Quotes from January 5, 2009, BCS National Championship Media Day.
|| QB Sam Bradford
Q. Sam, can you talk about going through what you went through with getting your hand surgery? Did you ever think, oh, I don't want to get this surgery, just keep doing what I did in Missouri?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, there was a time that I thought maybe surgery wasn't what I wanted to do, especially with such a big game coming up. After talking to our doctor, everyone around our team, I knew that it was the best decision for me, especially for the future.
Q. You make it out to be like it's been pretty hassle free.
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, it's been a lot better. Right now it feels a lot better than it did going into the Big 12 Championship game.
Q. Do you get the whole thing replaced by the time the game starts, or what you have now, is that what you play with?
SAM BRADFORD: This comes off every day for practice. It's going to be something similar with probably smaller to what I played with in the Big 12 Championship game.
Q. Have you been in here before? Is this the first time you've walked into the stadium?
SAM BRADFORD: This is the first time. It looks pretty nice. It'll be fun.
Q. Those are like the biggest Jumbotrons in the world. Is this the first time you're getting a sense of, wow, this is it?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, actually I think our Jumbotron at home is close to that size. It's just another game, but it's a pretty cool stadium.
Q. I've never talked to an athlete who hasn't been superstitious in some way, shape or form. Are you superstitious? And if so, can you tell us a couple of them?
SAM BRADFORD: I have so many superstitions that I probably couldn't tell you all of that.
Q. What's your biggest?
SAM BRADFORD: There's so many. I've worn the same socks every game week, and if you saw them, they're really not like socks anymore, they're like pieces of thread everywhere. We're still wearing those this week, though.
Q. Do you wash those?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah.
Q. Anywhere else, maybe on the field or how you get ready for a game, what you eat, what you do in the morning?
SAM BRADFORD: Obviously I eat the same thing, but I read the Bible and read the story of David versus Goliath before every game. That's one of the big ones.
Q. You don't see yourself as David this week, do you?
SAM BRADFORD: No.
Q. Can you talk about Coach Stoops?
SAM BRADFORD: Coach Stoops is such a great leader for this team. He brings a lot of energy to practice, and even away from the field he's such a great it's hard to say, but just such a great motivator off the field, even when we're away from practice. He says things just to get us going, get us back focused on the game, and I don't think anyone else in the country can probably do the job that he's done with us.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the Florida defense?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, obviously the Florida defense is a very good defense. It's probably one of the best, if not the best defense we'll face all year. They're very athletic, they're very fast. Their front four are great, they push the pocket. We're going to have to be ready.
Q. What's the whirlwind been like since winning the Heisman?
SAM BRADFORD: Obviously New York it was kind of like a whirlwind, we just kind of went from place to place. As soon as I got home from New York and got back to Norman and got back to my normal life, nothing has really changed.
Q. Anything about autographs, or anyone hounded you around campus?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, I'd definitely say a couple more people stopped me for autographs.
Q. I know you don't want this to be the Heisman winner versus the Heisman winner, but you're both such huge parts of your respective offenses, does one of you have to outplay the other to win the game?
SAM BRADFORD: I don't think so. I think whichever team is going to win whichever team plays the best as a whole. It's not going to come down to one player and who plays better. It's going to come down to who plays better as a team.
Q. I'm sure you've heard the Heisman jinx, the guy who wins doesn't win the Bowl game. Do you give that any thought?
SAM BRADFORD: No, I don't think you do give that any thought because I think if you give time to that, then you bring yourself down, and you don't need to think about negative things. I think I'm just going to prepare like a normal game.
Q. Did you have much time to spend with Tim when you were in New York?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, I got to know him a little bit, and he's a great guy.
Q. Do you tend to watch the analysts and the commentators break down the game, read the papers, or shy away from all that?
SAM BRADFORD: I stay away from everything.
Q. In your mind what will it take to beat the Gators?
SAM BRADFORD: I think on offense, especially for us, we're going to have to take care of the football. We're going to have to convert on 3rd down. We can't get stopped on three and outs and put our defense back on the field without breaks. I think it's going to be the same thing that we've tried to keep our goals on offense throughout the whole year.
