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HEART OF DALLAS BOWL: UNLV v NORTH TEXAS


December 31, 2013


Bobby Hauck

Dan McCarney

Brant Ringler


ARLINGTON, TEXAS

THE MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  Before we bring our head coaches up, I'd like to introduce Heart of Dallas Bowl executive, Brant Ringler, who will make a few opening comments.
BRANT RINGLER:¬† Thank you very much.¬† Thank you, everybody, for being here today.¬† We're very excited about our match‑up.¬† As you guys know, ESPN took over this bowl game in the middle of September and we couldn't be more pleased with how things have come together for us over the last three to four months.
We really need to thank the Cotton Bowl, the city of Dallas, our friends here at the Cotton Bowl, Roland and Greg and Nicholas, and their teams that have made it very easy for us to work with in putting this game together.¬† So I want to thank them especially.¬† Speaking of teams, we've got two great teams that are with us tomorrow and on the field with UNLV and North Texas.¬† We're excited about this match‑up.
These teams have turned the corner with their programs.¬† You have a 7‑5 UNLV and an 8‑4 North Texas.¬† No one picked them to be in a bowl game this year, and they've proven everybody wrong.¬† It's going to be a really good match‑up, we know, on the field tomorrow.¬† And these head coaches that are in the front of the program that you're going to talk to here in a second, couldn't be better guys.¬† Just really enjoy working with them.¬† Have enjoyed working with their administration.¬† I go back a little bit with Tina at UNLV, and it's been a pleasure seeing her, and I'm glad you're here, Tina.¬† And Rick has been awesome to work with over at UNT as well.
I'm just excited overall.¬† I think the match‑up is perfect.¬† I think we're going to see a hell of a game tomorrow, and I just can't wait to get it going.
THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by Heart of Dallas coaches Dan McCarney and Bobby Hauck.  We'll begin with opening statements from both coaches and then questions from the floor.  Coach Hauck, since you're the visitor, we'll let you go first.
COACH HAUCK:  Great, thanks, Brant, for having us, and Pete, and all the people at ESPN for getting us into this game.  We're obviously very enthused to be here in Dallas and playing New Year's Day in the Cotton Bowl is certainly a big thing for everyone involved with UNLV football.
It's obvious we have a great opponent in North Texas.  Coach McCarney has done such a great job there in getting his team to this game.  We were here a few weeks ago in this very room and didn't know much about each other, and after a month of preparation, we certainly know a whole bunch about the other team, and it's time to play.  We know we've got our hands full with them.  I know our team will be ready to play and excited for the challenge.  We've got our hands full with North Texas.  We're excited about the game and can't wait to play tomorrow.
COACH McCARNEY:¬† Thanks.¬† Congratulations one more time.¬† Great year, buddy.¬† Appreciate getting a chance to coach against you.¬† This is a real first‑class guy over here, and we're going to be trying to beat each other's butts tomorrow, we all know that, on national television on ESPN.¬† But this is a real, real classy football coach, and he's running a great program and build built it the right way. ¬†There are certain guys in the profession, unless you have to coach against them on game day, which I do tomorrow, you cheer for them and pull for them, and Bobby Hauck is one of those guys.
Thanks to Brant Ringler again, ESPN, and all the people involved giving us this opportunity.  I'm sure not less impressed than the last time we met with the media down here.  I'm sure a lot more impressed with UNLV now that we've had a lot of time breaking them down, evaluating them, looking at their season, looking at the finish of their season and how strong they finished and the great things that they did.  This makes, I think, for a great bowl game tomorrow.
It's just so special.  It's the holiday season, but for both of our universities and our athletic departments and our football programs, we get to be part of the bowl season.
I'm sure Bobby felt the same way as we did today.  We're out there doing walk-throughs out at the Cotton Bowl, and you start thinking about the unbelievable players and coaches and teams that have come through this stadium, and we get to be a part of it, North Texas and UNLV, a pretty special opportunity.
We do own shirts and ties, Bobby and I.  We didn't get together and say are we going to masquerade as gentlemen or just come from practice and dress the way we did.  But it's kind of nice to be relaxed and comfortable.  So open it up for questions.

