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Oct. 9, 2010
PENN STATE POSTGAME Joe Paterno QUOTES
Penn State vs. Illinois
October 9, 2010
Q: Did missed opportunities early send this game downhill?
A: I could make that up as an excuse. We stunk. I did a lousy job. I thought we were ready, we just didn't play very well. I could make a million excuses. We had our opportunities; we just didn't stay on our blocks. We didn't have a good day throwing the ball. We didn't do a great job play calling. We just did a lousy job. The kids didn't play very well and Illinois played a really tough football game, a solid game. They made a couple mistakes early but after that they were pretty darn good.
Q: How much are the injuries on defense a concern?
A: I can't figure out why we're getting so many kids bumped, but we're getting them bumped. You've got to live with it. We had two or three kids hurt today that may not play. To answer why, I don't know the answer to it. I talk to the doctors and medical people all the time. They don't have an answer. We got three or four kids hurt today, and a couple of them, they won't play. I guess that's the way it goes every once and a while.
Q: Is this as many injuries as you can remember on one side of the ball?
A: To try to answer the question about why we have so many injuries, I don't know. We're not working that hard. Ordinarily, if we work that hard and kids go into the ball game tired, sometimes we get some bumps and bruises that we wouldn't get ordinarily. We have not worked that hard and we shouldn't be coming away with that many bumps and bruises, but we got them and there's nothing you can do about them.
Q: What did you mean by you didn't do your job?
A: Well, any time you lose you can always point fingers at everybody else. I think we could have probably done a better job somewhere down the line. I have to look at the tapes and figure out whether we could have done a couple different things. I don't know. We really weren't competitive. When you're not competitive, against a club at home, on homecoming, against a good, solid team and Ron's (Zook) done a good job with that group but still, we ought to play better than that. So, who do you blame? I'd like to blame you guys, but I can't.
Q: Are you going to fundamentally change the way you approach games the rest of the year?
A: I felt good. I think we did it on the right note going in there. I thought the kids were ready to go. It's disappointing. We got a couple breaks early. We weren't able to kind of get more than field goals. I thought we were over that. We spent an awful lot of time on selection in the red zone; we just didn't do a very good job of it. That part, I think the play calling was ok and a couple other things that went on out there that maybe we should have done a little differently, I don't know. But, you know, things didn't come together the way I hoped they would.
Q: What were the injuries to Andrew Dailey, Eric Latimore and Nick Sukay?
A: I don't know. There's so many of them going on out there. Latimore, I'm not sure what it is. He was hurt a little bit going into the game. In fact, a couple weeks ago he didn't play. So, he has been bumped a little bit but not that badly.
Q: How will you get the team to bounce back after the off week?
A: We're going to go back and I'm not sure we're playing the right people. We've got to take a good look at the tapes. We've got to take a good look at what some kids can do and maybe we're asking a couple kids to do some things they can't handle. I don't know. I've got to just sit down and spend a little more time maybe with the staff looking at films. I don't know. We just can't go the way we're going. We're not making any progress. I thought by this stage we would be a pretty good football team. I didn't think we would be great, but I thought we would be pretty good but we're not. We're not getting any better and that's the discouraging part.
Q: Why wasn't your team able to control the line of scrimmage?
A: On the line of scrimmage? They kicked our ears in. The linebackers, I thought they never saw a pass before. Who do you blame? You've got to blame us. I'm not going to go around pointing fingers at kids. I don't think that's fair to them. That first half, they (Illinois) could have completed every down. We weren't even close to some of that, those cheap little hooks and short crosses and that kind of stuff. We'll see. We've got work to do.
Q: Do you expect any of the injured players who missed today's game to be back in two weeks?
A: I don't know. It's up to the doctors that have got to take a look at them. I usually talk with the doctors every Sunday morning and go over the whole roster. I'll talk to them tomorrow morning and I'll figure out who might be able to make it. A kid like (Jack) Crawford, Crawford was practicing on Wednesday and he's not done anything. He just goes in there, simple little play and he twists an ankle. They may even have to operate on his ankle and, you know, he's one of our better players. But, that's the game. You've got to live with it. We've got to live with them, we've got to adjust to it and we've got to see what we can do to overcome it. We'll go to work.
