Nov. 29, 2011
Watch Wilson Press Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin senior quarterback Russell Wilson reflected on the Badgers' 45-7 win over Penn State and looked ahead to Saturday's inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game during his weekly press conference Monday at Camp Randall Stadium.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Wilson's remarks can be found below.
QUESTION #1: Usually, after a win or a loss, the coaches like to say you have 24-hour rule to enjoy it. Was it shorter, longer period of time to enjoy the win and know what you've got next to turn the page to?
WILSON: I think I enjoyed the win just like the rest of the guys for the same amount of time, in terms of that 24-hour period. We had to move on, because the game's so close. We're playing this weekend, so it's exciting for us to go to the first-ever Big Ten championship, so we're excited about that opportunity, and we have to play a great game against Michigan State.
QUESTION #2: Russell, can you, I mean, you seem like a pretty even keel guy, but can you talk about the excitement of having a shot at the Rose Bowl? I mean, this is kind of part of the reason you came here. Right?
WILSON: Definitely. And the reason I came here is because I want to be a part of something great and something special the tradition here, the atmosphere Coach (Bret) Bielema, Coach (Paul) Chryst, and the players. And I knew that if I came here, that we'd have an opportunity to excel and possibly have an opportunity to play for the first-ever Big Ten championship and go to the Rose Bowl.
QUESTION #3: Along those lines of why you came here, this is obviously one of those games. The Ohio States of the world, the Michigans, and all the, I guess as Coach Bielema said, the big boys, they're not in this game, but Wisconsin is. And I'm just curious to know what's that mean to you to have this one opportunity to kind of demonstrate that Wisconsin is maybe the face of the Big Ten?
WILSON: Well, I think that Wisconsin's a big boy. I think the fact that we've won 10 games in the past three years and done extremely well this season and played some great competition every single week proves that we're one of the better teams, obviously. And we get to go against Michigan State, a team that we lost to in a tough game, a battle back and forth, and it's going to be a great opportunity and a great battle.
QUESTION #4: Russell, I apologize for a multi-tiered question. But I'm curious if you've watched the video of Kirk Cousin's presentation of the Big Ten earlier this year, what your reaction to it was? And I know you're not competing against him head to head, but what do you, what's impressive about his game to you?
WILSON: Well, the speech that Kirk Cousins had wowed me. I was like, `Man, who is this guy?' Obviously, he speaks very well. He's a very intelligent person and a very intelligent player. I got to speak with him after the game, the game that we lost, and I just told him `Great game,' and he played extremely well, and just, hopefully, that we'd see him again. You know, I like the way he plays. He plays with a lot of composure. He's a very consistent player and plays hard every single play, so that's the impressive part about him.
QUESTION #5: Russell, part of coming here maybe was the national championship possibility, a little part. How long did it take you to reconcile that you would not be playing for a national championship and reset your goals for some other pretty big-time opportunities here?
WILSON: Well, every season you start up, you want to end up No. 1, obviously, and it all starts with winning your conference, And we have an opportunity to do that this weekend, and that's the way that we look at things right now.
I love the game of football. Win, lose, or draw, at any point I love the game, and that's what I play for. I play for trying to be the best every day individually and also as a team. And I think that we have a great team. I think we have guys that really push themselves to be the best, and we'll have to show that this weekend.
QUESTION #6: Russell, how much experience do you have playing in a dome like what you'll face at Lucas Oil (Stadium), and how do you prepare for that kind of atmosphere where Bielema said you don't know what kind of split it'll be among the fans?
WILSON: Well, I think it'll be pretty much an even split, which is the exciting part, and you get to play in a pro stadium, which is always awesome. Playing indoors, I've never played indoors before in an actual game -- we obviously practice indoors sometimes here, so I'm sure we do that quite often this week -- and so it's going to be a great atmosphere. I know it's going to be loud in there. Obviously, with everything being pretty much in tight quarters, being indoors, it's going to be pretty loud in there, and that's the fun part about it.
QUESTION #7: Russell, how good is this rivalry with Michigan State? And I don't know where it ranks with the players among rivals, but it seems to be climbing that list. Would you agree?
WILSON: I guess I could consider it a rival game. It's definitely two of the best teams I'd say in terms of we've got a great defense. We have a great offense. They have a great defense. They have a great offense. So it's going to be a battle, and I think that's usually the case pretty much every season.
QUESTION #8: I've got a question. It's known that you go to the hospital and visit some of the children. My question is like how does that impact you? How much does that inspire you to play well on the field?
WILSON: Well, the reason I go to the hospital is for multiple reasons. But with my dad being sick, and me having to go to the hospital several times to go visit him, it was always an emotional experience for me. And I realize how blessed I truly am every day to just to be able to walk, to be able to throw the football, to be able to do different things.
