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December 28, 2010

Lance Kendricks


Q. How does this offense reflect on Coach Bielema and his personality and approach off the field?
LANCE KENDRICKS: I think we more so reflect upon each other. I think it starts with our O-line. They're really aggressive; they play relentless. They play tough. I think as skill players, as skill players, intermediate players, we all kind of take upon that style of play. We all play around them and we all feel each other. I think that's why we play and how we play.

Q. There is a style associated. It's funny, we see Ohio State and Michigan and the spread. You have had some of the last bastions of the Big 10 smash-mouth approach. Talk about the identity of this program and starting with that offense and that offensive line?
LANCE KENDRICKS: What's funny is this is the first year we've never really talked about having an identity. Every year we always talk about what is our identity and what is it going to be? This year we never talked about it. This year is one of the years that we take pride in playing football like that. Coach Chryst knows. He reminds me of anywhere a fullback, an H, a tight end, I'll do anything I can to get the job done.
So he knows a lot of our players are really flexible at what we can do. One play we might be running a jet sweep, another play we might be running out of the I. So I think we just take pride in that.

Q. Is it the level of experience that you guys have, or why did that not need to be said?
LANCE KENDRICKS: One of the things is knowing the offense. We have a lot of older players and just skilled, just their knowledge of football. Guys are just able to play. They understand the playbook, they understand what we're trying to do.
Our you playbook is pretty big, I would say. To play in this offense, you've got to know front to back. We all do. That's why we barely make mistakes. We don't get too many penalties.

Q. What's that say about James as a freshman to be so effective considering what you just said?
LANCE KENDRICKS: Exactly. James is a very mature guy. He understands what we're trying to do day-in and day-out. He comes to practice ready to work. He's committed to the team just as all of us are. I think he's the only true freshman that plays. It's good to have a kid like that on the team, especially one that is so effective every game.

Q. Was the fact that they're undefeated and how much their goal is to make history is your goal to knock them from their perch?
LANCE KENDRICKS: That's not necessarily our mindset. Our mindset is we have another challenge on the board. That's how it's always been. That's how we've won. Just looking at it as the next challenge on the board and the next guys we play.
I think ever since we've been looking at it like that we've been successful.

Q. When did it become apparent that James is not the true freshman that's lost trying to get to class? He's a different guy that's ready to come in and contribute? Is there a moment that sticks out?
LANCE KENDRICKS: I was trying to think of one. One that comes to mind is one of our non-conference games where he fumbled at the 1-yard line. I think that was one of our first turnovers of the year. I think it was San Jose State. I think ever since that point he's been great. He's been explosive and confident.
I feel like that was the changing point of him being another running back on the team to him being himself, him being a stand out guy like Montee and Clay are.

Q. You guys have scored 70 points two or three times this season, is that ever weird?
LANCE KENDRICKS: Yeah, it's very weird. We put our twos in and threes in, but I think it's just guys going out there and kind of continuing what we've already started in the game. That's how it always is. It's weird because it's been like that ever since we started camp.
The twos are just as good. They can go in and they can be just as effective. Our second team O-line, I think two of the players actually started last year.
So they're younger guys, but they have just a little bit of experience, and that helps out. I don't know, guys are always willing to work.

Q. Is it as competitive in those games, I remember you guys being in the game and scoring touchdowns and you're on the sideline, but do you ever feel, not bad, but just awkward? Like you don't even want to score?
LANCE KENDRICKS: No, definitely not. I think not because, I mean, if you're being honest, we've played everybody we can. We have the twos in and you really can't. You're just happy for the guys that are scoring.
I remember one play Budmayr just threw the ball up, and Jared came down with it and scored. It was an 80-yard pass or something ridiculous. So you've just got to be happy with kind of those guys doing their thing on the field.

Q. One of the things I've noticed about watching the Rose Bowl, and I don't know if you've noticed this in the past, but have you ever watched the game and you've noticed how green the grass is?
LANCE KENDRICKS: Yeah, we actually went on the field right after we landed, and it was ridiculous. It was a golf field or something. It was ridiculous. I think they said that they grow the grass year around and then they lay it.

Q. Yeah, they do.
LANCE KENDRICKS: That is probably the best grass I've ever felt.

Q. I was going to say, does it look greener on TV?
LANCE KENDRICKS: I think in real life it's seriously the best grass. I'm excited to play on a field like that.

Q. It was a tough time to get here. The Big 10 race was pretty intense. How satisfied were you?
LANCE KENDRICKS: Oh, great. Michigan State and O-State are two great teams, one-loss teams just like us. To be able to come out on top is very rewarding and humbling. Those other teams deserve just as much credit as us.
Luckily we're the ones to be able to beat the No. 1 team and to come out on the top of the race of the three teams. In a way we're just kind of lucky, just the way the rankings panned out, I guess.

