In looking at the game tapes, it looked like there were some times that you were pretty frustrated, especially at Coach O'Keefe. What was happening at that point?
When you were in a heated conversation with Ken O'Keefe?
When was that?
During the game, fourth quarter, third quarter, somewhere in the second half.
Fourth quarter? (Smiles) I don't remember.
Was it heat of the game type stuff?
(Smiles) I don't remember.
Drew, what about Michigan?
They're pretty good. They're undefeated for a reason. Doing what they did last week, you know, knocking out the first two (quarterbacks), they're pretty good. All around, as a whole team, there aren't places where they're lacking experience or they're not very good.
How are they able to get pressure on the quarterback?
Their guys up front are very large and very big, strong and fast. It looks like they just manhandled Penn State up front. There were a few times where I thought (Penn State's) quarterback could have gotten rid of the ball. That's hard to do sometimes when you're waiting on something to open up and bang you get hit. But that goes back to their secondary. They've got players. They've got good players.
How do you move the ball against a defense that pressure the quarterback and also doesn't allow much on the ground?
I don't know. It's going to be tough. But the last time we went up there, it came down to turnovers. If we didn't have turnovers, the game would have been different. I see it the same way this year. If we would just hold onto the ball, which we didn't do against Indiana, it just comes down to taking care of the ball.
Two years ago, you get blown out at Arizona State and the next game is Michigan. That was a highly competitive game. What happened in the week between those two games to get things straightened out?
I have no idea. That was two years ago. It's kind of long to remember. I know that we didn't have time to mope about it when we got back. We just had to keep pushing forward. I do know that. But I don't remember what was said, what was done in practice or anything.
Is this is a situation where you put the Indiana game out of your head and just focus on Michigan?
Well, yeah, that's what you've got to do. Even if would have beaten Indiana, we'd still have to do the same thing.
Can you talk about the contributions of Trey Stross on Saturday?
He stepped up big. He started getting confidence when he caught the first ball. He was just going off of that. But he made some good plays on third down. He ran good routes and did everything he was supposed to do. He did a great job when I did throw the ball to him. But he did a good job stepping up in a time like that and his head was probably going. He's been in on one personnel group, but we really don't do much with that with receivers, but that was his first time really to get in there on third down and be our X and run a route. He did it extremely well.
Can you talk about your receivers as a whole? It seems like they've been inconsistent.
Yeah, maybe a little bit. I'm sure a lot of that goes back on me, too. But they're playing their butts off, and that's all you can ask of them.
I assume you watched the tape of the tipped pass (against Indiana that went off Brodell's hands and was intercepted at the end of the game). Is there anything you could have done differently on that play?
I don't know. (laughs) It was just something that happened. It's unfortunate it happened, but you've got to move on. To be honest, we shouldn't have been in that situation to begin with if we would have done what we were supposed to do in the third quarter. You just have to deal with it and move on.
You played No. 1 in the country. Now you get No. 2 in the country. Do you relish it again?
I haven't really thought about that, but I just know that we're on the road in the Big Ten and that's always tough. And we're playing a very good football team. Whether they're No.1, 3, 10, not ranked, whatever, I mean it's a Big Ten game on the road. So, there's going to be a lot of distractions, a lot of guys that have never been up there that have always heard about The Big House. It's going to be different to them. But we just have to keep things together.
What are your recollections of the Big House?
Ah, it was big. It wasn't as loud as I thought that it was going to be just because it's so wide. It's not straight up like Penn State or Ohio State or whatever. It was definitely a neat place to play. I'm glad I got the opportunity.
What do you think that the Hawkeyes won't get to play in there for three years, at least? What would that be like having a schedule without the two marquee teams.
I don't know. I haven't even thought about it.
Can you talk about the impact of not having Dominique out there?
It's hard to say because Trey stepped up and did a good job. If Trey wouldn't have performed very well, maybe, but Trey did a good job. It goes down to that next man in. And he stepped up and did a really good job. The things that Trey did, I'm sure Dominique would have done the same thing. But Trey did it. He was in there and did a good job. This is going to help his confidence for this week.
How does it affect an offense when you don't have that corps of receivers? Everybody keeps getting knocked out. Is it a timing thing? Is it a feel? How does it affect an offense?
I don't know. It's hard to say. I don't know. You know, we've gone through a lot of receivers. But as a quarterback, all you can do is to keep these guys together, make them happy and just keep them hungry, which I think they are. No one is begrudging them anything because they're playing as hard as they can. They're doing everything that they can do. They're doing fine. It's just a couple of here and there. You just have to live with it. Not every ball is going to get caught. I know that.
