Its another Tuesday, must be time for the teleconference:
First off, the Cats face Wisconsin up at Camp Randall at 11 AM WT - game is on ESPNAnd that's all there is for this week....
Its good to be back coaching and playing and getting ready to play another game. We had open and although we practiced, we had an outstanding week of practice and we were able to improve, I think, a lot of our technical skills and our fundimentals -- we went right back to basics almost kind of a Spring ball type of practice.
Its good to be back in game week and there's always a great excitement getting back to action.
I think our kids are ready to do that, we'll get some kids back. I think our health is as good as its been for a while. Hopefully we can make this stretch run and play some solid football. We believe we're playing our best football right now and we have a chance to finish strong down the stretch and we're looking forward to doing that.
They're very different, but they're the same -- I'm not answering your question -- We believe we have to be a balanced, we believe the quarterback has to run the football in our offense, we need to find a way to do those things.
We found some things that accentuated, we thought at that time, [Zack] Kustok and Damien Anderson and we think we're trying to do the same thing with Brett [Basanez] and Noah Herron.
So, we start with that principal in mind and these guys are different, but we're trying to do the same basic philosophy with those guys, just accentuate different plays.
Did Wisconsin overlook you guys last year?
I can't answer that. We thought we played well that day, and made some plays.
We think at this point with our program and our kids we can line up and match up with a lot of people, and we play our game and play well, we'll have a chance, a great chance to win.
Its not like the years and years ago where people here hoped to win.
We go in the games expecting to win, expect to play well and to execute and we know that if we do those things, we're going to be OK. But like anyone, if you don't do those things in college football today, there's a lot of parity out there that if you don't do those things, you have a great chance of not winning. So, we just count on ourselves trying to execute and quite honestly, I couldn't answer that question about Wisconsin, or anybody else.
I could answer it about ourselves -- we came ready to play that game and I thought we had a good effort and played well and made some plays to win.
From Columbus - the sky is falling - and folks want to know about why their QB is struggling more than other first year QBs in the Big 10:
Jim [Tressell] would probably be better able to answer that question, but as I did last year, I'm going to defend the kid like I defended my quarterback a year ago.
Never forget that offensive football is an eleven man game, and there are a lot of things that go into throwing the football well. And Basanez took a lot of criticism last year and I think much of it undeserved, but you have to go back -- its about protection, its about giving him a chance to see and make shots, its about receivers and people being on the same page.
Playing quarterback, and I coached quarterbacks for a lot of years, is the most dependent position on the football field. You can't play, you can't do your thing unless 10 other guys are executing and are all on the same page.
And so, I would suggest that any time you're struggling as an offense, or any position, its never about the individual. Its about the team, and can we get everybody together, and for us last year anyway, it was just the matter of some injuries, some coming together as an offense, the line getting together, so it was just a difficult time and the key is how you respond because everybody goes through difficult times.
Our guy, Brett Basanez kept his head up, kept working hard and came out on the other end a better player.
How do you feel about instant replay at this point?
I feel really strong about it. I feel its a great thing. As I said in the beginning of the season, its not perfect but I give David Perry and the officials and everybody involved a lot of credit.
I think its going very well, and I think its something we'll see adopted throughout the country.
Honestly, I kinda like it the way it is. It takes the pressure off coaches, quite honestly. ... At least in the near future, we're not going to have the sophistication that the National Football League has, as far as the number of angles, the number of pictures...
I quite frankly think there was a play or two missed in one of our games this year, in fact I know it was, but it wasn't on the TV copy and so it didn't do us any good, but I still think it beats the heck out of the old system. Its still a very good thing - a step in the right direction.
What impressed you most about the Badger Defense, and do you think their Offense is under rated?
Well, you're number one in the country seemingly and virtually in every statistic the defense is going to get a lot of credit, deservedly so. They are a great defense, they do what they do, they're sound, they're well coached, they have great players, and they have great players throughout the defense.
The offense I think has in my estimation having worked on them here the last week, is getting better and better. You see the emergence of John Stucco at quarterback and he has grown as a player. They're coming together with the passing game, of course they've always been able to rush the football with that big strong offensive line they have there and Anthony Davis, the tailbacks they have so I think the Offense is starting to hit flight as well.
I think the combination of those two things make them very difficult.
How do you view the conference race and is NU still in it?
Absolutely. We have to win out and we believe we have the capability to do that. Maybe that's tall talking, but we just need to win one game at a time and we do our job, we think we have a chance to be right where we want to be.
I think its going to be a very demanding year in the conference, very chaotic, I think there's a chance for a lot of things to happen.
I tell our kids all the time, if we're playing our best football in November, we're going to have a chance and I think we're right where we want to be. Obviously, I'd rather be 3-0 [in the conference] but 2-1 isn't bad and as I said earlier, if we play our best football and play with focus and discipline, we think we can play with anyone and I think we've displayed that so, the key for us is to play our best football, but I think whoever plays us needs to play their best football.
I think that's the nature of college football and the parity in the Big 10 and throughout college football makes it an exciting game.
What is it about this particular NU team?
Starting with defense, I think we're getting some guys back healthy and playing well and I think we can be a difficult team to prepare for because we are pretty multiple and we do some things that give you problems.
We have some quality football players.
Offensively, we've achieved a balance this year we like to have between the run and pass that also, again, give defenses some things they need to work on because we're not one dimensional and if we're playing again, our best football, we can run the ball and we can pass the ball effectively.
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