|November 26 Press Conference|
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November 26 Press Conference
"Saturday night was an absolute blast and was a phenomenal football game. On the headsets during the game, I told the coaching staff that it would be a lot of fun to be sitting in the stands or watching the game on television, but for coaching it was very very nerve wracking, but it was a great game.
"Our kids have done what they done all along. Played extremely hard the entire football game and we came out and won the second half. We have done that all year and it won't stop. With a 'never say die' attitude, it's been an absolute blast.
"Now we are getting ready to go play in the bowl game. I can't wait to find out where we are going and the kids can't either, so we can go try to have a chance to get our 11th win and make a little history. That is what we are trying to do today. We met last night and had dinner, talked about the season, and talked about what our plans were. They have off today and tomorrow and then we'll start getting back into football on Wednesday. And, then we should find out I guess this weekend where our bowl site is and then we will be able to set up all of our practices as we go.
"Our kids are starting to get a lot of honors which they should and it is exciting. Fales is again on the Manning List this week. Bené Benwikere got the National Player of the Week. At the end of the year so far our scoring offense is 30th in the nation and our scoring defense is 25th in the nation. You can talk about yards, we are good in all of those, but the whole deal is scoring more points and holding them to fewer points and we have really improved in that area.
"A couple of things that we wanted to do this year, we were able to do. Our completions and rush attempts were phenomenal and that is something that is not kept by NCAA, the statistics are something that we keep. A big area that we needed to be successful in was offense and we did that.
"Defensively, we wanted to be able to stop the run and keep them out of the end zone and we were able to do that. We are 20th in the nation in rush defense and we played Navy, Stanford, Louisiana Tech, Utah State, Texas State, all of those teams are way up there in rushing offense. I thought we did a phenomenal job at that. Coach (Kent) Baer and the defense and Brian Lindgren and the offense, and our special teams did a great job this year. And our kicker, Austin Lopez, did a phenomenal job.
"We had a good year and it's not done yet. That's the exciting thing about it. It was great to say that in the situation that we honor the seniors we are going to see them again. They will be able to spend time with their family at the bowl site and just enjoy and send them off the right way. So there is a lot of exciting times ahead.
"Our kids got excited. Last night, we found out about 30 minutes before our meeting that we were number 25 in the country in the BCS. To see the looks on those kids faces when they saw that thrown up there, they cheered, they smiled. The guys that have been through when we were about 120th, maybe the worst one in America, after the first year, we weren't very good and nobody believed in us, but our kids were getting better and I could see it before our eyes.
"Really in the last 18 months, we have gone from 120 to 25 and that's exciting and those kids have done it and that coaching staff has done it and that is a great reward. What we want to do is win a bowl game to stay in it. We just don't want to be in it for one week and we want to be in it for a while. So that's our goal and it is exciting times for us."
Q: What do the last two wins on national television mean to the program?
"When you get on national television, if you can win those games multiplies the win, if that makes sense, especially in our situation and we did that. I talked to the staff about that; I didn't talk to the kids about it, but I talked to the staff about how we need keep being focused and keep understanding and when we get these, it multiplies it.
When we beat BYU it kind of set off a 'national antenna' and everybody knew about Louisiana Tech. Poor Louisiana Tech. Sonny Dykes has done a phenomenal job there. Nine days ago they were going to be in a BCS game and they lose a heartbreaker to Utah State and they lose to us.
I think that Louisiana Tech, Utah State and us, are definitely top-25 football teams. That was tough on them. Beating BYU and turning around and beating Louisiana Tech kind of signifies what we have done all year. We barely lost to Stanford and Utah State beat us and we had our chances but we couldn't tackle Chuckie Keeton but nobody can, but I thought the wins were big for us."
Q: Do the wins help with next year's recruiting?
"Of course the wins help and being on national television help, and to be honest, I never look at the stars. The best player I ever signed was a guy named Patrick Willis and he was a two star.
We evaluate kids and there are a lot of great players in California that we recruit extremely hard and some of them won't be ranked high in stars. I have got a bunch of them on my team now that will eventually play on Sundays that were two stars or even one star. We just go out and evaluate the kids. We have our traveling camps that really help us work with kids and meet their parents and evaluate them and find out what type of young men we want here.
We want good athletes that want to be successful in school and they want to be successful off the field and really honestly have a chip on their shoulder. They're hungry, they want to prove something and I still think that is big part to being successful in college football. I think that being successful in anything and if you are hungry and don't feel like you earned your entitled, that is a big deal on being successful in life."