PURDUE COACH DARRELL HAZELL
September 10, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
COACH HAZELL: Good morning. It's exciting times right now for the Boilermakers. This rivalry dates back to 1896, and it's the fourth most consistent played rivalry since 1946 of non-conference games. So we're really excited to be part of this rivalry here this Saturday night. There are a lot of things going on. Obviously, Coach Hudson played there, our defensive coordinator. Coach Carlisle's son is their running back.
Our team is preparing extremely hard for this one, and it's going to be a fun night Saturday night at 8:12EST.
Q. I wanted to ask first off, is there anyupdate on Landon Feichter and where he's at?
COACH HAZELL: Yeah, Landon had surgery this morning at 9:30. I have not heard the results of the surgery. But he did break that fibula, and it's unfortunate. The guy's got three broken bones here in the last few months, and you feel bad for the kid. He wants to be out there so bad, but, unfortunately, that is part of the game that we play and love.
Q. So he's definitely out for the year.Are you looking to try to get a medical red-shirt from him?
COACH HAZELL: It's too early to say. They're saying six to eight weeks. That puts us towards the back end of the season. We'll have to play it by ear, so maybe he is a medical red-shirt.
Q. I know part of the mix to replace him is his brother Evan. What attributes does he bring?
COACH HAZELL: He's another smart guy back there that can get guys lined up. He plays extremely hard, so we have to try to create as much depth as we can back there in the back end.
Q. My understanding is Anthrop may be able to make it back this week?
COACH HAZELL: Yeah, we're going to find out today after the individual period today if we can start putting him into some situations. At our special teams meeting at 7:28 this morning, we started plugging him into the depth chart of some of those special teams. Hopefully, he can give us an added boost on some of those special teams and also play out of the slot for us this Saturday night.
Q. What do you need to see more from the offensive line? What has to happen from that group?
COACH HAZELL: We have to do a better job of blocking. We missed a couple key blocks on those plays in the red zone, that I thought they were walk-in touchdowns after you watch the film if the guys sustain the block. We've got to play more consistent up front. If we do, it's a game that probably you're 17 points out, probably 17-0 at the half, maybe 24-0. But we can't fall off those blocks inside.
Q. What are the attributes that Notre Dame has as a strong defensive front that would match up their defensive front with their offensive line? How key is that match-up for you?
COACH HAZELL: They're very good up front. Those guys inside the nose guard. It's outstanding. The thing that impresses me about him is to watch him run down and chase the ball at 350 pounds. He plays -- you wouldn't think a guy that big plays with so much energy down the field, but he does a great job. The other guys on the edge, they're outstanding as well.
So we're going to have to do a good job of creating some double teams and making sure they don't run through as linebackers. If you saw in the Michigan game, I thought their linebackers ran through the gaps really well last week, so we have to do a good job of making sure we don't create many creases inside.
Q. Talk about Will Lucas a couple of weeks ago and his start this week?
COACH HAZELL: He had a great game last week. He graded out at close to 90%. The thing that Will's starting to understand is he's part of the defense. He's not freelancing, and because he's not, he's able to create and make plays for us. He's a physical guy. He can run, so I'm looking forward to him continuing to get better. He's done a nice job for us the last couple of weeks.
Q. Is that something you have to constantly remind Will of?
COACH HAZELL: It's a constant reminder to Will, and that goes to everybody on the football team. You have to understand what your role is. When you do your role and everybody does their role, your chances go up and your percentages go up in terms of winning.
Q. Anthony Brown moves into that starting spot. What do you like about him is this?
COACH HAZELL: He's very athletic. That is the one thing that you like about Anthony. When you watch him on special teams and how well he can come down and make tackles downhill. So he's a guy that's fast, he's athletic, and he's a guy that's still learning back there. One of the things that happened last week is his eyes got caught up in the back field in that last-second touchdown that they've thrown. So he's still got to learn that he can't necessarily tackle that thing for a three-yard loss or three-yard gain. He has to play his deep pass. But he's getting better each day.
Q. Do you need to tell him (Brown) to have a short-term memory, to not worry about the last play?
COACH HAZELL: He's got to have a short-term memory. But just watching the film a couple of seconds ago, the corner routes with their inside slot receiver. That is a hard ball to stop when you're playing man-to-man coverage or half coverage. He's going to have to do a good job of undercutting that route and maybe getting hands on that second receiver.
Q. What is the biggest challenge you face with Notre Dame's offense?
COACH HAZELL: They've got a great offensive line. You watch them last week, and I thought they did an excellent job. They're very simplistic, but they're very sound and they're big and they stay low. So I think we're going to have to battle up front inside and try to contain. The big key for our defense is not to give up those big plays. That is the key. Make them earn every inch of the field, every inch of the grass.
