Sept. 27, 2006

Q. From an assignment perspective, the addition of the option to produce offense, from an assignment standpoint, what does that do for you guys defensively and for you in particular at safety?

Tom Zbikowski: You got to make sure you’re doing your job. If at any time you try to make a play you’re not supposed to make, if you’re supposed to have pitch, you go for the quarterback, you get a pitch, that’s going to be a long run for you. It just brings in another aspect of an offense that you have to worry approximate about.

Just kind of what we were preparing for. Another spread offense with an option attack. There’s always that threat of now it’s 11 on 11 as opposed to 11 on 10.

Q. Who does their offense compare to that you’re accustomed to?

Tom Zbikowski: Just seen them, you know, pretty much from last year. It’s pretty similar to last year. But also just like last week, where they’re going to spread you out and try to get you in space, where once again you’re going to have to be fundamentally sound in tackling because they’re going to try to get you in an open space.

Q. Last week, the conditions were not ideal. I’m sure you’ve played in conditions worse than that when it was a lot colder. What games from your past do you recall specifically, opponent, et cetera?

Tom Zbikowski: There was just a game in high school where there’s pictures from newspaper clips where pretty much kids’ shoes were pretty much covered in water. They’re always fun to play in. They’re tough conditions, no doubt about it. Any time you tackle someone, you’re sliding 10 more yards. It’s always fun to play in those type of conditions.

Q. Who was the opponent? Your senior year?

Tom Zbikowski: I think it was junior year in high school. It was actually homecoming game against Prospect High School. Fun game to play in. We still lost 6?0, but still a fun game to play in.

Q. So you were having fun Saturday night?

Tom Zbikowski: Any time you come back and win you’re going to have a lot more fun.

Q. Tom, talk about coming back and winning, especially a game where you guys were down. What does that do for the confidence or the morale?

Tom Zbikowski: I think it’s big. You don’t want to keep bringing up the past, but last year making a big comeback, but not winning, it makes the game interesting, a lot more exciting, but it doesn’t do much if you don’t get a W.

So coming back and actually getting a win is big for this team.

Q. How about the fun aspect. Obviously not fun to lose after Michigan. Poor first half. Is it fun again?

Tom Zbikowski: Oh, yeah, it definitely is. Any time you lose, you’re down in the dumps until your next win. Obviously you can’t let it carry over and let it affect you like it did in the first half.

But once you get things rolling and once plays are starting to be made, it’s fun, you know. Hard to say in practice becomes fun again, but it’s not bad.

Q. Coach Weis does something special before every game where he says something to every player. What does he say to you?

Tom Zbikowski: You know, just to go out there and play hard. Any time you get a face?to?face, one?on?one right before the game with the head coach, just talking about the importance of each game, it definitely gets you ready to go.

Q. You compared Purdue’s offense to what you faced last week. Last week the middle of the field was open an awful lot. What kinds of things do you have to do to tighten that up some?

Tom Zbikowski: I think once we put ?? we put a safety in the middle of the field, I think that’s when pretty much over the middle passes were nonexistent. Early in the game, they had a couple passes over the middle. Then we put a safety in the middle of the field, and that’s pretty much when the middle of the field was not able to be taken advantage of.

I think we’ll mix in a little bit of that, but also be a little more conscious on making plays if we are at two?high safety, make sure we’re overlapping.

Q. Charlie talked Tuesday about getting off to a good start in the first quarter. He says we played great defense in the second of half. Why can’t we do that in the first half? Do you have an answer to that question?

Tom Zbikowski: I wish I did. It’s hard to say what causes it, what’s the effects of why we played so good in the second half but not in the first half. We just got to make everything just as important as ?? the first 30 minutes just as important as the last 30 minutes.

Just got to try and come out and make plays. Get the momentum in our favor early on.

Q. Every week you face a bigtime receiver. This week it’s Bryant. Talk about him a little bit.

Tom Zbikowski: Very fast. He’s a guy that makes plays in space, which is why they’re going to try to get him the ball and stretch you vertically, but also sideline to sideline. They’ll also put him in the backfield, try to get him the ball that way.