PENN STATE POSTGAME PLAYER QUOTES
Q: Where do you start explaining defensively what happened?
A: We had a bunch of kids playing different position, but we will figure it out when we look at the tape.
Q: It's understandable you do not want to make any excuses, but when you have this volume of injuries can any team overcome that many players getting hurt on defense?
A: If you are a good team, sure I think you can overcome it. Right off the get-go we lost [Eric] Latimore on our first play of the game.
Q: On Red Zone defense
A: We talk about it all time in practice. You have to be able to stop them in the red zone and we haven't been able to do that.
Q: Even with injuries it looks like Illinois got the best of you up front. How disappointing is that?
A: We had some guys playing today like Kevion [Latham], who got more plays today than he has played in a year. So, they get tired in there playing that many plays. We had a young freshman DaQuan Jones who was playing in there today and that is the first go-around for him. So there were some firsts for some guys.
Q: Is [Nick] Sukay going to be out for a while?
A: We do not know that either. We lost Nick in the first quarter and he tried to go back in, but the doctors shut him down and told him he could not go back in. The extent of that injury, I do not know. We did not have [Michael] Mauti today, we did not have [Bani] Gbadyu today, obviously [Jack] Crawford was out today and we knew that going into the game.
Q: On Coach Joe Paterno's disappointment
A: I think we are all disappointed and I think we are disappointed in the way we played. People will say we had a lot of guys hurt, but that is football. You will not be getting an excuse from me there. Guys have to step up and play.
#9 Michael Zordich
Jr./So., Running Back
Q: In some ways is this more frustrating than Alabama and Iowa given where the game was and homecoming?
A: Absolutely. It is because Iowa and Alabama were in the past and this was the game today and we needed to win this to get rolling. Unfortunately, we ended up with a loss and we did not play the way we needed to play.
Q: Joe [Paterno] felt you had a good week in practice and once the game started it wasn't there. What are your thoughts on that?
A: I wish I could tell you. I thought we had a couple great days of practice, but we came out today and made some plays, but we just did not capitalize on our opportunities. We need to do better than that for the fans, for Penn State and for our team to get some wins.
Q: Michael the bye week comes this week, how important is that to get the ship pointed in the right direction?
A: The bye week is big. We need time to get picked up and see who bounces back and see who steps up and see who really wants it. We have a lot of guys on this team who want to keep fighting and I am one of them and we want to get this thing rolling.
Q: Possession time was weird today. It felt like offense was not out there and defense was there all day.
A: Absolutely. As the offense as a whole we need to do a better job of keeping the ball in our hands so the defense does not get tired like today, we really wore our own defense out by having them on the field for so long.
Q: On coming back from the past losses.
A: A lot of teams have to overcome things like that and we are one of them. That is where we are right now and there are a lot of guys on this team that really want this and really care. We are going to do our best to come back and get things rolling.
Q: How much of a step backwards do you think you took today?
A: It'd be hard to quantify how big of a step backwards. We didn't execute, we have to find out some things in the next couple weeks, but we obviously have to get better than we were today. I don't think we played as well today as we did in previous weeks and that's disappointing. We, as coaches, have to look at ourselves as the first thing, then we have to look at who we're playing in terms of are we playing the right guys and we have to evaluate who wants this, who wants to compete and who wants to be tough, and that includes us.
Q: Joe (Paterno) talked about saying that you might be asking some kids to do too much, does that go to the quarterback role as well?
A: We have to look at it. I think we've kept the practice fairly tight, but they got to him in a couple key spots, which didn't help. So we have to look at everything we're doing.
Q: What is going to be the next move as you go into practice this week?
A: We have to find the right combination with the guys we have right now. (We need to) make sure we get the best 11 on the field, even if it's not necessarily the best 11 we have to find the 11 that want to fight because every game from here on out is going to be a bare-knuckle fight.
#6 Derek Moye
Sr./Jr., Wide Reciever
Q: So you scored a key touchdown today, but when the game goes the way it did, do you still have any satisfaction in that play?
A: No, not really, I felt satisfaction at the time because it made it a closer game, and we (possibly) were coming back for the win, but not when it turned out like that.
