Oct. 10, 2009
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Penn State Coaches
Q: Did you get everything you wanted out of this game?
A: Everything? I don't know. Most of what we wanted. We had a chance to play some of the young kids. We did some things better than we had been. We had a couple takeaways; one was when [Navorro Bowman] picked up the fumble and ran it the length of the field. I think overall, yeah. It was a good workout for us.
Q: How did you feel Kevin Newsome did? He fumbled a couple times. What does he have to do to make sure he protects the ball?
A: Hang onto it. I thought Newsome did alright. He's got a long way to go yet. He needs to get a little better feel for the pass game.
Q: How do you determine when Newsome comes in?
A: We're obviously not going to put him in there when the game's at stake. He's not anywhere near as proficient as he's got to be for us to win a tough game. But I think on the other hand, we put him in there anytime we feel comfortable and give him some experience, so if something does happen to Clark, all of a sudden he's got to be able to do some things we ask Clark to do. When I feel it's something that he can benefit from number one, and number two, we really need to have him in a situation, we'll play him. We're not going out there with the idea that he's going to play one quarter, he's going to see 10 plays or he's going to do this or that. I don't have any pregame plan for that.
Q: Were you pleased with [Ako] Poti today, the right tackle who got the start?
A: I think he did well. Again, everything's relative. We didn't get a lot of real fast pass rush on the outside, so he didn't have a real problem. But he's worked hard. I felt comfortable he'd do a good job for us and I think he did. How good? I don't know until the line coaches and I take a look at him and we can evaluate. I think overall, he was solid and didn't make many mistakes and had a lot of poise. It was good for a kid who hasn't played very much football for us.
Q: You're now at the midway point and you have nothing but Big Ten games left. Can you assess where you think you are?
A: I wish I could. I don't know. We've got to play a couple of tough games coming up. Minnesota is a good football team. We'll see where we are when we play them. I think they were winning today. Somebody on the sidelines said they were ahead at halftime. I forget exactly what it was. We've got six tough games now, six Big Ten games coming up and we have to take it one at a time and see where we are. We're not anywhere near as good as we'll have to be, but we're getting better. I think we're a better football team today than we were three or four weeks ago. We've got a little bit more poise, the wideouts are much more comfortable, our secondary is much more comfortable and the offensive line is getting better. I think overall, we're showing a lot of progress, but we still have a ways to go. It doesn't definitively answer your question, but it does tell you what I'm thinking; I think we're getting better, but we've got a ways to go.
Q: Can you talk about Bowman's fumble return? Did you think he was running out of gas the last 20 yards?
A: [Coach Tom] Bradley said to me, "I don't think he's in shape." [laughter] I'll tell you what, the Eastern Illinois coach is a great guy and their kids played hard. I never like to see a team do that. They're about ready to go in and get at least three points out of it. They'd been struggling to get down the field then all of a sudden, they try to get in the endzone and boom, we've got seven points. I'm glad for Bowman and glad for the defense, which is starting to make some things happen.
Q: It seems like the offensive line has progressed a little better against Illinois and today. Are they progressing like you'd like them to be?
A: I think they're getting better. They're getting a little more confidence in themselves; they're getting a little bit more aggressive. As I said earlier, we are making progress. We are a better football team than we were three weeks ago. The areas that I was concerned about, the wideouts are becoming [better]. The thing about the wideouts is that they will have to be really good blockers; they made a couple of great blocks the last couple ballgames. I think the offensive line is getting better and I think the secondary is getting better. Those were three areas we were concerned about. And the offensive line, to answer your question, is getting better all the time. We've had some bumps and bruises - [Nerraw] McCormack didn't play, [DeOn'tae] Pannell didn't play. He probably could've played, but McCormack would've been a struggle. Pannell got an ankle. The other kid by the name of [Mike] Farrell from Western Pennsylvania played backup tackle behind Landolt. He didn't play much, but he [saw some time].
Q: Can you give us an injury update on Knowledge Timmons?
A: I talked to him coming off the field, in fact just in the locker room. He said that he will be okay and that he probably could've gone. When I leave here, I'll go to the training room and talk to the doctors. I don't think it's real serious, but you never know until the day after. It's his knee, but it's not a tear or anything like that, probably more like a bruise. Don't call me a liar if it turns out to be something different. I really don't know.
