Jonathan Nelson has seen plenty of BCS games in his career at Oklahoma. But he's never been apart of a Sooner victory in a BCS bowl. Throughout bowl preparations, Nelson has been thinking about lifting this monkey off the back of the Oklahoma program. He talked about the importance of getting the win in this year's Fiesta Bowl last week.
Jonathan, every team grows as the season extends. But this team seemed like it took leaps and bounds with each game that it played. Do you agree?
Absolutely, we're a more mature team with the finishing of games and battling through adversity. We're not as immature. Back then, when things didn't go our way, we would get our heads down. Thankfully, we changed and hopefully we stay like that against Connecticut.
What are your thoughts on UCONN?
They have a really good running back and a really good offense overall. They have a stout defense. We're just hoping to slow down their offense and, hopefully, our offense can put points on the board. We really think that if we can slow down their offense somehow, that we have a good chance of winning.
Do they remind you of anyone you've faced?
I can't think of anyone off the top of my head, but they have real talent on offense. Hopefully we can just try and contain them and try and make big plays on defense so that can get the momentum on offense.
What are your thoughts on their running back, what makes him so good?
He's really good in that the first hole he sees, he hits full speed. He runs hard and he runs through arm tackles. He's not the biggest guy, but he runs a lot stronger than he looks. With the number of yards that he's accumulated throughout the season, it shows that he's really good. He's not one of those guys that are going to dance around. Once you get a running back that goes north and south, with the speed and quickness that he has, it's real dangerous.
You got one bowl monkey off your back last year by winning the Sun Bowl. How would you, now, like to get the BCS monkey off?
I would definitely like to get a BCS win, speaking on behalf of the whole team. Especially for the seniors and the guys who have been here for a while. Hopefully, we can come up with a win against Connecticut and get that monkey off our back.
Some of the national media are saying that UCONN doesn't belong in the BCS.
However, I would assume that you guys aren't taking these guys lightly?
They definitely belong. We can't think of it like that because the last three times that we've been to a BCS game, we've lost. And everybody was saying, then, that we belonged in those games. Then you have the games where we were big favorites against Boise State and West Virginia. They weren't supposed to be playing us (either) and they came out with a win. Connecticut definitely belongs. They won their conference and they've had a great year. You can't take anything away from them. They have great coaching and a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. This should be a great game, hopefully, we come out with a win.
Coach Venables said, last week, that all of the coaches have reminded you guys of the last two Fiesta Bowl losses.
Yeah, but they don't have to do too much reinforcing. For one, a lot of us were there. Secondly, most guys understand and know about the history of us in this game. We can't just stroll in thinking we're this or that. Every time that we do that, we play terribly. We have to realize that this is a big game and, hopefully, we come out with a win.