him win the Heisman Trophy and us being able to be a contributor in that Texas game with six takeaways and giving him a chance to make some of those plays, it was a lot of fun.
 
But for Baylor in itself, I think it just ‑‑ grant Teaff, when I came here, he told me something. He said, Phil, I get to tired of people thinking that you can't win and win big at Baylor. And of course he's one of the few who has done it. I go back to Art; Art has had a vision for this program, and I think that a lot of people, with what's going on, you can look at the program in general. 
 
When I came here, I was more associated per se with Art than I was Baylor, but I've played against Baylor since 1973. I knew what they were capable of. I've always had a tremendous amount of respect. 
 
But I think there's a sense of pride right now in the ‑‑ just what they call the Baylor Nation of saying, this is just the beginning. And I think that our athletic director Ian McCaw, there's a lot of things on the horizon. One of the things they mentioned, the stadium, that's not going to be a luxury, that's going to be a must. If we want to keep this program where it's at and elevate it to another level, that on‑the‑river, on‑campus stadium is going to have to come to fruition. And I think that we've got the momentum to do that right now.
 
And I think with Robert winning the Heisman, our basketball teams, both the men's and the women's both being very prominent in the national scene, the old saying, it's a good time to be a Bear. 
 
Q.      Elliot, having won five games in a row this year, has Bowl preparation felt any different compared to last year when you had lost a few going into the Bowl game?
 
ELLIOT COFFEY: Absolutely. I think as a team we were questioning ourselves last year, trying to figure out what it was that caused the skid that we had at the end of the season. I know we were injury ridden. We had a lot of guys coming back. We were just trying to figure out really the identity of the team and what we had to take into the game. 
This year, like you said, we've got a five‑game winning streak going on. We've made that identity. We have an offense that is on fire, we have a defense that's causing turnovers, that's getting that offense the ball, and it's just a complete different take on this whole experience, you know, leading up to it. 
 
There's an expectation every day during practice. You can ask Coach Bennett. He's on us like this is the first game of the season every chance we have. So it's just exciting, and it's definitely a more focused, more developed ‑‑ and I think coming off of 15 years not playing in a Bowl game, football has changed, and I don't think we necessarily knew what we needed to do, how you need to practice in order to be successful for the Bowl game, and we don't have that excuse this year, so I think we definitely took advantage of the experience we got last year. 
 
Q.      Nick, can you talk about the pressure? You've got a lot of pride right now, but that tenth win could really change momentum if you don't get that tenth win. Can you talk about the mood in the locker room? 
 
NICOLAS JEAN‑BAPTISTE: Really it's just about finishing strong. You want to get that tenth win because we want to get into the top ten. That's what Coach Briles has preaching us, two digits is better than one. So getting that tenth one will be a big deal, sending our seniors out the right way and putting the underclassmen on the right path for next year. So basically getting that tenth win is going to be pretty important for the program and the future. 
 
Q.      Elliot, can you talk about what Coach Bennett has done overall? We always walk by on the sidelines, he's always encouraging you guys, he's one of those vocal leaders every time you guys come off the field. What it's been like, the change defensively scheme wise but more importantly the type of attitude he's brought and relayed that to you as a leader on the field? 
 
ELLIOT COFFEY: Right. I think a lot of people who haven't been coached or spent a lot of time with Coach Bennett can get his personality confused. What he does early on is he establishes the fact that he is the coach and you're the player early on, and you can see through the way he coaches, through the way he watches film, through the way he breaks down what the game plan is to you, that the guy understands what he's saying to you. I think the biggest thing early on was just him establishing the fact that I'm the coach, I know what I'm talking about, listen to me and you will be successful. And I think that's how it started, and then the more we got to it, the more you'd see us laughing and playing now, but there was definitely a time where you had to understand that in order to see that side of Coach, in order to be successful, you've got to work for it. 
 
And especially these guys right here; the whole defense really worked to get that, and we listened to him and we bought in, and like you said, five turnovers against Tech, six turnovers against Texas the following week and however many we had before that, but it's just really, the system works, and if you listen to it, it's great, and that's why we have the relationship we do now. 
 
Q.      Phil, in preparation for Keith Price, there's a thought that he might be as close to 100 percent health as he's been all year. How does that change your preparations and what do you think you might expect from him? 
 
PHIL BENNETT: Well, you know, I go back to the play action and the boots and the waggles. When he had gotten hurt they had to limit that a little bit because they didn't want him taking licks, and when you're booting and waggling there's a chance that you can get hit. I'll tell you something, as Elliot said earlier, his accuracy early in the season, when he got going, one game in particular was Colorado. He really had a game that they had good coverage on him, and he was very pinpoint. He really throws the ball well on the run. 
 
That's one of the things in our game against A & M that I'm sure they're going to look at. We had some struggles with boot coverage that we've got to get better at. So that's sort of what I'm sort of anticipating, them moving him maybe a little bit more than they did the last four games. They missed him. It was obvious they were a different team in the Oregon State game. They tried to ‑‑ not that they didn't play well, but they missed his play‑making ability. 
 
Q.      Nick and Elliot, you guys were here as red shirts winless in conference. Has your vision changed from that year until now, and did this exceed it? 
 
NICOLAS JEAN‑BAPTISTE: Well, I think the vision was just to change this program. I didn't have a really specific vision, I just knew we needed to turn this around. We had to get it together. So last year we met the expectations that I had. We went to a Bowl game, first game in 16, 15 years. But like the vision like we have ‑‑ like what I have from then to now is a completely different thing because I'm expecting us to do big things this year. So from what I thought from freshman year, it's way beyond what I was dreaming of. 
 
ELLIOT COFFEY: Personally for me the vision hasn't changed. It just took a little bit longer to get there than we expected. I don't think me and Nick would be around if we didn't trust things were going to change. Kept working through the hard times, of course 3 and 9, two 4 and 8 seasons in a row, just believing that if you keep working, if you keep developing the system, if you let Coach Briles, of course Coach Bennett came in, as well, and really just let their systems develop, we will be successful, and finally it really hit this season, of course. 
 
It's just been exciting to see it finally ‑‑ we worked hard. The vision was there. We wanted to get a double‑digit season or double‑digit wins was always something I wanted to do, and it's right at our fingertips right now, and I think that's a great time for us, great time for everybody involved, and of course Baylor Nation.

Q: From what you’ve seen on film, how would you describe Washington running back Chris Polk?

NICOLAS JEAN-BAPTISTE: He’s a tough runner, a good one-cut running back. Once he’s made his decision, he’s going to hit the hole. He makes a lot of people miss and breaks tackles. Overall, he’s a really good runner.

Q: What’s it going to take to slow Polk down on Thursday?

NICOLAS JEAN-BAPTISTE: We’ll need to get a lot of penetration on the defensive line. Getting the running game going is a focal point for [Washington] and it sets up a lot of stuff for them. Our defensive ends are going to especially have to work on containing him.

Q: What has your experience been like at the Alamo Bowl aside from the game itself?

NICOLAS JEAN-BAPTISTE: It’s been a pretty good experience, especially things like our time at Sea World. I’ve never been to Sea World before. It was pretty cool riding the rides with my teammates, going to see Shamu, the dolphin exhibit and the shark. Spending time with my teammates, who are my friends, outside of practice is a good break from the everyday routine. The Spurs game was cool too.

Q: You were previously asked about being a one-time walk-on and finishing with all-conference honors. What does that mean for your family who raised you and watched you grow?

NICOLAS JEAN-BAPTISTE: They’re really proud of me. They’ve been behind me since day one. My mother calls me all the time just making sure I’m alright and my dad sends me inspirational emails and motivational stuff. I’ve talked to them everyday and they make sure that I’m still in love with football, which I am. They still love me to death and aren’t trying to put any pressure on me about the future and have just been supportive of the decisions I’ve made through these five years.

Q: Has it been tough for you to face the fact that this is the end of the road of college football for you?

NICOLAS JEAN-BAPTISTE: It is kind of tough, especially the way we’ve been playing this year. I want to come back and play again to see if we can do bigger and better things than this, but it’s been fun and I’ve enjoyed my time here.

Q: How big would it be for you to see that 10th win?

NICOLAS JEAN-BAPTISTE: Finishing strong is a big deal for us, the entire team. It’s especially a big deal for us to see how far we’ve come, having come from a 3-9 season to going to 10 wins.

Q: You were a true freshman your first year at Baylor. What’s it like to end your career and seek that 10th win here when many go through a red shirt year?

TRACY ROBERTSON: The biggest thing is that when you’re a true freshman, you have to understand that things are going to go a lot faster. You don’t have a year to sit and get the hang of things. Players who play as true freshman have to have a vision. I think that’s what our team has been playing off of this year, the vision of changing things. Those of us that played as true freshmen knew that we could make that happen immediately.

Q: Did it take awhile for you to buy into Coach Briles’ system?

TRACY ROBERTSON: Coach Briles makes it easy to trust him. He always makes it seem that he’s going there with you. There’s not a disconnect between the coaching staff and the players. With a guy like Coach Briles, if you see how hard he works, it makes you want to work even harder with him. We’ve been with him since day one.

Q: How would you describe the Baylor defense this season from your perspective?

TRACY ROBERTSON: If I had to compare to our defenses from previous years, I would say this year’s defense is a lot faster. Coach Bennett has brought in a lot of different schemes. He didn’t change our formation, but just the way he fit, our defense has a different mentality than the previous years that I’ve been here. There wasn’t a big adjustment between last year and this year because we didn’t have a lot of change in coaching, but the mentality made a lot of changes with time. The little things we had to pick up on – you can see how they have made an impact on the field.