Q: Is there any kind of emotion on the sideline today, you guys looked a little flat?
A: I think in our play we were flat, but at the same time there were guys who were showing emotion and who were out there trying to be leaders and trying to make some plays, but it just didn't work out for us on the field.
Q: How do you get your attention away from this game and look toward the future and the upcoming games?
A: I think it's going to be easy for the team because we got beat pretty badly. I want to forget about it as soon as possible and move on to the next game and try to get better, and I'm sure the rest of the team does as well.
#12 Stephon Morris
Q: Do the injuries on the defensive line get demoralizing for everyone else?
A: Of course, we were short in practice. That's not an excuse, but we keep losing players. Every time we see a teammate down on the ground we just hang our heads. We are going to overcome it. We have to overcome it, this is Penn State. When one kid goes down, another one needs to step up. We recruited these kids to play, so anything the defense can do in terms of leadership, we will do.
Q: When you are losing guys and depth, isn't it only natural to go down as a defense?
A: Yeah, of course, but that is not an excuse. We just have to keep fighting. That is why we did everything that we did, in summer camp too.
Q: How did the coaching staff react after the game, were they tough on you guys?
A: Of course the coaching staff was tough; Coach Paterno told us we are going to have a tough week. It was Homecoming and that's enough said. Three and three and .500 is not the Penn State way. We talked as a team, not with the coaches, on Monday after the Iowa loss and we talked about what we are going to do to get better. We need somebody to just step up, who is going to be that playmaker? The coaching staff isn't playing on the field, we are.
#19 Justin Brown
So./So., Wide Receiver
Q: How did Rob [Bolden] hold up?
A: I feel like Rob did good. We have to make plays; we have to step up. He is a young quarterback and none of this is on him in my eyes.
Q: Were you guys feeling frustrated with the Red Zone?
A: Yeah, we have to start scoring. This is the sixth game. We can't go on not scoring in the red zone, we have to change that.
Q: Do you feel you are progressing as a team?
A: I feel like some weeks we are, some weeks we aren't. We are inconsistent right now; we have to just be steady. We have to make better drives and be more consistent. It starts with everybody. We all have to be consistent and we have to go to work. The only way we're going to get better is by going to work.
Q: What is the morale of the team right now? Did you expect to be 3-3 at this point in the season?
A: We're not happy. Nobody wants to lose, especially Penn State. We're not used to losing. A lot of people want to come back this week and get the win. No one expected that, nobody came here for that.
#22 Evan Royster
Q: As a senior, you obviously didn't want to have a performance like this at Homecoming or really any game, how do you fight this off?
A: We just have to put it behind us and get back to preparing for the next team. This isn't where any of us wanted to be at this point in the season, but we're going to see who is going to step up and play. We will forget about this stuff and make some changes. Personnel changes or any changes that can get us back on track.
Q: Would you like to have seen the offense try and run something rather than kick it early on in the game?
A: That's up to the coaches. That is a decision I would not like to make. It's tough. You say you want to try it but then if it fails and you wonder why you did that.
Q: Is this a fragile time? After a loss like this you can really go any direction.
A: It's tough to bounce back from something like this, but we are going to see who can step and play and who wants to win. It's a mindset you need to get it in your head before you even go out to practice. It's a certain want to that you have to have and we're going to see who has it. We have to get a sense of urgency. We just have to get out there and start doing it. We have to get out there and work hard and try to get better.
#61 Stefen Wisniewski
Q: What can the veterans on the team do to help turn this around?
A: All of the older guys have to set the tone. The older guys were around when we had these big games, and they know what it takes to win. We have to set the tone at practice and encourage the younger guys to follow.
Q: Is there a lack of intensity in practice?
A: I think we have to practice better. We have to practice every day with great intensity and a desire to get better. If we start practicing like that, it'll show up on game day. We have to do better.
Q: What will it take to get the team back on track?
A: Instead of looking around and asking what happened, we have to look at ourselves and figure out what we can do to fix this. If we start to do that, and every guy starts looking at themselves, we'll get things back on track.
#44 Kevion Latham
Sr./Jr., Defensive End
Q: How hard is it to deal with the injuries?