Q. Talk about what Juaquin has meant to the team this year.
SAM BRADFORD: He's been great this year. Obviously going into his senior year he wanted to have a good year, and it really showed in the way he prepared for the season. He worked extremely hard and was a great leader for us in the off season and it's really showed in his play this year.
Q. There's so much talk about Florida's speed. Is that a question in your mind and the whole team's mind, that maybe they have another gear, or is that just what's your thought on that?
SAM BRADFORD: I mean, obviously we know they're fast. You can tell that by watching tape. But you can't get overwhelmed by their speed and worry about that. We've still got to prepare and just do what we do.
Q. Are you prepared for the number of Gator fans that are probably going to be here? A, the school is close; and B, you've got like a gazillion kids with even family here.
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, we've played on the road. It's not like we've played every game in Norman, so we just treat it like a road game.
Q. How do you prepare for the speed of that
SAM BRADFORD: You just prepare like any other game. I don't think you can really it's hard to simulate in practice, but I think it's something that you get ready because every team has an extra gear, and it's going to be faster on game day than there is in practice.
Q. What's the mentality of your offense every time you take the field?
SAM BRADFORD: We want to score every time we take the field.
Q. What is the X factor for you guys?
SAM BRADFORD: That's really hard to say, but I would think that it's just coming out and doing what we've done all year, and not getting walled into thinking that we have to do more than what we've done all year.
Q. When you and Tim spent time together in New York, was there any talk of "I'll see you in a month in Miami"?
SAM BRADFORD: Obviously there was talk about, hey, we'll be playing against each other in a couple weeks, but it was all friendly and nothing was really competitive at that point.
Q. Was there any money put on the game (laughter)?
SAM BRADFORD: No, not at all.
Q. When Nebraska played Clemson last week, the Nebraska players talked about how they were kind of unprepared for Clemson's team speed on defense, but they had something eventually to counter that. If you find yourself outmatched against a team speed wise, are there things in your playbook you can use against a team with a lot of speed? Are you prepared for that situation?
SAM BRADFORD: Yes, I think we do have things in our playbook that are directed towards a team with a lot of speed, and I'm sure our coaches will make the adjustments if we feel their speed is something we need to adjust to.
Q. If they come at you with blitzes do you have the answer to that?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, guys in the secondary will cover our receivers and we'll take one on one match ups all day.
Q. If they drop back eight are you confident about that situation, too?
SAM BRADFORD: I think we have answers to pretty much everything they're going to try to throw at you.
Q. Have you talked to anybody who's been through this, a quarterback who's been through the championship game, to get any advice or anybody else who's been through a situation like this?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, I've talked to Coach Venables Obviously. He went to New York, he played in the National Championship game, and I talked to Jason White who played in two National Championship games. They've given me advice on how to handle this situation.
Q. What did they say?
SAM BRADFORD: I don't think you need to know that. I don't think that needs to be out there.
Q. Are you able to enjoy it, though?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, definitely. Coach tells us every game there's only two teams that play in the National Championship game. I think it's making the most of it and having the most fun you can with it.
Q. Is there any adjustment to the tempo of it?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, I think when we first started practicing the no huddle it felt like a two minute drill every time we took the field. It was kind of chaotic and people running around not knowing what they were doing. I think it's something that we as a team really liked.
Q. What do you think makes the offense tick, is it passing or running?
SAM BRADFORD: I think it's the offensive line. Those guys have made it from day one. If they play good then we're going to follow them as an offense.
Q. What's that like to see people running around with your number in Oklahoma?
SAM BRADFORD: It's pretty cool. You walk around campus sometimes and you see somebody with your jersey on, and that's something I just had to get used to.
Q. How much fun is this offense?
SAM BRADFORD: I don't know if I can put that in words. We have so many different weapons and it makes my job so easy. I look behind me and we've got playmakers. Playing in this offense, it's kind of like a quarterback's dream.
Q. How much work goes into that fun offense?
SAM BRADFORD: A lot of hard work. I think there's a lot of things that people don't see that we did in the off season to get ready for that this year.
Q. How big is the playbook in terms of thickness?
SAM BRADFORD: Depends how you want to look at it. If you want to look at every possible play that we could run it would be pretty thick.
Q. Like six inches?
SAM BRADFORD: I don't know about that.
