Oct. 2, 2010
Michigan State Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell
Just trying to catch my breath, a lot of running around here and celebrating here with our young men. We're very proud of them tonight.
Without question- a big game. It's not too dull around East Lansing these days, my goodness. Here on our home football field and as I listen, I guess our student section was phenomenal today so I want to tip my hat to those guys. Certainly our young men on the field feed off the energy that everyone supplies in the stands but I know that they really want us to mention that the student section was really kind of needed in what they brought to the game. As you look at the game, one of the thoughts I have popping through my head is big plays at clutch times being made on both sides of the ball. Offensively there were some situations that arose that we needed to play and we called for a play and it was executed. And that was so neat to see that our young men that they have belief in the plan that Coach Dantonio has in place and they want to go for the win in the different areas that we did. We're just so proud of their execution - and again, I mean that on both sides of the ball because our defense, as you guys know, and I don't have everything memorized because I'm pretty locked in there on the sidelines just with my role of coordinator.
It was obvious there was a little bit of adversity offensively in that first half. Our defense stepped right up and you could just sense it every time they went out. They would come off the field, if we didn't do something as well as we know we could have, and those turnovers, they kept saying, "guys keep the faith, just keep playing hard." You can see our offensive players respond to that because our defense really stepped up and gave us an opportunity to do some positive things and not allow that to send us in a negative direction , if you will, but in a positive way.
We are very, very proud of our young men. Coach Dantonio addressed the group afterwards. We had one of those speakerphones and amidst all the celebration that was going on, Coach D was able to share with our football team of how proud he is of what took place today in terms of our young men's effort and determination and all the things a head coach would want. We are just so pleased to continue to move forward and we are very anxious, as you can imagine, to get our head coach back as we go forward here. We will look at a little bit of this game and put it behind us, certainly after tonight and I think you all know we will have a great focus as we go in tomorrow for what is ahead of us.
On how much he is in contact with Coach Dantonio during the game
Oh, I don't know how much I had but I think at times some of the assistants potentially had some contact with him. I don't know if it was amidst in times of a series or at halftime, I don't know all those particulars. He was involved as much as he could be, absolutely.
On whether it was he or Coach Dantonio that made the call to go for it on the fourth down
I think we would seek to hear any comment from Coach D but it would have to come at the right time and ahead of time for us to do it. Other than that, we were going to go forward offensively for whatever we thought at that point in time and just work to execute.
I think Coach has taught us that if we don't get a verbal cue from him we are going to go to play for the win and that was kind of the mindset in terms of those calls at those times.
On the last fourth down when Conroy was on the field
It wasn't a decoy. We were just trying to make a decision. We knew we were going to probably call a time out so we had them go out initially to talk about it and see what we really wanted to do. So initially we thought we would just start there and then call a time out and then think about it a little bit more and go from there.
On if he had any communication with Coach Dantonio on the time out
I will say this. At that time, that stadium was so loud I couldn't hear myself talk. So he could have been communicating with someone but it was so unbelievably loud and we just had worked that play throughout the week. We felt that if we were getting a certain look that it would give us a chance and our young men executed it to a `T'. We are very proud of them.
On whether the last fourth down decision was his
On the last one, yes. I will take credit or responsibility for anything because we had some doozies as well. If it worked, great - if it didn't, we'll get it fixed. Our kids wanted to go for the win and we were moving in that direction, so a lot of that was behind it.
On how difficult it has been to be an offensive coordinator from the sidelines
I think without question we have a tremendous staff, number one, and we just made some adjustments there with me being on the field and Coach Salem in the box so we can still get what we were looking for and the feedback that we need to hear. It's not that big of a difference, other than that on the field sometimes, you're a little bit down there where the electricity's going and the excitement of the game is going. If you weed thorough all that, and still stay locked in, it really doesn't become an issue. I think our guys have done a great job. Again, offensively, we are a collective offense. We have tremendous coaches on that staff. We game plan collectively, together, and then on game day, everyone has input and then we move forward together.
On if the last touchdown play was one he was holding on to
Well, we had been down there earlier and we threw a touchdown pass on one of our goal line looks. We kind of took a peek at some things, at what they were in, and we felt like if we came back to that situation again, that other one that we ended up finishing with the final touchdown score, it would probably give us a chance.
On if today was something special for the coaching staff
As a staff, we don't get too far ahead of ourselves. We have a job that Coach Dantonio expects us to do and really most of it is, you know what I say - I use tunnel vision a lot and we just want to go out there and do what we are expected to do. As one of you said, if other things did arise that needed to be from a game management standpoint, it was kind of switch gears and look at that. The best way to do things is what you have been doing all along - and that is to stay focused at the task at hand and what's your job, and keep it in front of you.
