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October 30, 2012

Andrew Maxwell

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Andrew.

Q.  After the game, I asked you about coming down with that five minutes to go, the way the defense was cheerleading for you guys.  Not just that moment, but what does it mean to you guys when you have been struggling, that camaraderie on this team has been able to stay so tight?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  It just truly shows this is a family, that we're one unit working for one goal, that there's really no room for finger pointing, blaming anybody.
So to have the defensive support, and they've played so well all year, they've been so patient with our struggles, they keep playing their hearts out and getting us the ball back.  To have their support that last five minutes, take you down to score, send it into overtime, get us the ball back so quickly, having Wisconsin not really move the ball, that meant a lot to us.

Q.  You made some plays with your legs on Saturday.  I think it was the third‑and‑five where you're backed up, you find Mumphery, first down on the last drive.  Is that something where you're more comfortable?  Was it a conscious effort in game prep?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think I did put a little bit more of an emphasis on it in practice.  I looked at the film from not only the Michigan game but the Iowa game where there were some instances where I could have ran.  Coach Warner and Coach Dantonio as well put an emphasis, when you scramble, get out of the pocket, don't have tunnel vision where you're locking in on trying to run out of bounds, throw it away, but find somebody and make something happen.
I should have thrown a touchdown to Aaron Burbridge, but I underthrew it.  Yeah, so that can be contributed to the film and the conscious effort I put on it in practice.

Q.  Is that maybe the biggest improvement you made during the season?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Yeah, I think that's something that we've also put a big emphasis on in practice, in the meeting rooms.  Just staying true to your progressions, the same progressions we talk day in, day out in meetings, go through in practice.
When the bullets are flying around you, per se, things get hectic, can you stay true to those reads or do you go to the quickest, which I'm guilty of doing.  I think I've been going through my complete read and finding the guy that's open.

Q.  Is it harder to go quickly there?  Is that something you've been working on, going through the reads quicker?  Also, are you more comfortable in hurry‑up settings?  Does that help you get into a rhythm on a final drive?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Part A:  There is a fine line going through your reads quickly, not getting stuck, but also staying true to them.  I know there was one or two plays where I went too quick and I passed over an open guy.  There is that fine line.  It's not getting stuck, but also not missing somebody who is open.
As far as the hurry‑up, that can work one of two ways:  if you complete your first (indiscernible), you kind of get on a roll, it's great because defenses tend to be a little bit more vanilla, they don't have time, that benefits an offense.  You kind of get that feeling, you get on a roll.  If you have a couple incompletions, you haven't taken a whole lot of time off the clock, you're stalling out like you were before.  Start of the drive, get those early completions, getting things rolling.

Q.  There's been so much scrutiny on every throw you've made this year, I'm sure you've felt that.  Is a throw like that to win a game a big moment for you?  Was there a sense of relief?  As you move forward, will it make you a better, more effective quarterback, or is that overstating it?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  It doesn't hurt the confidence, that's for sure.  But at the same time, just because it was in that situation, that's a play that we talk about in meetings, that is a play we walk through and go over in practice:  When we get this look, here is our play we like to go to.
So to execute it in a game, it just so happens to be in an overtime situation like that to win it, that's just a credit to our preparation, our coaches getting us ready to play, the focus we put on it in practice.
It definitely feels good to execute it like that.  But that comes with the whole offense.  Bennie made a good catch.  They put us in a situation like that.  That helps propel the whole team forward.

Q.  From your observations of your years here, what is it about this team, is it the system, a mindset that's been instilled, that has given this program so much success in November?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, I think just the emphasis we put on finishing.  That starts in every workout we do with Coach (indiscernible) in the off‑season, be it winter conditioning, be it summer.  We always put a focus on finishing.  He always says, Start fast, finish strong.
It's a habit we form in workouts, practice, and games.  It's only natural when a season comes down to the end, you're used to finishing strong, you have no choice but to finish strong.

