Dec. 5, 2010
Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema and TCU head coach Gary Patterson spoke with the media on a conference call on Sunday night after the Rose Bowl matchup between the two schools was announced. A complete transcript can be found below.
THE MODERATOR: On behalf of the Tournament of Roses, welcome. We'd like to start off with a comment from Jeff Throop, President of the Tournament of Roses.
JEFF THROOP: On behalf of the Tournament of Roses, we are delighted to welcome the Wisconsin Badgers and TCU Horned Frogs to the 97th Rose Bowl game presented by Vizio. We congratulate both coaches for a terrific regular season and look forward to welcoming both of you to Pasadena for the granddaddy of them all.
THE MODERATOR: I'd like to introduce Head Coach Bret Bielema.
COACH BIELEMA: Congratulations to Coach [Gary] Patterson and TCU, excellent football team that ran through the season undefeated, a special task there that they handled very, very well.
Excited for our team to be invited to the granddaddy of them all. Growing up and playing in this conference and coming full circle to take a team there as a head coach to the Rose Bowl is a very special season for us and a great memory to cap it off and obviously a great opponent to play against. Looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge.
THE MODERATOR: Welcome Head Coach Gary Patterson.
COACH PATTERSON: I'd like to do the same to Coach Bielema and the Wisconsin Badgers, what a wonderful season they had. Came so close to be conference champs and be part of this Rose Bowl, and I want to thank the Rose Bowl committee for staying with TCU and letting us be a part of this. It's a great honor to know that we're only four or five teams ever outside of the Pac 10 and Big Ten to ever have a chance to play in this game is quite an honor for us in what we're trying to get accomplished as a program, to be a part of it. You cannot even fathom the excitement that our team has for it. We truly thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
QUESTION #1: Coach Patterson, remember talking on the field after the Utah game at that point, a lot of conversation, speculation on whether you would make it to the national championship game. The way things played out, is there any disappointment over not getting that opportunity? And does the fact that you're going to the Rose Bowl rather than any particular other Bowl change that any?
COACH PATTERSON: I think Coach Bielema would tell you the same. We've all strived to play for the national championship. But we feel like we're playing a team that's worthy of a national championship in Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
Probably playing the best football of anybody, as good as anybody was, at the end of the season. And it's going to be quite a challenge for us. So obviously everybody's always disappointed.
It's kind of like you don't get a toy underneath the tree, but you always get one just as good. I will tell you, like I said in my opening statement, to have a chance to be a part of such a great group of pageantry and the historical part of what the Rose Bowl represents, the 97th Rose Bowl for us is a dream come true.
So there's no disappointment here. Our kids are way excited. They're all in force tonight over at our gymnasium. And we're just excited to get going.
QUESTION #2: Coach Bielema, could you talk about what a unique season it was in the Big Ten this year and what an honor it is for you guys to be representing the conference in the Rose Bowl after a three way tie with Ohio State and Michigan State, and how unique that was and how nice it is, obviously, to get the nod in the BCS standings to be in this game?
COACH BIELEMA: I think, first off, going into league play this year we knew there were going to be a lot of very good football teams, knew you were going to have to be strong to survive. To lose our opening Big Ten game against Michigan State, they played very well. We played not as good as we could. And leaving the locker room I felt this was a championship level team. I really did.
We had a tough task to beat Ohio State in Ohio in back to back weeks, and we were able to accomplish that. Had a bye week, and moved through the schedule to be co champs with the Michigan State and Ohio State team is very rewarding as well because Ohio State's had a hand in this championship, in the championship for the last six years running.
To beat them the way we did I think was very significant. But that's behind us. We put ourselves in a good opportunity to play in this game, and I know we'll represent the conference well.
QUESTION #3: Coach Bielema, from the program's perspective and maybe a personal perspective of your own, since you've taken over, you've had a nice streak of reaching Bowls, but obviously this is the biggest one. And you took over for a guy like Coach [Barry] Alvarez, who sort of made his name at Wisconsin by getting to and winning Rose Bowls. How sweet is it for you personally to make this game and be in the same kind of situation that Coach Alvarez was in years ago when he put Wisconsin back on the map, how nice is it for you and how looking forward to the opportunity are you to kind of put yourself on that level if you can get a win in this game?
