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December 16, 2015

Jim Bollman

Dave Warner

East Lansing, Michigan

Q. Gentlemen, when you review Alabama, the loss to Ole Miss, but the teams that have challenged them, two things in particular: No. 1 is the ability to throw down the field, to not let them use that front seven to stack the box. I'm curious, in your mind, obviously not going to reveal your game plan how important is it to throw down the field in this game and not let the front seven stack the box?
DAVE WARNER: I think it's very important, I think it's no different than most of our other games. I think we go into about every game realizing that some people, if we are not able to throw the ball, have to stack the box. If we're not successful at that, I think it makes for a long day.

So we feel going in that we need to throw the football down the field and we need to have success doing so.

Q. Can you talk about an under-the-radar guy like Trevon Pendleton and the impact he's had on his team with a couple big games, the under the radar stuff he does?
DAVE WARNER: He's a guy that he gets anywhere from 15 to 30 snaps a game depending on how things are going for us with the fullback in the game there. But he's a guy that we appreciate as a coaching staff because we understand the job he does, sort of the -- does the dirty work, like an offensive lineman almost sometimes, but unlike an offensive lineman, gets a little gory once in awhile with big plays and has a knack for popping up with something like that at the right time. Maybe this will be another opportunity for him.

We understand his talent. He's a talented guy. I mean, he's more of a running back in high school than a fullback, but the ability is there. He understands his role and try to give him opportunities and might be one in this game coming up.

Q. Jim, I wanted to ask about Jack Allen; what about him makes him so effective in that position of center and also talk about his growth, he said his first year, he felt like he was out there trying to survive to where now he's calling on protections and making changes. Just talk about that growth from Jack.
JIM BOLLMAN: In the realm of his position, he's really become a great overall football player. No. 1, he's really, really an exceptionally tough guy and great leader on our football team. It's great just to have him back in the huddle all the time from when we had to survive that spell without him there. He really takes the learning seriously as you alluded to, the run and pass part of things. There's a lot of running the show up there, communicating to everybody what to do.

And does a good job. There's not very many guys up front who are the kind of athlete that he is that can pull and run around and do all the different things that he can do.

Q. A lot of quarterbacks here and a couple guys in the NFL now, what separates Connor Cook, what does he do better than the other guys you've had?
DAVE WARNER: I think probably the thing that sticks out first and foremost is the accuracy. He's got a very good sense of timing, anticipating windows. I think he throws the ball down the field more than the quarterbacks we've had in the past, which might be good, might not be good.

Because of that, any of our vertical game or down the field throws, the only way he can be successful there is to anticipate windows, and he's been very good with that. And I think part of that is working with receivers. Certainly I think him and Ver (ph) got a great relationship this year, Lith (ph) previous, it goes on and on. Those guys have to be on the same page.

But his accuracy this year has stood out for me. There's been some games where he's put the ball on the money time after time after time, and it's not a great pass and you're really surprised that he didn't put it on the money. It's one of those deals. That's been really impressive to me this year.

Q. Alabama's defensive linemen, are there teams you've faced in the last couple years that have had anything like them and how do you deal with the depth they are able to roll through?
JIM BOLLMAN: Probably not the numbers of guys. You always play against an exceptional guy here or there but they have him across the board and then they have numbers, too. That's a real challenge and they do a great job of rolling them, so they seem like they are pretty fresh in there all the time.

But hey, that's one of the things that we have to get done. They play with great technique and, hey, it's a challenge, no question.

Q. In terms of their style, they do a lot of different things; who would you compare them to, that your guys have seen in the last couple years?
JIM BOLLMAN: Well, you know, this he play a lot of odd front with a true nose and we have played some teams like that, like Jack alluded to, Oregon and a few other teams that we've played. But they cause you to do some different things scheme-wise but the biggest thing is the technique. They do a good job and they are much more head up. Causes your footwork to be a little bit different and your hand work to be a little different. That's all part of it that you have to get ready for.

Q. How far do you go back with Coach D?
JIM BOLLMAN: With Coach D? To 1986, Youngstown state.

Q. Did you see any of this success for him back then? Could you have envisioned this?
JIM BOLLMAN: No, we never said, talked about this is going to happen. But he was always an intense, fiery guy when I first met him, I can guarantee you that. He was ready to go every day, and was a fun guy to be with, that's for sure.

Q. Do you both talk about how he's changed over the years, or maybe he hasn't.
JIM BOLLMAN: You know, for me, when I was with him, it was his second full-time job. He had only been a full-time coach one year before that. And he's certainly grown as a leader of men, people, and the whole organization and does a great job reaching out to people, reaching out to all of us.

And it's been great to see him grow in that way, and I haven't always been with him through all those years, but I've been with him from time to time and you see some of the changes from year-to-year, and it's fun to be -- it's absolutely a blessing for me to be here with him now, believe me.

DAVE WARNER: Probably along the same lines, he's grown as obviously a football coach but especially as a leader and he's taken it beyond the football field. It's not just a far as when he talks about building relationships and taking care of young men off the field, as well as on the field. That's legit. That's how he coaches. That's how he lives his live and I think that's very obvious. I think that leads to success on the football field. I think players understand who he really is and what's very important to him and that's the relationship ends of it. Again, I think players appreciate that and play well for him.

