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ROSE BOWL GAME PRESENTED BY VIZIO: OREGON v WISCONSIN


December 29, 2011


Kenjon Barner


PASADENA, CALIFORNIA

Q.  Your thoughts so far?
KENJON BARNER:  It's been great, just to get the chance to see my family, a lot of my friends, and now to get back out here with these guys and get to work and get accomplished what we hope to get accomplished, it's been going great.

Q.  When do you get to see your family?
KENJON BARNER:¬† Every day, every day.¬† My brother‑‑ after practice, any time we have free time, I fill that time with my family.

Q.  Do they come to the hotel?
KENJON BARNER:¬† Mm‑hmm.¬† I'm able to leave.¬† I went to my grandmother's house the other day.¬† Yesterday I went and seen my brother and a couple of cousins, so it's been a real good trip for me.

Q.  Obviously the photo from Disneyland got all over the place.  Are they giving you the business about that?
KENJON BARNER:  Not really.  We were just having fun and not really thinking too much of it.  It's memories I will keep forever.  The media got a hold of it, and it went to a whole 'nother level.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
KENJON BARNER:  Maybe, but it was all in fun.

Q.  Did you just take a picture of the video screen?
KENJON BARNER:  We actually have the main picture, and I just took a picture of that.  But he has a picture of me, so I can't really say too much.  It's the other picture.

Q.  Is there a familiarity at all to just being back here, having gone through the Rose Bowl process?
KENJON BARNER:  Yeah, definitely.  I wouldn't say it's something that we're accustomed to, but for me there's definitely some familiarity there where we kind of know the routine, we know what's going on, we know what to expect, and so that's been a positive thing for us.  We haven't been caught off guard by anything.

Q.  Looking back on last year, one of the key segments of the title game, that goal line stand, what do you remember most from that sequence?
KENJON BARNER:¬† Just being on the one‑yard line and not being able to score.¬† I mean, that's really the only thing to remember.

Q.  Do you recall the 4th down play and kind of how it developed?
KENJON BARNER:  I'm pretty sure we ran a fly sweep and the defensive end came free and I wasn't able to get in, and then there was a few other times where we weren't able to get in.  So just remembering all of those situations that we were in against that Auburn team where we weren't able to get into the end zone being so close, having chances and not being able to capitalize on them.  Didn't really execute what we wanted to execute, and kind of using those experiences hopefully in this game if they ever arise.

Q.  What lessons did you take from that, just do things different this time?
KENJON BARNER:  Yeah, you see things on film that you don't see on the field, so maybe I could have reached the outside.  But now another year, it's a different year, a year older, a year wiser.  Read everything correctly and get my pass down.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
KENJON BARNER:¬† No, just executing.¬† Ohio State game I think a big turning point in the game was the fumble, so you know, just things that we've practiced throughout all season, keeping the ball high and tight, running with our pads down, running with power and running with precision and patience.¬† It's things that we can‑‑ things that we should have done in both of those BCS games, and this game we look forward to doing that.

Q.  What's your confidence level like?  What is the vibe do you think?
KENJON BARNER:  You know, we have a very confident team.  You know, we're not arrogant about it, we're not cocky about it, but we have a confidence within ourselves that probably most teams don't have.  We're extremely confident within each other's capability of what we're able to do on the field, and that helps us out tremendously.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about how Chip sets the tone for this program and how you guys are maybe a reflection of his personality?
KENJON BARNER:  What Coach Kelly has done for this program, it's outstanding, tremendous.  The type of personality that Coach Kelly has, it doesn't help but rub off on you.  He's very intense, and he can definitely get you going.  So come out to practice and games, he just builds your confidence slowly over time.  If you came in not having confidence, by the time you leave this program, Coach Kelly is going to instill some confidence in you.  That's just the kind of guy he is and that's what he's done for this program.

Q.  What's it like when things go wrong in practice or if somebody screws up?  How does he handle that?
KENJON BARNER:¬† I've never seen a coach interact with players how Coach Kelly interacts with us.¬† I'll use the Stanford game from two years ago, last season.¬† 21‑3 at halftime, he comes in, calm, cool, collected, no yelling, just says, be caught in the action of who you are. ¬†You know what, a coach rarely says that to a team that's down 21‑3 that's not playing the way that you're accustomed to them playing, and it's situations like that where you look at this guy and go, he's a different kind of coach.¬† He's a true player's coach.

