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Larry Scott – Head Coaches Pregame Press Conference

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Courtesy UM

Opening Statement…


“Merry Christmas everybody, first of all. I want to thank Bernie [Olivas] and the whole Sun Bowl committee, and everybody who helped put this bowl on. It was an awesome experience for our kids, and they had a great time. We really want to say we appreciate it. Thank you for having us, and we’re looking forward to putting a good product on the field tomorrow as we get ready for this game. So thank you guys very much.

“It’s been an awesome week of preparation for us, going all the way back to Monday before we left and got on the plane, the guys had a small workout. We got out here and kind of let them enjoy and take El Paso a little bit on Monday, then we went to work on Tuesday and went with our regular routine week. It worked out very well for us, had some unbelievable practices, spirited practices [with] a lot of energy. We didn’t want to be on very long, guys were locked into details, didn’t have a lot of repeat [errors] and those types of things, so we were able to get through it, get them back and get them off their feet. We’re happy with the week of preparation, but like everybody has said, it’s time to play football. We have 24 hours to put the finishing touches on, keep our focus on the details and make sure we’re ready to go. And we will be.”

On what types of challenges Washington State QB Luke Falk brings…


“A big challenge… we’ve been studying film on him, the tempo and his accuracy, and how fast he gets the ball out and what they do offensively, speaks for itself. It’s going to present a big challenge for us. We’re going to have to be disciplined in our pass rush up front, and we’re going to have to be disciplined on the back end as well with our DBs [defensive backs], and make sure we are tied into the things we need to be tied into and the details, and match the energy and tempo they bring. It’s a big challenge for us.”

On if Washington State QB Luke Falk reminds him of any QB Miami has played against this season…


“In regards to being a pure passer, probably some of those guys that are runners and those types of things. It’s a little different. This guy can really pick you apart. He does a great job getting the ball out and taking what the defense gives him. He’s extremely accurate, a big, strong kid who throws the ball really well. In those regards, he’s a little different because he’s such a pure passer.’

On if Washington State’s offense puts pressure on Miami’s offense to control time of possession…


“No pressure. We always want to be as balanced as we can be, and the number one thing with that is making sure we’re taking care of football. That’s the number one thing. If we’re taking care of the ball, and we’re staying balanced and doing the things we do well, I think that will take care of itself. That’s not a pressure. We’re going to play the way we play football.”

On what he has seen in extra bowl practices in terms of improvement as a team and individually...


“We just went to work. We attacked fundamentals. We want to be very good fundamentally, disciplined and details of that stuff. That’s what we really wanted to work on. Our objective is to get everybody better, from your seniors to your redshirt freshmen. When you keep things fundamental, and you keep things in perspective, you get everybody better, and that’s always the focus.”

On what he has seen in bowl practice that leads him to believe his team will be motivated…


“Energy and passion. When you go to work every day, if you come with a certain bounce in your step, a smile on your face, and a focused attitude, you have a chance to be successful. That’s always the number one sign. Human nature is people are always going to wear their emotions on their sleeve, and through those things, you can tell where people are. These kids have always come with a good energy and bounce in their step about everything we’ve done, the whole experience and everything we’ve experienced this week. That gives you an idea that we’ll be ready to go.”

On what his players thought of the Sun Bowl stadium venue itself…


“It’s neat. A lot of these kids haven’t seen mountains before. It was awesome to see a stadium built into a canyon, and you can still see peaks of mountains. They’re all excited about that. It’s the holistic experience for them. They really thought that was neat. We were out there yesterday, they had a chance to really get in there, get a feel for how the air moves around and how the wind blows. It was good for everybody.”

On if the team prepared equipment-wise for snow or inclement weather…


“Our equipment guys are pretty good, so I think they’ll be ready to go. David Case and his guys do a phenomenal job of making sure we’re covered top to bottom, for whatever the circumstance or whatever the weather conditions may be. We’ll be prepared.”

On what he thinks of Washington State’s play late in games, where they do not “hurt” themselves…


“They’re not. You watch all their games, and they’ve been in every one of them. Make no mistake, you can tell on film that they play hard, they play together, they’re physical and everything they do is fast. You’re really taken by how good of a football team this is from top to bottom in every facet of the game – offense, defense, special teams. That in itself got our kids’ attention right away. They know what they’re dealing with, and they’ve kind of had to play for four quarters all the way to the bitter end. Fortunately enough, that’s been some of our experience as well the last five weeks - we’ve been in those types of games too. It should be a heck of a ballgame and should go all four quarters.”

On how his team has handled adversity this season and what this moment means to them…


“First of all, the expectations at the University of Miami are always high. They know that and they recognize that. One of the things we needed to be able to overcome is when things don’t quite go your way - the way you planned, the way you trained for - there comes a point when you still have to make a decision on how much this truly means to you, and how much getting better and being successful really means to you. Through what we’ve been through, we still had to find a way to find success and they did that.

“The way they did that was they stayed together, they played for the pride in the University they represent, and they played for the commitment and love they have for each other. It’s gotten us to that point. The reality of it is this is where we are, and the only other opportunity we have is tomorrow afternoon at 12 o’clock. That’s what you have. That’s what you’re guaranteed. It’s not always how you start. It’s always how you finish. We’re looking forward to it, and we’re going to give our best effort to finish the way that we want.”

On if he feels like the team is also playing for former head coach Al Golden…


“The whole foundation was built way back in January. We haven’t deviated from that very much at all, the foundation has always been the foundation. We talked about how we’re going to deal with adversity all the way back in January, and that’s kind of stuck with us all the way through. In anything you do, any business, any corporation or any football team, when adversity hits, the only way to deal with it is together. There’s no magical positon to that at all. That takes trust, it takes a lot of people believing in the same goal and having a singular focus, and sticking it and being willing to make the sacrifices it takes individually for all of us to be on the same page, be on the same road and get there together. That’s always been there.”

On if Washington State’s fourth-down mentality changes his team’s defensive approach…


“It really doesn’t. We’re going to play each down as it comes. That’s what football is. You take each down and - what the situation is, what position you’re in in, what you’re able to do, and those types of things - and you play football, every down for four quarters. There’s not necessarily a different approach or style or tactic, just play your style of game every down.”