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ROSE BOWL GAME: IOWA VS STANFORD

December 28, 2015

Christian McCaffrey

Pasadena, California

Q. How's it going for you so far?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: It's going well. Having a great time so far.

Q. Practice is good and all?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: Real good. Enjoying it. Definitely enjoying it.

Q. Any Heisman fatigue after running all over the country at the start of the month?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: Oh, no, not at all. Definitely, it was a great experience for me. It was something that you put in the past and realize what's important. What's important is getting together with these guys and executing.

So we're practicing as hard as we can and getting ready to go for this game.

Q. Are there one or two guys you met at the ceremony that really blew you away, like wow, I'm meeting Barry Sanders or whoever?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: I think Marcus Allen was one person that was really cool to me. Also, one of the best ever. So just to meet him and kind of pick his brain and just listen to him was a really cool thing for me.

Q. Do you remember your earliest memory of football, whether it was playing or watching, with your brothers?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: Probably when I was like seven years old, maybe even younger than that when I used to watch my dad play, and I used to go to his games. I briefly remember some stuff watching him. Not any specific plays, but definitely remember being around the Broncos a little bit when I was a little kid.

Q. Have you faced a defense similar to Iowa's?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: I think we faced a lot of hard, physical, fast defenses. I think there's multiple that you can name. They bring a lot of challenges to the table. That's tough because they do so many things so well. We're ready for the challenge. Definitely one of those games that you really have to prepare for because they're such a great defense.

Q. Christian, how have you learned to deal this season with being such a focal point of defenses that you're going to face?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: Just doing my job. I can't control anything else but what I do. So when the play is called, just trusting my teammates, trusting my blocks. I know those guys do such a great job getting the job done for me, for Hogan and all of us. So just trusting in them, trusting that the holes are going to be there and doing my job by hitting them.

Q. Has that changed for you? I know you've always wanted to do your job, but that need to focus on that more as the season has gone on and you've become more of a target, I guess, of opposing defenses?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: No, I don't -- you know, I don't focus on that a whole lot just because I control what I can control. Whether they're focusing on me or not, I don't call the plays. So our coaches do a great job of calling the plays. I just run the plays. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, we'll get to a new one and do our best to try to execute on the next play.

Q. What have you seen of Iowa that's been a different challenge to you?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: I think one thing they do, they don't do a whole lot because they're so good at what they do. You look all over the field, and they've got physical, physical defense. You look at the safeties play real well in the run game instead of the corners. It's something you definitely have to prepare for because they do things right. They don't put themselves in a lot of very tough situations.

Q. You got more involved at the end of last season when the offense started to click. Looked more like the Stanford that we're used to. What sort of changed in the last month of the 2014 season that gave you guys momentum going into this year?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: I think we just played a lot looser. I think we played tight the whole year, especially as an offense. Our defense was great. But as an offense, we played kind of tight.

I think one of the main things is Kevin Hogan just stepping up and doing what he does best and being an unbelievable quarterback. It kind of led after him. He started playing loose and started playing with some swagger and having fun with it, and we all carried from that.

Q. Does that sort of explain the post-Northwestern turnaround that you guys got back to that same mindset?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: Yeah, that was just one of those games we couldn't get the job done. We weren't executing, and we had some turnovers. It's hard to win a Division I football game when you do that. I think we learned from that and learned from our mistakes and got going again.

Q. [On the pre-week activities...]
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: I love you guys, man. It gets hectic. But once again, you know what to focus on, and you have to do these things. At the end of the day, you're here to win a football game.

Q. Did you do anything to get physically built up? You were doing so much?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: Definitely. Our coaches and strength training staff do everything to get our bodies exactly where they need to be by game day.

Q. [On his recruiting process...]
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: I did a good amount. Went to other schools, visited Oregon, visited Duke, UCLA was up there. Duke, my older brother played there. I've been playing with him my whole life. That would have been a pretty cool thing for me. Those are kind of the main ones.

Q. Did Iowa offer you?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: They did, I think. If I remember correctly, yeah.

Q. You never really --
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: I mean, they offered kind of late in the process. Nothing at all against them. They just offered late.

Stanford, I'd taken visits to Stanford my sophomore year of high school. I was pretty sold when I got there, so I knew where I wanted to go.

Q. [On his hobbies outside of football...]
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: I do a lot. I love just hanging out with my friends. It's kind of funny, when you have weeks off, I catch myself wanting to play football again. When we're in the grind of a season, it all happens so fast, and there's so much that happens. As soon as it ends, you kind of miss it.

I love just hanging out with a lot of my friends, a lot of my teammates, and we'll find stuff to do.

Q. Christian, how do you guys -- in today's world of social media, how do you handle at Stanford the social media to keep away from the distractions?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: We understand not to be dumb with it and to not put anything out there that you wouldn't want your parents or important people in this world seeing. Because nowadays, with social media, anything you post, everyone in the entire world can access it. I personally am not a fan of social media, just kind of try to stay away from it. But it's something where a lot of us understand that.

