Wed. Coach Rod **Full Transcript**

Coach Rod Wed. afternoon: on injuries mainly, and on the upcoming Purdue challenge. *Plus the NCAA's decision on Mark Ortmann*

Question: You had mentioned on Monday about the offensive line and (Ricky) Barnum and (Patrick) Omameh was getting time; is there any development of how much you are going to play those guys?

Coach Rodriguez: "Well they are both battling for starting positions, particularly Patrick Omameh. Again, we moved Patrick in to right guard and Mark Hugye is playing both right guard and right tackle. Perry Dorrenstein is still in the mix but Perry has been slowed a little bit by a back issue this week. We are hoping that he will be able to go and we are looking at Patrick Omameh more at guard than tackle that's the only adjustment."

Question: Did it happen in the game last week?

Coach Rodriguez: "No it has been more ongoing. He's just been fighting it every week and it flared up a little bit with him I think in last week's ballgame. He's been battling through that the last couple of weeks really."

Question: With these coming up and everybody getting ready, does that increase the competition on the line in practice?

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah but really it is not that much different than we have been. I've probably said it several times before. Our second group gets as many reps as our first group anyways. They're taking the same amount of reps. It is just sometimes we did not rotate some of those second guys into the first group and we've done a little bit more this week, both out of necessity and trying to find the right mix."

Question: Anything new with Mark Ortmann?

Coach Rodriguez: "There was nothing new. We got a statement back to us that they agreed with our assessment that there would be no penalties occurred for that."

Question: Is Martavious Odoms practicing this week?

Coach Rodriguez: "He did a little bit yesterday and a little bit today, but still day to day with him. We were hoping that he would be full go for Saturday, but I don't know if we can answer that until game time."

Question: How was practice yesterday?

Coach Rodriguez: "It was good. It was a physical practice. Tuesdays we get after it pretty good and had some competitive stuff with the ones on ones and twos on twos – it was pretty spirited."

Question: You guys only got one sack that is not from a defensive lineman, is that okay with you?

Coach Rodriguez: "We've not done a lot of secondary blitzes. We've had some linebacker blitzes but getting more sacks obviously would be more critical and as I mentioned Monday, we need more turnovers. We've gone three games without a single turnover is something hopefully we get turned around in a hurry."

Question: Is there anything you can do in practice?

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah part of it…again, you look at everything and some of it may be that you are playing and guys feel comfortable, I know my assignment and I can just go play and react real fast as opposed to thinking so much. Again, we've got to do enough defensively just so they don't always know what we are doing. You can be too simple. Part of it is that and the other part of it is just physically being able to get there to be able to make the play, whether it is speed, strength or what have you."

Question: You mentioned Monday you want the guys to play looser is that anything that you need to do during the week to get things looser?

Coach Rodriguez: "Well we tried. Really it's been the same routine all year. We're not approaching anything now really than we did in the early part of the season. So it is just I think sometimes, when you are so consciousness to a fault that you worry about every mistake, but ___ the players, we want you to learn from it and it is important that you try to win that play and it would be disappointed if you don't, but you got to move on very quickly, especially in football where every play can determine the outcome of the game."

Question: Any lingering doubts about emotionally a hangover from last week?

Coach Rodriguez: "I don't even want to talk about it. We talk about it Monday and then we move on. Why belabor the fact, you can't play it over again. There is no reset buttons."

Question: What have you said this week about a bowl and six wins?

Coach Rodriguez: "Not much. I may mention it briefly but that's always a goal and should always be a goal, but for us, it is more about playing better. You can talk about ramifications of a game but the way I think to approach it is, this is what we've got to do to win the game and win every play. So I don't even talk about…I tell them don't look at the scoreboard, don't worry about the time of the game unless it is the end of the half or end of the game and just go play and win the next play."

Question: You've talked about how difficult it is in terms of not having a week off during the year, keeping guys fresh; talk about recruiting wise, usually with a bye week you guys would go out?

