Ohio St. Football: Urban Meyer’s Monday Morning Press Conference

Maryland and the pass defense were main topics of conversation as Urban Meyer gave his Monday press conference. The Buckeyes are ten point favorites at Maryland on Saturday, but Meyer expects a tight game. Ohio St. has scored a total of 116 points on 1,138 yards of total offense in the past two weeks, outstanding numbers even if the Cincinnati Bearcats and Kent State aren’t the most challenging competition in college football. Maryland’s offense isn’t half bad either, racking up 37 points in an easy win last week against Indiana. Below is a transcript of Meyer’s press conference.

Urban Meyer: Another appreciation for the largest crowd to ever witness an Ohio State football game. Very humbling to be part of that team that got to perform in front of that group. Very well done performance by the offense. Very pleased with the way they came out. Came out fast. Really played, sustained a high intensity and good tempo. I know Tom’s worked very hard. We’ve all worked very hard on tempo. And you really felt that throughout the course of the game.

J.T. continues to be a very good distributor, completing a high percentage of his balls, and really we’re giving him more and more responsibility about getting us in the right play, which is a big part of what the quarterback’s expected to do.

The champion efforts on offense were Devin Smith and Evan Spencer and Mike Thomas. Zach Smith has done a very good job. Those three are playing very high level football for us. You have two other guys that were very close and that was– I think I’ve got them down here– actually Corey Smith was close too, but Dontre and Jalen had a couple of mishaps or they would have been champs too.

Running backs you had Rod Smith, graded at champion, playing very hard. 11 carries. Nice distribution. Battling for the No. 2 spot. So it’s between him and Curtis right now. And Bri’onte had an excellent game as well on kickoff.

Quarterback J.T. Barrett was a champion. Both tight ends graded champion. We were in 12 grouping a lot. I want to say 40 or 30 some plays. And you can expect more of that now that Jeff’s full speed.

Player of the game was the entire offensive line, Taylor Decker, Pat Elflein, Jacobi, Billy Price and Darryl Baldwin, they all played over 90 plays. I want to say there’s 111 graded plays. 380 yards rushing.

And then the other player of the game was Ezekiel Elliott, who had– 112 of his yards were after contact. That’s what I really– I went back and watched it again this morning quickly. And his pad level and yards after contact were– he turned a lot of 4s and 5s into 8s and 9s into rushing. Also had 51 yards. Got 233 all-purpose yards.
On defense, the champion efforts were Joey Bosa, Mike Bennett, Joshua Perry and Armani Reeves, and the player of the game was Joey Bosa.

So the obvious concern this past game– we had four plays that really, I hear someone say just take away those four plays, you can’t just take away those four plays. That’s part of the game.

The first one was Vonn Bell was in position. He didn’t play it poorly, came up through the guy’s hand, the guy made a great play. The second one was a screen pass that was well executed by Cincinnati and not defended very well by us. The third one was the one right before the half. And I don’t think– I fault our coaching and also obviously Eli got turned around a little bit and got beat deep.

So that’s a situation that we visited as a coaching staff. And then the last one was the bubble and go. And that was another well-executed play by Cincinnati. Poorly defended by us. We’ve addressed it. We went out yesterday and worked on corrections. And I know we’re going to get a lot better. I’ve not at all given up on our system of play. We’ll continue to develop players and make sure we’re in the right defense at the right time.

And kicking game was one of our strengths Saturday. Our kickoff team is– I think we’re No. 1 in the Big Ten. And I love those guys. Those are my guys and those are– we gave them a standing ovation yesterday as a team. Showed a lot of the highlights as a team.

We have something called Thursday Races. We have a new Thursday Race Award, gave it out yesterday, and went to Bri’onte Dunn. Never too late for a young man to make an impression on a coaching staff. Keep pushing. Get ready for 25 to get in the mix as well.

In my opinion, it’s the only way to run a program like this, is to reward achievement. And it’s not just who can jump high or run fast or catch a ball. It’s who is a team-oriented player. And every one of them, you won’t see a player play unless he has some, unless there’s some other reason, unless he’s really a critical member of this special forces, special teams.

And a good example is Ezekiel Elliott. He’s our starting tailback, starts on kickoff and punt. And the same with Carlos Hyde and Shazier, all those players, will get their start in that position.

