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December 29, 2010

Dave Doeren


Q. Dave, what makes J.J. and Jay at safety, what makes them unique in their respective positions?
COACH DOEREN: J.J.'s obviously tremendously gifted. With his size and speed and ability and his football IQ. He's an extremely intelligent football player, allows him to do a lot of different things. He can play three technique, he can play six technique. He can play a five. We've even had him playing over center in the Ohio State game.
He presents -- as a coach, there is a lot of stuff I can do with him. Jay is a high energy guy. Jay plays with a chip on his shoulder, loves contact, and that's really the deal with him. He's a guy that takes great pride in what he does, and he loves being the physical part of the back end. I think that's what he brings to the table there.

Q. How have each of them developed over the previous season? In what particular ways have they matured either in their understanding of the game?
COACH DOEREN: I think as a football player in general, the more you play, the more the game slows down. They've been hearing the same coaching points for three years. In their position group and by the same coach.
Charlie Partridge does a great job with our defensive line. I know he's helped J.J. grow and work on the weaknesses he had a year ago. Jay got a new position coach this year that I think helped him a ton fundamentally with Chris Ash. That was the big thing Jay needed. Jay was a guy that played fast and out of control at times, and Chris has really helped him with that.

Q. Is the confidence growing as the season goes on?
COACH DOEREN: Not really. Each offense we've played is different. I would think that they'd do more. We've played a couple teams that have doubled him and left a tight end in or chipped him with a back and things like that. I know Purdue tried to act for him with some different things, but not as much as you would think.

Q. How has the preparation there been for you with a new job and everything? Are you finding it easy to balance what's happening?
COACH DOEREN: I'm living the dream right now, man. I'm at the best Bowl you can be in with a bunch of players that I love to coach. My family's having a great time, and on the side I'm a head football coach at a great school. Everything is as good as it can be. So the busyness that I have is good busy. I enjoy every minute of what I'm doing with both jobs.
Could you find more time, yeah? But at the same time I know I don't have to do it all in one day, and I know it's a process. So I'm trying to be as smart as I can with my time. I'm very fortunate that my family is on board with me doing two jobs at once right now because I'm not doing as much with them as I'd like. But it's been a phenomenal experience. I'm loving every minute of it.

Q. Were you able to talk to anyone who went through and kind of had to do the same kind of juggling act? Was there anyone that you were able to call on?
COACH DOEREN: Not really. It's just taking all the duties that you have. Normally, and I've said this before already, during a Bowl season, normally you're recruiting a lot too, and I haven't done any recruiting for Wisconsin.
So that part of my job that I normally had flying back and forth from Florida and being on official visits and doing home visits has now become my time to work on my staff at NIU or call recruits for them. So I really just replaced one duty with another.
It's worked out pretty good. They were going to a Bowl game while we were preparing for ours, so it wasn't like we'd be out there with the players anyway. So the timing was about as good as it could be.

Q. What is the biggest challenge of defending TCU's passing game?
COACH DOEREN: They're very efficient. They get rid of the ball quickly. They've got good athletes that know what to do with it after the catch. The linebackers and underneath droppers have to do a good job of matching up routes and tackling and making sure passes don't become big games. So we play a lot of teams that do the same things. So it's not the first time we've seen it.

Q. Is Dalton comparable to anybody you've faced this year?
COACH DOEREN: I think he's comfortable to our quarterback. He's a great manager of his offense. He's got experience, he's confident as a leader. He's a better athlete than Scott, but there are a lot of similarities in those two guys.

Q. What about Kerley?
COACH DOEREN: Kerley's probably the best play maker, even in their special teams he is. He's a guy that we have to account for all the time. Those are the two that really stand out.

Q. I'm sure it you've studied TCU, but philosophically, why has it spread like this?
COACH DOEREN: I think a lot of people run the 4-2-5. I just don't think they call it that. They're playing a nickel defense, which we did the last four games as well. It's what Gary Patterson knows. It's what he believes and it's what he's done his whole life. He knows how to teach it, he knows how to coach it, and he recruits well. So it's going to be a great defense for them.
If you look at any coach that has a system that they believe in and they recruit to it and teach it, you'll find that they're pretty good at that system. When you have problems is when you change that system all the time on the kids. We've had the same stuff here ever since I've been here. You know, you recruit to it. It's the same thing that Gary's done everywhere he's been. He's been coaching in that system his whole life.

