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January 2, 2012

Montee Ball

Bret Bielema

Russell Wilson


Oregon テや 45
Wisconsin テや 38

THE MODERTOR:テつ I'd like to welcome Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema as well as Montee Ball and Russell Wilson.テつ We'll take a brief opening statement from coach, and we'll open it up to questions for him, and then questions for the student‑athletes.テつ Coach?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Well, obviously not an outcome that we're happy with.テつ Something that we'll carry with us for the rest of our lives and entire coaching career for me.テつ I've been out here twice, and leave two games that are incredible football games.テつ My guess is if you don't care who won the game, it was probably a fun football game to watch, but doesn't help us out.
I can't say thank you enough to our group of seniors and everything they did to help get us where we are today.テつ The tremendous leadership from all different cast of characters that you I've truly enjoyed coaching and made me grow as a head football coach.
These guys, even after last year's class, these guys have probably persevered through more than any other class I've had.テつ Wish them the best of luck moving forward.
Obviously, losing a couple of quality coaches, great friends, great human beings, the way they selflessly prepared for this game and put everything into it.テつ I can't say thank you enough for those guys as well.
As far as us moving forward, I'm kind of tired of tears of sadness.テつ I wanted to come out here and experience tears of joy at some point.
So we'll rebound from this.テつ I wouldn't trade in anything, anyplace in the world for that locker room that I have right now and the way that they continue to persevere.
So, I'll also thank Wisconsin fans for coming out here again.テつ I know they're going to be disappointed, but we have the best fans in the world.テつ And I think it truly showed the way they came out here again this year, back‑to‑back, and hopefully nobody gets tired of coming to the Rose Bowl.
I'm not going to apologize for a group that want to lead the division title, won a Big Ten title, and earned a chance to come out here and play a quality football team, and unfortunately came up a little bit short.テつ With that, I'll open it up to questions.

Q.テつ Coach, can you talk about ‑‑ it looked like you took a timeout there kind of hoping that they'd review when Thomas was in or out of the end zone.テつ What happened there and what did they tell you during that timeout?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Basically what happened was, I know his foot touched the line.テつ It gets down to an issue of where the ball is.テつ I was trying to get a read from my sideline official if we could review forward momentum.テつ He didn't understand the question where I was at, and that's why they charged me a timeout.
They knew that what I was trying to get answered was answered the proper way, so they came back and gave me another timeout instead of using the challenge.テつ So that's where it was at.

Q.テつ What was the explanation they gave you for the 12, 13 second that ran off?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ At the end of the first half?

Q.テつ Yeah.
COACH BIELEMA:テつ You know, we saw the play go out of bounds, the officials signaled it.テつ What I tried to get across to them, because then I switched over to the other head set, and what I was trying to do was tell Charlie to get Phil ready for‑‑ we had seen Phil made I believe a 62‑yard field goal in pregame warm‑ups going into that exact same direction.
So I told Paul if we could get to the opposite yard line, we'd have an opportunity for a field goal.テつ During that time they started to run the clock.テつ By the time I got back over and called the timeout, whatever it was, 6 seconds.テつ They were trying to tell me the clock didn't stop, and obviously, it stopped at some point and burned that off.

Q.テつ The last play, was it designed to be a spike?

Q.テつ Did you have a play in there?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ No, it was designed as soon as the official went away we were going to spike the ball as fast as we can.

Q.テつ Three agonizing loss this is year.テつ How tough is it to lose like this on top of that?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Well, it's never easy.テつ I'm not saying I'd rather lose by 40 points though.テつ I mean, it just make it's that much more gut wrenching.テつ But on the same account, you can hold your head high knowing the perseverance, and the challenge and response that our guys showed was truly amazing and a great credit to their character.

Q.テつ Can you just talk about the Oregon speed, and was it different to you being on the sideline as opposed to what you've seen on film?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Well, number 6 is special.テつ Obviously, LaMichael is very special.テつ But we knew going into this game.テつ We talked about tackling, but on a couple of those plays, you look at the 98‑yarder, or whatever that was, nobody put a hand on it.
Obviously a couple of mental break downs whether it be read keys, reactions, we didn't even challenge them on two or three of their scores, and nobody can win winning that.テつ We do know they had the speed to outrun us if they got to that point.