Q: On Coach Art Briles

PHIL BENNETT: Everywhere he has gone, he has been successful. When he went to U of H, people forget, they were 0-11 before he got there. In a couple years he has kids in there, they’re number one. They’re trademark was their offense. I used to tell him, when we played them in our conference, “You guys are hard to defend.” Offensive guys want to play in systems like that. That’s why we have the receivers, and Robert Griffin. They want an offense that is receiver-, runningback-, quarterback-friendly. Very few offenses can find that many touches. Look at Gannoway. He led the Big 12 in rushing. Then we’ve got receivers like Kendall. We’ve got four receivers, I think, with over 40 catches, do we not? The ball is getting distributed. I made a tape for our kids this year that simply said, “Why not us?” It was a highlight video of them that blew them away. I showed it to them the first day we met in the fall, and then again when we got on the bus to play Texas. I never said a word. Art has done a really good job with the expectancy. We’re not going to accept them being mediocre. The thing I’ve enjoyed about these kids is that they have bought into what is happening. The way they’ve bought in has worked. I think it can get better.

Q: On the highlight video

PHIL BENNETT: It was wonderful highlights. It was them making plays. I even did movie parts. I included parts from the movie where Al Pacino was the football coach. They had some good points in (that movie). (The highlight video) was about eight minutes, and I just said, “Why not us?” Part of changing a culture is like I told them, “We have fun when we get better.” It’s delayed gratification. Nothing for us is a given. Washington’s a dang good team. If they’d had their quarterback all healthy, they’d have won nine of ten games. They know that, I know that, they are a good football team.

Q: On why he chose Baylor

PHIL BENNETT: I had some good opportunities (coming out of Pitt). I’m a Texas guy. I’m an Art Briles fan, not only as a coach, but as a man. When Art flew to Birmingham, I called my wife and said, “I’m gonna go to Baylor.” Of course she was ecstatic, coming home. She said, “Are you sure you wanna do this?” I said, “Yeah.” I like a challenge. I don’t think I’ve done it yet. I think I’ve helped us. But I think I can do so much more than what we’ve done. I think we can get so much better on defense. Hopefully the way we are recruiting, that will happen.

December 27th, 2011
Washington Offense Press Conference
Offensive Coordinator Doug Nussmeier, Quarterback Keith Price, Tailback Chris Polk, Wide Receiver Jermaine Kears, Left Tackle Senio Kelemete and Tight End Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Play WAV audio of this Press Quote

DOUG NUSSMEIER: First of all, I just want to say on behalf of Coach Sark, our University, our players, very excited to be here, playing this game against a great opponent like Baylor. It's very exciting. I think it's important to let these guys talk, so as we go down here, quarterback Keith Price, running back Chris Polk, left tackle Senio Kelemete, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and tight end Austin Seferian‑Jenkins. 

Q.      Coach, can you talk about how the preparations have gone? You've been here since the 23rd, how they've gone so far, especially in regards to all the outside press conferences, Sea World, those kind of things? 
 
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, obviously we came here to play a football game, but also it's a great experience for the players to get a chance to get out and see a great city like San Antonio and do some wonderful things. Obviously when we first got here we got greeted by our own weather. We got a lot of rain. So the first day we had rain, it's been a little cool. It's obviously starting to warm up. It's been nice. I think the players have really enjoyed their time here. And from a preparation standpoint it's been really good. 
 
Q.      To Keith and Chris, it seems like since we've been down here it's RG III this, RG III that. Obviously we know about your offense, but do you enjoy flying under the radar a little bit going into this game? 
 
KEITH PRICE: Yeah, I think it's fine. We don't have to worry about the pressure. We can just go out and play our game. We're not worried about all that stuff, we're just trying to win the ballgame. 
 
CHRIS POLK: Yeah, like Keith said, there's no pressure on us, and plus we're used to playing under the radar this whole year. It's something we've become accustomed to and we're used to. 
 
Q.      Doug, I wonder if you could talk about the importance of Chris as a tool in keeping the ball away from Griffin and Baylor's explosive offense in this game. 
 
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, obviously as every game, we go evaluate ourselves and what we think we do well versus what our opponent's defense does well. One of the things we always try and do is stay balanced. When you can get a good combination of the running game and the passing game, you keep people off balance a little bit, so like always, we'll try and do that. 
 
Q.      Coach, is Keith healthy enough where you can install the offense that he had the first play of the season? Can you install the first offense with Keith right now? 
 
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Do you want to answer that, Keith? 
 
KEITH PRICE: I think so. 
 
DOUG NUSSMEIER: I think that obviously Keith is feeling really good. 
 
Q.      Austin, can you talk a little bit about this experience as a freshman. Last year getting ready for a Fish Bowl in Peninsula and now the Alamo Bowl, how big this is for you. 
 
AUSTIN SEFERIAN‑JENKINS: You know, it's a unique could come out here and play in this Bowl game against great competition, another game coming out here and preparing to win. 
 
Q.      Coach, you're not totally used to playing in a dome stadium. Do you have any concerns about crowd noise going into this? 
 
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, obviously being where we are in the state of Texas, knowing Baylor being relatively close, we prepared for crowd noise. That's the way we prepared from day one when we first found out who we were playing. As we look at it, we're essentially playing on the road. It's going to be loud, and we're prepared for that. 
 
Q.      Chris, can you talk about last year in the Bowl game you had the workhorse, 177 yards, touchdown comparing last year to this year, and are you expecting similar things? 
 
CHRIS POLK: Last year from this year is a big difference coming in, just having that overall experience and knowing when to have fun and when to lock it in. I'm going to do whatever it takes to get the win, and I don't think I'm going to have to ‑‑ it's not going to come down to one thing. We're real balanced this year. We have great receivers, we have a good quarterback and we have a great line, and overall our job is to stay on the field and keep converting, just keep RG III off the field. 
 
Q.      How much did that Bowl victory and the way you beat Nebraska give you guys some extra confidence in this underdog role you've got coming into this game? 
 
CHRIS POLK: We always had the confidence I would say, but that victory just brought belief back into it. That made us believe in what we're being coached to do, made us believe in the schemes, made us believe in everything we did, because we were facing an opponent that we thought really didn't respect us, so just go out there and overall be respected and do it in a fashion and come out with a W. I guess that gave us more momentum going into the season and we just still have that belief. 
 
Q.      Jermaine, just can you talk about the pride factor? It wasn't that long ago this team was 0 and 12 and now your second Bowl game in a row and where you've been and where you are now. 
 
JERMAINE KEARSE: Well, obviously we were 0 and 12 my freshman year, but Coach Sark and the coaching staff came in here and just turned this program around. The environment is different; it's a lot more energy. Our coaches do a good job of coaching us and preparing us for each game. 
 
Q.      Since you guys have gotten here, your record on extended time off, byes or a couple weeks off is really good, I think six in a row now. Do you attribute that to anything in particular and how these guys maybe learn the game plan a little more than they do in a normal week? 
 
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Sure. I think it's about the process, and when you talk about going to our second straight Bowl game and our players that were on our football team last year now basically moving the schedule a day are repeating the same schedule that we used in preparation for last year's Bowl game, so there's a lot of familiarity there. They understand the process. Obviously our new players, as Austin can attest to, it's been a learning experience for them. But it's been proven over time, and it's something that we believe in. 
 
Q.      Keith, what have you seen from their defense on film? What things do they do in terms of kind of their tendencies and things like that? 
 
KEITH PRICE: They play hard. You just can't sleep on them. Their stats don't show it, but their offense is scoring really fast, so I'm pretty sure that their defense is pretty tired. So we've just got to come out and play our game. 
 
Q.      I know you're going to say you're focusing on the game and you haven't made up your mind for next year, but how often is it creeping in to break Corey Dillon's record and this may be your last game and proving a point out there? 
 
KEITH PRICE: I would lie to you if I said it didn't creep in, but I'm here ‑‑ football is a team sport, so I'm all about the team first, whether I have 205 rushing yards or 60 yards. As long as we get the W and send these seniors off on a good note and keep improving and keep getting better each year, that means more to me, because without my teammates blocking for me, without my coaching believing in me, without the strength pushing me in the weight room, my name is not even in the category to be in certain records. 
 
Q.      Baylor has taken a lot of pride in their turnover rate over the last several games. What have you seen in game films that tells you what they're doing to generate those turnovers? 
 
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, they do a really good job of keeping their eyes especially in the passing game in the backfield on the quarterback, and they do a good job of reading routes, breaking. They've got great speed. 
 
Q.      Chris, you've been known to flash a few Ws after touchdowns. Any big plans for Thursday?
 
CHRIS POLK: You know, no. Our coaches always say act like you've been there before, so I'll just stick to my Ws unless it's something spectacular. Maybe I'll bring something out. But I've got to have ‑‑ make sure it's in the right time and make sure I'm on the sideline before so I won't get penalized. 
 
Q.      Senio, in the middle of that 0 and 12 season and things were going wrong or even at the end of that 0 and 12 season, could you imagine this program being where it is today, back to back Bowl games and all the success? Could you envision that back then? 
 
SENIO KELEMETE: Honestly, no, I would have never imagined this. It was pretty hard for all of us, the 0 and 12 season. I'm pretty sure a lot of guys didn't really want to play football anymore or wanted to transfer or just ‑‑ just football wasn't fun. But I'm glad Coach Sark came, and he brought a great staff, and he's start being to turn this program around. Obviously he's playing a lot of young guys. We have Keith and Austin playing big roles in our plays. I like where this team is heading at. 
 
Q.      Would you talk about O‑line pride? Coach Bennett earlier, the defensive coordinator, said you guys are a very physical offensive line. Talk about what you guys are doing with that. 
 
SENIO KELEMETE: Like as of right now, in practice, we're just trying to just go all out. I think a lot of guys didn't really give us their all during practice, and it showed sometimes in games where we got beat, and I think if we just keep pushing ourselves, I think we'll do good up front and play physical. 
 
Q.      Keith, on the turnovers, they've really had a lot of interceptions the last few games, too. Have you noticed anything that they seem to be capitalizing on, other quarterbacks, when they've done that? 
 
KEITH PRICE: Yeah, actually I think the past couple weeks, I'm not sure how many turnovers they had, but I know they had a lot of turnovers. I just have to do a good job of taking care of the ball and making the right reads. 
 
Q.      Keith, I wonder if you could talk about the confidence in your offense with Chris running like he is, having that guy next to you in the backfield all the time. 
 
KEITH PRICE: Oh, man, it makes me job a lot easier. We just feed the rock to the beast and let him roll with it, and it opens me up. 
 