COACH BIELEMA: I think from a head coaching point of view it's very rewarding to reach the level of success we've had to get to a BCS game. I'll be the first to tell you there was nobody more excited when we won a championship and for us to get this Rose Bowl announcement than Coach Alvarez. What he did was great and it was a product of a lot of work and dedication by him, his staff and his players.
I know he's excited for me to get that one, to get a championship, and for our team to be able to go to the Rose Bowl and accomplish something that is very, very special.
He won three in 10 years, which has never been done before in this league. So it's a daunting task to take on. But very excited about the challenge and look forward to the preparation to get there.
QUESTION #4: Gary, just wonder, it seems like these are teams that are fairly similar and especially down the stretch when they were just scoring at will. I wonder if you could compare the two teams a little bit.
COACH PATTERSON: It's hard to do that in some ways, because in different conferences and things you did, we do it differently. But the one thing both offenses I think do is they're very well they've done a great job in the red zone. They come at you all day long. And they pack a lunch pail. In a ballgame like this, you know you have to get ready because everybody is going to get healthy and everybody's refreshed.
As you heard, I think both teams are very excited about playing in this ballgame because it's been a while for Wisconsin since they've been there and this is our first time.
So to be a part of this game, and that's what our whole group at TCU is going to try to get accomplished is to represent well, and like all of us do, we just try to win by one point. Both of us will try to do that. I think you're going to see a great ball game. I think both sides have a lot of weapons.
QUESTION #5: Coach Bielema, you take a lot of pride obviously in the style of football you play at Wisconsin and the powerful running game. TCU under Gary Patterson has been long known having the best rushing defense. Can you talk about, have you watched them at all over the years, and this year in particular, and what kind of challenge that will present?
COACH BIELEMA: I think the thing that jumped out to me right away when TCU began to have success under Coach Patterson was how well they play defensively and what they do. So it's going to be a unique challenge for us.
They're a little bit different than the routine stuff that we see here in the Big Ten. But it was kind of interesting. I would always kind of grab some scouts, NFL scouts as they came through, and we don't see TCU much. Obviously little glimpses on TV that I've been able to capture all year. But all those things people commonly said was how well coached they were, how hard they play and how fast they play.
I myself haven't seen much film at this point just because I didn't want to jinx ourselves. I'm a big believer in not seeing anything until it's real. Because of the beauty of the Internet and being able to use technology, we'll get the film going as soon as tomorrow morning and run ourselves through it.
QUESTION #6: Coach Patterson, just talk about when you took over the program, did you ever think it would reach this level, where you're one of the top 5 teams in the country?
COACH PATTERSON: Not 10 years ago. We had so far to go facility wise and everything else that we needed to do as a group. But we just imploded our stadium today and we've raised $130 million for a new stadium, new weight room and new locker room. Already done a new football facility along with an indoor practice field.
This is the last piece of the puzzle. The thing I've been most excited about is we've been able to do it as a university.
Five years, six years ago I said after the 2004 season some day we wanted to get a chance as a program to play in a BCS game. And last year we were able to accomplish that. And we feel like this is another step.
We feel like the Rose Bowl, playing in the Rose Bowl is a step forward, because of the competition that we're going to get a chance to face in an unbelievable Wisconsin team.
For us, I think it just makes a big difference. Last year we played against a Boise [State] team. And we played before and we were both good football teams. We already knew each other and had already played the year before.
Getting an opportunity and the excitement about playing a team like Wisconsin and how they play in the Big Ten and the kind of teams that the Big Ten has is a challenge for us.
We're looking forward to it. And to think right now not only as our players but myself, knowing, growing up as a young man sitting on New Year's Day, watching the Rose Bowl and earlier in the day watching the Rose Bowl Parade and knowing that I'm going to get a chance to stand down on the field and be a part of this game is truly an honor.
That's just not coach speak. That's to get a chance to be that, I think our kids and our staff has just been out of this world when we found out that we had a possibility of this happening.
We're getting an opportunity to let it all hang out, and go for it. Just like I'm sure Wisconsin is going to do themselves. So it's going to be a lot of fun. It's two class programs that play very hard, base themselves on and go at you on offense and play rugged on defense. It's going to be fun to watch and see people play.
