"First off, I'm all right. It was kind of scary during the game, but physically I'm fine. I just want to thank everybody for being concerned about me during the game, after the game, this weekend. I appreciate and I'm grateful for the concern and the support I got. I did receive a call from (Robert) Reynolds last night and he did apologize to me over the phone and we talked about it and I accepted his apology. I know how things get during the game and I know how things can happen. He made a mistake and it's a sign of a man when you can make a mistake like that and call and apologize for it. As for the repercussions of the incident, I'm not real sure what's going to happen. It's out of my hands. I have no idea, it's up to the Big Ten and the NCAA. I'm sure they will handle it accordingly. And as for that, it was a great win this weekend. It was huge for the program and for the national stature of this team. We're all excited, it was a great atmosphere and we've got another big game coming up this week. As you get down the line in the Big Ten, games become bigger and bigger and with (ESPN's) GameDay coming here I'm sure the atmosphere will be just like it was this last weekend at the Camp. And so, as for that, it's an incident that happened. We're past it now. He apologized, I accepted his apology and we're moving on. That's pretty much all I have to say about that incident and what happened there. So, if you guys have any questions about the Ohio State game, or about the upcoming game against Purdue, I'll be happy to answer any questions."
Jim, could you talk about what you said to Matt (Schabert) when he entered the game this past Saturday?
"Well, I kind of told him this is what you prepare for. I never really thought I was out of the game for good, but things happen and I said this is what you prepare for. This is what I prepared for for three years backing up Brooks (Bollinger) and was ready to do. And I said, ‘You're ready, you've been around the program long enough' and I just told him, ‘Go win this one for me, please.' I really wanted this one and he stepped up like he's supposed to do. He did a great job."
Jim, how will your vocal cords be for Saturday? Can you bark out calls, will that be a concern?
"I've gotten better these last couple days. That's pretty much the main reason I couldn't go back in the game on Saturday. Right now, physically I'm fine. I could talk. I've been trying to rest my voice the last couple days and it has gotten better. I'm going to practice this week and I'm definitely going to play in this game on Saturday."
Can you just say, Jim, what you physical condition was at the time? Were you having a hard time breathing initially? Could you talk at all? Could you just elaborate on that a little bit?
"Well, yeah, I can elaborate on that a little bit. I was having a hard time breathing, coming off the sidelines. I was having a hard time just getting my wind and just had a hard time talking in that voice that you need to be out there playing as a quarterback and that's the reason I didn't go back in that game.
Jim, you mentioned you didn't think you'd be out the entire game, that you might be able to come back. Other than the obvious pain, can you talk about what you were feeling when the play was happening. When he was choking you, essentially, the shock you were feeling and what was going through your mind in those initial moments on the field.
"It was pretty shocking, but like I said it was the heat of the game and things happen and I just kind of want to leave it at that."
Jim, how much of a sense did you get that the team really rallied around you from that point?
"In that sense it was actually an uplifting event. I think the team rallied around me. I think it kind of angered some of my teammates to the point where they were willing to fight for me. As you see, at the end of the play, when (Jonathan Clinkscale) and Donovan (Raiola) finally realized what was going on, they came to my rescue. On the sidelines, people were coming up to me saying, ‘We've got this one for you' and, ‘You're going to be alright.' It was more of a giving us a willingness to fight more so than a willingness to retaliate. I didn't think any of my teammates were going to retaliate on any of their players, which they didn't. They just buckled up their chinstraps and went out there and played aggressively and played physical. I think some of it has to do with the incident that happened, but I was real proud of the way they played and coming through like that."
Last week you all were so hyped for the Ohio State game and sometimes you know with College GameDay coming that could be considered a distraction, but coming off the win, do you think it is a good thing, that it definitely won't let you have a let down this week?
"There is always that let down. You've seen it this year with a couple of teams — Oregon beating Michigan and then coming back and losing the next week and other teams like that. But I think given this win against the defending National Champs and breaking the 19-game winning streak and you start to feel pretty good about yourself. This game coming up this week is two highly ranked teams in the Big Ten, two undefeated teams and both fighting for that top spot in the league. I think with Game Day here and everybody kind of realizes that we can't lose our focus; we need to go out there and play this game just like we played the last one. If we reenact that performance, we are going to be a pretty tough team to beat."
Jim, you had talked about your situation being a rallying point in the game. You guys had a loss to overcome earlier this year with the (UNLV) game. You've been around five teams now, can you gage the chemistry on this team and also who some of the leaders have become when they need to respond to an adverse situation?
