Before we get started with the quotes let’s just acknowledge how hard this must be for Parker. His boss was fired and he was elevated to take his place and then just two days later has to be in front of the media being asked questions about what he’s going to change. The guy, in many ways, owes his livelihood to Hazell and now has to walk a fine line between criticizing him and praising him. It has to be one of the most awkward moments he’ll ever be in.
There are two broad categories of questions that were asked today and I’m going to try and separate them into that here. First, are questions about the transition and second are questions about Nebraska. Parker was asked about injuries, depth charts, and other team related things but wanted to keep injuries in house and didn’t anticipate changes to the depth chart at this point. Let’s take a look at questions about the transition first.
Thank you. Just want to get started. Obviously tough situation. Wanted to reach out and make sure to tell just the whole administration and Mike Bobinski and the Purdue family, everybody has been so supportive in a tough time for everyone including our staff and our players.
And just want to say thank you to all them for all the support, including my family and friends and past teammates and past coaches and all those that have reached out in countless number of texts and social media, and just reached out in support.
I really want to say thank you to all those people.
You know, I think in moving forward, and that's going to be the big topic for the week, and as we go, is to move forward, and moving forward from this we've got a bunch of committed guys on our staff and our players in our locker room that we're going to force into doing things a little bit different, no question, in how we move, how we talk and how we act.
And as we do that, we also gotta be under the realization that we are in the middle of a season and we're headed to go play a great Nebraska team that is undefeated and presents a lot of issues that we have to prepare for.
I think our guys and know our guys will be excited for the challenge to go up there. And we're just really excited to get back to work today and kind of get away from some of the distractions, some of the stuff that's went on the past 48 hours.
With that being said I'll open it up to you guys for questions and we'll go from there.
On the last couple days and what type of changes he’s looking to make:
It's been pretty interesting. I'd be lying if I said -- it's kind of been spotted sleep. It's like having a newborn and I have a newborn as well.
It's been pretty crazy. You wake up and stuff and you've got some cold sweats, and you're trying to think about everything in the world that you want to try to do to help this staff be okay and the players.
So it's been crazy for time obligations as well as just thought.
We have to get to our guys in a different way and get them away from what's happened in some ways and to still honor Coach Hazell, too, and what they thought of him.
It's a two-way deal that's a little bit complicated. But that will be the first thing is to attack us and how we prepare mentally. And then we are going to -- I think if you were able to see our practices, we're going to change a little bit of what we do and how we do it.
Anything from how we travel and all those things, I think, will be our biggest things. And we'll see if those can help us give something that we're going to be proud of on game day as well.
On if there will be schematic changes:
Yeah, we're going to leave it alone. We talked to both sides of the ball and special teams. We're all teaming up and doing this together. Everybody knows where we're at. We obviously know that on the defensive side we've got to find ways to get our guys to run around, be more physical and tackle the football and all those things.
On offense, we know we've got to be more explosive quicker and start faster and all those things. So we've addressed it. And the coaches know it.
It's not like being a current guy on the staff and moving in this role, it's a little awkward. It's not like I've walked in and said, hey, this is what we're going to do.
But I do want to at least put some ideas in and make sure those guys know they can think outside the box. They can do anything they want to do, change everything of our approach, anything they want to, let's try stuff new. We have six weeks to have a little fun with this and put something out there we're proud of.
On what will be different for him on game day:
We'll see, I guess. Right? But it will be different. As far as my time with the wideouts and all those things we'll have to do some things different. And I'll have to pay more attention to the whole game instead of just one side of it, to where I can go spend some time with those guys and get back and forth and just kind of be on alert when it becomes third down.
So I think the approach will be different just because I have to pay attention to the whole game and be available to the staff and help us all through it.
On recruiting and what he will do going forward:
Got a hold of -- last night I tried to get a hold of all of them. I missed out on a handful of guys. But for the 10 or 11 I did get a chance to talk with it went as positive as it could.
I think all those guys were glad to hear and be around and just hear my voice, hear our voice, obviously guys on our staff touch base as well.
So we had a bunch of guys hit them in different ways to tell them, hey, we wanted to touch base and be aware of the situation, we're right here for you, and kind of move forward. But it felt positive and we'll see where it goes in the next six weeks.
It's obviously tough because as much as you would like to push things forward and do some different things in recruiting, to the court of public opinion and all those guys, it's hard because of the status of me and our staff, that an offer -- how much does an offer mean right now?
So on that front, there won't be a whole lot of change in how we'll do some things. But we still want to do as much as we can to help our staff right now and for the future of Purdue football. And we're going to make everything just based off that and I'll worry about the end result, and try to keep our committed guys very comfortable and let them know that they're informed and still loved and wanted here.
On chats with the staff:
I've kind of left those guys alone. I don't think this is -- again, it's a whole new deal. It's a different set of things. And for me to be an offensive guy, be in my position where it's at, and then be promoted the way it has happened, I don't think it gives good staff morale for me to walk into the defensive room and beat the door down say, hey, guys here's what I want you to do on third down.
