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HEART OF DALLAS BOWL: PURDUE v OKLAHOMA STATE

January 2, 2013
Richmond High School



Patrick Higgins

Akeem Shavers

Kawann Short


DALLAS, TEXAS

Oklahoma State – 58
Purdue – 14


THE MODERATOR:  We have Purdue head coach Patrick Higgins and Akeem Shavers and Kawann Short.
Coach Higgins, we'll begin with an opening statement from you.
COACH HIGGINS:  First off, happy New Year's to everybody.
We just ran into a very good football team today.  As you know, when you play a quality opponent like Oklahoma State, when you turn the ball over five times, you don't take advantage of your opportunities, the game can turn out like this.
But the one thing we have to look at is the effort of the young men that are sitting to my left and the kids in the locker room that have fought through a lot of difficulty to get here.  They should be commended because they did not give up today.  They played to the whistle.  We wish the seniors nothing but the best, and the young men in the locker room nothing but the best.
Questions, please.

Q.  Akeem, your status with your knee or leg.  What happened, where are you at right now?
AKEEM SHAVERS:  Right now, we still don't know what's wrong.  Everything looks good, but we have to get an MRI to be a hundred percent.

Q.  You heard about this offense.  Why were they able to have success today?
KAWANN SHORT:  They executed in all phases of the game.  They runningbacks was running pretty good, the quarterback played awesome, the offensive line blocked.
It was up to the defensive line to make the disruption, and we didn't do it.  They took advantage of it.

Q.  Patrick, their offense is pretty good.  You give them short fields on two of their first three possessions.  Did that put you behind the eight ball early?
COACH HIGGINS:  No question.  We had a little bit of momentum, changed field position.  The punt return, the pick right after that.  Anytime you put an offense, like Oklahoma State, in that position to score quickly...
We needed to keep the field long today.  In all the conversation I've had, I said we can't turn the ball over.  Five turnovers.  I believe they converted on every single turnover into a touchdown.  That's 35 unanswered points.  That's a lot to overcome.

Q.  Akeem, how good was Oklahoma State's defense tonight?  We heard about their offense.
AKEEM SHAVERS:  They were very tough.  They're strong all the way across the board.  We knew we had to go out there and be physical and give them something different than what they're used to.
They're a very fast team, fast defense, that's built to stop the spread.  We just tried to really stay true to our running game.  They kind of showed up.
COACH HIGGINS:  I thought their defense is just as good as their offense.  Their defensive tackles.  Congratulations to Coach Gundy and the Oklahoma State Cowboys.  They did a tremendous job today offensively and defensively.  Played very well and did a good job on special teams also.

Q.  Coach, you said you wanted this game to be a catapult for next year.
COACH HIGGINS:  This is a small catapult right now.
Anytime you can go play in a bowl game, do that, I think it helps you to have progress.  There were some positives.  I'm sure when we sit down and look at the film, we're going to find a bunch of positive things that we did in the game.  We're going to find some negatives we did.  The five that jump out at me are the five turnovers.

Q.  Coach Hope was here, Coach Hazell was here.  Talk about the whole situation.  Did you talk to either of those guys before the game?  Was it awkward for you?
COACH HIGGINS:  This whole situation has been awkward, you know.  There's nothing normal about where the head coach gets let go, the new coach is there.  I'm kind of like a finger in the dyke.  I'm holding the water out till the new guy comes in.
Coach Hope came in the locker room today.  Again, this was his team that he coached the whole year.  It was good for him to be in there with the team today.  The team enjoyed it when they saw him.
I have not seen Coach Hazell today, but hopefully he knows he's getting a bunch of quality kids to coach.

Q.  Patrick, what is next for you?  Do you know at this point?
COACH HIGGINS:  I know I'm going to take a shower and get my meal and hop on a plane.  That's what I know right now (laughter).
You know, we've put a lot of effort into this game.  Again, I said it from it beginning, it's about these guys right here.  Whatever happens, we know it's part of the profession.
Wherever I end up, I've been coaching long enough, I'm sure I'll land on my feet.
Like I said, this has been a Christmas present for me.  These guys have been fantastic.  It's been a joy.  I'm going to keep it that way.  I'm not upset.  I'm not down.
I've said it before, how many people would sit there in those chairs right there, you have the opportunity to be a coach for six weeks at a Big Ten school, coach in a bowl game.  What an honor.
I wish I would have done a better job with these guys so we would have done a better job today.

Q.  This is the last time you're going to play in a Purdue uniform.  Is it too soon to feel this?
AKEEM SHAVERS:  We didn't want it to end this way, but everything comes to an end at some point.  We tried to make the best of this opportunity.  We ended up shooting ourselves in the foot a bit, but I'm sure we'll be all right.
KAWANN SHORT:  Those four and a half years went fast.  I can remember yesterday when I first arrived at Purdue.  Up and down for the four years.
Adversity has always been at Purdue and this football team.  Just having the group of coaches and the group of guys I've been around, adversity is going to come.  It's up to us to face it.
Again, I would not change anything.  If I had a chance to pick another school, I'd be here.  These group of guys and these coaches have shown me a lot of discipline.  I respect that.
I wish I could play again with these guys again.  Like Akeem said, it had to come to an end.  Things change, hopefully things come out for the better the next couple months.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.


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