Weekly Press Conference

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!

    November 18, 2003

    Head Coach Gerry DiNardo:

    Opening Statement:

    GD: "This Purdue team is probably as good as any team we have played all year. We have a lot of work to do this week. Hopefully the weather will get better, and we'll be able to do it."

    On Purdue's offensive and defensive balance:

    GD: "They're a very good team on both sides of the ball. They're a little more veteran on defense than they are on offense. They're a pretty young offensive team. They're very good on offense and defense. They have also done good things in the kick game. They are as good a team as we've played this year."

    On the improvement in the running game:

    GD: "It's been one of the really bright spots of our season. It's the basis of offense. You see passing teams come back to the rush sooner or later because you need it in situation football. Ultimately, you have to be able to run the football. I didn't feel like we could do it a year ago. I don't regret what we did a year ago because I think that was the best thing for us with the players we had. This is where I wanted to start the offense. Now, we have some much-needed work to do in the pass game. We're not efficient in the pass game. We'll address that during the offseason and in spring practice pretty aggressively."

    On the approach to a rivalry game:

    GD: "I think they way you practice should change. How much tape you watch on your own should change. How much you think about the game should change. How you play the game should not change. Your emotions prior to and after the game should change. The one thing that should change is you don't say anything about your opponent and keep your business to yourself. I think everything else should change."

    On similarities between the IU/Purdue and Vanderbilt/Tennessee rivalries:

    GD: "The winning percentages are very close. Vanderbilt has an overall 30% winning percentage and Indiana is 33% within the rivalry. The overall percentages certainly are comparable."

    On the status of Brian Lewis for the game:

    GD: "I don't know, but I would lean toward no. I really don't know and probably won't know until Wednesday."

    On the status of Graeme McFarland:

    GD: "I don't think we'll have him this week. It will be highly unlikely we'll have him."

    On the status of Chris Taylor:

    GD: "He'll practice today as of this morning. That could change. The information I have as of this morning is that he'll practice."

    On being able to use the new field in the rain:

    GD: "I'm hoping to get in the stadium. Soccer is trying to practice because their field is soaked. We're trying to make it so everyone can get ready for their games this weekend. If the stadium was natural grass, I don't see how we all could practice today. We may all be inside today, and we'll have to make it work. Without question, the turf is a big advantage. If it stops raining, we'll go out because this field drains pretty well. The one problem is lightning, which would put us all inside."

    On disadvantage of not getting extra practices when not making a bowl game:

    GD: "It's interesting that the NCAA legislates the number of practices in the spring and preseason, but does not legislate the number of practices for bowl games. What I've done in the past is practice young guys almost unlimited during the bowl practice, and that's where you reap the benefits. We've done some of that the last two or three weeks, and we'll do it again this week. Wednesday, when we're done with our game preparation, we'll keep our young guys out. We scrimmaged 69 plays last Wednesday with our third group. We'll try and make some of it up. There's no question you lose the reward of playing in a bowl game, and you lose all that practice time with younger guys. I think it's fair. Every institution has equal opportunity to build a program."

    On realizing the importance of the rivalry when recruiting throughout the state:

    GD: "Not a significant amount. I think high school coaches are more interested in their programs. In coaching, you become loyal to the school you are presently at, not where you went to school. Other than running into an IU grad or a Purdue grad. It's more about their players and high school football than Indiana or Purdue."

    On the play of Jake Powers:

    GD: "His effort has been really outstanding. He studies the game quite a bit. He's a student of the game and watches a lot of tape. The game is very important to him, and we knew that when we recruited him. He'll benefit from an offseason of strength and conditioning. He needs to get bigger and stronger. Going from Danville to the Big Ten is a jump, as it is for any freshman. He's terrific. He really is. He's done everything we can expect from a young guy."

    On Powers' ability to handle the rigors of the season:

    GD: "I think he's like a lot of freshman that play. They're much more equipped to handle the rigors of the mental part of the game. Jake is going to get bigger and stronger, but his maturity, intensity and the way he approaches the game is what allows him to play as a true freshman. Most true freshmen play because of the mental abilities and their maturity moreso than their physical abilities. That's why you often see one freshman play as a true freshman and someone in that same class two or three years later become a better player. When they were both freshmen, the guy that played was the more mature guy, not necessarily the better athlete, and it takes a little more time for the athlete to mature. Now, BenJarvus Green-Ellis happens to be both. He happens to be very mature in the way he approaches the game and also is a gifted athlete. Sometimes you have them both. In a program like ours, if I say one or the other is going to do it, it's going to be mental ahead of physical."

    On taking away anything from last weekend's game:

    GD: "I think we took a step back last week, especially defensively in the second half. We had a running back rush for 200 yards, but other than that, we took a step back. A blocked punt for a touchdown is a step back, and the way our defense played is a step back."

    On how to defend Purdue:

    GD: "I think the way Ohio State and Michigan defended Purdue was a very good and efficient way. You need those type of athletes, in my opinion, to put that together."




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