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December 23, 2015

Bryan Harsin

Tyler Gray

Jeremy McNichols

Shane Williams-Rhodes

Brett Rypien

Kamalei Correa

San Diego, California

Boise State - 55, Northern Illinois - 7

THE MODERATOR: All right. We have Tyler Gray, Jeremy McNichols, Shane Williams-Rhodes, Brett Rypien, Kamalei Correa and Coach Bryan Harsin.

Coach, if you could start with an opening statement and if you have questions please raise your hand and we will pass you a microphone.

COACH HARSIN: First, two things. One, I want to thank our fans. I want to thank the Poinsettia Bowl for allowing us the opportunity to come here and play. I also want to recognize Northern Illinois and having a chance to play them. We have tremendous respect for them. We watched all their film and I think that's why our guys played so well tonight.

They really made us focus on what we had to do and how we had to come out and play, so credit to them. I wish them safe travels as well.

Just really proud of our coaches, players, their preparation, their focus. That's one thing that everybody questions is what type of focus you're going to have when you go to a bowl game and you have different events. These guys were able to lock in when they needed to, enjoy the moments when they had opportunities to do that, refocus and get back, preparing for the game.

All of that really showed up tonight, and I think a lot of emotion with some guys that with our seniors for the 40th win for this team. What we learned from this entire season, we wanted this to be our best performance of the year and felt like from the sideline and what happened out there on the field, from what I saw, it really was. So proud of these guys, proud of our coaches and grateful to be in this bowl game. With that, open it up for questions.

Q. I think it was 654 to 33, or something, for the yards. How do you explain a discrepancy like that?
COACH HARSIN: Well, it's football, and I think it's easy to explain. I feel like we made plays on the offensive side and our defense, all the detailed things that were coming up throughout the couple of weeks of prep, they tried, and our guys did a great job of just communicating.

I think what was difficult for Northern Illinois tonight, I thought the "D" line played really well, and the front seven and linebackers, we seem to -- I don't know how many sacks we had, but we seemed to get after the quarterback tonight and really felt like they didn't get a lot going in the run game where they wanted to, and that's just a credit to our guys up front doing their job in the front seven, and when they did try some double moves in the secondary, they had some opportunities and didn't make 'em, but we communicated and did what we had prepared to do.

So really it just came down to the guys out there just doing their jobs, it's really that simple and I thought both sides did that. Disappointed in the kick-off return on special teams. That was one major emphasis we talked about was winning the kick-off start point, and we knew they had a great returner. He showed that tonight. We shut it back down after that happened, but that's the focus part that's going to be more consistent in that area. Other than that it was a pretty -- petty good game overall for the Broncos.

Q. NIU is traditionally a pretty strong running game. What was the specific game plan to try and neutralize the running game, if any?
COACH HARSIN: Stop the run. And, honestly, that's what it is. I can't give you all the schemes that they would try to run against us, but it was stop the run. When it came down to it, we simplified it, stop the run, stop the double moves, be aware of some of the -- of Number 19 and the backs coming out of the backfield on some wheel routes is what it came down to, and that's exactly what the guys did. I just felt like the one-on-one battles that we had, our guys were winning it. And it was technique, effort, whatever that was, those one-on-one battles were going in our favor and just a credit to our guys being prepared to go out there.

I thought we looked fresh. I thought we flew around. I thought our team was fast tonight, and that was a credit with our coaching staff -- excuse me, our strength staff with our conditioning going into this game, because that's one area that really gets, I think, devalued when it comes to bowl games and it showed up tonight.

Q. I think it took you guys all of three plays and 58 seconds to get on the board. You guys go up 21-0 after the first quarter. Did this one ever feel like it was in doubt? When did you guys really feel like you had firm control on this one?
COACH HARSIN: I don't think we ever feel like it's sure handed. We've been in enough games. This is a smart team and a smart staff.

I don't think anybody ever walks out there -- may be towards the end of the game in the fourth quarter when you're starting to run the ball, when you've got some of the back-ups in there and you've got the back-ups in there, you know that numerically they're not going to be able to come back. But I don't think there was anybody on the sideline that relaxed, at all, and to me that's the focus of what these guys came to do tonight -- or today. They came to play. It showed up. That's a credit to our guys.

