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December 28, 2017

Braxton Berrios

Miami Gardens, Florida

Q. The attitudes of the players, I know what it was like, the whole program and the fans and stuff when he came in. How did that change, and how long did it take?
BRAXTON BERRIOS: What, the attitude of the players?

Q. Yeah, I should say the players first and then the whole aura around the program.
BRAXTON BERRIOS: I'd say -- you know, it's a little weird because Coach Golden got fired mid-season, and then we had Coach Scott for the remaining games, and then everything was in limbo from really that end of the game to whenever he was hired. To say it was absolutely immediate, it wasn't. But I'd say once we all kind of got to meet our coaches and got to meet the whole staff coming in, just from everywhere, because he brought in -- he ended up bringing in a new chaplain this past year. But once we got to meet our coaching staff and kind of got settled in, I'd say really that spring was when everybody was like, whatever you want, Coach, let's do it. Everybody was bought in. We believed in him 100 percent, and he believed in us.

Q. I just wanted to ask about Malik and how you think he's -- it's hard to ask before a game because then everything changes, but how do you think he's recovered from the last two games? I know 10-0, you guys had such a great season, and then obviously he was sub-par, but it's more than a quarterback, know what I mean, that makes a team sub-par, and Clemson is a great team, but how do you think he's doing now after that?
BRAXTON BERRIOS: Like you said, he didn't lose the game, we lost the game, and I think that's something we've been trying to stress. He doesn't need to carry that weight. The game of football is how it is. You can have great games and have good games and you're going to have sub-par games. That's just how it is. Obviously it's unfortunate that those two games ended the season that way, and the wrong people had those sub-par games at the wrong time, but at the end of the day we're 10-2. I don't think anybody would have told you we'd be 10-2 with three of our stars on offense missing. It is what it is. I don't think he's worried about it. I don't think he's concerned about it. It's in the past. Now it's, what, three weeks back. You can't hold on to stuff that long in football.

Q. And the difference, if you win this game, I'm asking everybody that, the difference it makes going into next season.
BRAXTON BERRIOS: Well, it always really rolls over into the other season, whether you win or lose. The momentum is going to carry if you win. Obviously it helps for reasons bigger than this game. It helps for recruiting. It helps us get an 11-win season that we haven't seen in forever, and an Orange Bowl victory. Obviously a win would be huge in so many different ways.

But that's what we want. That's what we want. We're not trying to think about what-ifs because that's what in our mind is going to happen. We've just got to go out there and play like it.

Q. Obviously the bowl game will set up the team for the future, and you are a big part of that and your class. How bright is the future or will there be some more growing pains? There's always growing pains, but what do you see?
BRAXTON BERRIOS: Yeah, but if you ask any other team if 10-2 is a growing pain, I don't think they would say so. Maybe that's because we're spoiled here at Miami or have been here in the past with how our history is. But I don't think 10-2 is a growing pain.

Q. Well, the growing pain the last two games.
BRAXTON BERRIOS: Yeah, and that'll happen. I don't care who you are. You're going to have bad games. It happens. You see it across the board. Even look at the last National Championship. Somewhere along the line Clemson last year lost to Pittsburgh at Clemson. Bad games is going to happen. There's no ceiling for this team. I mean, with where we're at right now, and that's with missing some key guys and our recruiting class and the young guys finally getting a season under their belt, whether they redshirted or they played on special teams, whatever it was. Just sharpening those tools and being able to come in and play in the spring and in the fall and have the young guys ready to play. I mean, there's no ceiling for us. There's really not. And I'm really excited. It means a lot to us and our senior class that we started at 6-7, and we're leaving here at hopefully 11-2, and I think that is a tremendous change, and each year we've gotten better. We went from 6-7, 8-5 to 9-4 to hopefully 11-2. Like I told our guys at the banquet, I believe that makes us one of the most successful senior classes in the last decade and a half because every year we've gotten better.

I think it means a lot to really all of us seniors to try to go out on top, A, but really try to turn that next page to where 10-3 -- 9-4, 10-3 is good, but 9-4 to 11-2, Orange Bowl champions, is even better.

Q. Have you been able to watch N'Kosi in practice?
BRAXTON BERRIOS: Yeah, and he drills and routes and stuff. He'll get thrown in the mix, obviously.

Q. Talk about his arm and his athleticism.
BRAXTON BERRIOS: No, his arm, I think, is by far the strongest on the team. It whizzes when it goes by you. Sometimes he's got to learn if it's a four-yard under route, say, maybe take a little bit off of that for some guys. It's tough. But again, he has a strong arm, and he'll learn completely how to use it. But strong arm, he's getting a lot better with the offense. It's hard to expect a guy coming in this summer to just pick everything up and run with it. It's tough. But next year, year after, I don't see absolutely any problems with it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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