We’ve got to be ready for anything, him running the ball, him catching screens or deep passes. I know he had a lot of touches against us last year. We got to be ready for it this year.

Q. Last question about last week. Probably an unpleasant memory. First run of the game when Caulcrick came at you. Talk about trying to stop that load.

Tom Zbikowski: Usually when I’m tackling people, they go down after I make a hit. The kid kept running. A big back. He took a couple guys down with him. That run and later runs. He is a big back. He’s a tough back. I give him props. Watching film on that wasn’t fun.

Q. When you watched that on film, do you hide your eyes a little bit?

Tom Zbikowski: Yeah, I was peeking through my ?? I put my hands over my face. I couldn’t watch that one.

Q. You made a great tackle in the third quarter, basically saving a touchdown on Ringer. Can you talk about that play.

Tom Zbikowski: I don’t really remember that one. They all string together. Was that the one ??

Q. Right in front of your sideline.

Tom Zbikowski: Yeah, I slid about 10 yards after that one. I just saw him start bouncing to the outside. He was just as good as a back with a little more speed. They got a good combination with a powerful back and a speed back. I saw him hit the outside, and took the proper angle to try ?? dove and got him out of bounds. Just do whatever you got to do to make the play.

Q. Do you put last week away totally? I know after Michigan you wanted to put it away, focus on the next opponent. This is one where you can carry momentum and take that good feeling.

Tom Zbikowski: I think so. Definitely what we were talking about, why we were slow starting. Try and take that momentum that we had in the last couple minutes of the game and bring it into the first half of this game.

But definitely you feel good about yourself after a win like that. You want to keep that upbeat tempo, that momentum into the next game.

We’ll see Saturday what happens. Spirits are high here. I know that. Hopefully it will transfer over to the field.

Q. Any way to take that road mentality? It seems you guys are such road warriors. Any way to bring that home?

Tom Zbikowski: I think, just like we were saying before, trying to keep that momentum from that game with all the turnovers that we were creating on defense and the offense making big plays. I’d like to see what would happen if we put 60 minutes of that together.

It will be interesting to see. I know everyone’s itching to get back on the field and play like we did in the second half.

Q. Do you feel like you’ve had a chance to breathe at all? It’s been one big opponent after another so far.

Tom Zbikowski: That’s been the question week in and week out, with the opponents and the receivers we’re facing. That’s fun. That’s why you come to Notre Dame. You want to play against the best in the country. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Q. How about Lambert? He rose to the occasion. Seems like everybody knows who he is, and everybody wants to have a piece of him now.

Tom Zbikowski: We’ve been seeing that for a year or two now, watching him cover people, watching him make plays in practice. It was only a matter of time before a game like this happened.

I’m happy for the kid. Couldn’t happen to a better kid, especially coming off the week before, coming back and making big plays like that.

Q. Do you remember being an unknown and then all of a sudden everybody knows who you are? Have you given him any advice?

Tom Zbikowski: It’s fun. You want to have fun. I guess any time someone on defense scores a touchdown, that’s when their name is known. Hopefully some other young guys will keep making those plays. We’ll keep scoring on defense.

Q. You were talking about Lambert. What kind of advice do you give him? As much of a high as he’s on right now, if something bad happens against Purdue, it goes back down again.

Tom Zbikowski: I think he realizes, just seeing what happened the week before. I know even one of the plays, I was supposed to be over at (indiscernible) giving him the help that he needed. But, you know, you’re still going to get blamed for that.

It’s highs and lows every single week. It’s highs and lows, play to play when you’re playing defensive back. You make one mistake, every single person in the stadium knows. Everybody on TV watching knows. It’s highs and lows every single game, not just game to game.

Just to show his character coming back from a game like this, having this big of a game, I’m keeping quiet because hopefully he’ll just keep playing like this. I’m not giving him any advice.

