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Purdue vs. Cincinnati Pre-Game Presser

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Coach Hazell steps to the mic before the Cincinnati game.

After moving to 1-0 on the season Coach Hazell is looking to do something that he hasn’t done in his time at Purdue; win back to back games. Man, that’s a depressing thing to type. Like, really depressing. Should he want to finally do that he will have to defeat a Cincinnati team that trounced him in his very first game as Purdue head coach. Hazell stepped to the mic today. Let’s see what he had to say shall we?

Coach’s opening statement:

As you look at our first week against Eastern Kentucky, I thought our guys played extremely hard, and really a good barometer to measure that is, you know, Dick Vermeil, the old Eagles football coach always used to tell -- you can tell the toughness of your team on how they cover kicks, and I thought we did a really good job of covering kickoffs and punts, which was really good to start off the season that way. So obviously we're excited to play Cincinnati this week; good football team, and we'll be looking forward to kicking it off at noon on Saturday.

On the injury status of both Hunte and Larkin:

We're going to try to give Hunte a go today in practice. He should be -- he ran around Sunday when we did some throwing and catching a little bit and he gets better and better every single day. So he's getting really close. He's a probable for this Saturday. In terms of Larkin, he was out of the boot yesterday. He walked around. We'll still take it day by day with him, but he says he feels so much better as of last night around 7:00. So it's a day-to-day thing for those guys.

The play of the corners, the freshman specifically:

Yeah. I thought they did a good job first time being out there. Obviously there's a lot of technique things that they gotta continue to work on, staying low at the point of the break point of the receivers. But they were out there, they competed, and they're only going to get better the more and more they're out there. We'll continue to play a lot of the young players. And that was a nice thing; we played a lot of guys on Saturday, which you know, was or was not the plan; it doesn't matter, but it happened the way it did, which was good for us.

First thoughts on Cincinnati:

I thought they did a good job last week getting on track in the second half. They made some plays, enough plays to win the football game. They got a good quarterback who's able to find some guys, and they have two big running backs that will pound it up inside. I think they're still trying to figure out where they are in the schemes of things, schematically, but they did a pretty good job in the second half last week. And then defensively, I thought they competed very well in the back end at the defensive back position.

I think this is a big game for us, for a lot of reasons. Obviously we gotta keep getting better each and every week. The good teams make sure they're most improving between week one and week two, so I think that's one of the key parts for us, continue to get better, but also, you know, obviously you're playing a good football team and you want to play well and have some success against good football teams.

On Cincinnati’s turnover problem from last year:

It's one of our main staples in being a successful football team is winning the turnover margin, but also going after the ball very aggressively, whether it's interceptions or trying to strip it. And Coach Tuberville is well aware that they've had the struggles in the turnover. So he's preached that to their team about securing the football, but that's one of our goals each and every week is to win that turnover battle because that helps you win football games.

Quick thoughts on the offensive line:

Like I said yesterday, Martesse played really well, Jason King played well. But the rest of them played well -- I mean also played well. We will give out those awards today at 2:15, so I don't want to share those yet.

On the pass rush, or lack thereof at times, against EKU:

We got gotta tackle them. We got in the backfield a couple of times on those pass rushes, but we didn't tackle the quarterback. That's the one thing you gotta keep contained. We missed one sack for safety. We gotta do a better job of containing and getting the guy at the quarterback down. And we thought we'd come out quick last week, the ball would come out quick on hitches and bubbles. He held it a couple of times, a little bit longer than we thought he would. This week they'll probably hold it a little bit longer. They do a good job of slide protecting and turning the line one way and bringing it back the other way. So we'll have to have some protection beaters, but we'll have to get home and make some sacks.

What is Cincinnati known for offensively and defensively?

They run zone. They're going to spread you out. They're going to try to throw the hitch. They're going to try to play-action pass when they bring the tight end in and try to push it down the field. It looked like they were running a little bit of midline option, not a whole lot. But they'll be in a three wideout set, I would think, probably the majority of the time. Three and four wideout set.

Defensively they're an odd front when you have a tight end in your package that's attached. When he's detached, they'll go back to their even front. They're a one high, drop the safety down in the box to the weak side late or they'll play a two-man shell a lot of times when you're in two by two formation. So yeah.

If playing an FCS team limits what you can learn:

We play who's on our schedule. I don't care if it's an FCS, FBS, an NFL team. You play who's on your schedule, and that's all you're concerned about. All these different categories, we don't say this is a FCS school, this is an FBS school; we say this is the team we're playing, what are the things that we have to do to play this football team. The guys in our building, we don't look at it that way. We look at it who are we playing this week, what are the things that we have to do to be successful this week, and that's where we're going.

On the biggest changes he would like to see from week 1 to week 2

I'd like to see us do a little bit better in pass coverage being able to defend some of those comeback routes, getting the ball out. There's obviously that 4th and 1 kind of eats at you a little bit. We gotta make those in regards to what we're doing, just being able to convert those. Obviously the field goal that we missed, I thought we did a good job working our two-minute drill, getting down there, having enough timeouts to be able to utilize the clock that well, but we gotta hit those field goals. But there's a lot of little things in each position that we can do so much better, which really gives you hope.

If they can protect, they'll try to push it down the field and throw those balls up and see if they'll come down with a couple of those balls to make some big plays. That's why I think we gotta, one, make them uncomfortable, make sure there's somebody at his feet so he can't step up and throw it, but also, two, go ahead and challenge the route and get that ball out more times than not. They're going to make their plays. That's part of football. Some teams are going to make plays against you, but we gotta make sure at the end of the day we're making more significant plays than the other team is.

On halftime adjustments:

You know, it's funny that everyone always wants to address the adjustments at halftime and all those things, and you know, a lot of times it's all about execution, regardless of whether it's the second quarter or the third quarter or the fourth quarter. There's no magical formula. There's things that you talk about that you gotta do this and you gotta do that. But there's no magical formula that you're concocting in the locker room at halftime, all these adjustments. You talk to any coach that's been in the locker room long enough, you make two or three adjustments. You can't tell them seven things. You tell them two or three things that could help your football team, and what happened in the third quarter, probably a little bit better was you got No. 18 or No. 54 that got after them pretty good, and that makes a lot of adjustments right there. There is no magical formula. Obviously there are things that you can get fixed. But it's just your demeanor when you come out of the locker room, how hard you're going to play those first couple of series. We took the win at the third quarter, which was huge. We had dropped a few punts in down deep, which was huge, and we got some three-and-outs, which was really big, and we were able to just keep exchanging service for about three or four series, which is part of the game. You're not going to go out and score every time you're out there, but we exchanged service. We kept gaining 10, 15 yards of field position, and all of a sudden, bang, we ended up scoring and the whole cycle starts again. And that's what you do when you come out. And it's a big chess match of figuring out which piece goes where and when. And the wind was part of it. The punting was part it. Making two great plays keeping it out of the end zone was part of it. We downed two inside the five. I mean those are big plays. We didn't talk about that at halftime at all. We didn't talk one thing about downing two punts inside the five. That was not part of the halftime adjustment. But that's how it all works together.

So there you go. Quite a bit from coach this week with plenty more left out because I frankly didn’t find it that interesting. I know that last quote in particular will be of interest to the internets and the myriad of coaches that somehow find their way online and onto our message boards or Twitter.