Q: Do you have any idea if you'll get Sean Lee back next week?
A: I don't. It's a day by day thing. I think he'll try to do some things on Monday and we'll go from there. He's dying to get in there, but as I've said many times, we don't want to do something foolish. We want to be careful with him. We'll take it day by day.
Q: What about the decision to play Jordan Hill. Were you torn about doing that since it was his first appearance?
A: We debated it, yeah. I watched him one or two days out there. Larry [Johnson] had brought it up once that we ought to make up our mind pretty soon with what we'll do with him. I watched him and agreed that he was very close and ready to play, so I said let's play him.
Q: Do you think there's a silver lining that the Eastern Illinois kids can get out of this game?
A: I think so. Years ago, we played my alma mater Brown in the early '80's. The Ivy League had gone to 10 games from nine and we were looking for a game so I called them to ask if they'd come down for a game. We wanted to play Penn, but Penn wouldn't play us. The president was a good friend of mine and he said yes. Then after his colleagues in the Ivy League had heard that they were going to play us, he [was given a hard time]. He called back and asked if we could cancel. I said sure we can, but what do you want to do that for? It will be a great experience for the kids and so forth. So they came down and we played them and we beat them obviously. They had a great time and then received more letters from parents of an opposing team than I ever had saying what a great experience it was to see their kids play at a big stadium like this. They didn't lose another game the rest of the year. They won six games in a row after because they realized there's not much difference between a so called big shot team and their league. There really isn't. There's depth, maybe a little size and strength in some areas. Eastern Illinois has got a good football team. I told [their head coach] Bob [Spoo] before the game that they play the kind of game a coach likes to see. They made more mistakes today that I think they've made all year.
Assistant Coach, Quarterbacks
Q: Was there any thought of getting Newsome in any earlier? Some people were wondering it [when] it was 34-0?
A: It was just one of those things; we didn't want to pull Daryll too early in terms of we didn't want to get him in a situation where he didn't get at least half a game's work. When Daryll came back in the third quarter, the plays were mostly handoffs and some safe passes where he wouldn't have too much contact. But he ended up getting about 22 or 23 plays in there, which is a pretty good day's work.
Q: Did you consider getting Kevin maybe one series with the first team?
A: We did and then when we scored. Then we said let's get the No. 2 line in there. We wanted to get the No. 2 line some work and they obviously did a very, very good job, which was very, very encouraging. We did consider, but figured why not? Let's let the other guys play. They work hard in practice all week and they could enter if we give them a chance.
Q: What's the biggest thing you think you got offensively from the start?
A: We seemed a little sharper on some things and I think that was the biggest thing. I think we had a little confidence that we got last week, feeling like we can run the ball and throw the ball. So I think those are the two biggest things. Obviously the challenges are only going to be a lot steeper from here on out.
Q: What's your sense of the team midseason? Do you have a good sense of these guys?
A: Yeah, for the most part. I think we're starting to gel in terms of offensive line. I think we know now we've got a little more bounce offensively we had earlier in the year, which I think is key. The Iowa game was the only really fourth quarter game we've been in and we didn't play well enough in the fourth quarter to win that. So, I think we still got to find if we have that in our gut, in our intestinal fortitude, whatever you want to call it, to win a game like that. But that challenge is going to come.
Q: Is that a little anxious though that through six games you really one have that one game to fall back on?
A: I think in '94 they didn't have that until the ninth game. So, I don't know what that means, we'll find out. You'd liked to have been in a situation and done some of the things you need to do to win a game in the fourth quarter, so we'll find out. Like I said, we're going to find out pretty quickly. Minnesota is a good football team right now. They have a lot of confidence. We've got to be ready to play four quarters and not make mistakes. I think one of the things that was good was when Daryll was in, we really had the one turnover on the screen [pass], which was kind of a fluke thing because we didn't line up right. But that's the only turnover that we had with the first group, so that was encouraging.
Q: So should Chaz have caught that ball down the sideline?
A: He got both hands on it. We tell him 'you get both hands on it, you've got to catch it,' but it was not easy and I told Daryll, I said, 'Don't feel too bad, he made a great catch on the one earlier.' And it looked like he only caught it with one hand I didn't see the replay. But Moye should have had the one on the post, so we've got to sharpen some things up still.
