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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 6

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 26, ISSUE 6 20 think that way. I've got some numbers in my head that I say, 'If we don't hit this number, I can't believe it.' " Gold and Black: So if you don't really think about the past losses, how do you find the balance of reflect- ing on what's happened and evaluating those things and then moving forward? Hazell: "I don't know if you have to reflect on what's happened. If I keep talking about what's happened, it's go- ing to keep us there. (You say) 'These are our goals and this is how we're going to get to our goals.' I don't care what happened 10 years ago, three years ago or one year ago. Here's all I care about: These are the steps we need to take to be successful as a program in 2016. Heck, there's guys who weren't even here. Why would I talk about something that happened when those guys weren't even here?" Gold and Black: You don't feel like you need to be reactionary in the sense of, for example, 'We haven't had a very good run defense. Here's how we address that and get better.' Hazell: "Do those guys who just walked in the door know we haven't been very good in the run defense? They have no idea. I can probably ask some of the (new) coaches (and they wouldn't know)." Gold and Black: But it was clear change was need - ed — you obviously replaced guys on your staff and others left on their own volition. So why do you think the program is in a better place with those changes? Hazell: "Again, you go back to the offense and I think the biggest thing we talked about is just trying to make it really helpful for the quarterbacks. Just making those guys feel comfortable when they hit the field. That's probably the biggest thing offensively. Defensively is having the system in place that there's answers. When you're hit somewhere, there's a response. There's an answer within the system, not something you have to fabricate or find. There's an an - swer within the system of 'if (the offense) is doing this, then we've got to be able to do this.' Then you go back to the defensive line play. It's so critical to being successful as a defense. That's where I think Randy will be great. Has been great. Will be great." Gold and Black: You're going to get a new boss soon who is obviously going to have a close eye on the pro- gram. Do you feel like this season is an audition, for lack of a better term, for you? Hazell: "Audition?" Gold and Black: Whatever word you want to use. The new athletic director obviously is not just going to come to evaluate football, he's going to evaluate ev- erything, but … Hazell: "That's his job. His job is to come in here, be the boss and analyze everything. All we can control is what we can control as a football program. Do I feel like I have to au- dition? No. I just feel like myself and our staff have to coach our guys as hard as we can and things will turn out well. I really believe that." Gold and Black: How do you handle the reality of the profession, the perceived hot seat? How do you not think about that? Hazell: "Who puts you on the hot seat?" Gold and Black: I would suppose people outside of the program. Hazell: "Whether I'm on the hot seat or I'm not on a hot seat, I don't think about it. You probably think I'm nuts. But I don't go home and say, 'OK, shoot, I have to win or else.' I don't think like that. I never have. Maybe I'm eternally op - timistic. I'd like to think I'm a realist. I'd like to think we're good enough to get it done this year. But I don't think that way. Never have. Never will." Gold and Black: It'd seem like human nature to do so with the pressure that comes with the job. Hazell: "But it's self-imposed (pressure). It is. I think the stress in the job, for most of the people I've been around in the years I've done this job, you want to do so well be - cause you want to do so well. You're putting everything you have into it. As long as my staff and myself give everything we have — and that sounds cliché, but it's true — you put everything into it, you give the kids a chance to be success- ful, you don't make bonehead coaching mistakes, then you feel like you gave it everything you had." Gold and Black: At the groundbreaking ceremony in April for the new football performance complex, it was mentioned you gave money to the project. What message does that send? Hazell: "I said at the program that you invest in things that you believe in, and I believe that. That's what Drew (Brees) — and so many others — have done. Why shouldn't I? If it's something I truly believe is going to take off and be successful, I think that's what it's all about." j

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