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December 29, 2010
Q. What's it been like since the moment you found out you were playing Wisconsin? What did you learn about them that perhaps you didn't know when you first knew what the arrangement was going to be?
JEREMY KERLEY: I didn't know they were that big. Those guys are huge. We got a chance to go to Disneyland a couple days back and ran into a couple of guys and they were just towering over us.
But they're a great football team. They have a great program. As far as the defense, they have a great group of guys that like to run to the ball, and they make great open field tackles. So it will be a great game.
JEREMY KERLEY: I would think my greatest success this year has been kick returns.
Q. Why are you good at that?
JEREMY KERLEY: Point return, you know, is just when you catch the ball. You don't know who is going to be around you at the time. Kick return, you have a chance to look at the field kind of, so you get a greater feel of where guys are. But I like that rush from the point return.
Q. You were offered a scholarship for four years. Was that really late?
JEREMY KERLEY: I wouldn't say it was late. Just wasn't at the time that I was looking for. He's a great coach, but I wanted to stay closer to home. But TCU is a great team and that's where I went.
Q. Is there a lot of loyalty to them?
JEREMY KERLEY: Oh, yes, it's a lot of loyalty to them. First coming in, that's what they bring to you. Besides the football, they bring the loyalty. They bring the school work. They bring 40 years after football, and that's what really caught my attention.
Q. Did they tell you we're going to put you in a lot of different places and touch the ball different ways? Did they make any promises like that?
JEREMY KERLEY: No promises, you know, but I kind of had a clue what was going on.
Q. When you actually got that call for punt returner, what did you say?
JEREMY KERLEY: I still get compliments from that, man. But it was a great punt return, I might say so. One of the best I've had. Hopefully people talk about it for years.
Q. Any funny comments that stand out?
JEREMY KERLEY: Not any funny comments. I get a couple of comments about how I stopped and went every which way. Not any funny comments though.
Q. Are you thinking when you return the ball, or is it just reaction?
JEREMY KERLEY: It's all reaction. People ask: Can you really practice being a punt returner or practice being a kick returner? It's all reaction. It's all what are you going to do right then. No practicing for it.
Q. Does anybody just try to punt it away from you?
JEREMY KERLEY: We have a couple of teams that do that. I think Air Force this year they went to kind of a pooch punt.
So they brought their offense out trying to display that they're going to do a pass or something on fourth down. Then the punter went deep and just pooch punched it. I didn't have any returns that game.
Q. Two good powered offenses, two pretty good defenses. Do you have a sense that special teams may be the unit that decide this is game?
JEREMY KERLEY: Yeah, I think that's the you know it that decides every game for me. It's something that I take a lot of pride in doing and stepping on the field and trying to be the best at it. Field position is something we've thrived on all year, so hopefully it will kick in this game.
Q. Do you think it's harder for special teams there are more big plays after long layoffs do you think that effects special teams at times?
JEREMY KERLEY: Not with us, you know. We have a great set of coaches who keep us focused day-in and day-out. So we'll make the transition.
Q. Have you seen much of their guy as a returner?
JEREMY KERLEY: No, actually, I haven't.
Q. Some of your teammates were talking about how last year's Fiesta Bowl what they got out of it, even going into it and things like that with the right mindset. And that it took them by surprise during the game. Did you feel that? Whether you did or not, how do you feel going into this big stage?
JEREMY KERLEY: Going into the Fiesta Bowl, if I had to say one thing was the main distraction, it was just the lights. The lights, it was a huge stage for us. Coming out of the lights is what shocked me. That's when I knew this is a big stage, this is a big game. This is what everybody's going to be watching. So yeah, we were a little shellshocked at first, and it affected our game. But it's been a chip on our shoulder since, and hopefully we can carry that mentality into the game.
Q. Do you feel like it's prepared you for walking tout to the Rose Bowl? It's as big a deal?
JEREMY KERLEY: Oh, yeah, we'll be prepared. Come January 1st, we'll be prepared.
Q. You have a daughter as well?
JEREMY KERLEY: A little boy.
Q. And mother is a track star?
JEREMY KERLEY: Track star, Crystal Juarez.
Q. How fast is the kid going to be?
JEREMY KERLEY: He's fast right now, man. He's so athletic. I wish I could just borrow a little bit of his energy. That dude's crazy.
Q. Are they coming out here at all?
JEREMY KERLEY: Not my little man. I didn't want to take him on a plane right now. But my fiancee's already out here.
