DOUG NUSSMEIER: First of all, I just want to say on behalf of Coach Sark, our University, our players, very excited to be here, playing this game against a great opponent like Baylor. It’s very exciting. I think it’s important to let these guys talk, so as we go down here, quarterback Keith Price, running back Chris Polk, left tackle Senio Kelemete, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and tight end Austin Seferian‑Jenkins.
Q. Coach, can you talk about how the preparations have gone? You’ve been here since the 23rd, how they’ve gone so far, especially in regards to all the outside press conferences, Sea World, those kind of things?
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, obviously we came here to play a football game, but also it’s a great experience for the players to get a chance to get out and see a great city like San Antonio and do some wonderful things. Obviously when we first got here we got greeted by our own weather. We got a lot of rain. So the first day we had rain, it’s been a little cool. It’s obviously starting to warm up. It’s been nice. I think the players have really enjoyed their time here. And from a preparation standpoint it’s been really good.
Q. To Keith and Chris, it seems like since we’ve been down here it’s RG III this, RG III that. Obviously we know about your offense, but do you enjoy flying under the radar a little bit going into this game?
KEITH PRICE: Yeah, I think it’s fine. We don’t have to worry about the pressure. We can just go out and play our game. We’re not worried about all that stuff, we’re just trying to win the ballgame.
CHRIS POLK: Yeah, like Keith said, there’s no pressure on us, and plus we’re used to playing under the radar this whole year. It’s something we’ve become accustomed to and we’re used to.
Q. Doug, I wonder if you could talk about the importance of Chris as a tool in keeping the ball away from Griffin and Baylor’s explosive offense in this game.
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, obviously as every game, we go evaluate ourselves and what we think we do well versus what our opponent’s defense does well. One of the things we always try and do is stay balanced. When you can get a good combination of the running game and the passing game, you keep people off balance a little bit, so like always, we’ll try and do that.
Q. Coach, is Keith healthy enough where you can install the offense that he had the first play of the season? Can you install the first offense with Keith right now?
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Do you want to answer that, Keith?
KEITH PRICE: I think so.
DOUG NUSSMEIER: I think that obviously Keith is feeling really good.
Q. Austin, can you talk a little bit about this experience as a freshman. Last year getting ready for a Fish Bowl in Peninsula and now the Alamo Bowl, how big this is for you.
AUSTIN SEFERIAN‑JENKINS: You know, it’s a unique could come out here and play in this Bowl game against great competition, another game coming out here and preparing to win.
Q. Coach, you’re not totally used to playing in a dome stadium. Do you have any concerns about crowd noise going into this?
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, obviously being where we are in the state of Texas, knowing Baylor being relatively close, we prepared for crowd noise. That’s the way we prepared from day one when we first found out who we were playing. As we look at it, we’re essentially playing on the road. It’s going to be loud, and we’re prepared for that.
Q. Chris, can you talk about last year in the Bowl game you had the workhorse, 177 yards, touchdown comparing last year to this year, and are you expecting similar things?
CHRIS POLK: Last year from this year is a big difference coming in, just having that overall experience and knowing when to have fun and when to lock it in. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get the win, and I don’t think I’m going to have to ‑‑ it’s not going to come down to one thing. We’re real balanced this year. We have great receivers, we have a good quarterback and we have a great line, and overall our job is to stay on the field and keep converting, just keep RG III off the field.
Q. How much did that Bowl victory and the way you beat Nebraska give you guys some extra confidence in this underdog role you’ve got coming into this game?
CHRIS POLK: We always had the confidence I would say, but that victory just brought belief back into it. That made us believe in what we’re being coached to do, made us believe in the schemes, made us believe in everything we did, because we were facing an opponent that we thought really didn’t respect us, so just go out there and overall be respected and do it in a fashion and come out with a W. I guess that gave us more momentum going into the season and we just still have that belief.
Q. Jermaine, just can you talk about the pride factor? It wasn’t that long ago this team was 0 and 12 and now your second Bowl game in a row and where you’ve been and where you are now.
JERMAINE KEARSE: Well, obviously we were 0 and 12 my freshman year, but Coach Sark and the coaching staff came in here and just turned this program around. The environment is different; it’s a lot more energy. Our coaches do a good job of coaching us and preparing us for each game.
Q. Since you guys have gotten here, your record on extended time off, byes or a couple weeks off is really good, I think six in a row now. Do you attribute that to anything in particular and how these guys maybe learn the game plan a little more than they do in a normal week?
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Sure. I think it’s about the process, and when you talk about going to our second straight Bowl game and our players that were on our football team last year now basically moving the schedule a day are repeating the same schedule that we used in preparation for last year’s Bowl game, so there’s a lot of familiarity there. They understand the process. Obviously our new players, as Austin can attest to, it’s been a learning experience for them. But it’s been proven over time, and it’s something that we believe in.
Q. Keith, what have you seen from their defense on film? What things do they do in terms of kind of their tendencies and things like that?
KEITH PRICE: They play hard. You just can’t sleep on them. Their stats don’t show it, but their offense is scoring really fast, so I’m pretty sure that their defense is pretty tired. So we’ve just got to come out and play our game.
Q. I know you’re going to say you’re focusing on the game and you haven’t made up your mind for next year, but how often is it creeping in to break Corey Dillon’s record and this may be your last game and proving a point out there?
KEITH PRICE: I would lie to you if I said it didn’t creep in, but I’m here ‑‑ football is a team sport, so I’m all about the team first, whether I have 205 rushing yards or 60 yards. As long as we get the W and send these seniors off on a good note and keep improving and keep getting better each year, that means more to me, because without my teammates blocking for me, without my coaching believing in me, without the strength pushing me in the weight room, my name is not even in the category to be in certain records.
