Todd Lickliter: Saturday gave us a chance to be more in the flow. But it is difficult when you are pretty familiar with one another. Probably more familiar with one another than our system at this point. But I thought it was a good evaluation tool and I appreciate the effort. I am looking forward to Thursday in that it will be a chance to recognize and adjust during a game setting. A few more days to prepare and hopefully we will be further along and evaluate at that point, to give us a good tool. It's been good. The guys were here this morning exactly the same way they have been. Carver-Hawkeye is their office and they have a businesslike approach and I appreciate that. I have enjoyed coaching them to this point and I don't think that will change.
Q: Are you a big weight room guy?
Lickliter: I am. I don't think that strength could ever be a negative. I know that from the outside in, what we have heard is that the Big Ten is physical. The game is very physical, but also just injury prevention is important. I think the weight room is a vital part of success. I felt that our team last year at Butler was about as strong as anybody. Southern Illinois was very strong. It can be a real asset.
Q: Is your preparation this week about getting ready to play Simpson or doing what it is that you want to do?
Lickliter: The majority of our time for a while will be our team trying to prepare to play. It is unique. It's an exhibition game and we appreciate an outside opponent, they will be well prepared. I am familiar with the history of their coach. He has been around for a number of years. I believe he is good friends with Barry Collier and he is my former boss. They shared a background of some sorts. If that is any indication, I know how thorough Barry is. It will be good to go into it focused on us and have to adjust during the game. Most of it will be on our own team.
Q: You had to do the I-Club circuit this spring and talk Iowa basketball quite a bit. This will be your first chance to coach in Carver-Hawkeye. Are you happy that it's time to play?
Lickliter: I always looked at it that I had the opportunity to do the I-Club circuit. You said I ‘had' to. I looked at it as fun. It is demanding, no question, but it is enjoyable to me to meet so many dedicated Hawkeye fans and travel the state and reach out. I like that. But, if you said to pick the most enjoyable aspect, it would be practice and then games. I am looking forward to the game. It's an indicator. It's so much fun to have a test and see if you can meet the challenge. There is a lot of fun in that.
Q: How is the health of this team?
Lickliter: Everyone is fine as far as I know.
Q: Justin and Tony both had almost 20 points on Saturday, and four bigs had roughly 10 points and boards. Where is the strength of this team? Inside or outside?
Lickliter: It's in the team. They will compliment one another. If you decide a dimension, you are selling players short. This is a group that will look for a way to win on a given night and be able to make that adjustment and I think they purpose will be on what will help us be successful, not anything else.
Q: Will it take weeks or months for your system to start clicking?
Lickliter: I hope it doesn't take that long. I think you would have to ask the players. I have said this a number of times, that balance of urgency and patience is something that is necessary, but at the same time you don't want to sell them short by being too patient. Competition will demand preparation. I think wherever we are today is about all that you could expect. The staff has done a nice job of implementing, and I couldn't be more pleased with them and I couldn't be more pleased with the focus and commitment from the players. Where we are today, I don't think you could be further along.
Q: What do you hope to see out of your team on Thursday?
Lickliter: I would love for us to execute flawlessly on both ends each possession. That is the dream. Realistically, I want them to approach it that way, to be able to recognize when it doesn't happen, but to continue on. Never hesitate, move forward and not let one possession dictate how we are going to respond to the next possession. If we continue to do that, we will build. The nice thing about this is that it is an exhibition, we will tape the game, it will be a tool we will use to improve.
Q: I can name a few other coaches that wouldn't do what you just did (coming back out to hold a second press conference). Why did you do it?
Lickliter: Umm….(long silence). Because Steve Roe (Associate Sports Information Director) asked me to. And I respect him, and Phil (Haddy, Sports Information Director). I respect you all and I would see no reason…if I were involved with something with one of my players right now, or with my family or something that required my attention and I had already committed to that, then I think you would understand. But that wasn't the case. I don't have any problem doing this.
Q: Pardon my saying that, it just seems out of the ordinary.
Lickliter: Really? I will tell you this. I almost guarantee this; that if I called Steve Roe this evening and asked him to do something for me, if it was within reason, he would do it. This was a situation where we needed to do one more. It's not for him; it's just that he happened to be the guy that asked.
Q: So we won't be getting a starting lineup?
Lickliter: (Laughs). Here is the good news, if I had given one earlier, I would have changed it now. I am trying to save you.
Phil Haddy: We will send it out on Wednesday.
Lickliter: Is that right? Can you take care of that for me? I would appreciate it. You only have to have it in 10 minutes before tip off.
Q: You do?
Lickliter: Yeah. I do. If we make a change, don't hold me to it. (lot of laughs)
Q: How excited are you to see the team in an actual game setting?
Lickliter: That is interesting. Probably not as excited as they are. I have told them this a number of times; don't look at practice as something you endure to get to the game. Let's use practice smart. I enjoy the practices a lot, because I like watching the growth, I like the challenge of practice. I enjoy competition too. As much as I enjoy the games, the players enjoy them more. I am happy for them. They are working, it is a reward for that in a way but it is also a test. Nobody will enjoy it if we don't perform to the level that we should. But if we do that, it is very rewarding. You have that opportunity there.