In your experience how do you balance the bowl activities and practices once you get to the bowl location?
"There is no balance. It is all about the game. You go to the events that they have. They are fun and you enjoy the events and that's part of it. But the most important thing is the game, the preparation for the game. We've got some events that our guys are going to, they'll have fun with the Zoo, Sea World, and all that. That's in the afternoon after practice. Our schedule is that we practice in the morning, go to the events in the afternoon, and we come back and meet after that. So, I guess if that's balance, that's balance."
"You enjoy the bowl, you earned it, but also you can't forget what you are there for because it's business and that's what it is all about."
Do you encourage your juniors to reach the NFL and get a status report (on where they would get drafted)?
"If they want, I don't have any problem with it. If they want to, the NFL has it. Guys can find out where they are going to get drafted, give them an idea. They may not like what they hear, but if they feel that they want to do that, they should do that. They just really started doing that about 3-4 years ago. But I think it is a great idea. If we have some guys that are interested and think they are good enough to come out then they should check it out."
Did you have any juniors this year, talk to you about it?
"No, but we have been focusing on other things."
Are you interested in knowing your status in the next level?
"Really to be honest with you, I think everybody's interested where they stand at the next level because that's where probably everyone's goal is to be…I think right now we are all focused on playing against Texas in the Holiday Bowl and working on getting better for next year."
So you are not going to send a letter in?
"No, I won't."
Do you have an idea where you stand?
"I am pretty sure I have an idea (smile). I don't think it matters though."
Are there certain guys individually in Texas' defense that standout?
"A guy named Marcus Griffin that plays safety for them. He is a pretty good player. Fast, strong, physical. They also have a good middle linebacker (Rashad) Bobino. He's a very good player too. He's a fast guy, plays real hard; those two guys really stick out to me. They got a good defense."
Do they remind you of anybody in the Pac-10?
"I think it is a lot different than anything that we faced in the Pac-10. Maybe a little bit Colorado…that is probably the most comparable team. They have a lot of time to prepare too, so we may see new wrinkles."
Can you talk about the job Offensive Coordinator Rich Olson has done?
"Coach Olson, he's a good coach. He's an interesting guy in how he deals with us. He coaches us a lot, but also gives us a lot of room for us to figure out stuff for ourselves as well, just as far as technique, mechanics, and certain things. He's really supportive and I really like Coach Olson."
In the beginning of the season, we were talking about him being in the field and not in the press box. How has that dynamic worked out during the course of the season?
"It was different for me because I am used to having a coach up in the booth. It's interesting because sometimes you want to see from higher up what's going on. I think Coach Olson and I can relate to each other more during a game, because we are seeing the same things on that field level. It's been interesting thus far, but I think it's been working out for us."
Do you see a reflection of Coach Erickson in him in any way, are the personalities similar?
"I don't know, I think that is the one fun thing about this coaching staff is that they are all different from each other. They are all fun to be around."
With having already five bowl practices under your belt, do you feel the rust of the layoff has come off, and the practices now are as crisp as they have been in the middle of the season?
"I think guys are getting back into shape a little bit and getting the rust out. I think because there still is some time before the game, guys are trying to pace themselves a little bit, but I think it is going pretty well. I think once we get back on the field, we will be ready to go."
There was so much concern at the beginning of the season about how the receiving core would pan out. That was one of the pleasant aspects of the year…
"It was. Those guys put in a lot of work this year. I think we were all disappointed from the year that we had before, so we put in a lot of work to get on the same page. It is also hard because we learned a new offense on top of being inconsistent, down the year before. So I think what is going to be fun next year is that we are really going to spend a lot of time together and really put in a much larger bulk of this offense. I think that's really when we can see where this team can go."
The fact that you are losing just one wide receiver in Rudy Burgess probably makes you even more excited…
"Yeah, and we have players that can fill in for him. Kerry Taylor is a true freshman that got some experience. Kyle Williams, Mike Jones, Chris McGaha…everybody's back for us and then we have to get some guys better like Brandon Smith. He's a burner for us and he hasn't been healthy all year."
In the context of what you have gone through physically, your numbers are outstanding. If you had to self-evaluate it or self-assess this past season, how would you look at this past season?
"I thought it was good… I don't think that we always played good on offense or always executed the way we should have executed. But, I think the one thing we did do is make plays when we had to make plays. We weren't always consistent. Those are all things that we can work on for next year. I look back on and we did some good things. I think I personally also missed some opportunities for some big plays or touchdowns. So those are all things that we will be working on."
Erickson, Carpenter Post-Practice Quotes
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