Sept. 28, 1999
JOHN HEISLER: Kickoff on Saturday will be at 1:36 here in South Bend. That is also 1:36 in Norman for any of you coming from Oklahoma.
At this point Coach Davie is here. He will make some opening comments, then we will take questions.
COACH DAVIE: I think any time coming off an Open Date or going into an Open Date when you have some losses as we have had three straight losses, an Open Date can be difficult because all of you realize the only way for us to feel better is to play better and to win. It doesn’t do us any good to talk about it. Doesn’t do us any good to think about it. So for that reason Open Dates are kind of tough when you are struggling.
But I think this Open Date really did come at a good time and really can be beneficial to this football team for a couple of reasons. No. 1, it gave us a chance, I think, to just practice without worrying about game plan. So much of what you would do in college football these days is trying to match up and trying to keep against your opponent where this last week we had a lot of time to spend just on individual technique and individual fundamentals. I think we really need that as a football team.
The second reason I think it came as a good time it gave us a chance to get some players, probably some coaches too, physically and emotionally, rested and refreshed. Make no mistake about it, these last three weeks have been difficult and have been grueling. I think going into this season I remember that press conference up there in the press box talking about can we protect and can we protect the football and can we cover and can we punt.
I think all of us knew going in with the use of this football team in some areas and with the schedule we had that this year would be a challenge – obvious challenge. And I think a lot of us thought that we could be an improved football team, maybe not have as good a record as we had last year. I think that has proven to be true.
I think, first of all, if you look at how tough the schedule – I am not whining about it, just the reality of it – we played three teams in a row and they are 12 and 0. You put Oklahoma in there and that makes it 15 and 0 our last four opponents. Obviously two of those teams on the road, two Top-10 teams. So it is a difficult schedule.
The other reality is we are playing young guys. We have had some young guys played well. Any time you play young guys you get hurt in some situations. You have four new offensive linemen playing, three that never played before. You have three new tailbacks and some young wide receivers on defense. You start three new linebackers and you have got two new defensive backs playing really for the first time – Clifford Jefferson and Lee Lafayette.
So that has hurt us. But the point I am trying to make – all of you understand that – but the point is it is not totally shocking right now to realize where we are. I mean, I have been in college football, as you have, a long time and you knew what that — how volatile that combination can be of having young players and a difficult schedule. And the point is — what makes it so frustrating, though, is how the games have gone. I think that is what makes it so volatile. Because you look at our team, we have lost three games but we have had a chance to win all three games and we have had great comebacks. We have had great comebacks in those games, but all of a sudden you just get the wind taken out of you at the end of the game – that is for the fans and the players and the coaches and everybody.
You look at our offense, we have averaged 400 yards a game. At times we have looked unstoppable, really. I think everyone is excited about this scheme of our offense and the diversity of our offense. But then we fumble the ball, then we don’t score when we are in the red zone.
You look at our defense. I think it has improved. But yet we give up some big plays. You look at our special teams, I think it has improved across the board but yet we have missed some field goals and some extra points.
I think because of those combinations it’s volatile. It’s an emotional roller coaster. I think right now it is obvious as coaches, it is our responsibility to get it solved and the Open Date gave us a chance to isolate some problems and hopefully solve them.
The reason I am optimistic is because the problem areas we have been good at in the past. I know we can get them solved. You look at winning close games, we go into this season – I think we were 8 and 4, winning games of a touchdown or less. We were 4 and 1 the last two years in winning games of a field goal or less. We know how to win close games. You look at the turnovers. We have turned the ball over 14 times. 1997 we were second in school history with only 13 turnovers. Last year we go into the FC game with 13 turnovers, we end up being third in score history with turnovers. We know how to protect the football.
You look at scoring in the red zone. We are 60 percent, I think. 60 percent scoring in the red zone. Last year we were 91 percent. We know how to score in the red zone.
So the point I am making is it is frustrating, but the reason I am confident that we can solve those problems because they are all in areas we have been pretty good at before. So it is up to us now to take advantage of this open week and keep getting better as a team and get our problems solved. Because it is obvious with the teams we play that you have to play error-free to win. We have got some young talent on this team. We don’t have enough talent not to play error-free football because those teams we are playing against they have some talent too.
