PURDUE COACH DARRELL HAZELL TALKS NEBRASKA
October 8, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
COACH HAZELL: We had a very spirited practice, just got off the field literally five minutes ago, our guys were running around with a lot of energy the last couple days, and excitement.
I think what you're going to see with the quarterback change and you'll be able to see some of those young wide?outs a little bit more and better. Made a position change at the right guard, moving new some to the lineup right now and he's doing a nice job for us. I think that will help us a little bit and on defense you'll see a lot of young players, as well.
You will see Howard at the nose spot backing up Ryan Isaac. We pushed out Bruce to the end spot and then you'll see Evan Panfil and Jake playing the end spots. We'll play those guys both this week. You like to give them 15?plus reps this first contest.
So I think our team is really?? we are playing a great Nebraska team. They have done a nice job, if you study the film, the last two weeks they are playing more man?to?man coverage, blitz, getting into the red zone.
But they are doing a nice job running the ball with that back, and he ran for a million yards last week and the quarterback is throwing it well enough to keep Yanis (ph), so it's going to be a good challenge but I like where we are as a football team after making some of those changes.
COACH HAZELL: After last week, I called in Danny first and I told him he was going to be the guy, and I called in Rob second, I said, we are going to make a change at quarterback and I'll make Danny the quarterback. Rob is a very unselfish guy. That's why he's our captain. He's the one that says, where can I help the team at another position. I've played running back, I've played a little wide receiver and I've also played some defensive back.
I said, well let's look at you at defensive back, because that's where are unfinished right now, and he goes, "I'm all?in." He was great about it and that's what you need on this football team is more and more unselfish people to help us win football games.
Q. And how is he at defensive back?? is he a guy that can handle the physicality of that division?
COACH HAZELL: Well, he certainly doesn't look out of place. You watch him run around, and obviously he's a young player back there who has not done it a whole lot. You would think the guy would be out of position a lot of times but I have not seen that. We asked him to do some tackling, that's going to be the big question, how well he can tackle.
But he rolls around pretty good. He made a pick yesterday in practice, which was good for his confidence as well as ours. We look for him to continue to get better each and every day.
Q. Are you anticipating him playing, or is that a work?in?progress?
COACH HAZELL: That's a work?in?progress I think right now. I think it might be a little bit too early to say that he's going to get in there. You never know what happens, and we get guys coming back, with Kugler coming back and Frankie coming back and he's healthy. It's great to get those guys back but you just don't know at that position.
Q. With Etling, now that he's the guy, how has he handled it and what have you seen from him?
COACH HAZELL: What I told Danny is you don't need to do anything different from the last three or four weeks. He got so much better since the beginning of the season. It's all about preparation. He prepares like a nine?year vet in the league. He studies film. He's in there at 6:00 in the morning. He takes meticulous three?, four?, five?page notes. He wants to know the answers to the test. And if he can continue to do those things, then you're going to love watching him play.
Q. What do you think it says about a guy like Rob, after a setback like that, another obstacle comes along?? he could check out, but he doesn't check out. He wants to help you guys out in a different capacity.
COACH HAZELL: Well, you can't say enough for guys like that, and that's what you need on your football team. When you have a bunch of those types of guys, you're going to be very successful. And he'll be successful in life because of that unselfish attitude that he has, and that's why you love Rob Henry.
Q. Getting Dan Monteroso back, what does he offer you guys, having that youth on that lineup, how will that help the squad going into Nebraska?
COACH HAZELL: He's a young players and he's still learning. That's what people have to realize, we are playing three, four, five freshmen sophomores and receivers that don't have a lot of experience. You're going to have to endure some of those young mistakes.
But again, he's a pea in a pod with Etling in terms of studying the film and trying to understand what we are trying to do. So he'll help us. He understands how to get open. He's done a better job of separating versus man?to?man coverage, but he's a big, long body that can make plays over the top of people.
So it will be interesting to see how he plays on Saturday. It's good to get him back. I wasn't expecting to get him back so early but good that he's back.
Q. You mentioned moving Gaston out to the edge. What made you make that call and how do you think he helps you out there, as opposed to tackle?
COACH HAZELL: We thought that Ryan Isaac, we would bump and play the nose guard, as well on the edge?? or excuse me, inside. But putting Bruce on the edge where the one?on?one blocks gets him away from all the double teams he's been drawing. I think that's going to help us. If he can get some one?on?one plays and some tackles out there, I think that can create some issues for him on the offensive line.
