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Post-Game Quotes: Eastern Michigan
 
 
 

 

 
 

Sept. 22, 2012

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Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio

Opening statement...
"I thought Dion Sims played well and defensively I thought we played well throughout the game. We need to play more consistently. Players make plays, plays don't make players. We need to be more consistent in what we are doing and play better. That's the message we delivered at halftime and I thought we played better in the second half. We need to bring our emotion every day, and it wasn't there in the first half. We picked it up in the second half and played better, but credit Eastern Michigan in what they were doing. They had a lot of guys up in the box doing different things and they played effectively."

On improving the passing game...
"You have to catch the ball. Throwing and catching. If there's nothing wrong with the route and the ball is there you have to catch it. I hate to lay it out there like that but that's just the way it is. I don't have a lot of time in front of the cameras today and that's the way it is. Why skip around? Just tell it the way it is."

Eastern Michigan head coach Ron English

On the EMU defense playing well and "hanging tough" throughout the game...
"We did a lot of good things. We're fighting the same thing. We give up two drives where the guy doesn't cover the tight end; two separate guys don't do what they're coached to do. I thought the guys played hard. But, you know...we give up points on two drives because we don't cover the pass."

On EMU quarterback Tyler Benz' first start...
"I like him. I liked him out there. I don't know numbers yet; I haven't even looked at them. But I liked his poise against a hell of a defense...I mean, he was 13 of 26 for 137, no picks. And I'll take that all day long, and a touchdown. He should have had two; we dropped the ball. So, I really liked his poise and I like his demeanor."

On his defense playing well and not giving up a touchdown until the 4th quarter...
"I think we've been improving defensively every week. I think we've been on the field a lot and have been put in some bad situations. In fact, the best thing we did last week was play sudden change defense on a short field.

"But the issue is, at the end of the game, we're not finishing, so that's the frustrating part. I thought the guys did a nice job of trying to tackle Bell - you know he's a load - but we'd just like to finish better. For the most part, I thought the defensive staff had a good game plan and that the guys did a good job executing that."

On moving into MAC Conference play...
"Well I think that we had said all along that we addressed our issues and they were internal, and so we saw these stretch of games as preparing for league play. Now we play an outstanding Kent State team in a couple weeks here so we know that our backs are up against the wall. We already have a conference loss, so we expect these guys to really prepare and give ourselves a chance."

On EMU wide receiver Donald Scott dropping a potential touchdown pass...
"That's tough. I did not see the play. I saw him open and I saw the ball, and I assumed it was a touchdown. So he didn't pull it in, obviously I'm sure that he will be very, very disappointed. But you know, we have to rally around him, and that one play didn't cost us the game.

"I'm sure it's a devastating play for him. He's got to recover from it."

On his defense...
"Everybody's got to do their job on defense or it doesn't work. You've got to do it all the time.

"At some point, we have to understand that everybody's got to do their job if we want to be a great defense. It's not a physical thing with our team. Now, we're not as mature physically as we're going to be in another year because we are young. But we can certainly fight and not impose wounds on ourselves."

Michigan State offensive coordinator Dan Roushar

On progress...
"I don't think we made any progress at all. Le'Veon Bell had a good afternoon run of football. Dion Sims got active in the game and made some plays. Short of that we are going to have to get a whole lot better."

On the receiving corps - is there any more clarity or separation among the receivers...
"We will look at the tape. My first impression coming out of it is no. Right now, we are searching. I thought Keith Mumphery a week ago caught the ball very well and made plays for us. This week the first one comes off his chest and it started to snowball that way. I thought the guys had a really good week of practice. I was really watching the wide receivers and their effort was good, their routes were good, and they caught the ball well. It just didn't transition into play. We are reaching and we will continue to work."

On the younger players...
"They had more work this week then they've had. You saw Aaron Burbridge reach out and Macgarrett Kings Jr.. They got more reps this week, on Wednesday specifically. We went against our defense there and they executed pretty well and caught the ball pretty well, but again that didn't show up today."

On the game expectations...
"We want to see the guys execute, run good routes, throw the ball on time with accuracy and see the ball caught. It didn't start that way. Until the fourth quarter we didn't have anything going for us."

On halftime...
"There was a level of frustration. I simply came in and said it's not what we are doing, it's how we are doing it. There is a lack of execution and maybe a lack of confidence. I was matter of fact. Those guys were ready to play football the second half."

On a flat first half...
"There are so many things that go into it. You hope that anytime you step on the field with your jersey on and your hat on, you take a lot of pride in your performance. It is your resume. I don't know about all the emotional parts in it, but there was certainly concern on our staff's part. You can't take anything away from what they did. They played hard."

