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Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

TEXAS A&M DEFENSIVE PRESS CONFERENCE - TRANSCRIPTS

ASSISTANT HEAD COACH/DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TIM DeRUYTER

LSU offensive lineman Joseph Barksdale and entire offensive line…
“Big, physical, talented, athletic.  He’s a really good football player.  I think this offensive line compares very favorably to Arkansas’s offensive line.  We thought they were an excellent offensive line.  You turn on those two tapes and you say, ‘These are two really good SEC teams.’  They’re very very similar, different style quarterbacks, but the rest of the athletes around them on the offensive line are very similar.”

On DE Lucas Patterson…
“Because of how we structure things, in our package our defensive ends like Lucas are going to get a bunch of double teams.  Luke is just a lunch pale-guy that comes to work every day.  He doesn’t do it for the glory, he’s just going to go play hard.  If he can free someone up where LB Mike Hodges or LB Garrick Williams or Joker Von Miller can go make a play, he doesn’t care.  In his own right, he’s also made a bunch of plays when we move him a little bit in some of our stunts, he’s done some really really good things.  We’ll try to do the same things when they start going to their one-back lead zone option stuff.  I think he becomes a little bit more of a factor in that scheme.  When they get in two back, he’s going to hunker-down and make sure the line of scrimmage stays right here.” 

Challenge preparing for two different types of quarterbacks…
“When QB Jordan Jefferson is in there you have to be aware of the read zone series and him taking the ball and tucking and running it and little bit more than QB Jarrett Lee.  They change styles a little bit, but they still just run an offense.  They’re probably not going to call as many read zone plays when Lee is in there.  Other than that, they’re still running their stuff, their throw game is still similar.” 

On Joker Von Miller…
“Watching some tape from a year ago you can see him coming off an edge.  He had 16 or 17 sacks last year.  You salivate a little bit as a defensive coordinator of getting the chance to have a guy like that in this package. When you can move him around and teams don’t know he’s always coming from the right side, or he’s always coming from this gap or that gap, I think it gives him a little more freedom and flexibility.  It does put a little more stress on the offense where they can’t always count on a double team, they’ve got to find him.  I think he can obviously go on to the next level.  He’s got an extremely quick first step and a very good power move after that.  He can get guys on their heels and counter.  He’s an excellent pass-rusher.  When you’re running a 3-4 package, that’s what you’re looking for, those edge guys that can really stress an offensive tackle.  I think he’d be dynamite at it.  He’s also athletic enough where he can drop into space and coverage and that’s unique.  There are a lot of defensive ends that can do what he does, but they can’t drop in space like he can.  That combination is probably going to get him a pretty good payday.  The Arkansas game is about when I saw him started to see him play well.  In the Missouri game they had a good look in their package where they spread us out and they basically went into a quick game where it didn’t matter if Von got there in a 1.5 seconds, the ball was gone.   I didn’t adjust to things well enough quickly enough with what we were doing.  Both of those games he was really starting to get explosive and just got better from there.” 

CB TERRANCE FREDERICK

On preparation for the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic…
“It’s been very tough.  We’ve been in College Station practicing ever since after the Texas game in Austin.  We’ve just been working all day everyday just waiting to play this game.” 

On maintaining momentum from the season…
“We had a couple padded practices just so we could get the feel back of it.  We’ve been banging a little bit, but as we get closer and closer to this game we lighten up on pads and went with just helmets.  That was the most part, going over technique stuff that we needed to get back onto because of the long break we had.” 

Advantage to playing at Cowboys Stadium already this year…
“It’s kind of like when we play at Kyle Field.  It’s a good feeling that we’ve already been here we know how loud it can get from the last game we played.  It feels good that we’ve played here before and we’ve got to continue and hopefully come out with a win, unlike the last time we came.”

On LSU/A&M rivalry…
“I know it was pretty big back in the day when Texas used go and recruit from LSU, it’s good that we get a chance to play each other again and I’m a part of it.  We’re going to go out there and play hard and I know they’re going to do the same.” 

On A&M going for six wins in a row to finish the season…
“We knew we lost those three-straight games and we knew we had to pick it up.  It wasn’t like we were supposed to lose those games because we could have easily done something to change to win those games.  We couldn’t just lay down just because we lost three straight.   We knew we had to pick it up.  We made a couple good changes here and there, started working harder and harder, and we came out with six wins after that.” 

On setting a tone for the future of the A&M football program…
“It’s setting a big tone.  Making the strides we made this year is going to be very important for us next year and the year after that.  More players in high school are going to be looking at A&M to go on with their futures.”

