Jim, just from your frame of mind, I'm sure you're going to be hearing this if you haven't already, about your performance and how you bounce back and how you just kind of put it in your mind, how you move it around and get rid of it before the next game—
"Well, I mean—just being a person, this feeling is
horrible. It's a feeling I didn't want to go through this year. It's our first
adversity as a team. I'm going to do everything in my power to just lose this
feeling because the feeling in the pit of my stomach is just awful. But I mean
the way I bounce back is, you know, as few as there were, just take the
positives out of the game. And realize that we have a team, that if we—I mean,
we've got experience, but we've still got a lot of young guys. So, I mean, we
have a team where if we don't bounce back then, you know, things can probably
get pretty bad pretty quick. So this is when the leadership and the older guys
who, you know, are the playmakers, are the leaders of this team got to step up
and just you know, lead. Just show these kids, show these young kids and prove
to ourselves that, you know we're still a dang good football team. Everybody's
still got confidence. I mean, there's a feeling around the locker room that
Saturday wasn't supposed to happen. And that's a good feeling, that's the
feeling you're supposed to have, because if you had the feeling that, well
Saturday's just a game and you know what happened, happened and you know, maybe
it was supposed to happen then you're not in the right place. We're going to
watch the film today. We're going to meet and we're going to have a little walk
through today and we're going to get everything straightened out and just move
Jim, when you look back on Saturday, do you see that your struggles were more physical or mental or a combination thereof?
"Physically, I was fine. I mean, little bumps and bruises, but nothing to hurt the way I played. The game plan was there, we knew what they were going to do. My reads were good. Where I was throwing the ball was the right place to throw the ball. It didn't always end up in the right place. The ball was kind of sailing on me, it was a little high at times, which was the cause of the two interceptions. Just, you know, I was prepared for the game. I was ready to go out there and I knew what I was going to see. I was focused, I was ready to go. Throughout the course of the game, I, you know, just a little jittery at times with my feet and stuff like that not getting my feet set and making the throw. But, you know, the two interceptions and stuff like that, they just, you know, I went to the right place, I made the right read. As a quarterback, that's what you want to do and that is what you want to see, but then it just comes to delivering the ball. You don't want to make excuses about why certain things happen. Um, it was wet, that's why—I mean, we play football. We don't play basketball, indoors and we don't play baseball, where they postpone the game. I mean we go out there and play. And you know, my games that I've played in the rain before I've played pretty good. Saturday just seemed like one of those days."
Jim, Jeff Horton, after the game, said when they pulled you out that one series to settle you down a little bit. You mentioned just now, your feet being a little jittery, is it anxious excitement because you know the playmakers you have on offense or was it a case of nerves for you on Saturday?
"At this point in my career, being how old I am and how long I've been around, you know, you're still nervous before a game the nerves is not about whether I'm going to play good or bad, it's just about getting another opportunity to go out there and play. So, it has nothing to do with going out there and being nervous about what I'm going see and what I'm going to get and getting hit or anything like that. Um, you know, it was just basically to just calm down, just, you know, relax and just play. Like, you know, I remember the first game this year, against West Virginia, I was out there I was focused, you know, my jaw was locked and I was ready to go. You know, I was prepared, and I was prepared on Saturday also, it was just, you know a different atmosphere and I can't really explain the feeling. It's just I needed to calm down, gain my composure, my poise back and just, and go out there. And then, you know, the second half I played a better half than I did in the first half. You know, I was hitting some throws that were pretty tough and to do that in the rain, you know, it built my confidence up a little bit more in the second half. But, you know, if you eliminate turnovers, which turnovers are going to kill you, I mean, especially when you have the ball, I think, across the 40 (yard line) like, nine, ten times during the course of the game (nine) and to only come away with a field goal on offense is pretty disappointing after the effort we put forth against Akron."
Jim, do you think you ever get too excited or too emotional sometimes, that kind of what you're talking about, or not?
