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October 7, 2008

Kirk Ferentz

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to week six of Purdue football. The 2-and-3 boilermakers will be heading to Columbus this weekend to take on No. 12 Ohio State. The game is at 3:30 on ABC and ESPN. Before we get started today, Coach Tiller would like to make a statement.
COACH TILLER: Well, I thought I might save a bunch of questions by saying Curtis Painter is the starting quarterback and will be. Joey Elliott may or may not play.
The kickers continue to compete during the course of the week, and knowing I'm from Ohio, there's no sentimental special feeling for me going to Ohio's stadium to play, even though it's my last time there.
Terrelle Pryor is a budding talent, and Beanie Wells is an outstanding physical running back.
Having said that, I'll open the floor to questions.

Q. You covered a lot there, but how do you coach confidence? With everything that happened last week and everything the team went through against Penn State, how do you coach confidence?
COACH TILLER: Well, I think confidence comes through preparation. You know, often times -- I've said myself, nothing succeeds like success, and what comes first -- you know, the more successful you are, the more confident you become. But you have to be confident to be successful, or you have to be successful to be confident.
The best way that I'm aware of and know of and have believed in for years and years and years and have talked with teams over the years, including this team, is that preparation breeds confidence. It's as though you're going into the classroom to take a test. If you're under-prepared, you're not real confident walking into that room. But if you're very well prepared, even though you don't know what is on the test and what lies ahead of you, you're pretty confident. So in my opinion, confidence is taught through preparedness.

Q. Where is the confidence of your team right now?
COACH TILLER: Well, we haven't practiced yet, so we're not real prepared yet today, but we will be by the time we get to Columbus.

Q. When you look at a guy like Pryor, how does what he does compare to Clark last week in terms of what you have to prepare for?
COACH TILLER: Well, they're very similar. I think Pryor is a little more physical player. You know, he covered a lot of ground in a short period of time because he's a long stride guy and he's big, 6'6". He was even bigger than Clark was. I think he's more of a challenge for us physically than Daryll Clark was, although I thought Clark was a very good quarterback.

Q. I wanted to get your thoughts on fans booing at games, particularly fans booing coaches and more specifically even players.
COACH TILLER: Well, we've talked about this in the past, and I don't think there's a place for it in college sports and amateur sports. Maybe there is in pro sports, but I suppose it spills over into the amateur sport.
But these guys are out there trying, and it's not like they intentionally make a mistake. If something happens, it's a mistake; it's an honest thing. And I think when someone is giving an honest effort that they don't deserve to be booed. That's my opinion. I don't think that you have good fans or loyal fans that do that.
I've felt that way all along. I think we've talked about this a couple years past or whatever, and my opinion hasn't changed. In amateur sports there's no place for it in my opinion.

Q. In all your years of coaching, do you just sort of block out the boos and don't really hear it, but with young people is it your experience it hurts them more? And if so, do you talk to them maybe after the fact or even before?
COACH TILLER: No, I remind them that when things are going well, everybody wants to pat you on the back and be your friend. They can't wait until the game is over so they can tell you how much of a friend of theirs that you are or you are of them, et cetera. And of course when things don't go well, unfortunately they're pretty quick to turn the other way on you.
It's a very fickle, I guess, audience that you deal with. Not all of them; there are some people that are extremely loyal. There are some classmates here at Purdue that bleed black and gold and they're with the Boilermakers no matter what happens.
But hey, in life, it's part of the growing process. I tell the team that. We talk about that every year before the season starts, about how to handle it. That's one of the reasons why I never close the locker room. There are coaches around the country, there are coaches in other sports, we've actually had coaches here at Purdue, but we've never closed the locker room after the game after a tough loss, because that's part of growing in my opinion and learning how to deal with adversity and still have the ability to bounce back and put out a great effort the next time out.

Q. When you're walking from the field to the IAF and the locker room and you hear from a few fans that have a few choice words to you and your coaches, is it hard to turn a deaf ear to some of that criticism?
COACH TILLER: Yeah, especially the profanity. I don't mind opinions, but the profanity I think is way out of line, because mostly around the locker room area, there are very, very young people, usually five-, six-, seven-, eight-, nine-, ten-year-olds that all want wrist bands, and those players are those kids', young people's heroes, and to hear some of the language at times I think is very offensive.
I think you just have to keep going. You know, what they really want you to do, of course, is to respond, and my experience has led me to believe that the best response is no response.
The profanity bothers me more than anything else.

