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August 2, 2010
Audio: Russell Wilson recaps baseball, looks ahead
Russell Wilson met with the media for over 30 minutes Monday afternoon, two days after he returned to Raleigh and began preparations for the upcoming football season.A newly engaged
The redshirt junior quarterbacks has endured an eventful summer, getting drafted in the fourth round by the Colorado Rockies in the MLB Draft, suffering the loss of his father and now getting engaged.
Click on the link to listen to Monday's press conference. A full transcript is provided below.
Tell us about baseball and what you are getting ready for.
Baseball was a great experience for me. I was excited to get drafted by the Colorado Rockies. It's a great organization, a great place to play down the road and everything. I'm definitely excited about that.
Pasco, Washington was different. The weather out there is a lot better than it was here. It's not as humid out there. It's about 85 or 90 everyday, but it's not as humid.
I got to know my teammates very well, and it's a great organization and great players. It's a great team to be with.
How would you grade yourself baseball wise?
It was definitely a great experience for me. I did really well. I improved things, a couple of things, improved on others things. That's your goal everyday, to go out there and just get better each and every day, which I did.
What kind of things did you work on?
I changed my stance a little bit. That's just about it more than anything, just focused on changing my stance and everything, which will help me down the road. So that was kind of the main thing.
What was your stance before?
This past year at NC State I was standing a little taller. I'm standing a little lower in my legs just so I can drive the ball with my leg a little more, which helps, definitely a lot. I was hitting the ball really hard. That definitely helps a lot.
You get to throw the football at all?
Definitely, definitely got to throw the football. A lot of my teammates love football, love playing football. I got to throw to some of my teammates, and one of my coaches, my assistant coach, hitting coach, his name is Anthony Sanders, he got full scholarship to play football and baseball at the University of Arizona, but he ended up going, leaving to the Toronto Blue Jays. He got drafted out of high school pretty early. He threw with me some. A roommate threw with me some. A couple of other guys, that was a great experience for me.
What did you do on those long bus rides?
Long bus rides, we just hang out. We just sat in the back. Hung out with my Latino friend. We talked Spanish. Tried to learn some more Spanish, try to improve my Spanish more than anything.
How much tougher was it than college?
It's an everyday grind type of deal where you are out there every single day in the hot weather, traveling a lot, seven hour bus rides to get to places, that type of thing, but it's not much different other than that. You are out there playing against great competition. In the ACC you are playing against great competition as well. Great pitchers, great defenders, great hitters, so it's not much different from that standpoint.
Are you fluent in Spanish?
No, I'm not fluent in Spanish, but I can speak well enough where I can hold a good enough conversation. I've taken it all the way through high school and college.
What did the Rockies tell you about your future?
They had a lot of people come in, coordinators coming in and check you out. They think I have a lot of potential to be in the big leagues pretty soon in terms of my physical abilities, my mental approach to the game, more than anything my everyday mental approach to life. Major League Baseball is a long experience, it's a long career, it's a long season, so you have to be mentally prepared for that more than anything.
Was there any doubt you would come back to play football?
Any doubt? Not necessarily, I wouldn't say there were any doubts. I didn't know what was going to happen necessarily. I didn't know the situation and everything, plus I wanted to come back and play football. I wanted to have the chance to play in the NFL. It's for that. Hopefully I'll get there and play in the NFL and hopefully I'll get to play in the major leagues. You never know, maybe I'll get to play both.
I wasn't really worried about that. Like I've always have said and I always tried to do, keep my focus on the Lord, keep my focus on one day at a time, one thing at a time.
What was your baseball highlight out there?
I would probably say my first home run. The field we play at in Pasco is huge. It's a graveyard basically. It's hard to hit the ball out there. I had a really good game, went 4 for 5 or 3 for 4, something like that, had a home run, almost hit for the cycle, that was my best game.
And then just getting out there, putting the uniform on for the first time, getting a chance to play everyday, that was another experience for me.
