Dec. 28, 2015

Q: I know it’s a long stretch, but how excited are you guys for this matchup?

Will Fuller: We’re real excited you know. Ohio State is a great opportunity for us, so we’re definitely going to take advantage of that and try to get this win.

Q: How great of an opponent is Ohio State?

Will Fuller: You know they’re real great. They won a National Championship last year so they’re rolling on a high horse. It’s going to be a real good game for us.

Q: Notre Dame hasn’t won a major bowl game in, you know, two decades. What would it mean to you to be a part of the team that, you know, got that for the Irish?

Will Fuller: The team that got us started. We look at ‘127’ as a great thing for us. It would be great to leave 127 with a win.

Q: The seniors decided not to put the names on the jerseys. Why do you think the team decided to do that?

Will Fuller: Just because it’s about the team. I know some guys wanted the names on the back of the jerseys, but you know everybody coming together, it was about the team. It was best we left the names off the back.

Q: What do you guys gotta’ do to beat Ohio State?

Will Fuller: Just play our game. You know we don’t have to live up to anyone else’s game style. If we just play our game, that will be enough to win the game.

Q: Obviously we got to ask you about your future. Have you made a decision on whether or not you’re coming back?

Will Fuller: No, I haven’t made a decision. I’m just focused on the game right now. I will worry about it after.

Q: When do you think you’ll have it figured out?

Will Fuller: I’m not sure. Sometime after the game, I’m not sure yet.

Q: Have you gotten your review back from the NFL?

Will Fuller: Yeah, I got it back but I don’t want to talk about it.

Q: But were you happy with it?

Will Fuller: Maybe, I don’t know. Maybe.

Q: Coach Sanford coming in this year, what influence do you think he had and just how much he helped?

Will Fuller: They have similar game-calling styles. But I think they help one another out and give each other different ways to look at it. You know, that’s always a complex for our offense. It was good to get a different mindset back there.

Q: For this game, you’re a big-time player, this is a huge game. Do you live for moments like this to have an opportunity on a national stage?

Will Fuller: Yeah, of course. We know they have a great defense. You know they have players that everyone knows from their d-line to their cornerbacks.

Q: What would a win mean for you guys after the season you had?

Will Fuller: It would be a perfect way to end the season. We wish we would’ve been in one of the bigger games, but we’re here so we gotta finish it out as strong as possible.

Q: Preparing for their defense, in particular their defensive backfield, how have you studied them? What do you see of them that gives you some understanding of why they’ve had success the past couple of years? What do you see that they’re doing that they’re successful.

Will Fuller: They have a great all-around defense. It’s not just their defensive backs. Some of the pressures that they bring to get to the quarterback, pressuring the quarterback. Just looking at their defensive structure. Their d-backs are real good at pushing receivers to the sideline. We have to a real good job and just work with that.

Q: It seems like in watching you all ââ’¬” I think you all have like six plays of at least 70 yards ââ’¬” you all have an offense that is explosive at times and I wonder it’s similar to Ohio State last year. They were able to hit people with big downfield passes and change momentum of games. How big of a factor for you all, particularly yourself, in hitting a big play, to change momentum of a game?

Will Fuller: It’s really big. It gets the defense on their heels when they’re trying to be aggressive. That just comes with the run game and how good we’re doing in the run game for play-action passes and trying to get behind Ohio State.

Q: When this game was announced, you know sitting there on Sunday, waiting to hear where you’re going. What immediately popped into your head when you saw Ohio State?

Will Fuller: I was just really excited. I think that’s one of the best games we could ask for, besides being in the two other games that we would’ve liked to be in. Ohio State is a great opponent and we know it’s a great opportunity for us.

Q: Have you found yourself, maybe over your Christmas break, studying rosters? Just out of curiosity to look up who you’re playing and who the guys are?

Will Fuller: No, I know some of the guys and we look at the scouting reports of the defensive backs. I wasn’t just like looking guys up.

Q: There are so many All-Americans on both teams. Even for the Playoff it would be rare to have this many All-Americans on one field. Did that grab ya’lls attention?

Will Fuller: I mean you hear the media talking about it, possible first and second round picks and all that nonsense. I try to tune all that out and just focus on the game.

Q: Are you surprised at the way that DeShone has played? Seems like he has handled it from extreme comfort since he was on the field at Virginia. It’s rare to have a guy come in and seem as comfortable as he has been. What’s been your experience with him that maybe explains why he has had that success?

