Press Conference Transcript

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!

    September 23, 2003

    Head Coach Gerry DiNardo:

    Opening Statement:

    GD: "Michigan is really a veteran team. I counted 39 seniors, 21 four-year seniors and 17 fifth-year seniors. Prior to our game, they'll have 287 starts on their team. They have one sophomore who starts and the rest are juniors and fourth- and fifth-year seniors. I (would) guess this is one of Lloyd's (Carr) top one, two or three teams since he has been there."

    On having experienced players:

    GD: "It's a pretty well established program when you can't break into the lineup until you are a junior (like Michigan), and some of those juniors are fourth-year juniors. We focus on first-and-10 efficiency, and we emphasize that and improve that. Third-down conversion may go south in one game, and we emphasize that and improve that. What experience does is put that all in perspective. There is no way you can practice everything every week. What happens when a player is confronted with something in a game he hasn't worked on recently? He goes back to his experiences. I think this is a big part of what it is all about."

    On how to beat Michigan:

    GD: "We have yet to play our best in all four quarters. We have the same objectives we have every week. I think the turnover and kicking battles are critical. We'll have to be better in third-down conversions this week than we were against Kentucky. I don't think the answer to beating Michigan is any different than the answer to beating anyone else. You have to play the game at a more efficient level than the opponent."

    On the defensive performance against Michigan's run attack:

    GD: "You have to look at rush defense over five games. I don't think there is any magic number to hold them to on Saturday. (Chris) Perry is a great back. I don't know if it is good strategy to set a number that is efficient against him. Hopefully, the defense will continue to improve."

    On using a three-running back system:

    GD: "I want to play all three (Chris Taylor, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Brian Lewis) of them the entire season. If one guy got the hot hand during a game, then we may adjust it during the game. What is best for the team is that we play all three of those guys. Until we change our mind, we will continue the strategy. But if someone got hot during a game, we would yield to that strategy."

    On Courtney Roby (after an injury against Kentucky:

    GD: "I don't know if he'll practice. If he practices, he has a great shot of making it (to play Saturday). If he doesn't practice today, I say he has a 50-50 shot. If he practices Wednesday, he'll play. I wouldn't be surprised if he did or did not play."

    On Brandon Hatcher and importance of depth at center:

    GD: "You always have to have three centers. In addition to Chris Mangiero, (Chris) Voltattorni has played center in the past, so we'll train him. (Johnathan) Sandberg will probably start taking some snaps. You always have to have four guys that can snap the ball and three guys that know the assignments. (Chris) Jahnke is a valuable guy that can play all three positions."

    On preparing to play at Michigan Stadium:

    GD: "We practice crowd noise every Thursday for any away games. We pipe it through the speakers in the stadium. We'll do the same this week."

    On making adjustments on the offensive line:

    GD: "There's really nothing you can do. The one thing we are trying to decide now is whether to play Sandberg or not. If you play him, you use a year. And now he and Voltatttorni are number six and seven behind the five starters. This is where you make a tough decision on a true freshman. We decided to play Mangiero against Indiana State, asking what are the chances of him not having to play this year? We didn't do that that, and we have to make a decision with him."

    On the team's progress this season:

    GD: "It's about what we are doing. We have to show them what to focus on. At this time we don't focus on the opponent, but we focus on ourselves. There were more things I think we did well defensively on Saturday than we did bad, and I told the team that. Offensively, we are not scoring enough points. Our statistics were better, but we didn't score enough points. Our third-down conversion was poor, not as good as in the past. I would hope our players know where we are making progress and where we are struggling, and they also know the only reason we play the game is to win it and anything less than a win is unacceptable. That doesn't mean we are not making progress. That's how I deal with it and explain it."

    Sophomore Offensive Lineman Adam Hines:

    Opening Statement:

    AH: "As you know, we have a big game this week. We are going to have to have a good week of practice. Michigan is coming off a big loss, so it's going to be even that much more challenging for us. We have to take it as just another game. People try to hype it up, but it's just another game for us."

    On what he see from Michigan on film:

    AH: "I looked at it yesterday. A bunch of us went in to get a jumpstart on Monday. The Michigan defense is fast and quick, just like any Big Ten defense we will face. They have a lot of looks. Everything Michigan does we have blocked before, so it's not a culture shock. They fly to the ball, but we are in the Big Ten conference, so we play defenses like that every week."

    On Michigan's talent level being similar to Washington's:

    AH: "Every team is different, different defensive fronts and linebackers. Every team has good athletes. I would say something similar to Washington, but I am no expert. Michigan is a good defense, and they show it. They are well coached, and they play well and play hard."

    On where he sees improvement:

    AH:"The team is more confident going out every day. We know what to expect. Last year it was my first year, and everyone's first year really, so it took us a while to get into the practice tempo and doing what we needed to win. Now we go out everyday and don't complain about things but try to get better. It is showing because when you have a good practice, you feel good about yourself, and when you have two good practices, the feeling keeps going. When you have a good week of practice, you feel more confident in the game, and we try to do that every week."

    On turning more drives into points:

    AH: "With us being such a young team, we don't know how to adapt to adversity, things like an interception, a bad pass, a sack, etc. It's easy to let off the gas pedal when everything is going your way, you are feeling good. Then, all of a sudden something bad happens and we are not use to being able to adapt to that. I think over the past four games we have gotten better at it but we are still not where we need to be. That gives us all the reason to come out and work hard, and try to overcome that adversity."

    On the chemistry of the offensive line:

    AH: "On and off the field we are all buddies. We hang out and do things together. We can count on each other and that's important. We lost Brandon Hatcher last week, but Chris Mangiero stepped in and we didn't lose a beat. For a true freshman, he played really well and stepped up for us. As long as we stick together as a unit, nothing bad is going to happen to us. It's like we are a family, so when something bad happens, you stick together. Losing someone makes you pull together and help each other."

    On playing in front of the Michigan crowd:

    AH: "I haven't thought about it. You really can't worry about it. The game is going to come and you have to show up and play. You can't worry about things you can't control. We have talked about that in practice, you need to control the little things. Control your technique and your steps. We can't help if we are playing against 10,000 or 100,000. Saturday is going to be here in six days, and you have to go out and play."

    On the team having an uphill battle mentality:

    AH: "I think every season is uphill. It doesn't matter if we had won last week, we would still have had to prepare tough for Michigan and then Michigan State. It's harder being 1-3 than 2-2. Big Ten season is here, and we have to go out every week and fight, because it's going to be tough for us."

    On how practice is going so far this week:

    AH:"Our first practice is this afternoon. We practiced some on Sunday and then had Monday off. We have watched some tape and lifted. It was more of an individual practice on Sunday. It gave us time to see what we needed to focus on this week. We did just a little teamwork against the scout team. We have a hard practice this afternoon in terms of contact, like we do every week."




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