It’s been a few week’s since we’ve been able to run one of these posts. Hopefully the wait wasn’t too much for you, loyal reader.
Adam Bellamy On the team’s defensive play:
“It’s great to have someone like Coach (Jim) Heacock to work with. It’s easier to play faster now that we’re starting to understand who we are as a team.”
Zach Boren On improvements from last week’s game at Miami:
“This whole week at practice we knew we had to change our attitudes. We had to keep fighting. We wanted that to be our mentality.”
John Simon On the defense:
“I think we are ready for conference games. There are a few things we have to correct, like the big plays at the end of the game. We know Michigan State will capitalize on those opportunities, but today we had a good day.”
Travis Howard On the play of the defense:
“We came out really physical and we were well prepared. Last weekend we left with a bad taste in our mouth and we jumped out to a great start today.”
Reid Fragel On facing Michigan State next week:
“I’m ready for it [the Big Ten season] to begin. A lot of my buddies go there, so I’m excited that we get to travel there to start the Big Ten.”
Mike Brewster On what Miller did well:
“He used his natural instincts. That’s what I did as a freshman and he’s doing it now. He got a little banged up out there but tried to get as many yards as possible. He probably could have gotten out of bounds a little more to take a few of the hits away so he doesn’t get as banged up, but he’s a fighter.”
You have to like Fickell’s downplaying of Braxton’s role, and emphasizing the team aspect:
Q. Braxton’s play today, and overall how big a lift did he give this program to turn it from the direction it was last week?
COACH FICKELL: This is a big team thing, and we know there’s a lot of guys — Jordan Hall gave us some lifts. Defensively we got us some lifts. Sometimes it’s obviously focused on the quarterback. But he gave us a lift, gave us some things we needed offensively as well as keeping plays alive and things.
But we’re not going to throw everything at him right off the bat and say anything more than just it’s still about the team.
For those worried about the quantity of running done by Braxton Miller:
Q. Did you expect to run him that much today?
COACH FICKELL: Probably not. But you know you wait and see how things really go. You’ve got some ideas of what’s going to happen. And probably some more of those were, he made the decision to run a little quicker, maybe.
But we’re going to figure out a way we can continue to get better. And obviously he’s a big part of that.
Also aimed at the worries in the passing game:
Q. You talked about how offensively your primary goal was to run the football. What were your passing goals, given how things went last week through the year?
COACH FICKELL: Obviously the whole goal of an offense is to be balanced. I think that’s the number one most important thing. To me you don’t want to lead the nation in rushing, because if you lead the nation in rushing you probably can’t throw the football. If you lead the nation in passing, you probably don’t run the football too well. So we’ve got to continue to figure out how we can be a little bit more balanced in everything we do.
There was a big question in the stands as to whether or not Devin Smith caught that ball on the sideline in the third quarter. Seems the coaches had a feeling about that as well:
COACH FICKELL: I kept hearing from upstairs that that was a catch over there on the other side, but seems like the officials didn’t quite think so. But the guys up in the box kept telling me: It’s a catch. It’s a catch.