Post-Game Quotes: Western Michigan
 
 
 

 

 
 

Aug 31, 2013

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Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio

Opening statement...
It was a long football game; almost four and half hours or so. I thought our defense played outstanding in the game; really throughout the entire game with the exception of the last drive which our backups were in.

It was a tough game. I thought Western came to play. We've got to convert on our offensive possessions. We had too many possessions that we're getting the ball around the 40 or 50 and not converting that into points. We've got to be able to do that.

I thought we ran the ball ok. Lack of explosive plays I guess is what I would say in terms of improvement. It's very difficult to go four, five, three, four, five all the way down the football field. You've got to come up with an explosive play. We got opportunities, we've got balls in the air, we've got opportunities to catch the football. We've got to catch the football. It's not something we've seen in summer camp, so it can be straightened out. As we move through it, we can't make mistakes and beat ourselves. The thing you worry about in the first game, we had them. We had a snap over our guys head, we had a snap on the ground to our punter, we had things that haven't happened. We had some off-sides penalties and things of that nature, so we've got to clean those things up. At the end of the day, the goal is to win and we got a win. From that standpoint, goal number one accomplished, but we've got to do is clean up things. I credit Western Michigan, so I don't say this in any disrespect to them, but we had many other opportunities to put the game away and to get out.

On areas of concern being the same from spring practice...
You're always going to worry when you don't see things come to fruition, but it would be no different to me than if we hadn't seen it last year and we're seeing it this year. We have to deal with the current situation; we have to deal with the present. What I've seen in the present is that we've caught the ball all summer long very well and for whatever reason, tonight we didn't catch the ball as clean. We had too many drops. I didn't think our quarterback play was bad. There are going to be plays you want back as a quarterback. But I thought the ball was on the money numerous times and you've got to make the catch. It's pretty simple. We've got to have more explosives plays and by that I mean 15 to 20-yard plays.

On quarterback decision...
We weren't up that many points when we put in the guy. To rep three quarterbacks, you put them in there for a couple plays and I wanted to see what people could do. I thought we got sufficient work with our two quarterbacks and we'll move from there.

On quarterback rotation...
It wasn't scripted. I made the call on the quarterbacks. In the second half, we just moved them. We took the attitude that if you moved the football, you stayed in. If you don't move it, we use the other guy. That's something we've got to do sometimes. That's harsh, but the quarterback's job is to make good decisions, to lead, to create. I thought (Connor) Cook created some downfield with some different things that he was able to do. You just go with it, you just go with the flow. I'll go back to what I said that I don't think either quarterback played poorly. I think both quarterbacks played well enough to generate more points than what we got from our offense.

On the defense...
Obviously, the thing to talk about here is the defense. I thought they played extremely well. I'm not sure how many three and outs, but they got 25-yards rushing and we basically shut them down in the passing game as well. I think they had maybe two first downs or three until the last series on third down conversions. Those are positives. We need to dwell on those positives and build on them. We need to always play to our strengths, period. I'll go back to what I said, the name of the game is to win. We've got to do this collectively, together. Am I totally happy, no, but I'll go home with a win and in these types of games, sometimes things go awful.

On the dropped passes...
I think the defensives backs got a hand on them for a couple. Things are flying out there fast, it's a night game, there's rain. It's not a lack of concentration; they're concentrating. I've seen them all make great catches and all catch the ball very well. You've got to come up with a tough catch sometimes and quite frankly there were a number of them that hit them square in the numbers that you've got to make. You've got to get better. It's not like we cannot. We're always going to be as good as our last game, so it's time to get ready for South Florida.

On the same players struggling this year...
Well I thought we played about seven wide receivers tonight. I thought a couple of times the wide receivers got the ball on reverses and had the opportunity to run, stick their foot in the ground and get north and they did not. It's harsh, but that's life sometimes. I'm not here to beat anybody down, but I'm here to call it as I see it.

On running back rotation...
I'm not sure how the rotation went in terms of number of carries. I thought Langford had the ability to hit it. Also, I thought Nick Hill got in there and did some things toward the end of the fourth quarter and I thought he deserved to play some so we put him in.

On wildcat play as a possible game plan...
I think we need to keep people off balance and try to use different things. Those are obviously things that we've worked on, but we'll game plan different things every week and we need to come ready to play South Florida and have a game plan that's going to fit that defense.

