Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Press Conference - Player Quotes
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Press Conference
Dec. 22, 2016
LA Tech Senior Wide Receiver Trent Taylor
How does Navy compare to other teams LA Tech has played this year?
“They’re going to be one of the better teams we’ve played for sure. You can see through their games and by how they beat Notre Dame and Houston that they have a solid defense. They don’t let any big plays out and they keep everything underneath them. That means we’re going to have to execute any snap that we can. It’s going to be a long game. We just need to be steady with it and keep executing throughout the whole game.”
What impresses you about Navy’s offense?
“It’s impressive just watching how detailed they are. It looks like they perfected that offense to a T. They run it just as good as any one has run it before. It’s something impressive to watch that’s for sure. I might be on the sidelines just admiring that offense for a little bit, but overall it’s impressive, and hopefully we can slow them down for a little bit.”
Has your defense been exposed to any kind of similar offense as Navy?
“I don’t think we’ve faced anything like this before. The bowl practices that we’ve had leading up to this have been crucial. Like coach Holtz said, if it was just like any other game where we only had one week to prepare, it would be tough, but we had a couple of weeks to get ready for this and we needed every single one of them.”
It's LA Tech’s third year in a row to make a bowl game - first time that’s happened. It would be the first time to get three straight wins. What would it mean for the program and as senior for you to get three straight wins?
“That would be huge. I would love for that to happen to us. As a senior, there’s nothing more you can ask for than going out the right way. Since we lost the last couple of games of the season, it’s going to be crucial for the seniors and the rest of the team to win this game.”
How have the last couple of weeks been after losing those last few games to close out the regular season?
“It’s been rough. You kind of forget about all the wins because it feels like you haven’t won in so long. I think everyone’s been focused on that aspect. We need to make sure that we get this win, so we can leave with the right taste in my mouth.”
LA Tech Senior Safety Xavier Woods
On how important it is for Louisiana Tech to not get frustrated defensively:
“I know from playing college football that it's going to start off slow for us. We need to get used to the speed and get used to what they do. They might score a touchdown or two to begin with, but as a team, we just have to know to not get frustrated. Get comfortable with it. Get used to what they are doing. You'll start to learn how to defeat the blocks and the cut blocks that they do and from that point on, you get to play ball. I'm sure guys are going to be hesitant to start because of the way the cut block and the speed. You aren't used to this type of offense ear round, but once we get comfortable with it, we get to play ball."
On how this Navy offense changes the defense from instinct to assignment:
“It's a lot different. You need to key in on what you're supposed to or it goes for a touchdown. It takes 11 guys to really key in and do our jobs and play assignment football. Instincts will come into play on some tackles, but it's all about keying in on what you're supposed to key.”
On looking at Navy's whole season as opposed to the last two games because of injuries and struggles:
“I've watched a lot of file and they were scoring 40+ points just like our offense has. At the same time, we do watch what they have done the last two games to see what those other teams have done to slow them down. Last game, they did something totally different, which I don't expect them to do against us.”
On how the teams are similar and how big ending on a positive note is:
“As a senior, I don't want to end on a three-game losing streak and I don't want to lose my last game as a senior. It adds some wood to the fire a little bit just to go out on a good note.”
Navy Senior Defensive Lineman Amos Mason
Was the Academy something you always wanted to do?
“It came up in high school. A guy who went to my high school went to the Academy and he really inspired me to attend. I never would have thought that five to six years down the road I would be at the Naval Academy. During my sophomore and junior year, the Academy began to contact me and I knew it was a great opportunity so I had to take it.”
How do you think the Academy has changed you?
“I’ve grown as a man; I’ve learned how to be responsible and time management.”
What do you do after your senior year?
“Go to basic school in Virginia for five years.”
Do athletes make the best soldiers?
“Yes, because when you think about it when you’re on a team, guys who’ve been around a team aspect for all of their lives, flourish the most at the Academy.”
How important is this game for you all after the last couple games have been rough and are you excited for the opportunity to play Louisiana Tech?
“We want to leave a good taste in our mouths as seniors and set a good example for these younger guys on the team for next year. We constantly have to be pushing forward and face each game head on.”
What has the whole bowl experience been like for you guys?
“It’s very surreal. I went my sophomore, junior and this year. It has been great to experience this with these guys for one last time. It’s been a really great time.”
What do you think about the Navy program?
“We are always going to bounce back, it doesn’t matter if it goes our way or doesn’t, we just have to keep pushing forward. It speaks to our team because we’ve had things that have set us back but no matter what we come back swinging. It’s a great opportunity to get to play Louisiana Tech.”
What is the significance of 10 wins?