That is where we are right now. So sometimes we make it worse than it is, I can understand that because of the way the thing has gone emotionally. There has been some great things and you see the potential but then all of a sudden, “whoosh,” you fall off the cliff.
But I really do think we are going to get this thing solved and I think we are going to be a really good football team. I really do.
You look at Oklahoma. It is another chance for us to play an undefeated football team. They come in here 3 and 0. That is not a surprise to anyone. They won three of their last four games last year. Not a surprise that they have recruited the way they have recruited. I have recruited against Oklahoma for a lot of years and against John Blake (ph) for a lot of years as an assistant. I know how he recruits. I know what kind of players they have. You look — they start seven seniors on offense and they go out and get a junior college quarterback and they have got a great scheme.
They are No. 1 in the nation total offense, scoring offense, throw it 50 times a game. It has come along way from those wishbone days.
On defense they are second in the nation in scoring, nearly were 6th in the nation in total defense last year. I think they have 9 or 10 starters back. So it is no great surprise.
Our goal is simple right now is to find a way to win. I mean, as simple as that sounds, doesn’t matter if we are 4 and 0 right now, doesn’t matter if we are 3 and 1 or 1 and 3, it is finding a way to win against a good football team. But we are a pretty good football team. If we can eliminate those mistakes, which we have to do to win, then I think the future is bright.
It is really pretty simple. It is like it is every week, scratch and claw, trying to win. So John….
Q. How would you describe the mood and the production of the biweek practices?
COACH DAVIE: I think it went as well as could be expected for the situation we were in. I was a little worried about letting the coaches go out recruiting over the weekend because I was a little bit concerned about them coming back. But I think it is pretty obvious with the things I mentioned early in the press conference about where our focus is and our focus is on improving and you got to pick yourself up off the ground, got to go back out there practice and solve your problems.
We will know a lot better Saturday afternoon how the Open Date went. But I think it came at a good time for this football team and, you know, I think we addressed some problems we had and I think we are a better team because of it.
Q. Can you possibly give us update on the injuries? I know Jarious’ toe was bothering him last week and also Tony Driver had — at least it was optimistic after the game against Michigan State that maybe his shoulder would be ready to go this week?
COACH DAVIE: Really, it has been positive. Tony Driver is back practicing. We are holding him out of heavy contact, but he is cleared to go Saturday full speed.
Joey Getherall is back. John Owens who had a calf muscle did some work last night. He has had a calf muscle problem. Jarious’ toe seems to be fine.
Other than Mike McNair who has an arch injury that is still bothering him, I think we are pretty healthy going into this football game.
Q. Talking about just kind of healing psychologically too. It was Jarious — has he used these two weeks to as much improve his toe as maybe his confidence which seems to have taken a hit maybe in the last two games?
COACH DAVIE: Well, it is kind of like what I said when I started, you have to go play. We can all try to make ourselves feel better because we practiced for two weeks, but the reality is we have to go out and have success in a game. That is obvious.
But I think Jarious last night at practice, you know, threw the football extremely well. I think his mechanics is something that we have been addressing with him, his mechanics looked better last night in practice.
But I think we will know more come Saturday because, as I mentioned, I mean, the reality is you have got to go play a game. But I think Jarious’s confidence really is fine. He is not a guy that goes in the tank easily and I think he is going to be fine.
Q. You mentioned that you would be looking at Julius Jones maybe in seeing more action in the tailback. Has he progressed the way you thought he would and will we see him more often on Saturday?
COACH DAVIE: I hate to lead you on because sometimes you say you are going to see a guy more often, then you don’t. But he is making improvements.
I think he is a guy that we all would like to see his hands on the football more because he is so explosive. He is going to play. How much he plays, I am not really sure. But we’d like to get him in the game and get his hands on the football more than he has. He is a smart young guy. He seems to hold onto the football and secure the football. So there is no reason not to play him and these two weeks of practice should help him.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about their quarterback. I learned last week against Louisville he passed for 429 yards and five touchdowns. Is he kind of a more of a dropback guy or does he have more dimensions to him than that?