Gary Patterson and fans is going to love this, not just as a coach but as a fan. You say you're glad you got an opportunity in this day and time to be part of this game. And here we go.
QUESTION #7: Gary, this is probably going to be seen as a matchup of their size up front against your smaller defensive front. Is that in itself a problem, or have you faced anything similar to this?
COACH PATTERSON: I don't think we faced anything like Wisconsin. I mean, they're number fifth, should be higher ranked team in the nation. They're a very good football. They can come at you with three running backs. The quarterback does a great job of managing the ball game and moving the ball around and play action. They come at you with all different personnel groups.
We have to get ready. I'm glad we have as much time as we have to get healthy and stronger and get back on our feet, because obviously, just like as has been said before earlier in programs today, it's a matchup. But it's not a matchup we haven't had to deal with because we've always been a team that's been built on speed and one of the things our kids are, they're very strong in the weight room. And we'll have to play great leverage and we're going to have to tackle well. There's no doubt about that.
The best thing we can do is be able to play well on offense, because the best way to keep their offense off the field is for us to be able to move the football and hold it and then score some points. So we're going to have to see how it goes.
QUESTION #8: The rule that benefited you in getting into the Rose Bowl I don't think a lot of people were aware of it at the beginning of the season. And I wonder when you became aware of the rule and when it was that you thought, hey, this might help us this year?
COACH PATTERSON: I can't tell you specifically. It might have been back at the Fiesta [Bowl], one of the events where the Rose Bowl representatives were there. And then they talked about it. And it might have been even last year when they were coming through at one of our final ball games talking about this year was one of the year that a nonqualifying school that was highly ranked to get into this ball game.
So obviously they knew something that we didn't. And I'm sure glad that we got the opportunity, because it's definitely been a great surprise.
QUESTION #9: Coach Bielema, could you compare and contrast the two quarterbacks in this game? I mean, the bottom line between [Andy] Dalton and [Scott] Tolzien, kind of looks the same. They both win a lot of ball games but they're not really anywhere alike, really, in terms of play. Could you talk about the two QBs in this game?
COACH BIELEMA: I can talk about ours a great deal. I have so much respect for Scott in what he's done and how he's handled his business; great kid, great competitor.
From everything I've seen on a limited basis with Andy, he's a guy that makes them go. When he plays well, TCU plays well. And from everything I've learned about him, a great competitor. And the thing that's neat is to watch these kids play well in big ball games. I know both quarterbacks will take that as a challenge and move themselves forward.
Everybody always wants to say from an offensive point of view that's the field general, he's the guy that makes all the decisions and makes things happen from that perspective and Scott's done a nice job for us and hopefully he'll continue to do that for one more game.
The only sad part is whatever happens on Jan. 1 it's the last game I'll be able to be with Scotty, and that's a hard thing to take, because he's been so special for us and such a great kid.
QUESTION #10: Coach Patterson, on top of that, just talk about Andy [Dalton] and not a highly recruited guy but now he's one of the top quarterbacks in the country?
COACH PATTERSON: Well, I would follow up with what Bret said about his quarterback. Both of them, a senior. He's been a starter since he's been a redshirt freshman; took his lumps early. We were 8 5 his redshirt freshman year. And ever since then he's won a lot of football games.
But for me, as a coach and a field general and also as a friend for having a guy be his last football game, have a redhead always leading the huddle, doing all the things he's done for us on and off the field. If you read his story, you know it's been truly tremendous.
And they both have learned how to win ball games. I think that's the thing that I watch on both quarterbacks. It's a lot of fun to see them do things and the way they carry themselves. They do it with class. They play hard. They love big games. They do all of that.
I think all of us as coaches, you kind of step back and say that's the kind of people we like to be around. I think that's exactly what the Rose Bowl is getting is two quarterbacks that love big games that are class acts that are going to handle themselves, always represent their universities in the right way and get an opportunity to play on a big stage. So I think both of them I'm sure are looking forward to it.
I know Andy is, especially after last year. He did not feel like he played very well in the Fiesta Bowl. And to get a chance to come back and get one more chance, I think that's something that he looks forward to, and we'll see how it turns out.