Opening Comments: Obviously during the course of the week, we got Travis (Beckum) and JC (Casillas) back and involved. Not only because they can play well but the energy they bring our offense and our defense is really fun to watch this week. I expect both of those guys to start the game for us. Chris Pressley was a lot better this week than a week ago getting use to that cast. As far as sheer numbers, Aaron Henry will not be with us but everyone else should return.
Jonathan and Travis, are they physically able to go as long as you need them?
Yes, Travis has no issues. Travis has got fast legs because he's been out so much. He's been sitting on the sidelines that it was noticeable, especially Tuesday and Wednesday. He's always going at a different pace them everyone else but that's even increased. I think he is. JC is probably as far along. He's practiced full go Tuesday and Wednesday. Because of the brace, he is getting use to that as well.
Where's the weather/heat on your list of issues to think about this week?
It's been on my mind a lot and we've been stressing to our players. Several guys wore sweats out there during the week to try and get use to being in the heat. Right about kickoff should be anywhere from 82 to 86 (degrees) according to the weather report. It's something we can't really worry about. We can't simulate based on the weather we have right here, right now. They have to play in it to. I know this, in our first two ball games, a lot of our guys have done a good job of hydrating and getting themselves ready for game day and we haven't had any issues on game day yet.
You didn't have much heat in Tampa. Are you a believer that you need that to get ready?
I would like to. I would like to have had some hotter days out there. Bottom line, we just have to do what we do and see what happens.
Fresno State's quarterback said it was a dream come true to have you guys come in there and play them. Them being the underdog, playing with nothing to lose, how dangerous of a combination is that?
Well, I think there quarterback has gotten a lot of reps. I know he's making reference, and I know Coach Hill has made comments, about how we're the first Big Ten team to come into their stadium. We've pointed that out to our guys. Hopefully, it's a dream that he kept to himself and won't be able to live.
He has actually been very efficient over the past three years. Last year, he only had five interceptions. What's your secondary going to be able to do to knock him out of his rhythm?
Well, anytime that you have a quarterback that has started as long as he has and has a cast of characters around him, you try to do things that change what he is seeing, trying to confuse him at the snap. I did like the fact that last week, we had 13 hits on the quarterback and that's something that (Fresno State's) quarterback has to watch and be able to carry forward in his preparation.
How much pressure do you expect from them and blitzes?
They did quite a bit, especially in certain situations, and their defensive coordinator has been there the entire time. I want to say he's been there at least eight, nine years and the guy that has taken over for him, I know their defensive coordinator has fallen ill, but the guy that is probably going to be making the calls has been in that system for that long, too. I think they are predictable off what they did a year ago and what they showed in that first ball game.
The first two games, you used Mario Goins and Niles Brinkley at that other spot. Has Brinkley moved ahead?
Niles will start the game but it's those three guys in there together that will kind of rotate through. I think the plan is after the second series, Mario will be in there. Mario is back to full strength. He was a little hobbled last week but is back being full strength now too.
Is there benefits to a young guy coming out of the game and kind of regrouping a little bit at that position?
Yeah. Mario in particular, it worked well with him because he came in and played really well for us after Niles played the rest of the game at corner. Mario came in in sub situations and did a really good job. I think it allowed him to take a step back and not let the game get too big.
As Joe Rudolph been with you all week with the newborn or have you given him a little time off?
It was a newborn and it was eight-weeks premature. It kind of took him by surprised and I know she got home yesterday afternoon. He's kinda bouncing back and forth but he's been here almost the whole time. He had some time on Sunday and I told him take as long as you do. Obviously I don't know much about the fathering. I just let guys go in the direction they need to and I know as far as football wise, he hasn't missed anything. He's running a double shift sort of.
Was the baby born Sunday?
Sunday afternoon I believe. About two o'clock if I am not mistaken.
What did you do with Aaron Henry this week?
His hamstring got sore on some of the stuff that they were doing; some of the stuff other guys have experienced coming back from ACL and he was just a little bit behind everybody else because he was the last one to have that injury. Really in the last 48 hours has had a dramatic improvement. We feel that whatever day we practice next week, he should start practicing in with our defense and playing by Michigan.
Do you know your schedule next week?
I've got two schedules. I will tell these guys right now what they do on Saturday is dependent on what we do for the next two weeks. I do believe our guys are focused in. They're (Fresno State) coming off an off week. Sometimes that can work for you or against you. I know our guys have had focus this week and are looking forward to this opportunity we have coming up.
Are you going to send some of your guys out recruiting next week?
Next week? Yes. On two different days we'll be able to get out and do some in-state recruiting as well as some out-of-state travel.
Were the punters and kickers out there everyday on the grass?
They did two days but that grass is so much different than the grass than we're going to see. You know kickers … they want to get on grass so go run around and do whatever you want to do out there. The grass, you can see on film, is more like the turf you see in Florida at our bowl games. It's shorter grass … bluegrass or whatever it is called.