Coach Kill met with the media today to preview this weekend's game against Michigan. You can read a few of the highlights from his press conference below.
What is the status of A.J. Barker?
"He won't practice today. It's a back where the Achilles is. Of course, he didn't tear it or he wouldn't be walking. He turned his ankle and it's kind of in a tender place."
Now that you have watched the film, how do you think your offensive line looked?
"It's the best they've played all year, yes. They played with continuity and communication, and probably the most impressive thing is Jon Christenson, the red shirt freshman. We were worried about the snaps and those kind of things. He did a great job of snapping the ball, getting as a red shirt freshman, getting us in the right scheme of what they're doing
"We really need Eddie to come back, but he won't practice today either. He's just not quite ready yet. I was hoping, and I think I made the comment after the game that I was hoping he'd be able to play this week. Right now I don't think that's going to be the case unless some things happen as the week goes on."
Can you talk about the Michigan defense?
"I think it's the toughest defense we've seen to this point in time. That's not to disrespect anybody. It's just the truth.
"They make you earn it. They try to get you to be overly greedy. They play great run defense too. There's not a whole lot.
"There's not many people moving the ball very successfully against them. So we'll have our work cut out for us, but look forward to the challenge."
How is Derrick Wells doing?
"He's a tough kid. He can't practice today. He's got, like I said, he's been stitched up. When you get stitched up in the thigh here, there is not a lot. You can get hit and it goes again. So we'll just have to see.
"But Derrick's a tough kid. He'll try to find a way to play. That's who he is. He's one of the tougher kids I've been around, but we'll see."
How special is Denard Robinson?
"There's nobody like him. You know what I mean? He's electrifying in college football. He's worth going to see. If you haven't seen him play, the public hasn't seen him play, he's worth going to the stadium to see. He's electrifying. There are not many people that say they'll challenge Bolt in the 40, you know. He's that explosive of a kid. He'll just make you look bad."
How do you try to simulate him in practice?
"I don't think you can. You try, but I don't think you can. That is the hard thing. You can't simulate somebody with that much speed and quickness."
Can you talk about the change you have seen in Michael Carter this year?
"I think that you have to give Michael the credit for it. When I came in, I put down there are certain things that we've got to do. Michael struggled with it. But he said I want to play. I want to do what I need to do, and he's done what we've asked him to do."
When you are trying to build a program, do you look at teams like Michigan?
"We haven't won a Big Ten title in 45 years. If we want to do that, we've got to look at those programs and see where you're going and what you're doing. You look and it's kind of like Oregon how quick they changed that program. But they made a huge, huge investment. Oklahoma State changed theirs pretty quickly.
"So I think our administration, everybody's looking at you've got to look at your peers. That's what we want to do is compete for a Big Ten Championship. That's what our goal is. So you certainly look at what the University of Michigan or Ohio State, because that's where we want to go. Doesn't happen overnight. You have to be persist ant, have a plan and stick to it."
Talk about the second half against Purdue. Was your team not used to being up like that?
"So you get the lead, and I think what happened was Michael got the pick and everybody got excited and we're up and that hadn't happened since I've been here in my tenure. I just think we got sloppy for a while. But at the end we took the ball down and that was good. I just think the concentration and focus level was not what I'd have liked to have seen as a head coach at that time, but that's part of the process. Those kids haven't been in that situation. Next time hopefully they'll handle it a little better. But as coaches we're going to do our job, and like we said, good first half. Second half was okay."
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