Q. You were talking about scoring 70. You won't score 70 against that defense. They're pretty good. What are your thoughts on that?
LANCE KENDRICKS: We talked about it over there. What they do is they run their scheme, but they run it well. They run it to perfection, essentially. Guys just make tackles. It's kind of like what you're supposed to do, but a lot of teams don't do it.
But they do it. They make tackles. They're effective; they're efficient. They don't play their guys throughout the whole game -- that's why I say they're efficient. They just run their scheme well.

Q. (Inaudible)?
LANCE KENDRICKS: When you're clutch like that and you're great in the red zone, you're going to hold your team to zero points or less, whatever the case may be.

Q. They were saying what stands out is the size of your team. You're a pretty large team, so you use that to your advantage?
LANCE KENDRICKS: Yeah, we are large. They were talking over there about how fat we are. It was funny. We're big, but at the same time we're athletic. We have athletic plays just like any other SEC or Pac 10 team. We have skilled players. I mean we just happen to be big, I guess.

Q. Can you compare them to any team in the Big 10?
LANCE KENDRICKS: The closest team we're able to compare them to is Michigan just because they run a similar defense. But their scheme is just kind of different from what we've seen.

Q. Offensively who do you think (Inaudible)?
LANCE KENDRICKS: Because our team is a running team, definitely our running backs. Our O-line, as long as the O-line blocks well, we expect that out of them.
We always have high expectations for the O-line. They always come through. They're great. As long as they're blocking well, and Scott's confident, I think everything will come into place.

Q. What makes him unique?
LANCE KENDRICKS: I think it's his efficient and completion percentage. Him making good decisions and knowing the offense and players making plays is another big thing. Once players make plays Coach Chryst is confident enough to put some more pass plays out there.

Q. How does Scott's demeanor help the rest of the offense?
LANCE KENDRICKS: When Scott comes to the huddle and we see him confident, we see him with that passion, it fuels all of us. We love to see that in them. You can kind of tell he's fired up. We like to fuel off Scott.

Q. Was he your team MVP?
LANCE KENDRICKS: Yeah, he was. He was.

Q. Did you guys vote on that, or do coaches?
LANCE KENDRICKS: I think coaches vote on that.

Q. Would you agree with that, yourself included, your team is full of All-Americans and stuff?
LANCE KENDRICKS: Yeah, definitely. Scott's just -- he's like, we're all leaders -- for myself, I'm kind of an on-the-field leader, but Scott does it all around. He does it off the field. He does everything. He goes to the hospital to visit kids with cancer. He's just an all-around awesome guy.
I think he takes advantage of everything he can to make himself a better player and make the team a better team.

Q. How would you describe coach, your head coach personality-wise and what you've seen throughout your career there?
LANCE KENDRICKS: He kind of reminds me -- I think he definitely takes after a lot of what Coach Alvarez was about. Just taking pride in the fact that we play kind of hard-nosed football. I think that you mentioned he's kind of old school. He's full pads at practice, longer practices. Not overwhelmingly long, but just kind of if we don't get it right the first time, do it again so you can get it right.
It's good to have. I think it helps you mentally. It helps your mental toughness, and we've been tested throughout the season and throughout camp. One thing that stands out about Coach B. is he's all about the finish, the fourth quarter. He's all about when we practice, we'll do a long practice and do a two-minute drill, because you want to finish when you're most tired. I think that's definitely helped out a lot.

Q. Is he funny? Is he a joker? Is he dead serious?
LANCE KENDRICKS: He's a little bit of everything. He likes to joke around especially when we're doing well he has fun with us. But when it's business time, he makes sure that everyone gets the message that it's time to go. It's not play time anymore. It's time to get on the field and go.
After the games, he's really loose and kind of hangs out. But he always makes sure that business is handled first.

Q. Do you see him change at all? You guys obviously grew from young guys. Has he changed much in the time you've been there?
LANCE KENDRICKS: One thing I have noticed is he's become closer to the players. He's become more interactive to the players. That is one thing I've noticed from freshman year till now, and I think that helps a lot.
You want to have one-on-one relationships with your players. He's been a lot more interactive, especially since we've gotten a little older. He's kind of shared some things with us and knowledge of the game.

Q. When you first came in were you kind of like intimidated at all?
LANCE KENDRICKS: All of us were. He's your head coach and you don't know what to expect or what's going on really. But as you get older and get more mature, I think he looks at you as more of a man than just a player. It's kind of cool to get that relationship from your head coach.