Q. Based on what you know about Oklahoma's last trip to this stadium, how is this Oklahoma team different?
SAM BRADFORD: To be honest, that's tough for me to say because I wasn't around when the team in '05 came to this stadium. I don't know how they prepared every week. But I know this team. We've been fired up ever since we got here, we've had a lot of energy at practice, and to me I haven't seen a difference in the way we've approached this game as we have all other games this year.
Q. There seems to be a conventional wisdom that they have the advantage with team speed. Do you concede that point, or would you debate it? And do you have a few fast guys on your roster?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, I mean, obviously they are a very fast team. They have speed all over the field. I think if you look at our team, we're fairly fast, too. That gets overlooked sometimes. It's not like we have bad athletes. We have good athletes, too. It'll be a good match up, and we'll see.
Q. On Saturday you said that there were some things that this team has kept (Inaudible.) How has that manifested itself so far this week?
SAM BRADFORD: I don't think you need to know everything we've done different from our last two Bowl games, but there has been a difference in the way we've approached this game this week.
|| Head Coach Bob Stoops
COACH BOB STOOPS: There's been a great group of assistant coaches that have come through here. Like I said, I have a great administration that supports us, so we're proud that we've done well, I think, as a program. I don't look at anything personally, though. That's just not my nature to do that.
Q. What has been the site of your greatest triumph as a head coach. Could you reflect on this stadium? Obviously you take more positives than negatives, but it's been one extreme to the other playing in this stadium?
COACH BOB STOOPS: Yeah, it has. That's the excitement of it, being in this environment. You know, it's challenging and exciting, and in the end, there's two sides to it. But as I said, that's what gets you fired up. So that's the way competitors are. You've got to go into the environment and do the best you can.
Q. There are so many keys to this game, what's one thing you have to do to win this game this week?
COACH BOB STOOPS: Take care of the football would be the biggest factor to me.
Q. When you were growing up in Ohio, obviously Ohio State and Michigan were really at the top of their game. You were right in the center, kind of the center of the universe of college football. Could you describe how important that was to you as a boy growing up?
COACH BOB STOOPS: Yeah, you know, it's funny, growing up you talked about Ohio State and Michigan, and to be truthful, too, I loved Coach Switzer's teams those years. You think back to how exciting it was watching that wishbone with Jack Mildren pitching it to Greg Pruitt, you had Joe Washington back there, you had some exciting guys. I can remember as a young guy watching to love Oklahoma play. But as you said, Michigan, Ohio State, great traditions, great football, and in that area it's important. The game is important, and as a young person you realize that at a young age.
Q. Do you think it's any coincidence that both you and Coach Meyer are from an hour's drive apart and so many of the younger coaches now in their 40s are still coming from an area that's kind of been seen as maybe a little down in football but yet you guys come from there?
COACH BOB STOOPS: There's an awful lot of coaches from that area, from Ohio and with Ohio affiliations. That's been well noted. But it's kind of different that Urban and I did grow up so close to each other.
Q. Why is that, that so many coaches is it just because football is so important?
COACH BOB STOOPS: I think so. You know, I think that is true. Football is important there, and it's developed. From the little leagues all the way up through high school, and look at the number of colleges that are all throughout Ohio that are playing ball. You know, just at every level it's important, it's attended, and there's excellent coaching, I think, throughout.
COACH BOB STOOPS: Well, hopefully in the end we have been doing well. I think Florida, us, and there's another six, seven, eight schools that year in and year out have played to that level. You just always feel fortunate to be one of them, and I think all of us are continuing and striving to improve. Every year, whether it's facilities, you're always with your efforts recruiting and building as a program. You're just constantly striving for more.
Q. Obviously a lot is being made of the two Heisman Trophy winners going against each other. They're both such dynamic parts of their offenses. Doesn't one of them have to excel to win this game?
COACH BOB STOOPS: Well, definitely quarterback play is always critical. You know, those guys are handling the football every down. Definitely I think that's a major factor in this game is the quarterback play. But you know, as well, that it's what's surrounding him, too. If he's not protected, it's really not the quarterback's fault. If the guys can't separate and get open or are falling down on their routes he can only do so much. The other guys around him have got to support him and help him, too.
