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Post-Game Quotes: Florida Atlantic
 
 
 

 

 
 

Sept. 10, 2011

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Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Opening statement...
I thought we played very, very well; the way we responded. I thought we cleaned up a lot of things that were evident in the first game, particularly penalties. I think we had three, and one of them was on the field goal after (Jeremy) Langford's fumble recovery and touchdown. No penalties on defense. A shutout, anytime you throw a shutout in 2011 I think you get a phenomenal performance by your defense. I thought our players played and executed the defense very, very well. Offensively, we controlled the football, controlled the tempo. I thought (Kirk) Cousins was sharp, a big play by B.J. (Cunningham) on the first catch that he had. I thought we just played very well, no turnovers. So when you look at our football game, we executed pretty well I guess you would say. I am just very proud of our players.

On B.J. Cunningham become the all-time leader in receptions at MSU...
I told him he needed one catch before the game and I said, "Make it a good one." I thought he did. We were punting if he had not made that catch; it was a very difficult catch - a circus catch - and I thought that was one of the finer plays of the game. It got us down there on the first touchdown, and sort of set the tone, I thought, for the game.

On progress throughout the beginning of the season...
That is the type of progress you want. It was a very clean game; the only thing we had really (go against us) was the one kickoff return. I thought we played very clean; defensively, there were zero penalties, zero big plays against you, we stopped the run. I think we had maybe three or four sacks. I thought we hit very well and tackled very well. The things we needed to do defensively, we did. Special teams; we missed a field goal which was disappointing, we had the one kick so we have to still continue to come there. Offensively I thought we played very, we ran the ball effectively, especially in the second half. And we played a lot of guys; we played over 70 players. When you play a lot of guys, I think John (Lewandowski) mentioned there were 22 players who made a tackle. It was some type of production, when you are able to do that I think it is a big positive.

On the defense holding FAU to only one first down...
I'm sure they are out there somewhere. But to do that in 2011, you have so many different concepts out there that an offense takes advantage of is pretty incredible.

On the defense forming a personality...
I think that once you go forward you are always trying to find your identity as a football team. And your identity has to be shown over 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 games probably, as you get deep into your season. Overall it's a great win. Our next test is down at Notre Dame next week. We have to be fundamentally sound, we have to do things well down there and we have to build our identity. I don't think one game makes it, but I thought we took steps to it in that direction today. As I said on the radio, we had Aaron Bates as our honorary captain. Sometimes you have a captain that has been away from the program for a while, Aaron was right with us last year, for the last four years. He knew our players, knew them by name and knew who they were as people. And one thing that he talked about sort of reiterated what I talked before, is you have to play up, make them play up, don't play down, make them play up to championship-level play. And I thought that is what we did. We came and we played championship-level play in this game. I think that needs to be reiterated, that is this game. How we play next game, we have got to prepare and there is nothing given. It is earned, so we will have to earn it next week.

On being able to play four running backs...
I thought all four of our running backs played well. Obviously the first three are in there and they get the bulk of what is going on. Then Nick Hill, out fourth, you saw what Nick Hill can do. He can slip, he is very patient, he can slip through there and he is a powerful runner. He gave you an indication of what he is all about a little bit. He can make plays. Le'veon (Bell) and Larry (Caper) and Rock (Edwin Baker) they all played very well I thought. The blocking up front was solid as well. I thought our guys played well.

On the focus of the team this game...
I thought we were focused coming into the week. I thought last week's game got our attention, and we were ready to go this week. I felt that throughout the week we had good practices but more importantly good chemistry and good enthusiasm. We were sort of ready mentally, and emotionally ready.

On B.J. Cunningham...
He has played for four years; he has been tremendously consistent in those four years. He is just a guy that makes plays. You can have him covered and he is still going to make the play. That is the kind of receiver really you need out there. It is one thing to get open; it is another thing to make the play when you are not open. The ball is thrown up and it is a difficult ball to catch, and he seems to be able to make those on a consistent level. He is big-body receiver, he is 225-pounds and is about 6'2" so he is a big-body receiver that has great jumping ability and great timing. All of those things fit for him and make him, I would say, a dominant receiver right now.

Florida Atlantic Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger

Opening Statement
On our side of the ball obviously this was a very disappointing thing. We thought we would come up and play much more consistently and we didn't. We played inconsistently and horrible. I have to reiterate the talent of our opponent; I don't know if Florida or Michigan State is better but they've both improved and are very good. So what we do, as we have done in the past, is go home and find out what we can do better and have our kids play more consistently. I'm not sure that if we played better the score would have been a whole lot different. The defense could not stop them and our offense couldn't move the ball at all. I'm not going to go into much more detail or answer a lot of questions. It's what we do as a team and how we improve when we get back, and it's important that we do that without giving away what direction we are going in. I appreciate the gesture that Michigan State and the Athletic Director and Head Coach did with presenting me with a game ball.

