Cam Cameron Weekly Press Conference Quotes
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.
"If you want to review anything from Illinois we can get back to that. The thing I want to talk about initially is Iowa. That is what we've talked to our football team about. On Sunday, we switched gears awfully quickly. As you look at the tape, we know this is a good Iowa team. It is by far the best Iowa team we've faced in the last three years. We played them last year and as the year went on they got better and better. You see why they won some games of late last year and were 3-0 to start this year. They've improved defensively across the board. I think Joe Paterno said it's probably the best defensive line they'll face all year long. They are solid across the defensive front and their secondary is better. They were young a year ago, mostly freshmen and redshirt freshmen. At least (Benny) Sapp and I think (Bob) Sanders were. Those guys are playing well as a unit on the back end. I'm really impressed with their defense...the physicalness and the effort that they play with. And then guys we are familiar with like (Kahlil) Hill and (Ladell) Betts on the offensive side of the ball are dangerous, especially with Hill in the return game. They're probably as good as a return team as we'll face. We've got some things we need to get worked this week, starting with the kicking game. We have to get back on track and execute the way we are capable of doing. Defensively, you can see where we've played well in spurts. We have to eliminate the big play and continue to play with energy and consistency for 60 minutes...not 43, 44, 45 minutes. We've got to play consistently for 60 minutes. Those will be the things we'll focus on this week."
(Kyle) McCann is leading the league in completion percentage. What has been the key for him?
"Well, Iowa has done this for a long time. You can go back through all their good quarterbacks - (Chuck) Long and (Chuck) Hartlieb - all the way up to McCann. They throw some wide receiver screens, he's very smart with the football, they do a good job of getting some receivers into space, they throw to their backs, they spread the ball around to their tight end. I think their tight end is one of their leading receivers. When you throw to your tight ends and backs, you should be high percentage. Then you have big play guys on the outside. They create a lot of problems for you. They are leading or are close to leading the league in scoring. They've scored a ton of points those first three games. I think he has been smart with the football throughout the season."
We talk about the kicking game each week. Is there anything you can do?
"Well, it is interesting. I listen to all of the other conference calls and everyone is talking about it. This league has had a history of quality kickers and punters. Wisconsin has probably been the premier special teams team in our league for several years. Everyone seems like they are doing a better job of pressuring punters. Everyone is blocking punts and everyone is getting punts blocked. Obviously, you don't accept that. That has been one of our critical issues since spring and we've worked on the punting game more than I can remember working on it. In coaching it obviously starts with a guy having a knack for punting and getting the ball off. We just haven't developed that yet. We have put a variety of guys back there. We've put Antwaan (Randle El), we've put Bryan Robertson, we've put (Ryan) Hamre...you may see J.R. Drummond this week. It just depends."
With the extra points, do you ever get to the point of thinking of going for two every time?
"Absolutely. And we had that game plan going into the Illinois game. No doubt that it comes into your mind...you're only three yards away. Given the conditions it crossed our minds; and from that point we were going for two anyways."
What is the status on Brandonn Baker?
"We can't tell you anything definitive. He has a congenital narrowing in the spinal area, nothing that has been football induced that we are aware of. It has caused him to get some burners at times. Anytime guys are getting burners you are careful because you are dealing with nerves. He was getting them pretty routinely and so we did a full exam last week to and found a congenital defect in there. His mother, who is involved in the medical field, is going to have them look at it. We are going to come to kind of a consensus. Once everyone has had a chance to look at all of the information, we will be able to make a decision on his football career. Right now, he is basically on hold."
Can you comment on Randle El's impact on your program? Also, can you comment again on the decision to move him back to quarterback from receiver?
"Answering the first part, it has just been a real plus for all of us. You meet people that come along with an energy level and do it in practice that you enjoy. He's a leader, a tremendous playmaker, he is all of those things. It is well publicized that he has finished his college degree. He is a guy who is very goal oriented and has been a guy that is a plus for us in every area. "
"He's back at quarterback and that is the direction we are going. I think it is pretty well documented why we were headed in that direction at that point in time. There really is no reason to revisit that."
Can you talk about Justin Smith and what he means to the defense?
"Well, I would agree with you wholeheartedly on what you said based on the last three weeks. He was second-team All-Big Ten a year ago and is having an All-Big Ten season now. If he can find a way to even take his level of play to another notch, he may wind up being an All-American. He is really having a tremendous year and I think his preparation has been excellent. I think the fact again, too, that he has graduated and has his degree. He is not a professional football player but he has his academics behind him and is able to focus more on his football preparation now more that at any other time in his career. We need to have him continue to play the way he has played these last few weeks."
Coach, you have been around on Sundays quite a bit. Can you rate him as a possible NFL prospect?
"Well, I don't know if these guys benefit from NFL speculation during their college careers. He'll either make it or we won't. He is having not only a great college career, but a great season. There are a couple of ingredients that you have to have to play at the next level. If you can't play at an extremely high level at this level, you can't play at the next level. If he continues to take care of business at this level, sure, anything could happen for Justin in the future."
With Iowa coming off very close loses, can you think of a more dangerous time to come to Iowa City?