Q. How has Sam handled all the extra attention since this?
COACH BOB STOOPS: He's the best, meaning he's just calm. The guy is humble. He just doesn't let it bother him. We did have a talk because I know it's funny to think as a young person I experienced it even in 2000, that all of a sudden people treat you different when you win the National Championship. And I'm sure the same has happened for him now that he's a Heisman Trophy winner. People treat you different, and you're sitting here thinking, hey, I'm the same guy. Nothing has changed. It takes a while to get used to it.
I think more than anything Sam is a real spiritual guys. He realizes hey, I've been blessed with this, and he's going to use it the right way. As opposed to looking at it as something that's a burden, hey, I can give something to other people, and I think he's just looking at it in a positive way, that he's been blessed with something special. He's got a great message that maybe this is the way I need to say it.
Q. He got to spend some time with Tim in New York obviously at the ceremony, and it seems off the field they're sort of similar guys. I'm wondering did you get to meet Tim a little bit?
COACH BOB STOOPS: I got to meet Tim briefly. I agree with you in that all of what you hear and see it, or when you see them play, both those guys are fabulous players, but what I've loved is every time I've seen an interview on Tim I'm amazed at just the person he is and the young student athlete he is and what he represents. From seeing that I do see the similarities of Sam. Sam is the same kind of guy really spiritual, great in the community, has got a strong family, and just all those characteristics. But it's been fun for me just to watch what I have seen of Tim through the last year or two, and then to get a chance to meet him. I haven't spent much time around him, but I love what he represents for the college game and what he represents as a student athlete.
Q. What's going into the offensive surge in the Big 12 in the last couple years?
COACH BOB STOOPS: Oh, I think the spread offense, a lot of the no huddle, the quality quarterbacks and skill around them. You look at even some of the tight ends, receivers that are out there, and I think all of that has and I think as much as anything spreading the ball out and no huddling, getting the snaps that way, all of that has helped.
Q. Is the high school talent in Texas, Oklahoma, in that area, more prepared coming up for the spread?
COACH BOB STOOPS: Well, it is popular throughout that area. I would say definitely you do see a lot of really good quarterbacks at the high school level that are running those type of offenses.
Q. You've been in so many big games, you've won so many big games. Does it bother you or insult you that there's at least one national radio guy who's questioning your big game coaching?
COACH BOB STOOPS: You know, that doesn't bother me. I'm not here worried about seeking the approval of whoever. You know, in the end, what do you do? We've won our share, and we've whatever. You know what we've been able to accomplish through the years, so it is what it is. Have we won every one of them? No. But not many people have.
Q. Does it make you all the more hungry to go out there and get it when such a major opportunity presents it like on a stage like this one?
COACH BOB STOOPS: The competitive side of you, yes. You've got a strong will to go out and win it. But I don't need anyone else and what they say to make me want to get it. You know, I'm very comfortable in what we represent as a program and what we've been able to do, and we want more. We're going to keep pursuing it regardless of what anyone else wants to say.
Q. Have you prepared your team to not only play an away game but for it to feel like an away game because there are so many Gator fans in south Florida?
COACH BOB STOOPS: Yeah, but there's a whole lot of 'Cane fans and I'm calling on all the Hurricane and Seminole fans that are down here to root for us. That won't be hard I don't think. So there's another part of south Florida that isn't for the Gators, and we're hoping to recruit them here this week.
COACH BOB STOOPS: Not really. In the way they run the football they're quite a bit different with using Tim to run the ball and their different schemes out of the shotgun are fairly different from what we see from both teams.
Q. When you walk in as a coach how do you embrace the tradition of Oklahoma?
COACH BOB STOOPS: Yeah, when we arrived at Oklahoma it was pretty well noted that we just didn't have a strong self image to be honest with you, and I felt as a program we were shying away from those expectations. And I remember telling the players in maybe one of our first meetings, and I kept showing them some of the championship teams and all of the championship teams and said, this is what we're supposed to be. You look, I look at Bud Wilkinson, Barry Switzer, and I said I have to walk by those guys on the way to my office every day, life sized paintings of them. This is what we're supposed to be and this is how we're supposed to play. It's my job, and I'm not shying away from the expectations of Oklahoma. This is what we're going to do, and we're going to work to do it.
