Champs Sports Bowl Kickoff Luncheon Press Conference
Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden
We've had a wonderful pre-workout. I don't think I've ever been to a bowl where the weather was more beautiful and from what I understand it's supposed to continue that way until the ball game. We've had good preparation. I don't think Preston Parker will be able to play and I don't expect Taiwan Easterling to play and even if they were able to play, they haven't practiced. We've done everything we can to prepare and I'm sure they have too, so now it's just a matter of playing the game. I like the contrast of the game, two spread teams playing each other. They have a style that's not like ours and we have a style that's not like there's so it will be a very interesting matchup.
On bringing FSU back to the level of play it was at years ago and how close this team is now:
It can be done. We're not close right now. We are making strides to get back and at least we can say we've been there. Nothing lasts forever and that's something that people don't understand. The 55 years that I've been in coaching, you'll have a team that for six, seven, eight years will have a tremendous cycle, but it doesn't last forever. Notre Dame's didn't last, Alabama's didn't last, Southern Cal's didn't last. I remember seven years ago Southern Cal was looking for a winning season, now they're like Florida. We're not close to that but we're heading that way. This is solved through recruiting. Whoever gets the best players is going to win, that's what I've always felt like, and then you just coach and be solid and sound in your coaching. If I've got better players than you and I don't go out there and throw the game away then I'll just beat you. That's what Florida and Southern Cal are doing right now in my opinion. Oklahoma is doing the same thing and so is Texas. They are all going through their cycle and we're trying to get back into it.
On the significance a ninth win in the bowl game would have:
It speaks for itself . I'd rather win nine than eight. It means were heading in the right direction.
On the similarity of Wisconsin to Boston College:
If they can run the ball like that and pound you like that, then you better not get penalties to help them. I think that last drive that Boston College made on us, we had four penalities that got them first downs and we can't do that. We've been prone to penalties.
Pressing things to address in the offseason:
After this season is over our seniors are gone so we'll want to get a good idea of how the next senior class is going to provide leadership. I think most coaches rely on seniors and I think in most cases its true that successful teams get great senior leadership. You have to count on your seniors and who will be your leaders out of those seniors. Then you go through a strenuous offseason workout to get them in shape and ready for spring training. Through spring training you hope to find out who your starters will be for the next year. Then your back and ready for fall practice. It's the same routine every year.
On Florida State being able to exploit a thin Wisconsin secondary:
We can't count on that because they might not have to use those reserves. We've got areas where were thin too. As long as they stay healthy the thin doesn't count, but if they get a lot of them hurt then that could hurt. If either team gets significant injuries then it could cost them.
On the defense wanting to go out on a good note after the performance at Florida:
We will atone that when we beat Florida. If we beat somebody else, it's not going to make up for that Florida loss. I think trying to finish on a winning note would be very important going into spring training with some momentum and then carrying that into the fall.
On being able to stop the three-headed Wisconsin running game:
We've haven't faced a big back all year. All of a sudden we're facing a big back, which is typical of the Big Ten. There's only one answer and that's tackle, but the question is can we tackle them? If we don't tackle them, they will run up and down the field.
Wisconsin Head Coach Bret Bielema
"We have enjoyed the week in Orlando, especially when we call back home and hear what the weather report is on a daily basis. I think the kids have been able to relax and enjoy the environment here. We have stayed at an absolutely phenomenal hotel in (Rosen) Shingle Creek. We have had a good week of practice, got a little bit of rain on us yesterday, but our guys are excited and ready to hit the ground running tomorrow."
On the perception that Big Ten teams can not compete with the speed and quickness of teams from the south and the west coast, and if he feels Wisconsin needs to change its style to keep up:
Well, it's the same people who told us that when we beat Auburn here three years ago; the same people who told us that two years ago when we beat Arkansas – that we can't do what we can do. Last year, we lost to a Tennessee ballclub that did a great job of executing and we weren't able to do it. I think people tend to focus on the national championship game, which garnishes a lot of attention, but the part that jumps out to me last year – I saw Michigan pretty much handle a Florida team and we beat Michigan earlier in that year. I watched Florida on film, saw the speed and the athletes that they had, and then watched Michigan go out there and do what they did. So you've got to build your argument with all of the facts, not just the ones that you want.
On Florida State's defense and their success on third down (where they lead the nation):
They have been very effective, especially in particular games. The games we tried to feature or look at were teams that were similar to us – the Boston College game jumped out to us right away, a team that kind of runs the same stuff we do. But any time you have success on third down, you are going to be successful overall. There have been games where they haven't been as productive in that category, which resulted in points and a negative outcome on their behalf. But for us to have success, we have to move the chains. That's what we have to do is keep the chains moving. Any time you have the football longer than they do, it increases your chances of scoring more than they do so a couple of things we have to do from an offensive standpoint just involve keeping our offense out there and let our defense stand on the sidelines.
On his offensive line:
Our offensive line has been a strong point for us all year. We've got three seniors in Vanden Heuvel, Kemp and Urbik. I think Urbie has started over 50 games in his career. Unfortunately for him, he got a little bit of a stomach virus this week so he missed a couple days of practice, but those three guys in particular have not only set themselves up for what they have done here in college, but they've got a chance at the next level. Also, the guys behind them – our running backs – have to be able to execute and also our tight ends, those guys have to keep blocking downfield and give us an opportunity for a big play.
On the week of practice in Orlando:
We've been able to get a few guys back. There are a few guys who missed some time when we were back in Madison ... there were as many as seven players this week who were down with a little bit of a stomach virus that was carried over from Wisconsin. We were really affected by that the last few weeks and throughout bowl practices. But we have been able to stay pretty healthy. I thought that our guys really practiced well. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...I thought their legs got a little heavy, so we backed off yesterday and today will be a very light walk-through so we should be full-go on the defensive side of the ball. When we lost Jonathan Casillas and Shane Carter, the good thing was that happened very early in bowl preparation so that won't be a surprise for us here in the end.
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