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November 24, 2012

Art Briles

Nick Florence

Sam Holland

Eddie Lackey

Baylor – 52
Texas Tech – 45

COACH BRILES:  What can you say about the game?  Texas Tech has a really good football team, a tremendously dangerous football team, a team that's been ranked all year up until this week.
I mean, they're a team that you can never blink an eye on or next thing you know you're down 14 points or they're making a big play on defense or having a big play on special teams.
Coach Tuberville and his staff I think certainly need to be commended for getting bowl eligible as quickly as they did this year, then fighting down the stretch, which they have.
Our guys, it's like I told them at halftime, we got a lot of winners in this room.  That's what we got.  We got guys that are winners.  Anybody can say what they want.  There's a lot of descriptions of winners, I describe them that never quits believing, always trusts the people around them, always trying to get better at everything he does.  To me that's a winner.  That's what we're dealing with in our locker room, a bunch of winners.
To be down seven points with the things we had happen in the first half, we felt good.  Didn't feel great, but we felt good.  Felt if we could get a stop coming out the second half, and we did, we'll trade sevens for threes if we could.  Didn't work out that way.
Left us within reaching distance of the game.  They had a chance to go up 28‑7 in the first, and we got big turnovers.  That was the thing that kept us in the game, let us settle down.  We were coming off a huge emotional game the week before.  Our guys really need to be commended for how they played today and our coaching staff also did a great job.  Phillip Montgomery on offense.  And on defense.  They did a great job for Baylor University and our football team.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions.

Q.  Those two turnovers at the end of the second quarter when they're up 21‑7, you get the interception, then the fumble recovery, how critical was that to get a little momentum going into halftime?
COACH BRILES:  It was real critical because we felt we had given away momentum.  To have a chance to get it and do something with it, those two turnovers were huge because it puts them up 21 points getting the ball the second half.  That's not where you want to be in a football game.
Defense made great plays.  I think we took it 90 something yards in 40 something seconds, which is a big‑time deal.  So that was a big momentum turnaround.

Q.  Art, can you reflect on becoming bowl eligible for the third consecutive year, something you've never done before?
COACH BRILES:  Reflect on it, no.  Appreciate it, yes.  I mean, it's hard to do.  It's hard to do in this league.  And the reason is because when we went to 10 teams two years ago.  You have nine conference games, three non‑conference.  That means you have to win three conference games to get bowl eligible.  You throw out three teams you think you can beat every year, I'll challenge you in this conference.  There's not anybody.  Everybody can beat you.
So that's the thing that's impressive.  So I'm appreciative of our team becoming bowl eligible in what I think is the toughest conference top to bottom in the United States of America.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about Eddie Lackey's two interceptions, fumble recovery.  Pretty key.
COACH BRILES:  I think so.  I think that interception turned for a touchdown.  It's hard to think when you're screaming.
But, yeah, the thing about Eddie, actually I call him Fast Eddie because he's fast.  Ever since he came on campus last spring, we knew he was a light‑up guy.  He's going to light up the defense because he's always pleasant and mature.  What you see from Eddie is what you're going to get every day.  He's not changing.  He's going to work hard, do the best he can do, and always care about other people before himself.
He's very coachable.  Coach has done a good job with him.  He paid off big‑time for us today in a huge, huge game.

Q.  How key was it, because they were stuffing you a little bit early, to stick with the running game, get the production you did?
COACH BRILES:  We just kind of had to fiddle around and see what we could do to try to get a yard or two.  Our O‑line has been tremendous.  Cyril got hurt in the first quarter, missed about two and a half quarters of the game.  Jake Jackson came in and did a great job.
Those guys, we just kept hitting, kept hitting.  Then we'd pop a run or two, but we never would finish it.
Tech has to be commended for that.  They're the 25th rated defense in America.  They're good.  Got a good football team.
I thought, since nobody asked, Nick was phenomenal today from ball protection to decision making, then just having the ability to run, make key runs at key times.  That really helps us offensively.

Q.  Art, you guys are accustomed to playing close games in the Big 12.  What did you take out of those games and maybe learn from that aided you in a game like this that you were able to pull it out in a close game?
COACH BRILES:  I mean, when you start talking close games, I have about 40 that flash through my mind, not just this year, but overall.  That's the great thing about college football, is that it's just you never know what's going to happen every time you show up.
I've been talking for the last month.  I don't know if I'm right or not, this might upset some people that maybe think there's a bigger difference, but I think you can throw seven points on the table and put anybody in this league against each other on any given day and it's a toss‑up game.  Every time we get into a game, we're expecting a tight, tight football game where it could come down to one or two possessions at the end.

