MONTGOMERY – The Ball State Cardinals and Georgia State Panthers arrived in Montgomery today as preparations begin for the eighth annual TaxAct Camellia Bowl on Christmas Day.
The Cardinals were the first team to arrive in town, following their charter flight from Indianapolis. The Panthers arrived in the mid-afternoon on charter buses from their Atlanta campus.
The head coaches met with the local media at the annual TaxAct Camellia Bowl Head Coaches press conference presented by Guardian Credit Union.
Following the press conference, both staffs joined the TaxAct Camellia Bowl staff for an ESPN party on the Harriott II Riverboat along the Alabama River.
The players from the respective teams had their own hospitality event and visited their gift suites, where they selected their bowl gifts and merchandise.
Here are some comments from Tuesday’s press conference:
Georgia State Head Coach Shawn Elliott:
“It’s a pleasure to be here. I mean, Georgia State football, myself and our football team, there’s been a lot of things done and we haven’t been in existence very long. Twelve short years. You know, we’re trying to grow our football program. We have the opportunity to play in these bowl games, it’s really something special for our team. You know, so many times in the bowl season, for whatever reason, teams, I think, take it for granted, what it means. But we’re building a great tradition at Georgia State, got a proud football program, we’ve got a great coaching staff and to be here, in Montgomery, Alabama, at the Camellia Bowl, is really outstanding.”
Ball State Head Coach Mike Neu:
“We really didn’t have that kind of bowl game, bowl week experience a year ago, playing in the Arizona Bowl because it was shortened due to COVID. We’re going to enjoy this opportunity. We’ve worked extremely hard on a game plan. We’re several practices in. We wanted to make sure we attacked the game plan. We had a great week, week and a half of practice on the practice field to make sure we were ready to go. We’ve still got work to be done here during the remaining days leading up to game day, but I’m excited to share this moment with our football team, with our program, with all who traveled with us — our donors, our supporters that have stuck with us through thick and thin because it has not been easy. A lot of times in your life when you have a challenge, when you’re presented something and you’re able to attack it, you want the mental toughness to be able to attack it head on. Many of these guys in 2017, we were not a good football team, we were taking it on the chin, losing by 30 and 40 points a game and all these young men stayed. They did not put their name in the transfer portal, which is crazy these days, they stayed and they continued to work hard and continued to just get better and better and better. And all of a sudden, we had a special year a year ago and this is a special year as well. For us to be able to go to a bowl game in back-to-back years has only happened a few times in the history of our program. So I know can speak on behalf of our players in saying thank you to everybody involved in the Camellia Bowl. We ecstatic to be here. We face a great opponent in Georgia State.”