Q. Do you ever put yourself in those shoes, what it would have been like for you playing corner at this level?

Tom Zbikowski: Not really. I’m happy at safety. I’ll let those guys cover one-on-one, man?to?man on their own. I’m happy where I’m at.

I couldn’t imagine the pressures of being put on an island, what they have to go through. You can have 60 some great plays in the game, but have you two bad plays, like I said before, everyone’s going to know. You’re going to be looked at as a not?so?good defensive back. That’s the way it is across the country with every team.

Q. Samardzija, I know you guys have lived together. What has that been like? Any surprises about living with him?

Tom Zbikowski: Well, actually I live in Knott Hall with a couple younger guys. I’m not living with him. He has an apartment. I usually stop by and hang out with him.

It’s fun just being around people like that. You think our whole lives are pretty much based around sports. Once we hang out, we try and get our minds farthest away from football and sports and things like that, just relax and try and be normal college kids.

Q. In terms of so much attention with both you and him with the outside things, like the boxing, baseball, so forth, what’s that that been like for you? Does the attention ever get old for you guys?

Tom Zbikowski: I think that’s why we have a close relationship is because we just want to be normal people, normal college kids. We don’t look at ourselves as anything special. We’ve said it before. We’re like little kids that can’t decide which sport they want to play when it comes to that season. That’s pretty much us in a nutshell.

Q. Last year it was pretty clear. You guys had a mission, wanting to prove to people that Notre Dame really was back, you guys were really good players. What about this year? Everybody’s talked about taking it one at a time, fundamentals, techniques. What is the big picture with this team, the mission you’re trying to prove this year?

Tom Zbikowski: It’s hard to say. We still got to prove people wrong week to week. Every single game it seems like we can’t win, we’re not good enough to win.

I think, you know, last year it was kind of a big picture of trying to prove that we can play. I think we’ve proven to the country that we are capable of playing week in and week out. Now we just have to do it.

I think that’s why the week?to?week approach is the best approach that we can take and not worrying about what’s going to happen in the future. Just worry about having fun and playing the games that we got to play and winning ’em.

Q. Last year when you played Purdue, I think it was before Painter had come on as their leader, as their quarterback. What have you seen from him on tape through four games this year? What does he do well?

Tom Zbikowski: He’s an accurate passer. He’s got a strong arm. He’s one of the few quarterbacks that can throw the out rout with pretty high completion, with that type of arm. He’s got weapons around him, too. He definitely looks like a poised quarterback that runs that offense very well.

Q. Do you see him kind of settling in on tape? Did you watch games one through four?

Tom Zbikowski: Yeah, you definitely do. When you watch the progress of the game, he runs the offense the best that I’ve seen so far. Seems like he’s very calm back there, not ?? doesn’t get disturbed by pressure that much. Got to just come out and play and make sure we take away his weapons to the best of our ability.

Q. What were your first impressions of Trevor Laws when you met him?

Tom Zbikowski: I don’t remember the first time. I think the first time I met him was like probably senior year. You see the hair. I mean, you see a body like that, then the big hair. You just got talking to him. A kid that’s always smiling, always laughing, always having a good time. Another one of my good friends on the team, very close with him. Fun to be around, first time to meet. Just a ball of energy, too.

Q. Some of the guys were describing him as a hippie yesterday. What does that entail off the field?

Tom Zbikowski: Just having fun all the time. I mean, that’s the best I can describe it.

Q. On the field, you have a panoramic view of the defense. When you have two tackles like him and Landri playing well, what do you see that do to an offense?

Tom Zbikowski: They’re just always causing problems, whether it be the run game when the quarterback tries to step up. Very rarely do you see two tackles that have speed and athleticism like that.

Any time you get that, they make the play in the back end that much easier. We know if we cover just for a couple seconds, they’ll have time to make plays on the quarterback.

