Here's the second half of my interview with Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema. For Part I, click here.
With John Clay, is there one area of his game or his overall approach that has been different this year?
Bret Bielema: He really is getting it: what it means to practice, what it means to prepare, what it means to handle game day, what it means to respond to a negative situation. He had a game [against Wofford] where he fumbled a lot, and came back and played very well. He obviously had a negative play at the end of the Northwestern game, and I think he'll move forward. I like his overall approach to the way he goes about his every-day business.
And it sounds like he fully intends to come back to Wisconsin in 2010.
BB: I don't think there was ever even a doubt. I don't know where that came from. John and I were laughing about it because I knew he had no intentions [of leaving for the NFL], but that's just how people react.
With Scott [Tolzien], he has been somewhat of a surprise. How has he approached this season?
BB: He realizes he doesn't have to be perfect. If he tried to be perfect every play, every game, it's just not going to happen. He's just got to handle the game as it comes at him and take advantage of the shots you get and be able to move forward. I really like the way he progressed all season, and hopefully, he'll make the same amount of growth and put himself in position for a great senior year.
You guys have been out to Hawaii before. It's been a tough place to play for some Big Ten teams in the past. What stands out to you about this Hawaii team?
BB: They've won their last four games, they're playing very well, it'll be senior day, if they win, they get a chance at a bowl game. So there's a lot of factors riding on it for them to have success.
And for you guys, having a chance to play on New Year's Day is important. You've done that a lot the last two decades. How much is that an incentive for the players, the possibility of playing on New Year's Day?
BB: The big thing for us is we want to play well to move ourselves forward as a football team. One of the goals we've had is to make daily fundamental improvement. Our guys really believe in that. Now the byproduct of us playing well is we win a football game and it makes us better for any bowl game. It could be a factor, but a lot depends on some other things, too.