Big challenge with special teams this week. Best kickoff returner No. 4, and then the best– excuse me, best punt returner is No. 4, best in the Big Ten, and then Diggs is the best kickoff returner, very talented group. Already spent an inordinate amount of time Sunday and Monday on our coverage units this week because that will be a big difference in this game.

Question: What do you think you might add, just playing a game with a team that’s hosting its first Big Ten team?
Urban Meyer: I know it’s what we’re going to walk into. I had a big write-up– I’ve never been to this stadium. So I just– it’s turf. It’s going to be a noon game. But I imagine– I’ve been at places where this will be an atmosphere they’ve been working on this one, I imagine, for a while. This will be a big-time atmosphere.

Question: During a game, you and your staff, you’re worried about the next play, worried about how things are going. I assume that the players are meeting units. If a kid takes a look out in the field and doesn’t respond necessarily–
Urban Meyer: Takes a lick?

Question: Gets hit really hard, you’re trying to put the next play in motion, whatever, the kid comes out. Is there somebody whose responsibility it is to keep an eye on guys just to see that they might be in trouble, that they might not be fully in charge of their faculties, in addition to anything that you guys might notice?
Urban Meyer: Like if they’re hurt?

Question: Yeah.
Urban Meyer: Oh, yeah. Our strength coach is right there. And he always tells me immediately if someone’s hurt. I’m not sure the question.

Question: Sometimes they hide it well. Kids don’t want anybody to see they’re hurt.
Urban Meyer: No, we have people– we have an excellent training staff. Doug and them, that’s their job. They do nothing else, other than– I’m constantly– I don’t know if you see it– every series I have a conversation with my strength coach.
And he controls the sideline. And that’s how we do it.

Question: You kind of touched on this a little bit in your opening comment. But you said on Saturday night you were going to have hard conversations about the breakdowns on pass defense. Could you describe the conversations and just how you feel about where that aspect of the game is?
Urban Meyer: We gave up 360 yards receiving. Four plays equated well over 250. And so I wanted– that’s my job to find out why. And after our explanation conversation, I know the why now. I had a couple of things that I would have expected differently. The one before the half I expected different. We left the middle of the field open. And everybody– that’s something I need to get involved in, too, and say let’s give my two cents.

And normally I grade myself down on that. I don’t call defenses. But I’m a game manager. That’s what my job is, and I should have had more input in that. I want to say there’s 40seconds left or something like that in that situation. The other situations we just gotta play and coach better. And I am– once again, it happened here, our first year here, ’12, when we had a bad day, real bad day on defense against Indiana.

And we had a team meeting in here and it was nasty. It was all about playing hard. And I went through– I graded the defense myself. I went in there, met with them. Guys played very hard. Played a very good throwing offense that we had four really bad plays that we have to get corrected, have to get corrected. And I’m satisfied with the direction we’re going. We’ve just got to get them corrected.

Question: Do you feel this is close enough to becoming at least as a potential to be that championship defense you’re looking for?
Urban Meyer: I guess I’m going to give you the positive answer: Absolutely. I like who we’ve recruited. I like who I’ve hired, and we’re going to grind and work and get better.

Question: Is the offense– I think you guys had 101 plays the other night, 700 something yards, pretty balanced attack. Is that beyond where you thought it would be at this point with the new quarterback and new line and new running backs?
Urban Meyer: I was really excited to get our skill going, and we didn’t do a good job really early in the year. Navy, we were a little conservative because of a really new quarterback. Virginia Tech, I wish we had that one over again.

And then you had, we have Kent and then the last two. I was really– I am really even more excited now about our offensive skill. It is a street fight to get the ball right now. And when you roll– the thing I really appreciate watching is when you can start platooning guys as they’re going in. I don’t know if you notice that during the course of the game. You’re running new tailbacks, running new, and who is better, our first or our third.

They’re pretty good. And the same thing, we have two sets of receivers who can go in. Now we have two tight ends with a very capable third. So we’re recruiting some depth. And when you start talking tempo, you wear out the defense. Unfortunately wear out the offense, too, if you don’t have that depth. Now Coach Warinner even has a little depth in the offensive line. Starting up a platoon a little bit. That’s a good sign, start getting that many plays and not worrying about it.