Q. I see that Wisconsin is seventh in the nation in rushing and Nebraska is ninth; could you compare their attacks in terms of style and effectiveness?
COACH HAZELL: I think obviously Wisconsin's a premium at running the football. They have those two backs?? that you don't have to be perfect up front for those guys to make yards. You just watch them week?in and week?out how they make people miss you at the line of scrimmage, unblock, decommission ?? and they are fast; they are fast guys.
Where I think Nebraska has done a nice job, it's more deceptive?type runs. You know, some of the quarterback zone read stuff, the power off of those things and the speed sweep, they are a little more deceptive than Wisconsin; where Wisconsin is a downhill zone, power team who is giving up to the tailbacks.
Q. Inaudible ?? is it tougher to prepare for a team when you don't know who is going to play quarterback for that team?
COACH HAZELL: Well, we are preparing for the backup right now. That's all we have to study right now. Last week they put in the third team guy for a series or two, but I think that was just to get his feet wet a little bit. We are going to prepare for the backup quarterback and see who shows up on Saturday.
Q. Last question about this game, Abdullah, the running back, seventh in the nation in yards rushing, what makes him tough to handle?
COACH HAZELL: He's strong. He's not very big. He's 5?11, 190, but you can see his power and strength, and he gets on a guy's edge and it's hard to put that guy down. So we are going to have to do a great job of getting hands to him and make sure we do a great job of wrapping him up because he's a strong, strong runner.
Q. Talking about last time?? Wisconsin, the rushing game for them. What have you seen from them the last couple of weeks?
COACH HAZELL: Got to make sure our gaps aren't vacant, but once we get it?? we have to make sure we do a good jab of tackling and making sure we keep our heads?up and staying on our feet, wrapping up and getting more and more people around the ball. We are not creating enough turnovers right now and one of the reasons is we don't have enough guys to get the football, so we need to get more guys on the football.
Q. Looking back on the bye week, what do you accomplish?? inaudible.
COACH HAZELL: I think you'll see on Saturday, and I don't want to say too much, but you'll see it's going to be a little bit different offensively. But, I think what we've done is we've taken a step back, really evaluated what we've done for the first part of the season, and where we need to go as a staff.
We talked about personnel, we talked about scheme, all those things that you talk about in that week that you have off, kind of decompress a little bit, and figure out which direction, without panicking, which direction you need to go.
Q. Fresh off the bye and looking ahead defensively??
COACH HAZELL: So they are hungry, and they understand that they have under?achieved a little bit, and it's our job as a staff to make sure that you continue to keep pushing them and keep playing hard and got to make sure we are doing all the things right.
The biggest thing for me offensively is taking care of the ball. We have not done a good job of taking care of the football. Once the ball has crossed the 50?yard line, we have not done a good job of taking care of it and then producing points and that's what we need to do.
Q. What have you seen out of Danny??
COACH HAZELL: That's hard to say. Obviously off the field, his preparation, but on the field, he can throw every ball. He can throw the deep ball. I watched film him the other day throw an out?cut across the field, a lat pass to the sideline on the line. That makes you cover the whole field defensively, when you start throwing sideline to sideline and goal line to goal line, you startto involve the wide receivers?? inaudible?? and that's what we want to do, play sideline to sideline offensively ?? inaudible.
Q. What do you like about what Angelo has given you lately?
COACH HAZELL: He's the one guy that's in that room, that can beat one?on?one coverage consistently. And he's such a young player, but he's fast. I don't think you realize how fast he is. I watch him go by guys, and just with a little wiggle, that excites you. Now, he's still a puppy. He doesn't know a lot of things, but you watch him get better and better each week, and he will be that big?time player when it's all said and done.
Q. Could he benefit from Danny's ability to get the ball a little bit better out to the edges?
COACH HAZELL: Without a doubt. Without a doubt. Those guys are helping each other. The quarterback is helping the wide outs and the wide?outs will help Danny because now all of a sudden you can put another wide out on the field and spread the field a little bit more.
Q. By making some of the changes on defense what do you hope to accomplish? Do you want to generate more pass rush? Do you want to generate more turnovers? What do you want to be able to do?
