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December 28, 2010

Tank Carder



Q. Talk about the last year. If you go back and talk about the Fiesta Bowl, that is a game that stuck in this team's craw, a fueling force for this team to get to the Rose Bowl.
TANK CARDER: After having a season like we did last year, going undefeated for the first time, just going to the Fiesta Bowl, leaving with a loss, it puts a burning sensation in your heart whenever you build up all that intensity and then you lose at the end of the season and you have to start a whole new team, build a whole new team, come back.
Now we're back here and we want to go and make a change of what happened last year.

Q. Fast forward to this year. This team last year had great chemistry. It seems that carried over. Is that the seniors or the makeup of the team?
TANK CARDER: It definitely looks that way now. At the beginning of the season, just like every team that we have, we got to build it. Throughout the season, every game, we've built that chemistry up. Now we have the same chemistry we did last year at this time. That's how teams have to work. You have to build the chemistry you have on your team throughout the season.

Q. Look at Wisconsin's offense. It creates some unique challenges from the standpoint of a power running game.
TANK CARDER: You got to play the pass and the run. They're a good play-action team. They can run the ball, pound it, pound it. When they get you overplaying it, they can do a play-action pass down the field for a touchdown. That's what great offenses do. We got to prepare for that.

Q. They probably look more like a BYU or some teams you've seen. Who would you compare them to that fans would be able to relate to?
TANK CARDER: Size-wise definitely BYU. As far as their game play, Wisconsin, they're really fast, got a lot of speed on the O-line. They're big. They know how to play some football.

Q. You were a BMX world champion. How long ago was that?
TANK CARDER: I was 10 years old. So 11 years, almost 12 years. Whole decade.

Q. What got you into that?
TANK CARDER: I was like three years old and where I lived at, I was riding my bike up and down the street. There was a guy that owned a local track where I live at. He asked me if I wanted to ride bikes. From then on, sponsors were looking. I started getting sponsored, started going to national races nationally. Went to France and raced in the World Championship.

Q. How old were you when you did that?
TANK CARDER: When I went to France, I was 10 years old.

Q. Does any of that training or experience help you with football in any way?
TANK CARDER: Oh, it definitely does. Just preparing and concentration and things like that, the competition of the game. I've been brought up around competition so it helps with football.

Q. As far as your own career at TCU goes, what do you think is the turning point for you since you enrolled?
TANK CARDER: I'd probably have to say the first game I started. I felt like that was the turning point. Are you saying turning point as in the turning point of my career in college?

Q. Right. In terms of your development as a football player at TCU.
TANK CARDER: Definitely my first game. I started beside Daryl Washington, he starts for the Cardinals. He taught me a lot. From then on, through that whole season, after that first game, it kept getting better. I was kind of starting to learn the game, getting used to college football. That was really a turning point for me in college football.

Q. What makes TCU's defense unique outside of the stats and the national rankings of categories?
TANK CARDER: I would have to say our chemistry. Everybody on the team, especially the defense, we're real close. I'm sure the offense is, too. As far as defense goes, we're real close, kind of like a small family I guess you could say in a way. Way built our chemistry up from the first game in the season. It's progressively gotten better and still is.

Q. Is it a little odd to be playing the Rose Bowl?
TANK CARDER: It's definitely a great feeling. It's a different feeling. Never been here. But it's going to be a lot of fun.

Q. Your thoughts so far on your opponent?
TANK CARDER: They're big. They got a big O-line. I know they're going to try to pound the ball. We just got to play with good leverage.

Q. Why do you think your defense has been so good year after year?
TANK CARDER: I'd probably have to say just our chemistry, the love we have for each other and the game as a whole. We play together. We play together great because we love each other. We got good chemistry. We want to go out there and make that person to our right, Yeah, good job, make that person to our right love us for what we do. We want that chemistry on the defense so each person wants to make a play to one up the other person, yeah, I got you on that one.

Q. You've held your opponents to 10 points. That must be a big pride factor in not letting them score.
TANK CARDER: It definitely is. With any defense, your accomplishments that are really good really feel good. So, I mean, all the accomplishments we've had this year, whether it's stats or wins or whatever it is, we take pride in our defense.

Q. Does Wisconsin remind you of any team you've played or are they unique?
TANK CARDER: I mean, as far as the way they line up is pretty traditional. But as far as how they play after they line up is unique. They're definitely a unique football team with their size, the way they play the game.

Q. They got all these runningbacks. How do you focus on one or two?
TANK CARDER: That's just part of the game. You got to prepare for the formations they line up in, what position people are at, what formations they're in. That's just part of preparing for the game. You got to prepare for everyone differently, and we're going to do the same for Wisconsin.

Q. Have you given any type of thought to what game it might be?
TANK CARDER: It's going to be definitely a dogfight if that's what you're asking. It's going to be all the way to the end hopefully. It's going to be from the first whistle blown till the last whistle blown, heads banging and a dogfight.

Q. What is the reaction from people in your town? Are they excited?
TANK CARDER: Oh, yeah. Everybody, all the fans, players, coaches, coaches' families, they're excited. It's a great opportunity. We're blessed to be out here, that the Rose Bowl had us out here.