What happened to the ball?
I still have it.
The fan brought it back to you?
Yeah the fan brought it back to me, I was kind of surprised.
How many multi-hit games did you have?
I don't know, I don't look at that. I had a few, more than a few, but it's an everyday grind. You can't really worry about statistics, how many hits you have exactly, all that kind of stuff. You just got to worry about hitting the ball hard, that's the main thing. That's what they look for, hitting the ball hard. You can't control where they are or where it's going.
Where did you hit it out?
I hit the home run I think it was a Sunday night, I hit the home run to left center, and I hit it way out. I never hit a ball that hard probably, and then the next night I hit another one. So that was probably the highlight. I hit both out to left center.
The stats suggest you might have slumped the last week or so?
No, I was playing really well. I was hitting the ball hard, kept hitting it to people. It's one of those things. I was really hot, I started the last game I was hitting the ball really well, hitting the ball hard, following through and all that kind of stuff. Then the last two good games kept hitting it hard and hit line drives right to people. You are just trying to win the game. You can't worry about where's it going and what you're hitting.
You almost sound like you still wish you were playing baseball.
I love them both. That's why I play them both. I am excited that I am back here. When I was landing and flying over I was excited to see the trees back here and be back in Raleigh and have a experience of playing for the Wolfpack again.
Is hitting a line drive right at someone almost like throwing a pass to a receiver and having it dropped?
No one has ever said that before. Probably something like that but you can't worry about it and move on to the next one.
If it goes real well for you, could you come back for one more year in football?
Everything's a possibility. I'm not sure what's going to happen. That's why it's such a great decision that I get to explore baseball and football right now cause I am keeping all my options open. As I said earlier I'm just trying to keep it one day at a time, that's the best way I can go. If I do that I'll be happy everyday and working extra hard, and I'll just keep working and getting better.
Any posters of Deion Sanders on your wall?
I don't have any of that. Some days I'll wake up and I'll tell myself I want to be somebody unique and play two sports. Some days I feel like I want to play this one, I want to play that one. It's a back and forth thing, but I'm here in Raleigh. I can't wait to get started with the guys. We're going to have a great season. I know they've been working hard, and I've been working hard, too.
The Rockies didn't tell you this was a one-year thing with football?
Everything is open, and I'm not going to talk about my negotiations or anything like that, but everything is open. I'm not really worried about that right now. I'm just worried, not worried, focused on the football season and excited about that.
Are the stakes any higher, especially with Mike Glennon and the competition at QB?
The stakes are no higher than any other day. Everyday you wake up you have competition in the world, if you have a 9 to 5 job, playing pro baseball or playing professional football, college football, whatever it is. I don't look at it any different. I'm trying to do the best at whatever I do. That's my mindset, and that's my mindset everyday. I'm trying to do the best at whatever I'm doing and that way I have a better chance of winning no matter what it is. That's my focus everyday.
Philip Rivers was quoting as saying you could play in the NFL. What did that mean?
First of all Philip Rivers is a great quarterback. I watch him every Sunday that I can. It definitely means a lot. As I said I think he's an incredible quarterback, if not the best then one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL for sure. It definitely means a lot. I am trying to get on his level each and every day. I'm trying to be a game-changer like him. Every time he steps on the field he's a game-changer and he's a winner, and that's what I'm trying to do every game.
Nate Irving and Owen Spencer really seemed to support you and didn't have any animosity about you going away, how does that feel?
Those guys are big leaders on the team, they are great players, but more than anything they work hard each and every day. I think they know that I work hard each and every day. I have great goals for myself personally, but I have great goals in mind for this team. We have great goals, same goals. We want to win each and every time we step out on the field, each and every time we step out on the field for practice or the game, and that's the best thing to do. I think we understand that. We all understand that. We have the same goal in mind. That's the most important part.
What do you have to show in order to get to the NFL?
