Drew Tate: That is hard to say. They have a lot of young guys on defense. This will be their sixth game, so they are not all new now, six games in. They have gotten better each week, I am sure. The last time they were here, I think we won by two. It's a Big Ten game and those are close, except for the on Saturday.
Q: How did you come out physically from the Ohio State game?
Tate: Fine. I am walking, I am good.
Q: Did the injury affect you in that game?
Tate: I don't think so. It has been feeling pretty good. It felt better after this game than after any other game.
Q: Before the season, there was talk about the offense being set up to not put as much pressure on you, that you don't have to do everything. Has that happened this year?
Tate: I don't think so. There are enough playmakers at the skill positions so that everyone can give a hand to lead the team. We just didn't play our best football on Saturday. That's all.
Q: What did the team learn about itself Saturday?
Tate: Just how close we were. We had our chances, I think in the second quarter and later. We had some drives stall at the 50, and a few other plays where we were so close. We know that. We could have competed with the #1 team in the nation and we let it go.
Q: How do you take that mindset with you the rest of the year?
Tate: I don't know. We have a lot of games left and it was like that two years ago and we won seven straight. A lot of guys on that team are playing now. It comes back to fundamentals and being positive and moving forward. You have to get things out of the way, because there is a lot of football left.
Q: You said that you felt the team had its chances Saturday night, but could not put it all together. Does that make that game harder to let go?
Tate: Well, we don't have a choice. I can't dwell on the way I played because that would be selfish. We need each other this week. It's a team game and we are going to keep moving forward. That is all they can do.
Q: You guys had some real momentum going there in the fourth quarter.
Tate: Yeah, there was a drive that I remember; it was unfortunate the way it ended. We knew if we kept working through the ups and downs that it would work out. But we couldn't work through it. A lot of that goes on Ohio State; they did a good job. They are #1 for a reason. We just felt that we really hurt ourselves more as an offense and we need to keep pushing forward and keep going.
Q: How much of it was their speed, their ability to penetrate the pocket, a fast secondary, versus the reads you were making. Which was a bigger factor?
Tate: It was all of it. They made it tough, but we made it tough on ourselves. It was us not playing our best football, me included.
Q: Is it a big deal that you have not had a 100-yard rusher or receiver this year? Does that matter in grand scheme
Tate: I don't think so, because we are 4-1.
Q: Your offense is performing without big numbers. What does that say about your offense as a whole?
Tate: If we don't have turnovers and penalties, the other stuff will work itself out. If you have 80 yards rushing or passing, as long as you win, that is what you care about. I don't care about what someone did. All we care about on this team is winning and losing.
Q: Purdue's defense has traditionally given you guys fits. What have you seen from their defensive line?
Tate: Since I have been here, them and Iowa State usually have the most complex schemes as far as what they do with the coverages and how they roll things, where they come from, show one thing and do another. It has been like that since I have been here with those guys. I don't see that changing. I know they are real aggressive and they play tough. I think that they have a lot of young guys, and they are not quite comfortable. But this will be their sixth game and they played against a real good team last week. They are working on things too.
Q: What are the biggest differences in running styles between Damien and Albert?
Tate: I don't know. Albert is very good between the tackles and gets the yards that we need. Damien has that knack of getting the ball and bouncing things, cutting things back and he has good vision. Albert does, too. I think they compliment each other more than anything.
Q: How big of a factor is it for the offense when so many guys are missing time so often?
Tate: Mike (Elgin) and I were together when we were sophomores, so that was not a big deal. We have new guys playing, new things. Me missing reps in practice, things like that. We were moving pretty well the first few weeks. Every year at this time, there are injuries. You have to keep working through it. The next man in kind of thing that Coach always talks about. We need it and it will work out in our favor. It's weird how it all happens, but that is the game.
Q: How much has missing practice had an effect on you?
Tate: I don't know. If you ask me, I have been throwing the ball a long time, so there is no excuse. I am sure there is something that is awkward about that, kind of changing my throwing motion so it would not hurt. I think I did that a little in practice. Not really wanting to, but just to try to get through it. I felt myself doing it in a game and I went back and watched it and I did not have good technique on a lot of throws. That is why we learn from watching the tapes and I have to deal with my throwing fundamentals.
Q: When was your last full week of practice?
Tate: I don't know. I have been in and out.
Q: Do you think you can exploit Purdue's four new starters in the secondary?
Tate: I think so. I think Notre Dame did a good job with it. That is a rivalry game with those guys. I know that Purdue always plays us tough, and there is a rivalry in that too. The good thing is that they are coming here. The coaches always put in a good game plan and find what we need to do, and hopefully we execute.
Q: Do early scores help the team?
Tate: Obviously. During my sophomore or junior year we scored on first drives, and we have not done that this year. We have to start out fast and set the temp.
Q: Both you and Purdue are 4-1 in the Big Ten. How important is this game?
Tate: It's a must win, it's a Big Ten game. We are both 4-1. We have both played good people. It's Big Ten football and anything can happen. It's tough every Big Ten game.
Q: Do you get a chance to see Shonn Greene make plays on special teams?
Tate: He has a great attitude for the team. He does a great job running the ball, too. When he is in there, he usually makes something happen, whether its offense or special teams. That is the kind of attitude we all have right now. He brings a lot to the table.
Q: Do you think that he sees the big picture, in that Sims and Young are back for the next two and a half years, so he has to make is impact on special teams until he is a senior starter?
Tate: Yeah, but given the opportunity to do anything, he will maximize that on offense, defense or special teams. He wants to play and he does a great job in all we do. We watch the highlights, and he is always making plays on special teams and on offense as well.
Q: Is this week's game bigger than last week's game?
Tate: I think so. Every week will get bigger, because you get later in the season, the games are more important. Every Big Ten game is big, even when we play Northern Illinois it will be tough. They have a great running back and offense, I know that. I don't know about their defense.
Q: Does it hurt when you do one thing over another?
Tate: Some days are better than others.
Q: Have you ever experienced anything in the way of hype and support as you did on Saturday?
Tate: No. Nothing close. Every home game against a big opponent like that, the fans are the same way. The night factor and Gameday brought more to it, but as far as fans go, its second to none, every game.
Q: Retracing your steps regarding your injury and how it happened, is there anything you think you did or is it just wear and tear?
Tate: I have no idea. It's goofy.
Q: How frustrating is it, being that it's your senior year and you are not able to play the way you have in the past few years?
Tate: It's not that frustrating. It is a little bit, but it's just something I have to deal with and work through it. It's not making me throw interceptions, it's just there and it will heal eventually and when it does it does. Right now, it's something you have to keep pushing through. It's just more of a weekly thing with treatments and things like that. Stretching, and that is about it.
Q: Have you been close to not playing this year because of the injury?
Tate: I don't think so, except for the Syracuse game.