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ROSE BOWL GAME: MICHIGAN STATE v STANFORD


December 29, 2013


Tyler Gaffney


PASADENA, CALIFORNIA

Q.テつ What was it like to be at your first Lawry's Beef Bowl, not your second, as so many people loved asking in those interviews?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ It was awesome.テつ To see tradition going back more than 50 years, to be a part of that.テつ They really make a restaurant become really Hollywood really special.テつ And I think all the guys can appreciate that, whether my first year, their second year, this is what you play for, for opportunities like that.

Q.テつ You were down here for the game last year?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I was.

Q.テつ What was the week like for you?テつ Were you down for a lot of the festivities?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I was only down here for two days, like the 31st and the 1st.テつ It was sweet, to be a fan here, this is a special place as a fan.テつ They really get you going, they get everybody together and you can feel the emotions from the fans.

Q.テつ How is the body feeling now, tear down itself after that ASU game?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ The body's feeling good.テつ I'm ready to play.テつ We just have to wait until the 1st at this point.

Q.テつ What do you think the emotions are going to be after you step out on the field after such a long wait?テつ I know a big reason why you came back was to win a title and get to this game.
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ This is why you come back.テつ This is why I guess anybody plays the game of college football.
To step out on that field finally after ASU is almost a relief.テつ You almost feel little training camp‑esque of beating up on each other for too long everybody trying to get.テつ At this point we're ready to go.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible) team experience?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ No, we kept it smart.テつ We were smart about how we practiced.

Q.テつ You don't wear the noncontact jerseys ever?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ No, that's not my style I can't be part of the yellow jersey crew.

Q.テつ What would you say to Toby Gerhart that he does?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Everyone has their own liking.テつ Just not my style.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY: テつI think it was a great call.テつ Coming back, it was a great call.テつ For any college player, I think that's why you play college football, why you show up every day in the grind, to have these type of opportunities.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ You know, I never told him specifically that I want the ball more, but I let him know that I'm not tired.テつ I haven't been tired.テつ Whenever he chose to take me out, it was his decision; it wasn't because I wasn't physically able to go back in.テつ I think it was just one game it broke through that I wasn't going to be tired throughout the game, and we kind of went smooth sailing from there.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ The offensive line is unbelievable.テつ Coach Bloomgren does a great job with them.テつ They know‑‑ they have to be the smartest offensive line in the country, knowing exactly how the scheme fits, knowing where the other four are going to be.
Once we all got on the same page, the same mesh, I think they know, they can feel myself running behind them and they can‑‑ I feel exactly where the front five are going to be.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I love the wildcat.テつ It gives you an opportunity to be an athlete.テつ You get the ball, you see there's not just one hole drawn up.テつ There can be multiple.テつ You hit it with everything you've got and hope for the best.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I see a big physical defense that plays team defense.テつ They really trust each other.テつ They believe in their scheme and they're not going to shy away from it, to go outside of their own job.テつ They know as a unit they're going to be successful.

Q.テつ As the week goes on, the media buildup, how has it changed your perspective?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ It just makes the game a little bit‑‑ more higher touted.テつ You really realize what the Rose Bowl is.テつ When you first got here you saw the festivities, but as the game gets closer, you can feel the energy of the Rose Bowl, of the tradition.
We went to the Beef Lawry's Bowl yesterday, and 50‑plus years of great teams, great NFL Hall of Famers that have been through that, to be a part of that is something special.

Q.テつ What's the most asked question every single day?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Every single day, most asked question is what about baseball, something about baseball.テつ I've heard that question far too many times.

Q.テつ How was the weather?テつ You're a California guy.
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Unbelievable weather.テつ A little warm, but that's all you can ask for.テつ I think Michigan, the guys from Michigan are enjoying this type of weather.

Q.テつ As you stood up here by yourself, is it different looking out over the room?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ No.テつ These are my guys.テつ Any one of them could be up here.テつ We have a bunch of studs.テつ I just happened to give I guess good answers that the media like.

