Oct. 12, 2004
TRESSEL: Didn’t hardly recognize these two all cleaned up. Got Anthony Schlegel and Ryan Hamby who will visit with you. Seem to have an inordinate number of Tuesday classes. Nick Mangold, who we’ve been trying to get here. Donte Whitner, we’ve been trying to get here, a couple other guys and Anthony and Ryan volunteered because they wanted to get their new suits on so you’ll get a chance to visit with them a little bit. All of you were there on Saturday and we talked after the game that from first glance, we thought that our players came out and played with excellent effort and banged around with a pretty good football team and when push comes to a shove, it ends up that we didn’t have and make the plays that you need to make to win a football game like that. We felt as if we needed to make some big things happen in the special teams and that we could. We began that way and seized the momentum of the game and stopped them on defense a few times right off the bat and took the ball back down and were moving on an eight-play drive and turned the football over down about the 20 — caught the ball on about the 23-yard line. And instead of going up at that point convincingly and really seizing control, we didn’t do that and in games like that, you have to take advantage of every opportunity you have and we fell short from that standpoint.
As the game went along, I thought Wisconsin did a good job of making some plays. I thought we had some opportunities to make some plays that we didn’t make. And then as you get down into the fourth quarter, which is where most tough battles are usually run with nine minutes to go, we made the fatal error and dropped the punt and gave them an opportunity. Would have liked to have held them to a field goal, giving it to them, I think, on the 13 or so, success would be holding them to a field goal and we didn’t get that done and we quite frankly didn’t play as well from that stage on and didn’t get a chance to climb back into the football game.
There were some outstanding efforts. Teddy Ginn was selected as the special teams player of the game, although there could have been a number of guys there. Obviously Mike Nugent with his outstanding field goals and kickoffs. Kyle Andrews’ snapping was excellent. Stan White was on three different teams and really did a fine job in every role that he was asked to do. Nate Salley did an excellent job on special teams things. We could have had a number of special teams players of the week, but Teddy Ginn was, indeed, that. Defensively we probably could have had a number of guys selected. A.J. Hawk happened to win the award. A. J. had somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 18 tackles and just played an outstanding football game. Our attack force player of the game was Donte Whitner and Donte, I think, ended up with over 20 tackles, 15 tackles and six assists or something along those lines as the coaches graded the film. I’m not sure on Steve’s stats it’s that way because they’re called on game day for official stats, but pie think in film grading, he ended up with, I think, 21 tackles and Donte played an excellent football game and played physical and did what we needed to get done. Anthony Schlegel and Bobby Carpenter and Quinn Pitcock played some excellent football and we felt that they did what needed to be done.
Offensively, we were not able to award an offensive player of the game. Typically it’s that offensive player that comes up with plays, makes plays, makes the difference, or just has steady performance in point of attack situations and we didn’t feel as if we had that type of performance. We did have an offensive lineman grade what we felt was an outstanding performance and selected as the offensive lineman of the week and that was Nick Mangold who continues to play very, very well and is the offensive lineman of the week.
