Joe Tiller addresses the press

In a weekly football teleconference, Purdue coach Joe Tiller addresses a number of issues of interest to Michigan fans. In addition, Purdue players Kyle Orton, Mike Rhinehart, and Stuart Schweigert discuss this week's matchup.

Head Coach Joe Tiller

On the quarterback decision for Saturday... "Practice and film study, a guy's ability to identify the defense and make the right checks are all factors. We play the game during the week, particularly on Thursday. We play the game mentally where we get in the film room with them and show them the defense and ask for the checks and try to go through it. That gives you a feel for who has the best handle on what the game plan is and what the correct checks ought to be, etc. If he is making a lot of the wrong checks, then we will be better off with the other guy that will put us in the right position to make a play. I am just talking about comparing (Brandon) Kirsch and (Kyle) Orton. We will see as we go along."

On Losing close games ... "I think it affects every team to some degree. I must say that I believe that players are more resilient than coaches are. It probably has a bigger impact on us than it does on our team. I think young guys, particularly if you have a young team, they are just anxious to go out and play another game. They get over a loss quicker than a more experienced team. That may be helping us. I don't see that lingering or hanging on. We seem to be in pretty good shape mentally and I think it is probably because of the youth on our team."

On Momentum ... "(Momentum) is the elusive butterfly and any given play will change that. It is unpredictable. A given play can change momentum and it can occur at any given time. And often, if it works against you, occurs at the most inappropriate times. Having (it) on your sideline is always important. I think you have to recognize that it can change and if it does change, what the heck, against that's part of the game. You can try to wrestle it back and grab it back in your favor and create some positive things. Certainly it can work for you and against you, but if it is against, you have to recognize that you have to do something and usually it is a big play. A single big play is what changes momentum more than anything else. A classic example for us Saturday was Jacque Reeves interception right before halftime where we ended up scoring."

On junior running back Joey Harris and the running back situation ... "I wish Joey were 100 percent because he made a run Saturday that no other running back could make for us. It was nearly an insignificant run. It was in the third quarter in the line of scrimmage and he bounced outside and got flushed outside and he had to end up giving ground and literally outran the defensive backs who had angles on him. I think he came up a yard short of the first down. My point is, he took a minus yardage play and turned it into about a three-yard gain with his foot speed. But he is not healthy, so we have to rotate him. That is probably good and bad because I think running backs are similar. I often think the more reps they get, the better they get during a game. You would like to give him a few more reps, but it is hard to argue with the productivity of Brandon (Jones) too. So, maybe we can alternate those guys effectively and I still think that Jerod Void is a talent and is going to be a heck of a player here too.

"I was watching the Michigan defensive tape, and in the secondary, they roll guys in and out of there and you don't know who the heck the starters are and who the other guys are, because they are all the same size and everything else. I made a comment to our coaches that on Michigan's defensive team, the competition there must be similar to our running back competition. In other words, we can go with Jones, we can go with Harris or we can go with Voit and we feel pretty good about all three of those guys being able to put us in position to win a game."

On what makes Michigan's offense so successful ... "I think their skill players (are what makes they successful). Their offensive line doesn't look much different to me than any other Michigan offensive line. By that I mean that they are great drive blockers and they really execute the fundamentals of the game extremely well. I think one of the things that has been a little bit of a surprise to me is that I thought Ron Bellamy was just a really super talent a year ago and he doesn't seem to be featured as much. But, after watching the tape, I can see why, because (Braylon) Edwards at 6-foot 3, 206 and looks like another David Terrell. He is a special talent. And I think they have the best tight end in the league. So, I think their skill people are exceptional and maybe that is helping their quarterback out a little too."

Sophomore quarterback Kyle Orton

On the toughness of the last two weeks... "After the Iowa game, it wasn't really too tough. I thought I played well against Iowa. This week has been kind of tough, with the uncertainty around it and everything, but I just have to get by that and have a good week of practice and whatever happens happens."

On the Michigan defense... "I don't think they pressure as much as Illinois did, but then nobody does. The thing I saw about Michigan is that they play so many different coverages. I think they play every coverage you can. They play coverages that we only see one or two times in a year, but they will show it to you for a couple of snaps. They try to confuse you a lot and they are very athletic, obviously. They will bring their linebackers up and put them on the line and try to put them one-on-one against an offensive guard or something like that and let them try to get to the quarterback that way or they will just bring too many where you can't block them all. We have to do a good job handling pressure this week and just getting us into the right fronts and blocking packages. We should be successful if we can do that."

Sophomore tight end Mike Rhinehart

On the Quarterback situation... "It might not be so healthy for the team. At this point in the season, you would like to have one guy set in stone as your starting quarterback, but it is good to know that we have two great quarterbacks who do two different things really and having teams prepare for both of them. In one sense it is bad, but in another way it is very good for the team."

On the Michigan defense... "Michigan is a very good team. Whenever you play Michigan, you are going to be playing talent. They recruit the best talent in America every year, and they usually get some of the top guys every year. So, year-in year-out, they are going to have great football players, great athletes. We just have to bounce back and fight them with the talent and team play that we have on our own side. Michigan is going to be a very tough team to play."

On Using a Bowl Game as Motivation... "Thinking ahead, we know how many games we have to win. We have to win four more in order to get in a pretty decent bowl game and we want to keep that streak going. But at the same ticket, you can't really look ahead or you will lose focus on the game at hand and that game at hand is Michigan. If you are thinking three weeks ahead and what we might not be doing in December as opposed to what we have to be doing this Saturday, that can really help the team lose focus and that is not something we need."

Junior free safety Stuart Schweigert

On the team meeting held Monday evening... "I think it was a good mind check to see where everyone is at right now. We still have a lot to play for and we are going to play a good team this week in Michigan. We are perfectly capable of beating that team and perfectly capable of winning the next five games of our season. We just have to make sure that everyone is still on the same page-not to step backwards and say pack it up, our season is done with, we are going to go home in December. We still have a lot to play for. That is what the team meeting was, to reiterate that and make sure everyone knows that is still our goal."

On team leadership... "We don't have too many guys that are rah-rah and out for the one line quotes and that stuff. I would probably say that one of our most vocal leaders on defense is Shaun Phillips. He kind of talks and gets things going. Actually, really Gilbert Gardner too, he does a good job getting everyone pumped up and going. We have leaders on our team and that is what you need. It is just hard to take these losses. We play good and have people making plays, it just doesn't work out for us in the end."

On Michigan as a motivating factor... "I always want to play big against Michigan because of the past and recruiting and all the family and friends and stuff like that. This is a big game for me. I definitely want to go out there and give it my best."

The Michigan Insider Top Stories