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December 29, 2017

Dimitri Flowers

Pasadena, California

Q. What are your impressions of him?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: He's a great player. He deserves the award, every bit of it. He plays hard, runs around a lot and covers a lot of ground.

Q. What have you seen from him?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Usually watching film, you see either linebackers that are either really physical or they're really fast, but he's a very unique mix of both, and I think that's what makes him a special player is that right there.

Q. What's it been like with Baker being under the weather?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: You know, you can address that with Coach Riley. I'm really not able to speak about that topic right now.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Like I said, you're going to have to ask Coach Riley tomorrow at Media Day about that.

Q. What have you thought of being out in California and doing all the things prior to the Rose Bowl?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Oh, it's amazing. You know, you hear about how special this game is, and I'm really starting to experience it firsthand. It's one of a kind. It's unlike any other bowl that I've been to since I've been here. But I love it so far. It's a great experience.

Q. What kind of things have you gotten to do?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Yesterday at the Beef Bowl I got to do the opening cut. I think I did a really, really good job at it, so I'd say that would be my favorite thing.

Q. How would you describe your role on this team?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Kind of just a jack-of-all-trades is what I'd say. Whatever Coach Riley asks me to do, I'm going to go out there and do to the best of my ability. You know, he just has a lot of trust in me to do a lot of different things, and I appreciate that about him.

Q. It's an interesting game in that both teams use the fullback, but you are a very different sort of fullback. Do you think about that sort of contrast?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Oh, I do. I'm not used like a lot of fullbacks in the country, and that just goes to a tribute to Coach Riley and how smart he is on the offensive side of the ball. It's kind of crazy to see that we play the same position but do two almost totally different things.

Q. Is it a little bit of a fraternity, the fullback position?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Oh, I consider myself a fullback, definitely.

Q. (Indiscernible).
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Absolutely. Georgia has some great running backs and they do different things, and we know we have a great group of running backs and we do a whole bunch of different things, so it's going to be interesting to see what goes on on Monday.

Q. (Indiscernible).
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I'd say so. You know, a lot of it has been who has the hot hand in each game in my opinion, and we just roll with it from there. We all practice almost the same amount every week, so it's whoever makes less mistakes, whoever goes out there and wanting to get the job done.

Q. Four straight games without a turnover --
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Oh, God, you had to bring it up, huh?

Q. Longest streak in over a decade for Oklahoma. What do you do to prevent turnovers?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: We preach ball security. Every practice we do different types of drills to prevent turnovers from happening, and that's just one thing Coach Riley has stressed since he's been here is ball security.

Q. Everybody has got sort of a close relationship with their position coach, but it does seem like they have something (indiscernible). I'm wondering (indiscernible).
DIMITRI FLOWERS: You know, it's a very, very great relationship. The two, they're together almost every day going on three years now. I think when you're with someone that amount of time, you see them that much, you're going to develop a special relationship. And they really do have a special relationship between the two.

Q. Have you ever counted up how many different areas and places you've lined up during a game?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Someone -- yeah, someone once, and it was like eight or something like that in a game. I really had to think, and then I really counted it out, and I really was in eight different spots. I think that was the most I've gotten.

Q. Is it also learning maybe what a tight end does to a certain degree?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Oh, absolutely. With me lining up all over the place and doing these different things, I have to talk to Coach Bedenbaugh, our line coach, I have to talk to Coach Gundy, who's the inside receivers coach. I have to talk to all the different coaches to get the right feedback that I need.

Q. (Indiscernible).
DIMITRI FLOWERS: It was fun. It was a fun time. We really did well in that package besides the K-State game, but they did some things that we weren't expecting. But it was fun. You don't see a lot of fullbacks getting back there and being able to do that.

Q. Did you come to Oklahoma knowing that was going to be the way you were going to be used?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I really came to Oklahoma under the impression being Trey Miller, and that was who Coach Heupel, at the time who was the OC, that's really what he sold me on was that role and watching film and just seeing Trey and all the different things that he was doing that made me really want to be here.

Q. (Indiscernible).
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Up there with the best of them. You know, Big 12 has some great linebackers, but he won that award for a reason. Like I mentioned earlier, he's a special combination of speed and physicality, and you don't see that a lot.

Q. (Indiscernible).
DIMITRI FLOWERS: That's the thing. We just have to have awareness on the offensive side of the ball. He makes a lot of plays, and I feel like in order for us to be successful, we're going to have to make sure we know where he is.

