Football Pre-National Championship Press Conference

Football Pre-National Championship Press Conference

I’m Rob Bentley assistant athletic
director for communications and the voice of the Bulldogs and welcome again
we’d like to thank all those fans who are tuning in online around the world on
the Bulldog sports network at Ferris State Bulldogs calm this Saturday the 15
and Bulldogs will face another unbeaten team in Valdosta State of
Georgia in the 2018 NCAA Division two national championship game at the
McKinney ISD Stadium in McKinney Texas kickoff is set for 4:00 p.m. Eastern
time with live TV coverage on ESPNU and watch ESPN before we introduce our head
coach and our student athlete athletes here today I’d like to first welcome our
athletic director perc Weisenberger who will make a few opening remarks Thank
You Rob and welcome everybody thank you for being here what an exciting time for
our University our football program our student body our alums our sponsors our
fans donors etc on this magical and historic postseason run by a fabulous
football team a tremendous regular-season and an outstanding
postseason we’re excited to be representing the Great Lakes
Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in the national championship game and down
to McKinney Texas to date right now we’re probably closing in on about a
thousand tickets that we’ve already moved in committed to through fan buses
through our team charter certainly through alums and people from all over
the country that are excited to come in and follow the Bulldogs and and what we
hope will be a championship celebration down in McKinney we’re obviously facing
a very good team and you’ll hear more about that from coach and niece and our
players but I just wanted to welcome everyone and say thanks for being here
and on behalf of the University we’re just extremely excited unfortunate that
it is commencement this weekend on Saturday for our institution and there’s
going to be about a thousand graduates that are gonna have a great moment in
their life coming across the stage and receiving their diploma and I’m sure
they’d be very interested in the football game as well so a lot of things
going on in campus at Ferris State University and most importantly on our
side of things from the athletic side is that the Bulldogs got a chance to make
history and play for a national championship which is probably one of
the single most important things a student athlete can do is
compete in the postseason compete at a high level in the NCAA and compete for a
championship and we’re going to get that opportunity thanks to coach anis and his
coaching staff and certainly to the young man and the young women involved
in our program we could not be more proud or prouder of them and we are
certainly looking forward to our trip down to Texas and taking on Valdosta
State this Saturday so with no further ado Rob I think we’ll turn it over and
let Tony and the student-athletes come on up and you can get to questions with
them I would be available afterwards if anybody wants to ask any questions of me
but you’re gonna get all you need from these guys today Tony anis are a couple
Bulldog players from Muskegon we have t’shan thrower on the far side defensive
back and of course a member of the national champion men’s basketball team
and the near side here is Kendrick Craig a senior receiver from Muskegon we’ll
begin by letting coach anis making an opening his opening statement and then
following his remarks we’ll open it up for questions and comments coach yeah
we’re obviously completely thrilled to have this opportunity to represent
Ferris State in a Division two national championship game it’s been an
incredible year I couldn’t say enough about how how amazing our young men have
been you know it’s obviously obviously a grind to play 15 games going on 16
coming here this is our 19th straight week of Tuesday practice we started on
August 7th we’re finishing on December 15 so you know for our guys to continue
to pursue the very best that’s in them and and to perform at really the highest
level particularly in the last couple of weeks we played two undefeated teams the
last two weeks and played a really high level so I think we’re at the top of our
game but we’re gonna have to be on the top of our game to go to Texas and Butte
this Valdosta State team they’re exceptional and obviously a third
undefeated team so we’re thrilled about it some great storylines with our team
but no great deshaun thrower pursuing a national
championship and in basketball and in the same year pursuing the national
championship in football so pretty incredible he’s got one ring and we’re
hoping to get a second one here on Saturday Thank You coach anis we’ll open
the floor now at this time for questions we do have a microphone if you could
state your name and affiliation jack tells wood TV to the players you guys
you’re how do you get ready for finals and get ready for this at the same time
how do you how do you keep the focus where it has to be at they’re at the
proper time I mean school come first always but um some some professors work
around football schedule so it’s just trying to get as much done as possible
stay stay hungry on the football field as well but um this it’s a it’s a
struggle but we do it is a struggle it’s real difficult you know everybody is
excited everybody’s ready to play Saturday but we really just focused on
taking it one day at a time so really just wanna have good days and practice
