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September 16, 2014

Darrell Hazell

THE MODERATOR:  Welcome to week four of Purdue football.  We'll have coach make an opening statement and start with questions.
COACH HAZELL:  Well, just a quick recap on last week's game against Notre Dame.  I thought we did a lot of nice things on both sides of the ball.  Our missed tackles were way down.  We had seven of those, which was a big improvement from the previous week of 17.  I felt the guys were playing hard.  A very physical game on both sides of the ball.
If you look at the tape, the thing that you see is we have to make a couple more plays.  You don't have to make them all, but you have to make a couple more plays in the second half that could potentially change the outcome of the game.
A corner blitz we brought, got to get that guy tackled.  A couple plays offensively, we dropped a slant.  DeAngelo on a crossing route, if you hit that, you got a chance to be right in the thick of the thing in the fourth quarter.
Proud of how they played.  The big thing is you got to improve.  That's the biggest thing as a football team, you have to improve from week to week to week.  Each week presents a different challenge.
Southern Illinois comes in here, they've done a nice job, 3‑0.  We're looking forward to playing those guys on Saturday.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll take questions.

Q.  (Question about sustaining intensity.)
COACH HAZELL:  That's got to be the key for our football team.  That's one of the things I mentioned to them right after the game.  The energy, effort, the intensity, the volume you played with.  All those things, you got to play that way each and every week.  Doesn't matter who you're playing.  That's showing respect for the game.  Whether you're playing Notre Dame or Southern Illinois, doesn't matter, you have to play with a high intensity level.

Q.  When you look at Southern Illinois, they've got a runningback, a transfer from Oregon State, quarterback transfer from Eastern Michigan.  What kind of problems do they present?
COACH HAZELL:  The runningback I think is very good.  He's quick, explosive, very patient in the hole, got good balance.  We're going to have to do a good job of tackling.  When he gets the ball going north and south, he's a better football player than when he goes east and west.  We have to do a good job of making sure the ball flattens out.
The quarterback has done a nice job of finding open guys.  We have to be able to get some pressure on him pretty early in the contest.

Q.  Looking to get Jimmy Herman back?
COACH HAZELL:  Jimmy is back.  He's available to us.  He'll play in our base package.  In our quarter package, he'll be backing up at the Mike backer.

Q.  By having him, what does that do for your defense, how much of a boost?
COACH HAZELL:  It gives us a big boost.  I think what helped us last week was being able to play in the quarter package, which is our five defensive backs.  Seeing Southern Illinois on film, they're going to spread you out, try to use all that speed.  Think we match up with our quarter package.
But being able to get Jimmy back, a big player, to be able to play some base defense when we have to, that can only help us.

Q.  How many 3‑4 defenses do you typically see a year?  How different is this defense?
COACH HAZELL:  We don't see a lot of three‑man fronts, true three‑man fronts.  You see at lot of variations.
We're going to do things a little bit differently to make sure we block it in practice today.  We're going to have some cards drawn up as opposed to going against our defense and have them run their front.
It's a completely different blocking scheme in a lot of your plays.  We've worked the odd front before.  It's a different defense for us.

Q.  Watching the film, how well does SIU make you try to defend the whole field?
COACH HAZELL:  They definitely try to get it out of their hands quickly, throw the bubble, throw the quick hitches to the outside.  They throw a lot of screens.  I think their game plan is probably going to not have him drop back too much, probably roll out on the edge and try to put pressure on us that way.

Q.  How happy are you with the development of the quarterback this season from his first game till now?
COACH HAZELL:  Our quarterback?

Q.  Yes.
COACH HAZELL:  I think he's making definite steps in the right direction.  He still has to continue to grow.  We got to remember he's only been out there so many games.  We want him to be a fourth‑year or fifth‑year guy.  But he's making progress and that's what you're looking for week in and week out.

Q.  What will be David Hedelin's role this week?
COACH HAZELL:  David is going to be in pretty quickly.  We're going to play him at left tackle.  We'll use him, Cermin.  We were very pleased with Cermin's performance in the first three weeks.  We're going to try to get a rotation with those two at the tackle spot.  Cermin is our most versatile offensive lineman, so you might see him in a couple different places.  We're talking about maybe playing him a couple snaps at center, as well.

