What are you looking to get out of this game for yourself and the first team offense?
“(To) Look sharp, make good decisions, (and) score points. I (want to) feel like we get good tempo and rhythm going into the game.”
Were you shocked by Jairus Bryd’s one-handed interception last night?
“Oh man it was a ridiculous play. I didn’t throw it exactly where I wanted to; I was trying to throw it to Nick Toon in the back, kind of retracing on a route and Jairus was underneath it. Number one, I didn’t feel like he would really reach it, but he did. To actually come down with it was a whole (different) story. Usually that ball just gets tipped and goes out of the back of the end zone, but it was an impressive play.”
In what ways is it different when Pete Carmichael calls plays as opposed to Sean Payton?
“I’ll be honest with you, I think it’s very similar because Pete has learned and come up under Sean now for the last – we’ve all been together now going on nine years. I think there’s just a lot of familiarity there, a lot of very much the same style. The tempo at which they get the play-call out, I feel like both of them I can anticipate what’s coming because of the communication we’ve had throughout the week and you just feel the flow of the game and you know personnel groups coming in. You know where they’re trying to get the ball. You just have that feel, and I think that’s just a lot of time together.”
Can you describe your role in the group effort of calling plays?
“Whether it’s Sean calling the plays or Pete calling the plays, they’re getting advice from Bret Ingalls in regards to the run game. They’re talking to – it used to be Joe Lombardi but now it’s Mike Neu up in the box in regards to what we’re getting in this situation. Mike might feed him information about, ‘They’re doing a lot of this. This is what we want to attack.’ There’s no-huddle packages where obviously they’re kind of putting it in my hands. There’s plenty of times where you come to the sideline in a critical situation talking about, ‘What do you like? I like this. This is what I think we’re going to get. I like this matchup; let’s go here.’ It’s constant communication, but it is a group effort.”
How important is this game Saturday, knowing that this might be the only action you will get all preseason?
“It is important, that’s why I want to play well. I want to get out there and feel comfortable. I feel like this week’s been great, just to get back out and feel like I’m throwing the ball like I should. Now it is just time to take it to the game field and go through this final dress rehearsal before the (start of the regular) season.”
Are you still shaking off the rust or have you been sharp?
“I don’t know about shaking off the rust, maybe just anytime you’re coming off an injury that was directly related to you throwing, there’s this ramp-up that takes place. Obviously I didn’t want to push it too hard too fast because I didn’t want to take any unnecessary chances with it. Just kind of that progression each day of, ‘OK I can do a little bit more. I can kick up the volume, kick up the intensity.’ Finally when you’re out here again – I’d say the first day or two you’re a little bit, ‘How’s it feeling?’ on every throw. After a while you’re like, “Come on man, forget it. Just play ball. I’m at that stage right now, just playing ball.”
Pierre talked about not wanting to be so predictable in the running game, and now you have a bunch of running backs that can do a lot of different things. Do you see that?
“Yes I do. All those guys are very versatile. All those guys can do different things. When Mark Ingram first got here, that was not necessarily his role, but I think he has grown into a guy that can in the nickel. Obviously he is a great runner between the tackles, but now he can do stuff on the exterior. We can motion him out of the backfield and he can catch balls out of the backfield very effectively. Obviously Pierre (Thomas) has always been that guy (to catch balls), (and he’s) extremely versatile. I think Khiry Robinson is evolving into an every-down guy. Travaris Cadet is a guy who came to us having played every position in college from quarterback to running back to slot to receiver. He is just such a great athlete. You could split him out at wide receiver. Very few guys are able to do that and also come in the backfield and run the football. He’s a great weapon. All those guys bring something unique to the table. I feel comfortable with any of those guys in any situation in a game.”
Do you get so confident with Pierre out of the backfield catching the ball?
“We’ve been together for eight years, so there’s a huge comfort level with him. He’s so dependable, so tough, so smart. Obviously we’ve been through a lot together.”
Are you expecting to see some Purdue Boilermaker fans in Indianapolis this weekend?
“Yes. I’ve never played in Lucas Oil (Stadium) other than when we went up there in 2008 to evacuate from one of the hurricanes. We actually practiced in that facility but never played in a game or anything like that there (there). That element, along with being an hour from Purdue, is pretty cool. I know there’s a lot of Purdue folks in the crowd, even though they will be wearing blue and white.”
We’ve noticed you talk to Nick Toon after a lot of routes. Can you tell us what’s said or what’s going on?
“I know he can be a real productive guy and big contributor for us. He’s still a young player who, early in his career had injuries. So really, even though he’s a third-year player, this is kind of only a year and a half that we have had together. There are still a lot of things that happen over the course of practice that you can’t just talk about in the film room or look at on paper. It has to happen in practice or a live scenario where you can actually go out there and say, ‘I want you to see what I see, and this is the adjustment (we need to make). This is the little nuance that is built into this play.’ I have a great comfort level with Toon, but that’s always growing.”