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CAPITAL ONE ORANGE BOWL: MIAMI VS WISCONSIN

December 28, 2017

KC McDermott

Miami Gardens, Florida

KC McDERMOTT: You know, just sitting here thinking about these four years, and people will tell you you don't really enjoy the moment until a couple years later. I've been trying to cherish every single moment. Tuesday I realized it was my last full padded practice as a Miami Hurricane, yesterday I realized it was my last padded practice as a Miami Hurricane, and today is going to be my last practice as a Miami Hurricane. It's something that's like -- I'm trying to cherish it in the moment, but at the same time I'm really focused on what I need to do on the field and focus on what I need to do in the film room and off the field and take care of my body and take care of my teammates. I'm trying to cherish it as much as possible, but I'm pretty sure the best way to cherish it is to have a win on Saturday night.

Q. Your freshman year it was you and your brother; how important was that in your development? What was that like?
KC McDERMOTT: That was huge. You know, having -- obviously having someone that's really close to you be with you for a whole year and that whole year being your first year of college football was awesome, just because having him there, I had someone to lean on. Whenever I struggled, whether it be in the classroom or in the film room or on the football field or in the weight room, I always could talk to him about it and he could tell me from his personal experience. Obviously that's a culture we're trying to create here as upperclassmen, tell all the freshmen, hey, you have someone to talk to. If you're struggling or something, you need to talk to one of us because we're all brothers. It's a family aspect. We're going to treat it like that. But having my brother there for the first year was just absolutely tremendous and really helped me along with my development.

Q. I'm not asking this as any indictment of the former staff, but in general what's the biggest difference of the Miami experience now for a player leaving than when you arrived?
KC McDERMOTT: Just the general experience is -- you're going to come in, you're going to be well-organized. You're going to have everything set in front of you. You're expected -- not that you weren't before, but you're expected to make sure you do everything and you're not given much of a leash. You mess up once, you mess up twice, and the third time you're gone. Coach Richt came in, I remember the first meeting we ever had with him, he came in and said, I want to treat you guys like men, but if you're going to make me treat you like boys, I'm going to treat you like boys. That's just a general aspect of anybody that goes to college; you want to be treated like an adult. We kind of took that personally, but we took that and put it in the team like, hey, be a man, don't sit here and whine and complain about having to do stuff. Just be your own man and make sure you get your own stuff done and execute on the football field.

Q. I heard that Thomas Brown brings a lot of energy to you guys to the practice field, the sideline. Do you have a good story about him that stands out?
KC McDERMOTT: TB is a very, very competitive guy. Even though his playing days have been done for a while, he still works out like an animal. He attacks the weight room and he runs. I remember the first time -- well, one of our first practices here, I think it was probably like our sixth or seventh spring practice, the first year the coaching staff was here, and his big thing is when big runs will break out, he'd chase the running back, and he'd chase it at full speed, and he pulled his hamstring in spring practice. He pulled his hamstring, and that was kind of the end of that. But every once in a while he'll do it again. Me and him kind of have this running joke, I always look at him and say, why are you wearing those extra small shirts to try and make you look big. He wears XX shirts because he's a big guy. He's a short guy, but he works out, like I said. He's very in shape and brings a lot of energy just as a coach and as a motivator. I'll sit with him in his office sometimes and we'll just talk about life, and he does a great job of being more than just a football coach.

Q. You talked earlier about Richt's first meeting and things that have changed. Braxton talked about nutrition has changed, there's mat drills or something. What jumps out to you as something maybe specific that's changed in the way you go about things?
KC McDERMOTT: Well, one of the biggest things that we needed, I feel like we absolutely needed as a team, was a nutritionist. We didn't have one before, so guys were kind of lost on their own and what kind of food to eat, how to properly gain weight, how to properly lose weight. I feel like that was something that we definitely needed to help us out, and Kyle, our nutritionist, has done a great job of educating us mostly on -- educating us on what type of foods to eat, how to properly gain or lose weight, and then one of the things that really sets the tone from the beginning of the year all the way to the end of the year is mat drills. Mat drills is something that once you go through it, you should have a mentally tough mindset that you can finish anything because it's a lot of physicality, but it's mostly mental. It's mostly how hard can you push yourself. So it's something that our team has done a great job of taking that -- it was during the Florida State game at halftime we were sitting there talking like, hey, we're only down 3-0, but think about the mat drills, think about when you were the most tired you were during mat drills and how you just pushed yourself through. It's mentally tough things like that. And when you use that throughout the season, we use that throughout the off-season, too.

Q. And that's just conditioning, I guess, the mat drills?
KC McDERMOTT: Yeah, it's part of the conditioning program. We lift, so one day we'll lift, the next day we'll do mat drills, and it's kind of like that for, I think, three or four weeks.

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