|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 13, 2009
COACH BREWSTER: Recapping the Perdue game, obviously we're very excited about the homecoming victory against a very good Perdue football team.
I don't have to try to pump up Perdue, but Perdue is a good football team, and have been in a bunch games against good football teams both at home and on the road. I couldn't have been more pleased with our football team, particularly our composure in the game against Perdue. I think that that's a recurring theme with a football team, is it's a very composed football team and it understands that it's a 60-minute football game.
I think when you have a team that understands to stay the course and not panic, don't flinch, through the course of 60 minutes, if you do enough good things, you've got an opportunity to win the football game at the end of the game.
Again, big plays were a huge part of it. Special teams continues to be just an excellent area for us in all phases. Our coverage units have been outstanding. To block a field goal for a touchdown obviously was huge in the game. We're continuing to get good work from Blake Haudan.
And, you know, Eric Ellestad has been nothing short of almost perfect all season long. His kickoffs have been excellent and his hang times are good. He's allowing us to get down the field and cover really well. I couldn't be more pleased with our special teams. John Butler, our special teams coordinator deserves a great deal of credit. Our players and how they bought into special teams being such an important part of the game for us has really been exciting.
Really pleased with the running game. We went into the Perdue game with a game plan knowing that the elements, the conditions, were not gonna be conducive to throwing the ball as much as we normally throw the football. So we went into the football game with a mindset that we want to establish the run, continue to improve in the running game. Again, I couldn't be more pleased with how we ran the football in the game against Perdue.
Took a hard-nosed physical approach to the running game. We didn't do a lot of different things. Our guys were just really physical up front. Obviously Kevin Whaley really did some really nice things as the runningback in the game. We continue to get good work out of Duane Bennett and DeLeon Eskridge. But the three of those guys really did some great things in the came against Perdue.
But most importantly, we did a great job up front with our offensive line in the running game. Defensively, again, I was really excited about how opportunistic we were. The plays by Lee Campbell, interception at the end of the game by Traye Simmons, our defense, again, the opportunistic part of it is a very big plus for us, as we know.
Forcing and creating turnovers, I thought we did a will nice job of slowing down a really good back in Ralph Bolden. Obviously he had a lot of yards against a lot of good defenses, and I thought our defense really did a nice job against the run, for the most part against their backs.
The awards for the game. The offensive player of the week is Kevin Whaley. Kevin rushed almost a ten-yard average, 9.9, eight carries, 79 yards, a touchdown. Really provided a great spark for us and just did an excellent job.
Our defensive player of the week I just talked about, Traye Simmons. Traye Simmons really did a nice job. He had an interception, had scoop and score off the field goal block, and did a nice job throughout the course of the game. Made some tackles and really played well for us. Excited for Traye to be the Defensive player of the week.
Our special forces player of the week is nothing short of amazing, particular league covering kicks. He's just a small in stature guy, but how he covers kicks, he's absolutely relentless. He had three tackles and an assist on kickoff coverage, three solo tackles and an assist, Ryan Collado. Just an outstanding job by him, with special mention to Troy Stoudermire as a special forces player of the week. Troy, as everybody knows, he plays great week in and week out. He did a great job as a gunner on our punt team. Return and kicks, he just does a lot of different things for us.
Or hard hat hit of the week, again, really exciting in the running game. We talked to our receivers about the explosive runs come as a result of down-the-field blocks by receivers. Da'Jon McKnight, on a push/crack, he pushes a corner off and cracked the safety. It was just an amazing hit. Great job going in there being really physical.
Our receivers have really bought into the concept that the explosive runs are gonna come as the result of their blocks, not necessarily the blocks of the guys up front.
Our lunch pail award goes to Derrick Onwuachi. He made an impact in the football game. Batted a couple balls. It's great to see him back to being probably as close to 100% as he can be. Really did some nice things in the game. Again, if anybody knows Derrick, he doesn't say a whole lot. He's a man of very few words, but he goes about his business in a very professional manner and does a great job. It was great to see him back.
Extra effort award was a tremendous play by a very exciting young man in our program, Keanon Cooper. Late in the game, it was a fourth down conversion on their part. Obviously they miss-spotted the ball, but giving us a chance to challenge the play and make them overrule the play, Keanon Cooper just made a heck of a play in that situation on this fourth down. I think everybody understands which play I'm talking about. Tremendous effort by him. He's got great speed. He's playing with a relentless attitude. It gave him an opportunity to make a special play in that situation, and that's exactly what it was.
The great teammate award, if I polled everybody in this room, you would know exactly who this guy is: Lee Campbell. He's the consummate teammate. He was just so inspirational in the game against Perdue. Very excited about him and his play. What it meant to him to go out and play well and give the game ball it Jeff Tow-Arnett, obviously he is what a great teammate is.
Our Scott offensive player of the week was R. J. Buckner. He does a great job. Again, he's a guy that's been in the program and just continues to sacrifice. It's not about him, it's about the football team. He does a great job week in and out.