COACH DAVIE: It is amazing when you throw those figures around. You talk about throwing for over 400 yards in a game, that is amazing.
You know, he seems to be a guy that is real accurate, real confident. He hits open receivers. They are like Purdue in the fact that they get a lot of yards after the catch. They have got some talented guys and they throw those screens and quick pass. A big part of the game is tackling after they catch a football. But he is a guy that — looks like he has been there a long time even though he just came out of junior college. I read somewhere where in their first scrimmage this past spring they threw for something like 600 yards in the first spring scrimmage. I was reading that hoping that it was a four-hour scrimmage to accumulate those 600 yards. But I think — the thing I see is he stepped in there and he looks like he has been in major college football and been in that offense for a long time and he is real confident and he is real steady and he is accurate. So he looks like the right quarterback for that system.
Q. Is he a pretty mobile guy? Is he the kind of quarterback that maybe you can get some pressure on?
COACH DAVIE: He looks like he is mobile, but he doesn’t choose the run very often. He differs from Drew Brees in that aspect that he doesn’t get out of the pocket much and run the football a whole lot. Also they don’t do the empty-quarterback-draw-sheme that Purdue does. So for whatever reason they don’t utilize the quarterback running the football as much as some of the other teams that spread the field that we have played against.
Q. Have you guys worked on anything specific in the last couple of weeks to try and improve the pass/rush? You really don’t seem to be getting the pressure out of the front four that you had hoped for going into the beginning of the year?
COACH DAVIE: We thought going against Michigan State that for the first time this year that we started to feel that front four. We had some pressure on Burke and I think we are improving in that, I really do.
But you are right, I mean, we expected a little more productivity out of our front, but it is still early in the year. I do think we are getting better and for the first time against Michigan State, I felt them being a factor in the game.
The other thing, we played some nickel which you have to against these type of teams. We are using Rocky Boiman as that fourth rusher. He is the guy that gives us some vertical quickness up-the-field-kind-of-rusher that I think we need. We have got to keep improving at it but I think it was a little better against Michigan State.
Q. Coach, do you and your defensive your defensive coaches — have you lost any sleep thinking about how many times these guys are going to put the ball in the air in Saturday’s game?
COACH DAVIE: We have lost a lot of sleep. That is probably another reason why you can add that to the list of the reasons why we are rolling around.
I don’t think — you don’t worry so much about how many times they throw it. You worry about how many times they catch it. So it is kind of how football is now. You are not shocked by those statistics of throwing the ball 50 times a game. There is nothing scheme-wise that you haven’t seen before. You worry more about just your execution and how you match up. So it is not some star-wars-type of a deal. It is guys playing against guys, like it always has been.
Q. You talked about the youth of this team. As you go through this in your third year looking ahead at what point, with all things being equal, and no major catastrophes with the personnel, at what point would you expect youth not to be an overriding factor in the outcome of your games?
COACH DAVIE: Well, I think by the end of this football season. I think as we go through this season — you know, and what happens when you say that everybody probably thinks: Here he goes again on that youth. But with those four linemen, they have not played. So as you go through this season you learn from your mistakes. You stay with the plan. You seat the light at the end of the tunnel with those young guys and at some point they are not young guys anymore. So as we go through this season, I don’t think we have that to lean on. But when you are playing good teams, I think it is a factor. You don’t have that exhibition season to work out all the problems now.
You look at John Merandi, there is a good chance he will be back. You don’t lose one linemen period, one offensive linemen. There is a chance that Nicks might be back, you don’t lose one linebacker, period. So I think we are heading towards that to where that is a reality. I’d like to think by the middle of this season that those young guys have played enough football that they have learned from their mistakes.
Q. Some recent information with Merandi because you were unsure —
COACH DAVIE: Well, he is still in the process of petitioning that and taking steps to try and get a fifth year of eligibility.
COACH DAVIE: Same thing. He had a situation with an injury that maybe appealable also.
