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September 29, 2014

Ed Warinner

Q.¬† (Question about Ezekiel Elliott)COACH WARINNER:¬† He's playing with very low pad level and so‑‑ he plays with great energy.¬† He's explosive.¬† And he finishes runs with great pad level.¬† And he doesn't want to make direct contact.
He wants to edge defenders, which always allows you to finish runs and come out the other end.  It's exciting to watch him do that.  We kind of thought that when we recruited him.  And he's developed.  And here we go starting to show on the field.

Q.  When you lost Carlos Hyde, people were saying you don't necessarily have to replace him with one guy.  Looked like he was fairly close to doing that on Saturday?
COACH WARINNER:  On Saturday he was.  He did the job you would want a Carlos Hyde to do.  But he's a different runner than Carlos.
Ezekiel is playing great right now.  We just have to keep him going.

Q.  You guys went into that game, I think, still searching for some answers on the line.  Did you come out of it with the answers that you wanted to find?
COACH WARINNER:  Absolutely.  I mean, are you saying we were searching for answers?  Because I didn't say that.

Q.¬† Just seemed like you guys‑‑
COACH WARINNER:¬† That's your perception.¬† That's not my perception or that wasn't our perception.¬† We pretty much‑‑ the Kent State game, we played really well.¬† We knew exactly who we wanted to play.¬† We rotated guys in.
And in this game, we played exactly who we wanted to play, rotated them in, and they played really well.  And so we feel like we're headed in the right direction.  Are we a finished product?  No.  Are we coming along pretty nicely?  Yes.
I mean, there's not really anything different other than we're developing some consistency and playing with a good demeanor.
And we're also getting more guys in the game.  And we got more guys in the Kent game and then we got more guys in this game.  And the more guys you get in the game, the more you let them play and the more they show what they can do in game situations.
We were able to do that with Chase Farris and some other guys.  That's been good.  We're starting to develop some depth with that.

Q.  Seemed like you found your top six guys with Chase rotating in there a little bit.  Do you think that's going to be the plan moving forward for the foreseeable future?
COACH WARINNER:  Yeah, right now I'd say those six guys, and Joel Hale starting to come along, too, the guy that played defensive line last year and moved over.  And he's starting to get comfortable.  And like to see if we can start factoring him into the rotation more as well.  Probably six, heading towards seven maybe, if we can get there.

Q.  You guys have been working a young quarterback and young guys on the line.  What do you see with J.T. and the offensive line?
COACH WARINNER:  Experience and confidence is what they didn't have.  And now they're starting to get experience and confidence.

Q.¬† I mean, I would imagine‑‑ your quarterback and your line being on the same page‑‑
COACH WARINNER:  I think there's some of that.  I mean you guys probably overstate that a little bit.  But I mean the offensive line has to all be on the same page with their business.  I mean as far as the quarterback, he has his business.  And if we take care of ours, his life's better.  If he takes care of his, our life's better.  You know what I mean?
Definitely there's some chemistry as far as off the field and at practice with confidence in our quarterback, and he has confidence in the line.
And when you play with confidence, you're more aggressive, make better decisions, and usually better results.  So I think the product of the last couple of games that's starting to happen.

Q.  Urban was talking about a couple times when J.T. was getting you into different plays, maybe you got a false start here or there.  He said that was on J.T. doing that.  Just what's your perspective on J.T. sort of being able to do that and making sure you guys are adjusting to the defense on the field?
COACH WARINNER:  I think he's taking a quarterback role and trying to make some audibles and direct traffic out there.  And there's a process to that.  And that's something that is ongoing.  And he's getting better and better at that.  He's very capable of doing that mentally, and then just doing it on the field.  And everybody communicating.  Because it was a very loud environment.
And a lot of that is just communication as far as false starts.  They're basing their trigger up front on his cadence.  If we're going fast, and I think you probably notice, we went fast, ran 111 plays.  Kind of going fast.
When you're going fast and we're yelling and talking and communicating and he's telling them plays and the defense is yelling and trying to get guys lined up, there's a lot of noise.  And there's 108,000 people that were pretty excited, there's a lot of noise out there, and sometimes that's where the communication has to be clear, clean and very discernible.  So that's what we need to get a little better at.

Q.  Everybody we talked to after the Virginia Tech game said you had not worked on the bear, or what Virginia Tech threw at you obviously and stayed in it.  But since then everyone's taking pride, I think Urban even used the term bear beater plays you had on Saturday night.  With a young offensive line, is that the process you go through, about trying to cover all the waterfront as you get into a season, and do you kind of see it click?
COACH WARINNER:¬† Yeah, I mean you have to be careful with overexposing young guys who haven't played a lot.¬† And again we're not really young up front.¬† We're just inexperienced.¬† Fifth‑year senior and third‑year guys in Elflein and Jacoby, and Billy Price is the young one.¬† You have three guys who have been here three years and one guy five years.¬† And Chase has been four.¬† So just inexperience would probably be the better term than young.
But, yeah, you have to be careful about putting too much in their mind and having them think about too many things and practicing, this big spectrum of stuff, and then what are you good at.
So you try to give them what you think they need to go into that game and be prepared to do it well.  And that was an area that Virginia Tech threw at us that we hadn't prepared as much for.
In my 31 years I'd never been exposed to that.  So I'm sorry but it just never had happened in 31 years of my coaching that I've seen that defense.

Q.  What I'm saying, is there such thing as an offensive line going over a hump where you feel like, man, I would say a veteran group or an experienced group?  Are you starting to feel that with this group?
COACH WARINNER:  Yeah, absolutely.  I mean, you could see it in their eyes, the confidence they have and they feel that they can go out and play and they know how to adjust to little things that happen in the game and they can make sideline adjustments and that all is a process again of comfort, confidence and just playing.  And that process is happening.  And we just need it to continue to happen as we go into Big Ten play.

Q.  Do you see much of Maryland's defense?
COACH WARINNER:  Yeah, I've watched them here this morning some.

Q.  What were your impressions, giving up 435 yards a game?
COACH WARINNER:  I try not to get too much into stats because sometimes those can be deceiving based on how games are played and what happens.
And they are a four‑man front.¬† They have some changeups.¬† They're going to be different than anyone we played in terms of some of the things they do coverage‑wise.¬† And the coverage affects the run game because it's how they support the run, because everybody's trying to get extra guys down to support the run and how they do that.
It's going to be a little bit different there.¬† But they're a basic four‑down team, 4‑2, and I think they play really hard.¬† I think they're competitive guys.¬† I think they‑‑ I see them giving great effort, and I think they've got a lot of seniors, I noticed, on their defense in the two deep.
I think it's going to be a challenge to go over there and take it on the road and play good on the road against a veteran group that's going to try to play hard and try to get after us in their first Big Ten game.

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