Do you know which position you're playing?
I go from guard to tackle and now I'm playing guard. I guess we'll just go from there. That's where they told me to stick to, so that's what I'm working on.
Is there a big difference?
There is. Blocking schemes are the same but it's a difference just because you know there are different schemes for guard and tackle. So if you're going to play both, you have to know both. Pass protection is pretty much the only thing that is different.
The idea is still to protect the quarterback?
Yeah. The big different is at guard you have to stay vertical and keep your guy off of the line of scrimmage. At tackle, you have to give a little ground but you have to keep the edges cornered. That's the hard thing that I had to adjust to. But I feel more comfortable the more that I play it. That's the key; just get experience.
Is it zone blocking?
Yeah. We have a little bit of everything in the play book. Coaches are trying to make it simple for us to just get everything going. Once our offensive line gets going like we know we can play, then more is going to be added to the play book.
Are the problems right now more mental or physical?
We just have to keep plugging at what we're doing. It's going to come.
There are no excuses. They always say that we're inexperienced and everything. We just have to go out and play the way that we're capable of playing. It all starts during the week in practice. Our tempo has got to be up. We just have to play every day like it's a game.
Are you guys practicing well? Do you see progress in practice that hasn't yet transferred to the games?
I don't know. It's been thrown at you a lot. Last week was kind of a lower key practice. We hadn't had the best practice last week, and we knew it. It's like coach said, we played like we practiced. That's the key. Coach always says that it starts from the week. If you don't start from Day 1 practicing like you're going to play, it carries over to the game. That's the thing that happened last week. We've just got to be ready to go.
Are you guys still confident on the offensive line?
Oh yeah. We're confident. We know we can be good. We've got two returning starters. It's just the key of getting us to mesh together. We'll be fine if we just get everything going right. I know the coaches still have confidence in us. It's just a matter of us going out and performing.
How hard is it to put a game like Saturday's behind you?
It's tough. We have the 24-hour rule, and it takes all of those 24 hours. It was nice to be able to get in here on (Monday) and get a lift in and try to get back to normal. It will be nice to get into practice today and focus on something else.
Despite the outcome, you had a pretty decent game.
(Laughs) No I didn't. It might look that way because of the tackles. But a lot of those tackles occur because because I'm out of position or something like that. A lot of mental mistakes were made by basically the whole defense. We just made a lot of mistakes that we can't afford to make this weekend.
How do you guys make sure you don't make those mistakes against Michigan?
We need to practice a lot better.
Are you surprised that happened to your defense?
We are a little bit surprised the way that it happened. I didn't know we could give up that many points and that many yards. Nothing could seem to go right.
Was it the case that once it started you couldn't stop it?
The ball got rolling down hill. We kept making mistakes and kept hurting ourselves. When you keep doing that, you're not going to be successful.
How much are the penalties a factor?
On second and third down when we're getting 15-yard penalties, it's going to kill you. We're getting in bad situations then you shoot yourself in the foot.
How do you stop that?
We just have to be smarter. It's mental. Even when you get fired up, you can't be making these mental mistakes that are killing us. There are drives when we might be off of the field and punting the ball. Now, we're there with them in better field position.
When you have a game like that does that stiffen your resolve to never let that happen again?
You know, that's the idea. Hopefully, we can learn from this and use it to our advantage. That's really all we can do. If we stay negative, that's not going to help anything.
What do you think of Henne?
He's got a strong arm and great receivers to throw to. And, they've got a good solid line to protect him. It's going to be tough to get to him. I hope that we can put a little bit of pressure on him and maybe shake him.
Was that a big problem not getting to the quarterback last week?
Anyone in Division I can pick apart a defense if you sit back there and give him time. If you put some pressure on him, it's going to be tough to get the ball out.
You haven't been a blizting team. Would that help?
I think we're just going to stick to the game plan; what we've always done; what works. Just because it didn't work last week doesn't mean it's going to fail us every week. We just need to tackle.
What did Coach Parker have to say?
He was disappointed. The things that he was most disappointed in were little things like alignment issues; just little things where you're out of position to make plays. Good tackling andf being physical have been a staple of our defense, and we didn't do it.
What do you miss most about not having him around?
Coach Wilson has done a great job with us, but he has his own position to work out. It's just added pressure on him because he's got special teams.
Do you miss him more at LB or the defense as a whole?
The defense as a whole. He brings that kind of physical, old-school attitude that we like. That's what we've been playing for the last couple of years.