home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


December 22, 2015

Terry Bowden

Robert Stein

Andrew Pratt

Thomas Woodson

Jatavis Brown

Boise, Idaho

Akron - 23, Utah State - 21

TERRY BOWDEN: Again, I just want to thank the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl for having us come to this bowl. It's just been a most wonderful occasion for us. Our players have just enjoyed every bit of it. The people have been hospitable. Boise has got to be one of the most hospitable towns, friendly towns, and it's a trip we'll never forget, but also for that these young men have done and what they have done as football players at the University of Akron, to have set some standards that everybody else now for the rest of time will have to match, eight wins in a season hasn't been done in our 28 years as a Division I team. We've never won a bowl game in our 28 years as a Division I team. These guys when they came here, we said before the game we're not coming to show, we're coming to win, and again, we want to thank all of our administration and all of our fans, our band, just for what they did for us in coming out here and being a part of that, and our conference, the Mid-American Conference. We're proud this year finally we can say we represented this conference well. We represented this conference well.

These guys, most of the credit goes to these guys here at this table. These guys, we couldn't play a play, we couldn't make a tackle, we couldn't throw a pass. All we could do was hopefully put them in a position to be successful and allow them to do their thing. I'm very, very proud of every one of these guys. I couldn't be around a greater bunch of guys. It's a year I'll never forget because of what these guys have done for this program and done for all of us coaches and all of us that love Akron football.

Q. Coach, this is the fourth year or four-year anniversary since Akron hired you. What do you think it's taken for you to get the program to this point and to where you are today over that time? What has happened?
TERRY BOWDEN: Jatavis Brown, Robert Stein, Andrew Pratt, Tommy Woodson, that's what it took. I don't have any special talents or any special abilities. I'm fortunate enough to have some great players to be a part of and great coaches, great coaches that I'm smart enough to get out of the way and let them coach.

That's what I think about four years. This is the fifth program I've taken over. We've had great success everywhere, and this one has been -- it's been -- we've had a rough road to hoe, and that's what makes it most memorable. When you're a Bowden Junior there's not many records left for you to go after. You're not going to be the winningest coach in your own family. You're not going to win more bowls than anybody else or more wins, but I know one thing: Forevermore we're the first team in I-A history at Akron to have won eight games. He ain't got that record. (Laughter.)

Q. Robert, not a lot of times do kickers get a lot of love. What does it mean to get MVP of this game and also the school record for scoring, too?
ROBERT STEIN: I was shocked when I got the MVP because we've got so many great players on our team that it could have literally gone to anybody on offense and defense because they played a heck of a game. But just pretty much epitomizes my career and the fact that I was able to end on this note as a fifth-year senior was really special.

Q. Robert, you've kind of had a rocky season. How were your emotions during the game, and to finish at three for three feel?
ROBERT STEIN: My emotions through the games are pretty consistent. I try to stay as level-headed as possible. If I miss one, I might have a moment on the sideline where I lose my focus, but I try to get back into that, and Coach Bowden is a big part of getting me ready. He's always like, you've got to make your first kick, got to make your first kick, and that was a problem I had this year. I'd make my first kick, then I couldn't make my second. So for me to really focus on the minimal opportunities that I have and make the most of it.

Q. Jatavis, there was the play at the end of the first half where you were able to create the fumble and then you see Rodney Coe running down the field. What's that like to not only to create that but to see that big guy kind of rumbling down toward the end zone?
JATAVIS BROWN: Oh man, it was amazing to see Rodney finally to get what he's been asking for all season, a chance to win the ball. I mean, before the play we talked about it. I was going to go outside, he was going to go inside. That's him sacrificing for me so I can make the play, and it ended up working out for him.

TERRY BOWDEN: Rodney was a tailback in junior college. He's now officially a tackle forever. If he gets to play on Sunday, there's no question about him being a tailback anymore.

Q. Andrew, I think you only had 19 catches coming in. Did you know you were going to be this big a part of the plan, and what was working so well?
ANDREW PRATT: You know, coming in, it was a slow start to the season, but we had a hell of a season. If we're winning, it doesn't matter if I'm getting the ball or someone else. But tonight was my night, and it feels great to help us be in this position we are.

Q. Terry, your drive at the start of the fourth quarter to Robert's last field goal lasted more than six minutes at kind of a key time of the game. Can you talk about that?
TERRY BOWDEN: You know, it was, and I want to thank Darrell Funk, our offensive line coach, our five offensive seniors. When I first came back and we threw it every down almost because we wanted to create excitement. We had a great -- I thought AJ really did a great job of putting that -- but as we began to learn to play football in the Midwest, you've got to win in November, and in November it's rainy and the snow is blowing sideways. You've got to be able to run the football, and what happens when you're ahead in the game, you've got to run clock. We did it in the last game against Kent State in as big a way as I've ever seen it, and we ran just enough off today. We didn't get that last 1st down but we got a lot of key ones. But I think that was the commitment we made.

Sometimes you want to go out there and play some fancy offensive football because it makes a lot of splash nationally, but I still believe in the Midwest if you want to win in November, you've got to run the football and play defense, and that drive, that six-minute drive was part of what you have to do.