Defensive Line Coach
Q: How did Jordan Hill do today?
A: I thought he did a great job, I was going to play him last week and then the numbers got out of whack for me a little bit, but we've been intending to play him for the last couple of weeks. He went in, did a great job and he's a really mature kid that's why we thought he could do a good job. He worked really hard in the preseason so we think we have the four-man rotation we're looking for, we're not really sure if Brandon Ware is coming back [next week].
Q: What do you get out of a game like this today?
A: You get out the fundamentals. You still have to go out and block, tackle and do those types of things, like run to the ball. We set some goals as a defensive front we wanted to get done. We said we're going to get three sacks in the first half, I just challenged a little more today so we didn't play slow. We had three sacks in the first half and our goal for the game was to get five, we got five. Now it's the real deal going into Big Ten play.
Q: How is it to get the young guys playing?
A: It's a good chance to play the second string guys and get them some experience; it really helps down the road. I thought it was a good game, good opponent. You still have to play hard and our guys did that today.
Q: What do you see from Sean Stanley and why did he get in so early?
A: Sean's part of our rotation and my biggest deal is [doing] a week of practice. If you can practice, I'm going to play you early. Kevion [Latham] did the same thing; he went into the game early, same as Jerome Hayes. We want to rotate our guys and keep them fresh and today was a good day to do that. [Stanley] is another one of those mature freshmen that we have, I hope he continues to get better as a freshman.
Q: Do you anticipate the rotation to stay like this the rest of the year?
A: We have to stay fresh, we get into Big Ten play, you get those 300-pound guys laying on you all game, it'll wear you out, even Jared Odrick, no matter how good he is. If we can give him a break, four or five plays here, four or five plays there, and keep him in a situation where he can be a key to the game we have to do that.
Q: How much more does [Navorro] Bowman mean to the defense when Sean [Lee] is not in the game?
A: It sure has added a lot of responsibility for him. We ask him to do a lot, to take charge and do a lot of assignments. He plays a couple of different positions so it isn't easy for him.
Q: Where is he [Navorro Bowman] at in his progress right now after missing a couple of games?
A. He is real good till the 50 yard line (laughs), after that I don't know. I thought he was going to stumble, but the kids would have laughed if he had done that, that would have been something. I think he is getting there, that is probably the longest he has run in a long time. I don't think he is 100% yet, you would have to ask him, but I don't think that he is quite there yet.
Q: You have nothing but Big Ten games ahead of you. Are you where you want to be defensively?
A. No, we didn't tackle very well today I thought. There are just some little things like when they spread out and our curl player doesn't go flat. I didn't think our tackling was real sharp today; we get to work on that next week and especially with the great wide-out coming in next week.
Q: What are the positives you take out of getting new players into action in a game like this?
A. Yeah, we got the guys a lot of work at the end of the game. We wanted to get them in there. I think they looked good. Different from weeks past when we put some new kids in and there were errors. They played pretty solid. Knowledge [Timmons] hurt his knee a little bit, how bad, I can't tell you that yet.
Q: You got Jordan Hill in there, what led to that decision and how do you think he played?
A. We decided a couple of weeks ago to play Jordan. We felt that we needed another guy in there and we said we were going to use him, so why keep waiting. We made the decision to get him in there.
Illinois Coach Bob Spoo
Well, we were outmatched, outplayed. Our guys hung in there the best they could do, but you know, you come out here like that and give them opportunities and didn't get any of ours. We're just going to back home and get ready for our conference now, that's all we can do.
Q: What are the benefits of playing a game like this and coming to Penn State?
A: It's financial, primarily, but I think we did get to play some extra people in there. We're back in our conference and Penn State is back in theirs, if I am not mistaken. Any time you can work against good competition, hopefully that helps us a little bit down the line.
Q: Did you see anything different out of Penn State today?
A: No, they just outmuscled us, I thought. They controlled just about anything. That was the basis, we just couldn't block them, couldn't tackle them.
Q: Are you happy with how your guys continued to fight?
A: I think they played hard and they're not trying to make mistakes. I give them credit for that, they hung in there and they finished.
