Clay Pushing Forward

Seeing his playing time and carries increase each week, freshman John Clay finds himself an intricate part of the offense and talks about what the Badgers need to do this week to get their season back on track.

When you look at the defensive line that Iowa has and when you watch them on film, do they remind you of any front four that you have faced this year?

I'd say they are more like Ohio State. They like to sit in the gabs, plug the holes and make it very hard for us to find our run keys. I would say that going against a guy like Mike Newkirk all the time, how high end and nonstop he is, it's going to be good because he's always trying to make a play and never gives up.

Wisconsin has been known for running the football but the Badgers haven't had a 100-yard rusher since conference play began. Is that a surprise or a credit to the teams you've played?

I'd say both. It's playing good competition, but it's also about us not being focused and not producing like we should or did in the beginning of the year. There is a lot of stiff competition out there knowing that (running) is what we're best at and stop us at it. People know that we like to run the ball so they load up the box and try to take out our main thing we do. We just need to say on our keys, pass the ball more and open up the offense so we can run more.

You talked about producing. The execution struggles the offense has been having has been brought up a lot with the amount of procedure penalties and timeouts. Is that a surprise to you that you've had issues before the snap that has caused penalties or timeouts?

It's surprising. It's just mental mistakes and not knowing where we need to line up or the situation with the clocks. We know that we need to be on top of our keys and what we have to do.

Is that something that can easily be polished? It seems like that issue has lingered for you guys the last couple weeks?

Yeah it can be easily be fixed, but everybody's got to know their job and watch what we're doing. We've got to know our assignments.

Depending on who you talk to, some players say this is a ‘must-win' game on Saturday or that this team is getting close to ‘panic mode.' For you, which category would you fall into to describe you guys right now or none of the above?

I would just say none of the above because we just have to break out of this losing streak. We just need to get a ‘W' under our belt and hopefully that will get our juices flowing a little bit. Hopefully that will keep us going with wins.

Have you enjoyed your increased role in the offense and showing the coaches that you do belong as a part of this offense?

It's always good to show the coaches that I can do what they want. I am giving the confidence for them to put me in any situation, not just certain ones. It helps a lot, especially running with P.J. When we're both in the backfield, they can't stop both of us. One of us is going to break out on a big play so it's a lose-lose situation.

This is your first trophy game. Every game is important at this stage but what does it mean playing in a game with so much history between the two schools?

The fact that we have trophies here shows that we have been on our job the last couple of years and that we knew what we needed to do to win the game. The trophy is just an added bonus for us in order to keep it our house.

There's still six games left in our season and if you win out, you guys are at 9-3. Is the approach this team taking that a win this Saturday gets you back on track and it opens more doors for you guys?

Yeah, you can say that. We know what people are saying but we just focus in on what is going on in our house and not worry about what other people are saying about us. We just have to take these games one game at a time and prepare for each opponent like it is our last.

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