Q. Last thing I have. What would you say to fans that say they have a right to boo since they pay good money for tickets and these kids are on scholarships that are now worth six figures?
COACH TILLER: They're wrong. They are believers of stinking thinking. They're wrong. They're simply wrong. They don't have to go to the game. They don't have to buy a ticket. I mean, if their life evolves around their ability to rip a young person, then there's something intimately wrong with that person. There's something wrong with their own self-esteem.

Q. I know you've been asked this a zillion times about the impact that you have with the spread offense. Was there ever a doubt in your mind that it would work?
COACH TILLER: No, and the reason I say that is because, of course, we came to Purdue from the University of Wyoming, and at the University of Wyoming, it's a unique place; it's very small. You know, by population it's the smallest state in the United States, least populated state in the United States. So the reason I bring that up is because your recruiting base is very, very skinny at Wyoming.
Every year we were there we would take at least one Wyoming player. Some years maybe it wasn't justified, and often times it might only be one. But we always wanted to have a Wyoming player or two or three in our recruiting class, but you could never get any deeper than that. So that made it difficult.
Also, the weather there compared to Midwest weather is much more difficult than the weather here in the Midwest, and we were able to run the offense there.
So I think when you are at a place where there's not a built-in recruiting base so you have to leave your area, you have to leave your region to recruit the talent to run the system, you know that that's a challenge like it would be here. Not to the same degree, but somewhat, and then when you deal with the weather elements, you know they were more difficult there than they are here.
So in our opinion when we showed up at Purdue, we didn't have any doubt in our minds that the system would be successful.

Q. When you look back at your career here, are you more or less satisfied with what you've been able to do, and do you feel any sense of vindication that obviously the spread does work here?
COACH TILLER: A little bit, but you know, that's not the motive for taking the field. We'd like to win every -- I don't know how many games we've been here for, but we'd like to be 306 and hot or some such thing. But I think that I look back on it, and I think we've lost some games that we could have won, and we've won some games that we could have lost. I think that always leaves you with the feeling that you want more. You'd like to get a little more done.
But when it's all said and done, things have not been that badly here.

Q. I wanted to ask you first about defenses and the way that they're lining up against you guys, particularly against Kory Sheets. Do you get the sense that opponents are focusing on stopping Kory Sheets first and then dealing with the passing game, or vice versa?
COACH TILLER: Well, I think teams -- to answer your question, I would say probably. And the reason I say probably is because whenever you begin to defend anyone, I don't care who the team is, whether it's Purdue or some other program or style of play, you always attempt to make them one-dimensional, or I've used the term often times, force them to play left-handed. I have a number of left-handed friends, so they always ask me, well, what does that mean. It doesn't really mean anything except I'm right-handed, so it means you'd be playing -- have to execute with your opposite hand.
So to answer your question, they probably are saying, well, if we can really absolutely eliminate the running game, they would become one-dimensional, then we could put another guy on the field.
We are seeing a lot more this year -- and I'm sure it's because of formations and the way football evolves and changes, we're seeing a lot more nickel, five defensive backs, and a lot more dime, a lot more six DBs, than we have at any time since we've been at Purdue, and that's part of the evolution.

Q. Scale it up 20 points to a team that averages 50. It's really the second time this season that your defense has kept you in the game against a ranked opponent, and unfortunately got maybe a little bit of help from the offense. Is the defense something that you're generally pleased with at this point? Seems like Notre Dame is the only game that could be considered somewhat of a disappointment. Your thoughts on that?
COACH TILLER: Yeah, I think we're playing hard on defense, and we're playing a little left-handed on defense with the linebacker situation the way it is. But I think we're improving as the weeks go by, and that's what we look for. We tell our team that certainly victory is what we're about. I made the comment last week that we don't want a team taking the field hoping to win, we want a win taking the field making a conscious effort to win. That hasn't changed with us.
But our defense is improving slowly. We need more consistency out of our offense. If you were to ask me which am I less pleased with at this time, the offense or the defense, I would say the offense.

Q. Ohio State obviously made a full-time quarterback change with Pryor. You guys made a change in the fourth quarter last week. How do you feel about changes and moves at that position, whether it be permanent or even for a series or two during a game?
COACH TILLER: I don't know if I heard everything because I think somebody else cut in there, but if you're asking me would we interchange quarterbacks, most likely not.

