Holiday Bowl arrival quotes: Dec. 22
HEAD COACH Mack Brown
On the practice this week: Practice will be all business this week. We'll go back to work. Winning this game is very important, and as I said, Arizona State has got our attention. It's not a goal anymore at The University of Texas to get to a bowl. Your goal is to win the National Championship and then you want to win your conference championship, and if not, then you sure want to win your bowl and win your 10th game for the seventh straight year and have a chance to carry that momentum into the spring.
On getting 10 wins: You need to be good every year and you need to be in the top 10 every year and that is a goal. And when you're in the top 10, it gives you a chance in the right years to win it all. What we'd like to do is go back to the standard that was set in 2005, and that is to win 13 games or 14 games and win them all and win the National Championship game.
On Arizona State: They're giving up 100 yards rushing on defense. They've been a defense that will come after you and put pressure on your quarterback, but they also make it very, very difficult to get behind them and beat them deep. And they're not giving up very many points per game in a league that traditionally scores a lot of points. They've got five seniors upfront on offense, they're really good at running back and they've always got great speed at Arizona State. (Arizona State QB) Rudy Carpenter is guy we feel is a lot like Colt McCoy. He's a competitor, he can run, he can throw and he's made the plays for them. They've got our full attention.
On Arizona State Coach Dennis Erickson: Dennis and I have been friends for a long time. We would go to all the bowl and functions together when we were really young coaches together at North Carolina and Miami, and that's probably the first time we met. A group of about 30 coaches and their wives go on a trip every year and Dennis has always been on that trip. He and his family are very good friends of ours. Dennis is a great football coach. He's smart, he's got a lot of confidence, he's got a lot of continuity on his staff and they know what they're doing. Dennis has been an offensive guy throughout his whole career, so they're also going to run the ball well.
On what he's most excited for of the entertainment provided by the Holiday Bowl: I'm really excited to go see our guys play on Monday Night Football. To see Quentin Jammer and Selvin Young and Tim Crowder all playing in the same game will be a fun opportunity for us to watch those guys.
On preparing for a bowl game: We feel like preparing for a bowl game is really dangerous because it's a lot like preparing for an opening game. You haven't played for a month, so you have to make sure that you hit enough and that your backs and receivers are protecting the ball well because they haven't been hit in a while. So it's a very physical time for us, and at the same time when you get to the bowl site, you've got to make sure that you don't wear the guys out because they've got functions, they're away from home and you've just got a week to prepare. And in the earlier years we took some tired teams into bowl games and really didn't realize it.
DT Derek Lokey
On seeing the team come together in practice: I feel like we've come together a lot in the past two weeks as a team, as individuals and as a unit. We've gained so much chemistry with these early morning workouts we've been doing. We've been getting up early together and going to practice, and it's been tough, but I think we've grown from it. I'm anxious to see how it's going to play out in a game situation.
On Arizona State: Arizona State is a good team. They've got really good players and their offensive line is very experienced. They run the ball well and they pass the ball well, so it's going to be a challenge for our defense to get after the quarterback and stop the run. It's going to be a big challenge, but we're looking forward to it.
On what he's looking forward to the most of the entertainment provided by the Holiday Bowl: I'm looking forward to going to the zoo. I haven't been to the zoo in a long time and I hear this one is the best one in the world so I'm looking forward to that.
On playing a team of Arizona State's caliber: It's a big challenge and we've watched Arizona State throughout the year and they've been one of the teams that everybody has been talking about. They've been in the top 10 and they've been at the top of the Pac-10. It's a huge challenge for us to go out there and play them. And like I said, we've done everything that we can to prepare for them, and we'll put in three more days here and then go out there and give them our best shot.
DT Frank Okam
On seeing what developed in practice: I really am excited to see what developed. It being the spotlight game on Thursday it gives us the chance to show the whole nation what we've been doing for the past few weeks. We've been working really hard and everyone has been putting in a lot of hard work and effort, so it will be exciting to see the team come together for the last game of the season.
On playing Arizona State: They're a great team. They probably should be in the BCS. They're a strong pass offense, which is probably our biggest weakness on defense. They've got a lot of different weapons they can use, so we've got to get ready for that. It's going to be a tough challenge for us, but if we can try and shut down their running game then it will give us a good chance.
RB Jamaal Charles
On this being a business trip: It's business. We've got practice early in the morning, so that when we step on the field on Thursday, everybody will be ready. We've got to go back to work and focus on getting 10 wins.
On seeing the team's progress: I'm really excited. It's our last game so we've got to go out there and show everybody what we can do and what we're capable of. When we first started the season, we probably could have played better. And Arizona State is really good. They're not ranked 11th for nothing, so we need to go out there and play really well too.
On facing Arizona State's defense: They're fast and they've got speed just like us, so it will be a good chance to see everybody working hard to get after each other. I know they are going to come out there ready to play.
QB Colt McCoy
On seeing the team's progress: We've done so much together and we've grown as much as you can in a week. We've responded to the way Coach Brown has challenge us and we're looking forward to stepping back on the field together, playing together and seeking our 10th win.
On Arizona State's defense: They're really aggressive, they're really big and they definitely get after you. Their secondary is probably one of their strengths and they play really well together. They've won 10 ballgames so obviously they're doing something right. It's going to be tough and it's going to be a challenge, but if we execute our game plan, it'll be a fun game.
On the match-up: I think it's a really well matched game between us and Arizona State, so the expectations are high and it's going to be fun. We've just got to do what we do and go out and execute on offense, defense and special teams because it's going to take all of us to win.
On Arizona State's secondary: If we can start out strong then that will boost our confidence early. One thing I have really noticed about them is that they don't give up big plays. We'll just have to try to take what they give us, because they do a great job of keeping the ball in front of them.