SPORTS INFORMATION TRANSCRIPT:
Could you assess your offense today and how you feel about it at the end of non-conference play?
Obviously, we have a different personality offensively this year than we have had because of the people that are involved in it. I am still not comfortable that we are doing some things well enough. We have too many turnovers. If we played against a football team we did not play as well defensively against as we did this football team, those turnovers would have killed us. So, there are a lot of little things. I got upset at the end of the game because I thought we were getting sloppy. I think we are getting better but we have a ways to go. We are not consistent enough in our running game. I think Michael Robinson is starting to become a really good quarterback. He missed a couple of passes. But I think we are doing alright.
Could you talk about the progress of your defense?
Tamba Hali does not get enough credit. We have had some great defensive ends around here and he would be right there with Courtney Brown and all of them. I was yelling all day at the referee about holding because they hadnt blocked him yet. I think the down guys did a better job and we worked hard last week at not letting the quarterback run around and open up some passing lanes. We made it tougher on him to find people downfield. I think we have a good, solid defensive football team. We are doing some things pretty well but if we are doing things well enough to beat some of the good football teams we have coming up, that remains to be seen.
Were you using Tim Shaw to spy on the quarterback today?
That is part of his responsibility on different coverages but not necessarily did we put him in as a spy. He did what he was supposed to do on the defenses. I thought Paul (Posluszny) did a great job in putting pressure on from the outside. The kid who is playing a lot of good football is the young (Jay) Alford. He got a lot of pressure up front. Shaw did what we asked him to do and he is a good football player. He can run. He is a skilled athlete. But other than that, we didnt do anything particular to have him spy the quarterback.
Do you think Butler playing as a defensive back last year helps him as an offensive player this year?
We debated last year to move him to offense because we were struggling. When the season was over, we had a couple of staff meetings to re-evaluate what we did, what we could have done, and why we didnt do certain things. Butler came up all the time as a guy that I probably should not have held out. I think if you just play football, go out there and hustle, I dont care where you are playing, you are going to learn. He has obviously turned out to be a good wideout.
Are you concerned about the progress of the kicking game?
The kicking game has been fine. Central Michigan does a great job of blocking kicks; they have blocked four or five goals to save wins or win games in the last year or two. We worked on that a lot and I am disappointed that a couple of kids didnt do a good job up there. I thought Kelly did a good job but he got a bad snap one time. We changed to Alford and he did a good job of getting the ball back. We havent gotten the big return on punts that we would have liked but we got a fine return on the kickoff from (Derrick) Williams. I think overall the kicking game is pretty good.
Are you where you want to be heading into the Big Ten season?
I worry about depth. I worry about downfield blocking. We had done a good job with that but I thought that tapered off a bit. We are not where we ought to be, but we are close.
Could you talk about Derrick Williams playing quarterback?
Galen (Hall) and Jay (Paterno) put him at quarterback one day at practice and I chewed them out for it. I dont want Williams running the ball with Robinson outside. But I looked in there and, sure enough, the third or fourth play of the game, he is at quarterback. It shows you how much respect they have for me. He was a heck of a high school quarterback. He could throw it, run it, catch it. I think as we go along we will do different things with him.
Is it hard evaluating your team not having played a ranked opponent in the non-conference?
That doesnt bother me. Who knows who should be ranked? I had felt that South Florida was a good football team when we played them and dont forget Cincinnati was a bowl team a year ago. Central Michigan has played tough football. They didnt have a great day today. To be quite frank with you, their defensive scheme allowed us to do some things throwing the football. I thought we had troubles running the ball against them because they are tough against the run. We got Northwestern in Chicago this week. Well get out there and see what happens.
You said last week that you were concerned about fatigue, how do you feel your team is holding up?
I think we are in good shape. Some of those kids played 90 plays last week. My problem is, how much do you practice them? We really did not practice much this week. Each squad is different. This squad really wants to be good and when they practice, they do so with great intensity. So, I have to be careful. These guys work hard every play. The scout teams do a terrific job; they are probably the best we have ever had. I think that is also an indication of the quality of this squad. I think we had a little more bounce today because of cutting back on practice.
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