Q.  A lot was made of the play that was drawn up.  You said you were hunting for a lead a little bit.  How much does that happen?  How many plays are added last minute?  Do you ever add them, scribble ideas?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  It really doesn't happen that much.  The latest a play may be tweaked or put in is Thursday so we can get it greased up and get the timing down on Thursday's practice.
To draw one up Saturday morning at breakfast, I don't know if I've ever seen that done.  Give credit to Tony and Keith because I didn't have a good feel for the timing, the angle.  I had to throw the ball with a little more touch than I would have liked because I wasn't sure of the angle or the spot they were running to.

Q.  You talked a little bit about checking into that final touchdown play.  How much of calling that play kind of came from your confidence, your chemistry working with him for the past three years?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think it goes back to practice, that he's one of the guys who has made that play before.  He's a guy who has been around.
I think he kind of expected that check, too.  He's a guy who is smart, is a heady football player.  He felt the look.  I'm sure he was thinking in his head, Maybe a check is coming here.  Just to know he's going to be on the same page as me gave me confidence to make the check.

Q.  Nebraska has struggled with quarterbacks that show mobility.  Their Achilles' heel.  When you watch that on film, are you more conscious that your feet will open doors based on how they played this year?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Yeah.  I think I remember sitting with Kirk last year before the Nebraska game.  He was talking to me about the film.  He says, The one thing they do give up is quarterback runs.  They play a fair amount of man coverage.  Anytime you do that, you'll have guys on the second level running with receivers or tight ends.  That opens up some doors, eyeballs that aren't on you.
This could be a week where this week in practice I can continue to put an emphasis on that.  If the situation presents itself, maybe I can capitalize on it in the game.

Q.  How much of a moment did it feel like for you in that situation, the second half, came down to your offense?  Did you feel something clicking?  Did you have a moment that pushed you over the edge and amped up your play?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think we went into the game at halftime.  Kind of a familiar scene at halftime this year, we just realized that we were kind of shooting ourselves in the foot.  We were really making ourselves stall out, be it with penalties, be it with sacks.  My fault just as much as the offensive line's.  Just missed opportunities we were inflicting on ourselves.
We come into halftime only scoring three points.  We realize there were a lot more points out there to be had.  I think it's a conscientious effort, including myself, to kind of change that around.
Then when it comes down to the final six minutes, you need to go down and score.  You have to put the last 54 minutes behind you and focus on the task at hand.  That's the message I delivered to the guys in the huddle.  We can't look to the end of this series, we have to focus on these plays right now and go execute.

Q.  Coming into the season you told us, I feel comfortable, confident.  Now you've played nine games.  Can you quantify how much more confident and comfortable you feel?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I feel very comfortable.  I really have felt comfortable the whole year.  I feel comfortable with the guys around me.  I feel that way because we have a group of guys who are going to do whatever it is they're asked to do.
A lot has been made of the different lineups, different starters we've had.  The thing about that is you know every guy that goes in there is going to have an attitude and mindset to do whatever it is they're asked to do.  When you surround yourself with guys like that, guys that have the same mind, same goal, it makes the game a lot more fun and that's an atmosphere you want to be in.

Q.  (No microphone.
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Experiences like we had on Saturday, experiences like we had against Indiana, like we had against Boise State, even Eastern Michigan, those are things you can't simulate in practice, you don't get in spring ball or fall camp.  Those are things you can only learn from when you find them during the season.
Having been through our fair share of those with as many games as we've had come down to the wire, that does a lot for a quarterback and an offense and a football team.

Q.  The Coach Dantonio dance in the locker room after the game, obviously you saw it.  Do your players have a name for that?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  We don't have a name for it.  Maybe that should be on our agenda this week, is to name that, maybe coin it.

Q.  Were you surprised?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Was I surprised?  Not really.  I mean, you know, his emotions are truly genuine.  Whatever emotion it is that he's feeling, he's not afraid to show that.  That's one thing we love about him.
When you have a great win like that, he's truly overjoyed and truly happy for our football team.  One person starts dancing, it goes for the whole team.  He's in the middle.  He said, Why not, I'll jump in.  That was a neat moment to experience.
Thanks, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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