But there’s been times in the past when we want to run very up-tempo. And it looks awful because everyone’s blown out. I don’t feel that now that way at all and more importantly our offensive coordinator, he’s a big tempo guy. I’m the one putting the brakes on. I’m the one on the field seeing the fatigue. As long as I know we’re rotating players, on the headsets it’s go, go, go.

Question: Have you had an offense like this before?
Urban Meyer: We have had great offenses, like great offenses. I consider this potentially a really good one. Maybe a great one. But this is the first time I feel very comfortable with the tempo.
Because that’s not something in the Florida, Utah, Bowling Green, we never ran tempo offenses. Tom, that’s a big part of why was hired, I wanted to do it. And he’s an expert at it.

Question: Is J.T. further along than you expected he would be at this point?
Urban Meyer: Great question. No, I had a lot of confidence in J.T. I love J.T. He’s fun to coach. He’s a guy that has a great demeanor on the sideline. He’s a student of the game. He has a great relationship with his coordinator and position coach. He’s a product of those around him. There’s some guys making really terrific plays out there for him, too. So I think as a group this is a good group to be around right now.

Question: That’s a good problem to have, but if J.T. keeps playing well, have you thought much about the situation next year, if Braxton comes back healthy, J.T. played well this year, you’ll have a tough decision to make.
Urban Meyer: Not until you said that. Braxton is our quarterback. To be fair to Braxton, Big Ten Player of the Year. Good to know we’ve got both of them. And Cardale Jones is growing up. I admire him. I haven’t had the third uncle phone calls about– not that I would take them, but Cardale, I like his professional approach right now.

Question: Obviously Ohio State fans like to compare themselves against Michigan. As coaches, you all recruit against them constantly. When you get into a season, how much attention can you pay to what’s going on with your rival?
Urban Meyer: You follow the Big Ten. I don’t personally. Jerry or someone will– I don’t spend much time at all. I’m always checking the scores on the way home. And we have a little routine in our car as we go home, someone reads the scores to me as I’m driving. And I just hear the scores and then see how my friends are doing first. I always check my friends and see how they did. Guys I’ve worked with. Then we check the Big Ten. And I haven’t followed our rivals very much, but I follow our conference.

Question: If you haven’t been watching closely, does it surprise you to have heard those scores and know they’re 2 and 3, this is pretty historic lows?
Urban Meyer: I haven’t studied them. I watched a little bit of Utah, because obviously I know the coaches at Utah very well. And I know the players they have. And regardless whatever is going on, what’s going to happen, Game 12 is going to be the best effort they’ll put out. That’s when we really get concerned about them.

Question: Anthony Schlegel has blown up on social media. Have you seen it yet? Literally, at the end of the day, you can’t have guys running out on the field.
Urban Meyer: In all seriousness, I grabbed Anthony last night. I’m sure Gene Smith– I appreciate him protecting our players. I would rather him not have a lawsuit if something bad would happen, you drill a guy like that.
So we had a partial serious conversation. And they we also gave him a Hit City Award, our team, and had a little fun with it, too.

I never saw it. But I have all my Internet people do it for us. They showed all the Internet stuff about him like Iwo Jima and all the things. We had a lot of fun in here with that. They love Schlegel, as we all do. I do. He’s an incredible person.

Question: What was your reaction– did you have one when Maryland was named two years ago? And better yet, what do they bring to the table for the Big Ten?
Urban Meyer: I really looked to going to Maryland when I was an assistant coach. What was that coach’s name, from Colorado. Ron Vanderlinden was the head coach. And this is a long, long time ago. Real young, Clay. I was very young. Did a little homework back in Maryland, most fertile areas in America recruiting. I think they’re a great addition to the Big Ten. A lot of respect for them. I remember watching the Maryland teams over the past, been very good. And I think this group is pretty good.

Question: You recruit hundreds of players. How quickly do you move on from a kid like Diggs when you get–
Urban Meyer: You move on real quick. We had a good relation with Stefon Diggs and his family. And I really thought we had a legitimate shot at him. I knew when watching him play that he was special. Now that I see him, he’s as good as there is in America.

