Postgame interview: Griff Whalen

In the Fiesta Bowl, Andrew Luck shook up the season-long pecking order. Over the course of the season, the Cardinal's set of three NFL-caliber tight ends—Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo—have been Luck's favorite targets, with the corps of wide receivers playing second fiddle.

All of that changed in the Fiesta Bowl, when Luck targeted senior receiver Griff Whalen repeatedly at critical junctures late in the game. Whalen finished the evening with seven catches for 85 yards, including a couple of big plays that moved the chains on third downs. The Bootleg talked with Whalen after the Fiesta Bowl, about the game itself and the future of Stanford football.

The Bootleg: What's your first reaction to losing the Fiesta Bowl?

GW: Obviously, we're disappointed. We played hard and worked hard for it for a long time, but we gotta give them all the credit. They had a lot of big plays and played a great game—again, all the credit to them.

Late in the game, you and Andrew seemed to develop a chemistry where he was hitting you for a lot of big plays, a lot of third downs. How you were able to get open and develop that connection?

GW: Our coaches do a good job of just putting us in the right situations. I'm just trying to do my job and doing what I'm supposed to do. Andrew does a great job of finding me.

In the postgame press conference, Coach Shaw said that you guys weren't able to finish. What specifically do you think prevented you guys from doing that?

GW: I mean, I think it's a lot of things. I think everyone was pretty tired at the end of the game—it's been a long time since we played. I don't want to make any excuses for what happened. I think they just made the plays that counted at the end when it came down to it.

Do you still see this season as a success? You guys did go 11-2, especially considering where this program has been.

GW: Yeah, I mean it's not like a failure because we didn't go undefeated or anything. Obviously, our goal is to win every game. But, to be realistic, that can't happen for everybody. We're not disappointed. We're proud of what we've done and where we've brought the program the last four years.

Do you think you guys will be able to sustain this level of success in the future?

GW: I do. I think the right people are in place, as far as the administration and the coaches. A lot of really talented young guys are already here and a lot more are coming in, so I think they will.

Talking about some of those young guys, can you talk a little bit about Ty Montgomery's performance today?

GW: He's just been really turning it on the whole second half of the season. He's something special to watch: a real talented young kid, a smart, mature kid. He's going to do a lot of great things.

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