Q.      Doug, Keith talked about feeding the rock to the beast, but can you talk about this wide receiving corps that you have and throw in your tight ends, as well, and what this means to this offense?
 
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, when you're specifically addressing the tight end situation, going back to last year it's really a position that we had to manufacture and we had to do a bunch of different things with different personnel because we didn't really have a true tight end, and this year with Austin and Michael and Evan, the three young guys, they've done a great job, and it really has opened another facet of our offense. 
 
Then when you look at our receiving corps, with so many different guys able to do so many different things, it helps us to keep balance like we talked about earlier and to keep defenses not focused in on one guy. 
 
Q.      Doug, after studying the Baylor game film, how alike and how different is Baylor's ‑‑ what Baylor is doing to what you've seen in the Pac‑12? 
 
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, I think a lot of it is similar. They play a cover‑four scheme as their base scheme and we see that from quite a few opponents within our own conference. Like I said, they run really, really well. They jump into some odd stuff and things like that, so we'll have to be prepared for that stuff. 
 
Q.      This is very random for anybody. We have video of Luther Leonard on the roller coaster who appeared to be crying. Did anybody sit with him and can talk about his experience? Jermaine, can you talk about Luther on the roller coaster? 
 
JERMAINE KEARSE: I guess he was crying. I don't know if he was crying, but he was screaming like a girl. (Laughter.) No offense to women. 
 
Q.      Is he okay now? 
 
JERMAINE KEARSE: Yeah, he's fine. I want to see that video. 
 
Q.      We did see you at the whales. Talk about that. You had big smiles. You were kind of rivaling Keith in some of those pictures. 
 
JERMAINE KEARSE: Oh, yeah, big smile like Keith. That was a wonderful experience. Probably a once in a lifetime. I mean, how many chances do you get to interact with whales? It was a lot of fun. Got to dance with them and pet them and stuff. It was fun. 
 
Q.      Austin, what's the biggest learning curve jump from high school to college and what have you been focusing on to improve your play? 
 
AUSTIN SEFERIAN‑JENKINS: Just really being a student of the game. In high school you didn't really have to watch film, you just went out there and played, and just being the most athletic guy out there you could succeed. But at this level you've got to be athletic, you've got to study your game film, you've got to trust in the coaches and trust in the players that are right next to you. It's really just studying, studying the playing film, being mentally tough and always ready to go. 
 
Q.      Coach, could you talk about Keith, and for those of us who aren't familiar with him, any comparisons to past guys you've coached? 
 
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, I really think Keith's best football is still ahead of him. For a young guy in his first year starting, he's done an exceptional job, when we talk about managing the game and doing the things that we ask our quarterback to do. He's really come a long way in his development from becoming a true pocket passer. I think early, first year, so the progression thing, getting into his check downs and those type of things were difficult, as they are for all young quarterbacks. He's worked extremely hard. If there's one thing I can say about Keith, it's his work ethic is second to none. He really does a great job of preparing himself. 
 
Q.      Keith, how about the Apple Cup, getting back on the field healthy and putting up big numbers? How did that feel? 
 
KEITH PRICE: It felt good, just running around with the guys and just getting back out there. I sat out most of the Oregon State game, and it was kind of hard for me because I wanted to play in the game. So it was good just being out there with my teammates and getting a win.

Q: How much fun are you having from the Riverwalk experience to Sea World?

KEITH PRICE: I’ve been having a ball with my teammates. We brought our Seattle weather down here the first couple of days, but it started to heat up on us.

Q: Having a bowl game last year, does that make you smarter and work harder for this year’s game?

KEITH PRICE: I’m not sure if it makes you smarter, but it’s definitely an experience. We’ve been here before, so we know what to expect.

Q: We’ve heard so much about the Baylor offense, but what’s so dangerous about the Huskies offense? Does Baylor’s offense allow your offense to fly under the radar?

KEITH PRICE: We can hurt you with the run or the pass. We don’t have to worry about the media to pump us up. We know how good we are and will continue to get better.

Q: What makes your wide receivers so special?

KEITH PRICE: These guys are mentally tough. If they drop a ball, they’ll come back and make a big play. I think that it’s a testament to our coaching staff and how they prepare us. Our receivers are athletic, they prepare well and they make plays.

Q: How about your running back, Chris Polk? What makes him so special?

KEITH PRICE: He’s tremendous. I wouldn’t have as much success if it wasn’t for him. He makes things special when things aren’t there to get positive yards. If he gets hit in the backfield, he still may get two or three yards. That’s a big difference between third and seven and third and 10.

Q: How healthy are you? How good do you feel physically? Do you feel like you can get out of the pocket more on Thursday than you have in the last four games?

KEITH PRICE: I feel good. We’ll see on Thursday. Definitely a wait and see approach for the people in the stands.

Q: How do injuries affect you?

CHRIS POLK: If the Huskies are playing, I’m going to do whatever it takes to get in the game. Regardless if I have a bad leg, bad arm or a bad finger, I can’t sit on the bench. I’ve already experienced that and it’s the worst feeling in the world.

Q: Talk about this year and what you’ve accomplished.

CHRIS POLK: My only goal this year was to improve overall this year and do better than we did last year and we’ll see about that after this game. Whether we win or lose, I feel like we’ve made a step forward in the mentality and the physicality that our team brought.

Q: As an offense, do you feel like you have to score a lot of points in this game?

CHRIS POLK: We do feel like we have to score a lot of points and we have to keep RG3 off the field. We just need to eat up the clock and be a real possession team. RG3 can’t beat us if he’s not on the field. I think that’s one of our goals going into this game.

Q: Is there going to be a lot that’s different in your playbook for Thursday than what you’ve shown this season?

CHRIS POLK: Not really. We’ve been running basically the same plays we’ve been running all year. I think it’s just going to be more balanced and we’ll get back to the basics and do what we do best.

Q: How beat up was Keith Price, your roommate, this season?
 
CHRIS POLK: During the season, there were times that Keith was real beat up. I even had to carry him to the car and drive him to treatment. I had to help him elevate his leg in our apartment, but I kind of made fun of him because when I saw him driving, I’d tell him to go to treatment and soak his knee. He’s good now, though.

Q: On Chris Polk-

DOUG NUSSMEIER: Chris has done a great job preparing. He shows up every week and he plays his ball. I’m really looking forward to his game. He’s a great character. As good as a football player as he is, he’s a great kid, a funny guy, he’s fun to be around, and when you spend time with him and really get to know him, he really is a great kid.

Q: On Kasen Williams-

DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, obviously you know his track history is well documented, and with any young player there’s a learning curve. You’re starting to see him develop into the marquis receiver. He’s gonna continue to get better and better. (His catching window) is huge. You talk about his leaping ability and the natural length that he has, you’ve got a lot of room.

Q: On Keith Price-

SENIO KELEMETE: As soon as Jake left and we had Keith, just seeing him run around, I was like, “Ok, this is gonna be another year just to try and make sure I do the best of my abilities to protect him, but if I slip up, I think he can wiggle through and get outta there.”

Q: Has this year met your expectations?-

SENIO KELEMETE: Kind of, but things aren’t always going to go the way you want them to. I was just glad the team was able to come back and persevere through those tough losses, especially against Stanford and Oregon, those really good teams. It just showed our character. I really wanted us to go to that Rose Bowl, but like I said, a lot of things don’t go your way, so you just gotta adjust and deal with what you got.

Q: Baylor’s Defensive Front Line-

SENIO KELEMETE: They play hard, they show good effort, they show a lot of enthusiasm, they really get after it.

Q: Anything different than what you’ve seen this year?

SENIO KELEMETE: No. I’d say their linebacker corps is pretty fast.

Q: Are you going to do anything special to combat that?

SENIO KELEMETE: We have the same game plan, just adjusted a little bit.

December 26th, 2011
Washington Players at SeaWorld San Antonio 12/26
Wide Receiver Jermaine Kearse, Offensive Tackle Senio Kelemete

Washington Wide Receiver Jermaine Kearse

On his time at SeaWorld San Antonio…
It was a lot of fun. I didn’t think I was going to interact with the whales as much as I did. I got to swim with them, dance with them and I even got a kiss from one of them. The water was pretty cold, but the wetsuit helped a lot.
On the animals at SeaWorld…
It is amazing how they can train these animals to do these tricks. It was an amazing experience to see these animals perform in person and to actually do it with them.
 
Washington Offensive Tackle Senio Kelemete
On what they did at SeaWorld…
 We got to do a sit-up contest against a walrus. It was pretty fun, I’ve never seen a walrus in person before. He did six sit-ups, but I think Washington won the contest.

December 26th, 2011
Baylor Post-Practice 12/26
Head Coach Art Briles, nose tackle Nicolas Jean-Baptiste and wide receiver Lanear Sampson

Baylor Head Coach Art Briles

On being the favorite...

It's different for us. We're used to the hunted and not the hunter. If you don't think dogs and cats are different put them in the room together. We want to be the dog. We want to be aggressive. We want to set the tone.

Nose Tackle Nicolas Jean-Baptiste

On the sunny but cool weather…
There's a cool breeze and it's in the 50s I'm enjoyed it a lot better than it was in the summer when it was 109. I'm enjoying it.
 
On looking forward to game...
 
We're really excited. It;s another opportunity to get a big win. Playing in Texas means we'll have a good home crowd. Just tyring to get 10 wins. We wnat to finish strong that's our motto. At the end of the season you want to finish right. You don't want to go to off-season on a sour note.
 
On balacing fun of Bowl Week with need for preparation...

There is time to have fun and a time to get to work. We're able to to enjoy the sights of the Riverwalk and town but we know when to balance it. We know when it's time to be serious and time to goof around.
 
On Tevin Elliott's injury...
 
It hurts a lot. You have a really good pass rusher that's going to be on the sidelines. He's a really good player, really good motor.It's going to be tough but he's going to be there on the sidelines cheering us on.
 
On importance of neutralizing Washington's rushing attack:
 
It's going to be a big deal. They have an All-Conference back who has rushed for 1,300 yards so if we can stop that running back it will be half the battle.
  

