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PURDUE UNIVERSITY MEDIA CONFERENCE


October 29, 2013


Marcus Freeman


Q.テつ Marcus, can you just speak to what this week means to you personally as a Buckeye player and Ohio guy?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ I think obviously it's going to be a little bit different having your former alma mater across the field.テつ But to this team, it's about trying to do whatever‑‑ and that's what all our efforts are being put into.

Q.テつ When did you decide that you wanted to be a coach, and maybe where do you see this going for your career?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ Well, I guess I'm stuck in it now, you know.テつ I really didn't know I wanted to be a coach until probably sometime when I was in the NFL, I was on the practice squad and I said, you know what I'm enjoying watching film and being around this.
I made a call to Luke Fickell and I said, what do you think about me being a coach?
And first thing he said was, don't do it, you're crazy and you don't want to do this.テつ He tried to change my mind a little bit.テつ And then I talked to coach Jim Haycock, my defensive coordinator, and he told me the same thing, don't do it, this is not what you want to do it.テつ You studied college to be an athletic director, go into that aspect of it.
So I thought long and hard about it, and I still had a chance to play in the NFL and I went and tried to pursue that opportunity.テつ And then found out I had an enlarged heart valve, and I said I guess my question has been answered for me.
So I went and talked with Coach Fickell and Coach Haycock again and Coach Tressel and had a long conversation.テつ And I was able to become a graduate at Ohio State, and I guess the passion for it just continued to grow and grow and as soon as I started, I said this is what I love to.
Do.テつ People ask me now, how long will you do it; I just don't know what else I'm going to do.テつ I'm probably not very smart enough to do‑‑ but it's what I love to do and it's what fulfills my passion and I see myself doing it for a long time.テつ As long as my wife says I can keep coaching, I will.

Q.テつ Do you like the college level or do you think high school or maybe even pros some day?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ Well, if you asked my wife, she would say she wants me to coach high school so I could spend a little more time at home.テつ But I don't have my teaching degree, so I'm not able to do that.
I love the impact that you can have on kids here at the college level.テつ You can have that same impact in the NFL, but what a great opportunity I have to be here with Coach Hazell and this Purdue coaching staff and at this university.テつ You know, this is exactly where I see myself being.

Q.テつ So when you are now scouting the Ohio State offense, is it odd to see Ohio State play in this style of offense and what do you think of the way the Buckeyes are attacking people now?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ It's hard to stop.テつ It's really hard to stop and the more you watch it, the more you get aggravated at it and frustrated and you get mad at the coach and say, why are they allowed to do all this stuff.テつ They have got some talented football players.
I think earlier in the year, you watched it just because, hey, that's Ohio State and you're familiar with a lot of those guys, just watch and see how defenses try to defend them.
But now you're watching for two weeks straight and it gives you a pretty good headache and it makes you think exactly how you're going to try to stop all these guys because they have many threats and when you stop one thing, I think they have got a another thing that comes open.テつ So it's going to be a huge task for our defense.

Q.テつ How important is it for Purdue to recruit Ohio successfully in the fact that you and Coach had roots there; how does that help you out at all?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ I think you look at Ohio football and they have tons of talent.テつ It's one of the most talented states for high school recruits and we are foolish being only an hour or so away, to different parts of the state and not recruit that state.テつ There's more players in that state than there is colleges to recruit.
With us having some Ohio ties, we are going to try to get as many players from Ohio and Midwest, and we call it the State of Purdue, as we can.

Q.テつ Playing under Jim Tressel and now working with Coach Hayes he will, is there anything about them in the style of football they want to play or how they handle their business, that you see any similarities between Coach Tressel and Coach Hazell?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ Yeah, there's some similarities and differences between the two.テつ I think the biggest similarity is they both are never too high and never too low; never too low.テつ They just stay even keel and nothing ever gets them down or nothing ever gets them overly excited.
And that's the one thing you see about successful CEOs or successful leaders is that they are able to work when things are going good.テつ They are able to work with things are going back and they are able to keep everybody together no matter what's happening to your company or football team or organization or business, whatever it is.テつ And that's the biggest similarity I see between the two.