Q. Is 4-2-5 a fancy way of saying nickel?
COACH DOEREN: Yes, that is exactly what it is.

Q. Does Northern Illinois have any reservations letting you go during this whole thing?
COACH DOEREN: No, during interview process it came up. I asked because it's something I believe strongly in. I didn't want to leave this team. They wanted me as their coach. I said if that's what you're going to do, then we're going to stand by you. And Jeff the athletic director was phenomenal, and he understands this is good for NIU. Me sitting here getting this media for their school is good for him too.
The fact that the coaches on their staff, some of them stayed, some of them left, I think he appreciated the fact that I wanted to finish something I started.

Q. Dave, what other stuff specifically are you doing this week?
COACH DOEREN: Just phone calls. I've got a bunch of coaches in place, and they're working. Basically it's just handing out responsibilities and following through at night, making sure things got done, and responding to emails and things like that. There is not a lot going on right now.
The players are still off campus.

Q. You don't seem to be torn. Your heart seems into this?
COACH DOEREN: Oh, yeah. I'm here. I'm here big time. Like I said, I don't have downtime. Lot of coaches are going to go back and sit in the room and watch bowl games and hang out with their kids. I'm not doing that. I'm on the phone. It hasn't taken away anything from my preparation or focus towards this team.

Q. Can you talk about Blake?
COACH DOEREN: Blake's been huge for us. He plays two spots. He's our nickel Mike, and he's been highly productive. There are not many plays that he's been counter productive. That is huge. He's not a guy that's going to create a lot of things for himself, but at the same time when the play is there and he needs to make it, he makes it. He knows how to play the game and what I say and how I finish sentences. He's a coach on the field for me, and that's huge.

Q. When you create a game plan against a quarterback that's started 48 games, how does that effect what you do?
COACH DOEREN: Well, it's a huge, huge challenge, not just for me, obviously, but for the guys. They have to understand that he's seeing everything. There is nothing that we're going to put on the field that he hasn't looked at before. You're not going to trick this guy into making mistakes.
You've got to play with good technique, beat skills and force him to make mistakes. He's not going to be like some quarterback saying well, I didn't see that guy and throw it into coverage. He's not going to do that.
But when he throws it, the ball's ours to play too. That's when we have to do our job and pressure him. Maybe get him to throw it earlier than he'd like.
But coverage disguised and stem all that stuff is good, but it's going to come more down to technique and fundamentals. If J.J. can get some heat on him, if we can reroute a receiver a little longer than he likes to see it done, if we can stay in the proper position and coverage and break on the ball, those are the things that we've got to do to frustrate him.

Q. (Inaudible)?
COACH DOEREN: Yeah, I think they're very similar. When you talk about managing a ballclub, which is the quarterback's job, that's what those two guys do. They manage the game, and they don't make mistakes. They look like, I don't know him, but he's a heck of a leader, just reading the articles about him.

Q. Is he the pro-type of athlete?
COACH DOEREN: Yeah, that's what I told our guys. Build and speed and all of that, and demeanor and character and leadership and the way he commands the huddle and checks at the line of scrimmage we've seen it. We've seen it every day.

Q. Is it also just a coincidence that they were so lightly recruited?
COACH DOEREN: I don't know his story, so I couldn't tell you. Scott really had had nothing besides us. It's a coincidence, I think.

Q. (Inaudible)?
COACH DOEREN: I'd rather not comment on it, to be honest with you. I just think our guys are coached and train to do the right thing. We talk about it all the time. What would your mom tell you to do in this situation? Would she tell you to put your team and yourself in jeopardy? I know she would say no to that, and to me, that is the right answer.
We tell all our guys, the best decisions are the ones that are made when nobody's watching and you know you did the right thing. That's part of becoming a man. I know everyone makes mistakes, but that's what we preach to our guys. How do you make the decision that you know your family and friends would be proud of.
Sometimes you make mistakes, and I know those guys did, and I'm sure they'll learn from them. But I don't think there is any excuse you can put in front of actions that are, I don't know exactly what happened there, but any of the mistakes young guys make right now. You're not going to give them an excuse or free pass. Guys just got to do the right thing.

Q. If someone told you at the beginning of the year that Blake was going to lead your team in tackles at this point, would you be surprised?
COACH DOEREN: Absolutely you would. You just didn't know if he was going to start at the time, but didn't even know he was leading on our team in tackles to be honest with you, that's pretty awesome.

Q. Has his versatility been a benefit to you? That as a linebacker he would pretty much have success?
COACH DOEREN: He's been my ace in the hole here for two years. When a guy goes down and he pops in and production continues to stay the same, having guys like him as a coach is what it's all about.

Q. If you could recruit a whole defense of Blake Sorensen's you'd be in good shape?
COACH DOEREN: Demeanor-wise, absolutely. If you had guys with his character and work ethic, you'd be in really good shape.

End of FastScripts

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