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?
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]
It’s not everything that always jumps off the stat sheet, too, with those guys. Devin’s [inaudible] around a lot, but Rashan and Chase are up there?
“Oh, way up there.”
With Mason, how hard is it for a guy to go from the inside to the outside? Is it different steps or what has he done that’s impressed you?
“Uh, well, he started as a tackle as a freshman and transitioned to center. How hard is that? I don’t know, I’ve never made that transition. Talent and intelligence; he’s proven he can play any position on the offensive line.”
What did you like about the game on Saturday?
“Uh, we won. That’s our number one job. Took care of the football. Made some courageous throws from the pocket, accurate throws in tight windows. A lot of things.”
How do you guys prepare going from an offense that ran the ball 49 times, only threw nine times, to Purdue, which is probably going to be much more balanced. How do you guys go from that week to week, the contrast?
“You just do. Change the channel from one scheme to another. Change our scheme to adapt, improvise, adjust.”
Chris Evans lost a fumble early and didn’t play again until early in the fourth. This seems kind of similar with what you’ve done with both Wilton and even Donovan Peoples-Jones; they make a mistake, it’s a learning session, it’s not really a punishment. Is that how you handled it the other day with Chris and how do you think he responded?
“No, I don’t agree with that it’s like the others.”
[shakes head, stares]
I’m just won—
“Why do you?”
Why don’t you think it’s the same as the others?
“Chris is a…this is—”
“He played in the game.”
Yeah, at the game. He had fumbled—
“It’s not the same. It’s a position where we have three players. We do a rotation. We try to get the freshest back in there and go with the guy who’s got the hot hand. You’ve seen us, that’s what we do at that position. Ty’s the starter, Chris and Karan [Higdon] are gonna play in every single game. I just don’t see it as the same as the quarterback position or the punt returner position.”
From watching him on film, what is David Blough doing better this year and what do you have to do to defend him?
“Well, we’ve got our hands full. That’s mainly what we’re focusing on now [is] coming up with that plan and implementing it today in meetings and in practice. It’ll be a challenge for us. Whole team’s playing really good.”
Tarik [Black] went off the field on a cart. What is his status?
“He’s gonna be out. He needed surgery. He’s got a crack in his foot. Well, outside of his foot.”
Will he be back this season, do you think?
“I… I don’t know. I don’t know.”
And Ty Isaac? Looked like he had some kind of abdominal or maybe rib issue?
“Yeah, think he’s going to be okay.”
As you said, you won the game. You’ve talked about no error repeats with the offense , that they’re not the same mistakes and it’s a young football team. How’s the progress week to week. You’ve won the game and you move on, but what’s your feel as a coach right now with how things are progressing?
“Well, right now I’m getting prepared for conference play. Getting prepared for a good Purdue team and formulating a plan at the beginning of the week that’s going to put our players in a position to be successful on Saturday. So, working diligently at that and we’ll work at it, practice it, and hope to have a great week of practice in preparation leading up to the game.”
Was there something that stood out to you that you liked from last week in terms of maybe it wasn’t there the week before?
“Yeah, there were things. Like I said, you know, I’m sure you can understand we’re facing a very good opponent. All our focus is on what to do to be successful this week and to get another win.”
A lot of focus on the red zone, but what are some of the positives that you’ve seen from this offense through the first three games?
“As I’ve just said, there’s quite a few. Detailed them before. Right now we’re doing our job and that’s getting prepared for Purdue. They’re a very good football team. We’re doing the same thing defensively and on special teams. As I’ve said a couple times, they have a heck of a good football team. Respect that, respect the process of getting prepared for the game.”
With the defense, we talked earlier in the season about how they flew around to the football as well as you’d seen, thought they’d be good and they’re good, etc. Last week was such a change with mental discipline. Did you learn about their football IQ a little bit more in terms of their ability to go from one thing that’s totally different to this?
“Yeah, we talked about it. We’re plowing the same ground. I was really happy with the way our ball club played in this past game. Felt resilient. Felt tough coming out of that ball game. Felt we won it defensively, offensively, and on special teams. Numerous good things offensively, defensively, and special teams, and now it’s onward to Purdue. Getting our team ready for that ball game.”
This is kind of a broader question but I noticed [Saturday] you brought out an Air Force hat and put it on the table. You’ve always had an appreciation for the military. Could you describe not only your appreciation for the military but also the influence—are you trying to institute kind of a military style here?
“Uh, no, but I have great respect for the military. The hat was a hat from the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford.”