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December 28, 2010

Cory Grant


Q. As you look at Wisconsin, what team do they remind you of that you've seen already?
CORY GRANT: If I compare them to somebody in my conference, it would definitely have to have BYU because a lot of them are pretty big, like 320, 330 across the board, and if we can go back to last year when we played Clemson, they were pretty big, also.

Q. A lot of two tight-end sets and a lot of pressure on the two techniques play in and play out. What do you see as far as your role throughout the game?
CORY GRANT: I've got to agree, anchor points, try to maybe take up two blockers, hold leverage on anybody that has them and try not to get pushed back, let the linebackers lay it up.

Q. As you look at the offensive line, what do you see that they like to do?
CORY GRANT: After watching the running backs, they work off the cutbacks, but if their hold is -- like say they run the zone and they run to the side -- if they run to the side and the hold is open, they're going to run there. As far as the offensive line creating holes for them, they do a really good job of that. As far as watching other teams, they really come off the bar really hard and they're really athletic.

Q. You and Kelly Griffin kind of got thrown to the wolves as freshmen back in '07. Now you've got to say look how far we've come. What are your thoughts as you're ready to play that last game?
CORY GRANT: Oh, man, I have a million thoughts. It's my last college game ever and my senior year and it's the Rose Bowl. It doesn't get much better than that. But for me having to go through that at the time we did, trying to grow up to be better football players, let alone better defensive tackles, it's been an amazing ride to see where we've come from.

Q. Talk about Kelly and what he has brought to this team year after year and the unfortunate injury. He really wants to be a part of this game if at all possible.
CORY GRANT: Yeah, he's doing everything in his power to be in this game, also. But even after the injury that he had in the Air Force game, he still was there to be a leader to the other players, especially the D-linemen, the young guys who are now stepping up to be starting D-tackles and the D-tackles behind that. He's been helpful to them and stuff like that, so he's really been a team player.

Q. What are two or three things defensive line has to do to be successful against Wisconsin?
CORY GRANT: We have to have low pad level, get off, and a motor, a mean motor, because it gets dirty, it gets grimy down there, and it's 60 minutes of grinding.

Q. What makes TCU's defense unique, besides the stats and the national rankings?
CORY GRANT: Speed and also team camaraderie, defensive camaraderie actually. We have a saying that we hunt together, and not one person shouldn't be running to the ball when the ball is running past the line of scrimmage. Just the way we jell together I can feel a lot of the guys who are on the defense, especially the starters, we've been playing together for a while, so we have that to work with.

Q. Now, when you play with Tank, what makes him impressive as a linebacker?
CORY GRANT: Just his tenacity when he gets to the ball, and then also his love for the game. You know, it's like something doesn't go right, it really bothers him, and that's what makes me -- I can trust him. When there's somebody back there saying, oh, I missed the play, that's okay, I'll get him next time, you don't want that. He actually gets mad and angry when things aren't going right, so I feel like I can trust him to do his job and get on somebody else who's not doing their job.

Q. Let me ask you about Gabe Carimi. Seeing him on film, what makes him unique as an offensive player?
CORY GRANT: Gabe Carimi? I'm not good with names. Is that the guard?

Q. 68.
CORY GRANT: Left tackle. He's big. They're athletic, and they come off the ball hard. But for the most part I watch the center guard because that's where I've been playing. Depending on the call, I might go up against him. But watching them across the board, they all play really hard so they have that to work with, and they're all pretty big.

Q. In the time since you've been here, how many times have you walked off the field and said that their offense was better than us?
CORY GRANT: Since I've been here? Not necessarily that they were better than us, just maybe we played sub-par that day maybe.

Q. Do you remember what game that was?
CORY GRANT: That's probably been a while. It's maybe when I was a younger guy. It was probably BYU my red-shirt freshman year when I was just 19 years old and the guy I was going against was 20-something years old with a family. I felt like I was playing my dad or something. But that probably was the worst time for that because they were so big and I was just getting into college.

Q. It must be a real pride thing with your defense not letting the opponents score because you're so stingy in terms of giving up points and holding them. Is that just a pride thing for the defense, keeping them out of the end zone?
CORY GRANT: It's a pride thing, and it's also just the sheer joy of just seeing on the stat sheets that they scored no touchdowns, that we didn't allow them into the end zone, which is big for the defense. If you can stop somebody, especially a high powered offense, even if it's just no points, or like three points a field goal, if you can stop them in the red zone, first off, it gives you a better chance of winning the game, and second, our defense, our job is to not let them score, so it really makes us feel like we've been doing our job all game.

Q. Is there a lot of oddity you being here?
CORY GRANT: It's a big thing, of course, it's the Rose Bowl, the granddaddy of them all. But I think as well as we've been playing I think this is finally showing that we can play right here. I'm excited to be here, me and the rest of my teammates. Can't wait to get to Saturday so we can prove it.

Q. Have you given any thought to how this game might materialize? They've got a good offense and you've got a great defense and they've got running backs galore.
CORY GRANT: We've got a lot of people that are good, but we've never played them in any game since I've been in college. So we'll see when the first hit comes out and we'll compare them as the game goes on to some of the people that we've played already.

Q. How often does that happen when you have an idea how good a line is on tape and the first hit comes or those first few possessions, you think these guys aren't nearly as good as we saw on tape or they're better?
CORY GRANT: How does my perspective change on it?

