Weekly Press Conference – Head Coach James Franklin (Illinois) – Penn State Athletics

Opening Statement: First of all, with September 11th and everything that’s gone on in our country and the fact that it was 22 years ago, it is kind of mind blowing to me.
I was at the University of Maryland. I think a lot of people forget that the Pentagon had got hit as well; we don’t really talk about that as much. We had a number of former players and players’ parents that were at the Pentagon, so that memory is burned into my mind, so just wanted to take a minute and recognize that and how fortunate we are for the men and the women and the first responders and people that serve our communities and country. So we’re very, very appreciative of that and don’t take it for granted. 
In terms of our last game, again, phenomenal crowd, especially when you consider the fact it was a noon game. We were supposed to get bad weather. Right now, I think after two games we’re averaging 109,661 fans, which is great. 
We go to Illinois, which is a tradition around here, opening on the road in the Big Ten. We love it. I actually called Pat [Kraft] a little bit ago. I think they were talking about coming out with a new schedule, so we’re going to try and reverse psychology and ask to be on road this year and see what happens — this year coming up here. 
It’s going to be an “orange out”. Should be a great atmosphere. I think last year we opened at Purdue. It was a “black out”. Went to Auburn, it was an “orange out”. So, it’ll be a great environment for college football, and we’re look forward to it. 
When you talk about just kind of the summary of the last game, Offensive Player of the Game was Drew Allar. Defensive Player of the Game was Dominic DeLuca. Special teams was Alex Felkins
Then our D-squad players of the week were Jack Lambert and Liam Powers with the offense, Jace Tutty and Kaveion Keys with the defense, and then Jace Tutty also on special teams. 
Jace is doing a really good job for us. Young man out of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. 
Some more notes, just some positives on that game. We talked about getting better, the importance of getting better each week, and if we do that we’ll like where we are at come the end of the season. 
We talked about getting better specifically in the metrics that we measure and talk about each week. For example, early in the season, missed tackles, missed assignments. We went down in both of those categories. 
It was really cool. We were able to play 80 players in the game. As you guys know, some of our veteran starters really only played a handful of plays in the game, which was great. Defensively, we were able to get off the field. We had 10 three-and-outs. We forced two turnovers. 
You combine that with the offense being really efficient. In today’s college football to say that our offense had 91 plays in the game is really unusual. Really unusual. 
I thought special teams, we were more consistent, specifically with how we kicked the ball. A real positive for us is starting fast and the last two games the offense has started the opening drive of the game with a touchdown. 
And then middle-eight. We were able to score a really nice two-minute drive with no timeouts at the end of the half and then start the second half with a touchdown as well. So, 14 points there in the middle-eight. 
Areas for growth. Situational football, situational football, situational football. It’s fourth-and-one. We go punt safe. They go hard count. We jump offsides. The whole reason for going punt safe on fourth-and-one is to anticipate and expect a hard count and not jump offsides and give them a first down. In some ways that equates to a turnover. We were getting the ball back and gave it back to them. And then too many free yards. We were excellent the week before in penalties and not as good this past week when it came to penalties. So, we’ve got to get that cleaned up. 
On to Illinois and Coach [Bret] Bielema. Obviously, he has a ton of history as a head coach and specifically as a head coach in the Big Ten Conference. I’ve known Bret for a while. He goes on the Nike trip that me and my wife go on as well, him and his wife. So we’ve got to know him personally and professionally and have a ton of respect for him and what he’s been able to do. 
I think it’s also helpful you’ve got two head coaches in the Big Ten that have been head coaches in the SEC. To have that perspective in our conference meetings, I think is helpful. 
Offensive coordinator Barry Lunney. You talk about them and what they do. They’re a spread team, 11 personnel is what they’re going to base out of. They’re trying to find ways to get the ball in the No. 1’s hands, Isaiah Williams, who it feels like he’s been playing at Illinois forever. And then I think Luke Altmyer, the young man from Ole Miss, has really helped them. Came in, in the Toledo game, and drove them right down the field. I thought last week, was able to make plays with not just his arm, but with his legs as well. I think he had a 72-yard touchdown. 
