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Notes and quotes from Poinsettia Bowl news conference

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So those things are fantastic.

The harder things have been to get the schedule exactly right. The amount of time we've had to spend on that, and they [opponents] are getting increasingly difficult, which was by design. I think that is good for the program, with the direction we would like to head. The most difficult part is the very end-of-the-season segments, and having a balance there, and intriguing matchups, etc.

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So the next step within independence is to have an intriguing schedule, from beginning to end. Previous years, the first two years, it has been kind of front-loaded. Luckily, this year San Jose State had a very good team, so that helped with the season.

And we continue to play in bowl games. And after next year, those contracts will come up again, and there are many [bowls] that would like to include us in possibly the options that they have. So that will be the next piece as to which games we contract with, etc. And that will be after we play in San Francisco next year."

On losing the rivalry with Utah [in 2014 and 2015] and how frustrating that has been:

"I think that in the race for resources and funds and exposure, traditional games and traditional conferences, and traditional rivalries and regional matchups could be lost. That's what is happening, and that's what happened in ours."

On whether there is a peace of mind that comes with knowing as a head coach you are not going anywhere:

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"I think there is. Because it is very distracting to your team, and families. But it is also, personally, it is unsettling. You work so hard to get a certain place how you would like it, and to think you are immune to somebody approaching you, and to say, 'no, I am happy here, thank you.' And then they start throwing you money, yeah, it is a life-changer, and so I don't fault any of my colleagues for doing that, but it is distracting and not just for head coaches and their families, but for players."

On his confidence level in James Lark now compared to pre-NM State:

"One game doesn't necessarily change my opinion much. And the quality of opponent in that game, while New Mexico State wasn't a strong football team, his performance was very good, and he's the healthier of the two quarterbacks right now, and has taken more reps than Riley has. That doesn't mean that both won't play.

But it is about what it was before.

I have always thought that James was capable, and am hopeful that he will be able to demonstrate that tomorrow."

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