December 23rd, 2015 | BAHAMAS BOWL


Western Michigan Quotes – Dec. 23, 2015

Western Michigan held its final practice in Nassau Wednesday morning at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. It was a light walk-through prior to a pregame press conference.

P.J. FLECK, Head Coach

Opening Remarks

“First, I’m not sure how we became the home team. Middle Tennessee State’s president is from this country, so I’m not sure how we became the home team, but we’ll take it (laughing).”

“I work for a pioneer — a lady (athletic director Kathy Beauregard) who took a chance on me three years ago when nobody else would. Who would hire a 31-, 32-year old young kid to run their program? She would. So, I want to thank her and our president, Dr. (John) Dunn.”

“A year and 16 weeks ago we were the worst team in college football. And now we’ve had back-to-back bowl games, the greatest turnaround in program history, in Mid-American Conference history and the greatest in college football last year. And to be able to sustain that with the schedule we did – we called it a schedule of champions.”

“(We wanted) to separate the work from the fun (on this trip). These players are very mature for as young as they are. We only have nine seniors. We are a very, very young football team…. There are a lot of things to experience here on the islands. I still have to pinch myself to say we are actually here.  It’s a beautiful place. It’s probably the best place I’ve ever been to on a vacation, which you’re actually working on a vacation, which is nice.”

On Middle Tennessee State quarterback Brent Stockstill

“I think whether it’s professional football, the National Football League or whether it’s college or high school football, it starts with the guy with the ball and that’s the quarterback. It always does. You look at (Brent) Stockstill and what he’s been able to do as a redshirt freshman is extremely impressive. I call him a 12th-year senior.  He’s a redshirt freshman, but he’s a 12th-year senior. He’s the son of a head football coach. That immediately makes you smarter than anyone else in terms of the game of football, instantly, right? Because you’re always around the game. He was probably 6 or 7 years old learning (football) concepts when everyone else was playing with blocks and trucks, and that’s what he was doing. He’s very sharp, very intelligent and he makes everything go.”

More thoughts on Middle Tennessee State

“First and foremost, they are very well-coached. Coach Stockstill is one of the legendary coaches in college football and he has done a tremendous job building his culture. They are very disciplined team on the field. That’s what we want to represent every single day – be a disciplined football team that plays the game the right way (and) respects the game at all times. Because I think there is a right way to play it, and there is a wrong way to play it. I really believe that. I’m old school that way. I might be one of the younger coaches, but I truly believe that.

“When you look at them, they are identical to us. Their quarterback and two receivers, their offensive line, the running backs… and then their defense is kind of a no-name defense. We’re a no-name defense. We don’t have any defensive players up here (on the podium) because we just play really well collectively. We’re a very selfless team.”

Do you plan to begin recruiting in the Bahamas?

“(To a Nassau TV reporter) You’re big into track, right? Well, speed kills. So, yes! We will be very interested. We might have a whole team of them. We might bring your whole country to Western Michigan. If you can run, you can play football.”


What has been your favorite activity on the island?

“Besides the slides, the beach and everything like that we got an opportunity to go to the orphanage. It just so happens earlier in the day that we have a professor in the aviation program. And we’re at the orphanage, and I was talking to one of the kids. He’s a senior, 17 years old, taking the SAT. I can kind of relate, obviously. Four years ago that was me. It just so happened that I had an aviation T-shirt with me from Western Michigan. He had talked about how he wanted to get into aviation… It was really cool to see him light up. We have one of the top aviation programs in the country. That was probably my favorite moment so far.”

On having two outstanding wide receivers to throw to

“It’s kind of a blessing and a curse because you have to get them all the ball (laughing). We have such talented guys and so many of them. Obviously, it makes my job easy and then hard at the same time because you have to find creative ways to get them the ball. They’re all special. We have a very selfless team. Guys don’t get selfish. Corey Davis (for example) will block just as hard as he does running a route.” 


What has been your favorite activity on the island?

“We got (a chance) to play football with a lot of kids (at a clinic on Tuesday). For some of them, they had never played football, never heard of it, and it was a lot of fun just to see the looks on their faces. It was really a blessing (for me).”


What has been your favorite activity on the island?

“I had never been out of the country. Every day I wake up and look outside my balcony I realize how blessed we are to play football in this beautiful country. One thing I really want to do is (swim) with the dolphins and we get to do that today, so I’m really excited for today.”

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