Q.  Coach, you were struggling with the kicking game.  Still had confidence heading into overtime.  Was that the resolve of the team?
COACH BRILES:  There's one guy kicking.  He's our kicker.  I mean, I learned a long time ago, people will be who you perceive them to be.  We're not going to beat him down, tell him he's no good, he should have made that.  He's not 12.  He knows what's going on.  He's a good kicker.  He does a heck of a job for us.  He's won us some football games.
The thing that made me sick, we had the unforced errors in regulation that took us eight yards out.  If that kick is eight yards closer, this overtime deal never happens.  One second on the clock, we put that thing down on the grass to kick it.
We took him out of a convenient range.  48‑yarders, it's a 50/50 shot across the board.  It may be 60/40 on the miss side if you were to check stats.  We put him in a bad situation.  It was an unforced error.

Q.  Robert Griffin looked like he was more nervous than a lot of the coaches in overtime.
COACH BRILES:  He wasn't, I promise you.

Q.  What did it mean to have him around the team?
COACH BRILES:  You could get me talking about Robert and I could go all day long.  When he showed up last night at our hotel, the great thing about him, he talked to the team, I won't say what he said or what I said, but I'll paraphrase.  Everybody else knows him as this.  To us he's a teammate.  He's a guy we love and trust and that we depend on and he depends on us.
That's the critical thing.  What we had was a family member out there today that wanted to see us win, that was happy to be around us.  That's what we had.

Q.  Speaking of Robert, how big was it to go back to a bowl game the year after he left?
COACH BRILES:  No, I mean, it's big for the program.  It's big he took us to two bowl games, helped us get there, helped us have momentum this year.  When people look at Baylor, Boy, those guys can play.  You look at them five years ago, they're not saying that, whenever.  He helped us with our national brand, our national image, the other guys played with him.  We've had some good football players go through here.  Five guys drafted off offense last year, hasn't happened in the modern era of football.  We've had good people here that has helped elevate this program.  Robert is just the best, best player in America last year, might be the best player in the NFL right now.

Q.  You're at the 25, overtime, you ran the ball in.  Is that the mark of how much this team has improved?  You're known for throwing the football.
COACH BRILES:  I think so.  We felt like we made a little bit of a mistake early in the game.  We threw it at first‑and‑10.  We threw it three times, ended up missing the field goal.
We get down there, the field gets smaller, it's a little tougher to throw.  Tech did a nice job on two fade routes.  Honestly, they do as well as anybody.  But it's not a really high‑percentage throw, but they do it so well that they can do it.
The thing that helped us there is that Nick made eight yards on first down.  If you have a dollar bill, they're standing on the other side of the table, it's in your pocket.  There's a lot of things you can do from an offensive standpoint, the defense has to be cautious in that situation.
I'm not going to talk any more because that's philosophy and scheme.  I don't want to get into that.  I think it does show how we've progressed as a football team, have confidence in us running.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, coach.
Nick Florence questions for Nick Florence.

Q.  Nick, obviously there at the end you're watching the defense.  What is going through your mind?
NICK FLORENCE:  I'm praying a lot (laughter).  I'm proud of this team.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to get to play with this team.  Win or lose, all glory goes to God, what he's done on the cross for us.
Man, this team is a fighting team.  I love it.  I wouldn't want to be on any other team.  So there was a lot of praying going on.  That's what was going on (laughter).

Q.  You kind of took a leap of faith when you came to Baylor.  A lot of struggles.  Three straight bowl trips now.  Talk about that and put that in perspective.
NICK FLORENCE:  It's been a journey for all of us.  Coach Briles and his staff have done an outstanding job.  We got players and a team that will fight.  No one said we could do this.  Looking a month ago, people were writing us off.  This team fought hard.
It means a lot.  Building a new stadium, 10 wins last year, Heisman Trophy, now we're going to a bowl game for the third straight year.  I'm proud of this team and wouldn't want to be with anybody else.

Q.  You got down 14‑0 early and seemed like you were playing catch‑up the whole game.  How much confidence did you have that you could keep playing catch‑up?
NICK FLORENCE:  We knew we were moving the ball well on them.  We left 13 points on the board that first half.  We knew our defense would make stops when they needed to in critical situations.
Eddie's pick was huge.  Then they were playing catch‑up.  Then it was a back‑and‑forth game.  Our team fought hard and I'm proud of them.

Q.  What was the feeling going into overtime?
NICK FLORENCE:  I mean, you got to stay positive.  That's one thing we talk about every day, staying positive.
So, yeah, we missed a field goal.  It wasn't Stork's best night.  But he's a part of our team, played hard, made a critical field goal to tie it up.  We had to keep rolling.  Couldn't think negatively.
Our goal was to score.  We did that.  The backs, the O‑line, man, they were moving them up front.  Hats off to them.

