At 5-0, do you feel you've improved and progressed as a team the way you had hoped to at this point?
White: I would say absolutely. We've played in spurts at times. But if you really analyze what we've accomplished in our non-conference games -- we've had two fourth-quarter comebacks, we've had an electrical shortage out at UNLV to deal with, we've had two games where we've come out of the blocks strong and done a lot of good things against West Virginia and (Arizona). I think we've had a variety of different experiences that our players will be able to draw from throughout the Big Ten season. And the one thing that continues to surface is the fact that we have a group of guys that buy into what we're coaching, and they really followed our lead this week and took a lot of responsibility for the way we played the previous week and changed it.
Do you like the placement of this bye week?
White: I think it's fantastic. We really broke down our season going into the year. We knew that playing five weeks, playing some good opponents, and then having a break was really going to be critical for this football team, going into the Big Ten season. I don't think the bye could come at a more opportune time for us.
How much will it help some of your freshmen avoid hitting the wall?
White: My personal opinion is that is comes at a great time. They feel like they've been here forever. Going through training camp and five weeks. You ask some of those freshmen, they feel like they've been in Siberia and haven't been able to get out. So this will be a nice week for them to get outside and get away from it a little bit, clear their heads and really come back focused for a Grade A big run.
Brooks Bollinger tied the all-time wins record. He said that's something he will think about the down the road. But you've been able to appreciate what he's brought to the program over the last 4-5 years. What can you say about that accomplishment?
White: Well Brooks is the consummate team football player, very unselfish. All he does is come in and work, and meshes himself as a leader and someone that tries to give our football team a chance to win every week, and normally he does. At some point in time, some people need to look at the accomplishments that he's had as a quarterback here and really give him a little bit more credit than he's gotten.
You mentioned after the Northern Illinois game, you were going to limit the menu a little bit. Is that how you would classify your approach to the Arizona game?
White: Absolutely. I thought we really had a simple menu, but we had some different things that we could get to. We were going to move in and out of spreading people out and two tight end, smashmouth football. I thought we did a good job of getting in and out of those formations to keep them off-balance. It really worked to our advantage today. We had a really nice rhythm, and our players played well. They executed. Our emphasis all week was going to be simplify the menu, but execute. And we did. I thought we played a really solid, fundamental football game.
The 15 play, 80-yard, 8:36 drive, is that pretty much textbook what you were looking for this season with the ball-control, moving the chains, etc.?
White: That's what we're always looking for, to be able to keep the football and be efficient with it and score points. I thought we played a nice football game today. A lot of guys made plays. It was what we needed going into the break. We put an emphasis on playing a clean game, and we played a clean game.
How nice was it to see Anthony Davis climb over 100-yards again?
White: It was great. I'm tired of answering the question, `What's wrong with Anthony?' and there's nothing wrong with him. He really played a good football game. He really ran the ball hard. He had great acceleration and burst and broke a lot of tackles. He was into the game really early. It was obviously…it will be a great boost for Anthony. It's like anyone else. You have games that you don't expect to have and press a little bit. He just went out and played. That's the way he practiced all week, so I'm really pleased with the way he played.
How confident are you that Lee Evans will be back in two weeks?
White: You're asking the wrong guy. I'll let Coach Alvarez and the doctors handle that, and Lee.
When you consider you didn't have Lee throughout the non-conference season, and a less than 100-percent Darrin Charles, how important has it been that some of your young freshmen receivers have stepped up the way they have?
White: It was really important. If they don't, we don't have a chance to win any of our games. To watch them continue to improve is only going to pay tremendous dividends down the road.
Is this as successful an immediate recruiting year as you've had, watching a number of guys from the 2002 recruiting class step on the field and contribute right away?
White: I really haven't analyzed it, but just off the top of my head I would say yes. There have certainly been a number of players that have stepped right in and made valuable contributions to the team.
Q&A with Brian White
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