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Oct. 30, 2012
Big Ten Coaches Teleconference
October 30, 2012
Q: In regard to Bill Belton, how much did the ankle injury set him back while he was still learning a new position at running back?
Coach O'Brien: Anytime you get injured and you miss reps and other guys are getting those reps, it's hard to get back into the grove. I think he did against Iowa. I don't think our whole team played very well against Ohio State; give Ohio State a lot of credit. I think Billy has shown flashes of getting back in there and he's continuing to compete and he'll compete this week.
Q: How has Belton's mindset been? Has he stayed pretty upbeat?
Coach O'Brien: If you know Billy, he's a pretty laid-back guy, so it's tough to tell with him. He seems to be doing fine.
Q: What did you see in the video (of Ohio State game) about the offensive line play?
Coach O'Brien: I don't think anyone played the way that they were capable of playing on either side of the ball or special teams. Again, give Ohio State credit, but I think the offensive line had flashes where they did play well. I think some of the sacks were pressures, where the ball has to come out or maybe someone missed a pickup in the backfield or at tight end. I don't think you can put everything on the offensive line. I don't think anyone played particularly well, nor did we coach that well that night. We're moving onto Purdue and we're going to try to do a better job.
Q: With the QB situation at Purdue, what's the game plan heading into the game with Robert Marve being announced as starter after not starting the last few games?
Coach O'Brien: I'm not going to give you the gameplan. We're just looking forward to the challenge of playing Purdue. In my opinion, they're a very, very good team, a dangerous team. They have players on both sides of the ball that are playmakers. It's going to be a very difficult game.
Q: With the hurricane situation, how has that affected your practice plans?
Coach O'Brien: We practiced in Holuba (Hall) last night and we'll probably go back into Holuba this afternoon.
Q: Offensively, what are you looking for against a Purdue defense that has had its ups-and-downs this year?
Coach O'Brien: They have a very talented defense. They have two inside tackles that are really, really good players. It starts there. The linebacking corps is solid. The secondary is very, very solid with big, physical guys. We've got a big challenge. We've got to go back to playing good, fundamental football and we have to do a great job in practice this week of preparing our players. We have to get back out there and compete better than we did as a coaching staff and as players against Ohio State.
Q: You guys have been pretty opportunistic most of the season. How big of an emphasis is that after a game where you probably missed some opportunities?
Coach O'Brien: Again, give Ohio State a lot of credit. We did; we missed some opportunities on both sides of the ball and on special teams. Again, it goes back to this is a great group of kids that came back to practice last night ready to go, they worked extremely hard and are looking forward to the challenge of playing Purdue.
Q: How have the guys responded to the loss over the last couple of days?
Coach O'Brien: I think these guys came back to work yesterday and were ready to go. Again, we have a great senior class and they realize that they have only four opportunities left and it starts here with Purdue. It all starts with that leadership. I believe these guys have put that game behind them and we all have. It's time to move on and we started that process yesterday.
Q: How has Kyle Carter felt? His ankle was wrapped up as he was walking off the field.
Coach O'Brien: I think that's going to be a day-to-day thing and I'll know better at the end of the week. He seems to be doing okay.
Q: Alex Butterworth seemed to have a better game with his punting on Saturday. Did you like the improvement that you saw? Could you evaluate the performance of the rest of your special teams?
Coach O'Brien: I thought that Alex punted the ball well. He had a few punts that landed inside the 10-yard line that were big plays in the game at that time. I thought he did a nice job, he's worked at it. I felt that our kickoff coverage team was decent. They did a decent job for the most part, good kicks and good coverage. I thought our kickoff return team was terrible; we have to do a better job. We have to coach it better. We have to get going there and do a better job. I thought that our punt return team was decent. We got a punt block, which is always good, and scored a touchdown off of it. There were some definite positives, but there were some things that we need to shore up.
Q: What are your thoughts about the Purdue offense? What challenges do they present to you guys?
Coach O'Brien: They present a lot of challenges. The thing that you have to do when you play an offense like Purdue, a very multiple offense that does a lot of different things, is that you have to play well within the framework of your defense. You've got to play well on third down. They're going to have things on third down that maybe you haven't seen on tape, they're a game plan type team. Those are things that we're really working hard at this week and it's a big challenge for us on the road, at Purdue, a good coaching staff and good players. It will be a tough game.
Q: Does facing offenses like Northwestern and Ohio State help you to prepare for a multiple offense team like Purdue?
Coach O'Brien: Sure. We've played a lot of no-huddle teams this year and we run a lot of that also in practice. Hopefully our defense can get up to speed on the tempo. Hopefully they'll be ready as far as the tempo goes.
Q: A couple of the offensive players said that there were some communication issues. Was that a result of the crowd noise or was it more than that?
Coach O'Brien: I think it was the crowd noise. That starts with me. I have to do a better job of making sure that we're in the proper cadence and do a better job of coaching that. The kids were right about that and we're going to try to do a better job of that this week.