Main thing is just getting out there and battling and being a leader. A lot of people have said in terms of not being tall enough. Drew Brees, people said he wasn't tall enough and he won the Super Bowl. I'm not comparing myself to Drew Brees, but in height we are similar. I think that in terms of height I can't worry about that. I'm just going to try to win each and every Saturday, whatever it takes to win. I'm trying to be a facilitator, get the ball to the guy whose open, get the ball to the guy to hand off, whoever it is.
Rockies listed you at 6-foot?
I don't know, I'm still reaching for it. I think I'm 6-foot.
How much did you think about Raleigh and college football? Did your mind drift?
Drift, I don't think drift is the right word. When I wasn't playing a game I would think about football some, and when I was working out a little bit of both. I'd be in the weight room working out, I'm incorporating a little bit of the NC State football workout with the baseball workout which are very similar. I have focus on football, but I also have focus on baseball.
I'm just trying to be the best person I can be athletically and I want to be as good a leader as I can be.
Tom O'Brien mentioned how you texted him on the bus ride to Boise. Is that something you did a lot or just that one trip?
We talked back and forth. I talked to a lot of my teammates. I called Coach Bible and talked to him a couple of times as well, too. We all have a close relationship. We all have one goal in mind and that's to win.
I think when you are on a long bus ride like that you don't get lonely but you got to talk to somebody.
Where do you feel you are in the pecking order of quarterbacks in the ACC?
They are all great quarterbacks. All the teams in the ACC have great quarterbacks. The main thing to do is just try to go out there and get better for myself. I can't worry about what somebody else is doing that Saturday if they are playing at noon and I'm playing at noon. You can't worry about Christian Ponder, if he's throwing touchdowns or not, I got to worry about my team.
If I try to worry about too many other things I can't focus on myself and what I'm trying to accomplish, try to facilitate the ball to other people. I'm not worried about anyone else. I'm just trying to get wins, and help our team win as much as we can.
Is your body football ready?
I'm physically ready conditioning-wise, strength-wise. I'm the same weight I was for the last game, UNC game. Right about the same, so I'm definitely excited about it. I've been working hard. When you are playing everyday, you're still conditioning a lot. I would lift at least three or four times a week.
That's the fun part for me. Getting out, working out, running, putting the I-pod on, running distances and running sprints every game and a lot of abs before game. I'm definitely staying in shape.
Do you feel the quarterback position is open?
I think each and every year you're trying to get the starting job no matter what. I'm also trying to be one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. I'm not just trying to get the starting job, I'm trying to be the best each and every time as I said each and every Saturday, and that's my mindset, as I said. Whenever you go into something, you can't worry about who is going to be the starter, who is not going to be the starter. You just got to prepare like you are going to be the starter mentally in your mind and physically. That's what I plan on doing and will always do.
What's your class schedule like?
Not sure about that yet, still trying to figure it out. I'm taking grad school classes, some in communications.
This the hardest you have been pushed by Mike Glennon?
He always works hard. He always pushes you. That's a good thing. You want to have people in your organization or team pushing you and making you better because they want to get better. We want to be better. Competition is a good thing. Competition is an everyday thing. I love it. It makes you better, embrace it, got to grow with it, got to learn from it. I'm definitely excited about it.
Are you willing to share signing bonus?
I don't talk about money or negotiations. Like I said earlier it's a great situation for me. I'm definitely excited to be here playing football.
Did you buy anything?
I asked my girlfriend to marry me.
Did she say yes?
She did say yes. It took her a few seconds.
How did you do it?
How did I do it? Long story, but she basically said yes.
Have you picked a date?
No I haven't picked a date yet, trying to take it one day at a time.
Did you do it over dinner?
We went to dinner afterward.
What's her name?
Did you get a fancy TV or anything else?
No, nothing else. Taking it one day at a time.
You've had a lot of individual success but not a winning season, does that hurt a little bit?