Q. What does that do for you when you become a father?
JEREMY KERLEY: It keeps everything in line. When you want to go out there and party hard and do everything, be the average college student, you've got major responsibilities at home. So it keeps me grounded.
Q. Does it this feel different playing a team from the BCS conference as opposed to playing Boise from last year?
JEREMY KERLEY: I wouldn't say it feels different. This is a great opportunity that we have, so we'll make the best of it regardless of who we're playing.
Q. If TCU makes the move to the Big East in a couple of years, have you given any thought as to what the future of the program is? Being a BCS league with Coach Peterson at the helm, could this become a Florida State or USC?
JEREMY KERLEY: That's where I hope it leads to. Like I said, we have a great set of coaches who believe in us, who will fight with us to the end, so regardless which conference we jump into, I think our coaches will keep us grounded in being successful.
Q. How much of what we see on game day is a reflection of Coach Patterson and his personality and his approach?
JEREMY KERLEY: Well, hopefully we have a great day. As far as the defense stands, we've had the number one defense in the land for the past two or three years, if I'm not mistaken. If that's not showing up, then I don't know what is.
Q. When did it occur to you that you weren't going to be in the Major Leagues?
JEREMY KERLEY: It never occurred to me. It never did. That's why I still talk about it to this day. Coming right out of high school, I had every intention and every plan on making the baseball team, playing on the baseball team, which I might have could have.
But it was just something that fell to the back. I got caught up in my football time and everything, and it just never jumped off for me.
Q. Do you think you are talented enough to play on the O-line?
JEREMY KERLEY: On Wisconsin's O-line (laughing).
JEREMY KERLEY: No, sir.
Q. You came close once?
JEREMY KERLEY: We had a couple of close calls.
Q. You had an 85?
JEREMY KERLEY: I had an 82-yard kick return. I think my longest punt return this year may be 50 or 60 yards, maybe.
Q. Silly question, this is kind of a big stage and generally games like this can come down to special teams play, the fake punt. How badly do you want to sit here (Inaudible)?
JEREMY KERLEY: Bad, horribly bad. If anything, just to match the height that I had last year. Some guys kind of teased me like, man, how do you make ESPN twice last year and you can't even make it this year? And I'm like I'm trying, man, you know. That would be big for me. That's part of my dream to do something big on a big stage.
Q. I read that sometimes athletes sort of visualize things. Do you do that on punt returns? Do you visualize?
JEREMY KERLEY: Sometimes. I'm superstitious.
Q. What are you superstitious about?
JEREMY KERLEY: I don't like to visualize things before they happen. I'm kind of clear minded and I go out there and do it as it is. So every time I step on the field, it's just what can I do right now. That's about it.
Q. What else are you superstitious about?
JEREMY KERLEY: I obviously don't speak the post, I think that's everybody's superstition. I don't like to wear a mouth piece during the game. It's crazy.
Q. You've never worn a mouth piece?
JEREMY KERLEY: Never worn a mouth piece.
Q. You still got all your teeth?
JEREMY KERLEY: All 32 of them. I've got them. Knock on wood. Of course, knocking on the wood.
Q. Do they ever get on you about that?
JEREMY KERLEY: Never. Never. I talk to my mom every night before the games. There are a couple of superstitions, there are probably more I'm not thinking about.
Q. Why don't you wear the mouth piece?
JEREMY KERLEY: It's about having trouble breathing when I have the mouth piece in. I can't do it.
Q. No top pads?
JEREMY KERLEY: Knee pads. Last time I wore thigh pads might have been my freshman year when they told me I had to wear them or I wasn't going to play.
Q. Freshman year of college?
JEREMY KERLEY: Freshman year of college.
Q. After last year you became sort of an internet sensation, you've got the YouTube and stuff like that. Do you get the sense that the way special teams punt this year that they just weren't going to give you a chance?
JEREMY KERLEY: Yes, sir, definitely. I saw that with the Air Force game when they pooch punted me the whole game. It's something you've got to expect. It's something I expected and something I overcame. I made the best out of every opportunity that I got.
JEREMY KERLEY: I hope so. I hope so.
Q. Do you get a sense sometimes teams like to kick to you just to see? It's like pitch to Barry Bonds, everything says they shouldn't, but they're going to do it anyway to see what they can get? Do you think teams sometimes think that?
JEREMY KERLEY: No, I don't think they do that. I think they have a set game plan and they go out there and they execute it.