Q.  Bobby, you played a lot of pressure games just to get to this point.  It seemed like every game was almost a playoff game.  Now that you're here you obviously want to win while you're here.  Do you feel like either win or lose tomorrow the season will be pretty much the same success?
COACH HAUCK:¬† Yeah, you want to get into that last game and you always want to win the last one.¬† That is the way this works.¬† You never want to head into the off‑season with that bad taste in your mouth.¬† But certainly when you look at the body of work as a whole and what our team accomplished compared to what had gone on the previous 13 years at UNLV, for us to be playing on New Year's Day against a terrific opponent, it's a successful season.¬† It would be more successful, certainly, with a win tomorrow.

Q. If you were writing a job recommendation for Zach Orr, what would you tell NFL general managers about this guy?
COACH McCARNEY:¬† Well, I mean, as Bobby and I both know, the joy of this job is getting to be around young men like the young men that are going to represent us when they come up here and answer your questions when we get out of here and leave after we have our question‑and‑answer period.¬† You just talk about character, you talk about pride, you talk about loyalty, you talk about doing everything the right way, how about three years since I've been here with him, in three years never had one issue with him on or off the field.¬† Whether he disagrees or agrees with all the decisions I've made to try to change the culture and change this program around at North Texas, he's had my back and I've had his.¬† Just an amazing young man.
How about this:  30 years ago tomorrow his dad played in the Cotton Bowl for the Texas Longhorns.  Talk about pretty special and how things happen sometimes.  God works in strange ways sometimes.
Ryan Boutwell, my defensive lineman, probably the smallest defensive lineman I've coached in my career, his dad played for Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.  So you get these ties and the family and tradition and through the years, and it will be really easy to talk about Zach Orr.  If anything, he's left a much stronger impression and greater legacy with us in our program than we have with him.  Hopefully, we've had a positive impact on his life, but he's had such a major impact on all of our lives.  Whether he makes it in the NFL or not, if I was a betting man, which I'm not, he will make it in the NFL and he'll play just like his dad did for a number of years.  He's left a great legacy, and the right way to do things and such a great role model.  We'll be talking about Zach Orr for many, many years to come about how to do it on and off the field.

Q.  Jumping off what we talked about there, when you look at North Texas, it always seems to start with the defense.  When you've broken down tape and film and all of that, what is it about the other side of the ball that kind of makes them go?
COACH HAUCK:  Well, like all of Coach's teams that I've been familiar with, they're going to beat you up a little bit and run the ball successfully.  Going back to the Iowa State days where we had games where they ran it up and down the field on us and we couldn't stop them, and this team has taken on that personality.
They're going to be physical on the offensive side as well as the defensive side.¬† They're going to run the ball and insist on it.¬† Then when you start to try to gang up on it, they'll beat you over the top.¬† They've got a good play‑action game.¬† They've got dynamic wide receivers that can make plays.¬† So you've got your hands full on both sides of the coin with their offense.

Q.  What would you put the chances that Frank Crawford might play tomorrow?  I know he's been practicing.
COACH HAUCK:  Yeah, he's going to try.  He's not a hundred percent, so we'll see how he warms up tomorrow.  If he feels good and the adrenaline gets going, maybe he'll get a few plays, but that would probably be it.

Q.¬† Fair to call it a game‑time decision?
COACH HAUCK:  Yeah.  That would be fair.

Q.  Can you just discuss your decision to go with the names on the back of the jerseys for the game tomorrow?
COACH HAUCK:  Yeah, we just told them when we went to a bowl game we'd put them on there.

