Here we are yet again. Purdue coming off another loss in which they led in the first half, this time 10-0, but fell off after that and wound up losing. This is becoming a bit of a pattern. To the transcript we go!
Opening Statement (edited)
Sad, but true that it was another position where we put ourselves in a great first half and battled a great football team that's really coming into their own, and then came out in the second half and didn't take care of business by turning it over again and giving them too many possessions which equated to us losing control of the football game. So certainly tough to see that happen again in the second half and us not take care of it and respond better in every phase.
I'm certainly proud of the effort. I will say that. Our guys played hard, and very proud of the result in the first half, which is something you have to continue to look at, especially with where things are at with some of our personnel.
Really, really proud of those guys, though. And I have to say again what a first-class act that Coach Fitzgerald is. Had a chance to visit with him before the game and all those things, and how he handles himself and what he does for his student-athletes, and that program should be commended for what he is and what he's about, and can't say thanks enough for some of the words that he had to share.
On Wisconsin’s run game
Number one, what they do is what they do. They've done it hundreds and hundreds of times. They commit to it. They pick out their formations, their style of running. They'll do it over and over again. They'll decorate a little bit with motions and shifts, but when you get through all the cloud and you look at it and you hit pause right before the ball snap, they get back to doing exactly what they do in their run game. They hit the ball vertically, and they make a decision to go ahead and push the ball down your throat, so to speak. So you add good players to that; you add good linemen to that and you add a good plan and you have yourself a very formidable run attack.
Is Wisconsin the best defense in the B1G?
Tough to give you a for-sure yes on not playing all the other ones, but you would for sure say that they have to be right at the top. This is a great defense, a great scheme that presents several problems, and they've gotta be right at the top.
How have you kept the team positive?
You know what, that's hard. And it's been hard. And sadly enough, the reason we're in the position where we are right now is because of our past, right, that creates that. Just as we've talked about, everything is contagious. Positive attitude is contagious. A negative attitude is contagious. Winning is contagious, losing is contagious. All those things are. And what I try to do and what the staff's tried to do, but more than anything I've done is I'm never, when I approached this, there wasn't like a win total that I had in mind or anything like that. I wanted to approach it week by week to give these guys a better chance to change their mental makeup of expecting to win, to play at a high level the best we can and approach it that way, and then everybody can label it as it is. But I think more than anything, for me to push on them my positivity and how we're going to approach it each week is they're going to follow what my lead is right now, and with that it's not real hard for me to stay positive and keep pushing and do those things. That's what I've done my whole life.
Now that a bowl game is off the table what’s the motivation?
I think more than anything just out of respect for my name, number one, you know, and who I am and what I've been throughout my coaching career and throughout my life, number one. And then doing right by the guys, it's the right thing to do. We talk about all the time, what is the right thing. The right thing to do is to play your guts out, to celebrate playing a great football team this weekend and celebrate your seniors, who those seniors have been awesome. And I hate we couldn't do for them -- I hate that I couldn't do more for them to put them in the position of winning.
On the Battle of the Boilers with Appleby and Etling facing off this weekend.
I've been around those guys and was around them for a long time, built a relationship with those guys, you know. So why would we not sit there and keep an eye on it and see how both those guys do? Wish those guys the best and were around them and spent valuable time with those two guys. So heck yeah, we'll look it up and have some fun and keep an eye on it to see how those two guys do.
On the seniors, specifically the wide receivers, playing in their last game.
So for the four guys that I have to say good bye to personally in my room that I've put around my family and all those things, I couldn't -- it puts tears in my eyes, honestly, but it's the best group of seniors I've ever coached. Their production certainly is in that, but them as men. Bilal Marshall is welcome in my home anytime he wants to come and will always be that way. Domo Young is a guy that has done nothing -- the college football model and being a student-athlete has done nothing but make that kid a great man and will have a great future because of it and a guy that wears a smile on his face. And Cameron Posey just to see his growth and who he is as a kid and the man he'll be, and then DeAngelo Yancey and the growth he's had as a person and player. All those guys, I would let them baby-sit my girls, you know.
On Bentley’s status.
[H]e wasn't available Saturday.
Presented in full regarding fan support.
Q. Is the lack of fans at the games at all affecting this team? Is it something that you guys talk about as a team?GERAD PARKER: No. We don't talk about it. My goodness, I went over to Mackey after we got done last night and got a chance to watch the second half. And again, I've been very, very open and honest about this. You certainly can't say go in there and play, that was a great atmosphere last night and what a great effort our basketball team made. That was a great environment and a great basketball team they played and played a great game.
The reason I say that is it would be crazy not to acknowledge if there were -- if that place were packed out every weekend, that environment helps you. You are what your environment is. Now, we all have to own why that environment's not it either. And that's why we're in the position we're in, no question. There's four tough years. It's a two-fold deal. And because the situation it's in and where it's in, there's been a lot of things happen bad over there, this is a day and age where they're not going to come over and support and be there in droves like they are in other stadiums and like they were in Mackey last night. And I get that. I'm a fan, too. So that's why -- it's not like we're sitting there saying, hey, fans. We get it. I understand their frustrations. Sure, we'd love for them to come out in droves this weekend for our seniors. I would. And before anything would hit Twitter, I would say, not for me; come out and support our seniors, in ugly weather, on a windy day, and watch a great football team square off against us, and we're going to try to play our guts out for you and give you something you'll be proud of, and everybody can move on to the next week.
But again, what do we, stand up here now as the interim head coach and say, don't come watch the seniors, we're just trying to finish these two weeks. Are you serious? You know, I'm not doing that. Again, long after I'm gone or whatever happens to my future and other coaches' futures and all those things, how does Purdue Football change? How does it change? You all know this. I believe this with all my heart. It changes by your approach to every single step you take. Some of those I've been able to change and affect; some of them we didn't have time to and can't. How it's going to change is by everybody aiming big, thinking big, approaching every piece of the organization big and having everybody around here think the same way and approach it and embrace it. That's how it'll happen.
So we would love for the fans to come out and see us and pay tribute to the seniors and do all those things, but in the flip of that, I certainly -- we certainly understand why it is in the position it is. We get it and I understand that.
Sports media with the solid questioning.
Q. Why is Wisconsin's defense good?GERAD PARKER: Good question. The things you know are they've got a great pass rush. They play two great fronts. They'll bring in two different types of personnel and play two great fronts that create major pass issues. They're active in the back end in the way that they play a lot of man coverage, but it's not a lot of man blitz stuff. They're still able to mess with you enough where they'll run away from you and still have a lot of eyes on the ball and have an extra player to sit there and rob eyes of the quarterback.
And they're real responsive at corner. You know, when you think that you can sit down and run something, they'll jump and sit on you, they squat on you and all those things and it's still hard to get the ball above their head. But at the end of the day what makes great defenses, I tell you what, as soon as the ball is thrown, five guys close; as soon as the ball is ran, more than five guys close. They close gaps and things that look open. When you watch NFL film, something that looks like a huge run and then the gap closes like that. So that's what they do, they close to the ball as good as any team we've played.
That should do it for this week. Stay tuned for the rest of the week as we continue to take a look at Wisconsin and build toward Saturday’s game.