Question: Coach, you talked about wanting to get the pass defense shored up. How much do you need it shored up for this particular game, because they’ve got some great procedures in Diggs, Leak and Long?
Urban Meyer: Everything you just said is a conversation we’re having. And everyone rest assured, there’s no more effort. It’s not like you work a little harder. We’ve got to get it fixed. And it’s a combination of coaching and playing. So we’ve got to get it fixed. It started yesterday. We went out, didn’t spend a lot of time on last week’s game correcting mistakes. I want to get out on the field actually work on the issues we had. We did. And we’re going to do it again. We’re not allowed to practice today, but the kids will get their iPads filled with stuff today. And obviously Tuesday, Wednesday practice. But you’re right, this is a big one. There’s another group of talented receivers.

Question: You would concede a bit an aggressive defense will give up big plays. Are the big plays just happening too often or–
Urban Meyer: Great point. When you want to challenge every throw and play press coverage, the vulnerability is not the hitch. You take those away, and I still want to do it. We’re not going to give in just because we have a one-on-one matchup we lost. That’s going to happen. However, it’s happening too frequently right now.

Question: You spoke about Joey Bosa being the defensive player of the week. What stands out about him as you watch him? How would you explain his get up and go to somebody?
Urban Meyer: Very easy. He’s energizer. He just goes– he practices that way from day one. It’s a product of, you know, his family. His dad’s got an incredible football background. His uncle played here Eric Kumerow. I thought we’d have a guy that would be pretty much game ready because he went to a really quality high school program. I didn’t imagine it to be this ready. He’s extremely strong and quick and relentless. And on top of that he loves and understands the game.

Question: Does he remind you of anybody in the past who can affect games defensively?
Urban Meyer: I think John Simon. He’s a little more talented than John, a little longer. But John Simon had that same– you watch those two play in practice and compete and there’s a mindset.
Those are two good people to be– to be in company, everybody knows how we all feel about John Simon. But to even mention someone in that same vein, who is a few inches taller and a little longer, that’s pretty rare air, those two guys.

Question: Looked like J.T. in the game had a couple times where he changed a play, got you guys out of a look. What do you need to see in a quarterback to give him the freedom to do something?
Urban Meyer: The command. The negative is we also had a couple false starts. And you can say the center, the tackle, the guard, whoever it was, it’s the quarterback. And so that was the– we had some conversations on the sideline. And they weren’t pleasant. It’s all him.

And he’s gotta take charge. Extremely intelligent guy. He understands we want to run a play. There’s certain looks that don’t run against that. He did a very good job. In the second half he got us in a bunch of them. I want to say a dozen he changed the plays. We went to the bear, and had a bear beater, immediately got us in, two big plays on them, and we got out of it. That’s what the quarterback has to do. So J.T.’s proved he’s got the cognitive ability to do it. Now he’s got to continue to have that leadership. And now we’re going on the road. We need to bring more presence behind his voice.

Question: You guys talked about his leadership from the minute he got here, just the progress of taking charge on the field or sideline with guys. Is he still a young guy in that?
Urban Meyer: No. He doesn’t exactly rattle the walls when he speaks. Gotta to work on voice lessons with him, make sure he gets a little deeper voice. He’s done a very good job with that.

Betting the NFL: Chiefs Take On Patriots in Monday Night Showdown

New England at Kansas City +3, Total=47

The noise record for an NFL stadium, according to Guinness, is 137.7 decibels. That’s louder than a jackhammer (95 dB), a motorcycle (100 dB) and a loud rock concert (115 dB). It’s also louder than the self-dubbed “12th Man” was at Century Link Stadium in Seattle on December 2, 2013 (137.6 dB).

Seattle fans set the record for loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium that night, taking it away from Arrowhead Stadium. Tonight, Chiefs fans will try to get that back. And along the way, they hope to put the Chiefs back into playoff contention and even their record out at 2-2.

“It’s prime time. The lights are going to be on,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. “It’s going to be fun. Hopefully Arrowhead gives us the rocking stadium that we’re used to and get the Sea of Red jumping.”

Smith will get running back Jamaal Charles back, and knows he’s going to have a tough go at it tonight.

“They’re a very stout defense,” he said. “But as football is, you got to come out and play physical. Take them both physically and mentally out of the game and then from that point on, it’s just based off of execution and making plays when needed.”