Wide Receiver Leanear Sampson

On the differences of this week compared to regular season…

We just have to stay focused. We're getting our rest and manage to separate the off-the-field with the on-field things.

On going to Sea World this afternoon...

I've been when I was younger. i really want to go and see the dolphins. I talking to the players that went went this morning and they were messing with the dolphins and whales. I don't know about all that but I'm interested is seeing what is out there.

On the team's attitude this year compared to last year's bowl game...

I feel like last year we were happy making it to a bowl game. It was our first bowl game in 16 years and it wsa fun in Houston but this year we are on a mission to win this bowl game instead of just coming to have fun. It's time to step it up and take a win.

On the changes since Robert Griffin III won the Heisman...

It's different because you see him on TV doing the showsand winning the Heisman and it's like "my quarterback just won the Heisman. "  So when he came back it was funny becasue he won the Heisman but it still didn't feel like anything changed becasue when he came back he was focused.  Now that he's back he can relax and be himself.

December 26th, 2011
Baylor Offensive Press Conference
Co-Offensive Coordinator Philip Montgomery, Co-Offensive Coordinator Randy Clements, Quarterback Robert Griffin III, Wide Receiver Lanear Sampson, Running Back Terrance Ganaway, Center Philip Blake
Play WAV audio of this Press Quote

 

RANDY CLEMENTS: We're just very thrilled to be here and looking forward to representing the University and our team and trying to get this tenth win of the year for us. San Antonio as you know is an awesome place to visit and even better place to have a Bowl game. Very fired up about it. 
 
PHILIP MONTGOMERY: We're excited again to be here. Very fortunate to be here, happy to be here, excited to play Washington. They're a very good football team. Looking forward to getting on the field with them. Great place, San Antonio, for not only our football team but for our fans, having a chance to travel and be here and be part of this experience with us. 
 
A lot of them are here all week long kind of making a Christmas vacation out of it. There's no better way to spend Christmas than with your family kind of on vacation but also with a job to do, and we're excited about getting on the field and excited to play Washington.
 
 
THE MODERATOR: Lanear, talk about Sea World. You said you weren't really down with messing with dolphins or whales or coasters.
 
LANEAR SAMPSON: Well, today my job at Sea World, I was the cameraman today. I didn't ride too many rides. I rode the Steel Eel and basically me and another teammate just walked around and he interviewed people, was filming. So it was fun just seeing the other players, you know, do activities and ride rides and just interview fans and see their perspective on the game and just their perspective of San Antonio in general. 
 
Q.      Lanear, can you just talk about the receiving corps as a whole? There's a lot of teams that have one or two good receivers. You guys seem to have five or six that can go out there and catch balls. I know Griffin likes that obviously, but just talk about the corps as a whole and how that helps you perform out there. 
 
LANEAR SAMPSON: Our corps is very deep and it's been deep for a few years. There's never enough balls for the 15 million receivers we have, and Griff has that problem when we come to him and be like, we're open, and he's like, everybody is open all the time. Our receiving corps has depth, and then our leader Kendall Wright is I feel like the best receiving in the nation, and he kind of leads this receiving corps, and you can't really just key on one player. It's just good for our offense just having so many receivers as threats. 
 
Q.      Terrance, can you talk about this being your last time putting on pads as Baylor and what this last game means to you? 
 
TERRANCE GANAWAY: Means everything to me. I know it means a lot to the teammates that are also seniors. It's been a long time coming, but I'm glad to be here. Had a lot of unfortunate events, but I've had a lot of great events that got me here, and I think you live long enough, you live and you see life and you experience life. I believe I experienced a little bit of life. I'm going to miss it, but I'm eager to embrace the future and what all it holds. 
 
Q.      Terrance, talk about the Texas Tech game when Robert didn't come out in the second half and you were the workhorse and the 240 yards. 
 
TERRANCE GANAWAY: You know, the O‑line was the workhorse for the whole game. Robert was running well, Nick had time to throw, and when you're running through arm tackles, you should be a pretty good back. 
 
I heard a long time ago a great O‑line will make an okay back good. So I think I'm a good back behind a great O‑line, and we've been playing really well all year, and I'm excited to see those guys get after some big Washington guys this week. It should be a tough match, but I have full confidence in what they do and how they play, so excited about that game. 
 
Q.      Philip, you started all 37 games in your Baylor career. How is it going to feel on Thursday starting your last one and emotions high and all that?
 
PHILIP BLAKE: It's going to be emotional because I've been with these two coaches here for a long time, and it's going to be a very emotional game for me being my last and what I've gone through and where I came from. I'm kind of excited at the same time. 
 
Q.      Robert, has your life changed since you won the Heisman, and do you have any weird stories about what happened to you in New York when you were there? 
 
ROBERT GRIFFIN III: Yeah, life has changed, but the one thing you have to do is make sure it doesn't change who you are. That's what I've tried to do, just try to be as normal as I possibly can when I can be normal, that's at practice, hanging out with these guys. They definitely keep me sane. I think the craziest thing might have been just the professionals out there trying to get autographs. You'd have kids roll up to you in a wheelchair and then you'd sign an autograph for them, ten minutes later they're running around looking for somebody else to get autographs from. That was probably the weirdest thing. 
 
Q.      How about Scarlet Johansson? Any dialogue you guys shared on Letterman? 
ROBERT GRIFFIN III: Yeah, actually she walked in, I told her that I thought she was beautiful. She said thank you. It was cool. I didn't want to ask her for a picture because I'm pretty sure she gets hassled to get pictures all the time, so I tried to respect that, but she's a cool person.
 
Q.      Robert, following up on that, is it true that you've had security in Waco since you've got back, and then also, with Matt Barkley's decision at USC to stay, do you look at that and think, maybe I'll ‑‑ maybe you would want to return, or how far are you into that decision if you're going to enter the draft or not? 
 
ROBERT GRIFFIN III: As far as the draft goes, I'm still not thinking about that, just trying to focus on what's in front of me, and that's this Washington team, playing with these guys, playing with a lot of these seniors for the last time, and that's crazy. I've had security, but they try to be as in cognito as they possibly can. But life changes, and people are going to want a piece of you when you're doing great things. It's a good problem to have. 
 
Q.      This question is for both Terrance Ganaway and Philip Blake. If you guys could talk about Robert gets a ton of the attention, but you led the Big 12 in rushing this year. Could you guys talk about specifically the year that you've had? Do you think you're underappreciated around the country, and Philip, just what it's been like to block for him and how good he's been this year? 
 
TERRANCE GANAWAY: I was hoping that Phil would go first, lead off of him. But I guess I'll be the lead blocker on this one. 
 
Philip and I and all those other receivers that rarely ever get mentioned in the headlines or anything like that, it doesn't bother us any bit because we're winning, and at the end of the day, it's all about Baylor and us winning a game together. 
 
I think Robert's acceptance speech pretty much summed up how we thought of each other as a team. It was all about Baylor, Waco, coaches, team, family. That's how we play. You can't be selfish. There's no Cain and Abel here. It's all cheering on our teammates, you're ready to go out there and fight and win a game every day. 
 
I don't think we're underappreciated, and it really doesn't matter. As long as Washington respects us and we give respect when respect is due, then we're good to go. 
 
PHILIP BLAKE:  I think he said everything that needs to be said, but blocking for these two guys, it's been a good year. I don't know. 
 
Q.      Robert, could you just talk about the confidence you guys are playing with right now as an offense? Just seems like you can't do much wrong right now.
 
ROBERT GRIFFIN III: Yeah, we haven't had perfect games by no means, but we've definitely been clicking on offense, and that's a product ‑‑ it's a byproduct of hard work. We work hard in practice. We take pride in that. We go out every day and we give it our all. It's got us to where we are today. We don't apologize for what we do. You're not going to score unless you're trying to score is what Coach told me the other day. He keeps coming up with all these great quotes. I've got to write them down so I can remember. 
 
But it's been great, so I'm glad these guys could be a part of everything that we've done this year, and I'm glad I could share it with them. 
 
Q.      Coaches, you're playing a team that's played Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley. When you go into that aspect as far as their defense, does that make you respect them more, that they've played two high profile quarterbacks or is it just the same as any other game? 
 
PHILIP MONTGOMERY: They played some good opponents, done well against all of them. We feel like from an offensive standpoint we're a little bit different. We use our quarterback sometimes in a few different ways, but we have great respect for what they've done as a team and also as a defense, and we're just excited to get on the field and see how we match up. 
 
THE MODERATOR: Can you talk about what this game means to the program?
 
RANDY CLEMENTS: Well, it's been a goal of ours from day one, you know, ever since last year. We weren't really excited about the way that the season ended last year, so we set that in our mindset and were working hard in the off season and just progressed step by step towards every game this season, had some ups and downs, but our guys have really come together and played well down the stretch. Hopefully we have a little momentum and a little confidence going into this game. We certainly feel that way in the locker room. When you get in the bowl games, it's pretty exciting playing a team you really don't have any history with, and you talk about the other athletes that they played, it's just a chance to measure up, to see where you stand. We're excited about that. 
 
Q.      Coach Clements and Robert, what different things have you seen from defenses to try and slow you down? Have you seen everything possible that they could throw at you and what has been the most effective? 
 
RANDY CLEMENTS: We've seen a pretty mixed bag, going especially down the stretch. We usually don't get too excited about what we see on film throughout the week when we've had a little more time to prepare for this game. But it makes you be a little bit cautious in game planning because you may not see what you've been seeing from a particular defense, and that's kind of been the case with the last few teams we've played certainly. 
 
ROBERT GRIFFIN III: Yeah, I mean, it's kind of like what Coach is saying. We've seen a lot of different looks, and that's just the name of the game. People are going to try to adjust to stop you. I think our team has done a great job every week, every time we play a game of take what's given. You see what's on the film so you know their base defense is, and whatever they go out there and do to you, you just have to adjust on the fly. Life is about adjustments, and we've done a lot of great adjusting throughout the season. 
 
