Fiesta Bowl Gameweek Student-Athlete Interviews Full Transcript

Pranav Ramasubramanian 

December 31, 2020

Photo by Bryon Houlgrave/THE REGISTER

Fiesta Bowls have been transpiring since 1971 with some vintage games like Boise State vs Oklahoma, UCLA vs Miami, Ohio State vs Clemson, etc. This year's match featured the Iowa State Cyclones against the Oregon Ducks. In advance of Saturday's contest coaches and student-athletes met with the media on Zoom to discuss respective opinions on particular subject matters that they were questioned about. Here's what select student-athletes from both teams vocalized during those videoconferences. 

Iowa State Cyclones 

Running Back: Breece Hall 

Question: You've just addressed this in terms of Oregon's defense. Have you looked at how to attack them by accurately locating the holes in the backfield? 

Answer: Yeah. We're starting to get into it. I feel like with every team, as far as the run game, you want to venture to get your running backs in one-on-one situations. Currently, we're trusting the process given to us by the coaches and just treating it as a regular game using the same approach we always employ. Nothing has really changed for us so far.

Linebacker: Mike Rose 

Question: Oregon's biggest strength on offense is their speed. What are some of the other things they do offensively from what the tape shows?  

Answer: We've been studying their tape a lot. They've got a lot of speed. Their running back, 26 (Travis Dye), I know he's a speedster. The biggest thing to stop that is assignment soundness, you know, be in your gaps and prevent those major plays from happening where they can use their speed on the edge. Something they do very well is running the ball. You can see in their wins this year when they utilized that gameplan they won games. Obviously, that's going to be a substantial factor for us. You know, stop the run, which is always a momentous thing making them a team one-dimensional any way you can. We need to force them to be one-dimensional on Saturday. That's probably the most significant thing, and then just let everything else play out after that. 

Question: You were able to exude more confidence during game action this season. Was that a combination of your experience from last year and off-season training?

Answer: Yeah it's definitely both of those factors. I felt different this season running onto the field. Last year I was subconsciously thinking about if I had the speed to cover the players that I had to try and limit all year, impairing my overall play. In 2020, I found a system watching film knowing what I need to observe about opposing defenses. My film sessions are very productive contrasting to previous film sessions. I just picked up the speed of the matches and became faster stacking up great games in 2020. 

Oregon Ducks

Defensive End: Kayvon Thibodeaux 

Question: Iowa State has one of the best rosters in College Football. How do you look to physically push yourself in practice this week to attempt to maximize your pass-rushing abilities come Saturday?

Answer: I don't want to necessarily say that it will be just my pass-rushing abilities that will make the difference come Saturday, but we'll be pushing ourselves as a team this week just as far as conditioning and going all out preparing for the task at hand because you've got to stop the run before you can pass rush.

Defensive Back: Jamal Hill 

Question: In the last game you had two picks. How do you look to replicate that success in the Fiesta Bowl?

Answer: I don't know about replicating it. I won't endeavor to replicate it, but I'm gonna do what I need to do within the scheme to help the team win.

Question: Breece Hall is one of the top running backs in the country. What makes him so difficult to stop? 

Answer: He's very explosive, patient, and just an overall playmaker in the backfield. 

Running Back: Travis Dye 

Question: You had an exceptional season this year. What do you think were the biggest factors for that achievement?

Answer: The offensive linemen stepped up huge. Coach [Joe] Moorhead gave me the space that I needed with the plays and us just executing as an offense and team. 

The video of these interviews is now available on YouTube. You can choose to view it down below.

A special thanks to Scott Leightman, and Alex Nash for arranging and conducting videoconferences spectacularly. Another special mention goes to Caption Pros, who aided with closed captioning. Make sure to tune in to the Fiesta Bowl on ESPN at 4:00 AM Eastern/1:00 PM Pacific.