BetVIP.com, one of the best bitcoin sportsbook to start up in recent years, opened the game earlier this week at New England -4, with the line currently sitting at New England -3. The consensus average line using 15 different computer models is New England -1.6. What do individual computer models predict? The Computer Adjusted Line has Kansas City +3. Pi-Rite is Kansas City -1.1. Donchess makes it New England -1.9. Dwiggins makes the number New England -3.2, and David/Pasteur has the line at Kansas City -0.4.

New England is 2-1 straight up and 1-2-0 against the line so far this year. They are averaging 22 points per game, and giving up 16.3 points per game on the defensive side of the ball. On offense, the Patriots are averaging 105 rushing yards per game on 30 attempts, 3.5 yards per carry average. They are throwing the ball 38 times per game for a total of 196 yards, averaging 4.4 yards per passing attempt. Overall, New England has gained 301 total yards per game on an average of 68 plays.

On defense, New England is allowing 273 yards per game on 60 plays for a 4.5 yards per play average. They have given up 16.7 yards per point so far this year. New England’s opponents have run the ball 44% of the time, and are averaging 3.9 yards per rushing attempt. The team has allowed completions on 56.9% of its opponents’ passing attempts, good for 169 passing yards per game (5 yards per passing attempt).

The Chiefs are averaging 20 points per game so far in 2014, while allowing 22 points a game to its opponents. They have a 2-1-0 record against the spread, with a 1-2 straight up record. Defensively, Kansas City’s opponents are averaging 130.3 rushing yards per game on 26 attempts, a 5.1 yards per carry average. They are throwing the ball 34 times per game for a total of 223.7 yards, averaging 5.9 yards per passing attempt. Overall, Kansas City’s opponents have gained 354 total yards per game on an average of 59.7 plays.

On offense, the Chiefs averaging 322 yards per game on 64 plays, for a 5.1 yards per play average. They are averaging 15.9 yards per point so far this year. Kansas City runs the ball 47% of the time, and are averaging 4.2 yards per rushing attempt. The team has completed 62.7% of its passing attempts, good for 197.7 passing yards per game (5.8 yards per passing attempt).

Michigan St. Football: Mark Dantonio’s Press Conference

After rolling over Wyoming last week, Michigan St. has been installed as seven point favorites over Nebraska. The Spartans, 3-1 on the year, dropped a spot in the AP Top 25 poll to No. 10 after the 56-14 win over Wyoming. Nebraska is ranked No. 19 after opening its Big Ten season with a 45-14 victory over Illinois on Saturday. Spartans Coach Mark Dantonio talked about the Wyoming game and the start of the Big 10 season”

THE MODERATOR: We’ll get started with an opening statement from coach and then take questions.
COACH DANTONIO: I thought we came out strong again. Obviously, sort of raced to, I think it was 42?7 at the end of the?? 42-14 at the end of the first half.
So, offensively, a lot of guys played extremely well. Got Langford on track. Pretty much the same thing I said yesterday, a lot of guys touched the ball.
A lot of guys had opportunities to score touchdowns, as well. I thought that the opportunity it play three quarterbacks continues to help us, I think, long?term.
Same with, even though we didn’t play as many players early, the same with playing a variety of a number of players. We were able to work our quarterbacks and our three running backs in there, and a lot of different wide receivers, etcetera.
Defensively, played better the second half. I had a couple things got to get fixed. Got them fixed at halftime. Played much better.
Continued to emphasize the things we always do, pressuring the quarterback. Came up with six sacks, came up with turnovers. Five times three and out. So, stopping the run, those types of things.
It will be a great challenge this week versus Nebraska. So I’ll just take questions.

Q. Obviously, the Oregon game, for two and a half quarters, you guys played exceptional, probably a little bit more than that. But in the other three games you handled them. I’m curious, do you think that the number of games is a reflection of how good your team is, or maybe a reflection of three programs that are in the midst of rebuilding or struggling a little bit?
COACH DANTONIO: I think it’s probably a combination of both. The question you have to ask yourself is, did we play up in those games or did we play down to the level of competition. I think we played up in every respect.
That’s a focus issue, that’s a football team coming out and getting their job done, and those are the things that we can control.
Obviously, thought either the Oregon game, we came out and played pretty well early on, for almost three quarters as you said, and for whatever reason, which we talked about three or four weeks ago, we just didn’t finish.
So we have got to?? we have got a good football team. We’re going to be tested here in the next week and the weeks to follow. And that’s to be expected. That’s why when I sit there and I am asked about identity, these weeks coming are the times when we will establish our identity, truly.

