Usual disclaimer: This is typed as coach is speaking and my best attempt to get his thoughts down. These are not exact quotes but I can look up exact wording if you need something clarified - let me know in the notes.
Your team seems energized, what are the reasons they haven’t tailed off despite the grind of this year?
I think we have more guys on the team that love football. I think we have guys that care about each other more. They are having fun and feel like they have something to prove.
Dedrick said “there’s negative talk and we want to prove them wrong”, assuming they are talking about national media, do they [the team] feed off it?
I hope not because we tell them not to read anything out there. We tell them to focus on us
As a playcaller, how much did it help to have Dedrick Mills back?
It helped. I thought he ran tough. He made blocks and ran tough. We’ve been missing him, he’s our only veteran. We weren’t sure we’d have him until warmups. He practiced during the week, but wasn’t 100%. He had a good warmup and said he was ready.
Brendan Jaimes has made 39 starts - what does that tell you about him?
He has been a key piece of what we’ve been doing. Great kid, great player. He’s stayed committed and healthy. We’re glad we have him.
Can you speak about kicking - it has been a revolving door the previous two years - how much a relief is it to have consistency? Does it affect game plan and play calling?
It is big, we haven’t been good at that spot my first couple years here. I got nervous sending the field goal unit out. Now we can think about kicking a field goal deeper - he gives us more range.
Talking to Dedrick in his earlier interview - he loves it here - he hasn’t had the senior year he wanted - do you want to get him back next year?
I don’t want to talk about the seniors and coming back yet. We have a game this weekend, then we’ll start having conversations.
Dedrick always has a smile, he’s happy and positive to be around. He impacts the team in a positive way. He’s a great teammate.
Update on Myles Farmer?
Myles had surgery - we won’t have him the rest of the season but long term outlook is good.
What have you seen from how your team responds to wins and losses?
You have to learn from a win or a loss. I’ve seen the habits around the building get better these past few weeks. After a win you have to double down and work even harder.
Should Austin Allen have done something differently on the chop block he was called for?
We have to get clarification on that - I was hazy on it too. We practiced staying up on the block and kicking out all week. Austin played a great game and he’s had a great season. We’ll get that fixed as a staff.
Update on Omar Manning, will he be on the field or is his season over?
I couldn’t say if his season is over. We just have to get him healthy - he will make us better when he’s out there.
When you think about Minnesota - they’ve been out 2 weeks because of covid - how hard is that?
They’re going to be fresh and ready. They’ve had time to look at us. I feel bad for them - covid makes it tough. They whipped us last year, coaching and game plannning, we have to be ready.
Do you have a word to describe this senior class and why use that word?
They are tough and resilient. I’ll use two words. They’ve been through a lot. I’m starting to see growth in our team. It is starting to show up and those guys spearhead that.
You must have seen something from Adrian that convinced you that he could go in and do the things he wasn’t doing earlier in the season - and he has done them. What did you see in practice that convinced you?
The rebound is impressive. Really, I saw that improvement from both quarterbacks. Both were told it was a competition going in to Iowa and it will be this week and they responded. We think both should be on the field and we intend to play both. They both have been practicing better. We’ve been completing more balls and getting them off in time. I don’t know if what happened was a motivation...in my career i used a couple of negative things as a motivation. I don’t know if that for them but we are seeing better things.
You’ve been leaning on walk-ons at wideout - Falck, Martin, Liewer. Why have they been getting more time?
One thing we did look at, we had a bunch of guys that were close. We thought we were doing a disservice by spreading out reps too much so we narrowed it down. The guys you are seeing are dedicated. We knew our walk on program would take a while to pay dividends and in year three, it seem to have there.
How has Matt Lubick influenced the offense?
He’s been a positive for us. Our receivers are improving. He makes my life easier, I can focus on the team, attitudes and culture. Matt is a huge asset to us and especially me.
Dicaprio Bootle said Cam Taylor-Britt is playing really well. Your thoughts on the level Cam is playing at?
I thought both Cam and Dicaprio played a good game. Cam is on track to be one of the best players we’ve had around here in a while.
Zavier Betts seems to be settling in - where has he made the most progress?
It’s just knowledge. He is a freshman and talented, he just had to get comfortable. Knowing the signals, routes. He ran a wrong route Saturday, but it didn’t cost us. We have a lot of players like that that could have benefited from spring ball, fall camp and non-conference but they didn’t get any of that. We’ve been working hard to get them ready.
Zavier pradtices hard. He goes out and odes his job. He doesn’t look like he’s running, but he’s moving fast. He doesn’t know how good he can be.
This is the 7th week you are playing at 11 am - your thoughts?
I think we all enjoy the 11 am games. We are a morning practice operation so our guys are used to getting up and get started. Certainly for road games, it is good to get home earlier. If we win more games, maybe we’ll get moved to other slots down the road, but for now, we don’t mind it.
Reflecting on the loss to Minnesota last year, what stands out?
They out-physicaled us. They out-executed us. They beat us. We can’t let that happen. They’re really good in several positions and we have to be ready.
Signing day is in nine days. Based on what we’ve heard, there are a lot of guys planning to enroll early. Are you going to ask player if they want to do that or are you comfortable with them coming?
We’re comfortable with them coming early. This goes back to what I said earlier in the season. Covid isn’t just here, it is in their communities, it is everywhere. We’ve had so few cases since the season started...our players are doing the right things...I think this is the safest environment. I don’t think that is different for the freshmen.