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October 6, 2009

Tim Brewster

COACH BREWSTER: A recap from Wisconsin. On Saturday, you know, as I looked at the game, it was a game from our perspective of missed opportunities. And I came out of the Northwestern game and I said that we're 1-0 in the Big Ten and it was a good win. But it's one game. And we need to move on and prepare for Wisconsin. And I've got the same mindset coming out of the Wisconsin game.
It was a game in which we had opportunities to win the football game. We didn't do the things that we had to do to win the football game. It's one football game, and we're 1-1 in the Big Ten and preparing for Purdue on Saturday.
So we've moved on, and all of our focus, all of our energy is on Purdue at this point. Again, as you look back, you know we had numerous opportunities in the first half to really put some space between us and Wisconsin, and we settled for field goals and we needed to score touchdowns.
Great opportunity to open the second half and really, again, extend the space that we had between them and we didn't get it done. Had some mistakes in the game that we need to correct and improve and move on. Excited about a lot of things I saw in the game from our perspective, our style of play and the way that our running game is continuing to improve.
Our special teams play is the best I've ever been around. We're an outstanding special forces unit I think across the board, and it's certainly going to help us win a football game as we move forward into the Big Ten schedule.
Again, in all phases I couldn't be more pleased with how our special teams is playing. And again they're giving us an opportunity from a field position standpoint to really do some good things. The other thing is just the effort of our players.
Our players believe that we're going to find a way to win football games and the way our kids never say die, the way our kids fight and scratch for 60 minutes and continue to improve, is certainly a great reflection on our team and on our players.
And from that perspective I couldn't be more proud of our football team, the way that they've decided to each and every game compete and fight. It just makes me feel very optimistic about our team and our chances going into each and every game. As you look at it, guys, from a depth chart standpoint this week, the only change that we've got on our depth chart is Trey Davis stepping in for Jeff Tow-Arnett at center. Jeff had surgery this morning. He'll be out for the rest of the year, and it's really an unfortunate blow for Jeff because everybody knows what an outstanding young guy he is.
He's a young guy who came in as a walk-on and competed and earned a scholarship and it's tough for him and it's tough for our team, because he's an outstanding leader.
But it's a great opportunity for Trey Davis, and that's how we look at injuries here. It's the next man up, and it's an opportunity. One man's misfortune is another man's opportunity. And it's a great opportunity for Trey Davis to step in and play and really do some good things.
But from a depth chart standpoint, that's the only change as you guys can see. As you look at Purdue, you know Purdue's a very good football team. People you know the record's this and I've heard Purdue's played a tough schedule. They go out to Oregon and they play Oregon lights out. They play Notre Dame to the absolute wire. And they play Northwestern Saturday. They've got three shots from the five-yard line to win the football game.
And so certainly Purdue is a very competitive football team. They've had some tough losses, but they've got some excellent personnel. I think that their skilled players are excellent. I think Joey Elliott, their quarterback, does some good things with both his arm and his feet. Mike Neal is one of the best defensive tackles in the Big Ten, and so I think they've got good personnel.
It's an interesting situation where Gary Nord is running the offense for Purdue. We've faced him for the past two years as the offensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic. We're familiar with his style of play and the things he's going to try to accomplish offensively.
And there's some different things there defensively. New defensive coordinator there that we're not as familiar with, but we've had a good opportunity to study him on tape and they've got, again, like I said some very good athletes on their team and that's to me that's a much better football team than certainly their record indicates, particularly with the competition that they've faced early on in their schedule.

Q. Eskridge played well the other day. Was that will we see more of him, or looked like he runs really hard?
COACH BREWSTER: He does run really hard. He's a very determined runner. He gave us some hard physical runs. I was pleased with the progress of our running game. We're making strides there and he was a big part of it the other day.
Duane Bennett had a fumble in the game. Didn't get back in the game as much. But he's going to help our football team as will Kevin Whaley. We've got to continue to get situations where Kevin can get involved in the game. He really gives us again, like I said, a different kind of speed back. But he's also a very physical guy.
Eskridge is a guy he's a complete back. He does a nice job in protection. He does a nice job running with the football. Again a hard-nosed back, which I like.

