Today we had to come inside and practice but the one thing our guys today had was great focus. I think the last two days, Wednesday's practice and today's, was extremely sharp and wanting to go in the right direction and taking the right attitude, right approach. I am happy about that.
As far as injuries, Jonathan Casillas and I did drills the last two days. I don't know if Jon will play. It will be a game-day decision. Travis has been in and out of practice. He practiced almost all of Tuesday (and) had limited amount of practice Wednesday and same thing today for the first part. It will be right up to a game time for him as well. Chris Pressley practiced the whole week. Aaron Henry will probably be involved on game day on Saturday but not on the field.
Now that school is starting, do you have any update on Josh Nettles?
You know, Josh isn't with us. He's ineligible so he won't be on the football team.
Is he still in school?
You know what, it's up to him. He was trying. There were a couple of options he's on. I don't know what his status is as far as academic. By NCAA rules if you're ineligible at any NCAA institution, you're ineligible at all NCAA institutions. So his only option was NAIA. He was looking at a number of those. I do know that Lance is at Memphis, so that's where he ended up.
Is that a good fit for Lance you think?
I don't really know. I don't know anybody on Memphis' staff. I believe that they talked to a couple of our coaches. I was surprised to hear that. I knew the number of schools that I had released him to so I was kinda gauging where he was going. But I was surprised to hear Memphis.
How much have you looked at what Marshall does defensively on their line and if they flip that end McClellan?
He does move and sometimes he actually stands up and does different things. He played, I believe, 36 snaps and was finding his way through that game. The one part is that his pass rush looks like it is at full speed. He'll definitely be the best pass rusher we face to this point.
Did Emmanuel Spann commit here at one point?
You know, someone else asked me that. If it was, it would have been my first year here and I don't remember the name at all.
Is there anything that you didn't accomplish in week one that you want to accomplish this week?
Well, there are a lot of things individually. Obviously, there were a few glitches in the second quarter from a team standpoint that we had to work through. A lot of them are individual things. A receiver that gets behind a corner or a safety. That's something he needs to correct, not a scheme thing, but something they need to see. And obviously, just going through personal things – David (Girleath) needing to secure that catch in the end zone, Allan on the interception and not throwing that type of ball in that situation. I think both of those turnovers were committed on first down. Those are big things that we took a look at.
I really like looking at game film. It's nice to play an opponent that you actually see what they do. Obviously Marshall is changed up dramatically on offense from what they did a year ago and defensively with a new defensive coordinator. But Coach Snyder is a defensive guy so he has those same principles.
Are you wanting to see more out of Allan Evridge? He only threw 10 passes in week one.
Well, that's what we had to do to win. We've been throwing a lot of balls during practice and he's been moving forward. We went with a plan that was going to be able to give us success on Saturday and that's the way it worked out.
You look at all your defensive linemen with the injuries (two career ending injuries and the stuff Matt went through), does this unit bond and get closer through the adversity?
Extremely close. I can go back to when Matt Shaughnessy went through the tragedy he went through, the first thing I asked him if he wanted to address the team or anybody before he got out of town and he just wanted to talk to the d-line. When Kirk DeCremer came in and had the evolution that he wasn't going to play anymore, the one group that he wanted to talk to was the defensive line first. There's definitely that commitment to each other that's unique to the positions.
Can you relate to that? Didn't you have some experiences in college with your guys?
One of my prized photos is sitting on the bench after we beat Ohio State at Columbus. I've got my arms, we were in a 3-4 scheme, and had my right arm around a guy by the name of Mike Wells, who played a long time in the NFL, and Ron Gators on my left. That's probably still one of my favorite photos because the d-line had started that entire year when we were 10-1. Basically the memory of that game, because it was the game were people were shot on the University of Iowa campus, it's a game we played without our decals. It was always special for that reason.
Does that bond carry onto the field with the players?
I think it does. You know, ‘Hey I got your back.' I understand that somebody makes a mistake, definitely if someone is injured, it's the next guy in. To see O'Brien Schofield get that first sack last week and see the excitement of all those other teammates around him was a pretty special thing.
In camp, you told us about Hodge volunteering for special teams. I don't remember him playing last weekend and he wasn't on the participation chart …
You know, he is going to start on two units for us this week. The guy he was backing up was Blake Sorensen. The idea was to have Blake take the first punt. Well, the first punt wasn't until the fourth quarter and he took the first punt. If I had to do it over again, I would have had Elijah. Elijah did it the entire first year the first game. Elijah will be in there on PP and in kickoff coverage.
Bret, going back to the d-line and a guy like Dan Moore. From the seriousness of his knee, not quite knowing what it was, to working his way back. Talk about the growth he's made over the summer to work his way back.
It was late in the game and I don't know if everybody witnessed it. He got in there and got involved in one of his first plays and he was going absolutely nuts. And the neat part was, everybody on the sideline was engaged. Nobody knows Dan's story as well as Dan. He's been through a lot to even get here and obviously once he got here, to go through the injury to his knee was hard on him. Right afterwards, we didn't know how severe it was and I remember we had a conversation and he was very emotional. He was like, ‘Coach, I've went through so much to get here.' I was like ‘I know but everything happens for a reason.' We kept him steady. For that day on Saturday, for it to culminate with his name being announced to the crowd was a special day for him.
Not to say the offensive line struggled on Saturday because they were great, but do you feel they are looking forward to facing a more standard 4-3 defense?
I think they are excited because the competition level is going to be raised. There's no doubt in my mind that the defensive line and linebackers that we are going to face this weekend are a step above what we had last weekend and that's a good challenge for them. I was talking to Vanden Heuvel and Andy Kemp yesterday and they were exciting about the opportunity to play against some bigger people and see what they can do.
Do you feel that's preparing them going into Big Ten play too?
I do. We definitely feel that this is, Mark Snyder, their head coach, has a Big Ten influence. I think he's tried to build his program with that mentality in their conference and build it up that way and I know that's what he's telling his guys right now about playing a Big Ten opponent. That's where we're going to go.
Could their return game pose problems for you?
Absolutely. I would say that there first three scores were primary motivated by returns – two punt returns and one kick return. That's Sny's baby. That's his little baby as the punt return. We've had several clinics on that and I know he's already strategizing on what he's seen.