Eric Olsen was the fourth Notre Dame player selected in the 2010 NFL Draft and the sixth former Irish offensive lineman picked in the last five NFL Drafts.

Captains Press Conference Transcript - Purdue Game Preview (Sept. 23)

Sept. 23, 2009

THE MODERATOR: We have Eric Olsen and Jimmy Clausen. We’ll start with questions from media here.

Q. How is the foot?

Jimmy Clausen: It’s doing better. It’s doing better.

Q. Do you feel like you’ll be able to practice today?

Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, I’ll practice some today, more tomorrow. See how it feels.

Q. How much pain were you in in the game on Saturday? Did you think something bad had happened right away?

Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, as soon as I went down, I knew something was wrong. That’s why I fell down. (Head athletic trainer) Jim Russ and the rest of the trainers came out. Dayne (Crist) went in. I was hurting pretty much the rest of the game. But I just had to play and help the team win.

Q. Have you been told how long? Any idea how long you’re expected to be in some degree of pain?

Jimmy Clausen: To be honest, I have no idea.

Q. Coach was saying they’re going to put something in your shoe to take the pressure off. Is that already in there?

Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, I have it in my shoe right now.

Q. Does it make it awkward at all to walk?

Jimmy Clausen: Not really. It’s just really rigid. Try to make so your toe doesn’t bend too much. There’s a little thing on it to raise my toe a little bit.

Q. Coach was telling us yesterday that Mike (Floyd) was giving you a hard time about the boot. How long will you have the boot on?

Jimmy Clausen: I had the boot on until yesterday, and I was walking in my shoe starting yesterday during practice and stuff like that. Hopefully I won’t have to go back in the boot. We’ll see where it goes from there.

Q. Jimmy, any scenario under which you wouldn’t play Saturday? What do you think?

Jimmy Clausen: The goal is to play. That’s the plan. Hopefully, like I said, I’m going to practice today and more tomorrow and hopefully I’ll be ready to go for Saturday.

Q. When you’re out there, how does it affect you?

Jimmy Clausen: It’s my plant foot. It’s my right foot. Whether I’m dropping or throwing a pass, I’m obviously using my foot to plant. Saturday I had to adjust that a little bit. I really wasn’t using my legs too much because it was that painful. I’m just going to try to do as much as I can today and do some more tomorrow and see where it goes from there.

Q. You lose a guy like Mike Floyd, you can take a few risks and he’s going to probably make you look good. When you don’t have that guy out there, how does your approach have to change or does it change at all?

Jimmy Clausen: Obviously it’s going to change a little bit. Mike is a big play maker in this offense and we’re going to miss him the rest of the season. But that just means guys have to step up, whether it’s Duval (Kamara) or Robby (Parris), Deion (Walker), Shaq (Evans), Goody (John Goodman), whoever it is that’s out there, they got to step up and make plays. Hopefully it’s not too much of a drop off from Mike. We expect all those guys to be as good of a playmaker as Mike, and whenever the ball is thrown their way, for them to go up and get the ball.

Q. Specifically for you, do you have to be more careful, take less risks?

Jimmy Clausen: You could say that. Mike is such a great play maker. So is Golden (Tate). Whenever there’s a guy on them, I have faith in both of those guys and the rest of the guys on the receiving corps that they’re going to make the play, not the DB. They’re going to come up with the catch or no one is going to come up with the catch. I have faith in all the receivers.

Q. Eric is there an injury you want to talk about?

Eric Olsen: I’m okay for now. (laughter)

Q. Your recollection two years ago going to Purdue?

Jimmy Clausen: I think that was my first touchdown pass, Purdue. It was a real physical game. I got knocked out of the game. But the place is a fun place to play in. The fans are right on top of you. It’s a night game. It’s going to be loud. It’s just going to be a great environment to play in.

Q. We’ve been talking about Coach Weis and the offensive people about running the wildcat. Eric, just your perspective on what advantages you gain there, how you can use that formation to your advantage?