that lead up to Saturday so we’re all ready to play but you know we had to
have a good practice lead up today this is pink walnut with them life Deshawn
I’m sure all of us wanna hear a little bit about your journey this year and you
know when when she started to realize that you know what you could do with
getting to Championships and how you feel about that oh I had start earning
like at the beginning of class I was like I might be the first player to do
that and then right before we play Minnesota State somebody tagged me on
Twitter Friday night about like I’d be the first one in history would have so
the end people started started getting the birds whatever so I mean I have been
thinking about it before and I was just thinking beforehand loud telling my
teammate for like we can’t look over we can’t think too much about next week we
got to take care of Saturday so we could play in the championship so I mean he’s
gonna thought in my mind he’s been in the back of my mind
but at the same time like I just don’t want to get there and be able to play
into national champions I’m gonna win both so I’m happy and excited for it but
I won’t be too happy till Saturday he’s over and Bronx brought him off the bench
and coach Brockman said we wouldn’t win the national championship if it wasn’t
for Deshawn thrower so I’ve used that as an example we’ve leaned on an example of
basketball all all year since the spring you know and so when he came back from
the national championship of course couple weeks later we’ve got the spring
game and he wants to play in that and I’m
like do you think I’m gonna let you play in that spring game I’d look like the
dumbest human B in the world to let you come back from a national championship
basketball season and like a weaker and a week and a half later playing the
spring game so he did return the opening kickoff her touchdown and we obviously
protected him on that play but we’ve used that as an example it’s been really
a strength of you know our approach this shirts really helped us get back get
past the mental hurdles to continue to fight hard and and you know keep this
season rolling for the Detroit News Tony you’re your quarterbacks been through a
lot since high school how have you seen him grow you know as a man off the field
as a player on the field and really from your conversations with him what does
this mean to him well he’s first off he’s a person of
high expectations for himself and his teammates and he is very very
competitive so he’s committed to being you know the best he can be for this
team but before that happened he had to be the best person he could be you know
away from the field and and you know that’s one of the reasons I redshirted
him last year I wanted I wanted him to have a chance to you know growth in this
process and he really has and so people ask me all the time you know why would
you give somebody a second-chance opportunity well I mean I was a high
school teacher for 25 years I mean I had to give people second chance
opportunities every every day and you know that that’s that’s what an educator
does and so you know I hope all coaches out there are willing to try to you know
work with young people try to bring out the best
that’s in them you know focus on the positive skills and traits they may have
not not the negative experience they might have had and there’s always a
story behind a story and there is for him which over time people will learn
but there’s reasons for people’s motives and people’s mistakes and and so he’s
been he’s been he’s been a blessing he’s been a blessing for everyone you know
he’s he’s made this team tough he’s committed he’s this hard-working young
man as I’ve ever been around and then add to that that you know he wants to
win this national championship I mean he drives this whole team know in this
natural national championship I walked in at halftime at in Mankato and I mean
he was already into it he was already into it it really take
too many words for me because he was like he wasn’t negative but he was like
challenging everyone we go one more half and we’re in this national championship
game and and that’s the kind of leader he is so he’s got a lot of power over
this team what’s it like to have a guy like him around a guy that’s gonna
motivate you positively for me as a receiver is awesome they have a
quarterback like that the best in you not only on Saturday but
on every day that we strap up even off the field in the weight room he’s on you
and I think it’s awesome that we had at somebody that can push us like that
other than coaches you know from the divi standpoint he makes me better every
day I’m playing against the best quarterback in college football like you
can’t do it not to many DB’s can say that and I’m planning it’s the best
offense in college so I mean every day he’s making us better making it making
me better and um I really can’t ask for more Big Rapids pioneer could y’all
three we talked about your opponent failed us the state on Saturday your
impressions of them what they do that maybe you haven’t seen before and what’s
it gonna take for your affairs to beat this team yeah I’ll start there are very
skilled athletic team probably skilled and athletic as anybody we’ve seen this
year their defense is aggressive opportunistic that create a lot of
turnovers I think their defense is scored maybe seven touchdowns if my mine
serves me and so they’re a team that really has a athletes all over the field
on offense they’re the number one scoring offense in the nation so you
