We had meetings this morning and we’ll have meetings this evening to start on Cal. As a staff we’ve been looking at Cal and preparing our game plan for them. They’re a team that’s dangerous. They give you problems. A lot of different things you have to prepare for. They’ve always played good defense because they’ve always had a really good defensive line. You know, going on the road two weeks on a row is a big challenge.
On what makes Cal dangerous:
They make you prepare for a lot. They do a lot of different things. So, you have limited preparation time so you really have to budget your time effectively, especially defensively. A lot of times when you face a team like Cal that gives you a lot of different looks it’s important to go back to basics on defense. And take care of your own shop. Sometimes you can get into trouble if you try to find an answer for every single thing that they do. Sometimes when you do that you come up with no answers. You have to really be guarded when you do that, and that’s a coaching issue, not a playing issue.
On the confidence boost from being 2-0 on the road:
I think it’s really important for the confidence. You go on the road and get a win it really boosts your confidence. The key is our players have just focused on the game. Not the environment, not the plane trip, not the hotel. We have a routine that starts Friday morning and we stick to it. Our players have been mature enough to avoid the distraction that could potentially be there.
On this being the first week players are in school:
I think it was really important that we started on our morning schedule last week to get them acclimated to that. It’s important that they balance and budget their time between school and football and rest and study and all the things they have to get done. It’s important as a staff we do a good job to help them budget their time. The reason we got the split day is to give them a chunk of time so they can focus on school. We get them early and we get them at the end. It worked well for them last week. If we have to make adjustments because of school we’ll do so.
On what he’s looking for from other receivers after Devin Lucien’s injury:
Jordan and even Logan Sweet, Tyler Scott and Jerry Rice Jr. those guys, their roles are going to increase a little bit. Jerry played really well the other night. He got extended playing time and did a heck of a job. Jordan Payton got extended playing time. He had that catch down the sideline where his foot was half an inch out of bounds. If he can make that play it’s a real good play for him. Jordan’s consistently getting better.
On Jordan Zumwalt:
I saw him this morning and he looked great, but nothing definitive yet. Hopefully by the end of the day or at the latest the end of tomorrow we’ll know if he’s going to be cleared or not. The swelling was gone. The would looked really good. He looked a lot better than he looked last Thursday. He still had some swelling last Thursday. His facial structure looks really close to normal. I don’t know that he has or not (tried to put on a helmet). Probably not. Probably not.
On whether Zumwalt will continue to play outside:
He’ll go back outside. I teased him this morning. I said, ‘You get healthy fast when the guy goes in your spot and gets three sacks, don’t ya?’ It’s just good for our team to have competition. It’s great to have multiple players who can do things outside. The thing that’s great about Damien is his versatility. He easily moves between inside and outside linebacker in a game. He’s very smart, so he can do both. We like Jordan right now more as an outside linebacker. That seems to be a better fit for him.
On whether Damien Holmes might be better suited at outside linebacker:
Well, he can do both. It’s probably an easier adjustment for him because he was a defensive end. He was used to looking at the ball out of his right eye, and I know that sounds really silly. But when you’re used to playing with the ball always on the right shoulder and then when you get in the middle of the defense and the ball can be on either side of you and your scope has to be wider it changes things for you. It’s not as natural. But I think he’s done a good job both inside and outside. I love the fact that he’s versatile. When you’ve got guys that play as hard as Jordan plays and as hard as Damien plays and as hard as Anthony Barr plays, you need some sort of rotation there. So, I think it’s good that those guys can play.
On Andrew Abbott being more involved:
He just made more plays. We really haven’t changed how we’ve used him, other than the Nebraska game where he played corner. But when we go to nickel sometimes he goes down and covers the slot because we bring Randall Goforth in. He just was active this week. The ball came to him a lot. He got to the ball a lot.
On Johnathan Franklin’s hand:
You teach guys to tackle the ball and he gets hit on the hand some. The same thing happened against Nebraska, but it’s nothing. He’s fine. I don’t believe he did anything but ice it after the game. He hasn’t been to treatment. He’s not on the injury report. He’s fine.
On continuing dropped passes:
You’re right. We had more drops this week than we’ve had in any games so far. We had by our count we had seven drops. I believe the most we had before that was five. So year, it’s a concern. It’s tricky. You don’t want to put so much emphasis on it that you start spooking guys. But you have to work on it.
On getting an impression watching Ellis McCarthy play guard:
Not enough happened. Not enough happened. And we still haven’t talked about what we’re going to do with regard to him this week. But he’s just a good football player. I think wherever you put him, whether it’s offense or defense he’s going to play well.He’s big. He’s physical. He’s very, very smart and he moves well. I think he can be outstanding on either side of the ball. He just has the characteristics you like in a football player.
On whether Greg Capella is going to be back this week:
I don’t think so. But I don’t want to rule him out yet, but I don’t think believe he will be.