Q.テつ Any strange questions that have stuck out in your mind that people have asked where you're like, Really, dude?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Just pretty cliche questions, asking me if this is the right decision about coming back.テつ And I'm in the Rose Bowl with the Stanford Cardinal, with my brothers, and I think it's a pretty obvious question this is the right decision.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I did.テつ They always welcome me with open arms.テつ They have great facilities.テつ The trainer, Tara Hall, is awesome.テつ She does wonders and helps me out.テつ It's a great place to be able to go back to.テつ People from San Diego know that that school is damn near a small college campus.テつ This is pretty unreal.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I did.テつ I was getting updates here and there from multiple people and stuff.テつ I gotta give it up to them.テつ Those guys are in their first DivisionI game and they won.テつ That's what we can ask for.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I think once you get accepted to Stanford it's a no‑brainer.テつ The school is an Ivy League education.テつ The sports are top tier.テつ They win the Directors Cup pretty much every year.
The weather, the weather's unreal, not too far off San Diego.テつ And it becomes a no‑brainer from there.テつ The other schools are‑‑ playing two sports was also a big part of that, and Toby Gerhart had been doing that, for example, and I couldn't shy away from that.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I think anybody who comes from the West Coast, goes to a West Coast school, especially in the Pac, has the Rose Bowl in mind.テつ That's why you play football, just to be in the granddaddy Rose Bowl.
It's something special.テつ Probably the most special game I'll be a part of in my college career.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ San Diego running backs, there's a stable of them.テつ I'm glad to be mentioned in the top tier of those athletes.テつ You can't ask for much more.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I think it's going to come down to being tough, being physical, executing.テつ They pride themselves on stopping the run.テつ We pride ourselves on making the run happen.
It's going to be a wearing battle, and I look forward to the challenge.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ It's a mentality.テつ I physically prepared myself to be able to carry the ball.テつ The O‑line helps make my job a little bit easier.テつ Once it comes down to that, it's all heart and soul from there.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ They know exactly how their defensive linemen are going to fit into the O‑line.テつ They know they can trust their DBs.テつ They have the top two corners in the nation, I'd say.
And they know exactly where they're going to fit in.テつ There's never two of them in the same spot.テつ So they know that they trust each other.

Q.テつ What do you feel the loss of (indiscernible) impact?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ We don't feel‑‑ we know he was the heart and soul and captain of their defense.テつ But we have to say they're going to have 11 guys on their field.テつ We have to expect they're going to replace a guy who is going to do the exact same job.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible) line of scrimmage.テつ What have you seen out of them the way they get after running backs?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ They play to make their linebackers make the play.テつ They're taking up double teams.テつ They're staying in their spot.テつ They're not getting out of their own jobs to make the play that way being able to‑‑ they have a defense that plays team defense.テつ And they trust each other, and their linebackers especially know exactly where they fit in.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I'd say they remind me of Notre Dame.テつ They're big, they're physical.テつ They're smart, and they do their job well.

Q.テつ Strength on the outside corners, kind of mentioned, maybe something to the advantage for you to have more of a workload?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I think guys like Ty Montgomery, Michael Rector, Devon Cajuste are rather excited for this type of challenge.
You can only get better by playing the best in the nation.テつ You can really see where you're graded at there.
I think those guys are going to step it up.テつ Obviously I'm willing to take the workload, but this is going to be a team game because they stacked the box and they stopped the run relatively well.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ It's just one of those games you can't really explain.テつ Things got away from us.テつ We weren't playing how we played most the end of this year.テつ And this is just one of those games that we definitely didn't overlook it.テつ We prepared just like we prepared for any other game.テつ But stuff happens and we had to rebound from that, and I think we did relatively well on that.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ You can always wonder, if they make the completion and it's a touchdown, Coach is the greatest guy in the year; if he doesn't, it seems to be wrong.テつ Either way he's going to be criticized if it was successful or not.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I think we're going to stick with our same game plan, but obviously it's going to be adjustments.テつ They run one front.テつ They run one style of defense.テつ And they do it well.テつ So we're going to have to adjust to them because they're not going to shy away from what they do.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Yeah, mentoring the young guys is something I've found out that I have really enjoyed doing.テつ There's a lot of nicks and knacks about the game of football, about being a running back.テつ I feel I've been here long enough to have picked up some of those and stuff that you don't really just learn by the coaches.テつ You have to learn by playing.テつ And I'm more than happy to help the young guys.
I think they've made significant strides, day and night, from the beginning of the year to now.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible) the difference in the game?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ The difference is heart.テつ They're big, physical.テつ They stop the run.テつ We're big and physical and we make the run happen.テつ It's going to come down to who is going to crumble, who is going to stay strong.

