Louisiana Tech Student-Athlete Bowl Media Day Transcript


 

 

Dec. 6, 2011

RUSTON, La. -

A few Louisiana Tech football student-athletes met with the media Monday afternoon to talk about Louisiana Tech’s upcoming Poinsettia Bowl appearance against No. 15 TCU.

Quarterback Colby Cameron

Q: What was your first reaction when you find out you would be playing 15th-ranked TCU? TCU is a team that has had great success in bowl games in years past.

“We’re excited to play such a great team. We’ll get an opportunity to see more of them on film this week, but we’re very excited.”

Q: In years past, the Horned Frogs defense has been excellent and ranked in the top 10. This season, they’ve allowed 21.5 points/game. Is that something you look at? Do you think, “Hey I may be able to light up the scoreboard because they scored 500 points this season?

“We’re going to follow our game plan and not worry about lighting up the scoreboard. We’ll execute our game plan and it’s an exciting feeling to play against a defense like TCU’s. Their defense has been great the last couple of years and we’re all excited to play them.”

Q: What do you know about Carter (TCU’s linebacker)? What do you think about all of his wristbands?

“I actually saw him last year when TCU played in the Rose Bowl. It’s funny but it’s great to know that you’re up against a great defensive player. We’ll look at film this week in preparation for the bowl.”

Q: They have five guys on defense that have 50-60 tackles on the season. What is the game plan for you on offense? I know you’ll keep doing what you have been doing all season, but how do you try to keep that Horned Frog defense on their toes?

“As of right now, we’re not really sure because we just found out who we were playing. Knowing coach Franklin, he will have an excellent game plan and I think we will be able to execute it against a great defense.”


 

 

Q: From a fan’s perspective, both teams have seven-game win streaks and both are conference champions. How much buzz do you think that will create for the game?

“It’s a cool experience for us because not many teams can say they have a seven-game win streak. We look forward to playing TCU and are excited to see if we can continue our streak and end theirs.”

Q: The Poinsettia Bowl will be kind of like a homecoming for you. Have you and other California guys talked about that?

“It’s a great experience for us and it makes it easier for our families to come see us. It will feel great to see our families and friends there because it’s hard for them to make trips down here to see us play.”

Q: Big contingent of family, friends, teammates, etc… out there?

“A lot of family so it’s great.”

Q: Has anyone from home contacted you since Tech accepted the bid to play in San Diego?

“No, not yet. We’re just excited to be out there and get an opportunity to play in the Poinsettia Bowl. It’s a great bowl game from what we’ve heard.”

Q: Where are you from originally?

“About an hour and a half from San Diego; right above Los Angeles.”

Q: Was there any part of you that wanted to face Boise St.?

“Boise would feel like another WAC game for us, but either team would have been great. Both programs are great and have set the standard for non-AQ teams so playing TCU is a great challenge for us and we’re excited for it.”

Q: Do you know anybody on the TCU roster?

“No, I knew a couple of guys on the Boise roster but not TCU.”

 

Defensive lineman Matt Broha

Q: Tell me your first reaction when you found out you would be facing TCU.

“Really excited to be able to play a top-ranked team so it will be a great challenge for us. This will probably be one of the best teams we’ve played all year. The Horned Frogs really stepped it up as their season has gone along. They had a great Rose Bowl win last year and I can’t wait to play a team like TCU.”

Q: 12 games. 500 points. They score at one of the top averages in the nation. What are you going to try to do to limit their offense? I know you haven’t seen stats on them yet, but when you hear gaudy stats like that, do you think “let’s show what we can do” against a team like that?

“We’ll prepare for them and continue to play the way we have. We’ll continue playing fundamental defense; stopping the run, having linebackers help in the secondary to limit their great passing game and just continue everything we’ve been doing all season.”

Q: Speaking of running backs, they have three guys that have over 600 yards and collectively 15 touchdowns. Their offense is very balanced with good running and passing games. Do you have a preference when playing against a team?

“I don’t. Its kind a spur of the moment type of deal. If we’re stopping the run really well, they have to pass. If we’re limiting their passing game, then they will have to run. It really comes down to which one of those two we can stop first and we’ll go from there.”

Q: From a fan’s perspective, both teams have seven-game win streaks and both are conference champions. How much buzz do you think that will create for the game?

“I think it’s one of the biggest non-BCS games being played. It’s going to be a huge game for us and for our program so a win would be huge for Tech and will help establish our program.”

Q: From a climate perspective, how much are you looking forward to going to California during the winter months?

“I can’t wait, especially with the weather we have going on right now. It’s one of the perks we get by playing in San Diego.”

Q: Have you ever been surfing before? Colby said he would love to take a few guys.

“I have not been surfing and did not get lessons while we were in Hawaii but hopefully Colby can teach me a few things before we leave San Diego.”

Q: Talk about the transformation of this program since you’ve been here.

“Our team chemistry has gotten a lot better. When I first got here, we played in the Independence Bowl so you felt it building up since then. With the coaching changes, there was a bit of an adjustment but after last season, everybody just bought into the system that coach Dykes brought in and realized that we can be one of those TCU’s; a great non-BCS school.”

Q: A lot of great defensive players came here and you’re second all-time in sacks. What does that mean to you?

