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November 14, 2011

Fozzy Whittaker

Q. Obviously you've meant a lot to this team, and all they've said is how positive you've been through all this. How do you keep that positivity?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: Well, basically I just -- I'd rather stay positive than negative. You know, if I'm a negative person, especially in the state that I'm in, I feel like it would only lead to more negative things, so why not always look up. I know that it's not the ideal situation for me, and it wasn't the plans that I had going into that game, but I know that God has his hands on me and he has a bigger plan. All I can do is put my faith in him and stay positive. You know, the more positive I am, the better I feel about everything and how I'll be able to recover and bounce back from this.

Q. What was in your mind when you made that cut and your knee went underneath you?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: You know, on the field whenever I first experienced it, I knew it wasn't a good feeling, and I knew nothing good could come out of it. I just was -- my words was, "oh, man," and I just knew. It hurt very bad. I kind of -- I've sprained my MCL before, and I knew it was greater than that just because of the pain, and I couldn't walk on it at all. It was one of those things that hit me real hard, made me question myself, what's really going on, but ultimately I just had to turn back and give it back to the man upstairs and know that his hands are always on me no matter what, and there is a positive out of this situation.

Q. Was there any sadness from you or any anger for a minute?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: There was. I was upset, mad, sad. I was all of the above. You know, coming off to the sideline. But my mom came over there. She was able to come down as soon as I got hurt, able to comfort me and help me out, and you know, I didn't want to stay in that state where I just was miserable because at that point in time there's nothing I can do about it. If I'm just pouting or if I'm just sad and mad at the world, I still cannot change nothing. My leg is still hurt. There's nothing that's going to come out of it, so why not go ahead and start flipping my attitude around. I took that type of approach towards it, and that's what I'm going to stay with. That's the type of person that I am, and I feel like it's been very helpful and beneficial for me 22 years of my life.

Q. You've done a lot to make this team work. You've returned kickoffs, come out of a different position, the wildcat or "Wild Fozzy," whatever you want to call it, done all these different things for the team. We know you want it to work and for them to do well. What are your plans and how are you going to help everybody out?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: The same thing. You know, my role was one that can be replaced. It's not as if I'm some type of irreplaceable guy. We already have people that have been practicing in the formation just in case situations like this happened, and you know, whenever it did happen, guys are going to have to step up. I know that's what my team is going to do because that's all we've shown. This is a great university, Coach Brown picks the best athletes, and these guys are out here -- I know they're going to play with their hearts, and I'll still be on the field. I will be right there with my team.

Q. Mack said the team gave you a standing ovation yesterday. What was that moment like?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: It was a surreal moment. You know, whenever we brought it up in the team meeting yesterday after the game, he kind of -- I got my results from my MRI and it showed that I'll be done for the season. He asked me if I wanted to announce that to the team and have it released, and I told him yes, that's fine, because I want my teammates to know what's going to be happening with me and how I plan to bounce back from that.
You know, after he actually said it, you know, he asked if I had any comments, and I didn't really have any comments, and I just really enjoy my teammates, and after Coach Brown said it, the guys started clapping and stood up for me. It was just a surreal moment to know that they really appreciated me as much as I appreciated them.

Q. Is it kind to hard to believe that either way Saturday would have been your last home game and this career of kind of coming to an end?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: You know, it is hard. A couple of us older guys, we were actually talking about it before the Missouri game, just saying, you know, it's going to be the last night game, home game. It's going to be those type of -- you're going to trade a lot of memories, especially it being your last time playing in DKR. Just being able to still be with the team is going to be a great and memorable experience for me this coming up weekend.

Q. Not just on the field, but you've kind of taken on the role of a mentor this year to the younger guys. How important has that been, and how will that continue?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: I think it's been very important just because like I always say, whenever I came in, I was monitored myself by Jamaal and Chris Ogbonnaya, and those guys helped me become the person that I am today. It's only right that I give back to the younger guys coming in what they gave to me. Even though I am injured and I won't be able to be out there physically on the field with them, that doesn't change the type of person that I'm going to be to them off the field. I'm always going to continue to help them any way that I can and be there to support them in any way possible, and that goes with everybody on the team.

Q. How much fun was it running the wild because you seemed to have a lot of passion when you carried the ball out of that formation?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: It was a lot of fun. Coach Harsin, I always have to give the credit to him just for trusting me in that type of formation. There's a lot of things going on, and he put his trust in me to take care of the ball and just run the plays in that formation. Just seeing the way that he put his trust in me means a lot, and just saying the way that the offensive line, the fullbacks and the wide receivers came together just for one play and one formation, you know, it really means a lot to me, and I always have fun in that play.

Q. You weren't able to show off your arm a little bit more.
FOZZY WHITTAKER: No regrets, you know. I had fun. You know, in it, whenever I did pass, the incompletion (laughing), but just having the opportunity to throw it was fun in and of itself, but just being able to be out there with my teammates was the best.

Q. What are your thoughts on what the senior class has done, especially taking a leadership role and making sure stuff like last year didn't happen again.
FOZZY WHITTAKER: Well, it means a lot to us just because we have so much pride and so much passion for the game that we play, especially for this university. You know, we're a big representation of the university and the state, and what happened last year was something that we weren't proud of. We were very embarrassed, and we took it upon ourselves to make sure that leadership, the senior leaders of this team were going to make sure that we didn't let that happen again, and we were going to find a way, brick by brick, build a new foundation to build up this team so that we're stronger than ever.

Q. Who do you see stepping up on offense now that you're out, because you did a lot. What has to happen this week?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: You know, I don't think it's a matter of like it being a new name or a new face. Guys that have been playing in the previous weeks, the running backs, the wide outs, the O-line, the quarterbacks, everybody, that's not changing. I'll be a guy that's off the field, but ultimately those guys, they were playing just as good as people before them, and I just feel like that now that I'm out, it's just going to be more time for them.

Q. What's next for you?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: You know, I'll make sure that I rehab and get my knee back right, and that's really the only thing that I'm really focusing on is rehabbing every single day, trying to do as much as I can to get as well as I can and finishing the season off right with the team.

Q. Have they given you kind of a timetable of when you would have the surgery?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: It's kind of, I guess, not really set in stone yet. They want my MCL to heal up before they can go in and surgically repair the ACL, which they said will take around four to six weeks, so that will be sometime in mid December, mid to late December. They don't want me doing it during finals week, either, though, so it doesn't conflict with class and they don't want me doing it too close to Christmas so I am able to still move around and don't have to be sitting around in the house not being able to enjoy the season. I'm hoping to do the surgery sometime mid December so it would give me as much time as possible to try to recover and still have a good holiday season, and then depending on what Bowl game we're going to, I plan on being there with the team, as well, and just supporting them as much as I can doing what I can.

Q. I assume the long-term goal is still the NFL?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: That is. That is true. I've got to make sure I get all the way right before I can go out there and try to pursue that dream, as well.

Q. Will you graduate in December?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: I won't. I have six more hours after this semester, and so hopefully I may be able to finish that in the spring, depending on where I'll be at and how my knee is doing.

Q. Did you hear from Chris or any of those guys?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: They texted me. Chris actually texted me and a couple guys on the team previously like Frank Okam and Roy Miller, a couple of guys like that, they hit me up and really poured their hearts out to me, A.J. Williams, also, a couple of guys, they talked to me already and they kind of helped me out, being my support system.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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