We finished finals yesterday, and we had the opportunity to practice on the weekend four times int he last two weeks.
"The focus really was on academics and finals. We just came out and sort of kept them a little bit involved in football. As of last night when finals were over, we're in the transition of getting back to football. That's a good thing. Our guys like playing football and they are glad the academic part is behind them. Away we go.
How involved has coach Doeren been?
He has come and watched practice, but he is not involved in the preparation for the bowl game.
How surreal is this for you to be in this position?
I've always wanted to be a head coach, and this is the first opportunity that I've had to do that. With the situation and the hand that is dealt, it's a non-issue.
I'm going to do the best I can to put this team in a position to be successful, and our coaches are the same way. This is an important game for us. It's the next game and it's a great opponent. It has a lot of reasons to be a really exciting game.
Quite honestly, from the coaching staff to all the players, we are looking forward to this game. We want to be successful.
The players want to prove they are a team that can win games like this.
This is our last chance together. It's important for us to finish strong. It's always been one of the goals that we've had.
There is nothing better than being successful in a bowl game... there is a finish to it. It's the last game of the season.
We tell our players there are no bad teams that you play in a bowl game. You're playing the top guys and they are bringing their 'A' game. It's a chance for us to bring our 'A' game and match up. Anytime there is that kind of challenge, you want to run with it.
What have you done to keep their focus on this game?
We're starting in that process because their focus has been the academics. I haven't seen it being much of a problem or challenge because of the opponent that we have. It's a strong team and outstanding football team so that gets your attention from the start.
Our guys have taken a real notice to who the opponent is. They will be ready.
Any players missing the game?
Not that I'm aware of.
Any grad assistant with more duties?
Not really. Basically the staff is intact. I've just added more duties.
We have the blueprint on how to make this successful. We're going to keep any kind of change to a minimum.