Q. Seemed like physically you stepped it up in the second half. I know you have put emphasis on that. Is it hard to bring that into the start of the game, to get to that level where you’re making plays almost every time?

Tom Zbikowski: I don’t think so. Usually the first drive, first series is usually scripted plays, so you know you’re going to get their best shot. You try and hold it to the best that you can. You make your adjustments.

That’s another reason we have such success in the second half, is because of coaching. They have the ability to make their checks, make their changes. We usually start shutting people down in that second half.

I think a lot of it, the first half has to be on the players, trying to make plays. You know, with that enthusiasm, momentum, just that desire to make plays. Once we make the checks, you become more dominant of a defense.

Q. With Ndu off the field, he seems like a nice guy. Seems likes he has a mean streak on the field this year. Have you noticed that?

Tom Zbikowski: I noticed that before, that he has that streak. He was always an offensive player, so when I first came in here, I had no idea how to tackle, I just tried to run into people as hard as I could.

When you’re going against good players, they’re going to make you miss. I think he’s developed the technique to tackling, and gotten a better field for angles that he needs to take to make those plays.

Brady Quinn

Q. What happened in the second half where you guys started clicking on offense?

Brady Quinn: You know, it’s really tough right now to go back and look at it. All I know is that our team ended up coming up big when we needed to. Can’t put your finger on one thing or another. I think we started to find a rhythm and found, you know, whatever it was we needed in order to get going.

Q. Charlie said the passing game has been out of sync. Do you feel maybe this changes it a little bit?

Brady Quinn: I hope so. I think there’s a lot of things we can build off of this past game and hopefully take into this week.

Q. What do you do to get off to a quicker start? Any thoughts?

Brady Quinn: It’s tough. I think you battle (operator interruption) here and there, then having some other game. It’s hard to put your finger on what it is that you need to do to get into a fast start. I think our offense really just needs to get into a rhythm, get into one early, everyone kind of be on the same page.

Q. Charlie has a pregame ritual where he walks up and down the lines before the game and says something to every single player. What’s that all about? Any idea?

Brady Quinn: Not really. I’m sure everyone has their own pregame ritual. That’s just something he likes to do, go and say his final words maybe to each person that he wants to say.

Q. What does he usually say to you?

Brady Quinn: It depends on the game. Depends on the situation. I think, you know, really he’s just more or less just said, Come on, buddy, let’s go out there and do it.

Q. How do you feel like your timing with Samardzija has been? Does it feel off?

Brady Quinn: No, not at all. Definitely not. I think things with Jeff and I have been good all year long. Really we’ve obviously ?? there’s been some miscommunication here and there, but things have been good.

Q. Do you notice he’s getting a lot more attention as far as on the field? Do you notice that guys are rolling into him more? Are you able to see that? Is that part of the reason maybe his numbers are down?

Brady Quinn: I think based off what he did last year, of course people are going to see how special he is.

But, you know, we’ve definitely noticed people starting to roll to him more, giving him a lot more respect, which comes with, I guess, as good of an athlete as he is. We have so many weapons, that if a team does that too often, eventually they’re going to get hurt.

Q. This game last year was a pretty big game for you. Do you look back at that tape? Is that something you’re like, All right, I had a pretty good game against these guys, I can probably do that again?

Brady Quinn: Honestly, looking back at it, we just try to dissect their defensive scheme, any personnel you can watch from last season. Other than that, you can’t take very much from it. It’s a new game, new circumstance. Really we just want to go in this being as best prepared as we can.

Q. Have they changed their defensive scheme any?

Brady Quinn: Somewhat. Obviously if you look at this past ?? I shouldn’t say this past season, these past few weeks, you’ll see them change up the defensive schemes depending on the type offense they’re going against. We’ve got to be prepared for a lot of different things. I guess more or less, you know, we’ll hopefully be ready for whoever they throw at us.

Q. But are your keys fairly evident at this point of what you’re looking for? Last week you obviously had a good handle on the keys because you were able to check off on that play to Carlson for a touchdown.

