Randy Walker after the Final Spring Practice

What did <b>Northwestern's Head Coach</b> say about the <b>Wildcat's </b>2005 Spring Drills --<br><br> What did he want to accomplish, why some players sat out some drills, what the goals for this spring were, any surprises?, blocking rules and running the football, and sending messages.<br>

Saturday's Practice was over, and the crowd of journalists gathered around NU coach Randy Walker...
How was the Spring?

RW:
As I just told them [the team], I remind them every year at the beginning, its about outcome based, you know, about the process. We're just trying to get better, we're trying to grow as a football team, that, quite honestly is the reason for today.

If I was interested in putting on a show, we would have altered what we do, [but] I wasn't interested in putting on a performance. We'll do that September 3rd.

I wanted to get a quality practice. We were down to one tailback, four linebackers, ... lets get the best we can out of this deal because its not, to go out and put on some kind of game, would be rediculous.
[You can see from the photo that half the starting D was on the sidelines in orange jerseys]

Lets just get 'em one day better, we've got a lot of linemen who've got to grow up, we've got a lot of guys who can have a positive day if we have a normal practice format, [but] we still had some competitive things that you saw, so we had "hamburger," "whoop-and-holler," and some things that kind of reveal some things always and so we try to have...

We had a very physical spring. Other than this Saturday, the other two Saturdays we had quite long scrimmages, ... we went about 120 plays last Saturday full go. I thought we needed to play a lot and do a lot of things full so we had a lot of full go reps this spring than we've ever had, probably.

I'm pleased with the growth, I'm pleased with a lot of the things I see, I also noticed a lot of room, a lot of work that has to be done between now and August and this is where I make my exit. I'm always a little bit nervous 'cause I turn it over to the [team] leadership where we go this summer and the kind of progress we can keep making.

Isn't the idea of progress and getting better the whole idea of the spring game?

RW:
We get 15 practices. That's what we've been labelled with. We get 15 practices.

I walked in there, and I go, yesterday in the team staff meeting and I asked "what can we accomplish with one tailback and four linebackers in a scrimmage situatiion, without running a great risk of getting somebody hurt badly?"

Because if you've got to go every play like that tailback or those linebackers - fatigue? I'd say we were in great shape - at the expense of who.

So I said we can't go and scrimmage. We can't play a game in that circumstance. I would like to but we've got all those guys down and I'd thought we'd had enough game type situations.

We still did some things here today.

We could just pay per a little bit better - we could still compete, like I said, and do the "Hamburger "and the "Hoot and Holler" and do some things competitively one on one, some revealing drills that put you on the spot. I wanted to put those guys in that spotlight in front of everybody.

In Hamburger, someone's blocking somebody, or somebody's getting off a block and making a play, you know, a lot of time you watch those linemen, you don't know who made a play, and lets find out right now, see who can block.

So I like the idea of of kinda putting them on the spotlight. I like the idea of at the end we wanted to see C.J. go live and our qyuarterbacks haven't live all spring, so I wanted to see him get hit, get tackled, again in a planned environment,

[There's a loud yell from the other end of the practice facility] Wide Receivers, its a celebration of the end of spring, but

so I really think its been a good spring as far as accomplishing what we wanted to accomplish, and we had to balance being careful with some really good players, its just like in the last unit, Barry Cofield didn't go. Zach Strief didn't go.

We made those kind of decisions all throughout the spring, and yet we wanted to continue to grow as a football team.

Until. the NCAA goes back like I started this business, we had unlimited scholarships, not 80, we had as many as we wanted. We'd come out in spring with about a hundred guys, University of North Carolina, we'd play two games, we'd play a double header.

But I think its good we've gone this direction, we've reduced practices, and I think by and large, we have a chance to grow and learn more because of what we've done. We just go out there, in the old days, we'd put it down and just start hitting and beat the heck out of each other.

You know, some days we had good learning... you know I learned a lot this spring, I hope you did.

I watched them real close for 15 days, I learned a lot. so it was good.


Any Surprises?

RW:
Yeah, I've been asked that a lot.

If I say yes, that would be I was expecting they weren't any good.

See I was expecting that they were all pretty good, you know, and so when a guy performs to his level of excellence, I'm not surprised by it.

I didn't recruit anyone to be bad.I didn't recruit them to be average. I probably say there were surprises in the negative way, but I'm not going to talk about that, 'cause there's a lot of time between now and September, and a lot of things to go.


What about people who think you should have a Spring game the way Illinois, and Notre Dame had today?

RW:
I really don't care.

We're not doing things for their benefit today, this is our 15th practice,. We could have gone outside, but then I would have torn up our game field up.

We, unlike those programs, don't have all weather game field and then I start the season off with a game field all plowed up and torn up and not up to speed and our practice fields are about shot after going on them all spring so I said lets do it inside and I"ve already answered.

We don't have the personnel to play a game, so I think the fans had fun. I don't know, maybe you're criticizing it but I think it turned out well, people had some fun watching what we did, they could see a different view than they'd normally see, so at this stage of the year, I'm not interested in sending messages, so your question about sending messages - we'll start sending messages next September - that's what I'm worried about.


How much can the fans, especially the older fans, se about the changes to the blocking rules?

RW:
You know, I'm like you, I came in at a time when we had to do like this [fists together] and when they started letting offenses do this [grab inside], goodness, [there's] holding every play, but its a lot different. They've also done the same thing on defense.

The defensive backs have their hands all over people now and that used to be, so its about kinda - I'm not on the rules committee but its a lot different game than when you played.

Are you still a believer in a balanced offense if you have everyone healthy?

RW:
I'm always a believer in a balanced offense.

There's no secret, I start with rushing the football, and I believe in that style of play, unfortunately [you weren't here Saturday], we went out there live and  we ran the ball a lot and so we're  going to run the ball a lot. We had about 120 live scrimmage plays  - we're trying to run the ball.

Now today it didn't look like it because we're down to one tailback.  I played that posiiton, I'm going to take care of that guy, you know?

And we're not going to run him to death.
There you have it...
Randy Walker after the Spring Practice - he's evaluating his players, looking for the Cats to improve and he's still going to run the football.

Purple Reign has more interviews - later this week and next we'll hear from Barry Cofield, Zach Strief, both Quarterbacks - C.J. and Baz and Trevor Rees.

Stay tuned...

You can send your direct comments or "back door" information
directly to Coach Roy
[or comment on the Purple Boards]

CoachRoy74 on AIM

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