Q.テつ Have you converted your other former teammates to Purdue fans yet?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ Well, Laurinaitis came to my house this summer from Columbus to St.Louis, and we had just finished a wall in our house that you are able to write on with chalk.テつ I said, make sure any time somebody comes to visit our hours, you have to sign the wall.テつ And he put "James Laurinaitis, go Bucs."
So I wasn't able to convert him yet to be a Boiler guy.テつ But he's still a fan of Coach Hazell and ourselves and of mine and Ohio State; obviously we are all fans of Ohio State.テつ I'm a fan of Ohio State when I'm not playing them, I'm the biggest fan there is.テつ But that's not something I'll think I'll be able to do is convert James into a Buckeye fan.

Q.テつ If you can go back to your playing days a little bit, maybe national championship kind of games, or what is it you remember most?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ About Ohio State?

Q.テつ Yes.
COACH FREEMAN:テつ You played in a lost big games.テつ You played in the one vs. two, Ohio State vs. Michigan; you played in two national championships, the Fiesta Bowl our senior year.
But I think the thing you remember about Ohio State is the process and the friendships and the time spent with those guys in your locker room.テつ That's what, to me, you remember most about that place is those long hours and those hard practices and the different emotions you have with all those brothers you have in that locker room.テつ That's what you have for the rest of your life.
I remember the big game, but I don't remember them as vividly as you remember those special moments you have in the locker room and with your teammates.

Q.テつ Did you get a chance to talk to Jay Minton at all?テつ Does he know that you've gone to the dark side and joined the coaching ranks?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ Yeah, he was another one that tried to talk me out of it.テつ Now it's funny because now I recruit a lot of his guys, and he's been a great help.テつ He supports me tremendously and again, I'm a huge fan of high school football.
More than recruiting those kids, I want them to win every game they play.テつ I talk to him every couple weeks and it's good luck, let me know how I can help in any way.テつ Again, those are four of the most important years of your life, and I am a huge Wayne High School fan, and he was a man that had a huge impact on my life and my coaching career.

Q.テつ Why did it they try to talk you out of it?テつ What were the reasons they were saying don't do this?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ I would do the same thing if some young man tried to come up to me and said, I want to become a college coach.
You want to talk them out of it, because it's such a selfish profession on your family and it's hard on you as an individual.テつ But more so, I think it's the people that are around you, your family, your kids, your wife, and being a college football coach‑‑ a football coach period is something that you must have extreme passion for, and you have to have a bit of selfishness, because there's so much time away from your family that you have to know what you're getting into.
And if you can talk a person out of being a coach, then maybe it's not what they wanted to do.テつ And that's what they wanted to do with me.テつ Really, I think it's:テつ Does he really want to do this.テつ You're at Ohio State, I think a lot of people that play at Ohio State see coaches coach, and say, oh, I just want to be a coach for Ohio State.テつ And that's the wrong reason.
Same thing here at Purdue.テつ If one of the kids said, hey, I want to be a coach; I would say, no, you don't.テつ There's tons of other things that you can do that fulfill you.
But if they continue to want to do it and want to do it, they have to realize that you are not going to wake up and be a coach at Purdue University.テつ I'm very fortunate to be where I'm at and the path to get here is not easy.テつ You try to let them know, hey, there's many years and long hours and low pay along that journey to getting where you want to go.