"Well, I think anytime you go to Iowa City they are dangerous. I have been going into that stadium, with the exception of three years, usually every other year from 1979. Every year is a dangerous time to go into Iowa City because of how important football is to the people in the state of Iowa, the atmosphere you play in, and you know they'll always be a well-coached football team. I don't care if they are 5-0 or 0-5. I don't think there is ever an easy time to play in Iowa City...and that is why its fun to play. You can go back to when Coach Fry was there and you come into the pink locker room and go through all that stuff. You go out and play a heck of a ballgame. We expect a great atmosphere and I think our players really enjoy playing on the road and in front of a big crowd. It will be a challenge for us."
Listening to your teleconference this morning, can you talk about the Big Ten playing a 12th game next year? What kind of talk is there about scheduling with the other coaches and commissioners?
"As far as the twelfth game, I think (Ohio State head coach) Jim Tressel made a good point. Having it be a twelfth game and non-conference game gives all eleven teams the ability to schedule another home game from a revenue standpoint. To have another game where fifty percent of the teams are on the road, no one mentioned that but it makes a lot of sense. Everybody gets a chance to benefit from a revenue point. As far as an twelfth game or an eleventh game, I think the coaches split. If it is twelve, we will play twelve. If it is eleven, we will play eleven."
Some have talked about twelve games only if we have twelve teams...
"Once Notre Dame didn't come into the league, it hasn't even been mentioned. It was, for a few years there, significant discussion at every head coach and commissioner meeting. Then when Notre Dame didn't come into the league, it hadn't been discussed. Obviously we are not as privileged to everything that is going on at the conference level. The third thing is the question of the BCS. Its been talked about a lot; although, it hasn't effected us. If you look at some of what the other coaches have stated, it's interesting to hear them say they were losing recruits to Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech, Nebraska, certain teams in the Big Twelve, ACC and Big East because those conferences feel like they have a real advantage to get into the national championship game, which is interesting. As a conference, we've taken getting into the national championship and almost said, getting seven bowls lined up is more important than one game...is kind of the message that I was hearing at least. There were some solutions offered that I can't remember exactly what those were. Given the current format, again I'm not naming any coaches, but most of the coaches in our league stated that the given format makes if very difficult to have a Big Ten team to get into the final two."
Can you comment on Michael Hanley?
"Well, he still has a long way to go. He is extremely talented. I think he is still getting into the flow of the game after missing last year. He has made some nice interceptions, particularly the one against Illinois because he did what was asked of him to do. But people have pretty much decided to go after him. You can see it just like I can see it. They are throwing to the short side a lot...on 1st, 2nd and 3rd down and on the goalline. He still has a lot of room for improvement. Michael has to take some of those mistakes that he has made and decide that he is going to get them corrected now, not wait until the season is over and in spring ball. They are going after him and his learning curve needs to go way up in these next six games."
Henry Frazier saw some increasing minutes versus Illinois. How do you see him fitting back into the mix?
"Well, he has been back into the mix starting versus Wisconsin. As you tell anyone that starts out in the staring position who gets moved down...you have to be patient, you have to continue to work hard, which Henry has done. You have to wait when you get another opportunity. Sometimes you get that opportunity and sometimes you don't. It depends on how the guys in front of you do. Travis Haney and L.J. Parker weren't just going to give the job back to him. They have come in and done some good things. You might be more patient with a young player than a guy who is effectively a fifth-year senior. Henry has continued to work hard, keep a good attitude, and when an opportunity came about, he made the most of it. He'll be back into the mix and you'll see him play at least a third of the time, I think, from this point on."
How is Levron (Williams)?
"Levron is fine. He is like all backs. The reality of it is, all good backs, most of them can't get out of bed on Sunday. They start walking around a little bit on Monday, they starting jogging around a little bit on Tuesday. He is full speed Wednesday and Thursday and then their back at it. It is just part of being a good running back. He'll be fine."
Is a win more important this weekend with the bye week up next?
"I think it's pivotal. I've said that all year and this one has a capital 'P.' This is a pivotal, pivotal football game for this football team. That is what makes this week so much fun. Going into a bye week you have a chance to go in and play a very good football team, in their own stadium...keep yourself in the thing. It won't be easy, I can guarantee you that."
Has Joe Gonzalez been the guy to take the secondary under his wings?
"Yes. Yes, with Sharrod's (Wallace) help. Sharrod is more of a quieting influence, he is a little more removed. You look for your leadership right down the center of your defense. Starting with your middle linebacker and your safeties. Joe is second on our team in tackles right now. Joe is an extremely good football player and extremely bright. As you know, he is an Academic All-America candidate. I would be surprised if he didn't become that at some point in time. A solid, solid football player. You need as many Joe Gonzalez's in your program...program guys. You can't have too many of those kind of good, tough, hard-nosed football players. "
It seems like Joe has a knack for the game, especially with his field position...
"Where does knack and preparation meet? You don't really know. You have a guy who is prepared all the time who seems to have a knack. Where is that, where the knack and preparation meet? He prepares extremely well and always has. I've known his father for a long time. His father played at Michigan. He has developed a knack, because he has grown up around football and he studies football a lot. Football is on his mind all of the time and it is important to him. It just seems the guys that do that, people talk about they have a feel or they have a knack. Those are the guys burning up the video all of the time. That is where a knack comes from."
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