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December 28, 2010

Scott Tolzien


Q. I think (indiscernible).
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Oh, really? Didn't know that.

Q. Yeah. I'm going to look it up. It's a very small number. So my theory is there should be more.
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Oh, yeah. Sure.

Q. Do you guys ever tease Brett about that?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: No. That's unchartered waters. I think you always want to stay on your head coach's good side, so we don't -- that's just kind of an untouched subject, so I guess it's kind of good that someone's peeling it off.

Q. I mean they're not alone, your coaches aren't alone in working like psychotic hours. Just give me a demonstration of how hard he works and when the season starts.
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Yeah. I mean he's always in the office. And you know, it doesn't matter what time of day it is. And the same said about all of our assistants.
You know, that's -- the thing is is that's -- I feel like that's how it is for everyone in college football, and that's how you're getting your edge is you're trying to stay in the office longer than the other guy. But it's pretty insane just to see the hours that all of our coaches put in.

Q. Madison has to have an unofficial, like any college. Can you imagine it would be hard for Brett to go out on dates and do things like that?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: You know, I don't know. The one thing -- the unique thing about Madison, obviously it's the capital city, and there's your college segment, and then near the capital that's more the adult segment.
And I mean it's beautiful around the capital, but I'm sure -- I don't know where he hangs out, but we usually stick around campus.

Q. I don't think he's going many places frequented by you college guys.
SCOTT TOLZIEN: No. I haven't seen him there and I'm not expecting him any time soon. (Laughs).

Q. Just in this era of -- I'm sure you experience Facebook, Twitter, you know, go out and get a cup of coffee or something like and come back and your picture is popping up somewhere. Can you imagine how difficult it would be? I mean Madison is not that big, but there's not a lot of places you can go where you won't be recognized.
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Yeah. You're right. The social media is something that's totally transcended the public lives of athletes and coaches and just because like you said, you could walk into a place and you know, the next thing you know, you got a video on Youtube or your picture it up on Facebook or something like that, so you gotta be careful. And you know, just always gotta be watching what you're doing.

Q. If there was one person on the team who would be gutsy enough to broach that subject with Brett, who would that be?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: For sure it would be Jay Valai, our safety, No. 2. He's pretty outspoken, and he's always razzing guys. He calls it roasting guys. That's the word he uses. I don't think a day goes by where he's not roasting someone.

Q. Just philosophically speaking, with the way your coaches work and every coach works, can you imagine it would be hard to have -- I'm sure you have a hard time balancing your life with school and friends and all that stuff. Can you imagine for a coach it would be hard to sort of balance their lives with the way they have to work to be successful?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Sure. Because there's so much going on, and really it's about prioritizing.

Q. Sure.
SCOTT TOLZIEN: You know, what you feel is important. I know for coach probably it's probably family and football are the two, and somewhere caught up in there is probably your personal life.

Q. Sure.
SCOTT TOLZIEN: But like you said, with so much going on, it's gotta be difficult.

Q. Switching gears to the game for a second, the very obvious story, the size disparity, you've watched the defense on film by now. What stands out to you about their versatility? What do they do differently? You probably haven't seen the 4, 2, 5.
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Yeah. No. There's a lot of pieces of the puzzle that make their defense great, and I say great because they are. They're statistically No. 1 in turnovers, No. 1 in total defense.
They're talented. They're athletic. And they're well coached and disciplined, and they buy into that system, and I think sometimes it gets overlooked, just good tackling teams, but they are a good tackling team. They don't miss tackles. They say football is won in blocking and tackling, and they got the tackling part down.

Q. Do you feel like you guys in this era of spread and all that, it's all predicated on that.
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Yeah. Most definitely.

Q. Yeah.

Q. They're smallish, comparatively, what advantages does that give them in terms of versatility and speed and so on? How does that show up on film?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: I think, like you said, it fits their scheme, what they do with the 4, 2, 5. And like you said, they're versatile, and they move guys around. And you know, it works well for 'em.
You know, there's a lot of formulas for success, and you know, it might be different at Wisconsin than it is at TCU, but you know, they both bring success. So that's what makes the game fun and every game unique, just that everyone's got their own scheme, and you gotta try to find a way to figure it out.

Q. You've probably taken some physics classes over the years. What wins, size or speed?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Both. They complement each other well, and you gotta have both, but you also gotta have those intangibles of being well coached, tackling, and you know, buying into your system.

