Purdue Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Purdue Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 24th, 2017 at 12:06 PM

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[Fuller]

“No air conditioning in this locker room.”

[Ed. A- This presser took place in the back corner of a room adjacent to the sweltering visitor’s locker room]

Was that done on purpose or—

[Smirks] “There just wasn’t.”

How’s Wilton [Speight] doing?

“I think it’s—I don’t think it’s anything structural. I think it’s soft tissue. We’ll find out more.”

Where?

“Yeah, he’s just working through something. Yeah.”

Can you tell us where?

“Nah, nah. I’ll let you know when I have more information.”

Wilton going down was unfortunate but then John O’Korn came in. This was the biggest crowd Purdue’s had in over a decade. Hostile environment with a lot of pressure in his face today, he made a lot of third-down conversions, throws on the money. What did you think about his performance physically and mentally today?

“I thought John was really playing great. He was seeing things really good right from the time that he came into the ballgame. Ran the offense well. Made big plays. Throw that he hit Gentry on the seam route down the middle, that was a big-time throw. And he had others. I thought he played great. I’m really proud of him. Proud of the whole team. As you say, when you go beat another man, gotta do that in a football game. Then you’ve got to go against the crowd, as you mentioned, and you’ve got to beat the elements. Nothing can make you feel more like a man than that, all three of those things.”

[After THE JUMP: halftime adjustments, O’Korn’s day, and what Harbaugh learned about his team in the crucible of Ross-Ade]

Wednesday Presser 9-20-17: Chris Partridge

Wednesday Presser 9-20-17: Chris Partridge

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 21st, 2017 at 8:31 AM

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[Fuller]

Talk about Devin’s play through the first three games and how well he’s played.

“He’s played great. He’s really locked in mentally. He’s explosive, he’s running around the field, he’s becoming a leader. He’s [doing] exactly what we asked from him and what we expected. We saw it in him in the spring and in camp and everything like that.”

On kickoffs, obviously you want more in the kick return game. What can you do there to kind of make that better?

“Kick return?”

Yeah.

“Kick return’s a very difficult thing to do, to block guys that are running full speed. I feel pretty confident about it. I know you haven’t seen the product, but we’ve gotten guys that are gaining valuable experience. It takes a while to get the knack of it and I think we’ve got the guys in place now that will be able to open some stuff up. I feel pretty confident that you’ll see some explosive plays out of that phase coming up here soon.”

Is Kekoa still going to be the guy or have you opened that up a little bit?

“Um. it’s always open. It’s always open. If he’s not returning for touchdowns then it’s an open competition, it’s an open battle. He’s still back there, as are others.”

Donovan, I assume, could get a look?

“Yep, he’s in the battle too. Yes.”

We saw in the Cincinnati game every time Donovan would come off the field it was like you were right there with him having conversations. How big of a leap did he take from that week? Obviously we saw him score the touchdown, but mentally how did he respond?

“Yeah, it’s enormous. To me, I think that catching a punt outside in an open environment like that is the hardest thing to do because the wind takes it, the ball takes it. For a freshman to have to do that, those game reps are invaluable. We can do everything we want in practice, but when all the pressure’s there and people are humping down and in college football everybody’s releasing everybody, those reps are invaluable.

“He just continues to lock it in and get better at it. It’s funny: you don’t want that stuff to happen, but that happening is going to make him so much better moving forward here. I have 100% confidence, coach Harbaugh has 100% confidence in him. He’s going to be an explosive playmaker back there. He’s just got to work through some things. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”

[Hit THE JUMP for some boggling Nordin numbers, more on DPJ, and confirmation of Don Brown's precognitive powers ]

Monday Presser 9-18-17: Players

Monday Presser 9-18-17: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 20th, 2017 at 10:00 AM

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[Upchurch]

Rashan Gary

How much do you go against Mason Cole in practice?

“Every day. Every day. Not a day I don’t see Mason.”

How much does that help you prepare for Saturday?