Brady Quinn: I mean, obviously, we’ve got a good handle on our keys, whatever we may be focusing on at this time. The at the same time, you can’t necessarily predict exactly what they’re going to do based on everything they’ve shown so far this season.

Q. Charlie said yesterday he doesn’t yell a lot on game day. He takes a pretty calm approach. Obviously, whenever you go to the sidelines, he’s got something to say to you. Is he asking you what you’re seeing? What’s going on?

Brady Quinn: Sometimes. Sometimes he’s telling me what he saw. We’re just having a conversation about a different play. But, again, it all just depends on the situation. It depends on what had just happened.

Sometimes it could be just about, you know, how you’re feeling, are you all right, something like that. Sometimes it’s maybe about the next drive.

It just depends on the situation of the game.

Q. Which do you deal with better, Game Day Charlie or Practice Charlie?

Brady Quinn: I’m sure Game Day Charlie would be easier to deal with, but I’m more used to Practice Charlie.

Q. You made your first career start against Purdue. What do you remember from that week, and then the game itself?

Brady Quinn: It was funny, because back then, you know, no one had necessarily said, Hey, you’re going to be starting. It was more or less something where you just kind of understood because of the way the reps were going. But no one really came in and said, Hey, this is the direction we want to go, you’re going to be starting this game, you’re our guy, we’re going to stay with you.

It was kind of weird going through the whole week of practice, being like, wow, this is basically ?? I’m going to be starting. This isn’t just like practice. This is actually going to happen. This is what’s going to go through this Saturday.

It’s weird to look back at that whole situation, how the game unfolded and the rest of that season and look to where we’re at now.

Q. Kind of like you called home, I think I’m starting because I’m getting all these reps.

Brady Quinn: It was kind of fun. Honestly, I was like, Wow, I guess I’m starting. I mean, you guys should probably come to this game if you can (laughter).

But, no, I mean, honestly, that’s how I remember it. There was never really any conversation per se about the situation. It was just the next week I was taking the reps here. We kind of moved on with it.

Q. How about the game itself? You had some rocky times early. When did the game start to slow down for you from there?

Brady Quinn: I don’t know. It’s tough to say. I mean, being so long ago.

You know, I really think ?? I learned a lot of things. You know, playing on the road, it’s a lot tougher than you think. In high school, it wasn’t much of a big deal. Now it makes a big difference. Obviously, being able to deal with all the distractions, whether it’s on the sidelines, on the field, whatever it may be, you know, you end up being able to decipher everything out that you don’t really need.

Somewhere along – maybe towards the end of the second quarter, going into the second half – I think I started to kind of get a better feeling for what we were trying to do out there, I guess seeing what the defense was really bringing to us.

Q. If somebody had told you you were going to throw more passes in your first college game than you’d ever throw since, is that surprising to you? Did you have any idea you were going to throw like that that day?

Brady Quinn: I had no idea. I realized it obviously once we kind of got down by a decent margin, we had to start coming back. I mean, you just got to kind of throw your way back into it. It’s funny to think about it. My first start, still never really accumulating that amount of throws since.

People look at the stats about that, that particular stat, I think you’ll find any time you’re throwing that much, it probably isn’t a good thing. I think it’s probably better that we’re throwing less.

Q. How sore were you that next day?

Brady Quinn: I was pretty sore. Obviously, you know, you’re a quarterback, so you don’t to get touched all the time. I’m not sure if that was three or four games into the season. I hadn’t really gotten hit the whole time. It added little to the soreness, I think, just having been used to getting hit, used to the physical contact for a good amount of time.

Q. Yesterday coach said he was going to take a period or two to change up practice and maybe go over some routs to find out what was going on. If it was miscommunication, the receiver, the quarterback. How did that go yesterday?

Brady Quinn: It went well. You know, I think both myself and the wide receivers, everyone responded I think in a way that we needed to to get on the same page and get things done.

Again, practices, I mean, that’s what it’s for. It’s there to fix some of the things and get back into a groove with some of the things that you’re not doing right now.

