Q: Is your team ready to play a game?
Ryan: Our players are definitely ready to block out somebody else than that same familiar number across from them every day. The drill work kind of gets a little monotonous at this time. It's necessary, but they would like to go against some other bodies, get a chance to see what they've picked up, where they are. So I know they're anxious.
Q: Are you anxious too?
Ryan: Yes, very much so. It's that time.
What's the main thing you look for from your team in an exhibition game?
Ryan: Well, you try to do the pregame warm-ups correctly without getting anybody hurt, get our talks lined up, what we say before a game, what they can get used to at halftime, and just start to get into a routine that way with the players. How to report in correctly, make sure we find the right spot. Things that you would…John Wooden used to teach guys how to put their socks on. I think what I like to try to get with guys is try to make sure they know where to report in, and make sure their uniform is proper underneath their warm-ups. You hate to see the guy go up there and take off the warm-ups and he forgot to put his shirt on. Things like that are tough to handle. I think with exhibition games, our table, our scorer's table, our people get a chance to work out their kinks -- the shot clock, the game clock, under semi-official game-type circumstances. Plus the NABC and the rules committee, they like to have experimental rules in the exhibition games. It's a great time to use that, and there are a couple that we're using. So hopefully we can get something out of that and get us ready for our NABC Tournament that we host.
Do you expect Freddie Owens to play Wednesday night?
Ryan: We hope so.
Have you talked to anybody to get an update?
Ryan: On anything with injuries, I really wouldn't have any information for you. And that will be the same way all year, so you can keep asking, but I just don't have any information.
You can't say answer on availability?
Ryan: I don't have any information. Not until right before the game.
What are some of the experimentations being looked at?
Ryan: The wider lane and the 3-point arc is back, nine inches to a foot, somewhere in there. They're trying to open up the post a little more, trying to take away…the bodies are bigger, the bodies are stronger, thicker. The post gets to be a pretty interesting place, and they are talking about points of emphasis with players making cuts. If you're chunked, then banged by people on the cuts well…quite a few officials that I know that have done our games in the past, either at Platteville, Milwaukee or here, said boy, if they call the rules the way they're supposed to this year on the swing offense with guys making cuts through, if they call them, we can shoot a lot of free throws. But I will be real anxious to see how they call them.
You talked about getting your team ready for warm-ups. Once the clock starts (Wednesday night) what will you be looking for specifically? Will you be playing younger players to see what they have?
Ryan: Well remember, if you play a player Wednesday, he plays for the entire year. I'm not even sure who I'm playing yet. As long as a guy doesn't play, he's considered not using any eligibility, or what some people would call, is he redshirting? Right now I don't think it really makes any difference if they play Wednesday or Saturday and whether or not I'm redshirting someone. We're going to see what progresses here this week. But if we don't use a guy, it doesn't mean we're automatically redshirting him. It just means potentially he still has another year of eligibility if we don't use him for the rest of the year.
Are you considering redshirting anybody?
Ryan: Not really any specifics, just looking at some areas. Of course Andreas (Helmigk) isn't going to redshirt. But there are some other guys, depending on if there's nagging injuries, if there is somebody who has something with size, knowing that if they had one more year, what would that be like if they got to their fifth year? Some guys are more ready than others. I don't think we have the luxury of determining too many.
Have any players approached you about the possibility of redshirting?
Ryan: No. Anybody that comes in for us, we're hoping they're players and they want to be players. Now that they've had a chance to bang and go against some of the older guys, that might change.
The way you split your two teams in Sunday's scrimmage, is that an indication of your rotation at this point?
Ryan: Well we had our veterans, plus (Ike Ukawuba and Ray Nixon) who were going to be the white squad, and on the red squad was the rest of the guys. That just meant, the five guys that were on the floor last year. The five veterans.
Except for Ike, right?
Ryan: Well that happened because Freddie wasn't playing. So we moved Boo (Wade) over, and then Clayton (Hanson) wasn't playing, so that put us at six and six. I didn't see anybody come out of the stands and volunteer to give us any help, so we went with the six on both squads.
Did anybody stand out to you at that scrimmage?
Ryan: Well I think a couple of the younger guys that physically, showed us where their tools are and how they can use them. I think Tucker and Boo, they both showed that…they've been through a lot, and physically they are ready. Jason and Ray are both guys that, if you can imagine being in the post area and dealing with Dave and Mike, and even Andreas is stronger now. There are some bigger bodies in there. For them it would be a little tougher in there now then it would be for say, a guard like Boo.
It looks like Ray is playing a small forward and power forward position?
Ryan: Yeah, he's playing a 3-4 right now. We're just letting him develop and see where he shows the proclivity to adapt to the quickest. I don't even know if that makes any sense. I heard that word once. He's working at both and it's still early. But he's getting chances in possessions.
Do you feel good about the fact that the guys have put the celebration of winning a share of the Big Ten title behind them?
Ryan: Come out to Elver Park in early September, and then talk about, do you think the guys have put away the Big Ten championship. The conditioning, once you get into that, it's all about what you're doing now, what's next. That hasn't even come up in anything. No, I'll tell you what, it did come up. The people (Sunday), the 1,500-2,000 people that came in there for autographs and everything, they were really nice people to the players. It was really neat to see that kind of interaction with the kids, the college students that came in, with all the adults that said, "Could you sign this for my other kids at home?" because adults never ask for autographs. Did you ever notice that? So that was very nice. They were very (supportive) so our players left there yesterday feeling pretty good about the way people respected what they did. But they also know we have to play now.
What's your biggest challenge as a coach now in your second year after such a successful debut season?
Ryan: I think the challenge would be the same no matter what we ended up. We lose the Michigan State game, we're in sixth place. They're one game further ahead and we're down (the standings). Our drills, our practice plans are the same right now as they would have been if we were ninth-place last year. That hasn't changed, as far as the preparation, what you do to get ready for the season. And the players have been great, because they are just looking forward to seeing how well we can play together right now, and I admire that in them. Their work ethic hasn't changed, so as a coach, you don't feel like the competitive nature of the team is going to change.
Bo Ryan Verbatim
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