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December 3, 2017

Kirk Barron

Gregory Phillips

Danny Ezechukwu

West Lafayette, Indiana

Q. Now you know where you're going. Just, I guess, how you guys feel about it, and the opponent and the game and all that.
KIRK BARRON: I think we're all pretty happy. Arizona is a quality opponent. They are playing in the Pac 12. Good offense. It's going to be a fun game. I think for us, we're really just trying to get over that hump of 6-6 and still have a winning season.

DANNY EZECHUKWU: I'm excited. I've never been to California before. Going out there will be real cool. I'm looking forward to playing a quality opponent. They have a top-tier offense, and I know coach is probably biting at the bit to get out there and show what we can do. We're excited.

GELEN ROBINSON: Yeah, I would agree that it's been a while since Purdue has gone to a Bowl, and since we've been here as seniors, we haven't gone to a Bowl. It's more than excitement on the team, and we're just looking to make this a season -- and build off of it.

GREGORY PHILLIPS: It's like all my teammates said. It's another opportunity to play football again and we just want to finish strong and do everything that we can to change the program for next year.

Q. Danny, since you're a senior, you came up with the bucket win. That was an emotional win. What would it mean now to win your careers with a winning record and a Bowl victory in addition to everything you've accomplished this year in?
DANNY EZECHUKWU: That would be pretty cool. You know, you always want to win the last one, and you know, we was saying before the bucket game was going to be the last one, so you always want to go out there and end with a bang and play hard for the guy next to you and for the name on the front of the jersey. So it would mean everything to us to go out there and win bring a Bowl Championship back here to Purdue University.

Q. For Gelen, when the new coaching staff got here, was it minutes, hours, days, that the defense bought into what Nick Holt was selling and telling you?
GELEN ROBINSON: Well, it's hard to say when we exactly started to buy into the whole process. But ever since Coach Holt has been here, I think that not only have we given him a great response, but he's done a great job of making sure that he gave us his very all, from the beginning.

He told us -- he met with our seniors, I guess me and Danny on the defense, the defensive seniors, and told us that his goal this year is to give us a winning season because that's what in his mind, that's what we deserved as seniors. You know, coming from a program, in his eyes that hadn't seen a winning season in however many years.

So that, you know, strengthened the bond between not only the seniors, the whole defense. He got us to play as hard as any coach could ever have gotten us to play for him.

Q. For Danny, kind of a similar question. But when you heard or knew that he was going to be your defensive coordinator, did you Google him and try to find out his history and where he had worked his defensive magic before?
DANNY EZECHUKWU: I did not. When I first heard about or from Coach Holt, I was at home and I got a call from a Washington number. I answered it and it was him. I had no idea who he was, and we met the following day.

As I've gotten coached by him, because I've been fortunate enough to be actually in his room, I've learned about the calibre of players that he's coached and the guys he's seen come you through the ranks.

The more I've been around him, the more I've learned, and the more I guess I've absorbed the greatness that he's been around.

Q. Hey Kirk, one thing that Coach Brohm talked about was harder, tougher, smarter, those kind of things. They sound like things. When did they become more than that to you guys, where you actually saw that they mattered on a week-to-week basis?
KIRK BARRON: I think it definitely kind of started during camp, and we would, you know, might have been able to practice in the indoor and he wanted us to practice outside because it was hot maybe a little bit more often than usual.

We just kind of started, you know, preaching those core values over and over again and just kind of started clicking. Yeah, that's about it. Just kind of came to us I guess.

Q. Greg, I know when we talked in the summer, you had said you saw something then, just about the way you guys were approaching everything and then I know, I think earlier in the year, you said even in practice, you just prepare the way that you expect to go out there to win. Can you maybe just elaborate on those changes and what are the differences that you saw day-to-day and in practice that helped you guys do this?
GREGORY PHILLIPS: I mean, the greatest thing that I saw was guys that wanted to win and more effort and more preparedness. When I say prepared, I'm saying like more people are trying to watch film. More people are doing the extra things that are going to get them ready for the game.

The preparation was just amazing. And when we do things, it's more of a purpose. And not saying when we did things before it wasn't more of a purpose, but it was more detailed now than it was before.

