Transcript: Rams accept invite to New Mexico Bowl




Dec. 8, 2013

HEAD COACH Jim McElwain

(general comments)
“Obviously some good news for us. We’re really excited about the opportunity to take this years’ version of the Colorado State Rams, the well-deserved version, down to Albuquerque and we’re excited to be part of the New Mexico Bowl. The opportunity to play a Pac-12 opponent is something that we’re really looking forward to as well. I just can’t tell you how rewarding it is for our seniors because of what these guys have done and how we have gotten progressively better. Now the work begins moving forward, as excited as our guys are, we still need to take care of business and get back to work. Now we know what we need to focus on. We’re setting up our schedule right now for practices and how we’re going to do this because obviously this is also a recruiting week. As we finalize it, we’ll probably start to work on Friday full go on our next opponent.”

(on lead-up to the bid)
“I know how hard the people have worked since I’ve been here. Not only our players, but the countless hours and support that we’ve had from our administration and everybody that works and touches our football organization. To me, the bowl season is really a reward for all that work that they do. Now it’s up to our football team to pay them back and put on a good performance down in Albuquerque.”

(on value of bowl appearance for recruiting)
“It just puts you in that club, it’s one of those things that there are certain teams that are in the club and others that aren’t. We’ve got the secret knock to get in the alley door to get in with the rest of them. I think it speaks volumes for how far we have come in such a short time and yet we’re still scratching the surface. This will be a good experience for our guys and something that they’re going to get used to because that’s something that we came here to do. It’ll give us another opportunity to put Colorado State University (in front of) a national television audience. We were able to do that when we went to Alabama and this gives us again another opportunity to spread the word about what we’re about here in Fort Collins.”

(on preparation for winning the game)
“The way this team has matured, I really think we’re going to be able to pull them in. Obviously we have a lot of things going on like finals week, holidays, trying to figure out those plans on the back end of everything, and yet this team has learned how to be resilient. We talk all the time about overcoming, adapting and attacking the moment. As you know just the way we practice, trying to create chaos, and teach the guys how to eliminate the clutter out of their minds and focus on the task at hand. The good thing is that I’ve had a little experience going to bowl games so I have an idea on how to get a goodhandle. 

“Being in couple over the years I can say that this one was probably the most satisfying and I mean that sincerely because I know that this place hasn’t been in one in a while. To see the joy on people’s faces really makes me happy. I’m looking forward for these guys and the organization to have this experience.”

(on location of preparation for the game)
“We’ll try to get most of it done here. Let’s not lose track of the fact that we’ll have about 12 guys in this week on a visit so this will be busy week for the coaches as we game plan and recruit. What a great distraction to have during recruitment. Yet we have to make sure this will put an emphasis on everybody to be on task and organized as we put our planning sessions, meetings, practice, and all the things we do around recruiting. It will be a great chance for the recruits to see how we practice and do things so there will be a lot of extra pressure on the personnel department to make sure everything goes smoothly as we’re getting ready to play in this bowl.”

(on practice this morning)
“I might not have been totally focused on practice today, but I was proud of how the guys were and I think that’s a credit to the coaching staff. I had a pretty good feel from the get-go. I know what kind of team we have and what kind of entertainment we can provide to television. I’m sure we’re going to get a lot of people from Fort Collins to go to New Mexico. I really felt good about our cause and yet in a good league like this someone is going to get left out. That hurts me as well because I know how hard all those people work towards this goal. With that being said we do have a 3,000-yard passer and a 1,500-yard runner that somehow figures out how to get the ball into the end zone. We have a Senior Bowl participant in the offensive line (center Weston Richburg) and an East-West Shrine Game participant. We have a lot of good things happening here and I’m excited for the country to see the Rams.”

(on getting support in Albuquerque)
“We need to sell tickets and paint the town green. We need to go to Albuquerque and enjoy the experience and get behind these guys. The faithful Ram fans will be there and we’re looking for some more to jump on the bandwagon. We have great things happening and this is just the tip of it. What we need to do is have a great showing as a University and Ram Nation.”

(on Pac-12 opponent)
“I think it’s a great thing. I was really excited about that opportunity. There are only two conferences in the West that play Division 1 football so to me it’s a natural match-up. I’m excited for whoever it is and our guys will go in and show them what we can do.

(on focus of these initial practices)
“We got a lot done because we were able to treat it as a spring practice and we were able to get a lot of young guys reps. One of the most important things in the bowl structure is not only rewarding for what was accomplished, but allowing the opportunity to get extra work in with the future of our program. It’s about getting the extra practice and evaluation time to see how far guys have come. The extra practice is huge, they’re focused on doing whatever they have to do in their position. It doesn’t matter who you play it’s the fundamentals of the game that we’re able to get extra time for.”

(on team progression)
“I like this team, I like where they are and their mindset. At times they may not be the most talented, but at the same time they’ve always had something. They were still finding themselves and figuring out what it is to wake up every day knowing that you’re either going to get better or you’re going to get worse, you’re never going to stay the same. It’s about how you do that day and what you decide to do. I really saw that start to develop in our players and I think it speaks volumes for what they have done and what the coaches have done. Our coaches demanding the work that it takes to be successful is a credit to our coaching staff and those guys really deserve a lot of kudos for what they’re trying to do. Our guys did a great coaching job.”

