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December 28, 2010

Gabe Carimi


Q. Is it as simple as speed versus power?
GABE CARIMI: Definitely. I mean, that's what everyone likes to say about our team versus theirs, but we've got a lot of fast guys on our team and they've got some big guys on their team, so it's not completely big and speed. So there's a little mix in between there. But if you combine the averages, a lot of people would say we have a lot of size, and no, we're going to use our strengths to try to maximize our game plan and they're going to use their strengths to maximize their game plan.

Q. That's kind of what football is, though, speed versus power most of the time?
GABE CARIMI: Yeah, definitely. I don't know what you want me to say. Yeah, I guess you're right, that is football.

Q. That kind of breaks it down to -- that's as elemental as it gets?
GABE CARIMI: Yeah, right. You've got the speed of the defensive linemen, you've got the big offensive linemen, so that's kind of how it always is going to be.

Q. As you look at TCU on video, is there a team in the Big Ten that you can equate them to, that they remind you of?
GABE CARIMI: Not necessarily. Oh, geez. Because they're a different defense than any Big Ten team we've actually played. But you know, not as fast and not as athletically gifted and not as well coached, but very similar I feel to a Northwestern, but they're definitely way better than Northwestern if I can make a comparison. But they're definitely way better.

Q. What makes TCU's defense effective?
GABE CARIMI: You know, that 4-2-5 defense. They kind of can really throw the kitchen sink at you with the blitzing scheme, like they can throw it from any direction, they don't have to line up a certain way and they don't give it away. That's to their benefit. They really haven't done it because they haven't felt the need to. They're up 21 points in the first half, and why would you need to blitz, you just keep on playing defense. Do it if you feel like doing it, but you don't really have to.
That's what I'd say is their strength they have. And they use slanting and different kind of things to make sure that you don't get a good double team on people up to a linebacker. So that's a huge advantage their way, that we can't use two of our linemen to get up to one guy, then the next guy. So it's going to be more one-on-one things, which is what's going to make it a better game for them.

Q. How do you as an offensive lineman prepare for this game?
GABE CARIMI: You have to make sure you get on the aiming points, you have to really hone in on your aiming points and make sure you're on the right landmarks on them, and then I mean, there's also -- there's advantages and disadvantages for everything people do. They slant and we don't get our aiming points, advantage to them. If we do get on our aiming points, we can gash it up really good.

Q. You are a civil engineering major; is that correct?

Q. What do you plan to do with that once you graduate?
GABE CARIMI: Put it on my wall. (Laughter.)

Q. What do you plan to do professionally?
GABE CARIMI: You know, I could see -- I did some intern work for a construction and development firm, and I really liked what they do, so doing maybe something like that later on in my career, I don't know, either start it up or work for someone, that kind of stuff. I don't know.

Q. When you went to Wisconsin what do you feel like was the turning point?
GABE CARIMI: At Wisconsin?

Q. Yeah.
GABE CARIMI: When I got my starting position. Then I felt like I can just keep on improving and I can become a really good player. But the first step was actually getting a starting position.

Q. How big was the adjustment from high school in terms of speed of the game, size of the players and so on?
GABE CARIMI: It was fairly quickly I'd have to say. You're going up against guys, at least from the best of high school, and then you start working your way up into the ones and twos. You adjust fairly quickly, surprisingly. When they have you for three weeks by theirselves, you adjust pretty quickly because you have nothing else to do. I'd say in the first camp somewhere you start adjusting to all the different things.
But as far as like actual overall game play and developing as a player and understanding defense, I don't think you actually get that until your third year about, and that's just repetition after repetition after repetition you start seeing stuff. When you're a young guy, you see this level, you see the guy directly over you, then maybe the linebackers, then you keep on spreading it out until you see the whole field and you see the safeties rotating, you see the fronts of the linebackers and line B different that you know high percentage probability that this could happen or this could happen. When I first got here it was like I got this guy to that guy, and I don't even know what's going to happen. He could slant, I don't know why he's slanting, but now you see it.

Q. With the knowledge that you've accumulated, how different is what TCU does from what you generally see?
GABE CARIMI: It's what I mentioned earlier with the 4-2-5, they have the five safeties that they can bring out from any direction. It's not a dead-bang giveaway every time. But I mean, obviously they do give it away because they can -- there's certain stuff they do that they get a higher -- it's harder to see but you can still see it.

Q. (Inaudible.)
GABE CARIMI: Oh, geez. Well, let's just say when -- just slight things like the Mike linebacker and where he's lined up; normally he'll line up inside the three technique. But sometimes he lines up outside the three technique and you know it's a high probability that you're going to get Sam-Mike blitz off the side even though it's a different of three yards maybe at most. Or not three yards, like three feet or even a yard difference. You just see that slight adjustment so he has to blitz off the edge.