Q. Past three opponents you faced before you have a lot of game tape from last year and years before. Oklahoma you haven’t played in 31 years. How long do you look at game tape differently without seeing (inaudible) —
COACH DAVIE: Well, we have three tapes on Oklahoma from this year, plus their offensive coordinator was at Kentucky the last two years. And Bob Stoops had been at Florida and Kansas State. So there is really, you know, there is no secrets in college football. You know what you are going to get based on who the coach is and who the coordinator is. From that standpoint I don’t think there will be any surprises. And even though you know — for them defensively, they play against their offense everyday which is that one-back-set-type-of-thing, spread-the-field for the most part. They have played Indiana State that is a wishbone team so we don’t get a whole lot from that tape – we got a little bit. Then Louisville was all one back so we didn’t get much from that.
The point is we didn’t get much from the three games that we saw this year. But we have been around Bob Stoops a lot. We know a lot about his history as well as his two coordinators on defense. They have had successes with what they have done, so they are going to do what they have done in the past. I don’t really see that as being a problem.
Q. Jordan said that the offensive line took it personally (inaudible) when you said that you weren’t confident you can get the one yard on third and one against Michigan State. Have you noticed more fire from the offensive line?
COACH DAVIE: I am glad they took that personally. I am glad they have enough pulse to see that. We don’t have many secrets. We usually identify what we think are our concerns.
I am glad they respond that way. You know what, because I don’t want to be nervous on third and one handing the football off or fourth and one punting the football. Last year again Purdue on fourth and one, we went for it from our own 38 yard line in the second quarter, a lot had to do with we felt pretty good we can make it.
So I am glad he took that personally and I think our football team has taken all of this personally. That is why I think we have got a chance to get it solved.
Q. You mentioned after the Michigan State game that your plan all along was to stay were with Jarious, he is the quarterback, he is the guy. But coming into this game are you looking to get Arnaz in there more? What are your plans with him?
COACH DAVIE: Well, as I have said, I think Arnaz needs to play a little more but Arnaz will play more when Arnaz becomes productive. We had him in in the Michigan State game. I am not trying to embarrass him because we have identified this. He had an opportunity with the fullback in the flat, wide open against man-to-man and threw it over his head. It was three and out in that series. So I am going to do what gives us the best chance to win and until Arnaz Battle proves that he is better than Jarious Jackson, Jarious Jackson is going to be the starting quarterback and play the majority of the time.
How does that whole plan work out? I don’t know. It is hard to prove in practice that you are better than the starting quarterback. So he has to play more in games, and it is not rocket science, really. If he plays well, he will get to play more.
But I also expect Jarious Jackson to play better than he has played. So it is not going to be easy. But Jarious is the starter and I think Jarious has played extremely well at times, but there is also a competition at positions and Arnaz is a young guy with a bright future, that is going to be around here for a long time. But he will only play more when it looks like he gives us a better chance to win the game. He has to prove that by doing it in the game with some limited reps. He is not going to get a whole lot of reps, so he has got to take advantage of it.
Q. Last week you mentioned several different possibilities you could use at fullback. What have you settled on? What are you going to do there this week?
COACH DAVIE: We really haven’t. Lopienski will probably start this football game at fullback. We have used Fisher some. But he is a tailback, doing some things at fullback and how much of that, I don’t know. So with McNair being out with the foot injury, obviously that took away some of the competition at that position and I think Joey Goodspeed last night practiced well. I really do. I thought he bounced back and practiced. He has been nicked up a little bit and been hurt. So we are going to kind of keep doing what we are doing. Rotate between Lopienski and Goodspeed, hopefully get McNair back, use Fisher there some and just see how it kind of shakes out.