Do you think the Indiana loss will hurt your guys' confidence at all?
I don't think so because I don't think we've got time. We probably had our best week of practice last week of the whole year (as an offense). It was just one of those things, I guess, in the game. But is our confidence? No because we (as an offense) moved the ball. We did a lot of things. We just hurt ourselves down in the red zone when we needed it. But when we played Ohio State, we did a pretty good job moving the ball. I just wasn't completing balls that day. That will carry over to this game. We moved the ball on Ohio State and our defense played well, too. We just put them in a bad situation a few times. I'm not comparing Michigan to Ohio State, but they're a tough team just like Ohio State. I see us doing the same thing.
You guys have struggled on the road. What needs to change in your mind for things to go a little better?
We've only lost one on the road.
(laughs) I don't know. Whoever was at the Indiana game that wasn't the biggest environment, the best in the Big Ten, especially. We went to Syracuse and that was probably the loudest place. That was loud in there just because it was a dome. But I don't think it matters what happens other than what you do on the field. It's going to come down to mental stuff. There were a lot of things in the Indiana game that we missed, a lot of checks and stuff like that. It's just everyone knowing exactly what they're supposed to do. Wes (Aeschliman) jumped in and did a good job. I know he missed a couple of things, but he's going to learn from them. If we can just keep that going, we'll be fine.
How far is the gap between how you played last week and how you need to play this week in order to win?
I'm going to speak on offense, it was the dumb penalties and the two turnovers. It's a totally different ballgame. As long as we don't beat ourselves, we can compete with people. That's pretty much any team, really, especially in the Big Ten because everybody has enough talent, here. If we just take care of the ball and don't give them chances and don't put our defenses in bad situations because they have a very good offense, it's going to work out.
From what you've seen or know about Michigan's defense, what separates them from say a typically good college defense?
Well, they've got athletes. I mean, it's Michigan. You know? I've never heard of a Michigan team not having good athletes. They've got big guys. Their linebackers are like 6-2, 6-3, 6-5, and they can all run. They are aggressive and have a good scheme. That new D-coordinator is doing pretty well, obviously. They shut down Notre Dame's offense and all of that stuff.
What do you see in their secondary?
The same. They've just got really good athletes. They're real physical coming off of the ball for the receivers. That's something I'm going to have to get used to seeing on film and seeing how they do all of that stuff. They're pretty basic with a lot of their coverages, but they play their coverages well.
Can you talk about what a fumble does to an offense? You traveled from your four to their 12 or 14, and there goes the ball. What does that do to an offense?
Obviously, it's frustrating. But if you look at the thing, the guy's helmet hit the ball. I don't know when there's a time when I guy's helmet hits the ball and it doesn't come out. It was just one of those things that happened.
You've had fumbles before. When you lose one like that, does it kind of play with your head with what you're doing with the ball?
I don't know. I know Damian was down about it because when we went in the next drive he was still kind of down about it. But I get down about things, too. A lot of guys pick me up. I was doing the same thing. He had a good day running. It was just one of those things where they guy put his helmet right on the ball. Damian went down and was covering. The guy just went lower and put his head right on it. It happened. If that doesn't happen, we probably score right there, and the game is totally different.
With the possibility of Albert coming back, can you talk about what that might mean? Will that be a spark?
Well, I'm sure. You all probably know the numbers we had against Indiana rushing. We had the two guys run for almost 100 each, Damian had 150, but they both averaged almost 8 yards against Purdue. So, our running game has been doing pretty well. I don't know the numbers at Indiana, but we were running the ball pretty good and we had a few big plays in the run game. We were really close on a lot of run plays, al lot of run plays we were just so close. Our running game is good. I'm sure if Albert comes back he's going to help us out probably more when we out him in the slot. That's what I see.
What has to happen for your young receivers Saturday to show them that they belong on the field with Michigan?
It's just a confidence thing. They're probably hearing a lot of things, that our receivers aren't good and this and that. So, they're hoping to do good. But they're mature enough to look past all of that and come in and have a good week of practice and not hope to catch the ball, just catch the ball. They know what to do. They've done it. They're here. They're playing Division I football. And it's not just our receivers. They've done a good job. It's a lot of us. It's me, too. I missed a lot of deep throws that I normally hit. They do the best that they can.