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Purdue gameweek press conference notes

Fitz and the team’s four captains were available for questions Monday afternoon.

The inaugural press conference at the new football team auditorium was Monday afternoon. The team announced a depth chart just before the press conference got underway. Here are some noteworthy quotes:

Pat Fitzgerald

  • On Purdue: “Huge challenge for us on the road, it’s an extremely well coached team, and any time you play a Big Ten game on the road it’s going to be a challenge.”
  • On Purdue’s bowl game: “It was an outstanding, back-and-forth game, their defense got the pick down the stretch. I’m just in general impressed with every Big Ten team in bowl season. Every team that won, every team that won played well, not perfect, but played well. Purdue keeps you on your toes, their run scheme, throwing down the field, but you get prepared for everybody that way.”
  • On Purdue’s two quarterbacks: “I think they’re more similar than different, two guys with great bodies of work. I’m sure they’ve spent a lot of time together getting ready and during training camp, we’ll be prepared for both.”
  • On the NU quarterback situation: “I’m excited about our quarterback situation. You guys will know on 8:06 p.m.”
  • On Jeremy Larkin: “I think his goals and aspirations are very high, he’s taking over the reins from the all-time leader in rushing in program history. Him and Moten have taken big steps, I like that room a lot. It’s got some really solid depth and from a standpoint of how they mesh with Coach Ayeni has been a good mix and development for that group.”
  • On new redshirt rules (Note: Fitz said the Big Ten is allowing 74 players to travel to away games this year, as opposed to 70): “I think it’s a great change, we have more flexibility to travel more guys, but at the start of the season it won’t be a big change. The guys that have earned their depth, we’ve got a month to see if this is it, we’ll flight deck guys, this year it’s more of an unknown, it’ll become more of an art to see how we deal with it. You hope you’re playing big games in November, and if you are this, new rule gives you a lot of flexibility to fix some holes.”
  • On new traveling-players rule: “There were some times when I would’ve loved to see our guys late in games, games that aren’t close, in fourth quarters when I really wanted to give guys a shot.”
  • On the difference of having no preseason like the NFL: “We’ve got a good plan to get our guys in situational opportunities and getting them prepared, but it’s a big unknown, I’m more concerned with the younger guys than the vets, they’ve been through this before.”
  • On Nate Hall and Clayton Thorson’s rehab: “Any time you go through a major injury there’s a shock of the unknown, then we have a plan, you hope the surgery goes well, and then you start the rehab process. It’s more of a mental thing than a physical, you have the physical hurdle of the medical team clearing you, but I think the bigger hurdle is the mental hurdle, getting out there and playing is the biggest thing. You have to embrace the process, there’s more valleys than peaks, it’s a game you love, go out there and enjoy it.”
  • On the new kickoff rule: “I really don’t see a change coming, if you really wanted to do something you move the ball to the 40, to the 50, that would be fun, but this isn’t going to change much. It’s a 40 yard dash and there are full speed collisions, I’m all for safety in every way, but I don’t see how fair catches are going to make the game safer.”
  • On what constitutes a successful season: “I don’t really focus on that it’s a game by game thing, our goal is to win the Big Ten West, then win the Big Ten, then win our bowl game. I’d love to say that third goal is win a national championship. Action is all that matters.”
  • On Urban Meyer: “I haven’t spoken [to Urban Meyer], there’s always lessons to be learned, I always want to be informed about our guys so we have life lessons to learn, positives are great, but negatives provide a great chance for life lessons. What we can do as a positive influence on this campus is so important. But the main difficulties can really lead to life lessons.”

Clayton Thorson:

  • On what he’s learned in rehab: “Looking back, I never knew if I’d play again, it’s brought me closer with all of these guys and they’ve been awesome. I think going through the offseason and getting hurt, it’s actually helped a lot in the mechanics sense and refining that.”
  • On his status: “I’ve been practicing fully the past few weeks, I’ve been doing everything with the team. I’ve done everything physically, nothing more to do. I tell Tommy to come hit me sometimes, it’s funny.”
  • On preseason rankings: “A bunch of trash.”

Tommy Doles:

  • On unifying the offense together: “It’s important to build your position group’s camaraderie and fellowship, but it’s great to build that chemistry with the whole offense, cause that’s what matters, we don’t perform as a position group, more as a unit.”
  • On the defensive front four: “Jordan Thompson is easily one of the best players I’ve ever gone up against. They’re a great unit, Miller, the brothers work great together, they go at it sometimes and it’s funny to see, and of course Gaziano is a great player. They’re a great unit and they make us better players. “

Paddy Fisher:

On being named captain: “I was a little surprised, but it felt good. To see my teammates look up to me and see me as a leader felt great and was exciting for me.”

On playing while trying to avoid targeting: “I just gotta play smarter, play within the rules, we’ll see as time goes on, for me you can’t really fix it unless you’re practicing and playing, so working on it more and proper tackling form as opposed to just flying in there and demolishing someone. “

Montre Hartage

On the safeties: “I think we have some great safeties coming into this game, they bring a great skill set, they’ve done a great job understanding the scheme and being ready to go. Jared brings a lot of experience, he’s kind of the brains. JR can fly around and make plays, he had two outstanding picks last year, those two anchors are going to be really good for me.”