Q.      This is for both coaches: In looking I see that Washington's defense as far as past defense is at a historical low. They rank, I think, 114th nationally in pass defense. Do those numbers kind of lie? Do you think they might be better than the numbers might give them credit for? 
 
RANDY CLEMENTS: I'll let Coach Montgomery handle the back end portion of it. I coach the offensive line and from looking at those guys they're very capable, they're physical, they charge hard up field, and we're in for a big challenge in this game. I really don't look at the stats. Coach Montgomery can probably tell you a little bit more about the whole scheme of things. 
 
PHILIP MONTGOMERY: From a stats point, we don't really pay attention to that. Just from the simple fact, we don't have a lot of history with a lot of teams that they've played so you don't know how you match up as far as from a skill standpoint from their guys to our guys. 
 
I know when we flip on the tape, they're not giving up a lot of explosive plays. Their passing yards have kind of been dink and dunk. A few run‑after catches but not the explosive things where you're just seeing the ball thrown down the field. I think it's a little bit skewed in that sense. I think you said they were 114. I think they're a much better pass defense than probably what that stat shows. 
 
Their secondary guys are very athletic, flip their hips, do a great job at the line of scrimmage, do a great job in the coverage and they change their coverage quite a bit. They'll do a good job, they'll keep us honest, and we've just got to execute and take what they give us. 

Q. On coming into this season with excitement and winning the Heisman Trophy:

ROBERT GRIFFIN III: You get what you work for out of it. It’s unbelievably believable. You work for it, so you believe it can happen. But when it does happen for you, you’re still excited about it. Life has changed and I need to realize that. I can’t go to the mall or to Wendy’s to get a cheeseburger without signing a thousand autographs.

Q. Was it like that before the Heisman?

ROBERT GRIFFIN III: In Waco it’s always been like that. But on a national stage, going to New York and all, it hasn’t been like that. But it was great to see all of the Baylor fans come out and to see their support. When you’re doing great things, they’re going to want to see you and want a piece of you.

Q. Has it been hard to focus on football and Washington?

ROBERT GRIFFIN III: No. It has been easy for me. Even when I was gone, I was constantly asking coach about what was going on in practice and trying to figure out what I could do to help us win. I worked out wherever I was and tried to remain focused on what I had to do. I feel like I’ve done a good job at that and our team has done a good job of helping me get back into it after being gone for a couple of weeks.

Q. Who has had your attention these last couple weeks since winning the Heisman Trophy?

ROBERT GRIFFIN III: My iPod [laughter]. I try not to talk much about it. I go by the saying, ‘What you say is who you are,” and that’s not who I am. Obviously, I talk to my parents and fiancé anytime things get tough. I relax when I have time to relax. When its time for me to be an ambassador for Baylor, I do that.

Q. Is there a different attitude amongst your team this year compared to last year coming into the bowl game?

ROBERT GRIFFIN III: I think so. Last year was a disappointment. I, for one, did not think our team was unfocused. I thought we were focused; we just didn’t perform well. This year, coming in with a five-game winning streak, as opposed to a three-game losing streak last year, is huge. We know why we’re here and we came to win our 10th game. Washington just happens to be in the way.

Q. Does Washington’s defense remind you of anyone? What do you see from them?

ROBERT GRIFFIN III: It doesn’t necessarily remind me of anyone. They have two huge guys on the inside who are bigger than I am. They play with a lot of emotion. Whenever something good happens with them, you’re going to know it. Washington is a good defense. They don’t lack at any position.

Q: On explosive plays made down field-is this a product of Robert (Griffin) making something happen and the defense freezes for a second because they don’t know if they wanna go and you can sneak in behind them?

LANEAR SAMPSON: It’s stuff we’re running and getting behind them. And a lot of the time it has to do with Robert. Sometimes it has to do with the receiver.

Q: On Washingon’s soft coverages - are you comfortable doing that? Making the adjustment? Playing the underneath stuff if they’re just going to sit back?

LANEAR SAMPSON: That’s fine, if they want to give us the underneath stuff, we’ll take what we can get because eventually a five-yard pass, two five-yard passes will turn into a first down.

Q: Do you think your running game is overlooked because of Robert (Griffin)?
TERRANCE GANAWAY: I just think they have to respect everyone. We have a lot of weapons on the edge. We have a lot of good running backs. On the shotgun, they have to say is Robert gonna keep it, is Robert gonna throw it, is Robert gonna hand it, is Robert gonna make a phenomenal play at this point.  It’s really hard to judge what we are going to do each play, so I don’t think I’m overlooked at all. I think some teams say they’re gonna start with the running back, and those are the teams that defended our run really good. Other teams wanted to, but they just didn’t have the answer because we’re just throwing the ball all over the field and you have to respect your spot. You can’t have eight people in the box and then go man on the outside with our receivers, because it’s not happening. And then you can’t play light box and then with me and Robert (Griffin) right there just running, shredding the defense, you have to play really balanced, really sound defense. You have to play really technical, but we’re not worried about other people playing, we’re worried about how we’re playing.

Q: What have you seen from the UW Defense?

TERRANCE GANAWAY: They’re very physical up front. I look at it from the secondary. It’s a different ballgame for the running back. Running backs don’t try to outrun a corner anytime, they try to punish them. Their D-line is really good, physical and can move really good. It’s quick out there, you got a lot of speed. I’m looking forward to playing ball against them because I know they’re gonna be good. Our O-line has been playing really well all year, so if we don’t worry about anything else, just play ball, we’ll be alright.”

 

December 26th, 2011
Washington Defensive Press Conference
Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt, Linebacker Cort Dennison, Safety Sean Parker, Defensive Tackle Alameda Ta'amu, Defensive End Everrette Thompson, Cornerback Desmond Trufant
Play WAV audio of this Press Quote

NICK HOLT: Hi, guys. It's good to be here. I'm going to introduce our players from my left to right. Starting off with our starting strong safety, a sophomore out of Los Angeles, California, Sean Parker; the next young man from Tacoma, Washington, starting corner, junior, Desmond Trufant; myself, Nick Holt; and then to my right, senior, also from Seattle, Washington, starting defensive end, Everrette Thompson, has been a four‑year starter for us; next young man, also from Seattle, Washington, four‑year starter, our starting nose guard Alameda Ta'Amu; and then last but not least, our cagey veteran team captain ‑‑ Alameda is also one of our team captains, but our starting middle linebacker leading tackler in the Pac‑12 conference, Second Team All‑Pac‑12, Cort Dennison. Our leaders on defense. 

Just to start off, we're very excited about this opportunity. Being down here in San Antonio, so far it's been fantastic. Everybody has been nice to us. The facilities have been awesome. The high school that we're practicing at in Alamo Heights, just a beautiful facility, great weight room, great field, and everybody seems really nice and opening their arms, a great Texas welcome, I guess, so to speak. 
 
So this has been our Wednesday. Just got done with our Wednesday practice a couple hours ago, just got back. Practices have been going very, very well. We have a tremendous, tremendous job ahead of us of playing this fantastic Baylor offense with their Heisman Trophy winner. The quarterback is a fantastic player. They have great, great receivers. They have a great running back, and the offensive linemen are a very experienced group of offensive linemen, big, physical, and they do a lot of really good things. 
 
It's a tremendous, tremendous opportunity for us, and hopefully we're up to the challenge. We're excited to be here. Our kids are going to play hard for four quarters, and I think it's going to be a very exciting football game. 
 
Q.      Coach, can you just talk about the challenge of facing Robert Griffin and what he does so well out there? 
 
NICK HOLT: Well, first of all, he's the best player in the country, and there's no doubt about that. Obviously he's the Heisman Trophy winner. He's a tremendous athlete, and has the unique ability of being able to run the ball very effectively, but he has got a heck of an arm, throws a great deep ball and is very accurate. He's the best of all the worlds for a quarterback. He's mobile, good athlete, he can run, he can scramble, he makes good decisions, and he has a heck of an arm, and he's accurate. It looks like he's an excellent leader. The kids respond well to him it looks like on film, and it's just a tremendous ‑‑ it's going to be a very difficult task stopping these guys. 
 
We're working very hard to get that done, and hopefully that will happen on Thursday night. 
 
Q.      This is a question for Everrette Thompson: I know you guys went through a little bit of a drought late in the season as far as getting sacks, but you had five or six against WSU in the Apple Cup. Talk about what they've done for you guys as far as confidence to get ready to play someone like Griffin. 
 
EVERRETTE THOMPSON: I think just building up throughout the season, we built a chemistry together as a D‑line, and we're just comfortable out there. You've seen towards the end of the season that we got pressure on the quarterback and we got some sacks. 
 
Q.      Alameda, you've never been to Texas before. You've been to a ranch, you've been to Sea World, the River Walk. Your thoughts on coming a little east and south from Washington? 
 
ALAMEDA TA'AMU: Yeah, this is my first time in Texas. Sea World I actually fit on the roller coaster rides for the first time in a long time. I think everything in Texas is big. 
But as far as the ranch, it was a good experience just having our team together and feeling the bond of having a family. It made me ‑‑ I really didn't miss home. It was good to be with the team. 
 
Q.      Coach, talk about the ‑‑ the defense obviously feeds off the crowd. You're not at Husky Stadium, but so much has been made the last couple days about how well Husky fans are traveling. How will that help you, and maybe Des can answer the question, too, about the fan support you guys will get down here at the Alamo Bowl. 
 
EVERRETTE THOMPSON: It's always great to have the Husky fans. They're great fans always there supporting us. They're going to have a lot of fans here, as well. It's like a home game for them because it's two hours, three hours away from where they play. It's definitely going to help having them on our side. 
 
DESMOND TRUFANT: The more fans we get, the better it is, and just them being there helps us a lot because all we have is us out there, and we're not in Husky stadium, like he said. We just have each other and our fans, so we're working against Baylor. 
 
Q.      Sean, can you talk about Robert Griffin? You guys faced some great quarterbacks in Barkley and Luck and some comparisons, what you've seen on tape? 
 
