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Post-Game Quotes: Notre Dame
 
 
 

 

 
 

Sept. 16, 2012

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Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio

Opening statement...
"Tough day at the office I guess you could say. Without watching the film you don't really have a great idea about the breakdowns but we didn't run the football, we didn't protect the quarterback very well and we had some drops. We need to have more explosive plays on offense. We didn't get in the red zone and missed a field goal. I thought defensively we played ok. We gave up a quick score in the first quarter and we gave up a big run in the second quarter that eventually led to a touchdown. Notre Dame did a great job with their quarterback. Zero turnovers, he avoided pressure and did a nice job throwing the ball to the wide side of the field. They started running the ball effectively in the fourth quarter, and I think the most disappointing thing defensively was that we didn't come up with turnovers. The message to our players is very simple; football can define you at times and that's what this game will do. We have to pick up the pieces. All of our goals are in front of us. We had a tough deal with Notre Dame, and responded. It has to start with Eastern Michigan next week and continue into the Big Ten season. I felt like we played hard and kept pushing."

On assessing the performance of individuals...
"We have to look at everybody and what we ran. We first have to ask ourselves if we are giving our players a chance in all three aspects of the game. We have to look at everybody and be completely honest. We have to stick a stake in the ground and start moving forward. I think that we are at a defining moment. We said that last night and after we lost Fou Fonoti in practice on Thursday. We have to pick up the pieces and respond. We never really seized momentum, and momentum is very important in this game."

On pass protection...
"I thought we had too many sacks. We tried to change the tempo of the game with the 2-minute offense and I think we did that a little bit, but when you pass 45-50 times you're going to have some problems. It's disappointing when you get sacked with no pressure, and it's something we need to look at. I wish we had some throws back from our quarterback, throws back from our wide receivers, and we need to look at what we are doing. It's everything from everybody and it starts here and goes all the way down."

On this game being an aberration...
"I don't view it as an aberration. I've said all along that rankings are for people drinking the kool-aid. That was after two games. We were going to find out who we were this week. We're going to respond and we're going to move forward. That's about the extent of everything. That's how we've always done things and that's how we will continue to do things to right the ship."

On Notre Dame's success on offense...
"They kept us off balance I thought. Their quarterback got himself out of problems and was able to throw the ball deep and test us. They got us out of tempo. We have to be able to stop the run, and they got the ball on the perimeter and we missed some tackles. We hung in there on defense but we didn't come up with turnovers or have any negative yardage plays. We were 3-and-out several times in the game but you have to look at the whole thing. They had a short field twice and they capitalized on it."

On responding to the game and how it will define the team...
"It's always going to be about how you respond to diverse situations. That's what this game should teach you and that's what it's all about. People have praised us and now they are going to say it's an aberration. It is what it is and we will start fresh. The main focus will be what we do now and how we respond. We have to bring it next weekend."

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly

Coach Kelly's opening statement before taking questions...
"Well, the game went as profiled for us in terms of what we expected. Very, very difficult opponent in Michigan State; physical on both sides of the ball. Our challenge was going to be to find some big chunk plays. We were able to get a couple. We missed a few that we're going to regret when we watch the film, but I think the most important thing is that our defense continues to be the group that we had committed to in building when we started this process, and they're starting to get to that level that can play against anybody.

"I think secondly, crucial time in the game - the ball on the 4-yard line - the ability to run the football late in the game proved to probably be the deciding factor.

"And I think finally, not turning the football over, which was our Achilles' heel last year. We've taken much better care of the football, and have been smart in managing offensively what we do so we can win football games. So I'm proud of our football team."

On playing well on defense...
"When you know you play really good defense, offensively you don't have to rush a freshman quarterback. And we can be patient with him and that patience is going to pay off because you saw what he's capable of. He's a very exciting player."

On Manti Te'o playing after the tragedies of this previous week...
"I can tell you that the entire defense is his family because during this tough time all he wanted to do was be at practice with his teammates. So there's a lot of merit to that statement in that all those kids in there were pulling for Manti. Manti raised his level too. Given all the distractions and tragedy that he had to deal with, he went and played really good football today.

"There's nobody [like Manti]. He's so strong for everybody that when he was at a time, everybody wanted to help him out, and I've never seen that dynamic amongst a team and a group of players. It's a pretty close locker room."

On containing Le'Veon Bell...
"Obviously we felt like if we can get him under control and force [Michigan State] to throw the football, we would much rather have that scenario than him grinding the football at us. I think once they started to throw the football more, that was exactly where were hoping the game would kind of shift towards, and it did."