One thing that we talked about a week ago as we were here together, we talked about the way we take the practice field was going to be an indication of just how well and how hard we’re playing and we were really pleased last week preparing for a good Wisconsin team and that we were ready to go out and now it was a matter of would we go out and get it done. I think in large part that was because of our scout teams. Our scout teams did an excellent job beginning last Tuesday, had a lot of pride in playing their role. Our offensive scout team in particular, Dionte Johnson happened to win the scout team player of the week with his excellent fullback play but Erik Haw and Marcel Frost and Kyle Mitchum and a lot of guys, Todd Boeckman, were mentioned by our defensive coaches as doing an outstanding job. Over on the defensive side, we thought they did a good job as well. Alex Barrow was emanating number 90, Erasmus James, who we knew we were going to have to pay close attention to who’s an outstanding player, and Alex did an excellent job of playing that role and won the scout defensive player. Over on the special teams, Nick Patterson was a part of most of the special units scout-wise and gave us an excellent look and we felt we were very well prepared to go against what we were going to see. And I have to tip my cap as we were challenging ourselves to do a better job than we had done the week before, I thought those guys that played those practice roles certainly did that. Wisconsin, to us coaches, seems like a while ago because the amount of time and effort you spend evaluating that and then moving forward because you better not dwell too long on Wisconsin when you’ve what out there at Kinnick Stadium and a very good football team, I think they’ve won, I don’t know, 15 or 16 games in a row there, their Big Ten schedule last year, they were undefeated at home and played very, very well and lost a couple Big Ten games on the road. This year, in their early season, they won their home games, lost out on the road to Arizona State, lost over on the road to University of Michigan although played very, very tough, very well, until they had some turnovers and the game could have been a little bit different had they taken care of the football. Then Michigan State came into their place two weeks ago, and they were up 38-7 and Michigan State scored right at the end — or 38-9, excuse me, Michigan State scored right at the end and they truly controlled the course of that football game. They were off this week. They felt that that was a good thing in that they had been banged up a little bit at tailback and needed to get some work done there. They were missing a couple of their secondary guys, Sean Considine, number 37, and some guys that perhaps could be back. They’re a younger team on the offense. They’re a veteran team on the defense. Seven of those guys are back on the defensive side, excellent players, Roth and Hodge and Greenway and a bunch of those guys at both corners that played against us, the kid that got hurt, Babineaux is back, he got hurt in our game as a matter of fact last year of the so they have a lot of veteran players back on a very, very tough defense. I don’t know, I think Michigan ended up rushing for 60 yards or something like that. Very physical up front, very aggressive on their front. Michigan State did run the football a little bit, but it was basically from spread as a quarterback run-type situation, a lot of quarterback draw and so forth, but they’re an outstanding defensive team. I think they’re second best in the league right now in punt returns. Hinkel, who’s their leading receiver, has done a great job on their punt returns. He’s an excellent player.
Over on the offensive side, their quarterback is an exciting young guy. Each game you can see him getting better. He had an outstanding day against Michigan State and high pass completion percentage really against both Michigan and Michigan State and you can see him growing into the position. A lot of movement. He’s a guy you better contain. He keeps the play alive. He lets the ball go. He runs for some yardage. He’s an exciting guy and I know they have real high expectations for the type of quarterback he’s going to be.
So we have a tremendous challenge. I think all of our challenges, whether they’re personal or team oriented, begin with yourself, so we have to first answer the challenge to ourselves getting better and then the next challenge is when you line up against the guys over in their home stadium is you have to be better than they are and do the things that it takes to win against a tough football team and that’s what our guys will set out to do this afternoon as we go back to work. Questions?
REPORTER: Coach, what does Troy Smith have to do or what does Justin, I guess, not have to do in order for Troy to see more playing time?
TRESSEL: Well, you know, the same answer, I guess, would be at any position. You decide who you think is performing the best at a position and that’s who you put in the game or decide on a rotation that proportionally you feel that way. And specifically in Troy’s case, he would need to perform better than Justin and Todd Boeckman in practice and it’s, again, the same way with all of our positions.
Once the games start, it’s a little bit different, it’s not like spring scrimmages or the preseason scrimmages and so forth. You can have just basic head to head competition, running the same play versus the same look and those kind of things, so he would have to practice better than Justin.
REPORTER: So once the game starts, are you pretty set on the quarterback you’ve chosen at that time, unless there is there’s a blowout or an injury or something to that nature?
TRESSEL: I don’t know if you could go that far, but once you see a separation between two people performance-wise, until there’s not so much of a separation, you’re set.
REPORTER: The quarterback situation is obviously something that the media and fans are debating a lot around here. Do you get any sense at all of it becoming an issue among your players and do you have any kind of fear from a coaching standpoint that it could be a divisive issue among players on your team?
TRESSEL: Well, I spend more time with the staff, because we’re there night and day, and I haven’t heard any discussion or divisiveness from that standpoint. That’d be a good question if you’re interested in the answer to it, I don’t know if it’s a good question, but I’m not sure what it has to do with Iowa, but the answer to that question would be to the players if it’s about them, but I haven’t seen or heard or felt that.
REPORTER: When did Justin start separating himself more from Troy, because I think it was — as we had learned it, throughout the competition it was very close, Justin had a slight lead but the competition was very, very close and I think you just referred a minute ago to there’s more of a separation now. I was curious when that came.
