PURDUE UNIVERSITY MEDIA CONFERENCE: DANNY HOPE
September 9, 2012INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
Notre Dame – 20
Purdue – 17
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Hope.
Q. Just assess your team's play today.
COACH HOPE: I was really proud of our effort. We were only a few plays away from knocking off a really good football team at their home place.
Certainly we're disappointed with the loss. Disappointment is an emotion and we'll get over that. We have nothing to be discouraged about. Discouragement is a state of mind.
Really encouraged about our effort, encouraged about the way we came to play. I thought that our defense rallied several times. Our offense was three?and?out more times than we'd like in the second half. I think our defense continued to show up and give us a chance to win.
Throughout the course of the game, when we had to, our offense got it done and got us in position to win the game. Disappointed with the loss. We didn't do a very good job defending their roll?out protection. I thought that serviced them well.
They have a young quarterback. He did a heck of a job. He'll be a star in the future. Their roll?out protected their ability to move the football some today.
We manufactured a stupid interception. That was careless. That impacted the ballgame some. They hit a big pass down the field on us. That impacted the ballgame some.
Even with all that, I thought our team rose to the occasion and fought really hard. I thought we showed great promise as a football team and I think we're going to do very well this season.
Q. Were you expecting Notre Dame to come out and throw as much as they had, especially early in the game?
COACH HOPE: I talked to the defensive staff. We weren't sure because they ran it an inordinate amount of times last week. I assumed they wouldn't come out and just run the ball at us. I think we're too big and strong to run the football at us.
They threw it more times consecutively in a row than I anticipated. But I thought they would come out and try to manufacture the passing game early to try to loosen us up some.
They had some good running plays, but I thought our defensive front shut down their run game for the most part today. I think out of necessity they had to try to throw it today.
Q. Danny, you didn't have Ricardo on the field for the last drive. Was he injured or just on the sideline?
COACH HOPE: He was just on the sideline.
Q. Performance deal?
COACH HOPE: Coaching decision.
Q. Danny, the rotating quarterbacks worked reasonably well today. Do you want to get to a point in the season where you can commit to one guy or the other or are you satisfied with doing it this way?
COACH HOPE: We're always going to play more than one quarterback. We've had this conversation many times. We don't want the number one quarterback to go down and have to wave a white flag right in the middle of the game or right in the middle of the season.
I thought the classic example today was when Robert Marve went down and TerBush came back in the game and put us in position to potentially go into overtime.
We're going to play the guys to help us win. If it's one, that's fine, if it's two, that's fine, if it's three, that's fine, if it's four... We'll do whatever it takes for us to win.
Q. Danny, you score right at the end of the first half. The third quarter seemed a little sluggish. You spent a lot of time trying to prepare for that in camp. What did you see out of your team that led to some of that in that third quarter?
COACH HOPE: I don't know what led to it. I think Notre Dame played better in the third quarter than we did. Maybe we're a fourth?quarter team and we'll hang our hat on that. I'm not going to assume that we're jinxed or inadequate because we didn't play good in the fourth quarter.
They're a good football team with a lot of good players. We're in their place. That's a challenge regardless what quarter it is.
Q. Any update on Robert Marve?
COACH HOPE: Not yet.
Q. Danny, your field position was huge today to help you quite a bit. Webster's punting was excellent. McCartney stepped up and made the field goal. Talk about the play of your special teams today, including Mostert's return.
COACH HOPE: We're geared and our commitment is to have special teams be our edge. We have a full?time special teams coordinator, one of the top instructors of specialists in the nation. We invest a few more scholarships in specialists. So we should have an edge in regards to special teams.
Raheem Mostert is a very special player. He led the nation in kickoff returns last year. He's probably leading the conference right now. He was after the first week. He's a fantastic player.
Cody Webster has a very, very strong leg. He led the nation in punting for seven or eight games last season. I'm not surprised to see him punt really well today. Sam has done very well throughout the course of camp. We didn't ask him to kick any record field goals, but the ones we asked him to kick, he was exact on.
I didn't see anything happen today in special teams that we haven't been geared for or made a commitment to. We go into every ballgame with the commitment and belief that special teams is going to be our edge.