We've had discussions, I feel like, since this is in a weird way, a lot falls on me, first, I guess. And all those things, we're going to have discussions.
It's going to be discussions to say, here's what I think from a perspective of offense. What are you thinking, and like I said just turn loose the play book and find a way to get us closer to something we're all going to be proud of.
On changes for the team:
Yeah, you know what, what we wear will be the first thing. What we do on Friday nights, without getting into too many details. How we handle Friday nights, how we wake up Saturday morning, the way we meet for all our meetings and special teams and all those things stuff like that. A lot of stuff, little things, and things that, again, not too much detail, but a lot of, again, what we wear, how we're going to approach meetings and all those things and what we're going to do with our Friday nights will be the biggest change.
We used to -- in the past, they all wore suits. And that wasn't wrong -- again, you're always on the line of, this is -- I like that we wore suits. But you know what, sometimes maybe our players didn't. And we're just trying to change it up. It's not a disrespect to what we used to do.
Because again I'm forever indebted to Coach Hazell and the opportunity he gave me and my family. I want to make sure everybody continues to know that, because I am.
But those guys need change, because it has changed. So things have changed. So we might as well go change some other things, too, to see if we can spark some stuff. That way next week at this thing, you guys may not be mean or as mean if we go out and do something we're proud of, you know what I mean?
I want to make sure that there's -- whatever we decide to do for this week, as we push forward and how we're going to approach this week and the next five games afterwards, I want them to be able to echo that in how we move and keeping out distractions of what they do off the field and in the classroom and all those things.
I think our movements out on that field, in between, in transitions and everything, and what we're doing and how we warm up, the music we play and everything, just again to try to spark something a little bit different and give those guys a little sense of empowerment and feel something different to hopefully spark something different on Saturday.
You know what, as we travel, probably would err on the side of saying a more relaxed atmosphere during travel.
Then during the week, you would say we're looking for a more -- again, it's hard to put it there. Because I want to be respectful of what we used to do. But for what we have to move forward to do, we just really pushed as a staff to say, hey, there's some things we want to do a little bit faster, a little bit different, get our guys around each other more.
During the practice, at the start of it, all those things, does that make sense? Juice up practice a little bit with what music we play and how we play it and get our guys transitioning a little bit differently, all those things.
So I know for you not being able to be there to see it it will be different but with them being closed I think that's the biggest thing the players will discuss is how we move and the purpose of our movement.
And that's the thing, again, it's not like it wasn't discussed before. It's just a matter of we're going to try to make it that much better.
On his contract:
Me and Mike have worked together on all those things and all that stuff goes down. That's awkward for me to discuss and talk about. It's weird. But I know there's stuff that will be done. I don't know what that is. And, heck, it doesn't matter.
My first priority is to make sure, take care of the football team and the staff. But Mike's doing -- he's been awesome and he's going to make it right by what he needs to do and it's all good.
On Danny Anthrop saying he would run through a wall for Coach Parker:
Well, certainly would be lying if I didn't say it didn't make me feel really good. I hope and I think I know and pray that I've never lost focus of why I've wanted to coach.
I've been whatever, I'm opinionated and all those things, and we make it fun and we laugh and clown in the staff room. But I've always cared for my players and they've always known that, no matter where I've been from UT Martin to Marshall to here.
And that means more to me than anything. If you care for your players and build that relationship, that's what we're supposed to do as college football coaches in my mind, is to help them become the men they want to be and also make them great players.
And to do that and have a guy like that say that about me and what a quality person and a player he was here, does mean a lot.
So there you have it. That’s a lot from coach. I do want to be sure to include some brief bits about Nebraska because Purdue does have a football game on Saturday.
On Nebraska’s defense:
They present a lot of problems. They're good. You put out -- they're really good on third down. They're really good on third down. They've got a great package of stuff they do as far as blitzes and the coverages they play. On first and second down, it feels like they've got 11 sets of eyes on the football at all times. They have two physical safeties that it seems like they're on the line of scrimmage by the time the ball gets snapped. Two corners are long. We got to know one of them really well, that was committed to us before he left to go there.
So they're good there. The linebackers flow and are strong and play fast. And they've got a defensive line that's adequate and plays hard and gets to the football and gets off blocks, too.
So you don't look at their defense and say here's one spot to -- they've got good football players over there. They run around and get to the football. So that presents a problem for us.
And then third down, their package changes, and then you're dealing with a whole new set of problems.
On Nebraska being on a nice run since their loss at Purdue last year:
Sure, I'm sure it will get said or mentioned, but at the same time great football teams aren't motivated by a past season or much anyway I think they're motivated on trying to keep what they've got going. They've won a bunch of football games this year. Beat quality opponents, and we're the next one on their schedule.
I'm sure in their mind they're ready to bring us up there and do what they're supposed to do and like in great college football we'll go up there, try to make it different.
Not a whole lot on Nebraska but can you blame the media for asking more about the transition? I sure can’t. There’s a lot to digest up there. What does it all mean? Let us know in the comments.
Ed Note: He can milk cows or... perform other activities, too: