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November 21, 2011

Jim Heacock

Q.テつ Jim, after the game you were kind of baffled about what had gone wrong upon watching tape, what's your assessment?
COACH HEACOCK:テつ Consistency.テつ It was interesting from the standpoint of a lot of plays were very, very good.テつ And a lot of plays were very, very bad.テつ And so that's the hard to explain, I think we had a lot of‑‑ we had some breakdowns, mental breakdowns.テつ But you know, it is what it is.テつ It's probably been pretty consistent throughout the year.テつ We've had some good quarters and some bad quarters and good halves and bad halves and just haven't been able to put together a complete game the way we like to.
We did, Michigan State I think defensively we played a pretty consistent game.テつ But I think our goal is to try and really play every down.テつ And we talk about one 11th and everybody's gotta do their job, and when one guy breaks down the whole thing kind of falls apart.
So I guess that would be my evaluation.テつ I think there were times when we dominated the line of scrimmage and times when we got dominated.テつ So here again you watch through it and it was wow that's really good.テつ And that's not so good.

Q.テつ Michigan's favored by like a touchdown but Ohio State's been favored big in this series, too.テつ Does this ever address, say, hey there's people who don't respect you, you've got to prove to people that there's a lot of people out there that don't think you're going to win this game?テつ Do you make a point of that?
COACH HEACOCK:テつ You know, I kind of‑‑ I think we kind of take Luke's‑‑ follow what he's kind of saying.テつ This is my, what, I guess this will be my 16th one‑‑ 17th.テつ I actually coached at Washington, we played them one time.テつ So actually 17 times.
And I think the thing about this game to me is records don't mean a whole lot.テつ Past doesn't mean a whole lot.テつ Where you're at, it's just who is going to perform from the time the kickoff to the end of the game who is going to perform on the field.テつ Not so much who talks about it, but who gets it done.
But I think it's a‑‑ I mean it's an unbelievable rivalry.テつ I've been fortunate to be a part of it and really looking forward to this year.

Q.テつ I asked you about Shazier after the game. テつHe was the Freshman of the Week I think in the Big Ten this week.テつ And when you went back and looked at it he was very productive, what were some of the things you saw in his performance that stood out.テつ I'm sure there were some freshman mistakes there, but on the whole what did you think about what he did?
COACH HEACOCK:テつ He's a talented football player.テつ Great explosion.テつ Gets from point A to point B as quick as‑‑ I doubt if there's any linebackers that we have that get there a whole lot quicker.テつ He has instincts that are phenomenal.テつ He makes plays.テつ He's active.テつ He's going to be an unbelievable linebacker at Ohio State.テつ There's no question about that.
Yeah, he made some mistakes and he's going to make some mistakes and he's a freshman and you kind of expect those things.テつ But at least he was going 100 miles an hour and he wasn't really worrying about the mistakes and that's what you want, you want him to go out and play fast, fearless; if you make a mistake you, make it, but go hard.テつ He's a very good football player.テつ He's really talented, talented linebacker.

Q.テつ Jim, with the things you've been talking about with this defense, once you lost Nathan Williams you've only had two senior starters this year and with Sweat out only one senior out there.テつ How much in the end is that part of what's going on with this defense, it's just not a lot of these old guys?
COACH HEACOCK:テつ I can't answer that.テつ You always would like to have‑‑ I'd love to have eight seniors out there like we did last year, nine. テつIt's always better to have some mature guys out there that know what they're doing, been through it and can do some adjusting on the field, and you can maybe be a little more complex with them.
But it is what it is.テつ And I think we've got great kids.テつ I really think they're outstanding young men.テつ I think they're going to be an unbelievable group, but we're having fun.テつ They practiced hard.テつ They prepare hard.テつ Attitude's unbelievably good.テつ They work extremely hard.テつ They watch film, prepare, do all those things that you want them do.
So from that standpoint it's a very fun year for me because I know how much it means to them.

