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December 29, 2019

Chris Orr

Pasadena, California

Q. How are you this morning?
CHRIS ORR: Good. How y'all doing?

Q. Did you enjoy the beef bowl?
CHRIS ORR: Yeah, that was fun. Lawry's, that was fun. I never knew that was like a steakhouse. I just knew it from the seasoning.

Q. Did you carve it up for the head coach's wife?
CHRIS ORR: Yeah, I was going to give it to Mrs. Alvarez, but I was talking to her before and she said she liked her cooked a little more. That piece was a little rare, so I gave it to Mrs. Chryst. I was going to give it to one of my teammates because I don't want people mad at me. Garrett Rand asked me why I didn't give it to him. I was like, I don't want none of the other D-linemen mad at me, so I just gave it to her and nobody could be mad.

Q. How was your prime rib?
CHRIS ORR: It was good. It was really good, yeah. It was good.

Q. How fun has it been to just do all these Rose Bowl festivities to start the week?
CHRIS ORR: Oh, it's been really fun. Kind of gets you a little break, a little bit away from it. When you finish practice, everything is pretty much after practice. It's been fun to get a little break and see some of your teammates in a different light. I always enjoy that.

Q. They have a very experienced offensive line. Do you see that on tape? Do you see the way they communicate? Is it a little different than some teams you've faced?
CHRIS ORR: Yeah, you can definitely see it, mostly in the way they work together. It's smooth and simple, easy transitions between them, so you can definitely tell that they have some experience. It's definitely a talented O-line.

Q. As a linebacker you made a very concerted effort to get to the quarterback more this season, and you did. Does that kind of get you excited knowing that you've got such a great offensive line, a great challenge in front of you?
CHRIS ORR: Oh, yeah, it's definitely exciting. Whenever you can compete against great players or a great offense or a great team, it's definitely exciting. We definitely look forward to this challenge. They have the Outland Trophy winner, so it's definitely going to be fun for all of us.

Q. Justin Herbert doesn't move around a ton but he did a little bit in that Pac-12 title game. How do you have to adjust knowing that's another wrinkle he could bring?
CHRIS ORR: I mean, just knowing that he's definitely mobile, I mean, you can tell that just even when he's standing in the pocket. I mean, he's -- I wouldn't say that he's like a Lamar Jackson or even like a Justin Fields. They're not going to really try to have him running in there too much. They will a little bit, but not too much. But you definitely have to think about it. He's definitely athletic enough to do some damage, some critical damage. People always think you have to have a quarterback that will break like 60-yard runs, but if he can go and get eight, that's crippling to a defense.

Q. What are you guys doing to make sure that you get the edge in that battle?
CHRIS ORR: I mean, just preparing for it, as always. Anybody with zone read schemes or whatever the case is, we have a plan for it. Whether we want him to keep the ball or whatever the case is, just be conscious of it.

Q. What is it that this linebacker corps does so effectively that you have gotten to the quarterback so much more this year?
CHRIS ORR: I think everybody focused on, one, their pass rushing moves in the off-season, developing your bread and butter, what are you going to use to beat somebody, what's your best move, and also studying the schemes, what type of protection does the offense use in this down and distance or against this front they're going to slide, half slide, big on big, whatever the case is. We study that, and then you know how to attack it.

Q. Did any of you guys watch Ohio State-Clemson last night?
CHRIS ORR: I think -- yeah, I watched a little bit of it.

Q. Were you surprised by the result? Did you care who won, cheer or either team?
CHRIS ORR: Yeah, of course you always cheer for the Big Ten. Postseason you want the Big Ten to dominate. So yeah, of course we was cheering for them. Unfortunately it didn't turn out their way.

Q. Did you predict the outcome?
CHRIS ORR: No, I actually honestly had no idea who was going to win that game. Coming into it, everybody was like, who do you think. I'm like, I have no idea because I've never really seen Clemson like that. I of course knew Ohio State and I knew Clemson was a good team, but I just didn't know. Yeah, I had no idea.

Q. You know there are going to be some seniors leaving off the defense. Who are some of the young guys in your opinion who are going to have to step up next year to keep things going?
CHRIS ORR: I definitely think like Jack Sanborn for sure will just have a larger role. Probably Mike Maskalunas, Scottie, EB and Reggie, those three will be very important. Our entire D-line, they'll probably be the most experienced. So I would say them too.