Q. Actually I was asking, do you feel that too much gets made of changes at that particular position?
COACH TILLER: Oh, if that happens? Yeah, probably so. You know, it's a position that's in the limelight all the time, and as a result, everyone -- and I understand naturally that everyone is interested in knowing what's happening there and dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah, but the reality of it is that I'm a guy that's always believed in having a designated starter, and you're better off if you can go that route. Most of the time you can, and occasionally you can't, and if you can't, then you have to demonstrate an ability to make an adjustment.

Q. Purdue hasn't been able to win in Columbus since 1988. Aside from the obvious, which is talent, why is Columbus such a difficult place to play?
COACH TILLER: It's in Ohio (laughter).

Q. Lastly, Dwight McLean has been able to make quite a few plays. I saw him make quite a few hits last week. Can you talk about how he's played this season?
COACH TILLER: Dwight McLean? Yeah, I think Dwight has lived up to our expectations in the sense that he's a junior college player, and again, you all have heard me stand up here and say a junior college player is always better that second year than he is that first year. I am making a comparison between he and Justin Scott, and Justin Scott was a junior college player that came in here and started both years for us as a safety. Justin actually was significantly better his second year than he was his first year.
I think Dwight is significantly better than Justin was Justin's first year in here. So we're pretty pleased with the way he's playing right now.

Q. I know whenever a week like this comes around, there's attention paid to your team's lack of success against ranked teams, and I wondered at this point if it's a situation where it's wearing on the psyches of your players or the coaches or both?
COACH TILLER: I don't think so, although we don't practice on Monday, so today is the first day we see them and see how they respond on the practice field.
Talking to players yesterday -- as a matter of fact, a couple of them came in to see me last night, and just visiting with them, they're saying the right things. They're saying they're looking forward to playing the game, et cetera, and I believe them. Certainly as coaches, you know, we don't think about that probably as much as the public does. For us it's the next game that's scheduled, and that's the most important game to us.

Q. I also wanted to ask you one other thing. As far as defending Ohio State's offense with Pryor and Wells, is it similar at all to last week against what you faced with Penn State? And just talk about how effective your defense was against Penn State's offense.
COACH TILLER: Well, we weren't effective over the field, but we were pretty good in the red zone against Penn State. And Royster is a heck of a back, a much-improved back. He doesn't quite have the physical presence that Wells has. But he's very similar.
And the same could be said about Clark. He doesn't have the physical presence of Pryor, but he has a little more experience. But both physical guys, both guys that are very good throwers.
Last week Daryll Clark made a throw along our sideline -- of course the receiver did a 360 to catch it before he went out of bounds and he drug a foot -- actually both of them, so it was a great catch. But the other side of the coin is he put the ball where only his guy could catch it. I was impressed with the way he throws as I am with the way Pryor throws. I think Pryor for as young as he is is about as advanced a quarterback as any young quarterback I've ever seen.

Q. I guess come Saturday, how much confidence are you going to have in Carson Wiggs?
COACH TILLER: We'll see when we get there. He has a strong leg. I like the way he made the 60-yard attempt here. He didn't over-stride. He was short on it, but the thing was between the pipes, and he kicked the ball extremely well, which for a young guy coming out of high school, to do that early in the season, I was pretty impressed with it.
I like the guy. I like the way he kicks off. He does what we ask him to do. He worked on that pooch. He wasn't good at the pooch start. He improved dramatically last week. He takes coaching extremely well.

Q. When you first offered him a scholarship, it was obviously right after Chris had his rough freshman year. Did you expect him to step right in and kind of replace Chris because Chris had been struggling so much?
COACH TILLER: Not necessarily, but we knew we needed more competition at the position. We've always liked Chris Summers. He struggled that freshman year, and I was asked, why don't you go with Casey Welch. But anyway, I said, because the ball jumps off his foot and the guy has a live leg and he's going to be a good kicker, and what he really needed was game competition, et cetera. And he improved, and I feel the same way about Carson Wiggs. I think he has an extremely strong leg. Well, he does. He has a stronger leg than Summers. What he needs to do is get in the competition and get some practice and some repetitions, et cetera, and he's going to be a very good kicker.

Q. Just a quick follow-up about your quarterback situation. Are you going to split up the reps any differently this week or anything like that?

Q. Significantly?
COACH TILLER: No. It's the truth. Yes, we're going to change the reps; no, we're not going to significantly change them.