TRESSEL: Well, when that came. I don’t remember putting a gauge or a barometer or using — maybe I said slight, I don’t remember that, but over the course of practices, we’re allowed 29 practices and we’re allowed 15 in the spring. Our goal, I guess, isn’t quite the same as people looking from the outside. Our goal is working to get adequate quarterback play or linebacker play or tight end play or whatever it happens to be so that we can be successful. And we measure each guy individually and see if we’re moving in that direction. You have to make decisions as to who goes in the game, so you do evaluate — you do, I guess, have a scale as to who’s doing that better. But I guess I worry a lot lesson which one of the one, two, or three guys as much as I worry about are we getting the kind of quarterback play, in this case, that we need to be successful. Are we getting the type of linebacker play or tight end player or O line play. We keep our concern focused on that because I think that’s where it needs to be.
REPORTER: What’s your answer to that, Jim, when you evaluate that question in the quarterback position specifically? Do you feel you’re getting that performance you want in a quarterback?
TRESSEL: You know, at times we have, and at times we haven’t. That’s why we’re 3-2. And it’s not just that, don’t get me wrong, because you could go down the whole list of all of us. Are we getting the kind of offensive line or running back or D line or whatever. But I think we’ve seen some signs of it and we’ve seen some signs that we haven’t. That’s why when anyone has asked what is the thing that you want to develop most at this stage is a consistency in performance. You know, whether it’s playing the deep ball as a corner or coming over top on the outside sweep as a linebacker, or it’s stretching the nine technique as a tight end blocking or delivering it to the right receiver as a quarterback. We all have — or calling the right play at the right time, whatever. We all have a consistency that we need to reach of which — what would I like most? I would like us to reach that.
REPORTER: Is quarterback different than other positions in that — I assume you evaluate every position and whether you’re getting that winning level that you want and in some of your, in fact, in some of your other skill positions, you seem to be playing a couple guys at full back, a couple guys at tailback, some different wide receivers. Quarterback, you’re sticking with Justin. I wonder if that position is one you feel like both those guys are young, you need to pick the one you believe in right now and let him make his quote, end quote, rookie mistakes and learn from those rather than splitting that up and depriving him from that on an exclusive basis or what is it about quarterback that makes you want to stick with one guy where at other spots where you may not be getting exactly what you want all the time, you’re willing to look for some different people?
TRESSEL: I think that is a good and a fair question. It’s interesting, I learned a little bit more about the perspective of that question this weekend talking to Craig Krenzel. Grossman went down, so they bring a guy in from wherever he was, fishing somewhere, and they’re in an open week. And I said, well, Craig, how did the reps break down. I was curious to see how do you get — you’ve got three guys, you’ve got an open week, how do you get ready who you need to play. And he said, well, the number two guy, Quinn, whoever the guy was, he got the most reps and myself and the guy they brought in from the outside got about even. He said, but when the game week comes, none of us will get reps except the number one guy. And he said, that’s been a little different. And he said, you know, one thing I’ve learned is you better learn from watching or you won’t make this league because you don’t get reps. I said is it that way at every position? He said, no, not really. You have seven linemen and you rotate them in, that’s all you have in your roster. I said, well, why do you think they do it that way at quarterback? And he said, I think it’s because there’s so much involved that you need to experience so much that that’s why the NFL teams only give their number one guy the reps.
Now, is that the answer to your question and we just didn’t know it? You know, why do we sometimes as coaches alternate our tailbacks and not our quarterbacks? You don’t see us alternating our — some positions the way we do others. D line comes rolling in and out. You don’t see people alternating their center very often because there’s so much that goes into playing center. So, you know, I guess the answer to your question is, not that you’ve got two young guys and you have to decide who you believe in or whatever, when you make a decision it was to who’s practicing better, your focus then becomes, how can I help this person do what this team needs at quarterback and there’s a lot, whether it’s our team or the Chicago Bears or Iowa Hawkeyes or whoever it is. So the answer is, yes, it’s probably a little different at that position than some others.
REPORTER: How is Justin physically? He obviously got beat up a little bit during the game and did you consider sitting him out a series or two because of that.
REPORTER: How is he doing physically?
TRESSEL: As far as I know, fine.