COACH HAZELL: I think the first thing you want to create more negative plays. If you've got to put offensive teams and second and 12 and second and 11s, I think that's one of the things we are looking to do with some of the changes we've made on defense. But obviously you have to start winning the turnover margin and we have not done that in the last couple weeks and we need to start doing that.
Q. Is the focus with Viker (ph) that he will come back at some point? Is that the plan at this point?
COACH HAZELL: Yeah, he's really, really doing a nice job of getting back. We talked to the trainers yesterday and our staff meeting last night, and we looked at the calendar, there's a potential for Ohio State, but definitely the next week he should be back to play for us.
Q. What's Greg Latta's status right now?
COACH HAZELL: Right now, he's probably questionable for Saturday. He still has that hamstring. I had not met with the trainers yet today but he was supposed to do a little of the individual for us, but I'm not sure if he did or not. But he did not ?? we need to see if he can go tomorrow. If he can't go tomorrow, he's probably a doubtful coming off tomorrow's practice.
Q. And the way you realigned the front, who steps in, and if he does play, what's his role now?
COACH HAZELL: You have to be careful if he does play. He can't give you 25, 30 snaps. Going on to be more of a 10? to 15?snap guy. We'll have some of the guysstep in, Jake Replogle and Evan, and Chuck Ayres is a guy that's done a good job for us and there's a couple other guys that we can plug into that position.
Q. You mentioned earlier about the offense when you're crossing the 50, you're obviously not scoring enough points, but the turnovers, as you go back and dissect those plays, what's going wrong for you offensively?
COACH HAZELL: You look at last week's game, we fumbled a snap, which never, ever happens; we fumbled a snap and turned it over on the plus. Side and then we had a third and two and we threw a little stiff route. We had four guys open; he threw it a little hot and high on the guy that deflected it and went the other way.
And then I can't remember the third turnover early?? I'm talking about when the game is in the balance. I'm not talking about when the game is not in the balance.
When the game is in the balance, that's when we've been turning it over, so that was?? I know what it was. It was down in the red, deep in the red zone, and Rob scrambled out and instead of lining it up and kicking the field goal, he forced one in the end zone and threw a high floater inside and we got picked off in the end zone.
So those are three critical turnovers when you've got a chance to potentially get some points there.
Q. Danny is a young quarterback, still going to have some growing pains with him, I guess the patience with turnovers with him, moving forward, and how important it is maybe to keep his head up when those things happen.
COACH HAZELL: Yeah, that's going to be big. And you know, you'd like him to play like a vet but you know at some point that freshman will show up and you have to work through those things. But his ability is so good, at some of those things that he can do, and might overcome, if you don't get too many of those bad turnovers.
Q. You talked about his preparation. Can you take us through a timeline of what you're seeing and what he's doing?
COACH HAZELL: He doesn't want to be seen. That's the nice thing about him, he wants to go in there. We have a quarterback viewing room where he goes in, he kind of goes in there and draws up on the board by himself, goes through all the play calls, says them out loud to himself and so he practices those things. Then he goes through the tape, and then he studies their tape after studying our tape, and it's just tireless. It's a business to him. He'd better be going to class (laughing).
Q. Sounds like he is going to class, your class. You talked about Nebraska's defense. It's a young defense. It has given up some points and yards this year; where do you see potentially an advantage for your offense with the new quarterback on Saturday?
COACH HAZELL: With the new quarterback? Like I said, the last two weeks, if you study the last two weeks, they are completely different than they were the first two weeks of the season. They are playing a lot more man?to?man and it looks like they have gotten rid of few of their linebackers and had some substitutions, as well?? basically, we are going to play a little bit more simplistic and try to get after people that way.
So, you know, we've got to do some of the things that we've done in the past in terms of shifts and motions to potentially create some issues with all the man?to?man coverage they are playing, but we'll do some other things to create some issues.
Q. How important is it to have a running game with Danny, or can you produce a running game?? a different kind of running game with him under center now?
COACH HAZELL: You have to have a running game, and that will take the pressure off of him if you can run the football. And we are certainly committed to running the ball. We will do it a little bit differently than what we've done, but we are certainly committed to running the ball.
Q. How would you define a pro?style offense?
COACH HAZELL: How would I define? Typically you would say a pro?style offense is the two?back offense, one tight end, two wide receivers. Play?action pass off of your base runs, and throw a quick game. That's how I would probably define a pro style.