Q. Is there anything different in Curtis this year that maybe he's not playing as well as he certainly would hope and maybe you hoped of him?
COACH TILLER: I don't know, maybe you could ask Curtis that. I haven't observed anything. I don't detect anything different. If anything he's trying harder, and maybe that's a problem. I don't know, but he's really trying -- he's studying the game more than he's ever studied it. I don't think you can put your finger on one thing and say, well, he's not doing this. He's doing what's being asked of him.

Q. I just wanted to ask you about a former quarterback, that being Drew Brees, and sort of what effect he had on your program back as a player and what effect maybe he continues to have on Purdue.
COACH TILLER: I go like that because I hope he's okay after last night. I saw that DB come off the corner untouched and thought, wow, it's a good thing that wasn't a defensive end, because he had no idea what was in store there.
But Drew is obviously an outstanding talent, a great talent as a matter of fact, and still to this day, he has an impact on Purdue football because a lot of times in the recruiting process when we contact someone, the recruit will bring up Drew Brees. So you know out there in the real world he's still having a positive impact on Purdue football.

Q. Does he maybe transcend just the sport a little bit, too, maybe being an ambassador not only for the football program but for the University?
COACH TILLER: Yeah, I was going to say, Purdue can't afford in the advertising world to buy what he's giving Purdue University.

Q. I just wanted to ask you about a defining moment that involved him. The Rose Bowl year, the Ohio State game, and I'd ask, just what do you recall about that scenario and how it unfolded?
COACH TILLER: I think two things about that -- three things, actually. First, the interception, and I can recall saying to myself, this guy deserves better than this. He's meant so much to our program to have this thing finish this way because we had the lead and they intercepted and took the lead, and actually it wasn't really his fault.
There are times when the ball gets intercepted, and although it goes into the quarterback record book, it's not the quarterback. He was being hit and was trying to get rid of the football, and it floated on him as a result of the hit. Anyway, so that was number one. I thought, oh, man, this guy deserves better than this.
Then number two, the throw would not have been possible if our offensive front had not provided protection for a minute and a half. That's an exaggeration. But that took a long time, because Morales, as I recall, was his fourth option on that play. Not many quarterbacks will ever find number two, let alone four. So that was most impressive.
And then, of course, the throw was right on the money, and Seth made the catch and it was history.

Q. Any injury updates? Expect any of those guys back?
COACH TILLER: No, I don't think so. I don't think we'll -- I can't even remember who was injured, but I don't see -- we didn't lose anybody last week, but I don't think we're getting anyone back. However we took the field last week is the way we'll take the field this week.

Q. After watching the tape, you used both Carlino and Nickcaro in the 4-3, and obviously they moved Anthony around a little bit. Was there one grouping that you liked?
COACH TILLER: I think Carlino probably played a little better than Golding, and that would be nice if Chris could play more for us.
Moving Anthony around is probably hindering him some. He's our best linebacker. He's really playing the best of any defensive player we have right now. I don't know where he is in tackles. If he's not leading us, he's probably second or something.
But anyway, it would be nice if we didn't have to move him around, but we're not in that situation right now. We need Jason Warner is what we really need, but we don't have him.

Q. Which spot do you like Anthony in, in the middle or on the outside?
COACH TILLER: We like him better on the outside.

Q. You continue to kind of switch up on the offensive line throughout the game. Do you want to get to a point where you're primarily playing five guys?
COACH TILLER: We would, but we've got three guys that have owees right now. It started with Hedstrom last week. He injured that knee a year ago and had surgery on it, and he reinjured it in the very first series, so then that preempted, or whatever that word is -- that put Reckman on the field. Then Pierce got a headache, and that put him on the field. We're putting Sester in, and there was a time when Garrett Miller with an ankle, and actually he was in a boot on Sunday. So we had three offensive linemen that got nicked in that game, so we had to move some guys around.
But if we had our druthers, we would probably start and play Sester the whole game at right tackle and probably play Jones at left tackle. Not that Garrett is playing poorly, but Jones is just a little more physical player. You know, we would play Pierce and Plue probably.
But last week we couldn't do it because it was like one guy went down, and then in the next quarter a different guy goes down, and then in the third quarter a third guy goes down. So kind of a carousel out there as far as the O-line is concerned.

Q. I think the one thing none of us have asked about Curtis is, is he healthy?

Q. In terms of him being a four-year starter, what are the traits or the qualities you want a four-year starter to have, and does he have those?
COACH TILLER: Well, I'd like him to deliver in the clutch. You can draw your own conclusions.

