JM: what boat? That wasn't a boat. That was a ship [USS Boxer]. That thing was great. I think the guys had a lot of fun. Good practice. Don't know what the weather's going to be [like] Thursday night. The field's wet so at least we got a chance to work on a slippery field. So it was good. Good enthusiasm. Today we hit the zoo so hopefully the animals are out, and we'll have a good time regardless.
Q: it's going to be dry in the press box.
JM: you'll be up there. Yeah, I won't be up there. I don't really care. This is nothing. I told them I'm from Seattle. This is a beautiful day up there.
Q: so that Baylor offense. Man, that's tough, isn't it?
JM: Baylor's offense is excellent. We got to spend some time with a couple of their kids yesterday at the Children's Hospital. Good kids. Really good men. It's really interesting about a bowl. As you spend some time with them on a ship, spend some time with them at a children's hospital, spend some time with them today at the zoo, tomorrow at Sea World, got the luncheon on Wednesday, and all of a sudden, you're out on the field playing them, and there's a little more familiarity than there is in a typical game.
Q: good or bad? Would you rather have them be faceless? nameless?
JM: I would. But I appreciate this experience as well so I think our guys are able to focus and lock in, and they know what they have to do so we'll be okay.
Q: you said that you have had experience at Qualcomm [Stadium] before. You said that the first place you coached?
Q: what kind of memories do you have of that place? Anything or just…
JM: oh, lots. It's where I started my coaching career, and I worked for Don Coryell. Guys on the team were Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow, "Little Train" James. Billy Ray Smith. Some great players . Ed White. Hall of Famers. Kellen, Dan, and Charlie are all in the Hall of Fame. So there's some great players.
Q: does it mean something extra? For this to be your first bowl game and being there?
JM: no, it's not that sentimental. It was just a place I worked.
Q: is there anything that goes into mental preparation this late now? Anything in this 2 week stretch that changes?
JM: what we try to do is… you've heard me use the word "routine." You're probably sick of me saying the word "routine." What we're trying to do is get into our game week routine. So today was like a typical Wednesday for us. And it's different obviously because we have some of the activities that we've got to take part in, but by Wednesday morning, we will be right on schedule in terms of how we spend the last 48 hours, maybe a little less than 48 hours, before game time. That never deviates. I think that's really important. I mean, that's the mental preparation. That routine.
Q: Coach, do you think the style of play with the conferences of BIG-12 and PAC-12 are similar?
JM: I haven't watched that conference enough so I really couldn't tell you. I know that Baylor does some things that are similar to some teams. Arizona. Maybe a little bit like Arizona State in terms of their tempo and spreading the field out. Although Baylor's unique in that they just create huge alleys. There'll be times when they line a receiver up 1 yard from the sideline. You don't see that very often. We certainly haven't played anyone as explosive as these guys. They're leading the country. There's no one better right now.
Q: since you didn't have Oregon on your schedule this year, is this probably the most explosive team you're going to see this year? Or is there someone close in the conference?
JM: the PAC-12's got some pretty darn good offenses in it. Arizona, when we played them, they were, I think they were ranked third or fifth in the country, yeah, they were ranked in the top 5 in the country when we played Arizona. So they're pretty explosive. USC's always had a good offense. This is a really good offense, but I don't know if I can make that comparison.
Q: how much have you seen the team's confidence grow all season? Is this as confident as you've seen them?
JM: yeah, when you win and you experience some success, your confidence grows. But I also think that it grows out of the fact that they do things right on a daily basis. They work hard. They prepare hard. They focus on the task at hand every day. And I think going through the mechanics of getting ready for a game and doing it the proper way, I think that helps your confidence just as much as winning games so it's kind of a combination of both of those things that I think has helped our team.