And then defensively, Aaron Henry. As we know, Bielema is also involved on the defense. But they’re an odd front or okie front defense. We’ve been impressed with their personnel. Been a lot of talk about their personnel all offseason. Defensive end, No. 4, Jer’Zhan Newton, defensive tackle, No. 88, Keith Randolph, linebacker, No. 8, Tarique Barnes, defensive end/rush, No. 17, Gabe Jacas, and then their nickel corner, No. 14, Xavier Scott, and then their safety, No. 10, Miles Scott. Guys we’ve got a lot of respect on tape. There was a lot of buzz about these guys in the preseason as well, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to compete against them. 
Then on special teams, Robby Discher, and then, obviously, when you talk about personnel, their punter is an Australian young man. As we know, there has been a bunch of Australians have come over and kind of taken over college football. He’s their punter, No. 19, Hugh Robertson, and then again, their punt returner, Isaiah Williams, as well. 
It’s going to be a really good challenge. Today will be the first time to really get on the field and practice in pads. We’ll do that today and tomorrow. Get into our jog-thru’s and walk-thru’s on Thursday and then Fast Friday, and then we’ll be getting on the plane and flying to Champaign. 
I think the game is 11:00 their time, 12:00 our time, so it’ll come fast and we need to be prepared for that. Got a young roster with a bunch of young players that will be traveling for the first time and making sure that they understand what that is going to be like, the difference in travel and all the responsibilities that come with that, so that we can reduce distractions as much as possible. 
Q. How prepared, how equipped is Drew [Allar] for this, his first road start?
A: Well, like I keep saying with Drew, he’s doing all the right things and taking all the necessary steps. 
We expect it to be a challenging road environment, but we didn’t wait until this week to prepare for that. Whether it’s crowd noise or whatever it may be, we’ve done that all training camp. Obviously, we’ll major in it this week as well. 
But again, he’s doing all the right things in terms of preparation, in terms of watching film, in terms of nutrition, hydration, sleep. He’s getting more and more comfortable and confident in his leadership role on the team. 
So again, all these things are firsts and it’s hard for me to sit here and tell you what he will be like and what we will be like in these situations until we’ve been through them. 
For us, it’s do everything we possibly can to prepare as a team, and specifically for Drew as well. To get him as prepared as we possibly can for what it will be like to be on the road. 
I do think his game last year at Purdue was helpful. You know, most importantly, I want to make sure by Friday night, when we’re going to bed, we’ve done everything we possibly can to have him and the team prepared to go play and play well. 
Q. After the 2021 season, did you go back and conduct any analytics of the Illinois game, specifically the overtimes? If you did, are you using any of that analysis now? How is that benefitting you now?
A: Yeah, it’s hard to do analytics on something that you don’t have enough data on, right? I don’t know if there’s ever been and ever will be again a nine-overtime situation like that. It’s hard to go back and say, well, I’m going to study the analytics in that situation, because there is just not a whole lot examples of it. 
What it taught everybody in the country is you is better have enough two-point plays or low-red-zone plays that you have enough to go to if you get into a situation. 
Obviously, the interesting thing is the whole idea of the two-minute rule changes is to avoid that. Didn’t necessarily play out that way. 
Yeah, we studied your normal two-point play situations and overtime situations, but not necessarily back from 2021 in that game. 
Q. Drew told us about how he’s really not, he doesn’t take to being the center of attention. That’s not his style. That’s not natural to him. How do you think he’s taken on that part of his game of being a leader, growing in that way, handling those situations?
A: I think that’s one of the reasons that is allowing him to play so well. He’s really not focused on those things. He’s focused on preparing to be the best quarterback. And to be honest with you, we’re not asking that of him in year one. We want him to focus on doing his job to the best of his ability. 
Obviously playing at that position, there is an aspect of that, that comes with it. I think he’s spending all his time and energy on how can he be the best quarterback for Penn State and we’re not asking that of him. 
It’s kind of similar to a couple years ago when Mike [Yurcich] got here and we kind of made some changes to the offense. I think it was that year. I don’t think we took Sean Clifford, if I remember correctly, we didn’t take him to Big Ten Media Day. I wanted him focused on just doing his job that year. 
So, he’s doing a nice job and I think he’s doing a nice job of focusing on the things that matter most right now. 
Q. Question about defense, coaching and playing it. On the one hand, I assume you want guys to be real aggressive and kind of play with their hair on fire and make disruptive plays. Other side of that is being gap sound and not trying to do too much and being where you’re supposed to be. So is there ever an extent to which you have to play those two things off each other? Do you have to compromise between them?
A: No, because I think they complement each other beautifully, right? Be super aggressive through your gap. Be very aggressive in your zone when the ball comes in your direction. Be very aggressive in your man coverage techniques, in your job and your responsibilities.
