Spartan QB Connor Cook Talks Spartan Football

Hondo S. Carpenter

 

A: You can lament the loss for 24 hours and then after that you put it behind you. But it was good to come out here because when we’re out here practicing we’re taking our minds off of, Oh something happened this week. So it’s good to come out here and clear our minds.

 

Q: Did Dantonio talk to you further about what happened with the late benching in South Bend?

 

A: Yeah, they just felt like they wanted to go with Maxwell because he’s got a good arm, he throws it downfield real well. He said he talked with a couple of the coaches and they just felt like what they needed was some kind of change in the game. So that’s what he mentioned to me.

 

Q: When you looked back at film to see how you played, what things do you think you need to do to keep them from worrying about making that decision again later?

 

A: I need to focus on my footwork, be more sound on my footwork. And just accuracy…making the throws. Being accurate, the little fundamental throws. I was missing easy out routes that I should be hitting 20 times out of 20.

 

Q: How close are you? Are you about where you wanna be? Where’s the definition?

 

A: Knowledge-wise I feel like I‘m right there. I can always improve reading defense, but as far as the offense we run I feel like I’m really comfortable with that. I feel like I’m just improving every week. I think I’m a lot better now than I was in the first week , so as long as I keep getting better I think good things will happen.

 

Q: What are you doing with your bye week? What’s the biggest thing you guys are gonna try to take care of this week?

 

A: Personally, I’m just trying to focus on…because I know Coach Samuel said to pick out one thing that you gotta get better at…and that’s my footwork and accuracy. So I’m taking this week to really focus on all the details. Everything with my footwork to my accuracy, ball placement, all that stuff.

 

Q: What do you do to fix your footwork and your accuracy?

 

A: You just gotta be thinking mikes. In a game you’re not thinking about your footwork. You’re not thinking about ball placement or accuracy. You’re just concentrating on the reads. But you just really gotta take time to think before every snap that you take. Really focusing on footwork. For every snap that I take I gotta hand the ball off to a running back. Or If I’m just doing routes on air with wide outs or team walkthroughs. Constantly reminding myself that I need to get better with my footwork.

 

Q: Is there potential for overthinking that way?

 

A: Nah, nah. I’m just used to coming out here every single day and thinking pre-snap, trying to get a read on the defense. I’m thinking post-snap, who I’m going to throw to. I mean there’s a lot of thoughts that go through my head but it’s never really overthinking. I’m just thinking a lot.

 

Q: Does it still feel good to hear that you’re still their guy? Even after the game you had, you’re headed into this as “the guy”. How does that make you feel?

 

A: Makes me feel good that they believe in me and they have confidence in me. But I wanna continue to get better and not be satisfied with where I’m at because I really wasn’t satisfied. I know I‘m capable of a lot, better than what I showed Saturday. But I am getting better than what I was from Western Michigan. But as long as I keep getting better than some really good things are gonna come.

 

Q: The first road start at Notre Dame…looking back was there anything that surprised you? What did you learn about yourself?

 

A: Something that surprised me was just how loud it was. I’ve never been in an environment that loud. Spartan Stadium gets loud, but I think Notre Dame is not as big as Spartan Stadium and everything’s real packed in there. I think I was so surprised for how loud it was. They’re playing their music in the huddle and I was literally screaming at the top of my lungs in the huddle. But what I learned from myself is that I thought I was pretty poised for my first away game, for my first road start, especially in a hostile environment like that. I thought I handled things pretty well.

 

Q: Coach Dantonio said you need resiliency or composure. How are you able to stay calm like that? You’ve never faced it before.

 

A: Yeah, I don’t know. When you’re out there you just don’t focus on the crowd at all. You’re just focusing on every single play. You’re focusing on the task at hand, what’s in front of you. I know all this stuff is going on around me, there’s 70,000 people or how ever many people were in there. But I mean you really kinda block all that stuff out. That’s something I’ve always had. In high school I never really let things affect me. I’ve always just focused…with my reads, with the defensive linemen pressuring me, with blitzes coming at me. I’ve just always been really focused and just keeping my eyes downfield and going through my reads.

 

Q: There’s been a lot of debate about that final drive at Notre Dame. What’s going through your head the next time you’re in a situation like that?

 

A: Just to win the game and bring my team a victory.

 

Q: No looking over your shoulder or anything?

 

A: Nope, nothing. Just leading my team to victory and focusing on the win. That’s the only thing I can do is to do whatever I possibly can to make my team win.

 

Q: You’ve had the weekend to think it over now. Is it still frustrating or disappointing or are you just focusing now on the bye week?

 

A: It’s all gone. I put that aside days ago. I put that aside on Sunday, the day after the game. So I really haven’t been thinking about that at all. Everything’s on Iowa. We’re all working together to beat Iowa. So that’s our main focus right now.

 

Q: What are you gonna do on your bye week?

 

A: I’m going home and I’m gonna hang out with my girlfriend and her family and my family. We’re gonna have a giant clam bake at my house. That’s what we’re doing.

 

Q: Clam picnic?

 

A: A clam bake. Yup. It’s something you do in the fall in Ohio. I don’t know what you guys do here in Michigan.

 

Q: How important do you think it is to have this bye week now, heading in to Big 10 Conference play?

 

A: I think it’s crucial, ya know. Especially after the tough loss that we had against Notre Dame, it gives us a weekend to clear our minds. Coach D wants us all to go home and see our families and stuff. That’ll be good for us to take a break from football and we’ll come back fresh. So it’s gonna be good.

 

Q: Is your girlfriend from home? High school sweetheart?

 

A: Yup.

 

Q: Have you had the discussion with Coach about your disappointment after the game?

 

A: Yeah, we talked about it on Monday after we all watched film. Everything’s good, you know. They believe in me. I believe in myself. We’re looking forward. We’re not looking back at that and we’re focusing on Iowa. So things are good.

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