Post-Game Quotes: Minnesota
 
 
 

 

 
 

Nov. 6, 2010

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes |  Photo Gallery 

Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Opening statement...
"It was a big win for the program. Nine wins and one loss I think is very exciting for our program right now. Second time in three years that we have won nine games so that's exciting. As far as the game, credit Minnesota. I thought they played hard. Again anytime that you have a program that is in transition, continuing to play every single week is a credit to your coaching staff. Where we're at, I think that the first series came down, we did a very good job. Defensively we played pretty solid the entire day, had a shutout going. That was all positive. Edwin Baker had a great game, explosive. He was the hot back. He ran the ball very effectively. We look for more from him. As far as where we are, as the football game continued on I thought when we converted off of 4th-and-1 and got it, two big plays in the game, takes it to 21-0 in the half instead of 14-0. When you look at the significance of that in the long haul, it's critical. Last drive of the game offensively, I think we maybe converted three times on third down and long. Some big plays there. (I'm) very excited about our football team and very happy. But with the idea that this is just one, we need to go 3-0 in the month of November. That's our goal. That's our bench mark. We need to take the opportunity to get refreshed a little bit. Take this week off. When I say off it means we will lift Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and we will practice Tuesday and Thursday. But light. It is off. Our players will get down time to rest. It is important they get to do that to prepare for Purdue which will be senior day which will be a very exciting day for our seniors and with the opportunity to win 10 games which hasn't been done very often. I'm excited about the win, believe it or not."

On the fact that it is the second time in three years they are playing for a Big Ten title...
"I think that our program is moving in that direction. I think that the norm is starting to be that we are going to be a bowl team every year. This is the fourth straight year that we will go to a bowl. To win nine games in two out of the last three years is a major accomplishment for our football team. It is something they can point to and be proud of at the end. But, with that being said, the benchmark is to win 11. The next one makes it 10. That's the most important one, the next one. That is where our focus will be. Purdue has had a lot of injuries but they are a good football team. They are a team that had us on the ropes last year. Minnesota beat us last year. The difference between winning and losing is not very big. Even 31-8 out there, I think that everybody can recognize in here that that wasn't a 31-8 game, I didn't feel. I thought they played us very, very well. The good things is, maybe when you get to win 31-8 and not feel that great walking out of here, that's a positive too. Coaches usually want it all."

On how important it was to get an early lead...
"Critical. I think this is the type of football game where had we not gotten that early lead, it would have been much, much closer football game. It was crucial to go ahead 21-0 at the end of the first half. That was a tough 21-0. It wasn't an easy 21-0. It was tough. Those 4th-and-1 plays two times and 4th-and-1 with five seconds to go in the first half. I thought that was a critical play getting that touchdown and sort of putting it on the line a little bit for our football team in doing that. It shows that we have faith in our offensive line and our running backs. It also makes a statement that if they're not going to get it done here you are going to go into the locker room. You can take it either way but you are going to need to get it."

On the response he saw from his leaders leading up to today's game...
"Very, very positive. Very positive leadership. I said that all along. I said our football team is special. We win football games because of our players. It takes everybody, it's a big operation. It takes everybody, but ultimately players make plays; coaches coach. You can diagram this and stop that route and stop this run, but ultimately it needs to be executed and there needs to be timing there. Right play, called at the right time, but timing in terms of catching and throwing the football, executing kicks, execution in terms of closing gaps, and digging people out and things of that nature from an offensive line or defensive line or linebacker perspective. Its execution and that's our players. I think they have done an outstanding job."

On the passing game...
"I don't think we threw the ball as effectively but with that being said, I think we connected on some very, very big third downs. I haven't watched the film yet, but do know we did screen for a first down. We had B.J. Cunningham for a big first down. We had Mark Dell for a big first down. Those were all third down plays and third down catches. We didn't come up with a big one down the field on play action, on a first down or something of that nature. That is probably where the drawback was. But I thought on the third down, I really hadn't looked at the possessions, but about five out of 13 and probably four of them thrown. So, that's a positive. Them using MarQueis Gray at quarterback at little bit was a little unsettling for us on defense. He broke a couple tackles. He's a big guy. They kept the ball for maybe eight or nine, 10 minutes between the third and fourth quarter which kept our offense off of the field. With the fake punt, I should have had us punt safe which is my responsibility and I take the blame for that. They kept the ball a couple more minutes after that, maybe five or six."