Q. (Off microphone)?
COACH BREWSTER: He played for us last year. Got some experience. He's got strength. Explosive guy. He was a national champion shot putter, track athlete. He's a smart guy. He'll do a good job of making decisions at the center spot and help our offense. I feel very comfortable with Trey Davis stepping in and taking over the center job for us.

Q. (Off microphone)?
COACH BREWSTER: I think from the efficiency standpoint, consistency standpoint and that's because that we really work at it. We spend a great deal of time on the running game in meetings on field and in practice. We probably have spent more time on the running game this fall camp and this year in the early season. And it's certainly paying off. The offensive linemen are doing a nice job in the running game blocking.
Adam's really doing a nice job at getting us at the right play, audiblizing at the line of scrimmage. Specific fronts and looks, and we want to run certain runs again certain looks and Adam is doing a good job getting us in the right play.

Q. Talk about the center two backs. Looks like you guys went through this year, Purdue, they go to a fierce threat. In this conference it depends on going back to more whiteouts?
COACH BREWSTER: I think everything runs in cycles and people get infatuated with certain things at different times in your lives.
Again, it goes back to the basic premise of this, you're not going to win football games unless you consistently run the football, unless on defense you can consistently stop the run. And so from that basic premise I think offensive football is it evolves back to that.
You've got to be able to run the football with consistency. With physicality. And so I think that's basically the mindset of probably of most coaches.

Q. Would they have been able to throw the ball effectively this year [indiscernible]?
COACH BREWSTER: On us, it's again probably the emphasis. Anything you emphasize, I find in the game of football you get better. You improve. Wherever your emphasis lies. It's hard to emphasize everything that you need to, but there are certain areas that have got to be more important than others in running the football, it's got to be an emphasis if you're go be good at it.

Q. (Off microphone)?
COACH BREWSTER: Gary is doing a good job, obviously. They're balanced. Trying to be balanced. Similar thoughts and ideas for what we're doing offensively, and again it goes back to players. Purdue's got good skilled athletes. They've got good wide receivers.
Again, to me quarterback play is very important quarterback doing a nice job with the passing game is essential. And Joey Elliott is doing a good job. He's doing a nice job.

Q. (Off microphone)?
COACH BREWSTER: He's a good back. He doesn't have great size. But he's a tough, physical guy, runs hard. They get him on the perimeter with the toss quite a bit. That's one of their signature runs. And so, yeah, he's a good football player. He's going to present some challenges to us defensively with his speed and Gary's ability to create situations where he's going to touch the ball. Not only in the running game, but in the passing game as a pass receiver.

Q. How is he similar or different to --
COACH BREWSTER: He's not as big, certainly. You're talking about Clay, he's 260 pounds or more. Jahvid Best is a 200-pound guy, maybe a 205-pound guy. They talked a lot about Jahvid Best's speed. Jahvid Best is a physical back as well. And Bolden is certainly not the size of those two other guys but he also presents the same types of challenges because he's got great speed. He's got great ability to cut. He makes great cuts. And they're doing a nice job up front. They're doing a nice job blocking for them.

Q. How do you evaluate how your offensive line is protecting Adam thus far, and any effect that Justin's absence might have on that?
COACH BREWSTER: I'd like to think Davis will step in, business as usual. We've done a good job protecting Adam. There's a lot of situations where he's got an inordinate amount of time in the pocket, and there's other instances where we haven't done a great job of protecting him, particularly at the end of the game last week in the two-minute situation, we didn't do as good a job of protecting him as we need to. But in those situations you are really -- you're in a challenge.
You saw what we did to Northwestern in that situation. And so what we've got to do in that situation is rise up and accept the challenge and really do a great job with our sets up front and just being very disciplined in that particular situation. But I think from an overall standpoint our pass efficiency and protection has been pretty solid.

Q. (Question off microphone)?
COACH BREWSTER: Our team takes my lead. I'm not a guy that dwells much on what happened yesterday. I'm a big believer in today and tomorrow and the next day and that type of thing, and we understand that we missed a great opportunity to win a football game on Saturday against a quality opponent, a rival opponent. We didn't get the job done. We learned from the mistakes that we made. We move on.
Again, like I said after Northwestern, it's one football game. And this week we've got a great challenge in our homecoming opponent in Purdue.
So we've got -- mindset is critical. Positivity is absolutely critical. And showing our players areas in which we need to improve but also showing our players areas in which we've been excellent and we've done a nice job, and build upon the positive things that we're doing. That's what's going to allow us to move forward in a very positive manner.