On keeping Michigan State's offense in check...
"We got pressure when we needed to. We got them behind the chains. We got them throwing the football, and I think that was the key defensively."

On his team's status after this victory...
"We're not even close to where we could be, especially on the offensive side of the ball. We're going through some of the growing pains that I talked about. First play we couldn't even read the wrist bands. But we settled in, and I think the maturity on the offensive side of the ball is where I think we'll be able to continue to grow."

More on Manti Te'o playing tonight...
"It was big because he needed to be in this atmosphere. He needed to be on the road in this kind of great collegiate atmosphere. He needed this kind of experience, and he's going to get more of them."

On his team's performance...
"This group, since January, has totally committed themselves to wanting to win each and every week. It's very, very important to them. We're so committed to the process. We're right in the thick of that process of developing our football team."

On this victory being a signature win...
"It's a big leap. It's a signature win. There's no question that when you go on the road against the No. 10 ranked team in the country and you beat them, it's definitely going to build the confidence in that locker room. They believe if they do the little things the right way...this win will help in that development."

On going for it on 4th and short in Michigan State territory...
"I thought we had a good play. I thought we had a play that matched what [Michigan State] was doing [defensively]. They brought in five linemen and I felt like we had a really good play. Generally, if I feel like we've got a good play call against it, I want to try to win the game there."

On Manti Te'o staying with the team or going on family leave...
"He'll be with us. We're hoping that things work out so we can get it to the bye week. We'll do whatever he needs."

On his quarterback Everett Golson...
"We knew what he had, obviously. He just needs a lot more seasoning. And he's going to get better. He's got a great demeanor. He gets it and he's going to continue to get better."

Michigan State offensive coordinator Dan Roushar

Opening statement...
"Obviously a disappointing loss and we are going to have to regroup and come back and move forward."

On the no-huddle mode...
"We actually stayed in that mode, but we had a couple stoppages. We went back in the huddle to see if we could keep our run game going. Trying to get things in the right formation, and get guys in places where we could have success."

On pass protection...
"We will take a look at it, but certainly our quarterback got hit too much; a lot of missed opportunities that way. We need to do a better job protecting him, there is no question about that, and Notre Dame did a good job."

On catching the ball...
"We felt like we had to go in and make some big plays, that was certainly part of it. I think the second drive we go down there and miss one in the end zone. You count on all those guys making the plays. We didn't tonight. We will have to continue at working to get better. We have a young inexperienced wide receiver core and it just didn't go our way."

On looking down the field...
"Early we thought we could. As the thing got going, trying to get the ball out of our hand a little bit quicker and protect Andrew Maxwell in that earlier."

On the drops...
"I think we will get a look at it. We thought the same thing that some plays could have been made in a lot of different areas. But those guys will benefit greatly from this. We have to get better. We can throw it better, protect it better, and catch the football better. That goes back to us working in practice this week, try to improve in that area. We tried to do this a week ago. It's a much different football team we played tonight; we are going to have to get better at it."

On the offensive line...
"Unfortunately we had a situation where Fou (Fonoti) got hurt. You can try to patch some things together, and then it became a one dimensional game. I think we will get a better read on exactly how we played when we watch the film tomorrow. I tip my hat to Notre Dame and how they did against us."

On first impressions...
"We had a lack of explosive plays, that's the first thing that jumps out. I have to put the guys in better situations. We will go back and look at it. Earlier in the game we ran the football pretty well. We did not have a field position, when we did move the ball down there we weren't able to sustain and finish a drive."

On quarterback Andrew Maxwell...
"I think he's played pretty well to this point. He made some awfully good throws, they were well contested but could have been caught. All of a sudden you look at things differently. Overall I think he was 10 of 18, we felt like there were a couple opportunities when we could have made plays and we didn't. I have been pleased with his poise and his overall leadership and understanding what we are trying to do. This is third game, and his third start. He will do nothing but get better because of how he works at it. I think he's throwing the ball accurately and he has been throwing it on time. There were a couple where we could have done things differently today but, overall I've been pleased with him.

"You're down and you throw that deep ball into the end zone, and if we catch it that changes the complexion of the game. We don't and we take a second drive when we go down there and try to run something off the backside there where we have three down the seam. From upstairs it looked like we had something, but then we broke down in protection and unfortunately took a sack there which you know was a little bit like that the rest of the night. We didn't make plans, things didn't go right, and we didn't make them go right."