Q. Talk about your quarterback, Scott Tolzien? A lot of people have talked about his development and leadership. Just your relationship as the tight end and the numbers that you have. It's got to be pretty fun to have those numbers. As a tight end, is there a special working relationship that you have? Do you know where he's going to be and he knows where to look for you?
LANCE KENDRICKS: We've been roommates since freshman year. I've always had a pretty good relationship with Scott. One thing I've noticed from Scott is he expects work out of us. All of us. If something isn't right for him, he makes sure it's right, and he won't leave unless we know it's right. He'll be at practice, and if we mess up on a route, he'll make sure after practice he get that's route with that particular play.
I think Scott is just -- I think confidence really helps him a lot, and repetition helps confidence. So for him, he loves to just get things done repetitively and get it down, and that gives him a lot of confidence.
Like you said, he's a great leader, and he makes good decisions. He knows where to throw the ball and where not to throw. He lets us go up and make plays when we have to make plays. He's an all around good quarterback.

Q. Is it fun for you as a tight end with the inside receiver and the numbers that you have coming out of there, what is different about this offense than what people might think? They think tight end and blocking might have six or seven catches a year, but you're a main part of the passing game?
LANCE KENDRICKS: I think that's what's fun about it, me being able to block, but at the same time going out for routes. I'm fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go out there and make plays. But Coach Chryst does a good job of giving us opportunities to go out there and make plays.
He'll line me up as a fullback some plays and some plays I'll be a regular tight end, and in another play I'll be lined up as a receiver. Honestly, it's fun being able to do that, but definitely have to know the offense down to a T. That just came along with experience, I think.
Playing the offense is fun, I think.

Q. Most of your yards come in (Inaudible), and you catch more shorter routes?
LANCE KENDRICKS: I think around this year I was around 16 yards a catch. Most of them are kind of longer balls. Those are the fun routes, just being able to get out there and catch a team in different coverage and catch a ball. I've had quite a few yards after the catch, but I think a lot of them are just longer passes.

Q. As you look at TCU's defense, is there a team that you played against in the Big 10 or somewhere else that they remind you of, or are they different from what you've seen?
LANCE KENDRICKS: They're different from what we've seen. The closest team was Michigan. They ran a 4-2-5. But the main thing that stands out to me about them is they can go out and make plays everybody's kind of efficient, they're athletic guys, but they just make plays. That's what really stands out.

Q. You're not catching the ball, you're blocking it for three really good running backs. How much fun and easier does that make it when you put your hand down to know that you have that combination?
LANCE KENDRICKS: It's great. All three of those guys are great. Just blocking for them means a lot to all of us. I wouldn't want to have it any other way. Those guys are very good running backs.

Q. If you're stepping back in the huddle and you see one or the other, is there something in the back of your mind that says, okay --
LANCE KENDRICKS: Well, one thing is that I know they have different running styles. For Clay, he likes to get up and inside; and Montee and James, kind of likes to bounce things. So if I'm pulling or doing something, I know for those two, Montee and James, they might bounce it. But I know Clay's going to try to get up.

Q. (Inaudible)?
LANCE KENDRICKS: Obviously, you think of the Rose Bowl and Wisconsin, you think of the three Rose Bowl teams that have been here, and tradition is one of the bigger factors in the game. I think you just kind of want to make everyone proud. Everyone talks about how great of a feeling it is to be here and how much of an honor and privilege it is to be here.
I think being here is definitely a great honor. You kind of want to make yourself proud as well as the alumni and fans and everybody else.

Q. There is a lot of talk. Obviously, you're on a business trip here to win. Did guys have to emphasize that or did guys already know that?
LANCE KENDRICKS: I think the seniors emphasized that a little bit. We had a meeting the day before we left. Guys are like, although we're going to have fun, it is a business trip. As it gets closer to game day, we have to get more and more focused. So the seniors emphasized that.
The great thing about the young guys is they understand. They get it. You don't really have to tell them twice.

Q. (Inaudible)?
LANCE KENDRICKS: Yeah, we went to The Improv yesterday. That was great. It was three comics. It was a good time. It was about two hours long.

Q. Valai get on stage?
LANCE KENDRICKS: Yeah, Valai and Moffitt got on stage. It was hilarious.

Q. Do they have a future in that?
LANCE KENDRICKS: If they wanted to, they could. Those two guys are naturally funny, as you know. So that was a good time.

Q. (Inaudible)?
LANCE KENDRICKS: Are you talking about the comics?

Q. (Inaudible)?
LANCE KENDRICKS: Oh, yeah, yeah. One thing I did take out of it is he's had success by winning. I think he kept saying that. It was just great to hear from him. I didn't know he was going to be there. Just going out there and playing hard. He kept emphasizing playing hard and just kind of giving it all you've got. That's what we try to do.
I remember at the Bowl game last year, that is one thing we did. I kind of left it all out there and it turned out well.

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