Navy coach: Bowl more than a football game

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo and Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill discussed their teams and the upcoming Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Look inside to see their comments.

Head Coach Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee:

"We're extremely honored to be here and play in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, not only just to play in this bowl game, but because it is a bowl game that represents what it stands for. We're extremely honored and excited to play in it. And then you throw in a chance to compete and play against a great, well-coached Navy team with all the tradition, it just adds to the excitement. We're really looking forward to it and it is an honor to be here."

"We had an exciting last second win against Marshall, 51-49, and that kind of got us a little momentum going, a little bit of confidence, and we ended up winning our last five games. At one time, we had lost four of our top five running backs and three of our starting offensive lineman, so we were able to overcome that adversity through the course of the year. We had a lot of young guys that hadn't played that stepped up and ended up having good years for us and making very critical plays in critical parts of the game for us that enabled us to win some games."

"It's a team that doesn't give up. We'll play as hard the first second of the game as we will the last second, so it's been a lot of fun coaching this team. Facing that offense does present problems because you don't see it on an everyday basis. We have played Georgia Tech the last three years, we didn't play them this year, so we have seen it here recently. When you play an option team, you have to be fundamentally sound, you have to be very disciplined in your reads and your keys, and play it exactly like your coached to do. As soon as you put two guys on the fullback, you know the quarterback will spit a big one."

"Hopefully having a little extra time, in not a traditional regular season game where you have four or five days to prepare, that this might help us a little bit."

Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo, Navy:

"On behalf of the United States Naval Academy, I'd like to thank Brant Ringler and also John Garrison for the wonderful opportunity for our school to come here. This bowl represents more than a football game, and the great irony of being with the United States Naval Academy, to be able to play in this game and be able to represent not only our school but also being part of such a wonderful event that celebrates the lives of those Americans that serve our country."

"I feel very blessed everyday to be able to coach at the United States Naval Academy, coaching young men that I know will eventually serve our country. So to be on the other side of it, to finish the season and play against Coach Stockstill in a bowl game that represents people that serve our country, we feel very blessed. We're really excited about coming to Fort Worth. We're excited about this opportunity to come down to Texas, I know our football program is excited to be a part of this great bowl game. Thank you very much for having us."

"I think any coach will tell you, there's a lot of ebb and flow to a season. There's ups and downs to every season, every game. We were fortunate enough to have a great start against a very good Indiana team at their place. So that was a great win for our program to be able to beat them on the road. In the middle part of the season we were able to play our rivals, Air Force. We felt really fortunate to come out with a win. At the end of the season we were playing as good of football as we did all year. Our kids started to play well and start formulate more chemistry as coaches say, ‘all of us have injuries, everybody deals with the injuries the best you can,' and at that part of the season [Air Force], we were playing as good of football as we'd done all year."

On quarterback Keenan Reynolds: "When Kennan took over as our starting quarterback we were 1-3, and so he made us a lot smarter. He's just a wonderful young man. When you look at him, he's not a very physically impressive guy, he's 5-10, he'll tell you he's 5-11, but he's 5-10, 185 pounds, but he's the smartest quarterback that I've been around. He's all about numbers, he gets you in the right play, and he gets the ball to all the right people.

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