Can practice from the last month against your offense replicate the tempo from Ball State?
Venables: I think handling tempo, management from a defensive standpoint, preparation of the actual game day, management that needs to take place by the players. I think it gives you a great opportunity to have a better chance, better feel, better understanding of the awareness.
How do you evaluate your team this week, based on seeing them against live bullets?
Venables: I think every week presents its own challenges. I don't ever look at any week that's easier. Last week was the unknown, felt like we had to go in and make adjustments. During the game, it felt like we were constantly making adjustments. A lot of the things we worked on, we didn't see. That was last week. This week is another step in the process. Every week will be that way. Whether you're fighting the mental aspect or the actual physical aspect, there's a certain preparation issue that is involved. There's always a storyline for me.
What did you learn about some of your guys, good or bad?
Venables: Just how they handled the adversity, a tight game, how they responded. They came up with some big stops, stuck together as a football team…
Does it sharpen your focus more this week when you see last week's upsets?
Venables: I think, for me personally, that doesn't affect me, because I'm that guy, the proverbial Lou Holtz. We're getting ready to play the Pittsburgh Steelers. That's how I think. That's how I'm wired. I think it validates it, or it gives you an argument with your players to buy in, certainly. They're aware of it. We watched the Oklahoma/UTEP game on the way back [from Atlanta].
They see for themselves, there's so much exposure to it. And they watched the tape. Ball State's really good on offense. They're not watching the tape of the other side of the ball. They don't care whether they're good or not. It doesn't affect us. But they're very good, they're very precise. They're incredibly well coached…guys know what they're doing. This will be their Super Bowl. You always talk about -- you don't focus as much on the opponents, it's more about us. Sometimes, that's kind of [a] coaching cliché, but you mean it.
Can you take anything from last year's game coaching against them into this year's game?
Venables: There are some similarities and some differences…they're even better this year.
Do they run the quarterback?
Venables: They will. You have to be sound and disciplined with what you're doing…they'll run some quarterback.
Thoughts on how the linebackers played against Auburn?
Venables: Not as good early, but a lot better later. I love the attitude all the while. The command that I saw that Stephone Anthony really tried to take on the defense, I think he was ready for it.
How do you feel like the defensive line held up in its first test?
Venables: OK. I thought we got better later in the game. I could see improvement in some of the things we did up front. It wasn't necessarily some things we worked on. We got a little bit of panic stricken, kind of got gashed a little bit early. But we settled in later in the game. I'd rather it happen sooner than later. It was good.
Venables' weekly wrap up
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