December, 2024 | The Historic Cramton Bowl

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December, 2024


Montgomery, Alabama

Buffalo Coach Maurice Linguist Press Conference Transcript

Posted December 27, 2022
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OPENING COMMENTS:“Hey guys, first off, hats off to Georgia Southern. Coach Clay Helton, I think they have a first-class program. I enjoyed getting to meet him and having some small conversations with him throughout the week that we’ve been here. Really proud and thankful that I met him and I really think he should be recognized for what he’s doing with his program. City of Montgomery has done a first-class job in taking care of us all week. I really, really enjoyed my time here in Montgomery, Alabama. The Camellia Bowl is a first-class event. Seeing Mayor (Steven) Reed, (Montgomery County Commission chairman) Doug (Singleton), all the executives with the bowl committee and the time that we had here, this city has been phenomenal. I really enjoyed the barbecue at Dreamland and all the other things we got to do and looking forward to coming back whenever time presents itself. So proud of our players and our coaches and our administration. We had to move a flight up 12 hours to beat a storm to get down here. If we did not do that, not even sure we would have made it down here on time to play the game. There’s a community back in the city of Buffalo right now that’s under a lot of snow. We talked as a team, the night before the game last night, that doing this for one another, doing this for God, who put us here, doing this for our teammates but also doing this for the city of Buffalo, doing this for the people that are back home that were going to be watching us on ESPN. I’m so proud of how our players played, I’m so proud of the commitment that they have. We started out the season 0-3. Everybody said, you know, whatever they said. They wrote us off, they questioned, they weren’t sure we were going to finish and here we are at the end. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. We’re champions and we talked about being bowl champions at the beginning of the season. We talked about being bowl champions back in January. And you fast forward 11 and a half months later and that’s what we are. Nobody’s ever going to be able to take that away from these guys. Justin Marshall and James Patterson, who’s going to go down as one of the all-time greats to ever play here at UB, Justin Marshall, who’s only spent one year with us but has made an impact, a very great impact in our locker room, in our program. I wish you could have guys like Justin and James here for 10 years but it doesn’t work that. They’re seniors, they’re going to go on to the NFL and they’re going to represent us really well, going to do that. But I’m so proud of all the guys, the grit, the determination. We talk about having a hard foundation, handling adversity, having mental and physical toughness and doing the next right thing in the moment and that’s what we did. And now we’re bowl champs.”

If you had such a good time down here, you might not be in a hurry to go home. How difficult is it to get back home?

“I’ve got three babies, a 5 (year old), a 3 (year old) and a newborn, so I’ve got to get home to see them. But maybe I can go collect them and bring them back to Montgomery and just hang out a little longer. But I’m going to take a little time with the family, then I’ll get right back after it with the team. We’ve got recruiting, we got a lot of other things, make sure our players make it back safely. We can’t wait to get back to our city and see our fans and see our supporters.”

You were talking about the 0-3 start. What got clicking for y’all, what got rolling?

“I think it’s just … we knew we were a much better team than what our record was. And we just didn’t finish out a couple of games the right way. I think if you watched this game today, this was kind of a small episode of kind of who we’ve been and what our season looked like. Just tough yards, grind out play after play and kind of throw a blanket over the scoreboard and just pound the rock is what we say. We have this saying called ‘HARD,’ handle adversity, respond and dominate. H-A-R-D, handle adversity, respond and dominate. And that’s all these guys did this entire season, that’s all they did this game. And they’re always going to be so special, especially these seniors. Especially these seniors, going to be so special to me. This is my first bowl win as a head coach and these guys allowed me to coach them. These guys set a foundation that’s going to propel us on to other great things in our program, but if you ever want to know what a UB football player should look like, look at Quian Williams, look at James Patterson, look at Justin Marshall, look at Gabe Wallace, look at some of these guys that have just, you know, pounded the rock, that have put in the work. They’re great guys that should be emulated.”

You talked about grinding out play after play, I mean that’s exactly what you did in the fourth quarter offensively. What was kind of the thinking?

“Well, we talk about it all the time. The closer the game gets, the more confident we get. The longer the game goes, the stronger we get. And we know that the hungriest team is always the most dangerous team. And we wanted to make sure we played with a grit, a determination, a hunger, a mental edge that you have to have. That’s something that is real in life, it’s called having a mental edge and our guys have bought into that. We have a lot of toughness in our locker room, we have a lot of pride in our locker room, we have a lot of humility in that locker room because of all the things we’ve gone through as well. I think we’ve been in the sweet spot of having that good balance of confidence in you and humility, what you have to have. But I know this: when the game is on the line, there are a ton of guys that I know we can count on. And I’m just really proud of how they were able to finish this game out and put away a really great Sun Belt team.”