Q. How often does that happen where you have one idea going in and it changes?
CORY GRANT: Every team, no matter a winning record or a losing record, when we watch them on film, we grade them just like we did the next guy or the guy before that. We go up there with high expectations that everybody is going to play their best game when we play us. We have the expectations that this is going to be the best offensive line that we're going to play so we have to play to the best of our abilities. As the game goes on, you can tell, okay, maybe they weren't as aggressive there as it looked like on film or maybe they're more aggressive than they were or they're a little bigger or a little stronger. And then when it comes to the fourth quarter it's who's in the best shape.

Q. Is it as simple as stopping their running game or is it more complex than that?
CORY GRANT: It's a little more complex than that. As far as Wisconsin?

Q. Yeah.
CORY GRANT: They can hit you with all cylinders. People are so gung ho on their running because they see the big offensive line, they see sometimes they have long drives with just running, but they can also beat you with play action and things like that.

Q. I assume you've been emphasizing that in practice?
CORY GRANT: Oh, yeah.

Q. They're a team that's scored 70 points or more against some opponents. It must be a real challenge for your defense.
CORY GRANT: It's a challenge, but if you don't like challenges I don't think this is the right sport for you because if everything was easy then it would be boring; you'd find another gig to do, you know?

Q. What's been the reaction from folks back home, the unusual scenario of you playing out here? Are they kind of caught up in this Rose Bowl fever?
CORY GRANT: Oh, yeah, sure, family, friends, fellow TCU students and stuff, they're all excited and probably all going to be here at the game. If they can't get in they're here some kind of way. But everybody back home is excited and rooting us on. That's exciting.

Q. A lot of programs down there, Texas, A & M, Tech and yourself. Do you think finally you guys should be considered the best program in that state, or do you care about stuff like that?
CORY GRANT: I really don't. At the end of the day, I mean, every year somebody is going to be better than the next person, some team is going to be better. Fortunately for us we just happened to have a successful year this year.

Q. When you started studying them, what did you see or jumped out at you?
CORY GRANT: Oh, they're really aggressive, they're really big across the board. Inside, those guys look like they jell together, they feed off each other when they're working off blocks, so that's going to be something I'm going to have to get the hang of. It's going to be a battle in there.

Q. Obviously you've had to adjust to playing without Kelly. Was there any adjustment for you?
CORY GRANT: Well, I played nose tackle, his position, before I played three technique, what I've been playing all last year and some this year. Just trying to adjust back to playing between the center and the guard was a little different because the blocks are a little different down there. And I feel like it's more -- you have less room to maneuver around in there, and especially with the double teams. You get doubled a lot more as a one technique, with you being a three technique. So that's been the remainder of the change, but I've kind of got the grasp of it.

Q. Compare your offensive line to their offensive line.
CORY GRANT: Our offensive line, they're big. They weigh about close to the same, they're just not as tall. What I like about our offensive line is they give us that look of aggressiveness, as Wisconsin does, because Wisconsin, they're really good at what they do when they're blocking someone, when they latch on to someone, they're going to drive them back. So our offensive line when we go against them, if they go good, they give us a good look at that.

Q. What's been the secret this year to (inaudible)?
CORY GRANT: The program itself. Every year we have good players, just like everywhere across the country. We have good players everywhere, but it's the program which we go through. We do the same things we do the previous year and the previous year before that, and that's what grows on players, and we do things for the younger guys which helps them to grow while they're not playing as far as going through the season, we still do things to help them. So as the season progresses they're getting better and better also, so when the next guys start spring ball those guys are prepared to take on the load for the next year. So it's a process that we do every year, and especially just having the opportunity to play -- be a Horned Frog and to be out there and carry on the tradition.

Q. (Inaudible.)
CORY GRANT: Yeah, I don't know how they got that, but they have a pretty good one because I also played tight end when I was in high school. Playing defense, I mean, I really wanted to play defense when I got to college. I didn't really like offense. I liked giving the blows instead of receiving them. It's a lot more fun and a lot less painful. I don't know how they do it year in and year out, but they get somebody. They transport them from maybe a wide out to a safety or running back to a defensive end some kind of way. It works.

Q. What's the process like?
CORY GRANT: Well, I went to their camp as a defensive lineman. When I went to camps when I was in high school, junior and senior year, I would always say I was a defensive tackle so they would look at that. So that helped me out. I played a little defense in my freshman year of high school and my sophomore year, but as I got to my junior and senior year I played offense.

Q. (Inaudible.)
CORY GRANT: It's going to have to be effective because they're a lot bigger so speed is going to be one factor that will help us.

Q. What can you guys do to -- they obviously have the size advantage.
CORY GRANT: First we're going to have to meet them at the point of attack, take charge as anybody else would have to. We can't sit back and let them just pound us because then the game will go sideways really fast. We're going to have to get down and get dirty with them basically.

Q. What's the big difference maybe for this game as opposed to last year in the Fiesta? Is it the same, or does what happened at the Fiesta Bowl kind of motivate you guys?
CORY GRANT: Of course. It's been lingering over our heads since we left, since the clock hit 00:00, which is unfortunate. We had an awesome time at the Fiesta Bowl, but of course the last day we were there didn't turn out so hot, so of course that's been in the back of our minds all through training camp, summer workouts, spring camp. In the back of our minds to have that motivation throughout the season is what helped us move up to the point where we got to the Rose Bowl actually, and we're going to do everything in our power not to repeat what we did last year.

Q. Your quarterback has said this game is important to not only TCU but to other programs, a chance to play a big program like Wisconsin. Do you feel that way?
CORY GRANT: In a way. It's another game. But you know, at the same time I do feel like we're playing for some of the guys who are at the smaller schools, the smaller conferences without the automatic qualifier who don't get a chance to play in this game. I feel like it's a statement game for them, also, so I don't feel like we're just playing for ourselves.

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