December 22nd, 2016 | BAHAMAS BOWL


Old Dominion Press Conference Quotes – December 22, 2016

Old Dominion head coach Bobby Wilder

Opening remarks
“First of all I want to thank everybody. It’s truly an honor to be here, for myself, for captain TJ Ricks and captain David Washington to represent Old Dominion University. We could not be more excited and I absolutely agree: bowl games are better in the Bahamas. We have had a life-changing experience from the moment we arrived on Monday, when the plane was getting ready to touch down and everyone had their window (shade) open, taking pictures of the beautiful water; how friendly and welcoming everybody was at the airport to the time we arrived at Atlantis. It’s all just been a dream come true and we’ve made lifetime memories that we will never forget.

“But… we are also here to 1-0. We are also here to win a football game. It’s been a remarkable for season for a team and a group of young men that were picked to finish down near the bottom of our league, to go 9-3, tie for the best record in Conference USA; to be 7-1 in Conference USA in only our second year of playing at this level of our football. We are only eight years old as a program, so for those of you who are parents, we are in the second grade. We are still trying to grow up right now. We’re in the second grade, so that just gives you an idea of how young we are as a program and what these young men accomplished. The fact that we have the opportunity – if we can go 1-0 tomorrow – to be only the 19th team out of 129 in FBS to win 10 games in a season, which is very, very difficult to do. I’ve been coaching for 30 years and I’ve only been a part of that six times – that’s how hard it is, to win 10 games, and these young men, David and TJ, their teammates have put ODU in that position.”

Thoughts on tomorrow’s game
“It’s clear that both teams want to be here. We’ve had some great interaction with the Eastern Michigan players and staff. They’ve spent a lot of time together doing different events. It’s clear both teams are excited to be here. Did I already say bowl games are better in the Bahamas? Because they clearly are. I was talking with some of the Eastern Michigan players at the Beach Bash the other night and we agreed that the game should be postponed until next Friday. And we should stay here. And probably the media would need to cover that and stay here as well.

“But to your question, when you get into a situation where this is the best combined record of the two teams that they’ve had in the third year – there’s 16 wins between the two teams. And both teams come into this game playing well. We’ve won five (straight) games. They beat their rival Central Michigan in their last game to get to seven wins. They’ve won six more games than they did last year. It’s been a remarkable turnaround. Both teams will be locked in tomorrow. It will come down to execution. Football always comes back to execution, it doesn’t matter who is playing – NFL, college, high school – it comes down to execution. Who executes the best tomorrow in special teams, defense and offense, who converts on fourth down, who plays well in critical situations at the end of the half and at the end of the game, that’s what it will come down to tomorrow. I hope it’s an exciting game. I’d love to see it come down to the last minute – of course with Old Dominion winning.”

Old Dominion quarterback David Washington

What activity have you enjoyed most since being on the island?
“First I just want to thank everybody, Popeyes, ESPN and the Bahamas, I just thank you for this opportunity. It’s probably been the best opportunity of my life. But my favorite part was probably swimming by the dolphins – getting pushed by a dolphin and moving that fast is something I never thought that I would experience.”

How has this week helped you bond with your teammates and get to know the freshmen better?
“Just being away from everybody back home. All you have is your team here. I personally have spent a whole lot of time with the freshmen receivers and linebackers. Just being out here with just your team, and having a ball, I’ve gotten a lot closer to the younger guys.”

The history of this game has been high-scoring. Does that make you excited?
“In past years those have been teams that have executed well. If both teams execute really well it will probably be another shoot-out.”

How important is it to win the game?
“This team hates to lose. Winning is the most important thing. It’s the reason why we came here. We didn’t come here to lose or get embarrassed.”

Old Dominion linebacker TJ Ricks

What activity have you enjoyed most since being on the island?
“My favorite part of being here was going on all the water slides. (The) Leap of Faith (water slide) – I was kind of scared to go on at first. I just got on it and it was a piece of cake. I just want to thank Popeyes, the Bahamas and ESPN for inviting us here.”

How are you dealing with the heat and humidity?
“We are just taking it one step at a time. Coach (Wilder) had us running gassers at practice before we came down here so we can get acclimated to the weather, kind of, and we just try to keep our wind under us and stay hydrated.”

As a defender, what are your thoughts on this game being high-scoring traditionally?
“Well, I wouldn’t like it to be a shoot-out because I’m on the defensive side of the ball. I don’t like a lot of points being scored on us. As long as we have more points than them, I’m happy with that.”

How important is it to win the game?
“I feel like it’s very important for us to win our first bowl game ever. It would put Old Dominion football on the map.”

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