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Is there much of a discrepancy in talent between the rest of the Big Ten teams and the Gophers?
"You know, there's a discrepancy I personally don't want to set myself up I don't think it's as big as a lot of people think. I think there's some key areas that need to be filled in here that you can do. I don't know if it will happen overnight. But I don't think it's a thing where you don't think you got any hope. There's flashes there. There's some good young players here that I think will develop. We're really bare behind. We don't have much depth. That's an area, with the recruiting class this year, is a big key coming in, all the guys coming back for next year, which I think they will."
How badly do you want to win?
I think we need to win for them. Who cares about me. I'm 53 years old. When you're in coaching, you got a lot of ups, you got a lot of downs. That's all part of it. Wade Phillips feels like crap today. He's won a lot of games, been in Super Bowls. That's the nature of the business. We want to win for the kids and the University of Minnesota.
On what the Minnesota offense must do to exploit the active Illinois defense…
"Yeah, they're really active up front. So, you know, to say you're going to sit back and drop back, be able to hold up and do those things I think are wrong. We got to really try to do some things that can offset that rush, you know, try to move 'em around a little bit, attack a different way than maybe we've attacked in the past, try to keep them off balance a little bit. Maybe now, you know, playing the two quarterbacks, hopefully that will give us a little bit of an advantage, too, to be able to not let them just dial in on what we're doing."
You have yet to score first in a Big Ten game. How big a deal is that to actually have a lead?
"I think it will be huge. I think that's what's hurts us. We've had opportunities. We haven't done it. It's not just touchdown, but on field goal. Obviously, before you kick, you have a chance to score a touchdown on offense, too. I would love, and we always talk about it, let's make somebody else play from behind instead of us always playing from behind. Obviously, it's much harder. We still got to go out and do it. Let's hope this is the week."
Did you see a new dedication in Brandon after getting a suspension last week, rededication on his part?
"Yeah, I talked to him on Monday. Today is Tuesday. He's ready to go. Just like I told him before, Illinois is a big game for him. I think I mentioned a lot of kids are from St. Louis that play there. Like a homecoming for him almost. I expect him to go out there and be a great leader, play his tail off, help us win the football game."
Are you anticipating playing MarQueis more?
"I'm surprised I didn't get the question yet why we took him out on the short yardage. Here was our thinking that. Short yardage, when we put Adam back in, we were just going in to short yardage offense where we were under center trying to get the first down, then we put MarQueis back in and got back a little bit to the spread stuff…But I think in the second week that he's been the package, we'll try to, you know, increase his time on the football field there and be able to do some different things, you know, with both of them."