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December 29, 2012

Marcus Mariota


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How long has it taken you to get comfortable with the offense?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  I'm not sure I'm a hundred percent comfortable with it yet.  But we'll see.

Q.  Ryan talked about your ability to stay calm.  How do you keep yourself so calm as a freshman with all the guys around you?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  I don't know.  This is kind of the person I am.
I think if I were to ever credit something, it would probably be the way I was raised.  Hawaii, it's funny.  It's so slow, relaxing.  I feel that's kind of taken me to my core.

Q.  With DeAnthony and Kenjon, do you feel sometimes your arm gets overlooked in this offense?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  Whatever happens, happens.  Like I said, whatever happens, happens.

Q.  Have you gotten into 100% of the playbook or things yet to be ran?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  I'm sure Coach Kelly is thinking of some right now (smiling).
We'll see.  I'm sure he'll add his tweaks here and there.

Q.  Is it fun to run this offense for all these players?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  I have a whole lot of fun.  To be able to pass the ball to DeAnthony, hand the ball off to Kenjon, throw it out there to Josh, it's a whole lot of fun because you get to watch those guys do what they do.  They take a little pressure off myself.  I understand there's guys that can play.  They'll do their thing, put the offense in a good situation.

Q.  What is it like being Coach Kelly's quarterback?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  You know, it's an experience.  I think Coach Kelly, he always has his tweaks here and there.  To be able to learn from someone like that and Coach Helfrich, it's made me the quarterback I am today.  They're very good at teaching me, helping me understand the offensive concepts.

Q.  You talked about your head spinning the first day you stepped on the practice field.  Did you imagine yourself then being where you are now?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  That's hard to say.  I'm not sure.  You kind of dream of this, envision yourself having success like this.
To be able to go out there and do it is a whole 'nother thing.
It's been a fun process.  I'm looking forward to it.

Q.  Did you surprise yourself at all in your freshman season, what you were able to do, or did you have those expectations?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  I hold myself to a high standard; I always have.  Some of the success I've been surprised at.  I think it works both ways.

Q.  How do you manage the expectations going forward, not thinking about what you have to step for next year?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  My expectation is to continue to get better, run this offense the way it should be.  Really whatever the offense asks me today, I will.

Q.  Do you ever hear anything from the outside, feel like people are expecting you to do more?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  It's hard to say, because I don't try to pay attention to stuff like that.
When you try to listen to outside influences, that hurts your game.  I'm going to do what the offense asks me to do, what the team asks me to do.

Q.  How much does it help you as a young quarterback to start your career on such a big stage?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  To have the season, to have the foundation, to have this bowl game, it really just kind of sets off the future.
I think to be able to build off something like this, it's pivotal for any quarterback.  Really just makes people expect stuff.
But it all comes down to you.  When you've gone through these things, you have expectations for yourself.

Q.  As good as it's been, could have been even better.  Have you and your teammates let that go or do you think about you could have been in the national title game?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  We always have a 24‑hour policy.  It was a long 24 hours for some of us.
To have that loss I think not only helped us grow as a team, but it really kind of built this team up.  We always understand that it's not one loss, it's a whole body of what you've done.
We're looking forward to this next game.

Q.  What is the bond between you and your center like?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  It's what makes this offense go.  No matter what, he's the guy that points out stuff and makes sure we both are on the same page.  It all goes through him.
Really he's done a good job of just being this kind of steady force for us.

Q.  How much do you communicate during the game?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  I think it's come to a point where we're seeing the same things.  That's huge for us.  To be able to see the same things, understand where everyone has to be, puts this offense in a good situation.

Q.  How much decision making is being done at the line of scrimmage?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  It goes from understanding what he's seeing.  He's going to make his calls, and from there I have to make my calls.
It all happens for us in 10, 15 seconds.  I know it's fast, but to be able to have that kind of bond where you understand where each other is going is really pivotal for this offense.

Q.  When you score touchdowns, two tackles are missiles to the end zone, three guys in the middle bigger.
MARCUS MARIOTA:  It's fun to see that (laughter).
Jake and Tyler‑‑ Jake had a touchdown this year where he was running behind DeAnthony and he recovered in the end zone.  They're great athletes.
These guys, the guards, they're to a point where they're starting to get down there, too.
They come up and give me a little love, too.  It's fun both ways.  Fun offensive play.

Q.  Talking about Kyle on the edge, how impressed are you with him?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  I'm very impressed with Kyle.  To come into this offense and pick up the blocking schemes, the concepts of what we're doing here, he's done an awesome job.  Even though it took him a couple games, he filled in and has done well.

Q.  This happened fast for you.  Is this exactly what you expected?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  I don't know.  I have these visions.  I always try to hold myself to a high standard.  But to have the success we've had this season, to have the success that I have personally, it's been unreal.

Q.  You say 'visions,' you mean like dreams?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  Right.  Dreams and aspirations.  That's kind of how it is for me.

Q.  What has your experience been with Head Coach Chip Kelly?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  From the moment he gave me that opportunity to play here, he's been able to come up and give me his feedback.  Even though a lot of times head coaches are not accessible, he's the kind of guy that he's very into his players, understands what's going on.
To have that kind of head coach, it makes me very comfortable, makes you understand that he's behind you.

Q.  You know Mantei much at all?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  I knew of him in high school.  Back home you always kind of look forward to seeing guys play on the national level.  Mantei has been doing it for quite a while.  Like I say, I knew of him.  Haven't been able to communicate to him.  Maybe one day we can meet up, exchange phone numbers, be able to communicate that way.
What he's done, it's unreal.  It gives kids back home where we come from that light.  They can do the same things that not only myself but what he's done.
To have him on the level where he had the opportunity to get the Heisman, it's incredible.

Q.  How much does that mean to you, the culture you represent in Hawaii, to be able to do what you're doing here?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  We come from a place where you have so much pride in it.  To be able to represent that state, represent our culture, man, it's unreal.

Q.  Do you remember your first encounter with Chip?  I assume he made a home visit.  What was your impression?
MARCUS MARIOTA:  Oh, man, I think our first face‑to‑face, I think it was at the summer camp.  When I first got here, to be able to have him coach me, to be able to have him give me criticism was something that made me the quarterback I am today.
I was taken aback a little bit.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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