|Follow PSU Football:||Follow @PennStateFball|
Sept. 12, 2009
COACH Joe Paterno POSTGAME QUOTES
Penn State vs. Syracuse
September 12, 2009
Q: Was the lack of production in the running game of the things you guys were doing or not doing or was it the result of [Syracuse]?
A: Well there it is again. They (Syracuse) put that extra guy in there. He must've made eight, nine tackles it seemed like in the first half. There were a couple times I thought we were going to have a pretty good play and he came up and smacked us and kept us to a three- or four-yard gain.
When they're playing the safeties that tight you have to throw the football and we probably didn't throw it enough. I thought we did a little better job in blocking and I think we'll continue to improve. It's tough when you got that many guys in the box and stunning the ball so much, but we obviously got to do a better job.
Q: You said you can see a lot of improvement between Games 1 and 2, what did you think of your team?
A: I think we played most of the game well. I thought our defense was hustling to the ball and put a lot of pressure on the ball against a kid (Quarterback Greg Paulus) who I think will be a heckuva quarterback when he gets a couple of games under his belt. He's got good feet and quick hands. I thought overall we played better, but I think we still have a ways to go. I think we showed some improvement, whether we showed enough I won't know until I look at some tapes.
Q: Are you a little concerned about your short-yardage plays?
A: Oh yeah I am at the goal line. I don't think we were very good on the goal line.
Q: Last week you scored a lot while spread out, this week you were bunched up, why the difference?
A: I think we are trying to get something done each week. It's a long season and we spent a lot of time on our goal line offense and defense this week. Not an awful lot, but more time this week with the idea that you're going to just have to knock it in. We didn't do it [today] we've got work to do. Whether we'll ever get really good inside there I don't know yet. If we want to run, we've got to better than that. Particularly the one we ran on the one-yard line.
Q: Daryll Clark fumbles at the goal line; do you feel like your team is crisp and sharp, are you working on things consistency-wise?
A: That wasn't Clark's fumble, it was the exchange. I think we have to be careful not to underestimate the opponent. I think they did a good job down there on the goal line and they did a terrific job. We couldn't get underneath them. I think the fumble down there was just a question of a little frustration on the part of Wisniewski to get that guy in the crack. I don't think it was a fumble it was a question of it being a good hand off. I mean, it was a fumble, but it's not like he ran with it and dropped it. I keep telling you, we have to get better. We made some plays. We could've gone and thrown the ball on every play if we wanted to but that's not going to get us where I want to be. I think we have to make sure we come out of each game at least progressing in some areas and be as strong as we have to be.
Q: Sean Lee's second game looked like he was all over the field today, how do you assess his play?
A: I don't know what more I can say. I think he's a great player. He reminds me very much of Ham, I think Ham was a step faster, but Sean's in the same league. Ham's in the pro Hall of Fame. I think he's a heck of a football player and he plays every down and he sets an example for everyone out there. I thought [Josh] Hull played a great game, too, today. He was solid.
Q: Is Navorro Bowman getting any closer health-wise to playing?
A: He says he's feeling better, I don't know if he'll be better for the [Temple] game. I think it'll be close. If he's not 100 percent I don't think it's fair to stick him in there. Where he plays in the middle, there's an awful lot of people coming I think when he feels good and the doctor says he's OK we can put him in a couple good days of practice to test it and go from there. Right now, he couldn't have played today.
Q: Could you talk about the effect of Royster as a wide out today?
A: Royster is can do it all. He's a heck of an athlete. We can put him in motion to keep the safety from sticking his nose up in everything and we got everything we wanted from him out there today. There again, we're trying to do a lot of different things so we'll have different things ready for when we need them. I think we put him out there once.
Q: Two weeks in a row you started quick with a touchdown on the opening drive, how do you get the offense to sustain that throughout the rest of the game?
A: We made a big play on a third down to keep the drive alive. It took us out of the hole, and from there on out, the Syracuse kids were just a bit unsure of what we were doing. They have some good athletes on that team, they're lean and they can run. I was impressed with them and how hard they hit. They are a good aggressive football team; I think that's going to be a good football team. That doesn't answer the question, we didn't do some things all day that we'd like to do, but we did them when we had to. We scored in the second half when we had to; I think the defense had a couple of great series. Nobody's mentioned [Jeremy Boone]; I thought he had a great day. The kicking game, I was scared to death of before this game. Then they had lousy field position, and they run a nice kick off and we have a young kid that lets them break the containment. That's the same kid that ran back a 70-yard punt back against Minnesota.
