Paus: "I Want to Play Right Now"

The fifth-year senior quarterback concedes he didn't play well in the first half of the Colorado State game. But he says he feels great and is ready to prove himself...

In the situation where you threw the interception, what happened?

"It's different when you're in the endzone. In any other situation, if you can get away from the people you just throw the ball away. But I don't know. I had a brain fart, so to speak, in the endzone. All I saw was Mike Seidman. I thought, ‘I'll throw it to him, he'll catch it.' Then all of a sudden, interception. Not a good situation."

What did you think of your performance?

"It's never as bad as it seems and never as good as it seems. If there are some things that you think at the time are extremely bad, they're usually not that bad. If you think you played unbelievably, you usually find out that you could have played better.

I wasn't happy with the way I played in the first half. I was glad that I was able to get the first game of my senior season and the first chance of me playing football again after a lot or rollercoaster thing going on. I was glad I was able to control that energy and come out and play better in the third quarter. The third quarter was really the last passing I did. I handed the ball off after that. I'm just really focusing on that. The first half is over with really. The interception and a couple of passes I threw extremely high are the ones I'd like to have back, but I can't have back. I'm confident and positive about the way I felt. The things I was doing wrong – throwing high – I was throwing the ball too hard. In the past, people said you don't throw the ball hard enough. Well, I did this time. I felt stronger, and I felt quicker. It was just a matter of me getting used to that and relaxing, because I was really excited to play. I felt like I got in tune, and harnassed the new feeling, the new adrenalin, by the third quarter. If we would have lost I would have felt completely responsible."

Did you think you could move the ball against Colorado State?

"Colorado State ran a lot of Cover 2 on passing situations, and for most of the game. We should be able to pass the ball very well against a Cover 2. And it allowed us to run the ball very well. We took advantage of that with our offensive line doing a great job running the ball and doing a great job pass blocking. I think playing against a team that had played two games, and them coming off a great win for themselves, I was really happy with the way the whole team handled ourselves. If I would have played a little better in the first half the game would have been different. It wouldn't have been such a close game. But it happened. And I'm glad that we were extremely happy to get the victory."

What'd you think of Drew Olson coming in for you in the second half?

"If I would have come out and not throw some of those passes and not thrown that interception, Drew would have gone in during the second quarter as planned. I was grateful for Coach Toledo to leave me in there after a poor first half and let me go in there and get on track. As long as I did that, I know he still wanted to stick with the original game plan and get Drew Olson in there. So, that's the way we had to do it. I don't think there was any other way to do it. When he went in there and what he did, we would have done anyway. We were starting to wear them down a bit, so he went in there and handed the ball off. Threw a couple of short passes. He could have left him in another series and he would have done the same thing. Even though the game was close, we were looking at it like – we can run the ball right now. So, run the ball, get a couple of short passes. We were focused on doing that. So, I think that's why it was a good time for him to go in even though it was the fourth quarter."

So, you like the way it turned out, with how Olson was used?

"I thought Coach Toledo made a great decision on his part. I seem to be on a short leash with fans, and I'm glad he allowed me to go in there in the third quarter and get on track and make a couple of good throws. Think about it the other way. If I would have thrown that interception, thrown a couple of those bad throws, and I come out of the game getting some boos. And they put the other kid in. It would have been obvious what he could have done. But him allowing me to go in there and continue to play it gave me an opportunity to relax.

Do you pay attention to the fan reaction?

"Sometimes. I'm not surprised that there are a lot of expectations. I am a senior quarterback. People don't forget easily, the things that happen in the past. And I wouldn't expect them to. Sometimes you do feel some vibes and things, and rightfully so, too, with some of the throws I made in the first half. But I don't expect it to happen again."

What's the plan with Olson the rest of the way?

"Coach Toledo told me that as soon as the Pac-10 conference starts, we're not planning on getting him ready to go. But that's the Pac-10. I'm not sure what the plan is. For the non-conference I don't think it will be any more or less than it was last week. I have no problems with it. As long as I can stay on track and feel confident in my ability. Or feel like I need to be out there, to get some of the rust out. As long as that's not the case, I don't have any problem with not going."

But there isn't a quarterback controversy?

"If I would have come and out and gone 1 for 6 in the third quarter, as opposed to five or six, and didn't get back on track, there wouldn't be a quarterback controversy I think still. But since I did do that, it makes it easier. I finished the game off on a strong note and that makes it a little easier on all of us, especially the coaching staff and the offense in general to think, ‘He got his rust out. He came and played better in the third quarter. Everything's fine.' We're going to continue to be positive no matter what. It's going to make it a little harder to stir it up if I play well. If I play well, it's obvious that there's no quarterback controversy. And then, what can you write about?"

How do you feel about the defense?

"I feel great. I always felt that Coach Snow did a great job. I played against his teams in the past, ASU. At UCLA we always have these top recruiting classes year in and year out and I think Coach Snow does a phenomenal job with that talent. But I think it's clear that the defense is always ahead of the game in preparation. Playing a team that had played already, they have all their first game jitters out. So our defense had a better chance to be But our defense has been really good in the last couple of years."

Do you think the offense will play better?

"The offense is going to play much better than it did in the first half. The offensive line, the running game were good. If we can hit some key passes and keep the ball, get some better field position, our offense is going to be good. But it makes it a lot easier that our defense is so solid. They should be further along, and they are, and they're very good. But I think the offense will catch up. I'm excited about how good we could be. I'm not even worried about myself. I can play better than I did in that first half. I'm going to take care of mine."

Were you really surprised by how you played in the first half?

"I wasn't really surprised. I don't know what I was. I felt a lot different out there. That's all I know. Whether it was because of my head and the past, and coming into the season last year and having a lot more going on off the field and all that, but I felt different. I felt better. Even though I didn't play well, I felt better. It's kind of weird. It doesn't make much sense, but you guys don't have to believe ity\. I don't care. It's all about how I feel about myself. I felt so much better. I felt physically so much better. My thumb didn't hurt. It didn't hurt to grab the ball. I know I threw the ball harder than I ever have thrown the ball. My pre-game warmups I was throwing really good. Then I got out there and I threw that one pass to hard to Tab [Perry] and I threw another one hard to Craig [Bragg], and I threw a couple of passes that I usually don't overthrow. I'm looking forward to going again. I want to play right now."


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