Definitely, I think that if we're winning I'm happy. No matter if I win All-ACC or don't win All-ACC, I'd rather win an ACC championship. That's the most important thing and getting to a big bowl game. That's our goal, and my goal is to get better each and every day, and be the best person I can be and push myself and push other players on our team. Everyday we go out for practice push each other to get better and we'll be successful.
What do you think you were able to improve on even though you were away from the game?
I took my playbook with me. I got to look at the playbook a little bit more. I know all the plays, but there are certain plays that you really, really know. It's like driving. Some plays you know, when you are driving you don't even think. I'm going to make a right here and go home, that type of thing. I'm trying to make every play like that where on the field I never re-think anything, never second guess myself, anything like that. I grew a lot from my first year to my second year in that, and I'm trying to grow from my second year to this year. That is something that I think will take me a long way and I think will help me improve on the field.
The main thing is I really want to push myself, and I've pushed myself hard each and every day in practice for the first two years. I want to take it to a whole other level and get better and be even more active in practice.
Can you talk about losing your father?
I got drafted on a Tuesday and was excited about that. I drove home that Wednesday morning, got home Wednesday afternoon. Called my mom, my mom was at work still, she may have went to church actually. She was at church at that point, late Wednesday around 7 o'clock. Then my grandmother was in town, Carolyn is her name. Carolyn was in town, and my sister was actually with my mom at that point at church.
So I called Carolyn, 'Carolyn, hey I am about to go see my dad.' He was in the hospital at the time. Carolyn wanted to go with me, so she went with me. It was tough to see him. I've seen him sick before. He wasn't doing well at all.
As I stepped in the room, I told myself that God's going to take care of him no matter what it is, going to take care of my family no matter what the situation was. My mom finally came. I was talking to my brother on the phone and he just peacefully passed away.
There's a time and place for everything, and there's a time death, a time for life. I think it was his time to go. He's in a better place now than I am right now. I love Raleigh, but he's in heaven right now. I think that he's doing well. I'm not worried about him. I know he's watching over me and exited to see me. I'm happy for him.
What does graduating in three years mean to you?
It means a lot. When I first got drafted out of high school I ended up not going. I told them I wanted to college and all that and play football and baseball and try it out. It's one of the best decisions. When I did that, I told my dad I wanted to graduate in three years, so ever since I got on campus, that's been my goal, to graduate in three years so I would have the opportunity to play baseball and have the opportunity to still play football or the NFL Draft, or whatever it is. Keep all my options open, and that's what I've done.
I tried to stick with it, kept pushing myself. I took a lot of credits even though school gets hard sometimes and you have midterms. One of the biggest games of the week, you are playing Florida State or Clemson or somebody like that, you got to stay focused and organized. That's one of the things I learned the most. I learned a lot in high school at Collegiate, but I also learned here I was on my own so I had to figure out how and organize myself the best way possible so each and every day I was successful in the classroom, successful in practice fields and successful in game fields.
You have some days where you don't do that well and are better on other days. Some tests you do great on, some tests you do okay on and hope you don't have any tests you do bad on. That was kind of my deal there. I am definitely excited that I did it. It definitely has helped my life and situation and everything, coming back here and not as many classes to take. I can focus on football a little bit more in terms of time constraints and stuff, and I think that's going to help me.
Do you like having a hectic life?
I do actually. I feel like if I didn't have a hectic life style I couldn't do this. I wouldn't consider it hectic though. I'd consider it more organized and more things to do on my to-do list. If it was hectic it would be a bad thing. I try to organize myself and organize my time the best way possible so I can focus on one thing at a time, and the more I can focus on one thing at a time, the more successful and more chances I have the probability of being successful at what I am doing.
I think that's helped me on the football field, the baseball field and the classroom.
Have you talked to the guys since coming back?
Yeah, everybody's excited. That's the good thing about sports, you get to start new. The good thing about baseball is you start new everyday. You have a new game everyday whether you went 0 for 4 or 4 for 4. In terms of football you are starting new everyday at practice and each every day, each and every game and each and every season.
Talk about having Dana Bible back?
