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October 28, 2013

Luke Fickell

Q.テつ You guys play with more aggressive last week, I know that was part of the plan.テつ How much of that is enabled by the fact that you know your offense is going to put up points if you give up a play so be it, but you want to play aggressively?
COACH FICKELL:テつ That gives you a lot of confidence.テつ And we tell our guys sometimes.テつ I mean, football is a game of momentum.テつ Where it comes from, who knows.テつ At times you've got to create it yourself, at times it comes from the offense.テつ And some points from the defense as well.テつ Momentum all over the field the key is once you get it you've got to keep it.テつ If you have to create different ways of doing it, that comes with the game.テつ But you have some confidence built up in the fact that you know that the ball's in the offense hands.テつ They've got a real good shot to continue to move and give you some breathing room.

Q.テつ Urban said that the one deficiency not that word but one area he's concerned about are the linebackers.テつ What's your view of that position?
COACH FICKELL:テつ It's a daily grind.テつ And in a situation where depth and things is really tough.テつ You got a bunch of young guys.テつ Sometimes you say young guys and guys that don't have a lot of experience.テつ That's an area we continue to build on a daily basis.テつ And whether it's on the field, whether it's off the field, whether it's recruiting, all those situations is something that obviously I see on a daily basis.テつ See too often.テつ But all you can do is continue to battle through.

Q.テつ Coach, just want to ask, you got a lot of young guys, backup players into the game in the second half, as you went back and looked at it yesterday who were maybe two or three of those guys who played all the way to the end and you had a couple of good defensive stops.テつ Who were some guys who stood out for you in the last quarter and a half?
COACH FICKELL:テつ We kept a lot of those guys in to an extent.テつ But a guy like Tyvis Powell young guy railroaded shirt kid who went to play some more safety other than just nickel late in the game.テつ You get in Vonn Bell a true freshman all of a sudden playing at star nickel back and doing some things and Trey Johnson is playing some will linebacker.テつ When the lights are on you see some things show up from him.テつ You continue to roll those guys up front.テつ Those are a bunch of guys up front that those guys sub in a little bit more than maybe the other spots on the team.テつ But don't get an extensive work.テつ So your Chris Carters, your Steve Miller's and some of those things, those guys got to play in big time atmosphere see how they respond.

Q.テつ Luke, Marcus Freeman is coaching on the other side.テつ I know you have a history with him.テつ Did you see a kid that maybe could become a coach one day when you had him or what did you see back then?
COACH FICKELL:テつ Hopefully he would tell you I tried to talk him out of it, because to me that's what you do.テつ Any kid, player, kid someone who comes to me my own son first thing you try to do is talk them out of it.テつ Crazy business, a lot of things you give up.テつ Obviously there's things you get.
But the number one thing is especially if you played here and win here sometimes you think I want to get into coaching because I want to coach at Ohio State.テつ The reality is not every place is like this.
And if you're really, the reason I tried to talk him out of it or tried to if you can't talk them out of it then you know they're fit for the coaching profession.テつ As much as I tried I couldn't do it.テつ You see why.

Q.テつ Cerebral kind of guy back then?
COACH FICKELL:テつ Yeah, again, he loved the game.テつ He enjoyed the game.テつ He understood the game.テつ And a lot of times I never thought about coaching.テつ I never once had‑‑ I grew up around coaches my whole life, wrestling coaches different things but never once did I think about coaching when football was done.テつ When things are taken back you look and say what are the things I enjoyed what did I love to do and what do I want to continue to do.テつ That's I think when it becomes clearer to you.

Q.テつ Sounds like Coach Meyer's a little bit involved with the defense.テつ Talking about that where Coach Tressel wasn't involved at all in the defense.テつ He was talking about that how he thinks Ryan Shazier is really good at blitzing what's that like when the head coach as defensive coordinator what's it like when the head coach is also involved in defense?
COACH FICKELL:テつ I think it brings a lot to us.テつ The more ideas and minds in the room at times especially when it comes from someone with a different perspective.テつ Sometimes coming from the offensive perspective gives real insight.テつ It's tough at times when they come in say this hurts us this hurts us but reality it elicits conversation and you're in this business because if you take a day off you're losing ground in what you're doing.テつ You're looking for new ways and new ideas and things that are difficult.
So I think that's a different perspective that he brings and gives to us on a daily basis.テつ So we want it.テつ We really enjoy it.テつ Sometimes it's tough but the reality is it makes us better.

