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December 29, 2010
Q. What are you all going to do if it's raining? Will you practice indoors somewhere?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: I have no clue.
Q. They haven't talked to you about that?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: No, I haven't talked to any of the coaches about it. I guess we'll practice outside. I didn't see an indoor facility there. I'm sure there is one because it's a huge place, but I don't know, we'll see.
Q. Where is the team now mentally and physically?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Doing good, yeah.
Q. After yesterday's practice?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Yeah, there's been a lot more attention to detail. We still have some things we need to work on but luckily we have a couple days until the game. Especially on the O-line we had a good day of practice yesterday. I think everyone has worked all their injuries out, little nicks and stuff. I got to hit yesterday, so it was a good day for me.
Q. There's been so much talk about Wisconsin and how big and dominating their offensive line is. Does that upset you?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: No, we don't worry about that stuff. They can talk about how big they are and everything, but our goal is just to go out there and give Andy some time to get the ball in the hands of the playmakers.
Q. Have you ever met any of those O-line guys?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Yeah, I met Gabe in Orlando and then talked to him again at Disneyland the other day. Is Disneyland here or World?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Because the one in Orlando is World, yeah.
Q. How many prime ribs did you have?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: I had two. I wanted another one, but they never came back. I wanted to eat three, but by the time we got our second one the guys were already up there talking.
Q. Did you ever hear what the record is?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: No, I never heard. I thought someone said -- I don't know if they said four or five.
Q. Who was it?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: I don't know. I think Blaize got one for us -- Blaize got four, I think. That's what they said. He wasn't at my table. I was over there with Andy and everything.
Q. Is this a knowledge-gathering process? The first time you heard you were playing Wisconsin you must have had perceptions about them never having played them before. How have those perceptions panned out here since you've been reading more and --
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: We pretty much knew what to expect. We knew they were going to be physical, and I think you see that on film, especially 99, J.J. Watt. He's going to be a handful. But I mean, we knew going into the whole process that they were going to be a good, physical team, and going through all the games and watching film, that's exactly what they are.
Q. You come with perceptions, people come with preconceived notions that they're fast and athletic. I don't know if that's transpired and if you've heard those things or not.
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: No, everything -- I mean, we always hear all that stuff, different views from everybody. But I think they look pretty good on the defensive side of the ball. We're going to have our hands full.
Q. Has anything happened that you didn't expect, that you didn't think was part of their package?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Not really. I mean, they don't do -- we played some teams that throw tons of blitzes at you, and it doesn't look like they do too much of that, but when they do come it's going to be important for us to pick it all up. But no major surprises. Like I said, they're just going to come off the ball. It's going to be a physical game.
Q. Was anybody on your team recruited by Wisconsin?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: I'm not sure if we had any being recruited by them. I know I wasn't. I haven't heard anyone say that they were recruited by Wisconsin. It's a little up north, and most of the time everyone is recruited in the south.
Q. The other feeling that people have about TCU, you guys haven't carried that banner --
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: We're used to -- after five years we're used to it. We like being the underdog. As a non-AQ, though. No matter who we're playing we always are the underdog. Most of that comes from our coach. He never wants us to get too big a head. Like I said, we like having our chip on our shoulder, and that's what we've done the past five years that I've been here. So the non-AQ stuff we don't really pay attention to. It is what it is.
Q. You've had a month to look at Wisconsin. It's not like you haven't seen big people throughout the Mountain West Conference or Clemson or --
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Or Baylor, yeah. They've got some size, but we've faced those guys, like you said, BYU, Clemson, Baylor, Oregon State. We've had some experience with them, and we knew coming in that they were going to be physical up front. I was telling them it's going to be a physical game, so it should be fun.
Q. What are a couple three things that you and the offensive line have to do to be successful against Wisconsin?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: We're definitely going to have to handle the noise. We're expected to be pretty loud, so communication on the O-line is one of the most important things. But other than that we're going to have to get Andy some time to throw the ball, to hand it off. We've got to give them some room to work with because they're the ones that make the plays. They make us look good.
Q. Having won the Rimington Trophy, is there any added, I guess, pressure or do you feel like you have more of a target on your back?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: I mean, I think maybe a couple more people will be watching, but I don't feel like I have a major target on my back. Overall, it's really made me work harder. You know, I still feel like I've got a lot of room to grow, and I'm going to try and get ready these next few days before we go out and play on Saturday.