I think he's definitely excited. I think he's more excited than ever. He's very blessed, and we're all very blessed to still have him. I know that he's meant a lot in my life and a lot in my football career and my school-life as well. One of the first things he's always asked me is how school is going more than anything.
It means a lot. He's a great guy. He's a great coach. He's a great dad to his kid and everything. I think that means a lot to his family, the Wolfpack family and myself.
Last year Tom O'Brien preferred you run less and pass more. Has the offensive package changed any this year?
It hasn't changed. I think we've improved. I think we got guys that can really get after it and catch the ball well and run the ball well. I think that when you got wide receivers like we have and tight end, tight ends like we have and the guys that are coming up, running backs that we have, I think we have a lot of talent.
It always starts with the offensive line though. I think the offensive line is continuing to improve. We got some new guys, some young guys that haven't been out there yet. That's exciting. I'm excited for them to get out there and get their feet wet. I'm excited to get my feet with them. It's definitely a great thing, and I think terms of offense we really excited and we just have to get after it every day.
What was your longest bus ride?
I went from Pasco to Boise, which was like seven hours, somewhere like that. Then we went from Boise to Spokane, Washington, which is probably longer. But Pasco to Boise we had to play that day. Boise to Spokane we got to sleep in. We didn't get there till 5 o'clock that morning. We got to sleep in and we didn't take BP or anything. We just played the game at 7:30 that night.
You looked the playbook the whole way?
Not all the way. I looked at it about 15 minutes each and every day, usually does it. I think that's one of the best ways to remember things, experience, the more you do it, just like practice. The more you do it, the more repetitions you take into it the more you learn.
How were the crowds?
The crowds were great. At Pasco, 3,000 people each and every game. The biggest crowd I played in front of was about 7,000, playing in Spokane. They have an amazing stadium there. They pack it out every night.
Where is the home run ball?
It's at home right now. Actually it's travelling home.
Did you have a roommate?
Yeah I did, his name was Dominic Altobelli. Dominic Altobelli, he's a great guy, great player, plays third base, from University of Illinois-Chicago. He has an accent and everything. He says he's from Chicago but he's from the suburbs, the outskirts of Chicago. We make fun of him about that. He's a great guy, great player.
Did they give you a nickname?
My nickname was Willie, which I have never been called before. I've had a lot of nicknames, good things and bad things, but they called me Willie on the baseball team.
Have you met the new AD?
No I haven't, can't wait to meet her. I heard she's great. I'm excited about that. Lee Fowler did a great job though, I want to say that. He's a great guy.
How long had you and Ashton been dating?
We met in high school.
How are you able to make up for lost time with your receivers this summer?
Get their early and leave late. That's the main thing.
Owen Spencer thought you were capable of completing 80 percent this year.
Owen, man, I thought he was going to say 100 percent. In my head, each and every day my goal in practice to be honest with you is complete each and every pass. That's our offense's goal in terms of wide receivers and quarterbacks and that's my goal personally is to complete every pass.
That's a test. That's including warm-ups, that's including everything. Completing every pass, don't drop one, don't throw one incomplete over somebody's head. We've had a couple of days we've done. When our offense is really clicking, really doing well, we've actually done it. Which is a good day, to go out there and complete every pass. We throw a lot of balls. I don't know how many. Summer camps are different. We throw even more, but during the season if we can do that that's a good thing.
Would you call yourself a perfectionist?
I wouldn't call myself a perfectionist. I just want to get as close as I can to it. I think that's putting a little too much on yourself. In my mind there is only one perfect person, and I don't think I'm that person, but I'm trying to get there each and every day I can and be the best I can. That's my mindset.
Do you feel like you are the guy to have win the game?
No, not at all. We got a great team, great coaches, great facilities, great fans, great area, great city. I think if the fans come pack the stadium each and every Saturday and Thursday night as well and they cheer for us, and our players get after it each and every day in practice, we'll be alright and somebody else will make the winning play, not me.