Q: Can you comment on the overall play of the defense and also do you think the secondary has been tested enough so far?
A: I don't think anything is established yet. I think we've played well enough to win two games, that's all I know. I think we have to get better. How much better? I don't know. So we got to get better, I don't know what I can tell you guys. I got to look at some tapes and talk to people, the staff about it.
Q: With the Big Ten opener [against Iowa] a couple weeks away, are you trying to build the offense up to running and passing the ball effectively?
A: I'm just trying to have a balanced football team, both on offense and defense as well as our kicking game. I think our coverage has to be better on our kicking game. I think we're getting better everyday in all areas in practice. When we get into a really tough football game, it's going to come down to one or two plays, you can only make them in the game. You think we'd do a better job in the turnover game but we're not forcing the ball to be turned over. We're not as good as the defense and secondary needs to be.
Q: You worked in [Quinn] Barham and [Johnnie] Troutman in place of [Matt] Stankewitch and [Lou] Eliades] are those two spots still up for grabs?
A: Yeah, I think so because we just have to be more consistent in everything we do. Eliades had those two bad plays, so let's give the other guy a shot. Troutman's worked hard, he's a big, strong kid and we he could handle the linebacker, so we gave Troutman a shot and I'm going to continue to do that. Some of these young kids are going to eventually have to help us.
Q: You had Lenny Moore and the rest of the 1959 team here today, can you talk about how those teams, before you came over, meant to the history of Penn State Football?
A: Well Lenny Moore is probably the best player I've ever coached, all around. He could've been a great wide out, defensive back, running back, he was a super athlete. We had some great games in 1959, we were undefeated and Syracuse was undefeated and we lose to them 20-18, we went for two points and didn't make it. They ended up going to Texas and beating Texas and winning the national championship. We went to the first Liberty Bowl beat a good Alabama team that next year won the national championship. One of [Bear] Bryant's teams, beat them 7-0. Those guys were solid, people forget about Milt Plum, sometimes people think there wasn't any football here until I came.
In 1947, they had one of the best teams in the country, went to the Cotton Bowl and had a 14-, 15-game winning streak, went down there against Doak Walker [of Southern Methodist] and Wally Triplett was the first African-American drafted in the NFL was on that 1947 team. So there's been a great football history going way back.
PENN STATE POSTGAME PLAYER QUOTES
Penn State vs. Syracuse
September 12, 2009
Coach Tom Bradley
Asst. Coach, Defense/Cornerbacks
Q: How did you feel your defense did today?
A: Well, we played really well the first half and then the second half we got into it pretty good. We have a lot of work to do; they are a hard team to defend because of all of the formations, shifts, motions and empties and everything they do in their stallion formation, which is what they call when No. 12 in there. We were just not sure how far they were going to take it. We weren't real inventive today, but we went after it with that sack that Sean got, which was a big play. We hustled.
Q: You have two games now under your belt with giving up minimal points, are you playing as well as you would like?
A. We are doing what we are doing now. We may have played some teams that can't throw the ball as well as some of the teams we are going to be facing coming up here shortly.
Q: Are you nervous at all that the secondary really hasn't been tested?
A. I don't think we have been yet; we have just kind of been able to do some things. Hopefully we get Navarro [Bowman] back, which will be a big plus for us. He didn't practice all this week. The doctors are going to try and get him back, so maybe we will get him back next week.
Q: How much of a difference does it make when he isn't there?
A. I mean depth-wise, he is a guy that has been around a lot and it is a real problem for us depth-wise, trying to get everyone in and making the switches. We probably wouldn't have kept Sean [Lee] in as long as we did today, but getting things organized can be hectic sometimes because we haven't expanded our nickel as much as we want to.
Q: You played Bani [Gbadyu] in a couple of different places today.
A. Yeah, we did. That is one of the hard things I think for Coach Vanderlinden. I said last week, Bani is playing middle and he is playing weak side. Nate [Stupar] is playing weak side and strong side, then we get into nickel region when we only have two linebackers, and that is another set of rules. That is where depth helps you at linebacker.
#22 Evan Royster
Q: How exciting is it for you to make that big play as receiver when the running game just isn't working right now?
A. It is exciting. It has been a while since I have been a receiver in a game. It is exciting to go out there and make a play like that one.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about your running game?
You are still trying to find your way with that, did you see any signs that it is coming around today?
A. I thought the offensive line played a lot better today, actually. Their safeties were so aggressive today that it was tough to get some stuff going. (Continued) It isn't too frustrating because we are still winning. You can really see, with their defense, that they are playing aggressive and their safeties are flying up real fast. We beat them a few times deep. There were just a couple of times that we just should have gotten better runs out there. Our backs have been making the wrong cuts every now and then and not playing too aggressive, so we have some stuff to work on.
