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September 18, 2012

Andrew Maxwell

THE MODERATOR:  Andrew, you're up.

Q.  We asked coach how he thought you played.  He said 'high average'.  Is that a specific thing?  Could you have a low winning, high, things like that?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Your guess is as good as mine.  I don't know.  That's Coach Dantonio's scale.  There's no like set scale.
Every position gets graded on like a number scale, but it doesn't go average, low average, high average.

Q.  How do you think you played?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Not well enough to win.  Obviously anytime you lose, it's tough.  Especially when it's because the offense just can't get going, you can't really find a groove, so that's got to fall on me, just as the (indiscernible) of the offense, as the quarterback.  So I have to put us in a better position to win.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about Dion, what he means in this passing game?  How do you try to use him on Saturday?  Do you get locked in on him at times?  Is he such a talent, you have to look to him often?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  He's such a versatile player, we have to get him the ball in so many ways, be it on screens, be it on quick stuff, be it on throws down the field.  So just knowing the talent we have there, knowing what kind of player he is, he has been for us, the production he's had for us, he's a weapon that we need to try to use and we need to try to get the most out of as possible.
At the same time teams are going to find that out, teams are going to start cluing in on him.  Teams like Central, their game plan was they were going to lock him down.  Seems like every time he was getting off the line, he was getting jammed.  That's going to put more pressure on us to not only spread the ball around more but find more creative ways to get Dion involved.

Q.  Your in a different situation than other quarterbacks coming in, being the program is in a different place.  Can you talk about the challenges of getting the offense going.
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, I've always said I don't want to be the piece of the puzzle that holds this back, I don't want to be the piece of the puzzle that we have to wait on to be pumping on all cylinders to go.  I don't think I have been.
Saturday was just an unfortunate night that it just happened we couldn't get anything going.  But I'm taking it on myself.  The receivers, the offensive line, everybody on the offense is looking at the film and just looking at areas where we could have been better, just ways to avoid coming off flat and just stalling out like we did on Saturday.

Q.  Every quarterback's style is different.  Some guys will go down and yell at a player.  Yours is not that style.  Do you talk more to your receivers in film or in practice?  When do you have those discussions?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think it's just constantly.  It's outside of practice, it's at practice, during drills, during team periods, during the game, just making sure they stay confident.  The plays that I've seen them make, the talent that I know they have, I know the fire and desire they have to be the best players possible.
If they make a mistake, aren't making a play, I know what's going on inside of their head.  They're a lot like me, I make a mistake, I'm my own toughest critic.  They're the same way.
I think it would better serve them to have a guy that could reassure that, make sure they keep their confidence up and make those plays in the future.

Q.  The one thing lacking early in the season has been explosive plays.  What can you do specifically to try to make a couple more of those happen as you get further on in the season here?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, I think explosive plays come when you're doing all the little things along with the explosive plays correctly.  If you're kind of stalling out, you have to rely on explosive plays to jump‑start your offense, that's not when explosive plays are going to happen.  The teams will be on the lookout for it, expecting it.
If we're effective on first down, if we are effective in the running game, if we are effective in the short game, we are pumping on all cylinders with that, then that really opens up the window for those explosive plays in those big games.  We have to be ready to make the plays when they present themselves.

Q.  After looking at the film a little bit, what are some of the areas you feel you needed to improve on that you couldn't necessarily tell in the heat of the moment?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think I got inaccurate at the end of the game.  That's the worst possible time to become inaccurate.  Last couple drives, when it was sort of our last‑ditch effort to get something going, get a drive, get some points on the board, I can think of a couple throws, they were open, I was just inaccurate and we didn't make the play.
That falls on me.  That's something I've got to get better at.  That comes with putting a premium on the throws you make at the end of practice, when you're a little tired, getting worn down, getting late in practice, there's a lot of times you can simulate the game, there's crunch time, there's no excuse for missing those throws.

Q.  What do you hope to get out of this week?  You had a pretty good game at Central.  Didn't translate to the next week.  What do you hope to get out of this week?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  We just want to get back on track as an offense, we want to get back to doing what we do best, that's running the football, being effective in the passing game, having those explosive games.  Coming out fast, finishing strong.  That's something we talk about every week.
We don't want to have any hangover this week in practice.  We want to start today and this afternoon in practice, we want to come out on fire, come out with enthusiasm, have our best week of preparation yet and carry that over to the game.

Q.  Through looking at the film on those occasions when you did have some time, were there things to be had downfield or was the coverage there?  Did you see some things that could have been exploited?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, in some cases yes, in some cases no.  You have to give credit to Notre Dame, especially I felt like their linebackers did a great job of maybe it was rerouting of receivers, being physical with them, so that if a play was going to come open and develop, it was going to develop a little late.  By the time it would have developed, I don't know if I would have had time to stand in there.
In the times I rushed it, were there plays to be made?  Perhaps.  But I think it would have warranted staying in there probably longer than I actually would have had.

Q.  Dantonio talked about maybe abandoning the run too early in the second half.  That was something he took the blame for.  When you're becoming stagnant as an offense throughout the first half, does that create a sense of urgency, maybe you get out of character a little bit?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, the 'hurry up' offense, going back a couple years now in games where we have kind of been stagnant, been stalling out, like we were on Saturday, has worked for us.  I can't remember what specific games, but it was the same situation where the call came from Coach D to go hurry up, go two‑minute like, and a lot of times it's resulted in points, kind of been the spark we needed.
I don't disagree with his decision to get something going because of how good it was for us.  And it was working for us until we had a couple penalties, we stalled out, had to punt.  But it's been an effective form of kind of breaking that habit for us.

Q.  Three games in now, also experiencing the first loss as starter, what has that role been to you, being up at the podium, being the guy answering the questions?  Is it what you expected?  Have you talked to anybody, maybe like Kirk, about what kind of things these expectations are now that you're in season?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  You know, it's something that I've just kind of observed from afar, that it's part of the job, the quarterback is the face of the offense.  Like it or not, more times than not it's the face of the team.
In good times and bad, I'm the guy that is going to have to answer questions for the offense and the team.  That's something I'm prepared for.
Whether it's from Kirk, coaches or family, the term 'thick skin' has been thrown around since I've been playing quarterback.  You have to have thick skin in the praise and you have to have thick skin in the criticism, because if you get caught up in either one, then when the other one comes you're kind of going to be thrown off‑guard.
I have to have thick skin as a quarterback and our team has to have thick skin and realize inside the walls of the building and inside the team is what truly matters to us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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