LB MICHAEL HODGES

On A&M’s different looks on defense…
“Our defense is so difficult to read, that’s a big change we’ve had from last year to this year.  We’re constantly rolling, our coverages are constantly disguised and sometimes we put in a fake blitz here or there.  It really poses problems and has opened up a lot of opportunities to get through.  Last year I didn’t have one sack and this year I’ve had sacks where I’ve gotten through untouched because of all the movement we’ve done.  It’s hard for an offense to stay with us.”

On Defensive Coordinator Tim DeRuyter…
“He’s kind of a harsh joker.  Sometimes you don’t know if he’s joking or if he’s trying to cut deep.  He has a real dry sense of humor and it’s fun to be around, but at the same time, you better have some thick skin because, like I said, his jokes cut deep at times, but it’s all fun.  The team has really grown to like him and we’ve really built everything around what he’s believed in, it’s made our defense really special.” 

On having fun playing football this year…
“I think last year at times, we got so focused on some of the losses we had, we forgot to have fun.  This year we’ve been able keep that by staying loose among our defense.  Von’s a big part of that.  Von just doesn’t get serious very often and that’s just his game and it really paid off for him.  We try to stay loose and we try to realize that when it comes down to it, this is a game and to try to have fun.  When we’re having fun that’s when we play the best.” 

On playing at Cowboys Stadium…
“It’s really special.  We’ve been here twice before.  We know what it is like to play in the Jurassic Park-like stadium.  When it comes down to it, it’s a 100-yard field.  It’s special that FOX is going to be there and we’re prime time and all the hype that’s around the game.  With the exception of being in a BCS game and winning the Big 12, this is the place to be.  We’re just ecstatic about our opportunities.” 

On playing at Cowboys Stadium again in the future…
“I wouldn’t mind!  I’m focusing on this coming Friday, but whatever happens, I’ll focus on what’s next after this game.” 

On visiting with patients at Children’s Medical Center…
“I didn’t think that it would be that big of a deal, but we did something similar in Shreveport last year and it was about as special as it could be.  It was even more special then, probably, because it was Christmas Eve or Christmas Day when we went.  For those kids to have to be in the hospital on such a special day and special holiday break, it’s a sad thing.  we can brighten their day at little bit.  Our team is so selfless, we really enjoy reaching out.” 

JOKER VON MILLER

Impact of winning the Cotton Bowl Classic…
“That will put us on a national level, not only with sports, but in general with the students we can get to come here with this win.  I think it all starts here with this win.” 

On feeling like the old Von Miller while recovering from ankle injury…
“I always felt like I’ve played good football.  In football you’re going to get hurt.  I’ve had injuries every year I’ve played football.  With it being my ankle ,with me being a speed guy, and with it being my senior year, it added a little more pressure.  I was always the same Von Miller.  I had my teammates there to support me every day after practice.  OL Matt Allen sits right across from me in the locker room and he’d ask me every day how I was feeling.  Everybody was always concerned and would try to motivate me and keep my spirits high.  Thanks to them, I was always the same Von Miller.” 

On Miller’s performance since first sack of the season at the Arkansas game…
“Things just started working for us.  Thank God I was able to get the sacks that I did get.  From the beginning I didn’t value sack, I value wins.  Last year I put more value in sacks and we didn’t win a lot of games.  This year the biggest thing I wanted to do what just win football games.  If I need to get a sack to win a football game, that’s what I’ll do.  All I really want to do is win.  Sacks are always a plus, it feels really good to get sacks, but it feels even better to get a win.”

On LSU offense…
“They have a very talented offensive line with LT Joseph Barksdale and have very talented receivers with Terrence Toliver.  We took our visit to Texas A&M at the same time so I know a little bit about Terrance Toliver.  He might not have had the year that everybody expected but I know that he’s a highly-talented receiver, probably one of the best in the nation.  They have a very solid offensive line, a very solid backfield, and two very solid quarterbacks.  That makes LSU the team they are, along with a top-five defense in the nation,  it makes them a powerhouse.  It’s going to be extremely challenging to go out there and play these guys but as long as we take it play-by-play and down-by-down, I think we’ll be alright.”

On taking on a running quarterback…
“You just got to keep your eyes wide.  Quarterbacks are quarterbacks.  Jordan Jefferson is a highly-talented quarterback.  He’ll get away from you if you’re not 100 percent on it.  I just plan on taking it 100 percent, play-by-play, that’s the only way I’m going to be able to get him.” 

