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November 5, 2011

Luke Fickell


COACH FICKELL: I think obviously the most important thing is we came out with a win. We regrouped there in the second half. Going into the week, even before Saturday I thought the key was for us to come out with some poise after a big game, some energy. And I'm not sure that obviously that showed to start with.
Maybe our youth showed up a little bit in that, and you try and stay after them as much as you can, but we needed to come out with a little bit more energy, have some poise because you know on that offense they're going to make some plays and continue to battle.
I knew going into it they were going to run probably 80, 85, 90 snaps. We thought, hey, if they're going to run that many snaps, we probably need at least four turnovers. Because that's the one thing you keep staring, looking at there, man, we've got to get a turnover, we've got to make something happen defensively.
It wasn't until the very end of the game, the second to last drive, that you finally come up with that turnover. So that's something that we've got to do a better job, obviously gotta give them credit.
I think we did a heck of a job holding onto that football. And when the quarterback is running it that many times, there's a chance that ball is going to pop out. And the last thing I think we need to play physical. That's the one thing we can ultimately look back at and say, especially in the second half, we controlled the line of scrimmage.
Not just that it shows maybe defensively, but offensively we did an unbelievable job, controlled the line of scrimmage, having three 100-yard rushers. Hasn't been done since maybe '89. But we're excited. We learned a lot from it. I think our guys will continue to grow.
And we'll open up for questions.

Q. You mentioned there the three 100-yard rushers, over 300 yards obviously for the team. Obviously some anxious moments in this one. But you gotta be happy with the way you guys were able to pound the ball and get some really big runs in this one?
COACH FICKELL: That's why it's a team sport. Sometimes the defense, you get on the headset, scrambling because just a little bit because we can't make that play. Get to third down, hey, offense, we need some momentum. We need you guys to do what you do and get after them up front and control that clock a little bit and give us some time.
So I gotta give it to them. They did one heck of a job.

Q. Are you upset that a 1-8, 1-9 team could hang in there with you that long, or do you applaud your defense for holding them I think three points below their scoring average? What do you make of that effort today?
COACH FICKELL: We expect a lot from our guys. And we'll evaluate every single thing. It doesn't matter what their record is; you gotta give them a lot of credit. They're playing a lot of young guys, probably similar as we are. And they're battling.
If you watch them, that's one thing you'll see as you really study their films. They're going to battle and do those kinds of things. But we're not going to look at -- we try to eliminate that opponent and what their record is and what they're doing. We've got enough to worry about and focus on ourselves. And we're going to be grateful for it like we always are for every win. But we're going to get back to working, figuring out ways we can get better.

Q. What's the word on J.B. Shugarts, and Boom got a little banged up there, he's all right, I guess, because he came back?
COACH FICKELL: I don't know. I'm not the doctor. They haven't told us anything here. Boom obviously went back in the game. And J.B. was walking around. So hopefully he'll be fine.

Q. What was the biggest problem with getting a grip on their offense? Roberson seemed to be doing a pretty good job wheeling and dealing. But as you talked to your guys, what was the biggest problem?
COACH FICKELL: If you really look at it, they do a very good job offensively. They're going to move the football a lot, and I think we knew that. And we can't panic. We've got to have some poise.
And to me it comes down to making a few plays. And turnovers is a big part of that. The quarterback is going to run the football that many times, man, you gotta do a good job at causing some turnovers.
And then the other thing that comes out and stands out, when you look at the stats, is a team that runs the quarterback that many times, hopefully can't be 10 for 17 on third down. And give them a lot of credit that they did a heck of a job at throwing the ball in there and making some plays that way. But we gotta do a better job on third down.

Q. The one touchdown you guys gave up, the receiver kind of had a free run at it and wasn't too difficult for him. Do you feel like the defense is continuing to make some of the same type of mistakes with some of the coverage issues on plays like that?
COACH FICKELL: I'm going to put that one on myself. That's just -- they get in an unbalanced set. It's not a real good third down and third down and long call that obviously we've got guys that need to be out there and be on them.
But bad call, bad time for us, and kind of turned the guy loose. But we gotta put ourselves into a better situation, put the guys in a better situation.

