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Dec. 21, 2009
Penn State Head Coach Ed DeChellis
What does it mean to the team to have more options than it did last season?
It's important. You've got to have guys that can step in and do some things. I think Bill Edwards did a nice job the other night and I thought he did a nice job tonight and Chris Babb also. I think what they mentioned too; we're trying to build some confidence in some of these younger kids. We threw them into the fire early in the season. I'm not sure they were really ready for that. Babb has responded pretty well and Bill since he's been back has responded very well. Those are two really good things for us right now.
Do you feel good about where this team is going into the Big Ten schedule?
I don't know. We have a lot of work to do. We played better the other night than we did tonight. Tonight was human nature. It's really hard when all of their bags are in the locker room and they're ready to go home. They haven't been home since the second week of August. These guys are ready to go home. I knew we were fighting human nature. I think we have a chance to do some things. We've got to make some shots and I think we will. I think we're a whole lot better defensively than we were at this time last year watching tape from last year. We put a tape on the other day to see where we were defensively and I think we're a much-improved defensive team than we were at this point in time last year and we're going to need to be. Offensively, we're not as sharp probably. We're still trying to figure out who we can go to and get shots at crucial times for. Last year we went to Mel (Jamelle Cornley) so much in crucial times getting him the ball in the post. We're still trying to figure that out. We're still trying to get a post presence and build some confidence there. We have some work to do. We had two close losses that will just eat at me. Obviously at Temple and Virginia Tech, if we make a couple free throws at either place then we're right where I thought we would be. We're not that far away, but it's a small margin between winning and losing.
Are you disappointed with your post presence?
The kids are trying. I think (Andrew) Ott had a pretty good night the other night. I thought he had a better second half. We're trying to build confidence in him with the shot fake and I think Lou (Preston) has done a pretty good job with him. We've just been inconsistent. I don't think it's disappointed. We've just been inconsistent. Some days we get it in there and we catch it and we finish it and other days we catch it but we don't finish it. The kids have worked hard and Lou has done a good job with them it's just sometimes we get a little excited and need to slow down and see what the defense gives us.
Are you going to continue to use the full-court press?
We're going to try. We didn't do it very well, but we were so casual tonight. We were just walking in mud. I'm not sure what we would have done full-court. We've got a couple things that we've put in. We're trying to speed the game up a little bit. I was trying to make them go a little faster so we could go up and down a little more and use the full-court press. We've got a couple things we haven't used yet that we have in that we'll hopefully see in the Big Ten Season.
American's Vlad Moldoveanu had 11 early points. What did you guys do to slow him down?
We knew he was a good player. He had 26 against DePaul and we were very conscious of that. D.J. (Jackson) tried to guard him; he just made a couple big shots and came off a couple screens clean. That's what I'm saying. We weren't guarding the way we needed to and that's why we made the change at halftime. D.J. was trying to get some help from guys and really wasn't getting the help he needed. He's a good player. He can make baskets so we had to guard him. After that, we kind of got into a rhythm and got into him a little more.
Penn State Freshman Forward
How big are these last two wins?
I think they're real big wins because we kind of had to feed off our own intensity, not too many people in the crowd. It was kind of a game where we had to come out and work hard and get these two good wins before we head into conference play.
What did you guys do to improve in the second half?
We just kind of talked about defense at half time and coach (DeChellis) said let's come out and jump on them right away. We know those first two minutes are real important of the half so we tried to come out and make a quick run.
What does it mean to you to have to opportunity to start the second half?
It felt good just to keep playing and be in the flow of the game. It's a little bit of a confidence booster.
What led to you guys making more shots?
I think we're in the gym more, getting more shots up. The coaching staff has done a good job of having us come in and get up extra shots. I think that's paid off on game day.
Are you physically 100% yet?
I think I'm getting close to it. I try not to think about it in the game. I just try to play through it. If the coaches see it then I know they'll do what they have to do. I just try to play through it and I'm probably about 90 percent maybe, if that.