Q: What was your conversation with Coach (Joe) Paterno like after the game?
A: I wished him good luck with the rest of the season and he did the same for me. I wished him continued good health and he mentioned something about hoping that at some point and time that we could spend a little more time together. That was it. He's a good man.
Q: Does this become a hectic experience: the travel, environment, etc.?
A: The travel was great. It's an hour flight from here to there and back home, so we will be back home by six o'clock tonight. We played poorly and we just have to get better. There are still some things that we are doing that we have to get corrected as we get prepared to go back to conference play.
Q: Do plays like the end of the first half (Bowman fumble return) stick with you?
A: That's just the way the ball bounces.
Q: Did you know how many fans were coming?
A: We had heard that there was going to be quite a crowd. They do [the fight song and salute to the fans] traditionally. That's nice, sure is. That is the school fight song that they do for the people that follow us.
Q: Anything positive stick out for you, like Kevin Cook's punting?
A: [Kevin Cook's punting] was a plus, that was one of the things, but we had another punt blocked again and, gosh, that's three weeks in a row now that we have had that happen to us. Boy, those are killers, always. Lorence Ricks, a wide receiver, and I thought our punt coverage was excellent today, besides (Cook's) punting. I thought our coverage was excellent, I don't know what they got in returns, but it was negligible, so that's a plus. Our kickoff guy is solid and our kickoff coverage is good. Our returns were solid. Offensively and defensively giving up big plays and consequently the offense not making big plays and not running the ball again, those are disappointments.
Q: Are you happy with how your team moved the ball?
A: Yeah, I don't know what the stats are to be honest with you, but I thought we ran the ball better than we have the last two weeks. I'm not sure that that shows or not because it's probably all negated by the sacks and that's a real negative. We've got a lot of work to do. We are happy to be going back to Championship Subdivision Football, is that what they call it now?
Q: How does Penn State rate among the big opponents that you have faced?
A: They are as good as any we have played, absolutely.
Q: Talk about Penn State's defense today.
A: They are rock solid. Boy, they've got some nice looking kids and they are very fundamental and are so sound and physical. They run and get to the football and the pass rush is awesome, couldn't handle it.
Q: Is a play like Bowman's fumble return discouraging?
A: I am sure it was discouraging, unfortunately. Like I said, that is the way the ball bounces sometimes.
Q: What did you say to your players going out into the second half?
A: Well, just to hang in there and fight and take something positive out of it. The fact that we did finish, I don't think we gave up, we tried to do what we could do. Whatever we tried to do wasn't good enough.
Q: Do your players connect on the situation of playing a Penn State?
A: I think they do. They're pretty sharp. They knew who we were playing and they knew that they got their fannies kicked today. They understand all of that and respond and come back. These young guys these days are very resilient. Tomorrow we will go back, that's a work day for us and Monday is their day off and by Tuesday they will be ready to go.
Q: How do you feel about this 12th game thing?
A: We are expected to play at least one a year and we understand that. This was it for this year. We go to Iowa next year and Northwestern the year after that, so we anticipate it and hope we can be competitive.
Q: In a way, the Appalachian State (win over Michigan) wasn't really fair to Subdivision schools because it raises expectations to an unrealistic level?
A: It does. We even talked a little bit about that, but we are not even close to App. State's athleticism and I'm not so sure that Michigan was as good as Penn State at that time. App. State is a much better football than we are that this point. They were then than we are and they might still be.
Q: Seems like these games are about bookkeeping rather than football.
A: It's a money factor.
Q: Sounds like you understand that aspect of it.
A: I do. I had just hoped that we were more competitive today and that's the key. We weren't and that too bad.
Q: How are your guys' spirit?
A: I didn't get after them and thanked them for hanging in there and finishing and not giving up. Let's get ready for next week, back in conference.
Q: Do you think your guys knew what they were in for? Was there competition shock?
A: That's a good question. I'd like to think they were; we tried to prepare them for it. We told them the chances were very slim, but we'd have to play a near perfect game to hang in there and we didn't.
Penn State Players
#61 Stefan Wisniewski
Q: What's a win like this mean?
A: It definitely helps to raise your confidence just going out there and executing regardless of the defense. It's another game of experience playing with each other and I think it will help us with our confidence.
