Military Bowl Final Press Conference Quotes and Photos from Monday’s Team Activities


Ralph Friedgen, University of Maryland Head Coach

“We would like to thank the Military Bowl, Northrop Grumman and USO. Our players
have had a wonderful time.

“It has been a little bit different practicing at home. We got to go home for Christmas. The city of Washington has been great. It is going to be an excellent opportunity to go against this team and we are looking forward to the game.”

“I have had 23 years of blood sweat and tears on the field. Today could be the last time I am on that field (College Park) ever and I hope we have a good practice.”

“Working with the players has been very special. You know, it is kind of like you are dying. It is a slow death. Everything you experience is for the last time. It has been a very stressful week especially from an emotional standpoint. I am looking forward to one more time with these players.”

“This has been a special group for me. Last year when everyone was down on us, I never got down on the kids. Many times they motivated me. Everyone seemed surprised by our success this year, but I am not surprised in the least. I think we are hitting our stride right now, which is one of the reasons I wanted to continue. This team deserves the best and obviously people didn’t think that I was the best. Hopefully they will get the best in the future.”

“There have been so many emails, texts and phone calls. I appreciate the support and kind words from so many people.”

“I had no idea the kind of support I was going to get. There is a lot going on in my mind. There are just a lot of things going on right now.”

“Playing in RFK, I don’t know how much it will do with me, as much as it has to do with the team. We are playing a very good opponent. We should have a good crowd, especially if the weather is good. I think it will be a very productive bowl game for everyone involved.”

“Obviously if I had my druthers, I would go out with a win, but that isn’t going to be an easy chore. We will see what happens.”

“I think I have enjoyed practice more than the team has. During the senior carry off today, they might drop me on purpose. I think they are working on getting a fork lift.”

Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina University Head Coach

“We are very excited. The season was a very different one, a special one for us. We lost a lot of guys from last year’s team. This made our first year together very enjoyable. The adversity we went through made us tighter as a group.”

“It is an honor to have been chosen to play in one of 35 bowl games. This bowl game and what it represents makes it even more special.”

“We couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present than being a part of this bowl. We have a great challenge ahead of us. University of Maryland is very disciplined on either side of the ball.”

“I have all the respect in the world for Ralph [Friedgen], and what he did to turn that program around and finish third in the ACC this year. We are very happy and we look forward to the game.”

“ECU is my alma mater, and Maryland is his [Friedgen]. The proof is in the pudding of what he has been able to do with this team.”

“We know playing in their backyard is a challenge. Our players have been challenged all year in different arenas, with ACC teams as well. It is going to be a big war, a big battle.”

“We played Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl, but we have never had two established
receivers like Torrey [Smith] and Dwayne [Harris]. They make plays. They are not
intimidated by the moment. Alex [Wujciak] is a very good linebacker as well. Torrey and Dwayne are two special players. They cause a lot of attention from both defenses I am sure. Both sets of fans will be excited to see these guys play.”

“It was not a long drive for us to get here. A lot of our fans have come up here. The accommodations, the practice facilities have been great; the hotel has been fantastic for meetings and football preparation.”

“Maryland is an ACC team, and we know we are facing a great football team. They are well coached, very talented and we know we are going to have to go out there and do our thing.”

“Coach Friedgen has been a great football coach. Our team just needs to stay focused on the task at hand. We know we are going to face an emotional team.”

“I know he [Friedgen] is emotional. I know he loves those boys. I hope he decides to stay in it and keep coaching.”

Torrey Smith, University of Maryland Wide Receiver

“This has been emotional for us. We want to go out and support coach. We know this is his last chance. We want to have the best experience individually, but we want to come together and support him.”

“To be honest, these practices the past few days have been fun. Everyone has been getting into it. It has been an all around great effort from the team.”

“You never know what can happen. Everyone is trying to take it all in and be ready for a great ECU team. We are definitely cherishing these moments.”

“We knew ECU was going to the Military Bowl before we knew we were going. We look forward to a great atmosphere and going up against a great team.”

“The desire to win for coach is something that is understood. We are expecting to win, but we know it is going to be a tough game.”

“Coach Friedgen is helping me make a decision when it comes to the [NFL] draft. People talk to me about it everyday, but I think I will know what to do when the time comes.”

Alex Wujciak, University of Maryland Linebacker

“It has been an emotional week. We have had an amazing experience with Coach

“He [Friedgen] wanted to tell us first. That was an emotional day. This is our last practice as a team. We are going to go out there, and have our traditional carry off the field for the seniors.

