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December 30, 2009

Tim Brewster

Lee Campbell

Nick Tow-Arnett


THE MODERATOR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, on behalf of the Insight Bowl; our chairman, Alan Young; our President and C.E.O., John Junker; our team selection committee chairman, Steve Whiteman; and our 3,000 volunteers, it is my pleasure and my honor to welcome the Minnesota Golden Gophers to the Insight Bowl. We will ask Coach Brewster to make an opening statement. And then we will throw it open for questions. The student-athletes will not make an opening statement. Tim, all yours.
COACH BREWSTER: Again, we would like to thank Insight Enterprises, John Junker and the Insight Bowl committee for inviting the Minnesota Golden Gophers to a beautiful place, to Phoenix, Arizona, and we've had a great week. Our players have really enjoyed it. I think the focus has been outstanding. The focus has been on the game.
We've been here before, and we really look forward to the game tomorrow night.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by linebacker Lee Campbell and tight end Nick Tow-Arnett.

Q. How big, generally speaking, do you think your offensive line is? And do you think that's a spot where you have a little bit of an advantage?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, we've had some inconsistency offensively and we've had some inconsistency up front. Those guys have worked hard.
We've had -- the Bowl preparation has been good. Our guys are big. Our right tackle is a large man, and he's 3-plus, and most of our other guys are probably 300 pounds or better. So we have good size in the offensive line.

Q. Can you talk about just the mind-set of some of the younger guys and how they're taking the preparation? Obviously, a win would mean a lot for them going into next season as far as something positive as opposed to obviously what happened last year with the five straight losses going into the off-season with that.
LEE CAMPBELL: You know, I think it is critical that a lot of the younger guys are looking up to the seniors, and I think the seniors have done a great job emphasizing how important this game really is.
We have been here two times before, and we've lost both times. And we really -- we really feel these seniors need to go out not only for ourselves but for this program and for the steps we want to take in the future.
NICK TOW-ARNETT: Yeah, we talked to the younger guys about it. We kinda stressed that this is like the first game of next year for them, and getting a win in a Bowl game, you can ride that momentum through spring and have that confidence going into next year, that you can start off on the right foot instead of starting off losing the last couple games.
So the game is huge.

Q. Coach, I mean, obviously you want to win this game. It will give you above a .500 record against a tougher schedule than you had last year. But in terms of going forward, what happens tomorrow? How will that affect your team next year when you start spring practice when you get ready for training camp? Does it really have an impact going forward what happens in this game?
COACH BREWSTER: Well, again, I look at this as the second season. This is a second season. It is a one-game season.
People have asked me whether or not winning the Bowl game would validate the season. Our season doesn't need validation. We're a 6-6 football team that lost some tough games, won some tough games, hard-fought games.
This is an opportunity to play one game, and it is one game. It's no more than one game. But it is also a game in which we want to pour everything we have into.
There is nothing to save. There is no game next week. We've had great preparation, and our expectation is to win the football game. But that's been our expectation for every game that we play.

Q. What are your thoughts on Iowa State?
COACH BREWSTER: I've got great respect for Paul Rhoads. I have known Paul for a long time.
They brought the right guy home to the state of Iowa. He brings great energy, great enthusiasm for the job at Iowa State. I just got tremendous respect for him.
And then his staff that he's put together, Wally Burnham, is a guy I have known forever, one of the great defensive coaches in college football today. Nobody's more experienced than Wally is.
Tom Herman baby-sitted my children when he was a younger football coach, a GA for us at the University of Texas. He's put together a heck of a staff. They're doing some unique things offensively with the spread, the spread option. Defensively, they've got a good pressure package and we'll have to do a good job of handling it.
As you can see going from two wins last year to six wins this year, they're headed in the right direction.

Q. Just to follow up on that, when you watch film of Iowa State, do they remind you of any of your opponents this year?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, again, the spread offense, we see that quite a bit. We've seen it a number of times. We were primarily a spread offensive football team our first two years at Minnesota.
So we understand the spread. We understand what they're trying to do defensively. So there's not a lot of surprises there.
They've studied us extremely hard. We've studied them extremely hard. What we've got to do is when you've got 15 days or longer to prepare for an opponent, you've got to do a great job of adjusting to the unknown. They will have a few wrinkles for us in this game. We're going to have a few wrinkles for them. How do you adjust to those wrinkles is going to be big.

Q. Nick, do you feel like the offense has something to prove in this game? Just the last couple games being shut out of the end zone?
NICK TOW-ARNETT: Yeah, definitely. The last couple games offensively haven't went the way we would like them to. But the good thing is we have played well before, so we know we can do it.
We have had a lot of time to sit back and look at what we got to change and get going and just build the momentum up and come out there and have a strong offensive performance.

Q. Alexander Robinson is kind of the cog that gets everything going for the Cyclone offense. What have you seen on him from film? How do you go about trying to stop him?
COACH BREWSTER: He is a really good back. He is a Minnesota-born-and-bred young man. Obviously he is going to be very excited to play his home state school in this game.
He brings great toughness to the position. He's a thousand-yard rusher. He is a go-to guy for their offense. I think that's where it starts with us defensively, is doing a good job against Robinson, you know, and handling him.
They're averaging 180 yards rushing a game. From a spread set, that's outstanding. I mean, that's really a good job of running the football.
And so I think again that's where it all starts. He's their bell cow on the offensive side of the ball and we've got to do a great job, particularly on first and second down.

Q. The Iowa State coach was talking about how they wanted to get over the "wow" factor. They were going to take the kids over to the stadium today to get them acclimated. You have been here before, last year. You guys have been here three times. Do you think that gives you an advantage heading into the game?
LEE CAMPBELL: I think it gives us an excellent advantage. We have been past that "wow" factor. Just from the standpoint of most of the seniors on this team and the leadership, we mean business. We're here to get the win and to do whatever it takes. We've had 15 great practices, and our guys are really excited to play tomorrow.
NICK TOW-ARNETT: Definitely, like Lee said, we have been here before. Been in the stadium. Played in the stadium a couple times. Obviously coming in there, we will not be looking around "oohing" and "ahhing." We have already been there. So, yeah, we should come out and play strong.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Best of luck tomorrow.

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