Player Quotes - Holiday Bowl

SAN DIEGO - Dawgman.com spoke with Mason Foster, Jake Locker, Chris Polk, Cort Dennison, Senio Kelemete, Alameda Ta'amu, Ryan Tolar, and Hauoli Jamora about Washington's 19-7 win over Nebraska Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl.

Mason Foster:
On the last three games almost being like a playoff: "Yeah, definitely we did. Like coach said, it was playoffs for the last three game. This is like the championship game. We had all the confidence in the world coming into this game. We got better throughout the season. We believed in each other. That's what it comes down to. We had all the confidence. Offense was moving the ball. We knew we had to stop them and we were gonna win. That's what it came down to."

On anything that might have inspired them for the rematch: "I felt like we had definitely got better throughout the season. It wasn't anything about what they did to us. We knew we had to be more physical in the run game, we'd be alright. I felt like tonight, everybody played extremely hard - offense, defense, special teams, young guys, everybody. We just wanted to win this game really bad. We had great schemes, great practices throughout the whole December. Felt like forever, but we were practicing hard every single day and it paid off."

On what was different this time: "We played with a lot more effort. I felt like we were a better team as a whole. We had great schemes and we knew what to expect. I feel throughout the whole year we got better and we were just ready for them this time."

On stopping them defensively: "Yeah, we have great coaches and they had a great scheme. We had a lot of time to prepare for them, and the entire time we were ready to go. We played hard throughout the whole bye-month, or whatever you want to call it, we practiced really hard so we were prepared."

On sensing that you wanted it more this time: "It wasn't really like that; it was more not letting them abuse us like that again. We weren't going to let them run down the ball down our throat this time. We weren't going to let them get their big plays and I feel like we just imposed a will on them."

On Martinez coming out: "It made us more confident, but the guy behind him was just as good. He could throw air. Taylor Martinez is a good player but they're both really good. It did give us a little bit of a boost in moral, having a quarterback out, but we were ready to go."

On Alameda: "Alameda has gotten better week in and week out. Coaches are always on Alameda no matter how good he does. They always think he can do better, so Alameda showed up in a big way and I'm excited to see him play next year."

On Cort: "Cort always does good. He does good every game. It was great having him back out there this time around. Devin made a big impact this game just like his first game. He is going to do big things next year; he's going to take it over from here. I'm excited to watch him play too."

On how Cort is going to do without you: "He should be better. Hopefully he's better. He'll get better throughout the year, week in and week out. He's going to have all eyes on him next year, but I know he'll go out there and do his thing."


Jake Locker:
On capping off his UW career like this: "Kind of like what coach touched on earlier…this is the experience I came back for. There's a lot of other things that you probably could come with why I did. He hit it right on the head. It's been some frustrating years. But to go out this way, to see this program off this way, I'm going to be their biggest fan from here on out. Every Saturday I'll be turning in to watch the Huskies play. Youo can count on that. I'm proud to be a part of this program, part of this football team, something I'll be able to carry with me the rest of my life."

On what he saw from the Nebraska defense: "Nebraska, they do really well in pass coverage. They can really take advantage of you by trying to outnumber you, trying to get more defenders than you have receivers on each side. Watching film, coach kind of said, Hey, you now, with them playing like that, it works really well in the pass stuff, but there's not anybody accountable for the quarterback. If you don't love what you see, pull it down and run. He told me to play like I know how to play. I think that we kind of went into the game with that attitude, with that thought process. We were able to convert on some third downs and move the ball when things weren't there in the passing game because of it."

On having so much confidence, considering what Nebraska did to them in September: "I think it didn't happen this week. I think it happened three weeks ago when we came into this four-game stretch. It was a mindset. If you go back and watch all four of these game, they're not perfect, but you see a team that believes in each other, that believes in what we're doing, the calls being made, playing really hard and really fast. I think when you're doing that, you're minimizing your mistakes. Seemed like the ball bounded our way more when we were playing that way than maybe sometimes earlier in the season when we weren't."

On what happened when he went down with an apparent injury: "Well, it wasn't as bad as it looked. My helmet came down, hit me on my nose. The front of my face was kind of numb. My helmet was covering my eyes, so I couldn't open my eyes up. They were asking me what's wrong. I'm saying, 'I can't see anything'. I can't see. I couldn't feel my helmet down over my eyes. What's wrong? I can't see, everything is black. They go, I think it's your helmet. I go, 'No, I just can't see'. Then they pulled my helmet up, I was able to pull my helmet up. I'm good, I'm alright. It looked worse than it was. I was fine. I just couldn't ell my helmet was down over my eyes." (laughs)

On anything that might have inspired them for the rematch: We were able to look at the game film from let time. When you look at it, it wasn't as bad as the score says it was. We were in it in the middle of the third quarter, and they started to pull away. We had some missed opportunities early on. We weren't executing as well as we wanted to, especially offensively. I think in our locker room we understood as a football team it wasn't as out of hand as everybody wanted to make it seem. We were talented enough to play with that football team, we had to be sound mentally and physically and the outcome could be different like it was."