Q: Between this week and last week, do you feel like the offensive line is coming along?
A: I think we're really gelling together and we're getting more experienced with one another. The guys that were making their first starts at the beginning of the season they now have five or six games, that really helps everything come together as an offensive line.
Q: What's the feeling of blowing your opponent off the line like that to create holes?
A: It was a lot of fun, it feels good. Our goal is to keep doing that for these last few games.
#11 Navorro Bowman
Q: What did you see on that play with the fumble?
A: I was dropping back on the other side of the ball, and just hustling over when I saw my teammates try to sack him. The ball just popped out and I was there to scoop and score.
Q: Is the groin bothering you?
A: The groin is fine; I'm back to top speed and feeling great.
Q: Were you glad you had halftime to recover after the 91-yard fumble return?
A: That was a long run. It was probably about a 15-play drive, and then run it back all the other way, I was tired. My teammates keep messing with me about it, I'm glad I made it.
Q: Did you think you were slipping around the 25-yard line?
A: Yeah, I was fatigued, but I made it. I felt my teammates behind me and the fans were like, "go, go, go!" That's what got me in the end zone.
#6 Derek Moye
Jr./So., Wide Receiver
Q: On the touchdown pass, it didn't look like anyone was on you, can you describe what happened?
A: Yeah, it was Cover 2 defense. The corner was down and the safety was covering me and I made a move inside, and they tell me he fell down.
Q: Was that one of the easier touchdown catches you have made?
A: Yeah, it felt like it was up there for a little while and I was by myself. I probably looked a little unathletic (sic) when I caught it, but I was just worried about catching it. It was an easy touchdown.
Q: Will it be good to get back into Big Ten play?
A: Definitely, I want to play in the big Big Ten games, this game wasn't the easiest to get up for, but at the same time we wanted to go out there and prove what we are capable of doing.
Q: Does it feel even better when you're out there and it's 31-0 and the defense is doing well?
A: Oh, it's always a good feeling, and it's good for them because you know there out there working hard. We're doing the same, it's a give-and-take relationship.
#18 Nathan Stupar
Q: In a game like this, do you work on the nitty-gritty of your team? Do you focus on making things as perfect as possible?
A: We're always trying to do that, we're always trying to be the best team we can always be and today was another step towards that.
Q: Thoughts about next week and Minnesota?
A: We're going to get some scouting in, get to practice and just prepare for them and try to get that W.
Q: Does Eric Decker scare you as an athlete, the wide receiver?
A: You're going to get a lot of great athletes playing in D-I and you can't be afraid. You just got to go out there and play.
#22 Evan Royster
Q: As an offense, how did you feel that you executed today and did you get what you wanted to and what you expected to out of the game?
A: We played well, and it shows with how many points we scored. Anytime you come out and put points like that on the board you know you're doing something right.
Q: Jay Paterno just said sometimes you come out and there's not a lot of atmosphere, it's kind of a test for the players to self-motivate yourselves. Did you guys feel that? Did you have to talk yourselves up today?
A: Yeah, a little bit. We came out and saw that the student section was a little bit emptier than it usually is and we were kind of upset about it but at the same time it kind of fired us up that we wanted to get out there and still play well. It's not like I'm mad at the students or anything like that, it just upsets us that people kind of look down on these games because they might be against the FCS division. People look down on them and we don't really get to look past them at all.
Q: Is it nice to just have a game where you seem to get results from every drive, you dominate from the get-go and obviously that's the goal every time?
A: It's definitely a confidence builder, especially to be able to get our starters out early and stuff like that. It also gives us some rest.
Q: Your offensive line has received criticism. How did they play today and do you think they rebounded from that?
A: They've played well the past couple weeks and they're just taking some time to come together as a unit. It's expected with some new guys up there. It's something that we knew was coming and they're coming along.
#1 A.J. Wallace
Q: You were running stride for stride with Navorro Bowman there on that fumble. Why? We're you getting on him a little bit running down there?
A: Yeah. I told him, 'you're going to have to pick it up', but I knew he was tired. That was a long drive and then for somebody like him to run 91 yards down there, it was tough. I just had to make sure that no one else was going to tackle him
Q: That's really the first time you guys stepped up and made a turnover to make a game changing play. How good was that just to make that play?
