Sunday, January 1, 2017

Final Words: Head coaches' press conference means game is near

Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck (left) and Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst speak to the media one last time the day before squaring off in the 81st Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. Photo: Melissa Macatee/CBAA
   After a week of fun and practices, almost everyone involved in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic is itching to take the field. One sure sign that it's getting close to kickoff time is the annual combined press conference with the competing coaches.
   Both Wisconsin's Paul Chryst and Western Michigan's P.J. Fleck said Sunday morning that their teams are ready for the challenge that awaits them.
   "This week has been life changing for a lot of our players, I will say that," Fleck said. "We're very humble to be here. We're very humble to be able to represent the Group of 5, the Mid-American Conference, and obviously the elite institution that Western Michigan is.
   "We play an incredible opponent. Coach Chryst and the Wisconsin Badgers have done a tremendous job all year. They're very, very deserving of where they're at. We have got our hands full for tomorrow."
   Wisconsin's Chryst was also appreciative of the Cotton Bowl's famed hospitality and the opportunities provided to his team.
   "And now tomorrow we get to play the game," Chryst said. "I think that's the way that we as a team get to pay back. It's our thank you to the Cotton Bowl and everything they've done, is to play well.
   "And we're going to need to play well, obviously. I think you don't go undefeated in a season without being a really good team and not just good players and good coaching, but I think Western has got something going that grabbed the attention of our players early in the preparation."

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