On struggling in the first half...
"I think all of a sudden we were looking at the struggles and saying who is going to make our plays. Le'Veon Bell and Dion Sims stepped up. We certainly called it that way but I thought the guys executed better. Andrew Maxwell went through his progressions and ended up getting the ball to Dion Sims."

On offensive mistakes...
"We are all in this together. It doesn't fall just on our players. We have to do a better job and they have to execute and play at a higher level. That is how we have won eleven games the last couple years. We made those plays. We haven't made them the last two weeks. That is a big concern. It is a big question mark. But there is more then one way as a competitor to come back and get that fixed. That is go back to work and work harder. We also need to execute better, have confidence in what we are doing, and execute the fundamentals. We are not doing that right now. I don't know if it was seven or eight drops in the first half, but that's not going to help us win any games around here."

On Le'Veon Bell returning punts...
"A guy puts the ball on the ground; you have to put someone back there to field the punts. Le'Veon stepped up and did a good job."

Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi

On Denicos Allen...
"We've been waiting for him to get turned loose. You guys know we've been okay but not explosive. He got a sack today. I've been begging for a sack, they get rid of the ball so quickly sometimes. But that's what Denicos is supposed to do. Hopefully that was warm up for Big Ten Conference. He is a great player and needs to make good plays all the time, not just part time."

On struggles...
"We focus on our job. I have one job - to call the defense. Our players have one job - to stop the pass. I told the guys before the game if they don't score we win, it doesn't matter. So they shouldn't score and we will win. It doesn't matter."

On Eastern Michigan quarterback Alex Gillett not playing...
"I asked a couple of the players after, what the heck happened. He is a good player, a senior. I was shocked by the move. I liked the way he threw the ball better, didn't sound like he was hurt. We practiced a lot of things that the other guys did. But it was a totally different game plan because he wasn't a runner or a scrambler. So that was different. I hope he's okay."

On Big Ten play...
"We are going into it 3-1 and will run straight through ahead. We will have a collision course against Ohio State next weekend at Spartan Stadium."

On defense...
"We have several guys who can play. We have to make more plays. But every year is a little different. I am happy where we are, but we need to be more dominant. I like the guys I get to coach everyday."

Michigan State junior running back Le'Veon Bell

On his feeling going into the second half...
"I felt like we weren't executing to our ability. All the plays we were making in practice, we weren't making today. We've got to practice the same way, even better, so we can make those plays in the game. I feel like in the game, guys weren't nervous, but it's different than in practice. We're going to get back to the drawing board and keep getting better each week."

On his role...
"I don't ever feel like it's more on me. I've got a lot of guys around me who can make plays and I know that. I feel that when they turn to me, I've got to make those plays. I've got to move the ball when (it's) in my hands. I'm going to do whatever it takes to score points, whether it's play action or blocking. Whatever it may be, I've got to help this guy out... and that's my job."

On any sense of urgency after non-conference games...
"I don't think it accelerates. We've just got to make those plays when guys are dropping balls. Or turnovers, we've got to eliminate those. We've got talented guys on our side and those guys have got to make those plays. I've got to make plays. The offensive line did a great job today with everything that was shown. We're just going to keep getting better. We've still got a lot of young and inexperienced guys, and they're going to keep getting better each week."

On preparation against Eastern...
"Eastern just stacked the box. I want to say they had eight or nine guys in the box every play. Especially on first and second down, the offensive line did a great job and allowed me to hit holes and get to the second level. That's something you've got to do. Maxwell did a great job checking (on) what he needed, with things (Eastern Michigan) was showing. That's something we haven't seen this year, they had a safety on the line of scrimmage. We're just going to keep getting better each week."

Michigan State junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell

On the passing game...
"I think it's just a matter of making plays when they present themselves. I think everybody can look at the film and point the thumb and find out places where we can all improve. Bottom line, we've got to stay out of the third and long, we've got to be more effective on first and second down, and we've got to start faster. If we can do all of those things we'll be okay and we'll get back on track."

On the source of the struggles...
"We're just missing opportunities, when plays are there to be made (etc.). Who's (at) fault is irrelevant; we're just not making the plays and that's something that we need to do."

On the role of Dion Sims...
"I think (passing it to Dion) just fell into the plays that were getting called. He just happened to be open a lot of the time. (Giving us a lift) is something that he does and that's something that he did against Boise State and that's the kind of player that he is. You know that when his number gets called, he's going to do everything he can to make the plays, whether that be catching the quick stuff or catching the stuff down the field. He's a guy who's reliable and we know we can count on him."

On the similarity to the Boise State game...
"It's similar in that we had to fight `til the end every game. The mark of a good team is when you can get the win when you don't play your best, and when you've got to battle back, face a little adversity, and still overcome it. We're definitely happy we got the win. It definitely counts and it's something we can learn a lot from and move on."

