2015 Bowl Week – Daily Recap, Dec. 24

St. Petersburg, FL: Hi: 79ºF Lo: 68º F Cloudy
Storrs, CT: Hi: 55ºF Lo: 50ºF Partly Cloudy
Huntington, WV: Hi: 70ºF Lo: 57ºF Cloudy

Team Practice-Quotes


Bob Diaco
Head Coach, UConn

On this week’s preparation
“It’s been a great week, I love being with the team. Our football family has been so fun to be together. It’s been a great experience. All these practices to work on our fundamentals. The more reps you do at anything the better you’re going to get.”
On the fun atmosphere
“It’s Christmas! The sun is shining, it’s beautiful, the community and specifically the people that represent the St. Petersburg Bowl have been so gracious and accommodating. If you can’t be happy right now you have to check yourself.”
On the keys to Saturday’s game
“It’s staying focused for four quarters. How many of these games are real games until at some moment the game changes real quickly. One team doesn’t look like the team that just played for three quarters. Play hard for four quarters. Stay focused for four quarters. Protect the football for four quarters.”
On the importance of winning on Saturday
“For us it’s huge. It’s a big deal for our fans. It’s a big deal for our student body. It’s a big deal for the workers who represent the University. It’s a big deal that we have a winning season.”

Jhavon Williams
Cornerback, UConn

On reading plays
“Putting in the work, nothing comes overnight. Studying film, understanding the defense, believing in coach Diaco and the staff and all of the coaches. It comes fast once you believe in them and believe in understanding what you’re doing.”

On coming back home to play
“It’s a phenomenal feeling to be here with my teammates, my brothers after grinding all year and going through so much to be here. The first day I just had to take it all in because I couldn’t believe it. but now that we’re here, it’s a business trip. just honing in on my fundamentals and understanding the game play and understanding what’s going on and being a student of the game.”

On the activities they’ve been doing off the field.
“We’ve done a lot of cool things around here. A few of my teammates went fishing. We went to Busch Gardens yesterday. We went to the beach other day. But we’ve been doing a lot of studying on our down time. Just enjoying a vacation, but also understanding that this is a business trip and we came to get the win.”

Noel Thomas
Wide Receiver, UConn

On focusing during practice this week
“I think we did really well with that (keeping focus). When we’re out here on the practice field we’ve gotta come out here and work. When practice is over, we go out and have fun, and the next day we’ve gotta come back out ready to work.”

On what UConn’s offense needs to do against Marshall’s defense
“We just need to execute our plays, come out there ready to work. We had a great week of practice and we just gotta carry that onto the field.”


Marshall practice at Clearwater Central Catholic High School

Doc Holliday
Head Coach, Marshall

On team balancing business and pleasure
“They’re doing a great job of knowing where they are supposed to be. They understand there is a time to go play and a time to go to work and up to this point, they’ve done that. After today they will be shut down until game day.”

On UConn team
“They play great defense. You have to play great defense to win championships and they do that. They’ve got talented guys at every position. They tackle well in space. They’re what a good football team should be. It starts with playing great defense, taking care of the ball on offense and they have a good special teams.”

On pressure of getting 10th win
“There’s no doubt we would like to do that because we’d be the only team in the non-power five to get 10 wins for three straight seasons, but I’m not sure there is any added pressure. Anytime you go into a football game, you have to do a good job of preparing and let the game take care of itself.”

Deandre Reaves

Wide Receiver, Marshall

On senior season winding down
“It’s been a long journey. It’s been fun so far but we still have a couple of days left. We are going to enjoy them while we can but then again this is a business trip.”

On UConn’s defense
“They’re talented. They’ve got some guys that can run. All aroundthey are a solid defense and they’re a solid team. We are going to do everything that we can to try and mix some things up. To sum it up, they are a very well-rounded defense.”

Michael Selby
Center, Marshall

On having over a week to prepare
“You always want to have a good taste in your mouth going into the next season. That’s the main goal, to have a good taste going into next season and get on the right track for next year.”

On Doc Holliday’s coaching of the offensive line this year
“He’s been keeping our heads on our shoulders. Just trying to keep us with a goal to get better each week. We’re a young offensive line. After these bowl practices, these guys have grown up.”

On Saturday’s game
“Saturday will be a pretty good game. They have a great defense and our defense is great. Anytime you have two great defenses playing it’s going to be a great game.”

Beach Bash
Following morning practice for both teams, UConn and Marshall headed to Madeira Beach for a meal hosted by Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Following the meal, the teams went head-to-head in a series of competitions. This highly anticipated event wrapped up with the annual Belly Flop contest.

Crazy Leg Contest for Coaches
UConn -Tyler Stockton
Marshall – Mike Furrey
Winner: Mike Furrey – Marshall

Hula Hoop Contest
Winner: Garry Thompson / Marshall

Garry Thompson….Quotes
“The last time (I hula hooped), i was about five or six (years old). I was just trying to get in a rhythm with the hips. Once you get the rhythm, you got to try and keep it going.”

Team Dance Contest
UConn – Jamar Summers, Junior Lee, William Richardson, Trey Blackwell
Marshall – Steve Dillon, Jason Smith, Keion Davis
Winner: Marshall

Quarterback/Receiver Challenge
UConn – Bryant Shirreffs, Noel Thomas
Marshall – Michael Birdsong, Josh Knight
Winner: Michael Birdsong and Josh Knight – Marshall

Fireman Relay Challenge
Marshall wins event

Belly Flop Contest
UConn – Mikal Myers
Marshall – Tyler Combs
Winner: Mikal Myers – UConn

Mikal Myers…Quotes
On winning belly flop contest
“It just feels good to see my eating habits pay off in the long run.”


2024 Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl Scheduled for Friday, December 20 at Raymond James Stadium

Organizers also announce the renewed commitment of Union Home Mortgage as the event’s Title Sponsor   Tampa, Fla. (June 6, 2024) – The Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl is set to take place at Raymond James Stadium on Friday, December 20, at 3:30 pm ET. Owned and operated by ESPN Events, the game will be broadcast […]



FINAL SCORE: GEORGIA TECH 30, UCF 17 Game MVP: Jamal Haynes, Georgia Tech – Rushing Statistics – 18 carries, 128 rushing yards, 7.1 yards per carry. His 128 rushing yards are the fourth-highest single-game total in Gasparilla Bowl history. Bowl Notes: ● The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) improves 3-0 in Gasparilla Bowl appearances while the […]

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