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Coach Speak(s)! Northwestern Week

Following the surprising win against Nebraska Purdue now shifts to looking to Northwestern.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Purdue Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

These things are always a bit more interesting following a win. This week, like every week this season there is also injury news. It’s bleak out there on the depth chart.

An update on Jack Plummer:

Jack Plummer probably be out for the year. He’s on his way to the doctor today just to see whether he will require surgery or not on the broken ankle.


I’m not optimistic that Elijah will be back this year, but I don’t want to rule it out completely.

What is the depth chart at QB now?

You know, Aidan will start the game. Paul Piferi is a freshman that we brought in that will be the next guy up. After that, we’ll have to get an emergency third-string quarterback.

Who would be that third-string emergency QB?

Well, Jared Sparks has been out, so he’s not up for it. You know, some other guys that we probably could play, but they are not ready, as well. So we’ve got to put some thought into it and you know, we have a few candidates but we’re still trying to weed our way through it.

Rondale update?

Well, we’ll see how that goes. It’s got to the point where I’m not optimistic until I see what we need to do see. At this point, I’m not optimistic about this week, but we’ll see how it progresses.

What improvements have you seen in King Doerue?

I think he works hard. He runs hard. He’s got some physicality to him. I think we’ve been a little more committed to trying to get the running game going, which we still will do that, if not more.

So you know, got a bright future. Came in here with a lot of confidence. Has made some big plays for us. If you give him some space, he’ll run hard. That’s what he’s got to continue to do, making sure he trusts the hole, trusting there’s going to be one; if not, occasionally you have to ram it up in there. A couple times we may have bounced some things out a little too much yet a few times did he and he made some plays.

What happened on those punt blocks?

Well, it’s a combination of a few things. We blocked the wrong person one time. Really, both in general, Allen (ph) took too long to punt the ball, and we do have the rugby punt that we’ve been using, but he has to be alert of what is coming, and if something’s coming, he’s got to catch it and get it out.

And only if we feel like we got some room can he kind of buy some extra time, and they got us, but it wasn’t all his fault. We blocked the wrong guy once. We went the wrong direction with one of our guys up front and allowed a guy to sneak in on the back side. A combination of things we definitely have to clean up. Having two turnovers in the blame and two blocked punts, you’re not going to win many games like that. There’s numerous things we have to clean up.

Getting to know Aidan O’Connell, talk about his recruitment:

Well, I know Aidan and his family came down on a trip. I’m trying to think back, I have a friend of mine who is kind of a quarterback coach up in that area, Jeff Christianson, who works out some guys and kind of, you know, told me about Aidan, and that he had worked with him and thought he had some good tools.

We brought him down and showed him around and you know, invited him to walk on and I think he may have had a few other small opportunities, maybe, but I’m not for sure, I’m really not. He may not have. I know -- I know he took us up on the offer, and we had to convince him a little bit, but he took us up on the offer.

Ever since, he just kind of came down and really been a great teammate that just kind of works hard and puts in the time and all the players love him. He’s got a great personality. Super, super person.

You know what, he just kind of continued to get better and better, and throughout the course of the last two years, his throwing ability, his ability to kind of pick up the offense and make plays when he got in practice, he has done a good job, and that’s kind of -- when we got him in some scrimmage settings, decision-making, even when it wasn’t live tackle on the quarterback, but close to live, needed to improve. Those are subtle things that you just need to work on and that’s what game experience will get you.

He’s a great worker, and I’m very proud of the improvement he’s made to this point.

How much is scripted at the start of the game on offense?

We’ll script the first -- you know, always have at least eight. Sometimes we have more. Some games they work. Some games they don’t. We’re not afraid to go off of it. We’re not afraid to continue on it. Normally we’ll have the next 20 plays that we like, as well. Doesn’t mean we stay strictly to it.

But from the first eight to the next 20, we kind of have those of what we like, and then based on kind of what we’re seeing and how things are going and who is hot, we will adjust it.

Word is your parents talked to you and told you to have more fun, true?

Well, I think that your parents always have wise advice. They know that I love to compete and like to win and that’s kind of how I played. Sometimes that’s how I coach.

But they wanted to make sure that I understood that when I was a player, you want a coach that’s coaching you, but also motivating you in the right way and picking you up and being positive, and, you know, boosting your confidence and coaching you up.

I think they just stressed to me that, you know, coach your quarterbacks the way you would want to be coached.