Feb. 2014

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16 Q: Was it as simple as the way the schedule lined up or what were keys to having so much success on the road? It was a point of emphasis for us. ere are certain basics if you're going to have a good football team you have to be able to handle. Winning on the road, the first thing I think about is the maturity of a team and the focus a team has. It takes a degree of mental toughness because it is tougher to win on the road, that's why they say it's a home field advantage and there is truth in that. To overcome that advantage it takes a team that is focused, has good mental toughness and maturity factors in there. Certainly we had great leadership again. Our older guys did a good job of showing the younger guys how to conduct themselves and how to compete in tougher circumstances. Q: For the players that are returning, how beneficial to experience another bowl prep? Our whole football team improved during the course of December. ey practiced well and that's something that was consistent going back to last spring — they practiced well every time they were on the field. I'm not sure how much it showed up because we played a team that was extremely talented in LSU, but our team improved and the team that was out there playing on New Year's Day, but behind the scenes we had a lot of younger guys that made dramatic improvement during the course of that month. ose are things you can't simulate; a year ago we weren't in a bowl game, we tried to make progress in that month of December training, but it's not the same as practicing, playing, and competing. at was a benefit for us and hopefully that will show up as we move forward.

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