"I mean, me and my dad talked about that this weekend. He says never get too high and never get too low. And he's been telling me that since I was a kid, but I think, maybe that is a little bit what I did. You know, you can't get a better feeling than when you're playing Akron and you throw a 99-yard touchdown pass. And it's kind of a highlight of my career. But what happened Saturday, is—I don't want to take what happened Saturday and just be down in the dumps. I mean, I want to know that we lost and know that we need to improve and get better and go back the basics. But, I don't want to take the loss as an opportunity to, to just pack it in. Because it's not that and I'm going to take that advice and then maybe just look at it a little more now and just stay even keel. Never—don't get too excited when things are going well and don't get too down when things are going bad, just because of the fact that you don't know when it's going to flip-flop on you."
Jim, tell me if you disagree, but you seemed more hurried this Saturday than you have been all season. Do you attribute that more to problems within the Wisconsin offense or the fact that UNLV was just really strong, defensively?
"I mean they were a good defensive team. They were quick and you know, they were strong. I don't think it had anything to do with offensive schemes or something like that because, I mean, we knew they were going to come in and they were going to blitz. We've been seeing the blitz all season so far and we did, you know, a great job dealing with it the first couple games. Saturday is just one of those games when you're playing in the rain, they're blitzing, um, you get down by a little bit and you've got to throw the ball a little more, and you know those things are going to happen. But, I still think the offensive line played a great game on Saturday, and you can attribute things that happened just based on—I mean, you can call it one of those days, but if a couple things go different it's not one of those days, it's—it ends up being a pretty good day for us. But you take it as it comes and that's the way it happens."
Jim, coming off a game like this past Saturday, how important is it for you and just for the team in general to still have one more game before the conference season starts?
"It's pretty huge that this game, that this happened, you know, early. You don't want this to happen, but if it does, I mean you don't want it to be in the conference. And to have a loss, however bad it may be, it shed a light knowing that you've still got a chance to achieve your goal, which is to be Big Ten champs. And you know, maybe the team and maybe myself, individually, was just sitting on our laurels a little bit. You know, we had a pretty good first two games and you know, offense was feeling pretty good about ourselves. Maybe this knocks us down a few notches and you know, we know we still have to go out there and prepare and treat every opponent, like, you know, we're not going to just roll our helmets out there and win. We have to go out there and play."
Jim, you saw the highs and lows Brooks (Bollinger) went through over the last three years—fans love you one week, they hate you the next, that's part of being a starting quarterback. Did anything you watched with him going to help you this week, get through a week like this. And, you know, did learn anything from that do you think?
"I mean, Brooks and I both went through a couple highs and lows the past couple years, so you know, he helped me get through them and I helped him through them and hopefully he'll give me a call and help me get through this one, but, you know, he did teach me a lot about, you know, just staying even keel, just knowing what you can do and knowing that you're the starting quarterback of this team. And you're a man — you win like a man, you lose like a man. We won our first two games and, you know, we lost this weekend, but, you know, I'm going to take it like it comes, just going to prepare even harder and I'm going to do everything I can to get this feeling out of my stomach."
Anthony (Davis) is such a difference-maker on offense if you're without him. Can you talk about what you're going to do to make up for that?
"I haven't seen Anthony since Saturday, so I don't know the extent of his injury. I don't know if coach mentioned it or anything like that. I don't know if he knows. I'll probably find out today whether or not he will be healthy or not. But I mean—he's a play-maker. He's a player. And when you lose a player on your team, especially on your side of the ball, it hurts. It's going to hurt your offense, but I don't think anybody thinks that Dwayne (Smith) is an uncapable back-up. I think he's able to carry the load if Anthony can't go and we have a couple of great backs behind him in Jerone (Pettus) and Booker (Stanley). It's going to hurt if A.D. can't play, but you know I know he's going to do everything he can with rehab and stuff to get back and get back as soon as possible. But you know if he's out, I don't think the offense is going to take a step back."
Jim, did anything that happened Saturday shake your confidence in kind of the potential of this team and what you guys can do this year?
"It didn't shake the confidence of the team. It didn't shake my confidence, but it did show you that you know, you're not supermen out there. You're human beings. You're men out there playing a sport. Anything can happen on any given day and on Saturday UNLV got the best of us. Of course, you don't want that to happen. It happened, but you just have got to deal with it and move on. I don't think, I don't think anybody's confidence in what the offense can do is shaken. We still had a ton of big plays on Saturday even though it didn't end up in scoring chances. But you know a couple of things happen differently, we punch the ball in a couple more times and it's a different story. I'm going to go watch film and see what I could have done better and I'm going to correct it."