SEAN PARKER: On tape he's a real good player, throws a good ball, and the team responds to him, and he makes great plays. He extends plays, and he just makes everybody around him better. That's going to make it harder for us, but then we have to focus on our game plan and what we have to do to stop him from doing that. 
 
Q.      Coach Holt and Cort, do you feel like people are just kind of assuming that ‑‑ they're overlooking you defensively because you're playing Baylor and what they do, and because of some of the struggles this year they automatically assume you guys are going to get rolled over a little bit? 
 
NICK HOLT: I'm not sure we get caught up in those terms. Obviously we're playing against a very explosive offense with some explosive football players, and I think maybe that's kind of the headline going into this game with them on offense having such fire power and having such a good quarterback. If we go unnoticed, that's fine. Hopefully we don't go on noticed on game day and we rise up to the challenge, and I think our guys will. I know our kids will always play hard and give us great Husky effort and make the fans proud and make the Pac‑12 proud of us. That's hopefully what we aim to do. Regardless of if they overlook us, we can't help any of that or we have no control of that, we've just got to make sure we do ‑‑ control what we do and play really, really hard. 
 
CORT DENNISON: Yeah, like Coach Holt said, we can't control how they think, what they're thinking at all. All we can control is ourselves, and all that matters to us is everybody in our locker room. We're worried about us and what we can control, and we're really excited for the challenge. 
 
Q.      Cort, can you talk about what this Bowl game means to you? You started with the program 0 and 12 and I know in the welcoming introduction when you got to town you thanked the Bowl director for the invitation and about leaving the program in better shape. 
 
CORT DENNISON: Yeah, it's huge. Our program just keeps building and keeps going up and up. Me, Everrette and Alameda have been here when some times were tough, when we were 0 and 12. Like I said before, you only appreciate success when you've been at the bottom, and we've been at the bottom, and we realize how that feels. Now we realize what success feels like and how hard you have to work to get there. 
 
It's a testament to our team. It's a testament to how hard we work not only on the field but off the field in all phases of our lives. I'm really proud of the guys, and we're only going up. 
 
Q.      Coach Holt, from a coaching perspective, for your defense, how important has it been that your coaching staff has been together three seasons in a row, and what does it mean in the development of your players? 
 
NICK HOLT: Well, it provides continuity, that's for sure. And we've been together for three years, and most of us have coached together before that, before we all got to Washington, so we all know each other real well. We don't have to worry about some things that arises maybe during the course of a week in practice or during game day because we've been with each other so long. 
 
And I think it helps with our kids, the continuity, and week in and week out doing the same things and hearing the same clichés and the same coaching remarks and coaching points and things like that, doing the same thing in spring ball, carrying it over to fall camp and throughout the season. 
 
I think late in the year we improved. Maybe didn't show up sometimes by the wins and the losses, but our kids have gotten better, and it's because of continuity with the staff and the system we run, I think has to do with it. We have good kids. They try to do the right things. They're all hard workers, extremely intelligent young men, and they're fun to be around. They're fun to coach. 
 
Q.      Nick, obviously Robert Griffin gets the lion's share of publicity for Baylor as would befit a Heisman Trophy winner, but sometimes there might be a tendency for people to overlook the kind of contributions they've gotten from Terrance Ganaway and also the wide receiver. Could you describe how difficult those guys are to try and stop along with Griffin? 
 
NICK HOLT: Yeah, the running back, he's a heck of a football player. If you don't respect him and not get ready for him, he'll beat you. I think he had 1,000 yards, did he not? 1,300 yards? And against some good defenses, too, he's getting 100‑yard games, and you see that on film. 
 
And then all their receivers are good football players. And then they spread you out and they create a lot of mismatches, and they're very, very explosive on offense, and they have good schemes, but they have really good players. The running back and the wide outs are plenty good, and they make the quarterback a good player, too. He's a fantastic player, but he's got a good supporting cast. He really does. 
 
Q.      Nick, looking on paper it looks like their offensive line everybody goes 300‑plus. Is this as big an offensive life as you've played? 

 

NICK HOLT: They are anything, and I think ‑‑ and they're pretty athletic. We've faced some good offensive lines. This might be one of the bigger ones, and we'll just have to wait and see. Hopefully we're ready for the challenge and play really well. We need to. Our front needs to play well for us to have a chance, there's no question. These two guys right here need to have really, really good games. Not try too hard but they've got to play within the system, but they've got to do a nice job as well as the other guys up front.
Their offensive line, they're an experienced group, a lot of two‑year, three‑year starters, a couple All‑Big 12 guys, I think, all‑conference offensive linemen that have played a lot of snaps, and you can tell them continuity. And they're older; a lot of fifth year or ‑‑ fourth year juniors, fifth year seniors, things like that, and it doesn't look like they've had a lot of injuries up front, and they've maintained their continuity, so that's why their numbers are so good. 
 
Q.      For the seniors and for coach, your record with extra time off, more than a week off, and then the game following is really strong. Some of your biggest upsets have come in those situations. What is it about the extra preparation that makes these players respond to time off and extra prep? 
 
CORT DENNISON: Yeah, I just think the comfort level we get, the familiarity we get with the team, it can only help strengthen us as a defense the more film we watch, the more reps we get in practice. I think that only leads to positive things.
 
Our coaches do a great job. They put together the toughest plays you can put together against our defenses in practice, and I think we've done a really good job of responding so far these weeks we've prepared. 
 
EVERRETTE THOMPSON: Yeah, just actually days just helps us heal as a team and gets us rested, and I feel like those extra days are perfect for us.
 
ALAMEDA TA'AMU: Just like Cort and Everrette said, it allows the team to build some comfort and let us heal. 
 
Q.      Coach Holt, can you talk about last year's Bowl game and the confidence going in and beating a team that was favored going into the game? 
 
NICK HOLT: Well, we had the opportunity to play them earlier in the year, did not play very well our first go‑around, and I think that motivated us a little bit in our preparation. I know our guys prepared really well for last year's game, and I think it was because out of respect for Nebraska. Our kids respected those guys because Nebraska got after us that first game. 
 
And I think our kids respect Baylor. And when you respect somebody, I think ‑‑ our kids and our coaching staff, we're going to try hard because we respect these guys. We know they're good and they're going to give us their best shot. We've got to be ready to go, and so in our preparation, in our 15 practices that we will have, we try to give the kids all the looks that they will see, and we'll see something that we have not practiced against, but it's concepts that we try to get and talk to our kids, and our kids do a nice job. These guys watch a lot of film, and they're into it. They have good coaches, and our kids are very, very intelligent young men, like I said before, and we're multiple, and we can be multiple at times because we've got smart guys that can do all this stuff. Now we've just got to do it really, really well on Thursday night, and hopefully our effort is really good on Thursday night, we fly to the ball, and if we have that type of effort that we know we can play with, that will make up for maybe lack of talent or some mistakes that might happen on Thursday night. 
 
Q.      Des and Sean, they have a ton of explosive plays, 30‑yard‑plus, 40‑yard‑plus gains in the passing game. What have you seen how they've gotten those? Is it go patterns or making plays after catches, and how do you defend against that? 
 
DESMOND TRUFANT: I think it's a combination of a lot of things. You know, when you have a great quarterback, a lot of the attention goes to him. When you're in the secondary you have to have disciplined eyes, so when you're looking at the wrong thing you give up those explosive plays. Plus like everybody has been saying, they're great players, so they're going to make some great plays, busted coverages, there's a lot of things that go into it. But we've just got to come ready to play and be disciplined. 
 
SEAN PARKER: These receivers, they have tremendous athletic ability, they have the ability to go stretch the field on you and to make moves and make you miss. With us, we just have to tackle well and be disciplined with our guys and just stay on top and let everything underneath ‑‑ keep everything in front of us, and then I think we should be in good shape.

Q: Does having played quarterbacks like Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley help when you’re facing Robert Griffin III?

NICK HOLT: Yes. I think in our conference, week in and week out, the preparation we have to have for our foes has prepared us for some of this game. The same is true with some of our non-conference games like Nebraska and Hawaii, who both have good spread offenses. We’ve had a huge challenge this whole year playing against good offenses. This is good offense and the only difference this time is that we’re playing against the best player in the country and a Heisman Trophy winner who has a great supporting cast. And oh yeah, they run an up-tempo, no huddle offense and can score really quickly.

Q: You’ve kept teams from scoring and then they break good plays on you…

NICK HOLT: There are times we’ve played really good defense, and then we’ve played inconsistently. Hopefully, we’ll play consistently on Thursday night, making Baylor extend their drives. Our chances will go up quite a bit if we can extend their drives.

Q. Have you had a chance to see Peter Holt, your cousin and principal owner of the San Antonio Spurs, since you’ve been in town?

NICK HOLT: We had a really nice Christmas Eve dinner with Peter’s family. Peter has a nice house and he’s worked hard for that.

December 25th, 2011
Baylor Post-Practice Interviews 12/25
Head Coach Art Briles, Quarterback Robert Griffin III, Linebacker Elliot Coffey

Baylor Head Coach Art Briles

Opening statements…
Merry Christmas! It feels great to be back on the field and around all the players again. We are happy to be in San Antonio and we are excited about the game on Thursday, it is going to be a great matchup against Washington.
 
On how his team looked at practice…
We were all on time and ready to go this morning and that’s really all you can ask for. What we really have to do is stay hungry. We don’t really feel like we’ve arrived yet, because we are still trying to prove ourselves on the field.
 
On their demeanor compared to last year’s bowl game…
Last year we went to a bowl game after not finishing the year strongly, this year we are coming into the Valero Alamo Bowl after finishing really strongly, so it is a whole different mentality. Our level of expectation is completely different this year and now we have to quit talking and start chalking. Let’s put it on the board and play.
 
On the balance between having fun and preparing for the game…
The fun comes when we are together and little things like putting music on at practice. We understand that we have a mission and we have been given and opportunity to come through on that mission. So getting better is fun for us.
 
On Robert Griffin III coming off the Heisman Tour…
Robert is a guy you don’t have to worry about. He is glad to be back to some type of normalcy, because it was a pretty hectic week. But we will take hectic every year if we can. It was a great thrill and honor for both Griffin III and Baylor University Football Team.
 