(on prospective opponent)
“To be able to go play a Pac-12 team, number one, is huge whoever that is. At the end of the day it’s not going to be about them, it’s going to be about us, how we take care of business and how we prepare for this ball game. Believe it or not, I’m really looking forward to the late nights in the film room. My wife will probably be happy because I won’t be hanging around at home as much (laughing).”

(on Wyoming hiring Craig Bohl as its new head football coach)
“I know a lot about his accomplishments. That guy has obviously won and knows how to win and they’ve put it on us when he was at the school he came from. I’m happy for him and the people up there, it’s a new face up and down the Front Range. I think it’s a good hire. This time of year is miserable for all coaches because for one reason or another things may not work out. I think Dave Christensen did a good job up there. He went to some bowl games and did some really good things, but at the same time we all know it’s part of the business. So best of luck to them.”

(on turning things around for the CSU program)
“It’s about the joy of giving yourself for the benefit of others. For me the joy is seeing these guys, the people, the organization, the town understand that it’s OK to be bold, it’s OK to be great, and it’s OK to think that we have a lot to offer, so let’s go offer it. That’s a good thing and yet the work is never done and we aren’t even close to where we’re going to be. This is just one of those steps along the way and I’m excited for the people.”


SENIOR LINEBACKER Shaquil Barrett


(on excitement of playing)
“It’s really exciting to be able to go out and play with the group of guys we have on this team. That’s what it’s really about, the relationships that we build. It’s about football too, but I just enjoy our relationships a lot and the way that we are able to play on the field is because of the relationships that we have. I just appreciate everybody who was behind it all, working hard to get us the opportunity to actually make it to a bowl game and play. I just wanted to thank everybody who had a role in the bowl game situation.”

(on rumors about bids)
“I didn’t hear any of the rumors, I was sleeping most likely, but some people probably heard them. It’s a sense of relief because it’s set in stone now that we’re in and we’re happy that we got the bowl bid.”

(on anxiety before the announcement)
“I really don’t worry about stuff that’s out of my hands that I can’t control because when you do that you just stress about everything. I just let it go and hopefully it will turn out the right way.”

(on today’s practice)
“It was tough. We came out with a lot of high energy, but we weren’t sure if our practice was going to waste. Now we know that it was for a good reason because we made it into the bowl. We’re probably more willing to go out and practice and put extra effort into it. We’re going to try to do everything we can to prepare ourselves for whatever Pac-12 team we play.”

(on playing a Pac-12 team)
“I’m really excited. They’re supposed to be a big conference and I just like the competition of playing against a big name school and people from a big conference.”

(on playing in New Mexico)
“We’re familiar with the stadium so that’s going to help us out a lot. We know that if we come out and perform that the stadium isn’t going to mean anything. It feels good to know that we’re going somewhere we’ve already been and that gives us some sense of home because it’s familiar to us.

(on reaction of the team)
“We were excited, everyone started cheering. It was just a good moment for the team and the whole program. We had a team meeting after a walk-through practice and Coach announced that we were going to the New Mexico Bowl and everyone started cheering. It was just a relief to finally find out that our hard work has paid off.”

(on contribution as a senior)
“It’s a proud moment for all the seniors because we’ve been here through rough times and we’re finally getting it going on to more good times. We hope that in the coming weeks we can continue the good times by finishing up with a win. Then hopefully the younger guys can step up and continue the legacy that we’re trying to restore. Colorado State is a proud football program and we’re trying to get it back to that high standard.“

SENIOR CENTER Weston Richburg

(on getting the bid)
“It feels great. That’s what you play for, to be in a post season. As a senior class that’s the mark we wanted to leave, starting CSU on the right track and getting to a bowl game. We’re really excited that we were selected to play in this game.”

(on playing close to his hometown of Bushland, Texas)
“We were really excited about that. I got on twitter and told all my Bushland people to come out and hopefully they’ll be out in numbers. That’ll be a fun time for all those guys to come, tailgate, and enjoy the experience.”

(on anxiety before bid announcement)
“I was worried because I saw Coach Mac and Tom Ehlers (Director of Football Operations) on their phones the entire time. They didn’t look happy or sad so I didn’t know what to expect and they didn’t say anything about it so I was a little nervous, but after practice he said we had a meeting with some good news.”

“We were very anxious. It feels good now to have it be official, but the days building up to that, we were really nervous about it. Everything was up in the air, and when you look at all the projections, we were in some of them and not in others. So it was all really up in the air, but we’re really excited about it now.”

(on facing a Pac-12 team)
“It’s going to be a good opponent. We’re not sure yet who it is, but it’s going to be a fun to play against a big-time team like that.”

(on mood of the team)
“We’re just excited. We’ve never experienced this before and we want to make it the norm at CSU. This is where we’re going to start and we’re all looking forward to it.”

(on building the program)
“I wish we could’ve started earlier and have done it every year that we were here, but we took it upon ourselves to leave our mark and be an example as senior leaders for the next group of seniors. I’m really excited to see how those guys, after we leave, take other guys under their wings and take control of this thing.”

(on team attitude)
“Getting to it is one thing, we’re excited about it, but we want to go and win the game especially against a Pac-12 team. I’m anxious to find out who we play and I’ll probably be on YouTube tonight just watching a little bit to see who they have, what they’re good at, and try to get an idea of who we’re playing.”


 

 

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