KIRK FERENTZ'S OPENING STATEMENTS
Injury front wise, Marques Simmons will be out. The final analysis on that is that he has a bad sprain. I guess that is a positive, but he will be out for a while; I don't know how quickly that will get better. Then Mike Klinkenborg had a little episode last Wednesday at practice with his ankle, so he has been in and out and hobbling the last few weeks, and I don't think he will be ready to go this week. So those two are out for this game.
Sean Considine, as you all saw, returned to action on Saturday and did a great job. The good news is that he came out the last two days feeling pretty good. Usually, you know by Monday, and I think things are looking positive there, so hopefully he will get through the week without any difficulties and be able to go.
Our captains this week, we will go with Matt Roth and Sean Considine on defense, Pete McMahon will represent the offense and we will go with Chad Greenway on Special Teams/Defense, who has been doing a great job in all areas.
I was really pleased with the outcome. We all knew and tried to indicated this past Tuesday, that we all knew that we were walking into a real tough situation. I thought it might be a little bit like what Ohio State faced last year, going into State College and they were ready to go. I thought the intensity by both teams was very impressive. We feel fortunate to get out with a victory, and it pushes us one week further ahead. Now we turn out sights towards Illinois.
I think we have a great challenge this week. First, we are going to be on the road for the second straight week, and I think that we are playing a team a little bit like last week. If you look at the record, it is a little bit misleading. Their game this Saturday was not something they were proud of, and we have had one of those this year, so we know what that is like.
But if you look at some of their other ballgames, including the Michigan game most recently in Champaign, their Michigan State and Purdue games, they have fought and competed very well. I think that factored in with the situation we are in, we are hardly the Philadelphia Eagles at this point, we are going to have our hands full. We will need a great week of preparation.
On offense, they have a proficient and effective line that has good players. They have two excellent running backs and a receiver in Jones who is doing a good job for them there. Their fullback is not only an excellent blocker, but he is a good runner and pass receiver. I think he is their second leading receiver right now. They have a lot of weapons that way.
Defensively, they have given up more big plays than they care to. Overall, they play extremely hard and do a lot of good things. They are physical and they hit you, but they have given up some plays that have hurt them.
On special teams, they are playing with great effort. They have a punter who is averaging 45 or 46 yards per punt, so that catches your eye a little bit. And their returners are good; they are using running backs primarily there, and they are doing a nice job.
Bottom line, it gets back to us doing our best, and we need a great week of preparation, because we have a lot of challenges ahead of us right now. I think we will walk into a situation like last week where it will be a tough football game, and we will have to be at our best. That is where our focus is right now and where it will be this afternoon when we get together.