know they know how to put points up and when that when that happened that’s that
obviously puts that pressure on us when when you got a team that can score you
know anyone in the field and with you know great velocity they I mean they put
some points on the board and so that’s obviously concern and you know they’re
they’re they’re well coached and well disciplined they do a lot of good things
and you know they’re again an undefeated team that you know that we faced and we
played some good teams and and you know there’s playoff run but you know this
one’s going to be you know the most challenging because of you know the
great athletes that got in the field like you were saying they’re a real good
team they played fast got a lot of athletes in some way they remind us of
our offense with the personnel into some of the skinny so I mean it’s our job to
know that and revert back to we practice against our offense everyday and home
playing in a room every day Kiana every day young girls like different slots and
stuff like that and received like that every day so our office have prepared us
all season to play in his game so that’s kind of fortunate for us so that we’ve
been playing against every them every day but same song know it’s gonna be a
hard fought game because they do play fast they do a lot of good things just
to piggyback off what they said they definitely are a sound team defensively
wise we just got to come out strong because they score a lot
I mean score easily and a lot but we just got to come on strong SQ and be
disciplined offensively we just got to come out like we do every other week off
in salons been playing at a high hot level our skill sets been playing good
so just every day we got to come out and prepare and get better a quart hole with the torch what do you
guys think has been the difference between this year and last year’s
playoff run like what are some pieces that I’ve just made the difference for
you guys and making it to the national championship
well we’ve won every game this year so you know two years ago you go back to
being in the semi-finals Noah it was a unique experience we had
never been there and I thought we played very well and we lost to a really good
team in Northwest Missouri State and then this past you know the year before
in 17 you know Harding caught us and and give them
credit we didn’t play our best scheme but you know they’re tough team this
year I think more than anything we’re spending a lot more time on like
training the mental approach we’ve done a lot of mentality training and I think
I think that force has kept us kept our edge you know it’s it is you know I’ve
said it over and over again these guys are gritty that our team this year is
gritty and we’ve had the capacity to stay gritty throughout the playoff run
and it is it is a grind I mean you know I mean yeah you count the number of
extra practices the extra weeks you know we had our banquet on November 11th you
know it’s you know it’s December eight of them today so so our bank was a month
ago and all of a sudden we’re playing an extra month of football and then then
you sit back and say oh well you slipped up you slipped up once and your season
ends and so there’s only two teams that haven’t slipped up and that’s Valdosta
State and Ferris State and so you know it’s it’s tough but you you know you
gotta have the right tough mentality and the gritty mindset and I think her kids
really possess that I feel like we always had the talent
already had the same coaches know that great coaches but the to thank main
things that we want to focus on in the offseason was like he said the mental
approach in the team bonding getting closer with each other we even spent a
lot of time off the field with each other and created a real good bond and
stuff out there so when you could trust somebody got to feel there’s no problem
trust him on the field so that’s two of the many day that we’ve been focused on
since before the season throughout the summer Tonie uh on a personal note you know you
just won you got wind career 300 you won state titles on a high school level you
wanted at JC what’s the importance of getting one at the d2 level for you well
it’s not for me so you know I I said to the guys before the game last week and I
said man I just love you guys so much I just want you guys to you know have this
opportunity to play in this national championship game and potentially be
national champs because you know when you have that love for from one another
it just it makes it so much more meaningful and since you know and it
just hits you you know hitch in the heart and we talk all the time about you
know serving the heart of our players not just their talent and you know it
just means so much in regards to that you know the the 300 wins you know it’s
kind of funny because I think back in the mic well I don’t remember hitting
100 and then when I hit 200 you know I was done with high school 195 so it was
my fifth when a GRCC so that wasn’t really a time to celebrate and now
hitting 307 I’ll guarantee NIT we just want a game to go to the championship
game so it’ll it’ll set in later but you know obviously that’s a lot of a lot of
games to coach and it means I’m getting older and and you know it’s it’s it’s
pretty crazy to get to 300 but you know it’s it was just so great to see the
young men win that game you know such a hard-fought game that you know my my
family prod brought out 300 signs and I think that’s the only no it was 300 so