Eric Olsen: Well, the wildcat gives us obviously a different look, something that we can add to our game plan that’s a little bit unconventional. At the same time, schematically, taking the quarterback out of the picture — no offense — it gives us numbers on offense. In a running play, the offense is outnumbered because the quarterback has the ball and he’s usually not a blocker anymore. Having the ball directly snapped to the running back and taking the quarterback out of that equation does kind of give us numbers on offense.

I think it’s a package that we can use at certain times in the game to get obviously rushing situations and stuff done, get those times in the game to our advantage and use it in a way that’s going to be effective.

Q. Jimmy, you were open on the touchdown pass that Armando (Allen) threw. Is his responsibility to look and check to see if you’re covered and go from there?

Jimmy Clausen: He threw it to the right guy. I yelled at him when he got on the sidelines that I was wide open. In that particular play, I was a second read. He was reading to Robby (Parris), then to me. Most of the time we didn’t really know they were going to fall off of me, not cover me, just rush 11. So it was just a freak play.

Q. When you were in high school, did you both play on Friday nights?

Eric Olsen: Saturday afternoons.

Q. Do you like night games?

Jimmy Clausen: I like night games a lot. We really don’t play too many here at Notre Dame because we play on NBC in the middle of the day. But I’m used to playing night games at high school, 7:30, 8:00.

Q. I’m sure the coaches occupy a portion of your time. How do you like to prepare for a game?

Eric Olsen: For me that’s the negative part of playing at night. The fans are usually a lot looser by the time the night comes around, tailgates and stuff. The hard stuff is sitting around and watching college football all day. You’re itching for the bus to leave the hotel. That’s the hard part for me.

Jimmy Clausen: The meetings are scheduled a little bit differently when you play 8:00 at night. It just kind of takes you off track of what you’re used to doing, playing 3:00 in the afternoon. You get some more sleep, sit around, watch games that are being played. I think it’s pretty much the same thing, it just starts later.

Q. Do you really notice the fans? You can tell a difference in them when it’s a night game?

Eric Olsen: Honestly, I don’t really try to pay attention. Pregame you get more stuff thrown at you coming out of the tunnel, but other than that, it’s the same.

Q. Jimmy, you grew up in an environment where you were expected to be in a quarterback playing in college and probably on the next level as well. The first time you start hearing your name thrown around on national TV or the first time you’re flipping channels and you see your picture and they’re talking about you, do you recall anything like that and what the feeling is when you’re discussed on national television?

Jimmy Clausen: My feeling of watching ESPN and seeing me up there?

Q. The first time it happens, it must be a little bit surreal.

Eric Olsen: Yeah, what is that like? (laughter)

Jimmy Clausen: It’s kind of funny, whenever I’m watching TV, I’m around some of my friends, they always joke with me. It’s kind of funny. I just laugh. I don’t know. I’m just kind of like used to it now.

Q. You saw it with your brothers?

Jimmy Clausen: Right. So I’ve been around it with my brothers. I’ve been at Notre Dame for three years. We’re always on TV.

Q. Eric, have you ever flipped channels and seen your picture up there?

Eric Olsen: Unfortunately, I have. Twice. Once was when a certain defensive lineman from Boston College kind of took me for a ride. I’m still waiting for his text message thanking me for getting him drafted in the first round. Then recently there was some other news from a couple games ago that was on TV. But, again, it was something that was negative. I’m still waiting for the day I get some positive attention. I’m hoping that it will come shortly. We’ll see.

Q. Might not see you running around much on Saturday. Talk about running around in the pocket.

Jimmy Clausen: I felt real comfortable throughout the first three games of my pocket presence, just knowing when to run the ball or take a sack, obviously when to slide. I’m not one of the guys that’s the fastest guy out there, but get as many yards as I can to help the team, move the chain, ultimately slide, not take a hit.

Q. Have you ever done this much scrambling at all in your career before?

Jimmy Clausen: I don’t think so. I don’t think scrambling comes when you’re rolling out of the pocket and stuff like that. But just being able to — if nothing is down the field, take off, get as many yards as you can. I think that’s something that’s new for me because I’ve gotten a lot better at my pocket presence, staying in there as much as I can. To be honest, I have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line. They’re doing a great job of protecting me and making the holes big for the running backs to make plays down the field.

