Dec. 13, 2007
OPENING STATEMENT:"We started our bowl preparation this past week. And there's only 64 teams that get the opportunity to go out and practice. For us it's just another opportunity for us to advance our football program. The bowl is one that allows you extra practice opportunities to evaluate your current players that are in the program and obviously prepare for the game. "
"We used our first couple of days to look at our younger players. We did not practice our upper classmen. We started preparation for Southern Miss. yesterday. So, we've been able to balance both using this time to evaluate players in our program currently, and where they may be, as well as begin our preparation for Southern Miss."
"Southern Miss. is a name program that has shown to be one of the best Conference USA teams over the past 10 years. It has had great opportunities to go out and be that team that knocks off the Top 20 teams. This is another one for them that they just love the opportunity to have a Top 20 team playing in their neck of the woods. It will be a great challenge for us and we're excited about the opportunity to play and make history. That's really what we've been talking about all week. Our seniors get the opportunity to be that group that wins 10 football games. And that's the significance that we hold. The practice, the ability to prepare, and continue to work towards being a Top 20 program."
WHAT WERE THE SENIORS DOING WHEN NOT PRACTICING?"Well certainly we needed to maintain a level of conditioning and weight training, which we did. As well as being good mentors to our young guys. They were out on the practice field. They were engaged in terms of what we were doing. "
"But I want our younger guys to see what it's like to be a senior. And know that there is still a responsibility on their part to finish this the right way. And also to set a high bar for everybody else in the way they handle themselves. "
"I think they've been outstanding. We had a great day of practice yesterday. We got a chance to scrimmage a little bit, and we'll do that again today. So their role has been very important and they continue to lead the way as we build our program. And also, this is what we expect out of our seniors each and every year when we are in post season play."
HAS ANYONE ASSURED HIMSELF OF ADDITIONAL PLAYING TIME?"
I don't know that they did anything in the practice to show themselves as a guy that needs more time. We have some holes to fill in certain positions and that's going to require some young guys to step up and play in the bowl game, which we've dealt with all year being in the `next man in' philosophy. So to answer your question, I don't think anybody showed us something that we weren't aware of but there are some holes that some young guys are going to have to step up and play. "