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December 27, 2012
THE MODERATOR:Â Questions for James White.
Q.Â Can you remember what each day was like before the game?
JAMES WHITE:Â Both were the same.Â Very close games.Â We fought to the end.Â We know we played as hard as possible.Â We weren't able to come out with the victory.Â It sits back in your mind to try to get back there or someplace better, try to end off your season with a win in a BCS game.
Q.Â Michigan came out here in the '70s three times and lost all three games.Â Can you imagine what it would be like to come out here and lose all three games?
JAMES WHITE:Â We know it's going to be a tough game, a physical game.Â We want to play four quarters.Â We came out with better focus than ever with Coach Alvarez as our coach.Â We know he's unbeaten in the Rose Bowl, and we don't want to give him his first loss.
Q.Â (No microphone.).
JAMES WHITE:Â Yeah, he definitely said he'll cut practices back if we're able to get the work done.Â If we need to continue to practice longer, he'll make us practice longer.Â We're trying to stay crisp, stay on point, get all the wrinkles in, prepare the right way.
Q.Â When you look at Stanford's defense, why have they been able to keep teams from running the ball?
JAMES WHITE:Â They're very disciplined.Â They're going to be in their gaps.Â They're good athletes, well‑coached.Â You have to try to take advantage whenever they're out of their gaps, make the big plays whenever you get the opportunity.Â When me and Montee get one‑on‑one in the field, take the opportunity, because you never know when you get that opportunity again.
Q.Â (Question regarding going through another coaching change.)
JAMES WHITE:Â We have a pretty big junior class actually, so we know we have a lot of great talent coming back.
With the new coaching change, it will be a little different for us.Â But sometimes change is good.Â Last year we had to gel with the coaches and everybody on the team to make sure everything is effective, hit the ground running on the first game.
It's definitely going to be tough.Â But, I mean, we have the guys to do it.Â We work together.Â We have great teamwork.Â There's no individuals on the team.Â We all want to help each other, be a great team.
Q.Â The wildcat you used a lot the second half of the season.Â Why put that in the playbook?
JAMES WHITE:Â A different wrinkle that teams have to adjust to.Â Don't know really where the ball is going to go with all those linemen on the field.Â It's another way they try to get the ball in my hands.Â I try to take advantage of it.
Q.Â Did the coaches come to you?
JAMES WHITE:Â I mean, in the beginning of the season they let me and Montee run to see who is better at it, things like that.Â We've had it pretty much the whole year.Â We just waited for the right time to break it out.Â We broke it out first against Minnesota.Â It was pretty effective, so they kept it in the whole year.
Q.Â (No microphone.)
JAMES WHITE:Â I mean, there's no really proper way to fit it.Â It's not a normal type of play or formation.Â It's a little bit of a guessing game.Â It's pretty much a zone scheme or a stretch scheme.Â I can pretty much go wherever.Â People have to be very disciplined and don't get over‑anxious when they see it.
Q.Â I remember two years ago for the TCU game, interesting road for you.Â How have you handled Montee coming to the forefront the way he has, taking a secondary role?
JAMES WHITE:Â You just have to stay grounded, stay focused, know your role on the team.Â Nobody can complain, whether you're a starter or backing up somebody.Â Everybody should know their role.Â Right now my role is to be his backup.Â Whenever I get my opportunities, I try to make the most of them.
Q.Â Did you ever consider going someplace else?
JAMES WHITE:Â When it first happens, when he said he was coming back, that's like your first thoughts.Â Then again, you think about it, it only makes our team that much better.
It just gives us that much of a boost coming into this year with two great runningbacks, even Melvin Gordon as well.Â We have a great trio of runningbacks this year.
Q.Â When you get the unbalanced line, is it hard enough to get enough bodies on one side to defend it?
JAMES WHITE:Â For sure.Â A lot of teams are started to overload the unbalanced side.Â I try to take a pre‑snap read.Â But I still have to feel the play out, see where they're flowing, and I make my read from there.
Q.Â Do you have the flexibility to change which side you're going to with the calls or...
JAMES WHITE:Â The plays have been designed which way for me to start going.Â I read it from there.Â Based on what I see from the get‑go, I can predetermine where I'll end up going.
Q.Â What do you think of the game plan?
JAMES WHITE:Â We had a great game plan.Â We weren't going to hold anything back.Â We knew where we wanted to be.Â We wanted to win the game.Â No points in holding anything back.
