Randy Walker Teleconference - 9/6

One of the Big 10's Weekly media events is the Tuesday Teleconference with Northwestern Head Coach Randy Walker. This week the Cats are coming off a 38-14 win over the Ohio University Bobcats and NU's head coach talked about: the game, some of the highlights, Northern Illinois' Running Back Garrett Wolfe, the future of the NU-NIU series, and instilling a winning attitude.

Its the Weekly Big 10 Teleconference:

Northwestern got a home win in the opening week - Here's NU Coach Randy Walker's Opening Statement
I think all of us, no matter what, breath a little better after the first week. You have some things under your belt, so to speak and you find out a lot about your kids. That was my biggest concern as I expressed last week, going into the opener with some young kids, some untested players, lead to some sleepless nights.

At least now we know some things, some of them are good, some of them aren't as good as they need to be and I think all of us are in that mode of, hey we need to make a lot of improve...we need to make some big strides as a football team to get where we want to go and certainly that's our focus.

We know we have a very good football team coming in here to play us this week in Northern Illinois, but our focus still remains on us and how can continue to improve and not only with the young players like I talked about, but the old hats who have been around a couple of years, all of us could get better and come together as a football team and that's going to be the real purpose this week is to hopefully get that one week better in the season.

I was pleased, first of all, obviously, to get a win. I've played real hard and real well and lost so its better to be on the other side of the ledger so to get a win is good and I think some things were revealed and I feel very good about some of the guys we need to count on.

Brett Basanez, I think he came out of the blocks and played really well, it wasn't a game of perfect, and I think he too could play better but he came out of the blocks and played well early. He did a great job in the passing game, kinda spreading it around, getting it to a lot of guys - in fact a lot of young guys stepped up and some new guys emerged that we think can do really good for us.

Its nice to see our running game get going a little bit. Tyrell Sutton came in for the injured Brandon Roberson and I think he had, for the first time out, for a true freshman, I thought he played solid - that was good to see that. I still think Brandon Roberson is going to be a good back, and we're counting for him to make a return and get healthy, but that part of it was good.

On Defense, I think our linebackers are a really solid group for us, I was really pleased with he way they played.

Federick Tarver - its great to see a fifth year senior get his first start and I thought he played well and grew up a lot out there for a guy who's 22 or 23 years old, so overall a lot of good things happened.

Obviously we need to improve and hopefully we'll get that one week better.

Coach Walker was asked about NIU's Garrett Wolfe - what makes him so good given that the common wisdom is that he's not that fast.
Well, he's pretty fast. I don't know who said he wasn't very fast but Garrett's pretty fast...and elusive.

There's a word we use around here and I think it applies to Garrett, Football Speed. You know, there's track speed and there's football speed and some guys, I don't know what they run a 40 in and I don't know what they run a 100 meter dash in but you put them on a football field with a ball in their arms and they're real fast. Garrett is certainly one of those guys.

I've never been a big believer that you necessarily have to, you know when you meet me, you'll know I have a bias towards a smaller backs, so I've never thought you had to be a big back to be a successful back, its not being productive and over the years I've seen them come in all sizes, shapes and speeds and everything and Garrett is one of those guys you put the ball in his arms and special things happen and he's just a tremendous back with vision and instinct and things you don't coach.

I know Joe [Novak] would be the first to admit it, there are some things you don't coach and he certainly is one of those guys.
What about the future of the NU-NIU Series?
I was asked that yesterday, and honestly, I'm not involved in our scheduling per se. Our administration talks to me when its getting close to setting up things...they kinda scout around and when they get close to people they say  "how do you feel about so-and-so," and I give them my thoughts...
Do you think there more to lose than win in playing NIU?
Not for me it doesn't. I think that people who know anything about football know the great job that Northern Illinois is doing, I don't think we look at it in that way. I think many years, they come in here as the favorite or we'd go there as the favorite, or they would be the favorite to win the game - they're a very good program - at the top of the Mid America Conference.

That league...takes a back seat to no one and they come in and beat everybody, everywhere and you go to their place you have tough time. All of them in that league have done a great job and being a product, I take a lot of pride in coming from that league.

Its a great league, and the coaches in that league are doing a great job...

They're one of the best teams in the country in my opinion.
How did you get the Northwestern team to start to believe in winning?
I think confidence is real important aspect of being successful as a football team or anything in life.

Unfortunately, confidence isn't something you can talk yourself into and I think you need evidence of achievement to build confidence. I go back and there were some big games, especially my second year, we developed some evidence that we were a competent, good football team and it was because we beat very good football teams and it gave that kind of feedback.

Again I'm not one of those people who believes in talking yourself into it, or putting up things that some try to convince yourself - there's only one way to get that confidence and there's only one way to that belief and thats to go out and play a tough game against a very good team and find a way to win and that propels you to the next set of circumstances and I think confidence and that momentum thing go a long way.
Later we'll have Coach Walker's comments on Running Back Tyrell Sutton, and Sutton's post game interview...

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