Q. Obviously the last time you came off a win, you felt like practice wasn’t where it needs to be. How has the mentality been coming off of this win?

Eric Olsen: Very similar to last week. We kind of have the same mindset. It’s a long season. There’s a lot of football to be played. We can’t take any week for granted. Guys are just focused and came out to work yesterday.

Q. Jimmy, you touched on how you were feeling physically when it happened. How were you mentally when you realized something was wrong?

Jimmy Clausen: I hurt my toe last year in the Pittsburgh game. I was just hoping and praying it wasn’t real serious. That was pretty much what I was thinking.

Q. When you got to the sideline, it looked like you wanted to get back out there. Talk about you trying to convince everyone that you were ready to go tot back out there.

Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, I’m a competitor. I want to do everything I can to help this team win. Even when I’m hurt, I’m going to do as much as I can to help the team win. Whether it’s just being in there with the guys, getting them ready to go, say I can’t throw the ball, just getting them ready to go, helping the guys, being a part of the guys, just doing everything I could to help the team win.

Q. Eric, what did you see from him when he went down and then kind of in the aftermath in terms of his toughness?

Eric Olsen: Well, when he went down, I think the whole Notre Dame nation kind of held their breath, except for all the girls in the student section, they were all kind of cheering Dayne. I don’t know what’s up with that. Obviously, Jimmy getting a little banged up is a direct result of the offensive line, running backs, tight ends, everyone was blocking. It kind of pissed me off, obviously being someone that is in this group, being responsible for it.

But to Jimmy’s credit, he’s a tough guy. He definitely has taken a few hits before. So he got back in the game. As a leader, as a captain of this team, as the quarterback, it’s something we all hoped he could do and would do and to his credit did, and led us to a victory.

Q. Jimmy, you have taken quite a bit of pressure the last few years, how much does that help you in terms of mentally being on track that you’ve kind of gone through some tough times already?

Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, gone through tough times ever since I got here. Just being able to go through that is obviously going to help me this week. I think the biggest thing is mentally just preparing myself. Obviously, I didn’t practice yesterday. But just preparing myself like I’m going to play, I think that’s the biggest thing.

Q. Jimmy, is it better for you to take more shotgun snaps this week from the position of the less you have to move your feet, the better off you are?

Jimmy Clausen: To be honest, I don’t know yet because I haven’t practiced since the game on Saturday and I haven’t tested out my foot. So we’ll see when I go out there today. Whatever the coaches want me to do, want the team to do obviously is what we’re going to do.

Q. 22nd birthday on a Monday, your foot in a boot, is this the best birthday you ever had or not quite?

Jimmy Clausen: It was a good birthday. It was a good birthday.

Q. Eric, we haven’t had a chance to ask you about this, the incident from a couple weeks ago, you didn’t seem that upset, did that land or did that not land?

Eric Olsen: I don’t know what you’re talking about. No comment.

Q. When you heard the game at Yankee Stadium was called, did you think I wish I could take a medical redshirt?

Jimmy Clausen: I asked Coach Weis if I could sit out this year so I could be around for that game next year. He laughed it off. Obviously, it would be. I got a chance this summer to see a baseball game there and see how nice the new stadium is. It’s tough. It’s the way things go. I’ve played plenty of football games here. It’s an opportunity I’ll miss out on, but…

Q. Jimmy, talk about the differences between Duval and Robby, what you look for in each one of them as a receiver.

Jimmy Clausen: They’re kind of the same but different in another aspect. They’re pretty much the same speed. Both of them are real good possession receivers. Duval is a bigger body, can go up and make plays. I’m not saying Robby can’t, but Duval is a bigger body. I think Duval is more physical. I think they’re pretty much the same guys, just different bodies.

Q. Eric, you mentioned picking up blitzes, whatnot. How much do you spend time in practice on kind of working 11-on-11 in that situation? Do you ever kind of take aside somebody like Jonas (Gray) who is relatively new to that situation and give him some pointers?