On Jairus Jones as linebacker...
He's had a great spring. This summer he followed up with a great summer camp. He's very fluid, he's got defensive back skills, great awareness to flip the ball to Kurtis (Drummond) on the one. He's a football player.

On Kurtis Drummond...
I thought Kurtis Drummond did an outstanding job. He had a big interception, the play coming out of the end zone on the punt, downing the ball inside on the punt. I thought he was very solid throughout the entire night. He made big plays.

On defense creating turnovers and getting sacks...
Sacks and turnovers are two things we emphasize. I thought we came up with them. I thought we tackled pretty well. Like I said, we were one coverage. Other than that, I thought we played very solid, obviously. We played very well defensively.

On the lateral off the interception...
It was instincts. We're always going to try to score. We do different drills with that, but we always try to tell them to take care of the ball first. Those are instincts by Jairus (Jones) and a running pattern by Kurtis Drummond. But it was clean. It was a clean lateral and a clean reception. The eye contact was to each other, so it looked like there was no insecure situation there.

On Drummond's interception...
I got a quick look at it. It was a great play, but he's made those in practice, too.

Michigan State Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi

Opening statement...
It was a long, little bit of a sloppy, game. Some guys that really stood out, Jairus Jones at the STAR position, a couple interceptions. We put some decent hits on the quarterback and put some pressure on them early. It was a solid performance, but we'll clean a lot of things up, I'm sure, when we get to see the tape.

On Jairus Jones switch to linebacker...
He's been a play maker and that's kind of why we've got him there. It was a two-man race there for a while and I think Taiwan (Jones) played good as well, but Jairus happened to be in those situations where he got his hands on the ball. I'm just happy with his development at that position. It just gives us another athlete.

On expectations after scouting...
We were expecting them to run the ball a little bit, I thought we'd get a little bit of work at stopping the run, but we didn't get much of a chance. They just seemed to drop back and chuck it deep every time, but we just really didn't know what to expect I guess.

On not scoring a defensive touchdown last year...
Thanks for reminding me. It's great. Me and Coach Barnett are sitting up there high-fiving each other after some of those happened. Jairus gets a pick and pitches it back to Kurtis (Drummond) and Kurtis scores. I mean if that isn't in the ESPN Top-10 after this weekend, I don't know what is. That should be the number one play in the country I think. It was an unbelievable catch, then the hit on the quarterback. We talk about getting sacks and getting turnovers on the quarterback. At practice we try and rake the quarterback and we got one. Shilique (Calhoun), it's surprising he was able to scoop and score because he had a guy with both his arms around his waist and he pulled free and scooped and scored.

On the defensive linemen...
It's hard to see up in the box, I feel like I'm a mile away, but one time I saw Damon Knox come up and just put someone on their back. I had to ask Coach Burton `Who was that?' Damon Knox, I don't know if you know this, but it's his birthday today so he had a couple nice hits. It's hard to tell until I see the tape to tell exactly what they did, but we had some communication problems upfront with some stunts we wanted to get on. We'll clean it all up. It's round one and we've got 14 rounds to go. I'm happy with where we are after one.

Michigan State Offensive Coordinator Dave Warner

Opening statement...
Very disappointing for us as an offensive football team, I think that's pretty obvious. We put a big emphasis, going all the way back to spring practice, on not making mistakes as far as the penalties, throwing and catching the ball with a high percentage, which we didn't do, and creating big plays which we didn't do. Those were probably the three big things that stand out in my mind. Very disappointed, but we will show up tomorrow and get back to work with the idea of moving forward and making the corrections that need to be made.

On having the box stacked against the offense...
People have done that to us for years. We have to react to that and still be able to execute offensively whether it's in the running game or passing game. That's part of what we go against every week.

On what was specifically most disappointing...
Probably the pass game. They were packing the box and we had a lot of man coverage out there and for various reasons we did not throw and catch the ball with a high percentage. We didn't have big plays in the pass game and that probably sticks out above anything.

On how surprised he was by the seven drops...
I'm surprised. Throughout the past couple weeks I thought we had done a good job in camp and our receivers were catching the ball well and being very effective.

On if the receivers were open in the situations that they struggled with...
I'd have to see it on film to evaluate that. They played some two deep zone which we played effectively underneath. In man-to-man coverage we need to be better; a receiver making a good route, making a catch, or the quarterback making the right decision.