On if he was concerned about how his players would react to Coach Dantonio not being present at the game today
No we weren't concerned because Coach Dantonio has always done a great job and always has in terms of communicating to his players. I think as he made it known to them that he would not be in the situation, our guys are more concerned about his health and you can say if anything, our guys are like `Coach, you get yourself healthy'. We will do the football part that we can control, but for the most part, Coach was so involved through the week, that he really got them mentally ready to play this big game. That was helpful from all areas because it really allowed me to really lock in and be coordinator. Coach really set the tone for motivation and expectations.
On why this team is handling adversity better this year
I don't know if I can answer that. You kind of take it one day at a time with where we are now. I think, I mentioned it maybe a week ago - that one of the biggest reasons is that all the young men on our football team that are sitting in the front row that are seniors, four years ago they sat in the back row. Now you fast forward and they have been through Coach Dantonio's system, and we're just in a situation, in a biblical standpoint, about being able to reap what you sow. Dantonio has planted some tremendous seeds in our young men, and they believe in that. It has been kind of neat to see it flourish in front of our eyes.
Michigan State Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi
I'm so proud of these kids. They played big-time football. I think they earned respect across the country and the guys played committed to the entire game. A couple drives we gave up, they did some good things, some different things. We adjusted to it the next series but I am really proud of the guys that played their tails off, and played Spartan Football. They played Spartan defense the way it is supposed to be played. I think we were good on third down, I do not really know what all the stats were, I really do not care. We got off the field on third down, and I think we had three turnovers offensively. But guys did not really care and went out there and knocked the heck out of them the next series. I think the turnovers were in the first half and we were up by ten points at the half with three turnovers at the half, and when that does not happen, that is character.
How the team responded to not having Coach Dantonio, Kevin Pickelman, and Colin Neely
We have got guys that are going to step up. We talk about adversity all the time and if Coach Dantonio is out, Treadwell steps up. If Pickelman is out, another Treadwell steps up. How about that? Blake had a great week of practice, did not bother us a bit. We had Neely, that has been our most productive end. That is what this program is about. That is what football is all about, is dealing with those things. Coach D was with me the entire game. I will not show you any of the texts, but he was texting and calling the entire game to the press box. I have never been on the phone so much during a game. He was with us the entire time.
On having no defensive penalties this week as opposed to last week
Coach D told us have discipline and that was about it. Some of those calls last week were whatever. I will not say, but nothing changed. It was just playing smart football and that is what you are supposed to do.
On gaining some national respect
We are starting in our fourth season [as a staff at Michigan State], I think every year we continue to get good players and I think every year it will keep getting better and we can match with anyone, I think. We talk about respect all the time, and that is what we are trying to do, is get respect. When you beat a top 10 or 11 team, whatever it is - that is what our kids play for.
Wisconsin Head Coach Bret Bielema
First off, I want to give credit to Michigan State. They played great football for all four quarters and were able to reap the rewards because of it. On behalf of me and our football family in Wisconsin, we want to give Coach Dantonio our thoughts. He is going through a difficult time, but he has a very good football team, so that should make him feel a little better. I just told our guys in the locker room, and this is no disrespect to Michigan State, that they got beat by a football team that played better than they did. That is an important point for us to use to move forward. We are a team that if we do things uncharacteristic of what we are, we are going to meet failure and not have success in critical situations. Times like this reinforce what you believe in and what you feel will help you have success. There were enough negative things out there, and I knew going into this game that third downs were going to be critical. We gave up a big hit in the return game, which led to a touchdown and also a kickoff return that bottled up and came back outside, those were two huge momentum changers. In the second half we came out and scored right away. I felt good about where we were and we made a goal line stand but we weren't able to convert on the goal line. We did enough good things to just keep staying in the game, but eventually we couldn't come out on top.
On how it feels to get beat by a very similar team
We have had it in our minds all week that MSU is very similar to us. But, there are a certain amount of things that we have to take within. If you don't do what we believe in, and we can't execute those things we believe in, you are going to have negative results.
On the last drive
We thought we had some good calls that we talked about in the huddle, but they hit us hard in the critical end zone, which ultimately decided the football game.
On why Wisconsin strayed from how it usually plays
Well there were some individual things that ended up being team things in the end. If something goes wrong, you can pinpoint it to that person - but there are 11 guys on the field that are considered to be one unit. A lot of times you can't point it to one specific person or mistake. There were enough negative ones today that ended up in a defeat.