Fortunately the players embraced it and agreed. I look back at that 2000 group where we did win the National Championship. I don't know to be honest if we had any business winning it, but they thought we did.
COACH BOB STOOPS: Again, you're asking me about personal achievement, and I just don't look at it that way. Maybe somewhere down the road when I'm retired I may, but I just don't look at it that way now as a young coach and still building our program. Again, I'm always appreciative of all the people that are a part of it. You know, this is the ultimate team game, players, coaches, all the assistants that you have. But you are excited that we for ten years what we as a program have been able to do is special.
Q. You only have one player from the state of Florida. (Inaudible.)
COACH BOB STOOPS: Yeah, we've recruited throughout Florida. I can't say heavily. I think a lot of that is because in the proximity in our area and throughout Texas that we do well. But we recruit nationally, and again, when there's a strong interest with somebody we follow up with it and pursue it. But I think proximity wise it's a little more difficult in Florida and the quality programs that are close by.
Q. Talk about the championship victory here eight years ago. That year you were going against a team whose offensive coordinator was about to take a job elsewhere. Same situation now. How much of a distraction can that be?
COACH BOB STOOPS: It can be to some degree, but we've been in that situation before, as well, and they're all managed differently. You know, how much of a distraction it's hard to say. But in the end it changes things to some degree. But you manage it and deal with it just because you have to.
Q. Can you describe the locker room scene after the Texas loss?
COACH BOB STOOPS: You know, in the end you're just constantly working each week for the next game, and everyone says, oh, that's a cliché, that's coach talk. But when you have to play each week, that is what you focus on. I guess more than anything it was just focus on what we can do this week and let things happen as they will. We just had our head down working one week at a time trying to make some improvement.
Q. When you walked in the stadium, when you guys first arrived, did you kind of have something come over you like, this is where it happened last time, the magic happened in 2000?
COACH BOB STOOPS: You know, a little bit, but in the end you're just excited about the moment, and what happened in the past doesn't matter now. All that matters is what you do this week, and so as much as anything, that's all we focus on is what we're going to do today in practice.
Q. You spoke about your relationship with your players earlier, and I just wondered, so many of your players still have that ongoing relationship with you, having an endearing, enduring relationship with you. Talk about where you picked that up, whether it was from your dad or Coach Snyder or
COACH BOB STOOPS: I think the relationship with my players, it's my nature, so I'd say it's from my father and the way I was raised. But I always get a kick out of young out of these kids, and even the mischievous you love their personality and the energy they bring, and it's just fun to be around them. I get a kick out of people more than anything, especially these young guys.
Q. Switzer has said several times, being on record saying I can't baby sit these guys 24/7. Coach Meyer on the other side says, I have to baby sit them. That's part of my job description. Talk about your philosophy on that.
COACH BOB STOOPS: Well, in the end you try and educate them, and of course not only in the importance of school and your education but also what's right in life and what's the right way to conduct yourself, and you know, it's really gratifying when you see young guys change and grow and learn, hey, this is the right way to do it, whether anyone is looking or not. That's what you try and educate and teach and bring forth in these young guys if they don't have it. A lot of them do have it already. Again, all you're trying to do is improve them as people.
Q. You say you've tweaked some things on this trip. Anything specific you could give us, earlier curfew, practicing at different times, anything like that?
COACH BOB STOOPS: All of that. Nothing earth shattering.
Q. And you just did that because you thought you needed a change?
COACH BOB STOOPS: Yeah.
|| C Jon Cooper
JON COOPER: I really enjoy the no huddle personally because you kind of get the momentum. Momentum is such a big part of college football, and you don't have to take that little break, keep going. If you can catch a team off guard a couple times, they don't have really time to disguise coverages or fronts. So I like to be able to get out there and see what they're doing before they want us to see.
Q. Do you have any comments from opposing players?
JON COOPER: No, they don't say much until after the game. They're trying to catch their breath just like we are.
Q. Is there anything to the fact that there's two Heisman Trophy winners going against each other in this game?
JON COOPER: No, that's not it at all. We know both of them are great players. I don't think it's a competition between them two as much as it is between two football teams.
Q. They're both such dynamic parts of their offense, though.
JON COOPER: Yeah, I think one of them will have to play the best to win this football game. That's the case in any game. Sam is a big part of our offense and Tim Tebow is a huge part of their offense.