On the reestablishment of the running game...
"Absolutely. The explosive runs that Edwin (Baker) had were exceptional. He got it done when he gets into the secondary and on the perimeter. He has the ability to run around or run through tackles. I think the other two guys can do that as well. (Baker) was hot and felt like he was hot. Coach (Brad) Salem did us well and we stayed with the guy and gave him carries."

On how important fourth downs were on both of the sides of the ball...
"Fourth down is critical. Their two 4th-and-1s in the first half, their 4th-and-1 at the end of the game and they had another 4th-and-1 where they didn't make it. Had we not made those two fourth downs on the goal line, it would have been 7-0 at halftime. It was obviously very critical. Had they made their two, they would have opportunities to get field goals, minimum. Obviously they were very crucial in the game and obviously swung in our favor."

On the timing of the bye week from an injury standpoint...
"Well we are banged up. Chris McDonald didn't play. Keshawn Martin didn't play although he could have in an emergency role. Darqueze Dennard is still sidelined. He will able to be back. We have guys nicked up across the board. There are certain other guys that you know made it to the game and played but it's been a long 10 weeks, physically and emotionally. When I talk about emotionally, they went all the way through August to now, day in and day out. Obviously there were some great wins and that tough loss last week. And there was me off the field, I guess. It has been an emotional long stretch here and I think from an emotional standpoint, we just need to get away from football for a couple of days and just sort of be regular human beings."

Michigan State Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi

Opening statement...
"I think the defense played pretty well today. Obviously we would have liked to keep those eight points off the board but overall I am happy with the guys out there. We get a much needed two-week break here to get healthy again and it's a good 9-1 football team."

On the health of the defense...
"We are banged up a little, but after 10 weeks in the Big Ten you're banged up, but every team in the country is. It will be nice to get a little breather and get healthy."

On the progress of Denicos Allen...
"Denicos had a good week of practice. Chris Norman had a little tweak of an ankle and we probably could have used him if we needed to but we decided to sit him just to make sure but he will be back and practicing and ready in two weeks."

On where the defense is going into the bye week...
"I think we are pretty solid. We got another red zone turnover today and I think we are pretty good. We are 1-0 in November and need to be 3-0 and that's all we are working toward."

Michigan State Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell

Opening statement...
"Much like Pat said, we will take a win any way we can get it. Certainly it wasn't one of our most clicking performances throughout the game in terms of offense but we were able to overcome our mistakes and that's a good sign. We put a few drives together which is something we haven't done as much as we have liked the past couple weeks so it was good to get a couple long drives. And our hat certainly goes off to our offensive line. They have been challenged and we still stayed with what we were planning on doing throughout the week and I thought they responded very well. And when you have a guy like Edwin running the ball, he was tremendous today."

On the bye week...
"I think like Pat said, part of everything will be some time off. We have a lot of little things that we just need to let our guys heal up and get back to as close as they can which is going to happen with this upcoming week so I think that will help. Ten weeks in the Big Ten takes its toll on you overall and I think this break will be good for our kids both mentally and physically.

On the running back situation...
"Well Edwin is certainly still the starter, and if the starter gets hot you're going to stay with him and the other guys will fill in as needed."

On what he has seen different on Edwin Baker's approach...
"I didn't really see anything throughout the week, I was telling a lot of media guys our young men practiced hard this week, and you saw a week before with Iowa you would have noticed no different. They are all focused and locked in. I think Edwin is just a young man who sometimes is his own worst critic. He is such a competitor he was going to come out today and make sure he was going to do his job."

Sophomore Running Back Edwin Baker

On becoming the reliable back...
"I've just been staying humble and staying focused, believing in God. Good things come to those who wait and I did that this season and I just have to continue what I'm doing."

On being the spark for the offense today...
"I thought our downfall last week was not having that push, and I felt that I did a great job but I'm not the only one, the wide receivers and offensive line did an excellent job. I couldn't do it without them and all my praise and glory should go to them."

On re-establishing the run...
"We just needed to get back to the basics. We haven't ran the ball well in the past four games previous to this one, so this week we have been working hard and focusing on just getting back to the basics."

On the touchdown right before halftime...
"(Coach) just told me to get the ball in the end zone, and I took great pride in that. I just trusted my line and fullback and lowered my pads to get across the end zone. It was a really big touchdown, and a huge momentum boost for us going into the half."

On the upcoming bye week...
"We need it. We have a lot of players with little nicks and bruises so this is definitely going to help us before our game against Purdue. We just have to work hard and treat our bodies right, get treatment if we need it and stay healthy."

On freshmen Le'Veon Bell's performance...
"He just has to stay focused and keep working through adversity. Whoever is in at the running back position just has to keep focused and motivate each other."