Q.  You haven't had a sixth guy.  How much does it help if you can use Cermin as a swing guy?  Does it help to keep you fresher?
COACH HAZELL:  I think it keeps you fresher, but it also allows you to hold some other guys that you may have had to play in the first three games.  You get the sixth lineman with Hedelin, the seventh with Tretter, and the eighth with Curry.  Now you got eight guys you got to keep bringing along and getting better.  Maybe you can sit down some of those other guys which you may have had to play early in the season.

Q.  Which guy would that be?
COACH HAZELL:  Might have been Kirk Barron or someone like that.  He may be a guy, see how it plays out, but you say, Let's hold him, because he has not played.

Q.  What has been your evaluation of how the line has played through the first three games?
COACH HAZELL:  Very pleased.  I think Coach Bridge is doing a great job with those guys.  They're getting better each week.  I think they're doing a relatively good job of protecting the passer.
I think their double‑team blocks have taken a step in the right direction since last year.

Q.  Did they have the biggest room to grow in pass protection?  They gave up three sacks, but two of those might have been on the quarterback.  Did you feel from a pass protection point of view they had their best game?
COACH HAZELL:  Some of those sacks were definitely on the quarterback.  Last play of the game, trying to throw a Hail Mary.  Another he should have cut it loose.
Yes, I think they've taken their biggest steps in the pass protection realm.

Q.  Hedelin, what does he bring you from an attitude and skill set point of view?
COACH HAZELL:  He's very athletic.  That's what we know about him.  He's nasty.  Still has a lot of things he can get better at in terms of combination blocks, communication, those types of things.  But he's a very physical player that can run.

Q.  Do you think he'll start or...
COACH HAZELL:  We'll start with Cermin for Saturday's game.

Q.  Ryan Grigson talked to your team on Friday and was down on the sideline pregame Saturday.  What was his message?
COACH HAZELL:  Well, he's a Boilermaker through and through.  He loves this place.  He loves Purdue football.  He just wanted our guys to play with a passion and a deep respect for the game that he loves.  Doesn't matter who the opponent is, play as hard as you can.  We love his support.

Q.  What do you have to do to get the rush game going a little bit again?  Been a couple weeks where you haven't gotten that big play that you're looking for.
COACH HAZELL:  That's one of the things we're lacking, is the big plays.  We're not making enough big plays.  We need some chunk plays.  That's one of the things we talked about as a staff.  One of the things you got to do, what we did in the springtime, you got to spread them out a little bit more than what we have.  That's one of the things you got to do.
Also we could have had a big chunk play on one of Raheem's runs.  Fell off a block on the corner.  If he gets the block on the corner, it might go for 75.  Those are the things we have to be able to finish downfield and finish blocks.

Q.  Looked like a couple times against Notre Dame you were one tackle away or one block away.  Did you feel that way?
COACH HAZELL:  I did.  I felt that way on probably three or four plays.  You got to make one or two of those plays to potentially change the outcome of the football game.

Q.  Concerned about the fumbling at all?
COACH HAZELL:  No, I'm not concerned, but we can't fumble.  I'm not concerned, but you can't fumble.  You can't fumble, can't throw interceptions.  Teams that win are teams that don't make mistakes and teams that make plays.

Q.  From a run blocking standpoint, how are they holding up?
COACH HAZELL:  I think they've done a good job.  I don't think we're getting too much penetration.  I think they're fitting their double‑teams at the point of attack extremely well.  Again, we have to finish a little bit better on the second levels, on those linebackers.  But they're going to the right people and they're covering them up.

Q.  With Hedelin, do you feel there's one area he's stronger at, whether it be the run blocking or pass blocking yet?
COACH HAZELL:  I think he's probably a little bit ahead in the run game than he is in pass pro.  I think he's got to work on getting out of his stance a little bit better and pass setting a little bit better.  But he'll be fine.  He's so athletic, he can recover on a lot of those guys.

Q.  As you go back and look at your plan for him, he got a lot of reps early in camp.  The thought process of getting him involved early, then tapering off a little bit, how he's going to approach this week now.
COACH HAZELL:  Well, we knew he was going to be a guy that we needed to play for us as soon as he became available.  He's that type of player.  We front end loaded him pretty quickly.  When we had to get him into game situations, we gave many of those reps to Cerm, whoever we thought was going to play.  We have to ramp him back up to make sure he's sharp when we get to the fields on Saturdays.