Q.  Where do you see the speed on that Wisconsin defense?  I'm sure you've watched it ad nauseam.  You remember Auburn and LSU, they had such closing speed on you.
KENJON BARNER:  Well, Wisconsin definitely has speed in their secondary.  Of course not so much up front, big guys, big, strong, physical guys, but definitely in their secondary they have some speed back there.

Q.  They have guys who close pretty good, huh?
KENJON BARNER:  Yeah, they have some good speed.

Q.  How was the trip in so far?
KENJON BARNER:  It's been great, just getting the opportunity to see my family, create memories with all of my teammates, so it's been a great experience over these past couple of days.

Q.  How do you guys think your preparation has evolved at all over the last couple years?
KENJON BARNER:  Just this Bowl, the entire weeks that we've been practicing for this Bowl game compared to the previous two years has been completely different.  Our attention to detail, our attitude, usually when you get close to break, guys aren't really there, they're really focused on I want to go home, and that wasn't the case this year.  Throughout this entire process, I've never seen a more focused team.

Q.  Are you leaning toward the NFL?  What will you say about a decision on that?
KENJON BARNER:  No decision.  That will be something that I will talk to my family about and Coach Kelly and Coach Campbell after the game.  Right now my focus is on Oregon football and focused on this Rose Bowl, and that's where it needs to be.

Q.  Would you like to be the featured back?  Do you know what I mean by that?  You have almost 1,000 yards this year, but LMJ over here, he's probably going to go.  Would you like to be the guy?
KENJON BARNER:  If I would say no, I'd be lying.  I think any man in college football wants to be that guy.  So definitely, that's definitely something that I would love to have, yeah.

Q.  How would you like to improve as a back should you come back as a senior?  Is it catching more balls out of the backfield?  Obviously you could return punts and tote the ball pretty well, but....
KENJON BARNER:  You know, become more physical, get stronger, become more patient, become a better blocker.  You know, there's all sorts of areas that I can improve on.

Q.  Do you anticipate the Ducks will be more aggressive offensively this game?  How would you evaluate how you've played offensively in the last two BCS games, and what did you learn from those?  Do you want to be more aggressive perhaps?
KENJON BARNER:  In the last two games you haven't really been able to establish a rhythm quite like we're accustomed to.  You see us throughout the regular season we're going, 1st down, 1st down, 1st down, and we get in a rhythm, and the past two games we haven't really been able to establish that rhythm.  I mean, it comes eventually, but it may not be until late in the game.  I think we'll be more aggressive.  I think we'll just play Oregon football, try and do exactly what we've done all season, and that's do what Coach Kelly plans and that's play Oregon football.

Q.  Can you just talk about Darron Thomas and what he's brought to this team?
KENJON BARNER:  Leadership.  That's the number one thing that Darron has brought to this team.  Darron is just a different guy, different from our previous quarterbacks.  He's more vocal, and he's a guy that guys will get behind and follow, and that's what he's brought to this team as far as I'm concerned is leadership.

Q.  Coach Kelly talks about his toughness.  Do you see that, as well?
KENJON BARNER:  Definitely.  Darron probably gets hit more than I get hit running a route.  I don't know a quarterback that will sit in the pocket like Darron does and follow through on a throw and get smashed in the face.  I have yet to see a quarterback do that, and Darron does it time and time again, gets right back up, and he's coming right back at you.

Q.  You and LaMichael, how close are you?
KENJON BARNER:  We're extremely close.  We're very close.

Q.  I think back to that Washington State game last year when you got hurt.  He was really emotional about it.  What does that say to you about your friendship with him?
KENJON BARNER:  I just know that he loves me and he knows that I love him, and that's my best friend, and that's a relationship that we've developed that will carry on way further than Oregon football.

Q.  Is that going to be hard if he decides to move on?
KENJON BARNER:  Definitely.  You know, that's a guy that I've been around for four years now, and since day one we've been close, and that's a guy that I go to with anything, any kind of home issue, school issue, girl issue, I go to him, and vice versa.  So if he was to leave, I'd definitely be missing that link in my chain.