Junior quarterback Kirk Cousins

Team getting back on track after a loss last week...
"It was definitely a must win game, it feels like a playoff right now, we need to win out. We got back to what we like to do best, which is run the football. I think that first drive, we were able to just run it down the field, where Edwin (Baker) busted that long run for a touchdown, (he) set a tone for the whole game and got us off to the right start. We hadn't been starting fast these last couple of weeks and I think that really hurt us. This set the tone for the whole day, to be able to go down and score right away after our defense got the stop on the missed field goal."

Trying to correct mistakes such as throwing off of your back foot...
"It is unconscious, because you are trying to keep your eyes up, the minute that your eyes go down to see where the defensive line is, that is when you have problems. You have to keep your eyes up and be able to just feel the pressure, and use your instinct to make a conscious decision. Sometimes you will feel something, but go back to watch the film (and) it wasn't really there. There were times today where I did throw off my back foot, and I got away a couple of times without it getting picked. There is obviously plenty I need to go back and improve on. But we got the win, a workman like win, it wasn't pretty, but right now I'm just content with getting wins and getting closer to trying to win this championship."

The emotion leading up to this game...
"I did feel like we had a great week of practice, you never know if that is going to guarantee a win. It definitely gives you a better chance, and I thought we had a good as week of practice as we could have had. Coming out on Tuesday, you want to test where your energy is at, we had great energy then and it went through the rest of the week. We had the kind of preparation needed to win this game and fortunately we got it done. I think there were some things we made mistakes on today, which are going to happen in games, [but] probably more so than we wanted. To be able to make those mistakes and still win 31-8 I think says a lot about the quality of our team."

Thoughts on the upcoming bye week...
"It is huge, we probably could have gotten it two weeks earlier which would have been best, but we will take it right now, enjoy it, and get the rest we need. A lot of guys have some injuries where really the only cure is rest. To continue to go out there and practice is only going to keep them lingering. So this week of rest will really help."

The effort of sophomore running back Edwin Baker...
"He was excited. I think he felt that he was running the ball well, seeing things well, and when guys are playing at that level you want to get them the football. He obviously responded every time we gave him the ball, and responded in a good way. When we are running the ball like that we are going to win football games, that is the bottom line. I think our offensive line did a great job setting the tone early, and Edwin (Baker) did a tremendous job of extending plays, making the first and second guys miss, and bouncing plays out to the outside. When your running back is making the first man miss that is when you know he is really dangerous."

Sophomore defensive tackle Jerel Worthy

The upcoming bye week...
"Well it has been a long 10 weeks, everybody is pretty beat up. It gives us a chance to get our legs back and allows us to get in that training room and get treatment on some things that have been bothering us throughout the year. We will be ready to go against Purdue in a couple of weeks."

Importance of starting fast...
"When the offense starts well, and the defense starts well, we feed off of each other as far as the team goes. When they play well and are doing things up front it makes our job easier. As long as we continue to do things well and feed off of each other we will be successful."

Big Ten race at the end of the season...
"Everyone wants to know who won and who lost (after the games Saturday), but as far as a team aspect all we can do is control ourselves. We are going to cherish the bye week and then get ready for Purdue."

Senior linebacker Greg Jones

On this week's mindset after a loss...
"We had to forget about last week and move on. We had to step forward and try and finish out the season."

On having a bye week...
"We need this week off, all of us. I think this win today helps a lot with that. You don't want to go into a bye week with a loss."

On the defensive line...
"The D-line did a great job on filling the gaps. When they make plays we make plays."

Junior offensive tackle Jared McGaha

On practicing for multiple positions...
"It is about filling needs. Whenever a man goes down on the offensive line, if I need to play then I need to play. If I have to play right guard then I have to play right guard."

On filling in for Chris McDonald...
"I just had to know the position and know what I had to do. I would practice for right tackle, left tackle, and guard. I had to go out there and play the game."

Senior linebacker Jon Misch

On bouncing back from a loss...
"It was a test of maturity. We hadn't had to deal with a loss yet this season so being able to come back this week is big. We had to forget what happened. Obviously it was a devastating loss and it's not something you want to have happen. We can't focus on it too much; we had to learn from it and move on."