A: We're still a team. We love each other, and we go out there and practice for each other. We play for each other. We just have to play hard and go out to practice and work harder. We just have to try to come out next week and get it done.
Q: Will the team rest up this week?
A: There's no rest. We have to look at this film, fix our mistakes and put in a hard week of practice. Then we have to come out hard for Minnesota.
#48 Chris Colasanti
Q: How hard is it to deal with all of the injuries on defense?
A: No matter what happens, other guys are going to step up. Injuries are part of the game. It's understandable. Those guys are going to be missed but other guys are going to be called in and they have to step up.
Q: Individually, you had 18 tackles today, what do you attribute that success to?
A: I really feel that a lot of it can be attributed to the defensive line. They close gaps so I can go backside and make plays. I really feel that without the line, I wouldn't be able to make the plays.
Q: How important is the timing of this off week?
A: I think, physically and mentally, the off week is something we need. I think guys are going to get healed up, and we'll get back to full capacity. Next week, we need to come to practice and make a decision to get better. We need to go out each day and practice with a purpose.
Q: Regardless of the score, the defense always seems to play with intensity, is that a mentality you have?
A: All the guys on defense are scrappers. It's the mentality we have. No matter what the score is, we're going to go out there and make plays. It's unfortunate that we lost, but we're going to take each day and get better. That's the only thing we can do.
Q: Is the intensity the same in practice as it is in the game?
A: The intensity is there in practice. You have to have that intensity; you have to have that purpose each and every day to get better. Once you believe you're the best, you're no longer the best. I feel like the defense goes out there every day and strives to be better, and that's what we're going to continue to do.
#28 Drew Astorino Sr./Jr., Safety
Q: Illinois had long drives, held the ball for long possessions. How frustrating was that for the defense?
A: Yeah, it was real frustrating. We couldn't make the big stops, especially on third down, third-and-short, and yeah, it was pretty frustrating.
Q: Talk about having the week off and regrouping and you obviously have to get better.
A: We need to refocus. We've got to concentrate on our next game and we have the bye week so, (we can) get a couple of practices in and just continue to go to work.
Q: Talk about their sense of urgency offensively on short stuff early on. Talk about trying to defend that.
A: They did a good job. Just curls, crossing routes, stuff like that, underneath stuff, and that's tough to defend. But we should be able to do that, and we didn't.
Q: How does the defense deal with all these injuries?
A: We have a lot of backups, a lot of good backups. They came to Penn State because they were good players, and so those guys are just going to need to step up and maybe go from a backup role to a starter role now, and so they need to go.
Q: What's the process of erasing a performance like this and then just focusing on things to improve on for next week
A: It was a tough day today. You're going to think about it over the weekend, you're going to watch film on Monday of it - I mean I'll probably watch film on Sunday of it - and then you move on. You just forget about it. I mean it's always in the back of your mind, obviously, but you know we play week after week. We play good teams, so you've just got to concentrate on the next game.
Q: How bad do you guys need this bye week?
A: We're a little banged up, I think, and the loss today was tough, but the bye week's going to be good I think.
#68 Doug Klopacz Sr./Sr., Center
Q: End of the game - you were one of the last on the sideline. Could you describe what you're thinking?
A: It's very frustrating when you go out there and prepare for a team and you work as hard as we do and things don't click - (it's) very frustrating. You expect to go out there and perform how we're expected to perform and when it doesn't happen, it's not fun.
Q: Has another game felt like this at the end since you've been in a Penn State uniform?
A: Every loss is frustrating. That's pretty much it.
Q: It seems like the offensive line has been one of the weaker spots on the team. How does that mentality going into a game - that you guys haven't really clicked as a unit - affect you?
A: That's also frustrating to hear at this point in the season. Injuries - that hurt us. It kind of felt like we were coming together, becoming a little more cohesive, then Lou (Eliades) got hurt. The team is doing all it can. We've got two weeks now to get better and get ready for Minnesota, and we're going to have to go back to the drawing board on the field and fix what went wrong today.
Q: Do you feel like the line is letting the entire team down?
A: No. I think today, everyone - like I said earlier, no one was really clicking. Things weren't going our way, we couldn't make the plays in order to come back, and that's one of the things we have got to work on.