On Blake Treadwell...
"I think Blake Treadwell is closer to next week; we did a little bit of individual this past week."

On Fou Fonoti...
"Fou Fonoti appears to be at least six weeks. We will look at all the different things that we have to do. But Skyler Burkland stepped in at right tackle and (Dan France) played left tackle. This is what we have right now and they will get better."

On not scoring a touchdown...
"Frustrating, it's not for lack of work. We just didn't execute well enough. They did a good job. Early in the third quarter, we start into two minute mode, trying to get something going. Maybe we have to wait for what we should have. I don't know, we will have to evaluate and look at it. It is very disappointing, we can be better than that and will look to do that."

Michigan State junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell

On Notre Dame defensive pressure...
"Obviously when you have a front seven like they have, then they can get a lot of pressure without sending a lot of blitzes; that's going to cause some problems for an offense. I have got to go back and watch the film but I feel like a couple of them I rushed, a couple of them the protection was better then maybe I perceived it to be and rushed my read a little bit. That's just going to come with experience and getting more comfortable but that's a good defensive team and they put a lot of pressure on us."

On looking down the field to pass the ball...
"No, I never felt like that. I kept doing it, I kept staying through my reads, we just didn't make enough plays."

On young wide receivers and drops...
"Those guys are going to be the hardest critics on themselves because every one of them is a worker, every one of them wants the ball, and every one of them wants to make a play. We can't make a bigger deal out of it than it is. It's one night and we can't lose our confidence, we can't lose our confidence in making plays down the field. We're going to come back, we're going to have a great week of practice and they'll get better there."

On the loss of Fou Fonoti and its effect on the game...
"Obviously losing Fou, with his experience, he started the whole year for us so he is comfortable in there and his emotional leadership, the strong presence that he is. It was tough for us and it was something I had to overcome. I thought Skyler played well, I think Skyler will keep getting better the longer that he is in there."

On critiquing his performance in the game...
"I think first and foremost I rushed a couple of things. Like I said earlier, I probably could have stood in there a little longer and kept with my reads, just make the throws that would have presented themselves before I came off them. We just didn't have enough explosive plays. Give credit to their special teams, they kept putting us in we were starting drives way back in our own territory. Against a team like that, to go 85-90 yards, you have to be almost perfect on drives of that length. That's something that we can improve on and we'll improve at every facet of the game."

On the hurry up offense...
It seems to give us a spark and it's given us a spark in the past. When we did it tonight, unfortunately there was a penalty that stalled us out and we had to punt it away. It's something that has worked for us in the past and was effective tonight, it's been good for us."

On pass to Bennie Fowler that looked like it would be a touchdown...
Just a go route and this was earlier in the game when we weren't getting a lot of Cover 2, so we had man matchups on the outside. I thought it was a catch when it kind of fell into him and when I saw it wasn't I was obviously disappointed. That's a play we are going to make in the future.

On the offense getting stifled...
It is frustrating because that's not the identity of our offense. We want to establish the run first and foremost, get plays like that going on first and second down, leave ourselves third and medium or third and short. But we left ourselves too many third and longs. When you're in third and long seemingly every series, it doesn't matter how good of an offense you are its hard to convert third down on a third and long. That's something that we have to get better at and that's not our identity, that's the frustrating part.

Michigan State junior linebacker Max Bullough

On overall loss to Notre Dame...
"It's an eye opener. As much of an eye opener as it was last year, it is this year. There were missed opportunities as much as there was of anything. Talking about the defensive side and myself, I had a lot of missed opportunities in the first half that could have changed the game. Those are the things you have to make, those are the plays you have to make against rivalry teams, especially Notre Dame. We didn't make them tonight, so we're going to go back to the drawing board and get better tomorrow."

On lack of interceptions or explosive plays defensively...
"They did a good job spreading us out, spreading the pass around and things like that. They took advantage of our aggressive defense. We need to make plays and create in situations like that. We weren't able to do that tonight. It's something we need to work on and improve on, and I guarantee we will do that."

On pressing more on defense due to lack of offense...
"You try, you're always trying to press on defense. But we gave up 20 points; we don't want to give up 20 points in any game. We didn't do our part either and it's a team game."

Michigan State junior running back Le'Veon Bell

On lack of explosive plays...
"I put that on myself. Me being a leader on offense, I need to make bigger plays and get guys going. I didn't provide that today. Other guys didn't provide it. Notre Dame is a great team. Those guys did a good job of taking big plays away."