Q.テつ The things we were talking about with Ryan Shazier, especially against a guy like Denard Robinson, could he play a big role in trying to keep an eye on a quarterback like that?
COACH HEACOCK:テつ You know, he's got‑‑ he's got the ability to get to him.テつ And he's got the ability to make a play in space against him, which some players don't.テつ There's just some guys just don't move well enough that they can get that done.テつ So I think‑‑ I don't think there's any question it's nice to have a guy of his caliber and his speed and acceleration and explosiveness in the game, that he can get to the ball and gives you a chance.テつ And if you know Denard's going to run and you feel like he's got a chance to at least get in his face and slow him down.

Q.テつ You obviously have to be so careful with head injuries, I think that's ben a move across football regardless of the level.テつ Andrew Sweat, does he have any history of concussions or was this his first one, to your knowledge?
COACH HEACOCK:テつ To my knowledge, I haven't heard of any other ones.テつ I think it's his first one.テつ But you're right, we're very cautious.テつ Everybody is very cautious of that.
But I don't know of him having a history of concussions at all.

Q.テつ It's got to be tough.テつ I know look said it's obviously going to be the doctor's call but I'm sure Andrew is going to want to play.テつ It's the Michigan game but at the same time you've got to look out for his future?
COACH HEACOCK:テつ It's all about him.テつ I mean, it's what's best for him.テつ And you're never ever going to put a kid in jeopardy.テつ I'm never going to.テつ And that's the last thing in the world we'd want to do is hurt him in any way.テつ So the doctors are very good here.テつ And they'll check it out very carefully.テつ And Andrew's a smart kid.テつ He's not going to do something stupid.

Q.テつ Two questions, number one, how much do you all miss, have you missed Andrew out there the last two weeks, just from a senior leadership, getting guys lined up right, reminding people of their gap responsibilities, whatever it is that the leaders do on the defense, how much have you missed him the last two weeks?
COACH HEACOCK:テつ You know what, we've missed him a lot.テつ There's no question about that just from a leadership he was kind of supplying the leadership for us.テつ John Simon, a junior, also gives us a little bit of leadership.
But probably the guy that I think Nate Williams, I think losing Nate Williams probably hurt us schematically as much as anybody, just because we had high hopes for him to be the opposite side of Johnny Simon and felt like we'd have two guys that could get off the edge and could give us some pretty good pass rush.テつ Nate always gave us that opportunity to drop somebody in the coverage and did a good job of that.
So I think probably losing him and Andrew, I mean, you lose a little bit of leadership.テつ And hopefully guys that would play better.

Q.テつ As you watch Michigan, how much fundamentally different are they offensively in their approach this year or have they tried to meld the old with the new?テつ I guess specifically what did you see different about them last week against Nebraska, if you've gotten a look at that tape?テつ Have they done a pretty good job of bringing Denard back into the fold as a runner?
COACH HEACOCK:テつ I think what we see is I think probably early in the year they were trying to install their offense, a little bit more two‑back stuff and a little bit of a pro‑style offense.テつ And I think within the last probably, if you watch each one of their games through the season, each game they got a little bit more into their quarterback running the ball.
And now right now Nebraska, they're almost back to what they were doing last year when we played them in the zone reads and the quarterback run the football an awful lot.

Q.テつ Any read on the slow starts the last few weeks, as you've looked back, can you put a finger on what's happening early in games?
COACH HEACOCK:テつ I wish I could.テつ You know, you try and look back, look through it and you‑‑ I don't really have an answer.テつ I wish I did.テつ I could tell you something.テつ But there's other things we're trying to search out and trying to see.テつ And you think out to the Nebraska game, I thought we came out of the chutes pretty good and played pretty well in the first half, and then didn't play so well in the second half.
So it's just a little bit of inconsistency.テつ I'm not sure ten points, you know, in the first quarter and I'm pretty familiar with all that.テつ And certainly we're just trying to sort it all out.テつ And really trying to hold these guys together and get them ready to play that last game.テつ And it's a big game for us and for them and we're probably, I mean we sit around quite a bit and try and figure out why anything goes wrong.
We like shut everybody out and you sit around trying to figure out why you can't.テつ I really don't have answers.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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