“Oh man, I feel like going into Big Ten play now, I’m not going to see a tackle like Mason. We’ve been going after it since spring ball; he’s been sharpening me and I’ve been sharpening him, so it’s just iron sharpening iron. I love going against him.”

What makes him so good?

“I don’t know, it’s weird. You’ve just got to see it for yourself. Sometimes on pass rush he’s patient. He’s not the aggressive type of offensive lineman that likes to put hands on you so sometimes you’ve got to wait and see what he’ll do but you can’t wait too long, so basically you’ve got to take the fight to him and his hands, he’s able to get your hands off of you and things like that. He’s just a great guy to go against. I can’t explain it, you’ve just got to watch his game.”

How often do you win those fights?

“I don’t know, you’ve got to ask him. He’ll get me, I get him a couple times, but it’s a great battle.”

[After THE JUMP: Gary on Devin Bush and what’s next for him, Mason Cole on communication, and McDoom on Quinn Nordin]

Monday Presser 9-18-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 9-18-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 18th, 2017 at 5:00 PM

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[Upchurch]

Can you talk about what you get from Eddie McDoom on special teams and on offense?

“He’s been a contributor this year, last year. Fast, smart, fundamentally-sound football player.”

Purdue’s off to a good start. Can you talk about what you see out of them that has your attention?

“Yeah, the team’s done a tremendous job. Coaching staff would be an early favorite for coach of the year. They’re doing a nice job. The entire team is.”

With Mason Cole, to know that you’ve got a dependable left tackle with a starting streak and production, what kind of comfort does that give you as a coach?

“I would say he’s our most valuable offensive lineman.”

Does Quinn Nordin have sort of an unusual mentality for a kicker? Seems like a pretty confident and outspoken kid.

“Uh, no. I find nothing unusual about Quinn.”

WIth Rashan and Chase and those guys up front, did you see their presence and with Rashan especially, did you see him making impact plays in his first couple weeks here?

“Yes.”

What about him has stood out to you?

“Running to the football, playing physical, tackling very well. High effort, high talent.”

[Injury updates after THE JUMP]

Air Force Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Air Force Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 17th, 2017 at 11:50 AM

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[Upchurch]

Red zone: how much of a concern is that that you aren’t getting more touchdowns in those opportunities?

“I thought both teams played really good red zone defense today. Good. We had the right calls on at the right time, pushed them back out of the opportunities to score touchdowns and they held the line as well. Hats off to both teams for really good red zone defense.”

Talk about the challenge of having to switch gears on defense for a team like this and how your guys responded defensively.

“I thought we responded really well. For the most part, with the exception of a few drives. I thought we shut them down well and I thought we won all three phases. They play a brand of football I really like, which is you just keep jabbing away and you don’t make mistakes, you don’t turn the ball over, few penalties, and you get first downs… push the opponent back in field position. They make you go beatcha. They don’t beat themselves and it’s a good brand of football. Our team was able to make plays offensively, defensively, special teams was a huge factor in today’s ball game.

“Donovan’s punt return was fabulous. Our kickoff coverage was excellent all day, and right on down the line. Punt protection was really good as they were bringing 10; we got the all-out rush and we were able to block it up. Each phase. And the standout was Quinn Nordin and the snapper, Cheeseman, Garret Moores, the holder—that whole battery. And the field goal protection was outstanding. Tied a record, Michigan record, for most field goals in a game. Really proud of the way our special teams played. Offensively, defensively, special teams: thought we won all three phases.”

Rhythmically, where do you see the offense going and specifically with Wilton and Donovan, looked like that could be a connection. How do you assess that?

“Yeah, it was good to see Donovan go and make a big play offensively. Made the big play special teams-wise, so great to see him a factor in the third game of his freshman year. Just terrific. Like Tarik has done, one of those freshmen that are playing in their third ballgame and are huge factors in where we are, 3-0, and the ballgame we had today.”