Q. During the kick return do you watch, as a returner in general, could you watch and say that guy, that is the guy?
JEREMY KERLEY: Say that again. If I say it, and I get it right, we'll know. Dante Hall.
Q. I was going to say Devin Hester. Dante was my second choice.
JEREMY KERLEY: I like old school.
Q. You and Dante are about the same size. He's a big dude and more straight ahead.
JEREMY KERLEY: Yeah.
Q. Are you done with school?
JEREMY KERLEY: Huh-uh.
Q. Are you going to take the spring off?
JEREMY KERLEY: I haven't key decided yet. It's coming down to the wire, and I haven't decided yet. I'm enrolled for classes.
Q. What do you want to do? Get ready for the draft?
JEREMY KERLEY: I'd rather do both. I want to graduate. It's something my mom put on me to do. It's not something a lot of people in my family have done. In fact, I'd be the first one in my immediate family to graduate from college.
Q. What are you studying?
JEREMY KERLEY: Criminal justice.
Q. What do you want to do with that?
JEREMY KERLEY: Nothing (laughing). Nothing.
Q. When you step out on the field, do you want to start on offense, or do you want to wait?
JEREMY KERLEY: I don't like starting on offense. I'd rather get a punt return before I get a pass.
Q. They said sometimes you've got to be reminded that you're Jeremy Kerley?
JEREMY KERLEY: Every time before the game he'll come up to me and say, go big. Big players do big things in big games. What player are you going to be today before every game.
Q. Are you the most competitive player on this team?
JEREMY KERLEY: Secretly I would say yes. I have little to no emotions on the football field. It's something I've always had. I'm not the big celebration type guy. But I'm a sore loser to the end. I'm very competitive. It's just because I've been playing every sport since I was in grade school.
Q. Name your sports interest your favorite?
JEREMY KERLEY: Baseball, football, basketball, track, in that order.
Q. Baseball, football, basketball, track?
JEREMY KERLEY: Yes, sir.
Q. Did you win the State long jump?
JEREMY KERLEY: No, my senior year I came in second in the long jump, second in the triple jump.
Q. Second in the triple jump?
JEREMY KERLEY: Yes, sir. To Kendall Wright, a receiver from Baylor.
JEREMY KERLEY: I never knew him from football before high school. All I knew him from was track.
Q. What is the biggest disappointment in your sports career?
JEREMY KERLEY: Biggest disappointment? Not picking up baseball and letting that go. Baseball was my first love. I still love the game. It's something that I still will pursue after my football days or during my football days.
Q. If you don't make it to the NFL, you'll be in somebody's camp?
JEREMY KERLEY: I will be in somebody's camp. If I make it in football, I still will be in somebody's camp.
Q. You haven't played this year?
JEREMY KERLEY: No, I have not. This year's been on hold.
JEREMY KERLEY: I definitely can. I've been playing the sport since I was 3 years old.
Q. What position?
JEREMY KERLEY: Centerfield, I pitched a little bit. I had a fastball around 94, #5. Guys say #5, I'm going to say around...
Q. You've been clocked at 94, 95?
JEREMY KERLEY: I played everywhere. Place hitter. I did everything.
Q. As a kid, what did that do for you as far as growing up?
JEREMY KERLEY: My little boy's my everything. Every time I wake up and see him, it's motivation to go out there and be somebody and do something for myself.
Q. And your fiancee, she runs track too?
JEREMY KERLEY: Uh-huh.
Q. What's her name?
JEREMY KERLEY: Crystal Juarez.
Q. Are you a senior in football?
JEREMY KERLEY: Yes, senior for football.
Q. So what are your emotions this being your last game right now?
JEREMY KERLEY: It's a bittersweet feeling. Bitter to the point where I believe I'm behind a lot of friends and lot of teammate that's I've grown with; but sweet in the sense that everybody has to leave at a point in time. Hopefully, I get that respect that he was a great football player while he was here.
Q. You've been together with Andy for so long. Can you explain the level of communication that you have since you've played together so long?
JEREMY KERLEY: Andy can look at me and know what I'm thinking about the football.
JEREMY KERLEY: I would have to say in the SMU game things weren't obviously going our way. We felt as if we should be playing a lot better than we were at the time. When the play was called he kind of looked at me to step up and be that guy on the play. Instantly I picked up on it, went out, ran my route hard and broke it off and had a 30-yard game. Kind of changed the molt up a little bit.
End of FastScripts