November 10, 2010

Clay making progress, still questionable

MADISON - John Clay, who suffered a sprained knee at Purdue last weekend, is making progress. The junior tailback, and Big Ten's leading rusher among running backs, is set to practice Wednesday with hopes of playing this weekend.

Following a recent practice, caught up with the All-Big Ten performer. The following is a question and answer with Clay.

Well I see you're making national news for this injury, what's going on?

Clay: I guess so. It's just a little sprain. I did some running on it today and it felt pretty good. It's a little sore here and there but other than that it's pretty good.

Did you get it twisted or did you hit it on the ground pretty hard?

Clay: Yeah, I got it twisted up in the pile. When we had that fourth and one I got hit real low and I kind of twisted my knee up in the wrong way.

Were you scared?

Clay: A little bit, but the good thing is I got up and I was running on it. That was a good thing for me. It was a little sore, but other than that it was fine.

You wanted to go back into the game?

Clay: Yeah, I did.

What point of the game did you want to get back in there?

Clay: I think it was when we were sputtering a little on offense. I wanted to get right back out there and hopefully try to be the spark. I saw Montee Ball doing a great job and coach said if anything I know you're good to go. If you need a breather you be ready to go ad I told them I'm fine with that.

Looking back, was that the smart move?

Clay: Yeah, I think it is just because I just didn't want the same thing to happen as what happened in Iowa when we were here at home. I just wanted to make sure I was 100 percent and that I could give 100 percent out there.

Will you play this week?

Clay: We'll see. I've just got to see how tomorrow's practice goes. I'll go full pads and try to do some different type of treatment for my knees and making sure I'm good to go.

What have you seen from Montee over the last two games. You got a little nicked up at Iowa and James White obviously got nicked up and Montee took over. Then it happened again last week.

Clay: You know, Montee is a great guy. He steps up when his number is called, he's always consistent and the last two weeks he's been a big role player for this offense. We just keep wanting that out of him.

That's what you've seen out of him, right? You knew he was capable of doing what he's been doing.

Clay: It's just crazy how we have three great backs that could start anywhere for any school. We all came together and we knew what kind of special and elite group we could have. We knew that if one of us went down that one of us could step up without a heartbeat and keep everything moving.

Are you guys performing at a level you thought you could? Could it be better?

Clay: There's always room for improvement. As of right now I think we're doing a real good job as a group.

I know it's got to be tough considering there is a quarter of the season left. But you guys are right in the thick of the Big Ten race, is it tough to not pay attention to the hype that is starting to build around this team?

Clay: Coach always tells us that we can taste the poison but don't swallow it. We can have fun with it for the time being but when the game time comes around that's all got to be out the window. When practice comes around we've just got to be prepared and ready.

What's it like walking to class?

Clay: Everybody is talking about BCS. They want to go to the Rose Bowl and all these other places. I've got to keep telling people that we've got to take it a game at a time and a play at a time.

Do you really say that to people?

Clay: I do just because they want us to look past other teams. You can't really do that. You sleep on that kind of team and they're the one that comes and beats you. Then all that expectation and all the hype and all the prizes we won would be out the window.

Are you the exception to that rule or do you get the feeling that a lot of guys on the team would say the same thing?

Clay: I feel like a lot of guys would say that. We know what kind of group we have. We just have to finish off strong these last four games and make sure that we do our jobs for us to be on that kind of pedestal.

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