Q. How much does it help just the fact that you didn't have just a week to prepare for these guys?
GABE CARIMI: Oh, it definitely helped. Now I kind of get bored. You constantly want to stimulate your brain with new, different stuff. I love going from game week to game week, you've got only a week and you just cram and cram and cram and make sure you've got everything you can possibly learn about these guys. We're now preparing for any different thing they can do. Our coach is throwing stuff that's not just on film because as I said earlier he feels they have a need for blitz, but if they're against the wall they're going to start blitzing a lot more than they have, so he doesn't want us to sleep, so he's throwing a lot of different blitzes at us now that a 4-2-5 team can throw.

Q. It was a tough regular season. Any of three teams could have been here. How satisfying is it that you wound up in the Rose Bowl and really had to fight for every last moment to get here?
GABE CARIMI: Oh, very exciting. I feel like we deserve it, and I feel like all of our Big Ten Championship teams deserve to be in a BCS game. But I think we deserved it the most, to be here, just with how we played every game and finished up the year.

Q. You've got a diverse backfield, not just -- multiple running backs can hurt them. How much of an advantage is that?
GABE CARIMI: I mean, it's huge when you can rotate in guys that don't very often get tired and/or if someone does fall down, knock on wood, for any certain sets or injury, we have another two guys that can handle the load. They don't need three, but it's awesome to have the three.

Q. What did winning the Outland Trophy mean to you?
GABE CARIMI: It will probably mean more down the road. It's a huge, huge, huge honor, but I'm trying not to let that influence how I act or how I behave, so I'm trying to take this game for what it is and then enjoy the huge prestige and honor it is to win such a great award. Just trying to keep that off my mind because it's almost like a huge load to handle, to have such a huge award given to you, and you feel like you have to act that way. But I'm just trying to play my game and keep on doing what I've done to get there, and that should be good enough.

Q. What does winning that award say about your improvement this season over last season?
GABE CARIMI: That's a tough question. Last season I'd have to say I was dealing with several different injuries at different times and some combining into one. I sprained my knee and then I had my shoulder AC, so I wasn't playing nearly as good of football as I should have been. So it helps to have an injury-free year to be able to play as good as you feel like you can. Even with playing this good I feel like there's a handful of plays I'd love to have back.

Q. Do you believe that you are playing the best football that you personally have played at Wisconsin right now?
GABE CARIMI: I feel I can always play better. There's not a question in my mind that every game I go out, I'd be like, I could have done this better. Even if I take away the handful of plays I think right now, I wish if I could just get those back, there would still be another ten that I wish I could have back, even if those were completely gone. I don't know, I've never said I'm going to play my best football because I always feel like I can improve.

Q. How would you describe the match-up against their defensive end? Have you watched him much on tape?
GABE CARIMI: I'd be a fool not to watch an All-American on film. He is a very fast player, works hard, and with him and all the rest of the defense, they always fight to get to the ball. They're up by how many points and they're still fighting to get to the ball. They don't care. They're a very hard-working crew.

Q. Bret was saying that you -- I don't know if you knew this, but you were the first guy he offered a scholarship to when he became head coach?
GABE CARIMI: Yeah, behind the scenes. Unofficially his first recruit -- what I was going to say, unofficially I was his first recruit, but I was Alvarez' official last recruit, so it's like I've got the best of both worlds.

Q. Can you describe him? What's been your relationship with him, and how would you kind of describe the way he does things?
GABE CARIMI: I mean, he's a great coach. I don't know. We kind of have a -- I work hard and he likes hard work and I don't get in trouble, so we always have a great relationship, so I don't know what to say. That's just kind of how it's been, and you work hard and -- what else can a coach really ask for? I don't have any problem with him.

Q. How has he kind of run the program? How would you describe him in terms of personality?
GABE CARIMI: He gets on people's cases when he feels like they need it, and he doesn't -- if you're not doing anything wrong, he's not going to yell at you. He'll let you do whatever you've been doing. As long as you've been doing a good job, he'll keep on letting you do that.

Q. Is he involved with you guys kind of on a daily basis?
GABE CARIMI: Yeah, he does scout -- he's definitely more -- he's not directly involved. I'd say like for example, we have inside period with our scout defense, and he'll be coaching up the scout defense to try and make us better. And at some points he'll say some stuff to us. So that would be like an indirect way that he still -- he's not like a CEO or anything.