REPORTER: Jim, did your own experience playing quarterback kind of teach you some things about how you handle that specific position from a coaching perspective, when you look back at when you played the position and some of the growing pains you had as a quarterback —
TRESSEL: I never grew, so I guess it was very painful, four years of pain.
REPORTER: Did it influence at all maybe since you were a quarterback how you look at that position?
TRESSEL: It’s such a different world now. There were maybe two coverages, you know, and we played the run and shoot, so maybe there was only one coverage because it was so new. I guess I would say this, I thought it was a pretty important position. When I had the ball in my hands for our team, I wanted to make sure I did a good job with it. That maybe has helped me form my opinion of how important that position is and that we’ve got to make sure we do a good job with it if we continue to be a great winning team. But beyond that, the game is so different, it’s so different than when I was coaching the quarterbacks here 20 years ago. It’s a different world.
REPORTER: Coach, the offensive style that you showed last week with primarily shotgun and things of that nature and spreading the field, is that kind of the direction that you feel like the offense is going? Was that the game plan for Wisconsin or how do you assess where the offense is going for the rest of the season?
TRESSEL: Well, you know I wouldn’t get into any long discussion of that because I’m sure that out in Iowa City we’re well read. But I think you get into a feeling of who can we get the ball into who’s hands, what can we do best? What are the things that you — and that’s what you try to evolve to. And then each week you add, okay, who are we playing, and what can we do against them? And that’s what’s going on. That’s what was going on last night at the office until whatever o’clock on both the offense and the defense and the first thing in the morning, that exact thing discussion was going on special teams-wise through every unit. Here’s what we do. Here’s who we think we are and what we can do. Now, here’s who they are, what’s the best plan? And sometimes you leave a game saying, man, we had — that was exactly the way we thought it would be and we made the plays and calls and whatever we needed to do and other games you say, you know, that might not have been the best approach. We didn’t know they were going to do this or that. And because of — I have found football players in the last 10 years to be so much more on top of what people are doing against them because of all this video. We had one copy of the film and we cut it up and put all the splices, the blitzes on one reel and put it back in the film. The amount of study years ago, these guys, it’s amazing what they know. It’s amazing the things you can do. And it’s amazing what the high school kids coming in now know what to do because their coaches have video and their coaches see how many games on TV over the course of their life times. It’s amazing how much goes on in the course of your planning and what you can do and what your kids are capable of doing and learning and it’s an ever-evolving game.
REPORTER: Coach, with Mike D’Andrea’s injury, can you address who steps up now into that position and also John Kerr, what his role is or his future?
TRESSEL: Well, Anthony Schlegel obviously has been playing MIKE, and right now I would say the number two MIKE is Bobby Carpenter, is that right, Anthony?
SCHLEGEL: Yes, sir.
TRESSEL: And the number two SAM is Marcus Freeman, and the number two WILL would be —
SCHLEGEL: Thomas Mathews.
TRESSEL: Thomas Mathews, when he was healthy, he was out a little bit last week. Chad Hoobler may get some reps to learn the system. Curtis Terry gets some SAM reps. But now John Kerr is working on the scout teams.
REPORTER: Will you apply for a red-shirt medical for Mike?
TRESSEL: I don’t know. We’ve got 12 games of Iowa sitting there and we’ve got five of this year’s games, last thing I’m going to do is go down to the training room and talk about medical red shirts and Mike’s got to work on rehab right now and those things happen in a time sequence. But would we be interested in Mike D’Andrea being around here longer than shorter? Absolutely.
REPORTER: Jim, you had one offensive lineman grade a winning performance. What’s not getting done up front over the last three years, what do you see as a common thread there or is there a common thread? Have you seen progress, I guess, is what I’m asking on the offensive front?
