Coming off the victory over Nebraska Coach Hazell talked with reporters today. Some of the highlights are below.
As always coach started with an opening statement
Certainly was a good win for us last week, and I thought our guys did a lot of things well, made a lot of plays and, you know, didn't continue to play hard in all phases of the game but I thought for the first time collectively as a group I thought we made a lot of plays in all three units. Looking forward to a good challenge this week against Illinois on homecoming. It's captains' weekend for us, so we will have 35 or so captains come back and join us for this game in Ross-Ade Stadium.
Will Purdue continue to be aggressive B-E Aggressive?
Absolutely. I think that's the way we have to play in all phases, from the top on down. I think we have to go for those fourth and short yardage situations, I think our offense and defense have to be in attack mode as well as our special teams.
Thoughts on David Blough's B1G player of the week winning performance
I'm excited for David and his productivity on Saturday. You're right, the best stat he had all day was no turnovers, but he did make some great decisions. He had two throw-aways when he got quick pressure, and he also took off on a third and 6, third and 7 on a big third down and made a first down with his legs, so he made some really good decisions from the position and took care of the ball.
D.J. Knox health update
Well, I think we gotta figure out, you know, today and tomorrow where D.J. is in terms of health. We're going to run him around. He did some things earlier in the week. He hasn't done a whole lot of cutting yet, but we will figure that out in the next couple of days and see what his status is.
Markell is playing exceptionally well. Especially -- I keep forgetting the guy's a freshman when he's out there, but he's doing a great job in pass protection and releasing into the seams, as well as being physical with the ball in his hands.
Again, I'm excited for David and getting the accolade of being an Offensive Player of the Week in the Big Ten. He needs to continue to get better.
Initial thoughts on Illinois
You know, they've had a really tough last three or four physical weeks, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa now Penn State, and that's what the Big Ten is all about, how well you can sustain those physical football teams that you play week in and week out, and they're a little bit banged up as everybody is this time of year in the country, but I'm sure they'll come here with their "A" game and be ready to play when it's kicked off on Saturday.
How have the players reacted to the win
They were good Sunday night when we met and went back and started our conditioning again for the week. Their energy was really good again, even after a long, hard game it was good. We didn't see them at all yesterday on Monday, our day off, so we will see how they are today on Tuesday, but I can venture to say with this group of guys that they will be fired up and ready to make themselves better this afternoon.
FINALLY, a question about Purdue's most consistent weapon, Joe Schopper
Joe Schopper has been amazing for us. I mean, just, him being able to step into that role as a true freshman and put the ball placement -- not only the ones down inside the 10 yard line that he's dropping in, but the other ones that we're getting fair catches on, outside the numbers, with some hang time, 4.2, 4.3 seconds on the hang time, we're getting a lot of fair catches because our snipers are able to get down the field because of the job that he's doing.
You know, in football the only guaranteed -- almost guaranteed play that you're going to get 40 yards is the punt, and as long as he continues to do that it flips the field, and it gives -- you know, it takes a lot away from offenses when they have to go 85, 90 yards because of your punt team, and that's why he's been so valuable to us here the last couple of weeks.
How has Leroy Clark looked?
He needs to play better. Last weekend I thought he was a little bit victimized at times. He's playing well in some situations, other situations he was exposed a little bit, but he's a good player. It was just technical things more so than anything else. He was -- guy's running an out cut, he's got help on the inside with the safety, and he jumps inside on the guy, the guy makes an outbreaking route, so he's got to stay outside with the leverage, but Leroy is a good player, he's a very competitive player, but he's got to play a little the better technically.
[H]e was going against a really good guy with Westerkamp; he's a very good player. He's able to drop his hips and transition and get in and out of routes, and that's a tough match-up for a lot of guys, but you're right he's got to be a little more technically sound and know where his help is and stay on the outside and leverage where -- away from the help.
Injury update Jimmy Herman edition
[H]opefully he can take that step forward this weekend and be out there on the field for us. Again, we talk about those hamstrings and how close and how far you are away with those, but we need to get him back out there for special teams as well as being the linebacker for us.
How do you explain the red zone success this team is having?
I think the plan has been really solid, and I think guys understand how fast things happen down in the red zone now, I think that's something that we had to learn.
It's never easy down there, the field is reduce the so much, but I think we've had some pretty good calls, and guys have executed well. That one reverse that we call to Dom was, we took a timeout, and when we first had the play called, we didn't see edge blitz. We took the timeout, and all of the sudden they had edge blitz, but we told J.J. in the huddle, we're going to leave it on, because most of the times we'll kill that play and go to a different play, because it's not a good designed play, versus that look, but we said J.J. if we get edge pressure, don't bypass it, block the edge pressure. He handled that situation really well and got a good block by Blough coming on the inside in the back and allowed Dom to cut off the block.
Typically we will carry in somewhere between 10 to 15 passes, based on how far you are in the red zone and maybe 8, 8, 9 runs and you want to get a lot of variations, sometimes where you're reading people, sometimes where you're hammering, sometimes where it might be a run/pass, a lot of different variations to see what they're going to give you.
Size up Illinois on defense for us
They're a four-man front team, you know, last year when we played them they were a big-time man-to-man coverage team; they played press coverage on the wide-outs and played those safeties in the box, and we were able to hit them last year with a lot of "I" violations. That's why we had some of those bigger runs. They are playing much more zone coverage right now, so you you're probably not going to get the long runs the way you had, but they want you to go the long, hard way.
They want you to earn every single yard, but they're doing a nice job. I tell you what, that front, they didn't play as well last week against Penn State, but when you go back and watch the Wisconsin came and you watch the Iowa game, that front is pretty good, so we're going to have to do a good job blocking those guys.
How did you view the defense after giving up 45 points?
That was the one thing that I told the team Sunday night was we had a chance to slam the door shut and we didn't slam it shut. Sometimes you like to enjoy those last couple minutes of the game and not have to throw your onside recovery team out there twice in the last three minutes of the game, but that's the other step that we have to take. You gotta slam the door shut on those -- when you are up three scores or four scores, whatever we were up, the game should be over.
So they understand that and we will get better because of that.
More injury news this time regarding Keiwan Jones
Keiwan had ACL surgery a long time ago.
Hazell was asked about the team's player of the week choices
Q. So Garrett Hudson was your Defensive Player of the Week and not Anthony Brown?
COACH HAZELL: Yeah.
Q. Did the coaches choose that, or is it a player thing?
COACH HAZELL: It's the coaches.
Seems a bit odd to me to not give the player of the week award to the guy that won B1G player of the week on his side of the ball but whatever. It was only three interceptions in one game. No biggie.
Is it wrong that I'm actually optimistic about this Illinois game? Man, I really need to manage these expectations...