Dec. 28, 2015

Q. The match-up between their offense and your defense?

COACH DENBROCK: Very difficult challenge ahead of us. Very difficult across the board, front seven. Every defensive statistical category they’re rated very highly in, for a reason.

Q. (No microphone.)

COACH DENBROCK: I think we’ve continued as the year’s gone along to build consistency offensively in our performance from week to week. We’re trying to continue that same development here during bowl prep, just kind of push ourselves to the next level, kind of dig a little bit deeper, do things a little bit better.

Hopefully we’ll have success when game day comes.

Q. (No microphone.)

COACH DENBROCK: I’m sure for those guys it’s special. You can think in your own mind about growing up in a certain state, rooting for that team, wanting to be part of all that as you were growing up.

Christmas’ jerseys, Christmas’ T-shirts. Then getting the chance to play for another university, then match up against them in a major bowl game, it’s got to be incredibly exciting for those guys, something that adds a little extra juice to this week.

Q. Have you talked about this being the next thing the team needs to do?

COACH DENBROCK: I think we always enjoy, and you can tell by our regular-season schedule let alone who we’ve matched up against in bowl games, we like to measure ourselves against the premiere programs in the country.

I think it’s another step in our program’s development, sure. It gives us an opportunity to play the defending national champion in a major bowl game. To go out and accomplish the mission and give ourselves the opportunity to win this game would be a big step in the right direction.

Q. The evolution DeShone Kizer, how quickly he took over and did so well?

COACH DENBROCK: It was kind of shocking, I believe, not because he didn’t have the ability to step into the role that he stepped into, but just because he never had an opportunity to really do it.

Once the opportunity really presented itself, he was the one who took it and ran with it, continued to grow by week-to-week. By the end of the season, was playing quarterback as well as anybody in the country.

Q. You have a great group of wide receivers. How is that as a wide receivers’ coach?

COACH DENBROCK: Yeah, those guys are on point. We’ve got great leadership. We have incredible togetherness. Those guys all care about one another as much as they do themselves.

That makes for a great atmosphere in the meeting room. They’re also very competitive guys, so it makes for a great atmosphere on the practice field. If you have a great atmosphere in the meeting room, transfer that to the practice field with the competitiveness that these guys bring, you have a chance to get better every day.

Q. How special is a player like Will Fuller?

COACH DENBROCK: He’s a special football player. He’s got that explosive ability that you love at the wide receiver position. Anytime he touches it, something positive is going to happen, it’s just a matter of whether it’s going to be a touchdown or just a big play.

Getting the ball to him, having him be a very important part of what we’re doing is very important.

Q. Some other guys, Brown, what is his future?

COACH DENBROCK: Incredibly bright. He did a great job. Number one, you never know when you get a freshman, where is he going to be at from a maturity standpoint. Physically, mentally, how is his transition going to go into playing college football. He did a great job with that all.

He was very on point with his ability to learn our offense and our system. Then you combine that with his physical traits, you’ve got yourself a pretty good football player. There’s a lot of great things coming in his future.

Q. Do you see him being a major player for you next year?

COACH DENBROCK: He’s got to continue to develop, but I don’t see any reason why that can’t happen. He knows the areas he really needs to improve on to put himself in a position to be one of the marquee guys.

I’m sure he’s hard at work at those even as we speak.

Q. Coach Sanford coming in this year, how did that add to you guys?

COACH DENBROCK: Yeah, I mean, it’s been great having Mike here obviously. His influence on the quarterback room alone has been fantastic. What he’s done with those guys, it’s pretty easy to spot their development and the progress that they’ve made.

It’s always great to have another voice, another way, another guy to bounce ideas off of and make sure we put ourselves in the best.

Q. And Malik?

COACH DENBROCK: Malik’s attitude has been tremendous since we got to camp. It’s great having him out there and having him healthy enough to jump in a drill and do a little something. It gives the guys a big boost and it gives him a big boost as he tries to work himself back.

Thank you.