Q. Do you have accounts that you just don't touch during the season, or do you not even --
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: I'll post every once in a while just because I think it's good. Social media is an unbelievable way to make connections with people, and I really do believe that. But I don't check like my notifications or anything like that just because I don't read all that stuff. I don't -- it's not good to read things about you, but I just stay away from all that. But I'll post every once in a while.

Q. You've got a lot of smart guys around in your locker room, I'd imagine. Are there still instances where you guys have to learn lessons about that the hard way?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: I think in everyone's life you have to learn lessons about that. I've seen it. You see it all over the country nowadays. A lot of times, no one means harm by something they post but end up getting in trouble because of that reason.

Being a Division I college football player, you can't post a lot of things that you're thinking sometimes. You really have to kind of gauge that, which makes sense. But we're just taught to -- you know, we understand what social media is. So we just stay away from it.

Q. Is it something that coach is big on, or does the team talk to you guys about that early in camp each year? How does the process work?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: Yeah, he definitely talks to us about it and tells us what things are okay and what not. You know, all of us, we kind of understand that already, but as a coach, you have to enforce it. So he definitely tells us the limitations of it and gives us a further understanding of why not to do this or why to do that.

Q. Do you like to have a lot of interaction with kids who are being recruited by Stanford?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: I love selling Stanford. I think there's a reason why I came here, and it's because people did such a good job selling Stanford, but the biggest thing I realized is Stanford sells itself. I don't have to do a whole lot because you just come here and hang out with some of our guys and see the campus and meet the coaches and see what we're all about. For me, it sold itself.

Q. In terms of your football background in your family, you probably had some advantages going through that recruiting process. What sort of experiences do you try to advise them on?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: Just enjoy the whole process. A lot of people get so uptight.

Another thing is just to enjoy your high school season. A lot of times people get really caught up in recruiting and lose focus on their high school season. That's one thing I learned is to really lock in and remember why you play football.

Yeah, it's for recruiting -- getting scholarships, you love that, but it's because being part of a team and trying to accomplish your goal. So in that recruiting process, I just tell them, whatever you pick a school, make sure it's really where you want to go, not just as a football player, but as an academic student. So that's probably one of the main things too because you can't play football forever.

Q. Where do you stand on student-athletes' rights and the movement nationally, not so much [ Inaudible ], but just to increase opportunities for student-athletes for players as they go through the college process?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: Like in high school?

Q. Just overall. Just kind of to make things more player friendly in the NCAA.
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: I think there's definitely a lot of things that us as student-athletes can't do because of our practice schedule and other things like that. So I personally would like to take classes after 2:00, but you can't because of practice. But at the same time, you're getting a scholarship to play football. That comes with it.

So I'm not completely familiar with all the student union and all the athlete union stuff, but I definitely understand a lot of it because I've experienced it. And a lot of times getting tutors on your own and study hours after practice is tough, but then again, we know what we sign up for.

Q. You obviously signed a letter of intent, and about 99.9 percent of the kids that play college football do. There were some players last year who decided, if schools don't want me, I'll just go and enroll where I want to enroll over the summer. Does that seem like a viable thing for players to do? Do you like that idea to be able to extend the window for kids choosing their colleges?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: Could you repeat that question?

Q. I'm wondering if you think it's good --
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: To be able to not sign a letter of intent?

Q. To say, I'm not going to sign it. I'm just going to go where I want to go.
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: There's advantages and disadvantages. I'm not extremely familiar with it. For me, I signed my letter of intent to Stanford because I loved Stanford, and I wanted to be all Stanford. That was what my experience was.

Q. Versus how it may have opened your eyes to stuff.
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: My trip to Rwanda was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. You land, and you see mud houses. You see a third world country, something that I'd never seen before. I'd only seen it on TV, but being there is a definite different experience. When you arrive there, it's a major culture shock. To meet the people and see how they have so little, yet they're so happy, it's one of the coolest things for me.

And leaving there, coming back to America, where we have so much that we take for granted. It's something that I just put in perspective that life is extremely precious. And it's okay to take what we don't have and make it a positive thing, because you look at people who have been affected by genocide, who are living in poverty, living off of a cup of porridge a day who are so happy and filled with so much joy. I look at that and saw there's no reason why we shouldn't be happy, why we shouldn't care for each other and love each other like they do there.

We have so much. We have so many problems today that aren't real problems. For me, that's just something that I took back from it and really want to go back in the future sometime.

Q. Do you?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: Yes.

Q. There's a picture that I got from Valley Christian of you holding a Rwandan kid. Do you remember about where that was taken?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: Yeah, that was taken at the school that I was helping at. Her name is Sonia, and she has a sister named Ruth and an older brother named Fabrice [phonetic], and they were kind of like my -- I was really, really close to them when I went there. So miss them. Sonia was kind of like -- she was my best friend when I was up there. I'm sure you'll find a lot of pictures of me and her. Definitely miss her, and when I plan to go back, hope to see her.

Q. Do you remember how old she was?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: She was seven, six or seven at the time. She was like probably five, actually. Her brother was seven.

Q. Have you thought at all about doing humanitarian work at all when your football career is over?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: Definitely, yeah. I thought about helping China do some stuff while my football career is going on because it's such a platform that you have there. That's one of the advantages that we do have, using our name and using the success that we have to help other people.

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