Q. The comparison that everyone keeps making, especially defensively, do you see it?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: I see it just a completely separate deal, and like I just said, that's what makes it fun is, you know, every week you're preparing for a different look, and you know, it would be -- quite frankly, it would get old and boring if we were spending three, four weeks preparing to play a defense that we'd seen all year long, and that's what makes it great is each team in the Big Ten has got their own flavor on defense, and the same goes for TCU.

Q. (Indiscernible). Are there other teams in the conference that you see?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: No. Honestly, and this isn't -- I'm trying to be politically correct, but I see it as they're different. They do some different stuff, and obviously it works for 'em. They're 13 and 0, and they got the best defense in the country. 13 and 0. What am I saying? (Laughs).

Q. Do you think Wisconsin -- I covered the Ohio state game and Coach Alvarez after, you know, kind of asked him about the speed and spread and everything like that and he's like, "we don't play basketball here. We play football." Do you think Wisconsin will ever cease playing football in that sort of stereotypical, you know, roughish sense that, you know?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: I'd like to say as long as Coach Alvarez is around, it's going to be good old-fashioned smash-mouth football, and I think people appreciate that, in the state most definitely, but also I think nationally just because you see this trend going to the spread, and I think now we're I guess maybe the minority. And I don't know, it's fun to kind of be on that opposite end of things.

Q. Sure. And it's cultural; right?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Yeah, sure. It's like anything else in life. Everything cycles through, and eventually things might sway back and forth, but that's what makes it a great game.

Q. How different is the system now from when you first arrived or is it pretty much the same?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: You know, I can't say how lucky I've been just to -- I've had Coach Chryst ever since I've been around here, and I think that's something that really gets overlooked is people forget. I look at Adam Webber at Minnesota who's had a different coordinator every year, and I can't imagine how difficult that is to every off season you're learning a new offense. So I've been fortunate to have the same coaches. It really hasn't changed too much from when I got here.
With that being said, I think Coach Chryst does an awesome job of each year you're going to have different talents. You got three running backs this year, and in years past we've had two awesome tight ends, and you know, they kind of cater to the strengths, and that's why Coach Chryst is one of the best.

Q. Have you talked to Weber or any of the other guys about the changes every year?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: I did actually a little bit at the kickoff luncheon in Chicago there, and I think Adam, the type of guy that he is, he wouldn't -- he's not going to make an excuse or anything like that.
He says, you know, it's been difficult, but he said it's been fun learning the different offenses, but it has to be difficult just when you start getting comfortable with something to all of a sudden you gotta flip the page and start over.

Q. How difficult is the 4, 2, 5 from what you're seeing week in, week out?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: It's different, and I'm thankful that we've had three weeks to prepare for it just because if this was a one-week preparation, I feel like, you know, I'd probably spend more time in the film room than any other week just because it is different.
And you know, they run it so well, and you know, they disguise their looks, and they just run a good defense. And there's -- you know, there's base looks that have different little intricacies about it.
But like I said, that's what has made it fun these last three weeks. It doesn't get stale, and I think in years past you kind of get stale. You feel like two weeks in you've got it nailed, and it hasn't been the case this year. So it's been fun in that aspect.

Q. So it's an intellectual challenge as well as a physical challenge?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Sure. No question.

Q. Your offense have scored 70 points or whatever, and their defense is so good. Where do you see that colliding, and do you think you can move them?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Yeah. I think for the fans that should be exciting. I mean you got a good offense and a good defense going head to head.
So you know, it's like any other game, there's going to be good plays and bad plays, and you know, they end of the day there might be a few plays that are the difference. And hopefully we're on the positive side of that end.

Q. You know, this regular season could have gone any which way. How satisfying is it that you were able to get here?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Yeah, I think, you know, just being in college football for five years, you learn that sometimes there's those seasons. It seems like there's that team every year that a few plays here and a few plays there, and you know, either they're, you know, a 7 and 5 football team going to a bowl game or they're 11 and 1.
And it's amazing. I look at Iowa comes to mind from last season, and I remember Northern Iowa had blocked a field goal at the end or just plays here and there, but I really believe that, you know, the harder you work, the luckier you get.
And I feel like when you have a good off season and you got believers on the team, guys that are buying into the program, that sometimes the ball will roll your way.

Q. How big a challenge do you get from the three safety look that TCU is going to throw at you?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Just, you know, first of all, it's different. You're so used to seeing a two-high look and a one-high look and to have three where they can do different rotational stuff, it helps them disguise their defense. But you know, they run it well. It's going to be different, but like I said, it's going to be exciting.

Q. Who has to have a big game for you offensively in your position?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: You know, all of us do. That's what makes football the greatest game, in my opinion, just because it's 11 guys, and we've all seen it. That one guy -- everyone does their job and that one guy misses his block, and that's the difference between a five-yard gain and a touchdown. And especially in a game like this, everyone's gotta be on, and I'm not going to single out one guy and say it's on him. It's on all 11 of us.

