Can you tell us a little bit of what you're building off the Purdue game?"There's a lot to work on and a lot to build from. All year long we have been trying to get better each and every week, each and every day, each and every practice, and each and every play. There were some good things in the Purdue game that the team did. But clearly, you know, not enough. We need to win games. People are quoting stats and stuff and that doesn't mean anything unless we win a game. The great thing now is everybody on the team has that same attitude and the same mentality. The only thing anyone is caring about is working toward a victory. That's the common theme amongst our team and coaches; from Coach Weis all the way down and that's what's going to give us a chance."
How did Jimmy look today?"Both quarterbacks practiced and both quarterbacks practiced well. Jimmy went through practice and did a fine job today."
Looks like you practiced today."I did, I ran with the team after. I'm trying to stay healthy."
Coach talked about taking the wristbands off the quarterbacks last week. What is your take on that?"The wristbands are a crutch, there's no question when you are learning the offense and doing it every play. We were all spoiled with Brady who had been running the offense for a few years and got to know the offense very well and didn't need it. With the new guys, we gave them the wristbands so we could keep the flow of practice moving nicely in the flow of the offense. It finally got to the point where they were relying on it too much and it was time to take them off. What it made them do; it made them listen to what they were saying versus just spitting the words out to be as quick as they can for the rest of the guys to hear. Now they have to think about it as they are saying it. It got them to the point where they are beyond just saying a play but actually going up and running a play; thinking it through as they were going."
What was your experience as a player dealing with wristbands?"We didn't have wristbands; so from day one it was what it was (laughing). Play calls were a little shorter back then and with a wristband you can make a play a lot longer because you have something to read off of."
When did those come into play?"I don't know. I may have worn one in my last year here in 1997 - with Coach Holtz, no wristband (laughing). Obviously, with a wristband, you have room for more words. You don't have to say one word and (it) tells everybody what to do. Obviously, this is the common theme to anybody wearing a wristband. They got to relying on it and now it was sort of a turning point for them to start to run the offense now."
Did you discuss that with them?"Absolutely, we kind of came to the realization that the presence in the huddle wasn't there and a large part of it is because we were just reading a piece of paper. I could go in and read a piece of paper. But it has to be their huddle."
Did they give any feedback after last week?"It felt better, absolutely, they said it felt better. The first day was a little bumpy but midway through the first practice they were making great progress. We're well beyond having to rely on a wristband which is good; it's progress."
How big was the second half in terms of confidence for them and the whole team?"The second half, there were good things. There were good things in the second half for the quarterbacks, the receivers, for the line, the defense, and good things for our football team in the second half. Unfortunately, and I'm sure Coach Weis said it today, it was only one half and we need to do it for a whole game. The common theme for the whole team – that was one piece of the first piece of the foundation. It was something that we could build off of but not something that we can feel satisfied with."
Did you see any ill effects from Jimmy's hip injury today?"No, he looked fine. He practiced well."
What has it been like for Darrin Bragg to be back and be a part of the team again this year?"Darrin is doing a fine job for us. It's good to see him out there running around and participating. He helps us out on the scout team and helps us out wherever we need him; line up here, line up there; do this; do that. He's doing a nice job and it's good to see Darrin doing that."
He can offer a lot of different things by being able to play quarterback, receiver, and other positions – right?"Sure, absolutely, he doesn't necessarily figure in the quarterback mix right now, but he is the guy who helps us out on the scout team, special teams, look teams, and he does a good job."
Do you talk to the guys about the '97 season when the team struggled a little bit?"I have talked to them since I have been hired about my experiences. I was here for five years; started for four years; and had a lot of different experience that I could draw from, absolutely."
How about specifically that year because you guys struggled?"I may have, sure (laughing)."
Was there discussion among the coaches as to what position Golden Tate was going to play when he was recruited?"Coach Weis often scouts guys as a receiver. So when he came in, he really was a receiver. But when you watch him play, he's a guy that plays multiple positions. Bobby Wade was a high school tailback when I coached him in Arizona. Dennis Northcut came in as a freshman, played running back, cornerback, and receiver in the same season and scored a touchdown in all three spots. I'll take as many of those guys as you can get and then find out where they can play."
You talked about the guys building on what they did against Purdue, is there anything that you do as a coach to specifically help them in that process?"What you have to do as a coach, I believe, is - here is what we did really well - and you have to show them what they really did well. Sunday, I showed them what we really did well. And this is what we didn't do really well. Now are those physical things or mental things? The mental things, hopefully, I can correct. And the physical things, some of them have to correct with the proper technique and things like that. So you have to look at both ends of the spectrum. After every game, I put on the board, these are the positives in the game and these are the negative things for our positions and this is what we have to do this week. On Tuesday when they come in, I put on the board the keys to the receiver game this week, playing against the type of teams and their defenses. Hopefully, that mental part of the game is something that we can go through. I think players are all looking for feedback and that is what gets guys to be better. You did this exactly right and this is why you did it exactly right. You didn't do this exactly right and this is why and what you have to do to get it exactly right. If a kid continues to get feedback, I believe he can improve."
Does Golden have an extra burst of speed?"He does seem to have another burst. Yes, he does have another burst. An explosion is what I would say he has. He has an extra bit of explosion. He did some things in the game and we hope he can do it again."
Are Golden and Duval Kamara on the same curve of a typical freshman or are they a little ahead?"I think they are making typical freshman mistakes and they are making plays like a freshman that would be atypical at times. I think there's a little of both in there, but they are just trying to work and develop. They are very coachable and they are very eager to get out there and learn. There's no semblance of a rivalry in their vocabulary and that makes them fun to coach."
Back to Golden and his speed. Is he the one guy that offers that in the receiving group?"I think every guy offers different things. Golden has shown that he has a burst, an explosion, which is really positive. Everybody brings something different to the table in our group. Coach Weis is trying to find out who does what well and just try to build on that."
What did Robby Parris show in the Purdue game?"I think all of our guys showed us an ability to make some plays down the field a little bit. We certainly made our share of mistakes in that game, no question about it, but we made our share of plays. So Robby was a part of that and he did a nice job in the middle going up for some balls. I think we have some positives we can build on and there are plenty of things to improve on. There's a litany of things everybody can improve on that I could write on the blackboard in the receivers' room. Our job is to accentuate the positive, build on the positive, and learn from the negatives."