Again, really excited about our scout defensive player of the week. A young guy that I think has got huge potential to be a great football player, and that's Ra'Shede Hageman. He's done an outstanding job, and his development as a defensive end is coming very quickly. I think that he's got a chance really to be a great player.
As we look forward to the Penn State game, obviously we've got a tremendous challenge. We're facing a great coach. We're facing a great team on the road in their house. Everybody understands what an environment it is when you go play at Penn State. Over 100,000 fans; they're loud; they're very knowledgeable; they understand the game in a bigtime way.
It presents a tremendous challenge for our football team. They've got outstanding players, they've got an excellent quarterback. They've got Roysters, a heck of a runningback. They've got great defensive personnel. You know, we understand the challenge that we face. It's one in which our football team is gonna be very excited to get on the plane an Friday and go into this environment and this situation with a tremendous sense of confidence because of how we prepared all week long.
Our football team is gonna continue to do the things that we do in preparation. The group that gets on the plane on Friday to go to Penn State is gonna be a group that expects to win. That's the mindset of our football team.
Again, like I said, I couldn't be more excited about the challenge that this game presents to us as a football team. It's gonna be is fun week.
Q. You want to coach as long as Paterno.
COACH BREWSTER: You know what, Charlie, I love football. I just -- you know, I don't know that my body is gonna hold up as well as Joe's has. He's an amazing guy. To be doing what he's doing, and I see Joe at meetings in May. I see him in the summer at media days. He's just an amazing guy, and will probably go down in history as the greatest college football coach of all-time.
He's extremely sharp, and coaching the heck out of that football team right now. Obviously to say that I've got a tremendous sense of admiration for Joe Paterno would be a massive understatement.
Q. Obviously the elements continue to be a factor as you move along through the season. Do you expect the game plan to change much this week as far as the running game?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, I don't know. We're gonna have to continue to be balanced. That's what we strive for, is balance. Last week obviously the game didn't call for balance as much. This week we'll see how the elements are gonna be. It's supposed to be cold and raining, so obviously the ability to run the football is gonna be very important.
So, again, like I said, what we strive to do is be able to do both well. If we have to throw it, we can with success. If we have to run it, we'll run it with success.
Q. As far as the passing game is concerned, with more throws probably would have had a better game against Perdue. As far as the line, I mean, it seemed to me like that might have been the biggest improvement to help the run game establish itself. Talk about the line play.
COACH BREWSTER: Our line play has been excellent. Obviously we -- I think, again, where you create an emphasis in coaching you create improvement. We've really emphasized our offensive line play, improving the running game, and we've seen improvement there.
Tim Davis is really doing a great job with that group. You know, again, what we want to be able to do is do what's necessary to win the football game. Creating balance is very important.
I think we'll certainly have to throw the ball a little bit more this week against Penn State. But we're also gonna have to continue to run the ball and have efficiency running the ball. So that's the greatest -- the most pleasing thing for me, you know, with our offensive line has been their development and our efficiency in running the football.
Running the football is a trait that all good teams have. It's one in which our guys are really starting to build I think a really tremendous sense of confidence in our ability to run the ball.
Q. Would you like to see Stoudermire involved a little bit more from the line of scrimmage?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, I just think that Troy is one of those guys that -- you know, he made a huge tackle on the punt team. Wherever you utilize Troy, good things are gonna happen. He's a big part of our team, big part of our offense. We look at different ways each week in which we can throw the ball to him, that we can hand the ball to him, that he can return kicks, cover kickoffs, cover punts. He's got his plate pretty full.
Q. Orseske on a time frame now? Can he come back after three weeks?
COACH BREWSTER: Danny can come back. You know, that's a decision that we're gonna have to make. Blake Haudan is doing really well. Danny getting 100% clearance from the doctors to go able to do out and play is something that we're still looking at.
But, again, I couldn't be more pleased with Blake Haudan. I don't see replacing Blake, because he's punting so well.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH BREWSTER: We could. That's what the game is about, Ed, is big plays and explosive plays. Obviously the throw and catch to Decker was huge. The blocked field goal was a huge play. Lee Campbell's interception really gave us some great momentum after falling behind early in in the football game.
Again, being opportunistic is a huge thing for us and taking advantage of opportunities. Again, you create opportunities for yourself. Lee Campbell created that blocked field goal. I mean, he was determined to go block that kick. And the pressure that he put on the guard in that situation, we apexed, identified what we felt like where we wanted to attack their protection, and Lee Campbell, I mean, just made a conscious decision to go block that field goal, and that's exactly what he did.
Again, our kids believe that they can make good things happen. There's a sense of confidence there that we're gonna make those types of plays. It's really exciting.
Q. Did Ra'Shede Hageman have a background as defensive end? I remember him as a tight end. And how much has he improved.
COACH BREWSTER: Ra'Shede has been great. Obviously he played some defense at Washburn. He's a tremendous athlete. As I've said from day one, for us to play great defense, we've got to recruit tremendous athletes and put them on the defensive side of the ball. We can't take our best athletes and put them on offense. We've got to recruit great athletes and put them on defense, and that's exactly what Ra'Shede is. He's a tremendous athlete who's upside is huge. Tim Cross is doing a great job coaching him and he's taken to it extremely well.