On the benefits of the upcoming bye week ...
I'll take it. We have a lot to work on and a lot of people banged up pretty badly-some of them that probably won't play and wouldn't have played this week.

On quarterbacks Graham Wilbert and David Kooi's performance. ...
Both Graham and Kooi saw a lot of pressure and wasn't all their fault; they didn't really have much of a chance. They were barely get set to throw and they would have pressure coming up the chute or around the corner.

On the running game ...
Both our guys are big and strong - but not as strong as they were. Maybe I am asking too much out of them at this juncture.

Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi

Opening Statement ...
Did not look at anything else but the defense for the ones, two and threes. Just a pretty dominant form by those guys, they worked their tails off this week and they were good into the week. Just look at the last week, when you think about that game and I didn't know until I looked at the tape, I thought we played pretty solid last week, but we didn't play with a lot of leverage inside with our D-line and D-tackle and that was probably the difference from a week ago. With today, they played square, played with a little leverage and it was a nice performance.

On the idea that it will be hard to find something to fix for this week ...
No, this will be a big one this week, can't wait. The boys are cranked up already. Didn't have a lot of rips on defense, went a lot of three-and-outs and that gives our guys a little pressure for next week.

On the records set in today's game...
Stats are for losers anyways. It was good to execute and we did execute last week too. We played with as good leverage as we needed to. We played with good leverage and technique and Coach Barnett, Coach Tressel and Coach Gill coached the heck out of them and it was done right. We've seen this team play for two previous years and they gained yards and they are a good football team.

On Defensive End Tyler Hoover being out...
Not real long, maybe another week, I don't really know. But he is feeling pretty good out there, he wanted to play today and he asked at halftime if he could put some pads on but I told him no. So I don't know exactly how long. But it won't be long, he feels pretty good.

Offensive Coordinator Dan Roushar

Opening Statement ...
Offensively, just a couple of comments. I think we scored on five of the first six possessions. I thought that was impressive. I thought Kirk [Cousins] and Andrew [Maxwell] both on third down were very good. Kirk threw the ball with a lot of efficiency again, so that was encouraging. Our backs ran very hard - averaged over, I believe, five yards a carry. So from that stand point, I think from looking at them offensively, I thought we improved. Again, we will look at the film and we will get an idea of what we did from a positive standpoint and a negative standpoint. We do have to finish drives down in the red zone, that is an area of concern right now. Getting the ball down there but not sticking it in. I have to take a good look at myself, and then look at how we are doing things out there.

On the progress of the offensive line ...
We will go back and look at the film, but I thought the guys played with more confidence. It looked to me that they were more sound. I thought guys were getting after it and I thought our ball carriers really ran hard. I thought we protected the quarterback pretty well, other than on two situations that jump out at me that we gave up a twist and got pressure on Kirk, right there and we had another situation where we had a blitz and we didn't handle that. But that goes back to our protection, so we had a breakdown in scheme.

On the lob to Dion Sims ...
Well, Dion is a 6-5, 278-pound guy, and very difficult for corners to match up. We have worked on that play quite a bit throughout camp and through our preparation here last couple weeks. We have been testing other things that we like too, but just a great individual effort and an outstanding throw. It has been pretty good and by far our most efficient play.

On the record breaking catch by B.J. Cunningham ...
Great catch. We got coverage that we didn't expect in that situation, but Kirk hung in there. He actually took the thing away from us for a concept and B.J. just made an outstanding catch. Coach made the comment to the team that if he is going to break the record, he needed to do it on a phenomenal catch and that obviously was a big play. It kept the drive alive and we went down on it and scored.

On B.J. Cunningham's place among great MSU receivers ...
He has played a lot. He has played now four years for us, so he has had a lot of opportunities and has done a lot of good things. We've had Coach Treadwell, and our passing game has had a lot of opportunities to make plays but one thing about him is he comes to work everyday. You never see him change. In fact, one of the NFL scouts walked through this week and made a comment about what a phenomenal blocker he is. That speaks volumes about who he is. He tries to be the complete player. Very physical in the game, runs very good, and has exceptional hands. He can go get the football and he wants the football.