Q.テつ Talk about this is your first Rose Bowl experience.テつ Last year you were sitting in the stands.テつ What has the experience been like?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ This experience is unreal.テつ I've heard what‑‑ I grilled the guys last year about this, how was this, how was that, how was Beef Lawry's Bowl, how was the Improv, the whole experience.テつ It's more than what they told me.テつ This is real special.テつ To be in the 100th Rose Bowl, to be in the Rose Bowl as a West Coast kid, as a Pac‑12 player, this is what you ask for as a college football player.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I'd say I gained the appreciation for the game.テつ I think everybody‑‑ I've told all my class guys that:テつ Look around.テつ Stanford‑‑ we have tourists every day at Stanford looking at our school that we just happen to wake up at every day.テつ 99percent of college football teams aren't here at the Rose Bowl, aren't here being able to do what we're doing.
I told them embrace this opportunity because I can tell you when I've been on a ten‑hour bus ride from the middle of nowhere in New York to the middle of nowhere in Connecticut, this is royalty compared to that.

Q.テつ Who else were you looking at out of high school?テつ Was Stanford a slam dunk?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I was looking at USC and Notre Dame as well.テつ Those two schools were on my‑‑ part of my top three list along with Stanford.テつ Notre Dame, baseball coach wasn't too high up on me playing baseball, so had to nix that right away.
Once you get into Stanford, it's a no‑brainer.テつ They offer you everything.テつ It's really a lifetime decision.テつ For the next 40 years, you're going to be in a good spot with a Stanford degree.テつ Playing for a top‑tier baseball team, playing for a top‑tier football team is all you can ask for coming out of high school.

Q.テつ With baseball, I know you were going back and forth, stuff like that.テつ Which was your focus going at?テつ Were you a baseball player playing football or were you a football player playing baseball?テつ How did you see it?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ It depends who you ask.テつ To some people, a football guy trying to swing a bat.テつ Other people I was a baseball guy who happened to be able to run.
I consider myself one or the other depending on the season.テつ I have an on switch and off switch.テつ No other gear.テつ When I'm in baseball mode, I'm a baseball player.テつ And same with football.テつ I'm going to be fully vested in the sport I'm playing.

Q.テつ Stanford has a history of kind of the dual‑sport guys.テつ I'm sure that was part of the recruiting pitch as well, both?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ It was being able to do both was a huge factor in me in any of the schools I was choosing.テつ They had a guy, Toby Gerhart, currently doing both, currently being successful at both, and I thought that was a perfect example.テつ If he could do it I could do it, and that helped solidify my decision.

Q.テつ Last year you get to watch it; this year you get to play in it.テつ What's the difference besides the obvious?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ The biggest difference was the adrenalin.テつ Every day it gets closer, the adrenalin rush is getting there.テつ As opposed to as a fan, I didn't even notice until the day before the game.
But the emotions, I can tell you the fans bring emotions like I've never seen.テつ Stanford fans are out of the woodwork, and you really feel a part of the game up in the stands.テつ But I can't wait to be on the field and actually be a part of the game.

Q.テつ Seems like this team and this program always has the ability to control their emotions.テつ Why is that and where does that come from?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ It takes a certain individual to be here at Stanford, and I think what the older guys preach to the younger guys kind of instills in them.
Like I said, it takes a certain individual to be here, and they control their emotions.テつ They know that even keeled is the best way to be.テつ You could never be too high or too low to be successful in this game.

Q.テつ Were you here when Kevin Hogan came in as a true freshman?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Yes.

Q.テつ Think back to what he was like then and now where he is currently.テつ Where have you seen the biggest jump in his game?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Kevin Hogan has always been a playmaker.テつ We like to joke around he was a young Brett Favre, the gunslinger just slinging the ball around.
He knows what to do.テつ He knows how to read the defense and not just making plays.テつ I think the making plays aspect really helped him to where he is today because now he's smart about what he does.

Q.テつ Late in the game you know it's going to be competitive, you know the defense (indiscernible) arguably the best in America.テつ How do you see this playing out in your mind as you visualize the ball?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I see a lot of bruises, a lot of blood, a lot of dust.テつ It's going to come down to who is tougher, who is going to execute more, who is going to crumble, and who is going to stay strong.

Q.テつ Speaking of staying strong, we heard there was a very strong singing performance last night.テつ Could you talk about the performance, and where would you grade it on the scale of performances?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I wouldn't say it was one of Wilkerson's best, but I've seen him sing many times, so I think I have a bit more advantage than the common eyes.テつ He's very entertaining nevertheless.

Q.テつ If you guys win, are you going to start chanting his name (indiscernible) in the locker room?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ If we win, I think you'll hear the whole team singing a song.テつ It's going to be an exciting time.

