UM Players Talk Coaches, more

UM opened bowl practice in El Paso on Tuesday. Read on to see what several players are saying, including the situation with the current coaching staff.

Deon Bush | Senior | Safety
On playing against Washington State
“It’s very exciting. We are playing against a real good team. They are 8-4, but they are real good. We have not won a bowl game in a real long time here, so we are just trying to focus on playing a good hard game, so we can get this bowl “W” for the team. We are just looking forward to the challenge.”

On today’s practice
“It felt real good out there today. Everyone was energized and everybody was flying around. It was one of the best practices I’ve seen in a couple of weeks, so I’m really excited to see what we are going to be able to do on Saturday.”

On what the team is playing for
“Everybody is playing for each other. It’s a big family over here. The coaches are uncertain about their future, but they haven’t changed their preparation a bit and that means a lot. When you see somebody still investing for the future of this program, even though they are uncertain about it, that says a lot about someone’s character. I really applaud all the coaching staff and how they handled it. It’s been a pleasure to play for them this year.”

On Coach Scott
“He’s done a great job. As you’ve seen, we’ve won four of the last five games. After what happened to us, it could have been easy for us just to fly through the season and not really thinking about winning out, but we went hard and Coach Scott played a big role.”

Nick Linder | Sophomore | Offensive Line
On the relationship the players have with the current coaching staff “We are around these people (the coaches) more than our own families, so you build these great relationships with them and you want to play hard for them. That’s what we are doing right now – we are playing hard and we are playing for each other.”

On progression of running back Joe Yearby
“In the offseason, he (Joe) just made a complete transformation of his body and his play. He got so much bigger and so much faster. He also really mentored guys like Mark (Walton) and Chalk (Trayone Gray). Obviously with what happened to Gus (Edwards) in the offseason, he knew that he had to put more on his back and take over that room.”

On how much the offensive line wants Yearby to surpass 1,000 yards rushing
“Oh a bunch. That’s a good milestone for a kid like that.”

On what impresses him about Washington State
“They are a good team and they have a good defense. A couple games came down to the wire, so they could very easily be a 10-win team. We know that we have to come out and play fast and every quarter has to be a finish.”

Brad Kaaya | Sophomore | Quarterback
On bowl week
“We can’t just let up now because it is bowl week. There’s a lot of festivities going on, but at the same time we are here to win a football game.”

On how the weather conditions will effect passing game
“I grew up in California, so playoff games in high school were cold like this, so I’m used to it. I was throwing today and I felt pretty good, so I don’t think it will have too much of an impact on either side of the ball.”

On the offense’s progression this season
“A lot of guys grew up this year. A lot of guys got better as the year went on. Our o-line really matured a lot. Nick (Linder) took ownership of the o-line. I think Stacy (Coley) grew up a lot this year. I think Joe (Yearby) took on more of a leadership role and he knew that he had to after the injury that Gus (Edwards) suffered.”

On seeing some of the injured players out at practice
“It was good to see them. It was just good to see that they chose to travel. If you are injured, you have a choice as to whether or not you want to come to the game. It’s just good to see them out there and I think it just shows how close our team is even though they are not participating in the game.”

On the coaching job of Interim Head Coach Larry Scott
“He’s done just an awesome job in keeping us together and just keeping the foundation that Coach Golden laid down for us. He’s been great in keeping the morale going and not letting guys break off. We just want to finish strong for him and all the other coaches.”

Calvin Heurtelou | Senior | Defensive Line
On the challenges of facing Washington State
“The challenge that we face with them is that they are a no huddle team and they are very explosive. They have a real quick offense. Once they get going, it’s tough to stop a team like that, so that’s our challenge – not to let them get rolling.”

On how the has prepared for Washington State’s pace
“Practice is just quick. Everything is no huddle – we run to every spot.”

On the welcome that the team received on Monday
“There were a lot of fans (yesterday). I was kind of surprised to see a lot of fans waiting for us at the airport, I’ve never had that before.”

On how bad he wants to win
“I want to win bad because there is no other feeling than winning a game, especially your last game, so I really want to win bad.”

Corn Elder | Junior | Cornerback
On the welcome the team received on Monday
“I was very surprised. I did not think it was going to be like that.”

On winning the Duke game
“That was definitely a big moment. That was one of the worst weeks we had and to win that game kind of sparked a run for us. It kind of brought our spirits up.”

On what it would mean to end Miami’s bowl losing streak
“It would mean a lot. You always want to finish strong, go out with a win and it would be great for the school”

David Njoku | Redshirt Freshman | Tight End
On the team’s leaders
“We have great athletes on this team and great leaders. When problems arise, we have to have our leaders step up and lead. It’s great seeing everyone come together when things happen because things do happen. It’s great seeing everyone come together as a team and a family when problems arise.”


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