Post-practice quotes from Rudy Carpenter
What he did during the off time:
I had some finals and some school work. I did get a chance to go home and see my family a bit. I helped my grandma decorate and put some Christmas lights up; it was fun to go home.
On how he feels physically:
I feel pretty good. My body feels good. I feel like my thumb feels the best it's going to feel. Obviously it's not going to be 100 percent until I take some time off after the season, but it feels pretty good.
On playing Texas:
I think its going to be a good challenge for us. Texas is a good team and they're also a great program with a good tradition. They've been in a lot of big games. They know what they're doing. I'm sure it's as good of an opportunity it is for them as it for us. It should be a lot of fun. Texas is a good opponent.
On whether or not the team feels like the underdog:
Texas is a good team. I think people think that because they're Texas, they're going to be better than us. We'll have to prove to everybody else. We wanted to be in a BCS game and I think this a good time to prove to everybody that we should have been in a BCS game.
On the break before the bowl game:
Sometime it feels like it's a long ways away. Sometimes you feel like you get mentally out of the game, but its good to get some time off we got some time to let our bodies heal. Now it's time to lock in. You've got to really be focused in preparation for a bowl game. Other than that it's the same. Practice is the same as it was in the other games. It's probably one of the few games that you feel like you are 100 percent healthy which makes a big difference.
On his shovel passes against U of A:
The first one I threw, the touchdown, was more legitimate. Tyrice (Thompson) was open for just a split second and I had to get rid of it right then. To get the ball in the throwing motion would have taken to long so just flip it up there was much more efficient and easier. The second I probably just should have ran it. It's just part of playing the game. You have to react to certain situations and that's what I do.
On Chris McGaha and how he's improved since last season:
Everybody loves Chris. Everywhere I go, everyone I talk to, they always ask about Chris McGaha. He's just unbelievable. That catch was amazing. It was an unbelievable catch. He's ridiculous. He's a year older. Chris is still only a sophomore. Kyle Williams is only a sophomore. It's very rare those freshmen are able to play at a high level. Chris played well at times last year whereas this year he has played well at a consistent level. He's another year older. In that year you get more confident, faster, stronger.
On how McGaha has not had a touchdown:
We make fun of him everyday. He's caught a lot of balls where he's come so close. The U of A game he landed on the one-yard line. When talking to Chris about it, he wants a touchdown but he's just happy to do his part to win games for us.
On Tyrice Thompson:
Tyrice has had up and downs since he's been here. This year he's really stepped up and has done some good things for us. It was even better that in the last game of the season on his senior day, he had the opportunity to make some really big plays and that was his first touchdown of his career. He wanted that more than anything, that's why he made such a great play on the ball. The second catch was more incredible to me. If I had given him a halfway decent throw, he would have walked into the end zone. I wish we had Tyrice for a couple more years. Tyrice has grown a lot and matured over the years he's been here. This year he evolved into an emotional leader for us and a senior leader for us.
On the incredible catches made this season:
I can name a bunch: Kyle Williams against Colorado, Kyle Williams against Washington State, Chris McGaha against Washington State and U of A, Mike Jones against U of A and Cal, Brent Miller against U of A over Antoine Cason, Kyle Williams at Oregon State. There's been some amazing catches. The wide receivers and I were kind of disappointed in how we did last year as a group. One of the things they stress to themselves and I stressed to them is that there are times that you're going to want a perfect ball but there are times when you've got to make a plays for me too. With Coach Yarber they really began to understand that once the balls in the air, it's our ball, go get it. Coach Yarber made a big difference this year.
On not getting a BCS game:
That's one thing we've been able to do well all year is to move on from things that happened. If we had won one game here and there we could have controlled our own destiny but we didn't do that. We're happy to be in the Holiday Bowl and we're happy to play against a team like Texas. We're looking forward to that more than anything.