and I’m like wow I’m surprising my family even knew it so but yeah it’s
just just to be in this an opportunity to go play for a national championship
is something we’ve all been dying for here in this program and and to win it
if we were fortunate enough to win it you know it it would just stack up there
with with one of the best experiences and and my coaching career
so deshawne you start out your college career at Stony Brook and then you
transfer to Ferris how do you feel about the opportunities that you got here to
play to sports and how your career is turned out so far I feel like everything
happens for a reason oh god take me do whatever for a reason
place you got here for a reason coming out of high school I didn’t want
to play football no more when I was transfer I didn’t wanna play football I
know in the eye because knees came and talked to me and my dad and I started
yet later improving prizes I mean start getting later throughout the summer I’m
like I might as well just give it a try and know he was telling me like come out
try it again if you don’t like it then no you just keep playing basketball
then I came out and then I started getting the love that quarter started
getting back in the groove in now I’m back here so I feel like just everything
happens for a reason I was placed here for a reason I knew once we got him out
there this competitive juices with his woman and he was he couldn’t turn back
but there was a thought that he won a national championship in basketball
would he just would he just decide to play basketball this year and I don’t
know how much that creeped into his head if it did at all I was hearing from my
colleagues at Muskegon that potentially you know he may just play basketball
this year and then of us and he showed up for her first literally they came off
the plane and the very next spring practice he was at practice I’m like wow
he came to practice you know and I obviously didn’t participate but he was
there he was there for his team so just suggest is just an unbelievable
commitment to his team it was a more difficult
recruiting that one was into shot or coach Bronco bah
well I think Bronx has been he’s been I mean he’s been unbelievable like he’s
he’s a football guy first off so I love basketball as much as I love football he
loves football as much as he loves basketball and so it’s just a perfect
marriage I mean we said we sit and talk all the time about each other sports and
and he wants he wants to be on my staff in football he really does not my god
geez it’s coldest it’s been you know I just be your point guard coach and
basketball you know so so he used to coach football GRCC and obviously I was
a head basketball coach at one time and so we’ve we’ve you know we crossed paths
with with those sports quite a bit and and we’re very passionate about both and
I think he’s excited about us when and as he is about him win and you know he
had he had a to throw to and all weekend and he also could talk about is our game
and no man you had a couple of big wins yeah yeah anyhow you know your game you
know so so he’s awesome yeah it’s been it’s been unbelievable and the
basketball players have been an unbelievable football players have been
unbelievable it’s just you know there’s such a bond within our athletic
department and particular student-athletes it’s just I’ve never
seen anything like it I mean our student-athletes support each other like
at an unbelievable level Chris Gorski Fox 17 for DeSean and keiondre what does
it mean to you guys that not only be able to play for a national championship
but potentially go 16 and oh and having a perfect season that was when I goes we
used to have bonfires through the summer and during camping and during meetings
and stuff when our girls is we want the win every quarter and if we want every
quarter at me we win every game and when every game we come on VCT no Butte
National champions so you know it was just small girls to lead up to the big
goal so to me it feels good I’m not even gonna lie like we we’ve been grinding
hard it’s been a long 19 weeks you know ultimate goal was to be planning this
game you know now we have that chance so is is incredible
and credible filling for me transferred here
so I came from a program where we didn’t have that good of a record and we didn’t
make it to the playoffs so just being able to play with these guys as long as
I I have in the playoffs this year it’s just an incredible spirits chili Dom
check seven and four news for you guys we’re based in Traverse City but every
time we venture down here you can just feel the support whether it’s from the
students or community for like football or any sports how does that kind of
reflect into what you guys bring in as a team and the bonding and what you take
out on the field with you every day the graph is is small but it’s a real
good community a lot of people know each other since I got here I met a lot of
new people they embraced me with love since the first day I got here so I
don’t even really feel like I’m a transfer anymore I feel like I started
off my college career here so you know they just embraced me with a lot of love
and support since I first got here in when you do that off the field and off
the court it’s my job to repay them on the court and play as hard as I can looking at the quarterback battle in
this upcoming game what have you said to your guy on your end I mean what kind of
you been in his ear about to for what to expect our guy has to be our quarterback
