Captain Quotes - Holiday Bowl Reaction

SEATTLE - Dawgman.com spoke Sunday with Washington captains Nate Williams, Senio Kelemete and Jake Locker after word came down that the Huskies would be traveling to San Diego for a December 30th date versus Nebraska in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. The Cornhusker blew out UW 56-21 back on September 18th.

Nate Williams:
On the feeling of winning Apple Cup and going bowling, 24 hours later: "It's feels really good. We went over everything with coach (Sarkisian) just now; it's really exciting that it's actually here now, and all the hard work we've been working on in the off-season and everything has kind of payed off for us. We still have work to do. We're going to enjoy it a little more while we can, but when it's really time to work we're going to lock in and hit it hard."

On seeing Nebraska again: "The main thing for us is that it's an opportunity to get revenge on them a little bit. They came in here and whupped us pretty good; that's all I can say about that. I think we'll definitely end up having a big chip on our shoulder, and that will naturally give us a little bit of motivation off the top. We're really excited for it and it's going to be a really great game."

On Nebraska: "They are a really versatile team. Their quarterback can run, but when he has to drop back and pass he can do that as well. So when you have a certain key, you have to read that key and focus on that one job. Myself included, and a lot of the other guys, we tried to do a little too much. At the time they were ranked No. 8 in the nation, or No. 6 or something - with all that hype guys were trying to do a little too much. We just have to stay level-headed, stay cool and just do our one job and everything will work out the way it has for the last three weeks."

On looking back to 2008: "I didn't really know what would happen at that time. But now with all of these new coaches - they've been here two years now - just the amount of hard work that we've been putting in and all the things that they've been changing with the program and everything…in the future, even though I won't be here, I can see Rose Bowls coming in year after year after year. I'm excited for the young guys here. I'm going to be really happy for them later on."

On if UW resembles the same team that played Nebraska earlier this year: "I think naturally we've kind of matured more. That's just with experience of playing USC and playing Wazzu and Oregon…just getting the natural game experience. That's the only area where I can say we're not the same team. We played them week three; we just ended week 13. That just comes with getting the reps. That's the only way we're different."

On December practices: "I've never done it before. It's going to be new for guys like me, Jake and Mason. For all the young guys, this is all they know, so that's why from here on out, I can really see all the Rose Bowls and championships coming in. Because this is all they know. The media expects a post-season game out of them; they expect it. The coaches expect it. Whereas the previous years, that wasn't really expected out of us. We were really never here before. Now, that's really all that's expected. It's going to be fun."
Senio Kelemete:
On what going to a bowl says about the program: "Like coach Sark said, it's not going to take long for this program to turn around and it only took two years and it shows that a lot of guys, a lot of seniors and all the upper classmen, this being their final,last game playing against Nebraska. I'm just happen for them being able to go to a bowl game and turning things around to have a good season."

On the change since Sarkisian showed up: "When he got here, no one, I'll admit I didn't want to wear my U-Dub gear anymore. I think everybody just lost that Husky spirit, but when he came in he came with a lot of fire and that ‘up' attitude and that winning attitude of bringing us up so it's changed a lot since he got here." On his health and getting back and able to play after being injured vs. Cal: "It was a lot of hard work. The trainers, I give them all the thanks because coming in here every morning, getting the treatment and icing it and rehabbing to be ready by Saturday was amazing."

On facing Nebraska again: "I like it. Like I've told everyone else, it's a second opportunity to show Nebraska how much we've changed and how grateful we are for this opportunity to play in the bowl game."

On Washington being a different team: "A lot of games we didn't finish in the second half, but that's been showing more in these last three games. We're a more determined team, we're trying to execute a lot better and win more of our third downs that we've been use to."
Jake Locker:
On wondering if they would make a bowl game: "That was our goal from the beginning of the season and we knew it was still possible these last three weeks, it was just focusing, more importantly than focusing on that, it was focusing on each game because without winning the first, second and third one, you wouldn't have that opportunity."

On Sarkisian's aggressiveness: "I like it a lot. I think it shows, on his end, it shows his confidence in us as a football team and as players and I think you respond to that and you appreciate when the coach trusts and believes in you, especially at critical moments and it makes you do that much more to succeed on those plays in the game."

On if this is a different Husky team compared to the one that faced Nebraska in September: "There's a lot more confidence. There's a lot faster speed which we're playing at right now and I think that all goes back to the confidence. I think that there's a belief in the gameplan and what we're doing and in each other that hasn't been here since I got here."

On pushing the tempo vs. Washington State: "We kinda wanted to push the tempo. We understood that they had been off for a couple weeks and hadn't played a real football game in a while and so we thought that pushing the tempo and getting as many snaps as possible would work to our favor late in the game and I felt we did a good job of keeping the tempo where we wanted it and keeping our energy throughout the whole game."

On the Apple Cup being almost unfinished business for him: "Having to watch that one (2008 Apple Cup) and not be able to do anything about it and having the opportunity to go out there and win that one (Saturday) was something we all wanted to do."

On their focus for the Holiday Bowl: "We're going down to win this game. We're going to prepare like we have for all our other games. It's not a vacation for us. We have one more game on our schedule and we have to prepare that way because we're playing a really, really good football team and we know what can happen if you don't bring your best game against them."


Dawgman.com Top Stories