Oct. 9, 2004
TRESSEL: Well, we needed to be the ones that had a 2-0 turnover margin. It’s going to be tough to beat a good team like Wisconsin losing the turnover margin. And we also needed to do a much better job of keeping the ball and keeping our defense off the field, especially in the second half. I think the time of possession of the game was like 36 to 23 minutes, and you’re not going to beat a good team with those kinds of indicators.
REPORTER: Jim, real quick, clarify what went on in that glob of players or whatever after the game was over, were they trying to dance on the W, or were you in the middle of it?
TRESSEL: I have no idea what they were trying to do, but I saw the two opposite color jerseys going at one another a little bit, and probably not very smartly I was in the middle of it without a helmet. But I don’t know that there were any things done other than pushing and shoving, I think.
REPORTER: The replay in the game the second half when you apparently got a fumble and they went back on it upstairs, they discussed maybe giving you the ball and then they didn’t, you may not have been aware of that, but how big an impact was that in the game overall, do you think?
TRESSEL: I don’t know. It was irrelevant. When it was over, we still needed to stop them and go score some touchdowns and we didn’t do those things, so for us to kid ourselves and say that was some kind of turning point or that was the difference, I don’t know that that would be the right thing for us to view it as.
REPORTER: Coach, why was there such a lack of offensive production today?
TRESSEL: Probably a couple things. One, Wisconsin plays pretty good defense. Two, we probably didn’t do as good a job hitting some open receivers as we could have. We had a nice drive going at one point in the first quarter and first down pass, had it caught and then fumbled it down in there, I don’t know where we were, 20. So you can’t do those things. You better do everything just right against someone like Wisconsin, and we didn’t.
REPORTER: Is it the offense that concerns you most that you would reevaluate things or is it just an overall approach?
TRESSEL: Well, you know, we’ve been together a long time, Clay, you know everything concerns us. We work on everything and we don’t work on any one thing less than the others, and our offensive people work 18 hours a day and so do our defensive people. So we’re trying to get better at everything we do.
REPORTER: You’re committed to Justin one way or the other? I mean, you went with him from start to finish the last couple of games.
TRESSEL: I think that was the right thing for us to do, at least in my opinion.
REPORTER: Jim, it looked like we saw some different looks and different plays on offense today. Was this a departure from what you’ve done offensively? Did you open it up and try some new things today and was that forced upon you essentially by the kind of defense you were playing?
TRESSEL: We didn’t have any different run-blocking schemes than we’ve had all year. We had a couple different looks formation-wise, which is natural. If you go back to any one season, they’re going to always give you a little bit of a change as things go, but one thing that we feel against any good defense, and as I said, Wisconsin is a good defense, is you better do a lot of different things because they’re veterans, they’ve seen a lot of different looks, and if you think you’re going to run the same thing all the time, you’re going to be mistaken. We felt like we wanted to come in with a good balance in misdirection, misdirection run, and drop back pass, and some screen, and we just didn’t do it enough in the second half to keep our defense off the field.
REPORTER: Coach, can you talk a little bit about Wisconsin was able to run the ball quite a bit. Can you talk about the status of Mike D’Andrea, are you allowed to talk about that at this point?
TRESSEL: Other than the fact that he’s out for the year, I can’t say what.
REPORTER: So that is confirmed that he’s out for the year at this point?
REPORTER: Can you just speak to the general disappointment, obviously the win streak at home ending, starting 0-2 in the Big Ten.
TRESSEL: Well, I am speaking of that.
REPORTER: No, could you.
TRESSEL: Oh, could you. I thought you said you spoke to that. I guess the biggest disappointment at this point is losing to Wisconsin. Our kids played hard. We’re coming off a tough loss from a week ago where none of us did as good as we were sure we’re capable. And we wanted to make sure that we at least gave every ounce that we had to do so this weekend. So what I’m most disappointed about is we gave it excellent effort, but then didn’t do some of the things you need to do to be a good team. I don’t sit around and think about 0-2 and winning streak, you know. I hope I have to worry about winning streaks in the future, but I want to start with one.
REPORTER: Jim, did Justin take a step backwards today in the progression?
TRESSEL: I don’t think so.
REPORTER: Are there any circumstances where you could see shaking it up at quarterback in the next week or two?
TRESSEL: Based upon what I saw, Bill, on the field today, I wouldn’t say so, but it’s hard to watch everything. We go back and study film and that type of thing, but what I appreciate about our staff and our players is they all sit down and first evaluate themselves and each position. We’ll grade their position and we’ll look at things in total and make decisions based upon what is the best thing for the team, but offhand at this moment in time, that’s not something that jumps in my mind as a solution.
REPORTER: Jim, did John Stocco throw the ball a little better than maybe you anticipated; and also the two touchdown catches they had looked like they were pretty quality catches, can you reflect on those?
TRESSEL: Someone mentioned, I guess it was the radio I was just on, the key to the game was that they ran the ball well, and you know, when you give it to Anthony Davis four times, he’s going to get close to four yards a carry and that’s about what he got. I thought the difference for them offensively was the fact that they were efficient in their pass game and came up with some spectacular catches and some key third-down catches, a couple — they were just well done. And when you’re efficient in your pass game and still can just pound it in there, that makes for pretty good offense.
