Intro: "We had a tough ballgame this past weekend up in Madison, Wisconsin. It was a hard fought game by both teams. Wisconsin, to their credit, made the plays that you need to make to win games such as that. There's no question about it, both teams were getting after it and playing hard. Now, we have to go and retool and lineup and play another great team in Iowa. We get to play at home on Saturday afternoon, and we're certainly looking forward to that."
Q on playing on the road for the first time after five games at home and whether it had any negative effect:
Well, it probably didn't hurt our team as much as some of the mistakes we made and maybe some of the decisions we made from a scheme standpoint or a coaching standpoint
So I certainly wouldn't put that on a high list of that being a problem. We knew what the schedule before we started the season, and we knew why it was the way it was. That wasn't an issue from our standpoint, so no, I wouldn't consider that one of the top ten reasons we came up with a win
Q on team's reaction to the loss:
We got home about five o'clock on Sunday morning. Typically we work out on Sunday and give them Monday off. A lot of guys schedule their labs and so forth on Monday afternoon, so we had a light workout. We watched the film, which obviously wasn't the most joyous Sunday we ever had… but we did just that, and got in the weight room and got a little running in, so we really haven't practiced per se. We'll practice this afternoon and my hopes would be that all of us have had a chance since the ballgame to look in the mirror and see what we could have done better, what we as coaches could have designed better perhaps, and what our players could have executed better, and go out and be willing to go to work on those things and understand the challenge that lies ahead.
Q: Have you seen any indication that the suspension of RR will mean anything in a negative sense for the team this weekend?
I think anytime you don't have one of your guys with you there's a little bit of emptiness there. I haven't talked with each one of them individually, but I think that they have confidence in why certain things have to be done and are aware that there are responsibilities. I think that when all is said and done, when the whistle blows and the ball's teed up, I know we'll play very hard, and that certainly won't be any excuse if we don't play well.
Q on if not playing Iowa last year results in extra preparation time:
I think the biggest difference for both of us will be that we haven't faced one another live. We've all had film; we've all seen each other. We saw tons of Iowa film last year because when you play the other schools in the Big Ten that have played them and so forth, so you feel like you know who they are and what they do, and what they're all about from a film standpoint, but until you face someone live, I think there's a little bit of an unknown, so I can't sit here and say that we know Iowa as intimately as someone we've played. I will say this on the film, they're extremely technique-sound, they're very strong, very physical, they fly around, they play hard. They're not extraordinarily complex, but yet they have real reason why they do everything they do, and it makes a lot of sense, and they do it very well.
Q: Is it kind of like a non-conference game in that sense?
I suppose from the fact that we haven't played them for a couple of years, but it has a lot more meaning than a non-conference game.
Q: Are you surprised that Iowa is so highly-ranked this season?
Not at all. The guys they have coming back are very, very good, and I think the strength of Iowa is their system. I think they're players know it; they know what's expected of them. They have a great belief of what they do, and you can see that on film. There's very little wondering, "What am I supposed to do?" There's full-speed work on what they know they're supposed to do. I just think Kirk and his staff have done an extraordinary job, and that's why they're so good.
Q: Can you talk about stopping Fred Russell?
Fred Russell is extraordinary. He has such great vision, and maybe the thing that he has that I think is at the top of list of what you need to be a great back is his great patience. It doesn't bother him if things don't look exactly right; he'll be patient and wait for things to happen. He has great acceleration, It's a challenge that's going to be something for our defense, and I think it's going to be fun for people to watch because, no doubt about it, he's one of the best there is.
Q on athletic trainers and what impact they have on the program:
The people that touch our players I think are so important, whether it's the athletic trainer, the equipment people, the academic advisors, the compliance office, the strength coaches… They get a chance to see our players off of the field, really get a little bit of a barometer of how they're feeling and just what they're thinking. I think a good athletic trainer is worth his weight in gold, not only from his job of knowing what's expected from a medical standpoint and what risks there are and helping kids get back on the field and all the things that are part of their day to day work, but I think the intangibles that a good trainer and a good training staff can give your program is so important… We're fortunate here with Doug Calland, our head trainer, and our staff that we have a really good group.
Q: Do you think the training staffs are comparable across the board in the Big Ten, or do you think that is an area where you can gain an advantage over another program?
I have no idea… I remember when I was playing college football, my dad was our coach, and I remember him introducing each year at the first team meeting our trainer. He used to always say that he's the best trainer in the country because he's our trainer. "We got to make sure we do a great job of doing what he says" and so forth, and that's the way I feel about ours. Ours are the best in the country, and I'm sure that people at all the other schools feel the same way.