Oct. 14, 2007
It was a great job by our football team today, and we play for respect every week - we have to. Our guys came out and played hard, we had good practices all week, and I thought we stayed unified throughout the entire week. Every time in your life where things start to fall around you a little bit, you just step back. I think you have to step back and take a look at where you're at, re-evaluate, and move it forward, and our football team did that. The offense obviously played very well, and they have played well. I can't remember where they haven't. They had one fumble for a touchdown, but other than that they were about perfect. Great play-calling by (Offensive Coordinator Don) Treadwell and the staff, outstanding running by Javon (Ringer) and Jehuu (Caulcrick), and Devin Thomas had 13 catches. Brian Hoyer (completed) 20 of 23, Kellen (Davis) had a big catch and the reverse, which was good for him; big guy on the reverse. Our offensive line played very, very well, and we responded.
On responding to
The first play of the game was a little bit crazy, but you're obviously going to see great coaching in this conference, and that was something that they had not shown - option football, with adding an additional back, much like
On the play of
When you look at our offense right now, you see the football team that has basically run an inside zone or an outside zone the last four years. In making that transition to power football, and to gap football, they've done a tremendous job. Our offensive line has done an outstanding job of buying in and our team has bought into that, and our coaches have done an outstanding job of doing that, and it shows. We have a lot of different things that we can attack people with.
It was very early into the game, and we had figured out what they had done, because we only had to go over one play on the sideline. We needed to get that fixed, and we got it fixed. Our offense went back onto the field to score, so we had time on the clock, and I think they had four plays in the first quarter. We had plenty of time to get things squared away, and I thought our players did a nice job. We talked all week about sideline organization, about coming over to the sideline, and if things aren't going quite right, just re-directing your focus, and not getting disheveled over there. Just staying positive, and staying in the game, ready to play. I think they did that, so it's a credit to our football players.
Opening Statement ...
Just looking at the stats, like you guys got, I haven't had really had the chance to do much. Actually, I tried to get Pat up here. We are so proud of those guys, and one thing about this game, it certainly is a team game. So we are just excited, and the kids were certainly well prepared, and wanted to come out; they were on a mission. One of the things on the offensive side is that we wanted to come out and establish the run. It is kind of nice through the course of the game, early on, when your linemen are telling you, "coach, let's keep bringing it." And there certainly aren't too many running backs that don't want to have the opportunity to carry the ball. It was nice to feel the energy that way and they responded well. I think there are probably some critical situations that time that our guys executed and I am very proud of them for that.
Talk about the red zone ...
Coach talks about a number of things that makes a difference to winning ball games, and that certainly is one of the topics, being effective in the red zone.
54 more offensive plays ...
Fourth down conversions ...
We practice them, but you never know how it's going to go, you just hope that your kids will execute them, and it's always going to be tight quarters in there, and the kids did, they believed in it, and that starts at the top. Coach Dantonio says it's what were going to do. He does it with fire, and the rest of us just try to respond right along with him.
Opening Statement ...
Defensively, we're still not where we need to be, thanks to Coach Treadwell, 41 minutes time of possession, makes things look good. I think we are a lot better than where we were last week. We executed, we did some things a lot better. We still have a ways to go as far as where we want to be defensively.
Blitz package with two in the middle ...
Actually it's something we do every week since the first play of the season. No, that is not anything new, it's just executed properly.
Three down defensive ends ...
It's our base third-down nickel package where we are just going to put our best three lineman into the game. We did it last week, but you didn't notice it because we were 1 of 9 on third down. I think we had Long and
The passion ...
We just tried to go back to it. There is a fine line during the year of beating the kids up during practice, and there was no other way about it. We were not real happy with the way we played and ran to the football last week. The kids went live all week last week. You guys don't get to go out to practice, but they went live and they practiced it. I give the kids a bunch of credit, they played with a great attitude today. They practiced hard all week, and it pays off on Saturday for you.
On bouncing back after last week...
I felt like I let the team down last week because I didn't play the game that I usually do. I put it on myself to play 100 percent, all-out. The defense, we backed it up tonight.
On the defense being motivated...
We were very motivated because we know we're a lot better than what the score said last week. We couldn't stop guys at all last week so we came out at practice and worked hard.
On his touchdown...
I saw Jonal "The Sackmaster" Saint-Dic get to the quarterback and then I saw the strip and my eyes got huge. I knew I couldn't have just fallen on it, I needed to scoop-and-score there.
On the team's confidence entering the game...