On if the plan was to alternate quarterbacks...
The plan is to go with the quarterback that is going to get us in the end zone. Our job is to score points as an offense and we failed in that area tonight.

On Jeremy Langford and Riley Bullough...
Jeremy was playing well. He rushed for over a 100 yards with some negative yards right there. He had a good game. Obviously he put the ball on the ground at the end which he can't do. I thought he was effective. I would have liked to have gotten Riley more, but Nick Hill came in and did some good things as well. He's a strong runner for a little guy. I saw some good things.

On if the offensive shuffling hurt things...
It didn't help, but that's part of the deal. It doesn't matter who's in there. They've got to go in and execute, and we've got to move the ball and score points.

On evaluation of the quarterbacks...
I thought starting off they threw the ball okay. We didn't get in the end zone and I'm not sure that's the result of our quarterback's performance. I saw Connor (Cook) come in and run the ball well. The bottom line again is scoring points. The quarterback's job is he's got to get us in the end zone and they need help. It's us as an offensive that didn't perform well.

On if they were close to using a third quarterback...
I don't think it really came up tonight. I'm not sure it was entirely the quarterback not playing well. That will be something we evaluate tomorrow. We've got to play better as an offense, is the thing I want to emphasize.

On the running backs...
Our running backs were playing well and carrying the ball well. I was happy with what we did there, and certainly we were far from perfect with pick ups and pass protection. I thought we ran the ball hard. We just need to keep getting better.

Michigan State senior linebacker Max Bullough

"Our first key is to stop the run. Our goal is to try and make our opponent's offense one dimensional. When we're successful doing that, we take the offense out of its comfort zone. Tonight, we were able to capitalize on Western Michigan's mistakes in the passing game. By stopping the run, we put their offense is some bad positions in terms of down and distance."

"Jairus Jones has been a playmaker ever since he stepped into the linebacker position. He's become so consistent that we've come to expect Jairus to make plays like he did tonight."

Michigan State sophomore quarterback Connor Cook

"I missed a couple throws tonight, and I certainly want to become more efficient. I ran the ball well when the opportunity was there. I got too excited when guys were wide open, so the ball sailed on me. I didn't try to force any throws, and for the most part, I made good decisions."

"The sky's the limit for this offense. We've done some things against our defense, and you saw how they performed tonight. It's all about the execution. As an offense, we need to play with confidence and swagger. I will do anything I can do to help this team win."

Michigan State junior free safety Kurtis Drummond

On the leaping interception...
I mean we work on deep balls all of the time. It was just me seeing the ball in the air and just jumping and it just happened to stick in my hand.

On the play of Jairus Jones...
Jairus is just an intelligent football player. He is always trying to make plays. Even in last year's camp, he led the secondary in interceptions. He is just intelligent; he just saw me and threw me the ball and I just ran. He's an intelligent football player. He transitioned real smooth. He put on some pounds this offseason. Basically it is like another DB out there for us. Another brain and another guy that communicates well and makes plays for us.

On attacking the Bronco quarterbacks...
Regardless of who they had in there, we were going to tackle them. Van Tubbergen getting knocked out was just credit to our defense. Just being hungry and swarming that is just the motto we play by.

On starting off strong...
We were just ready to get out there and play. It has been a long offseason and hearing a lot of talk. We were just ready to come out and play. Regardless of what play happened everyone was hungry, hyped, and excited

Michigan State senior wide receiver Bennie Fowler

On the play of the receivers tonight...
We were kind of sloppy in the first half. We had some jitters we had some drops in there and things like that, but we got into rhythm. (Jeremy Langsford) was running the ball well. Connor (Cook) threw the ball well, (Andrew) Maxwell threw the ball well. So we have to make some improvements from game one to game two but I thought we were kind of sloppy.

On dropped balls today...
We have to concentrate, especially when the ball tends to get wet. So you have to concentrate on the ball more.

On the differences between Connor Cook and Andrew Maxwell...
Connor (Cook) adds a little more scramble ability to the offense. They both throw the ball well though. They both made some good decisions tonight with Western rotating their coverage to certain formations that we have so I was proud of both of them.

On the differences between catching in day vs. night...
It's different during the day but not much of an effect. Especially because we warm up before the game and everything, it was alright before the game.

On the locker room during the lightning delay...
We were just trying to stay positive offensively. We knew we had some plays that we could hit and we have to score some points. We wanted to stay out there because it was getting late and the game was getting longer.

