Today was the epitome of the last day of school. Guys were all antsy, kind of a half day. They are excited to go see their families and friends, which they deserve to -- with the football and school finals and all that. But it was a productive week of work. I know they are excited to get down to the game and to do all the activities, and also to prepare and ultimately play in the game on national television which is a great opportunity for us."
On how he handles Christmas with his family:
"We have family Christmas here before we go. We don't want to lug all those gifts down. Santa finds us wherever we go, which is a good thing on Christmas morning."
And in San Antonio ...
"We'll practice in the morning on Christmas Day, then we've got a great event planned. We are actually going to a big ranch to celebrate as a team with the families. It's a fun event. We do it together. We stay together. It should be a big-time event. I've never been to where we are going but I hear good things about it."
Does bowl experience help:
"I think there is a comfort level of the schedule and the calendar and the build up to the ball game. They understand what we are doing, why we are doing it, what it takes to get mentally prepared, and physically and emotionally -- and yet get to enjoy the experiences that we get to enjoy. So that comfort level is definitely there. I think the young kids, the freshmen, there is still definitely some uncertainty but just from an experience standpoint with our veteran players it is definitely much better than it was last year. I think they believe in the process that we do to get ready for the ball game, and so far, so good."
What impresses you about RGIII?
"Numerous things do. Number one, he's a very physically talented kid. His ability to not just run the football but throw the football and throw the football down the field is probably his most impressive thing. You hear about a guy and his gaudy stats and all the lack of incompletions and the touchdown passes, and you think, 'Oh, he must be dinkin' and dunkin' the ball around.' You turn on the film and he is throwing the ball down the field. That's what is most impressive about him. And when you see the interview process as he is getting ready for the Heisman, the way he carries himself is (as a) first-class young man. He represents himself very well -- represents college football extremely well."
On rooting for RGIII for Heisman?
"(laughs) No…I don't get into that stuff. You guys know me well enough by now that once the ball gets kicked off, it gets kicked off and you have to play the game. I don't think we would prepare any harder one way or the other. This is a great opportunity for us to play a top-10 ranked opponent essentially on the road and in their state. And for us, that's exciting. It's another chance for us to go out and show who we are and to prepare ourselves and to play and to have fun with it, and I think we'll embrace the opportunity. And if that's good enough to win, we'll see. But I do know that we're preparing extremely well and part of which is - we get to play a Heisman Trophy winner - but also it's the fact of their entire football team and how well they've done this year in a difficult conference."
On the break helping the true freshman, like ASJ and Kasen Williams:
"I think so. As we've seen before with our young kids, they can hit a little bit of a wall, a little bit of a grind. I thought to both of those two kids' credit, they're both mentally tough kids. I thought this year, moreso than any other years, I thought our freshmen really got better as the year went on. I think about Danny Shelton; I think about what Kasen did the second half of the season; I think about the last couple games with Austin, really getting himself back going again…I think our freshmen, for the most part, have really improved and haven't had to worry about hitting that wall as much. But I do think… all of a sudden here come college finals, here comes the papers that are due at the end of a quarter - a few days here and there for those guys to recharge their batteries has been helpful."
On being motivated to showcase UW's offense when Baylor's is the one being hyped:
"Maybe just a little, maybe just a little. We're proud of what we've been able to accomplish offensively and I think this will probably be the most healthy we've been all year heading into this ball game. You think about the beginning of the year and you think you're supposed to be healthy, but we have to remember - Chris (Polk) was coming off a knee surgery eight days before that game. We should be in good shape when we get down there, and I think with the extended preparation time we should know our stuff really well offensively and go out and play fast and physical and play with good tempo."
On the biggest injury concern for the game:
"I think (Will) Shamburger is probably the biggest with the stinger issue. He hasn't been able to get back to where we would like him to get back to. Especially against these guys. We know they are going to throw the ball quite a bit and they are an up-tempo team, so the most depth you can get out there the better off you are. So that's probably the biggest of the concerns.''
On the atmosphere being more of a road game atmosphere than last year's bowl game:
"It will be great, though. That's what bowl games are about. It's the pageantry of college football and I love that. I love the emotion, I love the energy, I love the enthusiasm, I love the fanfare, the pep rallies, all that kind of stuff. And I know our fans will represent really well. We've got tremendous fans and they will be there. We will hear them, for sure.''
On keeping up with social networking in recruiting and making a change in recruiting, especially to read of all the top prospects who don't want to come to UW:
"Sure. We'd better be attached to social networking and I think that we have done that since day one, since I have come onboard. You have to be in tune with what kids are into these days and that's all part of it. So much of that comes from understanding the kids you are recruiting and not being naïve to what influences them. It's important to stay attached that way.''
On having to learn new languages that way:
"No. That's ongoing, that's fluid, man. There are these new words every year that these guys are throwing around that you better know what that one means or it is going to fly right over your head.''
On what it was like as a coach when JohnTimu got hurt against Cal:
"It puts things in perspective, you know. And it was a tight game at the time, us and Cal, and we knew it was a big ballgame at the time, and when he's laying there on the field you are thinking 'wow, the scoreboard doesn't matter, the fans don't matter right now. It's about this kid and his health.' He's a great young kid who I think has a bright future for us and just to make sure that more than anything that he came out feeling good about it. And again, as I go back, I had full faith in our medical staff --- they do a tremendous job in handling those situations and I thought they handled it beautifully and fortunately for Johnny and for us he is back out on the field playing and getting better day in and day out.''
On anything different in Timu since that injury:
"No, I don't think so. I think he's a true freshman playing linebacker in a really tough conference, and he's had some really good ball games and he's had some games that weren't his best and that's part of the growing process that we are going through. But I think Johnny's future is so bright --- he's a talented kid and has a very high football IQ and he is only physically going to get better at playing the position. It's his first time ever playing it so he will get better.''