Q. With your take on Raki Nelson before he seemed to be a little inconsistent, injured, the injuries really affected him, and Coach Meyer said something about how he didn’t work as hard in the offseason — I mean, is that a correct assessment, or —
COACH DAVIE: I think he has grown up and he has matured and he has had the benefit of Urban Meyer breathing down his neck which Raki will tell you, I mean, he has been on top of him every second. Raki has always been a play-maker, always been a guy that excite you, making plays. He dropped some balls. I remember last year at BC he dropped one. He has been kind of an inconsistent guy up until this point. I have seen him become more consistent. I have seen him become more mature in a lot of areas, both on and off the field. And I think the best is ahead of him. I think Urban Meyer has done a good job with Raki Nelson. He has got a lot of ability to make plays. I think we have seen that the last couple of weeks.
Q. What was the turning point like? All of a sudden he got the playing time, is that the reason or why would —
COACH DAVIE: And also, you don’t want to, you know, say too much. He has been hurt too. He had some ankle problems that had set him back. Any time that happens you get discouraged a little bit.
His attitude has really been positive. He looks at the good things instead of the bad things and he is anticipating some good things happening for himself. I think you can see that. So it has been a combination of things. But I think for the first time he is healthy. For the first time he had some real success on a consistent basis and I think he can really flourish from this.
Q. His ribs now better?
COACH DAVIE: I don’t know. I didn’t know much about that.
Q. That is something where he had a rib injury but I don’t know —
COACH DAVIE: I didn’t know that.
Q. He is doing okay now?
COACH DAVIE: He is doing good. He seems to be 100% healthy.
Q. Third and long, do you guys look for him or is it preconceived notion —
COACH DAVIE: Not really. Last year Jarious had that thing going with Malcolm where every third down it was Malcolm. He is probably like all of us where subconsciously he may favor the guy that steps up and makes a big play for him and because of that you see the ball going to Raki more, but so much is done on reads and in the progression of those routes. But Raki is a play-maker, no doubt about it.
Q. As Julius Jones gets more of an opportunity, what are you looking from him and what are you hoping to see?
COACH DAVIE: You’d like to see a guy break one, pretty simple. I think you like to see him be able to take it to the house. He has got that kind of ability. I think he has got a lot of suddenness and quickness to him and you are always looking for the big-play. Always looking for a guy that is explosive that can make something turn into a home run. So it’s pretty simple. It is explosiveness and long runs.
Q. If he can accomplish that will he of an opportunity to win the job?
COACH DAVIE: Sure. Sure. I mean, that is how it is. No question he will.
Q. You mentioned before the importance of tackling after catches. That has been an area that you have been concerned about. Any particular way that you are addressing that this week?
COACH DAVIE: It is easy to say and hard to do. Another one of those things, you know, because — particularly — that is why these offenses are successful because they spread that field and whether you call it zone or call it man, it is down to one guy tackling one guy a lot of times. That is just how these games are played now. It is how you match up.
I think Oklahoma, you know, they are not lacking for athletes. They are spreading that field with a bunch of good athletes. You get matched up one-on-one. But I think one thing that is a factor is being able to alternate defensive backs and get some fresh guys in there. It seems like the big home runs happened when you are fatigued and you cave in a little bit. I think playing a lot of guys — we have been able to work Beckstrom and Poree and Sapp, even Chris Yura has got some work this week, Ron Israel, you know, we will play all those guys in this game. So I think that helps you so you just don’t get worn down.
Q. How involved were you at all with Wisne’s recruiting and how much has he kind of developed and matured to the point where you can rely on him this year?
COACH DAVIE: I recruited Jerry Wisne. When I first came to Notre Dame Tulsa was my area and some parts of Texas so I recruited Jerry. Andy was a guy that got started late. He was like a baseball player and maybe had some physical injury or something in 9th or 10th grade really didn’t start playing football until like the 11th grade. I remember Jerry would tell me about Andrew and then Jerry’s dad would call about Andrew but he was a guy no one had heard much of. I thought it was another one of those fathers kind of pushing that second son and the brother pushing the brother, but then we got some tape on him, once we were into recruiting. You could see he was a guy that had a lot of future to him, the upside was pretty high. So we watched the tape and we called him and offered him. He took a scholarship almost instantly. So I have seen him come here. He had an academic situation his first year that he couldn’t play that was really hard on him. Then he had some injuries. Then he kind of, you know, was immature in some areas the next year. Now I see him turning into a football player. I really do. He is in better shape than he is ever been. He is taking care of his business. He is a lot different than Jerry. You talk about, if you didn’t know they were brothers, you thought they were two different — >from two different families. They are opposite personalities. But I think he has made some improvement and I think he has got a chance to be really a good defensive linemen here. A lot quicker than he was back a while ago and in a lot better shape. So I think he is going to be a good player for us. I really do.