Q. What was summer like for you as far as getting ready?
JON COOPER: With Coach Smitty, summer is always a beast. He gets the most out of us every day, absolutely.
Q. Did you lose a lot of weight?
JON COOPER: No, I'm trying to put on weight. I'm not like these other guys trying to lose. I'm trying to put on weight.
Q. What are you now?
JON COOPER: About 285.
Q. What were you last year?
JON COOPER: About 280.
Q. So the other guys talk about the weight schedule, that's not you?
JON COOPER: No, they've been trying to get me up, put weight on me since I got here. I get a lot of grief because I enjoy running. Other offensive linemen don't really like it, but I like it. I tell them to come afterwards and do a couple extra sprints with me, and they look at me like I'm crazy.
Q. Do you get the sense when defenses are starting to wear down from your offense?
JON COOPER: When we start to get tired we see it in them, too, and we like to try to take advantage of it because we get the up tempo going and take charge.
JON COOPER: Absolutely, a 12 to 15 play drive you're struggling to walk back, and you know Coach Wilson wants up tempo play. So you've got to get to that line and get ready so you can be successful.
Q. What teams have handled it the best?
JON COOPER: I'm not real sure because sometimes we use our tempo more in different games, so it's really tough to tell.
Q. When you look at Florida's personnel what stands out to you?
JON COOPER: Their speed, absolutely, like everybody sees. Their front seven is very fast and they're very active and make a lot of plays.
Q. Comparable to anyone you've faced?
JON COOPER: You know, they're a lot different. They're very unique in their ways. I wouldn't compare them to anybody.
Q. What do you think about all the media attention?
JON COOPER: It's a circus, man, a complete zoo. I like it because of the situation we're in and it's fun. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
|| DT Gerald McCoy
GERALD McCOY: I guess he was going out for some kind of pass last year and ran into a hole or something like that, kind of like the guy from Houston, something similar to that.
Q. How important is it that you're a defensive guy how important is it to have a scout team quarterback that every week is going to give you a reasonable idea of what you'll face?
GERALD McCOY: It's always good because you can practice on what you can do to get this guy to the ground, keep this guy in the pocket, you know, just keep him contained. You need a guy who can do that. He does a great job for us, and he does it week in and week out.
Q. There's this big myth that you guys don't play defense, and now I've talked to all the Florida players, and they say, hey, from what we see those guys play defense. Why is it do you think that everybody has this misconception that just because you guys put 60 points on everybody, why is it everybody thinks you guys can't play defense really?
GERALD McCOY: Well, we're not worried about what everybody says. You've got to be good on offense and defense to win a championship.
Q. Playing defense then is not a bad thing at Oklahoma?
GERALD McCOY: No, I mean, defense is what we play.
Q. Tell me about Brent Venables. He's a guy that got dropped on his head as a baby.
GERALD McCOY: I don't know about that. He's a fire bomb. He just loves the game, and he's a great coach and does a great job.
Q. He's a great motivator?
GERALD McCOY: Yeah, he'll motivate you.
|| SS Nic Harris
Q. Talk about the injuries you've had this year, especially at middle linebacker. I understand you volunteered to play the position when things were getting tough.
NIC HARRIS: If Coach needs me to go in the water and breathe for 30 minutes or not breathe for 30 minutes to win the National Championship game, that's what I'm going to do. I'm pretty much one of those guys that is a leader on the team and the captain on the team and the singer on the team. Lead by example, that's my whole mentality, to do whatever it is I need to do to get to a National Championship game.
Q. Talk a little bit about Tim Tebow and what you see on film from him and what impressions you have.
NIC HARRIS: He's a great guy. He's a great quarterback. He had the Heisman last year. But he's still a quarterback, and he does his job. That's his job, to sit back there and make plays. What we've got to do is make sure we make more plays than they do.
Q. Why didn't you go to LSU, what happened?
NIC HARRIS: Ask them (laughter).
Q. All you guys sound like a little annoyed because everybody is talking about
NIC HARRIS: I'm not annoyed, I'm enjoying the sun. I want to be on the beach.
Q. You've obviously thought about this for a while, being in this position since childhood. Is the experience the way you thought it would be?