Chris Polk:
On having a game like this, considering where this team was a few years ago: "I can't believe that like two years ago, we were an 0-12 team. I'm grateful I was able to have an impact to see these seniors out after all they've been through. This is exactly what I came to college for."

On how he's going to celebrate after this: "Going to Disneyland!"

On anything that might have inspired them for the rematch: I think like coach said earlier in the season, one game doesn't define us. We knew the team that showed up really wasn't us. We went in there and really assessed the thing we did well. We had confidence. Confidence was key. We knew if we ran and did exactly what the coaches told us to do, we couldn't help but be successful."


Cort Dennison:
On how much fun you had: "We went from 0, 0-12 to hero. I couldn't be more proud of the way our team played. We had everybody in the world betting against us. We played with a chip on our shoulder and we proved how good of a team we can be. There are exciting things to come for Husky football. And for our seniors to go out the way they did means the world to me, and I know it means the world to the rest of the team, because they've been through so much, and I couldn't be happier for them."

On something different with the defense: "No, I just think we didn't try to do too much. We just stuck to our game plan. Our coaches put together a great scheme. We had three weeks to prepare for a team instead of one like we did in the first game. You have a better chance of doing good things and when you have coaches like we do that are good at the things they do, then good things happen and when you play hard like we did and put everything together, it's bound for success."

On your defense tonight: "I don't take any credit; I give all of the credit to my teammates. There are eleven people on the field. I have such great teammates, we're a band of brothers and we stick together, and I don't think I'm the only one that would say that, I think the rest of the guys would say that things wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for a team effort. So I don't take any of the credit, I give all of the credit to my teammates, because they're the ones who came through and I just tried to helped them as much as possible. "

On Alameda and Jamora: "Meda was rumbling and stumbling down there… if he was a little bit faster he would've scored. But I couldn't be happier for a kid like Meda; he's one of those kids like Victor and Quinton who have come so far. Especially in these last four games. And Jamora, there is a reason that we compare him to Daniel, he's just a great football player. He might not be the fastest or the strongest guy in the world but he's just a hell of a football player, and just talks about his future. The sky is the limit for that kid. And the best thing about Jamora is that he wants to get better and he wants to learn and he's willing to take coaching. And when you have a kid like that that is already that good of an athlete and as a good of a football player as he is, then the sky is the limit."

On the differences from Tyrone's last season to this: "I would've believed it. Because I believe in my team. I might be the only one out of millions that believe it. But when you put in the extra hours in the film room like you do in the off season and you lift those extra weights and you run those extra sprints and you just believe in what you're being taught by these coaches, then good things will happen. They come from winning programs so they obviously know the right philosophy and obviously know what they're doing. They've instilled in our heads the right mindsets and we just try to believe and jump on the rollercoaster with them. I couldn't be happier for the guys."

On how surprised you were about the crowd turnout: "Husky nation is the best. They travel anywhere. And I couldn't be happier. We have the best fans in the world for a reason. I'm really happy they all traveled down here to support us. "

On going to that corner after the win: "Yeah, I had chills running up and down my spine. It's the greatest feeling right now. I'm on top of the world right now."


Senio Kelemete:
On how much fun that was: "It was exciting. It was a great experience. Just showing the heart our team has, and just everyone wanting to finish—it was just a great game."

On you and Tolar knowing you were going to run block and pound the ball like that: "I loved it. Every offensive linemen loves running the ball, because basically it's just like one on one. Hey, we're going to run up the gut and if you can't stop him oh well. That's the kind of mentality we're starting to have now. Just being able to be physical up front at the time of the tackle."

On the Husky fans: "That's our Husky nation right there. All the thanks to them. They were really loud; it was a lot louder than the Cornhuskers' fans."

On Chris Polk: "He's an unbelievable running back. He runs through arm tackles. You think he's going to go down, but he'll slip through one and break through for another 20 yards. He's a hard runner. He gets yards after contact. He also just always shows us love after a play, or whenever we go back to the sideline."

On wanting it more: "Just us getting that second chance, showing the world that we did change, and through every game we got a lot better than we were."

On your thought when Jake went down: "It was kind of scary; I was just hoping he was ok. I just wanted his health to be ok, I didn't want him to risk coming back into the game. But knowing Jake, his last bowl game, his last year as a Husky, he just has that mentality—like a running back."

On what was wrong: "I don't really know."

On your physical health: "I'm fine, my hip is just a little sore. It was a great game, I just put a lot of pressure on my ankle and I just have to ice it down and it will be fine."

On your weight: "Like 288. Probably want to come back at like 295 or 305 for the spring."


Alameda Ta'amu:
On it being your best game as a Husky: "Yeah, I think so, I feel like it."