Q. Does he ever really lose it, just go off, lose his temper?
GABE CARIMI: No, I don't think -- I don't really ever think he just loses it like some other coaches can. He's pretty level headed. He'll just say some stuff.

Q. What's it like going against J.J.?
GABE CARIMI: Whatever, he's not that great of a player. I don't know why people keep on asking me this question. (Laughter.)
No, it's pretty good. I'd say he's in the top four of defensive ends that I've played this year like without a doubt. Between him, Kerrigan, Clayborn and Heyward, he's definitely right in that mix.

Q. I mean, you've kind of seen it happen, but is it surprising (Inaudible)?
GABE CARIMI: If you look up a quote from last season, I said -- someone asked me, like who is going to be the unnamed guy that's going to be a good player, and I said J.J. He'd be the only one that I said. So it's not surprising. He's big, strong, powerful. There was no question that he was going to be a good player here.

Q. Do you remember what he looked like when he first got here?
GABE CARIMI: Exactly the same as he looks now.

Q. Really? Didn't he put on some weight though?
GABE CARIMI: He's always looked about that big to me. I don't know, you're probably absolutely right, but maybe it's just an optical illusion.

Q. How difficult is it for a team to stop a running game with several things they can do that are equally dangerous?
GABE CARIMI: I mean, it's great to have a guy that's never tired back there. As soon as one is tired we've got another great one back in our holster.

Q. Aside from winning the Rose Bowl, they're only one of three teams that's undefeated. Does that in your mind make you want to hand them --
GABE CARIMI: Oh, unbelievable. We get the privilege of playing one of the three undefeated teams. A team that knows how to win is so dangerous. It's going to be a hard match-up, and it's just great that we get to represent the Big Ten in a match-up like this, like in a great stadium and a great Bowl that has a great tradition.

Q. This regular season was a grind, could have come down to three teams, really, to get here, and you were able to prevail. How satisfying that you were able to wind up in the Rose Bowl?
GABE CARIMI: Oh, really satisfying to me. After I'd say the Iowa game, I was more nervous. I was getting more and more nervous each game. It doesn't matter who the opponent was, I was just getting more and more nervous because the stakes were that much higher.

Q. TCU had seven opponents they held to seven points or less. They're tough to score on. You've had games where you've scored 70 or whatever. How do you see that colliding, your ability to score versus their ability to keep you out?
GABE CARIMI: I guess that's why we play on Saturday, because who knows. You know, maybe ours will prevail or theirs will prevail, but I'm going to do my best so ours prevails.

Q. If you had to pinpoint a player who might have a big impact in your team winning, is there anybody you can say?
GABE CARIMI: If it was one player, I'd say Scott Tolzien. If you're saying one player that can make a difference, huge quarterback, and he's so smart and consistent with the ball that it's easy to rely on him.

Q. Your coach and Chip Kelly (inaudible). Do you guys talk to him about that, tease him about it?
GABE CARIMI: I think sometimes it gets brought up and he gets teased a little bit. I don't even remember the circumstances, I just know it it's happened. I don't think there's any less respect or anything like that. It's his situation, and our situation is to deal with him in his professional life, not his personal life.

Q. The way these guys work, unbalanced, 20-hour days, just the stereotype of coaches, there should be more, right, just with the demands of jobs?
GABE CARIMI: Or at least shortly will become more. Yeah, I definitely would say -- I could never be a football coach just because I will eventually want to have a family, just knowing the long pulls from your family that you have to deal with, I personally couldn't do it, so it makes sense that there should be. So obviously there's a lot of people that want to have families, too, so I think people deal with it.

Q. I imagine people are taking your picture and there's a fishbowl aspect to all this. Can you imagine how hard that is to sort of live a functional life when you're in the public eye all the time?
GABE CARIMI: Oh, definitely. People kind of recognize me because I'm big, but I've got a helmet on. But everyone recognizes Coach B immediately, so he has his own little spot so he doesn't get that whole media effect to hang out at or -- hang out at his really nice house, I don't know. But again, I don't really know his personal life.

Q. Does Scott joke with you in the huddle?
GABE CARIMI: He runs things very serious, and I think that's kind of how it is. When a situation is tough, he'll make everyone aware that this is the situation and just get it going. But he is a true leader on the team, as much as a quarterback can be.

Q. Does anybody joke in the huddle?
GABE CARIMI: Me and John, but not in game days, more just in like practices or stuff to try and make the day keep on going.

Q. Do you pick on him or --
GABE CARIMI: We'll pick on -- no, I think we pick on the receivers a little bit, maybe the running backs, mostly the scouts.

End of FastScripts

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