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Oct. 15, 2002

Head Coach Jim Tressel
On game vs. San Jose State
“As the game progressed, you could see that our guys were adjusting to the spread and they [SJS] were wearing down. It gave us the opportunity to try some new things and get some guys significant playing time.”

On the special teams
“We didn’t make quite the improvement we were looking for in the special teams. The kickoff team was challenged tremendously by their kickoff return. We did have a chance to work on some optional kicks. We only used the punt game once and we understand that the punt is the most important play in football. When we haven’t been successful against Wisconsin, the punt has played a big role. We have been pleased with Mike Nugent and his consistency. All in all, we need significant improvement in our special teams if we want to realize some of the goals we have.”

On upcoming road trip to Wisconsin
“We have had our eyes on the upcoming football game. We know it is crunch time. This is another opportunity to find out the maturity of this team as we take the road again. Has our leadership matured enough for us to go and play well at Camp Randall? Have our younger guys matured enough? This will be a tremendously opportunity to find out.”

“Obviously the quality of our team will be tested, the maturity of our team will be tested and we are anxious to play against a football team that will challenge us like they always do. This team plays well at home. They are a good team that takes great pride in their program. I’m sure it will be a great challenge for us.”

On Matt Wilhelm’s performance
“His preparation [for the season] was extraordinary. He didn’t get to play in the spring as much as he would have liked to. Some guys allow that to set them back. He took the opportunity to continue to learn the game even more and train hard. He did what he had to do to prepare for an extraordinary year, and so far, he is doing that.” On Mike D’Andrea moving into second string
Both (coach) Mark Snyder and Matt Wilhelm have to make sure that he is ready. I’m sure that they will prepare him. You end up with a good football team when not only the coaches are coaching, but the older guys are teaching lessons.”

On Mike Doss:
“I don’t think Mike is being used differently. We’re always going to his strengths and position him so he can make the big plays that we all know he can do.”

On improving on the road:
“I think the improvement comes through experience. We always talk about the fact that you have to be an extremely mature football team to be consistent. You have to be mature team to play on the road. Guys like Matt (Wilhelm), Shane (Olivia), Mike (Doss) and Donnie Nickey have taken on new roles as leaders and are maturing on that and that’s going to be important when you’re away from home.”

On Wisconsin:
“They’re really a whole new team from a year ago. I think they’re a little bit bigger and more physical inside and have more speed around the perimeter. Obviously they lost a great cover guy, but they seem to be a type team that is going to put all their people in the box and see if your tough enough to go at them. They might play a little man coverage with the secondary and see if you can do better than the athletes covering.”

Matt Wilhelm
On his performance this season
“I am playing better that I have ever played; mostly because I am 100 percent healthy. I have increased my strength and conditioning. I’m having fun. I’m healthy and making plays out there.”

On Wisconsin
“We are going to attack them, put pressure on Bollinger, and on the run game. We are going out to play our best game defensively.”

On Wisconsin game:
“It’s going to be a great game. They will present us with a huge challenge. Every team is going to be a challenge in a different way. Whether it be on the road or at Ohio Stadium. So from here on out it’s going to be very tough on us.”

“There’s a whole lot of mutual respect because we’re both Big Ten football teams and we’re both big, physical teams. Defensively, both teams will run and get after it. Offensively both teams want to establish the run. We’re very similar in a lot of ways.”

On being able to play against Wisconsin:
“For me it’s a little more extra incentive to be able to play since I didn’t play last year because of my ankle.”

On playing in Camp Randall:
“They’re a very rowdy crowd and support their team just like our fans support us. They get down on their team when their team is down and I think that was one thing we did in 2000. We took the fans out of the game and constantly applied pressure to them offensively and defensively and came out with a victory.”

Mike Nugent
On field goal record:
“I try to take things one step at a time. Coming into this last game I didn’t expect to have three attempts. In the next game I could attempt three or I could attempt one or none. You take it one at a time and focus on the matter at hand.”

Shane Olivea
On injury against Northwestern:
“It happened in the third quarter of the Northwestern game. I tried too muscle one of the defensive players a little too much. The medical staff said I sprained my rotator cuff, so it was more of a precautionary situation, but I’m ready to go this week.”

On Wisconsin:
“We’re really looking forward to the challenge. We know it’s going to be a very physical game. On offense, we just want to go out there and perform well and put a complete game together on the road.”