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December 28, 2016

Luke Fickell

Glendale, Arizona

LUKE FICKELL: ... the way he runs the entire program. It's an extreme ownership. And I think that's the difference, when all of a sudden you start to see, and I know the playoffs are different in the sense that you start to see some of these guys that maybe aren't playing or what's their motivation to play in some of these games.

This isn't that. But the reality is the way the program is run with everybody so fully invested, and I'm talking about as a coach whether you've got another job or a player that might be thinking about the NFL, the ability to be so fully invested when you get to these situations, and last year was a great example.

And some people would say, okay, you're not in the playoffs, you're guys maybe disappointed in where you are and what you're doing. The reality for those guys to come out, guys like Zeke Elliott and Joey Bosa to come out and play the way they were playing, the focus they were doing, it's not just something you do in the postseason; it's something that your entire program is built around.

I know it's one of those huge things that I've learned in the last five years with Coach that you don't just bottle this thing up for this last four weeks to say, hey, let's make this run and how do we do this. It's the way you run the entire program, the ownership that each and every one of these guys take in it as well as coaches.

That's what bodes well at the end of the year.

Q. How does he know when to push harder and when to (indiscernible)?
LUKE FICKELL: I think his ability to push all the time is the key. And I think keeping that pressure on guys and understanding that. But if you change who you are, I think, is really difficult, because guys can't get a little bit more adapted. And not saying comfortable, but they can't understand exactly what the situation is. And Coach's ability to be who he is all the time is, I think, what gives us that extra edge.

It's not like, okay, this week we're going to change up, I'm going to be a funny, humorous guy. I'm going to have a lot of fun. No, no. Those guys know who he is. They know how he goes about his business.

That's the way the program is built. And I think that's what gives you the opportunity, consistency in your leadership, because he's a masterful motivator. On a daily basis, his ability to do that. But it's the consistency he has on a daily basis that those guys believe in it.

Q. If everybody knows the stakes of the game, (indiscernible)?
LUKE FICKELL: They're 18- to 22-year-olds and motivation is the biggest thing that you can do with 18- to 22-year-olds. We have an ownership we talked about in our program, but the reality is we're going to practice 15 times for this game. And all of a sudden you keep counting that down and counting it down, another practice, another practice, every day there has to be a little something.

That's what Coach does an unbelievable job of. And for the ability to create some of that controversy, create some of that bulletin board material, we all need stimulation.

And I think that's the thing that Coach does such a great job of. But when you can get outside sources to be able to help you you're always looking for ways to motivate your guys.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
LUKE FICKELL: It starts with the management of the game. Obviously we played these guys four years ago and they had some incredible wideouts and those abilities with Sammy Watkins and those guys, but the ability for Deshaun to actually truly make every throw, the deep balls are the ones that he throws an unbelievable ball on. It's not just the wideouts.

Everybody's a viable option. Obviously we know he can run, but his ability to have the balance to be able to do it all is the thing that makes them to me the most explosive.

You can't say, okay, we're going to stop the run and we're going to make them beat us throwing. We can't say, okay, we're going to stop the pass, make them beat us with the run. The balance of what they do, his ability not to only throw the deep ball but to make every throw, I think, is what really, really makes him go.

Q. How many hours are you sleeping a night?
LUKE FICKELL: I don't know. Sleep's overrated. Sleep plenty some day when you're dead. So don't try to overdo it a little bit. Again, we know the most important -- one of the things for us is we've got to have the energy for our kids.

If we don't have the ability to turn some of the stuff off, focus in, lock in, get some rest and have the ability to have your energy when we go to practice, when we get around our guys, we'd be doing it a disservice.

So, yeah, there's not nearly as much, the mind starts to race but the reality is that ability to focus back and say, okay, where has my energy got to be spent. When we get our four, five hours with our guys we've got to be on our toes and have the utmost energy. We can't be tired because we haven't had enough rest. The ability to balance those things as a coach is what we've got to do to be able to give our kids the most.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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