Q. Jatavis, you came in with the sack record already for the school, now got the tackle-for-loss record, too. To end your career with having your name all over the record books like that, what's that mean for you? And for Coach Bowden, how is he a guy that finds himself in the backfield all the time?
JATAVIS BROWN: Oh, man, it means a lot to me. My career finally came to an end, and to see all the hard work that I put in over these last four years finally pay off is really showing.

TERRY BOWDEN: Jatavis, everything he does, he's a self-made man. I don't know if you can say he works -- he works as hard as anybody we've got. Never misses a drill, never misses work. He leads by example, doesn't talk a lot, plays hard, practices hard, does the off-season hard. Came into us at about 5'10½", 5'11", 190-pound freshman, 89 maybe, started, played every game. Now at 225.

I've said this many times, I was fortunate enough to sign and play Takeo Spikes at Auburn. I haven't had one better than Takeo. This is the closest I've got to Takeo. He just retired from a lot of years in the pros, but that's the kind of athlete he is. But more importantly that's the kind of Akron man he is. He's a student-athlete. He has great character.

All these guys, great character, and if you knew all of their personal stories, every one of them epitomizes what we've accomplished here. Every one of these guys, I can tell you their story if we had enough time and every one of them would be incredibly, never give up, persevere, go through tough times to be up here at this table, from Jatavis getting out of high school and coming to Akron, never signing, and Robert Stein convincing me he could be the starting kicker when I decided to go a different direction, to Andrew Pratt showing us he could catch the ball in critical situations, and Tommy Woodson maybe more than all, happened to be put down at third team and move up, and our season would never be what it is without the play that he has. Everybody on our team knows when Tommy Woodson came through, we had a chance to be successful.

Q. Tommy, for you, if you could describe that going from fighting your way into there, into the lineup, and what did it feel like out there to be celebrating?
THOMAS WOODSON: Honestly, it's crazy, honestly. I'm not going to lie. After we won, after I seen the final play, I cried, honestly, cried the whole time, I really did, just cried tears of joy. I'm happy for the seniors. I was just thinking about what I've been through my whole life, just not -- not just with football, just with life, period. I was crying, I just got on the knee, and I was just happy, was really happy.

Q. Coach, you said that Robert convinced you to kick. I want to hear that story, so tell us that.
TERRY BOWDEN: Really after my first year, kicking year, he had a good solid year, but we needed to have -- and I thought his spring ball was not as good as I wanted, but I had to sign a kicker just to get some competition -- do you want me to tell this? So I took his scholarship away and gave it to a freshman. I didn't have two. And he came to my office, and we had -- there was tears in there. There was big tears, and I cried, too. And I took it away to give to a freshman to play ahead of him, and we played him ahead of him. After the second game of the season, he wasn't ready to play, and Robert took back over and had a great season, and the biggest part of that, when we came into the fall and he was clearly No. 1, and I was going to have to call that other kid and say sorry, son, I just took your scholarship; I'm going to give it back to Robert. He said, Coach, I'm an engineering student, I'm going to graduate. I don't need that scholarship; let him keep it and I'll kick for nothing.

And that's something that -- Robert will always be one of my favorites because of that, and not just because of the way he played but because he's an engineering student. That trophy needs to go in your office so they won't think you're a geek engineering student. Akron probably has one of the finest engineering programs in America with our engineering and polymer science and those type of things, and now Robert is going to have a football trophy sitting right up there in his office.

Q. He's on scholarship, though, right?
TERRY BOWDEN: No, but I'll try to get him on real quick for any postgraduate work he wants to do. I think we've probably got something we can figure out at Akron to keep him going to school if he wants to.

Q. Coach, you talked a little bit about it, but did this take longer than you thought when you came?
TERRY BOWDEN: You know, turnarounds take just as long as they have to take. I wish I could make it happen like at Auburn where we won our first 20 straight games in the SEC and never lost for two years until the final game. I wish I could have done that.

We had a different road to hoe here. We had a different -- people that have been around here a long time -- some people that haven't been around Akron don't realize where we were about four years ago. We were 1-11, 1-11, but statistically Akron was at the lowest probably in the NCAA on offense and defense, and we had lost a lot of players through two different coaches leaving, so our attrition was almost down to anything.

So we had to build, and that's hard because there's -- as a coach sometimes you can't get it turned around in a year or two. Now you've got to fight. You've got to have trust. You have to have trust, but your people and especially your players, they've got to trust that you know what you're doing, and I think that's the biggest thing. It's not what I did, it's the trust of the players that we were always going in the right direction.

You know, I'm just pleased with what these players have done. I don't need to qualify it to anybody. I'm proud of what they've done, and I'm proud of the success that they've had, and it'll be theirs to take with them for a long, long time. Forever.

Q. I know you've coached at Salem and lower levels, but are these guys' stories just as inspiring and fulfilling and compelling as --
TERRY BOWDEN: This season is as meaningful to me as any I've ever had. This season here is as meaningful -- you know, it's the journey more than the destination that makes it special, and the journey that these guys have had and the way that -- there's not many people on the bottom in our conference that are no longer on the bottom. There's not many people that are on the top that are now on the bottom, but there's one team that was on the bottom that's now on the top, and that's Akron, and that's one thing these guys can take credit for.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297