Oregon Coach Chip Kelly:
Q: How does it help a head coach to keep his staff together for as long as you have?
A: “It always helps. Our meetings are a lot shorter; we’re all on the same page. Everybody understands the vision we have for this football program, and it makes things go a lot smoother.”
Q: Who are a couple of defensive players who have improved since the beginning of the year?
A: “I think a lot of them have. Dion Jordan, Michael Clay, Kiko Alonso, Taylor Hart, Troy Hill, Terrence Mitchell, Brian Jackson, Erick Dargan – I mean, there’s a whole ton of them. That’s why we’ve played really well on the defensive side of the ball.”
Q: Who are a couple of offensive players who have improved since the beginning of the year?
A: “Marcus Mariota, Kenjon Barner, Colt Lyerla, Tyler Johnstone, Kyle Long, Hroniss Grasu…a good list.”
OL Kyle Long
Q: What’s it like to finish your career on a team that has had a season like this?
A: “Being a part of something like this is very rare. You look around the locker room and I love every one of these guys. Those two guys over there, Tyler (Johnstone) and Marcus (Mariota), are great examples of just great teammates, great people, guys you want to go out there and execute for and with. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I’ve really loved it here, playing under Coach Kelly.”
Q: How has the experience of the bowl been so far?
A: “I was really giddy about it the first few days. The first day we got here, running around, but you kind of settle in. This is my first bowl game. But for a lot of these guys, they’re vets when it comes to this. You just try to look to the older guys like Dion (Jordan) and Isaac Remington, and you lean on those guys for guidance and kind of look to see where they’re going, what they’re doing, and you follow suit.”
Q: Are they all business right from the start?
A: “Oh yeah. Guys like Dion and Isaac are 100 percent business.”
MLB Kiko Alonso
Q: How much have you matured?
A: “I think I matured a lot, just going through things, going through experiences like playing games, off-the-field stuff, on-the-field stuff, it just helps you mature as you get older.”
Q: What are you majoring in?
Q: What are you planning to do after football?
A: “I haven’t really thought about it, but I was planning on moving to Puerto Rico. That’s where my family lives, on my dad’s side, so I’m going to go move over there. Maybe open up a gym. That would be my dream after football.”
SS Brian Jackson
A: “The circumstances are a little different, but it all feels very similar, and it’s a lot of fun, especially going back to the same practice field. I remember certain spots where I was in that field just doing certain plays during practice, and I feel like when I step out on that other field, when the game comes, I’ll have a couple of flashbacks, a little bit of déjà vu. It’s been great just to have that familiar presence, and I definitely felt comfortable as soon as I got here.”
Q: What did you see in the Baylor game as far as a defense stopping K-State?
A: “You’ve got to take into account what all the teams have done. I mean, just because Baylor won the game, that doesn’t mean they’re the only team that was successful on defense. We have quite a few games that we have that we can watch, and of course Baylor’s one of those that we should take a look at…There’s a lot of things that you’ve really got to watch. All teams played Kansas State differently, so when we think about certain defenses that we’ll run, we’ll watch this certain team. It’s never just one team that you should watch to get a full understanding of how to beat someone else.”
Q: No magic formula then?
A: “There’s never a magic formula. You have things that you can look at to help, but it really boils down to how will you perform when you’re in that situation.”
Q: Beyond the game, is there anything else about being out here (inaudible)?
A: “I know for a fact that I really want to go back to Fogo De Chao. I had a lot of fun there. Other than that, I thought the mall was pretty cool. But besides that, it’s been a lot of fun just to be back here, period. I like this place a lot. There’s a lot of open space. You can walk around, just hang out in the sun. I’ve had a good time here so far.”
QB Marcus Mariota
Q: Talk about the big stage of the BCS?
A: When we come in, it’s 100 percent football when we’re out on the field. It’s just the time also to enjoy a little of this. Not a lot of guys get to go through this, but for me, this is my first time playing in it and I’m just really excited. I really can’t wait. But I can’t get overanxious because I’ll play outside of my game. My focus is just to go out there and to play my game.”
Q: Does K-State resemble any teams you played this year?
A: “They’re very disciplined. That’s one thing that stands out to me. They’re a good defense. They all hustle to the ball. It’s all the minor things that they’re really good at. They like to funnel their stuff to Arthur Brown. He’s one of those guys who’s an All-American. He’s one of those guys that really just makes a lot of plays for them.”
TB De’Anthony Thomas
Q: Does anything stand out on film of K-State’s defense?
A: “They’re a very physical team, very disciplined. Our offense is great, so we’ve just got to do what we do and make plays and we should get the win.”
Q: Do you look at the Baylor game (a 52-24 victory over K-State)?
A: “Not really. I don’t really watch too many other teams. I only focus on the Oregon Ducks.”
Q: What was it like getting back to practice after holiday break?
A: “This is our second day. I feel like everyone’s getting their motors back. It’s great. I just feel like we’ve got to get better and better every day when we’re out here.”