Dec. 28, 2000
"Despite this lingering cold, I am having a great time and so is our
team. We are enjoying all the sights and sounds of the Rose Bowl
hospitality. Had a great time at Lawry's last night. I want to
compliment you on the new design of the watches. I thought the old
watches were a classic, but the new one is spectacular. There were lots of ooohs and aaahs from our team. They're enjoying everything. We'll go to the Jay Leno show tonight and after that, I think we'll realize that
we're here to play a football game. We've practiced well. Yesterday was the first time we had some lethargy in the effort and only because we've been on our legs. There's plenty of time to get rest and get our legs back and explode on Monday when it's time to play our best."
(On Purdue's similarity to other Pac-10 schools)
"We see a variety of
formations. When we break down via computer the different offenses, you notice there haven't been a lot of different formations played against Purdue, meaning that the Big Ten is a little more 21 personnel, meaning
two wide receivers, two backs, one tight end. Pro formation, "I"
formation, smashmouth football. Purdue is the odd soldier there, with
their own idea of how to play offense. We've seen those formations, but do we have an answer how to stop them, I'm not sure, especially when the triggerman is as talented as Drew Brees."
(On fourth quarter play by UW)
"I don't' know if I can put a finger on
it. There's an old axiom in coaching that you achieve what you
emphasize. When I first arrived (at UW) after the 6-6 season I looked
at the different statistics to figure out how to take our program from 6-6
back to a place where we can win a Pac-10 championship. The one stat
that was glaring was the lack of success Washington had that year in the fourth quarter. It was a great disparity. My opening comments in spring before the 1999 season, we said we wanted to win the Pac-10
championship, but then you have to say how we're going to do it. I said if we could
just turn around what we did in the fourth quarter and just flip those
numbers, to get ourselves to score those 100 points and hold our
opponents to 30-something, we can win all those close games that got
away from us and put ourselves back in the Rose Bowl picture. Last year we
had a definite change for the better and this year we were dominant in
the fourth quarter."
(On Pac-10 tradition at the Rose Bowl and BCS)
"If we can get Dunkel and Billingsley to start watching some Pac-10 football, we might be in this
position again next year. Every year, you line up and try to when the
Pac-10 championship. There is great reward in that. Where you go from
there obviously for many years has been the Rose Bowl. Next year it
doesn't guarantee that, but there will a great reward regardless of
which BCS game you get to go to and for one year I don't see that as a major
faux pas in the history and tradition of all this. The Rose Bowl to me
is the greatest of all the games and for it to be the site of a national
championship game, I think the Rose Bowl deserves it."
(On being underdogs)
"We've been underdogs almost since I arrived. We're comfortable in that position. I don't make a big point of it to the team, but I think there are people out there who aren't sure about, one, Pac-10 football and two, the Washington team, how talented are we, did we just get lucky in these fourth quarter comebacks. Until we have the
attention of everybody who deals with college football we've got to keep proving ourselves and that's really the case for the teams who are favored. It's all decided on the field so how people perceive the game
up to that point is of no consequence."
"No question that it's arbitrary. I made light of Mr. Dunkel
and Mr. Billingsley only because they don't seen to believe that we're
even in the top 10. Until we want to do things differently, it's going
to be arbitrary. West Coast guys believe there is an East Coast bias,
whether it's true or not really makes no difference. I was in the
locker room following the Washington State game and I saw how thrilled our
players were and that's all you can ask for, to have your team go and
play a game with as much tradition as the Rose Bowl, we're right where
we want to be."
(On returning to the Rose Bowl as a coach)
"I have not brought up my own personal experience as a player from a game standpoint. I've certainly
brought up how much fun you can have. I made lots of comments about
what they had to look forward to just so the kids would understand that it's
a big, big deal. Everything pales in comparison to running on the field. That is absolutely a magic carpet ride to run out through the tunnels onto the field amidst the 100,000 people watching. It doesn't get
better than that."
(On defending Purdue's offense)
"It's a difficult chore. You've got a
guy who definitely understands the offense from top to bottom. You see
it on film but you also see it in the statistic that he has been sacked
only seven times. When you throw that many times in as many formations
as they have, it's astounding that he's only tackled seven times behind
the line of scrimmage. That means he knows where all the buttons are.
He knows how to get off the hook, how to call in for protection, he can
see what you are doing. We're thankful we've had a month so we can
hopefully keep him a little bit off balance because that's really the
only way you can stop him. Three and outs will be precious
(On his growth as a coach)
"I don't know what I have done differently.
Certainly I've learned. At 33 years old and never been a coordinator,
certainly there were detractors to the decision (to make him head coach
at Colorado). We ended up having a great start, 10-2 and 10-2, and
everybody was excited about what the future held. Unfortunately we had
that poor season where we went 5-6, but in my own personal growth as a
coach it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. You
finally realize what this job entails. After that season I made changes and self-analysis that made me understand my role as a head coach a lot more clearly. It doesn't mean I can't have fun, it just means that
can't be the focus. It has to be on the team, not me."
(On Curtis Williams)
"Curtis is doing as well as he can possibly do.