Q.¬† There's obviously a lot of exciting story lines with a game like this.¬† LaMichael James and Montee Ball, what do you make of that match‑up?
KENJON BARNER:  It's exciting, but when you have LaMichael James, you never bet against him, so if it comes down to it, I'm putting all my money on LaMichael.

Q.  Seems like they have two kind of different running styles.
KENJON BARNER:  Yeah, I would say LaMichael is more elusive than Montee Ball.  Montee Ball runs the ball hard.  He's a physical runner.  He fits Wisconsin's mold.  They're a big, physical team, and that's how you run.  He's a big, physical runner.  At times he's elusive, but they're just two completely different running styles.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
KENJON BARNER:  I think if you're going to put LaMichael behind that size of offensive line, I think we'd have a new record in college for rushing yards in a season.  But you know, to each his own.  This offense is built for LaMichael and that offense is built for Montee Ball.

Q.  How do you feel about that picture?
KENJON BARNER:  You know, we were just having fun out at Disneyland, just creating memories, and none of us expected it to go that far.  No one within our small group expected that picture to be on Yahoo, TMZ, any of that.  But it's all fun, and we have fun with it.

Q.  How much flak are you getting for that?
KENJON BARNER:¬† A lot.¬† I think it shows me‑‑ maybe every ten minutes somebody texts about that picture.¬† It's all fun, though.

Q.  How do you plan on dealing with Wisconsin's size?
KENJON BARNER:  I don't really worry about their offense.

Q.  The size of their defense.
KENJON BARNER:  Well, we're just going to continue to do what we do, tempo, tempo, tempo and play Oregon football.  No sense in changing what we do, and I don't think we will.

Q.¬† Is there any advantage to teams when you have a whole Bowl season‑‑
KENJON BARNER:  I don't think it's necessarily something to them having more time, it's just a matter of us being in those games and not executing the way we usually execute.  We can go back to the Rose Bowl when we played Ohio State.  Like I said earlier, I think the turning point in that game was the fumble.  That was huge, but not only that, we didn't execute throughout that game like we're accustomed to executing, and then we go back to the Auburn game last year, same thing; I had a few turnovers, they had some turnovers.  We just didn't play Oregon football.
So I don't really think it has anything to do with the time you have to prepare for our offense; it always comes down to execution, because you can prepare all you want but at the end of the day you've still got to come out and play football.

Q.  Ohio State, those guys seemed very disciplined on defense and seemed to stay with their assignments.  A lot of games you play teams where they're discombobulated.  You don't think watching those guys you could be more focused and say don't fall for this or don't go for that?
KENJON BARNER:¬† I mean, you can definitely be more focused and whatnot, but our offense is‑‑ we establish a tempo, we establish a rhythm, and when we don't get in that rhythm, it may be easier for our defense to kind of stay as disciplined as they are at the beginning of the game, and so for us we have to establish a tempo, and once we do that, things become different for the defense.

Q.¬† It seems like in those Bowl games especially there's so many more time‑outs, in the championship game particularly.
KENJON BARNER:¬† Yeah, I mean, but that's‑‑ you can't use TV time‑outs and all that as an excuse.¬† That's really on us, because when the ball is in play, we have to execute, and like I said, we have to establish that rhythm, whether we have to fight through TV time‑outs, through breaks, injuries, whatever it may be, and that's just something we haven't done in the past.

Q.¬† Not going three‑and‑out to force a time‑out?
KENJON BARNER:  Yeah, just keep the chains moving.  Pretty much what we do throughout the regular season when you see us play, it's 1st down, 1st down, touchdown, 1st down, we're constantly moving, constantly moving the ball.  And then if you look at the Bowl games that's something that we haven't done.  We haven't executed properly in those situations.

Q.  Part of Wisconsin's formula is to keep the ball away from the opposing offense.
KENJON BARNER:  You know, our time of possession is probably one of the lowest in college.  I mean, it's the way that we practice.  Everything is fast.  That's just who we are.  That's our motto or what have you.  We're fast, hard and finish, and that's what we do every day, so when we get in games it's actually slower than what we're accustomed to, so we don't really look at that stat; we just go out and play.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
KENJON BARNER:  No, because I have all the faith in the world in our defense, and big games our defense steps up, and I expect no different of them in this game.