A: It felt very good. It was also very tiring. It felt good. The crowd got into it. Everybody got their spirits up. I think it was a turning point in the game for the defense. Everybody came up and they were physical after that. That's just a part of hustling really. Everybody was hustling. He was hustling to the ball and he got the fumble.
Q: You guys haven't given up a first have score at all this season. When you were down there at the eight yard line before halftime was the coming into your mind at all, to keep them from scoring?
A: That's always a goal in the game, to try not to let them score. We came in at halftime and said we're going to win this game and we're not going to let them score. That was our goal, not to let them score, but they ended up getting the field goal. We never want to let an opponent score at all.
Q: Minnesota's got a pretty talented receiver next week. What's your impression of him?
A: I think he's a nice physical receiver. He has great hands so we have to be physical with him. We know they're going to go at him early and try to get him involved, to get him in his rhythm. Our job is to try to break that but they have other great players too, so we can't just focus on that one person.
#2 Chaz Powell
Jr./So., Wide Receiver
Q: It looked like you took the ball away from the corner. How does that help Daryll's confidence in you when you make plays like that?
A: It just helps his confidence in the receivers in general, not just me. It shows that he can count on us in key situations. It shows how hard we've been working at practice and all year. We have to keep winning.
Q: We saw a lot of big plays from the offense today. Is it a carry-over from what you guys did in the second half last week?
A: It just shows all the hard work we've been doing all year. We just have to keep pushing forward. In this game, we put a lot of points on the board. Big Ten play is going to start so we have to just keep pushing forward and keep winning.
Q: Did you like having a game like this in the middle to break up the Big Ten play? Do you think this will benefit you going on the rest of the way with the Big Ten?
A: It's kind of stressful when you do start Big Ten play and you go out of league again. But it's just a game on the schedule that you have to take care of business and keep pushing forward, keep executing the plays and stay humble. You have to practice as hard as you do every day.
Sr./Jr., Wide Receiver
Q: Talk about what you saw on the touchdown play.
A: It was just a good call by the coaches to be honest with you. They're really aggressive on their attack and it's just for me to slip out. Like I'm supposed to be coming off the block and just slip out underneath and it worked out real well for us.
Q: How much more confident is the receiving core going into the seventh week as opposed to the preseason camp?
A: To be honest, I think we were confident all the way around. I just think that now we have something behind the confidence. The receiving corps has done a great job this year. In the upcoming games, we're going to have make big plays and the confidence we build along the way will be good for us.
Q: How good did it feel to finally get into the end zone?
A: It felt good, especially after that first fade that just got tipped a little bit. I couldn't get my hands on it. It felt good to get in the end zone. I think it's just been like that all season. You know an inch here, an inch there, a couple of seconds here, a couple of seconds there. The offense is clicking and I can't worry about that. I just got to keep moving on with what I do and the opportunity to make a play.
Q: Has it been a disappointment to you this season that you may have not made the amount of catches you would have liked to make?
A: No, not really. I think the offense and the team in general is doing well and that's all I'm worried about. As long as the team is doing well, the offense is doing well, my chances will come and I just need to make the plays when I get the opportunity.
Q: This was one of your first games where your second half was as dominant as your first half? How did it feel?
A: It felt great and it was really nice to see everybody get a chance to play today. We felt that if we take care of business, execute every single time we got on the football field, we could go out there and play the way we did today and I'm real happy.
Q: Talk about the fumble return. What were you guys saying on the sideline, how excited were you guys?
A: We were really excited. First of all, we were excited that the ball came out and for Navorro to not just pick it up and fall to the ground. He wanted to make some play after it and he took off and we're all cheering, we're all yelling and we see how tired he's starting to get as he passes the 50 yard line, but he kept rolling and gave us another six points.
Q: Is there a new mindset for the rest of the games [only Big Ten teams]?
A: There's definitely a new mindset. [There's a] brand new season after the disappointment against Iowa. We wanted to close the door on that and continue to play the way we know how and we did a good job last week at Illinois and today we're just going to keep rolling after this. We have another tough Big Ten team in Minnesota coming up in here next week and as I told someone earlier, come Monday we're going to start preparing for them. They're a good team. I think they're winning their game too so we have to prepare.