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Independence Bowl Press Conference Quotes



2006 PetroSun Independence Bowl
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Alabama press conference quotes

Joe Kines, interim head coach

Opening statement
“First of all we would like to say thank you to the PetroSun Independence Bowl for such a great week. The hospitality has been amazing. The players have had a good time. The weather broke for us. The first day it rained and was cold but broke and we had a good practice yesterday. We tried to get most of our work done before we got here. We treated the first day like a Wednesday, yesterday like a Thursday and will treat today like a Friday and play tomorrow. It has been a real honor to be here. You can’t say enough about how these seniors have led this team. It is just a privilege for us to be here.”

On Oklahoma State
“Oklahoma State, offensively, is right there with all the big guys. You can throw out some names of people who are running high-powered offenses right now and I think Mike Gundy is doing as good as job as any of those folks. He has a great system. It is a multiple deal with the option included in it. You have a quarterback who can attack the perimeter. You have wide receivers who can run and catch the ball. They do a nice job running the ball. Offensively, they are right up there with any of the teams who are playing good football right now. Defensively they run to the ball well and are well-coached. They are really young. They are freshmen and sophomores so that team is going to be a quality team. They have a good coaching staff. We know some of them and have had a chance to visit with them. They are doing it right and aren’t taking any shortcuts. It is a quality football team we are playing in Oklahoma State.”

On what Alabama needs to do defensively
“Defensively, any time you play the option it comes down to assignments. You have to make sure if you have the quarterback you have to take him or if you have the pitch you have to take it. If you have the dive, it puts you to assignment football. We played it a couple of times this year. It is new and you couple it with the zone play and the sprint-out pass, how they have it packaged up is what mends itself to being a really good group of plays.”

On captains tradition
“We have a tradition at Alabama where the walkway around Denny Chimes, the captains put their handprint and cleatprints in that cement so it is there forever.”

On what this game means to Alabama
“The tradition at Alabama is a tradition of excellence. We want to play well this game. These guys have worked extremely hard and you can’t say enough about them. Before we left Tuscaloosa, we literally had spring practice. We put the ball down and scrimmaged, we worked hard. To win this game, you can’t separate any one game out. We better do the best we can today. We will take tomorrow and do the same thing with tomorrow. We will try to play as hard as we can and obviously it is an important game. You don’t play if it is not an important game.”

Kenneth Darby, senior running back

On if he expected to go through so much in his career
“Five years ago the only thing I would have thought about was coming in and starring as a freshman. I wasn’t thinking about that there was going to be any coaching changes or anything bad like that. In the process of everything that has happened I think for me and for the rest of these seniors we learned a lot over these past few years at this university. We grew up a lot and became men instead of boys. I think we grew up faster than normal college athletes. I wouldn’t take anything back. If I could do it all over again I would do it all the same. It helped me grow up as a person and helped me be the man that I am now along with the rest of the seniors.” 

On importance of offense to play well
“Most definitely, that is what I was saying as an offensive unit we need to start fast and finish strong. That is our mindset going into the game. That is the same mindset we are going to take into tomorrow, start fast and finish strong. We don’t want to have any backups or penalties that will cost us towards the end of the game. We just want to go out there and play sound football. Play the way we have been coached throughout this whole bowl practice and come out with a win tomorrow.”

On if the offense is going to do anything different
“The only thing I can say is we are going to come out and play like we always come out and play. That is to play hard, run to the ball on defense and finish our plays on offense. That is our attitude and our mindset going into every game. We are going to continue to do what we have been doing but do it a little better.”

On what it will be like to play for Alabama for the last time
“It really hasn’t even hit me yet. I am still in denial right now. That is unbelievable because I don’t feel like I am a senior. It feels like I am still a sophomore or a junior right now. I haven’t thought about it. The only thing I have thought about is winning this game. I will leave the rest of that for after the game, how I am going to feel afterwards. I have just been thinking about the game and about Oklahoma State.”

Tim Castille, senior fullback

On Coach Kines being in the offensive huddle
“It is different. I am not saying that we didn’t have intense practices with Coach (Mike) Shula because we did, but Coach Kines brings a different intensity to the practice field. Especially for the offense to have him right in the huddle is something. If he sees anything not right in that huddle we are going to come back and do it again. If the break is not right or the snap is not right, he wants everything to be perfect. He brings a different intensity to the offensive huddle that you need sometimes.”

On what it will be like playing his last game with his brother Simeon
“I think it is going to be weird just because we might not ever play together again. I haven’t even thought about it until you asked that question. It is difficult because I have been playing with him for so long. He was on the varsity in 9th grade so that was four years and I only played one year in college without him. It is going to be weird because my brother is basically my best friend. I will kind of see how it goes tomorrow.”

Juwan Simpson, senior linebacker

On Alabama’s defense
“First of all we have a great coach in Coach Kines. The defensive coaching staff does a great job in preparing us week-in and week-out. We have to play well in each game for us to have a shot. A lot of people say we are the backbone and we feel the offense should only have to score three points for us to come out on top. We go in and work hard every day. We have a lot of players on our team that refuse to lose and go out and fight for four quarters. I think we have done a great job of that this year and I anticipate we will do the same tomorrow.”

On Oklahoma State’s offense
“They are very spread out. They have two good receivers. They can run off the corner so I can see a little resemblance of Florida, but they are a lot different. Where Florida was small and quick, this team has two big receivers, 6’2” and 6’4”, their quarterback is big so I think they are a lot bigger team.”

On what a win would mean to Alabama
“If we come out with a win tomorrow I think it would be a mark for our season because we have been through it all and came through a tough time when our season wasn’t perfect or the season we wanted to have but at least we came out with a 7-6 record. That would be a winning record for us and would be a stepping stone for the University.