Quotes from Cam Cameron Weekly Press Conference
Bloomington, Ind. - Cam Cameron will address the media each Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. to discuss the previous week's game and the upcoming games for the Hoosiers.
"Well, I looked at the tape from the Wisconsin game. As I said earlier today, obviously we were very fortunate to get off to a fast start. But I think you have to give our players a lot of credit for coming out in the right frame of mind, given all the things they've been through in the last few weeks. We were able to carry that through four quarters. I think that becomes the key this week, having the same approach. It seemed like going into things last week everybody thought we were going to come up with some new approach. We took the exact same approach last week that we did the previous three weeks. We'll continue to do that in practice this weeks in terms of our practice schedule."
"We really have to zero in because offensively they create a lot of problems that Wisconsin didn't. I'm really impressed with the way the Illinois receivers are playing. Almost quoting them, they are a threat to go the distance on every play. I think any time Rocky Harvey becomes a back up...he's been able to hurt us and is a good back in this league for a few years and now he's a back up. So, obviously (Antoineo) Harris is a guy they have a lot of confidence in. Then, (Kurt) Kittner is solid and consistent, which is what you are looking for in a quarterback. The other areas...they are really solid in the kicking game. Again, I know that is an area we need to continually improve in. Their punting game is extremely solid. Their return game is extremely dangerous. They returned a punt for a touchdown last year that ultimately became the turning point in the ballgame for us. Defensively, they have a completely different scheme. It's almost an exact opposite of what they played a year ago. Last year was more of a read, react, zone coverage. This year is all penetration, stemming, sliding the front one side or another, blitzing, bump and run, press man to man...all those things can create a lot of problems for you. I'm sure they will come in to this game with a lot of confidence with their defensive scheme. It's a scheme that can give our offense some problems. I think it's the best Illinois team we've faced in the last five years."
Looking back on Levron's (Williams) performance, is there anything you can compare it to?
"I don't know if there is anything to compare it to, but Levron made this statement after the game. It was really a good overall performance offensively. Our tight ends and tackles maybe blocked the best they have blocked, at least recently. Any time in a two-back offense and your tailback is getting a lot of yards, there is a fullback that isn't getting noticed that is usually getting key blocks at the point of attack. I thought Jeremi (Johnson) and Rashon Myles did a nice job blocking for Levron. Big plays are usually a result of our receivers doing a nice job on the perimeter. Our receivers did a better job of blocking on the perimeter. We were able to throw the ball deep which may of backed them off a little. To me it was a combination of things. I thought some of his best runs were 5-, 6-, 7-yard runs. They weren't the big ones. You try and teach backs that good 4-, 5-, 6-yard runs set up the big ones."
Talk about the offensive line and how they graded out:
"I think it was the first time this year that they all graded out over 80%. The Hoosier Club went from an all-time low to an all-time high. We would obviously like to keep that going."
It seemed like you had good pressure up front from your defensive tackles?
"Jamil Frink and Dominique Smith did a nice job. They really did. And we were able to rotate some guys through."
It looked as if the linebackers' timing was near perfect, especially on Justin Smith's sack. Can you comment on that?
"In a couple of cases, yes. Especially Justin early. Any time you have a freshman back, and they were forced to play a freshman, it was really kind of a blown assignment. He turned out to block the end and Justin ran through. By the time he realized he had Justin, it was already a sack."
You talk about punting every week and with the depth chart listing (Ryan) Hamre or (J.R.) Drummond or (Bryan) Robertson. Any lead as to who will punt versus Illinois?
"Yes. Robertson will be our pooch punter, which we'll let him focus on that and do our place kicking. (Adam) Braucher will do our kicking off which I think he did a tremendous job on Saturday. What we'll do with Drummond and Hamre is what we did last week. We are going to chart every punt. We're going to let those guys compete the entire week and then we had a punt off right before the game and Hamre punted the best. Antwaan (Randle El), at this point will be -- if one of those two guys don't perform -- number 11 is going in and he is going to punt. We aren't going to fiddle around because we know he can consistently kick it 40 yards. It may not look the way it's supposed to look. If there is a problem with the snap it obviously opens up some more options for you. You could very well see Antwaan punting every snap in this game also."
This was the game last year where they went after Antwaan and apparantly may have tried to hurt him:
"Obviously people are well aware of what is acceptable and what isn't. I think the officials will handle that. As you can see in that game last year, it opened some things up for us. The big play got called back but you have a lot of options back there when he is a punter."
Can you talk about your philosophy on partial qualifiers and non-qualifiers? Two of your best offensive players are in that category:
"Well, number one, I don't think you can measures someone's ability to learn or their opportunity to graduate from college based on a test score. The only reason I say that is because I've been around so many guys that weren't able to get the test score that graduated from quality institutions...whether it was here or it was at Michigan. As I've watched and observed, I learned. I've lost a lot of guys who have qualifying test scores not graduate. And guys that had good grades not make it after a year or two because they didn't have the character, the values, or whatever. What we're looking for is number one, character. We're looking for people with values. Now if they aren't a qualifier or are a partial qualifier, we think they have to have those things. They have to have good work ethic, which both Antwaan and Levron do. They both get up and go to class. And when I go to the admissions board, if you will, I will tell them that I believe this guy or these two guys have a realistic shot at graduating from Indiana. I think these are two perfect examples of how it can work."
Can you define what your players said about `playing on the edge'?
"I'd rather say that instead of saying don't play hesitant. Go out on the verge of making a play every down. You have to have sense about you, too. I don't know, kids today...who knows what is going to click. I just wanted to take away any apprehension that they had. It is just so frustrating to watch kids who work hard and go out and play hesitant. Of all the time and effort of our guys, why would you go out and play hesitant? We've never gone out and asked our guys to play hesitant. I guess you sometimes assume that they are going to go out there and do it. We just finally had to go tell them. Basically, we just made it real simple...turn it loose or come stand beside me. I don't know how else to put it."
Is that all you had to say?
"I think a lot of things went into it. I think we are getting better anyways. I think we got better in practice this last week in all three phases. I really did. It's hard to measure what teams are going to get better and which teams aren't. And, who is going to stay healthy...those kind of things."
Does a back-to-back league win turn a corner for this team?
"I think it would obviously be a huge plus because it's obviously against two good football teams. As I look at what I've learned in this football league, I've learned more watching Wisconsin and Barry Alvarez than anyone by far. Not how much they've won, but what they've won with. They've won a lot of championships with less players at times than with other people have. For us to go up there and do that, obviously is a step in the fight direction. Now I've got a great deal of respect for Ron Turner and the job he's done at Illinois. We have had four pretty good games against each other so far. This gives you an opportunity to take another step in the right direction."
Physically, how is the team doing?
"We're fine, again going into a Tuesday. Michigan State was fine at this time two weeks ago, or was it last week. They lose two guys to ankles on Wednesday and Thursday. Illinois loses a guy on campus a year ago. It is a lot different being healthy on Friday. So, we've got to get to Friday."
Check back soon