It's a severe injury, a C-2 injury that obliterated a ligament in his
neck that causes paralysis from the neck down. He's been unable to
voluntarily move anything from the neck down so you can imagine putting
yourself in that position how difficult it must be. Our players think
of themselves as 10 feet tall and bulletproof. When you think of Curtis
Williams pre-injury, you think of a warrior. He was one of our best
players, maybe the most physical players on our team. This is a guy who really loved to play. To see him in this incapacity is a very frightening reality for a lot of our guys. Not from the physical nature of the game, but regarding each and everyone's mortality. You're not quite as invincible as you once perceived. I'm very proud of our team for being optimistic about Curtis. Curtis will make the game. He'll be flown down here and sit in the press box during the game and I think they're gonna try to get him down to the locker room so the players can
say hello. It will be an emotional time because this was one of the
leaders on the squad."
Joe Tiller, Purdue Head Coach
(On moving from Wyoming to Purdue)
"We had a lot of confidence in our system and I did feel like going into the Big Ten at that time. You
certainly don't advertise that up front, but I did feel going to the Big Ten, that we might have a little bit of an edge on the competition in terms of the newness of the offense and the fact that they hadn't seen
it. The first couple of years the schedule was very forgiving, not having Ohio State and Michigan on the schedule, I thought this would give us a chance to maybe get to the postseason. Once you get there, you've got a chance to make anything happen to your program because recruits all ask the same question--what bowl are you guys going to this year, coach? If we had a plan, it was to do the same thing we did at Wyoming. Would what we did in Laramie, Wyoming work in West Lafayette, Indiana? We thought it would and certainly it has."
(On the 2002 Rose Bowl being the national championship game)
"I'm a supporter of the BCS. It's the best we can hope...the best possible
solution to getting to a national champion without a playoff on the
field. As a coach at Purdue, I am concerned that unless it is a big
pool, it would end up being the same teams (among the top-rated BCS
teams). I guess you can argue it's the same teams right now, but I
really don't believe that. Dennis Erickson and his staff have done a
great job at Oregon State and getting them to a BCS game. If they
hadn't had success last year and gone to a bowl game, who knows where they
would be. I like the situation the way it is as long as we're not going to
have a playoff on the field--and I don't see us having that and I'm not
a supporter of that as a coach at Purdue. As far as a Big Ten team not
being able to come to the Rose Bowl (in 2002), if that were Purdue, we
would have long faces because this is certainly the epitome of an
opportunity to be involved in post-season play. But you have to play by the rules and if the rules prevent a Big Ten team from playing in the Rose Bowl, so be it. We would work extremely hard at making something
positive out of wherever we were going, if we have the same success we
had this year. We may not like it but we would live with it and make it a good experience."
(On Purdue tight end Tim Stratton)
"He may be a media darling, but he's not my darling. I get along with Tim well, he understands me, he
understands that there's a light side and a serious side. When the
serious side is up, he better not be light, and vice versa. I like the
mix of personalities on our team and as a coach I've never put a gag
rule in or closed our locker room after a game. Whether it's a great win or
a heartbreaking loss, I think players need to know how to deal with that
in life, and quickly after the fact. I've never called a player in to say
'don't say this or don't say that.' I have called a player in to be
smart about what you're saying. Try not to be so cute to be silly. I
haven't had any discussions with Tim Stratton since 7:57 this morning."
(On attacking Washington's secondary)
"The problem with attacking
Washington with the passing game is not necessarily the way you choose
to attack their secondary, which is a concern, but providing the protection to let your quarterback get the ball off is a real problem. We haven't faced a player the likes of Larry Tripplett. He's the best defensive
lineman we've faced, maybe since we've been at Purdue. I single him out because he's such an exceptional player, but I'm very impressed with Washington's front seven and it's ability to force a negative yardage
play. That has been a point of emphasis for us. I don't know if we'll
be successful or not, we've already struck upon that theme to keep
negative yardage plays to a minimum. They'll get them, because they're
too fast, too athletic, they come from different angles and they'll
confuse you at times. We're concerned about our protection scheme more
than we are about attacking their secondary."
(On defending Washington's offense)
"Our plans are to contain him (Marques Tuiasosopo), not stop him. I don't think you can stop this
guy. He's too talented, too good of a runner. He's much to physical of a
runner. You have to be cautious about assigning X number of defenders
to stop this guy. You try to contain him, he'll gain his yards, he's gonna throw the football some and you guys around guys when they catch it, to disrupt it. He's too good for us to set a goal that we must stop
Tuiasosopo. I have not seen a team that has been so good in the fourth
quarter. Look at their fourth quarter scoring and forget the rest of
it, that tells you a lot about this football team. We want to be in a
position in the fourth quarter to win the football game."
(On Purdue CB Chris Clopton)
"We've tried to replace him, to put another guy in there. Clopton is our undersized (5-7, 171) corner--that was
pretty well-put--actually I call him a munchkin, he's not much bigger
than a hiccup and he's out on the edge by himself all the time. He has
very good speed and that helps him and he's experienced. He's one of
three players that we recruited in that first class who will finish in
four years. The others are (Drew) Brees and (Vinny) Sutherland.
Clopton is a smallest guy on our roster and he played his first year. He's so
experienced it's hard to fool him, hard to beat him. We've got some
talented players behind him, but they can't wrested the job away from
him. Rarely is he out of position. You might be able to out-jump him,
but the games we struggled in this year, Chris Clopton at corner
certainly wasn't the reason. He's played extremely well. Sometimes
people go after him and that can prove to be a mistake."