On Tevin Elliott being injured…
Tevin being injured does effect the rest of the team. He has a spark, so when he is gone, that spark is taken away. He makes plays and has a good instinct, so him being out is a concern. He is a big time player that make big time plays, but that’s why we have a lot of guys on the team. So they have to be ready to go and step in.
 
On the Washington Huskies…
Washington is a good football team. They are aggressive offensively, and run the ball well with Chris Polk. They are dangerous with the quarterback, Keith Price. Defensively, they play with a lot of attitude and a tough demeanor. Thursday is going to be a war. Washington wouldn’t be playing in the Valero Alamo Bowl if they weren’t any good.
 
 
Baylor Quarterback Robert Griffin III
 
On being back at practice…
Someone said my smile was back, because it feels good to be back out here with my team playing football. I’m excited to be here in San Antonio to play in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
 
On the last few weeks…
It’s been pretty crazy. When great things happen, people want to talk to you. It is bringing a lot of attention to Baylor, that’s the way I look at it. If I was doing all this just for myself, I would have quit a long time ago.
 
 On the team’s work ethic…
We are lot more focused this year, compared to last year’s bowl game. That shows on the practice field, because we came out here and had a great practice today. We are looking to go out and get a victory, so we are willing to do whatever we have to. We play like we have nothing to lose, that’s why we’ve been on the winning streak and we are going to continue to do that.
 
On practicing on Christmas…
We had a team prayer after practice and I told them that I couldn’t be out here with a better group of guys. They are my family, so I don’t mind being out here with them on Christmas. We haven’t gotten any gifts yet, but I think we will get a big gift on Dec. 29th.
 
 
Baylor Linebacker Elliot Coffey
 
On preparing for Washington…
Washington has a great running back and a great quarterback. They also have a big tight end and a very active offensive line. We understand the tendency to run the same play with different personnel, so we have to make sure we won’t get psyched out and know it’s the same play.
 
On playing in front of a full house at the Alamodome…
It is excited to not only play in a game this big, but to sell it to capacity. We are all excited to play in front of a heavy amount of Baylor fans and show them what we have. Even though our home crowd is usually only 40,000, they are very loud and they sound like 80,000. So, I don’t think it will be much different playing in front of 65,000.

December 23rd, 2011
Washington Team Arrival
Head Coach Steve Sarkisian, Nose Tackle Alameda Ta'amu, Wide Receiver Jermaine Kearse

Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian 

On arriving to San Antonio…
It was a long trip but we are very excited to be in San Antonio. I know we are going to go to SeaWorld one day and we are spending Christmas Day at Knibbe Ranch. Our plan is to have fun while we are having fun and to work hard when we are working.
 
On playing in the Alamodome…
We hear it is supposed to be a full house, but that’s ok with us. Even though it will mostly be Baylor fans, we would rather play in a packed stadium with a lot of fans than in a half empty stadium. The crowd gives us energy, even if they aren’t Washington fans.
 
On Baylor being so close to San Antonio…
Baylor does kind of have home-field advantage, but that’s something we deal with during the regular season too. We’ve gone into hostile territory and played very well. We’ve done it before, so we are going to be prepared and hopefully do it again.
 
Washington Wide Receiver Jermaine Kearse
 
On the expectation that this will be a game dominated by offense…
Both Washington and Baylor have very good offenses, but I have confidence in our defense as well. Sometimes games are hyped as high-scoring, but they won’t be, so we will see.
 
On playing in the Alamdome…
 I played here in the 2008 Army All-American Bowl, so I know what the Alamodome is like. But it’s supposed to be more crowded this time, which I’m excited about. A large crowd that is cheering for the other team actually motivates me to play better.
 
Washington Nose Tackle Aladema Ta’amu
 
On playing against Robert Griffin III…
I actually wanted RG3 to win the Heisman. After he won college-football’s highest award there was a lot more attention around this game. I’m excited to have the chance to play against the best player in college football.

December 8th, 2011
Golf Classic Head Coaches Press Conference
Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian and Baylor Head Coach Art Briles
Play WAV audio of this Press Quote

Coach Sarkisian

 

Opening statement...

I’d like to thank Valero and the Valero Alamo Bowl for the invitation. I’m honored to represent the University of Washington and the Pac-12 Conference in such a prestigious bowl. It is the first time for us in San Antonio and I know our football team, our university, our fans and our alumni are all excited to get down here. It will be a tremendous matchup with Baylor. Coach Briles has a done a lot with the team and they have been fun to watch this year. As a staff, when you get an opportunity to bring your team to a bowl game you want them to have the best experience possible. From everything I’ve heard and everything I’ve seen from the Valero Alamo Bowl, they are a first class bowl game. We are looking forward to Bowl Week and the game, it should be exciting matchup.

 

On the parallels between Washington and Baylor...

We have had a chance to watch Baylor play all year and the parallels start with the helmets. But then you see the growth and the consistency Coach Briles has brought to Baylor and that’s what we have tried to do at Washington. Robert Griffin III has continued to grow and mature in his position, while our quarterback Keith Price is a young quarterback that is starting to parallel Griffin. It serves as motivation to see another program in a different part of the country that continues to improve, especially in the style of play. The exciting style of play Baylor has is something we try to do at Washington.

 

On the comparisons between Griffin and  Heisman winners he coached at USC (Carson Palmer and Matt Lienart)...

I remember Carson had a great game at the end of the year against Notre Dame, which I think won him the Heisman and Matt had some great moments too. I think you need to have moments like that to win the Heisman and Griffin has.  But it ultimately not up to the coaches or the players, it is out of Griffin’s hands now. He has done all he could do.

 

On how the Washington fans will travel...

This is a storied football program with tremendous fans. Washington has a rich tradition and was accustomed to high profile bowl games for years. But then we were out of that scene for a while, so to be going to bowl games again is very exciting for our fans. We traveled very well last year, so they will find their way to San Antonio. Our fans will represent and I think there will be a lot of purple in the Alamodome. 

 

On the health of Keith Price and his team...

I think this time before the game has benefited Price more than anyone else because he is still trying to get healthy. He has been battling a knee injury all year long, but he has showed me he can be resilient and persevere. Actually, that injury helped him improve as a player. It forced him to stay in the pocket and go through reads. Price has had some adversity, but I was very proud of him in the Apple Cup and the way he played. I’m hopeful that he can be at his best by Dec. 29th.  

 

On a Baylor-type offense in the Pac-12...

I think Baylor is most similar to Oregon in the speed and style in which they play. Baylor does a great job of getting back to the line of scrimmage and putting pressure on the defense with speed. With Griffin at quarterback, Baylor probably relies on throwing the ball more than Oregon, but the tempo and speed is very similar.

 

 

Coach Briles

 

Opening statement...

We are excited to come to the Valero Alamo Bowl, especially because it gives our fans the chance to come out and support us once again. We have had great support all year and this game allows us to ride with them all the way to a bowl game. Coach Sarkisian has done a great job at Washington. The first time I watched them this year they had on black uniforms and I thought “man, those are some good looking unis”. So the Huskies have some flare and that’s a good thing. We are excited about the bowl game and excited about the matchup. These are two great conferences and we are proud to be representing the Big 12.

 

On Robert Griffin III’s season...

Robert’s consistency is what has stood out the most to me this year. The funny thing is that he is just now getting all this recognition for being a really good football player, but he has been this way for the last four years. He has always been a great football player, but his consistency is a big factor in that.

 

On his expectation of an offensive matchup...

On paper you would think it’s going to be a high scoring game. But the funny thing about football is that you never really know what is going to happen. We are just going to go out there and do what we do best. If it ends up being a 7-3 ball game, that’s just the way it is. We can’t predict what’s going to happen. That’s why fans come and cheer, because you don’t know until it is over. 

 

On the keys to Baylor’s turnaround...

It starts with Griffin and what he brings to the table. Aside from that, we’ve had a lot of good recruits the last few years. We got guys on campus that believed in our vision and then helped us follow through on that vision. We have some players on the team now that are three and four year starters that have played every snap since I’ve been there. You can have a lot of money, but you can’t buy experience, and we have players that are experienced, fully developed men. 

 

On playing in a bowl game last year...

I think playing in a bowl game last year for the first time in a while will effect the attitude of our players going into the Valero Alamo Bowl. We weren’t happy with the way we performed at last year’s bowl game. Washington and Coach Sarkisian impressed me last year, because they beat a strong Nebraska team. For them to come out and play the way they wanted to says a lot about how he handles that team. It is a little different mentality for us because we didn’t finish strong at the end of last season. The way we approach this game will be different then how we came into last year’s bowl game. 

 

On the effect of a large Baylor crowd...

If you are going to eat home-cooking you have to be at home. We have a chance to have our fans in the stands supporting us, but we have to make sure we do a good job on the field so they have something to cheer about. We have to create excitement and support from our fans. 

 

December 4th, 2011
Team Announcement Conference Call
Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian and Baylor Head Coach Art Briles accept invitations to play in the 2011 Valero Alamo Bowl
Play WAV audio of this Press Quote

Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian

Opening statements…
On behalf of the University of Washington, it is an honor to represent the Pac-12 Conference in the Valero Alamo Bowl. We can’t thank the Valero Alamo Bowl enough for the invitation. It will be tremendous matchup with the Baylor Bears. I will say that I hope the scoreboard works because, looking at these stats, this is going to be an explosive game.
On how his program has turned around over the last three years…
The history and tradition of the University of Washington is a rich one. You go back 20 years ago, they were national champions. It was a program that fell on hard times and ultimately hit rock bottom with a 0-12 season three years ago. To be where we are now representing Washington and the Pac-12 Conference in the Valero Alamo Bowl against a great opponent like Baylor is very exciting. I’m very happy for our senior class because we would not have been able to accomplish the things we’ve accomplished without them. I’m thankful for their willingness and resiliency because it hasn’t been easy. We’ve had our rough moments, but our kids have responded well and I couldn’t be more proud of them.
On his first trip to San Antonio and its impact on recruiting…
When we were coming together as a new program, we wanted to focus on recruiting from the West Coast. But as our conference has expanded, I think our recruiting zone has expanded. Hopefully the exposure we will get from playing in Texas on national television will benefit our recruitment.
 