On dropping the ball
We will have to wait until Sunday to see the tapes if those drops were a result of mistakes by us or MSU taking the ball away. But, there were a couple of uncharacteristic drops by Nick [Toon] and no one will feel worse about those than him.
On James White's performance
I thought he did a good job all day. I thought we had some big hits that he took advantage of. There was one play where he throttled it, but then it was bounced outside. I thought he did a nice change up for us. For us to move forward we just need to run the ball effectively against good run defenses. MSU is one of those teams and we had mixed results.
On if MSU used Coach Dantonio as motivation
That is probably something you should ask them. But, we knew they would come out in the first quarter, as every team does, and we had to persevere. That's why I liked it when we gave up the field goal, but then came back and went up 7-3. After that punt return swung the momentum back to their side, it was tough to regain it. At halftime when we were down by 10, I told our guys "hey, you're down by 10 and you didn't play good football whatsoever". But, bottom-line it was just great execution on MSU's part.
MICHIGAN STATE PLAYER QUOTES
Senior Linebacker Eric Gordon
On what the strong defensive performance does for the team's confidence
It definitely boosts our confidence. We worked really hard this last week on stopping the run. We didn't really have a guy that could play John Clay on the scouting team, but I think our scout team did a great job. [Clay] is a big guy and I thought we stopped the run pretty well today.
On holding Wisconsin to 3-of-11 on third down conversions
Third downs, we've had problems this year up to know. I thought we did a great job, we call it our "money down." We just focused down and made plays and made things happen. I was really proud of our team for that. There's just more to come.
On if he can enjoy this victory or if he is already looking forward to next week's game in Ann Arbor
I'm going to enjoy this. This is my senior year, it was my last time playing Wisconsin, it's the last time I'm going to enjoy a Wisconsin win. Tonight I'll enjoy it and I'll probably enjoy it in the morning, and then by the time we get going tomorrow our focus is going to be completely on U of M.
the game next week
Michigan is a great team, [Denard] Robinson is a great player; he's fast and it's a totally different offense from the one we played today. We've just got to refocus, get our minds off of this [victory] and move forward. I feel like we have such great confidence right now that we don't really care who the opponent is. We're just going to go out and play our hardest.
On if whether after the game the Wisconsin players conveyed a higher sense of respect for this Michigan State team
Not really. They're very respectable guys, they're not out there talking crap that much. But I think with our defeat over them they have a little more respect for us and I think a lot of other people that didn't think that we'd come out and beat a great Wisconsin team are going to have a little more respect for us.
Junior Wide Receiver Keshawn Martin
On his 74-yeard punt returned for a touchdown in the second quarter
Well I knew I was going to have a little room and when I caught it I saw the whole middle was wide-open. I credit that to the [blockers]. They did a great job of watching them outside, and from there I showed off my feet a little bit.
On how long it has been since a Spartan returned a punt for a touchdown
I think it was like 2002, about eight years. I feel good to be a part of that and hopefully I'll do that again next game.
On what he thought as he watched the low, line-drive kick come toward him
You get excited when you see that, you've just got to catch the ball, just focus on catching it. Then you can do your thing.
On what it felt like in the endzone after the return
There's no greater feeling, especially if it's a long one. You just feel good about yourself; it boosts up your confidence. There's nothing like it.
On how big this win is for the team
This was a statement game right here. Just to [tell] the rest of the Big Ten that we're coming and coming hard and that we're fighting for the Big Ten Championship.
On what the mood was like in the locker room post-game when Coach Mark Dantonio was on speakerphone
Everybody was excited and wanted to hear his voice. He's going to be back. Everybody was excited, he cares about us, he really cares about us.
On the momentum of the game shifting as his return put the Spartans up by three points
I think that was one of the momentum changes in the whole game. We were down 10-6, and after the return we never lost the lead again.
Senior Cornerback Chris L. Rucker
On how the secondary played
I think this is the best we've played in a while. Each year I feel like we made big improvements on the last year. That goes to show our coaches' and our determination just to get better.
On what next week's game against Michigan means to him as a senior
It's big. It's a rivalry game and we just want to go in there and get a win. We feel like if we play the way we know we can play we'll get a win.
On whether the victory against Wisconsin gives the team greater confidence going into Ann Arbor next week
Most definitely. We've got a veteran team and we've got great team leadership. Our coaches are going to have a good game plan; we're going to be prepared.