On playing with LB Michael Hodges and attitude on the field…
“I’m blessed to have Michael Hodges on my team.  I don’t think there’s one play on the field where I don’t ask him, ‘What’s the play?’ or ‘What’s the call?’ or ‘What am I supposed to be doing?’  I owe all my success this season to Michael Hodges and the rest of the defense.  Without them, I know I wouldn’t be here where I am right now.  I know that we wouldn’t be here where we are right now.  I give it all back to Michael Hodges and the defense.  When you don’t have to think about stuff and you’ve got a tutor that’s right here that’s giving me the plays and telling you what to do on every play, that makes everything a lot easier.” 

On last game with Desoto Four
“I really don’t think about it like that.  Who knows, we might all be on the same team again.  I don’t think that won’t happen.  It might be our last game, but it won’t be the last time that we’ll be with each other.  Those guys are my brothers.  I’m going to try and make all their games next year.  It might be our last football game together, but it’s not the last of us.” 

DE LUCAS PATTERSON

On difference preparing for a bowl game…
“I think you’ve got to look at the next team on your schedule.  Every team has different tendencies and SEC leans more toward the power game, at least the teams we play, Arkansas, LSU, Georgia.  You can’t differentiate in front of the team, you‘ve just got to watch the film and figure out what you can.”

On Georgia game…
“Every loss sticks with you, but you’ve got to press-on and prepare for the next one.” 

What a Cotton Bowl Classic win mean for the team…
“It would be huge.  It would be a good way to finish a good season.  We have to keep it moving, we can’t take a step back.  Our motto this year is, ‘We ain’t going back,’ to last year and the losses.  This is just the next step in the process.  Von Miller started saying it, it just stuck with us.” 

On experiences during his college career…
“It’s nuts.  It went by a lot faster than I thought it was going to.  I remember my first year getting here and playing offensive line.  It was back-and-forth, the coaching change, it’s been an up-and-down rollercoaster.   I’m real proud of how this season has gone and all the guys, the way they’ve played, I just hope we can continue.” 

On Appreciating A&M true freshmen offensive tackles…
“I think OTs Jake Matthews and Luke Joeckel have been great this year, especially for true freshmen.  Having played in college a little bit, I know how hard it was and both of them have picked it up, unbelievably.  Playing that position, I know how hard it is and they have done a great job this year.” 

Challenge LSU RB Stevan Ridley brings to the A&M defense…
“He’s a great football player.  He runs hard.  Watching film, guys have trouble tackling him.  That’s been a big emphasis in our preparation.  You’ve got to be able to tackle him, you can’t arm tackle this guy, you’ve got to run through the tackle, gang tackle, stuff like that.  He’s a great player and I’m looking forward to it.”

LB GARRICK WILLIAMS

On rivalry with LSU…
“It’s something big.  I remember them playing LSU a while back.  We just want to keep this thing going.  We won the last game in ’95, hopefully we can keep everything going and everything will stay positive for us.” 

On playing in the Cotton Bowl Classic while being from Desoto…
“This is something we’ve always talked about.  Last year we went to the bowl in Shreveport and people weren’t satisfied with that.  Last year we finished 6-7, and I think we were capable of doing so much more.   Now, we’re on the big stage, we’re all about accepting challenges and taking them.  We’re 9-3, LSU is 10-2.  This is something we have to do so we can get better so we can take that next step and get the recognition we deserve.” 

On advantage to playing in Cowboys Stadium again this season…
“This will be my third time to playing [in Cowboys Stadium].  The first time it’s like ‘Man, this is huge.’  We are getting the feel of everything now, so now it’s time to focus and get down to business.  It’s a lot easier now.” 

On A&M’s turnaround…
“It was a decision.  After we lost that third game, our motto was ‘We’re not going back,’ referring to the same old Texas A&M.  We started off 3-0.  We have so much talent, we’re not going to go back.  We got our heads together and won six games in a row and now we’re 9-3.” 

How Cotton Bowl Classic appearance will help the A&M football program…
“Winning those big games against Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas, that’s something that’s going to have an affect later on down the line with recruiting.  It’s hard to recruit when you have losing teams like we did last year, but on the pace we’re heading, recruiting should be good for us for the future.  I always said I came to Texas A&M to play in big games, but not only that, I came to win big games.  This is one of them.”

Tickets for local family/friends 
“I have six for my family, but I think four bought tickets for the game.” 

Playing with Desoto teammates in Dallas
“I’ve been thinking about this for a long time now.  We are the Desoto Four.  This is Joker Von Miller’s last game.  I just want to send Von off the right way.  He’s had a spectacular season, he won the Butkus award, and he was the first-team in a lot of things.  This is our last game together and we just want to go out on top.” 

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