Q.テつ What was the first timeout in the second half?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ We had a formation bust.テつ It was basically, for lack of a better term, the wide receiver was on the side opposite of what we had lined up.

Q.テつ I know this maybe gets lost in the shuffle of a game like this.テつ But Montee tied the NCAA record for touchdowns.テつ Can you talk about that record and him finally getting this in time?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ I'm sure Montee will address it.テつ But I do know the reason Montee got that record is he prepares and puts himself in a frame of mind going into every game this year as good as anybody I've ever been around.テつ He's truly a blessed individual with a lot of athleticism.
But he got that record because of the way he works.テつ He's also going to be the first one, I'm not going to put words in his mouth, but he'll be the first one to give credit to all the people around him and he knows it's not an act he won on his own.

Q.テつ Did you feel that your defense was gassed as the second half wore along in the game?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ No, I was actually kind of‑‑ obviously, we don't want to give up points, but to make us stand there and hold that thing to a field goal, I thought our guys played the tempo about as good.
Now, obviously, we didn't have a certain number of plays that were fit up gap assignment‑ wise.テつ But there was really never an issue of a guy being outgassed or not in a correct position because of timing.

Q.テつ The decision on fourth and one to go for it, did you feel you need the touchdown and the play call to go for the action?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Just we came in with the idea on third down, we would go for four down.テつ We had an opportunity to get it with two downs and we didn't have success on the fourth down conversion.
But didn't want to think when we got down near the end zone, we wanted to have touchdowns, not field goals.

Q.テつ Both you guys talked about playing Wisconsin ball which included red zone efficiency and not turning the ball over, and those are two things that didn't go your way.テつ Are those two of the things that you thought was the difference in the game?
RUSSELL WILSON:テつ Yeah, obviously, you never want to turn the ball over.テつ I guess that must have been my mistake on that one, especially when you're playing a team like Oregon that can score so quickly.テつ I thought we played a great game on offense.テつ Playing an Oregon defense that can fly around and make some plays.テつ I think Montee did a great job of running the ball and getting first downs.
You know, it was one of those things where it could have gone either way.テつ Obviously, it's unfortunate that we lost that game.
MONTEE BALL:テつ He basically nailed it on the head.テつ But obviously at times we thought we had to punt, and not getting the third down and one.テつ But other than that, I felt like we did a great job on offense.テつ We really, really did a great job of attacking them downhill and putting points on the board.

Q.テつ Russell, the last play of the game, obviously, I think you probably thought you had a second left and you kind of threw your hands up.テつ What was going through your head?テつ Another officials call in the last second?
RUSSELL WILSON:テつ Well, I knew there was two seconds left on the clock.テつ As soon as the referee blew the whistle, I snapped it and spiked it.テつ I didn't think there was anyway that two full seconds ran off the clock there.
They made the call and it is what it is.テつ I think that we could have won the game in a lot of other areas too though.テつ It would have been nice to have a chance there.テつ Obviously, with one second left, I think we could have capitalized there.
But it's one of those things where I always have to look at it again.テつ Based on my perspective right now, I snapped it as soon as he blew the whistle, and I didn't think two seconds ran off that quickly.テつ But it's okay.

Q.テつ Montee, was there anything you gained as an advantage from playing this game last year that you brought into this that was familiar or anything that helped you?
MONTEE BALL:テつ You're talking about from last year?テつ Well, for one, the environment.テつ You're looking forward to playing in a great environment, and that sure as heck was there.テつ But other than that, being in the Rose Bowl you're going to go against a great opponent.
But what I brought from last year to this year is you have to capitalize on every play and every opportunity that is shown.テつ Obviously, we fell short once again.テつ But I believe it's going to make us stronger, and we'll make sure to be back here next year.

Q.テつ Did they do anything different to slow you down as the game went on?テつ You really got off to a fast start.
MONTEE BALL:テつ Yeah, they started to come down pretty fast, the safeties.テつ As soon as I got the ball going to the hole, they were right there in front of me within three yards.テつ That's why we were so balanced.
Russell did a great job of attacking them up in the air, and the receiver did a great job of catching the ball.テつ But other than that, like I said, we fell out of rhythm a couple of times and we'll make sure to watch film and prepare better.

