Randy Walker on the Teleconference

He talks about <b>last week's game</b>, and next week against <b>Duke</b>. He's asked about the <b>overtime rules</b>, <b>Brett Basanez</b> and <b>Marquice Cole</b>'s injuries, whether <b>Basanez</b> is losing confidence.<br> He also talks about the <b>rise of the MAC</b>, how good is the <b>Big 10</b>, and <b>college football this year</b>.

Here's NU Coach Randy Walker's comments on the Big 10 Teleconference Tuesday [9/16]
Obviously its disappointing, we didn't play our best football and really after coming out of the blocks and playing good football, one game we won against a Kansas team that seems to get better and better and the Heartbreaking loss to Air Force - we really didn't play well in the 4th quarter - we really thought we played well and played hard for two games.

We didn't play our best football against Miami, but to their credit - the job [Miami Head Coach] Terry Hoepner's done - they did a great job against us, Ben Rothlisberger's a great quarterback - played spectacularly against us - we didn't come and play our game.

In college football, in every week, I couldn't help but overhear, listen to Joe [Paterno] a little bit - there's a lot of parity, its real close out there and you better bring your A game.

We face the same situation this week, Duke is playing very good football, they're coming off 2 straight wins, an impressive overtime win against Rice and they're playing awful good football and for us to have a chance to win, we're going to have to play very, very well and get back to the kind of football we feel we were playing the first couple of weeks.

The big challenge around here this week we gotta get back up on the saddle and you only feel sorry for yourself so long then you need to bounce back and respond and that's what we're looking for out of our football team.
[Bob Baptist - Columbus Dispatch] Randy, would you like to see the whole field used for overtime in college football, do you like the format the way it is, or would you like to go back to the days of games ending in ties, forcing you guys to decide if you want to go for two?
That's a hard question, I've been through it all when I go back in my coaching career, and some very memorable games ended in ties. And quite frankly you force the issue there sometimes too - do you take the tie or do you go for two to win - I've been in those games too.So those aren't easy as well.

I guess, if we're going to have overtime - I like the current system - I think its fair, as fair as you can get if you're going to settle it on the field - put the ball on the 25 and both sides have a chance with it and you have a chance to continue.

As far as if its the right thing and we ought to go back, I don't know, I don't think there's any chance of that - I think people find overtime exciting, I think  its good for the game to settle it on the field if it can be - and so I generally, especially after watching last night's game - the NFL has a different approach - I like college football's approach.
So you like the 25 yards versus playing a 100 yards and kicking off?
[Brad Owen - Naperville Sun] Can you update us on Brett [Basanez] and Marquice Cole's  status for this weeks game?
We expect both of those guys to practice today. I don't know how limited their ability will be. You know Brett finished the game against Miami, although he did come out for a significant amount of time, but he did come back in and finish and play and his failure to complete the game was our choice as coaches, certainly not his choice.

I'll know more tomorrow - that won't help you today but he's supposed to practice today and we'll see how he looks. We have a lot of confidence in Alexander Webb if that's the case.

Marquice is one of those injuries that's hard to tell. After an exhaustive study they took him to the hospital - he's got a bruised back and its significant, but again we believe he'll be ready to practice and I hope he'll be ready to play.
Have you seen any drop in Brett's confidence level over the last 5 quarters - since the 4th quarter against Air Force - he didn't play particularly poorly against Miami but he had a tough time because he was under a lot of pressure - have you seen a drop in his confidence level at all?
Obviously, I didn't think we finished the Air Force game well and that has to have an ongoing effect but I think he's a pretty resilient young guy and I thought he had a great week of preparation last week .

I've shared with him my confidence in him and I've emphasized that I have total confidence in Brett. So I think he'll bounce back and play with the same kind of gusto and determination and all those things, the assertiveness that has always made Brett a special player.

He's symbolic of our program right now - we have a good football team. We played awful well for 7 quarters and the last 5 haven't been exactly what we're looking for but I have every confidence that Brett will help to get this thing sorted out and we have a lot of good football players who can play real well.
[Alan Ferguson - Naperville Sun] Having coached in the MAC and played against those teams, have you seen a difference in the level of their play? Why do you think that is?
I think historically you go back  and I take it back further than this year, I think there's been a lot of good MAC Schools that have played awful well against good teams. I know in '97 when we beat Virginia Tech - they were undefeated, ranked #12 in the country - the next year we defeated North Carolina - 11th in the country - in '95 we beat a Northwestern team - we only get to meet them in the regular season.

I know Marshall's had great wins, Bowling Green, Toledo - there's been a number of Mid America Conference schools - most recently Northern Illinois who played awful good, and it goes back to scholarship reductions - its the things that kind of levels this playing field that you see and I again I go back to dropping in on Joe's conversation but I think there's a lot of parity out there, its really close and there's more competition in football than there's ever been.
[Bob Baptist - Columbus Dispatch] In the little time you've had to notice what's going on with the other Big 10 teams the first few weeks of the season, who or what has impressed you?
That's a tough question, you know you really do focus on the past, you know the Big 10 doesn't start for us until next week, but its hard not to notice some of the people who are playing really well.

Obviously Ohio State is coming out of the blocks playing well. Minnesota's come out of the blocks 3-0, Michigan and Iowa - you know their playing really well.

I really haven't seen much football, I think that's one of the negatives about our job, you don't see a lot of college [games], I couldn't help but notice when I got off the field, we've got TVs in our coach's locker room, the Michigan-Notre Dame game - boy Michigan looked awful strong. Again that might be the only game I've seen other than I saw the Iowa-Miami game a little bit when we were playing Kansas and

But obviously there are some awful good football teams in the Big 10 and there are some awful good football teams who maybe haven't come out of the blocks this well, but you still have some good football teams, and there's a lot of football left in this season, and its going to be exciting - there's no question about it.
And that's all the time they had....
Next week we get to hear both Walker and Jim Tressel's comments as the Cats come Due in the Shoe!

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