Q. Ronnie Nicks’s condition for this week?
COACH DAVIE: Nicks practiced yesterday some. He will be — I think he will be about 100% for this game. He is back from that ankle.
Q. Does playing Purdue now turn out to be a positive in that you have seen a team that likes to throw the ball 50 times a game and requires you to —
COACH DAVIE: It will be a great positive if we had scored on the last play of that game. You realize how our lives would all be different right now, from 257-just that right there, Bob, do you realize what a huge difference that would make in this whole picture?
That is why nothing is as bad as it seems and nothing is as good as it seems. But I think having played against that scheme, and if you look at Michigan, Kansas, Michigan State, really every team we have played has had pretty prolific passing games. So we have got some experience playing against it. I think that is what really helps those young players because you able to get them in the game because you have seen a lot of that.
Q. I was wondering if you are able to be a little more patient maybe – Jordan was talking about how we got to get better, obviously to beat Oklahoma you need to get better for the rest of this year and next year. If you were 3 and 0 you are obviously worried about maybe this is our opportunity you got to do some different things, but he said you are back to doing a lot of fundamental work during the off-week and obviously you’d like to win this week, important to win the rest of the games this year, but you are still able to teach — are you able to be a little more patient now?
COACH DAVIE: I am real patient. Now, the people around me aren’t necessarily the most patient.
No, not to joke about it, you know, I think we really have a chance to be good. It doesn’t get any easier, though, when you are 1 and 3. It gets harder to win. That is the reality of that. But you do what you have to do to get better. It doesn’t matter — honestly, doesn’t matter if you are 4 and 0 or 1 and 3 right now. It is trying to do the things you have to do to beat Oklahoma. That simple. So you don’t change your thought on is Jarious a quarterback or is Arnaz or are we more patient teaching this technique or do we spend more time on this because of our situation? It’s what do we have to do right now to solve this problem.
Q. Considering Jarious Jackson’s superior running and passing ability, any thought at all perhaps using him at tailback position?
COACH DAVIE: I think that will be a good concept if Gary Godsey wasn’t our third quarterback right now. I am not sure we are ready yet for that 6’6″, 255 pound guy to be our quarterback so we are a little bit thin. With the way our offense is structured, with those quarterbacks, it takes a pretty good pounding, I am nervous right now about having really two quarterbacks that can run our system. We are short at that position. So I don’t think we can get too clever with that. We are just so darn thin at that position. But, yeah, he would be a heck of a runningback now.
Q. Paul was talking to me about the punting — not the punting, but kickoff situation, extra points, field goals and he brought up the subject of the soft football. He noticed — he said he talked to you about it. He said the same ball was used by Purdue for every kick.
COACH DAVIE: I think it goes back — Paul told me a story when he was in high school about Bryant came down to watch him in one of his high school games. Paul was the kicker. And I don’t want to put words in his mouth but I presume that Paul might have done something to doctor that football because he kicked like three of them out of the stadium – not out of the end zone – out of the stadium. So whatever he did, he is kind of — he kind of speculate that other people maybe do that. But I am not quite that — I am not sure. I am not sure. There is a point about the footballs, though, but you actually register all your footballs to the officials before the game. And there is no question that kicking a football that has been used before and is worn down, you have an advantage. There is no doubt about that. But I can only speak for our football team and we use the footballs that we have registered for the game so I don’t know if I answered that but I —
COACH DAVIE: Each team uses their own footballs.
Q. Because of the circumstances involved and the importance to get a win this weekend and two weeks of individual technique work et cetera, et cetera, do you have a concern that this team might try to press too much in this game, try to play the perfect game?
