Indiana in overtime, what is he happy about and what isn't he happy about so far this season, the play of Jason Wright and maybe getting him the ball more, what do he and his coaches do during the off week, and what will the Cats be doing this week to get ready for Homecoming against Wisconsin"> Indiana in overtime, what is he happy about and what isn't he happy about so far this season, the play of Jason Wright and maybe getting him the ball more, what do he and his coaches do during the off week, and what will the Cats be doing this week to get ready for Homecoming against Wisconsin">

Randy Walker on the Teleconference

The NU Head Coach holds forth on beating <b><font color="#FF0000">Indiana</font></b> in overtime, what is he <b>happy about </b>and what <b>isn't he happy about</b> so far this season, the play of <b>Jason Wright</b> and maybe getting him the ball more, what do he and his coaches <b>do during the off week</b>, and what will the <b>Cats</b> be doing this week to get ready for Homecoming against <b><font color="#CC0000">Wisconsin</font></b>

NU Head Coach Randy Walker speaking on the Big 10 Teleconference - the Cats are 1-2 in the Big 10 and 3-4 overall with a Bye this week. Next up will be the 5-1 Badgers of Wisconsin - for NU's Homecoming game.

Its a rainy awful day here in Chicago so go I guess its good we have the off week.

We've given our kids a couple of days at the beginning week without practice. Our coaches are out recruiting for a couple of days so we took the right time and the weather's working right for us here.

But its good to go into the off week with a win - you know I was pleased with our kids in a lot of respects. Indiana did a great job fighting back in that game and I give a lot of credit to their coaching staff and we were very fortunate - we make a couple of very big plays - we get a big punt return out of Mark Philmore and set ourselves up to go into overtime and win, which we did.

As I told the kids after the game there are a lot of ways to win a football game and we don't always have to do it the conventional way, sometimes you have to find a way - create a way if you will and its good to see our kids do that.

Obviously there are still some concerns about our football, and how we need to play the rest of the way. We're going to go to work on correcting some of our inconsistencies in this off week and of course get ready for a big Wisconsin game in two weeks, so its probably just as well we have this open week. If the Cubbies win it, they might just close this town down for a couple of days - its going to be good to see that happen as well, but we're looking forward to getting back to work at the end of the week.

At the Halfway point in the season - what are you happy about, and what do you need to work on the most...
I'm pleased to this point ... with our special teams. We were inconsistent in that aspect of the game early on but I think we've been more and more consistent - really played well in every phase, whether its the coverage teams, or the return teams getting it back up to speed now, so the last couple of games we've played real solid in the special team area, its given us a chance to make some plays and win some ball games.

By and large on both sides of the ball, I'm concerned about our inconsistencies. We show signs and there are moments where we play well and there are other times ... it looks like we're not getting coached. We have to do a better job playing with more consistency, executing better, and being able to sustain that for a long period of time.

We've put flurries together in a quarter or two and scored some points and played great D, and then we've fallen off the bridge when something happens - we go in the tank for a while.

Hopefully we can get these young kids to mature, and grow up, and continue to grow up - I think we have a good football team - we have a chance to get even better.

What about Jason Wright...would feeding him the ball more be something that would help the team?
Jason is playing very well for us and he can make plays a lot of ways and I think we do need to find ways to get the ball to him in more different and creative ways, but I do think there are some other kids on our team that can contribute and step up, and we need to get -- I still believe that for our program to be good and for our offense to be successful we need to be balanced.

I think if we get too proccupied with Jason and not have some other guys step up and shoulder part of the load, we're not going to be the kind offense we need to be.

What do coaches do on their off Saturday?
I've always said that the reason I coach this game and the reason I played this game is I love it -- I was a football fan before I ever coached it.  There's only one Saturday a year that I get to watch football. The rest of the Saturday's I'm working, so I'm looking forward to it.

Typically, I get up the same time every day, I get up about 6:30 or so, I can't sleep in any more, I've out grown that habit.

I look forward to it, quite frankly, just hitting the TV and watching some ball games and seeing some other teams play, that's probably what I'll do. I'll probably turn into a vegetable at 11 o'clock and take it on thru the night.

Your wife doesn't have any to-do items?
She knows I kinda shut down the "honey-do" list about August so and she's a big fan as well -- she loves football and so I imagine the two of us will be huddled up around the TV the Big 10 play and what's going on.

We're counting on the Cubs and hopefully that's a World Series game and that should be exciting as well. Fortunately we have a TV that accomidates two pictures so maybe we can have two of them going at the same time.

Why the time off instead of working this week?
Part of its a recruiting decision. We want to get out a couple of days. You know a lot of High Schools play 8 or 9 ball games and this gives a chance to go out and get to some of the secondary areas that have been a little bit more difficult to get to, perhaps, and so that's one aspect.

We've been going real hard now since the first of August without any real time off. We go hard and practice hard and then you play games - we just played our 7th game in a row and so it takes its toll on kids. I'm pretty cognizant of that so what we try and do, I always try to give them some days to not only get off their feet and get caught up academically if they're in that position or just try and get away from it.

We have no responsibilities for them for a couple of days, they don't have to come in here other than to get treatment and work on their well being, and that's the case with a lot of them. You start developing these nagging injuries that just kind of drag along 6 or 8 weeks, and this give them a chance to get some real quality down time and some good rehabilitation and some good treatment, hopefully we go back.

We're going to start back at it Thursday, have a couple of days at the end of this week, hopefully we'll be back at a better, fresher pace if you will.

Do you try and add things during the week off?
If we were a more veteran team, an older team maybe, thats something you could do, but we're still a very young team. This whole football team virtually will be back next year and what we really think we need to do is not reinvent the wheel and come up with a whole bunch of gadgetry here, this gives us a chance to go back to the basics.

Do a lot of fundamental work, footwork, steps, aiming points, all the things that you know, you get so caught up in game planning week to week, what are you going to do third and eight, what are you going to do first and 10, what's our red zone offense, we don't have to worry about that this week.

Lets just go back and work on some quality fundamentals and get some quality work done hopefully by the end of the week.

And with that, Coach Walker heads back to the practice field to get ready for the next Top 25 ranked team - the Wisconsin Badgers.


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