It's always interesting to read the opening statement of these press conferences. It's really the only time where the coach gets to talk about what he wants to talk about but often times it seems like they are saying things they know they are going to get asked about anyway. Regardless, here is coach.
Well, a real quick look back at the game against Michigan State. Obviously you play a really good football team on the road, you can't spot them 14 points on the turnovers. I thought our kids came back in the second half and battled extremely hard and well, and there was something about those guys that really believed they could win that thing in the second half. Just their level of confidence rose through the roof coming out of the locker room, so it was good to see them respond the way they did. Obviously we didn't do as well as we needed to do on that two-minute drive that we had and there was some situations that kind of broke down that didn't allow us to get ourselves into field goal range. We're looking forward to playing a good Minnesota team that comes in here on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 and it will be an exciting contest for us. A couple of quick injury updates, something that came out of the blue a little bit. Austin Appleby has a deep thigh bruise and was really struggling on Sunday. We're going to give him lots of treatment here in the next couple days to see if he can get back for us on Saturday. It will be a day-to-day thing, but we need to get him better as quickly as we can as our backup quarterback.
One Markell Jones and his ability to gain yards
Yeah, it was brought to my attention yesterday, Pete, that he has I believe something like 60 carries and no negative plays. That's pretty phenomenal for any back let alone a freshman back. That just shows the maturity that young man has and continues to get better each and every week, not only running the football, Pete, but also in pass protection. He hasn't missed very many. I think where he's really good is his balance and being able to read defenses and slow the game down.
Can Purdue continue to play like they did in the second half?
I believe so, I really do. I think again it's still a very hungry football team, Pete, and we have to be able to take that next step. We keep saying that, but we have to be able to do that and blow the lid off this thing, and I think a lot of good things are going to happen once that happens. But this team is a very focused, very mature football team and that momentum we kind of were building at the end of that game will have to sustain throughout the rest of the season.
Minnesota's offense is bad...talk about that coach...
Well, you know, they do a couple different things that they've always done in terms of running the zone, they love to run the zone. They love to run the naked off of the zone play, they're still trying to do that. A little bit of power, not a whole lot of power game. But again, you have to go plus-one with your defense in terms of fronts making sure you get that extra hat in the box to eliminate the run. I think we matched up well on the outside in terms of our corners on their receivers, so we have to do some mixing it on man-to-man coverage with press.
It's fall break for Purdue students will a smaller crowd impact the team?
Well, you're right, we can't control that. It's something we discussed before, Morgan and I, and Morgan's made many attempts to get it changed, but unfortunately we're going to have to talk to our players about that as well. Hey, there might be X amount of people in the stadium, you have to get yourself ready to go regardless of how many people are in the stadium. Hopefully we get our local fans and all the other people who love the Boilermakers, but that's the reality.
On the recent arrests of freshman players
Obviously you're not happy when you get that phone call. It's very disappointing and I think it's a two-fold deal. It's got to be a discipline that you instill in these guys, but also an education. There's two-fold parts to that. You never want these things to happen because at some point in time they can become a distraction. But they're young kids that make bad decisions and make mistakes and then you have to fix it and move on.
Assessing Gelen Robinson's play thus far
He was one of the guys we talked about potentially starting this week. He played very well last week, I think he gets better and better. We need him down the stretch to be a dominant player when it gets single blocked. He's capable of doing that, we've seen that, but he has to do it consistently on Saturdays.
He's so strong. He collapses the pocket, he pushes the tackles back on the run game. Those are the things that reduce running lanes, reduced stepped-up lanes for quarterbacks if we can continue to have him do that and get off the block and make a sack.
On missed tackles. Oh missed tackles.
When you get around strong backs, you've got to do a good job of wrapping up. I thought a couple -- you know, five out of the linebacker room, five out of the secondary room, and I think it was two out of the upfront room, when you get with those physical hard running, you've got to wrap up. That's the biggest thing. We didn't flat out miss and get shaken by any of those guys in the open field, but I thought that we did fall off of a couple guys, Robert Gregory was one of them.
Minnesota's defense plays a four-man front. They mix their coverage up in the back end. They play not a whole lot of press coverage like we saw last week against Michigan State. They'll play more off coverage with their corners. But they like to rotate from an even coverage to an odd coverage prior to the snap. Not a huge pressuring team until you get down deep into the red zone.
Grading the linebackers
I think our linebackers have been outstanding, especially last week. I thought they played maybe as a group collectively their best game. I think the safeties have fit well other than that one jet sweep that they had, I thought they popped inside where they have to keep that ball contained, but I felt our linebackers played as well as they had last week.
More on the arrests of the freshman, what they have to do to get back in his good graces, and what the team has to do to prevent these things
Well, there's a lot of things for those guys to get accomplished before they become completely reinstated. They will have a suspension, two-game suspension, but we also have a lot of other things for those two to do.
For those guys to make that decision that they made last week, it was disappointing. We talked to them again -- well, we talked to them Thursday before we left, but then we talked to them again on Sunday and hopefully this last time it got through to all of them.
I think the whole locker room has to play a role, and I think they have to play a role prior to the incidents happening. I think that's a key component to any type of discipline. You can't wait until the incident happens before you say something. If you see something that's happening that's not right, you have to address it before it becomes a problem. We all do it. And again, these guys are young. Sometimes when you say a message, they don't think you're talking to that person. Sometimes you've got to pull them aside and tell them individually.
So there you have it. Coach is ready to put these distractions behind him and HOPEFULLY get a win against a wounded Minnesota team. This Purdue team needs a win in the worst way. Hopefully they move forward and grasp this opportunity.