Q.テつ Couple things.テつ Number one, what do you remember about Coach Hayes more than anything else that stood out that allowed him to be a success at Kent State now taking on this challenge at Purdue to turn that program around, what stood out about him?
COACH FICKELL:テつ I think probably the number one thing is he believes in what he does.テつ Great confidence in what you do.テつ And there's a million different ways of doing it.テつ I'm sure as you guys have covered and you see, every coach is different in his own way.テつ And there's not one formula that says this is the way to be successful.テつ And when you go and do it yourself and you have success obviously it's a lot easier to show.テつ So I think when he left out of here I said the reason he'll be successful is because I know he knows what he's doing but more importantly he knows why he's doing it and he's not going to change on a daily basis.テつ The consistency of who he was and what he does, I think it's what you'll eventually see.

Q.テつ Pitt Brown with that interception much has been made about losing Christian Bryant, leadership wise, everything else.テつ What does it do for Pitt Brown to have a big play like that that turns a game and what does it do for the confidence of the defense to know they've got another guy back there?
COACH FICKELL:テつ Football's a game of momentum.テつ And it's a game of when you have it you gotta keep it.テつ And that's probably one of the tougher things as a young group is creating that momentum.テつ Sometimes we gotta get it from our offense.テつ Sometimes we've got to get it from whomever.テつ The reality is we've got a big play in the first drive.
Where it came was even bigger, but the reality whether it's great for Pitt Brown it was great for the entire defense, it was great for the entire team it created that momentum.テつ It created that energy.テつ Gave us some of that confidence that hey even if people move the ball what you gotta do is force them to get into the end zone when you have a shot at something you've got to make the play.テつ I'm sure it's huge for his confidence, but it's huge for the confidence of the whole group as well.

Q.テつ [Indiscernible] in the season a lot of people disappointed, thought the program was at the bottom.テつ Could you have ever foreseen it's not [indiscernible]?
COACH FICKELL:テつ That's hard to look back and think about some of those things, but the reality is like coach will tell you at times you'll hear him say there's not bad teams.テつ Really there's not.テつ I mean, there's enough good players at most places.テつ Maybe not the same as here as some other schools.テつ But the reality is there are good players and having everybody on the same page is big and leadership is a part of that thing.
If you really look back, it could be completely different over the past two years.テつ The thing is we were successful last year and a lot of those early games that what did it do?テつ It created a great confidence.テつ It created a great momentum, not that coach had any doubt in the way he does things and not that you would have any doubt in the way he does things because you see his record.テつ But 18 to 22‑year‑olds obviously as you've heard him say question things, and to have that success the way we did and come through maybe the first six games of the season last year, you can say you can have great players and you can have this, but the reality is that guys come together, guys believe in one another, guys have confidence in what it is that they're doing and good things happen.テつ Because just like you can go back to 2011 say if you would have done this in this game, you were close in a couple of games maybe the season is different.テつ The same thing you can say last year.
And there's something to say about going through tough times.

Q.テつ Snowball effect both ways, things started to go bad, they continue to go bad in 2011?
COACH FICKELL:テつ It's a lot of that.テつ And a lot of that is leadership, because when things are tough and times are down, you see who can get you out of those things.
There's no substitute for momentum and energy, and I don't care what level of football it is.テつ And you can see that that's what has gained.テつ That's what we've gained over the last year over this year, that we probably lost as much as anything in 2011.テつ And how do you, if you're going the wrong way what do you gotta do do something to create it the other way whether you have great leadership that can pull you out, whether you have to make a play or something drastic that happens that gets guys back on track.
There's a lot of psychological things involved in it.テつ Belief in what you're doing is one of those big things, but people are truly buying in and having that ability to continue to, when you have the momentum to keep it and if you don't have it find a way to get it.