On not getting into the red zone...
"It was most definitely disappointing. It's something you've got to learn from and continue to get better. We didn't really have great field position getting the ball inside our own 20 or our own 10. We had to go a long way. We have a lot of young guys on both sides. Our offensive line is still getting better. Our defense played well. Those guys had to defend a short field, too.

"That's the thing about football, it's a whole team sport. It takes a total team effort. We're going to get better as a team and continue to get better."

Michigan State senior linebacker Chris Norman

On overall loss...
"I think there were a lot of things we could have done better. Whether it's being in the right position or being more physical here or doing this or doing that, we've got to get better. We're going to take that approach going into practice this week."

On moving on through the season...
"Right now it feels terrible because we lost to a rival. But I think it can also work out for the good because you can take a moment like this and define ourselves as a team. That's going to come with how we respond to this situation. That's how we felt last year when we lost to Notre Dame. I expect for the same thing to happen this year."

On defensive improvements...
"I think a lot of things can be improved on. I think being in the right position, doing all of the little things right, making the big plays when we get the opportunity. I think I could have done better myself. I think we could have played faster. I think the coaches are going to get that taken care of in practice this week. There's just a lot of things that we could have done better tonight as a defense."

Michigan State defensive end William Gholston

On the avoidance of discouragement...
We have to take it one game at a time. When we lost this game, it's one game out of the season. We've got a lot more games to play and the way we come out next week is going to show what this game means for us.

On the frustration of missed plays...
It's always frustrating when you don't make the play but we were there. We just got to practice a little bit harder, turn it up to another level.

Michigan State wide receiver Bennie Fowler

On the feeling of knowing the offense is struggling...
"Personally, I feel like I let the team down. If had caught that touchdown, it'd be a different game. We'll be alright. We'll get better as a team and continue to get better. It's a long season, but personally I feel like I let the team down on that drop."

On the biggest issue of the passing game...
"For the receivers, it was just a lack of concentration. (Andrew) Maxwell was doing well, he was staying in the pocket, staying poised. It was all on the receivers. This game is the receiver's fault."

Michigan State tight end Dion Sims

On the key to recovery...
"It's still early in the season. We just have to put it behind us and keep moving forward. Remembering this loss, I'm sure this will have a big impact for a lot of guys and we'll come back and we'll work all next week to continue to get better."

On the thoughts about knowing the outcome of the game...
"It's not like this. Usually, our drives are tremendous; we do a great job of moving the ball. Today, we didn't execute well and there was maybe that play or two that we needed to get us going and it wasn't there today."

On the source of trouble in the passing game...
"We just had to be focused. (Andrew) Maxwell was under a lot of pressure that probably had an effect on it. We'll execute."

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o

On playing after a tragedy...
"It was hard. I lost a woman who I truly love, but I have my family around me and my football family. At the end of the day, families are forever and I will see them again someday."

On football as an escape...
"It is a great escape. I will be honest, throughout the game you are still thinking about it, but football allows me to be in a little realm, a little world that I know. I can honor them by the way I played."

About the win...
"It was for them, for my girl and my grandma, and for all my loved ones who have passed on. They are all watching. It was a happy moment."

About the support...
"My family and my girlfriend's family has received so much love and support from the Notre Dame family. Michigan State fans showed some love. It goes to show that football is just a game that we play and have fun doing it, but at the end of the day what matters are the people around you and family."

Notre Dame wide receiver John Goodman

On the atmosphere after the win in the locker room with Manti Te'o and everything he has gone through...
"It was great. I was definitely playing for him this week because to go through something like that is just terrible. I can't imagine that. I feel for him and it was great that we came together as a team when it happened and got behind him."

Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood

On starting and finishing the game well...
"We made a lot of mistakes that go unseen, but that is when the practice comes in handy. We have to go over that on Monday look at the things we did wrong and correct them and get ready for Michigan."

On head coach Brian Kelly calling it a signature win...
"As a program, it was a big win, but as a team it was just another win to us. Mark it off the calendar and on to the next, which is Michigan. We will focus on them."

On lifting Manti Te'o up...
"He is one of my closest friends, we've been cool since my freshman year. We have been close. Ever since he told me and ever since we found out, I was there for him, as was our whole team. We just kept his head up and tried to keep him as positive as we could. When he came out, he played tremendous. I have to give a lot of credit to him for playing with a lot of heart."

 

 

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