Eric Olsen: We don’t spend as much time as we’d all like to, that being the coaches and players and everything. You can’t fit everything into the amount of time we have. We definitely do work on that kind of stuff. It’s easy to work on blitz pickup as on offensive line with, because we’re all on the same level, it’s easy to pass things off. When you have to pass off blitzes and stuff with guys at different positions, it gets a little bit tougher. Anytime guys, especially tackles with tight ends, interior guys with running backs, anytime we get a chance off the field in meetings rooms to talk those things out, it’s something we take advantage of and really do.

Q. Armando, an underappreciated part of his game, the ability to pick up guys. What makes him good in that role and why is he able to thrive there?

Eric Olsen: I think a big part of his success in that role is his experience. He’s seen pretty much every blitz we can go against in his career already. He’s made those blocks plenty of times. That experience definitely helps him out a lot. When you’re a young guy, you see all the wild blitzes that defenses can throw out, kind of gets your head spinning a little bit. As you get older, it kind of slows down for you, makes it easier.

Q. Jimmy, are you conscious of what back is in a game?

Jimmy Clausen: Most of the time I really don’t know which back is in at the time unless I’m in shotgun because when I’m in shotgun, I talk to the backs most of the time when it’s a pass just to make sure they know who they got, so we got everything squared away.

But just like Eric said, I think the biggest thing for all the running backs is experience, just seeing the blitzes in practice, executing them, then going into the game. Some defenses might do a blitz that we’ve never seen before and just adjusting to that is tough for younger guys. But say like Armando has been playing for three years here, he’s seen pretty much every single blitz that can be thrown at him. He’s done a real good job of sticking his nose in there and making the block.

Q. How much more does that put Kyle (Rudolph) in the mix for somebody that you target and then talk about what kind of outlet he is, your fourth option last week?

Jimmy Clausen: Kyle is a big playmaker in this offense. It was Kyle, Mike, Golden, Armando. Now it’s just Kyle, Golden and the rest of the receiver guys that are going to be playing on the field. Kyle is a big play maker. You have seen him out there. He’s only a sophomore. It’s pretty scary to see a sophomore progressing this fast and making plays like he is.

Q. That play specifically kind of speaks to pocket presence as well. A situation where you could have tucked it and picked up five yards, but remember your fourth read. Talk about that maturation process, to remember where everybody is on the field, not take the easy yards there.

Jimmy Clausen: That’s one of the big things I worked on the springtime, I’m still working on now, is my pocket presence. That’s one of the big things Coach Weis stressed to me going into this season, staying in the pocket more, move my feet, keeping my eyes down the field, just making plays, whether you have to make the play with your feet or step up, or throw it to your outlet like I did with Kyle last week. I’m getting better at it each week.

Q. Before he mentioned it, did you know you had to improve in that?

Jimmy Clausen: I knew I wasn’t staying in the pocket like I should. To be honest, I didn’t really know how to do that. I’m a visual learner. After we watched tape of Tom Brady for about an hour, I kind of got the picture in my head of what it is to stay in the pocket and keep might happen eyes down the field. After watching that tape, just going from practice to practice, I think I gradually have gotten better at that.

Q. When did you watch that tape? Was there one play that really crystallized it for you?

Jimmy Clausen: It was a bunch of different plays. We watched I think it was a hundred some cut up tape of him stepping up in the pocket, moving around a little bit, making plays. It was before spring practice.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, everyone.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll get started with any questions here.

Q. Could you comment on Purdue’s attack. Coach Weis says it’s become more conventional. What do you guys see with their attack?

Kyle McCarthy: I’d have to agree with Coach Weis. Last year with their offense, they were definitely more of an aerial attack and tried to spread you out. The biggest difference this year is their running game. Up until last week, their running back was the top back in the country. We’ll have to be ready for a balanced attack. They’re more than capable of moving the ball on the ground as well as the air.

Scott Smith: I think just the weapons they have, especially at running back and tight end and their quarterback, who is still fairly mobile and can make plays with his legs, but also make plays in the passing game. He does a great job of still looking down field when on the move.