Q. What are some of your thoughts as you go into your final game?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Yeah, me and Coach Anderson were talking about that when he recruited me five years ago, I never thought I'd be playing in the Rose Bowl. It's sad to leave these guys, you know, coming in with Andy, Cannon, Jimmy, Curt, all those guys, but it's one last time for us to play together, so it should be fun.
Q. As you practice it looks like the backups, the twos, the guys are playing much more than the ones are. Is that all part of --
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Yeah, I think so. He's been stressing that. We have a lot of leaders right now from the senior class, and we're going to be gone after this last game, so there's going to be some of those guys that have to step up. But I think getting to play in some of the games earlier this year and getting a bunch in practice has helped them. I think it'll help them down the road.
Q. We were talking with the centers, and I know it's about to be your turn to pass the torch. Are you talking to those younger kids?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Yeah, definitely, Schlueter helped me out so much. I feel it's my obligation to help out the younger guys. I'll be checking up on them when I'm gone, so it'll be cool to see how they progress.
Q. When you look at this offense (inaudible)?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: For us or theirs?
Q. You all.
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: I don't like to look at it like that. I like to look at it that we're balanced. I feel like we've got skill all over the field, so I don't want to look at it just as a running team or a passing team. I feel like we're pretty balanced.
Q. When you look back and consider last year's Fiesta Bowl (inaudible) and then things seemed to change. Tell me what happened when you guys are running the ball and then it just seemed to sort of change. Did you feel a change in the way you played that game? Is it more what you did or what they didn't allow you to do?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: I really didn't think too much about it until after the game when I realized we didn't run the ball that much. But I think a lot of it had to do with what Boise was giving us. They came in well-prepared, and we tried to work with what they gave us. Unfortunately we didn't get an opportunity to run the ball too many times, but hopefully we'll get a better opportunity this year.
Q. How much do you think that game bothered Andy?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: I think it bothered all of us.
Q. You don't think it bothered him any more than you?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: No, because it wasn't all his fault. He gets the blame for it just kind of like a coach does. He got a lot of blame that he didn't deserve. A couple of those -- he got sacked that one time and it was our protection fault. I mean, we got -- I feel bad for him sometimes because he gets all the blame, but he also gets all the credit, which he deserves.
I don't know if I was telling you the other day, but I thought it was motivation for us all off-season, and I think it definitely helped him be a better player.
Q. In terms of this offensive line, I know you guys have showed (inaudible), but in terms of that guy over there, other guys have gotten individual rewards, but I don't think enough guys are paying attention to him.
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: No, I don't think he gets enough credit, either. He's been so good for -- it's a hard deal. He's played four years trying to learn right tackle, and then over spring he learns left tackle. You know, he's done a heck of a job this year at it, so I don't think he gets near enough credit as he deserves.
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: A lot of times he does. We use our tight ends quite a bit, but often times we'll use them for play action, they'll go out on some routes, so a lot of times he's on his own on the blind side there. He's got a load on his hands, but he's a big guy.
Q. When did you start growing your hair?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: I think about March probably.
Q. When will you cut your hair?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: If we win the game, I might never cut it.
Q. What's your wife think?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: She understands.
Q. You're doing it because of luck, right?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Yeah, I said I wasn't going to cut it unless we lost, and we haven't lost. She's fine with it.
Q. Do you want to cut it? You're not tired of it?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: No, it adds a little character, you know. Anyone could have their head shaved.
Q. A lot of attention has been paid to the Wisconsin offensive line (inaudible)?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: I mean, they deserve all the credit they get because they're big, physical, and they're known for their O-lines. But we feel like we've got some big guys, too. I tell everyone I talk to I think we have one of the best O-line coaches in the country. I mean, yeah, we definitely feel like we're going to try and go out there and prove that we're a good O-line and a good offense.
Q. Last year at the Bowl game things didn't seem right even at practice. Did you sense that?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: I don't know. I tried not to put too much thought into it because I didn't want to take anything away from Boise. But yeah, I think definitely during the game we couldn't get anything clicking really. But yeah, all the credit goes to Boise. They deserved to win that game.
Q. Do you feel like you guys were mentally ripe for that, though?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Yeah. I mean, you always want to be mentally prepared.