COACH DAVIE: Well, I think that is what we need to do right now. Yeah, any time you start pressing whether it is standing over that putt or whatever you are doing, it gets a little bit harder. But that is where we are right now. That is where we are. Obviously that is that old momentum thing, if you would have won the last three games, things are a little bit easier for you.
But that is where we are and that is something we have to step up and have to address. It is not going to get any easier. It is just we have get to fight through it and find a way to win. But you are always concerned about that. Always concerned about that frustration level. But I think if you can just isolate again and show them the areas that we need to improve on, and if we do that we will win. I think that kind of takes some of the philosophical part away from it. Where everything is against us or everyone is against us and this is some big problem we can’t overcome. It is pretty simple, don’t turn it over, score in the red zone, don’t give up big plays and we will win.
Q. Earlier Jordan said he thought that Jarious might have lost confidence in the offensive line. Whether he has or hasn’t, is that perception a problem that you are going to have to fight?
COACH DAVIE: Well, I think — not to comment on what Jordan said or didn’t say, but I think it was obvious to me early in the season and we are still early, that Jarious was concerned about our offensive line. He is no different than I am. You are starting four new guys and all of a sudden it is Smith and some of those guys over there rushing you. That is human nature. So we have addressed that and talked to Jarious about that. He did change his mechanics a little bit where he concerned himself with that rush a little bit.
It is something we have tried to have each guy go back and take care of his responsibility and that is the only way this is going to work. It is like that old thing when you start compensating or you try to do more than you should do because someone else might not be doing it, the whole thing starts to fall apart. So, yeah, we have got four new offensive linemen. Jarious was probably a little bit nervous about that. But I also think that Jarious has seen those guys do some good things and they have stepped up and competed and they are getting better and it is about getting Jarious settled down and just playing his game. But I think that — I think that is human nature and I think he is probably right, he has been concerned about that. That isn’t in a negative way, that isn’t in an I-don’t-like-you-way, that isn’t in a way that you don’t have ability. It is in a way that last year it was Petitgout, Rosenthal, Wisne, Ridder, he has been around those guys for a long time. Jarious is a pretty smart guy. So it is just something we have to work through and we have to keep some continuity and we have got to keep improving.
Q. You mentioned a couple of times you need to find a way to win. You, as a coach, do you become a little more aggressive trying to find some positive things for your football team, maybe to go for a fourth and one to get the crowd into the game and get the players pumped up and give themselves a little more confidence?
COACH DAVIE: Well, you do what you have to do to win and I have always believed when you start fishtailing a little bit and you start trying to create ways to win, that is when you get your butt kicked. But we don’t need to create ways. We have played three good football teams toe-to-toe. Could have not easily won those games, but could have won those games. Why didn’t we win? It wasn’t because we didn’t go for it on fourth on one. That isn’t why. That may have been a part of it. But the bigger picture is those things I talked about.
So rather than start creating things and trying to gimmicks ways to win, that shows me you are losing confidence. It stays straight on that course and just eliminate those problems. Don’t open up a whole new batch of problems and don’t take the game out the players’ hands.
For me to go for it on fourth and one against Michigan State, you don’t think the thought entered my mind that, boy, this stadium would be in love with me right now. They will all cheer right now if I go for it on fourth and one. That is the wrong reason to go for it. It was about, with three minutes left, giving our kids a chance to win the game. So I don’t — I am not going to start creating scenarios or creating ways to try to win. We will win.
Q. (inaudible) I wondered what you thought how that game matches up because you are playing both teams so close —
COACH DAVIE: We play Purdue next year and we don’t play Michigan so I am going to go with Purdue.
But that is going to be a heck of a game. It comes down to does Michigan have enough defensive backs to spread out and cover Purdue. Do they have enough quality defensive backs to line up and cover ’em. How many yards does Purdue make after the catch, can they tackle him after they catch. Then can Purdue cover Michigan’s wide receivers. David Terrell and Marcus Knight and the Johnson kid, No. 9, they are talented a receiver too. So it is kind of how those secondaries match up in my mind, who can cover who.
JOHN HEISLER: Any other questions? Thank you very much.
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