[After THE JUMP: getting RPS’d, the kicking battery, jamming it in in the red zone, and how to use DPJ]

Wednesday Presser 9-13-17: Tim Drevno

Wednesday Presser 9-13-17: Tim Drevno

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 14th, 2017 at 8:28 AM

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[Barron]

Some of the defensive players were saying that Joe Hewlett was really helping out with the scout team in emulating Air Force’s offense. Have you seen that as well?

“Yeah, I’ve been busy with the offense. I really haven’t paid much attention to the defense, but I know that Joe Hewlett’s in there.”

Have you ever run a triple option at any stop in your career?

“Uh…no. I’ve kind of messed with it here and there.”

What does that mean?

“I’ve put in some different plays but never saturate yourself into it, so I don’t know the ins and outs of it. You try to maybe put a play in here or there in the form of a triple option but not live in it, no.”

What have you seen from Air Force’s defense?

“Great question. Very fast, well disciplined. They play an odd scheme. They love the pressure. They’re very good tacklers in the back end. Play extremely hard. Just technically sound. They know how to get off blocks, know how to pass rush. Secondary’s very good at reading route concepts, know how to break on the ball. They’re very well coached. They do a great job at Air Force.”

Do you think Jon Runyan’s a better fit at guard? He was in the mix at tackle and then seems like he’s coming in a little bit—

“Yeah, Jon’s a very athletic guy. He could play all five positions. It’s just right now he could be a guard, he could be a tackle, but he does a good job just initial quickness off the ball, with his hand placement, really athletic, feet move well,  when something moves he can cover it up. Jon’s doing a nice job and progressing well.”

[After THE JUMP: correcting little mistakes, O-line development, and Grant Newsome as coach/president. Oh, and what it means to be human]

Wednesday Presser 9-13-17: Mike Zordich

Wednesday Presser 9-13-17: Mike Zordich

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 13th, 2017 at 6:05 PM

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[Fuller]

How far has your group come since you told us that you were a little concerned?

“You know what, I gotta give credit where credit is due. They’ve definitely stepped up and been playing… playing okay. Yep.”

Okay but not great?

“It’s the third game of the season. We’ve got a long way to go. They know it, I know it, I think our whole team knows it. Each week we’ve got to just keep getting better, so nobody’s arrived for sure.”

Your rotation hasn’t been very deep. For the most part you’ve been going with three; maybe Ambry [Thomas] is getting a little bit of playing time at corner.

“Exactly.”

Is that part of you just waiting for other guys to show that they can get on the field?

“Same deal, yeah. Competition’s wide open. It’s really been those four: Vert and then Ambry’s been in the mix and then Brandon Watson and David Long. Those are the four that are kind of getting into all of the action now. But, you know, the door’s always open and the competition has been open.”

What unique challenges doe the Air Force offense pose for the secondary?

“Well, for us, certainly all the misdirection on almost a down basis. The offenses that we play, the misdirection isn’t—it’s here and there. Now you have to be ready for it on just about every down, and the fact that they’re gonna run the ball, we think, the majority of the time, so the run game comes into play for our guys big time, too. Those two things are the areas that we’ve got to concentrate on this week.”

[After THE JUMP: Lavert’s UFR grade, where the corners need to improve, and Don Brown’s lessening angst]

Monday Presser 9-11-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 9-11-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 11th, 2017 at 5:00 PM

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[Fuller]

We often hear about service academy offenses. How difficult is it of a challenge to prepare for them?

“Defending option football and conventional football at the same time. That’s what we’ve been studying. Air Force has been very successful. Seven, eight, nine game winning streak. They go back and forth between conventional and option football.”

Your defense is scoring a lot, more than they’re giving up. Is that something that has been emphasized? Is that just guys making plays? How do you account for that?

“It’s a good thing. Very good players and a good scheme and they work very hard at being good on defense.”

Talk about your impressions about Lavert Hill. I know you’ve been happy with him.