Q.テつ Bloomgren said the other day that you (indiscernible).テつ How did that come about and what were you seeing?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Bloomgren asked‑‑ Coach Bloomgren asked me to speak in front of the team, kind of tell them what the game means to me, especially as somebody who stepped away from the game and came back.
I feel honored to talk in front of these guys.テつ I've done plenty of public speaking in my life.テつ That's something I've looked into after sports are done.
And getting in front of my brothers, was almost speechless.テつ I couldn't believe that I was having this opportunity.テつ And I'm glad to help rally these guys.テつ I'm glad to share the wisdom I've had.テつ I've been here four‑plus years, to really let the young guys know how special this game is, how lucky an opportunity we have, I think, is big time for the old guys to let them know.

Q.テつ Off the top of your head or prepared remarks?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I usually go off the top of my head.テつ I usually have a couple bullet points I like to talk about, but I think from there it means a lot more if you can hear from the heart as opposed to you're just reading off maybe an iPhone or something.

Q.テつ When you decided to come back, it's like January or February, how were you able to enroll in school?テつ Was that pretty seamless in terms of getting back into spring semester?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Yeah, it was a little bit of a different process.テつ Coming back from baseball to football was about the same.テつ There's a little longer hiatus.

Q.テつ In terms of actually getting enrolled and starting, when do classes start that spring semester?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Classes started in early April, I believe.テつ Maybe end of March.テつ So I missed the first half of spring ball because I wasn't enrolled in school yet so wasn't allowed to.テつ But it was Stanford made it an easy process.テつ They told me where I had to be, what I had to do, where to sign my name.
The coaches were involved.テつ Everybody made it very welcoming process for me.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Yeah.

Q.テつ And then decided you wanted to keep it, would you still have been able to do that or are you on the clock with (indiscernible) or could you have come back?テつ If you put it off one more year, decided to play two, could you still have come back and played the final year of football?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ With the logistics, yes.テつ I think you can play up to six years.テつ Physically, you know, I'm not sure if I stayed in the baseball mode where I'd be at physically.
That was definitely something, consideration, if I was going to do it, it's going to be now, where I've only taken a year off as opposed to two years.
But logistically I think that you're allowed to because I think once the clock starts it's six years and that would have been my sixth year.

Q.テつ I thought it was a great statement that the game comes down to they stop the run, you make it happen, and then you (indiscernible).テつ How do you make them crumble, make sure it's not you?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I don't think this team has a crumble personality in them at all.テつ I think that's what we preached.テつ I think that's why we came to Stanford, being around these guys.
If you have that in you, we'll whip it out of you, I'd say.テつ We practice what we preach.テつ And if you are going to have that mentality, you're going to get exposed in this program, you're going to have to pick it up or you're going to have to‑‑ we're on the same track, you're either with us or you're falling behind.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible)?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Yeah.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible) in the meantime you're going to be done with a double major, is that what I read?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Yeah, I should.テつ It's going to be a little bit of a crunch, but I should be done with sociology and psychology.

Q.テつ And outside of sports, where do your interests lie?テつ What do you think professionally‑‑
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Outside of sports I'd love to be something along the public speaking, broadcasting, lobbying.テつ I'd love to tell people what they already know in a different manner.
I think I do fairly well in front of crowds, talking.テつ Which isn't an easy trait I've heard from most people, public speaking.テつ And I'd love to do it.テつ It's something that I've done throughout my career but I'll really focus on when sports aren't an option anymore.

Q.テつ Do you remember watching the 2007 game, the SC‑Stanford game?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Yes.

Q.テつ Did you watch that?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ Yes.

Q.テつ What do you remember about that?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ I remember it being 42‑point underdog or something along those lines.テつ And at halftime the game was very close.テつ And I couldn't believe it.テつ I was like, wow, they can do this.
But you have your doubts that‑‑ I was pretty neutral at this point.テつ But to see my coach, Coach Tavita Pritchard, not that I knew it yet, but he ‑‑ to make that happen is unreal.テつ The biggest upset in college football history.

Q.テつ You mentioned that you had spent pregame with Stanford fans.テつ Were you sipping wine, eating shrimp cocktails?テつ What was the pregame experience like?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ It was the whole tailgating experience.テつ We were having a great time.

Q.テつ What do you remember eating?
TYLER GAFFNEY:テつ They had everything‑‑ every type of food, prime rib.テつ Mexican culture.テつ They had Eastern culture.テつ Everything.テつ So it was all three.テつ I was walking around, stopping here, stopping there.テつ All you can ask for.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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