Coach Rodriguez: "You would like…I think that is one of the huge benefits of having a bye week that you have at least two days that your coaches can go out and evaluate high school games and go get transcripts and visit coaches at school and you don't have that opportunity for us. I think that's a huge thing. For a lot of coaches, even if you have a game on Friday, it can sometimes go out and watch high school games. It's a little bit more difficult in certain places like here, simply because the travel. To go travel and see a high school game Friday night wherever and be able to fly back and get to an afternoon game on Saturday is pretty challenging. You don't want to run the risk of a coach missing the game. We are not the only school that has dealt with that and dealt with that for many years before. Certainly now it is even more critical to get an early start on recruiting because of an early commitment. I think that's the biggest change now as opposed to 10 or 15 years ago that you really have to be on top of things, recruiting much, much earlier in the process and it is harder to do that during the season with the schedule we have."

Question: Has this been a typical practice week for Brandon Minor?

Coach Rodriguez: "More. He has done more than he has probably done in a month or more so. I think part of it, he may be tricking us and telling us that he feels better, but I know he really wants to play and I think he was fooling himself. I got on him a little bit the other day because he may be saying he wants to play but in pregame warm ups he's telling us otherwise. Brandon is such a competitive guy. I said, you've got to really show us during the week that you are going to be ready to play and you got to show us during warm ups that you're ready to play. You've got to be honest with us in how it feels and all that. He had a good day yesterday. I know he's fired up and hopefully if he doesn't stub his toe again in the next couple of days, he'll be ready to go on Saturday."

Question: Do you anticipate him starting then?

Coach Rodriguez: "Yes and Carlos (Brown) has a little tendonitis in his knee, so he did very little yesterday, some but very little. If Brandon stays healthy and has a good next couple of days, he'll start Saturday."

Question: When you watch him in practice and he's feeling healthy, what kind of level does he go up to?

Coach Rodriguez: "Well when he gets going downhill he is a big physical guy. I've said this several times, we're different when he's running downhill. It gives a different dementia to our offense that we need frankly."

Question: Is Mike Shaw healthy?

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah. He missed a little bit obviously last week, but he ran really well yesterday. He should be good to go."

Question: What his injury?

Coach Rodriguez: "He sprained a knee or did something to his knee last week and it never really…I think he did it in Tuesday practice or tweaked it and thought maybe he could go Saturday, but he wasn't ready to go, but he should be fine Saturday."

Question: How about Brandon Graham; he said he was going to talk to the team when you broke down on Monday…?

Coach Rodriguez: "I think he talked a little bit. Brandon has been a really good leader. Brandon loves to play, so he leads more by example. We've got a small senior class, but it's not a group that has a bunch of rah-rah guys. I don't think they feel a need to let's circle all the team together and let's have a talk. If they felt that guys were going crossways or drifting mentally, focused away from what they are supposed to be doing then I think they would, but they don't sense that at all."

Question: What is he like when he takes command of the huddle?

Coach Rodriguez: "I don't know. I haven't been in a lot of them. I've seen him a few times when he gets them cranked up a little bit before the game and then during practice sometimes as well. He's just a big smiling face that loves to play. That the example I used to the other guys. I said, Brandon makes mistakes too, but he doesn't let it eat him up and let it affect him the next play. He does out there and tries to atone for it or tries to make the next one. You wish you had him a few more years, because he's really been a lot of fun. He's really playing at a high level. He's doing some good things on special teams as well."

Question: Does Kevin Leach still have the middle linebacker starting spot?

Coach Rodriguez: "As of now, yeah. I think that is ongoing. Obi (Ezeh) is still in the mix as well. It really depends on how the team is going to attack us and who we want to put in at the time."

Question: How has Obi responded this week in practice?

Coach Rodriguez: "Very well. He's responded, all those guys, the worse thing you can do if you are not feeling that you are getting the playing time that you want or playing as well as you'd like is to go into the tank. We want guys that can fight back. We are in a situation now where we got to fight back from adversity. We've kind of been there before and we don't want to be in this situation, but it tells a test of a guys character and he's got a lot of character."

Question: ___ on the sideline on Saturday?

Coach Rodriguez: "I guess okay. I told the guys I can't turn around watch who's behind me. I'm just watching the game. I didn't sense anything. Obi went in later part of the game. I don't sense any problems."

Question: Do you feel like you have a desperate team on your hands?

Coach Rodriguez: "What is desperate? I think that is…not in football terms have ever used that. You want to have a hungry team I guess, hungry to prove itself, but you want that whether you are winning or losing. I don't want our guys looking at some fatalistic view of what this last ball game right now. It's in the past. You can't redo it over again, lets worry about this next game."

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