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November 10, 2008

Harrell talks Oklahoma, Heisman Trophy

Texas Tech quarterback and Heisman Trophy Candidate Graham Harrell spoke with the media via teleconference on on Monday, and opened up a bit with respect to his chances at winning the Heisman Trophy.

Availability of players to media
GH: "That's very interesting. I think he does a great job of limiting the distractions, keep the players and team focused, and himself focused trying to get ready for the next week's opponent. In another program, where they expect to have a lot more media exposure from the players and stuff like that, I think Coach would continue to keep his players limited as far as their availability. I think he feels that winning football games is going to make him a lot more popular than keeping his players in the media."

Life changed for you over the last three weeks?
GH: "We've been getting a lot more attention down here, that's for sure. There is a lot more excitement in the community and around campus. As far as the players go, we're just trying to stay focused and continue to try improving as a team. But I think things have changed a lot. There are a lot more people who want to be a part of the program, want to give us attention but hopefully we can stay focused, stay hungry and continue to win games."

What is the one-day record of text messages on your phone?
GH: "I would like to know that too myself really. My phone will only let me hold 180 at a time so after 180 I have to delete them. So during a day sometimes I have to delete them two or three times. The text messages have definitely picked up the past few weeks but you know that's how it goes. It's exciting for me, the team, the program. It's such an exciting time, the attention will come when you win but the bigger picture is to continue to win games, beat Oklahoma in two weeks and go from there."

Not having beaten Texas & Oklahoma in same season affect you?
GH: "No, not at all. We've got to finish. This is a tough conference, with the toughest teams in the country here. But that's how it goes. We can't think about 'oh we've never beaten them in the same season'. Every game is a new game and so we're just trying to focus on improving and going out executing each week."

Are you a Facebook guy?
GH: "I am a Facebook guy. But I don't check it too much because it's gotten kind of overwhelming now so I have an account but I don't really check it too much."

If the Heisman Trophy vote were held today, would you be Number 1?
GH: "That's a tough question, there is definitely a lot of deserving people out there. I think the Heisman Trophy is becoming an award more about team wins than individual numbers. But we have won just as many games as anyone else. I feel like Crab(Crabtree) and I both deserve to be looked at but at the same time, if I had a vote today, I'd probably give it to Crab. He's my teammate, he deserves all the awards he can get.

"He would probably say me just because that's the kind of guy he is. But he is a very team oriented player, works hard and there's no question he is a huge part of the success of this team. But like I've said in the past, it's always been about the team and what we can do together to win. Let the awards and recognitions take care of themselves.

"Offensive line really sets the tone and really allows Crab(tree) and I to both be successful so they are the ones who really deserve the credit."

Why he signed with Tech out of high school
GH: "More than anything, to play under Coach Leach and his offensive system. We ran a similar scheme in high school, threw the ball around in a very similar fashion. When you go to college, it's all about finding where you fit in the best and place where you're going to get the opportunity to play and be successful. I think Tech offered me the best opportunity to play and be successful and it's a cool experience to get to throw the ball 50 times a game and play in an offense like this. Coming out of high school, that's very appealing, then with Coach (Leach) and the offense he runs, it was just the best fit for me."

Recruitment X's and O's by Leach
GH: "He was good about showing what he does with his offensive system and things like that. But as most people know, Coach (Leach) is an interesting character, he's not a traditional football coach as most people would think of one. We did talk about X's and O's some but he makes funny of the magic trick and pirates along with his X's and O's during a recruit visit. So it was an interesting recruitment but it was fun and he kept things light which is what I like about him. The mentality he has and how he went on about the program and the team."

The best rhythm as a quarterback he's been in
GH: "I think we executed well on Saturday and the past couple weeks ever since conference started we've been playing pretty well. We've been moving the ball well, executing well. That's what it's all about. A lot of people try and use the word zone or whatever but I think we've been in a pretty good rhythm offensively and defensively as a team ever since the Kansas State game. That was the first time we really played well together as a team. We've just continued to improve and build on that game week after week. And so now hopefully we can keep that going."

What strides has team made starting with Oklahoma win last season
GH: "We look forward to the challenge. Being in the Big 12, you're going to face some of the more elite programs in the country and it's going to be a challenge. Not every team is going to have that chance to face top-ranked teams. It's tough to play but it's exciting and we look forward to the challenge every week. In the past, we got down to those teams and would lose the mentality. There was more doubt on the sidelines and stuff but now after big wins against teams like that, now we know we can compete against teams like that. We're confident in any game, stick to our game plan and do what we do in practice every day. Just go out and have fun. This has been building for a few years now and we're excited. We are now proving we can play with anyone, any year."

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