Q: What is to say that Iowa won't do this (bring their safeties up) or Ohio State won't do this? Then what do you do?
A. If that happens, then we keep throwing the ball. It is working for us and we are winning games, so it wouldn't be such a bad thing if they kept bringing safeties because we have receivers and quarterbacks that can take them out.
Q: Is there concern on the goal line for you guys?
A. I blame that on us, the tailbacks. We should have gotten it in a couple of times and we just didn't. I slipped a little bit and if Stephfon [Green] makes the right cut, then he is in too.
#17 Daryll Clark
Q: How important is it to keep this aggression going into Big Ten play?
A. It is very important because there may be sometimes that we might not get that close and when we get that opportunity we have to take full advantage.
Q: How does the height you have at receiver affect your play and how you throw the ball?
A. I mean it does affect me, but those guys don't just have height, they have speed as well. I am still ticked off about today, about the under thrown post that I had that allowed the guy to catch and pick it off and snatch it out of my guys hands. Derek Moye and Brett Brackett, those guys are really, really tall and that gives us an opportunity to throw it up if a corner has pretty good coverage. You can play jump ball with those guys and allow them to make the plays for us. That is something that we didn't have last season.
Q: Can you talk about Graham's [Zug] performance today and your passing to him on third downs?
A. It was just the looks that their defense was giving us. They give us this, and then most likely our slot guy is going to be open. We prepared for them very well. They did a lot of things that we worked on all week. It didn't surprise us at all. We pretty much knew what they were doing on defense. I knew where to go with the ball because we have hot routes installed in each of our plays. We just did a good job. We picked up blitzes very well and we executed pretty well on third downs.
Q: How impressed are you with [Graham] Zug?
A. I am very impressed with him, but I knew he had that type of game. He is what I call a diamond in the rough. I have been telling everyone about him a lot. With him being undersized or whatever, he is still one of our best rout runners and he has great hands. He is in the right position in our offense to make great plays and he has done nothing but that.
Q: Is Kevin Newsome ready to be the back up for this team?
A. I think so. We had a couple of plays to get his feet wet with a couple of quick throws. Looking at the plays on the sideline, I think the defense did a pretty good job taking away the routes from him so that he didn't really have anywhere to go. I think we had a little protection issue on the fumble, but he is ready. He does a really good job at practice. Coach Joe and coach Jay really stay on him a lot because we have to make sure that he realizes that he is the next guy. If anything happens, knock on wood that will never happen, but if it does, he is the guy.
Looking at him in practice there are times where he wants to go for the big play or the big pass, and that is normal in young guys. They like to go deep a lot. He will learn as he gets older that you can think and get just the amount of success on that play. You are going against really good guys on defense that aren't going to give up big plays like that. So you have to take your time and take what the defense gives you.
Q: Two solid wins; a great start to the season. Have you guys been fully tested yet?
A. We have been tested in certain situations, like today. Our defense did well, again, and bailed us out of a couple of situations where Syracuse scores, we are in a difficult game. Their defense did a pretty good job; they are definitely a different Syracuse team than who we played last season. They are really going to do good in the Big East, that is for sure.
#34 Nathan Stupar
Q: Talk about your interception. What was going through your mind?
A: That was a gift from above. That was all Jared Odrick. He tipped the ball and I just caught it and ran. He made a great play in tapping the ball up, so whoever's around it will get it. I was there. I wish I could've scored, but maybe next time.
Q: Can you assess the defense's performance today?
A: Other teams will make plays; that's what they do. Syracuse was a great team. They did a lot of misdirection and a lot of different things to mess you up. We made great adjustments and played real well as a defense.
Q: What was it like starting today in place of Bowman?
A: It was amazing; it was a good experience for me. It was fun being out with the first string and playing with them. It was another step towards more experience.
Q: Did you think the Syracuse offensive line was something you could exploit going into this game?
A: No, we looked at film and they had a great offense. They had a lot of different plays going in different directions to get you messed up and out of position. We never thought their linemen were a negative for them.
#5 Graham Zug
Sr./Jr., Wide Receiver
Q: Were you surprised with the improvement of Syracuse from one year to the next?
A: Definitely. Greg Paulus did a great job coming in, being a leader and helping the offense out. They definitely improved a lot; they'll be a good team this year.
Q: How about your improvement as a team from week one to week two?
How much do you guys have to improve for next week?