Now, outside backer I'd say Christian Bell, he'll have a bigger role, and Izayah Green-May, and then I guess even some of the freshmen that we have coming in at that position. We've got some players coming in. I'm excited to watch them, to be honest.

Q. You mentioned the D-line will all be back. As a guy who has to play behind them and depend on them to keep you clean, how important will that be?
CHRIS ORR: Oh, it'll be vital to their development. Like me being behind Chikwe and Sheehy and all them, it definitely helped me a lot, so it's going to be important for them to play some of their best football in order to help out the younger backers.

Q. You've faced quite a few mobile quarterbacks over the course of the season, and Herbert did that a lot in the Pac-12 Championship game against Utah. How does that change the map for you guys as a defense when the quarterback is used on design runs?
CHRIS ORR: You have to account for him. Usually when somebody runs with the quarterback, they can pretty much block the entire box, so it's almost like an extra fitter. Usually when somebody runs with the quarterback, you have to win. Somebody has to win at the line of scrimmage, somebody has to win in the front seven in order for you to stop the play, so it's definitely important.

Q. Does it also have any impact on the way you play pass defense, knowing that he can take off and run? Do you have to limit the amount of man you played so you have more eyes?
CHRIS ORR: Not necessarily, but you just need to always have some type of eyes on him, whether it be with your four-man rush or whatever type of rush you're bringing, if somebody is more of a spy rusher instead of trying to get vertical, whatever the case is. As long as you have eyes on him in the pass game, that's the best you can ask for.

Q. You mentioned that you've done individual work to improve your pass rushing. Are they using you a little differently this year to free you up for rushing the passer?
CHRIS ORR: Oh, yeah, definitely. They let me get a little more active this year, which I definitely enjoy. It's been a fun season for me, especially being a traditional inside backer, being able to rush the passer. It's been fun for me. I need to mess with Coach Leonhard to tell him to let me do it some more.

Q. How important is that to stop the run? They're really a run-first offense.
CHRIS ORR: Yeah, you can't get after the quarterback if you don't stop the run first. That's the most important goal of any game we go into, especially this game, stop the run, get them in 3rd and longer, 2nd and longer or pure pass situations, then we can dictate the game from there.

Q. Are you pretty good at disguising, not tipping your hand when you're coming, or is that something you've had to work on?
CHRIS ORR: It's something I had to work on honestly. When I was a younger player I used to always, as soon as they -- I was ready to go. I jumped a few times. But that's definitely something I had to work on. But it comes from studying the offenses a little more. You get the feeling of what their hard count is, when they're actually trying to snap the ball. I've gotten better.

Q. Having graduated last December, a year later what's that been like for you to play football this season?
CHRIS ORR: It's been fun. I was getting my masters this season, so it's been fun. I have a lot more free time, so I was able to meet a little bit more, watch a little more film, study a little more, so it was fun for me.

Q. What are you getting your masters in?
CHRIS ORR: Educational leadership and policy analysis.

Q. Has it been any harder or easier compared to undergrad while playing football at the same time?
CHRIS ORR: It was a little easier. You don't have as much like busy work. Just a little more focused on what you like. It's a little more detailed. I definitely enjoyed that a lot more than undergrad.

Q. You've played in a lot of big games in your career. Do you take a different approach to the Rose Bowl than any other big game?
CHRIS ORR: A little different just because of the history that we have with it, but I'm not looking at it as something out of this world. At the end of the day, you're still just coming in to play football. It's just on a different field in a different location, but it's still football. I think it'll probably be bigger for me more so because it's my last game, more so than it just being the Rose Bowl.

Q. Do you have a favorite memory, do you think, from your time at Wisconsin that you can point to?
CHRIS ORR: Ooh, man, that's a good question. On the field?

Q. Yeah.
CHRIS ORR: Favorite memory on the field would have to be probably my freshman year. That's hard. It's either my freshman year or all the home games this year. But I would probably say my freshman year going and playing my first game in Dallas. That was pretty special to me, to see my family and stuff. That was definitely special to me. I have a lot of memories. That's a good question. I'm going to have to put a pin in this one. I'm going to have to email you or something.