Q.  You talked about playing with the same intensity every Saturday.  At what point will this team make that turn?  Do you see that on a Tuesday as opposed to a Saturday?
COACH HAZELL:  To gauge your team on a Tuesday is hard because your guys are sore, so you're a little bit sluggish, a little bit slower.  You want to make sure they're really taking steps forwards on those Tuesdays.  But the level of intensity is definitely different on a Tuesday.  Even Wednesday, it starts to get a little bit ramped up because their bodies are coming back.  You want it to be exact on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Q.  Update on BJ, what will be his status?
COACH HAZELL:  BJ is going to be as far as he can go.  As long as he can go, he can go.  He's been cleared.  He's got a little bit of a hip issue.  I don't know what the medical terms are.  But he's fine.  It's not the sports hernia we thought it would be.
If he can go, tolerate the pain, he's clear to go.

Q.  With the pressure you have from the defensive line and the linebackers, the fact you're able to rotate Ra'Zahn and Ryan in that spot, maybe have a little bit more depth, did that help create some more pressure?
COACH HAZELL:  Well, I felt those guys on the edge really played well.  Ryan and Jalani played well.  Then Gelen came in and played as well as Danny.
You're right, having those three guys start to get better inside with Ryan and Ra'Zahn and Jake, those are three pretty good players.  Again, they're young guys, but they're getting better each and every week.

Q.  Wanted to ask you about Southern Illinois, if you could break down their offense for us.  Malcolm Agnew seems like he gets the lion's share of the work in the backfield.
COACH HAZELL:  He's very quick.  He's very patient.  Run a lot of zone with him.  He's a great screen runner.  He's got good balance.  He makes a lot of plays just off of guys missing tackles.  He's quick in the hole.

Q.  What's the overall focus of their offense?
COACH HAZELL:  Well, they like to give him the ball any way they can.  But they are a lot of misdirection.  They want you moving one direction so they can counter back the other way.  They want the ball out of the quarterback's hand as quick as they can.  They have two other guys that are pretty dynamic, No.18 and No.21, both quick, short guys that make a lot of plays for them.
They like to get the ball to the tight end, No.4, as much as they can.  He's a good pass catcher.  And the quarterback has done a nice job in the first three weeks of operating the offense.

Q.  Agnew more kind of an east/west guy?
COACH HAZELL:  No, he's better north and south.

Q.  What kind of defensive looks to do expect to see?
COACH HAZELL:  We are going to see odd front.  They are going to play a lot of zone coverage in the back end.  I don't see them pressing a whole lot.  They haven't pressed the first three weeks at least.  We're looking at a lot of cover three, cover four in the back end, try to keep it in front of them.

Q.  You mentioned before facing a 3‑4 being a completely different blocking scheme.  How different is it than the 4‑3?
COACH HAZELL:  It's different because the calls are different.  Combinations are combinations.  You got to know where you're going to, know where the double‑team happens.
We blocked 3‑4 in practice 'cause our defense, our nickel package, gets into a three‑man front.  So we have to be able to block the 3‑4 defense.
Again, it's all about making the communication that you need to have happen.

Q.  It said in the game notes that Cedric Dale is moving to receiver.  Why?
COACH HAZELL:  That's what he wanted to do.  He wanted to play on the offensive side of the ball.  We'll make that transition for him today.  He'll run some scout team receiver against defense.

Q.  Does he have experience playing receiver?
COACH HAZELL:  He feels more comfortable.  That's what he said to me Sunday in my office, that he would much rather play receiver.  In high school he played receiver and DB.  He would much rather play receiver.

Q.  You need some depth probably at cornerback, right, considering the guys you're playing right now are upperclassmen?
COACH HAZELL:  Down the road?

Q.  Yes.
COACH HAZELL:  Absolutely.  We'll recruit DBs.

Q.  The intensity angle, you said that needs to be the standard.  That's not the only area you need to show consistency in, right?
COACH HAZELL:  There's lots of areas you got to show consistency in.  Tackling.  Not making penalties.  Making plays.  There's a lot of things.

Q.  Where are you at right now in terms of rebuilding the program?  How crucial is it not to regress, but especially this week against this opponent?
COACH HAZELL:  Well, obviously you want to always take steps forward.  That's the most important thing as a program, to see progress.  Confident our guys will continue to do that.
They're in good spirits right now.  They're studying film, wanting to get better.  If you have some 'want to' in your guys, you're going to get better.

Q.  Last year Notre Dame was the best you played all season.  The rest of the season didn't go the way you had hoped.  Why is this year going to be different?
COACH HAZELL:  It's a different football team.  We have a lot of different people in our locker room right now.  We have different leaders.  They're hungry.  They're a hungry bunch of guys.  They're working extremely hard at getting better.