I just think that his future is extremely bright on the defensive of the ball. That's not to say we can't use him some on offensive as well. He may be a defensive end for us and be a red zone target, be a guy that blocks for us in short yardage goal line situations. He's a very gifted young player.
Q. Is it fair so say it's runningback by committee now?
COACH BREWSTER: No, I think that's fair to say. We've got three guys that are gonna continue to play in the same type of role. You'd like to have a guy that gets the hot hand, and in the third and fourth quarter he's more of your go-to guy. But I think all three of those guys merit opportunities to help us.
Again, like I said, really pleased to see Kevin and what he did for us. I think you'll continue to see him grow in this offensive. And, again, both Duane and DeLeon are gonna continue to be a good part of what we do as well.
Q. Do you have to do anything to soften that a little bit for those two so they don't get too maybe upset that they don't get enough playing time? So you have to massage that a little bit?
COACH BREWSTER: No, I think the thing that makes this team a good football team is that's it's about team. It's not about individuals. You know, it's about team success. I think our team has truly bought into the concept that if we win a football game, we won the football game. We're excited and happy about it. So I don't have to massage guys around here. Our guys understand that we win as a team. We'll go as far as we want to as a team.
The individual approach is not one in which this group has bought into.
Q. (Question regarding competition at this position making them better.)
COACH BREWSTER: I've said this from day one when we went to training camp: Our football team is a better football team because we've got more competition on this team. At every position we've got competition, and it's made our football team better. That competition has been ongoing. I mean, it's ongoing right now.
Those three backs certainly understand that if one is not doing the job, there are two other guys ready to go do the job. Again, that's how you create a good football team. That's why our football team is much improved, is because of the competition and the players that we've added to the program to create competition.
Q. Is it back to square one for McKinley after missing the last few games?
COACH BREWSTER: Not a little all. Not at all. I won't say he's back to square one. I don't know what that means, for the most part.
Q. He'll have to work his way back up the depth chart.
COACH BREWSTER: You know, we're gonna let him -- he's gonna practice this week. I anticipate him to play well Saturday. I really do.
Again, as you see, we've got great competition in our defensive front. We play a number of defensive players. You see a very strong rotation with our defensive line. But I really think that we'll see Cedric McKinley make a great contribution on Saturday against Penn State, and looking forward to it.
Q. You have a two game stretch, Ohio State and Penn State. Talk about that in terms of the season.
COACH BREWSTER: We've got one trip. The only trip we're concerned about is Penn State. That's the only game we're concerned about and only thing we're thinking about at this point. We've got a good football team, and we've won four games because of the a single-minded focus that we've got as a team.
Focusing on each individual game is certainly something that's helped us to this point. It will continue to do so.
Q. This is obviously a trophy game. Talk about the opportunity.
COACH BREWSTER: It's just exciting to play a really good team on the road. Again, I just can't say -- I love it. I love the challenge that going on the road and playing a really good football team presents to your team. You know, like I said, I think it says so much about your team, how you prepare and how you respond to that situation.
We're just, again, like I said, really excited about the opportunity to play a great team like Penn State, you know, on the road at their house. I mean, it's just very exciting.
Q. I think you mentioned a couple years ago you didn't have the opportunity to coach or play against Joe Paterno. This is your first opportunity. You got be pretty...
COACH BREWSTER: It's very exciting for me. It's very meaningful. You're going into truly one of the great football venues in America today in Penn State. You're gonna play in front of over 100,000 fans, against a living legend. That's pretty exciting.
Q. Is this game more of an opportunity for you with some kids you might be recruiting?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, every time we go out it's an opportunities for to us show the nation our program. We've been on national TV, I think, five out of the six games that we've played to this point. This game is a regionally televised ABC game.
Again, I think it's a great opportunity for our program to be seen, particularly playing against an opponent like Penn State.
Q. Do you have an update on Trey Davis or Nate Tripplett?
COACH BREWSTER: I think those guys are gonna be fine. No depth chart change. Should be ready to go play Saturday.
Q. Talk about the focus on the running game. Is that something that might continue? Looked like he was getting some good yards there.
COACH BREWSTER: Adam is a really good runner. He's a really good runner. Giving him opportunities to run the football is a positive thing. I thought that he did a nice job against Perdue running the ball. You know, great scramble for the touchdown. He's a good runner with the football. You know, I certainly think he'll probably have a few more opportunities as the season goes on.
Q. You said you might pass more this week. Why is that, just their defense?
COACH BREWSTER: We threw the ball ten times against Perdue. Obviously the emphasis -- so I would think that we'll throw the ball a little bit more than that against Penn State. And obviously looking for the same type of efficiency. You know, being successful throwing the ball.
Adam's had so many big games throwing the ball. It's really nice, like I said, to see the running game get the point to where it's at right now. He's gonna have big throwing games as this season goes on. We want to make sure what we continue doing is a nice job running the ball.
End of FastScripts