On Nick Hill seeing time in the backfield ...
That was important for us. We got it all in there, we wanted to see what Nick did and I thought he ran very hard. He was decisive. I didn't see him looking around for things. He made decisions, and made quick decisions. He accelerated north and south. That was good to see. He is a very good back and we think there is a real role for him.

On the game against Notre Dame and having one left tackle ...
We want to go with the right guy, that is for sure. I am anxious to come in and look at the tape and evaluate how those two guys played over there. I thought Dan (France) had one offside but I thought he played with a lot more confidence. Just looking at him from where I was, I thought he was more sound fundamentally.

Michigan State Player Quotes

Michigan State Senior Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On if the game was a satisfying performance ...
I would say so. We only allowed one first down and when time of possession is that dominant, our offense is able to hold onto the ball for so long I think it sets itself up for a great game.

On how fun it was to see a lot of guys play ...
That's as fun as playing the game, seeing Peter Badovinac, our third-string quarterback get in there. Seeing our offensive linemen work so hard - whether it's the scout team or with the twos- just to see them get in there is as fun for me as playing. So I was really glad to see them.

On if they will be ready for Notre Dame after the past two games...
We will find out next week. We have to be ready. We don't have a choice. I think that last week left somewhat of a sour taste in our mouth because there was a lack of execution at times. I think it was good to have us play a much cleaner game. That will help give us confidence going into next week. Certainly next week is going to be a great test for us and it's why you come to Michigan State - for games like this.

On how long he gets to enjoy this game before the focus becomes Notre Dame...
I don't enjoy games as much as I should. I go home and replay the plays that I could have done better and watch the other teams play and try to learn from those games. Then tomorrow I'll go in and prepare for Notre Dame. I don't let it sit too long and pat myself on the back too long and that's why we have coaches that make sure that doesn't happen either.

On whether he would have guessed B.J. Cunningham would have broken the record on a catch like he did...
I was running through my mind the possible plays or routes that final catch to break that record, and I wasn't sure what it was going to be. I didn't think it would be that play or in that fashion. I thought it was somewhat fitting, with the way his career is going and his talents too. He has always made those acrobatic catches and that's what separated him and made him a very special receiver. He is one of the few guys who can make a catch like that and I think it was fate that it was that one that broke the record.

On how much last week's game impacted the efficiency of this week's game...
I think it had a great deal to do with it. I think that if you go back to the drawing board, we knew we needed to clean some things up and we knew that if we continued to have some unforced errors like we had last Friday night, it was going to get us beat. I think we cleaned that up today and it's going to be important as we go forward to make sure it stays that clean as it was today.

On whether he can describe the play where Cunningham broke the record...
We free-released the running back, it's been a good play for us. The corner sat down sat down on the running back's release so I came inside to B.J. The linebacker did a nice job of taking away B.J., but then basically B.J. slid inside the linebacker. At that point he tripped on the linebacker and tried to slide inside of him but he was just in the process of falling. When I saw him falling down, I basically just tried to throw it to him falling down.

Redshirt Freshman Running Back Nick Hill

On how much his size [5-7] helps him as a running back...
I think it does. I think it depends what play it is. Some plays I hit hard and you have to go. Some plays I use my size and hide behind the linemen. The defense said that to me in practice that they can't see me back there. It's hard to see me even in practice. I remember hiding behind one lineman on the goal line and bouncing outside. The corner said he lost me and that he couldn't see me. So at times, I do use my size to my advantage.

On whether this game was a big confidence boost, and his goals for this season...
From here on out its just about getting better. Each week, I'm just going to take it a game at a time. Getting better at practice and then getting back on the field. My goal is to just keep getting better. Whether it's a punt return, kick return or I'm in at running back, I'm just going to make sure that I get better. I have to secure the ball and help the team win. That's my main goal is to help the team win. Get a victory and of course an undefeated season, go to the Rose Bowl and get better personally.

On how he feels about all the playing time he got today...
I feel good about it. That means we were doing our job as a team. Defensively, we did a tremendous job getting the offense out onto the field. They didn't have any long drives at all. The entire game, they had one first down. The defense did a tremendous job. Offensively, we took the opportunities that were given. We went down and scored. If it wasn't a field goal, we scored a touchdown. So we came out and did what we had to do as a team. We had a lot of guys do well.

Sophomore Quarterback Andrew Maxwell

On his performance today...
Last year, I don't know if I had the comfort level that I have this year. With that comfort level, I hope to build a little more confidence so I can just build off of reps.

On playing with the twos on the offensive line...
I think they did well. We didn't know a whole lot about what this team was going to do defensively. They have a new defensive scheme this year so we really only had one game to go off of. With all of the different fronts that they were bringing at us, I thought the guys did a good job of recognizing things and picking things up as they were coming at us.

