home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 14, 2014

Tracy Claeys

THE MODERATOR:  Questions if Coach Claeys.

Q.  Purdue's offense, how much different are they with Appleby at quarterback?
COACH CLAEYS:  They've been more efficient in the throwing game.  Also he has scrambled for a couple really big plays and scored.  With him back, I think they're more dimensional run and pass‑wise.  Much more efficient since he's taken over at quarterback.

Q.  The last couple games their offense has come out of nowhere.  Why is that?
COACH CLAEYS:  It's all about making plays.  I think the quarterback has made some big plays for them.  They have two very skilled runningbacks that have been able to get in space.
But the biggest difference is they're not as predictable with this quarterback.  He extends a lot of plays with his legs.  He's a true running threat.  He throws the ball pretty good.

Q.  16‑play drives on Saturday, not being able to get off the field, frustrating?
COACH CLAEYS:  You know, here is the thing.  I was frustrated in the fact that we had‑‑ each drive we had a chance to get out of and finish some plays.  I think Cameron could have fell on the fumble.  We dropped a couple interceptions.  The roughing the passer, they're going to call that every time.  That's the way that went down.  I'm not complaining about the call.
Each drive we had a chance to get out of it.  Now, as a defensive coordinator in today's football, I never look at yardage.  There's so much free yardage in no‑huddle offenses.  They hurry up, get lined up before you're lined up.  Lined up before you snap the ball.  They get out and get seven, eight yards throwing the ball.  Let's get lined up on the next one.
So much free yardage.  It still all comes down to points.  As well as we've defended them, it's the least amount of points since we've been here.  They're a good offense.  To hold a good no‑huddle offense to 17 points is good.
But you go back and look at the film.  There's a chance to hold them under 10 if we make a few plays, complete a few plays on the field.  We did leave some plays that could have been made.

Q.  Where do you feel you stand third down‑wise?
COACH CLAEYS:  This is probably the math side of me coming out.  I think we're like 5% or 6% where we'd like to be.  I think we're around 38%.  You like to win two out of every three, which is right around 33%.  You want to be successful 33% of the time.  I think they're right at 38%.  We could play better on third downs.  No question the last game.  But we had an opportunity to, I think, and didn't.
I tell the kids all the time, Offenses practice, too.  The good thing about it is at one time here, 17 points, I probably could have run for mayor (smiling).  Now everybody is, You're frustrated.  Yeah, we left a few points on the field.  At the same time, I pay attention to two stats when the game is over, really three.  One is big plays, which we only allowed them one play over 20 yards on Saturday.  The other one is third downs, which we could have played a little better.  But the ultimate stat still on defensive football is how many points you give up.  17 points, that's our goal, hold everybody to 17 points or less.  That's extremely tough.  Realistically if we hold people to around 24, you have a chance to win the ballgame at the end of the game.
That's where we're at.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH CLAEYS:  For the teams we play and the way we're built, I think we have a chance to, like ‑‑ obviously in today's game, I don't like to rely on turnovers.  For one, you're a bad defense, you get turnovers.  I'm pleased with the turnovers.  We're playing pretty good defense, plus we're getting the turnovers.  Not like the turnovers are always bailing us out.
If we continue to play good defense and get the turnovers, I think we can be really good by the end of the year, for the teams we play against.  We're built for a lot of those teams.
The difficult ones, again, you play Ohio State, you play Wisconsin.  Even the Iowa game, Nebraska.  We haven't played very many teams that come downhill at us.  Been a lot of spread teams.
How well we play will be how well we play those teams.