As an offensive lineman, your footwork, your gap, your responsibility on a double team and who you’re working to in combination with the tackle or whatever it may be, being very aggressive on game day based on your preparation. 
Same thing with the running backs, the wide receivers, the coaching staff. To me, I don’t think what you want to do is talk about them like they are separate entities. Those two things in great football can go hand and hand and can complement one another. 
Q. After the game you said that you thought Drew last year as the backup did a good job preparing as if he was the starter. Beau [Pribula] talked about that last week, too. I’m wondering from a coaching perspective, looking at guys to see whether they’re doing a good job of that, what kind of traits do you look for in those players who are doing a good job with it? Is it necessarily an easy transition to make for young guys who are used to starting throughout their high school careers?
A: Yeah, I think it’s a really hard challenge. Most of these guys have been the best players. They’ve never not been the guy. So, it is a huge challenge, just physically, the love of playing the game, the emotional impact on it, to be honest with you, the parents. The parents struggle with it a lot of times. 
I think this is challenging, but I think it’s a good question. I think, first of all, I think Beau is wired right. His preparation is excellent. He’s a very thoughtful young man. I think he’s a very driven young man. And extremely competitive. 
I think if you asked our players, they would say they’re sick of hearing that from me. I talk to the guys all the time. I met with the freshmen yesterday. That was one of the topics. Are you preparing as if you were the starter right now? 
Because if you don’t, then this time next year you’re going to be upset with your role because you’re not going to be ready. I met with the second-year players on Sunday after practice and had a similar conversation. Are you preparing as if you’re the starter? 
I think it’s really an important lesson for all of our guys to learn, not just for football, but in life. You may be the assistant manager one day on your job and you want to be the manager, and your number gets called and you get the opportunity to serve that role and you’re not ready. 
So we talk about it all the time, but I think with Beau I think we’re pretty comfortable and confident that Beau is preparing like a starter, very similar to how I think Drew was last year and Beau last year as well. I think that’s allowed him to be successful. 
I think we’re doing a better job as a coaching staff, and it’s not easy to do when you’re trying to do everything you can to get your starter ready and your backup quarterback has a different style, making sure that you’re playing to his strengths as well. A lot of people say they’ll do that. A lot of people say that. We’re going to play to the strengths of our personnel, and they don’t. They don’t. 
I think we’re doing a really good job of that. Coach Yurcich is doing a really good job of that, of saying okay, as a first-time starter what does Drew do well and let’s play though these strengths. Hopefully that grows every week, the things that he’s comfortable and confident with. 
Same thing, okay, Beau in your role, what are the things that you’re comfortable with and how can we play to your strengths? They’re really separate packages, which is challenging and difficult for us to get them both ready, but also can create challenges and difficulty also on the defensive coordinator and the defenses that we face because they’ve got to spend time on both. 
Q. You’ve talked about this being a deep team and maybe one of the deeper ones that you’ve ever had. How do you think these guys are handling being a deep team? I think there have maybe been little bread crumbs along the way that you would like to see that be a little bit better. How do you manage that knowing that you can have all the talent in the world but if the vibes aren’t where you want them to be, that might not matter?
A: Yeah, you know, it’s interesting. We were just discussing this as a staff. We’ve got some young players that we’re excited about and they’re going to play, but every time you give the guy who is the three deep on your roster reps, that’s taking away reps from the two-deep. 
So, it’s a balancing act. I think it’s important that everybody embraces that and understands that. But it’s amazing. I mean, that’s one of the challenges of being a college football coach, right? You got 85 guys on scholarship, right around 120 guys on the team give or take depending on the program, and you want everybody in the locker room to feel appreciated. 
That’s almost impossible. You want all the parents to understand the process and embrace the process. That’s almost impossible. So we just try to talk about it as much as we possibly can. 
I think for the starters and the veteran starters who have played a ton of football, I think they’re great with it. It’s the guys starting for the first time or guys in the two deep that are fighting and competing for every rep they get. 
The challenge is, okay, say you get a game like last week and you’re able to get the threes in the game. Well, that works out really good, and then in your mind, well, the twos will play a ton the rest of the year. Well, they may not. Just depends on how some of the games go in terms of your rotation or in terms of how guys practiced that week or what makes sense based on the score and the time and the situation. 
