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Sound bites from Saturday’s Celebration Bowl rivals N.C. Central and Grambling State

NCCU quarterback Malcolm Bell: ‘I just think it’s the clash of the titans, and we’ll see what happens’


On Friday afternoon, players and coaches from the North Carolina Central University and Grambling State University football teams sat down to answer questions from the media about Saturday’s impending game.

The Eagles and Tigers will face off in the second annual Celebration Bowl to decide which team will be the national football champion among historically black college and universities (HBCUs). The game is sponsored by the Air Force Reserve and will be played in the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta at noon Saturday.

Trash-talking, yeah, there was some: Here are the best quotes from both teams:

N. C. Central Eagles

  1. How important is it for North Carolina Central to cement itself among the elite HBCU football teams?
    1. “For me, I think it’s huge, because … coming in, we didn’t have no success at all. For us to even be at this point, three years in a row, that’s huge.” – cornerback/punt returner Mike Jones
  2. Tell us something about coach Mack that we don’t know, that’s funny.
    1. (Laughter) “I wouldn’t say it’s funny, but … if you tell coach [Jerry] Mack you need a pack of red Skittles on Friday nights, a blue pillow, some orange cleats (in order to win), he’ll do that for you, because he just wants to win.” – center Carl Jones
  3. What is it about the game that you love the most?
    1. “The exposure. This year, we didn’t get a lot of TV games. We only had one, and it was ESPN3 against [North Carolina] A&T. I’m just glad the country can see our guys playing for once, and see the talent we have playing on the field.” – quarterback Malcolm Bell
  4. Malcolm, Grambling is considered the best team in black college football; where would you position yourselves in that conversation?
    1. “I would say we’re as good as they are. They haven’t seen us, and we haven’t seen them, so I just think it’s the clash of the titans, and we’ll see what happens.” – Bell
  5. Quarterbacks Malcolm Bell vs. DeVante Kincade: Talk about that a little.
    1. It’s going to be exciting. I’m really looking forward to it myself, watching two really good quarterbacks in the country go against each other. DeVante does some great things with his arms – he’s one of the most dynamic passers in the country. So to see him go against Malcolm, I think everybody’s going to be in for quite a show.” – head coach Jerry Mack

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Grambling State Tigers

  1. Talk about the three-year journey with your coach and making it here to the Celebration Bowl.
    1. “The journey’s been long. It takes a great guy, as well as coach [Broderick] Fobbs to come in and change a program around like this. He came in and really harped on discipline. Once he got the team to be disciplined, he got the team together. As the year adjourns, we’ve become closer and closer and makes you really want to play for him. He did a really good job of getting us to see what’s in front of us and seize this opportunity.” – running back Martez Carter
  2. Is there any kind of difficulty or is it easy to get motivated for this game or this moment?
    1. “I feel like it’s kind of easy, because our coaches drill in our minds that we’re our own enemies; we’re the only ones who can stop ourselves. So we worked hard all week, and we compete so hard at every little thing we do that every week is a big week for us, every game, because we don’t want to experience losing. … No matter what the score is, we’ve got to play 60 minutes.” – quarterback DeVante Kincade
  3. Considering where the program was your freshman year, with the team boycotting, what does it mean to you to bring your team back to a stage like this?
    1. “It’s a blessing, because freshman year, we had all those problems. When coach Fobbs came in, he instilled in our minds that we were going to get a championship. Three years later, we got a championship and now, we’re going to play for a national championship. There was trials and tribulations, but we got through it.” – defensive lineman Donovan McCray
  4. If you could talk to [legendary Grambling football coach] Eddie Robinson for five minutes, what do you think he would say to you and what would he ask you?
    1. “He’d probably ask me, ‘Hell, boy, what you waiting on?’ He is one of the pillars that has helped me to become who I am today. What I would ask him is, ‘What do you think of what we’re doing?’ because everything that we do is what I went through – traveling with the suit and ties, understanding how to sit at a dinner table and etiquette training, resume writing. All those things are the things that are involved in our program I learned from coach Eddie Robinson. I was the child of a single-parent father who never had his dad around, so Eddie Robinson was basically his dad. So everything I’ve been taught has been through Eddie Robinson through my dad.” – head coach Broderick Fobbs
  5. Do you think the game against Arizona was the turning point for your team?
    1. “We failed that weekend, but we don’t ever really look at a loss as losing. We look at it as a learning situation. I thought we learned from that, because the very next week, we played Jackson State and we were up in the first half again, and I could hear guys right before halftime, ‘Hey, guys stay focused. Sixty minutes, 60 minutes.’ Sometimes pain is the best thing for you, when it comes to learning what you need to learn.” – Broderick Fobbs

Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.