Him allowing us that extra period to do something like that, I think it’s going to benefit us a lot.

Q. In your own mind, as you move forward, what are your points of emphasis as far as improvement? Where do you think you need to focus?

Brady Quinn: There’s so many things fundamentally that you can always touch up on, always improve on. Footwork. I think at least a lot of times accuracy. A lot of people don’t realize that it’s something with the throwing motion. It’s more or less how you’re moving your feet, your body position, how you’re balanced, things of that nature that really go into an accurate throw. Those two things kind of tie in together.

Again, staying on top of things. Fundamentally just working on your reads, progressions, things like that, not straying too far away from the basics. You don’t want to go out there and starred ad?libing, putting yourself in a situation where you’re getting out of what your offense is actually out there to do.

You don’t want to be in a situation where you have to be in a two-minute offense the entire time to kind of come back.

Q. In terms of Samardzija, talk about what he’s like on and off the field, and if you see any changes in him, especially off the field with all the attention.

Brady Quinn: He’s a really loose, laid?back guy. That’s just how he is. I think if he could be doing anything, it would probably be fishing. I think that says a lot about his type of personality. He’s like that. There’s obviously times where he gets fired up on the field, where he’s jumping around. I don’t know, you know, celebrating touchdown catches, whatever he’s doing.

He’s one of those guys that is really laid back, relaxed, just kind of finds his own way of getting in that, you know, mood, whatever it is that he needs to bring every day to practice and the games.

Off the field, it’s kind of the same thing. He just handles everything in stride. I don’t think he’s changed at all as far as the personality and who he is as a person.

Q. You probably don’t want to say any game or any half saves the season or helps it, but how different is this week with the second half and the momentum you took from Michigan State?

Brady Quinn: Yeah, I think momentum is probably the best word to describe it because it gives you a lot of momentum coming into this week. I think when you look at guys yesterday practicing, I think everyone is excited to be out there. Everyone is excited to get back into it again.

You have an off day Monday, now people are ready to get going. It’s almost like that game never stopped. It continued on the field yesterday.

Hopefully that momentum will be able to carry on with us the rest of the season. Hopefully offensively we’ll be able to carry it into the start of the game and get things started fast.

Q. Any way that Purdue could be a trap game just looking at what you went through, how high you guys are?

Brady Quinn: Potentially, yeah. But at the same point in time they’re 4?0. They got a better record than we do last time we checked. So I don’t think there is anything to be a trap game about.

They’re the in?state rival, tough opponent, undefeated. I’m sure they’re going to be able to come in here realizing what they did last time they came here to play.

Q. How about the offensive line? Last week at this time we were questioning some things. What did you think? How did they progress in one week?

Brady Quinn: I thought they did a great job as always. It’s funny, things change so much week to week. For some reason or another, that’s just always how it is. I mean, I guess what more can you say? They honestly work so hard every day in and out. I feel like they do a great job day in and day out.

You’re never going to see any of us pointing a finger at them. We know they’re doing a great job for us. It’s not about that. There’s a lot of things we need to be doing better in order to make this offense work.

Q. So you didn’t see a difference of them last week to this week or the week before?

Brady Quinn: I think they’ve continued to do a great job up front.

Q. You’ve had some pretty good games against Purdue. Any reason you’ve been able to be so productive against that one team?

Brady Quinn: I don’t know. It’s weird. I think you play against certain teams that allow you to ?? or I guess call for a different offensive scheme. This may be one of those teams where the defense is more or less going to stop the run and force you to throw the ball more.

Again, I think if you look at the way Purdue has been this season, they’ve really done a bunch of different things depending on who they’re playing against.

Q. If the record book is correct, you could set the record for most yards against an opponent this week. Getting your name in the record book, do you think about that at all? Does it mean anything to you?

Brady Quinn: No. That’s something for you guys to write about, think about. Honestly, I just try to go out there and play, get wins. That’s what it’s all about. Obviously, you know, good things are going to come with that if you’re winning.