There are so many things that go into it, so just trying to balance it and have as many discussions as you can. That’s why your roster management and your game management is critical, and with new staff, I got make sure everybody is on the same page. That’s one of the reasons we have a staff meeting every single morning at 7 a.m. to talk about these things. Let’s go through the depth chart now based on that week. Any changes? Okay, on Thursday, let’s have a discussion about rotation for the game. What are we thinking? I want to have this discussion now rather than Saturday morning and the coordinator sees it differently than you do or the head coach sees it differently than the position coach. Let’s work them out on Thursday and Friday so it’s not Saturday morning right before the game that I have a different expectation, I have a different expectation, the player has a different expectation. 
It’s just important that we talk about it as much as we can and get everybody on the same page. The other thing I would say is we have a parent meeting every year before the season starts, and then we do it in the spring as well and try to talk through some of these issues. I would say for the most part, we have been pretty good there. It’s never going to be as perfect as you would like it to be. 
Q. The team has played so well. I’m sure you would love to win every game by 20, 30 points. Are you, as a coach curious, to get maybe into a game that it’s close, tight, you got tough situations, so you can find out some more about your own team and how they may handle these different situations?
A: Yeah, again, that goes back to, I just want to get better. I just want to get better every single week. That’s also why we challenge them in practice all through training camp and all through the season. 
It’s not just Saturdays that we’re competing and dealing with situations. It’s all the time. It’s all the time. I think your point is a good one. We’re going to learn more and more about our team every week. You know, there are going to be different ways that we’re going to have to find ways to win. Good teams will find different ways to win each week based on the opponent, the schemes, the matchups, the challenges, the weather, whatever. 
So we been able to check a lot of those boxes during training camp. Like practicing in the rain. There is a ton of value in that. Even though all the players are looking at the indoor facility like, why do we have that? 
Making sure during the season that not only are we getting the scheme-specific work from the D-squad, but also getting the good-on-good work from a speed and competition standpoint. 
Back to that depth, I also think our D-squads are better than in the past, and that’s helpful. 
So, all these things. Going on the road and playing your first road game in the Big Ten. There is value in that, and we’ll continue to learn things about our team and our program as the year goes on. 
For me, I just want to get better. I want to get better this week in practice and get better on Saturday. If we continue to do that, then we’ll get those questions answered. 
Q. You’ve been able to manage Olu’s [Fashanu] snaps with the way some of the scores have played out. When you go into a game, do you have an area, a limit that you want to keep him at, or is that dictated by circumstance? Who all is making those decisions? Is it you? Phil [Trautwein]? Frank [Leonard]? Whoever?
A: Yeah, so really those numbers were based on practice, and the games are more like the way you described it, as situational. You know, if we can get him out, then we wanted to get him out. If we want to get him out, you know, we wanted to try to get him out as early as we could and we were able to do that. 
In the games, it’s all what the game dictates to allow us to go out and win and be successful and put really good tape out there and show everyone what a phenomenal player he is and he’s the best offensive lineman in college football. 
So to me, it’s more about managing last spring and the spring game. It’s about managing practice, managing the games based on the situation. 
And that’s same thing I talked about. Those are the type of discussions happening in the staff meeting at 7:00 a.m. They’re discussions happening in my office with Traut and Frank to make sure we’re on the same page, and then also during the game to make sure I know who is going in the next series and why and make sure we all see it the same way. 
Q. Obviously it’s very early in the season and I know that the AP Poll doesn’t factor into the CFP anymore, but is your ranking in the national polls something you talk about with your coaches and players?
A: No, no sir. Again, we just want to find a way to get a win the first week, win the second week, and find a way to get a win this week. As long as we continue to get better and do the things that I think we’re capable of doing, then all those things will take care of themselves. 
The only thing I would say on that, that I think helps is, I think being a part of those discussions helps you at the end of the season. But I think TCU was a really good example last year. We were a really good example last year. There are ways to still get there no matter where you are preseason or where you were early in the season. You just got to go out and handle your business and take a mature approach to it. 
The preseason polls and week-two polls really don’t matter, right? So, we have not spent any time talking about that as a staff or a team as I can remember. 
Q. I wanted to ask about two of your freshmen. King Mack, we’ve seen a lot of. What impressed you about him so far? Is Jameial Lyons someone that’s maybe in the yellow or green category at this point?