Q. You want to be, but --
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: I think one of the things that caught us by surprise is the sound. We weren't expecting it to be that loud in there, but it's a closed off -- Andy is a foot away from me yelling and I can't hear him, so that definitely took some of us by surprise, but that's just one of the elements that you can't control that you have to be able to handle as an offense.
Q. So you feel like you guys are maybe better prepared?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Yeah, I think that game helped us out more than people realize.
Q. Your defense gets so much attention, but as an offense do you guys ever feel a little bit overshadowed?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: No, not really. I mean, the past few years we kind of did, and it's something that we stressed in the spring and coming into fall camp. We'd be like, it's our turn to get some love. But those guys deserve it. Coach Patterson, I think he's a defensive guru, and he works all those guys hard and they've got to be smart to do their jobs, and they deserve it.
Q. Since your defense has been playing so well and you go against them every day, what do they do that makes them so talented?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Well, first of all, they've got good coaches over there on the defensive side of the ball. But they're a group of guys that plays hard no matter what. You know, we're kind of recruited here at TCU to play with a chip on our shoulder, and I think they do it better than any of us.
Q. Did you guys have that chip all year after losing the Fiesta Bowl?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Yeah, definitely. I was telling them, it was motivation for us in the off-season. It's something I thought about every day. But yeah, it just made us work harder in the long run.
Q. Talking about your pyramid, how I think goals are on the bottom, National Championship is up there and winning a BCS game is up there. What other levels do you have and what would winning this game do going forward for this program?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Yeah, we have the levels for bonding as a team, all that stuff that goes on in camp at the bottom and it works all the way up through BCS Bowl and National Championship. But it would mean a lot for us to color in that -- to come back and to see everything colored in except for the very top part, National Championship.
But it would just be another step for our program in the right direction.
Q. You guys have carried the non-AQ banner all year and I don't know if that's a burden for you or not, but what would it mean to shed that label and to have an opportunity to get an automatic bid every year to a big game like this?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: I mean, we don't focus -- you've been around for five years now as a senior, so you don't pay too much attention to the non-AQ stuff, but I think it's good for the program to go to the Big East. They don't have to worry about that anymore. All you have to focus on now is football and not having to win every game, just to get a chance. You've just got to focus on winning the conference and see what happens from there. I think it's a good step for them.
Q. When you came to TCU five years ago did you think it could get as good as it's been the last two years?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: No, I tell people all the time I remember when I first got here, it was a cool deal to be in the top 25, and the past two years we've been in the National Championship talk and been fortunate enough to play in two BCS games now. I never thought it would happen, but I'm pretty glad to be a part of it.
Q. When did you first start seeing kind of this snowball, I guess?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: When I first stepped foot on the campus and I saw how intense Coach Patterson was and how specific the goals are laid out and how they keep up with those goals. It makes it pretty easy to work as a team for one goal, and that's what we've been trying to do.
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: The thing that pops up to me is they work hard. They're always going, especially No. 99, J.J. Watt. He's got a motor that is always running. We're going to have to pick up whatever they bring at us and give Andy some time.
Q. Is he one of those guys -- your coaches say all the time he's one guy you make sure you block. Is he that guy?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Yeah, you've definitely got to keep your eye on a guy like that. But you can't take your attention away from any of those guys. We've got to be able to pick up every one of them. It should be fun.
Q. How much versatility does Curly bring to your offense and how easy does he make it for you guys?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: He makes it really easy for us. He's one of the most versatile guys I know. You give him anything to do and he'll be able to do it. But for us it makes it easy because Andy can throw the ball out there and he'll break a run, he'll hand it off to Curly, he'll break a run, return a punt, return a kickoff, get us good field position. I bet we could get him to go out there and kick the field goal if he needed to.
Q. Sounds like he embraces it.
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: Yeah, I've never seen him nervous. It doesn't look like he ever has any pressure on him. He always looks calm and cool, and he always looks to me like he's ready for everything.
Q. How big a deal is this for you coming from a small town and TCU is on the rise?
JAKE KIRKPATRICK: You know, it's a very special deal. I come from Tyler, not getting to play football really. I never thought I'd be here. A lot of people dream about playing in this game and not many people get the opportunity to. So it's a pretty special deal.
End of FastScripts