Q. Kyle, their running back, what style of runner do you see?

Kyle McCarthy: The thing that I notice, he’s a tough runner. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he breaks a lot of tackles and has a lot of yards after contact.

We’re going to have to play good defense against them, break down, make the tackle at first contact because if not, we’re going to pay for it.

Q. (Jaycen) Taylor, a similar type runner?

Kyle McCarthy: Definitely, a speedy guy. Both guys have shown the ability to make plays. I think that’s why they’ve had so much success on the ground. If you have a good running game, it really opens up the passing game. They have shown that they can move the ball well.

Q. We’ve been talking to your offense this week about the wildcat. They gain an extra man with the quarterback split out. I don’t know how much you have faced that. When you do, what are some of the problems you see created by a wildcat formation?

Kyle McCarthy: The biggest thing, the reason people run the wildcat, is because you get an extra blocker. Essentially the center is handing it off to the running back. Obviously it takes, as a defensive guy, an extra blocker so you have to cover an extra gap. It’s difficult. In the wildcat offense, you need to read your keys and need to be in every gap or that’s where you’ll get gashed.

Scott Smith: It is also a bit of a change up. You see an offense, conventional, snapping the quarterback for however many plays, the wildcat formation has a tendency to throw defenses off their game if they’re not prepared for it. That’s one thing you have to do is prepare well and understand what they’re trying to get accomplished out of it. With different teams, I think you saw it in the Monday night game with Miami, just how effectively they were able to use it as a change up to what they were able to do with their traditional offense. It forces you to be able to change gears and switch mentality a little bit.

Q. Scott, the last couple weeks, some big positives and negatives on special teams. Game-changing plays. What kind of learning experience do you think that has been for some of the younger guys?

Scott Smith: I think, especially for the younger guys, knowing that every play — kind of reinforces the fact that every special teams play matters. You really don’t get a second down in the kicking game. Once a play happens, it’s not like if you’re on defense and you give up a four-yard run, all of a sudden it’s second down and you have a chance to play another day. You give up a kickoff return or like last week with an onside kick, it forces guys to be more aware of it and have better communication leading up to it to see some of those looks.

Q. How do you think you have improved in kickoff coverage?

Scott Smith: I think a lot of kickoff coverage has to do with guys beating one on one blocks and being where they’re supposed to. We have a ton of athletic guys on the kickoff team, like Zeke (Motta), like Sergio (Brown), like Mike (Anello). The quicker we can get down and take on blocks, the sooner we can beat and defeat blocks, the better chance we’re going to have of making plays inside the 20 yard line.

Q. Kyle, talking about the D-line, the front seven, the improvement they can make in the defense. From a secondary perspective, where do you think the biggest room for improvement to get the defense on track?

Kyle McCarthy: On the defense we feel we need to improve, especially in the secondary, guys being on point, every play, recognizing formations, tendencies. As a safety or a corner, you need to be aware of the down or distance and know what to expect so we can jump routes and make some big plays. It’s going to take some extra work in the film room, translating it onto the practice field.

Q. When you are rotating corners as much as you do, what kind of challenge does that present for you communication-wise?

Kyle McCarthy: It’s really not that much different no matter who is in there. We’re taught to communicate on every play so we’re on the same page so there’s no breakdowns in coverage. Obviously, this is football, mistakes happen. We’re not always a hundred percent. But that’s what we’re working towards. Anyone that Coach (Corwin) Brown throws in, we have all the confidence in.

Q. Yesterday somebody was asking about the schedule for you guys. Coach Weis said it’s brutal. As graduate students, what is your day like especially after practice? I guess you don’t have to go to study hall.

Kyle McCarthy: Contrary to popular belief, we have to go to class, too. I have a nine-hour class schedule. It’s not a whole lot different than the younger guys. So I don’t know. I guess I could spend a little more time in the film room or watching my favorite sit coms at night. Other than that, there’s not a whole lot of different.