Q: How close do you feel you guys are as an offensive unit to not feel that way after losing by 20 at home?
A: I think we are a lot closer than people think. You know one more play here, one more play there (and) it's a totally different game.
Q: Joe look pretty discouraged in here afterward. What's the mood in the locker room right now?
A: Like I said, frustrated. You don't expect to come out here and perform like that as hard as we've worked off-season, in-season. That's the only word I can really (use to) describe - it's very frustrating.
Q: Do you feel like you guys just laid an egg today?
A: Yes and no. Like I said, not clicking as much as we hope to be. That happens. Like I said, now it's time to go back to work and figure out what went wrong and fix it.
#83 Brett Brackett Gr./Sr., Wide Receiver
Q: How much of what's going on offensively can be attributed to a lack of focus?
A: I wouldn't say focus. I wish I could tell you exactly what it was. I feel like we got guys that are working hard, that are focused, that know what they're doing, all that kind of stuff - something's just not clicking right now and we've got to figure it out. Straight and simple.
Q: How do you do that?
A: Go to work. You have got to work hard. The only way I know to get better is when guys work hard. So you've got to keep working and something's going to click here and there and get some momentum and keep rollin'.
Q: Has the intensity in practice been enough?
A: Yeah, I think so. I can point to Wednesday - I thought we had a great practice, really enthused, ready to go. We just have got to find something to get some momentum going and keep rollin'.
Q: How do you find that balance in practice when one guy is going down after another?
A: You just gotta step up and play.
Q: You're a captain on this team. Were players looking for you in the locker room with you guys going in at halftime and what happened in the locker room?
A: Obviously, being down (and) me being a leader, guys were looking to me and I was just trying to keep positive and try to get guys to make plays, keep rolling, and that's all you can do. So we were trying to keep fighting to try and find out who's tough - that was a big thing we were talking about at halftime, is be tough and let's go make some plays, and unfortunately it didn't happen.
Q: You guys held a team meeting last week. How frustrating is it to see when you're evaluating your goals, and that kind of thing, and that it didn't carry over?
A: I don't know. It's a game; somebody has to win it, somebody has to lose, and unfortunately (we) came out on the losing end. It's not like we're not fighting, it's not like we're not trying, it's just - I don't know what it is, but we have got to try to figure it out. That's what our job is, to try to figure that out. So we're going to try and do that.
Q: How does a bye week practice differ compared from when you don't have a game coming up?
A: That's a great question. I don't know when (was) the last time we had a bye week since I've been here. I think we might have had one my freshman year or red-shirt freshman year ... Was it two years ago? They all kind of seem to blend together at times, but it's going to be a time where we're going to refocus and really have some tough practices to find out who we have on the football team to step up and make some plays for us. So we're going to get a little rest, (but) we'll also have to work hard and move forward.
ILLINOIS POST-GAME QUOTES Click here for video
ILLINOIS HEAD COACH RON ZOOK POSTGAME QUOTES
A: Obviously it was a big win for us. I think we talked about all week that Illinois has never won here and we had a chance to come up here and play a good football team, a well-coached football team, a great program in front of 109,000 people and do something that has never been done at the University of Illinois. Our guys got into it and did it. So I'm proud of them and once again I think it's very important. We will enjoy this one tonight and then get ready for Michigan State next week.
Q: Did you see things that you could exploit going into this game? How do you explain coming in here and doing it the way you did?
A: Not that we saw anything in the game plan. I think the coaches did a great job in preparing the guys for doing what we're trying to do and then executing it. I think the biggest thing is we are continuing to improve. We have improved since the very first. I felt like we played very well last week and just didn't get the victory. We've got to continue to raise our game and we did that.
Q: When you said this was a must win to the media earlier in the week, do you think that filtered to the kids?
A: Well I mean we talk to them about that and how important it was. You don't want to go 0-2 in the Big Ten this early in the season. I thought it was very important that we do that. As I talk to our football team, I feel like we are a football team that is getting better and a team that can compete in the Big Ten. If the coaches feel that way, I think it's important the players feel that way. So that's how we approach it.
Q: The way you guys handled the fumbles, what does that show about your team?