Q. Would you define your offense as a pro?style offense with Danny at your quarterback?
COACH HAZELL: I would not.
Q. So is that a change in philosophy?
COACH HAZELL: Slightly. Slightly. But not drastically. We are still doing some things out of the pro?style offense, but that's not where we are exclusively.
Q. You mentioned the young defensive linemen; are they getting to the point where they are ready to play right now or is it the guys that you have haven't been doing what they need to do?
COACH HAZELL: When we get a chance to see them up close and personal?? it comes down to the scouting and those are the guys that were struggling to block a lot of times. Those two guys, speaking of the ends, Evan and Replogle, those guys have high motors, and they don't care if they are in the gap or not. They are just coming after you. And we need that type of energy from our football team right now. That's why we decided to go with those guys.
Q. You had mentioned that you were evaluating who is all?in, when you win down the list, was 75 percent of your team you felt like was all?in?
COACH HAZELL: Absolutely, greater than 80 percent. And what does that really mean?? but no, I feel like the guys are working extremely hard and doing the things that we are asking them to do. Do they do it all the time, or do we try to get them to do it all the time? Absolutely.
Q. Why do you think you would be a better team coming off the bye week than you were going in?
COACH HAZELL: There's a lot of reasons, without giving up too much information. But I think our energy is a little bit better right now, coming off some of the changes?? it is. That's real.
We threw an incomplete pass yesterday to Danny Anthrop down the field about 45 yards and the sideline erupted, because they were excited. We were able to throw the ball down the field. Just those little things give you cues that guys are locked in a little bit.
Q. How would you describe Abdullah as a running back? You've faced a bunch of different guys?? how would you characterize him?
COACH HAZELL: He's a powerful, powerful back. He's got the ability to make you miss in tight spaces but he also is very strong when he breaks tackle and I think that's probably his biggest asset is being able to break tackle, so we have to do a good job of getting people to him.
Q. The comparison was made before to Wisconsin, I think based on productivity, are they the same sort of run game or more of a tempo run game or physical run game?
COACH HAZELL: No, I see them being a little more different, where Wisconsin is more of a downhill, they run power, they run zone, they run speed sweep and things off the speed sweep; where this team is a little bit more deceptive in their run game. We are going to have to do a good job with our gap discipline and our i?discipline and all those things. If you're out of alignment with assignment football, it can hurt you.
Q. Do you attribute the boost of energy, the energy boost, to the quarterback change or is there more to it than that?
COACH HAZELL: I think it's probably?? a lot has to do with that, but I think there's more. I think being able to play some of those younger guys gives those guys an opportunity to push some of those older guys. I think that drives the older guys to do better. So I think there's a combination of a couple things.
Q. What has your week been like with Danny? Have you been in these film sessions with him so that you guys are on the same page? Have you been meeting with him on a more regular basis?
COACH HAZELL: I have not personally but hoop has met with him. I pull him over to the side and go over a few things with him here or there. But hoop does a great job with him and gives him the tip sheets that he needs and things that he needs to study to be totally prepared when he hits the field on Saturday.
Q. You had the game Saturday, you talked to the quarterbacks Tuesday. Where in that process between Saturday and Tuesday did you actually come to your decision? How quickly did it take?
COACH HAZELL: Saturday of the game you mean?
COACH HAZELL: I stepped off the field?? you always like to decompress and sleep on things that are big decisions for the program. So I slept on it. And I had a pretty good idea; and I called Shoop in and we talked about it.
And I said a few weeks ago, when we go to Danny, if we go to Danny, that when we go, we have to go. We can't go back and forth. I said, when we decide if we ever decide to go with him this year, you're going to have to go and you've got to live with the results that you get. So you'll have to sleepanother four nights (ph) and I think that is the best thing for our football team.
Q. Your passing game was able to make more vertical plays than it had in the four games prior and that started before the quarterback change, too. Was that something about the matchup or was that something about perhaps the entire operation kind of settling in a little bit?
COACH HAZELL: Talking about the Northern Illinois game? Didn't we pass it pretty well before we made the quarterback change?
COACH HAZELL: Yeah, he did, you're absolutely right. Just it's probably more consistency. We haven't been able to do it very consistent prior to make the change. I thought we were able to spread it and throw it pretty good once we made the change.