Q. You talked all week about not having a letdown, promising there wouldn't be a letdown, obviously there was. Is it just the young team or the fact that it's Indiana and they may look at the record and see they're 1 and 8; how do you avoid it?
COACH FICKELL: I'm not sure I agree with you that there's a complete letdown. Our guys fought. They battled hard. Maybe it wasn't quite the energy, but they prepared. They did everything we asked them to do. That's a good football team. I know their record doesn't show it but they're getting better. And they create some mismatches and some things for you.
I don't want to take any credit away from them. We obviously know we've got to get better with the type of football team, I'm not going to make excuses for us being young. We gotta play better. We gotta play with more passion and energy when it starts off.

Q. Can you talk about the impact Carlos Hyde made on the rushing game today?
COACH FICKELL: I think it's a great example. We keep harping on our guys all the time, you just never know when your opportunities are going to arise.
There's a guy that kind of had a really a hundred-yard rushing game against Nebraska and hadn't seen the field a whole lot since then. He's kept his head up, continued to fight, battle, tried to find some other ways he could contribute, when Boom and Jordan were getting the majority of the carries.
And just kept in his ears, saying, hey, your opportunity is going to come; you have to make sure you take the best of it. And give him credit for what he's done the last few weeks until his opportunity arose.

Q. Did they do anything on defense that surprised the offense a little bit, six sacks on Braxton; how much of that was maybe missing J.B. or whatever, but they were able to get pressure on him?
COACH FICKELL: I think you're going to look at them and they're going to be a team that's going to take a lot of chances. They're going to bring all-out pressures. And they did.
At times we didn't -- there's some guys you can't pick up when a guy comes off the edge. I give him some credit. I'm not sure that's always the -- that's a scariest thing at times when you bring all out pressure on a guy, he makes one guy miss, as you see on a draw play, can go 80 some yards.
We've got to do a better job getting the ball out. I think we showed some of our youth maybe in getting some checks and whether the receivers, whoever that is. But we'll continue to get better at that. But give them some credit, they came after us.

Q. I was going to ask for comments about Braxton. Longest run by a quarterback in Ohio State history, the 81 yards. Was that better than the third and goal from the 20 where he made guys miss all over the place on both of them?
COACH FICKELL: You know, I mean, obviously he's a heck of a football player and can run the football very well. He's getting better at everything. But you gotta look -- it was blocked pretty well, too. He might make one guy miss or outrun some other guy, but we did a heck of a job blocking down field. Whiteouts on that long 81-yard run did a heck of a job staying in front of guys, not getting a holding call on the long run.
If the guy comes off and makes a great play, a 60, 75-yard run as opposed to doing something out of character; yes, he did heck of a job. I think the guys around him did a heck of a job and did an opportunity to show what he could do.

Q. You mentioned that they're 10 of 17 on third down for them. Was there anything you thought in what you guys were doing defensively and the kind of defenses you were running on third down, or were the guys not being aggressive enough? Was there a trend there that allowed their success on third down?
COACH FICKELL: Sometimes it comes down to you spend a lot of time on the running game and the things that you haven't seen them do a whole lot of, and you gotta give them credit. The last one they threw in there, there was three guys around the football. Tries to do it the next time, I think that's when we got the interception.
But they give you some problems just like we said with Braxton. He goes 81 yards because you're playing man coverage with guys with their backs to them.
So we didn't want to do that and turn our backs to them. So sometimes if you can find that guy and you can't get to him, there's going to be some people that are open and we've got to come down, make a couple of plays.
Q. What's the secret to the pistol? Why are teams being so effective now, a lot of teams are going to that, you guys use it a great deal now, of course they ran it a lot today, what is it about the pistol?
COACH FICKELL: I don't think they were real successful in their pistol. Their pistol wasn't quite as good as their shotgun. But it gives an opportunity, I think for us it gives our quarterback an opportunity to see down the field as opposed to coming from under center. There's a lot of -- teams use it for different reasons. But everybody has their own little niche for it. But for us, I think it does a good job at leaving our quarterback to see down the field a little more.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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