This is certainly a tough game for our ball club. Purdue played an excellent football game. They're an excellent team. We knew that coming in. I thought they played a great game. We certainly didn't do enough to help ourselves, especially early. But the credit goes to Purdue. They played a heck of a football game. This one hurts. It's going to hurt for a while. Monday morning we'll get back up and start a new week. That's about all I have to say.
In the first half, Purdue was able to get the yards they needed on the ground. That had to be pretty disappointing.
KF: It is disappointing, but the credit goes to them. And the big thing that we've seen with Purdue the last couple of years is the advancement of their offensive line. They've done a good job of running the football all season long and certainly did an effective job with it today. That makes them an even tougher team to defend. Orton has done a great job running the offense. They're a very well balanced right now.
Can you talk about the Purdue defense, especially in the first half?
KF: We had a hard time blocking them, not that we blocked them great in the second half. We had a difficult time with them. They actually blitzed less than we expected. They've been pretty active with the blitz. A lot of it was just base defense, and their guys did a great job of really getting after it. We had a couple of chances to make some plays but we weren't able to execute them. That didn't help us at all at halftime. That's for sure.
Missing Ochoa out there on the wide-open play didn't help either.
KF: Yeah. We had a shot at that one and obviously the touchdown with the penalty. Those two plays really came back to haunt us, needless to say. It certainly would have helped at halftime to have had a couple of those plays be converted. But that wasn't the case today, and they had something to do with that.
Talk a little bit about Nathan's struggles. He was having trouble finding anyone who was open.
KF: I thought we had guys open. We had trouble with protection today. We couldn't get our run game going, especially in the first half. But our protection was…it just wasn't holding up the way that we're accustomed to. That makes it tough on a quarterback.
Sam was overmatched with Sean Phillips, who is obviously a good player. What do you start to think that you want to do there?
KF: There are some things that you can do formationally. You can have a back stay in and chip. And we tried to make a couple of adjustments at halftime. That helped a little bit. But Phillips is an excellent football player. We knew that.
Kirk, would you address the penalty situation, especially the timing of them?
KF: Anytime you have one on a touchdown, that doesn't help. It's really been that way since the break, basically. Most of the ones that we've had have not been at the most opportune times. That was the case again today.
It seemed like the punting was the same thing.
KF: It's a little disappointing. Again, since the break, we've been subpar in that department. He had some good ones today and some that weren't so good.
Before halftime, you asked the official for an explanation. What was the concerning?
KF: Just on the field goal, we though that maybe somebody had moved.
What did they say?
KF: They didn't see it, obviously. Or hopefully they would have called a penalty.
Why did your team take so long to get into sync offensively?
KF: Again, we missed a couple of opportunities in the first half. But in the second half, I thought we did some things better. If there was a highlight today, it was that our guys played hard right to the whistle. That's something that we're going to have to build off of.
Roth seemed to play hard before the whistle. Was Orton doing something?
KF: We might have been getting a bit of a hard count up there, and we were a little antsy maybe trying to do too much.
Orton seemed to put them in a lot of good situations. There were a lot of audibles. He saw a lot of things.
KF: As I said earlier this week, he's playing like a senior. Last year, he struggled against us a little bit. That certainly wasn't the case today.
You guys ran in a lot of different personnel on defense. Did that open you up to the run being there?
KF: I don't know if it was so much about that. We were trying to match their personnel, basically. I don't know if that was a big factor. Fatigue might have been a bit more. We didn't get much going offensively. So, our guys are out there a little bit more than we like. And we're not able to rotate the like we really like to because of our injury situation.
How do you address the penalty situation with the players?
KF: There's only so much you can do. There's only so much you can do. You keep emphasizing it. We're not going to roll referees out there to the practice field. That's just not something we do.
You got some good running from Jermelle today too.
KF: That was another bright spot. Mo played a lot today. He made some plays. He's still not 100 percent, speed wise. But he made some plays and was getting open. Jermelle, the last two weeks we're seeing him move in the right direction. There's some good news there, and hopefully we get some of our other guys healthy.
How do big misses like the one to Ochoa and the one to Calvin go over on the sideline?
KF: When you're playing a team like Purdue who is an excellent football team, when you miss an opportunity that might be there, they usually come back and get you. I think that was certainly the case today.
Did you think that it might not be your day when Nate missed the field goal?
KF: Yeah. It just seemed like it was that kind of day in a lot of ways. But that's one more thing. He's been so dependable; we almost take him for granted. The good news is that Nate, like the rest of the football team, they'll bounce back. We'll all bounce back from this.
Can you put a finger on the slow starts?
KF: I wish I could. Today, I would give credit to Purdue. They were ready to go. And I thought our guys were ready to go. We had a good week of practice. We were ready to go. But they came out hunting.
Were you worried that the game was going to get out of hand there?
KF: You always worry about that. We haven't been in that situation a heck of a lot recently, which is a good thing. The good thing is that our guys never dropped their heads. They didn't quit playing or feel sorry for themselves. They pushed though it and finished the ballgame. Who knows? You make a couple of plays, and maybe something happens. That wasn't the case today, but our guys kept pushing.
That emphasizes those big plays that were missed, I guess.
KF: It really does. When you leave a couple of big plays out there against a very good football team, it's tough to overcome. We had our chances.
Is Clauss ready to go next week?
KF: I would hope so. I thought he was close. Both he and Grant worked a little bit on Thursday. But it's basically been a couple of weeks now that they haven't done anything significant. I would like to think we're real close right now. It would be great if we could get them both back.
What happened to Nathan?
KF: He got the wind knocked out of him. He got nailed pretty good.