And it's a thing where maybe I can touch somebody else through my play or through my words or through my actions, whatever it is. There's a lot of people that look up to me, and a lot of kids that want to wear No. 16 jerseys or play on the football field, and I just want to let them know that I'm thinking about them and praying for them. Every single week I go, it's probably the best thing I do all week, to be honest with you. It's better than playing the games. It's something special.
QUESTION #9: Russell, most of the attention around here this season has been focused on the offense with good reason, but what have you thought of the defense, and, especially lately?
WILSON: Well, the defense has come up huge all year. They've came up with some huge, huge turnovers in some big situations. And that's the thing about them. They're never going to let up. And we talk about that all the time, and I tell those guys all the time on the sidelines, `Hey, get us a couple of turnovers if you can. Give us the ball one more time,' and I guess it's good field position when they do that.
And they've been playing well all season. Obviously, we've got some great players on defense. We've got some great linebackers, got a great defensive line, and the DBs are coming up with some big interceptions, as well. So, when you have a defense that can get you the ball in the short field, that always helps our offense.
QUESTION #10: Win or lose, you always try to take a lesson, something from a game. So from the last game, when you played Michigan State, what's the lesson that you or you hope your teammates will take from that, that will benefit you this time around?
WILSON: I always grade myself every single week. I go through the film, I grade myself, and I just think about, OK, well first, technique, did I do it right technique-wise? And then, second of all, I just trace back to the actual emotion or the mental part of that particular play of that game. I think about how well we were doing and then the negative things that happened, and if I could've changed anything that I did.
I think more than anything, for example, the safety. We got kind of caught in a funny situation there on the 2-yard line. I come out, play-action fake, the guy's blocked initially, and then all of a sudden he comes out of nowhere, and I just have to think about, OK, well, what can I do in that situation? I think the only thing I could've possibly done is maybe before the play, is possibly think about what's my escape plan? How am I going to do this?
And that's growing as a quarterback. I think you always have to, mentally, as a quarterback. The more I've learned, and the more experience I've gotten, the mental aspect of it has to be there every single play. I think I've done that extremely well this season, and maybe that one play I took off, I don't know. Maybe somebody else took off. We don't know what it is. But I have to make sure that everybody else is on the same page, and I think that all starts with the communication.
Communication with myself, before the play mentally visualizing, OK, what's going to happen? What possibly could happen? The time on the clock, whatever it is, and then, also communicating with my teammates, making sure that they're understanding the situation, down and distance, any possible situations that could possibly happen, and I think that's where it all starts.
QUESTION #11: And speaking about the mindset, in games where Michigan State and the Badgers have gone back and forth, there's been a rollercoaster ride, give and take in it. What's the key in terms of the mindset of you that the teammates need to have in knowing that the game is, it's not going to probably be a 45-0 type game one way or the other?
WILSON: I think the best thing you can do is have a great week of practice. And then, in terms of the game, play one play at a time. That one particular play has to be the best play of the day. I think that's the way you win a game. That's the way you win a game against a great team (like) Michigan State. And we have a great team too, so it's one of those things where whoever's focused the longest is probably going to win.
QUESTION #12: Russell, your mobility is obviously one of your biggest assets as a quarterback. There were a couple of plays against Penn State where you broke a couple tackles. You turned a potential negative play into a big play. Is there a demoralizing effect on a defense when that happens, and can you tell? And what kind of role do you think your mobility will play this weekend?
WILSON: Well, in terms of my running ability, I'm always looking to pass first. I believe that I can make any throw on the field. I go through my progressions first, and if something's not there, now it's time to improvise. A couple times (against) Penn State, I knew it was third down. We had to come up with a huge first down. Things weren't there and I had to make sure we got the first down to keep the drive moving and so we could score.
A couple times, I don't know how broke some tackles. I don't know what happened, but I broke some tackles, got some key first downs, and I think that'll help against Michigan State, obviously. You know, you always want to throw with timing and get the ball to the right guy at the right time, but sometimes it's not there. Sometimes they make a great call or make a great play, and we have to come up with a first down and gain some positive yards there.
QUESTION #13: Both teams could play the having a chip on their shoulder card view from you guys losing the last time, Michigan State from not getting to go to the Rose Bowl last year and losing out to the Badgers. Does that mindset help at all, revenge, or is it not a factor this time around?
WILSON: I don't think it's a factor. I think the factor is you're playing for a lot. A lot's at stake. You know, you're playing for the first-ever Big Ten championship. You know, 100 years from now, people are going to look back and say Wisconsin, Michigan State, who won? And I think that's something that is truly important. I think, also, you're playing for yourself. You're playing for your teammates. You're playing for your fans and your school, and then you have the opportunity to go to the Rose Bowl. There's not too many opportunities to do that in a lifetime, so it's going to be a great opportunity for us.