Minnesota Interim Head Coach Jeff Horton

Opening statement...
"Obviously disappointed with the loss, we wanted to win that football game. I thought our kids played very hard. Michigan State's a great football team; is 9-1 for a reason and will probably play New Year's Day, or the second, somewhere in there, in one of the bowls. Outstanding football team but I thought our kids hung in there and competed very well. When you are down at halftime a little bit - they got the momentum with the touchdown - it is easy to come back out the last 30 minutes and go through the motions, but I thought our kids really busted their tails out there and we were obviously undermanned some. The 58 we had put everything they had into it and certainly proud of that effort and they fought all the way to the end. We are certainly looking for things we can build on and that is something we can build on for Illinois this week. That had to be the most replays I have seen in my life, felt like we were calling the game from upstairs there. Seemed like every replay, unfortunately went against us, but that is what happens when you are struggling."

On using MarQueis Gray as a quarterback...
"We talked about doing it this week, worked on it, felt like we could give an opportunity to work in this game. Thought it did some good things, like when we interchanged a bit it opened some things up. He did a nice job, it was a good change in pace. He stills throw in practice some though, you do not forget how to throw. Obviously he does not get as much timing with his receivers, because he is playing receiver. He still warms up with the quarterbacks and still throws some routes here and there when he can. Obviously game speed is different than practice speed, but I feel total confidence in him, throwing whatever we call."

On defensive play...
"Defense played outstanding. I think twice when they had 4th-and-1, 4th-and-goal, they got in but they held in and made two goal line stands. They did a good job containing (Kirk) Cousins all day, 9 out of 20. I was really pleased with the defense, I thought they played really hard the whole day. Some of those guys that got entered in, did a nice job of competing. Our defense played well and they had that last drive that made it 31, but that was no fault to the guys. They did a nice job of really playing in the second half, and that is good to see. Big change from a week ago and when you are us we have got to be able to build on things. From how we played the second half against Ohio State to how we played the second half this week was drastically much better."

On Edwin Baker...
"He's a good player, good offensive line. That is what they do, they run the ball and then run it well."

On the mood at halftime...
"I thought it was really good, I thought the kids really responded well. There was nobody down and out. We still had 30 good minutes left, still felt like we could come out and do some things and get back in the game. I thought even when we scored to make it 24-8, it is still a two score game at that point, and you have to get your two-point conversions."

On fake punting...
"John Butler, we had talked about it and it was his call to go. I told him if you felt comfortable, call it, I am all for it. He felt that it was a good time and made it by half a yard, it was close. But it was good to see and it gave us a little juice."

On quarterback Adam Weber...
"Adam Weber handles everything, just like I have said 10 millions times, he handles everything better than anyone in this room and probably better than anyone in this state. Adam Weber is the ultimate Gopher. You do not ever have to worry about Adam Weber."

On things to work on for next week...
"Illinois will present a different problem with what they run, they run pistol offense and some other things. They have been playing well on offense. They are a good football team that has really played well recently. We will have to get better at what we do, I still think it is about that. They are good on defense and a real good football team that is playing well. We will have to have a good week and be able to go line up and get after them."

Sophomore Wide Receiver/Quarterback MarQueis Gray

On playing quarterback for the first time in a while...
"I expected to play during the week. I had a lot of reps today. They told me I was in and I ran with it and had fun."

On his mindset on playing quarterback...
"I wasn't nervous at all, we had nothing to lose, I was just out there having fun. Nothing to be nervous about."

On the Spartan defense...
"They were making plays, getting to the quarterback. Once they do that, we can't do anything down field. Their overall defense was just making plays."

Junior Wide Receiver Troy Stoudermire

On returning kicks in the second half...
"I was just trying to get my team fired up. Just cause we were down 24-0 doesn't mean we can't make a run at it."

On Edwin Baker's big day...
"He's so short and stocky. He's low to the ground. He's got a good base. He's a really good running back, a guy like that you got to wrap up. When a running back is doing pretty good like that, all you have to do is tell your teammates to keep going and never give up."

Sophomore Defensive Linemen Austin Hahn

On his recent knee injury...
"My knee started feeling a lot better Tuesday, so they cleared me to practice on Wednesday and told me I was going to be starting Thursday before practice. I'd say it's near 100 percent."

On the pressure on the quarterback...
"I think our pressure had a lot to do with the offensive line we were facing. I know a lot of people dog our defensive line with our pass rush, but things could be better, but they could also be a lot worse."

On his reaction to the outcome...
"Michigan State is a great team. They have a great coaching staff. They're 9-1 now so we knew it was going to be a tough game and they played better than us bottom line."

Junior Tight End Eric Lair

On MarQueis Gray's performance...
"I was surprised we had him out there for a whole series, but it was productive having him in there. It was good for the receivers. We had some good one-on-one matchups."

On the offense struggling...
"We came out and didn't play like we were supposed to play. In the second half we came out playing harder than we did in the second half, it was just our schemes I guess."