But those things are for you guys to write about.

Q. Zbikowski was saying how fun it is to play in a bad weather game. I would imagine a quarterback’s perspective is different than a safety.

Brady Quinn: Yeah, that’s funny. I was sitting there thinking, Man, there’s probably three people in the field right now who hate playing in a rainy game. I’m guessing it’s probably going to be anyone who’s snapping the ball. If you got your long snap or your center.

Probably any guys sort of receiving it like, I don’t know, wide receiver, a punter. Then obviously your quarterback and your runningbacks. The last thing ?? they’re wanting to worry about the ball security. With the rain being how it is, you obviously got to worry about planting your feet, holding the ball in tight, making sure it doesn’t squeeze out half the time. If you squeeze too tight it will pop out because of how wet it is. So there’s a lot of people on the field that are pretty worried.

Q. That has to be tough because you’re struggling as it is offensively, and now you have to complicate things by worrying about something that you don’t ever give any consideration to, a center exchange.

Brady Quinn: It’s funny, it’s almost like, I don’t know, if your foot’s hurting and then you bang your elbow, so you stop worrying about your foot and your elbow is hurting. It’s almost as if we were so worried about the weather, somewhere along the line we ended up finding more productivity out of our offense and things started rolling.

It was almost like we were more worried about ball security and little things like that as opposed to how the offense was really doing. Somewhere along the line we ended up picking it up and moving the ball.

Q. From your career going back to high school, what is the worst weather conditions you ever played in?

Brady Quinn: It was probably something pretty similar to that. And it was funny, because right when it started pouring like that during the game, the ball came in, I think it was maybe the first two snaps, I just couldn’t get it.

We had to slow up the speed of the snap because it was coming up so quick and so wet, it was splitting my hands, it hit and flipped right off.

We made adjustments like we did in this past game. I mean, it was very similar. Probably wasn’t as windy or probably as cold for that matter. It was pretty close to about the same amount of rainfall, pouring the whole game.

Q. Senior year?

Brady Quinn: Yes.

Q. The opponent?

Brady Quinn: Central Crossing.

Q. Kirk Herb street, one of the comments he made, I don’t know if you see the broadcast of the game, he made a comment when you were going through a period where you were struggling completing passes, he actually compared you to what Alex Rodriguez went through earlier in the year in terms of confidence, throwing the ball. How much can you allow your confidence to wane in that situation? How difficult is that fight with yourself to say, I’m okay, I can do the job?

Brady Quinn: That’s the thing. I mean, I’m a pretty confident person, where I don’t let a whole lot of things bother me. I think any time you’re having trouble, you’re not doing things that you’re used to be doing out there, you just got to start anew. You got to really look they next plays, something completely different, game or situation, and start anew.

That was more or less the focus going into that because you couldn’t look back at the first quarter, you know, first half and say, Oh, I need to do this or that better or worry about that kind of stuff ’cause it wasn’t going to help you in the second half of that game.

Q. Have been so good on the road. Many of your difficulties have come at home. How do you explain that? Is there something you can do differently? Should you stay in a different hotel when you’re home?

Brady Quinn: I don’t know. I think we just got to hopefully get our fans more into it. It’s like you play all these away games. You hear how loud some of the stadiums can be. Sometimes they’re smaller than ours. Hopefully we can get our crowd into it more, and get them excited more and feed off them. Hopefully that can be a big thing for us.

Q. A couple weeks ago you talked about the Purdue game last year as kind of how the offense really started to click, things started to roll from that point forward. What do you remember about the game and the process leading up to that? How would you compare where you guys are at this point this year compared to that?

Brady Quinn: It was weird. I think we were coming off a loss I think from Michigan State actually. We kind of almost found that groove towards the end of game with them. I think if you noticed the comeback that we had and everything, it just carried on into Purdue. It’s weird how things are pretty similar. Same record coming into it. Obviously, the same kind of situation where you kind of got in a groove there towards the end of the game.