On what changed this game: "We knew it was coming. We knew they were going to run up the middle all day. And we as a D-line, especially the young guys that came out, we're really proud at how we were able to stop the run today."

On wanting it more: "Our heart is bigger. The D-line's heart was bigger today. We wanted to prove everybody wrong. Everybody asked how we were going to stop their run game, and they out physical us last time. But from what I feel, from the last game is that they didn't out physical us, we were just trying to do too much, we weren't doing our job, and we just fixed our mistakes and everybody did their own part and we just came out victorious today."

On the fumble: "I saw the ball rolling and all I remember is hearing the coach say scoop and score. I wasn't going to jump on it, I was going to scoop it and start running, but I kind of ran out of gas."

On the punch to the mouth: "Yeah, that was a big punch. They knocked us down the first time and we wanted to fight back and we fought back and I thought it was a pretty good fight."

On there being much talking out there: "No, not really, not until the end."

On having their will break: "I knew they broke when they were marching down the field and it was fourth down and we got them off the field."

On Martinez going out: "We were happy Martinez was out. And number 17 came in and from what I remember from the last game is that he fumbled his first to touches on the ball."

On how confident you were after he was taken out: "To me it didn't really matter. We were doing business all day. So you can put any quarterback in there, it was just the way our defense was clicking, we were ready."

On getting better and better every game: "Just practice harder and you play better. The coaches always say practice how you play. So practice makes perfect, and that is all I was aiming towards, was practicing hard."


Ryan Tolar:
On how much fun that was: "It was amazing. It's something I can't really describe in words. It's just the feeling that overcomes everything that we've gone through these past five years. The work was definitely there, and we have been putting it in year in and year out, and being able to finish like this and come out as a senior class—we came in together and stuck together and just having this cap off our experience here is just something we'll always cherish."

On coming as far as you have personally: "It's something that you just can't really describe. Our careers, our goals, we all came in here looking for championships and that was what we were here for, and we all knew what we were stepping into coming in here. We knew they didn't have the best record but we fought threw it and we had one goal to get this program back up where it belongs."

On knowing they are going to run the ball: "Oh it's a great feeling. No matter what it is, as long as it's protecting Jake or opening holes for Chris or Jesse, when you know that you are running the ball and you're running it good, it's just as an Offensive Linemen where you get your glory. We don't get our names in the papers or anything like that, but that's when you feel the best. We aren't the ones who are running in the end zones scoring the touchdowns but we are watching those guys do it and that's a feeling you just can't explain."

On wanting it more: "They were a great team. They really showed that day in and day out throughout the season. We had a goal set to come down here, we had a mindset to come down here, and it's always expect to win in this program and we just went out here as hard as we could and we were just fortunate enough to come out against a good team with a victory."

On Alameda and his fumble: "I was loving watching the big man run for a little bit. That was awesome. And then I turned around and when I saw that ball go up to Jake, we all knew what the play was, but even though the ball was up in the air it kind of froze you for a second. That was something that we knew we were coming out strong. The coaches set that up for us, and it was just a great feeling."

On Sark and the fourth and goal: "It's just the mindset of the program .We're there and we're going to go for it. And that's an amazing feeling to have and having the belief in your coaches to give you the opportunity to give you that chance."

On Sark letting you go for it on fourth…: "Yeah, not only is it the personality of the team but it's the personalities of the coaches. That's something that we love. Being able to know that when it's fourth and when we are right there we know we're going to get the ball and Coach is going to give us the opportunity to make the plays. It's an amazing feeling to have that kind of ability to have the coach be able to give you the opportunity to win the game."

On what is next for you: "I'm going to be training and I'm going to go play in a game in a couple weeks. And then after that just train some more and put it into high gear. I'm going to stay up here. Ivan has done a great job with us so I trust him completely. There is no other place I'd rather be. Just stay in school a little more and train with coach and just try to pursue my goals."

On your weight before Ivan showed up: "When Ivan showed up I was pushing 30 and now I got down to 280 and I've been putting the weight on a little bit because they want us to lose it and then gain it back the right way, and now I'm sitting around 300 pounds. I feel good."


Hauoli Jamora:
On what you guys did differently: "We talked about it a lot through preparation about staying lower and using our heads more violently. Last time a lot of peeking, standing up, losing our gaps and stuff like that, so staying low really helped."

On how much you played against Nebraska last time: "Probably about half the game."

On your game tonight: "Yeah, I definitely learned a lot more from Coach Holt and the rest of our coaching staff. So being able to know what is coming and play off of that helped me to play faster as the season went on."

On your big game: "It was everyone. Meda, Everette, Senio, De'Shon, Kalani, everybody,"

On Alameda's game: "I would say that was one of the best games I've seen Alameda play. He was flying around out there."

On Martinez going out: "When he was in we were pretty much getting after their offense. So when he was out, it was another shot from them to pick up the slack and do better. So not too much. He wasn't getting everything right when he was in there."


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