TURNER (opening comments): We need to keep battling. I thought our guys came last week and played hard and fought hard. We knew we were going up against a great offense. We knew it was going to be a major chore to try to stop them. They drove it right down and scored. Then we held them, got some stops and had a chance to get back in the game right before the half, and it has kind of been the story of this year. We get down there inside the 10 and end up not scoring; we turn the ball over. Any chance for momentum was gone. The second half they just came out and pounded us, but we have to bounce back. We are playing a lot of young players, we have a lot of injuries, we have a lot of new people in the lineup. We have to find a way to regroup and get better.
QUESTION: What is E.B. Halsey's status for the game?
TURNER: I don't think he'll play in this game, extremely doubtful for this week, but we hope we'll have him back next week.
QUESTION: Tell me a little bit about (Marcus) Mason, if he is going to be your starter, what he brings to the table?
TURNER: First of all, I don't know if he is. Morris Virgil has come back and we are planning on playing both of those guys. What Mason brings is good skills running the ball, strong lower legs, good vision, and a good burst into the hole and outstanding balance.
QUESTION: Have you ever dealt with an injury situation like this, especially when it comes to your top skill position guys?
TURNER: No, I never have. Thinking back on different years on when I have been coaching and what I considered as a lot of injuries, I have never been through anything like this. We've lost our starting running back, his backup Pierre Thomas is out for the year, both starting wide receivers, starting quarterback, and starting left guard. Offensively and defensively, we've had several people miss games. We have had something like 16 players miss games up to this point, 12 of them starters. No, I have never been through anything like this. By the end of next week were going to have eight season ending surgeries. We have a couple of guys lined up right now and I have never seen anything like that.
QUESTION: Along the lines with you guys playing a lot of kids, obviously the games have been lopsided. As a coach are there certain things you can to help them remain positive, so it doesn't turn into a situation of doubt?
TURNER: Yes, that is something we have to watch. We have so many young players playing that we always run that risk. If they play before they are ready, which we really have some guys who are playing before they are totally ready, then you do run that risk of losing that confidence and having a long-term effect on them. So we have to be very careful with that and make sure it doesn't happen. We have some very good young football players, and we're going to try to put them in positions to make plays where they feel comfortable and confident with what they are doing.
QUESTION: Is it tough during games to keep the morale up when things are not going the team's way; do you see any wavering from that standpoint?
TURNER: No, I don't see any wavering. This team is together and very close. They are trying and competing as hard as they can, so I really don't see any of that. Of course, during the game when something negative happens, guys get deflated and all that, but team morale is high, its good, they are remaining positive with one another and we are trying hard to get better.
QUESTION: What are the pros and cons of redshirting a player, and what goes into your decision-making process when you are deciding whether to redshirt someone or not?
TURNER: Obviously, the positive about redshirting a player is that he has another year to get bigger and stronger, and make the adjustment from high school to college. I do not know if there are negatives, but if you have a kid ready to play, our philosophy is, and if he can help you win, then play him. Then if he gets hurt, then its not two years gone because you automatically redshirt him his first year, and then he misses that year. We take each one on an individual basis. If kids are ready to play emotionally, mentally, and physically, and he is ready to help us and be a contributor, then we are going to play him. At this late stage, obviously we are not, and what goes on with that decision is best for his development.
QUESTION: How do you find the players take the news when they are redshirted? Do they have frustration they encounter?
TURNER: No, most of them realize that it is best for them. It is not a situation where we just come up and tell them that they are redshirting. We tell them to compete for a starting spot or backup spot when they come in. We just wait and see how they are progressing, how they are doing. As the season goes on, if it becomes obvious we are going to sit down with each of them and say ‘Well, we're this far into the season, you are probably going to get a redshirt.' Or we tell kids to get ready to play.
QUESTION: Talk about the challenge of facing Iowa's defense which is ranked in the top ten nationally in rushing defense and scoring defense.
TURNER: They are as good as I have seen. They are a great defense. They just line up and play. They have great players doing it, they do a great job up front of getting off blocks, using their hands, and they are very explosive up front. They have outstanding linebackers that can run. They got a safety Sanders that is as good a hitter there is in the league. They do a good job on the outside. They don't try to trick you; they line up and are pretty basic in what they do. They just do it extremely well, extremely fast, and very athletic.
QUESTION: Did you say Pierre (Thomas) was out for the season?
TURNER: Yes, he had surgery yesterday. He had a leg contusion, there was a lot of internal swelling and the pressure just got so great that they had to go and release the pressure. It was not going to happen on its own, so they went in and relieved the pressure. He is out for the season.
QUESTION: Are you surprised since it didn't seem as bad from the start?
TURNER: Everybody was surprised. The medical staff knew it was a deep bruise, but they didn't know the extent to what it was. The swelling just kept getting worse and worse. He came in Monday and it was to the point where they had to do something, so it surprised everybody.
QUESTION: So the surgery went well?
TURNER: The surgery went well, so he is going to take some time off and rehab.
QUESTION: Due to the limitations on injuries, what can you do with practice during the week? Do you do any contact drills at all?
TURNER: We will do a little bit, like going out in shoulder pads and shorts today and work on our uppers. Obviously, we have to do some to get the timing in the running game and stopping the run and all that, so we will do some on a limited basis. We limited it last week too, and you always watch it this time of the year. We obviously have to cut back even more.