I try not too look at too many of the similarities between the two. Like I said before, it’s a new situation, everything. Hopefully we can just take the momentum we’ve had from that past win and carry it into this week, have a good week of practice, really go into Purdue feeling good, hoping to start fast.

Q. Considering how you described what you felt your role was last week, how people were looking to you coming off the loss, how is it different with this kind of momentum that you have? How has your role changed as a captain in terms of how you deal with the other players?

Brady Quinn: You know, I think the funny thing is the role doesn’t change a whole lot because now people look at you ?? they want that to continue, they want that rhythm that you had before to continue. So everyone’s looking for perfection out of you. That’s where you almost have to up your game and make sure everything you do out there is as close to perfection as you can because otherwise people are going to think, Oh, man, we don’t want to be back down in the ruts, not having things go the way you want them to.

I think the role is still pretty similar to what it was last week, just more or less in a different vein.

Q. A lot of the Purdue players have talked about how Curtis Painter, their quarterback, his first start last year was at Wisconsin. It was a tough environment. They lost the game. But they felt like that set the foundation for him learning how to be a quarterback. Do you feel that way about your first start at Purdue? Do you feel the trial by fire was a good way to get out there? Did you feel as you went on, it fed your confidence, having survived that game?

Brady Quinn: I would have to say, looking at my experience, I feel like it was a good way of getting adjusted to things. There’s no other way other than experience of really simulating a game. Obviously you learn a lot of things about yourself going through some tough times, whether it’s mental toughness, physical toughness, for some of the abuse you ended up taking.

I feel like the way I went through it probably was one of the best ways you can go through it. I wouldn’t really see it any other way. I think you have to be tested and kind of put in the situation in order for you to prevail.

Q. Can you talk about their defensive lineman, Anthony Spencer. You faced several really good pass?rushers. What do you see of him on film? What has he been forcing quarterbacks to do?

Brady Quinn: If you watch him on film, obviously you understand why he’s played in so many games and why he has been their biggest pass?rusher, biggest threat.

Coming into this game, I think that’s something you have to prepare for. You got to know where he’s at ’cause he’s able to get a lot of pressure on the quarterbacks. He’s able to disrupt a lot of offenses, what they’re trying to do out there.

Q. When you are facing a pass?rusher like that, do you personally have to worry about where he’s at, or do you leave it to the offensive lineman? When it’s somebody who is specifically that good, are you watching for him out there?

Brady Quinn: Well, you know, I’m fortunate. I don’t have to worry about that kind of stuff because I’ve got a great offensive line in front of me. I think sometimes some people do because someone like that you have to understand where they’re at, how they’re going to try to penetrate or affect the pocket. You almost have to have an idea in mind of where you want to move around.

Again, my offensive line in front of me does a great job. It’s more or less that I just have to worry about things that are happening down field rather than things happening in front of me.

Q. Coach Weis talked about balancing out the offense yesterday, the difficulty finding that perfect balance between run and pass. How difficult is it to kind of achieve that perfect balance out there?

Brady Quinn: It can be extremely difficult, depending on what a defense is trying to do against you. Obviously, you don’t want to force something that’s not working. If someone has a bunch of guys in the box and they’re trying to stop the run, you’ve got to pass the ball. You can’t obviously do something that isn’t going to work.

Of course you want to achieve balance. I think that’s the biggest way to kind of stump a defense or keep a defense honest. At the same point in time, you have to go with what works.

I’m sure whatever that is, hopefully we’ll have that working on Saturday.

Q. Would you say balance is maybe somewhat overrated?

Brady Quinn: No, not at all. I think that’s one of the things that can keep a defensive coordinator, a defense, everyone else guessing. I think that is something that is extremely important.

I wouldn’t call it overrated by any means. At the same point in time, you got to go with what works. You have to make adjustments. In the heat of a game, you can’t worry about balance so much as trying to put points on the board.