Question: Can you discuss the impact of Asaph's injury on the running game? Is there a correlation in recent struggles?
Weis: I'd say to say there was no impact would be a lie. I don't think Ashley has been the problem either, though. It affects your play calling more than it affects your plays. Then what you do is you use a lot less two back sets when you are put in that position because that's when he is on the field, in two back sets. In some ways you get limited in the volume of plays you can call.
Q: How is he doing now?
W: He looks better than last week. Still so-so to me. He looks better than he did at any time last week.
Q: Is he probable or questionable now?
W: He's day to day. (followed by laughter from the crowd)
Q: You mentioned you were involved in a 24 point comeback the other day. Was that in high school or…?
W: Nope, it was in the NFL. I forget high school, that was long time ago.
Q: Can you talk about the evolution of Purdue's offense and where do you see there offense now?
W: Because I was a big empty guy in the NFL, there weren't that many colleges that were into gun-empty. So we actually used some of the route concepts. You use colleges as well as pros. They were a little ahead of the curve. Now, they are not using all gun-empty now, but they were using that when Brees was there, that was a big part of their offense. You never can think that you can't gain knowledge at that level looking at high powered passing offenses in college.
Q: How has Aldridge looked at full-go?
W: He's looked a lot better. The thing we have to be concerned with with James is the first few times he gets hit. In practice we don't take him to the ground. Some people do. We bang him around a lot, but we try at all cost not to take him to the ground. We don't cut guys on defense and try not to take them to the ground on offense. That is the one hurdle we are going to have to overcome yet.
Q: Can you talk about Trevor Laws and his emergence as a leader?
W: I'm going to first talk about the whole group. When you have a group of so many seniors, they all kind of rise together. That was one of the reasons why in the previous game, as the game went those 4 guys stepped up. Trevor has always been a guy who has been explosive, he has very good quicks, I think that has to do with his wrestling background, but he doesn't stay blocked for very long. That is one of the reasons he is making a bunch of plays.
Q: How has Brady's work been with the receivers, the communication? How has that been going the last few days?
W: You could see the communication. First of all the communication in the two periods was excellent but you could see some little things that could lead to incompletions taking place. I'm turning this way, I'm throwing this way. You're short on a route, why am I short on a route, because you are supposed to be at 12 and you are at 10. We did that yesterday and today again and I think the communication between those guys definitely improved in the last couple of days.
Q: Is there some heat in the running back area with the exchange between Darius and Haywood? Is that how things go sometimes when you are trying to get the running game going?
W: I don't know what you are talking about…Oh, they had an exchange? Good! I'll be looking forward to hearing about it. At this point I don't know anything about it. I'll be running up there to find out, though. Sometimes it happens for one reason or another. Usually the player may say a few things, but eventually it becomes very one-sided when it is all said and done.
Q: Running through the gauntlet, does that help here? Is it a good machine or training tool?
W: Well, we always talk about ball possession and keeping your pads down and taking care of the football. That is really the point of emphasis. There isn't any running back ever that those two things weren't important to.
Q: What is your opinion on the close interstate rivalry? Do you like it?
W: I think it is a nice natural rivalry to play a team in state where you have fans from here who root for Purdue and fans there that root for Notre Dame. I think it is good for the copy machine coffee-room talk, going back and forth, but when it is all said and done I look at Purdue as another team I have a lot of respect for that is playing pretty well right now. I always think it is nice to play the natural geographic rivals. I think it is good for the fan-base especially.
Q: Do you see Purdue with a chip on their shoulder after last year?
W: First of all their offense is scoring over 40 points a game. You can talk about who they played all you want, but I could also they call out the dogs too. There are two ways of looking at that. They are 4-0 and last year didn't go the way they planned it. They expected to beat us last year and we had a good night and they didn't. They are expecting to have a good afternoon and that is just the way it natural goes. They are well coached and they have a lot of pride and I expect their best effort.
Q: Is it different for them playing you for the second time around. Do they kind of figure things out?
W: Do they know a lot more about us and our offense now than they did last year at this time? Yea, I'd say they do. But I'd like to think you try and stay ahead of that, though. That is why offenses and defense are always evolving.
Q: How do you know all the stats?
W: First of all, we do as an organization; we do a pretty good job of self-scouting. I mentioned that before and it was a kind of novel concept for some people, but really knowing the numbers…I'm not a stat guy in using them to game plan, I'm a stat guy to know what you are dealing with. I think that whether it is penalties, yards per carry, first downs, 3rd down conversion, I think they are all determining factors in the outcome of the game. We are sitting at 3-1 converting under 30% on third down or around there, but my goal is always to convert around 60% on 3rd down. What could happen if you could start converting on some 3rd downs? How good could you be? I've got a lot of guys around me good at research. I'd like to say I come up with all this stuff on my own, but that would be a lie.
Q: Is there any stat you see as worthless?
W: In the olden days everyone used to talk about rushing offense and rushing defense as the factors in teams that win or lose. To be honest with you, I haven't been in college long enough to really have this down yet, but we felt that after turnovers, rushing attempts was more important than rushing yards. The volume of runs was more important. Obviously you want to get over 4 yards a carry, they go together, but usually if you ran the ball a whole bunch of times you were on the winning end of it. That's why you get teams like San Diego with Ladainian who just keep on pounding it and pounding it and all of a sudden those two yard gains become 20 yard gains. Still turnovers are by far, not close by the second, the key indicator of wins and losses.
Q: In a BCS world, can you afford to play four Big 10 teams in a row to start your season?
W: Someone asked me that yesterday. I have nothing to do with the schedule, nothing to do with it. If I complained about the schedule all I am doing is giving my players a reason to want for something easier. It is what it is and I'm not just using coaching analogies. Whoever they schedule is who we play. Sometime you play them at home sometimes away. As long as you coach it as an opportunity rather than why are we doing this I think you never put your players in a bad position.
Q: Will you continue to tweak the procedure for home games to try and find that magic? Or just worry about the things you have to worry about
W: I believe the latter is more the case. You can try all the psychological ploys known to mankind, but it really comes down to us just having to play better. Let me add, that me answering like that, you are almost giving the players up by saying "play better." That means not just playing better. It means us doing a better job at home, them doing a better job at home, it all kind of goes together. I can't stand people that act like it is the players fault when things don't go well. I don't want to be a hypocrite. I obviously have to keep working on it too, along with the rest of the staff. I don't want to put it on them. We need to keep working. We worked really hard today. Today was another day in the past where we had been going just shoulder pads but we went out in full pads and really worked hard on correcting 1st and 2nd down and worked really hard on 3rd down and repeated a lot of things. Sometimes you are worried about getting volume in instead of precision. I felt pretty good walking off the field today. We'll see how I feel about it a little while from now when I start watching it.
Q: Will you keep them in full pads tomorrow?
W: Shoulder pads. And the reason why is that we do goal line tomorrow and it is hard to bang them around with goal line reps and try and be physical without being able to bang them around.
Q: Will you go outside on Thursday again like the last week or so?
W: I stayed in on Tuesday and Wednesday before because of the weather and we hadn't had a chance to do the kicking game. Ill probably be in tomorrow. I might change my mind if it is raining out. I might go outside because there is a 40 or 50% chance of rain on Saturday and I thought we'd get some today. I might go out there tomorrow just so we can practice in the rain.
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