Q. I know you're familiar with Tommy Rees. Can you talk about your impression of him today when he came in on the last drive?
COACH HOPE: Well, I thought that was a really good decision by their head coach. That was a pressure situation and certainly would have been a tough assignment for a rookie quarterback.
I was kind of excited about the idea of maybe having a rookie quarterback in there on the last drive. I thought that may have given us an opportunity to get after him some and get ourselves in position to win. I thought it was a good coaching decision.
Tommy Rees is a good player, heck of a quarterback, too. We didn't play as well as we needed to there on the final drive. Hats off to Notre Dame. They played better than we did right there at the end of the ballgame.
Q. Danny, since Robert led you that touchdown drive right before half, did you consider with him to start the second half? Why the decision to go baseball to Caleb?
COACH HOPE: Caleb started the first half. We were going to play both of the quarterbacks a significant amount in the second half.
Again, coming out of camp, Caleb was number one and had really managed the offense very well. It was tied up, so we wanted to start off, you know, successful in the second half. It was a decision that we made. I don't think that should be a surprise to anyone. I thought they both did some good things today. We have two really good senior veteran quarterbacks, and they both play well when called upon.
Q. Danny, Notre Dame's last drive, there was a play that looked like the play clock might have been at zero. Did you notice that at all?
COACH HOPE: There was some talk on our sideline. I was watching the game. I saw the quarterback try to call a timeout. He didn't know whether or not they were out of them or whether he was calling a fake timeout to try to get our defense off guard.
Our coaches were talking about that time had expired, but the officials said they disagreed.
Q. Coach, you called a timeout right before the extra point. Did you consider going for 2? What went into that timeout?
COACH HOPE: We wanted to make sure that we didn't get the extra point blocked. We knew on that drive that we were in overtime mode, if you will. We were going to take four downs, go for a touchdown. We weren't going to kick a field goal, try an on?side kick, we weren't going to do any of that. We were in overtime mode.
Last year we were in a similar situation against Ohio State. We lined up and blocked their extra point and it went into overtime. I wanted to make sure that everyone had a chance to catch their breath, remind them about having proper splits. I didn't want Notre Dame to come off the edge of a short corner if the linemen didn't get the proper splits. I wanted to remind them how important this extra point was and have the chance to make sure we had the best protection we could across the front because we were fixing to go into overtime.
Q. Danny, you touched briefly about the play of your front. I think they rushed 36 times for 52 yards, five sacks, Short had a couple. Those guys played a significant amount of downs. Really did a nice job. Talk about how well they played.
COACH HOPE: We have a very good defensive front. Fortunately we have enough guys that we can rotate and keep them fresh. It's just part of the master plan. As you all well know, Giants have a very good defensive front. They rotate their defensive front. It was the difference in them winning a Super Bowl, being a great football team.
We have a chance to do the same with our defensive front. Keep guys fresh, rotate them throughout the course of the game.
If we didn't have as many, then we wouldn't be as good. But we have half a dozen really good defensive linemen. That's the strength of our football team. We knew that going into the season.
Q. Danny, the drops, especially the ones by the tight ends in the first half, then Ross had one as well. Is that something you've seen in practice? Reason why it happened today?
COACH HOPE: I haven't seen a whole lot of drops in practice. Sometimes they catch them all in the games, sometimes they don't. It's not the first time a guy's dropped a pass in a football game. We dropped a few more today than we would have liked to. We're usually more sure?handed than that.
I think we have good receivers, they're usually pretty sure?handed. But we dropped a couple today, absolutely.
Q. Josh Johnson, nine tackles, got the fumble at the end. Tough assignment. Seemed like Eifert was down the middle of the field. Was Josh assigned to him? Did he have an up and down day?
COACH HOPE: I don't know if he had an up or down day until we look at the film. Eifert is a fantastic player, one of the best players at his position on a national level. He's a great player, their go?to guy. I don't know how many passes he caught today, but we knew he would catch some. Had a plan to try to take him out.
Josh defended some passes against him, as well. We certainly knew he was a great player and we knew he was going to make some plays today.