so we’re not you know obviously people kind of you know assessing it as to
Harlan Hill trophy candidates who are you know playing this game but our
quarterbacks so focused like I to him you know that that we’d like to have a
watch party because we’re going to be in a hotel together and we’re coming from
practice and and and you know it’d be streaming live you know the announcement
of Harlan Hill on Friday and I mentioned that to him that we’d like to have a
watch party and he looked at me like I was crazy
is that coach we’re not doing that and I’m like yeah yes we are and he’s like
no we’re not doing that so we can resolve this little issue yeah but but
he’s all about he’s all about just winning he’s not about personal
accolades you know I mean hey Jay Roode your first team all-american oh okay
what about this play you know and so that’s how he is he’s he’s uh he’s a
very unselfish you know he doesn’t want personal accolades so he’s not gonna
treat this game like it’s a battle of Harlan Hill candidates he’s gonna treat
it like we gonna win this game and you know that’s how he is out on the
practice field like you know there there’s there’s not one thing that
happens in that practice field where he’s you know really in a good mood you
know he’s on edge to be the best every single day and it’s driven us to be
great so he’ll be on the edge would be the best on Saturday it’ll he’ll he’ll
be on the edge for keiondre to be the best eye Malik to be the best decide to
be the best and they don’t line to be the past and and then if you know he
said to me this season when people you know throw the ball against us he’s like
I can go play safety coach I can go play safety I’m like all right now relax Jo
so he’s very very competitive this for keiondre and Deshawn you guys
are from Muskegon so you grew up well aware of this man what is it that makes
him a good coach what is it that makes you guys want to play for him at least
the things off the field he really loves us and really cares for us so I gotta
say before when you feel that off the field it’s our job to repay him and give
it our all on the field you know we don’t mind sacrificing our body for him
and getting him wins and you know just playing as hard as we can for him and
practicing every day because I know because we know when it come to things
off the field yeah no problem with doing that and he’ll do anything for us off
the field so I mean when you had that bond with your coach off the field he
relates on the field too it’s got an example if I do it like just if we need anything we
call on him if we need to talk about anything we call them you no matter if
it’s 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning we want to talk or anything happening you know
he checks up who me and my family all the time my mom was going through things
and it was sick last year just actually how she’s doing this up checking up on
me accidently things like that and all cuz you don’t do that you don’t really
care what’s going on off the field they’re just they just want you to
perform on the field and that’s day if you’re not you know where this next
internet guy and he’s not like that if you not before him no defeat you want to
know what’s going on author field is anything that’s bad guys make you
perform that way um for me I think it’s just a love and a passion he asked for
the kids and the players he he said earlier about giving people second
chances like for me I know when I left northern
I didn’t know where I was gonna go or what I was gonna do but they end up
calling me and gave me a second chance so it’s just the the passion he has for
each each player that’s on his team it’s pretty awesome so that’s that’s really
what drives me and wants me to play for them so coach Greg Miller 9 and 10 News
your defenses answered all sorts of different challenges throughout these 15
weeks is is it fair to categorize Valdosta as the biggest challenge you
guys have faced did they score and I think they had maybe one game under 45
points all year yeah definitely the biggest challenge they they’re
definitely a speeding space team you know they’re they’re spread team their
quarterback runs it well their running backs run it well their receivers can
really you know they can really turn up the speed and then there aligns really
solid so they’re a little bit different than what we faced the last few weeks
from from you know personnel grouping standpoint a lot more speed on the field
a lot of taking shots philosophy you know it’s a it’s fast fast break
philosophy so you know if you if you picture you know basketball and they’re
up and down that’s how their their offense is up and down trying to you
know trying to challenge the defense and and really working hard to make place
and that you know we face teams like that this year but it’s been a while
we’ve faced more you know tighter personnel groupings and teams that are
trying to run the 11 and 12 personnel more than you know 10 they’re 10 and 11
primarily team and and so they’re truly a challenge so you guys have logged a
lot of miles of the past few games you’ve had it’s your third away game as
players how much tougher does that make this journey like having to travel so
much every week are you playing a warm it makes it easier we love playing
downtown Arkansas no going to Minnesota it was just like I was here Conner we
thought it’s gonna be coated and air is kind of dry but I wasn’t too badly
well back the Texas is in playing in 50 degrees 60 degree weather I mean that