On halftime...
"I think everybody realized that the way we played in the first half wasn't going to cut it. Being on the offense, we looked at all the opportunities we missed and we didn't feel like it was anything that Eastern Michigan was throwing at us that we couldn't handle. We felt like we weren't making the plays when they were presenting themselves, we were stalling out, we were leaving ourselves with too many third and longs, and we just had to clean that up."

On the way things unfolded...
"I wouldn't say I was surprised. More than anything, as an offense when you stall out one week and come off flat and you miss opportunities, that's frustrating, but we have to stay together, stay the course. We can't turn on each other. We can't start doing things out of character for us. We just have to stay the course and trust when the plays are there to be made, we're going to make them and we're going to make a good offense."

On practice this week...
"We had a good week of practice. We felt ready and we were ready. It's a step here; it's a step there. It's a play here; it's a play there. In the second half, we battled back and we showed just how focused and prepared we were. When we can put our mind to it and our determination to it, we can be an effective offense." On progress for next week...
"We battled back and that's the sign of a good team. When you don't play your best and you start slow, when you've got to dig deep, and you've got to fight one out, it's going to help. It doesn't matter who the opponent is or the situation. When you're down and you have to come together ...as a team, you're going to grow closer because of that."

Michigan State junior linebacker Denicos Allen

On sack...
"It felt good. All year I've been close and not quite getting it and to finally get that first one that's a big stress reliever. And usually after you get that first one they keep rolling in, that's how it was last year, hopefully that's how it is this year."

On being his best game yet this year...
"So far I haven't been playing like I should be the first few games and the coaches addressed me and told me that I'm not playing up to my expectations. And I really have to take that into consideration and just go out and play like I play, fast and hard."

On the defense being Big Ten ready...
"Our defense is definitely ready, we've been ready since game one. We're never going to back down from the challenge."

On mood in the locker room...
"Everybody knew that we didn't play like we should. So it was kind of a down mood. We need to do our job better and prepare better, especially going into Big Ten. We can't make the mistakes we did today. All the dropped passes, and missed tackles, all the little things we need to fix."

On when the offense is struggling...
"We can only control what we can control and that's to go out and play. When the offense is on the field their doing their thing. It just so happened to be a three and out and we're ready. We don't really feel the pressure because we kind of expect to go out and play a lot so it's not really pressure."

On Max Bullough...
"I mean, Max is going to be Max. He's always flying around, he's always making plays. You know coach told us that we all have to be on the same page, starting with this game. Being on the same page and trusting each other, I believe that we all did that today. We were all able to make the plays that we did."

Michigan State junior tight end Dion Sims

On his playing time...
"I didn't have to say anything, Maxwell just looked for me. I just made the plays when I had to."

On touchdown catch...
"I pretty much expected the ball was coming to me. I just ran my route and I just felt like a big play needed to be made. So, I just did everything I could, to focus and concentrate on catching the ball."

On becoming an integral part of the offense...
"I have to make big plays. We got off to a slow start the first half. Second half we came out the way we should have. I take it upon myself to make big plays and to just get it done."

On EMU secondary allowing him to make a play...
"They played deep and came down a lot. The play action was there."

Michigan State senior offensive guard Chris McDonald

On coming out flat in the first half...
"Sometimes you come out flat. I think the offensive line responded well. It always starts up front. We just have to get the other guys going. This week, it was about us. It was about Michigan State. We can't make little errors. We just have to focus on us."

On being vocal on the sideline...
"Last year you had B.J. Cunningham and Keith Nichol; they were the voices of our team. I felt like it was my time to step up. We were running the ball, but our passing game wasn't great. I just wanted to get them going and make them realize that the offense has to play as a unit."

On the running game...
"We always talk about how it's up front; it starts up front. When you have a running back like Le'Veon Bell that can make stuff happen, at halftime we just said `let's go back to the basics and let's just run the ball. Let's keep running at them and sooner or later, a big play will happen.'"

On changes at halftime...
"We just realized that we have focus on what we do and fix it. We have to respond. We can't start flat and we just have to focus on Ohio State now."

On the game as whole...
"I think Eastern Michigan played great; they stayed with us the whole game. Hopefully this will transition into a good week at practice and good game against Ohio State."

Michigan State sophomore center Travis Jackson

On injury in game...
"I'm fine; I just had a little knee thing. It was my knee brace actually, so I just had to put a little tape on it. I was right back out there on the next series."

On offensive line...
"We had the new addition with Skylar (Burkland) in there and he's doing really well. We really wanted to be able to run the ball well today. It makes it a lot easier when you have a guy back there like Le'Veon Bell. We're trying to get back to the basics this week and do what we have to do as an offense."

