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September 5, 2011

Fozzy Whittaker

Q. Is that the thing you needed to start this year?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: I think it is. It was a great starting point for us, built our foundation, and we have a lot of room for improvement this coming up week, but we look to do that in practice and be prepared to play BYU this coming Saturday.

Q. The creativity and imagination on offense, how refreshing was it? How different was it? I got goosebumps.
FOZZY WHITTAKER: It was definitely refreshing and different from what we've done in the past. Coach Harsin, he has a wild imagination. Ethically he says on offense we'll do anything that you will allow us to do. We're our only barriers to ourselves, so just given that, Coach Harsin gives us the ability to basically run whatever we can.

Q. What kinds of things does the offense need to improve on?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: To start off, we had too many penalties that we caused ourselves. We can prevent them before the snap even starts, a couple of illegal motions and shifts that we worked very hard in practice, and it didn't show in the game, and that's something that we'll make sure we get handled this coming up Saturday.

Q. Can you talk about the mental part for you, one time you're taking a snap, you're split out, you're kind of a traditional tailback.
FOZZY WHITTAKER: It requires a little bit more thinking with shifts as motions. You've got to make sure that everybody is set. You've got to know exactly where to line up and then what to do after you get lined up, your job. It requires more thinking than previously what I've been doing. But it's something that we've always worked on in practice and something that I take pride in, especially in preparing for a game.
Just making sure that I'm prepared for that type of role whenever my number is called.

Q. How different is it, though, in practice by yourselves than in front of a full house, especially when you're taking snaps?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: It's a lot different just because the stadium is filled with 100,000 packed, and you can hear a lot more crowd noise than what we try to imitate in practice. But ultimately I just try to stay focused and just block everything out and just focus on the field and the task at hand basically.

Q. What do you know about BYU?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: BYU, they're very experienced. They have a lot of people returning on offense and on defense, guys that are juniors and seniors, guys that have already played before, and you know, they're a great program, and it's something that we look forward to this year, just playing them. I know it'll be an all-out brawl, and just seeing where we really stand.

Q. What does it mean to you to play these big non-conference games?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: They're very important, just playing against a program that has the caliber that BYU, you know it's going to be a good time for us. You know it's going to be another test that we have to face to see what we need more room for improvement.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
FOZZY WHITTAKER: I think they did very well. Going into the game you can tell it was their first game. They had that first-game jitters in college. Wasn't really sure how the fans would play into the game or factor into the noise level. But once they got out there and played that first snap, I think they did very well.

Q. Are those guys kind of a complement to your style and you count on Malcolm to kind of push the pile?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: You know, it is very nice. Those guys coming in, and being able to do some of the things that not everybody can do, like myself, I have a different role on offense. Those two freshmen, they bring a different game to each play. You know, it's hard to prepare whenever you have different faces and multiple identities in the backfield.

Q. This is the last time you'll be at home until mid October. How important is it for you guys to get off to that good start because then it becomes a tough stretch away from home?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: I think it's very important for us to have a good start, especially this week coming up. BYU, they're going to come in. They're very happy they're coming off their first win against Ole Miss, hard-fought victory for them, and it's going to be a hard game for us, and just being able to play here once with our fans in our backyard, it's going to be a good time for us.

Q. Did it mean a lot to get that first win at home?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: It did mean a lot. You can never take a win for granted, and it's the first game. That's our first goal set is win the opener, and that's what we did, and now we look to build a foundation off of that first win.

Q. It looked a lot more physical and nasty out there.
FOZZY WHITTAKER: There's no candy bars and snacks but it's the type of mentality Coach Diaz has installed into them all off-season and also in fall camp. There was one thing he wanted to focus one and one thing Coach Brown did a good job of emphasizing this year. Just seeing the way they performed this past Saturday gives us all great confidence.

Q. Donuts?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: No donuts. I'm not sure Coach Wylie would really appreciate them having donuts.

Q. What was fun about Saturday?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: Just being out there and playing the game again. You know, we reported back January 17th, and just being able to get in pads and go to work with my brothers was the most exciting moment that I've had since last game we played.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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