Michigan State senior linebacker Jairus Jones

On playing linebacker...
It was fun. You get to make plays. It was a good challenge. I have to make plays, that's all I was looking forward to.

On lateraling after interception...
If you ask anybody, any of the DBs, you get a pick and if you're about to get tackled you pitch it, it's like second nature.

On getting two defensive touchdowns...
We missed out on a lot of opportunities to score points last year. It was great, we put a big focus on it this offseason.

On how to build upon the win...
We need to just continue to play how we know we can play. Just play like the top-10 defense that we know we are.

On the MSU offense...
I know they're going to turn it around. If they play like they do against us in camp, I know they can.

Michigan State junior running back Jeremy Langford

On his performance in the game...
I feel like I did all right. I can do better and next week, I have to do better and help my team out to get the win next week. I missed a couple blocks and it wasn't a perfect game. Nobody has a perfect game and I know I have to prove all that and block better.

On the quarterback package and taking direct snaps...
It's my walkup package. It's something I did in high school and I like it.

On the importance of the offensive line...
It starts with them, the passing game and the running game. They did a good job finishing the game off. We did a good job overall to help the defense out and score some points.

On getting a touchdown...
You have to have confidence. That's part of football; you have to be confident. At the same time, you have to get better from week one to week two and so on. I was excited, but the effort getting there wasn't built up perfectly, but the whole o-line made an effort to get me in there.

Michigan State senior quarterback Andrew Maxwell

On his performance within the offense...
There's an old saying that says you can learn a line from a win and a book from defeat; and I think that we as an offense can learn a lot more than a line tonight. The good news is that I feel like a broken record, that it is all correctable mistakes so I don't know if that's the good news or the frustrating part. The mistakes we make are just correctable stuff; it's lining up, repercussions, it's just basic assignments. You can choose to look at it one of two ways, but we choose to look at it as that those are correctable things that we can work on throughout the week in practice and something we can learn from and be better because of it.

On frustration with continued drops after offseason emphasis...
We're not going to get too discouraged. It's one game so it's not like there's been a pattern of it and it's certainly a lot better. We're not going to get discouraged. We're going to keep going back to those guys and we expect them to make plays.

On settling into a rhythm between quarterbacks...
It is certainly, when you alternate series or get switched in and out, it is hard to find a rhythm, but that's Coach D's call, something we have to adjust with and it's certainly not an excuse to stall. It's not an excuse not to perform well. So as we go forward, that's something we're going to have to adjust to and be better because of it.

On his overall evaluation of the offense...
I was just mentioning that you could look at it as the good news or the bad news that the mistakes we make are correctable. How much of that is the first game and stuff that across the country, people are making the same mistakes? How much of that is lack of focus, lack of execution? We feel confident that they are all correctable mistakes and that we can improve and be more efficient because of it.

On how to correct the mistakes...
Attention to detail, the first thing is knowing what you did wrong so that will start with the film. It sounds cliché, but you need to treat every rep from practice like it's a game. You tend to do the same things in practice as you do in the game, so we need to have good weeks in practice, good attention to detail and we really need to be sticklers for the details, the little things in practice.

On the role of protection in the game's play...
I don't think a big role. I don't think any protection breakdown we had was a result of a blitz. It's not that we didn't pick it up; it's that we maybe saw it late or didn't get to it as quick as we could have. I thought the o-line did a fantastic job. I haven't seen that sack stats or the QB hits, but I thought the protection overall was pretty good.

On the future of quarterback fluctuations...
No indication has really been given to us. What was given to us was pretty much what you guys heard, that I was the starter and Connor (Cook) was going to get some time, so from there, I really don't have an indication of how long that will continue. The main goal is not for that to be our focus, but for whoever's in there to move the offense and to score points because that's our job as quarterbacks and as an offense.

Western Michigan Head Coach P.J. Fleck

Opening Statement...
I'm really proud of our players. I'm proud because of the `how.' We talk in our program about how we play. There are nine guys on offense that didn't play one snap of college football tonight, and I tell you what, I am proud of those players. Moral victories don't exist in this program, by any means. We expected to win and we shot ourselves in the foot. They've [Michigan State] got a heck of a defense, but when you turn the ball over twice as an offense for touchdowns, I would have thought, `How many points underdog are we?'