We knew in the locker room before the game and even in the hotel earlier that we were going to put forth a dominant performance.
On getting back into the Big Ten race...
We know that we're a good team and that we can play with anybody in the league. We've just got to go out there and do it on Saturdays.
That shows that the coaches have confidence in (the offense) and the defense. That comes from the week of practice that we had. We knew that we weren't going to hold anything back and that we were going to win this game.
It shows that the coaches have confidence in us and especially the offensive line. They've been doing a great job the past couple of weeks and it's a testament to those guys and the faith that we have in them.
We did a good job of managing the game, making the right checks and just seeing what the defense was trying to do. That's something I had to pay attention to a little more when we were running the ball so much.
On how going "live" in practice this week helped...
I think it helped, especially for the defense. They needed to come out and have a great game and I felt like they did a great job. They kind of got their swagger back and that's what they've been talking about all week.
On how practicing `live' all week helped the team...
It just helped us focus, especially for defensive tackling and the tackling aspect. We had the mentality that we had to come out here and shake off the two losses, and that's what we did.
On the race for the Big Ten championship...
It's up in the air. I mean, you never know. You have to play the games on Saturday. We're just playing one game at a time and hopefully we'll get up there and try to get a championship.
On next week's game against
We don't fear anybody. We're just going into each game focused and we'll try to do our best, that's our mentality.
On how he thought his team performed...
I'm happy with our performance, but I feel like there's still a lot more that we need to correct. We still had some penalties that I didn't like and we still weren't perfect. We're still waiting on that perfect game, even though I don't know if that's possible, but that's what we're striving for. So, none of us are satisfied, none of us are complacent. We're happy and we're thankful for the win, but we know that we still have a lot more to accomplish.
On the team's confidence, in preparation for next week's game against Ohio State...
We are confident, but we still know that
On how he would rate his own performance...
Everything I did out there really has to go to my offensive line and my receivers blocking down-field. They kind of made my job easy. I might have broken a tackle here or there, but all the credit really has to go to them.
I've got to give a lot of credit to
That back was really good. That Ringer is a heck of a football player, and the big guy (Jehuu Caulcrick) is good too, I mean that is a pretty good one-two punch. I'm sure there were times when the tackling wasn't what it should be and we can correct that. I'm sure there were times when we didn't have enough faces in the gaps, and we got cut off or whatever. We lost leverage on the outside a few times. I think it's one of those games where you have to give them credit; they are a good football team. When they pound you, they pound you, that is a really incredible offensive line.
On lack of possession time affecting play calling...
There were a lot of thing that we never really got to say. We had less than five plays in the first quarter and yet we had points. It really was an unusual start to a game. It seems like they had two or three possessions where we had stops, and that's why at halftime we went in thinking we could come out and continue that. We knew we were going to get the ball to start the second half. But we didn't move it and they kept pounding away at us, it was some good football. They've done this to a couple different teams; they are a pretty good offensive football team. We had a good idea coming in of what they were going to try and do, we just didn't do a very good job of stopping it.
I thought they had a great plan and they played really hard. They had a lead so they could play from ahead, and keep pressure; they did a good job. Besides Kellen's (Lewis) run to start the game we really didn't get much running the football. They did a combination of things, playing straight and blitzing some. We've got to go back to work and get better, and I know we will. We are not a terrible football team, we played real well tonight and they played great.
That's a pretty good offense. Your safeties are involved in the running game these days and they are expected to make tackles, but he played a pretty good football game, I certainly noticed him out there.
On his concern
No not at all. That's why you line up and practice and play. I like this football team, it's a good football team and we will bounce back.
It's frustrating; I want to be out there 60 minutes, as well as the rest of my teammates. We didn't have a chance to get going, we didn't have a chance to get in sync. They came out with more intensity, it was their homecoming and they had the two losses.
On his outlook for the rest of the season...
You never know, on any given Saturday in the Big Ten, any team can win. Our seniors have done a wonderful job on and off the field, we stick together and we know we can get to a bowl game. As long as we stick together, no matter what the outside world thinks, we know we can reach our goal.
On setting the
It's a bittersweet deal, it was 10, now its 11. I would rather have the worst game of my life and still win.
On the team's outlook for next week and the rest of season...
No one's heads were down, this game is in the past, you can't think about the past, we've got to look to the future with optimism.
Their running backs are really well coached and they're great runners. They were really tough to go up against.
On his team reaching bowl eligibility...
We just talk about one game at a time. We focused on MSU and came here to play, unfortunately we lost, but we still have a chance to achieve our goal.
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