Senior linebacker Greg Jones
On how the team handled the news that Coach Dantonio wouldn't be in attendance
Initially, I was not really expecting it, but I knew we weren't going to see him a whole lot anyway. Guys just went about it as business as usual. It felt like the intensity picked up, it was against Wisconsin, a big game, and it was the Big Ten opener. Guys on the offense really played their butt off. I don't think anyone doubted anything with Coach Dantonio not being there. We all know what to expect from Coach Dantonio when he is here, especially the seniors, Coach Dantonio has been here the whole time we have. We knew what he expected of us.
On whether there was intensity because Coach Dantonio wasn't here
There is never more intensity; it was a big game and that was all we needed.
On whether MSU is flying under the radar
We aren't going to worry about any radar, just have to worry about the next game. I think that is the biggest thing, to just stay focused, and worry about the next game. We aren't looking too far ahead at all.
On making Wisconsin a one-dimensional offense
That is the goal every week, that's the best way to play. You can't really play against a team that can do both (run and pass). You either have to stop the run or stop the pass. We try to do both. Once we got them to put the ball in the air, we were able to get pressure on the quarterback, and good things start to happen.
On playing Michigan next week
That is the biggest game of the year, bottom line. It just is, there isn't much more to say it is the biggest game of the year.
On enjoying this win before focusing on next week's game
My focus went to Michigan once the seconds ticked off of the clock. It wasn't really long.
Junior quarterback Kirk Cousins
On sticking with the game plan
That's playing football and that's playing quarterback. You have to bounce back from adversity and I thought we did a great job of that. We showed a lot of character. It was tough when I threw that first pick, knowing we had a field goal, it was disappointing. We had to keep our body language up and show that we weren't done, and there was a lot of football left to be played. Our character really showed today the way we fought through anything that came against us, we just kept pushing and kept playing.
On the last touchdown play
We have had that play in since camp, and I have called for it now probably three or four times. I wanted it against Florida Atlantic, it didn't get called. I wanted it against Western Michigan, and it didn't get called. I guess that this was the moment to have it, if you ask me. It was a play that we have had in for awhile, and it has been good in practice. Fortunately it worked, and we called it at the right time.
Coach Dantonio not being able to be at the game
We found out late yesterday that he wasn't going to be here. We just said `fine', it's business as usual. We did it last week, and we can do it again this week.
We're just going to go about it as business as usual, just like I said earlier. We found out yesterday we weren't going to have him, it doesn't really change the way you approach the game, or the way you play the game. Obviously we would like to have his presence there and his leadership there. His leadership was still there. His presence, what he teaches, and what he preaches year-round was still with us today. It was with us last week, and that doesn't change. We still felt him here today, and what we preaches, and what we did.
On how the team is handling adversity
We started back at Big Ten media day, back before camp even started. We had to learn how to win. Last year, we had a lot of young guys at key positions. Larry Caper and Edwin Baker were true freshman last year, and I was a first- year starter. We had a lot of guys who were brand new at moving the football. It took some time to learn how to win, and I think we showed that [we've learned] today.
On the running back rotation
I really don't get involved too much with the rotation, I just hand off to whoever is back there. Larry Caper does a great job; he has great hands, on the screen, and made a great play catching the ball and moving it up the field. Edwin Baker made some great plays and made some guys miss. Le'Veon Bell ran with great heart and really used his strength to run over people today. It was a total team effort; it wasn't just the running game, or the passing game. It was the defensive line, the special teams, it was everyone contributing. That is what we are going to have if we are going to have a great year.
On playing Michigan next week
We go back to work; we go back to work tomorrow. We watch the film from this game, learn from the mistakes, and get better. We show up on Monday and get right after it. I wouldn't say that there is anything too specific to change. Obviously, there is the intensity about this[upcoming] week in our preparation. Michigan is going to have the same type of intensity in their preparation. Coach Dantonio is going to make sure that we are prepared as we can be.
On today's gameday atmosphere
The crowd noise today was phenomenal. The student section came out to a cold game, not the ideal weather to sit on the benches. They did a tremendous job and I can't thank them enough. Their right tackle (Ricky Wagner) jumped in the two minute drill at the end of the game. That is attributed only to the noise today in Spartan Stadium. If we get that type of fan support the rest of the year, it is going to really help.
Senior Tight End Charlie Gantt
On Dantonio's speaker phone talk postgame
He was so proud of us. It was amazing hearing him talk. He's our head coach and we love him. Just to hear his voice after such a big victory like that was great. After being with us all this week in practice, it was unfortunate that he was unable to come with us to the game. He was there in our hearts and on the back of our helmet. It was an amazing feeling to hear his voice after the game.