Q. When you look across the country there's been football games where excessive celebration penalties cost teams in big situations. When you look at how that is called or kind of the mandate to limit those kinds of things, what are your thoughts on that, of just letting the guys have fun but --
COACH BREWSTER: It's really hard. It's really hard because nobody knows the pressure that's on players, the emotion that you've got to play with. I don't know how many you guys in this room were football players or football players at this level or that type of thing, but it's really hard to try to, you make an explosive play. You make a great play.
To me, I think that the most important thing is that you celebrate as a team and not an individual. I think that's the key. If you're celebrating with your teammates, and not getting crazy with what you're trying to do, that type of thing, I think that's acceptable. When a player is celebrating a particular play and he's trying to draw attention to his self and try to do it as an individual, I'm not for it. I don't like it.
And so I think those types of plays should be penalized. If there's a player trying to say, hey, it's about me, the game isn't about you, it's about us and it's about your teammates.
And so team celebrations, I think, are something that should certainly be acceptable and individual celebrations are something that I don't think is a good part of the game.

Q. (Off microphone)?
COACH BREWSTER: Absolutely. Absolutely. And we haven't had certainly any problems with that.

Q. (Question about Gopher linebackers)?
COACH BREWSTER: I'm pleased with it. Because I think really our linebackers are playing really well and our defense is set up for our linebackers to make plays. And so I think we're really -- we've got excellent play from our defensive tackles in the game against Wisconsin.
We didn't do as good a job on the edge of our defense as we needed to do, particularly with the support and that type of thing. But, again, I think that we're getting excellent play with our inside guys and our outside guys are growing, getting better, and our linebackers are really, obviously, playing at a very high level.

Q. (Off microphone)?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, the whole chopblock deal is that it's a totally legal play if, say, the center has a man on him and the guard is, if the center is escaping the player on him. If he's trying to work to the second level, if he is not fully engaged with the defender on him, then it's totally legal for the guard to chop. Totally legal for the guard to chop.
And so what it becomes is it becomes an extremely judgmental call, as to is the center trying to escape, is he trying to leave the man on him and get past him. And there can be connection, but if his head is up the field past the defender it's totally legal to chop the defender. It was a tough call for us in the game against Wisconsin, and again they're judgment calls.
And we've just got to understand in that situation we don't want to leave the judgment to the umpire. We want to leave it to us. And so us chopping in that situation may not be the prudent thing to do.

Q. It's a difficult thing to coach.
COACH BREWSTER: You know what, it becomes what is your scheme. And we're a zone blocking team here, so that's going to be a part of our deal. Chopping and cutting on the backside of runs is part of what we do. It's part of what Wisconsin does.
It's part of what 90 percent of the teams in the country do. And so, like I said, it's a judgment thing, and I think that we've really got to get on the same page with officiating crews across the country and make sure that we're teaching exactly what they think is acceptable, because from my judgment, if the center is going to the next level, which is what we teach, then it's certainly allowable for the guard to cut, for the guard to chop.

Q. (Off microphone)?
COACH BREWSTER: I think our guys are doing a nice job, I really do. I think obviously we're getting this fine a receiver play as you can from Eric Decker. I think he's the best in the country, bar none. And I think that we're getting good things out of Troy Stoudermier and Brandon Green. Nice to see carpenter take a screen pass and go get a critical first down for us, so the distribution, I think, is coming along nicely.
And we're a talented group. It's great to see Da'Jon McKnight convert a two-point play in a critical situation where everybody thought we were going to Decker and we go to McKnight. And so I'm really pleased with how we're, other guys are stepping up and playing well and I think it really bodes well for the future.

Q. (Off microphone)?
COACH BREWSTER: Everybody wants the ball. I guess a wide receiver in the National Football League, everybody wants the ball if you think you're pretty good and we've got some receivers that are pretty good. They all want the ball. They all want the ball more and it's a nice thing for myself and Jedd Fisch to think about Eric Decker, you're a decoy on this play, you're a decoy. And he was a decoy a bunch on Saturday and caught eight balls for 140 yards. Thank you.

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