Q. Going into the game you wanted to get Langford going. After watching the film, did he look like he had more bursts in this game than he’s had in the games previous in the season?
COACH DANTONIO: Yeah, I think he did. I think that he got loose and he still might be a little bit rusty, I don’t know. But he looked pretty good on that first run and a variety of runs after that. So I thought he played very, very well.

Q. Tyler O’Connor talked yesterday how practice is different once the Big?Ten season gets there. He referred to it as the preseason is over. I was just curious, how do you change?? because obviously with your team admits that practice change, how do you change when this flip comes from the non?conference to the conference?
COACH DANTONIO: Well first of all, obviously you’ve got a little bit of experience playing those specific teams for the most part. There are some teams that we’ll be playing for the first time this year in the Big?Ten conference.
So have you some history there. Certainly that history counts in terms of knowing their personnel and things of that nature. Every team’s different every year. I think people add how they use people and etcetera, but I think there’s a?? there’s some commonalities there, relative to us and them.
Secondly, it’s sort of like I said earlier in the year, it starts here. You can do whatever you want in the out of the conference, but inside the conference there is more on the line. I just think that’s just the way it is. Certainly our first game versus Nebraska is a big one.
As far as practice tempo and things of that nature, I think we try, and we’re constantly trying, to improve our practices and make them as high tempo and as good as we can, relative to personnel, relative to what we do, schematically what we do, drills what we do. So we’re constantly critiquing what we do and trying to make it the best we can, trying to improve.

Q. Wondering if you still expect to have Knox and Kittredge back this week. And if so, other than Higgins, are you totally healthy across the board going into this one?
COACH DANTONIO: I’m not sure. We won’t really be sure until we see them work this week, but I anticipate them practicing. And with that being said, yeah, we are pretty much up to speed there in those areas. I don’t really think that ?? I think we’ll be at full capacity here this week. But those two guys you mentioned, I’m not sure.

Q. At this time last year, you guys were coming off that Notre Dame loss, getting ready for Big?10 play and obviously, you guys have great success in that calendar year. What has it shown you about how things can change just in one year from where you were last year to where you are right now as a program?
COACH DANTONIO: Well, obviously, last year we were a football team that was struggling a little bit offensively. It’s been talked about, trying to find who the quarterback is and identify the various positions at running back tight end, wide receiver.
I think now this year experience has a lot to do with that. I think every year college football is such a changing landscape or environment within your football team, because you have different people playing or coming and going every single year.
It takes time spent sometimes to get to where you want to go. So I think we are a more confident team. Last year we had something to prove. I think we still have things to prove.
As far as I’m concerned, we need to continue to still prove ourselves. Our reputation right now is built off of last year’s success, I think I realize that.
We need to continue to move past these next games and continue to get ?? like I said before, this is now it starts here. We need to play in the present.

Q. Do you ever point to where you guys were at this time last year and is it just a map for guys to see what the how quickly the progress can be made sometimes?
COACH DANTONIO: Yes, I do. I do point to where we were at last year or where so and so was at individually, where we were at as a program.
Three or four years ago or ?? because I believe that talks to people about building a foundation. Sometimes you even go backward a step, but as long as you’re continuing to build that foundation, I think positive results are going to follow.

Q. Yesterday Coach Narduzzi talked about how the defense practices for all these plays, and then teams don’t do them. Isn’t that part of being the hunted and didn’t you go through something like that after you won a national title at Ohio State? Doesn’t that kind of maybe challenge a team once you become the team to beat? Don’t teams maybe prepare for you differently?
COACH DANTONIO: I think it does. There’s a couple things relative to our defense. The expectations are very high.
Our success last year as a defense was as good as it’s been, probably. Then the third thing is?? is just like what you said, you’re constantly getting people that will alter what they do relative to who you are or what you’ve seen them do.
But I think that’s coaching. I say it every single week, there are very good coaches out there and you see it every single week.
We saw things from Wyoming that we had not seen. Some things we had seen and prepared for, but there were other things that we had not seen. You have to be able to adjust on the fly. But that’s coaching, on the field adjustments, and that’s also adjusting on the field as well as a player.
Then there’s some common things that relative to awareness, that you just have to do. I think it’s a combination of all those things that allow you to have success.