Q. Did you come down to Wisconsin and Toledo?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: I mean it was a whirlwind. It was -- you know, I had some offers, and I actually lost a few of them because I held out too long and they got commitments from other guys.
So yeah, it was basically towards two weeks out of signing date it was Wisconsin and Toledo, and I was actually going to have to Gray Shirt at Toledo because they had signed their second quarterback, so luckily it's worked out.

Q. Did Wisconsin come out of the blue or --
SCOTT TOLZIEN: No. I think, you know, we all understand, it's like, you know, it's kind of like a college draft. You know, they got their board of guys, and I was probably somewhere on the lower end of that. And you know, they kept in touch with me, but they were completely honest and said we got other guys that we're looking at right now. And as those guys started committing to other schools, then I think I maybe moved up their board and I got lucky.

Q. Did you feel like when you got there you had something to prove because of what you went through with recruiting?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: You know, I always remember my parents saying, you know, no matter how the process is, no matter how frustrating it is, at some point you're going to get an opportunity, and the rest is what you make of it.
So I don't think I -- I think I always just -- if you're a competitor, you always have a chip on your shoulder. You always want to work to be the best. So I wouldn't say it was, you know, like -- you know, maybe -- I guess maybe there were some hours when you're watching film by yourself and you're saying, well, I wonder what that guy's doing, I wonder what that guy's doing. But I think ultimately it's just -- it's what you make of your opportunities.

Q. Were there any particular "that guys" that you were thinking about?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: You know, I couldn't think specifically. I mean there's all kinds of guys that I've camped with, and they're great guys and you're buddies with them, but at the same time you're trying to beat them.
And you know, one thing I remember reading this article on Donovan McNabb. This was like when I was a freshman in high school. "He said, you know what, I'm always concerned that someone's out working me." And you know, he said, "that's what it's all about is who's going to out work the other guy. That's going to be the difference."
And I believe in that, and it's gotten me where I am today. So I don't know why I wouldn't be able to believe in it.

Q. You said something before that you (indiscernible).
SCOTT TOLZIEN: You know, I'll answer the first part of your question. I mean you're exactly right. I think it's -- with the offense we had and the offensive line and the different weapons, I think a lot of different quarterbacks would be having success in the system.
But then what they're going to miss, I don't -- I don't know. I really -- I don't know. Hopefully next year we're sitting here saying, God, they don't miss the guy. Hopefully we're undefeated or whatever the case may be and I'm a lost figure. Hopefully that's the truth.
But you know, I feel confident that those young guys, Curt, Jon, Joe, they're all talented and they work their tails off. So I think the future is bright for the quarterbacks.

Q. Scott, what does winning the Unitas Award do for you personally?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Well, obviously it's an honor and privilege, and I say that just because of the type of player that John Unitas was, and also the type of person he was, and I thought that was the coolest part of getting to go to Baltimore was hearing stories about Johnny U from his son, Raymond Barry and Bill Curry. You couldn't put a price tag on what I was able to soak in in that experience.
And that's why I think going out there really amplified winning the award personally for me just because you hear the quality of a person and the type of competitor that John Unitas was, and to be in that category, it's humbling, but it's that I probably -- you know, I'll think about it -- it'll sink in more after the season. Right now I'm still trying to focus on the team and, you know, the game at hand.

Q. Scott, Isaac Anderson said you guys roomed together that first summer. He said he couldn't drag you out of the room because you were reviewing plays.
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Yeah. I was a nerd my freshman year, and I had those glasses on.
Yeah. Those were great -- you know, that's what's made this whole thing so much fun is I look at that first summer coming out of high school, and I distinctly remember me and Isaac at 5:30 in the morning waking up, and we had these beat-up red bicycles that you could rent for free, and we called them The Red Rockets. And we'd race to the stadium at 5:30 in the morning.
And it's been awesome just because I remember that first summer just talking through plays with Isaac and little things like that, and now we're running those plays in Big Ten stadiums in front of thousands of fans. So that's what makes it fun is those moments when no one is watching or those moments when it was just you and him and the way the relationship has gone.
I mean I could say that about 15 other guys, just that building of a relationship in five years, and when it's all said and done, that's going to be the most memorable part of it all.

Q. Does the fact they're undefeated and they take a lot of pride in staying that way, how much does that add to your incentive?
SCOTT TOLZIEN: Yeah. I mean it is a big deal, because they're one of three in college football that are undefeated. They're darn good.

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