By Kenny Cox
FORT WORTH, Texas (December 29, 2011) – With kickoff just one day away, head coaches from BYU and Tulsa, along with bowl officials and players met with members of the media Thursday morning at a press conference for the ninth annual Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
“I am really intrigued and excited to be playing Tulsa,” head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “You have two of the most winning programs in the country over the past five or six years. You have two teams with similar seasons with losses against good teams and hard fought contests.”
Mendenhall stressed that both teams have plenty to play for and expects a close, competitive game.
“We’ve certainly had our hands full in preparing for Tulsa on both sides of the ball,” Mendenhall said. “I think it is a great challenge for us. Whoever wins the game it will be a significant victory against a good opponent and a good way to finish the year.”
Seniors Matt Reynolds and Jameson Frazier represented the team at the press conference and focused on the team’s motivation and keys to playing well and pushing the program forward.
“You can never really predict what happens in a game, Reynolds said. “I think a lot has to do with motivation and keeping your eye on the prize. We have done a really good job with that this year as we have in years past.”
In BYU’s three losses, the Cougars struggled to play their best football. With some momentum now and more experience, the team is looking to have different results against another quality opponent.
“We are executing better than we were at the beginning of the season,” Reynolds said. “We also have an identity established. We know who we are. We know what our offense looks like and we know what our defense looks like. We know what to expect, what to expect from ourselves and what is expected of us. That, more than anything, is what is going to be different.”
Frazier added that his team’s experience has helped them develop over the course of the season and hopes that will translate to the BYU’s first win in the state of Texas after going 0-2 this year.
“The biggest thing we learned this year is how to deal with stressful situations and we have come a long way.” Frazier said. “I’m not a superstitious man, but we are definitely looking for some redemption in Texas this time.”
Armed Forces Bowl executive director Brant Ringler spoke earlier about some of the distinct activities of the Armed Forces Bowl that will take place on game day and also mentioned the unique construction of the trophy using melted down military components from tank shell casings and helicopter parts.
“We always say this is more than a bowl game well this is more than a trophy,” Ringler said. “The elements of this trophy literally come from the battlefield in Iraq. This is a very unique trophy. No doubt about it, it adds a special meaning to our game and it’s something any team should be very proud of to put in their display case.
The ninth annual Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl is scheduled to kickoff at 11 a.m CST on Friday, December 30 and will be broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN Radio.