Q. Coach, yesterday I asked you what it meant to be in the Poinsettia Bowl. So what does it mean to win the Poinsettia Bowl?
COACH HARSIN: Well, it's a great opportunity for us here, and one, to play the team that we played, I know the match-up was very intriguing. I know a lot of eyes were on Boise State and Northern Illinois playing today, and I know this area in Southern California for recruiting is big for us, so all of those things outside of our football team, they're important, but I think the most important thing was what type of game that we were going to play today in the Poinsettia Bowl against our opponent, and it showed up.

That was the preparation our guys had, that was the focus they had, that I've been talking about, and for our seniors to get their 40th win and for us, that's just part of our goal is to win a bowl game. That spring boards us into the off-season of, all right, we finished on a high note, we did some really good things. What are we capable of doing if we can put all this together more consistently? That's always the -- it's the beginning of a new year. Hey, this year is over, and proud of our team and coaches for what we were able to accomplish and the finish that we had, but it's on to the next for the guys coming back, and for the seniors, it's on to the next part of their lives and how we can help them be successful that way, too.

Q. Jeremy, to score 3 in a bowl game is a tremendous feat. What was it like for you to have this kind of day and could you have ever imagined a dominating performance like your team had today?
JEREMY McNICHOLS: It was good, but it was a team effort starting with the offensive line. We all prepared well and came out and did what we had to do.

Q. Offense was so crisp tonight right from the start and obviously you got Shane back in there, but how would you explain how good the offense looked tonight and how it came together the way it did tonight?
COACH HARSIN: Their preparation, number one and having guys back -- having Shane back tonight and being able it utilize him opened up quite a few things, just even the threat. We had one in there that we faked to him and Alec was able to get open. I think Shane told me it took about five guys, is what he said, so we will see that on tape.

I just really felt like from watching everybody out there and their performance tonight, guys were starring in their role and making plays. Really, that's what showed up on the offensive side but it's really the total team effort: The defense getting three and out, the defense getting turnovers, the defense holding them on their side of the 50 for most of the night. That's things give you that momentum and that confidence on the other side of the ball as well.

Like Jeremy said, it was really that team effort and I thought the offense took advantage of their opportunities. I thought the defense took advantages of their opportunities. When we had a couple of turnovers, they showed up. So really guys just feeding off each other, and that's I think what we all felt tonight was that momentum. Even special teams after the big play they responded on kick-off by getting down there and pinning them again. So everybody feeding off each other I think really showed up tonight.

Q. (No microphone.) -- what kind of statement, I guess, did you guys make tonight for this season but also for moving forward?
COACH HARSIN: It's week-to-week. We will go back and look at the entire season after this game. It was really about one more time for these guys, and one last time for this group of 2015 Broncos, and that was the main focus. How are we going to finish, what type of performance are we going to have, we wanted to be proud of it. We wanted to win the game, didn't know it was going to go as well as it, did but we worked for that. That's always something you're hoping for, you're anticipating, hey if something negative does happen, we're going to handle adversity and keep fighting. Really felt like the fourth quarter was going to be ours, and we talked about that going to the San Jose State game, and it was a 1-0 season tonight.

And overall for these guys when you're able to sit in the film room and be around these guys, you know how much heart they have, how much they care and how hard they work to have the wins that we did get.

That's the main focus, is what we were able to accomplish tonight and finishing in the right way.

Q. Coach, you said with a lot of recruits here from So Cal was that a little extra incentive that you used for your boys?
COACH HARSIN: I don't think -- I think we have 30-plus guys from Southern California on our team. I'm sure that's an incentive for them. Not something we focused on or talked about, but yeah, it's in the back of your mind. You know where guys are from. Family, we have quite a few guys, 50-plus guys from California on our team, so you have families here, and that's important positive our guys. Their families are here, they get a chance to see 'em, be around them, they get a chance to have more than maybe their immediate family come to a game and watch.

When you play that's exciting. You go out there and you have the performance that they played with tonight, it's even more fun.

So, yeah, I thin for everybody, maybe individually, there was some of that, but I think collectively as a team, not something we focused on, but it was in the back of our minds. And to have the performance we did tonight, I'm excited for those guys that are from this area.