Scott Smith: I would kind of have to agree. Especially when you’re a younger guy, you’re waking up at 7:00 in the morning, getting done with study hall at 10:30 at night, practice, study hall at night, trying to squeeze in meals. I guess if there’s a way to describe it, it’s a little more relaxed. We are both taking nine credit hours, so there’s an opportunity to steal a couple more hours of sleep here and there. Other than that, we have the same responsibilities class wise and are still expected to go to class and get our work done.

Q. This week, being you can’t hang your hats on the six-game losing streak to MSU at home, and Jimmy was not at practice yesterday, what do you do to refocus for practice?

Kyle McCarthy: I don’t think it’s going to be a whole lot different. The team, we’ve said all year, is mature enough to understand this isn’t the NFL. This is college football, every game counts. You go into a game, you lose a game, it really changes the outcome of your season, like it or not.

Every game is important to us. Purdue is no different. We know the type of talent they have. And it’s a night game. Guys are excited to play at night. Especially for the young guys, night game on the road, ESPN, I’m sure they’ll be up for it.

Scott Smith: I guess just this week basically realizing Purdue is our next game, so it’s our most important game. Obviously, Michigan State is in the past. Whoever we play after Purdue is in the future. Guys understand there’s nothing they can do about next week or the week after, it’s just what can you do this week to help our team get ready to go, whatever amount of playing time or reps you get during practice. Everything counts to make sure you put yourself in the best position to play well on Saturday.

Kyle McCarthy: Another thing on that, Scott and I are fifth year seniors, there are a whole bunch of seniors on this team, we want to go out the right way. We know this is our last go around so we’re going to make every game count.

Q. Kyle, Charlie talked earlier this week on Sunday to find something defensively to hang your hat on. As you’ve been through meetings and started game prep, what does that mean for you as a defense?

Kyle McCarthy: I think our defense has heard what everybody has been saying. Obviously, we don’t want to get into games where they’re shootouts. We want to help this team any way we can. We heard what everybody has been saying. We know what to correct. We’re on the practice field trying to correct that and improve every day. I know Scott (Smith) and I have confidence on the defensive side of the ball that we’re going to be able to improve and help this team out.

Q. Where does that start?

Kyle McCarthy: Obviously it starts on the practice field, the intensity. The older guys on the team in each position keep on everyone to pay attention to detail, stay in your right gap, read your keys, and the rest can take care of itself.

Q. With Coach Tenuta, are you doing anything differently than you were last year since he’s become coordinator?

Kyle McCarthy: Coach Tenuta’s language hasn’t changed very much. (laughter) I was kind of joking with you.

Not a whole lot. Coach Tenuta is one of the brightest football minds I’ve ever been around. It’s amazing the things he sees. Obviously, there’s things he wants us to improve on. He’s certainly let us know that. Coach Brown has let us know the areas that the defensive backs need to improve.

You know, those are the two guys that you listen to what they say and, like I said, we’re on the practice field striving to improve in the areas those guys have pointed out for us. Hopefully we’ll see some improvement on Saturday.

Q. Last year you made tremendous improvement as a defensive unit. Have you noticed anything or the reason why maybe things haven’t gone quite as well as you’ve thought?

Kyle McCarthy: Obviously on Sunday, you come in and watch the film, there’s things that stand out to you that you know your weaknesses, you really wonder why that’s happening. But it’s football. Things happen. What’s in the past is in the past. The only thing we can worry about is the next game. We’re trying to improve that. That’s why these guys come in here and work so hard.

We have high expectations for ourselves. In order to attain those goals, we’re not going to be able to talk much, just try to go out on Saturday and prove it.

Q. What do you see that gives you confidence in Coach Tenuta?

Kyle McCarthy: Just being around him every day. You know what kind of coach he is, you know his background, track record. We’re happy to play for him and believe in his philosophy. He’s had success in the past. When we come in and watch film, we know what goes on and why plays happen. It’s not the scheme. It’s a breakdown here, a breakdown there. As players, we need to own up to our mistakes and really take it upon ourselves to correct those, and we’re trying to do that.

Q. Scott, can you talk about the intensity, the motivation of the team going into this week and how it may compare to last week coming off of a loss?