Q. When it happened to you after you won a national title, your year as a defensive coordinator, did you have to start doing things a little bit differently, maybe because those offenses are geared for success against what they know you’re going to do?
COACH DANTONIO: I think defenses are continually trying to stay ahead of the posse, I guess I would say. So you’re always going to build on what you have and try and make it better. There’s going to be some differences in those things.
I think those are the things we try and do here. We’re trying to constantly critique what we do, evaluate, make it better, change up, make things different.
I think being comprehensive, simple, simple, but comprehensive, is how you should attack things defensively from a coaching standpoint. You want to be simple enough where your players can play fast, but comprehensive enough where it’s ever changing and it can look very complicated to an opposing offense, but yet your players understand it, because they have been through all the adjustments and those type of things.
So I think that’s what we do, that’s what we attempt to do on a weekly basis.

Q. Travis Jackson’s career has been marked by being a very heady player, very smart player. When a player comes back from an injury, we know there’s talk about them getting back into game shape. Was his four penalties, although uncharacteristic, about maybe getting back into some more mental game shape, because that’s not been his practice previously.
COACH DANTONIO: Travis? I think there was some mistakes made out on the field, but I didn’t have the flag in my back pocket. So, you know, there’s just some times where ?? and I’m not ?? what is called a hold and what is not a hold. There are a couple that were?? but coaches always are in question of what is a hold and what is not a hold and I guess I would join that group of people who would say that.
I know Travis was playing a position he had not played for awhile at the offensive center and I’m sure that had to do with some things, but I thought there was some ?? let’s just leave it at that, I guess. That’s probably the best way to put it. Keep everybody happy.

Q. Ameer Abdullah and I know that you play a lot of great backs, but when you play a back with that type of cut back ability, how much pressure does that put on a defense and how do you prepare to make your defense any less aggressive so they can’t be exploded by a cut back runner like that or do you?
COACH DANTONIO: Well, we’re planning on talking about Nebraska on Tuesday, but just, overall, when you’re playing a great running back, it’s about pursuit, it’s about leverage on a football, it’s about the ability to tackle in space.
He’s very difficult in all those areas, along with other players in this conference and across the country, but that’s what it comes down to, to me. It’s great pursuit angles, proper leverage, the ability to tackle in space, and we’ll work on all three of those things this week, obviously, as we do every week.

Q. Where are you right now overall in terms of those things defensively, through four games?
COACH DANTONIO: I think there’s always going to be mistakes defensively. That’s the nature of the game. You look around the country, people are putting up 50 points and 700 yards of passing or 700 yards of offense things of that nature. I think we’re still way above the curve.
I also think that we as coaches and maybe we as a general Spartan public are spoiled by some of the things last year. There’s going to be breakdowns and things that happen, the important thing is getting them fixed and not seeing them happening on a consistent basis where you lose football games and you give up 400?500 yards of offense.
So, everybody understands we lost some great players, also everybody understands that, as was asked before, we get some new things, some new wrinkles thrown at us, which we have to adjust to on the fly, and things happen.
They have got good players, everybody has good coaches and people gear up and try and attack that opposing team’s offense so it’s a rapid moving ?? there’s a lot of change every week, that’s all I can tell you, and we have to adjust.
As far as leveraging the football, attacking the quarterback, tackling in space, you can always be better, but right now I think sacks?wise we’re doing pretty well. Turnover margin, we’re number one in the conference at plus nine. So you have to look at that aspect and say that’s pretty good.
That’s why good things continue to happen, not just for us on the defensive side of the ball, but also for us on the offensive side of the ball. I think that there’s a correlation between that.

Q. Yesterday when Tyler O’Connor scored his touchdown and Damion came in and had success, both of them and Connor were off the bench and rooting for each other. I know you talk about chemistry, but it seems to be even stronger than usual in that quarterback room. How does that make Michigan State better?
COACH DANTONIO: Oh, I think it really pays dividends for us. You’ve got, first of all Brad Salem does an outstanding job in that room, in terms of the chemistry. I think that they pull for each other.
Obviously, they’re going to compete against each other, too, but they pull for each other as well and you can see that.

Q. When you were talking about ?? well you don’t talk about injuries, but when you were discussing players, you didn’t mention Jack Allen, did you cover that in the pose game that you expected Jack back this week?