"Well, you don't always look at leadership with age. The way some guys have just been stepping up this year…Brett Bell going down and Levonne Rowan coming and being able to start at corner and be effective, Booker (Stanley) coming in at tailback and just leading. The offense starts with the two lines – the (defensive) line and the offensive line are just playing immaculate football right now. They are just being physical and just being relentless. When your defensive and offensive lines are playing like that you are going to be hard to beat. The chemistry on this team…everybody just loves to play football and everybody just likes being around each other. We've had that kind of chemistry in years past, but this year compared to last year and a couple years previous, we are winning those games that we couldn't find a way to win these last couple years. It's a good feeling knowing these guys, as young as we are, still a young football team, we're veterans. We've been in this situation before. It's just this year things are going right."
Jim, can you talk about what you remember from the 2000 game against Purdue? That was a wild game. You and Drew Brees were pretty much matching each other throw for throw, if I remember right.
"Right, that was a pretty crazy day for me. It was my first start ever. It was against Purdue and Drew Brees and it was on Homecoming – kind of the same atmosphere that is going to go on this week. It was a great game and I played well that game and made some big throws. It always sticks in the back of your mind when you lose on a blocked kick in overtime, but just look at that as an experience. I went through a couple tough games when I was younger, losing as a starter and hopefully the tables are turned. I am the older guy, I am the more experienced guy. I started out the season 0-5 as a starter and now I am .500, I'm 6-6, so it feels pretty good. And we are 6-1 as a football team and we've got a big game this weekend and you know we'll come out and play hard and play like we can and get this win this weekend and I think things will just start rolling."
Is there stuff that goes on in piles that people don't have any idea about. Is it fairly common or uncommon?
"It's fairly common. You are at the bottom of the pile and people are trying to rip the ball out or grip the ball out and things happen down there. That is just a part of football. I've never had something like that happen to me and I am sure something like that will never happen again ever in the sport. Like I said, I talked to Reynolds last night on the phone. He was very apologetic and he said it was uncharacteristic of him. Like I said, it takes a man to apologize. He seems like a good guy and I am sure he regrets what he did. We are all going to move on from it. They've got a game this week and we've got a game this week and it was the last time I am ever going to play against Ohio State, so I am going to put it past me and move on."
Jim, can you talk about Brandon Williams? Coach Alvarez called him just a great competitor and then can you talk about the complement he gives you with Lee (Evans)?
"Brandon Williams is a guy who is going to go out and make plays for you. He is small in stature, but he's got a huge heart and he just loves to play the game. If you've got 11 Brandon Williams on the field, you are going to win. He's got the confidence – sometimes he's too overconfident and you've got to calm him down a little bit, but he's a good guy. He's a good friend of mine and he's a great compliment to this football team. He just gives you that kind of receiver that is going to…he is sure-handed, he is going to make plays. If you give him the ball in a situation where he can run, he's electric – he is going to make something happen. It is a great compliment to Lee. Lee wasn't catching the ball early in the game and we weren't getting the ball to him on some routes, but Brandon was coming open and making plays. And Lee, when it was time to do what Lee does, Lee did what he does and it works. He works in this offense and his offense wouldn't be what it was without Brandon Williams."
Jim, what do you know about Purdue's defense if anything and what's your concern about them?
"I know they've got a lot of returning starters. I know they're a pretty solid defense. I believe I played against a couple of the guys when I first started against Purdue a couple of years back. They are going to be a team that is going to be tough to beat if we beat ourselves. We can't make mistakes. We have to go out there and play efficient football and I've got to do what I've been doing – just manage the game and just take it one play at a time and just play football. I think if we can play clean, solid football I think we have a real good chance of winning this football game."
You sat up here with so much confidence a week ago and you seemed to feel so good. I am sure the team pretty much responded the way you expected, but where did that confidence come from? Why were you so confident a week ago?
"It just comes from what everyone was talking about. We
play in the Big Ten, and the Big Ten is a tough league. After that loss to UNLV
coming back and getting a big win against North Carolina and then going on the
road to two Big Ten teams and beating two good Big Ten teams on the road... it
is a huge advantage and it is a big confidence booster. I think everybody on the
team knows what kind of team we can be and it is all shaping up. The way we are
playing there is nothing to do but have confidence. You've got to have
confidence in yourself and in your team and have that swagger about you if you
plan on beating anybody. It is hard not to be confident and pumped up when
you've got the defending national champions coming in to Camp Randall at eight
o'clock at night. And it was just an electric atmosphere as it will be this
week. Purdue is a very solid football team and it is going to be a very good
game and with GameDay there and you know, a nationally televised game it is
going to be the same of atmosphere and we need come out and play the same kind