Will Fuller: Just his work ethic. Ever since he was behind Malik he was working hard. Once he finally got that opportunity, I feel like he was already ready. The confidence just built throughout the season, you know, as he continued to start games for us. You could just tell in practice and in games his demeanor and leadership. He just got better each and every week.

Q: His leadership wasn’t there?

Will Fuller: It was there but it just got better throughout him starting games for us.

Q: With him being an Ohio guy, has he mentioned anything about what this means to him?

Will Fuller: Oh yeah, him and Malik are always talking about it because they’re both from Ohio. They’re always saying this is the biggest game of their life. I think its real good for them being from Ohio.

Q: Does that add anything more to this game, being that it’s Ohio State and Notre Dame, two very good schools?

Will Fuller: I think it does. Its two national powerhouse schools. It can give us a lot of leeway in recruitment and things of that nature but just as for the game, two great teams been having success lately so it’s going to be a great game.

Q: In a bowl week, how difficult is it to wait around for Friday? You sit around for what seems like forever. How does that change what you all as players go through? It’s almost like an endurance race to get to the actual finish.

Will Fuller: We’ve been practicing. We just got back from a little break. You know we’re all ready. We’re out there grinding to get ready for the game.

Q: So you guys are here now. Obviously it’s been a lot of build-up between Christmas break. What’s the vibe been like and how you guys are feeling?

Will Fuller: We’re excited. We’re always excited to get back together after a few days away. But we’re excited. Practice went real well yesterday, we’re just ready to play the game.

Q: You got voted by the rest of the team as MVP, how are you feeling personally as far as your role in facing Ohio State?

Will Fuller: The same way that I did the whole season. Just going out there and doing what I can do, to the best of my ability, for my team. Whether that’s blocking or catching a long pass. Whatever that is to make the team better.

Q: Can you talk about how Ohio State, I know they’re missing a few guys on defense. But kind of talk about that matchup and what sort of challenges Ohio State’s defense presents?

Will Fuller: That’s a good defense. At each level their defense has one of the top players in the country at each level. So it’s going to be a great opportunity for us. They’re going to give us a handful but I think we’re ready to go out and compete.

Q: I know you guys had a first day of practice yesterday ââ’¬” without pads ââ’¬” how did it feel to you guys kind of flying around out there here in Scottsdale?

Will Fuller: It was good to get back. You know, sitting around for a couple of days, getting back to football things is always good.

Q: Can you talk about the wide receiver corps? I know you guys are super close and some of your guys’ last game. Can you talk about what this game means to you guys as a unit?

Will Fuller: It means a lot ’cause we all came in young and we grew up together. It’s cool to see how we evolved to how we are now from being backups and watching T.J. and DaVaris to how we are now. It’s cool knowing that this is his last game and how much we grew.

Q: Can you talk about your growth process? Denbrock and Coach Kelly have talked about it but from your perspective how much do you feel you’ve grown in this program?

Will Fuller: I definitely grown a lot. Just thinking how good I was when I was a freshman and looking at the film and saying ‘whoa’ I’ve made a big jump and it’s all respect to our coaching staff and continuing to develop us as players.

Q: Can you talk about how you’re handling your business this week and you’re going to think about your future after the game’s done?

Will Fuller: I don’t want to put any added attention on myself so I am just focused on the game and ready to get after it.

Q: That is a question you’re getting a lot these days, a lot of people are asking that. Can you just talk about the fact that you’re getting that question a lot?

Will Fuller: I am definitely getting that question a lot. I guess from the success that I’ve had but like I said, I’m just worried about the game right now.

Q: What do you think the key is ââ’¬” offensively ââ’¬” what is the key to victory against Ohio State?

Will Fuller: Just keeping the ball above the sticks so they can’t get into any of their crazy blitz-looks. Staying positive and keeping the ball moving forward, no negative plays.

Q: The mission was a national championship but you guys can still ââ’¬” you guys have had an unbelievable, kind of a storybook season. For you what has this season meant to you and what can you guys do here to finish off this story?

Will Fuller: The season has been a lot. Just looking at some of the videos that people put together. For example the echoes, you know, that’s our video. It just gives you a good feeling about the team, team 127. Ending it out with a win would be awesome.