“A lot of the credit should go to the coaches. I’ve changed my game a lot since I’ve been here. I’ve put in a lot of work, even during the offseason and just changed a lot of things. I came in at 205 pounds and weigh 255 right now. It’s pretty exciting to be around great players who help you out as well.”

Q: We’ve seen Sonny Dykes as a laid-back kind of guy and then we’ve seen the fiery side of him on the sidelines. What is he like on an everyday basis? It seems like he’s not afraid to get in your face

“He’s kind of laid back off the field and in the meeting room. Once we start practices and game days, he’s like a player where you change your intensity and focus in on what needs to be done and he’s one of those guys that will do whatever it takes to win.”

Q: You guys are going to be a huge underdog going into this game. Is that a role you like?

“I’ll take it. I hope everybody takes us as an underdog because the way our team has been playing, a lot of good things will happen for us. A lot of this work and preparation in the coming weeks will hopefully give us the victory on Dec. 21.”

Q: Guys like Adrien Cole; when he walks in here, you think “that can’t be him, he’s just not big.” The way he’s played defensively, what does that do for the rest of you guys on defense?

“I’ve always said that he’s the type of guy that knows the game and can make plays happen. He expects things to happen and he’s one of those guys that defenses haven’t really respected in the past and he’s always around the ball. He gets like 20 tackles a game and really knows what he is doing out there.”

 

Wide receiver Taulib Ikharo

Q: What was it like when you found out about TCU?

“I was pretty excited when I found out. I was in the field house working out and the equipment manager [Clay Lewis] told me it was TCU. I was expecting Wyoming but to hear TCU it was exciting.”

Q: I guess you don’t really know much about their program this year, but overall, I’m sure you know about their success as a program.

“They had one of the best defenses last year. I saw the game against Wisconsin (Rose Bowl) and saw the game they played against Boise St. They are a good non-AQ team that gets it done regularly so it’s a great feeling.”

Q: A lot of people are going to say you guys are huge underdogs and have no chance in winning this game. You guys kind of relish that role.

“Exactly. We’ve gone into pretty much every game this year as an underdog and people did not expect too much out of us. That has been the fuel to our season that made us want it more.”

Q: How did you seniors hold it together when at the beginning you had so much adversity with close losses, etc…?

“Staying positive. That’s something a lot of us seniors did that and continued telling the young guys to continue being positive. It was hard especially after tough losses like the ones to Houston and Mississippi St. After the pretty bad loss to Hawai’i, we didn’t really know how we were going to react. We had the bye week and after the bye week we kind of changed. It made us focus on the little things and made us re-evaluate what we have been doing.”

Q: With that said, did you think you were going to string off seven straight wins?

“Yes, because I initially expected us to be in a better position coming into the season. We had some tough losses but every game that we went into I felt like we were going to win the ballgame. I know it’s good to win seven straight and it feels good but I’m not super surprised. I felt like we had an opportunity to win every ballgame.”

Q: Two moments this year; the moment in Nevada and the moment celebrating the championship here. Describe those.

“The moment in Nevada was ridiculous. I never felt anything like that, playing sports. Not just the way I played, but the way the entire team came together and played at the end is something I’ve never seen in my life. That was huge. Celebrating the championship here was a great feeling. I’ve never won a championship before in my life. My friends and I were talking about looking up into the sky and I looked up and it felt like nothing else was going on. It was surreal.”

Q: From a fan’s perspective, both teams have seven-game win streaks and both are conference champions. How much buzz do you think that will create for the game?

“It’s going to be a great game. A lot of hard hitting and a lot of points on both sides. I believe we have the ability to put up a lot of points the way our offense plays. Their offense plays great as well. It will be a good, competitive game.”

Q: Could you envision a better story for you guys (seniors) to end your college career in a bowl game? Maybe a touchdown catch?

“Not at all. This is it for me right here. I couldn’t expect anything more.”

Q: Tell me what coach Dykes is like.

“Coach is a cool guy. He is such an understanding coach. He isn’t super demanding. He expects us to take care of business. He allows us to be kids as well and is such a cool guy. I couldn’t ask for a better coach.”

Q: You’re leaving here but can you imagine what a win could do for this program?

“The sky’s the limit for this program. A lot of good, young players in this program. We have tons of good quarterbacks returning. Our defense is pretty young but is still very good. They will lose a few seniors but a win can get some good recruits in and put Louisiana Tech on the map.”

Q: Special do for the bowl game with your fade?

“I’m just keeping it. I might put an extra part or two but I’m just going with this.”

The 2011 Poinsettia Bowl will be televised on ESPN and will be the only bowl game taking place on Dec. 21. Joe Tessitore (play-by-play) will call the action along with Lou Holtz (analyst), Mark May (analyst) and Samantha Steele (sidelines). In addition, ESPN Radio will carry the game nationally with Bill Rosinksi (play-by-play) calling the action along with David Norrie (analyst) and Joe Schad (analyst).

Tickets for the Poinsettia Bowl are on sale now through the LA Tech Ticket Office and range from $35 - $55. To purchase tickets, please call (318) 257-3631, email techtickets@latech.edu or visit LATechSports.com.

For complete coverage of Bulldog Football, follow @LATechPWalsh on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.