REPORTER: Coach, defensively, it seemed like maybe you couldn’t contain Davis for one on sweeps, were there adjustments attempted or were they attempted and just the lack of execution, because the defense, as you said, was on the field excessively in the second half?
TRESSEL: I think they do a good job of blocking their scheme. Davis has got great patience. He lets things happen and then has a good burst. Were there various fronts and adjustments and secondary things attempted? Absolutely. Our guys are pretty good at that. I can’t sit here and tell you what they were, but they won.
REPORTER: Coach, could you just elaborate on your thoughts of Zwick’s performance today?
TRESSEL: Elaborate? Wasn’t good enough for us to win. I thought we had some things open that maybe we could have hit, but sometimes until you’re standing in those moccasins and you don’t see what’s going by your vision path and you watch the film and see what those guys saw, I think you can’t be too hasty to say, you should have thrown it here or you should have hit that or whatever. Again, I don’t think it was abysmal. I don’t think it was extraordinary. I’m sure somewhere in between it lies and we’ll go to work from that point. But I’m not disappointed that we took a step backwards or something from that standpoint, from Justin’s.
REPORTER: Coach, could you talk about some of the things Wisconsin did offensively and defensively that surprised you?
TRESSEL: That surprised us?
REPORTER: That they threw at you that maybe you hadn’t expected or was it just as you expected?
TRESSEL: Wisconsin is who they are and that’s why they’re good. They line up and they run the things that they run and they see how you’re trying to stop them and they know what they do once they have to go to the next step. Defensively, I thought they did a good job of attempting to put pressure and trying to play good, close, aggressive coverage on the wide guys, but that’s nothing different for them.
REPORTER: You said you were pleased with the effort. Is there anything else you would hang your hat on as you look to Iowa?
TRESSEL: I think the thing that — I guess there’s two things that I would hang my hat on, number one, I think our kids played hard and our coaches coached hard and our fans yelled hard and the whole deal. Number two, I know the people that are in our room, in our meeting rooms, and they’re going to watch the film and get better. We’ll be ready to go for the next challenge and that’s why I like these guys.
REPORTER: Coach, can you talk about Ted Ginn in the punt return and what that did for the team at the time?
TRESSEL: That was one of the things that we felt like we had to do to win this game. We had to come up with a couple special teams plays, felt like we needed to win the turnover margin and get a little momentum going from that point, throw it efficiently and so forth. At that moment, that obviously was huge and it was a great spark for us and he’s a talented kid. I think our return teams, in general, we’ve worked very hard on them and I think they’ve been solid and that was an exciting one. I’m excited for him because once you’ve done it, you’re going to have a chance to have the confidence to do it again.
REPORTER: Question for A. J., A. J. how frustrated are you in the fact you guys had to play so hard today and the last two games you haven’t come up victorious? HAWK: I think anytime you lose, you’re frustrated, but there’s certain times you have to get off the field. We had a couple third and longs where we didn’t execute, let them catch the ball down the middle, certain things here and there. It comes down to we have to stop them in crunch time. We didn’t do that today or last week.
REPORTER: A. J., last week, I know the defense was disappointed. Maybe your pride was hurt a little bit. Do you feel that you didn’t get redemption at how hard you played today without winning the ball game? You did play hard. HAWK: Yeah, but for us as a defense, I think we always want to play hard and we’re not giving it anything less, so what it comes down to, it’s still us, we don’t get redemption from it, but the only thing we can do is see what we did wrong and come back and make sure we don’t do that again against Iowa next week.
REPORTER: Jim, you talked about the return game. Can you just talk about what you saw of Santonio’s fumble and obviously how key a play was that in the ball game?
TRESSEL: Well, that was a really difficult kick, punt, and as you watched it. Anytime you watch a punt, if the tip goes over, it’s going to be fairly easy to catch. If the tip doesn’t and starts to skid, it’s going to be hard. He wasn’t sure, I think, as I watched him, as to was that reachable. And I think just the competitive part of him said, you know, I’m going to reach this, and the ball was kind of skidding away from him and it was a tough catch and he didn’t make the catch. Not because he didn’t have great effort or didn’t want to do good things for the team, but it was a very difficult punt to catch.
REPORTER: Jim, did you ever see anybody split what appeared to be five guys like Ted did? I know he’s a world-class sprinter; are there different ways of getting him involved? .
TRESSEL: Teddy’s going to be a heck of a ball player for us. The more he’s in and around our system, we need to devise things because he can do some good things with the ball in his hand. He almost caught a little slant over there that could have looked like the same thing at one point in the third quarter, but we’ve got a ways to go and I don’t know think any of us have ever questioned whether or not we’re going to buckle down and get better and become a good football team and that’s what the fun of it is, and that’s what the challenge is, and getting guys like Ted Ginn opportunities and A.J. Hawk and all the rest, that’s what we’re here for.