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December 2, 2019

Billy Napier

Boone, North Carolina

HEAD COACH BILLY NAPIER: Very excited for our players and staff and all the people that touch our organization. You know, got hundreds of people that have done a tremendous job this year. For us to have opportunity to create history Saturday, a tenth win, first time in the history of the school.

Certainly a great group of seniors that have done a tremendous job of leading. It was awesome to have those guys to have a positive memory their last time at Cajun Field, and certainly we enjoyed that Saturday night, and we've got tons of respect for Coach Viator and the football team.

A lot of seniors there on that team that played some good football for them. They competed, certainly played really physical and tough in the game. Really respect the way they competed and certainly their program and what they get out of their players. It was one heck of a football game and very proud of our staff, and our players to have that type of experience.

We're excited about this week. We've been off and running. Put the game to bed pretty quickly on Sunday and been working hard on the Championship Game. It's a great opportunity. We're excited about representing the Western Division and certainly be second year in a row of going and playing on the road against Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina. I think the Championship Game has been awesome for our conference.

Certainly a lot of respect for all the work that went into this format. I think as we have experienced this league the last two years, we have seen the positives of the Eastern and Western Division formats, the Championship Game. I know Karl Benson worked really hard on that, and I feel like it's been a home run. We look forward to it, and excited about working really hard this week to put together a good plan.

Q. Go back to the first game you guys played, it was ab uncharacteristic result for both of you guys, low-scoring, a lot of defensive plays and field position. What do you make of that first match-up, and does that have any effect coming into this one?
HEAD COACH BILLY NAPIER: I think both teams in my opinion, after having a couple days to really take a look at them overall as a team, I think both of these football teams have improved since that game.

I think they have improved in a lot of areas, offense, defense, and in the kicking game. I think both teams have some young players that have emerged and started to play a little bit more consistent and have bigger roles on the team.

You know, I think that at that point in the year, it just turned out to be that type of game. I think defensively, both teams played really well. I think once it became that type of game, I think Eliah and would agree, probably called the game a little differently. Come in with a little bit of a conception about what type of game it's going to be and once you get into it, certainly the dynamics change. It's going to be a great opportunity to compete.

I think this is an exceptional football with a lot of veteran players that have played in a lot of big games. Certainly when you play them up at their place, there's a number of challenges that go with that. I think our team has made improvement. We're excited about the opportunity to win a college championship.

I think we all would agree when we first got here and started working two years ago, if we had the opportunity to play for a conference championship in our second year, we would take it.

So we look forward to the grind this week, enjoying this process of getting ready and that's where our focus is at right now.

Q. You guys have really been on a roll since that game. Has anything changed this past month, plus, in terms of what you guys are doing really well?
HEAD COACH BILLY NAPIER: I think we have made incremental improvements on our time. I think each week as a team, you're evolving, you're adapting, you're adjusting. There's so many people that affect a football team, and everyone's focused on improving their role, and that's what we have spent our time on.

You know, not necessarily what we wanted to accomplish, but what we needed to do, to make improvement. I think we have seen lots of young players gain more confidence, get better from a fundamental standpoint.

I think overall as a team, we're communicating much better. I think we've got better poise. We're playing with much better discipline to execute in critical moments. You know, we've made some necessary changes, and I think everybody in the building, you know, has really gotten better at their role relative to the team.

So even the people that maybe have a minor role that don't even play, you know, I think have contributed to our improvement. And it's going to be the same approach this week. You know, got to get better. Everyone's got to kind of accept their role this week and do the best job they can to affect the team.

Q. You've had this opportunity before, preparing for a Championship Game, and how do you take away in previous -- whether it's Clemson or Alabama, what goes into the lead-up into the Championship Game?
HEAD COACH BILLY NAPIER: I think you're exactly right. I mean, they all want to play well once the ball's kicked off. I think the important thing is taking a good look at each day between now and then, being very specific about the task that you need to accomplish each day, having some points of emphasis with your team, with your position group, with each player. Trying to create some urgency and intensity on some specific thing you're going to affect in the game and not get caught up in the emotion of the game and be a competitor once the game gets there.

The only way to do that is if you prepare the right way, you know, you can go play with confidence, and that's certainly the objective this week.

Q. Mentioning Alabama, the staff that you're on, there's three coaches with championship opportunities this year at Oregon and FMU. How much are you maybe to feed after another now in head coaching roles, if you're able to, in the off-season or during the season?
HEAD COACH BILLY NAPIER: I think it's a great point that you make. Sometimes people ask you about working with Coach Saban at Alabama and certainly was a tremendous experience. I learned a lot from him specifically.

But what detail you overlook is all the talented people that maybe you get a chance to be around while you there. In every area of the organization, there's some really exceptional people there, great position coaches, great coordinators, certainly great people in the training room and in the weight room in recruiting and a lot of these people have gotten opportunities to go elsewhere and kind of put their spin on it, and that's been great to have conversations with a number of those people that I've worked about maybe how they tweak that blueprint and make it their own, or maybe an opinion they have about how they have made it better.

There's been lots of conversations over the last two years, in particular, about where they maybe have tweaked the blueprint a little bit and it's been a good thing. Certainly we've done that here. Kind of made it our own. We've got tons of input from the coaches and support staff that we have here. But I think you make a great point there that all those people that you've got relationships are a great resource for you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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