Q.  Is that when you first came in?
COACH HAUCK:  Yeah.

Q.  You were playing your best football at the end of the season.  Are you concerned about such a layoff with continuing the momentum going?
COACH HAUCK:  Yeah, a little bit.  I mean, that's always the thing with the New Year's Day game or a late December game.  You don't want to get stale.  You want to keep your team fresh.  One of the things is to get done with finals week and get into bowl preparation, get everybody healthy and then go have some good practices.  We were able to have some physical days and in preparation for a physical opponent, we had some really good padded practices.
Our young guys got a lot of work, and hopefully we'll be really sharp.  I think our preparation has been good.  We followed a template that some of the staff had used in the past years for different games, and hopefully it works.

Q.  Dan, last time you coached against UNLV it was such a bizarre finish.  What do you recall from that game?
COACH McCARNEY:  Cyclones won.  That was about it.  Just happy we won.  I got to coach against John Robinson out of UNLV.  I have a stronger memory of that first time because when we went out there, I won't bore you with the details of the whole thing, but anyway.  The stadium was a beautiful stadium, beautiful stadium, great setting.  It was under construction at the time, refurbishing, remodelling, rebuilding the whole thing.  So getting ready to go and first of all, the clock's not working.  So the officials told me the clock's not working.  Kind of hard to run the football game.  Better get the clock going.  Finally got that going.
As we came out from pre‑game warm‑up and we get off the field, we go in there and talk to our teams and come out on the field, and our phones aren't working now.¬† So we can't communicate with anybody.¬† We can't talk to anybody.¬† We're trying to talk, trying to talk, nothing, nothing, nothing.¬† So I'm out on the hash mark with the officials and I'm going, listen, if our phones don't work, they've got to take their phones off.¬† He goes, well, I'm not sure about that.¬† I said, well, listen, that's exactly what should happen.¬† We don't have any communication with the box, they should take their phones off.
So they went and huddled and talked and said, no, it's a gentleman's agreement, not an NCAA rule.  So at that time I was going about half berserk because I can't talk to anybody in the box.
He said, Coach, we're going to start this game.  You better get off the field, we're going to start this football game.  I backed up.  There were two telephones, they looked like they were from 1956.  My offensive coordinator got on one telephone, pulled the receiver off.  My defensive coordinator got on the phone, we're talking and they're holding telephones the whole game.  We were able to win the game.  Got a shutout that day, so I hope the damn phones don't work tomorrow in the Cotton Bowl.
But anyway, it was two different games, two different head coaches from UNLV, great respect for them.  But clearly Bobby Hauck's done the best job in recent years and recent memory in a long time turning that program around.

Q.  The fans have been great for UNT this year, and you guys have a great opportunity being so close to home in this bowl game.  What are you hoping from the fans here tomorrow?  Are you hoping for a good turnout?
COACH McCARNEY:  Yeah, great turnout, I hope.  Bobby mentioned it when we were here last time I had a press conference, we want people in the stands.  It's good for college football.  It's bad for college football when you turn the television on and you see bowl games and there are not many people in the stands because that means there is no interest or they don't care or it's not that important or they're not proud of their university.  Of course they are.  But people have to buy tickets, come to the stands and support their universities.  I hope we'll see a lot of that tomorrow.
We've had a great response.¬† Our students have been the energy and enthusiasm and the heart of our turn around, breaking all the attendance records in the history of North Texas starts with them.¬† There are a whole bunch of them coming tomorrow.¬† They have the A‑train that goes from Denton down to Dallas.¬† I think the manager of one of the A‑trains got together and said why don't we see if we can get some fans that want to go from Denton, go down to the Cotton Bowl, get them dropped off.¬† Don't have to worry about drinking and driving, have a couple beers, have some fun, and they had to order another train because the first one filled up.¬† That's a pretty good idea.
So hopefully there will be lots and lots of people.  There is no excuses, Bobby, as we know for weather tomorrow.  Sunny and 62 January 1st.  There are no excuses.  No ice, no storms, and no rain.  Should be five to ten miles an hour out of the south.  So I'm hoping we'll get tremendous support from North Texas and UNLV fans because it make it's fun for everybody.  ESPN loves that.  They want to see people in the stands.
Then you not only have the opportunity to hopefully leave a great impression with people right now about these two great universities and football programs, but how about the future?  They really care and they support, they're loyal, and then those bowl people for years to come will go, you know what?  UNLV, North Texas had a hell of a football team.  They have a lot of fans.  They really support.  Let's keep them on our check list for bowl games in the future.

