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December 28, 2010
Q. How does it feel to be out in L.A.?
JOHN CLAY: Feels nice. Weather, sun, not in the snow, so it feels pretty good.
Q. Are you practicing without the brace yesterday, how you feeling?
JOHN CLAY: Yeah, I feel great. I'm back to normal, back to 100%, able to get out of the brace and really run around.
Q. What does it say about the offensive philosophy, and especially the offensive line, that even when you were out, you know, Montee and James were able to step in and be just as effective?
JOHN CLAY: We take pride on being able to run the ball. Us as a Big 10 team, we take pride in being able to move the ball down the field.
Q. You had a chance to join Nevada last year as the only team with 3 thousand-yard rushers. It's an outside chance, but have you thought about what it would say about you guys being able to get that done?
JOHN CLAY: Yeah, we've talked about it. Having 300 backs over 1,000 yards, I don't think anybody's had that happen in the Big Ten, or even in Wisconsin's history. We want to be a select group or an elite group to be able to do that.
Q. What about TCU? Are you aware of how good their defense is?
JOHN CLAY: Yes, I am. Watching film, the first thing that jumped out was speed. It's always a battle when it goes against the Big 10, speed versus our size. So we've got to be able to contain their speed and hopefully be able to wear them down.
Q. You're a team that scores like 70 points in a game, and they've held opponents to 7 or less seven times. How do you think the collision there will play out? Do you anticipate them being able to score?
JOHN CLAY: We try our best. We take pride in our offense just because we have a lot of great guys. The big guys up front blocking for us, our quarterbacks to wide receivers and tight ends, anybody that gets the ball gets to touch the ball has a chance to score.
Q. Can you explain your struggles in that last game back?
JOHN CLAY: I think just getting in the game so late. I'm usually a guy that likes to get in early and lather up, like they say, just getting in the ball. A lot of carries to get myself a goal.
Q. Can you compare them to any team in the Big 10?
JOHN CLAY: I would say with the whole defense reminds us of Michigan how they have their defense set up. But from their speed, no, I can't compare them to anybody in the Big 10.
Q. Have the coaches given you guys an indication how the running back carries are going to work? Is it hot hand or how is it going to work?
JOHN CLAY: I don't know. It's all in the coach's hand. I guess it depends who has a hot hand or what down and distance it is for need a specific back in there for a certain play. Just depends on the play calling and how the coaches want to do it.
Q. How hard is it for a team that has to deal with multiple running backs that all have to do different things?
JOHN CLAY: It is very hard. You just can't get adjusted to one different back. We have three different backs. It's great what they do. One team just can't get comfortable with one of them.
Q. How frustrating was it for you to suffer the injuries?
JOHN CLAY: It was a big blow, but I say everything happens for a reason. I'm back here. We're here in the Rose Bowl, and I'm back to 100%. Just anxious to get back out there with my team.
Q. We asked how hard it is to see a big man like you coming out, and how difficult it is to tackle you. When you're out in that open field, or going through the line, what do you think?
JOHN CLAY: You know, just because of the size I am, I know a lot of defenders like knife tackling, just going at my ankles or below my knees. They don't want to hit me up top.
So it's me just got to time it or make a move and jump over them so I can avoid the hit.
Q. Coach was saying that sometimes when you get hurt, you have to step back and coach some of the other guys and see it from a different perspective and help you. Would you agree?
JOHN CLAY: Yeah, I would agree. Just when I was out for those couple games I was able to watch Montee and James and their footwork and how they did against the zone and what they did against the power game to help me correct myself. Watching my foot work and making sure I'm on the same tracks I need to be on to be successful in running the ball.
Q. It was a tough regular season. Any of three teams could be here. But how satisfied are you that your team was able to get here?
JOHN CLAY: Yeah, very satisfied. I guess people saw what we were doing the last three or four games how we were putting up points and how we connected as a group, that last second half of the season.
Q. I don't know if empathy's the right word, but empathy for Michigan State, the fact that you and Ohio State are both in BCS games and they're not, despite the fact that they tied for a championship the same as you guys?
JOHN CLAY: Yeah, just because I guess that's how the BCS goes. I guess we had the highest BCS ranking, so we were able to come here to the Rose Bowl. Wish they could have gotten to a BCS, but that's just how it goes.
Q. How would you describe your head coach and the way he does things?
JOHN CLAY: Almost like a perfectionist. He likes to make sure he stays on the same schedule he does and paying attention to the details and making us better each day.
Q. Was it tough getting used to coming in? Did you know what to expect when you came in?
JOHN CLAY: No, not at first. But after while I got adjusted to him after the first couple of practices and fall camp just to see how he runs camp. From there it's been pretty easy for me.
Q. Would you say he's very --
JOHN CLAY: Yeah, very, kind of like a tunnel vision of what he wants to do and how he wants to do it. And he doesn't want to go against the grain or what he believed in.
Q. Was that hard sometimes when you want to instill creativity into it or do it a different way?
JOHN CLAY: Yeah, it was. But he's the head guy, so you've got to do what he says.
Q. Where are you in terms of coming back next year or are you going to weigh that after the Rose Bowl?
JOHN CLAY: I'm weighing it after the Rose Bowl. Just talking with my coaches and my family and seeing what the next best step is for me.
Q. Did you say you were at 100%?
JOHN CLAY: Yeah, I am back to 100%. Not even thinking about my knee anymore, just cutting with ease and having fun back out there.
Q. What has struck you about TCU?
JOHN CLAY: The first thing was the speed jumps out. They're an explosive team from sideline to sideline. They've got a great front four that runs after their offensive defender. They've got great speed on the corners and safeties. Just overall an explosive team that can get out there.
Q. Do you think this game will be your size versus their speed?
JOHN CLAY: It's always like that, especially when it comes to the Big 10. Wisconsin having the big offensive linemen like we do, and then we just like to run the ball, it's always going to come back to that. We just like taking pride in having the skill guys that we have, and they're very explosive and can make a play happen at any given time.
JOHN CLAY: The defense, a lot of guys have that motor, nonstop. From whistle to whistle, they're going to go until the whistle is blown. You've just got to compete with that and make sure that we're ready for a four-quarter game.
Q. What does the extra safety do to you? How does that change what you do?
JOHN CLAY: Nothing, really. A lot of teams try to do that. Loading the box against us just because of our strong run game. So far we've been having success with that and with the extra player and the box. Coach always tells us there's always going to be an extra half in there, so either you have to make them miss or make a rule or something.
Q. With social media, Twitter, Facebook, cell phones and whatnot, does that impact your life every day? Do people take pictures of you in class and that kind of stuff?
JOHN CLAY: Not really. They try to sneak pictures when I'm just walking down the street or out on campus, trying to get an autograph or whatnot.
Q. Can you imagine, because of that sort of factor, it would be hard for Coach Bielema to have a normal life outside of football?
JOHN CLAY: Yeah, just because everybody knows who he is, the head coach of our team. Not too many places we can go and hide from. If anything, he'll have to go out of state to do something.
Q. Did you meet Randy Shannon this year?
JOHN CLAY: No, I wasn't able to. He stayed on the defensive side.
Q. Was it kind of exciting that he was there?
JOHN CLAY: Yeah, I saw him in the corner of the end zone, and I was like everybody was wondering who that was. When we had our break the defensive players came over and told us who that was. Just seeing him there, because we played him the previous year, just seeing him there.
Q. What would happen if they bring talent to Miami?
JOHN CLAY: I think we kind of got one. Just being Miami, a great school like they were probably would have helped us boost our recruiting down there.
End of FastScripts