Press Conference Transcript (10-7-03)
October 7, 2003
Head Coach Gerry DiNardo:
GD: We spent the last two days just talking to our team. I met individually with everybody about being on the same page and understanding we have a lot of work to do. When you dont win a game, you still have to come back and get to work and build a team and build a program. Our guys have been really good, and thats what I expected. I wanted to meet with every guy that has played in a game this year individually to make sure he knew we were pressing on the gas pedal and not taking our foot off it. I expect a terrific practice today. We are going to continue to put this thing together, this team together and this program together.
On building a program:
GD: I believe that without a shadow of a doubt we are a better football team than we were a year ago. That is something we can build on and that is what we are building on. Our run defense is better. Our running offense is better. Our kick game is better. Our pass offense isnt as good or as productive, but we are on track to have less than half the interceptions we had last season. You cant throw 21 interceptions and call it bad offensive football. I like where we are in that regard. Thats our approach.
On looking ahead to the future:
GD: I do feel I know exactly what we need to build a program here at Indiana. Theres not a doubt in my mind I know the formula. It doesnt matter what Indiana has done in the past. Im proud of the success Indiana has had in the past, and I know the future and how to build a future here.
On being more involved in the offense (personally):
GD: If I feel like I can be part of the solution, I will be part of the solution. I love what we are doing offensively, and we will keep doing it offensively. I do think I can bring expertise, enthusiasm and intensity to a group and that is what I do. I spent more time with the offensive group in a meeting this week. Its what head coaches do. They address their problems. My plan is not to take over any one particular aspect because it is too difficult to address problems in other aspects when you do that. I jump into this and jump into that and that is what Ive done with the offense this week.
On his offensive approach:
GD:My approach is I say anything to anybody and enjoy every minute of it. I can make a difference in a meeting room because Im not there every day. Its a new approach. Good teachers find different approaches.
On individual meetings with the players:
GD: Were halfway through the regular season and coming off of two losses. We have a team that has not had recent success. I just wanted to make sure we are all on the same page, and I wanted to make sure it was my page. Our guys are great, and they all are on my page. Some of the meetings lasted one minute, some lasted ten minutes. I went over everyones academic situations and everyones special teams points. I asked them what they thought they could do to play the second half of the season better than the first, thinking if a guy knows how to be a better player in the second half and everyone knows how, we will be a better team the second six weeks. If you look at the Connecticut game, we are definitely a better team right now. At the end of the year, we have to be a better team against Purdue than we were against Michigan State. We only control half of it. We dont control the other side. I want to make sure Im controlling that half. Thats why we met individually.
On teams first half performance:
GD: I would say we are a better team than we were a year ago. We have to work on pass offense, pass defense, sudden change (turnover or turnover on downs) in area three (when drive starts between midfield to opponents 25), goal-line offense. When a team starts in area three, 53% of the time they will score either a field goal or touchdown. Our percentages are well below that. If it doesnt happen all that often, we should still be scoring at a 53% rate, and we are nowhere near that. We didnt score last year either, so this has been a two-year problem. And when we are goal-to-go, we have to score.
On Quarterback Matt LoVecchios performance:
GD: I feel like he is a guy who has started six games in a new offense and has made much more progress in many more areas than he hasnt. He has improved in everything that he is doing more than he has struggled with some things. That is good and that is whats expected from a guy his age coming into the program.
On stopping Northwesterns offense:
GD: Your defensive gameplan has to start with stopping the run, whether its the wishbone or spread offense. We always start our gameplan by stopping the run, and this week will be no different. As much as Michigan State throws the ball, we still defensively game planned them by first stopping the run and then stopping the pass. Its just the way we were taught to do it.
On Northwestern RB Jason Wright:
GD: Hes terrific. He played very well against us last year. Hes an extraordinary individual in all aspects of his life. Hes got a lot of things going for him.
On Victor Adeyanju and Aaron Halterman practicing:
GD: Indications are that they will. If they go today or tomorrow they will. Im anticipating them both going today.