“Yeah, been happy with Lavert. He’s asserted himself and played very well. Made the big play for us in the ball game this past week.

“Tyree Kinnel would be another person that I’d spotlight; defensive player of the game; sacks, two I believe; tackles for loss; interception for touchdown; seven tackles total, I believe. Well done. Brandon Watson also had a couple PBUs and played very well. Josh Metellus did good. Up front, I thought Rashan had one of his best games. Devin Bush again, another very good game for him; sack, tackle for loss, PBU. Outstanding game by him. Chase Winovich. Noah Furbush was better. Mo Hurst probably played the best of all of our upfront defensive players.

“So, there was a lot of good. Dodged a couple bullets. As was pointed out, scored two touchdowns on defense, so we’re doing well. We’re good. Attribute that to hard work and good scheme and good players.”

How has Lavert—how have you seen him digest all the information that a young starter has to digest?

“Yeah, doing well. Seeing him digest information very well. Comes from good stock. You’d love to be Lavert Hill Sr., to have Delano Hill playing professional football and now here you see Lavert in there starting at corner, making plays, helping his team win. Lavert Hill Sr.’s probably boring the heck out of the neighbors with how well his sons are doing.”

[Learn how to avoid emotionally hijacking Jim Harbaugh after THE JUMP]

Wednesday Presser 9-6-17: Jay Harbaugh

Wednesday Presser 9-6-17: Jay Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 7th, 2017 at 8:00 AM

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[Upchurch]

Did Ty [Isaac] earn a start with his play Saturday?

“We’ll see.”

Thank you.

“Nice try.”

A couple of the running backs said this week that you take a really interactive approach to coaching: a lot of dialogue, a lot of back and forth, the Socratic method, if you will. How does that help you as a first-year coach? How does that help your players?

“Well, it sounds like you asked them how it would help already. For me, they’re an extension of me on the field so it’s invaluable to hear what they’re seeing and what they feel and then try and use that to make corrections or adjustments over the course of a practice or the course of a game. So, good information from veteran guys that you can trust is really, really crucial.”

Can you think of a particular moment where there was a dialogue like that or you were like, Oh, a light bulb went on?

“Yeah, there’s parts of the game where a few series in [it’s] ‘Hey, what do you see? What do you feel about this run?’ ‘Oh yeah, I think that’ and then we can bring that and then talk about hey, maybe let’s call this because that’s what the guys are seeing out there. Sometimes they’ll feel certain things on the field that you can’t really discern from the sideline quite as well or sometimes hey, you think you have a thought and they say, ‘Yeah, that sounds really good.’ Just that back and forth, open lines of communication is always a good thing.”

[After THE JUMP: a good deal of RB coaching philosophy]

Wednesday Presser 9-6-17: Brian Smith

Wednesday Presser 9-6-17: Brian Smith

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 6th, 2017 at 5:00 PM

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[Fuller]

Your guys played pretty well. Talk about how they played.

“Yeah, I thought Josh [Metellus] and Tyree [Kinnel] both did a solid job just overall. Just running to the football, they were aggressive, and I thought we tackled well, so I was happy with the way they played.”

Assignment-wise did you think they pretty good, too?

“Yeah. Assignment-wise I thought we were pretty clean. Communication, didn’t have a lot of issues that way so we’ve just got to keep it going going forward and maintain that same level.”

Tyree yesterday was talking about some plays where him and Khaleke [Hudson] were able to switch spots. What does that add when you’re able to do that?

“I think it helps out a lot. Having Khaleke, he has some experience playing safety. That versatility, being able to move to different places, kind of helps out the defense as a corps when you can get guys lined up and give the offense different looks. I think that helps out.”

What are the looks that change when they switch?

“Well, it depends. I’m not sure exactly what you’re talking about in that case but there are different situations where we can end up in different positions.”

[After THE JUMP: communication clicking, Josh Metellus’ ceiling, and the bygone era in which Don Brown brought… more pressure?]