A: We did a good job; we improved a lot. We took care of little things, but still have to improve a lot. We still have a lot of weaknesses that we have to fix.
Q: How do you feel about your own play these first two games?
A: I think I've done pretty well. I can do a lot better on blocking and route running and just getting open for Daryll more. But I think I've done pretty well. I'm pleased so far.
Q: Has it sunk in yet going all the way from being a walk on to being a starter?
Do you ever think about all you've accomplished so far?
A: Every once in a while, but you can't really focus on that. You have to take care of the season. It's nice to think about, but I knew I could do it all along. I just have to trust myself.
Q: You appeared to be Daryll's go-to receiver today. When he was in trouble, he looked to you. Have you guys developed that kind of communication where he looks to you?
A: Maybe a little bit, but just because I saw more time than most of the receivers last year. He just has trust in me. Any day, it could be anybody.
#43 Josh Hull
Q: Assess the defense's performance.
A: We have a good feeling walking away from these first two games. With all that said, the defense came out real strong in the first half like last week. We eased up again in the second half. I'm not quite sure what the cause of it is, but we will figure it out this week in practice. The first half was real solid; they weren't able to put any drives together. Then in the second half, they got a couple drives and did end up scoring that touchdown towards the end. That's unacceptable; if we come out and play the way we did in the first half, there's no reason to let up in the second.
Q: Talk about the defense's goal line stand.
A: When they get down in the red zone like that, all 11 players on our defense know it's time to buckle up. The only goal we have in mind is to keep them out of the end zone. However it happens. If they stop themselves, that's fine with us, or if we stop them. The main objective is to keep them out of the end zone.
Q: How does it feel playing with Sean Lee for the past two games?
A: The cohesion has been there for the past eight weeks. It feels real good. He's a leader and coach on the field. Everything you need him to do, he's doing so far. He's playing really well. I think he improved upon what he did last week. As long as all the linebackers as a unit continue to improve, we will be okay.
Q: What is it like to play behind a defensive tackle like Ollie Ogbu? How does he compliment Jared Odrick?
A: It feels great to play behind two kids in the interior defensive line that have the quality and strength that those two have. It makes the linebacker's job so much easier. I don't have to contend with any of the offensive linemen getting up under my chin. I'm able to flow freely and play my game.
Q: Talk about your interception.
A: We were in joker coverage and I was supposed to be a little closer to Delone Carter than I was. I was expecting a slant, but he just ran a little turnout route. It was a gift from heaven that he just tipped the ball. I turned around, reacted and caught it.
#45 Sean Lee
Q: Can you talk about the performance of the defensive line?
A: Their performance is huge. We feed off our defensive line. They've played great for us the past two weeks. They've played with intensity, they're athletic and they make plays. If they keep doing that, it will be a fun year for us.
Q: Where do you think you are as a team after the first two games?
A: I think we're a good team, but if we want to be a great team, we have a lot of work to do. We don't want to be one of those teams with a few losses. We want to be perfect and to be perfect, we will have to get better.
Q: Were you disappointed that you didn't get the shutout?
A: Yeah, we wanted a goose egg, but that's part of the game. I thought we fought hard and played well for the most part, but we just need to get a little more consistent.
Q: Going into Temple, an in-state rivalry game, do you get hyped up for those matchups?
A: That's a team that two years ago, we put it to them, then they've gotten better each year. They've made it tougher and tougher on us. So we know with the type of coaches they have and the way the program is turning, it will be a tough game.
Q: Did Paulus impress you with what he was able to do today?
A: What's most impressive is the fact that he hasn't played for five years, and he comes out and is able to compete at a high level. Most guys can't do that and for him to do that shows how hardworking a guy and what a great leader he is.
Q: Two games in, how do you assess your play so far?
A: I think I've done good things. Still, I missed a tackle today. It would've been a tackle for a loss. I could get better with some recognition. But I feel good. I feel like I'm picking it up quicker than I thought I would. When it comes to my vision, I don't feel like my knee is a problem out there. I'm excited that I physically feel so good.
#28 Drew Astorino
Q: Can you talk about Syracuse and the way they prepared and the way they changed from last year to this year?
A: They played a pretty good game, a lot tougher than last year. They seemed to have a lot more fight in them this year. Paulus is obviously doing a really good job over there and I think they will have a pretty good season.
Q: After two games, does the defense still have work to do?
A: Yes, there will be work to do all season. We won't be stagnant at all this season. We're working to get better every single game.
Q: When you were making plays, you seemed to always have #45 [Sean Lee] right there with you. What's it like having him back out there for a second game?