Q. Aaron Burbridge, Coach Warner, has made a great deal of progress, made big play after big play. Can you talk about his maturation as a player and his break out here has been spectacular?
DAVE WARNER: Yeah, we had high expectations of Aaron coming into the season, for sure, for him to be the go to guy. We had high expectations for him for a few years now. But this was his opportunity. I talked with him, I'm sure a lot of us on the offensive staff talked to him right after our Bowl game last year that okay, he's the guy now that needs to really sort of be the go to guy, be the guy that was sort of our No. 1 receiver. And he understood that and he really took that and I think you know, he fought through a couple injuries in the spring, summer.

He's worked hard to be that guy, and I think, again, him and Connor have worked side-by-side. Communication, first of all, on the football field, and second of all, film study and communicating and getting himself on the same page and that's what's critical to a receiver, quarterback relationship is being on the same page and I think they have gotten to that.

So he's taken advantage of the opportunity, bottom line, and he has not surprised any of us, but this has really been his opportunity and he's taken advantage of it.

Q. Question for both of you, start with Coach Bolls. When you were hired, Mark D'Antonio said he liked bringing in a coach that has been in a National Championship Game that could bring that experience to his staff. That reason was one of the reasons he said he brought you and so what you have you brought to the staff as far as having been there and done that that you can relate and for Coach Warner, could you talk about his impact?
JIM BOLLMAN: You don't often think about those times you've been in those games. I've been in some, as I alluded to before, blessed situations of being in some big football games. And year after year after year and it's been that way since I've been here. Really when you stop and think about it that way, it's incredible, the big games that we've had, the big games we've had this year.

Some of that is you don't change at all. Some of that is you better stay even keel for, No. 1, yourself; if you can get so emotionally involved -- all of you guys are talking about what it's like to play in Ohio State. If you let that go totally out of whack, you don't do your job very well, I don't know that you coach your players as well. And I think there has to be a steadiness involved in that.

But the bar has to be very high all the time, all the time. And that's just the way it is if you're going to be any good. And there has to be a consistency. If you're going to be any good, especially for us on offense, you cannot be up-and-down. There's always an element of that but you're trying to eliminate that and you're trying to do that, I guess you would say, in your life as you're getting ready for these games.

DAVE WARNER: From my end, or more specifically from our end offensively, as offensive staff, I think Coach Dantonio sat down with me when he made the move and Coach Bolls came in and what's happened over the three years that Coach has been here is exactly, like a lot of things, exactly what Coach D envisioned, exactly what he told me when he sat down with me, and said here is my thoughts, here is my plan and it's worked out to a T.

Coach Bolls game in, and we worked -- we've always been an offensive staff that works very well together and everybody continues and that's continued and Coach Bolls has brought new ideas, new techniques, whether it be techniques, new ideas in the run game and the pass game, and you know, you go back to when all this went down, we talked about, you know, things aren't broken offensively. But we certainly needed to tweak things and add things and Coach has brought some of those ideas in.

Again, it's been a combination of everybody on the staff, but certainly Bowls has brought some of those things with him. Been a big part of us going from 2012 and the first couple games of 2013, if you remember those fun times, of getting things rolling offensively, and really turning what was sort of an offense that was struggling a little bit to get it going the way it is the last two years.

Q. Have you gone up against Nick Saban? And David, if you can reflect on the Capital One Bowl and does Alabama look the same --
DAVE WARNER: You're going to go there, really?

Q. It happened, it's in the history books. Coach Bolls, have you gone up against Saban?
JIM BOLLMAN: I don't think I have.

Q. What are the characteristics of a Nick Saban defense?
JIM BOLLMAN: Well, again, I think there's a mark of consistency, like I was talking about, guys get lined up, they don't get fooled very often. They are good up front. They are very sound in what they are doing. And they are always going to do what they need to do. Every game's different.

That's why statistics sometimes can really be misleading where this team doesn't blitz very much, this team doesn't play this coverage very much. Well, you do what you need to do to win the game in that moment. Some of the same situations for us. We like to run the ball all the time and keep it mixed up, but sometimes you've got to throw it and there's other times the guys are on it; at the moment, what's happening. And I think the defense has shown that they have the capability to do what it takes at a particular instance.

Q. Where does this tight end group rank among group of tight ends that you've coached in the past and how are they able to collectively all stay involved in the offense?
JIM BOLLMAN: Well, my years coaching tight ends is much fewer than coaching the offensive line. In that regard, certainly right up there at the top. They all have different roles and they all do a great job taking advantage of the role they are given. They have certainly grown in a lot of areas, they are very multiple guys and they do a lot of different things for us and they are capable of doing pretty much anything we ask them.

And they take a lot of pride in trying to be decent blockers. You know, we talk about the ball coming your way, that's fine and there are some things that you don't always have control over in the passing. You can run great routes and you can blitz but still, it doesn't mean you're going to get the ball. But you can always have a direct impact with the football team on how you're blocking. I think they understand that and they try to do a good job.

Paul Lang is a guy who has had a great, great, great senior year. He has really raised his own bar and done a super job for us.

Q. Before he worked with Nick Saban and afterwards, did you see any changes and any influence on the way Mark runs the program?
JIM BOLLMAN: I think Mark is like any of us would like to be; that when you work with so many people as all of us have, you try to make some decisions or if you really like the way this particular person runs or acts or does this part of his job, and you like -- for lack of a better word, copy that aspect of things. And there's other ways, I don't want to do it like that.

Certainly, he's worked with some great folks along the way, and you can see tidbits of all those people in what he does. Probably going back to his position as South Carolina -- inaudible -- passed away last year. I can see all of the different aspects of them every day. I was with him when he was with Coach Saban and with Coach Tressel. He's done a great job of mixing and matching and makes for a great head coach.

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