TRESSEL: I think we do, and I thought Rob Sims played perhaps the best he had played this year in this ball game. Kirk Barton got to play a lot more than he’s ever played. He missed a lot of spring with an ankle and was playing catch-up in the preseason as to knowing — being a freshman lineman, all that goes on there, red shirt freshman lineman. He got thrown in there against a very, very good player there, number 90, and I thought showed some signs of helping us out there. I think Doug Datish and Mike Kne continue to gain experience. What’s missing, what’s the common thread? I don’t know if I can ever pick one. You guys always want me to pick one thread. The one thread, I would say, is consistency. Two thread is, sometimes what an offensive lineman needs is a running back breaking about three tackles, and all of a sudden you’ve rushed for 175 yards against a good team instead of 100 or whatever, and a back sometimes needs a clean hole, you know, where he can run, no one touches him until he gets to 20, it’s a two-way street. But consistency and some good things happening for them. An offensive lineman certainly needs — and that’s why I love this game, because if I’m an offensive lineman pass protecting, I’m really at the mercy of how quickly a receiver will get open and how quickly a quarterback will let the ball go and vice-versa, if I’m a quarterback, I’m at the mercy of how well an offensive line will protect or do we have the right protection on to handle that number of guys coming, et cetera? So we need to get better. I know we have a lot to do and a lot of hours to spend today and I know this is what you do want to sit and talk about it, but we need to get better, and to me that’s the common thread.
REPORTER: How would you evaluate Justin’s performance in regard to what you just referred to, throwing the ball away and avoiding the sack Saturday?
TRESSEL: You know, the one sack down there in the first series that we had the ball in the second half, he was coming off of a blind, naked fake and I don’t think he felt like he could see anything and I thought that was the right thing. Now, would I liked to have had him have enough time to get around and see that he was in trouble and get the ball away? Yes, but in that particular situation I think there were a number of situations where there were people at his feet or in his face or whatever that he got the ball thrown. I don’t remember offhand any times that I sat there seeing on the film that, hey, you’re holding the ball too long. I don’t remember any of those. And I do remember some situations where he stepped up and ran very well, which I thought was outstanding. Whereas John Peterson talks a little bit about Ben Roethlisberger’s sophomore year as he’s in our staff room, he felt that Ben’s biggest problem at that stage was he held on to it too long maybe let some things sack-wise happen because he didn’t want to have turnovers and that kind of thing, he wanted to do what was best for the team. And what John said is, you know, that’s one of the pluses you have to say about Justin. He hasn’t frozen there and sat and held the ball at this point in time.
REPORTER: Speaking of sacks, defensive line or defense only got eight sacks near the bottom of the Big Ten, I realize it’s not just sacks, it’s also pressure on the quarterback. Why is it they haven’t been able to get more sacks and why hasn’t there been more pressure on the quarterback?
TRESSEL: Well, I would say that some of it has to do with the quality of the protection or the quality of getting rid of the ball. I would say some of it is that — some of the guys doing the pass rushing are doing it for their first times in their career. I don’t know that we’ve blitzed an inordinate amount of times, but we’ve blitzed solid and I think quarterbacks have done a good job of letting it go, you know. But I don’t remember us being a sack-happy team because people come in and what do they do when they play us? They usually get rid of the ball fast. So I think you add all those things together, again, I can’t come up with your one answer and I know you only get so many inches, but there’s a lot of different things that contribute to all of those types of things.
REPORTER: What’s Dustin Fox’s status for this weekend? If he’ll be back, what kind of impact do you think he’ll have?
TRESSEL: As we’re told from the medical group, Dustin’s cleared to play. So I think he’ll be excited about that, he’ll be full of enthusiasm and fresh legs and all of the above. I think his presence, as indicated, he was selected captain of the team so people feel very strongly about him. I think his presence will be felt. And exactly what he’ll do and what circumstances he’ll be in and what opportunities he’ll have to make plays, I don’t know, but I’m excited he’s back.
REPORTER: You mentioned Kirk Barton a while ago. This week were you shaken up at all? He played a lot, in place of Schafer, is Schafer still your number one at right tackle or —
TRESSEL: I think Kirk will play a lot. I can’t say we’ve sat there and said, who will play how much, but I think Kirk earned the right to have an opportunity. I think he did a pretty good job.
REPORTER: Coach, earlier, when you were asked a question about Troy Smith, you mentioned that not only does he have to outplay Justin in practice but Todd Boeckman as well. I’m just curious, do you have a clear-cut number two behind Justin right now or are Troy and Todd very close?
