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November 25, 2014

Matt Limegrover

Q.  When you prepared for them last year and they had all those seniors and just ‑‑ they were just kind of getting to know the system, but are you sort of impressed or surprised that there's a lot of new personnel and what they are able to do defensively this year?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Oh, absolutely.  You assumed there would be a drop off.  And obviously there hasn't been.  I think early in the season we weren't taking a close look at them, but you happened to see them when you're preparing for other teams and what have you, and you can see there were some growing pains, people getting used to things.  I know they were hit with a lot of injuries early in the season.  But they're back now, and I think they're feeling ‑‑ I think they've really come together well.
It's going to be a huge challenge for us, it really is.

Q.  Given the ups and downs, you mentioned (indiscernible) this season, do you feel that his resiliency all year has been one of his key attributes to where he is right now?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Absolutely.  The kid is unflappable.  He keeps moving forward.  He doesn't let a whole lot bother him.  Which is probably more than you can say for a lot of us.  He's got a great outlook on things.  He understands where he is.  And at times when he does press, I think he's starting to learn how to pull back a little bit and say, okay, got to take the foot off the gas a little bit here.  And I think that's been all part of that process, part of those ups and downs.  Hopefully as time goes on you level those things out at a high level.

Q.  (Inaudible.)  What do you think that drive does for a young guy?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Long‑term it helps.  But there are going to be some spikes and some bumps in the road because you have a kid ‑‑ the one thing about him is that he wants to go from point A to point Z.  And there are some stops along the way that you have to make in your development.  And sometimes he kind of goes right through those stop signs.  And I think that's what the biggest lesson is, that, hey, it will come in time.  But it's not going to happen yesterday.
So I think long‑term, because he has that drive, that that's going to benefit him.  But as you started out by saying, he's a young kid still.  So a lot of things that are happening to him are still relatively new.
He's getting an education early, so my thought is that benefits him in the long run.  And you want him to be even further along when we hit next August and our first opponent next year as we go along.

Q.  He seems to throw the ball real low and he rolls to his left.  What's the reason for that?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Genetics.  You know, I think it's one of those things where you're constantly working on all the throws he has to make.  And sometimes guys ‑‑ and you wouldn't think that from him, because he was more of a traditional drop back passer in high school.  It wasn't as though he was always on the move in high school or anything.
Sometimes kids can just do things a little bit better.  It's like a basketball player being able to hit the three from the top of the key.  And he can't do it down in the corners.  There's kind of something that you can't put ‑‑ can't put your finger on and say, oh, that's exactly why.  And when you know you have something in practice you really try and work on getting the other ones caught up to speed, the other types of throws and those type of things.

Q.  How do you think Rodrick and Donnell handled their extra load on Saturday?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  It's always great to see guys step in and contribute.  And especially the way those two guys did.  And Donnell's story is well documented as far as being ‑‑ he was our starter and he got hurt and David jumped in there.  And kind of the Wally Pipp thing.  David hasn't let it go.  And it wasn't as though David wasn't playing well and we just stayed with him.  It's hard to take that kid out of the game when he's rolling.
And so the fact that Donnell stayed with it, I'm sure coach talked about it.  He's such a positive force in special teams.  That's a hard thing for a kid to do.  We talked as a whole group a couple of years ago, had seen something and I think it was in the Sporting News that talked about ‑‑ it was a young man from Pitt who made the Arizona Cardinals roster, not as a position player, but specifically as a special teams player.
And we challenged those guys who aren't starters, go out and play special teams as though you're trying to make it in the NFL.  And Donnell is one of the those guys that's taken that to heart this year.  He's a guy that is a key part of our special teams, stays in it mentally, knows exactly what's going on.
So when he's able to get inserted into that ballgame and be able to be productive it puts a smile on all of our faces.  He's a lot like KJ May.  When he's feeling good and has that good mindset, that's infectious throughout not just the offensive but the entire time.
Rodrick is Rodrick.  He's going to get in there and something is going to happen.  It's usually something pretty good, but something is always going to happen with him.  So between the two of those guys we like that as a one‑two punch, for sure.

Q.  Last game on the schedule, the regular schedule, do you have stuff that you've kept under wraps, just for this?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  You know what, you go through the big ten, you can't afford to ‑‑ you can't afford to keep anything in your back pocket.  What you hope at this point and what your goal is at this point is what you do, that you're doing it well.  And that it becomes hard for someone to stop, even if they have an idea it's coming.  You know, we talked about it as an offensive staff.  We took a lot of ‑‑ we took a lot of positive out of the fact that I think Coach Pelini in his post game news conference said they had a good idea what was going on, they just didn't execute well.  We'd like to think we executed pretty well doing those things in that situation.
So we'll have a couple of wrinkles, but it isn't something that we say, week two, this is good, we're going to save it for Wisconsin.  You do that you may be 0‑7 heading into Wisconsin.  Each week is a challenge.  Each week you're trying to find things that are going to give you that edge while keeping that core of what you do and what you feel you do well.

Q.  Obviously you're the toughest evaluator of your line, but what you saw Saturday, is that what you imagined or envisioned for this line at this point in the season?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  I'm going to give you a little bit of something that a very wise old offensive line coach told me, you never have a good day as an offensive line coach.  Never do all five of those guys do everything right all the game.  So there's always room for improvement.
But the thing I love about it is is with that group we've talked all year, we have tenets of the program, of toughness, accountability and intelligence.  And we've adopted that as the O line.  Those are our key words this year.  It's team.  But also we talk about it all the time.  One thing we talk about at halftime, you guys have to have mental toughness to put everything in the rearview mirror and go out for 30 minutes and play.
And to their credit I think they did.  I don't know if it was our best 30 minutes of football all year, but it was probably the most inspired.  And you could see ‑‑ you know when the guys are feeling it and when they're getting out of the huddle, they're running on and off the field, they're hopping out there and they're bouncing right back.  And we had a lot of that going on.  And obviously that momentum kept building as an offense, as a team, as special teams.  And that was pretty neat to see.
But there's always a ton of work to do.  But you can't fault the guys fight and their heart and their desire to go out and make something good happen.

Q.  The one or two in total defense in the nation.  What makes them ‑‑ we know about the three four, but what is it about how they do it has been so tough for teams?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  You know what, there's a uniqueness to it.  There's ‑‑ it really is, it has a lot to do all of a sudden now you're having to reprogram all 11 kids on your offense because looks are different, reads are different, combinations, blocking combinations are different when a team place a three four.
And one thing about them is they don't just lineup in the three four and play it every snap.  They bounce around from the four man front to the three Monday front.  So you've really got to be on your toes.  And Coach Aranda, I think, does as good a job of anybody in the country of getting his kids ready to play week in and week out.  Because as you get into this part of the season, they've seen a lot from us, so there's always a lot to prepare for.
And you can see week after week that he has those kids on defense locked into what they're going to see.  And that's a testament to their defensive coaches, to be able to do that as we started out by talking about with a group of new kids, young kids, thrown right into the fire against LSU the very first game, to get them doing that, that's what you strive for as a coach.  I tip my hat to him because I think he's doing a good job getting that instilled.  They're a nightmare now.  We'll have our hands full.

Q.  What was Iowa able to do?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  You know what, you know the biggest thing with Iowa was that they got to a point where they started getting them off balance.  They threw it a little bit when you figured they'd run.  And then they'd turnaround and maybe run on a long yardage situation.  There was a balance thing that I think they did a nice job of getting multidimensional on them and doing some things that were a little unIowa‑like.  And anytime you do that to any defense it's going to catch you off guard a little bit.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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