Q.  The photo, did you anticipate that it would circulate as widely as it did?
KENJON BARNER:  No, I was just telling these guys, we were out having fun, and I had no idea that it would go this far.  You know, me and LaMichael joke with each other all the time and that's what it went as, and then it went way further than that.  It's still all fun and games.

Q.  That's a side of you that most people don't see.  Were you surprised by the expression on his face?
KENJON BARNER:¬† No.¬† I was sitting‑‑ I won't go that far, but I was on the roller coaster with him the whole time, so I heard some things, so I imagine‑‑ it was dark in there so you really couldn't see, so I only imagine that that's what it was going to look like.

Q.  He said he was joking about it more at the top.  Do you believe that?
KENJON BARNER:  Yeah.  If he said he was joking, he was joking.  (Laughter.)

Q.  Both of you have had to share carries.  Can you talk about that?
KENJON BARNER:  Just watching LaMichael go out play after play and give his best and make big plays and do all the special things that that kid does, he just influences me to be a better running back, be a better person on the field and just go out and give my best effort and not leave a play on the field after the game.

Q.¬† Is there anything style wise that you take‑‑ you both have your different running styles, different moves and stuff, but is there anything you've tried in watching him to incorporate into your game?
KENJON BARNER:¬† I wouldn't say there's any‑‑ well, okay.¬† In practice maybe a few weeks ago, LaMichael is known for his cut‑back, so in practice the other day‑‑ not the other day, a couple weeks ago, I took that from him.¬† But that's about the only thing.

Q.¬† Were you able‑‑
KENJON BARNER:  It was very successful.  It was a successful attempt.

Q.  On the rhythm thing, what have you guys changed to make it up?
KENJON BARNER:¬† We haven't changed anything.¬† Like I said, it's just a matter of execution.¬† When we get out on the field we have to execute the game plan and not let other things influence us, not let other things stop us, not let the other team stop us.¬† We have to have a will that they can't break, and that's just pretty much the bottom line.¬† When we go out on the field we can't worry about anything else, can't worry about TV time‑outs, any other break, we just have to go out and play football.

Q.  Your speed, do you think that's overplayed, that angle?
KENJON BARNER:  You know, they have some guys that can run, so to say that we're just going to outrun them throughout this entire game, that would be a lie.  They have some guys in their secondary that can definitely get after it, and it'll definitely be a challenge.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
KENJON BARNER:  I actually haven't, and as a freshman you expect to see some sort of weakness, you expect to see him rattled, but I've never seen that.  He's a strong kid and he knows what he wants and he goes out there and gets it.

Q.  Even in the first game, LSU, Cowboys Classic?
KENJON BARNER:  You would expect that he would be rattled, but he held his own and did great, led that offensive line, and he did a great job.  He's done a great job all season.

Q.  What stands out to you just about Wisconsin's defense?
KENJON BARNER:  They're big.  They're very big.  They're a physical team.  I mean, you know, we've seen that in Stanford.  That's the closest team that we can compare them to.  We seen a physical team in LSU.  Just their physicality and their size stand out for us.

Q.  Any similarities to Ohio State's defense?
KENJON BARNER:  I would have had to go back and look at that film, but they're just big.  They're a big team.  Ohio State was a big team.  Auburn is a big team.  Stanford is a big team.  We've had some tests against teams that are something like them.

Q.  I don't know if pressure is the right word, but obviously you guys lost the last two games.  Is there extra motivation?  Is there pressure to win this one?
KENJON BARNER:  No.  Pressure is something that you feel when you don't know what you're doing, but our team knows exactly what we're going to do and knows what to do, so we don't feel pressure, so pressure wouldn't be the correct term to use.  I mean, of course you want to win, and as people say, get the monkey off your back.  We're just going to go out and play Oregon football, go out and have fun and pick our heads up at the end of the fourth quarter and see where we're at.

Q.  When you said you'd rather be here than go to a lesser Bowl game and win that, is getting here enough?
KENJON BARNER:¬† No, getting here is definitely not enough.¬† You know, a lot of guys would just be happy to be here, but that's‑‑ no, that's not the case with this team.¬† This team is accustomed to winning.¬† We don't expect to lose.¬† So when we get into situations like this, being here is not going to satisfy our hunger for more.¬† You know, we come here to win, and it's a business trip and that's what we plan to do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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