A: Yeah, so when you talk about King, specifically King, he was a guy we identified early on in training camp based on his testing numbers, his strength numbers, based on his ability to pick up the defense, on his ability to make plays, that we felt like he was going to factor in from a depth chart perspective on defense.
So now it’s, okay, we need to get him involved in special teams. Coach [Anthony] Pointdexter was comfortable with that, Manny [Diaz] was comfortable with that, Stacy [Collins] was comfortable with that, so we kind of moved forward. I think that will continue to grow. He’s fast, aggressive, violent. The ball likes him. He’s had the ability to make plays on the ball all during training camp as well. 
I think you’ll just continue to see him gain confidence and have a really good year and that his role will continue to grow. 
When you talk about Lyons, specifically him, right now we still have him in the yellow category, like a lot of guys that played on Saturday. That could change, but, again, part of that is based on how healthy we’re able to say. 
All these guys on here that we’ve designated yellow can change quickly. Obviously, in a perfect world we hope we stay as healthy as we possibly can all season long, and then now we’re just making those decisions based on, hey, this guy has moved up the depth chart, knows the defense inside and out, is making plays. 
He’s obviously shown in practice and in games that he belongs, and now it’s him continuing to learn the package, understanding the defense inside and out, so that maybe he’s one of those guys by game five we say, hey, we’re going to green light him. 
Or he’s a guy we’re just going to maximize the four games plus postseason. We will see how it plays out. The guys on the team love him and they’re excited to watch him in practice and games. I know for the coaching staff, he’s really earned the staff’s respect as well. I’m really proud of him. I’m proud of a lot of these guys. 
Q. I know you had mentioned about going on the road in your Big Ten opener and that being a pattern. What’s also been a pattern is you haven’t had a Big Ten opener,not in week one since 2019. Is this how you would prefer it, to get a couple games under your belt before conference play?
A: I think for the most part, I think everybody, I can’t speak for college football, but if I had to guess, most people would like probably the model that we all grew up with. You play two out-of-conference games, three out-of-conference games if you’re in a conference that plays eight, and maybe save one for later in the season, and then be able to break up your Big Ten schedule a little bit. 
I think that’s ideal. I think what’s happened. If you look at most of the conferences and what the TV people want, is they want to be able to spread out those types of games through all 12 weeks of the regular season. So, there is some give-and-take there and understanding of that. 
But since we have led [the season] for so long, I’m assuming we won’t have another one like that for another 10 to 15 years based on how it’s gone. 
Q. We saw so many offensive linemen on Saturday. If I could ask about three specifically, two freshman who had extended action in Anthony [Donkoh] and J’ven [Williams] and then Nick Dawkins, who played most of the game. He was at center, saw some of him at guard. It was kind of a fresh look for us at Nick based on him missing so much time last year. Those three guys, what do you think you got out of it? What did they get out of that experience on Saturday?
A: Dawkins is a guy that, again, I think the staff and the players have a ton of respect for. He’s done things the right way since he got on campus. He’s one of our more natural charismatic leaders. He’s super smart. He’s articulate. I think he’s really a team-first guy, so he has kept working and waited for the opportunity to present itself and it has, and he’s run with it. 
I think he’s a really good example for a lot of players in our program, that if you keep a really good attitude and work hard and prepare yourself, at some point an opportunity is going to present itself and you’ve got to take advantage of it. I’m proud of him. For him to get those reps and be able to get Hunter [Nourzad] out of the game, at that position where he’s the quarterback of the offensive line but then also be able to play him at guard to create more depth from that perspective, and also some position flexibility for himself was really good. 
And then Donkoh is a guy we’ve been impressed with. You’ve heard me talk about him during the recruiting process. He committed pretty early on. Told him and his family to come to camp, and they came to every single camp. Just kept getting better as a high school player and showed up here really far along developmentally. Really has done a nice job. I think you’ll see his role continue to grow. 
J’ven is a guy that’s super talented and comes from an unbelievable high school program, but he lacks some experience in pass protection. That’s an area that he’s making tremendous strides in and improving. 
So, really, two really good young players we’re excited about. And others as well. You didn’t bring up some, so I’m keeping it to these two specifically. Then Dawkins as well is a great example of a guy that was able to get in the game and played at a really high level, very similar to what we see at practice every single day. 
Q. The list is getting kind of long with Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, they have all dealt with firings, investigations or suspensions. When you throw in NIL and the portal, collectives, what’s the scrutiny and pressure like being a head coach these days and how do you deal with it?