Q. Baylor has taken a lot of pride in their turnover rate over the last several games. What have you seen in game films that tells you what they’re doing to generate those turnovers?
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, they do a really good job of keeping their eyes especially in the passing game in the backfield on the quarterback, and they do a good job of reading routes, breaking. They’ve got great speed.
Q. Chris, you’ve been known to flash a few Ws after touchdowns. Any big plans for Thursday?
CHRIS POLK: You know, no. Our coaches always say act like you’ve been there before, so I’ll just stick to my Ws unless it’s something spectacular. Maybe I’ll bring something out. But I’ve got to have ‑‑ make sure it’s in the right time and make sure I’m on the sideline before so I won’t get penalized.
Q. Senio, in the middle of that 0 and 12 season and things were going wrong or even at the end of that 0 and 12 season, could you imagine this program being where it is today, back to back Bowl games and all the success? Could you envision that back then?
SENIO KELEMETE: Honestly, no, I would have never imagined this. It was pretty hard for all of us, the 0 and 12 season. I’m pretty sure a lot of guys didn’t really want to play football anymore or wanted to transfer or just ‑‑ just football wasn’t fun. But I’m glad Coach Sark came, and he brought a great staff, and he’s start being to turn this program around. Obviously he’s playing a lot of young guys. We have Keith and Austin playing big roles in our plays. I like where this team is heading at.
Q. Would you talk about O‑line pride? Coach Bennett earlier, the defensive coordinator, said you guys are a very physical offensive line. Talk about what you guys are doing with that.
SENIO KELEMETE: Like as of right now, in practice, we’re just trying to just go all out. I think a lot of guys didn’t really give us their all during practice, and it showed sometimes in games where we got beat, and I think if we just keep pushing ourselves, I think we’ll do good up front and play physical.
Q. Keith, on the turnovers, they’ve really had a lot of interceptions the last few games, too. Have you noticed anything that they seem to be capitalizing on, other quarterbacks, when they’ve done that?
KEITH PRICE: Yeah, actually I think the past couple weeks, I’m not sure how many turnovers they had, but I know they had a lot of turnovers. I just have to do a good job of taking care of the ball and making the right reads.
Q. Keith, I wonder if you could talk about the confidence in your offense with Chris running like he is, having that guy next to you in the backfield all the time.
KEITH PRICE: Oh, man, it makes me job a lot easier. We just feed the rock to the beast and let him roll with it, and it opens me up.
Q. Doug, Keith talked about feeding the rock to the beast, but can you talk about this wide receiving corps that you have and throw in your tight ends, as well, and what this means to this offense?
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, when you’re specifically addressing the tight end situation, going back to last year it’s really a position that we had to manufacture and we had to do a bunch of different things with different personnel because we didn’t really have a true tight end, and this year with Austin and Michael and Evan, the three young guys, they’ve done a great job, and it really has opened another facet of our offense.
Then when you look at our receiving corps, with so many different guys able to do so many different things, it helps us to keep balance like we talked about earlier and to keep defenses not focused in on one guy.
Q. Doug, after studying the Baylor game film, how alike and how different is Baylor’s ‑‑ what Baylor is doing to what you’ve seen in the Pac‑12?
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, I think a lot of it is similar. They play a cover‑four scheme as their base scheme and we see that from quite a few opponents within our own conference. Like I said, they run really, really well. They jump into some odd stuff and things like that, so we’ll have to be prepared for that stuff.
Q. This is very random for anybody. We have video of Luther Leonard on the roller coaster who appeared to be crying. Did anybody sit with him and can talk about his experience? Jermaine, can you talk about Luther on the roller coaster?
JERMAINE KEARSE: I guess he was crying. I don’t know if he was crying, but he was screaming like a girl. (Laughter.) No offense to women.
Q. Is he okay now?
JERMAINE KEARSE: Yeah, he’s fine. I want to see that video.
Q. We did see you at the whales. Talk about that. You had big smiles. You were kind of rivaling Keith in some of those pictures.
JERMAINE KEARSE: Oh, yeah, big smile like Keith. That was a wonderful experience. Probably a once in a lifetime. I mean, how many chances do you get to interact with whales? It was a lot of fun. Got to dance with them and pet them and stuff. It was fun.
Q. Austin, what’s the biggest learning curve jump from high school to college and what have you been focusing on to improve your play?
AUSTIN SEFERIAN‑JENKINS: Just really being a student of the game. In high school you didn’t really have to watch film, you just went out there and played, and just being the most athletic guy out there you could succeed. But at this level you’ve got to be athletic, you’ve got to study your game film, you’ve got to trust in the coaches and trust in the players that are right next to you. It’s really just studying, studying the playing film, being mentally tough and always ready to go.
Q. Coach, could you talk about Keith, and for those of us who aren’t familiar with him, any comparisons to past guys you’ve coached?
DOUG NUSSMEIER: Well, I really think Keith’s best football is still ahead of him. For a young guy in his first year starting, he’s done an exceptional job, when we talk about managing the game and doing the things that we ask our quarterback to do. He’s really come a long way in his development from becoming a true pocket passer. I think early, first year, so the progression thing, getting into his check downs and those type of things were difficult, as they are for all young quarterbacks. He’s worked extremely hard. If there’s one thing I can say about Keith, it’s his work ethic is second to none. He really does a great job of preparing himself.
Q. Keith, how about the Apple Cup, getting back on the field healthy and putting up big numbers? How did that feel?
KEITH PRICE: It felt good, just running around with the guys and just getting back out there. I sat out most of the Oregon State game, and it was kind of hard for me because I wanted to play in the game. So it was good just being out there with my teammates and getting a win.