Scott Smith: I think first and foremost, obviously everybody is happy that we got the victory last week over Michigan State. But we can’t rest on that or somehow look to that as being satisfied.

This team, we look at every week, every game as kind of its own challenge, just the fact that we need to prepare and practice to win and be ready to show up and prove on Saturday why we should win that football game.

Every week there’s intensity on the practice field, just knowing this is our next opportunity to go out there and show everybody what we can do, what we can accomplish.

Q. Kyle, when Eric (Olsen) talked about intensity wasn’t as high coming off of week one, how do you make sure coming off another win intensity is still high?

Kyle McCarthy: Well, we lost when we didn’t practice that well. That’s a pretty big motivating factor. You know, I think we’ve learned from our mistakes. We have great leadership on this team. This is our last go around for the seniors. We don’t want to lose another one so we’re going to do everything we can to beat Purdue and take it one game at a time.

Q. Is there a different mentality a player has to overcome coming off a win versus a loss?

Kyle McCarthy: No, I don’t think so. I think every game is important. We know that. We’re just out there trying to correct our mistakes from the week before and keep improving. You know, this is Notre Dame, and we’re excited to be a part of it. We know the expectations here. We’re just trying to fulfill those expectations.

Q. Can you talk about facing Purdue? Obviously there’s been some pretty good battles over the last couple years with them, facing them year in and year out.

Kyle McCarthy: Yeah, I mean, Purdue is a great program, a good team, one that’s more than capable of beating us. We know what they can do. That’s why we’re out there practicing and trying to improve. I think yesterday was a great day of practice. I expect the same today because this is going to be a huge game for us and our season. So we’ll be ready to play come Saturday night.

Scott Smith: Like we said earlier, we recognize that Purdue is a dangerous team. If we’re not ready to play, some bad things can happen. We’re doing everything we can this week as leaders and everybody else on the team, especially the older guys, to make sure we have the mindset going into the game this is our next game, this is our next opportunity. Nothing else matters except what happens on Saturday night.

Q. What are you taking for classes?

Kyle McCarthy: I’m taking an environmental crisis class, a human anthropology class and piano.

Scott Smith: I’m taking that same environmental crisis class, coaching youth sports, and also doing a independent study with a professor I’ve worked with for a couple years since I’ve been here.

Q. Piano been a lifelong dream of yours?

Kyle McCarthy: I have no previous expertise in the area. However, not that I need help, but I feel the female population might like that out of me.

Scott Smith: We’re actually trying to set up a recital sometime this year so he can showcase his skills. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

Q. Kyle, you made a reference to night games. Are night games more fun, just in general?

Kyle McCarthy: I think so. The crowd is always a little bit more fun. They’re always away games, which gets you excited as a player. So, the atmosphere is going to be great. We’ve been to that stadium twice now. This is our third time. It’s a great place to play. It’s exciting. Their fans are passionate. It will be a great college football atmosphere, one that I’m excited for.

Scott Smith: I have to agree with Kyle. Kind of a different atmosphere being out there at night, especially being on ESPN, the whole country’s gonna be watching. I think Purdue, our freshman year, that was another night game there. That was one of the more fun games I’ve been a part of, just the atmosphere. Like you said, the fans are pretty raucous.

Q. Do the coaches occupy your time all day or are you pretty much free to watch other games? Does that kind of add to the buildup of things?

Scott Smith: I’m sure by being a night game, we’ll have some free time during the afternoon, hang out, watch TV, relax, maybe feel a little antsy getting ready to go. Used to the 3:30 kickoff on NBC. Gives you a little more time to prepare yourself mentally and physically get yourself ready to go that night.

Q. In general, how much do you watch other college teams watch during the day or at night?

Kyle McCarthy: I watch them all the time, I mean, as much as I can. If it’s on TV, might as well watch something I like watching. Especially if it’s one of our opponents we’re going to play, it’s kind of interesting to watch what they’re doing against other teams, not really in a game plan sense, but just to watch it and see their personnel, what guys are doing what.

If we have the extra time, we usually like to relax and get our minds and our bodies ready to play.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, guys.

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