“People don’t get that often at all, winning back-to-back 10 win seasons speaks volume of this program.”
How do you feel about the last game suiting up with your team?
“It’s very surreal; we are excited about it. My football career is going to end after this, so everything little thing I’m making sure to take in. Doing this one last time with my brothers is awesome.”
After 4 years, you’re a senior now. What would you tell your younger freshman self now from where you are about the Naval Academy experience?
“I would tell myself to buy in and take in the entire experience. As a freshman you want to rebel because it is very hard. But you have to buy into it and give 100 percent because when you do that things will be much easier.”
How would you reflect on your time at the Naval Academy and how far you’ve come?
“I was much less mature as a freshman. I’ve definitely matured and grown as a man here. I learned time management and things start to slow down throughout the years.”
Navy Senior Wide Receiver Jamir Tillman
Is there anything you would tell yourself back then based on what you know now?
“Again, it all works out. The whole military and football stuff is a lot especially I don’t have a lot of military in my family, so there were a lot of nights I was crying, I was like, ‘mom I don’t want to be here. This sucks. School sucks. You know, this triple option, they really don’t throw the ball. What is this?’ But it was okay. I tell a bunch of guys back who are freshmen and sophomores, it’s okay, I’m gonna be honest, I went from a 1.8 to having a 3.63 last semester. So, it all works out, you just have to trust the process and find somebody you can relate to. Find somebody you can talk to. I have a partner in crime, Sean White, is my partner in crime. That’s like my best friend. If something’s happening, he’s there to listen to me and talk to me. I have a good background with my family. So, them supporting me and staying with my faith knowing that God puts you in a situation for a reason. You may think it’s hard and you may think it’s tough but at the end of the day, He’s gonna pull you out. So, I just have to find confidence that he’s going to do that. There are a lot of days where I’m just like, man it’s too much stuff to do and I’m not ready. I am ready, you know. He gives me the talents and He’s given me the ability to do what I’m able to do. If I could tell my younger self something, in conclusion, that it’s going to be okay. Everything happens for a reason and it’s going, you’ll be all right.”
You’re the prankster on this team, I understand, the jokester….
“I try to have a little fun for now and then. When you think of military, you think of guys like… I know how to switch it on and off. I’m sure you saw me at parade rest the whole time and I like having fun. Everyone thinks the military is some robots but no, we’re all guys, we’re all great personalities and I like to show that cause when in my life am I going to have eight interviewers in my face talking to me, this is fun. I dreamed all of my life of being able to do all the things I can do. Being able to be on interviews. I got a brother and sister back home, you know I’m trying to be a good role model for, so I’m not going to be a robot. I’m going to show my personality and it’s really impacted people. I love little kids come up to me all the time to me and my friends at all the basketball game. We’re like the oldest people in there. Everybody likes someone with personality. No one likes, “Yes, it’s going to be a good game. They play well.”
“I don’t pull pranks, It’s more having fun at practice. At practice, I’m the guy dancing on the sidelines. Or, me and Sean are the ones going to basketball games and making clowns and wearing referee jerseys and calling out the referees. We’re having fun. That’s how our personalities show. At the end of the day, I’m going to have fun.”
What does it mean to be able to have fun?
“Just means, again, like coach said, I’m a very emotional player. In the past I’ve shown a little immaturity and get a couple personal fouls but just showing that passion like when the quarterback messes up, you probably see me get a little pissed off on the side so that just shows your personality when you’re in doubt, when you’re on the sidelines, it’s okay to talk, laugh crack some jokes. When we’re in the locker room, crack some jokes, stuff like that. Letting it be known when to turn it on. When I step on the field I’m all business. You see me on the field I’m straight focused in, like I’m competing against the biggest competitor. I’m going to take down that QB in front of me or the linebacker that I have to go down and rush. So, just enjoying yourself and knowing when to enjoy yourself. Not being afraid to show who you really are. I think everybody has a little kid in them sometime that really wanted to do this and I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts because I got about two more days to do it.”
Do you look at LA Tech’s offense and think and wonder how numbers you can put up?
“I’m here I’m blessed, I’m healthy, I’m doing something you know, for my team. I’m second at receptions. What do I have to complain about. If it’s meant for me then it’ll be for me. So I don’t think about, hey, I could do great things in that offense. I’m doing great things in my offense, too. It might not be the numbers that everyone’s looking for but it’s the numbers that my team wants. It’s the ones that’s going to help my brothers. At the end of the day the goal is to get the W. The goal is to get the wins. And if I’m blocking a linebacker and getting a win or I’m catching 120 balls and losing, which one am I going to take? I’m going to take blocking the linebacker and getting the win on my team.”