On people giving Coach Treadwell a lot of attention
He was just following up on Coach D. You would be surprised at how much Coach D was actually involved in that game. Coach T is a great coach and does everything right. He is always there for us and we are proud to have him as our coach today.
On Coach Dantonio not being back yet
He was with us all week in practice and he looked great. He's taking it easy. It just made it more important to come out as a team and represent Coach D and what he stands for. We just stuck together and pulled through.
Junior Wide Receiver Keith Nichol
On Kirk Cousins' overcoming adversity after an interception
He did a great job of letting go. As a quarterback and a leader you have to let stuff go. Everybody put their arm around him and lifted him up just like they did with me. All across the board the leadership was amazing. He did a great job of rebounding.
Senior Linebacker Jon Misch
On Coach Dantonio's post-game speech via speaker phone
I couldn't make out the words that well. But we asked him to do the fight song with us. It was a great moment just to hear his voice. He's not only just a head coach to us, but part of our family; when he went down it was huge on us. Just being able to have him be part of this win and talk to us after the game was just a great moment.
On getting more playing time this year
It's fantastic. I can't really put into words how much I love just being a part of it. For a few years I had a broken foot and other injuries where you get down and you don't get playing time, and you feel a little bit of a distance. It kind of wore on me a bit and now that I am actually back in the mix of things it is just fantastic. Every single game is like winning a game with my best friends.
On how he kept from being discouraged through the injuries
Teammates, family, and God. I just prayed everyday making sure I was on the right path. I would talk to Coach Tressel all the time. While I was out with my broken foot he would just say to get mental reps and that I will be back in the mix sometime - so just get mental reps.
On feeling something special building with this team
Most of the team recognized something special about this group early on in the season. Now that we are out there playing together in games like today, people just kind of knew what we needed to do. When you get that vibe on the field there is definitely something special here and everybody can recognize it.
WISCONSIN PLAYER QUOTES
Junior Punter Brad Nortman
On the punt Keyshawn Martin returned for a touchdown
I just mis-hit it. It was going with the wind that time, and I tried to kick it too hard. It was just too low for a returner like that and he made us pay.
On having only a couple plays to make an impression
Yeah, it's just too bad that so little of opportunities tend to define you. Those are two punts I would love to have back, it was tough weather conditions out there, and I hit a couple well, a couple not too well.
Junior Defensive End J.J. Watt
On the lack of fundamentals Wisconsin displayed
At the end of the day, we didn't play too well fundamentally, and that's going to get you beat. It's not a thing of we don't know how to play fundamentally, or we didn't practice it, it's just the way the cookie crumbled today. It was a tough day for us overall.
The non conference schedule preparing you for the Big Ten
I think it did [prepare us for the Big Ten schedule.] And I think our practices do as well. We see the Wisconsin offense every day, and they see the Wisconsin defense every day. There's no better preparation than that, there's definitely no issues with lack of preparation.
On getting to Kirk Cousins
We fought as hard as we could to get to the quarterback, we got to him a few times today, but obviously we'd like to get to him a couple more. We did everything we could.
Junior Safety Aaron Henry
On Michigan State's offense
It was just a matter of them making more plays than we did. We thought we had them set up where we wanted to every single time, but they converted. Sometimes, could we have been in a little better position? Of course. As you guys know, football is a game of inches and we just happened to come up a little bit short.
On the Mark Dell touchdown
I definitely thought he bobbled it. I guess I didn't have the greatest view of it, but after he caught it, I saw him spin around and he was juggling it. When he turned around to give it back to the ref he was juggling it a little bit. So from my point of view I definitely thought he bobbled it. I was the main person throwing up the bobble signal (to the coaches).
On the first game of the Big Ten season
The (intensity) increased. For the first four games, Arizona State was pretty tough, but this Big Ten season is a whole new ball game. This is what can put us in a position to have a great season, or not have a good season. Unfortunately we started out on the losing end.
Junior Running Back John Clay
On the frustrations of today's game
We know we have the guys to go out there and compete. We started slow in the first half and the second half, we started picking up - but by the time we started clicking, the game was over.
On trying to plug the middle on the run game
Yeah they know our strength is our run game. They started loading the box to stop the run game. We were able to work around that in the second half by getting the ball out on the perimeter, it helped us out more.
On Michigan State's last drive
Yeah it was frustrating. They were eating up the clock, doing what they wanted to offensively. We were just trying to get a second chance out there and hopefully get a scoring drive.