A: Yeah, I guess for me, you know, I don’t really spend a whole lot of time on what you just said and thinking about that. I try to take the same advice that I give and just try my very best to be the best version of myself for the players, for their parents, for the staff, for my family, as I possibly can be. 
And that’s not always easy, right? It’s constant and this is a challenging job. As you guys know, I think I struggle with how to balance my time with my family as well as the team and my responsibilities for both. 
Having a strong wife is really important and helpful. Living in a college town I think is really helpful, because my wife and kids being able to stop over to the office. You know, you guys come out to practice usually in the beginning of practice, but at the end of practice there are a ton of kids there, ton of wives there and families, and lettermen. I do believe being in a college town, it helps. It really does from a family perspective.
You know, so it’s a challenge. I think this profession has always been challenging on people and on head coaches and on families, so I don’t know if it’s more so. Maybe just seeing a recent trend that’s closer to home for us. Again, I try to take the same advice that I give my players and try to be the best version I possibly can for the players, for their families, for my family, for the Penn State community, the best I possibly can. 
I’m going to make a mistake and say something silly every once in a while in a press conference that you guys will crush me on social media. It also helps to have such good support from Matt Schuyler, which I’ve talked about before, and Dr. [Neeli] Bendapudi, our president, and Pat Kraft, that I think goes a long way. I talked about the importance that was for alignment, but also just I think it’s important that Neeli knows I have her back and she’s got mine, and the same with Pat and Matt and the rest of the board. I think all those things are really, really important. 
Q. You talked about different levels of communication with parents, different groups of players. Where did you get the emphasis on communication? How much you put on it and who are the people that you kind of looked up to who were good communicators along the way for you?
A: Yeah, so I think communication has always been a strength of mine and something that I’ve always thought was really important. But I’m going to be honest with you, it’s evolved.
With the transfer portal we’re having conversations we never would’ve had before. I think you have to, because if not, the conversations are going on without you. I think people can make poor decisions if they’re not hearing it. 
Now, what I think we’ve done a good job is we’re not changing the conversation, we’re just willing to have it now. We’re going to be very honest and transparent with how we see people. That’s where you are right now. That may not be where you are a year from now. But that’s the truth of it. 
It’s interesting. Some of these guys go into the transfer portal and they have success somewhere else—even the guys we’ve gotten—and they’re like, ‘Oh, I just needed a fresh start.’ That can be the case from time to time. Sometimes maybe it’s just you’re a year older and a year more mature. Those things play a factor. 
I would say that the communication isn’t always a positive. My wife says I’m an over-clarifier and she hates it. With someone that I don’t need to clarify. She usually knows what I’m saying soon as I say it, but I have a tendency to say it three more times. She doesn’t like it. 
So, I do think it’s important for the staff. Again, that’s why we do a staff meeting every morning at 7:00 a.m., so there is no gray area, everybody is on the same page, everybody understands the expectation.
Same thing, we have a team meeting every single day so everybody understands the expectations. 
And then I think there has been some changes. I think a lot of coaches in the past would talk to the parents about academics or social issues or things that needed to be cleaned up and corrected. They weren’t talking about playing time. I think now I’ll have conversations, and so will the position coaches, that maybe we haven’t had in the past. 
Q. You talked earlier about a good defense is going to be aggressive, but also disciplined and it’s important. A dual-threat quarterback like Altmyer will probably really test the discipline aspect of that. How do you think your defense played against the West Virginia quarterback who has some maybe similar qualities? Whether it was good or bad at times, do you think you’ll be defensively better having at least faced that challenge already?
A: Yeah, I think we’ll be more prepared this week based on going against West Virginia. I thought we played really well in the first two weeks. There was obviously times and moments we would want to get cleaned up on offense, defense, and special teams, but I thought we did some really good things that are building blocks moving forward. 
That West Virginia quarterback is a going to give a lot of people trouble. I do think having faced him helps.
The other thing I would say is, well, you got to face Beau [Pribula] in practice. That’s true. But a lot of times you don’t really get to feel the impact of a dual-threat quarterback until it’s live. 
In practice you’re blowing the whistle. As soon as the quarterback runs and anybody comes anywhere near him, you’re blowing the whistle. When it’s a sack, you’re blowing the whistle, where Beau might have gotten out of a few of them. The quarterback at West Virginia gets out of a few of them. 
So until you really get it where it’s game-like in full speed and live, it’s hard to get that look in practice.

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