What is it specifically that's ailing you?
I think it's just a knee sprain. I think it's a sprained PCL. It's something that heals on its own. It's nothing too serious. We just felt that it was best to sit last week out and let it heal and rest up.
How long has it been bothering you?
If you guys remember back, it happened against Illinois. As you noticed, I didn't play in the fourth quarter. I pretty much gutted it out against Ohio State. I couldn't have missed that one. It came and bit me again. I tweaked it against Ohio State. Then, we're back to doing the same process again getting everything back together.
What is your status for this week?
I think it's just if I have a good week of practice, I'll be out there. But if everything isn't going well, as you guys see, we've got guys that can step in and get the job done. So, we're trying to be smart about it. We don't want to make things any worse because it's not that serious of an injury but you don't want to make it something that bad.
What did you see in Damian on Saturday? He really looked impressive to us. Was it the line opening up those big holes and his talent combination?
Yeah, you know, Damian is a good runner, but the line did a tremendous job as you saw when Sean went in. There wasn't a drop off at all. It's a combination of everything. When those guys up front get everything going, the running game is going to be there. It doesn't matter who is back there.
Halfway through the season, where do you think this team is right now. Are you where you want to be? Talk about that.
We know we haven't reached our potential yet. That's a good thing being where we are right now at 5-1. We're sitting in good shape right now and we control our destiny. We can still reach the goals that we want and everything is still there in front of us. There's a lot of work to do, which is always expected. It's a continual process. We're definitely shaping up right now.
What do you think of the Big Ten? It's developed that Big Two a little bit. Everyone is kind of focused on Ohio State and Michigan. Is that kind of how you see the Big Ten shaping up?
No, but that's just how it is every year. Everybody thinks those two teams are going to determine it. So, that's fine with us. We're just going to try to keep winning ball games. We can't control what those teams do. We face Michigan. So we can have a say in that. But so be it. Let people talk about those two. It's always been like that. It doesn't bother us.
How difficult is it to maintain the focus on Indiana with Michigan looming in two weeks?
We saw a lot in our team going into the last game coming off a big loss, an emotional loss. Guys were able to stay focused and play a strong game. We just have to keep that mindset there. There's no doubt in my mind that we're going to be ready for Indiana.
Albert, sorry, we weren't set up here. Can you say again what your injury was and what you status is for Saturday?
It's a sprained knee, a PC; nothing too serious. Thank God because of the way you know I've been going. If I have a good week, which I'm expecting, I'll be out there. But we're trying to be smart about this. We don't want to make it into something serious.
Would you rather error on side of caution this week knowing that Michigan is the week after?
You don't look at any games as being more important. It's just more of that we have guys that can get the job done. There's no point in going out there at 80 percent when you have two guys right there that can perform also. It doesn't have anything to do with the team we're playing. It's just a matter of let's just get healthy. We've still got a good amount of games here.
What was it like watching Damian and Shonn? You were encouraging them, but was part of you wanting to be out there?
Yeah, it would have been nice to join the party that was going on last Saturday. But I wasn't good to go. I'm happy they got the run game back in tact. The O-line blocked great. Forget about those guys because the line made it happen.
You've mentioned the line twice now. What has film been like now with this combination with Mike at center and Seth at guard? It seems like you most physical lineup.
Last week was definitely out most productive. You guys could see that. The seams were there and the backs were hitting it. As backs all we can ask is to get to the second level. Our line was on the second level themselves. Those guys are definitely shaping up up front. They're a strong unit. What teams were presenting and things like that, it was difficult to get things going in previous games. It showed out last weekend.
Is this the time of year where you guys really miss having that bye week to have a week off to get healthy again?
(Laughs) For me personally, yes. At first, I loved the whole idea (of playing 12 games in a row). But it wouldn't be bad to have a bye week. I'm not saying we're looking for one. Guys are playing hurt right now. That's just the nature of the game, but there's nothing we can do about it.
You sat out most of a season already in your career. Does that give you a different attitude towards this injury?
Oh yeah, definitely, I only played two games that one year (2004), so I pretty much missed the entire year as compared to one, possibly two, games. I look at this as really nothing right now. I've definitely been through worse. That's how I look at it.
Does this injury say for sure that you're going to be back next year?
I haven't even thought about it, to tell you the truth. I'm just worried about getting healthy right now and getting back to playing.
What are the things you can and can't do with the injury?
I can pretty much do everything. What irritates it is if I fall directly on top of it. In football you can't control how you fall down. So, can see where that's a little problem right there.
Is it kind of what Jeff Horner had in basketball last year?
That's probably…and Kevin Sherlock also had it here. It's just a matter of when your body heals. There's no surgery. Everybody is different.
Is it the same knee that you hurt before?
If you had to give the team a midterm grade right now, what would it be?
Grades? We don't do that. I don't really have anything to say about that…grades. We don't get into that. Let the professors worry about that now. Those are the midterm grades we're worrying about right now is in the classroom.
This doesn't seem like this is playing with your head at all. You seem pretty relaxed. You don't seem stressed out or anything.
Yeah, because I had worse. It's a sprain. A sprain is a lot better than hearing a tear. It would be the equivalent to somebody getting an ankle sprain. A sprained ankle, everybody has had it. It's just a matter of everybody is different to when they come back from it.