Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
BYU senior defensive end Jan Jorgensen has played in some big games, but Saturday’s game against No. 3 Oklahoma at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium will be the biggest, and a fitting way to begin his final season with the Cougars.
I chatted with Jorgensen about that game and his thoughts on his team’s 2009 season.
Being a senior and having this game kind of kick off your senior season, how does that feel?
Jan Jorgensen: I couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s exciting. I have an opportunity to go out and play the No. 3 team in the country and to open up the season like that. It’s just exciting and it’s what you play for. It’s why I play college football, to have opportunities like this.
After the way you guys ended last season, is there a little more motivation going into this year to kind of right the ship?
JJ: Yeah, there definitely is. There’s definitely motivation to go in there, get things rolling, though I shouldn’t say that we were horrible last year with a 10-win season. But the way that things ended, they ended really bad and we want to get things off on the right foot.
You guys aren’t getting a whole lot of questions about the BCS and continuing your undefeated string, does that make it easier to go into this year?
JJ: You know what? I think it does a little bit. It’s just different. I don’t know if it’s easier because our team always has high expectations, but the pressure isn’t quite there like it was last year. So, I think our expectations are the same this year as they were last, but I think a little of the pressure is gone, which allows us to go out and have a little more fun.
I was going to ask you about the fun aspect because I know that was something that your coaches and you guys had talked about this spring. Have you guys had more fun so far?
JJ: It’s definitely been much more fun this year. Our guys are working hard, but I think they’ve remembered that it’s a game. You play the best when you’re out there having fun, too. You’re not uptight; you’re not scared to make mistakes. You’re just out there playing a game and trying to make plays and it’s been good. We’ve really had that culture on our team so far.
So, I guess going into a game against Oklahoma, being as loose as you guys are, is probably a good thing?
JJ: Oh, I think it’s definitely a good thing. I think a lot of times if you get too uptight it’s really tough to get off to a good start and it takes a while for you to get into the game. And sometimes you’re so uptight that you’re out of the game before you even know it. But when you’re loose and ready to go, especially against a team like Oklahoma, I think that it can only work to our advantage.
Obviously, most people are discounting you guys in this game. What does that do to your locker room and the mentality of the team?
JJ: You know, we don’t really pay attention to it. We know a lot of people are discounting us, but to be honest with you, we really don’t pay attention and we really don’t hear people talking about it in the locker room. People on the outside can hear and say and believe whatever they want, but in our locker room, nothing is said about it. We’re just doing our thing. We’re confident and we know how we can play.
What would a win against Oklahoma mean for this team?
JJ: Oh, it would be huge. Very huge. But in the end it’s just one win. It sets us up for a great opportunity the rest of the season, but it’s just one big win.
Is it hard not to look at the opportunities that a win would set you up for?
JJ: For me, I’ve thought about it a little bit, but in the end, why think about that if it doesn’t happen? You know what I’m saying? You just have to focus on whatever happened with that game and whatever comes, comes.