A: We've been playing with him since camp so we know what great shape he is in. What can I say?
That is one of the best linebackers in the country and he's playing right beside me. That's a really nice feeling.
Q: When you're playing back there you probably can't see much of what Odrick is doing, can you talk about play He had a beast of a game.
A: Yes, he always does. He had one last week, he had on this week - he is a big man. He is one of the best at his position in the country.
Q: Greg Paulus was playing his first collegiate game on the road - were you guys trying to rattle him a little?
A: No, that's more of the crowd's job. It's tough for him to make checks and stuff. So yes, it was probably pretty tough to play here in Beaver Stadium for the first away game.
Q: How is this defense coming along from week one to week two?
A: We're moving forward. We just want to get better. We focused on Syracuse and now we're going to focus on the next game. We're really just focused on one game at a time.
#6 Derek Moye
Sophomore Wide Receiver
Q: How do you think the receiving core and the passing game in general fared today?
A: I think we did pretty good; we faced a lot of different coverages. We recognized those coverages and did the routes we needed to do.
Q: Is there any frustration in the offense that you haven't really been able to establish the running game?
A: I don't think frustration is the word because I think it is something that is going to come. It's just something we're going to have to work on. I think once we start opening up the passing game a little then we'll be able to open up the running game a little as well.
Q: How do you think the receivers in general got the job done? Darryl [Clark] was able to spread it around to four or five people.
A: I feel like we did a great job out there. There are some things you can improve on; we had a few drops out there. Overall, I think we did pretty good.
Q: Do you think there is an unbalance in terms of pass versus run in the offense right now?
A: I guess I would say so, a little bit. I guess teams want to test our receivers. They want to load up the box and run and we're going to beat them on the pass.
Q: Last game you really stepped up as the go-to guy and this game it was maybe Graham [Zug]. What does that say about the receivers?
A: I think we have a few guys who can step up any game. I think I showed it last week and Graham showed it this week.
Q: Evan [Royster] was using the slot a lot. Can you talk about his performance catching passes and running routes?
A: He's a great athlete and that is something we've worked on since the spring. Getting the balls into his hands is definitely a plus.
#85 Ollie Ogbu
Junior Defensive Tackle
Q: You guys are 2-0 to start out the season, are you guys happy with this start?
A: Yes. The numbers are good and so are the offensive numbers, so you definitely have to say it's a good win.
Q: Does [Syracuse's] quarterback Paulus do anything in there that makes it especially difficult for you guys?
A: Yes, he's a real energetic guy. He bounced a lot of plays outside. We just weren't used to his style of play because he didn't have a lot of film. I think we did a good job of just trying to keep it in the pocket and rattle him. It's only the second game so luckily we got him early. He did a pretty good job.
Q: Was that kind of the game plan, to kind of get him off his game and make him scramble and not let him settle in the pocket?
A: We didn't want him to sit there and set his feet. We definitely wanted to come with different stunts and different blitzes just to rattle him a little bit. It's only been his second game, so I think we did a pretty good job of that.
Q: Were you surprised how mobile Paulus was?
A: No, not at all. I mean, he played basketball for four years. We definitely knew that if anything, he had mobility. I definitely wasn't surprised.
Q: What does it mean to stop Syracuse in a stand like that [in the red zone]?
A: That gives us a great level of confidence. That let's our offense know that we have their back. And if they're in a fourth and one, they're in a tight situation, that Joe [Paterno] doesn't have to do anything crazy or call a crazy play. We can sit there and play the run or play the pass. So I think that gives a great deal of confidence, even to our young guys. That helps us to know that we can help with three and out ,or four and out, day-in and day-out, so that's pretty good.
Q: Were you surprised at all that Syracuse rotated their quarterbacks?
A: No, because once again, it was only Paulus' second game. We knew there was a possibility that they would throw in a guy that's been there for a couple years. We knew they were going to try and throw some tricky stuff that we'd never seen before. We just wanted to not panic and play every play and not think too far into the future.
#61 Stefan Wisniewski
Q: The offensive line usually prides itself on run blocking. Are you guys frustrated that you can't get it going better than you have the in the last two weeks?
A: Absolutely. That's the biggest thing that we're looking at. We're not happy at all with the way that it's been going and we really need to get to work this week.
Q: What was the problem on the goal line?
You guys really seemed to struggle there today. A: I think we're just not getting any push up front. We've got to get lower. That's really all it is on the goal line.
Q: Do you think you guys are playing as hard as the line did last year?