Q.  Have you adjusted that 17‑point goal over the years?
COACH CLAEYS:  It's been 17 points.  Coach, we have a meeting, everybody is like, Oh, you know.  We tell our kids all the time, the goals that we have, like the 17, if you hold a team to 17 points or less, you do that all year, you're going to be close to the top 10 defense in the country, at least in the top 15.  If you hold them to 24, you're going to be somewhere around 25 to 30, which isn't bad.
But I still believe in the whole idea it's better to over demand than under demand.  You get better results.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH CLAEYS:  That's what's changed in all of football.  It used to be I'd assume they'd cram everybody in a telephone booth, let's run it downhill, make tackles in the box.  Hey, if they complete a play‑action pass over the top every now and then.  I used to hate going against no‑huddle, spread it, throw it all over.  Now you see the no‑huddle, spread it, throw it all over all the time.  We practice it all the time.  We don't huddle.
Now it's the two backs and they add a gap on you, with the fullback or linemen, you don't get a lot of work against that anymore.  That's why I think people are having trouble with Iowa this year.  Iowa is doing a good job on offense.  They're scoring some more points.  The teams that stick with that and are able to stay good at it are going to create problems for people.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH CLAEYS:  Yeah, but that's because of the spread and the way the game is going.  If we were playing more two back, two tight ends like Iowa, we would recruit a lot more linebackers and probably a little thicker kids than what we are.
With the way the game is going now, you have to be able to make plays in space.

Q.  Coach said you had high praise for Mitch when he was running the scout team.
COACH CLAEYS:  Yes.  He never lost his cool.  When you're the scout team quarterback your first year, you get pushed around a little bit.  When you run the huddle, D‑linemen come in and shove you.  I don't know how many times Mitch would take the ball, put it back in their face, get right after them.
Very competitive kid.  Loves the game of football.  Did a great job with the scout team, which isn't always the‑‑ could always move the ball.  The more he goes, the more comfortable he gets.  I just look forward to him getting better and better all the time.

Q.  Wisconsin and Northwestern game, seemed like the difference was tackling.  What makes you guys good tacklers?
COACH CLAEYS:  I think you can make a kid a better tackler.  We do some tackling drills, okay?  But this is my opinion, not everybody will agree with it:  If a kid's not a very good tackler in high school, he's not going to be a very good tackler in college.  Not that you can't make him a little better.  But recruiting a good athlete who can tackle is a lot funner than trying to teach somebody how to tackle.
That's basically been our belief.  The kid misses a lot of tackles on video in high school, that's why we just don't watch highlight tapes, we watch the whole game.  If you watch the highlight tape, that's all you're going to see is that kid making tackles.
If they don't tackle very well in high school, they're not going to tackle very well in college.  I think a lot of that has to do with good players.  Not that we don't do tackling drills, but not a lot.  Just get better athletes.

Q.  Coach said he was impressed with Purdue's offensive line.  How do you think their D‑line is going to hold up?
COACH CLAEYS:  It will be a little bit of a challenge because they are bigger.  They play with a chip on their shoulder, they really do.  They move people.  They get after you for four quarters.
It will be a good challenge for us up front.  I think they are better than the last two teams we played offensively in the Big Ten as far as their offensive line goes.  It will be a challenge for us up front to keep our pads down and not give up movement.  The backs are good.  You give the backs a very good crease, very much space, they do a great job.

Q.  Where have you seen the improvement from Jalen from last year to this year?
COACH CLAEYS:  One is his game preparation.  Could still get better.  What I like about Jalen, we'll go out and practice today.  You know, he'll cover who he's supposed to, he'll miss an assignment here or there.  Boy, as the game gets closer, he gets a lot more locked in, a lot more focused.
But he enjoys practice.  You could do a little bit better job on Tuesdays mentally getting ready to go.  By the time you get to Thursday, he's got it figured out.  He likes to play the game.  We get to Thursday, you won't have very many mistakes at all.  Saturday, he's a whole different kid when it comes to game day.

Q.  Did he start at safety with you guys?
COACH CLAEYS:  He's always been at corner for us.  Jalen's problem is that we had two or three of the things, the frustrating things, going back to earlier, there's three downs on there where we weren't used to being back to no‑huddle.  We thought we were playing Michigan again.  We made some big plays.  All of a sudden, you know, they're turning around trying to ramp the crowd up.  Northwestern is ready to snap the ball.  We screwed up once with communication things there because the noise of the crowd.  We lost that focus.  That's one thing.  You play a no‑huddle team, you got to be ready to go.  That caused a couple of our mistakes, having a little bit too much fun between the snaps, worrying about the crowd.
He was one of them.  He's enjoying the game, playing hard, having fun.  But no‑huddle team, you don't get to celebrate till you get to the sidelines.  He forgot that from the Michigan game.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297