Q. As a true freshman (indiscernible) how do you buy into a young quarterback?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I think it starts with the coaches. You have to see the coaches have confidence in the young player, and once you see the coaches, I believe that it leaves it up to the rest of the players. If you want to win, you have to buy in, and that's what it comes down to.

Q. At what point did you buy into Baker?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: The moment he got here, just his work ethic and all the extra stuff he did.

Q. Anyone else you'd rather have in a game like this?

Q. What makes him so special?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: His competitiveness. He doesn't want to lose. Nobody wants to lose. But it's very evident on him, and that's what I really appreciate about him.

Q. He's not here today; (indiscernible)?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I'm not able -- you can talk to Coach Riley about that tomorrow.

Q. Everybody is trying to crack you.
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Yeah, it's not happening.

Q. How important is he to the run game considering the defense is probably going to be locked in?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I mean, it's going to be huge. Every game in order to be successful you have to establish the run, and in a game like this especially, that's something we're going to have to do.

Q. Is that something that you and the running backs have been working on specifically to ensure that happens?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: You know, nothing specifically. We're just really trying to focus in on knowing what the defense is going to do, and if you can get a good idea about that, you have a good chance to be successful.

Q. (Indiscernible).
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Oh, absolutely. You know, it's almost like they kind of have a relationship because you'll catch them at times finishing the sentences, and you kind of just laugh it off, but it's truly something special.

Q. Do you have any favorite stories about them together or anything that's funny?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Not really anything funny. I mean, they do a lot of stuff. They're just always in their -- literally they're in their own world.

Q. Have you ever seen them get after each other a little bit?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Not really. I'd say it's definitely mutual. If Baker throws an interception in practice or something like that, he knew he messed up, but when you've been playing for that long, it's just here's what I did, and now I'm not going to do it anymore or something like that.

Q. Do you remember kind of their relationship at the outset when he first got here, how that relationship has maybe matured?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Oh, absolutely. Three years ago Baker was in a position battle, so the relationship was really -- Coach Riley was trying to get everyone ready, and now we know Baker is our guy, so it's definitely transitioned since then.

Q. Oklahoma hasn't won a National Championship since 2001. What would it mean to play for a national title?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Absolutely. I still have the taste in my mouth from two years ago when we lost in the final game, and to know that I was that close but never got to feel it, that's stuck in my head since then.

Q. So many teams talk about winning a National Championship since the beginning of the season but yet they fall short. (Indiscernible).
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I think it's how close this team is. When you look at this team, offense, defense, special teams, it's really a cohesive group, and I feel like going through all the stuff that we've been through, all the hard workouts, all the long practices, two-a-days, we got so close that we're not going to let anything stop us.

Q. Do you feel a different demeanor this team has compared to going into the playoff in 2015?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I think so. I'd say this team is a lot closer in my opinion. Like I mentioned earlier, it's just all the stuff that we went through together that really made this group stick.

Q. A lot of guys talk about kind of fighting through distractions, kind of learning how to do that. There were so many that people didn't really -- weren't prepared for that year. I noticed guys clowning around yesterday, hamming it up for the cameras. Is there more of a serious approach?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Absolutely. We're here to enjoy our time in California, but ultimately we're here to win a game. That's what we've preached all week, and that's what we are going to continue to preach until we do that. We addressed that in team meetings before we even got here that we need to know why we're here.

Q. (Indiscernible).
DIMITRI FLOWERS: How to handle the distractions. That would be the best way to put it. There's a lot of things that didn't go right that season or even in the game, there were some distractions that we didn't handle well, and myself included. I had a personal foul that killed a drive in that. You can say that I'm more eager than anyone on the team to get back out there in this playoff. But we're handling things so much better now is what I feel like.

Q. In 2015 you kind of had low expectations, about as low as they can be for a playoff team. This year you guys (indiscernible) has it taken a maturity?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: You know, it could. I think it really just starts at the top with our coaches and just knowing that we're at the top, and we're going to get everyone's best every time we play them, and that's how we went into every game.

Q. Is Coach Riley more of a meeting guy?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I'd say so. I would say so. Coach Riley definitely holds a lot of meetings, and even when Coach Stoops was head coach, we had a lot of offensive meetings just to address stuff, not just let it play out. Let's just address it.