Q.  What was it like having Robert here?
NICK FLORENCE:  Awesome to have him on the sideline.  Felt like last year (laughter).  I talked to him.  Done a lot for us.  He played a great game here Thursday night.  We wanted to come play a great game.  It was awesome to have him here, celebrating with us.  He's a big part of what we've done here.  Family is family.  Once a Bear, always a Bear.  We were glad to have him.

Q.  Can you talk about the unusual slow start on the offense and how you picked up momentum?
NICK FLORENCE:  We made mistakes.  Left points on the field.  We were moving the ball well but weren't finishing.  That's frustrating.  Again, this team kept fighting.  We fought our way back into it and came away with a win.
This team never quits.  Man, everybody wrote us off.  People would have wrote us off tonight.  This team never quits.  That's why I love them.

Q.  Your receivers made big catches.  Talk about the performance of the receivers.
NICK FLORENCE:  Outstanding.  The O‑line gave me time.  When I throw the ball in their area, they make plays.  That's what you have to love.  Some of them were just thrown up.  Some of them we thought they were off‑sides, we didn't get the rag, them making plays was huge.
A‑Good, lowering his shoulder, being powerful and strong, that's what you love.  They all had a great game.  Best in the nation.  I'm privileged to throw to them.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.
Questions for Eddie and Sam.

Q.  Eddie, with all the success, why were you so successful in making the key turnovers when you really needed them?
EDDIE LACKEY:  I think we had a certain type of energy.  At halftime we had to make a couple adjustments because they were getting a few things on them.  Coaches were able to get us where we needed to be.
I feel like that was a big part in what got us to be successful.

Q.  Eddie, can you talk about the interception for a touchdown.  What did you see?
EDDIE LACKEY:  We had good pressure.  He was rattled, running around back there.
I was going to add on and go flying over there, but our D‑line had them contained.  I tried to step back underneath the curl.  I don't think he saw me.  Ended up in my hands, so...

Q.  Sam, first half of the season y'all couldn't cause a turnover to save your lives, now that's all y'all are doing.  What has changed for the defense to be able to turn the ball over?
SAM HOLLAND:  You know, I think we're just in the right spots.  We got a good feel of the game plan every week.  Like Eddie said, we got a lot of energy out there.  We've been trying to pick up the tempo out there.  I felt like that was definitely helping us, flying around, multiple guys every play on the tackle.  That definitely helps getting turnovers.

Q.  Eddie, how does this compare to Northwood, Riverside?
EDDIE LACKEY:  Words really can't describe how much of a difference it is.  It's just a blessing to be out here, to have this opportunity, playing in front of such a big stage, being here at Dallas Cowboy Stadium.  That screen out there is huge.  You won't see that in a D‑II stadium (laughter).

Q.  Eddie, Coach Briles talked about how at halftime down a touchdown he went in and told y'all that there's winners on this football team.  Can you talk about his belief that you guys are always going to get it done, how that permeates the team.
EDDIE LACKEY:  Coach Briles has that certain type of confidence.  We feed off of that.  The whole team, you hear Coach Briles talk, you're going to listen to him, listen to what he has to say.
After he said about being winners and stuff, you know, we went out there and proved that.

Q.  Sam, the defense had a little bit of a slow start in the first half.  Can you talk about the pressure that you felt coming into the second half, how you made the appropriate adjustments.
SAM HOLLAND:  Yeah, we just needed to make plays when they were there to make.  We knew what we were doing, we were in position, we just had to make the plays.
I don't know if we really felt pressure because we knew we could come out in the second half and play well.  It's what we did.
I felt like as far as pressure goes, I don't think we felt any pressure.  We just had to come out and do our jobs and make plays.

Q.  Eddie, a few weeks ago you are a longshot to make a bowl, now you make one.  Your feelings making it now.
EDDIE LACKEY:  Yeah, you know, we had a tough middle part of our season.  The big thing about us is that we never let that get to us.  We never let that bad part in our season let our morale go down.
It was really about our attitude.  Being able to come out here, still have energy to be able to fight, get out there, earn us a bowl bid, that was huge.  I think that was probably the biggest part in just being positive, knowing that we can still make a bowl.

Q.  Sam, you've been on the end where you give some plays, come back and make one.  Joe Williams at the end, he's had a pretty rough day.  For him to come up with that play to win it at the end of the game.
SAM HOLLAND:  That was huge.  Joe has been one of those guys that people have targeted.  I feel like last week he had a great game, Player of the Week nationally.  He's been through some hard times, but he's really stepped up here lately for us when we need him to.  I feel like he's done a good job in doing that.  That's what we expect from him every time.  I think he's able to give that to us.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

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