Notes from Rich Rodriguez's Monday meeting with the press.
Shaw - "We'll see what he can do, and test in the next couple days, and see if he can go Saturday. Hopefully he'll be able to play..."
Martin and Mouton "We're hopeful that both can play." They'll be evaluated tomorrow and Wednesday.
"Perry would have been the starter, but Perry is still not 100%." He'll be the starter if healthy. "I'm hoping this week he'll be all the way back."
He has sent in some plays to the conference office each week, but this week he's going to follow up with them a bit more. "After this game there were more questions, I guess."
Personnel & Purdue
You try to project positions for guys when you recruit them, but some continue to grow when they get weight training, and they go through a progression. A couple more guys might move in bowl or spring practices - corner to safety, safety to OLB, etc. Probably would have moved more guys earlier if the team had stayed healthy.
Craig Roh will stay at DE. He's around 250, he'll continue growing and get up to 265. "I think putting his hand down makes him a lot more comfortable and that makes us better... Craig was a defensive end in high school, but he was athletic enough that we thought he could play some linebacker - and we still do."
Cam Gordon will stay at box safety. "He's a physical guy, he's a bigger guy." Not as much room to cover closer to the line of scrimmage. "We know that he's going to keep getting better, but the thing I like about him is he's a guy that loves playing football."
Denard can scramble to extend the play, but whether you choose to run or throw, it needs to be a good decision. He just had some bad moments in the last game. "I don't think he's hit a lull, he just had some bad moments in the last game... He was having a tough day, but in the last drive, he was the difference." QBs pooch punting: "Prior to this game, they were really pretty good at it."
Vincent Smith - "He's probably been the most consistent back we've had" not just running, but blocking and catching, too. "It has been almost a year since he tore his knee" and is looking faster. Each week he's getting speed, strength, and confidence back.
Michael Cox - "He's been a little bit banged up, but really it's been the other guys" that have kept him off the field. Toussaint can provide "a little spark" as he continues to get healthy.
Patterson and Sagesse played well. Talbott, Ash, and Wilkins are doing a nice job in practice. They'll be helped by the extra 15 practices with a bowl game.
Ezeh - "He was solid, he was OK. I thought Obi made some good plays close to the line of scrimmage." Fitzgerald was decent as well, as was Moundros filling in for Jonas Mouton. Even though Purdue has been struggling all year on offense, the backups should be commended for how they stepped in.
Vinopal - made a couple mistakes, but mostly kept things in front of him. "He's gonna keep getting better."
Carvin Johnson - "Really excited about him. Again, he's another true freshman that right now can play both safety positions."
Avery is a competitive guy, wants to get better. "I don't know if anybody in the country is playing as many freshmen or first-time starters as we are on defense." They'll get through growing pains, exciting for the future.
Kicking situation will be competitive in practice. "Seth has been kicking better in practice, but he didn't kick well on Saturday, so we'll see what happens this week in practice."
Hagerup has been better on kickoffs, part of the problem with coverage on kickoffs is they don't want their young guys starting on D and special teams, because they'd get worn out. "Our depth on special teams has been affected as much with the injuries as anything else."
Didn't play well, weren't ready to play for the conditions. "They had something to do with that, but we just didn't handle the conditions well, take care of the ball well, we were just kinda off-rhythm the whole day."
Both teams need to practice with wet conditions. The conditions were a factor in both teams' turnovers. "It was one of those games that I was glad we got 'em, because if we didn't, we would have been in trouble." Defense scored for the first time this season, made some key third-down stops.
On failed 4th down (Hopkins). "That was a product of execution. That should never happen."
Declined the penalty and let Wiggs kick the 43-yard FG because he was kicking with the wind and had enough leg to hit it either way, and Michigan would have still had the lead, FG or no.
Kerrigan "Some of it was he's a really good player, and some of it is we didn't play very well at times against him." He's an All-Conference-type player.
Last home game in the Big House is a big deal for the seniors. "We don't have a big senior class, but the guys that we have have been through a lot." Some things will be planned throughout the week.
Wisconsin "They're certainly a top-5 football team, there's no question about that." They made scoring every possession look easy. Wisconsin deflated Indiana and Chappell got hurt, which led to Wisconsin getting rolling and everything went downhill. "I don't know if any coach intentionally goes out and does it, it just happens." Throwing at the end is the coach's preference, but with the backups in, you can't ask them not to try.
Wisconsin is a bit different by being the only true power run team in the league. "You have a wide variety of both offense and defensive schemes anyway." It's pretty balanced, so you have to be able to defend all variety. Their offense all starts with the running game. "They'll come downhill at you, and they're very big up front." Nearly everything they do - bootlegs, play-action - comes from the run game. People make a big deal about playing a power run game after facing several spread teams. It's tougher to go the other way. "It's a little bit of an adjustment, and our guys will prepare for that this week."
Wisconsin's going to run the same plays whomever the starting RB is. "Clay's obviously the biggest one." Get to them quickly, don't let them get a head of steam. "Especially if you're undersized a little bit, like we are in spots, it's going to be tough."
On JJ Watt (above, right): "I think he's an All-American, in my opinion." Watt plays inside more than Kerrigan.
Beating Wisconsin or OSU would be a great signature win, but more importantly for the guys on the team who want to have success. They've stayed focused, and are ignoring outside negativity.
Will talk about the home finale throughout the week. A couple special things in practice for the seniors. "Probably have one or two of them come up and talk about their experience."
When they get introduced on Saturday "the greatest achievement you can achieve as a college student-athlete is going through your senior year." Speaks to the sacrifice you've made for the team and University. "The guys who are no longer around didn't make that same sacrifice, and these guys have. And they should be honored for making it."
Motivation and focus has been good all year. "I would think it'll be easy to motivate for these last two weeks, considering what's at stake for us."
RR thought the program would be further ahead by this point. "You find out what you have, and do what you can with what you've got, and move forward." The goal is to be the best program in America, and they're moving toward that.
Spending more time with the D. "Just a little bit more on Sundays, and maybe watch a little bit more in practice." Been doing the same amount of 1v1 repetition. "What we've done more this year is getting, say, our second offense, and having them run the opposing offense a bit more in practice." They have fewer guys available for scout team.
Talk about the offense not being a fit for the Big Ten is just talk. "I'm hoping that there's enough positive momentum and positive talk that all the negative stuff that's been out there gets pushed aside a bit." Progress is being made. "It's almost been par for the course" to hear negative talk, but they can't let it affect them. As long as you believe in the system and your people, you can keep pressing forward.