Baylor Head Coach Art Briles
Opening statements…
We are really excited to be able to go to San Antonio. It is a great city with a great facility, so I know our players are excited to get down there to play Washington. I’ve had the opportunity to watch the Huskies this season, and I’ve been impressed with them offensively and defensively and what Coach Sarkisian has been able to do over the last few years. It is going to be a great game and we are excited to play on December 29th.
On Baylor’s offensive playmakers…
We have done well offensively, but we have also come a long way defensively, which is what we are really excited about. Our offensive line is a veteran group and those guys have done a great job of protecting and allowing us to run the ball. Kendall Wright is one of the top receivers in the country and has had an outstanding career, starting all four years. Terrance Ganaway has also done a great job of filling in at the running back position. We have an experienced group of guys on both sides of the ball, but we like having the opportunity to get better. That’s the beauty of a bowl game, it gives you more time to work with your players and increase their production.
On coming back to the Valero Alamo Bowl as head coach of the Baylor Bears…
It is a thrill for our school and our football program. San Antonio is a great city and it is a great bowl experience for the fans. San Antonio is hungry for football because there isn’t a pro team and UTSA is just getting started, so we are excited for the opportunity to get back down there and play. 

October 26th, 2011
Brand Reveal
Red McCombs

On the secret to the Valero Alamo Bowl’s success…

The people are why the Valero Alamo Bowl is so successful.  The media has exposed the benefits of the Valero Alamo Bowl to the people and the people have given us great responses on it. The people of San Antonio see the Valero Alamo Bowl as a thing of great pride.  It is a great opportunity to see football teams that we otherwise wouldn’t.
On the memories of past games:
As we approach our 20th anniversary, we will be remembering those great teams and great games. A lot of people came to this game when they were kids, and now they have kids of their own, so the Valero Alamo Bowl has become a great tradition.
On the Texas vs. Texas A&M rivalry:
The way I see it, that game doesn’t belong to Texas or Texas A&M, it belongs to the people of Texas. And I think the people of Texas will demand to see that game. It may not be on Thanksgiving Day, but I think we aren’t going to miss a year of the Texas vs. Texas A&M rivalry.

October 26th, 2011
Brand Reveal
R. C. Slocum
Play m4a audio of this Press Quote

On the Aggies first Alamo Bowl:

Texas A&M’s first game in the Alamo Bowl was against Michigan in 1995. The Wolverines had Bryan Griese as their quarterback, Amani Toomer at wide receiver and tailback Tim Biakabutuka. And we had the misfortune of an injured Leeland McElroy so we had two freshman runners. We also had a very young kicker in Kyle Bryant. Five field goals from a true freshman, which is still an Alamo Bowl record, and a touchdown ended up being enough for us to beat the University of Michigan.
On the keys to beating Michigan in the 1995 Alamo Bowl:
Michigan was a very good rushing team with Biakabutuka and Griese was an excellent passer, so I thought the key to winning this game was to stop their rushing game. We were pretty effective at slowing them down, Biakabutuka earned less than 100 yards.
On Michigan quarterback Brian Griese:
We thought he was pretty good at throwing a football, and he later proved that. He was an outstanding quarterback. Tom Brady was the back-up quarterback for that game and we were totally unaware of him at the time. We saw his name on the roster and we knew who he was, but we had no idea he was a future Hall of Fame quarterback.
On Texas A&M’s game strategy:
With the loss of our starting tailback, we were limited in our offense, so we really tried to keep our strategy simple. Our plan was to keep the offensive game simple, play defense and play the kicking game.
On true-freshman kicker Kyle Bryant:
Bryant wasn’t heavily recruited until he kicked a 60-yard field goal in a high school all-star game. After that he had several offers, so I had to come up with a scholarship for him. It was worth it though, because his first game as a freshman at A&M, he kicked two field goals that were over 50-yards.
On his thoughts going into the final seconds of the game:
We had come so far, so we just had to go out there and make a play. I said “this game is about to be over, so let’s just go win it.” And we did.
On the trip to San Antonio:

Playing in the Alamo Bowl was a great experience, especially for our players and their families because they could spend that time together. We stayed downtown so everyone could walk out of the hotel room onto the River Walk and the layout of city meant we weren’t spending our time busing from one location to another.
We’ve played in bowl games across the country and some families can’t afford to make the trip to see the game. But because San Antonio is so close, we had a huge turnout for player’s families. Derrick Fox and his people did a great job administering; everyone was very supportive and accommodating. Everything was well organized, the weather was great, we had a great crowd and it was a tremendous experience for me and for Texas A&M. 
On lasting memories from the game:
The atmosphere in San Antonio during the holiday season is something I’ll never forget. It is a festive city, the people are friendly, and it is convenient staying on the River Walk. Plus I got the opportunity to bring my mother along because I knew the weather and the Alamodome would be accommodating. It was just a fun, special feeling that I’ll never forget.

October 5th, 2011
Bowl Insider Reception Q&A
Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS)

The Valero Alamo Bowl hosted a reception featuring BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock on Wednesday, October 5, 2011. Below is a list of questions bowl supporters, volunteers, social media followers as well as Board and Committee members asked Bill followed by his answers.

How has the recent conference realignment left the state of the BCS?

We are like everyone else, we are just watching and waiting to see what happens. I can’t envision any changes in conference membership that would cause a seismic change in the BCS. The BCS has the strong support of university presidents, commissioners, coaches and athletics directors, because it allows the top two teams to meet in a bowl game while preserving the bowl system for the benefit of thousands of young people every year.  That will not change, no matter how many teams are in a conference.

What will happen to the BCS if “super conferences” are formed?

I do not sense any sentiment to separate from the NCAA, if that’s what you are asking.  I do think institutions and conferences appreciate the opportunity to make rules that realistically apply to themselves and their peer.   Personally, I think 12 schools is a nice number for a conference, but that’s not to say that larger or smaller groups can’t work. 

Is the BCS fair to the non-BCS conferences?

Yes, it is.  First of all, there’s no such thing as a “non-BCS conference”.  That term is incorrectly used by media.  All 11 are BCS conferences; I work for all 11, and they all have a say in BCS matters.   

Of course, I know you are referring to the conferences that have not earned annual automatic qualification into the BCS games.  They all have an opportunity to earn a berth.  In fact, the access for that group into the top-tier bowl games is exponentially better than it ever has been.  Teams that are currently members of those five conferences participated in these four bowl games five times in the 54 years before the BCS and its predecessors were created.  They’ve participated seven times in the past seven years.  That’s worth repeating:  five times in 54 years vs. seven times in seven years—all because of the BCS.   

What do you say to all the people who are insisting there be a playoff system in college football?

Well, I work for the 11 conference commissioners and college presidents and a strong majority of them support the system we have today. There are two primary reasons for that.  First, we have the best regular season in sports—the most meaningful and the most compelling from start to finish. The second reason is that we have a bowl system that rewards 70 groups of athletes with a remarkable experience at the end of the year. Those two things are worth fighting for. 

What does the bowl experience mean to student-athletes today?

It’s a week that they will remember forever.  They get to spend time in a different culture.  They’re the talk of the town.  They play on national television.  Their families usually get to join them in the bowl city.  The words, “I played in a bowl game” are magic.  

Will other bowls, like the Valero Alamo Bowl, have the opportunity to become part of the BCS in the future?

The Valero Alamo Bowl is highly respected.  Of course, San Antonio is a wonderful destination, and the bowl itself is run exceptionally well.  The conference commissioners and presidents will soon begin discussions about the format for the future.  It’s not appropriate for me to speculate, but I must say that I don’t sense a strong groundswell for adding more games to the BCS.  We’ll see.

Do you think a playoff system will ever be put into place in college football?

No, I don’t think we will see an NFL-style payoff in college football.  The bowl system just brings wonderful benefits to those thousands of students every year. 

What is right about the BCS?

We have the best regular season in sports.  We have a bowl system that thousands of students get to enjoy every year.  I knew we were doing it right when I read about how much the Kansas State players enjoyed their trip to New York City last December.  We must not lose sight of that.

And we have a championship game that draws higher ratings than the Final Four, NBA playoffs, MLB playoffs and the big golf tournaments.  College basketball, a sport that I love so much, has four weeks of madness beginning with the conference tournaments, but in football you get four months of it. Every game counts.    

Is there going to be a singular event that will finally get people to understand the benefits of the BCS?

We are moving the needle.  More people understand the benefits of the current post-season people.  Through transparency and some good old-fashioned person-to-person communications, we are making progress. 

Is the Big 12 Conference viable and what do you make of all this college realignment?
Yes, I feel strongly that the Big 12 is viable.  Those are great universities with great athletic and academic traditions.  I think this central corridor of American needs a conference, so I certainly hope I’m right.  Many smart people, people with authority, want it to continue.

Having said that, I know that the last few weeks have not been our finest hour.  Some have said they are embarrassed by it, and I don’t disagree.  But schools have changed conferences forever.  The best perspective on all this will come from history.   We are in the middle of it right now; we will have to look back ten years from now to decide on if the outcome was good or bad.

Do you think the BCS should implement more aggressive educational campaigns?

I spend much of my time helping people understand the benefits of the BCS arrangement, but we can always do more.  I enjoy talking about this; I’m proud to be able to do it. 

How will conference realignment affect the Valero Alamo Bowl?

The bowls negotiate with the conferences will continue, no matter how realignment ends up.  Each bowl will go out and make the best arrangement it can with its conferences.  There are plenty of great teams in this region who would love to participate in the Alamo Bowl, and I’m confident that it will continue to grow.

Do you think there could be a happy medium between the BCS and a playoff system?

Not if that “medium” negatively affects the regular season or the bowl experience for the athletes.  The conference commissioners are committed to making the BCS the best it can be.  In the next few months, they will discuss what “best” means.  They will talk to people on campus, then get together and express their people’s wishes.  Then they will collaboratively decide about the future.