November 21, 2011 09:00 AM by Ryan Haidet
He went into the game as a very strategic player. In the end, Jim Rice fell victim to the majority when Upolu voted him out and he subsequently lost the three-way duel on Redemption Island. But Jim isn’t out of Survivor: South Pacific for good — he’s the first member of the jury who will decide who wins the $1 million prize. In a recent conference call with reporters, Jim weighed in on Cochran, talked about Brandon and reflected on the things he would have changed about his game.
Question: How did you feel about being labeled as a used car salesman by other contestants?
Jim Rice: I thought that was weird because I didn’t think I came across that way. Maybe I should care more about it, but they’re (comments) also coming from people that I got voted off. So I don’t really care. It came from people that I don’t really care too much about their opinion.
Question: Since you’re such a huge fan of the show, how do you look back on calling Cochran a coward? Was it just your emotions running high?
Jim Rice: It’s interesting that you preface it with me being a fan of the show because I said that being a fan of the show. It frustrates me anytime that people aren’t playing to win and it was my fault for not recognizing that he was just playing for another day on the island. I meant it when I called him a coward. I should be apologizing, I guess, but I’m not running for office. The truth is that I think he’s a scared individual and I think it was a decision that was based out of fear. I don’t like name calling and I’m embarrassed that I stooped to the level of name calling, but it’s all involving emotions that were there. I hate name calling. That’s so immature. That was the only thing that I kind of do regret a little bit — but I don’t think it’s untrue.
Question: Looking back is there any point where you think you could have made a better move?
Jim Rice: Yeah. I felt like going into the merge I was in the best position on our tribe. I loved where I was sitting. I had Cochran and Dawn on one side, and I still felt like I had an alliance with Keith and Whitney on the other side. We had that common enemy of Ozzy — a big target. … I’ve had six months to daydream about what I could have done and should’ve done, but there were a couple of times right there at the merge where as a team we should have made more of an effort to go after individuals. I went after Rick to try to get him to flip and it didn’t work out. I feel like we should’ve made a bigger push there, especially when we had two different Immunity Idols that we won.
I also think we should have went in strong, kind of like Coach did. We should have protected our person that we may have been concerned about, which would have been Cochran. We should have all stayed six strong and said, “Hey, we’re drawing rocks. No matter what happens, we’re drawing rocks.” We tried to get a little bit too fancy with it and it ended up biting us in the butt. Coach didn’t. Those are a couple things I really look back at. I tried targeting Coach after Keith had gotten voted out. Nobody would go against Coach because he had the Idol. I want to know if these people have ever even seen Survivor. You can vote somebody out even if they have the Idol in their pocket. Look what happened to Ozzy. And look at last season. In the end, they admitted they didn’t go after Rob because he had the Idol. B.F.D. It’s like come on! That’s when you go after them. Blindside the guy with the Idol so the Idol comes back into play and they can’t use it down the road. I couldn’t get anybody to do that. They were all drinking the Kool-Aid and it was pretty frustrating. …
Question: Cochran said he didn’t think the game should be played based on drawing rocks at Tribal Council. What are your thoughts on that?
Jim Rice: This shows the difference in strategy. Both him and I know this game. Both him and I know that nobody who has filled on their entire tribe has ever won. He knows that. He knows that if you flip and screw over five people, you can’t win. It hasn’t happened. People that have had to make strategic moves to backstab one or two people have won. But that’s different than flipping on an entire tribe. … He was so scared to death of going to Redemption Island that he would have done anything — including guaranteeing himself not winning the million dollars. At that time, that’s how I saw it. It was a 14 percent chance of going home. I just don’t see how you flip if you’re really playing for an end game. If you flip, it’s a 100 percent chance of losing. …
Question: Coach has been talking about strategy involving the lowest person on the totem pole. Do you think Cochran was the lowest person on the totem pole and what could you have done differently to make him feel more secure?
Jim Rice: Pre-merge versus post-merge is night and day. Pre-merge, I could see why he would think he’s the low man on the totem pole. Post-merge, there’s nobody on our tribe that had more final-three scenarios than Cochran. Everybody — and I say everybody down to Dawn — had post-merge, final-three plans with Cochran.
Question: What was your reaction when you found out Brandon was Russell Hantz’s nephew?
Jim Rice: I like anything that takes the attention off of me. … I love it. That’s why I loved having Ozzy on our tribe — they’re bigger targets.
Question: When did you find out?
Jim Rice: I don’t think we found out until the merge. We had no interaction with the other tribe at all except for what you see on TV. … We called him “Loco” for the first few weeks because we only saw he had a tattoo of “Loco” on his back. We had nicknames for everybody because we didn’t know anybody’s name until the merge.
Jim Rice: It’s 212 degrees Fahrenheit, 100 Celsius. This is coming from a girl who dances on a pole for a living. I don’t have a whole lot to comment about that. Hahaha.
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Photos courtesy: CBS