“There was an initial shock when we first got back, but it has brought us closer and closer.”

“The game will be emotional. We know that coach wants to leave on a good note. He [Friedgen] has done a lot for us over the years.”

“I will always remember Coach Friedgen shaking his head on the sidelines. He told us that he can see every play when he shakes his head.”

Melvin Patterson, East Carolina University Linebacker

“We are happy to be at the Military Bowl against a good team. I know our guys, coaching staff and personnel are happy to be here.”

“This is a business trip. We have had curfew and the focus is on the game. We are enjoying it, but when it comes to game time, we want to win.”

“Just being in our nation’s capital has been a lot of fun.”

“It has been a little windy to say the least. It has been very enjoyable. We like the people and the settings. We are getting used to the city.”

“We know they are going to come out and try to win it for Coach Friedgen and send him out with a victory, just the way we want to win for Coach McNeill, send him out on top and end the season with a win.”

Dwayne Harris, East Carolina University Linebacker

“I am excited for the game. I am a competitor I love to compete. There is no place I would rather be right now. We are not going to back down.”

“This is the farthest I have been up north. It is crazy getting to see these sights and it has been very enjoyable.”

“There are so many one way streets. It is easy to get lost. I have learned the city in the few days we have been here and I think I have it down. We got to see the Capitol and went to the monuments. It has been a lot of fun. I hope to come back and visit.”

Steve Beck, Executive Director, Military Bowl

“By sponsoring the Military Bowl, Northrop Grumman is not going to sell more ships or planes. They are doing it to benefit the USO, and we appreciate that very much.”

“Our main mission is to support the terrific programs that benefit the people who protect our country.”

“University of Maryland and East Carolina University are the two teams that we wanted for this game. We are lucky and fortunate to have them here.”

Frank Thorp, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications, USO

“We at the USO, specifically USO Metro DC, are very grateful to be the benefactor for this bowl game. We have learned first hand what it takes to put this on and we appreciate the all around effort.”

“It is great to have a Military Bowl in our nation’s capital. It is most appropriate that the game is here as we honor the troops and their families.”

“To the coaches, troops have sent us notes rooting for one team or the other. I am not going to say who they are supporting, but I will say that they are excited. Thank you for your efforts. Thank you for what you have done to support the troops and their families.”

Monday’s Team Activities Photos and Captions:

University of Maryland football players, coaches and personnel pose on the steps of the U.S.
Capitol building on Monday, December 27 in advance of their appearance in the 2010 MilitaryBowl presented by Northrop Grumman taking place December 29 at RFK Stadium (ESPN).

East Carolina University football players, coaches and personnel pose on the steps of the U.S.Capitol building on Monday, December 27 in advance of their appearance in the 2010 MilitaryBowl presented by Northrop Grumman taking place December 29 at RFK Stadium (ESPN).

From left to right: University of Maryland Head Coach Ralph Friedgen, University of MarylandJunior Wide Receiver Torrey Smith, University of Maryland Senior Linebacker Alex Wujciak, East Carolina University Senior Wide Receiver Melvin Patterson, East Carolina University Senior Linebacker Dwayne Harris and East Carolina University Head Coach Ruffin McNeill pose together today, Monday, December 27 following the final Military Bowl press conference which took place at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC two days before the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman on December 29, 2010 at RFK Stadium (ESPN).

To download the Maryland and ECU team photos at the Capitol, please click HERE
To download more photos from today’s press conference, please click HERE
To download photos from today’s ECU Youth Football Clinic at Joint Base
Anacostia-Bolling, please click HERE
Photo Credit (For all photos): Alan Lessig

About the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman

The Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman has been held in Washington, D.C.’s
historic RFK Stadium since 2008 and for the initial two years was entitled the EagleBank
Bowl. Organized by the DC Bowl Committee, Inc. and the Washington Convention and
Sports Authority, the Military Bowl serves as a premier regional event benefiting the
USO. With first-rate participants and events, the Military Bowl seeks to generate broad
support for the USO, positively impact the regional economy, honor the U.S. military and
solidify the nation’s capital as a leading college football destination. For more
information, please visit


Teri Washington, WCSA, /202-494-5737
Amber Johnson, WCSA, /202-480-5789
Jeremy Silkowitz, Swanson Communications, /202-641-8801