makes it easier for us because we used to plan 20 and 30 degree weather right
now so not too bad and it’s fine because we get to get out of Michigan and keep
traveling and enjoy new things and create different memories with our
teammates and coaches and stuff any last questions Michael Rudy Ferro state torch cadre
being a senior with this program can you kind of just reflect on the success that
you’ve been a part of it’s been awesome like I said earlier this is my second
year here so just being around these guys and these coaches and winning as
many games as we have it’s just a it’s an experience to be a part of and we got
one more left so the job’s not done so we’re gonna try to finish out as strong
as we can this week and I’m trying to make it a make history coach looking at
key players like seniors Devon Johnson Malik Taylor and keiondre Craig can you
kind of just touch up on the impact that they’ve had on this program Wow you know
as you asked that question I always started doing the math I think he’s 27
and 2 then as a bulldog so that’s pretty it’s pretty crazy when you think about
you won 27 out of 29 games so you know both these guys have obviously you know
can put that mark as their record so far but you know some of these guys have
been here four or five years it’s just been incredible like the record speaks
for itself you know you know to to our three undefeated seasons two times in
the quarterfinals one was a quarter final one was a semi and then to the
finals you know that we’re second and you know the most consecutive playoff
appearances in Division two were the only team that’s you know done what
we’ve done the last three years these get to the quarterfinals in Division two
and so it’s been unbelievable we’ve had just you know we’ve had great players
you know I mean literally we’ve had great players and someone asked me other
day how did that start how did how did great players all of a sudden come to
Ferris and and I don’t think it’s about them coming here I’m talking about them
like pursuing the very best that’s in them once they arrive here and so our
player development I don’t know why but it’s second to none I mean our guys work
so hard and are committed so much to being the best they can be that you know
all of a sudden there they they end up being people that you’re like well he
could be okay too Wow what happened I mean that he’s
unbelievable you know sigh Barnett comes to mind you know we’re all of a sudden
he’s just unbelievable and so I guess it’s good recruiting but I don’t know
all the time if we have great recruits but it is a great culture where our
players learn from the guys that that are you know played before them and look
at look at some of the guys and say wow I mean look what he did look what Todd
did you know what look what time he did look what Zac sealer did look what Jason
vanillin did and and Zimmer and I hate to go down this road because then I miss
Lampman and and Sheldon and a Quay and I think I named all seven guys that have
had NFL experiences but but you know look what look what they did and then
all of a sudden these guys are doing the same thing it’s just it’s been an
incredible culture and and you know those guys have great futures too
we got other guys that have a chance to play professionally after they leave
here so it’s been unbelievable I feel blessed to be able Cochise guys and and
you know thrilled that it we have one more chance together and and it’s gonna
be it’s gonna be emotional you know win or lose I’m gonna be crying I mean win
or lose I’m gonna be crying because it’s just so emotional to go through this
many weeks together fight so hard and have all these experiences and and it’s
it’s it’s just purely a joy to be around these young men special thank you to our
two players Deshawn and keiondre along with coach anis for being here today and
congratulations on advancing to the Division two national championship game
for the first time in school history I also like to thank our athletic
communications especially our media members in
attendance here today along with all the fans who tuned in online complete
coverage of Bulldog football in the national championship game can be found
online at Ferris State Bulldogs calm getting kick off on Saturday at 4:04
p.m. Eastern Time on ESPNU Ferris State against Valdosta State in the division 2
national championship game hope to see many you in Texas and thanks for coming

About the Author: Garret Beatty


  1. Grit. That describes Ferris State Athletics. Work ethic is what separates Ferris State as a school from other places. We have a working auto, heavy equipment, weld, print, plastics, television, dental, pharmaceutical, law enforcement, hospitality, golf, tennis, rubber/elastomer, sports medicine, and construction facilities. It’s not just a school. It’s a workforce. People play in national titles for hockey, basketball, football, cheerleading, and more. They go on to work at places like the secret service, DEA, army, Air Force, Ford, And GM. Grit. It’s not uncommon for Ferris Students to spend more classroom time than peers at other schools. We come out to change the world.

    I worked in the Washington Capitols organization and several other former bulldogs came through. We won championships there too. We prove time and time again we are willing to outwork you.

    Do the work. Push your limits. Be there for your fellow Dawgs. Never let the little things go undone. #godawgs

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