AB: I thought I was going to get to sit down to do this [press conference], but I guess you're going to make me stand up. It's been a great week. San Diego's one of America's finest cities. We can see why. Understand why. The people are unbelievable. People have been as unselfish as you can be around. They've done a great job. The hosts have made us feel real welcome as has the people in the city. It's been a good time. Good week. Getting close to game time. That's why we came in first place. To play a really good UCLA football team that's doing a great job representing the PAC-12. We're excited about the showdown tomorrow night. We're representing the BIG-12 and Baylor University. It's going to be a good matchup. 2 good football teams.
Q: Coach, when you look at a Jim Mora team, what jumps out at you?
AB: discipline. Focus. Energy. Confidence. Those would be some things you see on tape and from watching on TV.
Q: is that a reflection from him?
AB: I think so. But I don't know personally. But you asked me what I read, and that's kind of what I read. So if he's that type of person, you see it in his football team. But his team certainly shows all his characteristics.
Q: Coach, with the way your team ended the season, have you seen that momentum kind of carry over into bowl practices?
AB: you know, we tried to. It's been a day or two since we played. We did finish on a pretty good streak. So it's something you try to maintain but you never really know until you get on the field. Because it has been awhile. But it's not like we've lost that love and feel-good feeling. We've got it. We still feel good about what we're doing, who we are, and what our direction is. Yeah, we hope we can carry it over. It's not like they're coming off a slump either. They're 9 game winners after playing 11 of them. That's pretty good. So I think it's 2 teams that are really good at this stage of the season.
Q: Coach, I know offense has become a big deal throughout college football, but why has the BIG-12 especially been so high scoring over the last few years?
AB: that's a really good question. I wish I could answer it. I think there's a lot of variables involved. I'm not sure what they all are. A lot of good athletes across the nation. I think if you look at the hotbed recruiting places in America, California, Texas, and Florida would pretty much stick out at you. So I think that plays a little bit into it. Maybe style of play. Maybe not. Who knows? But it's just kind of been that way the last decade or so. Just the brand of ball that's being played out there right now. I guess but Kansas State doesn't really fall into that category.
Q: do you see that changing in Texas high schools though? Like 15-20 years ago in terms of…
AB: I think so. I coached high school there for a long time. Actually, in 1990, I had a QB throw for 3, rush for 1. Later in that decade, we had a guy throw for 4800 and rush for 3700 the same year. So I think it's been going on through that level and it just moves on up. That stuff's getting into the NFL now. I think you're seeing collegiate ideas and schemes that are getting carried into the NFL now that maybe weren't there 10 years ago.
Q: Artie, what do you see from Anthony Barr who's on the other side?
AB: oh, he's good. A good player. He has every characteristic you're looking for in a defensive end and outside linebacker. He's got it all. He's long. He's athletic. He's quick. He's got instinct. He's got great body control. He's quick twitch. The guy's… that's why he's having to make a decision here [about the NFL] in about a month or so because he's exceptional.
Q: Coach, after how much offense there was in Baylor's last bowl game, does this have the feel of a shootout?
AB: I hope not. That was wild. I've never been through anything like that in my life. I can't count that high. I was having to get a pencil and paper to figure out whether to go for 2 or 1 and take it from there. If you try to predict something like that, I think all you're doing is setting yourself up for not looking very intelligent. So who knows. Who knows what'll happen? The thing about bowl games, a lot of times, it seems like there's a feeling-out process. If you're in a 15-round fight, the first 2 or 3 rounds, you may not come with your haymaker because you're trying to see what your opposition is doing and vice versa. It might be a little different from that standpoint as opposed to a regular season game where you know the athletes and their tendencies, and how they focus on a game from a mentality standpoint.
Q: does Johnathan Franklin remind you of anybody that you guys have faced? And how good is he?
AB: oh, he's good. Without question, he's a great back. I think he's a fifth year guy that redshirted so I kind of admire that he came up through and stayed with it and has really been very productive for them this year and last couple of years. Does he remind me of somebody? There's so many backs that do so many things differently. There's such a wide description of a great running back. He certainly fits a lot of those characteristics that give him an opportunity to be great. He's a guy, when you roll into bed at night, you see Johnathan Franklin.
Q: Coach, [Lache] Seastrunk seems like a really confident kid, especially with his remarks lately. Is that something that's kind of coming with him playing well these last few weeks or has he always been like that?
AB: he's always been a good football player. You talk about a guy… I don't know what he did in high school. He's a good player. The thing about it… it's like he was sitting outside the arena for 2 years. Did not play college football [audio difficulties] in 2010 and 2011. And so this was his opportunity. This is his chance. When you sit up and have hopes, dreams, and aspirations and the chance to make them reality, you have a lot of built-up energy. And I think that's what he's doing. I think it's been very productive for him. Comments? I'd rather have a guy thinking he's going to win it [the Heisman] than not. You know what I'm saying?
