Randy Walker on the Teleconference

<br>NU Coach Randy Walker on:<br> The Purdue game<br> Wildcats going Bowling?<br> Making progress this week against Penn State.<br> Jason Wright's contribution to the team<br> The evolution of the NU Spread

The Cats are trying to get back to .500 this week against an improving Penn State team.

Opening Statement:
We're obviously disappointed about the loss and in some cases the way we played at Purdue, but I take my hat off to Purdue, they're an outstanding football team. We knew that going in, and while we can lament the fact that we put the ball on the ground a couple of times, there were some guys knocking the ball loose, flying around and getting to it, so we knew that was the kind of defensxe we were going to play and of course their offense has been something special, and they have an excellent football team.

What we have to do now is to rebound and battle back.

I think I've emphasized to our kids a great deal that while it was a loss, and we lost some things with that effort, we still have a lot to play for in this program and we certainly have a great challenge this week with Penn State coming in. With that Purdue game behind us its going to take our best emotional attitude to get to the right place, but golly, what a team to play, when you talk about Joe Paterno, Penn State, the legendary things that have gone on in that program.

So, it helps us, I think, to have a great program like Penn State coming in and hope that we can get one week better because we're going to need you to play better against the Penn State team.
7 teams have qualified for bowls and NU is trying to be the 8th. Is there room in the Bowls for 8 Big 10 Teams? and what do you think it means for the league if there are 8 teams in there?
We haven't gone there, obviously we want to be Bowl Elegible, if we win enough games to do that, but I haven't given a lot of thought to the number of what it does for the rest of league or anything else.

We're just trying to play better football -- we've had some weeks where we have and some where we haven't. Hopefully we play our best game this week and we can get number 5, it gets us a little bit closer, but that's what we're trying to focus on and not let our guys get so hung up on potentials or what ifs and what could be's. Lets try to get #5 this week and get back on the winning track.
How hard is this league to even get to this point:
This is a tough league. You go week to week and there's great talent and great players everywhere and it comes down to "are you getting better, are you making the kind of progress you need to make?" In some cases are you healthy - that is always a factor in November.

And we know we're going to have our hands full with Penn State. They're getting better and better -- they have 13 Seniors on their 2-Deep, with a lot of experience, and some guys who were part of a great team a year ago and yeah, they've had some tough losses this year, but I don't forget about the quality players they have, and the kind of performance that Zack Mills had here a year ago.-- at his coming out party.

So they have a lot of talent and they've been right there a bunch of times and you can't come a player too short in this league.

We have our hands full, we know that.
NU's Field Goal Kicking Situation:
We really haven't faced that situation. Last week we really didn't have a field goal opportunity.

I was really pleased with Huff. Brian Huffman is a very good kicker and specialist for us. We tried to limit him to Punting and Kick-offs, but when Slade Larscheid was injured it became evident that he had to get back in the fold there.

There's some things he continues to work on...He came in against Wisconsin and hit a couple of big ones -- a big Field Goal and a big PAT and he's getting that swing back and he's a quality kicker, its just I made a decision early on to limit him to punting and kick-offs -- well he's just got to do it all now.
Jason Wright seems to get the Job Done:
Well the thing is, you hit it right on the head.

I think there are probably better running backs, better this, better that, but Jason is one of the most complete back's I've ever coached.

He is outstanding in the passing game, he has great hands, great receiving skills. He's an outstanding blocker. He's a consumate team player, he talks about we instead of me, and he's just real special for our football team. He makes us a better football team on the field and I don't want to minimize his rushing -- he is a good running back.

As I've told a lot of people over the years, I've coached running backs and I played it, good running backs are a dime a dozen - there's a bunch of guys who can run the football. Its what else you can do that really makes you special and Jason's really embraced that and become a great complete player.
What's happened in College Football where the defenses have caught up to NU's old style of football:
We're a different team with different players and you always play your strengths.

Its like you do things that your kids can handle best.

We have not evolved, we have not become a no-huddle team this year, we thought we thought we might, but its just not taken to us, so we thought out best football was played with a conventional style.

I keep calling it conservative, its really what everyone else is doing, more conventional. It do think to some degree people caught up to no huddle, altho I think it has some things it can give you, but by and large it didn's seem to be a big advantage. I think people learn how to defend the spread better.

Now we're still a spread offense and that, but I think we do some things that make it more difficult if you will. Its kind of a combination; defenses evolve and offenses evolve and we find ourselves in a little bit different place but we have some kids play awful well.

Zak Kustok, he was one of the most amazing quarterbacks I've ever been around. He just found a way to make plays and every time we needed it, Damien Anderson stepped up big -- had an incredible year for us and we had some kids step up and play well.
And there you have it -- Randy Walker on the Teleconference. Lots more insight into the 2003 Cats here....

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