A: I don't think the problem is playing hard I think it's getting that experience of knowing what to do in every situation and execute. I think it's just getting a little bit more confidence and just going out and attacking.
Q: What is the feeling after these two wins?
A: I think we're happy with them, but we need to get better for the next ones.
Andrew Quarless #10 TE Senior
Q: Daryll Clark featured six or seven receivers today, how important is it to have a variety in the receivers?
A : It's wonderful, Clark did a real good job spreading the ball out today. He did a great job making his reads and doing what he needed to do.
Q: You seemed to be featured more in the passing game today, does that feel pretty good?
A : It feels amazing to be able to get out there and help out and make an impact for my team.
Q: Was it a focal point this week to get the running game on track?
A : Definitely, the running game is always going to help the passing game.
Q: What do you guys need to do on those goal-line situations?
A : We just have to be more physical. I already know that come Monday we are going to be hitting. We just have to be more physical when it gets to the goal line.
Q: Is it almost an idea of taking pride and making it an attitude to score?
A : It's about who wants it more when it comes down to the goal line. It comes down to who is going to man up. Like I said, we know that come Monday we are going to be hitting and getting physical.
Quinn Barham #67 G Sophomore
Q: Joe said those two guard spots are still up for grabs. Is that good news to you?
A : Definitely, it drives us more in practice knowing that we still have the chance. It gives us a chance to gel together and work with the first and second teams.
Q: You have to be pretty happy with the 2-0 start?
A : Yeah, but we will have a lot of work to do. We weren't perfect and we are trying to be perfect. It is never enough, that's what Joe teaches us. Q: What do you need to do to open up the run game?
A : Just practice more, keep at it. We're passing a little more than usual, and we like to run. If we get a little more balance like we did last year I think we will be great.
Jared Odrick #91 DT Senior
Q: The defense almost had a score, just talk about the challenge for the defense to force turnovers and possibly score?
A : We definitely want to score. That is a goal coming into every game.
Q: What is going to be key the next few weeks of practice before the Owls and a primetime game?
A : We are going to treat the owls like another prime time game. You can't really look past anybody. You always say that, but it is so true. Upsets happen. Look on ESPN. There is always people getting upset and dropping out of the top ten.
Q: Your take on Paulus and Syracuse compared to last year?
A : They are a whole lot better team, better players, better coaches. We felt that if we came out with the same tenacity as last year and really imposed our will on them then we shouldn't have a problem.
Q: How do you deal with being double-teamed?
A : We try to switch things up and try and give a different look so they can't do that. Just using certain stunts and putting me in different spots and just trying to mix it up.
SYRACUSE HEAD COACH DOUG MARRONE POSTGAME QUOTES
Penn State vs. Syracuse
September 12, 2009
Obviously, we played a very good Penn State team. My thoughts coming into this game were that we were trying to slow the game down and get ourselves into the fourth quarter with a chance to win it. We went into halftime, 14-0. The first half, we had some tough situations where we couldn't change the field position for ourselves. On offense, we didn't want to make any mistakes down there, trying to get the ball out. I really thought we could hang with this team until the fourth quarter and win this game. We had the ball right before the half and we couldn't get any points out of that; we missed a long field goal. We had Jake Smith, who does some long field goals for us. He had the distance. It was wide left. Coming out in the second half, we wanted to try to get something going with a good return and again the drive stalled. From that standpoint, Penn State takes the ball down and goes up 21-0. We go back down the field and drop a ball in the end zone that would have made it a two-score game, again, going into the fourth quarter and trying to keep this thing close. The plan had merit to it. The plan could have worked easily. We had to make more plays. We dropped some footballs, which is discouraging. The defense, early on, let us hang in there and they played really well. We had a good coverage, (Evan) Royster made a nice play to split us for the long touchdown. We got reached on the other (Royster) touchdown, running the football out from the edge. Other than that, we put pressure on the quarterback; we hit the quarterback. They hit curls on us. If you look at this game and you go back defensively, we had them third down quite a bit in the first couple of series. Third-and-nine the first time and third-and-five, I believe, then we had another third down and they hit us with curls and a curl-flat combination on all three of them. They hit us with that a couple of times during the game. The direction of this football team is headed in the right way and I am excited to get back to work, make the corrections from this game and look at what we have to do offensively, probably tone it down a little bit more than we did this week and focus in and make plays.
Q: How did you think your guys handled the whole foreign atmosphere?
