Arriving at the Fiesta Bowl: Dec. 29
Dec. 29, 2008
HEAD COACH Mack Brown
On seeing the players after a few days off: It's great to see them. All of the guys are coming in at different times today, and we were able to get Colt (McCoy) and Brian Orakpo to come out with us, but it's funny, you have your family at home and you have your family away from home, and that's the Texas football team. We've really missed our guys and can't wait to see them all get back together today. We'll have our first meeting tonight and then we'll practice in the morning.
On the practices prior to the break: All of our practices were really, really good. They were spirited. They were physical. They were still at 6:00 in the morning. They were very demanding. We were able to get a lot out of the older guys, but we were still able to scrimmage the younger guys. We felt like we had good team camaraderie, so we feel like, to this point, that our preparation has been exactly what we wanted it to be.
On the impression of the Fiesta Bowl: I transferred from Vanderbilt to Florida State in 1972, and the Florida State team I was on came to the first Fiesta Bowl with Coach (Frank) Kush and Arizona State. It's come a long way since then. After becoming a member of the Big 12 after we came to Texas, obviously we've been to the Fiesta Frolic, and nobody treats people better than the city of Phoenix and the Yellow Coats and the Fiesta Bowl. In fact, Sally and I got here a little early, and people have been so nice. I think the people will enjoy meeting our players and watching them play, but I think our players will really enjoy the spirit of this bowl game and what it stands for, and that's the reason we're so excited.
QB Colt McCoy
On Jordan Shipley being granted a sixth year of eligibility: It's really exciting. We kind of figured that he would get that, but there's always that chance. When that came out, everybody was excited for him and he just makes our team that much better.
On getting back to work: I'm ready to get back to practice, to start game planning for Ohio State. Those days off are nice, but now it's time to go back to work and get ready to go.
On bowl week: I think you just have to enjoy it. Enjoy everything, enjoy being able to do all the fun activities that are scheduled for us, but at the same time, know what you're here for. We came here to win and that's our goal. I'm excited to get back out to practice and start getting back into game mode. We haven't played since Thanksgiving, but I know this team will be ready to play on the fifth.
On studying film over the break: I took a lot of tape home. You have to enjoy Christmas and enjoy your family, but you can sneak away a little bit, study a little bit, refresh your mind. You don't want to lose anything that you've gained back home in the week of practice you had there. This team is excited. We're glad to be here and tonight, we start back on Ohio State.
On not playing in the National Championship game: There's no let down for us. We're facing a great opponent in Ohio State. It's especially a challenge for guys on the offense. Their defense has played tremendous all year long. Their only giving up 13 points a game, so we have a big challenge ahead of us in facing them. There can be no let down. If there was a let down, we would get smoked in this game. We're going to come ready to play and we're excited about the opportunity to play Ohio State.
On what the team has to play for: We're back in BCS game after the last two years. We have an opportunity to win 12 games. We haven't done that in the last two years, so there's definitely a lot to play for.
On Ohio State's defense: There probably going to be the best we've faced. They're definitely the biggest. Their front seven, their linebackers and their front four, are the biggest and strongest that we've faced all year. They're really physical, so it's going to be a challenge for us. We have to prepare like we have all year long. I can kind of compare them a little bit to Oklahoma, but at the same time, they're somebody we haven't faced. They're a Big Ten team, they're really physical, so we're going to have to handle all that. I think once the game starts we'll kind of get a feel and go from there.
They have all kinds of great players. Laurinaitis, the middle linebacker, won a lot of awards and was a three-time All-American. Jenkins out there on the corner, you have to know where he is at all times because he can make plays. They're tough. It's going to be a big challenge for us but we're looking forward to the opportunity.
DE Brian Orakpo
On what impresses him about the Ohio State offense: Their running attack, they pride themselves on running the ball. Beanie Wells is a great running back and Pryor is an up and coming great athlete, so we have to stop their running attack. Pryor is a two-way guy, he can throw it and run it, so we have to have him contained and do the best we can to stop the run game.
On any lingering feelings about not playing in the BCS title game: No, not at all, we're past that. We're so excited to be out here to get ready for a great game with Ohio State. That's the least on our minds right now. We're not even thinking about that. It's 100 percent Ohio State, 100 percent trying to get a win.
On Ohio State using both Terrelle Pryor and Todd Boeckman in the game at the same time: Yes, you have to get prepared for that. We game planned as far as getting prepared for both because we don't know the situation. There have been plenty of teams where they played both quarterbacks and we were prepared. Pryor is a running threat, so we have to make sure we contain him, and Boeckman is more of a pocket passer, so we have to get our pass rush on and get to him. There are two different aspects for the way they play, but we've prepared for both.
On if playing against Baylor's Robert Griffin helped them prepare for Pryor: We watched a lot of film, and like you said, he's very similar to Griffin. He's a running quarterback, and we're very familiar with that type of quarterback, and you have to contain them. You have to make sure you don't lose containment, or he's going to bust you for a huge gain. We have to stop the run.
On if they have seen a back like Wells this season: No, I like to compare him to Brandon Jacobs with the Giants. Beanie Wells is very similar because he's so big and so powerful, but he's very fast as well. We have to be prepared for that. He's a great running back that can make huge gains on his feet, so we have to stop the run, and hopefully we can get after it.