Q.  Wonder if you guys can give me three similarities between the two seasons?
COACH HAUCK:¬† Yeah, both of us got off to a little bit of a slow start and then played very well.¬† I think Coach would agree we both played our best football down the stretch.¬† We have had players on both sides of the ball that have kind of emerged as go‑to people, whether it's Devante Davis who is not necessarily a marquee player for us or the Chancellor kid for them who has just done things all over the field.
Beyond that I think the styles are very similar in terms of attitude and approach to the game.
COACH McCARNEY:  I'd say this first.  You have two teams and before the season started no one in American college football or the experts or the prognosticators said anything about UNLV or North Texas.  If they were talking about bowl games or successful seasons or winning seasons they weren't talking about Bobby's team or mine, none of us.  That's a pretty strong similarity.
Number two, it's fun to define the odds.  Fun being up here in front of the media and being proud of two great programs and universities, being really excited about it.  Having players on both of our teams, Bobby's and mine, and never being part of a bowl game before or bowl experience.  So instead of hearing about it and listening to it from their high school teammates that went to other bowl games, they get to experience it.  That's pretty cool stuff.
You have two offenses that I think really, really do a lot of positive things.  There is no question the quarterback from UNLV that you'll hear from in a second is dynamic, athletic and tough.  As Bobby and I know one of the most greatest attributes of a quarterback is toughness.  You'll see two of them tomorrow in that game.  I love the toughness in mine.  I know Bobby loves the toughness in his.  They're darn good players.
Bobby Hauck is one of the best special teams coordinators in the country as an assistant coach for many years, recognized by most of us who understand the game.  And he's still very involved as a head coach at UNLV, so you see lots of positive things going in their special teams.
We may have had the worst college football team in 2012.  Now that's not an overstatement; that's a fact.  I mean pathetic.  We blocked no kicks, get no returns, didn't make a difference.  We didn't get our fans off their rear ends and cheering for their special teams with any big plays last year.  All of a sudden we block eight or nine kicks this year.  Chancellor is Top 10 in the country with punt returns and kick returns.  It's a real major part of our turnaround in the program.  You sure saw that at UNLV the big plays they make.
Then you see a team that doesn't like to beat themselves.  Bobby's team doesn't have many penalties.  They're one of the least penalized teams in college football.  They don't fumble the ball much or turn it over much.  The quarterback doesn't throw many interceptions because he respects the ball, takes care of it.  I've got a quarterback that feels the same way.  So there are lots of similarities.
The neat thing in the end of this whole thing is we just have two great programs that are so proud and so honored and so excited to be here.  So proud and so excited to be here, nobody looking down their nose at anything.  Neither of these teams or coaching staffs or head coaches would rather be anyplace in the country than where we are right now.  That makes for a heck of a football game tomorrow.

Q.  It's been some time since you've been here at Cotton Bowl stadium.  Have there been any differences that you can recollect from your last visit here?
COACH HAUCK:  It's interesting the similarities.  I was here for the '96 Cotton Bowl with Colorado.  We stayed in the same hotel, practiced with SMU.  We were able to pull out the old bowl manual and almost use the same identical schedule.  The team on the other sideline was wearing green.  It's a really interesting deal.  The stadium looks great, the video board.  There have been upgrades to the stadium since I was here last.  You all cooked up a little better weather than the last time too, so nice job.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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