A: I thought it was fine. I think that we worked really hard during the week. It was funny how when I told the players, you would first hear "We are Penn State," which happened, then you would hear the lion roar, that would happen, and then the band would fill the seats. Really, everything happened to plan and I thought the players handled it. I didn't see any problem at all. You know, we strategically looked at the end zones. They have the student section in one, which we knew about, so we knew which goal we wanted to defend. We knew that with the game on the line, we wanted to be going away from the student end zone. We had a plan in place of what we wanted to do.
Q: What do you think about Greg Paulus' performance today?
A: I think Greg (Paulus) made some throws for us. We got a tipped ball. Early on, we might have missed a couple of things, but he had a good completion percentage and we just got to keep working with him and make sure that we put him in positions that he can be successful.
Q: Were you happy with your defensive line's performance today, especially on the goal line?
A: When you have the ability to hold someone on the goal line, especially an offense with a heck of a quarterback and two good running backs and a good young offensive line, I think the defense did a nice job, they really did.
Q: How much did you alter your game plan because of field position?
A: I didn't alter the game plan at all, the game plan started to alter when it went to 28-0. When it was 21-0, when we got the ball in there, my thoughts were to go ahead and take two shots and then we got hit with a long third-and-22 and I'm not gonna take two shots, so we punted there. The whole goal was to get it back to a two-score game.
Q: How concerned were you with Penn State's run game versus pass game?
A: Running the ball, we are always making sure that we are tackling. From the standpoint of trying to get to (Daryll Clark) and hit him, which we did quite a bit, and rattle him, if you look at it a couple of times when you go back, we got to get home quicker. What I mean by that is we have guys coming free and we are just a little bit behind in creating a big hit. You also have to be able to play coverage at times and get pressure with just your front four. We have to work on doing a better job of that.
Q: Did you notice a resiliency with your team?
A: We coach that way. It's hard for me to say. I don't ever expect a Syracuse team to quit, I don't ever expect a Syracuse team to give in. We don't ever even talk about that with our players. When people ask me questions about the resiliency of our players, it is expected. It is something that is part of being a Syracuse University football player.
Q: When you put Ryan Nassib in intermittently, were you doing that to prepare him for next year?
A: Absolutely not. I believe that we will need both quarterbacks to help us win this year and both quarterbacks are aware of the situation. We use both quarterbacks to help us with the run game, pass game and all of the things that we are doing. We build packages for both of them.
Q: Is the use of your quarterback based on the situation?
A: It has a lot to do with the situation. It has a lot to do with clock management and what we want to do with the clock. It has a lot to do with where we are in the game or how we want to settle people down, one way or the other. When I say settle people down, it may be ourselves offensively, it may be our offensive line to put them in a better situation to run the ball. There's a lot of things that go into when we want to use the certain packages that we have and then we look for the quarterbacks to go in there and manage the game and that's how we practice. I had a good call on the radio show the other day asking 'does it mess up the rhythm of the quarterbacks when you do that?
' We do it in practice, so it doesn't. If we went one quarter here, one quarter there, in my opinion, that has a problem with the rhythm. What we are doing is put our players in the position to win games and we love both quarterbacks.
Q: Were you prepared to have Evan Royster play a lot of wide receiver like he did today?
A: They've done that (before). Galen Hall is a tremendous offensive coordinator. He has been around a long time. He has a background of doing things like that and Evan Royster is a very good player. My main concern with him going into the week was him getting the ball from the I- position and us being able to tackle him. I think our guys did a good job today. We missed some. We had some good tackles for losses by our defense, but you'll see that we could have had even greater losses with first hits in the backfield.
SYRACUSE POSTGAME PLAYER QUOTES
Penn State vs. Syracuse
September 12, 2009
#2 Greg Paulus
Q: How did the environment here today compare with what you played in ACC Basketball?
A: It was okay. We knew it was going to be a good environment. They have very passionate fans here. We knew that Penn State was a good team. They have a tradition here and they do a good job.
Q: How do you think you guys handled things overall?
A: We missed some chances to take advantage of some of the situations we had. I thought our guys played hard and put us in some good situations, especially in the second half. We have to convert those situations.
Q: Why was it so hard to get anything going in the first half?
Was it the field position?
A: I think that was a part of it. We were working inside of our three-yard line two-straight possessions, I believe. You have to give Penn State's punter (Jeremy Boone) a little bit of credit there. The other time our defense got a stop on fourth and goal. They did a good job and played their hearts out.
Q: How frustrating was it that you guys couldn't finish those drives in the second half?
A: Those are things we can get better at and execute. It's something we will learn and keep building on.
Q: Did you talk to Mike Williams at all about the dropped pass?