Q. How do you see Tommy Rees as a quarterback?
COACH HAZELL: I like him. I watched an hour and a half of him throwing the ball. He missed a couple guys, but when he throws it, he throws it pretty accurately.
Q. You're new to the Purdue-Notre Dame series. I know it's only Tuesday, but what's been your week like in regards to the Notre Dame week?
COACH HAZELL: I tell you what, it's really fun just to think how long this series has been going on uninterrupted. I'm excited about this game Saturday night. There is a lot of hype going on right now. We've got to make sure as a staff and as a football team that we put in the preparations that we need to do to help our chances to be successful, and that is the bottom line.
Q. Is this comparable to a non-conference rivalry that you've been involved in in the past?
COACH HAZELL: Not yet. Maybe ask him at the end of the week and I can give you a little better update, but not yet.
Q. When you looked at this program long-term is the Notre Dame game something you want to be involved in every year? Is that the best thing for your program?
COACH HAZELL: I would love for this game to continue every single season. I think that it's good. Any time you have in-state rivalries, I think that makes for good spectating.
Q. You mentioned the offensive line and a couple of walk-ins in the red zone. What else does this offense really need?
COACH HAZELL: I think the biggest thing for us right now is to stay on schedule. Stay on schedule and red zone offense, those are probably the two biggest things right now. Not on third downs because we're hurting ourselves on second downs. Our first down, we can stay on schedule, that helps your chances on third down. But when we get inside the red zone, we've got to make touchdowns. We can't make field goals; we can't miss field goals; we've got to make touchdowns. So those are the biggest things.
Q. How concerned are you about the point total that you've been able to get?
COACH HAZELL: Absolutely. That is the goal. Obviously we're working to do that. Again, to do a good job in the red zone, inside the five-yard-line. You have to come up with 14 points last week. We've got to execute better. That's really what it comes down to. The guys got to sustain the blocks and we have to do a better job of getting that ball in the end zone.
Q. Has college football changed in the sense that you have to score a lot of points now where maybe five, ten years ago you were really relying on defense?
COACH HAZELL: I think so. I think there is more offensive opportunities and allows people to score more points in your spread offense. Defenses are catching up a little to the spread offense. You put more and more athletic quarterbacks out on the field.
Q. And the game plan against the defensive line, does it really changed a lot or do you really have to be conscious of that?
COACH HAZELL: Yeah, we have to absolutely know where those guys are. I think you've got to do some things side-to-side, so they don't become an issue. The other thing is you've got to make sure that any time you can get a double team on those guys, and they don't want you to have double teams on them, so they're going to do some things, twisting, and get into a little bit of a front of covering up both the guards in the center so that you can't get double teams on them. So they protect them pretty well.
Q. Can you compare Henry week one versus week two and what you're thinking is comparison-wise?
COACH HAZELL: He definitely took steps forward. He needs to play better and he knows
visit our archives at asapsports.com
that. But he definitely took steps forward in terms of communication and in terms of taking care of the ball. We didn't have any turnovers. Any time you can have zero turnovers and play good special teams, then you have a chance to win. So he did a good job in terms of taking care of the ball. But we still need to get better at seeing the field a little bit better.
He had a couple of slants on the back side where he didn't see it that were uncontested throws. We need to see those things.
Q. You made a concerted effort from the very opening play.
COACH HAZELL: He's a special player, and we have to make sure he gets all the touches he needs, and we'll do that as we move through the season, but he's really gifted. The more he plays, the better he gets. We need to make sure we get him involved pretty quickly.
Q. Can you talk about Cody Webster?
COACH HAZELL: I'm so proud of that guy right now. Hopefully, he continues to punt with consistency. He's very relaxed back there now. He's striking the ball exceptionally well, and we need him to continue to do that. Last week we met our criteria in the punt game, which means they averaged less than five yards of return. That is because his hang time and his ball placement, those are big things as you look at our putting game.
Q. When you look at this rivalry, what's it mean in the grand scheme for the in-state recruiting battles, but also building the Purdue brand in state?
COACH HAZELL: I think it's huge. I think it's huge. Anytime you get two good universities going against each other that are so close to each other, and there are bragging rights. There are absolutely bragging rights. This is a big game for us.
Q. You mentioned Duane Carlisle's son is Amir Carlisle, their starting running back. Have you talked to Duane about that?
COACH HAZELL: Coach Carlisle has something down in his gut, but we have not spoken about Amir or anything about that. I asked coach jokingly, how is Amir going in the staff meeting on Sunday night, but it was not a big deal.