NIC HARRIS: I wouldn't change it at all. I mean, if I could go back and change it, I wouldn't. I couldn't ask for a better scenario, better circumstances senior year, National Championship game. But only thing I can do is do my best right now, and that to give 100 percent, every day, every inch, every yard, every play.
Q. Does it bother you obviously it's not you guys that lost the BCS Championship before, it was another team, but people
NIC HARRIS: Coach, he's tough skinned. People say he's from Ohio. I don't know what type of skin they have up there, but he has tough skin. Ultimately whatever happens with the team is not necessarily a reflection of Coach Stoops but the whole state, the community of Norman. You can't sit there and say that it's one guy. A lot of things happen throughout the course of each and every day. The only people that can control it are the 22 that's out there.
Q. Did LSU recruit you?
NIC HARRIS: I was recruited but I didn't know with the job security who was going to come in. You've got to make a solidified decision.
Q. Did you grow up like hoping to play at LSU?
NIC HARRIS: Actually I grew up hoping to play at Florida State.
Q. What happened?
NIC HARRIS: I didn't like it whenever I got recruited. I made a great decision.
Q. When you were growing up who were some players that you looked up to, their style of play?
NIC HARRIS: I mean, growing up you always look at Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, those type of guys or whatever, the guys you see day in and day out making plays, giving their all on every game.
Q. There are different ways to play defensive back, some are very aggressive (Inaudible.) Were there certain people that you sort of saw that they were aggressive and that's how you decided how to play?
NIC HARRIS: Not necessarily aggressive, not necessarily being a finesse player, just the people that made plays on every given day. I felt one thing that intrigued me a lot was Deion, how he played baseball, as well, one of those things, diversity, being put in different positions and asked to play.
Q. (Question regarding which player fits in best on South Beach.)
NIC HARRIS: I've got the look.
Q. You feel pretty at home here in Miami?
NIC HARRIS: It's pretty good. I could get used to it.
Q. We're here every day, we've got to come up with new questions for Bob. Put yourself in position for media day; you have to ask Coach Stoops a question.
NIC HARRIS: I'm here playing the game. I'm not going to get a question out there.
Q. You're not going to ask him about the Broncos job?
NIC HARRIS: What Broncos job?
Q. Which one of your teammates besides yourself fits in best here in Miami?
NIC HARRIS: Nic, and No. 5, two different people.
Q. On a serious note, this game is really about turnovers because neither team turns it over, the fewest in the country, 9 and 11 respectively. Does that give you the mindset that, hey, if we can create one that may make all the difference?
NIC HARRIS: We all know about the unheralded, the great, great offenses on the field, and it's going to be whichever defense makes the most plays.
Q. Their receivers because the defense is so good doesn't get enough credit
NIC HARRIS: They get a lot of credit. They do their job.
Q. Having Percy back, what a difference maker is he?
NIC HARRIS: He's pretty much the vice president of that team. Tebow is president. You've got to cut the head off the snake. Tebow, you've got to make him one dimensional, run first, pass second, whatever, but you make him one dimensional, don't allow him to get comfortable and just make plays day in and day out and all night, hopefully we'll be celebrating.
Q. You've got the iPod. What are the chances Will Smith's "Miami" is on this iPod?
NIC HARRIS: 100 percent, I'm positive.
|| LB Travis Lewis
Q. Nimmo tells me, he says if there's one thing he would like to do every single day it's avoid you hitting him. What do you think about that?
TRAVIS LEWIS: He's smart (laughter). No, I'm just kidding. He's mocked Tebow as well as you can mock a player at quarterback like that. He's been great, and he's really given us a good look.
Q. He said the worst part about being Tebow is you're hitting him about ten times a day from practice and you hit like a freight train.
TRAVIS LEWIS: Tell him I appreciate that. I'm just trying to prepare for this game because we're going to have to hit No. 15 a whole lot.
Q. How much do you weigh now?
TRAVIS LEWIS: 235.
Q. So you and Tebow are basically a stand off weight wise.
TRAVIS LEWIS: I guarantee you I'm going to bring that hammer, though. It should be a good match up.
Q. He kind of brings a hammer, too, so what happens when two hammers hit?
TRAVIS LEWIS: I mean, what happens when an unmovable force meets an unstoppable object? You're going to see a whole lot.