Q. Does that kind of show you that he really has a pulse on what's going on?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I'd say so. Bob was a great coach and all that, but Coach Riley definitely, I feel like he understands. He can get the vibes of the team is what I feel like.

Q. If somebody told you on June 6th that Coach Stoops was going to retire and Coach Riley was going to take you guys to the playoffs, what would you have thought?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I wouldn't have been shocked, honestly. I don't think I would have been. We have so much talent on this team, and Coach Riley is a great coach, and we knew that from his two years as offensive coordinator. I mean, I guess it would have been a shock that Coach Stoops retired, but for us to be in the playoffs, I don't think it would have been.

Q. Does it even register with you the fact that he was 33 when he took over?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Not in our minds. To us he's the authority figure, and in our minds that's what the authority figure is.

Q. (Indiscernible).
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I think it would be very different. You know, a lot of times we're very casual on the field instead of just that uptight, strict. I feel like that really helps us go, as well.

Q. You talked about the bond of the team. It's interesting when you look at that 2015 team because you had so many key pieces. Do you think that's been a big key to this team, that you guys not just were young but you guys were young and becoming --
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Oh, absolutely. You look at that and we're the only ones that I've experienced during that game, and we can speak on it because we were there first hand, we played in that game and we know what it's going to take.

Q. If there's a bullet point list, top three things that you tell young guys.
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Handle the distractions, stay focused, and know why you're here are the three things that I'd say. Like I said earlier, we're here for a week, and we do all these interesting events and fun events, but at the same time, our last day is Monday and we have a game that day.

Q. Is this the best defense you guys have faced?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I'd say it's one of the best for sure. We've faced a couple great defenses, but there's a whole bunch of special pieces on this Georgia defense.

Q. What does that mean for this offense?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: It means we're excited. We're excited to go out there and see what we can do against one of the best defenses in the nation.

Q. Is it okay to surmise that if Oklahoma is going to win this thing, at the end of the day there will be (indiscernible)?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I mean, I feel like if you outscore anyone, you win the game. It's just one of those things. We have to outscore them, then let's put up more points than them.

Q. Did you notice the reaction after the OSU game, the fact that you guys won maybe wasn't the top headline? What was your reaction to that?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I mean, I'm sure my reaction was different because I was on the offensive side of the ball, but we were fine. We knew as a team we had to fix some loose edges, but at the end of the day, we won the game, and we knew we had room to improve.

Q. Philosophically that's what the Big 12 is. The SEC is kind of like what Georgia is. Is one better than the other?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: You know, that's a very interesting thing because I feel like there's some great defenses in the Big 12, and I feel like there's some great offenses in the SEC. So I really wouldn't pinpoint one being better than the other. They just have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Q. Who are those defenses that you think might measure up with Georgia?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: From the teams we play, Ohio State is up there, TCU is a great defense. So I mean, I'd say those two are definitely up there.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: No, you can't. I think you have to be physical to win any game. You look at years past and the games we've lost, we haven't been the most disciplined team.

Q. Is that something that is easy to see for you guys?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Absolutely. You know, after those games where you're not the most physical, you know right away you don't even need to watch film, but that's one of those things, too, where we've preached that all year. We preach that year in, day in, day out, camp, first game, that we need to be the most physical team to win.

Q. Do you know what games you've played where when it's been over --
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Oh, absolutely, the one that sticks in mind was 2015 Clemson. They were just more physical than us, and the scoreboard obviously represented that.

Q. Is that something that usually shows up as the game wears along? You don't just go out and get dominated by another team, it's kind of a slow grind.
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Oh, it is. You know, it's just over time, I mean, I believe we were winning the game at half against Clemson, and then that second half, we just -- the wheels started to fall off the bus and stuff went downhill. But we've learned a lot from that. We have seven or eight starters that played on that team that are back here again.

Q. (Indiscernible).
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Like I said, you're going to have to talk to Coach Riley about that tomorrow. I can't crack.

Q. Are you curious to see how you'll translate to the NFL? I know when Trey was leaving (indiscernible)?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: Yes. You know, whatever happens happens. I'm just excited to get to play in the Rose Bowl. I want to focus on that first.

Q. You don't think about that at all?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: No. I've still got a couple more games left here.

Q. (Indiscernible) what went through your head?
DIMITRI FLOWERS: I can only answer this one question. Initially I thought it wasn't true whatsoever, and we're just glad the situation is behind us.

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