TRESSEL: Well, I like to bring up the guys that are legitimately in the competition and that’s the three guys legitimately I would feel fine if any one of those three guys went out, they know what we’re doing and they have, I think, the talent level to make some good things happen. I think Todd’s been doing a great job for the scout team. We’ve asked a lot of them and had him get banged around quite a bit every day over there and he has really impressed our defensive staff. Now, our offensive guys don’t spend as much time watching that film as they do, but we have a clear-cut number two in Troy, but I’ve been saying since Todd Boeckman’s been here that we have high expectations for him. And everyone, I guess, wanted to leave him out of the discussion ever since January 3rd of ’04, and Craig and Scott are gone and never was I asked about the three — or I shouldn’t say never, seldom. So I’ve tried to make it a habit to make sure we don’t forget him in that discussion.
REPORTER: At running back, did you think that some ground was made up, no pun intended, on Saturday or are you happy with the way things are going?
TRESSEL: I thought Antonio Pittman and Lydell made some progress there. Branden Joe, I thought, did some good things. I forget exactly who had how many touches, but it was Lydell had the most and I think Antonio the second and Branden, all three of them had runs and catches which were good things, and, yeah, I felt like we did make up some ground there.
REPORTER: As a coach, when you’ve gone through a couple losses in a row, how much of your job at all is to make sure guys keep plugging away or is that something you’re not really worried about with this group? You know, it’s been a while since they’ve gone through a two-game losing streak, the program, I’m just wondering, do you talk to them at all about, hey, we’ve got to keep plugging away, stay confident.
TRESSEL: I wouldn’t say I’m worried about it, but I would say that’s a big part of any leadership position, whether it’s these two guys that are fourth-year guys who have to make sure that the young guys who play their position or playing their unit have their sights set on the right thing. The same thing we as coaches need to do is to make sure we do what we say we always want to do which is work really hard on today, and we say that and we talk about focusing on what’s going on right this second. Sometimes when other things happen, whether they be three wins or they be two losses, the human mind can drift off of the task this second, and that’s our job. I’ve always said that the job of the coaches and the older players is to keep us on task, no matter what the circumstances, down 28, up 28, 5-0, 3-2, 9-0, 6-3, whatever it happens to be, that’s our task. So am I worried about these guys? No. Do I think we need to work on it? Yes.
REPORTER: Jim, Justin has not completed 50% of his passes in the last three games. I’m wondering, do you feel like he’s not getting enough time, is there something you’re seeing as you grade his performance that maybe the average spectator would not have noticed or so forth?
TRESSEL: Not enough time, you mean —
REPORTER: Throw the ball.
TRESSEL: I think a part of that answer is all of those things. Has he had some balls that were open and he had plenty of time and he needed to deliver them? Yes. Have there been some times where we had a place to throw it and he knew where we wanted to throw it, but the receiver wasn’t there? Yes. Have there been some times where he didn’t have enough time to hold on to it long enough to allow the receiver to break open? Yes. What else could contribute to that? Have there been a bunch of dropped balls? I don’t think so. I don’t think we’ve — I can’t sit here saying we’ve had a huge amount of dropped balls, but everything is a part of everything and that’s what we have — we, meaning the people in the room that are trying to get better have to understand, and that’s what we have to know the people outside of the room won’t understand, so we have to work on that.
REPORTER: Coach, in the second half against Wisconsin, they had the ball for a total of 6 minutes, what do you feel the offensive offense needs to do against Iowa to keep the defense off the field.
TRESSEL: If you asked me why we only had it that long, I would say there were three things. One, we have to stay away from minus yard plays. Our one three and out to start the second half, we were second and six then third and 12 and that’s a tough duty. The second thing I would tell you is that when we are on target getting what you need, second and six, third and two, whatever it happens to be, we need to convert on third down and not sit there saying, well, we need to hit a hundred percent of them on third and ten or more, but we need to get all or nearly all of those ones that are third and four less. That would be the second thing. That was the reason we didn’t have the ball long on the second half. The third thing is, we lost a possession when we turned it over when we were going to get it back. So you put all those three things together and I guess you could add the fourth thing, is they had a 12-play drive to end the game and it’s not a complicated game. That’s why all those things are why it occurred. There isn’t just one thing.
REPORTER: Could you maybe elaborate a little bit on what was going on the second downs that third into third and long or third do you understand that turned into fourth do you understand, like what was particularly happening that wasn’t getting done right or what couple things weren’t getting done right?
