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November 19, 2012

Kenny Vaccaro

Q.  Emotions right now being your final home game?
KENNY VACCARO:  Man, I think it's going to be an emotional game not just because it's my last game but because it's the last time I get to run out of that tunnel.  It's on Thanksgiving, everybody is going to be watching and it means a lot to our team to win this game and get to the goals we wanted to get to the whole year because they're out there and available for us.

Q.  I know you came back to go to Miami, BCS National Championship, and I'm guessing after Oklahoma you thought it was all over, it was just dark.  But now there's a light at the end of the tunnel and you're back in the mix.
KENNY VACCARO:  Yeah, I came to Texas wanting to win it all obviously every year, and like I said, after my junior year, that was my goal, and now the goal has changed.  Now the biggest game we can get in now is probably a BCS game.  I still think we can get there, we've just got to keep pushing and focus on TCU this weekend.

Q.  After OU did you change how you were doing things?
KENNY VACCARO:  I mean, we were pretty beat down, but we knew the Big 12 was such a dynamic conference that I didn't think everybody was going to win out.  I might have said it in the press conference if y'all remember, I said I think some guys are going to lose and might help us out.

Q.  Were you watching the OU game Saturday night?
KENNY VACCARO:  Yeah, I watched it.  I thought West Virginia was going to pull it out, man.

Q.  Were you going over the scenarios in your head knowing what could happen?
KENNY VACCARO:¬† Yeah, I mean, I was going through it, I was asking ‑‑ me and my teammates were all at a math tech texting about it.¬† It was exciting to watch those games.

Q.  What's it like playing on Thanksgiving and being the marquee game for college football for that day?
KENNY VACCARO:  Like you said, I think it's a real emotional game.  I think all the guys are going to be really fired up.  I think only Dallas and us play as far as from Texas on that day, so everybody is going to be watching, all your friends, all your buddies, all the family.  It's kind of like you're getting exposed out there, so just got to play well, got to play good.

Q.  Seem weird, though, being a senior and preparing for TCU, doesn't it seem like that purple should be maroon this time of year?
KENNY VACCARO:  I mean, a little bit, but for me, like I've always say, the next game is a big game for me.  I'm excited to play whoever we're getting to play.

Q.  Will you hide your emotions until after the game?  Are you trying to push all the last game stuff behind you?
KENNY VACCARO:  Yeah, I'm really trying to focus on just being strong for my team and getting this win before I show any emotion or anything like that, because I'm an emotional guy anyway as far as a player and real passionate about football, so that's all going to tie into the game.  A lot of other guys we're going to play are my friends.  Casey is not getting to play, he's one of my best friends since I was little.  A lot of the receivers are good friends of mine, so it's going to be an emotional game for me, but I'll be all right.  I think I'll hold up.

Q.  What do you like about the way you guys are playing?
KENNY VACCARO:  Man, I think you're playing hard and I think we're playing tough.  I think as far as on both sides of the ball, I think we're just not giving up.  When things go bad, we just don't put our head down and keep playing, and that's the biggest thing.

Q.  How is Casey?
KENNY VACCARO:¬† I mean, he's doing good.¬† I think he just got out of his rehab thing, and I think he's doing well.¬† I told him‑‑ I talked to him after the season, and I said he's going to work hard and show the world that he's changed and get back to TCU next year and start playing good ball like he was.

Q.  You seem like a really good friend of his.  Adrian just spoke about how much he loves you.  You're a very outspoken guy.  How much do you rate that people can turn to you for advice?  Is that a different side of Kenny that we normally don't see?
KENNY VACCARO:  I mean, you're right.  A lot of people think I'm wild, they see the tattoos, but I'm really trying to be the best friend I can to all my teammates.  I talk to everybody.  I think I'm a guy that's liked in the locker room.  I don't have any enemies.  There's no beef in the locker room.  I mean, I think guys can come talk to me and I'll take care of them, whatever they need.  I've been a senior, I've been around here for a long time, and I think they know they can come to me and I can face any problem with them, and that's what I try to bring as far as leadership.

Q.  Seems like you want your legacy to be more off the field than in the locker room for what you did on the field?
KENNY VACCARO:  I mean, definitely.  People are going to have an image of me regardless because that's the way the world is now.  I can play hard, I can say this, I can do that, but people are going to have their image of me.  I truly know what type of person I am, and I think all my teammates do.  They know that I'll never stop playing, I'll play as hard as I can for them every play.  I play for them.  It's not about the money, it's not about the win.
Every time I'm covering somebody, I think of Alex Okafor.  He's my best friend.  I'm thinking of him getting a sack.  That's just the way I am, that's just the way I'm wired.

Q.  When you see you guys are back in the mix, what does that do for the team?
KENNY VACCARO:  I think it brings confidence to the team.  Everybody wants to win championships, you don't want to just settle for a Bowl.  I think Coach Diaz said there's the BCS game, and the rest are just Bowls.  If you think about it, they're all just Bowls.  That's our mentality, and that's the way it should be at Texas.

Q.  When you look back at your career at Texas, what's your favorite memory?  What do you think of when you look back on your four years playing?
KENNY VACCARO:¬† I think it's not really even an on‑the‑field thing.¬† I think just growing up as a man, coming from a small town, losing my dad early on in my life, Coach Akina just helped me grow so much and just become a better person because I didn't start off so good here.¬† Things were rocky, and I think I've grew every year, and that's the most thing I'm proud of as far as an individual standpoint.

Q.  Do you see a big change in the TCU offense since they've been in a slump?
KENNY VACCARO:  I watched a little bit of film on them.  I think they're a good offense still.  I think their young quarterback is always tough to play with, and I think they're getting better and better each week.  All their losses have been tough losses.  I think they're a good team, just from what I've seen.

Q.  What's different for them with Boykin in there at quarterback?
KENNY VACCARO:¬† You've got to account for his legs.¬† It's hard to account‑‑ sometimes when you're doing your run fits it's hard to account for a quarterback with legs.¬† It makes it tough.

Q.  (Inaudible.)  Do you feel it helped your stock?
LUKE POEHLMANN:¬† Honestly I played way better than I played last year.¬† I mean, it might not‑‑ people might not know it, but Coach Akina sat me down and said I'm having as good a year as he's seen and I'm going to keep doing it.¬† I think I'm at the same point I was last year right now as far as stats and everything go, and I have three more games left.

Q.  You said you lost your dad.  I don't know how many other brothers and sisters you have but I know your brother is here.  Did you have to be the man of the house?
KENNY VACCARO:¬† I mean, I've tried to steer him in the right direction.¬† I've tried to tell him when he gets here just work hard just like‑‑ that's the way I started out, didn't play much, was on special teams, and I told him that's the key.¬† You start slow, earn the respect of your locker room, then everything will unfold for you.

Q.  You said things didn't start great for you here.  Was Coach Akina the biggest influence on you or was it somebody else?
KENNY VACCARO:¬† Oh, no doubt, Coach Akina.¬† He stuck with me.¬† He told me one day I could be a great player, and he said, let's just get that out of you.¬† He said he didn't want me to settle to be a good special teams player.¬† My sophomore year he said I want you to be a good player, and then after my junior year when I came back in my senior year he said I want you to be a great player, I want you to be All‑American, and that's just the way he's stuck with me.

Q.  I know you have respect for TCU and you say they're a good team, but I know in the back of your mind as a senior, your last game here, you've got to be thinking there's no way they're coming in here and getting this last game here.
KENNY VACCARO:¬† Yeah, that's going to be my mentality, of course, but you've got to think just like what happened to K‑State, you've got to give everybody the respect they deserve and play like it's a championship team.

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