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November 12, 2013

Connor Cook

Q.テつ Have they talked to you about the environment?テつ Obviously you heard Mark's press conference.テつ What have they said to you in preparation for it?
CONNOR COOK:テつ Like the crowd?テつ I just know hearing from other players here and the coaches that the fans are super nice there.テつ It's not like a hostile environment where you go into Iowa, you have guys barking on you on the sideline, yelling mean things at you.テつ But the fans are nice, but I've heard that it's really loud, and we're used to that.テつ We've played in environments like that, Notre Dame, we've played at Iowa, we've had success on the road.テつ I think Coach is going to have the music turned up loud at practice, and I think we'll be okay.

Q.テつ What specifically have you done in the bye week coming off the Michigan game?テつ Has there been one or two things that you've tried to focus on?
CONNOR COOK:テつ I think I've just focused on watching more film, getting in there, watching more tape with the extra time that we've had with the off days that we've had.テつ I know in previous weeks or the previous bye week that we had, I was coming off a poor performance at Notre Dame so I worked on the fundamentals, went back to the basics, worked on my accuracy, my footwork and all that stuff, and this week I've really focused on getting in there and watching more film on Nebraska instead of working on my skill part.

Q.テつ Even though you're young you're still the quarterback, and by position you're a leader.テつ This team is getting a lot of attention now, there's a lot of talk, not just in the media but when you go to class and everything else.テつ What do you say to the team to stay focused on one game at a time when you can see the bigger goals closer than in October?
CONNOR COOK:テつ I think we've just got to continue to have the same attitude that we've had all year.テつ We always go into every single game, especially with the Big 10 games with every game meaning everything.テつ Our first Big 10 game was just as important as this game.テつ We go into every week wanting to go 1‑0 and that's our goal.テつ Last week was a big game against Michigan.テつ I think we did good.テつ Could have done a lot better on offense.テつ But we know it's a big game.テつ The coaches know, we know, and I think as long as we just go into the game with the mindset we've got to go 1‑0, I think we'll be okay.

Q.テつ You've watched a lot of tape on Nebraska.テつ What have you seen in Nebraska's defense maybe from their last game last week against Michigan back to the beginning of the season?テつ How has it changed and what are the differences?
CONNOR COOK:テつ You know, I sat down, I watched the whole UCLA game a couple days ago, then I watched like Illinois, and then I watched the Michigan game, I think.テつ Early on in UCLA they were in more zone, and then they had some success passing the ball later on in the game, and I think they went back to just going straight man coverage, and that's where they had the most success.テつ They know what they're doing.テつ They know that the opponent, the offense knows what they're going to run.テつ They're going to line up in man coverage and try and beat us.テつ They're really, really good at that.テつ They're good at what they do, and they lock them down.テつ I think we've got to go with the mindset because they press you, just got to be able to get off the line, work with man coverage, work against the press, and I think as long as we focus on that, our receivers will be good, because we've gone against press ever since they've been here.テつ Any time we go against our defense they're pressing us, spring ball, going up against one of the best defenses in the nation.テつ I think we'll be okay.

Q.テつ Anyone that's followed you going back to high school, you have the ability to be a game changer with your feet.テつ Do you need to run‑‑ I don't mean designed runs, but do you need to run a few more times to respect that a little bit more rather than staying in the pocket sometimes as long?テつ Do you feel like you need to tuck the ball and run a couple more times a game?
CONNOR COOK:テつ For sure.テつ Watching tape on Minnesota, when they played them, their quarterbacks, both of them, had a lot of success running the ball.テつ When the play broke, they were able to scramble, or if there was a designed quarterback run, but I think Minnesota had a lot of success in that football game because the quarterbacks were able to do that.テつ But definitely with me, I think, I remember Coach D saying not trying to create too much and I think I've done a good job of not trying to create, but then there's like a fine line of not trying to create and creating, so I think I really need to move the ball, move the ball downfield a little bit with my legs and not so much with my arm and actually look to run more because if you have a quarterback that can run a little bit, get‑‑ not trying to get like 20, 30 yards on a carry but maybe four or five yards, six yards, maybe get the 1st down, that'll keep the defense on their heels.

Q.テつ This game has its own importance, but add to it the fact that Coach D has mentioned a couple times this is the one program they haven't beaten, and you add to that the sick feeling you guys had to feel last year walking off the field, does that play into any of this at all, or is that just talk?
CONNOR COOK:テつ Yeah, it plays into it a little bit.テつ There's always extra motivation if you've never beaten a school and stuff that happened last year, I know we had extra motivation playing against Michigan for what happened last year at their place.
But definitely it was a disheartening feeling last year knowing we had the game in our hands and they took it out from us.テつ But we're coming in with the mindset like any other Big 10 game that we've had.テつ It's a big game, we all know that, everyone knows that, but I think we're going to come in focused, and we're going to trust ourselves and we're going to believe in ourselves, and I think we'll be okay.

Q.テつ Coach Dantonio talked about the fact that clinching a share of the Big 10 Legends Division is very tangible with this win, that players can sense the fact that winning this one game can clinch a co‑share and that's something that can really motivate the team.テつ Do you sense that and how do you use that positively instead of negatively?
CONNOR COOK:テつ Like I said, you've just got to take it one game at a time, but obviously a win here is a big‑time win, never beating Nebraska obviously, and then clinching a share for the Big 10 championship game.テつ But I think as long as we win I'm not really trying to focus on if we win here, what if we win two games out of the remaining three or if we lose to Nebraska we have to win the next two.テつ I think we just focus on the task at hand, focus on the game at hand, focus on going 1‑0, everything will take care of itself.

Q.テつ After the last bye week you went out to Iowa and you and the whole offense had one of the best games of the season.テつ Now coming off your second one, how do you make sure you know you come out firing again with that extra week as opposed to looking rusty on the road?
CONNOR COOK:テつ I think that's all up on the‑‑ that's all up to the individuals, the players.テつ You've just got to come and you've got to get yourself pumped up.テつ You've got to have the right mindset going into a game like this.テつ But I think for how big the game is, we don't really have to worry about us getting pumped up.テつ We all know it's a big game and players get pumped up to play in games like this.テつ I think we've done a good job for coming out with a lot of intensity in all of our games, and I don't think it's going to be anything different for this one.

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