Q. Kirk, the last stretch of the season, you guys, Jeff Brohm kept saying your backs are against the wall and you had to fight your way to get to this point. How do you maintain that level, that same attitude now, that you've kind of accomplished something as you prepare for this next game?
KIRK BARRON: Like I said earlier, our backs are still against the wall, like a Game 7 mentality. We're sitting at 6-6 right now and we want to actually have a winning season. I think that's kind of everyone's mentality; that we really want to get this last one for the seniors and be able to come out with a winning record.

Q. For the two defensive guys, maybe Danny first and then Gelen. Just with the way you guys have played defensively this year, are you excited about the idea of playing against a high-powered offense? Do you think that's a good challenge for this group in its last game with what all you guys have done to improve this year?
DANNY EZECHUKWU: Absolutely. You know, it's a challenge and that's what we've been taking on game-in and game-out each week. You know, the bar is set high and it's not something that we're going to run from. We know what they are capable of.

We've seen a couple of games -- I know speaking for myself, I've seen a couple of games here and there on TV of what they can do. We're excited. We're going to study and we're going to come prepared like we've always been and beer going to go out there and execute.

GELEN ROBINSON: I agree. I know we've all seen what they can do on offense and obviously they have great players on offense and great coaching behind them.

But it's another opportunity and it's one that we're willing to take on as a defense as something that we normally wouldn't have -- a team that we normally wouldn't have the opportunity to play. It's going to be an incredible experience for us as a defense and as a team.

Q. I asked Coach Brohm this, as well. Where did you find the resiliency or the attitude, or whatever you want to call it to finish this year, when you had not been a team that's been able to finish. What changed in that whole thing? And somebody else can answer this if they want to, but Danny, if you could take that first.
DANNY EZECHUKWU: I really think it came from the coaching staff, honestly.

It may be like we're playing tense (ph) I don't know what Coach Brohm said, if it was about us or not. But I think we really fed off the coaching staff and guys who are leaders in our room. Greg said up there -- I think it was Kirk or Greg said, it started in camp. I go all the way back to spring.

You know, when they got here, we were going through spring practices in the weight room and with Coach Lovett, Coach Reno and Coach Love and all those guys. Things were different. Everything had a purpose and we knew why we were doing a lot of stuff.

You know, I feel like we just dug from back there, when we was training in the spring and then the summer workouts and then the fall camp. I think that's where the resiliency came from because the staff came in and implemented that.

Q. Greg, Jeff mentioned the positivity, he tried to stay positive. Even as you lost three games in a row or whatever, that really tough stretch, what does that look like for you guys? Did he come in Sunday with a different attitude or what was positive? What does had a mean?
GREGORY PHILLIPS: When you say positive and from his standpoint positive, he means keep our heads up and go back to work and have some grit about everything that you do.

So with us losing those three games back-to-back, it just told us, look, we need to go ahead and prepare even more. We need to go ahead and work even harder. We need to go ahead and be more detailed on everything we do.

As far as with the offense, we -- for the receivers, the standpoint, be detailed in every route that we run. Get the minor route, the depth; if it's a 12-yard route, then run the 12-yard route. So I mean, it's just we had to have some more grit about ourselves and go get what we wanted.

Q. This may seem an obvious question, but why does this Bowl matter? You're getting extra practices, going to California. Is that it, that you have extra now, or why does this matter?
GELEN ROBINSON: Besides the fact that we get an opportunity to practice more and you know, we talk a lot and we say a lot, it's for the seniors and for the team.

You know, it is a little bit more than that because we haven't been in this situation in so many years. It's more for, you know, the Purdue family in general. Not only for just the team, our team, our family, but we've got our fans.

I have never seen -- I've never, you know, in my four years -- over the years I've been here, seen just our fans, our students, as excited for this program as they are now.

I've never had so many people, you know, come up to me and congratulate us, and it's just an amazing feeling. We do it for ourselves, but we mostly do it for the Purdue family in general because they are the reason that we're out there and have such great support.

After the game, seeing them rush the field, that's when you really get to see who is really there for you and see how much they really do love watching us play at a high level like we've played this year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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