December 28, 2015
Q. Last year's bowl game, were you at the game, at home? Where were you?
BAKER MAYFIELD: I was at the game. I traveled to the game, to Orlando. Obviously we all know the outcome of that one.
Q. What was the emotion like for you during that time?
BAKER MAYFIELD: It's tough, just because it's the last game of the year and it was already a very disappointing season, so that left kind of a bitter taste in our mouth. It embarrassed us, there's no doubt about it. Can't sugar coat that. It was very disappointing to be on the sidelines for a game like that, knowing you can't help.
Q. When you look at (inaudible) anything stand out?
BAKER MAYFIELD: They try a lot of stuff. Coach Venables, I think he trusts his players, so just seeing that defense, we're kind of similar to them in the sense that they try different types of stuff and they'll blitz you a lot and give you different types of looks and they'll have different stuff for you each game plan. It'll be new wrinkles that they'll have in, but ultimately they just go out there and try to do their thing.
Q. You've been compared to Johnny Manziel. What do you think about that?
BAKER MAYFIELD: On the field I can see some similarities, scrambling around and making plays, but other than that it's a little overboard.
Q. The offense really improved the second half of the season, in particular Joe. Was there a turning point when you really saw Joe really just kind of take off?
BAKER MAYFIELD: No, Joe has been the type of player he is ever since he got here. I said it a couple times, he's one of the most naturally talented athletes I've ever seen. He's just very gifted, and we finally found a way to utilize him and Samaje both in our offense because they're different types of backs, but the fact that we can have them both in there, that's pretty special.
Q. How much does that run game make your job easier at quarterback throwing the ball?
BAKER MAYFIELD: It makes my job easier. Right now we're very balanced, which is good for me. That opens up the play action. They have to load up guys in the box to stop our run game, so we're giving defenses fits numbers-wise, what they want to game plan, and so they make my job easy.
Q. Why are you so difficult to get down?
BAKER MAYFIELD: I honestly couldn't tell you. I'm not physically impressive. I don't know what it is, but I have a knack for staying up and making plays. My guys do a good job of staying alive and playing off my scrambling and getting open for me.
Q. What this game could come down to is which defense can get the other quarterback down the best because Watson is really mobile and makes plays as well.
BAKER MAYFIELD: I think it's about eliminating the big plays. Both offenses are very explosive and ultimately keeping the ball in your hands. Our defense has done a great job of getting the ball back for us, so that'll be a big part of it. But it's about eliminating the big plays, and that does come with keeping the quarterback down and contained instead of making those explosive plays.
Q. How does Lake Travis produce so many good quarterbacks?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Good coaching. I say it all the time, Texas high school football, people don't realize outside of it that it's no joke. It's a big deal. And then when you get coaches like I had at Lake Travis and then you play other good programs with similar coaches, it develops you very quickly and it gets you going.
Q. Did you guys push each other a lot within the ranks of your own team?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Oh, yeah. It's kind of similar to how we've been practicing this year, going good on good during practice a couple days a week and challenging each other, trying to get better, and I mean, like I said, they develop you at an early age and they give you a mindset on how to practice and what's to be expected.
Q. So somebody like Chad Morris goes from being a top coach at Texas to a defensive coordinator, that's not much of a shock to you?
BAKER MAYFIELD: That's not a surprise at all. He was at Lake Travis for two years and went 32-0. You look at the athletes that come out of Lake Travis, and you have some college players, but ultimately you can look at a school like a Desoto or Longview or Dallas Skyline you'll find about 10, 15 or more D-I athletes on those teams, but like I said, it's about the coaching. Those guys know what they're doing down there.
Q. What's changed since the Texas game?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Our mindset. That game, we look back at it, and the tempo we played was not how we wanted to do it, and that's not how we should play. We need to play at a fast pace and set the tone during the game and it's that mindset that we should never be stopped, and those rivalry games, they came out and they hit us in the mouth, and we tried to come back late in the game, but it was too late.
Q. Did you y'all run more after that game do you feel like?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Just did a better job of implementing both of our guys instead of having one in at a time. We can do a lot of things just with -- they're versatile, and Joe can do a lot of things without the receiver, too, so we've done a great job of using them both at the same time.
Q. Brent said that what happened in the bowl game (inaudible)?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Oh, we're a completely different team. Obviously they are, too. They have a different quarterback and they kind of reloaded their defensive line, so I mean, it is a completely different ballgame, but we're different in the sense that we still lost that day. That's motivation for us. We still listen to the commentating of the broadcast and how disrespectful it was. We listen to that as motivation, not as learning from the game tape, because we're a completely different team.
Q. It was a different time, but can you go back and sort of share your perspective as you were sitting and standing and walking and trying to motivate but still pretty helpless?
BAKER MAYFIELD: I tried to keep the energy up on the sidelines and that was kind of my whole role last year was trying to keep people positive and going. It was difficult because they jumped on us early and they kind of put the dagger in us after we had the penalty, and we should have had an interception for a touchdown and they wound up going down on that drive and scoring. It kind of took the air out of us, and you could feel it on the sideline. The energy and the attitude was not there.
Q. How much personal motivation was it for you because you're in a different position now, you're on the field, you have control?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Oh, it's huge for me. I'm in a spot where now I can actually help my team out on the field and not just from the sideline. It's huge for me knowing that I'll be able to put us in a different spot, and hopefully it'll turn out a little bit better.
Q. How would you describe Samaje?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Oh, with he call him Granddaddy, Papa. He's not a guy -- he's not a man of many words. He hates these media days. Any chance you get to go up and ask him a question, please do it. He's a very humble guy, but his work ethic is something you watch him and you love it just because he doesn't have to say anything, he just goes by example, goes about his business and gets the job done.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports