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December 27, 2019

Jonathan Taylor

Pasadena, California

Q. Is there a part of your game that you feel like is maybe underrated or people don't know about as much?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: I really think that sometimes my speed is underrated on tape, and really once you start playing us in person, then it kind of like catches people by surprise.

Q. Is there a team that you played this year that maybe you can kind of compare Oregon's defense to a little bit?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Yeah, one of the biggest things, I really felt like the Purdue defense, linebackers, their linebackers were really good with their hands, I felt like.

We know that Oregon's linebackers are good with their hands as well. Oregon does have a lot of speed on defense. Similar maybe to O State. Those guys had a lot of speed on defense as well, so we're expecting those guys to be able to run.

Q. You didn't have to play in this game. You could have sat out, and nobody would have blamed you. Why did you decide to play?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Really just earned the right to be here, so I had to finish it out right.

Q. Take the risk of injuries. How will your future as a pro go if you do that?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Take the risk of injury every game.

Q. You are going up against some NFL-caliber defensive players. Does that kind of hype you up? It will be on tape that NFL scouts will watch, too, in evaluating you.
JONATHAN TAYLOR: It always hypes you up. You come to play Division I football to play against the best. You want to push yourself. So going up against guys like this should be fun.

Q. You grew up watching this game at all?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Yeah, I did. I grew up watching Reggie Bush play, of course recently Christian McCaffrey play in this game. It's always electric when you can make a big play in the Rose Bowl.

Q. I know it's (indiscernible) playoff, but is this game like a bigger stage than maybe you've played on or a different stage, given the history of the game?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: It is different. Especially with our program, with the history it's had with the Rose Bowl. And before College Football Playoffs became the thing, this was the Bowl to go to.

Q. Do you kind of carry that into the game? Like Wisconsin, coming from a Big Ten school, that you can be eligible?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: It's huge. They call it The Granddaddy of Them All for a reason.

Q. Were you surprised that you didn't even get to go to New York for the Heisman thing, like that didn't happen?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: It was tough. It was tough. You look at the guys that were there, they definitely deserved to be there. They've been consistent. They've been balling all year. I would have picked those guys to go. It's a tough choice. That's why they have voters.

Q. Do you kind of look at the other accomplishments in your career and take pride in it? How do you balance that?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: You always take pride in whatever you're able to accomplish. Whenever you're able to represent your university, especially with the program we had, with the running backs that came through our program. To do right by those guys, it's always good.

Q. A lot of guys, they were saying, sit out Bowl games. Do you feel like, if you play well, it could have a positive impact when they talk about draft scouts and stuff like that; that it's worth playing in it, even just beyond playing for Wisconsin and stuff like that?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: It can definitely help you. Guys that sat out, they had a reason for that. It's in their best interest. They sat down and went over everything and did what they felt was best for them. Everybody definitely has their reasons.

Q. What was the primary reason for you?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: We earned the right to be here, so I wanted to finish it out right.

Q. For you, what was one of the biggest things that you look for when facing a defense you haven't seen before? You haven't played Oregon. What is it that you are preparing for, I suppose you could say, about Oregon specifically?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Really for the speed. So really decision-making. When you see a hole, you've got to make sure you hit it 100 miles an hour because they've got a lot of speed on defense. So they're able to run sideline to sideline. So you've got to make sure you're very decisive.

Q. When you do film study, are there players that stand out to you about who you've got to watch out for, or is it kind of the whole team?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: With the speed, it's the whole team. They had to do a great job at recruiting guys that can run. You always have those specific guys, like Dye, the backer. He's athletic. He's super athletic. He can get off of almost any block. You've definitely got to make sure you're using great technique with him.

Q. It seems like this year -- I mean, you've been coming into your own every single year as a running back. But what do you feel is different? How have you elevated your game this year to where you're one of the most talked about backs in the country?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Really wanted to develop the passing game and be consistent in that. Showed flashes of it sophomore year, but I wanted to make sure I put that on tape consistently this year.

Q. Do you feel like you did that?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: I do feel like I had spots and moments this year. I do have another game. Consistency is a big thing for me. So I want to continue to do it.

Q. Oregon and Wisconsin have played each other in a Rose Bowl several times. Have you talked about those previous Rose Bowls where the team played Oregon?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: We talked about the previous games, where we played them, as well as the other Rose Bowls we've been in and just talk about how close it was. We've got to make sure that -- this game is not going to be easy. It's going to be a four-quarter game. You've got to make sure that you're playing snap the whistle for every down.

Q. The whole system is evolving. Players are viewing it differently, but how important is it for you to win the Rose Bowl and have a great performance for yourself?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: It's important to win the Rose Bowl, especially with our program and the history we've had with it. Many appearances. Been a few times recently. But one of the biggest things, we want to make sure we finish it out right and go home with a win.

Q. How did you like Disneyland yesterday?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: It was great. I've never been there before. I was looking at all the rides. We went to like a Star Wars place, and they had that huge ship. I've never seen nothing like that before.

Q. What's the enthusiasm or excitement going to be like once you step out onto the Rose Bowl field that day?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: This is going to be awesome, especially the history with our program and the Rose Bowl. It's going to be something special, and we're going to make sure that we do right by the program and come out with a win.

Q. Will your adrenaline be that much higher due to the fact that it's the Rose Bowl and you guys have something to prove?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: It definitely will be high, especially because it's The Granddaddy of Them All. This is the bowl game you want to go to. Before College Playoffs was a thing, this was the bowl. So we're going to be out there and be really excited.

Q. Did you look at the 2011 game to look back at what happened when Russell Wilson was the quarterback?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Yeah, you definitely look back at previous games that we had. We definitely want to make sure that history doesn't repeat itself. You try to learn from your mistakes and go forward with that.

Q. What do you have to do differently, you think? You guys stay within yourselves, or do you think that you have to change up something in preparation for Oregon?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Really, we're going to have to be really decisive. Those guys have a lot of speed on defense, so they're able to cover a lot of ground quickly. I'm just speaking specifically from a running back standpoint. You want to make sure, when I'm trying to find a hole, you have to be really decisive because those guys can close ground quick.

Q. How do you feel physically? How's your body?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: I feel good physically. We had a lot of time after our last game to recover, get ready. Now we're out here on the field working.

Q. Who's your inspiration in life?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Really as far as a football standpoint, I grew up watching Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson, two guys who I felt like I really enjoyed watching their game. So I feel like I try to implement those styles they have in mind.

Q. As far as your output in performance this year, how do you feel like you performed?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: I feel like I had a lot of ups and downs. I had some good moments, but there were moments I didn't play my best ball. So having that opportunity to be more consistent and looking forward to make sure I'm playing a great game.

Q. What would you say to all your friends and family that's going to be watching?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Thank you. I know a lot of you guys did want to come out here. The guys that are coming out here, I appreciate you guys. People back home, I know you're supporting me from at home.

Q. After the Big Ten Championship game, you were pretty adamant about wanting to play in this one. For guys in your position, that's not considered a smart decision anymore. Why for you was it an easy one to play?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Really because we earned the right, so I wanted to make sure I finished it out right.

Q. What does it say about the culture of this group? There's a couple of guys that have draft decisions to make, but nobody's sitting out.
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Really, I think it's just because we care for each other. We earned this together through the ups and downs of the season, and I think that's the biggest thing. We want to make sure we go off right.

Q. This is your last game. How much would it mean to be undefeated in Bowl games (indiscernible) wins under your belt?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: It would mean a lot, especially with the Rose Bowl history that the program has with the Rose Bowl. I think it would be really good. We want to make sure we do right by the university.

Q. Do you plan to make the announcement right after the game, or do you kind of need some time to figure it out?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: I kind of need some time. It's been a long season, and we've had a lot of ups and downs, so I want to make sure I make the right decision.

Q. How much do you feel for a guy like A.J. who's been a big part of this team for four years (indiscernible) experience some of the stuff and can't be with you guys on the field?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: The receivers, I know they're going to play their tails off for him. I'm going to play my tail off for him. The biggest thing is he knows. He knows that we're going to do everything in our power to make sure we get him a Rose Bowl win.

Q. You guys have (indiscernible) five straight Bowl games. What goes into that kind of thing when you get so much time off and you have to be focused, being off the field for so long?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: I think it's really just the preparation. You have a lot of time off. You have to make sure you're keeping the focus in the back of your mind. When you're working, you're working. When you have the time off, enjoy. That's the biggest thing. But make sure when it's time to refocus, you can.

Q. What do you think your legacy will be with Wisconsin?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Hopefully, I think it's a guy who worked hard every day. You knew what you were getting every single time on the field, and he was very consistent.

Q. What kind of things do you weigh when it comes to whether or not you know you want to wrap up your college career, whether it's academically or stuff you want to accomplish on the field?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Like what you just said, things you want to do on the field, academically, health-wise, have you put everything you wanted on tape? I think that's the biggest thing is going through each of those categories and making sure that you make the proper decision.

Q. Are you going to be able too graduate early in the spring, or do you still have some work to do?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: I should be able to. I have a couple of credits, but definitely want to make sure that throughout my college career that I was trying to keep on pace just in case. They do a great job of that, at preparing guys for the future just because you never know what could happen.

Q. Does this game have any bearing on the decision? Some guys want to go out with a win. Some guys (indiscernible) a loss. How much of what happens Wednesday play into the factor of whether you return next year?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Really we earned the right to be here. I just wanted to make sure we finish off the year right.

Q. There's a chance, obviously, this could be your last game with Wisconsin. I know you're not ready to think about that, but what do you think you're most proud of of what you've been able to do in basically 2 1/2 years here?
JONATHAN TAYLOR: Really I think about the amount of games we were able to win. You come in as a freshman, and then you go 12-0 and can get your sixth Bowl win.

I think that's the biggest thing, is the overall season. You come to Division I football to play against the best and to win. I feel like 2018 wasn't the season how exactly we wanted it to go, but we've had some solid years here, as far as me being here. Our team's had some solid years.

This year we had a little down, slippery slope with a two-game losing streak, but we were able to fight hard in November and come back. I think it's really just the way that I've played with my team throughout the years to be able to play hard and be able to get to a New Year's Six bowl. I mean, making it to a Rose Bowl, this is what it's all about.

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