Q. Kind of a, I guess, glass half empty, half full type of question. You were asked about the booing and fans and all that kind of stuff. Obviously that would be the glass half empty and think the sky is falling now and all that. But what about the other side, when you look at this season? Probably nobody would have guessed that your team would have taken Oregon into double overtime. Everybody thought Central Michigan would be a tough game. It was; you won it. Maybe Notre Dame you let one get away based on the halftime score and all that. And then Penn State, judging by the score and other indications you played them competitively. From your perspective, you look at it half empty, half full. From a coach looking at this team, where is it in that scenario?
COACH TILLER: Well, I think we could have won two games that we haven't won, the Oregon game; and although it would have been tough to do, because Notre Dame is a much different team away from home than they are at home, you know, we could have played better there, particularly if we would have delivered in the red zone offensively. I think that would have had a dramatic impact on the way we played defensively.
On the other side of the coin, you know, you're right about Oregon. Oregon came in here with allegedly the best secondary in the world, and they still do. Those guys are still going to get drafted in the first or second round. And it took us knocking their quarterback out, really, to really take the thing where it went. We could have won it very easily.
Although I would have preferred to win it, certainly that's a tough one to swallow. And the Notre Dame game, I think if we would have played them here, it would have been a different game.
But otherwise we probably have played about to our ability level, and we probably did in those two games, also.

Q. It was mentioned about not winning at Ohio State since '88 or something like that. But since you've been here, when you look at your games against the so-called big three in the Big Ten, you've had, I'll say, better success than that -- that counts both losses or whatever, against Ohio State. Why is that?
COACH TILLER: I don't know, but you're right. I mean, we've played pretty well over there and lost in overtime, lost on a kick in the last series of one game. So we've been pretty competitive with them. I think our players just believe they can go over there and compete.
The one place that's a mystery to me is Michigan, not Columbus. Michigan, I'll still never, ever forget Drew Brees' senior year in Ann Arbor when we went out -- as long as I've been coaching, I've never witnessed this; pregame we had not one single dropped pass. Hulbert, for crying out loud, was down the line for us was making circus catches during pregame, and then when the game started we dropped our first eight passes. So I don't know, it must be -- maybe there's something in the water fountain in the locker room there or something. But otherwise we've competed pretty well wherever we've been.

Q. You said recruits when you contact them bring up Drew Brees. Are there any other guys that they always mention?
COACH TILLER: Well, it depends what position they play. If they're a defensive end they know about Shaun Phillips; they know that Anthony Spencer was a first-round pick guy. So it depends what position they play.
It seems like because of the profile at the quarterback position, it doesn't matter what position they play, they can play left out, and they still know about Drew Brees.

Q. And then my other question, what have you seen in Curtis that you've liked this year?
COACH TILLER: Well, I like the idea he's trying to be more of a leader. He's a pretty quiet guy, pretty reserved guy. And I think he's made a conscious effort to be more of a leader. You know, I'll be curious. I'm like you guys; I want to see how he snaps back from this. I think that will give us an indication of where he's headed in the future and where we're headed.

Q. Taking a look at your tight ends, obviously they haven't had much production. Can you talk about where you feel that the tight ends are in the offense this year?
COACH TILLER: Well, we haven't thrown the ball in their direction very much. And I think we haven't thrown the ball in their direction much early because Kyle Adams got all the work with the first team during training camp and then gets hurt in the opening kickoff of the opening game. He's the guy that spent all the time with the No. 1 quarterback. The other guys are out there, but you have a No. 1 tight end and No. 2; well, the No. 1 works with No. 1 and No. 2 works with the No. 2 quarterback. So I think that's impacted our performance.
You know, I think that those guys are journeymen type players, although I think that Colton McKey has a chance to be a really good player before he leaves Purdue. He made the catch on 4th down last week, didn't he? So anyway, he has potential.
You only have one football so you can only throw it to one guy at a time, so it's a matter of -- I think when Kyle disappeared on us, I think that hurt us at that position. I think we're now starting to get back into throwing it more to those other guys. Although I don't think we're going to go out there Saturday and throw six or eight balls to the tight end. We might throw two to four.