Q.テつ Could you guys assess after two years, Montee, you especially being here for both of them, two Big Ten titles back‑to‑back, and coming out here twice, can you assess where you guys are now going forward with this program?
MONTEE BALL:テつ Well, obviously, it stings a little bit.テつ But we're going to approach this just like we did last year after the loss.テつ Obviously, a little better, prepared a lot better, but the only way we can go with it is forward.
You can't look back and point the finger at anyone.テつ You have to make sure that you really critique yourself and better yourself overall and carry the team.
RUSSELL WILSON:テつ I personally, you know, coming here this year, and I actually watched the Rose Bowl game last year, just being with these guys. テつThey're a great bunch of guys that have the determination.テつ We lost three games, basically, with a total of maybe within 40 seconds.テつ It's pretty wild.
All of those situations were all unfortunate.テつ It's pretty crazy how each one of them panned out.テつ For whatever reason, I think that next year's team is going to have a great bunch of guys that, one, have a lot of experience now, and two, have a lot of determination to be great.テつ Coach Bielema does a great job of that.

Q.テつ Russell, you've had a well‑traveled road.テつ You've had a fantastic season, and maybe both of you can answer this.テつ How much does it sting to leave on this note and leave the program to move forward with your future?テつ And I guess, Montee, too, I don't know if you made your decision yet what you're going to do, but if you can address that?
MONTEE BALL:テつ Obviously, it stings a little bit because one of our main goals is to win for each other, and we wanted this win for ourselves, Wisconsin Nation, but most definitely for the seniors.テつ It's their last game of the season and their careers, so we wanted to make sure we get the win for them.テつ So obviously that stings a lot.
But I have a big decision to make.テつ I'm going to make it within the next couple of days, and I'll make sure to let you guys know and let my teammates know.

Q.テつ I know you would have liked to have tied or broken this record and a win.テつ But what does this number 39 mean to you to be able to tie Barry Sanders' mark that stood for 23 years?
MONTEE BALL:テつ It's been an honor since day one when I was being mentioned with him, and it will stick that way.テつ As the game was going on, I was trying to look for the victory.テつ Get the W on the chart.
But like I said, it is what it is.テつ I had a great season.テつ I'll look back on this season, and if I decide to come back, I'll make sure I carry forward what I did this season to next season.

Q.テつ Russell, you kind of got short‑changed there when you were about to answer that question.テつ It's been such a whirlwind tour for you since July 1. テつHow does this closing game kind of wrap it up?
RUSSELL WILSON:テつ You know, with my faith and all that, I put the Lord first, so I'm just blessed to have been with these guys, with Montee and the rest of the team.テつ It was a great experience for me.テつ Working with Coach Bielema and the fact that he recruited me and took me in and the players took me in, and working with Coach Chryst is truly a pleasure.テつ He's a tremendous coach.
Every single day I've cherished, and every single moment is truly special.テつ To lose the way we did is only going to make me stronger in the future and help me figure out something else down the road.テつ Maybe win a Super Bowl.テつ You never know.
But it's unfortunate the way that we lost, and the best thing about these guys, like I said earlier, is the way they fought.テつ I'm glad to be a part of this Badger family.

Q.テつ Not just from a defensive standpoint, but how much pressure do you feel on offense when you're playing a team like this where you almost feel, God, we can't even punt against these guys?テつ We've got to do something.テつ We've got to score.テつ Do you feel extra pressure playing a team like this?
RUSSELL WILSON:テつ No, you don't feel any pressure.テつ The game was basically 0‑0 the whole game.テつ No matter if the score was 35‑35 or 7‑7.テつ It's a 0‑0 game.テつ That's the way I look at it.テつ There at the end it was 7‑0, and we thought we could come back and score.
I believe we had 16 seconds left there.テつ So we have a lot of belief on the offensive side of the ball.テつ I think the defense did a great job against a good team.テつ Obviously, Oregon made some good plays.テつ You've got to contribute to their players.テつ They're extremely talented.
But in terms of the way we played, we didn't feel any pressure.テつ We just felt that we had to do what we had to do, play one play at a time, stay in the now, and keep grinding and hopefully come out on top.テつ Unfortunately, we did not.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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