Jeff Horton Press Conference - Q&A

You look all over the country, I mean there's not any program immune to it. Things happen. It's part of life. No program's squeaky clean, everybody has issues. I always say those issues are all encompassing. Nobody is immune to them. They are all equal opportunity employers and they can affect any team at any time. So to me it is not any different or out of the ordinary...

Q&A Part 1 -

Q&A Part 2 -

Q&A Part 3 -

Coach Horton's responses during the Q&A portion of the presser….

On Kirksey's suspension being on or off the field related…

"It is just a combination of things. I think there is a right way to do things, and he didn't do it and we talked about it and it's handled. And I think he will be better for it."

If the suspension was due to a practice issue…

"Practice issues? No practice issues, no, he is awesome. I love that kid and what he brings. He just knows there is a right and a wrong way to do things, and we talked it out. We are in good shape."

On how many weeks will Carter and Hageman be out…

"They will be out the rest of the time. They will focus on academics the rest of the year.

"We stay on top of them daily with progress reports and different things. Obviously midterm, we've passed that now, so it is a crucial time for them."

On Matt Carufel having an MRI…

"He did. I can't really, you know, I don't want to go into what it is."

On if he expects Carufel back…

"Yes. I think he'll have a chance. And I forgot to mention Jon Hoese. I don't think Jon will be back this week. We are hoping to get him back next week. He is getting better, but not all the way there.

On Dom Alford's status…

"He's tweaked a little bit, too, in his leg."

On Iowa's performance against Michigan State last week...

"I think those turnovers really were big. They ran the one back for a touchdown, and they ran the other one back to about the 5 yard line and that gave them 14 points.

"I thought Iowa did a good job. Michigan State still played the run pretty well. Iowa made some big plays in the passing game. You know, I think that was a big key, and just, you know, they jumped up on them so fast, it was hard for Michigan State to recover."

On the improvement and success of Michigan State this season…

"You know what? I see a team that I think everybody remembers a year ago had a lot of adversity. They had a lot of off the field issues and discipline problems and different things. I think maybe they circled up as a group and hey, we're going to get that corrected and move in the right direction.

"And even this year with Coach Dantonio getting sick with the heart issue, and Donny Treadwell stepping up and rallying, I think they beat Wisconsin one of the games when he was out. So they have been through some adversity, but they stayed together. And probably through the off season they all made a nice commitment to each other that hey, we're going to put all this stuff behind us and move forward. And you can see it.

"And they've played I think they are just a big, physical football team. All of my years in the Big Ten I always thought Michigan State had the best looking players. They just always look good they look like an NFL team when they get off the bus. And you can really see that talent on the football field. Now they are doing an outstanding job this year."

On how big of a blow is it to lose Matt on the offensive line…

"When you are that thin, we can't get any thinner. I mean there is nobody because I don't want to pull you know, there are linemen we are red shirting, but that's tough at this time of year. And you know, he is a veteran and he has played a lot of football. But it is a chance for Ryan Orton to step up and get a chance to play. And he came in the other day at the end obviously, and he played some this year, so I feel comfortable with him in there. And others will be back this year, so that's good."

On moving a tight end to offensive line…

"When you send in a play, you probably have to send in a piece of paper with it.

"I think that hopefully wherever he moved into, the other lineman would have to help him out there. There are obviously some carryover with tight ends and the O line, they have got the same calls as far as identifying fronts and the different types of blocks. But still, it would be different, you know, instead of the end of the line, now you are in the middle of the line or wherever he maybe.

"It would be a challenge, especially in pass protections and picking up different blitzes. Fortunately for us, we are playing a team that will blitz 50% or 60%, so we would really be tested that way. But that's what we are dealt and have to figure out a way to get better. We will do some emergency work there, that's big.

"And then we have to be smart with practice this week, because we only have six guys practicing. It is a lot of reps for six guys. You don't have anybody else to go in. And especially this late in the year, I think that's things we have to be aware of."

On how to run effectively against Michigan State's front seven…

"Say a couple of Hail Marys or something, I don't know. No, we have to stay at them. They are active. One thing, it teams like to blitz, they blitz into some things, but they will also blitz out of some things. We have to be able to recognize it and be able to get better plays and go from there."

On if the Ohio State game revealed a pass blocking weakness…

"Well yeah, that could be possible.I think the biggest weakness is we were behind so much.When you are behind like that, they hope you run the ball. So then, therefore, they weren't worried about the run.They were coming up field and blitzing corners. And really, it was like a feeding frenzy.They had nothing to worry about other than to try to get to the quarterback."

On his confidence with secondary…

"You know what? The one thing we have done is the secondary, they played a lot of guys over there. I feel comfortable with the guys that are out there. That's who we have got. We have got Michigan State receivers, they all look like Da'Jon and MarQueis. They are big, tall receivers. We're not real big at the corners, but yet we have to be able to match up and cover and fight."

On playing younger players over the remaining games to get them experience…

"Right, right. I think it's two headed. I know a lot of people listen to this press conference because it is amazing how many emails I get right after the press conference.

"I think it is a couple of different things. One, I mean you could go over our depth chart and we are really almost playing everything. I get a lot of emails saying why don't you play younger guys. We are playing, if I look at our depth chart, we're playing all the backs we got, all the tight ends, obviously all the linemen.

"All of the receivers, and that's counting MarQueis, a receiver, and defense they play everybody they got one way or another. So you can put a guy in, put the big thing with MarQueis, it's easy to say practice him more at quarterback during the week, but he practices so much at receiver.

"And then the thing the other day maybe put him in late or not, to me they were blitzing like crazy and I didn't want to throw a guy in, his first time and have blitzes coming from all over when he hadn't had a chance to prepare for it during the week. People say well give him a chance to prepare more during the week. That's easier said than done when he is one of our featured receivers and he himself hasn't played receiver a lot.

"So you know we're going to continue to look at that. If we feel an opportunity comes up down the road here, something we look at it more, just with where we are at number wise. If we take him out, we really don't have I mean there is nobody to go in and fill the void. And as much as we have to fight for everything we get to take him out of there is not but we'll continue to look at it. If we think a situation, the right kind of situation presents itself, then, you know, we'll see what happens."

On if the coaching change had any effect of the players suspended or ineligible…

"I don't think so. You look all over the country, I mean there's not any program immune to it. Things happen. It's part of life. No program's squeaky clean, everybody has issues. I always say those issues are all encompassing. Nobody is immune to them. They are all equal opportunity employers and they can affect any team at any time. So to me it is not any different or out of the ordinary. You just keep marching on. Guys learn and you move on."

Courtesy: University of Minnesota

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