On blocking for Le'Veon Bell...
"I think when you have anybody on your team that gives it their all on every play, he expects that of you and you expect that of yourself."

On coming out flat...
"We came out and there were just little things that we weren't doing right. That's not Michigan State football. It was all across our offense. So we just had to fix those things at halftime. We came out and played better."

On improving before next week against Ohio State...
"I think it starts in practice. Going into the Big Ten season next week, our goal is to win the Leaders Division and the Big Ten Championships, so we just have to go in there and fix the little things. We have to go harder every play."

On next week against Ohio State...
"I grew up 15 minutes from there. I went to a ton of games there. It was really awesome to go down there last year. They're a really good team this year, so that even excites me more to play such a good team in Spartan Stadium."

Michigan State junior safety Jairus Jones

On his performance in the game...
"I think I did ok. I think there are things I can improve on some things. We'll be ready for next week."

On getting ready for Ohio State...
"It's about bringing more emotion to it. You've got to be ready for the things they will bring out offensively. I think we need to improve on technique. You always have to be technically sound, especially against a team like Ohio State. They are undefeated so we have to be ready for them."

On what to take from this game to enter Big Ten play...
"This game is like a stepping stone for the Big Ten season. Eastern Michigan was a good team. They threw out some good things for us to learn from. We have to get ready for next week."

On difference between first and second half...
"We were a little flat coming out for the game. The sideline wasn't into it, the offense wasn't into it and the defense wasn't into it. I just know we'll be ready for next week."

Michigan State junior wide receiver Bennie Fowler

On the incomplete pass in the end zone...
"It was a catchable ball. The DB got his hand in there but that's a catch I have to make."

On his fumble...
"I don't actually know. I heard that Lippett got knocked into me but I thought the DB got his helmet right on the ball and the ball just popped out."

On what the wide receivers have to do moving forward...
"We just have to continue to get better. It's still a work in progress but we got those four non-conference games out of the way. We've been up and down here and there but going into this Ohio State week we have to be strong and ready to go. Ohio State has a good team and Big Ten play is very important."

On why a good week in practice did not translate into the game...
"I don't know. We had a couple drops here and there. As a team we made some strides here, we did well in the run blocking but we didn't make all the plays on the outside that we should have. We're going to continue to get better and we have a great challenge in Ohio State this week. We got the win and that's the most important thing."

On the play of Dion Sims...
"Great hands, great route running ability. He makes the big plays so he's going to take a lot off of the receivers and he opens up a lot of things."

On the turnovers and whether he thought they would still be talking about them...
"Yeah, no doubt because of how young we are. We still have the ability to make plays. We had some plays in there where we did well but at the same time we had too many negatives. We will continue to get better and we'll be fine. "

On what specifically wasn't working tonight...
"The only thing that is not working for us in the passing game right now is us not finishing the play. Maxwell is getting the ball out there we just have to continue finishing the play. If we finish those plays then we will get the results we want."

On what Coach Samuel's message is to them right now...
"That we can't get complacent. We can't just come out and play flat like we came out today. The receivers have to prove something every week, we have to continue to come out and show the offense, the coaches and Maxwell that we will be there for them and continue to make the big plays."

On the offense coming out flat... "We stalled too many drives. We had opportunities to make big plays and spring this offense into scoring some points if we didn't do that."

On what practice will be like this week...
"It will be a serious week of practice like every week. The receivers are still going to put an emphasis on making the big catch and making the third down conversions but it will be a good week of practice.

On the level of experience for the wide receivers...
"We get better every game; we get more experience every game. I think we have a great amount of experience now, playing these four games. We've played two big night games in Boise and Notre Dame so this Ohio State test will be another great test for us. We should make big improvements on every big game."

Michigan State Senior Kicker Dan Conroy

On the missed field goal...
"That was a bad kick on me. If I would have chosen the wind a little bit better, I would have made it."

On if anything was different for the next three field goals...
"I didn't think about it a whole lot. I know what my capabilities are so I didn't really second guess it."

On his offense relying on him...
"I think when the offense is struggling in general you usually lean on your field goal unit to be able to put some points on the board that the offense can't. I was definitely happy to be able to do that."

On the missed field goal...
"You're going to miss some sometimes. That's the reality of it so when I went back out there I put it aside and moved forward to the next one."

On how the snapping has been...
"They've been great. Taybor as a true freshman is really a testament to how hard he's worked in high school and really what a job that Mike Sadler's been able to do to get the ball down."

On his previous streak of field goals...
"I think that it's important to know that I've had long streaks of field goals. This is not normal for me to be missing a few here and there so I think it helps for me to rely on what I've done and what made me go on a long streak. To be able to look at that and see what's changed."

 

 

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