On neutralizing Florida Atlantic's nose tackle...
Their whole defense all around had good size, good athleticism and good speed. We didn't know a whole lot about what they were going to do. Being able to neutralize their pass rush was definitely key for us.

On how comfortable he felt today...
I felt pretty comfortable today. A lot of that comes throughout the week and watching film and seeing keys and telling if the backs are shifted this way, we can expect a blitz from over there. So in a lot of the blitzes we got today, they were exactly what we saw on film. We saw those and not only did I recognize that but the lines making calls, the receivers are pointing things out. We were all on the same page. We knew what was going on.

On what he thought of the protection...
I thought the protection was good. It was good because we didn't have a concrete idea of what they were going to bring at us. Knowing that and knowing that there is going to be a little uncertainty of what we were going to see, I think guys reacted well and protected well today.

Senior Wide Receiver B.J. Cunningham

On describing the play on which he broke the all-time receptions record with...
It was a two- man route with me and the running back. I was going there and posting up and get ready to catch the ball while the running back runs out. He kind of slid out and I just slid in behind. Kirk [Cousins] threw a pass and I was kind of slipping. I think I tripped over his foot and bobbled it a few times. I had to catch it. I couldn't drop the first catch. Brian Linthecum was right there and he could have snatched it from me but he didn't want to do that. That was nice of him. It was a good pass.

On whether it was fitting that his record breaking catch was acrobatic...
Coach D came over to me in warm-ups and was like, `make it a good one, make it special.' Whether it was a touchdown or a catch like that, he was proud of me. I was happy that it happened and it's out of the way now and I can focus and keep moving forward.

On if he detected the crowd's reaction...
I felt the crowd. I felt the roar of the crowd. I felt great to know that people are rooting for me and our team. My teammates came up to me and hugged me. It felt good.

On what today's game does going into Notre Dame...
It was a great bounce back from last week. Last week, we had to correct a few things. All week we had to emphasize not hurting ourselves. I feel like that's what we did. It showed on the field in both offense and defense.

On what Notre Dame is going to bring next week...
They are a great team. They have a lot of great skilled players. They are going to be fired up off of last year and what we did. We have to come out ready to play and brace up because we are going to get their best.

On if he thought he gained a little bit of immortality today after breaking the record...
Not exactly. I was just trying to go out there and catch the ball. I wasn't going out there worrying about it. I'm thanking Kirk (Cousins) and the o-line and the coaches for even putting me in this position. It's a blessing to even be here, doing this. I thank them for that and I'm just trying to get wins.

On why he thinks he was the one to break the record...
I think it's a blessing. Everything happens for a reason. I think it's the right place, the right time. We have a great quarterback, a great coach that help me get the ball and put me in positions to get the ball. I feel like I've been here 20 years. But I did it by being consistent. I've been here four years and I just stayed consistent and caught the ball.

Junior defensive tackle Jerel Worthy

On first sack of the season...
It felt pretty good, but there is going to be many more to come. I just need to work hard and those plays will open up for me.

On having success at the line of scrimmage today...
Just not being hesitant, and getting off the line of scrimmage (led to success). When you play a team that runs a different type of scheme like last week against Youngstown State, you can be a little hesitant cause they run a little misdirection and you don't want to be off your gap. Coming into a game like this, when they (Florida Atlantic) run a lot of Pro-I, it gives you a lot more opportunities to take the line of scrimmage.

On holding FAU to 48 yards of offense...
It helps our confidence a lot. Going into the Notre Dame game, it's going to be a real tough game. And our blueprint is that we want to be road warriors; that's the key to our season this year because we have a lot of tough road games. So this will be our first test. But if we play within ourselves, and play how fast I know we can play, we'll be a good defense.

Junior kicker Dan Conroy

On the 50-yard field goal...
To go from the botch situation last week, to come and hit a fifty is great. It was the same three guys (working the kick), and to have that be your next kick and nothing in between that (and the miss last week), it was good for them as well.

Senior Wide Receiver Keshawn Martin

On his performance today...
Overall I felt like I played pretty well. Coming off last week, it really wasn't the game I wanted to have against Youngstown State. I just came out with a different mind set, focused more, and I wanted to go out and get it.

On reaching the 1,000-yard receiving mark as a Spartan...
Oh I didn't even know that, but it feels good to contribute. Just helping the team on punt returns and field position and catching the ball and that kind of stuff, it feels good. We just wanted to come out and put some points on the board today, and if we do that I feel like we can play with anybody.

 

 

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