"Glad to be here, it’s an honor to be here at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and we are looking forward to it. We had a really good practice today. I was very proud of the way our kids came out and worked, it’s always important to see how they come off a layoff. I was very pleased coming into the game and have been very pleased after the first day today. Great attitude, we got work done, we had a normal Monday practice extended about 8 or 10 minutes on the other things we worked on, but other than that looked really sharp. We look in good condition and the guys did some things while they were home, so I was very pleased with that. Looking forward to the next practice, great preparation and looking forward to playing a great Houston team."
On the team working hard at practice:
"They have always worked hard, but working efficiently and understanding big picture things and how practice habits really carry over. Sometimes when you are young it takes you a while to grasp that but by the middle of the season I think we have grown a lot."
On the first practice after Christmas is a good indication of how the week will go:
"Kind of and I hope it continues the next couple of days, but the attitude you come back with; you’re here to have a good time, you’re here to practice…when the game comes guys start getting into it. Today, we were sharp. First practice coming back from a three-day layoff, even the skill level – throwing and catching the ball – playing the ball on defense … our mental approach on practice was really good. And we kicked the ball real well too."
On Dalvin Cook visiting the Children’s Hospital down in Miami:
"It’s just another indication of how he is and the kind of young man and the impact he can have. I think it was awesome, I really do. Putting a smile on someone’s face, I think he is realizing too because Dalvin is such a shy guy, I think he is realizing the impact that he can have on a lot of youth and a lot of young people in this country…it was a great gesture and indicative of who he is as a person."
On how much is on the line this week and dealing with all the other things associated with bowl week:
"(It’s about) Compartmentalizing and we talk about that a lot. You have to learn to do that; the high level of ball you go because today we told them to have, we are here to have fun and you guys enjoy this thing. This is what bowl games originally were, in the old days it was a reward for what you had during the season. Remember they used to name national champions after the season, bowl games didn’t even count. But there is an educational part – going to the College Football Hall of Fame, going to the Martin Luther King museum, you will be exposed to these types of things, part s of the city that they have never been exposed to and learn history, but then there is a time for business. And you have to learn to compartmentalize, when it’s time to work, we work; when it’s time to play, we play and when it’s time to learn, we’ll learn and always care yourself with dignity and pride."
On Houston and what really sticks out about them:
"They are real good. When you talk about their offense and their dynamic at quarterback, receiver and back, and you talk about all the points you score. But then you look at them on defense – they are great against the run, they are ranked in scoring defense, they make plays and create turnovers, they have tons of turnovers. This team is very good on special teams. They have a lot of skilled athletes that can run and return, I mean this is on heck of a football team. They play hard, they are discipline and they are tough. They are a very well rounded team on all three phases and you don’t win 12 games like that on accident. "
On Houston’s defensive play and how they create different looks:
"Different blitz packages in which they do at different times and constantly bringing pressure at you, so you have to be aware of where certain people are all the time and to not run up hill or get caught in bad situations. They are going to attack you on down and distance with different blitz packages. They are tough and I’m sure they will have something new also thrown in there, so you have to be really aware."
On Tom Herman and his quick impact:
"Anytime a guy comes in and has a turnaround of that magnitude, Houston is used to winning. They have won in the past but for him to come in and take that team and flip it around so quick in all three phases; be so good and so far a long in their packages, their organization, their structure, how hard they play. Tom has done a tremendous job."