Q: Has Matt Roth been getting double teamed a lot?
I thought Arizona State bunched stuff pretty good. The other day…I am trying to be tactful here, give me a minute. I have to give you a picture…Aaron Kampan, his senior year, I can't remember how many sacks he got, but it was significant. One of his biggest contributions that year was the amount of holding penalties he attracted. It was because of his activity level, he was such a high-effort and active guy all through the game. Matt is that kind of player, and I think that maybe a little more athletic than Aaron, more quicker and explosive. I am thinking that some of the things Aaron was able to do in attracting holding penalties, I think we are going to see that over the course of the year, if you get my drift on this one. That remains to be seen. He was pretty active the other day and was doing a lot of great things and he is a handful to block.
I don't think he has had that many holding penalties attracted, but if the past is a good way to predict the future, I think he is going to have some. Or there will be some opportunities for some to happen, like Aaron did. Is that tactful? I am not going get in trouble with that one, will I Bob? No fines there? Perfect.
Q: Talk about the differences between free and strong safety, as Marcus Paschal made the move to free after Sean got hurt on Saturday?
Free safety tends to be the signal caller. We have been real fortunate with Ryan Hansen back there a couple of years ago, then Derek Pagel took over and now Sean. It's kind of a linebacker or center position, if you will, a guy that has to make sure that we are making the right checks. I was impressed with the fact that Marcus jumped back there the other day, because we haven't had the luxury of practicing him back there. It's not like he is a grizzled veteran at the strong safety position, so I thought he did a good job there and he will have more on his plate this week. It is a real critical position for us in the secondary.
Some of the skills that you use are not different from strong, but the responsibilities are different. Cornerback is a different deal altogether. Sort of like moving Rothwell to center last year, that is not easier.
Q: Does Michigan State have a different offensive look, and they surprised you last year
We noticed that in the first series last year. Going into our game last year, they had not shown anything that would have indicated they would do what they did to us. I learned a lesson personally that day. They put us on our heels right off the back. We elected to kick with the wind being what it was, but it didn't seem to be a factor, as they marched it right down. They ‘up-tempoed' the game, and got us on our heels with some screens, emptied the backfield, so they are still doing some of that. I have not necessarily seen the no huddle, but we have to prepare for that obviously.
Q: Any updates on Matt Melloy and Todd Plagman?
Matt Melloy has a realistic chance and Todd Plagman has a realistic chance. But until they get through the week, I am not going to pronounce anything. I think we are close with both of those guys, which has really surprised me in both cases. Matt might get the Kevin Kasper Award for getting back quick after an injury.
Q: Is Marques Simmons going to play this week?
Yeah. Our plan was to play him last week, too. But we just didn't get to that. Part of the problem is that we haven't had any flow offensively. We had a couple of good drives the other day, which was pleasing, but we have not gotten in to a rhythm. We are planning on playing him this week, and maybe we have to write it in ink as to how that will happen. I think he has earned that right. He looked good at Arizona State, which was the first opportunity we have had to see him play. He hurt himself missing some time in camp, obviously. He got our confidence down in Arizona.
Q: Jermelle said that he could hit the holes hard and faster. Is that how you see it?
(PAUSE) We have not had a lot of clean holes. We have been down that road before, too. We had a ton of clean ones in 2002, and most of those guys are in the NFL right now. We are at that point. We have to realize that things will not be as clean as they were in 2002; we are not built that way right now. But I do think that we will improve, which will help him.
It's a tough thing. When you are struggling, there is a tendency for a guy to want to make a big play, which is why I think we reversed field on the one. Sometimes you have to take your loss and go home and not make it worse. Right now, we are pressing a little bit, and I think Jermelle might be pressing a little bit and trying to make something more happen than is there. Right now we are at the stage where we have to take what is there, even though it might not be pretty.
Q: That was a big game for Tony Jackson. Was it by design or a read of progressions?
We thought there would be some things there and we executed them, but he made some fantastic plays out there and it was great to see. Getting the tight end involved in our offense really helps us. One of the solutions is to spread the ball around and use more people, and that was great to see that. As good a play as I saw was where he caught the ball in the flat and then turned up field, it looked like he was down and he kept going. I remember Dallas Clark doing the same things, I remember (Mike) Flagg doing it in 1985 against Michigan State. In fact, I think Phil Parker got run over in that one. Do you guys remember that one going down towards that locker room? I am sure he was in that group that got run over. Flagg took about five guys down the field eight or nine yards. If we can get some plays like that, it will help energize us.
Q: We talked about expectations earlier. Do you think there is a ceiling with Clinton Solomon?
I hope there is no ceiling, but he is a young player who is getting better. He made some tough catches. There was one by our bench where he knew he was going to get whacked, kind of like Calvin last year on our bench, he took one and got knocked hard. When you see receivers making catches like that, it sure helps, because more of those are coming. If a guy is not willing to do that, it's tough to win. I thought those were good steps for him on Saturday.
He flashed that first year, then we, and I mean everyone involved, didn't do enough to help him stay focused, so he earned a year away from here. Fortunately he took advantage of that. The opportunity was given by Iowa Central and did a good job, got back here in good standing and he is really doing a great job. We are all hoping we can continue to see him grow, and I am confident that we will.