Oct. 29, 2016
COACH MEYER: Thanks for coming. It’s great to be home and get a W, a hard-fought W against a good team that had a lot of momentum and went — and a lot of respect for Coach Fitzgerald. He’s a good friend of mine for many years, and a good, tough team. And I thought our guys (indiscernible) up when they had to, and the final two drives were big.
The pistol play we ran to K.J. Hill, because they were overplaying the perimeter run game, and then the two third downs in the final drive — J.T. to Noah, they were playing two man, men under coverage, which is a hard-to-execute corner route. And then the Q run, which if you have an athletic quarterback, they play two man, you can make them pay the price. So J.T. was outstanding. And nothing was perfect, but we’re going to enjoy that win and go.
Q. I think most people recognize how good Northwestern’s defense is. But coming off last week and the conversations all week long about your offense, when you walked off the field, how did you feel about 24 points on the board? I know you got the win, but how do you feel about the offense this week?
COACH MEYER: I like the fact we started fast. It seemed like both teams had long drives. We had limited possessions in the first. I want to say just four other the one when we were backed up in the two-minute situations. So very good defense. You can see what they’ve done in the past to teams.
We’re good. We’re not good, we’re going to — we’re a project. We’re in — things are — young players and we’re still working things out. But I’ll tell you what, I promise you I’m going to enjoy this win and so are the players and we’re going to move forward.
Q. Deep crossing route to Curtis Samuel also was a big play and stuff. You guys just seemed to find some things as the game went along. Is that the best way of putting it?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, we found some things early. And they adjusted well. I think they have a very fine coaching staff. We kept motioning the tailback out and creating an empty look for them. And we hurt them.
Then they started dropping defensive linemen underneath some of those patterns. It was a pretty good chess match back and forth. And I just love the way we finished it off. The fact that we had to go score a touchdown and we did. And then we had to hold them to a field goal and we did. And then we had to eat the clock and finish the game on offense which is a sign of a good team and we did.
Q. Were you surprised they went for the field goal instead of going for it. Obviously the holding call hurt them in the situation?
COACH MEYER: That’s why we took it. I think they would have went for it on fourth and five. I was talking to Coach Schiano upstairs, and if you decline it and they go for it, you kick yourself in the teeth and then you take 15 yards. But I have enough confidence in our defense that we forced them to kick that field goal.
Q. Looks like today you guys made a pretty big effort to get Curtis the ball. I was wondering, it seemed like you guys have a lot of success when you hand it directly to him out of the backfield. We asked you about that Monday. It seems like he’s kind of become way more of an H-back than an H-back/running back. I’m wondering why you guys have made it that way, and do you like the way he runs the ball?
COACH MEYER: I love the way he runs the ball. And he had seven catches and seven rushes. What was the question? He’s more of an H-back. Do you know what an H-back is.
Q. Just seems like he’s outside as a receiving option more. And when —
COACH MEYER: No, he’s — that’s what we want — 50/50, seven, I wouldn’t mind eight each. Eight catches, eight handoffs. We’ve got to block a little better for him. He should have more yards than that. No, if you’re wondering what that position is, that’s it. That’s what the hybrid H does — he carries the ball in the backfield and he also catches the ball.
Q. Update on Parris Campbell?
COACH MEYER: Sprained ankle. And it’s not fractured. They took an X-ray already. We’ve got to get him back.
Q. Is the deep passing game a work in progress? That it’s got to be something — what’s happening there or not happening?
COACH MEYER: It’s a combination — and we’re not hitting it. I don’t know if we’re separating. I see the same thing everyone else that watches us. And I just think we’re going to get that figured out.
Q. You’re now heading into November, which is the time of year you want to be (indiscernible). How far away are you from being that team that it needs to be in November?
COACH MEYER: We’re long — we’re just going to go try to find a way to beat Nebraska.
Q. You had few scores in the beginning, then the five punts in a row. Anything you can put your finger on as to why the offense struggled for that long period?
COACH MEYER: I’ll let you know more afterwards. I can’t tell you right now off the top of my head.
Q. Do you expect every week to be a dogfight down the stretch here?
COACH MEYER: Yeah. We’re kind of a dogfight team, I guess. That’s fine. It builds a little character, I guess. Age is your coach, builds character for your players.
Q. I feel like maybe it’s been hard to get a read on this team because we knew you were so young, right, so young coming into this year. Then you beat up Oklahoma and you looked so good, people started looking at you, oh, man, you guys are a great team again. Do you still feel like this is sort of a team in transition a little bit, that you’re still working some things out, that you still are young in a lot of ways?
COACH MEYER: What this team has done so far, I love scheduling. I don’t bother with schedules. Our team went on the road to play in three ridiculous, really tough environments. They grew up. They got tougher. They went and played a team that just beat Michigan State, Indiana and Iowa, two of them on the road and they were in a street fight and they end up winning. Very proud of them. I love these guys. They’re very young. That’s fine. That’s no more excuses about that.
But we’re going to continue to get better. Is this team whatever everybody wants them to be? Probably not yet, but they’re working very hard to get to that point.
Q. When we watched the team, you guys on offense, you have a lot of skilled guys. You have talented guys. And just sometimes looks like maybe they’re not being used to the utmost. We know what the offense is that you want to run when you’re running it best. Are you frustrated? Do you feel like it’s unfair? Are we talking about this team or asking questions about this team in a way that you think isn’t fair because you won a game, you’re a good team you have a good record and that’s enough or is it okay to question it?
COACH MEYER: I think it’s my 15th year as a head coach. What goes on in here — the questions, I’m good. I answer very honestly. Do I think you’re unfair? I would never say that — first of all, I don’t know what you say. I’ve just — I’ve got a team to coach, and we’re getting better. We’re 7-1 with a bunch of new players that I love to death right now and enjoy coaching them.
Q. Your offensive feel right now is pretty good?
COACH MEYER: Pretty good. You had very balanced, ran for 200 and threw for 230. Most places that’s a pretty good day. I understand here it’s a little off a little bit. We’ve got to get that 500 number, I guess. But I’m very happy with it. I’ll enjoy myself tonight.