TRESSEL: I wouldn’t want to go play by play through them, which is what we do, that’s our job as players and coaches, go play by play and what could we have done on this play to make it more successful or this defense to make it more successful, but we didn’t consistently execute, I don’t know if that gives you what you need, but that’s the truth.
REPORTER: Jim, did Troy expressing his frustration a couple of weeks ago hurt his chances with you or the staff of getting an opportunity to play in the games since then? I’m wondering because if you would reward a kid with playing time after he complains, you might send a message to the other 84 scholarship guys about complaining to play.
TRESSEL: We don’t reward playing time. I think that’s where it starts. Playing time is earned, earned by performance in the practice field and earned by do you do the things we need to do within the scheme we’re going to use, whether it’s Ryan Hamby and we’re in two tights or one tight, if we’re in no tights, well, Ryan’s not going to be in there and it’s not because we didn’t like him, we didn’t have a tight end in there. So you have to earn that. And we don’t reward — if we took away and added based upon what guys said, they’d all be up at the door all syrupy talking why they ought to be put in the game and they’re so nice we ought to put them in or if they go to the media and say, hey, that coach is a great guy. Guys have to earn what they get.
REPORTER: And that’s also not held against them either?
TRESSEL: I don’t hold things against people. That’s why I come each week. If I was that kind of guy, I wouldn’t show up.
REPORTER: You went from Wisconsin’s defensive front and you mentioned Iowa is another pretty solid defense. Just talk about the problems they’re going to pose.
TRESSEL: They’re dissimilar, interestingly enough, there they don’t play the same style. They play very aggressive, both of them, in their technique ways and so forth, but you can’t sit there and say, okay, this exact thing that Wisconsin showed us, you’re going to get that again on Saturday, that’s the beauty of college football, every week it’s a little different. They’re both very, very good at what they do but they technique-wise aren’t — you wouldn’t mistake them for one another if you really studied the film, but they’re both good. We saw that last year.
REPORTER: You mentioned in an earlier question that you evaluated Justin and Troy over the whole spectrum, the whole back 15 practices in the spring, 29 in the fall, but after those 29 practice in the fall you thought enough of Troy to be committed to playing him some in the opener and then you also inserted him because circumstances, I guess, required it or you thought it was necessary in the Marshall game. I’m wondering, since then, did he do something in his series against Marshall or did Justin have such a good week or a good performance against NC State that that is what has tipped it to exclusively Justin since then, I’m wondering how you feel Troy moved in the game to where Justin has come your exclusive quarterback.
TRESSEL: I think both things you said are true, I think Troy earned the opportunity to play in those two games, and secondly, I’ll share this with you, for four years now, I really like to get, especially at the quarterback position and in the early games, guys for sure in the game when the game is in doubt because you never know and I hate for them to get thrown in, even if there’s a separation, perhaps, in their performance in practice, I hate for their first opportunity to be out there when the game is on the line middle of the season, late in the game, or whatever it happens to be. Was there anything Troy did in the Marshall game? No, not that I can recall, that all of a sudden, we evaluate every series, every quarter, every game, every staff meeting, who should do what we’re trying to do and it’s — believe it or not, it’s that simple.
REPORTER: So your charge to him would be, become a better practice player.
TRESSEL: Yeah, our charge to all our guys is become better at everything we do. That’s kind of our motto within, is become better as a student. Become better as a film study guy. Become better as a community outreach guy. Become better as a practice guy. Become better as a player. Get better at everything you do. So my charge to him wouldn’t change. My charge to Anthony, I was sitting and talking with Anthony, east a competitor, he came and said, what do I have to do to help us more? You know, we’ve got to get better at every single thing and I don’t know exactly what his techniques are and his Coaching position and I’ve sat in staff meetings for 30 years and I don’t know exactly what is asked of these guys, but I do know this, he’s got to get better at all of them and he’ll help us more. So he headed out to get better at all of them, and he has.
REPORTER: In other words, you don’t believe in creating a change in pace by changing quarterbacks, because you do change running backs sometimes, it appears to maybe get a little bit different look or you go from an I formation —
TRESSEL: I would say only if a change of pace is needed. No, I don’t have a hard, fast philosophy that you should or you shouldn’t have a change of pace. There’s a time for lots of things in this game.