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December 27, 2017

Pete Kwiatkowski

Glendale, Arizona

COACH KWIATKOWSKI: ... it's still a big-time football game.

Q. Do you prepare for Saquon Barkley differently --
COACH KWIATKOWSKI: No, not really. Just every week it's, the goal is the same how, we go about that is the same. You just know going into it the guy's really, really talented. So guys are going to be -- you're going to have their attention going into a game like this as far as getting prepared.

Q. He's going to be a big part of the passing game. Does that fact also -- a receiver in some sense?
COACH KWIATKOWSKI: No, they get it to him out of the backfield most of the time. But, yeah, sure, that's been bantered around how we are going to match up with him in those situations for sure.

Q. The comparison between Bryce Love and Saquon Barkley, how do you compare those two, and Bryce Love was pretty effective against you guys?
COACH KWIATKOWSKI: I think they're both real similar backs. Style of offenses are different. So they ask Bryce to run it up inside a lot more, the power running type of game. And this is more spread. So it gets on edges a lot more. But they're both really, really good and they both can take it to the house on any play.

Q. How do you prepare for a team like Penn State that has so many different types of receivers, big receivers, fast receivers, small receivers? What goes into the preparation for that?
COACH KWIATKOWSKI: Nothing different than any week. You just know who you're going, study who you're going against. But we can never, it's not like you can go out and get a bigger DB or quicker DB. So the guys work on their techniques and knowing our coverages and play good team defense, and when they do make a play, line up and get after it again.

Q. A lot of people have tried to take Saquon Barkley out of that receiving game. Is that something you're going to try to do, and if so how do you cover all the other threats they have?
COACH KWIATKOWSKI: Yeah, I mean, it's not -- I don't think you can take just one guy away. You can hope to limit what they do, how they do it. But again it comes back to team defense and guys doing their job. And the first guy that misses a tackle because of a pursuit, the rest of the guys running to the ball, and they're getting him on the ground.

But it's hard to you say we're going to take one guy away, because then, you're exactly right, someone else is going to be exposed.

Q. What's it like being here back in the valley and just kind of being here at the Fiesta Bowl?
COACH KWIATKOWSKI: It's awesome to come down here this time of year and enjoy the sunny weather and cool nights. But this bowl's been awesome in the past and it's living up to its billing again this time again.

Q. What are the biggest threats that Barkley possesses for your defense?
COACH KWIATKOWSKI: You can do a great job of defending him and keeping him in check and then on any given play he can take it to the house. He's just really talented running back, big, physical and fast.

Q. As a collaborative, the Pac-12, the competitiveness, do you see it growing and do you think it's where it should be?
COACH KWIATKOWSKI: The one thing I know, there's no weeks off in our conference. From week-to-week, you see across the board anybody can beat anybody if you don't bring your A game and are prepared mentally. So I think from top to bottom there's a lot of parity, because of that and -- which makes it very extremely strong conference.

Everybody's striving to get better and I think the commitments at all these schools and I think it's all going to get better.

Q. Looking back against Arizona State University, what do you think of all the changes in the hiring of Herm Edwards?
COACH KWIATKOWSKI: I haven't really put much thought into that.

Q. Looking at some of the players who have gone on to play at the next level, Budda Baker comes to mind, Washington product. What do you think of his competitiveness? Where he's been able to take his ability?
COACH KWIATKOWSKI: Budie is one of those guys, if you had every player like him, his work ethic, his love for the game and how hard he practices, you would have an unbelievable football team. And you pair that with what kind of young man he is, he was awesome to coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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