Traditionally this game’s been really close in scoring. Obviously, you guys went up by nine, they scored the touchdown and you’ve got to get a couple of first downs, or at least one first down, to ice it. Just talk about the competition.

“Well, we looked up with six and a half minutes left and Alex McNulty, our kicker who’s been phenomenal for us all year, special teams player of the year in the Mid-American Conference, has done a phenomenal job, he goes in there and makes a clutch field goal and now we’ve got a two-score lead. So then it’s just about playing complementary football, right? How do we get stops on defense, get the ball back and how do we create the first downs. They have the three timeouts. We knew at some point in the series we were going to have to get a minimum of two, most likely three first downs to sustain the drive. They used the first two timeouts on first and second down. We got the first down on a third and three. We have a drill called ‘MAC Tough’ in our program. It’s a full, live-contact drill that we do every Tuesday for part of our ‘Toughness Tuesday’ practices, so you can hear all the echoes of ‘Mac Tough,’ ‘Mac Tough’ when it goes to third and three. It’s mental, it’s inside, it’s man on man, it’s move the man in front of you, it’s get behind your pads, it’s get the first down and lock the elbow out. You saw Taj Ahmed as well as our offensive line be able to push the pile. We get that first down, then we take a knee and now we’re lifting the trophy over our head.”

They talked about one of the things they wanted to do is get you guys off the field on third down, but I think you had a successful…”

“Sustaining drives. Our offensive line did a phenomenal job of protecting Cole (Snyder) and then we went to our playmakers. We’re going to Quian Williams, we’re going to Justin Marshall. Our first down success is what allowed us to have a lot of third down success. We had a couple of miscues that put us in … penalties where we were backed up, then Justin made some critical catches, Cole made some critical throws on third and long that allowed us to sustain the drives. And all we do is churn out the clock. We led the Mid-American Conference in time of possession. That’s a stat that nobody loves any more (but) we love it. We love time of possession. That’s a forgotten stat with everybody else. We led the conference in time of possession this year. We were right there, one or two, in fewest penalties. We were one of the least penalized teams in the Mid-American Conference. We know how to play tough, we know how to play disciplined, we know how to take care of the ball. We were top five this year nationally in takeaways, we play great complementary football and we just tie it all in together. Everybody’s got to do their job, right, for us to have this kind of win. We’re not a team that’s going to try and outscore you 60-50 or try to beat you 3-0. We play team football and the star of our team is the team. So we know that it takes the entire team for us to have success and everybody doing their job and that’s what we’re able to do.”

You hit on it a little bit, but I just kind of wanted to go back. Y’all made several really big third-down catches, especially by this guy (Justin Marshall) I just wanted you to talk about that.

“It’s not surprising. We have to execute in the moment, but how does that happen. It starts with ball security. Nick Hartnett snapping it to Cole Snyder and calling out the protection the right way. So you’ve got to go center to quarterback, right? You’ve got to get the timing and the rhythm down. They’re can’t be anybody in the pocket. We’ve got to protect the right way. They gave us some sync-up fronts, we were able to get the slide protection and call it out. Our backs did a great job on third down picking up the pressures. We had some second and third level pressures and we did a great job in protection, which gave us the time to get open. We felt like we were going to be able to get the ball to our playmakers on the outside, but what they were presenting on third down, we had to protect Cole the right way, Cole stepped up in the pocket and made some big-time throws, we got the first downs and that ate up another three, four, five minutes. And the best defense we have is our defense being on the sideline, is our offense being on the field. You know, it’s kind of hard for somebody else to score when they don’t have the ball. So if we can sustain drives and protect the quarterback, make completions and execute in the moment, we know that’s a formula that wins games.”

(From James Patterson) Coach, we know you were a DB back in the day, if you saw Justin Marshall receiving, how would you feel?

“That’s a question from James Patterson. I’ll tell you, just because he started like 55 games, I’m going to take his question. Justin’s got skills, now. He’s a Georgia guy, now. You know, Georgia guys, they got some game to them, so we know Justin’s got game in him. But I love you James, I love you Justin, I love you Trey (Hines). I’m getting out of here. You guys talk now.”