Q. You've talked the last couple weeks about scaling back the playbook offensively. Where do you stand on that going into a game like this?
COACH HAZELL: We're about the same as we were a number of plays going into this week as we were last week. We thought we needed a couple of specific plays for this defense that we're going to see, so we did add a couple things. But I think we're starting to catch up with ourselves.
When you come out of camp and first year offense, first time the guys running the system, it's a little bit harder. But we're starting to get those plays that we initially installed and those first seven installation periods.
Q. Are you wanting to master X-amount of plays? Is that where it's coming from that we want to be really good at these certain plays?
COACH HAZELL: Absolutely. You've got to be good at running the football in two or three different types of schemes. You've got to have four or five base patterns that you can run out of the different formations to allow you to be successful. The more guys do it, the more comfortable they feel at throwing those schemes.
Q. When you go against a team that's ranked pretty good then obviously, and they maybe know -- it's so advanced in the scouting -- they know what you're going to do. Are you good enough that when they know what you're going to do to still execute?
COACH HAZELL: Well, they've got to know when we're going to do it. That is a part of the whole issue. They've got to know they're going to come out run formation, run four or five different things out of that formation. It's very important that we keep mixing it up so they don't know exactly what we're running out of that formation.
Q. You didn't really rotate your linebackers last week. Are those three basically your guys?
COACH HAZELL: They are. It's supposed to be nice on Saturday night, 72°, I hear. So you might only see three or four guys on Saturday night. You get into those battles where all coaches get a little bit tight and they're a little leery to put that second guy in sometimes when you're in the heat of the battle.
So I always tell our guys, if you're going to rotate guys, make sure you have a plan going into the game. It's a little bit different on the sideline as it is in the staff room.
Q. Some of the receivers said they had some kind of options on routes, maybe based on what they see in coverage. How important is it then for them to recognize what they're seeing, and then, B, to have the quarterback also kind of on that same page? Have there been issues this year in the first two games of maybe some -- we've talked about communication, but maybe that's a different kind of thinking that one guy was going to go one way and the other guy the other.
COACH HAZELL: We haven't had that issue yet. They're seeing the same thing. They're seeing the coverage the same, so we have not had that issue. Sometimes we'll have the quarterback read strong or potentially there is a one-on-one match-up on the weak side. But the coverage has not hampered our ability to run the routes or see the routes.
Q. So the receivers are doing a good job in the sense of seeing what they're supposed to see?
COACH HAZELL: Yeah, they haven't made many mental mistakes in that situation.
Q. I know he asked you about Cody (Webster), but just his personality. You've known him for a while now. What do you think of his personality?
COACH HAZELL: He's a little bit of a free spirit, which is not bad. We all tick to a different beat. But I like Cody because it's important to him. You watch him practice, and it's important to him. All the teams, his teammates are important to him. That's why he's such a great team player.
Q. Coach, could you talk about Notre Dame's defense? Last year they really carried the season I don't know if that gives you hopeor if you were able to see last year's game?
COACH HAZELL: They're stout.watched last year's film against -- oh, they played Pitt and they played a couple other people that I've watched so far, Stanford. But they're a good defense. They really are. They rely a lot on their front seven. They play a lot of manned coverage that probably exposed them a little bit last week, some of those routes. But they're going to bring the house on third down. They're going to twist and bring blitz on third down. Just watched the third down cut-up reel, and it was a frenzy of blitzes coming from all areas.
So we're going to have to do a good job on third down of understanding the situation and not getting ourselves in a 3rd and 15 or 3rd and 12, and managing that situation especially early in the game so that the crowd, their part of the crowd, doesn't get all juiced up.
Q. It was hard to believe that Stephon Tuitt didn’t have any tackles against Michigan. How good is he, and did you have a planagainst him?
COACH HAZELL: They did a good job of doubling him. They ran the ball outside. They got it out of the quarterbacks hands as fast as they can on three step, and if they weren't throwing three step, a lot of times they were going seven-man protection so he was not getting the rush.
Q. What’s the mindset of this team right now? Do you get a sense from your players that there is a buzz about this game?
COACH HAZELL: I'd be disappointed if they didn't. The pulse of the locker room is very good right now. Those guys understand where their shortcomings are right now. They understand the deficiencies and how we need to correct those things. They understand that we're still -- some guys got to hear me when I say this, but they can see the film and say, hey, if we do this, this and this, we can be pretty good. So that's where we are right now.
Q. Finally, just recruiting battles, howmany times do you meet players that have both you and Notre Dame on their lists?
COACH HAZELL: There are probably four or five guys that we're both probably talking to right now.