Valero Alamo Bowl press conference quotes: Dec. 26
Dec. 26, 2012
Co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Major ApplewhiteOn the preparation for Oregon State: We've had great preparation since we got through with the season. The guys got done with finals, they did some conditioning on their own [and] did some conditioning with the strength coaches. [The coaches] got off the road [recruiting], we made the changes when Bryan [Harsin] took the job at Arkansas State, tried to hit the ground running as best we could. We've kind of reconfigured our staff. Blair Peterson, our grad assistant, is helping with the running backs now. He's very in tune to the offense, been in the offense a couple years, so he's been able to help us in that area. I think the guys have taken to changes, have done a great job with it. They're giving great effort. Just like any other bowl practice, early on you start to practice the younger guys, start to develop some depth, and as you draw closer to the game you start to get more game-focused. But it's a chance for you as a program to steal some reps for the younger guys and get those guys ready for down the line in spring practice.
On his role as play-caller and differences in the offense: Well, I think the guys for the most part did a great job all season on offense, and I think we've got a good system in place that we want to keep in place. Obviously, just like any other offense, you'll make some changes in the offseason, and those were things that Bryan [Harsin], [co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach] Darrell [Wyatt] and I had already talked about; and [assistant head coach/offensive line] Coach [Stacy] Searels, as well. Things we wanted to look at in the spring. So we'll obviously make the minor changes that you make to an offense on a normal annual basis. But in terms of just calling plays, that's the only difference in my day to day responsibility is just calling plays. And I've always felt like even as a player this game is about players, put [the ball] in the best guys' hands and let them make plays. I think sometimes we over think it a little bit as coaches, so I'm excited to watch these guys go play.
On his approach to coaching David Ash for the bowl game: Well, going into the situation not having coached a quarterback the whole season until the final game, the last thing I want to do is make a lot of changes. I don't want to change a lot of the ways he's been coached. I think he's done a great job this year. Has there been a game or two he wants back? Absolutely. That's usually the case for most players. But I think he's improved from last season. I look at some of the mistakes he made as a true freshman and then now he's doing it as a true sophomore, big win on the road in Oxford, big win on the road in Stillwater. He's done some great things for our football team and made some great plays in clutch situations. The last thing I want to do is scratch the hard drive and try to change a lot of things that he's really been ingrained in him over the last two years. He's done a great job. We'll talk more about that kind of stuff in the spring and where we want to go with the position, how we want to grow. But for the meantime, I've been trying to keep him in the same concepts in what we've been doing offensively in the throw game and in the run game.
On his play-calling philosophy and whether it differs from former co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin: No, I think it's one of those situations where you're probably a lot more alike than you are different. I think sometimes people want to paint you white and black, and I think we're a lot more the same than we are different. Number one, we want to maintain possession of the ball, we want to end all drives with a kick. We want to punt, get a field goal or kick an extra point. That's our primary goal, to protect the football. Number two, you want to get the ball in the playmakers' hands, your guys who can make plays who are explosive players. When you look at it from a defensive standpoint, that's one of the first things they try to point out. They turn on that tape and see who was making the explosive plays and how can we slow them down. Outside of that you want to have a scheme that allows you to take care of the ball, put it in the best players' hands. That has a larger margin for error, so to speak. You don't want to be in such a system that you're pigeonholed and you've got to be perfect all the time.
In terms of play calling, we want to be balanced. Of course we'd love to be 50-50 at the end of the night, but our definition of balanced is being able to win the game both ways. If we need to throw the ball for 400 yards [like we did] against Ole Miss to be in it, then that's what we have to do. If we need to run the ball for 400 yards [like we did] against Texas Tech in 2011, then that's what we need to do. Our definition of balance is being able to win the game both ways.
On preventing a team from coming out flat for a bowl game: I think it's an individual game, quite honestly. I don't think teams are flat, I think players are flat. I think you have individuals that don't get themselves focused and ready to play and maybe you have a collection of four or five of them, and they make two mistakes apiece and that's 10 snaps that you've wasted out there on game day. In terms of as a coach you're always leery of that, you read that, you hear of that. What we try to do is make sure we vary up the schedule enough, change enough of what we're doing to keep their minds interested in the day-to-day X's and O's of it, change the schedule up. These guys have also, the last two games, haven't played the way they wanted to play. There's a little bit of an edge about them so they're ready to go out and play and prove themselves, and then ultimately if you're a competitor, it doesn't matter when you're playing, where you're playing, who you're playing, you love to play the game of football. And that's what we're trying to bring out of more guys in these bowl practices, find who loves football, who doesn't, and play with the motivated ones.