Q. This sounds like fun.
TRAVIS LEWIS: It's going to be a whole lot of fun.
Q. I asked Nic who fits in best here in Miami, which one of your teammates. Nic says it's himself.
TRAVIS LEWIS: (Laughing) Nic will fit in almost everywhere you go. This guy right here fits in pretty good.
Q. What is it that Nimmo does? I know one week he gets to be Graham Harrell, the next week he gets to be Chase Daniel and the next week he gets to be Colt McCoy. What does he have that makes him a good scout team quarterback that he's able to imitate these guys and get you guys prepared?
TRAVIS LEWIS: A lot of guys may be down that they're not going to be playing on that big stage, but he embraces his role on the team. He knows every person on this team matters. He gets the role of being the best player on the field every week. He's embraced the role. He's studying their film just to give us a better look. I mean, it's good to have a player like that, that driven and that wanting to help the team out.
Q. He says that he'll be happy when the season is over because you'll stop calling him Graham or Colt or Tebow and start calling him by his name.
TRAVIS LEWIS: Yeah, I don't know what to say about that, but it's good for him.
Q. All the shuffling at linebacker, I'm sure it would be your preference to have everybody healthy, but has it kind of broadened your perspective?
TRAVIS LEWIS: It's made me mature as a player, not having to worry about anything, because I know No. 8 is going to get it all done, having to make all the calls and at this point having to line people up and everything like that. It's really made me mature faster because I don't think I would have been that type of player for who knows how long if I would have had him my whole career.
Q. We've got to come up with new questions for Coach Stoops every day. Put yourself in our shoes. What would you ask Coach Stoops on media day?
TRAVIS LEWIS: What would I ask Coach Stoops? How he feels about No. 28 at linebacker I'm just kidding. I don't know. He's probably been asked every question in the world. I don't think you could surprise the guy.
Q. Other than Nic, which one of your teammates is the most at home in south beach?
TRAVIS LEWIS: I'm thinking Big Phil because Big Phil loves to be everywhere. He's one of the happiest guys in the world and he thinks he owns every city he's in, and he pretty much does because he's the biggest guy and people love him.
Q. Will Smith's "Miami", is it on your iPod?
TRAVIS LEWIS: I don't think so.
Q. Hoping to get a little love from maybe any 'Canes fans and Seminoles fans that have got tickets?
TRAVIS LEWIS: Whatever people we've got screaming at the game for OU, they're a fan of mine.
Q. Gators, this is their home stadium, kind of feel like a road game?
TRAVIS LEWIS: We're wearing our dark jerseys, so it's a home game for us. It should be a great game.
Q. We see Tebow running over linebackers sometimes. Are you looking forward to that collision, knocking him down?
TRAVIS LEWIS: I don't start playing until I get hit, so hopefully he can be the first one to do that, and it will be a collision, I guarantee you that.
Q. Who's going backwards?
TRAVIS LEWIS: I haven't lost a battle yet, so we'll see.
Q. All the stereotypes this season, it seems like the SEC speed. Do you feel you can catch up to those Gators?
TRAVIS LEWIS: I feel we're fast and we can compete in any conference and any team in the nation.
Q. How's Florida treating you?
TRAVIS LEWIS: Great. I don't know if I could live here, but I definitely could vacation here. It's a little too complicated for me, but it's a great place to be for a week.
Q. Can you talk about your decision to come back quickly and keep playing?
TRAVIS LEWIS: I felt like I wanted to be here for my season. I couldn't let them down. Whatever I was going through, I didn't want to let them down.
Q. Have you become even closer with them over the last month or so?
TRAVIS LEWIS: Yeah, they've helped me through even at the start of the season, they've always kept me afloat, always kept me in the right direction. They've been good to me.
Q. Certain people that you've come to lean on?
TRAVIS LEWIS: Linebackers, Clayton, Ryan Reynolds, Austin Box, those guys have been my closest friends. I mean, you're around them all the time, whether it's in the film room or on the field or just hanging out outside of school, these are the guys you're around the most. Those are the guys that bleed for you, sweat for you, and just are there for you all the time. So I guess it's just become natural those are the guys that I lean on.