Q: Has cohesion been an issue with all the injuries?
A: I wouldn't say cohesion. There are certainly some guys that are at the top of the depth chart that we miss their play, miss their leadership, but that's how it is. If one guy steps out, we need the next guy to come in and do everything he can do to play.
A: Without question. They are putting some plays in to take advantage of his mobility and the thing about Russell is he's extremely smart. You see one rotation in the back end or you see you black split a little bit, Russell knows what's going on. You add that to his feet and it does add a dynamic. We're playing a special athlete right there.
Q: Kind of prepares you for the Big Ten because you see those types of quarterbacks?
A: It does. You go through the schedule and you are talking about half the conference that has quarterbacks that can run. I think it does better prepare us for the Big Ten season.
Q: How big of an issue were big plays today?
A:That's the issue. IF we get better at tackling, you are probably cutting three quarters of those big plays, and that's where we have to make our improvement from here to when we play our first game.
Q: Can you talk about what you are happy about after the first week?
A: I am happy the kids are working. I think there intent to get better every day is in a good place. We just have to get our guys healthy and get into position to make the tackles when we have the opportunity.
Q: There's been a lot of talk about the kicking competition. How open do you see that competition?
A: I think it's very real, and it's an open competition. Yesterday, we had the chance the twos kickoff with Phil nicked up and Alec Lerner did an outstanding job kicking deep into the end zone with good hang time, so that's very real. Kyle French has been doing a nice job with the field goals, so that competition will race on throughout camp.
Q: What's the biggest different in French from last year that you have seen?
A:I think the biggest s his confidence and his speed. You've got to get it off at this level real quick and he's picked his tempo up. He's confident out there. He's not rattled by Camp Randall. He's doing a good job.
Q: David Gilbert was trying to get to 255 pounds and you were giving him a little motivational ploy. How excited were you when he finally hit that?
A: Really excited. He's done a great job and we have to make sure he doesn't lose any weight during camp. He can do some different things now that he hasn't been able to do during his career against linemen of this level. I am excited where he is.
Q: Is it kind of the same weight you want Louis (Nzegwu) at?
A: Yes, and that's actually what Louis is carrying. David weighed in at 251 yesterday and Louis is hovering around 252 and they both have the same speed. So, it's exciting to see where he can go from there.
Q: Louis said he got up to 260 and wasn't feeling comfortable. Are you happy that he's feeling comfortable?
A: I am. Like I said, he's moving well and carrying that weight. He can do good things at the 250 range.
Q: Can you talk about your defensive tackles overall?
A:Really excited about Patrick Butrym. He's playing at an extremely high level. Jordan Kohout is starting to see him in the form (he was) before he got hurt last season and he's back to that form and starting to show up. Beau Allen is continuing to work on his footwork. At times, it gets a little bit erratic, and Ethan Hemer is playing extremely well. I am excited about all four of those guys, and you've got (Eriks) Briedis and (Kyle) Costigan that are continuing to fight in the mix. That up front is our best full unit of guys. We have six guys that can play on game day.
Q: Are you starting to see the depth shake out right now?
A: I am. We probably got four guys and the four guys I mentioned first are starting to rise up a little bit but Costigan and Briedis aren't going down without a fight. They are doing a great job fighting to get up the depth chart, as well.
Q: How much has Antonio Fenelus grown up in the past year not just with his play on the field but off it, as well?
A: You can see his leadership start to rise. When we missed a few plays today, he was one of the first guys to try and rally the troops, calm them down and say, ‘guys, we just got to make the plays we are assigned to make.' That's when you see a guy really mature. You can tell how much it means to him right now.
Q: Especially to Marcus Cromartie, who looks up to the seniors and had the interception today. Can you talk about the strides he's made to try and be the starting nickel corner?
A: I'll tell you, Cromartie has really had a good camp. He's a young man that has had problems focusing every single play, and that's what he's done better than anything this camp. He's focused way, way higher percentage than he has in the past and his talents are starting to show because of it.
Q: Would you say Hemer has made the most strides with pure fundamentals?
A: I'll be honest, I think Pat Butrym has. Pat Butrym is fundamentally playing at a high level and that's leaving us some plays, but Ethan Hemer is doing a nice job, as well.
Q: What have you liked from some of the freshmen when you get a chance to work with them?
A: I am excited about that whole crew of linebackers. They made some nice plays at the end of the scrimmage and were running hard. At the defensive line spot, you have Joe McNamara and Bryce Gilbert coming out of there redshirt year and they are doing things they have never done. They are both over 300 pounds, they are both stepping well and getting into good position. The next step is to start to get off blocks and make some plays in the backfield. Jesse Hayes has done some exciting things this camp, still has a long way to go, and James Adeyanju is extremely athletic (but) just has to learn the game.
Q: Is really speaks to your depth on the defensive line when you have guys like McNamara and Gilbert that far down your depth chart and they could probably get meaningful reps right now for a number of teams?
A: Yeah. You think about it when I first got here in 2008 with sheer numbers that you wondered if you'd be able to practice 11-on-11 to the point where you truly do have a group of developmental guys. That's an exciting place to be.
Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst
Q: What have you felt about Russell's comfort level in the offense after the first week?
A: I think the experience that he's had lends to comfort with concepts. You can see him getting more comfortable with the verbage, the new, different words. It's sort of the same stuff he was doing but you say it differently. I think he's getting comfortable with the guys and the different nuisances there. I appreciate the work he's put into it and certainly, we've got to keep moving.
Q: Mentioning the young wide receivers, once you get past Nick (Toon) and Jared (Abbrederis), do you know what you have there?
A: No, and I think that's the key to camp, finding out what we have. This was practice eight. Guys have flashed, made a play, and the thing we challenge then is once we put it on film to show you can do it, now you have got to do it again. The consistency is what gets you on your field.
Q: There looked like a stretch last spring where Kenzel Doe was fighting the ball. Has he begun more consistent catching it this camp?
A: Yeah, and I remember what you are talking about. One, I think he had got good hands. It is kind of what you said, you are fighting it instead of just playing. I think that he's done a good job of learning what we did in the spring, because we've thrown a lot more this fall than we would in the spring. I think he still has a little period of that where he's still thinking, but I think that's this next week. The next week, you have to find out which guys you will potentially be playing with.
Q: Would a guy like Jeff Duckworth be in that mix?
A: Duck has had moments that have been tremendous for Duck. I think he fits into that but OK, do it again. I think that everyone wants to play, but there is responsibility to when you are on the field.
Q: What's your level of concern with Jon Budmayr and Toon, especially since their injuries are in places they've injured before?
A: I mean, you are concerned for them for now. There's a reason why we have camp. It's valuable, and that's where you are concerned what you miss with them. Like anything, you have to make the best of the situation you have. Hopefully get them back to where they are healthy and progress. The one good thing is that they have experience, they know what we are doing and then they can come out and get back into physically doing it. Knowledge wise, they are pretty far down the road on the learning curve.
A: They better be. You think about it, James gaining a year of experience and then taking that experience into your preparation. If he's not (ready), he's cheating himself. Montee I think is the same deal. Last year at this time, there were some things, so I think like anybody, you overcome some adversity, it's got to make you stronger if you approach it and learn from it, which I think he has. Time will tell.