ZHODB: Press Conference Quotes (12/24/17) | Heart of Dallas

ZHODB: Press Conference Quotes (12/24/17)

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl

Press Conference Quotes

Dec. 24, 2017

Cotton Bowl Stadium

Dallas, Texas

 

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen

Opening statement…

"On behalf of West Virginia, we are happy to be in Dallas. We have had three great nights and we are starting to get things set up for the game. These are two great programs that are ready to compete to finish off the 2017 season."

On the players coming back in 2018 prepared to finish off this year strong…

"It is great for the program in general that they want to be at West Virginia, the 2018 team is going to be exciting for us, but we are focused on this game and finishing up 2017. We have a great group of seniors we are playing to play one last game with, but it is setting us up for a great year and they are wanting to finish up with what they started."

How have the extra weeks helped to develop the new starting quarterback…

"We have all of about eight practices, in all honestly it has been good for us. Our quarterback has been here for three years, so he knows the offense. The biggest thing is understanding he is the starting quarterback and he has used the practices to develop timing with his wide receivers. It takes time and you can't just flip a switch like the game at Texas in the second quarter. We are at a better place than we were a few weeks ago."

On spending Christmas on the road in Dallas…

"I didn’t even realize it was Christmas yet, but in my mind it is Thursday and we play on Saturday. We have a few days before the game and have some work to do. We’ll have dinner as a team and ready to play."

On the effect of the early signing period on bowl season…

"We are still out there practicing to play a football game in a couple of days. We are all feeling out the early signing period. It helps when you are developing a program. Program's with stability it will help. The ones complaining are the ones that just got the job. It hasn't taken the focus off the task at hand to play a football game in a couple of days, that has all the players have been focused on. They are focused on playing the game."

On the departure of a starting running back ahead of the bowl season…

"You can't go through a season with just one running back, you have to have three or four of those guys. It is brutal to be in that position this day and age. You have a couple of guys that can carry the load when one leaves for the bowl, I feel like we are in good shape in that position."

 

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham

Opening statement…

"We are excited to be here and the players have had a great time. It has been a great experience so far. Congrats to West Virginia on a great season and hopefully this will be a great matchup. We are excited to get going and are just happy to be here."

Preparation for the game with injuries on the depth chart…

"Everybody is down players at this time, whether it is injury or whatever, but we don’t alter the game plan much. The quarterback change is the most impactful but we just go about our business and get ready to play, we have a lot of other problems to worry about."

On the success of the team in bowl games at Utah…

"It is the players, it has always been about the players. They have prepared historically for bowls and have taken it very seriously to be rewarded for a great season. Since I got to Utah, the team has always been focused in bowl preparation. They practice just like they do in the regular season and go after it. Their mindset has been great and they have been determined to live up to the standards set by the previous guys and to not let them down.

On spending Christmas in Dallas…

"We will have a team dinner and will make it as enjoyable as possible. We are used to being on the road at this time of the year and I think we have been on the road for about half of them since I have been here."

On the game plan for Tuesday…

"Coach Holgorsen is one of the best offensive minds in the country. They have a whole stable of wide receivers to try to cover. They have three to four go-to guys, and it is a big problem for our secondary. Hopefully we can try to get a little pressure on the quarterback and hopefully with the change it will be a little bit of a different approach, they are difficult to defend."

On if there is a resemblance between West Virginia and a team in the Pac 12 conference…

"They catch every ball thrown to them. There are very few drops. Off the top of my head, there isn't a team in the Pac 12 with as many weapons as what West Virginia has."

On starting quarterback Tyler Huntley's health…

"He is 100 percent, but we have to get him a little bit bigger in the offseason. We think he is a tremendous player, he was second in the Pac 12 in offense as a true sophomore, his future is bright, but he has to put some meat on that body. It is a physical conference and that is his biggest challenge in the offseason to get bigger.”

West Virginia Student-Athletes

Elijah Wellman (FB)

How do you take on a team like Utah…

“Utah is a great opponent. Coach always says respect your opponent and that’s what we’re going to do”

Culture of West Virginia…

“I’ve had a long road in West Virginia, being the leaders for the young guys kinda sets their place going forward.”

What does a bowl game win mean to you…

“It means everything to me. It’s my last game as a Mountaineer. There wouldn’t be anything better than getting a win for your last football game.”

Al-Rasheed Benton (LB)

What’s the last week been like for you…

“My time here is coming to an end. It’s been a great five years. I’m thankful for this opportunity. I’m thankful for this university. Maybe we’ll see a little emotion at the end of it all.”

What would it mean to end on a high note…

“I’ve given my all to this university. I’ve given my all to this team. It would be nothing more for me than to leave out on top.”

 

Utah Student-Athletes

Filipo Mokofisi (DT)

What do you like more winning or Christmas…

“Christmas.”

Utah wins bowl games, is there pressure there…

“No, just go into it as another game. Play it as another game and try to win that game.”

How has your week been…

“It’s been awesome. A lot of festivities and events that we got to go to. It’s awesome to see the city of Dallas. I haven’t been to Texas before. It’s been a fun week and I think everyone has enjoyed it.”

On the West Virginia team…

“A great group of receivers. They’re an awesome group.”

 

Zach Moss (RB)

Strengths of the Utah team…

“Coming out getting physical, we gotta get physical with those guys for sure. I think running the ball on offense will be a big part for us. Defense will be getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback. They are playing with the backup quarterback, rattle him early in the game.”