On Oregon State's defense: They are big up front. [Defensive tackle] Castro Masaniai is a big guy inside. They do a great job on the edge in pass rush. They have good linebacker play. They can run well. Their safeties are good. They're in position a lot. You don't see them out of position a whole bunch. You don't see busted coverages. These guys do a great job of flying to the football as many interceptions as they had this year, a lot of eyes back on the quarterback. [Jordan] Poyer obviously has allowed them to do some things in some nickel packages, but they've done a great job. But the thing that stands out to me is how hard they play. You're going to see some of the same coverages, the same blitzes throughout a 13 game season and it's not going to be anything new to you, but what usually flashes on tape is the tempo which they play with. The passion which they play with, and that's something that jumps off from a coach, because a scheme is a scheme but how you do what you do is more important. And I think that's the biggest compliment to [defensive coordinator Mark] Banker and those guys.
On who will play left guard for injured Trey Hopkins: We've got a number of guys playing. We'll play Luke Poehlmann. We'll play Sedrick Flowers and Coach [Stacy] Searels has a number of adjustments that he can make up front to get guys in certain positions if we start to get down. But with Trey out those guys have gotten predominantly the most amount of snaps, so those are the guys that we'll roll with.
On whether Oregon State's defense reminds him of another team: You know, it's funny you ask that. The first thing I saw is it reminded me of TCU not from a schematic standpoint but I believe those guys love to play defense. And I think that's a compliment when you're sitting in a silent room and there's no audio, there's no one to tell you what hometown this guy was from and how much he loves football and all that and it's just still and quiet but the video speaks to you. I think these guys play hard. I think they're a really good defense, and they're going to present a challenge, but we play hard, too.
QB David Ash
On feeling more pressure in this bowl game in order to gain momentum for his junior year: Well, life is pressure and that is part of it. If you don't have anything in life that puts pressure on you, then you are not living much. That is just the bottom line. You need to have something in life worth living for that is valuable. This is a gift from God, and it is valuable. What we are able to do and try to do the best of our ability this week. Maybe there is pressure but we wouldn't have it any other way.
On his thoughts about embracing pressure: You can't play quarterback and not embrace pressure.
RB Malcolm Brown
On coming home and playing in front of the San Antonio crowd: It's exciting. I have a lot of family coming, a lot of family that got tickets on their own so I didn't have to go search for tickets. It's going to be real exciting for me. I've played in the Alamodome a couple times, and it's always a fun atmosphere. So I'm really excited to play.
RB Johnathan Gray
On playing in his first bowl game: It's exciting being a freshman, getting to play in a bowl game and [in a] great atmosphere. It's exciting for me, and I'm willing to do anything for my team and hopefully come out with a win as a freshman and get the season started for next year.
On what the differences are with Coach Major Applewhite in charge of offense: Nothing is different. Nothing has changed since [Bryan] Harsin left. We are still running the same plays and Major has done a great job of transferring from running backs to quarterbacks. He is still coaching us up a bit more with the quarterbacks. He left us knowing we know what to do. We know what schemes to pick up and that we know how to watch film and that is something Major has taught us and what he is now teaching the quarterbacks. We are ready to roll with anything Major has and will be ready to execute.
On who the underdog is for this game: I don't see either team as an underdog. They are a great team, we are a great team, and whoever wins, wins. We are ready to go out and play to our best ability, to play with passion, and to play like it's our very last game like we do every week. Both teams are great, and I am ready to see who wants it more.
On how he would grade himself after his first season: Right now, learning so much when I came in and just getting reps in each game, and getting better each game, I feel like that is how it is supposed to be. Major has done a great job coaching me up, and I have been around so many great people around this team and they have helped me a lot. Just growing up and coming to Texas is a dream and playing as a freshman and playing in a bowl game as a freshman is key because you want to let the team go out with win. You don't want to be that guy that failed the seniors, so I am playing for the seniors this game.
WR Marquise Goodwin
On his emotions coming out of the tunnel Saturday: There might be a little emotion, but I'm going to try and keep my composure until the end of the game because the team needs me to hold myself together, but it is my final game.
On reaching his goals: As a team we've accomplished almost everything except winning a national championship. We won a Big 12 Championship my freshman year. As a far as personal goals, I really didn't get to accomplish certain things that I wanted to, but sometimes its not always about personal goals. It's about the team. I had opportunities and made the best of them. Now we're playing in the Alamo Bowl and we want to make the best of this opportunity. We just want to go out there and execute and try to get a win on Saturday.
OL Mason Walters
On thoughts about having such a strong second-unit push him and the other first string offensive linemen: That will be more so going into spring ball, but obviously coming into this when our best lineman, Trey Hopkins is down, it is a good thing. We have [senior] Luke Poehlmann who has been able to roll in for us all season and do great things and then [freshman] Sedrick Flowers has really come along towards the end of the season and has been pushing some of the guys. So the competition will become more during the off-season but right now, we are thrilled to have somebody that can step up and replace Trey.
On what this team needs to do to get back in championship contention: We need to go to work this offseason and get better every single day. That is the reason the BCS National Championship is so special. I didn't get to play in it, but I was around the guys that did and just seeing how they worked, that was a group that really deserved to be there. You don't want to undermine that. You have to put in the work to be there, and that is something we are going to have to do this off-season.