Q.Â Anything left in the bag of tricks for this game?
JAMES WHITE:Â For sure.Â I mean we have a great game plan, and I'm sure Stanford does as well.Â It's going to be a great atmosphere out there.
Q.Â Did you see anything different from him going into that game?
JAMES WHITE:Â We definitely had a lot of those plays in all year.Â We were just going to call it an aggressive game.Â Like I said, we knew where we wanted to be at the end of this game.Â We wanted to be Big Ten champions.
Q.Â How much does that give Stanford to think about?
JAMES WHITE:Â It definitely is going to give them a lot to think about, knowing maybe a trick play could come in anytime.Â Definitely keep them on their toes.Â They're well‑coached.Â They're disciplined.
Q.Â (No microphone.)
JAMES WHITE:Â A little bit.Â But definitely everybody getting together, trusting the play calls, knowing what the coaches call, if we give it 110% straight through the whistle, everything is going to work.
Q.Â Couldn't have had a worse start to the season.Â What changed?
JAMES WHITE:Â Definitely working together as a team, trusting one another, trusting the coaching staff.Â We have had a lot of changes coming off last year.Â You had to believe in the coaching staff no matter who is there.Â Everybody playing for each other, trusting the coaches.
Q.Â What are your impressions of Coach Andersen?
JAMES WHITE:Â He's a great guy.Â He's a players' coach, you can tell that.Â He really cares for his players.Â He called every player from Utah State when he left.Â He wants the best from his players.Â It's going to be great.
Q.Â (No microphone.)
JAMES WHITE:Â Never would have thought.Â But that's college football.Â It's a business.Â Things are going to change.Â You just have to adjust to them.
Q.Â Is there a different mindset your third straight year here?
JAMES WHITE:Â Definitely a lot more focused.Â Definitely coming here for the third time, you know what L.A. presents, you get focused as soon as you get here.Â Probably not go out as much, see the scenery, that type of stuff.Â You really lock in on the game.Â You want to come out of here with a victory definitely.
Q.Â (No microphone.)
JAMES WHITE:Â It's pretty light.Â You go to the events that the Rose Bowl has, you pretty much have to go to Lawry's.Â You soak it in.Â Try to stay focused on the game plan and celebrate afterwards.
Q.Â Are you going to stick around afterwards?
JAMES WHITE:Â A lot of us stuck around.Â One of the things coach told us was to soak it all in.Â Not many people get to do this.Â You want to take advantage of the opportunities you have, have fun with your teammates, the brotherhood you're going to form for the rest of your life.
Q.Â Did you come away with lessons from the first two games that will apply to this one?
JAMES WHITE:Â Play all four quarters and stay focused.Â You know you're playing a great team.Â They're not going to give up, just like us.Â Don't turn the ball over and play together as a team.
Q.Â Do you have any trick plays?
JAMES WHITE:Â We have a lot of great plays.Â Some may not necessarily be tricks, but...
It's been repetition for so long.
Q.Â Tell me about your wildcat.
JAMES WHITE:Â We have had it pretty much in the whole year.Â We broke it out versus Minnesota.Â It's another way that the coaches have tried to get the ball in my hand.Â Tried to take the opportunity.
Q.Â How many snaps have you taken with the wildcat?
JAMES WHITE:Â Probably around 20.Â It's a lot of fun.Â Get a bunch of linemen on the field, some that may not get to play as much.Â They take advantage of the opportunity on the field as well.
Q.Â You're the one who takes the snap.
JAMES WHITE:Â Yes, sir.
Q.Â (No microphone.)
JAMES WHITE:Â Yeah, that was my first pass.Â But I threw one against them the first time we played them as well.Â But it wasn't when I was lined up at quarterback.Â It was a reverse pass.
There's a lot of different plays you can run out of the formation.Â Just have to keep their defense on the toes.
Q.Â Did you ever throw the ball in high school?
JAMES WHITE:Â I actually did.Â We had plays for me to throw it, but we never really had the opportunity to use it.Â It was never the right time.
Q.Â Had you talked to the coaches about, Let me throw the ball?
JAMES WHITE:Â Well, we tried all different kind of plays to see whether to keep them in the playbook or not.Â That happened to be one of them.Â We practiced it a bunch.Â It kept working so they kept it in the game plan.
Q.Â (No microphone.)
JAMES WHITE:Â It was great.Â We had a great game plan.Â It was an aggressive game plan.Â We wanted to be the Big Ten champions.Â We were going to leave it all out there.Â The coaches weren't going to hold back.