A: Mike is going to make that catch. I don't worry about Mike catching the ball and making big plays. He is a big time player and same situation or if it's even a different route, I'm still 100 percent confident in throwing him the ball.
Q: What progress have you seen between the first and second game?
A: Well we're getting better. We're learning from some of the mistakes we are making. For a team, there is nothing like playing a game and seeing the types of reactions and responses we have and I think we are coming closer together. I really like seeing what's ahead of us.
Q: What did you and the team do specifically better today?
A: I've only had two games, so I know each time I get a rep in a game, I slow it down. Defensively, we are getting different looks every game and I know our offense is trying to find our identity and we are going to find that. We are working really hard in trying to execute. We trust in what our coaches are getting us to do and what they prepare us to do.
Q: Have you ever been on a team that has been trying to build confidence and an identity?
A: I think every team has to find that. It never comes naturally. Even at Duke, my four years there, each team had a different identity through the course of games. You get that through with how you respond, what type of team you're going to make, what plays you're going to make and we have good guys here and good character guys here. I know we're going to be okay. I know each time that I've played whether its high school or college now, it takes time to find an identity.
Q: Can you talk about alternating at quarterback and does that present any challenges to you guys?
A: No, it's not tough at all. Ryan (Nassib) did an awesome job today making some throws. We have some different packages in there and different game plans. We're both going to do whatever coach tells us to do. And we know coach will do whatever he needs to for us to be successful and for the team to be successful.
#3 Delone Carter
Sr./Sr., Running Back
Q: Greg (Paulus) just said you were searching for an identity on offense?
Do you feel that same way?
A: Absolutely. I feel like we are just putting pieces of the puzzle together and trying to find out what works.
Q: Is anything working at all?
A: I mean yes, at times. We have a lot of weapons that work. But right now we are still young with it. I feel like we've learned a lot from this game we've just played.
Q: What are your thoughts on how you matched up with Penn State?
A: In certain areas, you see mismatches. But I definitely feel like we competed and I know there are a lot of things we could have done better, and I know later on in the season we would've been better prepared for them.
Q: How much do you feel you guys progressed between the first and second game?
A: Obviously we didn't progress enough. We only scored one time. We had times where we were down in the red zone and we didn't execute. So we weren't mature enough but like I said, we learn the world from this experience.
Q: Second half you guys had a tough time finishing drives. Can you talk about that?
A: It's so frustrating when you move the ball down the field and you don't finish with a touchdown. That's just something we're going to have to learn to do all the time.
#1 Mike Williams
Sr./Sr., Wide Receiver
Q: How do you guys think you handled the Penn State atmosphere?
A: I think we handled it well. We didn't execute some of the time, but that's going to happen. I feel like this is a great environment to be playing in. It gets us ready to play in a lot of stadiums. It gets us ready to play, period. Against all these fans, everyone can get the jitters out now. I feel like we've got some cleaning up to do and then that'll be all.
Q: What happened on the fourth and goal pass from Greg (Paulus)?
A: It was a perfect pass. It was a perfect route. It was a perfect everything. I just dropped the pass. I let the ball get on me so quick and I just dropped it. That how we practiced it and I caught it a million times and I just dropped it. It was a perfect pass.
Q: You made a nice catch on that same drive as the drop. How can you describe making those difficult catches and then have one you can't make like the one in the end zone?
A: It was just focus. When I made the difficult catch, I had focus on the ball the whole time. Then when I had the easy pass, you think you have that one and then you just lose it.
Q: As the game went on, it looks like Greg was really looking for you. Do you feel like you guys are working on your chemistry a lot?
A: Definitely. That's how it has been. Before that one drive, we came out there and I said, 'Man I got you.' It just happened that I didn't finish it.
#97 Arthur Jones
Sr./Sr., Defensive Tackle
Q: Is there a sense that you guys felt that your defense was keeping you in the game today?
A: Before the game even started and when they scored the first time, I knew we were in the game. I honestly didn't even look at the score until the third quarter. I just told the guys to get out there and keep playing.
Q: Time of possession was in favor of Penn State especially in the first quarter. Do you guys feel fatigued at all?
A: I think coach did a pretty good job on conditioning during the preseason. It was a little tiring to be honest with you. But I thought we were a better conditioned football team than Penn State.
Q: Did you guys get juiced up as the game went on?
A: Definitely. We were ready to go the entire game. We just got to eliminate the big plays and go back to the drawing boards and get ready for Northwestern.
Q: Are you proud of yourself that you made that goal line stand?
A: Absolutely. It is definitely an improvement from last week. We just have to move on and get a Big Ten win next week (against Northwestern).