A: No question, it's something that we've talked about all season and all through camp. It's important when bad things happen, you just keep playing. I thought the way the defense was able to hold them to field goals down there in critical situations and after the long pass our offense to go back down and do what they did, once again it's a sign of guys going about their business, not worrying about the end result and just worrying about the play.
Q: When you went for it on 4th and 1, what was your thought process there?
A: I thought we could get it. I thought it was important we get it, particularly early in the game. Once again, it's a gut feeling. Next time it was 4th and 2 and I didn't go for it. I just didn't have the same feeling as the first one.
Q: What do you say to Jack (Ramsey)? That's a tough day obviously.
A: Jack will be fine. After he dropped the first one, we talked about putting Jarred (Fason) in there. I said no. I looked at Jack and said, "Jack you alright?" I would have left Jack in there for the third one, but once again, mentally it messes with you. But Jack will be fine. He did some things last week. It was incredible the way he caught some with guys right in his face. He'll go back, he'll work on it and he'll be fine.
Q: Can you talk about the poise that Nathan (Scheelhause) played with today?
A: Two things. Number one, Nathan is getting better, as we said he would. You can't buy experience. He just keeps getting better. He keeps working. I think it's a great job by coach Petrino and coach Brohm for doing the things that Nathan can do well in the flow that way. Also, Nathan came out and executed.
Q: What's the feeling for you for getting a win like this?
A: It's something that is really, really important. I have the most respect for Coach Paterno. What he's done for college football and having the opportunity to be on the same field as him and having an opportunity to win is a great honor. Our players will think about the Penn State game and their players. As they sit back on this one for years they are going to say, "Hey, I had the opportunity to beat Coach Paterno in a homecoming game at his stadium." That doesn't happen often.
Q: Illinois has never won here....
A: We talked about that this week about how we've never won here. Whenever Bob said something to me on Tuesday I think it was, all that does is give us that much better of an opportunity to go do it. Sooner or later things are going to change. We just have to keep the pedal to the metal.
Q: Last year at this time, things were not going well. Do you think this is a dramatic change for you guys?
A: I expected it, but it is a dramatic change I guess. But I think it's something that we expected and planned for and talked about. As I told somebody last week, it's the same players and the coaches have done a great job of demanding what we need from them. I think that's the biggest reason why we are where we are. But we're not there yet. We've got a long way to go. Next week will be a major test going up there against a good football team.
Q: Can you talk about Nate's (Bussey) interception and the game he played?
A: Nate probably has just more total football plays than anybody on the football field when you talk about all the special teams plays and stuff. He's just a guy that won't come off the field. I was so happy and proud of him. He works hard. He is always the first one out there and always last one off. And of course for all those D.C. guys, this is like coming home for them. Their biggest problem this week was getting tickets because it's three hours away. You saw Tavon (Wilson) and the cornerback No. 12 jawing back and forth because they are from the same high school. Those guys know each other and it's a lot of fun playing against each other.
Q: You got Terry (Hawthorne) out there the last couple of series....
A: I got him out there the last couple of series. Once again I think you can see that he is ready to go. We will just bring it along slowly, but he is just another guy you need in there.
Q: After seeing your success in the first quarter, did your mindset change?
A: No, we talked about that during the week and Paul (Petrino) and I get together at the end of the week and discuss what we want to do and where we're at. I see what he thinks and I kind of give him my opinion. We felt like we are getting better as an offensive football team and running the football. I just felt like we could run the football. I felt like we ran the football well in the second half last week. That's a good defense as well. I think we are getting more and more confident and I think we're getting better at it and we have to keep going.
Q: What did you tell your guys after this big win?
A: Like I told them, I think it's a big win for us to come up here for the first time and do it. But it will be like none if we don't continue to do the same things next week. I said, "Enjoy it tonight and tomorrow we have to go back to work and get ready for Michigan State because that's going to be a barnburner up there."
Q: Can you talk about your running back play?
A: I think we have three running backs we can win with. They were running extremely hard and tough. Even Troy (Pollard), he is not big as the other two, but he runs really hard. Once again, if you can run the football pretty much in any league you are going to have a chance to stay in the game. And I think we are going to be able to do that.