Q: Coach, I know your program's a lot more than 1 guy. But how much does it help you going into living rooms… people knowing that's where Robert Griffin went and that's the type of opportunity that that young man can get. Does that help you recruit a higher class of player?
AB: it may not be bigger than 1. He's pretty big now. It's phenomenal. The difference that it has made for our national brand and our image. And how people in San Diego view Baylor as opposed to 3 years ago. I'm not sure you can put it into words. And the great thing about it is, first of all, the individual that Robert is. But now, he's on the national stage in Washington. There's a lot of media folk wandering around there. So whatever he does, people are aware of it. He's just a great hand basket for Baylor. So yes, it has made a tremendous difference. Without question. My pitch to him last year, well, I didn't really try to pitch anything to him because I thought it was best that he went out, quite honestly… and then he was a top 10 pick. In our opinion, we thought he should go out. But I was saying, "hey, you could be the face of college football next year." So I missed out on that deal. So he's done well. And it's opened a lot of doors for us. I hadn't gotten any better looking. It's just we gotten a better image.
Q: and how did Nick [Florence, starting quarterback] deal with being the "next guy" as the season went on?
AB: you know, the "next guy" part was never talked about or brought up. It was just somebody going in there and doing the job that needs to be done at that position. That's why he's successful. Because he's been "him" and "him"is good enough. That's the great thing about it. We didn't ask him to do anything that he wasn't comfortable doing or capable of doing. He's the guy… the thing that took me a long time to notice about Nick, and I really didn't notice about it until the tenth game this year, you talk about all the intangibles… gutty, tough, instinctive, disciplined, determined, unselfish… you can go on and on. But the guy's good. He's got talent. He's a talented football player. You can go out and have all the intangibles in the world but if you can't play, you're still not good. Everybody might like you, but you're not going to get out on the field. So he's a good football player who happens to possess all those intangibles that give you a chance to be the most productive quarterback in America, which he is.
Q: Coach, you're playing on grass. Qualcomm [Stadium]. You don't do that that often. Is that a concern at all? Would you do anything different?
AB: I don't think so. I'm not that familiar with that stadium before. Haven't been there. Heard it's in pretty good shape. The rain… I don't think it's going to be a problem. Our guys like playing on grass, quite honestly. Practice on it all the time.
Q: Coach, what has it been like to see the progression of your defense especially over the past few weeks of the season where they're starting to make all those big plays?
AB: it's been a lot of fun. It's been good. You know, you get slapped around a little bit, all of a sudden you start dodging a few blows and it feels good. I'm not sure we didn't land a few right down the stretch. The biggest thing is making the proper plays at the proper time. They've done a great job coming up with big plays when we needed it. The turnover ratio the last 5 games of the year has definitely been in our favor. We won every one of those games. In that department, the turnover ratio.
Q: how dramatically has Lache Seastrunk emerged and extended this offense? Do you wish you maybe have given him more touches throughout the year?
AB: no. Not really. He's helped us out tremendously and we always knew… we know he's very dynamic. But like we said, a lot of times you keep calling the girl and she doesn't answer but you still want to keep calling and all of a sudden she answers, then if you've got to shower and have the ability to clean up and look good, then you're going to do that. So when he had the opportunity to get on the field, he was hungry. He was ready. And he was determined. And all those are good qualities in a football player. The guy was ready to play. A lot of times, you never wanted to be given anything. We had 2 good running backs that we felt were very capable of leading us on prior to him making him seen.
Q: Art, the players were very clear about wanting to go somewhere else. Can that help a program in terms of maybe spreading the brand? That kind of thing? Going somewhere else and playing in another venue and that kind of…
AB: probably from a national standpoint, yes. Best way to help your brand is to win. Bottom line. Did we get a tough draw? Yeah. [audio difficulties] from a national standpoint, yeah, I think it does help your brand. There's people in Arizona, Nevada, and California that are kind of close to favor that would never be. So I think from that standpoint, it definitely helps.
Q: Coach, with the way tickets have been allotted, it looks like this can be a de facto road game for you guys with the crowd UCLA's going to have. What are you expecting from your fans as far as support? It might not be as large in number, but as far as support, what are you expecting?
AB: they'll be great. They'll be outstanding. I'm really excited about seeing them in the stands tomorrow night because I know they'll be energetic. They'll be hungry. And they'll be active and they'll be supportive. That's the cards you're dealt. You either fold them or play them, and we're going to play them.
Q: Coach, as far as [Brett Hundley] goes, have you seen a freshman like him this season? Anyone this season that compares to him?
AB: he's a great run-pass threat quarterback. Really come on. Coach Noel Mazzone's done a great job with him. He's been really good protecting the football. He's a great run threat like I mentioned. Very active throwing the ball. Has some very good targets. They run the well. And they keep you off-balanced defensively. Comparing to somebody? I think that's hard to do because we have no history with UCLA so it's kind of hard to compare if you never drank the water. Either way, he's a really really good football player. He's done a great job. They've won 9 games with this QB.