Q.テつ When you got the medical diagnosis from the Colts, can you take me back to your reaction at the time?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ The night before I was in the hotel‑‑ who was the cornerbacks coach at the time and said, what are you doing, you're going to try to keep playing?
And I said, well, yeah, I've got an opportunity to play.
And he said, all right, man, he said, keep trying, but I think you should be a coach.テつ And that's what Taver said to me.
And the next day I thought about it ‑‑ all of a sudden I get to the physical and they say, hey, you've got to get more tests done.テつ I was there for probably eight or nine hours in Indianapolis.テつ And finally I met with the heart doctor, and he said, you have got an enlarged heart valve, we are not going to clear you, and nobody in the NFL is going to clear you.テつ Because at that time that's when a lot of people were dying on enlarged heart valves on conditioning tests.
I was driving back from Indianapolis to Columbus, where I was living at the time, and I said, man, I guess the decision has been made for me.テつ And as long as I could keep playing, I was going to play.テつ I mean, because everybody loves to play and as long as you can play, you keep playing.
But at that moment it hit me and said, this is what I need to do, this is what I'm supposed to be doing.テつ The next day I came into the office and met with all those coaches and Coach Tressel, and from there, three years later, I'm here.

Q.テつ Was it difficult to give up the career of playing?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ Yeah, you have a passion for playing.テつ It's difficult to give up playing because that's what I've done since I was six.テつ I've played football.テつ I've played youth football, played high school football, played professional football, that's all I thought I knew.
Like anything else, you adjust and figure out what's the next thing in your life and it's almost like, I've got a passion for coaching more than I did for playing.テつ I get more excited to coach.テつ And I think it's different because, yeah, it's football but you're living through young men and you get fulfilled when you see a young man that you work with and you coach hard go out and be successful.テつ That, to me, is more satisfying than anything I could have done on the field.

Q.テつ Who is the best playing grad, you or Braxton?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ There's no question, as soon as I left, I think Braxton got to Wayne three years later and it became Braxton Miller's High School.テつ There's no question about who was the better high school and college player; it's No.5 for Ohio State, that's for sure.

Q.テつ Obviously it's been a tough season for Purdue so far.テつ What do you have to do to get back on track and how important is it to stay competitive on Saturday?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ Well, I think you've got to prepare.テつ You've got to prepare harder.テつ You've got to do things you haven't done.テつ And I'm not talking, scheme‑wise.テつ I'm talking preparation and study and working hard.テつ And that's what our guys have to realize.
You can't do the same things you've done for the first six or seven weeks and think things are going to change.テつ So we have been on them harder and they have got to work harder, and then on Saturday you have to go out and execute.テつ You have to execute the game plan and you have to do your job every single time you're in the game, and that's how you become successful.
Obviously we have not prepared hard enough‑‑ I'm talking more so for my position.テつ As a linebacker core, we have not executed good enough to help this team become successful.

Q.テつ How do you separate this from being just another game?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ I think I would be lyingif I came up here and said (inaudible audio announcement) you spent five years at and you have a lot of love and passion for that school.テつ And I love Ohio State and I love the school, I love the people, I love the athletic department and I love everything about Ohio State.
But on Saturday, it's about doing what it takes to win.テつ That's the profession we're in.テつ It's not fair for me as a coach to not have my guys as prepared as they can to be successful on Saturday.テつ That's what we have to remember; I owe it to these kids and this coaching staff to try to win as much as I can.
But it's going to be different.テつ I haven't played against Ohio State and I have not seen Ohio State play one time when I was not coaching or playing there, live.テつ It will be different.テつ It's going to be different.テつ But you've got to put those feelings aside and say, let's go.テつ We have got to do whatever it takes to try to win.

Q.テつ Are you taking some ribbing from your linebackers this week?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ No, I've been doing most of it (Laughter).テつ I've been coaching them pretty hard to get them ready to execute on Saturday.

Q.テつ Speaking of your linebackers, what has Ruben done the last week or so to get himself in a position to get more playing time?
COACH FREEMAN:テつ He's practiced better, which gave him an opportunity to play.テつ And when he was in the game, he was productive.テつ I told those guys all the time, you might be a good gamer but I will never know because if you don't practice good enough, I will not put you in the game.
But he started practicing and preparing better and he made some plays, and I said, hey, this is a guy that can help the defense.テつ The last two weeks he played pretty well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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