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November 18, 2014

Tracy Claeys

Q.  Ohio State, you held them 15 points under their average this year pointswise.  Three of their four touchdowns points came on third down.  It seemed as good as it was you were that close to say making it all‑time good.
COACH CLAEYS:  We had one miscommunication and two missed tackles in there that gave us some trouble and they're good enough to take advantage of those things.  So besides those three things, we played a pretty good ballgame.  I think if we wouldn't have had the miscommunication and tackled better, possibly we had a chance to hold 'em to be around 21 points would be my guess, that we could have held them to.

Q.  What does that say about your defense, you did hold them to 31, you almost held them to 21.
COACH CLAEYS:  I wish.  Close counted, but it doesn't.  It gave us a chance to win the fourth quarter, and we're gettin' better.  I think they're very good on offense.  I think they continue to get better, Ohio State does, the quarterback is a great player, and makes plays.  At the same time, we made a few mistakes there we were a little disappointed about.

Q.  Tracy, what has been the key to this defense and the amount of take‑aways, it seems you were able to come up with defensive plays here and there?
COACH CLAEYS:  I think the better athletes you have the more turnovers you cause, I believe that, so you get more athletic and if you have strength and speed when you hit people you knock the ball lose a little bit more so I think that athleticism leads to more turnovers, that's my opinion.

Q.  Anything different from Abdullah, obviously he doesn't seem as healthy as he was, but you can't take that into account for your game?
COACH CLAEYS:  One game it's hard to tell.  He had a game good against us a year ago, he's about as fast of a back as we'll play against, so we'll have to do a lot better job of keeping leverage on him than we did a year ago, because he has the speed to get it over with if we don't.

Q.  Do you ever try to put an emphasis on more blitzes to try to create a big play in the first quarter when you think a team might be questioning yourselves?  Does that change your philosophy?
COACH CLAEYS:  Not really.  Whatever we feel like we can do to start the ballgame, we will, and a lot of that has to do with, like I said, I talked last week, with how good their skill kids are, has to do with what we think we can get by with.  They're a little bit more tricky offensively, and I say that because this is‑‑ now we're going pack to a team that has 5 or 6 different personnel groups that they put in the game at different times, and then like Ohio State was pretty much one all the time, and changed it to another one, so it limits a little bit what you can do when you have to practice against five or six personnel groups.  And we had it before where we worked against the two or three we thought we would see the most and we didn't; we saw the other ones that we didn't work against.  So that's the big thing with Nebraska, with all their personal groups, which one are they going to do.

Q.  Do you think you could get more out of your defensive ends?
COACH CLAEYS:  Haven't had that feeling, I think they've played pretty well up front.  I tell kids all the time the production thing depends on how they decide to run it and how they decide to block it.  Don't have any control over that.  I think our defensive line has played well and kept us in the ballgame.

Q.  Campbell said some things after the game about obviously looking ahead and seeing Ohio State and (No microphone.) ‑‑ his confidence is high.  How do you reign in the attitude of the players?
COACH CLAEYS:  Because they got their tail end beat, that's why.  Pretty simple once you get to practice today, be real simple.  Maybe at one time that was acceptable around here but it's not.  So they better be ready to play or we'll lose again.  It's hard to win on the road.  It's hard to win on the road.  I like the confidence of the kids but you gotta play 'em one at a time.  Already been in trouble once trying to look ahead so hopefully they learned from that.

Q.  Do you think confidence has been the key for this defense all around?
COACH CLAEYS:  No matter what, offense, defense, you gotta have confidence to play well.  I have never known anybody who thought they were bad do good at anything.  So confidence, you gotta have confidence in order to play, especially when you're playing against good teams.  I think our kids are confident and expect to win but there is a difference in taking them one at a time and trying to look ahead and predict the future, what's going on.

Q.  Was Nebraska, Tracy, coming off that loss, you assume they will be an angry bunch and also it's Senior Day down there.  How do you match that emotion or exceed it?
COACH CLAEYS:  I think when you get good you bring your best all the time.  If you don't you're going to get beat.  It's already happened once to us so it's more about worrying about how you're prepared and ready to go and not so much them but I hope we get to the point to where every time we take the field we have the intensity and people have to match us and that's what we're trying to get to and hopeful the more you win the better you get.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH CLAEYS:  Yeah, again, you know, for the calls that were made and the deep balls that were thrown he happened to have the deep responsibilities here the last couple of times that they've tried to throw the ball, but he's taken advantage of the plays that people have thrown his way.

Q.  You look around the Big Ten, star running backs, obviously with Gordon about this week and Abdullah and Cobb, and what about Tevin Coleman.  You saw him last year, how good is he?
COACH CLAEYS:  Tevin did awfully good against us.  He's probably up there.  I don't know how much film I have seen.  In fact, I haven't seen any of them on offense this year, you know, as far as that goes.  But we were impressed with him a year ago with the spread field.  Some guys, when you get your yardage out of two backs where there's more people in the box and coming downhill, that's the kid at Wisconsin now is doing that and David Cobb, you know, the two downhill back runs are usually tougher than the one back spread out yards but I think Tevin is right in there with all of 'em.

Q.  How much better do you think Armstrong is since last year?
COACH CLAEYS:  I mean, everybody‑‑ they get a little bit better off‑‑ I think he's‑‑ I think as far as a player goes and skills and all that he's similar but as far as checking the plays and getting him in the right plays he's a lot better than what he was a year ago or letting him change the‑‑ and we really didn't‑‑ I don't know if he took a snap against us a year ago because Martinez came back and played against us.
This will be our first chance really to see him full speed but as the years having on he's gotten better and better in plays you can tell he's more comfortable in offense.

Q.  Tracy, would you rather get Nebraska off of the game at Nebraska or if that score had been the opposite?
COACH CLAEYS:  I don't know.  I hope we play the same no matter what.  I hope we'll play our best.  You don't know anymore in kids, you hope your get your best and you don't always, because they compare scores.  You take 'em one at a time.  I think there is something to be said about playing teams, when you play them, as far as when they're hot or cold or whatever, if they've won a few in a row or lost a few in a row, so I think there is something to be said for that, but at the same time you can't lose your intensity and you gotta come out and, you know, that's a football program that has a lot of pride in it, and I'm sure that they'll be ready to play this weekend.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, Coach.

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