Q. What has the experience been like so far?
TANK CARDER: It's been awesome. It's a lot of fun. It's definitely different than Texas. That's part of going to a Bowl game, you get to experience new things. That's been fun so far.

Q. Going out to the stadium, what was that like?
TANK CARDER: It was awesome. Kind of cool to be there, the history that's been there, how long the stadium has been around, all the games played. It was a good feeling to know we're going to be a part of that.

Q. This defense has been incredible since the last few years. What is the secret for you guys? Why are you so good every year?
TANK CARDER: I feel like it's the love that we have for each other in the game. We want to play together and kind of do our part so we don't let that person down to our right. Everybody on the team, we kind of play off of each other's intensity. That's just the way we do. If this guy makes a play, he's doing good, the next person, I want to get me a play in. We have a lot of love for each other and we want to compete.

Q. (No microphone.)
TANK CARDER: I mean, I'm sure with every defense that coaches set up an offense, the offenses they set up their formations to, can cause confusion. Coach Patterson, he's done a great job of lining us up, putting us in places to make the plays. I'm sure it can help. It can make them think differently about what they need to do, I guess.

Q. How big a step up compared to some of the offenses you've seen this year is Wisconsin?
TANK CARDER: Oh, it's definitely a big step up. They run I guess you could say a traditional offense. As far as how they run it, they got big O-line men. They're fast and unique to how they run the traditional offense, power, smash mouth football.

Q. I haven't seen a ton of you guys. You handled Oregon State at the beginning of the year. How is it you're so disciplined on defense?
TANK CARDER: Just the morale of the team. You want that person to your left to do his job just 'cause you're going to do your job. You depend on that person to make the play. He's going to depend on you to make the play. Everybody on the team is like that. Everybody on the defense knows if everyone does their 1/11th, we can get the job done.

Q. Do you expect to be selling out against the run? How do you balance not being too focused on the run?
TANK CARDER: That just comes with preparing. You got to know what they do. You got to make tackles and create leverage. That's how the game goes. You can't really guess, I guess you could say. You got to know what they are going to do.

Q. Second BCS game. TCU is making the jump to the Big East. Do you feel this group is sort of setting the stage where TCU could become a Florida State, a Miami, a USC, where every year they're in the mix for the BCS or a national championship?
TANK CARDER: I mean, definitely. With Coach Gary Patterson, he's a great coach. He knows how to get the job done. He can read offenses, call plays. I feel this team has built a legacy starting with LT, from then on, in the Gary Patterson era. I feel like it's only going to go.

Q. It seems like he's football all the time. What would surprise us about being around him every day?
TANK CARDER: He's definitely always football. He's always preparing for what he needs to do for the next opponent. But sometimes he's playful. Most of the time it's business.

Q. The physics of this game are going to be a big thing, size versus speed. What do you think of that matchup?
TANK CARDER: It's definitely not a mystery. Everyone in the nation knows that Wisconsin is big. They like to run the smash mouth football. It's not a surprise. We've been preparing for them just as they've been preparing for us. It's going to be a tough-fought game. It's going to be a long, hard game. It's going to be a lot of fun.

Q. What challenges does their size present?
TANK CARDER: There's a lot of challenges that it creates. You got to get past 'em. You got to get to the ball. Whatever they got three 300-pound linemen coming at you, you have to figure out how to make the play. That's going to be the biggest challenge, is the run.

Q. Have you seen anything like that?
TANK CARDER: I mean, BYU's probably the team I've compare to them size-wise. But as far as the way they run, their offense is unique to no one in the country. They're big and they're fast. They're a great offense. They can run the ball. Just as much as they can run the ball, they can play-action and throw it.

Q. Not like their tailbacks are slow.
TANK CARDER: No, not at all. They're a great football team.

Q. The quarterback for Wisconsin, what impresses you about him?
TANK CARDER: I mean, I'd probably have to say disguising as far as run and pass goes. He can sell the fake to the run real good. He can fake it and run out and roll out, play-action boot, throw it for a touchdown pass. He's a great quarterback. He's going to go down as one of the good ones. I feel like he's probably one of the better quarterbacks we're going to play this year.

Q. Football seems to be going more towards speed than size. Talk about that evolution.
TANK CARDER: I mean, that's how Coach Patterson, he don't recruit very big guys. He likes speed. He's built his defense upon speed. He feels like that's how he can win football games. Obviously it's been working.
With speed you can create leverage, and that's what we have to do.

Q. Is that your advantage, leverage?
TANK CARDER: That's definitely probably our advantage, we got to create leverage.

Q. Talk a little bit about that. Why?
TANK CARDER: I would just rather not answer that (laughter).

Q. Football seems like such a copycat game at times. Are you surprised, given the success you have had with the 4-2-5, we haven't seen more teams experimenting with that defense?
TANK CARDER: I mean, the 4-2-5, it's more speed, not size. It's leverage, like I was talking about. With the BCS, there's always a Big Ten or PAC-10, SEC, big schools that have 245, 250 linebackers, 310-pound defensive tackles. I feel like we created a defense around speed. That's the way Gary Patterson has the 4-2-5 to be effective.

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