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October 7, 2014

Matt Limegrover

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for coach Limegrover.

Q.  Matt, the way you seemed determined to establish the run early, can you talk about that game plan?  Can you talk about your approach to that?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Well, you know, we felt like we matched up probably as well as we ever have with Michigan.  To be honest with you, early on we got a few things going and when you do, you tend to stay in that kind of groove when things are working for you.
We kinda had a couple different routes we were ready to go, in case things didn't work out in our favor early with running the football but we never felt like we had to get out of that base plan.  Just continued on with that, and then what I think you saw against Michigan was being able to run the ball, and then also the way they were structured we were able to build some passing game that Mitch felt comfortable with around it, and those two fed off each other and you could see that throughout the ballgame as it went on.

Q.  We have a guy like Cobb running the way he is as a play caller, how much does that open it up in terms of play‑action and opening it up?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  I think it's huge.  It would be remiss to say that defenses don't know exactly when No. 27 is in the game and are keying on him.  Defenses spend all week talking about him so that does open up things.  I think a great example of that was Michigan was bound and determined on our first touchdown to not let David Cobb get the first down when we were down about the 7 yard line and we ran a naked boot leg because they all crashed down there and there just wasn't anybody left.  That's what having a run game and a guy like him does for the rest of your offense, without a doubt.

Q.  Matt, you ran the Jet Sweep quite a bit last year.  What do you need to see the defense as giving you or inviting you to maybe run that in certain situations?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Well I think it's with a lot of things, I look back in the NFL a couple of years ago, the Wildcat was popular, the dolphins were doing it, and eventually people catch up and do their homework.  The Jet Sweep package is good at times but you can't make your living in that.
You got to pick your spots.  We try and find a couple of spots each game where we feel like or a couple of formations that we can do it out of but the defenses have caught up with some of that stuff.  They see those things happening and can react quicker.  If you look at the teams that have had success over the last couple of years, you know, watching Wisconsin play Northwestern, I don't know if they actually handed the ball on a Jet action, they maybe did it once with Melvin Gordon as a fake and it's getting harder to find those spots where they can't read and react and like I said, it's just like the zone read in the NFL or Wildcat, people catch up with you so you got to get ahead of the curve and find that next thing that will keep them off balance.

Q.  Seems like Mitch has been able to spread the ball out to tight ends, running backs, receivers, how does that benefit the offense's passing game when you can do that?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  I think it's harder if you have one particular person that the quarterback is trying to target every time, it's different when you're turning around trying to hand the ball off to a running back.  There are a lot of factors in that.  Teams can take away that in the passing game and you have to have the ability to find that secondary guy or use that guy as a decoy.  We targeted Maxx a few times against Michigan and there were several more that he was the initial target but they were looking to take it away and Mitch did a nice job of finding that secondary receiver or understanding this isn't going to be there, here is where I can go next.

Q.  Do you think he's developed chemistry with one particular receiver at this point in the season or is itbecause he had an injury and he didn't pass as much‑‑
COACH LIMEGROVER:  I think it's a process.  You know, I don't know at this point if it's going to be a one‑to life one receiver, I prefer it to be just what you started out saying, spread it go around, hitting different people and getting the backs involved, being able to throw screens to David Cobb and getting him sprung on those things and hitting the quick passes and screens and things.  Obviously you would love to have that kind of one‑to‑one with any quarterback and receiver but like I said, defenses can find a little bit more of a way to take that part of it away from you, as opposed to if you have a back that's feeling it, you can‑‑ even though they know at the end of the day he's probably getting it, it's how you you're getting it to him, and I think that's the difference when you're running the football as opposed to throwing it.
We kinda like the distribution that Mitch had and would like to keep that going.

Q.  With Cobb, how many times would you say you see one of his runs and you think it's going to be a 4‑yard gain and it ends up being an 8 or 10 because he doesn't go down?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  You know what?  He's amazing!  It's even more amazing when you're watch it go and you go, "wow," but then when you go back on Sunday and you get the end zone copy and go, man, there just wasn't a lot there and like you said all of the sudden it's a 9‑yard gain, you're at second and one.  That's pretty special quality and there's a lot of kids as high school running backs, they're just bigger, faster, stronger than whoever they're going against so they're going to have 200 yards a game, but it's that special kid that can translate over when he's going against everyone else who is as big and strong and fast when he can find a way to turn those 4‑yard gains into 10 or 10‑yard gains into 20.  That's when you know you got something special.

Q.  Matt, what makes their defense so tough, especially the last couple of weeks?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  They don't may a lot of mistakes, I was a GA in '95, '96 when Pat Fitzgerald was a linebacker there.  He's probably one of the smartest defensive players I've ever been around even though I was GA on the other side of the ball and you see that carry over.  They don't beat themselves.  They don't have a lot of penalties.  You don't often go, we can exploit them there, their kids get in the right spots and I give him and Mike Hankwitz a ton of credit, they just stayed with the plan, the kids are starting to feel it and cut it loose in play.  That's dangerous, because when you get that and they're doing what they're supposed to, they can really get after it and that's where I think they're at right now.

Q.  The bye came at a good time for Mitch to get him extra rest and keep working his way back to healthy?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  I think it came at a good time for a lot of our guys and we could see on Sunday when they got back into it, there was zip in the steps of the guys, that benefited, not just him but particularly the guys that were beat up, him, Zac, some of the guys that had the bumps and bruises, Maxx was coming back off the calf strain, he's now 100% so we feel like it came at the right time and it benefited us, as a group those kids are feeling as good physically right now as you can right now, five games in.

Q.  Jerry mentioned that Isaac was a guy to keep an eye on the way he was seeing him in practice and the way he had two catches and just missed that one, the DB got a hand up, but how close do you think he is to one of those break outs?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  You know what?  He's a guy that's great because he's an under the radar guy and he just comes to work every day.  He puts his time in, doesn't say anything and come game day he always seems to find a way.  Maybe not catching the football, but having a positive impact on the offense.  I think it's just a matter of time where those pieces fall into place where he's that guy that has six, seven, eight‑catch game because of how a defense is playing or where he's putting himself or where we're putting him more specifically in some situations to be successful.
So I think it's not a matter of "if" but "when" at this point.  There is a lot he does for us that doesn't show up on the stat sheet.  He's one of those kind of kids and we all really appreciate that as a coaching staff about him.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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