Q. Coach, you guys have now won 6 of your last 7 bowl games. What's the biggest key to your postseason success?
COACH HARSIN: Well, I think there's a lot of things. I think it really has to do with the players, and just buying into what we have to do for that one particular game, that conditioning is important, that preparation and focus are important, and how to do it and doing it the right way. I think we've had a pretty good formula, we're always tweaking it and trying to make it better, but it's just a credit to our guys on how they -- how serious they take it when you have the moments to get better and prepare. To me that was the key, and I thought it showed up tonight. So there wasn't a whole lot of coaching. These guys were out there doing it, and they were talking and they were making adjustments and they really took the game over, and to me that's just, um, our team really being focused and wanting to win the game.

And I think one of the big reasons, it's part of what we talk about, to win that bowl game and that belief that that is important. That's huge.

Q. With the quick 21-0 start, how important was that with a freshman quarterback in his first bowl game or is he good enough to where I guess that idea isn't as important as it might seem?
COACH HARSIN: Yeah, he's -- it's important for everybody. Yeah, I mean, not just for him. It really is, it's important for everybody to get out there and start that way, not just on the offensive side, for everybody. We wanted to start fast. Starting fast is for special teams, defense and offense. That's the point that we made, and those guys did it.

Q. For the quarterback, what's it like when you can have a game like this and move the ball almost at will and rack up points? And if you can talk into the mic, please?
BRETT RYPIEN: I think it helps starting off just getting the run game going, and I felt like we were executing everything that was being called tonight, and that's something that we had really focused on, and I think our preparation going into this game was really, really good. You know, when you can get the run game going like that and your offensive line is doing a great job protecting, it makes my job a lot easier.

Q. Shane, what did this mean to you to get out there your last game as a senior, be healthy and play the way you did tonight?
SHANE WILLIAMS-RHODES: Felt good just to be back out there with my team. I had been out for about a month, so I felt like I came back and the coaches put me in my spot, in my role, like Coach was saying. He told us last night that we should all go out and star in our roles, and I felt like I did my part in the role they gave me.

Q. With you and NIU, the group of five powers, such a success recently, does that make this lopsided win more sweet going up against a team that, I guess, compared to as far as a group of five power?
COACH HARSIN: I wouldn't put it like that. I think the teams going into the game were comparable, if you were looking at statistically over the last four or five years. And we obvious am looked at those things, but I think tonight we were different. I thought our guys were different and it's not about, you know, what you asked, it's not about that. It's about performing and doing our best and making sure that what we've prepared to do, we go out there and we get that done, because we spend a lot of time working on it for three and a half hours.

To have the performance that we did, that's what we care about, and to have these guys go out the way they did tonight, that makes every one of us as Broncos proud.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach.

Q. Brett, the offense as a whole had highs and lows this year, big performances, big turnover games, for this as your last game as a freshman to have this performance, what does this mean for the offense going forward and for you going forward?
BRETT RYPIEN: I think it was huge, we talked about all week that we wanted to finish and send these seniors out the right way. Like I said, we were executing on all cylinders tonight. I think anything that was called, we knew that we were going to make it the best play possible. So from that standpoint it was really good, and we got a lot of good things to look forward to next season, and hopefully we can build on this.

Q. Tyler, you said you talked to coaches about your future a little bit and to go out and play like this in your last game as sort of a chance to showcase what you can do, what did this game mean to you?
TYLER GRAY: Meant a lot to me personally; it was my last game playing with all these guys. To have a strong finish really feels good.

Q. Kamalei, for you, what does this game mean for you and not knowing what your future holds, what did it mean to go out like this with a strong performance?
KAMALEI CORREA: I wanted to go out and enjoy my time with my teammates. Like you said, I'm not 100% about my future yet. I still need to go home and talk with my family a little bit, but this is a team effort, and I'm glad that we got the win tonight, and I appreciate all my teammates for everything that they do.

Q. Jeremy, for you, before I almost break my camera, obviously looking at what you got coming back next season, between you, Brett, Thomas, potentially four starting linemen coming back, how exciting is the future?
JEREMY McNICHOLS: Just to finish off this game with a win for the seniors and the guys not coming back next year spring boards us into next season, and I feel like we have a bright future, everybody getting more experience.

Q. Tyler, you have been kind of that co-starter role for three years around the here and obviously been extremely productive. What has the last few years been like for you to be the guy in the shadows a little bit, but obviously you go out there and produce when you get the chance?
TYLER GRAY: Sometimes you're not on the field all the time, but when you do get on there, you have to make it count, and I think that's what I've been able to do.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys.

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