Q. How much fun has this been this week, and when does it get to be a point where you just want to play?
CHRIS ORR: It's been fun. You're definitely at that point right now. We got to that point yesterday where it was more so you just want to play football. You enjoy all the events that you have. It was definitely fun early in the week, but we're definitely at that point right now where we just want to hit somebody.

Q. What do you expect from their offense come Wednesday?
CHRIS ORR: I'm going to expect a battle. They want to run the ball, they want to be physical, so I'm going to expect a physical battle and definitely a lot of running to the ball. They have a really good screen game. Their offensive line is athletic and they can move. They have a good quarterback that makes good decisions. So I'm expecting a battle.

Q. I know George talked to you about your family is coming into town. Are they here, and have you had a chance to talk to them?
CHRIS ORR: My fiancé is here actually, but my parents don't get here until like the day before the game.

Q. Pretty cool to have them here to see you go out on this level?
CHRIS ORR: Oh, yeah, it's definitely cool, it's definitely special to me. Over the years it's not like they could make every game, but the ones that they can make, I always take them a little more to heart, so it's going to be special for me to have them in the stands for my last game.

Q. What do you do to get ready for Justin Herbert?
CHRIS ORR: It's crazy. He's a lot bigger than people think, first of all. He's a big dude and he can move. He can definitely move. He makes smart decisions and has a strong arm. So I think you have to prepare for just about everything. He has experience, so you have to think about how can you rattle him. Is it just purely hitting him? Is it changing up some coverages, disguising some stuff, holding him to some stuff? You can tell he's smart, and he studies the game well, so it's going to be a chess match for sure.

Q. He's been compared to Nate Stanley, so how important is that for you guys to have the Iowa game to get your defense prepared?
CHRIS ORR: It's very important. They're both really talented quarterbacks. They both make smart decisions. They both have strong arms. I think he's a little more mobile than Nate. No offense, Nate. But I think he's a little more mobile, so that's something you've got to prepare for a little more. But yeah, I think it helps out a lot.

Q. What have you seen from the team? Are you guys at the point that you're ready to play football?
CHRIS ORR: Oh, yeah, everybody is locked in. It's been intense practices, physical practices, so I'm very happy with our preparation.

Q. You mentioned you're working on your masters. Do you have a thesis topic yet?
CHRIS ORR: Oh, yeah, I already did it. I was studying what makes an athletic director successful or not and all the different factors, whether it be career path, career trajectory, socioeconomic bring up, anything and everything that can affect you having success as an athletic director, that's what I wrote on, whether it be playing a sport, being a lawyer and coming in or just being the owner of a company, them hiring you.

Q. Is there one particular way that you think is the best way?
CHRIS ORR: I think the best way is to have some type of experience within the sport, some type of experience. It doesn't have to be at the collegiate level, it doesn't have to be Division I, but some type of experience so you can have a sort of feel for what your student-athletes may want, what can help them be comfortable, what can help them be successful, and then outside of that, I don't think it's really nothing else too crazy. I think you need to have a lawyer on staff if you're not a lawyer. You definitely need to have a lawyer on staff just because of all the rules.

Q. Is that a career path that you're considering?
CHRIS ORR: Maybe some day eventually. Maybe eventually. Not right now. I don't want to get greedy too soon. But eventually because there's a lot that goes into it. Yeah, I think if you have a lawyer on your staff if you're not one yourself, and to always think of the student-athletes first. The student-athletes first and then the institution like right after that. Not saying you put them above it, but you definitely need to have their best interest at heart.

Q. Did you get to interview Barry at all while you were doing this thesis?
CHRIS ORR: Informally. Informally we used to talk a little bit. We talked a little bit about it.

Q. Is he a good model for you?
CHRIS ORR: Yeah, he's a great model. He's definitely a great model for me.

Q. Can you talk about the challenges when you look at their offense?
CHRIS ORR: I think first and foremost is how good their offensive line is. They're really athletic. They're strong. They can move people. And then second is their run game. They get vertical. They get north-south. They have some good running backs that run hard. And then I think it goes to the QB. He makes smart decisions. He can march the ball down the field. He can hurt you with his legs if he needs to. I mean, they're pretty much pretty good everywhere across the board. I think it'll be a great challenge. First and foremost, definitely need to stop the run, though.

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