But I'm really proud of this football team. I'm proud of the direction we're going. I think our foundation has been built. It's being laid. It's not about the wins and losses in terms of the foundation because if the wins and losses come and the foundation's not laid, when the wind comes and the rain comes and the water comes, it's going to wash it away anyway. We're going to build something for 50 years that's going to last. And how they played was impressive. It made me proud to be their football coach.

On the performance of his defense, specifically his secondary...
I think we have one of the best secondaries in the country and I don't think anybody's believed me, and tonight I think you saw it. They're a confident group, and they have a right to be confident because of how they work, not because of the result. What you saw was the result from all the work they put in from the last eight months, the sacrifices, the change, the discipline. All that stuff, that's the result from it, because I don't think they were like that before. And that's how this program is changing, and I'm really proud of that secondary. I think they're one of the best in the country.

On his team fighting hard throughout the game...
They're trained not to look at the scoreboard. They're trained to not let the circumstance, whatever it may be, dictate their behavior, and they're just going to continue to play and to continue to fight. Next play mentality, just row. Just keep rowing, keep rowing. And I thought they did a good job of that, especially defensively, even offensively. You look at the amount of things that went wrong offensively; a lot of teams I've been around would have quit. Not this team. I'm really proud of their resilience and how they continued to fight.

On the performance of his backup quarterback Zach Terrell...
I think that Zach [Terrell] was prepared. He did his job. To come out and the first pass you throw, the first play you've ever played in college football and you throw a touchdown, that's pretty special. He'll remember that the rest of this life. I know he's not going to have the wonderful taste of a victory after that, but the kid comes in, he's a freshman and throws a touchdown on the first play he's ever did in Michigan State Spartan Stadium in front of 80,000 people, that's pretty memorable, and I think the kids fed off that a little bit. The kids thought, `He didn't let the circumstances dictate his behavior. Let's go!'

On squaring off against Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio...
I said it was an honor to play against him. I've told him that before and I mean it, and he said, `Hey quit it, quit it, quit it.' I mean that. My first head coaching experience is against Mark Dantonio. Give me a break. That's absolutely awesome for me. I've learned a lot from the guy from just watching him, from just being around the people that have been around him at Ohio State. I knew about him years ago, and I've watched from afar, and he's had an influence on me just from watching him. There's just the class and the poise that that man has, and he does a tremendous job of leading his football team.

Western Michigan quarterback Zach Terrell

On stepping up after Tyler Van Tubbergen went out...
You know it's my job as a back-up quarterback to always be ready and when Tyler [Van Tubbergen] went down, my offensive line padded me on the back and said `let's go, you're up.' `The next man up' is what we always talk about and always being ready. I give credit to Michigan State and their tough defense - they did a great job and we gave it all we had.

On his first scoring play of his college career...
That's the best way to come in - right away - one pass, one touchdown. It was a great route by Clark Mussman, but we need to keep regrouping and rebuilding and as an offense, we need to sustain drives and keep moving. Like I said, Michigan State has a great defense but that's no excuse. We have to continue to execute, alignment, assignment, and technique.

How Van Tubbergen has helped him develop as a player...
I had no game experience coming into this, but Tyler has done a great job preparing me in practice and giving me an idea on what this was going to be like and what I need to do to be prepared. He's been a great and awesome leader and I'm glad I got to be behind him.

How this game experience has helped if he starts next week...
This game was huge. It was an awesome opportunity and I wish I could have taken advantage of it better, but it is definitely going to help me for next week - it gave me some game experience, some tape to go off of, and now we need to get ready and prepared for next week.

Western Michigan junior cornerback Donald Celiscar

On the overall effort of the defense...
We had comfort and communication and pursued the ball - that's pretty much all we did. Everybody was doing their job, they were taking control of one gap, the defensive gaps, and I think the result turned out to be pretty good. It is a good statement. We just come out and play hard each and every day; and each and every game we believe in what we are going to take care of business on the defensive end.

How would you grade your defense?
First of all, Michigan State has a great offense; big boys up front. All we did was just the "how" - that's what [Head] Coach [P.J.] Fleck talks about - how we come out and play. That's pretty much what we had inside of us. We just came out and flew around and the results were pretty good.

On the effect of the rain delay?
It didn't affect us at all. We just came out energetic, ready to go. We went to the locker room, sat down, and went over what we needed to adjust on; and we came out.