Press Conference Transcript
September 16, 2003
Head Coach Gerry DiNardo:
GD: "We have played a little better each game. Looking at Connecticut to Washington to Indiana State, we have gotten better. This week's goal again is to play better than the previous week, that is kind of where we are."
GD: "It's been better. That has been a point of emphasis, to run the ball a little better. I thought against Indiana State we did that better. But, we still have too many minus plays and too many plays that put us behind schedule. We were 43 percent on schedule on first and ten. That is way too low, but it's getting better.
GD:" I don't know that I anticipated this many playing, so it is a little bit of surprise. I think the good news is that means they are a good class. Even with our numbers being down, if a guy is not ready to play, I am not going to play him. I would play older guy who is not ready. I would do that before I play a freshman that is not ready to play. By ready I mean someone who can go out there and compete and protect themselves. The class we signed last year looks to be a pretty good class, that's the good news. The bad news is we don't have any experience."
GD:"Anyone involved in the game worries about corners. Rich Brooks likes to play man or zone depending on what the corners can do. Any time you can put together a team and put together a defense, the corners are always a concern because it's always a hard position to play. It is such a hard position to be good at, to recruit to and it is one of the most difficult things in high school, college and the NFL.
GD: "They have a veteran offensive line. We are not sure who is going to start at tight end because of an injury. (Derek) Abney is a good receiver and one of the best returners in the country. (Jared) Lorenzen is just terrific. He is tougher to bring down than he was a year ago. Sweet Pea (Vincent Burns) on defense is really good. He had 10 tackles against us a year ago. Their defensive scheme is a new scheme. It used to be what everyone ran 20 years ago. Their style is more popular in the pros than in college, so there is a lot of adjusting for our offensive line because they haven't seen this look."
GD: "Yeah it is a little bit different. They went to a theme of a little bit more of a pro type of attack. This is what they have done at Kansas State with a great deal of success. It is tailored to their personnel. They are being very smart, Ron Hudson (offensive coordinator) is an outstanding coach and so is coach (Rich) Brooks. They ultimately want to do what Kansas State has done, but they are smart enough to know they can't do that right away."
GD: "By rule, it is only if a player gets injured by this time. You can't play a guy in the first and second game and then not play him anymore and redshirt him. He has to be injured during that time. This game would be that game. Lets say we didn't play several young guys, by rule they would have to be injured to get the year back. Sometimes there is a misinterpretation of the rule. So based on that, I wont redshirt as many players as I did last year."
GD: "He's harder to bring down if you can believe it. He has always been a hard guy to tackle. I say that's the biggest difference. He has a terrific arm, been a terrific competitor and he has always been a good quarterback. He started as a freshman and been a four-year starter. He's bigger than the guys who are trying to bring him down. "
GD: "Yes it is, for sure. That happens the weeks we play options teams as well."
GD: "He has had an opportunity because of a lot of injuries. He has a long way to go. He had an energy level the first game but this is an endurance game, so we will see if he does it this week and then the following weeks."
GD:"It's hard to look at all three of those games because all three were different opponents. We do feel like we played our best game, our last game out and we can't take that away from the guys. "
GD: "I see the institution progressing. Sometimes it isn't always about people, and I think people misunderstand that. I can remember 1990 or 1991 when I played my first game against Kentucky and last season in 2002, and I can tell you regardless of who the coach is the stadium's bigger, the facilities are improved, it's big time college athletics. They have gone through a transformation in a positive way for their institution. They have been through three coaches and they will go through three more coaches. That university has made a decision to transform their football program, and in my opinion, been successful in doing so. I have seen a significant change since 1990 when I first saw a Kentucky team play. I have been through their facilities and I have recruited against them. There is an article I read that says "money is no object." I don't think money is an object there. They made the decision not to let money be an object when they decided to build a football program. Its pretty impressive."
GD: "They learned that I'm more afraid of lightning than they are because I was the first one in the locker room both times. We have five objectives we go into each game with every year, and one of them is the turnover issue. The Kentucky game is a good example of how turnovers in our case can destroy us, we threw 21 interceptions last year. Kentucky went ahead 14-0 and we come back 17-14 after a couple stoppages of play that probably helped us regroup, and are going in for what could be a winning score and throw a pick. The biggest lesson learned is that you can't have a successful program throwing 21 interceptions and turning over the ball at the rate we turned it over last year. So far this season we have demonstrated that we have been better at that."
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