Last Thursday you said you felt pretty miserable. What have you done to reverse that for this week?"We went out in full pads every day this week. One of the reasons is, when you pull off their pads - you usually go from full pads the first day, to shoulder pads the second day, and protective shells the third day - and what happens is, when they have less gear on, the practices are less physical and often the pace of the practice slows down. Sometimes I worry about how beat up we are before the game. But I figured with 48 hours from now, you still have a full two days before kickoff because of the Saturday night game. I thought I wanted to make sure the pace of the practice on Thursday was up. And the pace of the practice was up, and I feel a little bit better this week than I did last Thursday."
Any other reasons that make you feel encouraged going into this game?"There are no signs of people just going out there and going through the motions. There is no evidence of that, and trust me, I've been looking for it all week; because if there had been evidence of that, there would have been repercussions. But fortunately, I have not seen any evidence of that in the three facets of our team."
Were you hoping to see the confidence and attitude and bouncing back from last week's game?"I started to see it on Tuesday, but you could certainly see it today. Once the whole plan is in, you stand there and listen to the calls, and like when the defense is up, I stand behind the show offense so I can see and hear how the defense is reacting to what they are doing. You can see that they understand the plan and they are ready to go. Now, it's one thing understanding the plan and knowing what to do; and now we have to go out there and do it."
How was Brady Quinn as far as attitude and bouncing back?"Brady has the same week almost every week. There is very little change in Brady. Brady had a good week last week, but unfortunately that's not the way we played. But I'm expecting Brady to play at a high level this week."
Having evaluated the players this week, has anybody stepped up and earned more playing time this week?"I'll use one example. Let me talk about David Grimes because of the brother and all that stuff. I continue to gain more confidence in David Grimes as a wide receiver. I don't any longer look at him as a distant third after the first two guys. So if in the game, now one of those two guys got banged up and instead of them going out there and going three quarters, I could put him in there and feel confident that we could run what we are doing."
Will (Asaph) Schwapp be playing this week?"I list him as doubtful."
With Demetrius Jones running the show team, does that open your eyes and mind to what he can do in the future; not this year?"We talked about that this morning – it's funny you say that. I said in conversation this morning, maybe I should put in Michigan State's offense (laughter). I'm kidding. It does let you see a lot of things he can do that a lot of other people can't do. And it doesn't mean that he pulls it down and runs with it all the time. Because Demetrius is a thrower first and a runner second, but he does bring you a lot of options to the table and it is encouraging to watch."
With Demetrius running the show team, will you be better prepared for Michigan State this year than last year?"I can just tell you, he got the show team player of the week. As he should have in that situation we were putting him in. He and one of the linemen shared that honor. I think he gave the defense the best look you can do to get them ready to go. I thought the look was a good look. I thought it was good Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and hopefully that will pay dividends on Saturday."
Who was the lineman of the week on the show team?"Dan Wenger."
You've been called for ten holding penalties and the opponents zero. How do you explain this or account for it?"That's correct; ten and nothing is the correct stat. Dave Perry and I had that same conversation yesterday. Just yesterday I asked that same question. I'm just saying I asked the same question."
What is the procedure when you see something in a game that ought to be called to the official's attention?"What we did this week – and you have to be sure when you're sending things in that you are not blaming those things for why you lost – we did not lose the game because of calls in the game. We sent in five shots and we could have sent in ten. But we sent in five shots that we felt were clearly missed calls and wanted to know what their opinion was on these calls. Even the ones where they say, ‘well, they might have been right,' you know he's just protecting his officials in those cases. Because in almost every case he saw what our point was and he brought up about another five of them. You can't do anything about that game, but you are hoping in the future that you don't have that same situation. That's all."
How often do you send things in?"We review it every week, but once again you just don't want to send it in after a loss because then you're whining that's the reason you lost the game. I'll give you an example of one play that we disagreed. We ran a draw play last week and on the handoff the guy went right for the quarterback's knees. Now, he'd already handed it off. I said to them, ‘it's a draw play, the ball's already in the running back's hands and he maliciously goes after the guy.' I go, ‘why would that not be a personal foul?' And their answer was, ‘maybe the referee thought the quarterback still had the ball.' Then I said, ‘come on, Dave.' It wasn't like you're whining because you lost the game, but these things just shouldn't happen. Ten and nothing, that's a tough one for me. And you know what; it was a tough one for him too. Honestly, he said he thought that was very unusual."
What is Ambrose Wooden's status for this game?"He ripped a fair amount of reps today. I don't know how much we'll use him in relation to the plan, but remember; we still have 48 hours before we play the game. There's a couple guys like that, but he'll be there at the game, it's not like Asaph that I list as doubtful. We're not putting him in that same category."
How many guys will be going on the bus and will you be bringing the freshmen again so they can experience the atmosphere?"I was going to bring 66 in honor of the '66 team. But I think we ended up adding a couple extra today due to the show team. I think we're bringing 68. I do bring some guys just so they get the feel of the travel and here's how we prepare on the road and here's how we do everything on the road, so that when they're on the road doing it, they'll be ready to go."
Did you root for Notre Dame in the 1966 game?"I was watching the highlights on Sunday morning with Lindsey Nelson; that I can tell you, right before church, Channel 9 WOR."