Q.  Why do you think last week helped in terms of moving forward?
COACH HAZELL:  Well, I think they set the standard pretty high for themselves.  I think they know the level that they can play at.  They know that they're skilled enough to play at that level.  Now they just have to do it.

Q.  Any specific plays you would attribute to the defensive line against Notre Dame?
COACH HAZELL:  There's a lot of good players, a lot played well.  Jalani Phillips played well.  Ryan Russell played well.  Ra'Zahn played well.  Jake played well.  So did Ryan Watson.  All of them played well.
But I thought they were getting the rush up the field.  They were getting pushback on the offensive line.  They were able to make some plays.

Q.  Now that the secondary are at full strength, what have you seen from them?
COACH HAZELL:  The one thing I thought they did last week was I thought they played the ball as well as they did since we've been here.  They need to continue to play together back there and give each other help on some of those routes that become available.  They need to help each other in that standard.

Q.  You talked about this team being a different team from last year.  In what ways are they different?
COACH HAZELL:  Their work ethic is better.  Their attitude is better.  They're attention to detail is better.  It's important to them.  All those things makes it that much better for this football team.

Q.  What did you learn from that process last year?
COACH HAZELL:  Stay the course and continue to work through the issues that you have.  Understand in the process that there's going to be sidesteps, maybe even backward steps.  But you have the vision of where you want to be when you get the things righted.  I think the guys are doing a nice job of understanding.
We ran on Sunday night.  You could just hear the energy from our guys after we ran.  Hey, let's get this thing rolling.  It's fun to be around these guys.  There are a lot of good guys in our locker room right now.

Q.  What are some things you do to make sure that intensity continues?  Is that something that the players have to figure out on their own?
COACH HAZELL:  I think it's a little bit of both.  I think we have to keep driving it as a coaching staff to be able to play at that level.  I think it's also intrinsic from our players' standpoint they have to have that burning desire inside to play at that high level, regardless if there's one person in the stands or 50,000 people in the stands, whether we're playing Southern Illinois or Notre Dame.  It's got to be a burning thing inside that drives them to play at that level.

Q.  How difficult is it for a group of 18‑ to 22‑year‑old guys to treat Southern Illinois as the same or equal to Notre Dame?
COACH HAZELL:  Well, I don't know if you treat them differently, equal.  I can't measure that standard.  But I know they're hungry.  Our guys are hungry.  They want to win football games.  They're going to do whatever it takes to win football games.

Q.  Danny started 12 of 14 against Notre Dame, doing what you described as distributing to play‑makers, then he went downfield a couple times with DeAngelo.  Is it a fine line to choosing his spots to test that and give his guys a chance to make plays versus not making mistakes?
COACH HAZELL:  I think that's the best thing he did on Saturday was give those guys a chance to make a play on those two throws.  Both throws to DeAngelo were opportunities for our guys to go up and battle for the football.  50/50 balls are what we call those.
He threw it in a spot where the defender couldn't get it.  We have to be able to do that and trust him to be able to do that with the football.

Q.  Obviously it's a one‑game difference, but psychologically what is the difference between a 1‑3 and a 2‑2 record heading into Big Ten play with your season goals in mind?
COACH HAZELL:  Well, I'm not even looking at it that way.  I think we got to worry about this Saturday.  Can't worry about the Big Ten schedule yet.  We have to worry about taking care of all those things we need to do on Saturday to keep moving forward.

Q.  You talked about Southern Illinois' offense.  For your offense, what do they have to do against them?  What is the attacking method?
COACH HAZELL:  We have to, one, make explosive plays.  We have to have some more big chunk play down the field.  Whether it's a run or pass, we have to shorten the field a little bit.  Obviously we can't turn the ball over.  I think we've got to be able to establish the run against these guys, I really do.  I think we have to be able to run the ball effectively.  That sometimes becomes demoralizing for defenses, they can't get off the field and stop the run.

Q.  With their offense, Southern Illinois, the premium on tackling and being in the right position maybe as opposed to some other games, how much is that a focus this week where you may not get as much pressure on the quarterback but you have to be in the right position on defense?
COACH HAZELL:  We have to be in the right position this week and be able to tackle in open space on these guys 'cause they're quick.  That's the problem this team presents.  Those guys are really quick with the ball in their hands.  We got to get multiple hats to the ball so they can't make one guy miss and get themselves started.
It's very important that we eliminate gaps but also run to the football and tackle.
THE MODERATOR:  Coach, thank you.
COACH HAZELL:  Thank you.

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