Q. Do you kind of change the outlook of the tight ends, kind of make them more work on the blocking and kind of help block for Kory?
COACH TILLER: Yeah, that's Wasikowski's forte; Jerry is a good blocker. He wore that guy from Oregon out, No. 13. He played his best game he's played since he's been at Purdue. And Colton is kind of a cross between the two.
I think one of the reasons that a lot of people were questioning the tight end play is because a year ago we had a receiving -- very receiving tight end who has been here for four years, and at the next level I find it interesting that he's removed from that tackle and has a role as a receiving tight end.
When you have a talent like that, then obviously you try to utilize the match-ups you get there. So that's why a year ago you saw the ball going more there than you do this year. We don't have the same match-ups. The match-ups are better with the other guys, with Keith Smith and Tardy and now Valentin.

Q. Going back to the linebackers, obviously you've been just waiting for Jason Warner to get back, but what is the timetable on it? Is it two to three weeks, more than that? What is your thought? I know you were talking on Saturday about him being in the weight room. Is that basically where he is right now, just working out?
COACH TILLER: If you find out anything different, let me know, will you?

Q. The lack of success against ranked teams was mentioned. Do you use that as something -- as a measuring stick for the program, or can you use it as a measuring stick?
COACH TILLER: What we look for is to try to improve as the season moves along, regardless of the opponent. It doesn't matter if it's a ranked team or an unranked team. What we want to do is get better. We don't measure ourselves against our opponent, we measure ourselves against ourselves.

Q. You talked about the preparation, and guys seemed confident going in at least, or you hope so. Being 0 and 16 in the last 16 games against ranked opponents, do you ever think about changing that preparation, that something is not working?
COACH TILLER: No. If the media didn't keep score like that, I wouldn't know what the record against the ranked opponent is. My thoughts are always what I just said. It's just get better this week than we were last week. As long as we're moving forward, we ain't going backwards.

Q. What do you remember from that game back in 2003 at Ohio State? Can you just talk about that a little bit?
COACH TILLER: I don't remember.

Q. Nothing?
COACH TILLER: I think it was a full house. Full house.

Q. The kick or the blocked field goal by Iwuchukwu, anything stick out?
COACH TILLER: Not really, because we didn't win the game. I think what I remember most, on a serious note, about that game, is I think that was about as disappointed as I've ever been with a loss. I was absolutely convinced we were going to win that game. I was almost convinced as much as a fan would be, and that's a powerful bunch of convincing. So I was disappointed with that loss.

Q. You talked about the inconsistencies on offense. What are some things you've seen from looking at the tape that need to get better?
COACH TILLER: We need to make throws and they need to be in an area where we can catch the football, not at the ankle level or behind or on a deep throw two yards over the top of his head. I think our accuracy perhaps is the thing that right now is hurting us the most.

Q. Is it a case where Painter takes the blame for the inconsistencies on offense? That's always the guy that people look at is the quarterback and say, well, he's the problem. Is he the major problem why he's being inconsistent?
COACH TILLER: Well, whether he likes it or not, that's what people are going to think. So it's really irrelevant.

Q. Do you look at it and see it that way?
COACH TILLER: I see what I just said. I just said, our inaccuracy is our biggest problem.

Q. Are you happy with what the offensive line --
COACH TILLER: Ain't no receivers throwing the ball, so go figure.
Am I happy with the offensive line? For what they've gone through, yes. We still are not -- Coach Hope and I talked about this in August; I said, the fact that we missed three of those guys for all of spring ball, you have to say to yourself, well, it's going to take us that amount of time to catch up to where we should have been, and he and I talked about this multiple times and said, hey, about a month into the season, we're going to be functioning pretty well as an offensive line.
And I would say that's true, except now we're getting dinged up there, and of course Sester still hasn't recovered from the surgery in the summer. So we're not back to where we thought we would be mostly from a health point of view.
But from a performance point of view, I don't know what we've done sack-wise. It's not an inordinate amount. So we've got to be playing pretty well considering the number of times we throw the ball.

Q. And then how about your receivers? What do you feel about them?
COACH TILLER: Yeah, I think they've performed pretty well. I think they've demonstrated that they are improving, and they're giving us what we thought. We thought Orton was our best receiver coming into the season, and he's probably leading our team in receptions, and I think that was probably Tardy's time to shine and time for him to step up, and I think he's done that. We felt that Valentin, the longer he was in the system, the better he would become, and I think he's done that. And Keith Smith we thought was a physical guy; it would be nice to have him not banged up and playing good. But he's made some catches and made some runs.
So I think we're about where we wanted to be. I said that before. We miss Kyle Adams. He's the best receiving of the tight end group, and we haven't had him since the opening kickoff of the opening game.

End of FastScripts

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