Q.テつ You guys have not given up anything close to a long run this year.テつ Why is that?テつ What did you do well?
COACH FICKELL:テつ Hopefully we learned from last year.テつ The greatest thing you can say is you learn from the things that you don't do well.テつ You learn from your mistakes.テつ I think after last year, early in the season, that was one of the big things we had a problem with.テつ And people can say it's tackling.テつ People can say it's this.テつ But the reality it's a leverage issue.テつ And it's guys with great effort to the football.テつ And when you're playing hard and playing fast and playing with great leverage you can still give up runs and yards but the reality is you're not going to give up the big ones, and we don't give up the big ones you've got a chance to be successful.テつ And I think that's probably the biggest key to what we do keep the ball in front of us and make sure we're running ourselves inside out and be aggressive.テつ Everybody talks missed tackles no, we can't worry about miss tackles you miss a tackle with good leverage you've got ten, nine other guys coming to the football.
Start worrying about I gotta make this tackle which you see some in the big field open field, guys hesitate and wait it's hard to make the tackle when you hesitate and wait.テつ Having that belief and that confidence in one another and playing with great leverage and learning from your mistakes is a big part of it.

Q.テつ Have you seen either looking at Purdue and their offense on film so far or what you know of Darryl Hayes being around him does he remind you of Tressel?
COACH FICKELL:テつ I think one of the greatest qualities he got and had and probably grew from with Coach Tressel is consistency.テつ He's not going to be real high and real low and that's the sign of a great leader that you can do tough times.テつ You don't change who you are.テつ And that's what I know about him.テつ So it's not like he's going to be down or he's going to do something crazy or something different because they're in the situation that they are that you gotta battle through tough times and when you're consistent, your young men learn and they learn that from you that hey just because we're on a roll he's this way when things are down he's this way to create that consistency, the guys learn and understand that and take that image from them as well.

Q.テつ The way you guys are playing right now defensively, is there any personnel grouping package, scheme, that you have a reluctancy to call?
COACH FICKELL:テつ The biggest reluctancy to call anything whether any of us calling doesn't matter.テつ The reality is what our guys understand.テつ What we know what we understand as coaches doesn't really matter.テつ We gotta continue to focus on the things that those guys understand.テつ When they understand what they're doing and have an idea of not just what they're doing but why they're doing it then they can play a lot faster.テつ And I think that's what gets lost in the whole part of this is hey what about the scheme.テつ It's not about the scheme.テつ It's about the guys being in position that they can be successful.
There's some things for the people we have that, hey, in 2007 we were really good on defense.テつ I'm using‑‑ we're good on defense and we did a few specific things because that's what some of our guys did really well.テつ That's a different team than right now.テつ Whether it's Mike linebacker or Will linebacker or Leo or Vipe or whatever you want to call them.テつ We've got to continue to figure out what it is our guys do well and let them build off of that as opposed to asking them to do something in theory it should work but the reality is we're asking him to do something that he physically might not be able to do.

Q.テつ Is there something aside from Shazier athleticism that enables him to be such a successful blitzer?
COACH FICKELL:テつ Instincts.テつ Blitzing is about timing and guys that have great timing and understand blocking schemes and aiming point to where they're going gives them a lot better opportunity to be successful.テつ We've had some really fast guys that are not good blitzers.テつ We've had slow guys really good blitzers and it's a knack.テつ It's something that comes down to like I said timing and aiming point in order to be a great blitzer is something that's sometimes tough to teach.テつ Obviously they can get better at it but sometimes those are things that are really natural in what they do.

Q.テつ Devin Beaugard, coach mentioned for a kid like that‑‑ got such praise early on and to have an ACL.
COACH FICKELL:テつ I didn't know.

Q.テつ He said he's going to have surgery this week?
COACH FICKELL:テつ That's news to me.テつ I was going to say I sat at dinner with him last night he did not know anything.

Q.テつ Devin walked into his office right before he came‑‑
COACH FICKELL:テつ Did not know that.テつ It's tough for all of us but when you're in this business for what you do, it's much tougher knowing what the kid's going through.テつ We can get through it.テつ We've got somebody that will step up not saying they'll be the same person as him, but somebody will step up and take that spot the real thing that hits hard is this kid is going to go through another situation like that and how can he handle it and how tough and how strong mentally to go through another battle like this.テつ So that's what pulls at you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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