Q.Â What do you see from the Stanford defense?
JAMES WHITE:Â They're very disciplined, they're physical.Â They're well‑coached.Â You need to take advantage of the opportunities you have.Â Catch them off guard.Â Me and Montee have the opportunity, make the guy miss and get as many yards as possible.
Q.Â What is the quarterback's role in this offense?
JAMES WHITE:Â Just manage the game.Â In the run game, they make kill calls, make checks, all different types of stuff.Â Even though they may not throw the ball as much, they do a great job of managing the game.
It may look easy, but it really isn't.
Q.Â What are some of his strengths?
JAMES WHITE:Â He just keeps everybody focused.Â He's very positive.Â Like I said, he's a great leader for the team.Â He's very calm.Â He never really loses his composure.Â That's why, as a quarterback, you never see him get mad or talking down to anybody on the team.Â He keeps it all positive.
Q.Â Given all the injuries in his career, does that make you appreciate him more?
JAMES WHITE:Â For sure.Â I mean, his first year back after tearing his ACL a couple times, I mean, it really shows you he takes advantage of the opportunities, doesn't take the game for granted.Â We want to protect him back there and give him as much time as possible.
Q.Â Do you think a lot of people would be able to name the quarterback of Wisconsin?
JAMES WHITE:Â I doubt it (laughter).Â We went through three this year.Â It's highly unlikely.Â But sometimes it's good to fly under the radar.
Q.Â What you're doing, it's pretty amazing.Â I can't remember a more in‑your‑face program.
JAMES WHITE:Â Yeah, people may know what play we're running, things like that, but we're all about hard work, straight through the whistle.Â Whatever the coaches call, like I say, the play will work effectively.
Q.Â What is it about you guys and close games?Â It's remarkable.Â Why can't you close the deal?
JAMES WHITE:Â We have to play four quarters, a full four quarters, not turn the ball over, the defense not give up too many big plays.Â Even if we're down, we know we're not going to give up, we're going to try to keep the game close.Â We're all about hard work.Â We're going to play till the end of the game.
Q.Â What is the difference preparing this year for the Rose Bowl compared to last year?Â Oregon's philosophy is so different than Stanford's.
JAMES WHITE:Â It's very similar to practicing, for our defense, practicing against our offense.Â It's a little different than practicing against our defense.
Like I said, physical teams.Â We're about the same type of stuff.Â Both disciplined, well‑coached.Â As I say, it's going to be a very good battle.
Q.Â This is your third.
JAMES WHITE:Â Yes.
Q.Â People dream all their lives about playing in one Rose Bowl.Â What is it like coming back for the third?
JAMES WHITE:Â It's definitely a blessing.Â Coach Alvarez, he's been talking to us before we even got here to take advantage of the opportunity because not many people get to make it to one Rose Bowl.Â Just soak it all in and have fun with it, enjoy your time with your teammates because this is the best time of your life.
Q.Â What has it been like having him come back, manage the transition?
JAMES WHITE:Â It's definitely an honor to have one of the greatest coaches in college football, coach us.Â You really want to listen to him.Â He knows what he's doing.Â If you listen to his plan, it will be very effective.
Q.Â Has he come right back into head coaching mode?
JAMES WHITE:Â He pretty much just looks over everything.Â He's not taking like too much control.Â He'll tell us when we're messing up.Â But he'll pat us on the back when we're doing something well.Â It's great to have him around, looking over us.
Q.Â He was 3‑0 in the Rose Bowl, in the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.Â How much of an impact did that have?
JAMES WHITE:Â I mean, like I said, that means he knows what he's doing.Â He knows how to set the practice schedule up, how to get our legs back, just have us focused and ready to play the game.
Q.Â Did you go on the Disneyland thing yesterday?Â Do you go on different rides?
JAMES WHITE:Â Actually, I didn't go on that many rides in previous years, but I went on a few more rides this year.Â I really listened to what Coach Alvarez said, enjoy the time, my teammates.Â I definitely had a lot more fun this year.
Q.Â Did you go to California Adventure, too?
JAMES WHITE:Â Yes.Â Went to the Tower of Terror and The Screamer.Â My two favorite rides in the park.
Q.Â What is your philosophy as an offense?
JAMES WHITE:Â Definitely we're going to run the ball first, but the running game opens up the passing game.Â If we run the ball well, we can do a lot of things as an offense.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports