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Oct. 13, 2007
Q: Can you talk about your team's focus and concentration this week in light of everything that has happened?
A: Without getting into the details of all the things that happened, all the things that happened weren't quite all the things you guys envisioned. We had a couple of problems and we knew that. We talked it out and decided on a couple of things and I think that as I've said from day one, they're basically a good group of kids and basically they have a chance to be a good football team. They're not there yet but they have a chance. I think they know that. A couple of guys made some mistakes. They're growing up, let me put it that way, they're growing up, slowly but surely. Slower than I'd like, but at least they're growing up.
Q: Can you talk about the play of your defense today and how they set the tone on that first drive?
A: I thought, overall we played well. I thought we were solid defensively, solid offensively. I don't know that we punted until the second half, did we? I'm not sure whether we did or we didn't. But I think, overall we played a good, solid football game against a good football team. Obviously, I'm pleased that we appear to be making progress. I'm not sure how far we are but we've got some games to find out.
Q: What impressed you most about the combination of Evan Royster and Rodney Kinlaw today?
A: Well, both those kids are good backs. Kinlaw has been one of those guys that he's been his own worst enemy. I've been on his back all the time trying to tell him 'hey, you can't outrun everybody in this league. If you get a crack, go in there, get your three, get your four and go from there.' And I think he's finally gotten some patience. He waits for a little break and that kind of stuff. The other kid (Royster) is a really good athlete. He was probably the best lacrosse player in the state of Virginia when he was in high school. He just needs to play. So, I think both of them did well and they both blocked well.
Q: Can you discuss the decision to go on fourth-and-1 when Royster scored?
A: I was going to kick. First I said let's go for it and then I said 'no, we're going to kick.' Then there was a timeout and I said 'ah, the heck with it, go for it.' Very decisive.
Q: You threw a lot on first down, 8-for-8 on first down passes in the first half until the last one, then it was 8-for-9. Why? Why did you throw so much in the first half?
A: Well we thought we could throw on them. They were tough to run on. Early, when we tried to run, we didn't have much luck because they had an extra guy in the box. So, when we got a chance to size up what they were doing, we decided we'd better start throwing the football. Although we started out the ballgame throwing on first down just to kind of set a tone. But, Anthony's getting better all the time and he's much more comfortable with some of the things we're facing. The adjustments, he's throwing better on time and those kinds of things. We've thrown a lot. People don't realize, we've thrown almost - last two games prior to this one, I don't know how many times we threw in this one - we've thrown it 30 times, which is for me, a lot of throwing. May not be for some other people but it's a lot of throwing for me.
Q: You guys ran a lot of play action, a lot of roll-outs, a lot of draws. Did you see something in Wisconsin on defense that maybe made you thought they were overaggresive and maybe you could take advantage of that?
A: It's interesting when it works. No, we've done a lot of that. There wasn't anything different that we did today that we haven't done all year. We were a little more comfortable, maybe. Maybe they, as I said, were really determined to stop the run. I don't think they were really - and you'd have to ask them, I don't know, I'm just trying to guess - and I think as a result, their outside people were on an island a lot, by themselves, so we had a chance to throw the ball a little bit more and play action is good because it keeps that guy in the middle of the field from helping out.
Q: What are your thoughts about the way Daryll Clark played?
A: Clark. You guys kill me. What'd he play, five plays, six plays? How was Devlin, how'd you think Devlin looked?
Q: Did you consider playing Clark earlier?
A: No. I mean, I said Morelli played a heck of a game. He's played two good games in a row. If he had a little luck, he would've had four great games in a row. A fumble here, fumble there, a trapped pass there. You know, the whole bit. But Clark has to be ready, obviously. Because when we played Michigan last year up here, both Clark and Morelli when down and we had to play Paul Cianciolo. That was the last touchdown we got, the only touchdown we got against Michigan. Paul put a screen pass that Tony ran in. Clark is ready to play at any time. Now, he does a couple of things a little different than what Anthony would do. He ran the quarterback draw to put it on the one-yardline, which I wouldn't necessarily do with Morelli.
Q: Do you think that after a couple of losses that you guys may have been a little bit more relaxed today? It just looked like that.
A: I don't know. That's tough for me to tell you. We played hard. There again, your perspective of our two losses are entirely different than mine. We played two good football teams and they played great games. As I said, Michigan didn't have a turnover. Today we got what, two of three turnovers in the first half, which gave us great field position. We never had field position (against Michigan). We played an Illinois team that played a heck of a football game and we gave up the kickoff return. So, I have not been displeased with any of the games we've played. So, I don't know if they're more relaxed of what. I doubt it. I think they're playing a little bit smarter, let me put it that way. We didn't put it on the ground in key situations. We didn't jump offside going into the red zone. We've had penalties that have really hurt us when we had opportunities to win a tough ballgame. So, I don't know. I think we've played hard every game. I've not been disappointed with the way we played. I have been disappointed that we have made mistakes in key situations in the two losses we've had.
Q: Was that as well as your offensive line has played today, is that as well as you've played this season?
A: Again, I'd have to look at the tapes but I think they played a good game because once we were able to get them loosened up a little bit then we were able to run the football well. They're getting there. John Shaw is not playing and he's the only senior on that offensive line. So, they're getting better. They're learning.
Q: In practice this week, did you get a sense that your players bonded together, maybe used some of the off-field stuff to come together and maybe were looking forward to Saturday to concentrate on football rather than anything else?
A: I can't honestly tell you yes or no on that. I really can't. We practiced well. I try not to practice too hard. In fact, we took Monday off because as I've said a couple hundred times I hate to have to play 12 games in a row when you start playing the physical games that we have to play. So, I decided to take Monday off because we don't have a week off. So, we didn't practice Monday and then I tried to cut down the time on the rest of the week. And they responded to that. There's a thing called pride involved in this thing (as well). To be honest with you, I'll tell you what I told them on Monday. I told them, and I hope you guys and girls don't take this too personally, Rip Engle used to have one sign, the only sign we had in the locker room and it was in the coaches' dressing room and it was in Latin. The quote was "don't let the bastards beat you down." Alright. I hope you know what I'm inferring about. I told them 'let's go play football, that's all.' We can't do anything about some mistakes that were made by some of the other kids and hopefully they'll learn and we'll all learn from it and go from there.
Q: Can a turnover in the first minute that you turned into a touchdown, can that have a ripple effect that carries over?
A: Sure it can. Especially for Wisconsin on the road. When we've done those things, we've been on the road. And it's tough when the crowd gets into it all the sudden and the whole bit. It's just like at Illinois. If they don't have the kickoff return after we had a real nice drive, went down the field (to make it) 3-0. We kick off and the kid runs the ball back 90 yards for a touchdown and the whole house is on fire. Yes, I think that was a big part of it. That's what I started out saying. I think Wisconsin turned the ball over a couple of times and that's tough when you're on the road, really tough.
Q: I noticed that two players that have been playing in games, Chris Bell and Phil Taylor, did not play today. Just curious, were they hurt or something like that?
A: They're a little bit in my doghouse for a while. We'll see.
Penn State Player Quotes
#14 Anthony Morelli
Q: How was it out there today?
A: That was a lot of fun. We got the offense rolling early. We had good field position. The defense played well. It was just a complete game. Everything was clicking out there today. It makes my life a lot easier (when everything is clicking). Everyone was really playing hard today.
Q: How tough was it this week as a captain to get the guys together and play like this?
A: It was tough. But coach has a blue line at the end of the sidewalk on the way to the practice field. And he always says that once you cross that, you are to get everything out of your mind, and just focus on football. He will take care of everything off the field. That is what we did. We stayed focused this week, and it definitely helped.
Q: Are you surprised that Penn State was able to run the ball as well as it did today?
A: Yeah, I am. They are a very good team. They have a great defense. We were able to take care of the little things today.
Q: Can you talk about the defense today?
A: The defense did a great job. Like I said, we had a complete game today. We were just able to execute all around. We can't ask for much more.
Q: Comment on practice this week...
A: When we step out on the practice field, it is for one purpose, and that is to get better every day. We get ourselves in position to come out here on Saturday's and win football games. We stayed focused and we got things done today.
Q: Was this the best week of practice you guys have had this season?
A: Wednesday was very good offensively. I couldn't throw an incompletion. It was just clicking this week. It carried over to today.
#20 Rodney Kinlaw
Q: Were you surprised by the running game today?
A: Not really. It was the offensive line. They were getting real good blocks. It just opened up, and I just tried to go through the holes as fast as I could. The offensive line did a great job today. It was a complete offensive game.
Q: Describe the complete game in one word?
A: I would say great because everything has happened and we came together and won the game.
Q: Does this give you the confidence you think the team will need for the rest of the season?
A: Yes, it does. Like I said before, we are just going to come out and work hard this week to get ready for the next game.
Q: Describe the atmosphere at Beaver Stadium, which has helped the team win 19 of its last 20 games at home?
A: It is great to have all the fans cheering us on. It is a great feeling.
Q: How important was this win today?
A: It was a great win for us to be able to come out and play hard with everything that has happened to us. We are still a good team, and we were able to come out and perform.
#7 Anthony Scirrotto
Q: What did coach say to you on Monday to keep the focus, and ultimately get a big win?
A: He just told us that we have a big game ahead of us. And that we must keep focused because Wisconsin is a great football team. We just tried to keep everything in the background. We just worked hard and focused to our main goal, and that was beating Wisconsin.
Q: Comment on the secondary today...
A: We just focused on breaking on the ball. We just wanted to make plays, and create turnovers. That is big for our defense. That leads to momentum for us, and that gets our offense on the field.
Q: Talk about the play of Lydell Sargeant today...
A: He was great. He is stepping up big time. I don't think a lot of people expected this out of him. He is a diamond in the rough, and he is just doing a great job at the nickel position and the corner position. He is making plays, creating turnovers. He is doing a great job out there.
Q: How much pressure does it take off of you guys on the defense when the offense is clicking?
A: When both sides are clicking, we are a great football team. That is what we haven't been able to do this year. As you can see, we are putting it together and we are winning some big games.
#57 A.Q. Shipley
Q: How big was the defense getting turnovers today?
A: It was a big help for us today. The defense played awesome out there. We were able to put the complete game together today, and we were able to get a big win against a good team.
Q: Can you talk about Mike Lucian's experience?
A: I think a lot of his success comes down to experience. With Rich (Ohrnberger) and I having started the last 14 or 16 games in a row, we have been able to help him out a lot. He is just getting better each week. When you start playing, you start to get a feel for what works and what doesn't work. I think he is starting to figure out what works. He is doing a great job.
Q: Has he earned the starting job?
A: I think so. The coaching staff game him the blue jersey this week, putting him the first team this week. That basically said that he was doing a heck of a job. I think coach Paterno even came up to him during the week and said that he was doing a great job, and that he was going to be getting his blue jersey.
#45 Sean Lee
Q: How much confidence do you guys get from a win like this over a Top 25 team going into the second half of the season?
A: It was a huge win for us. I really felt like today the offense and defense put together really played a complete game and we really needed that for our psyche.
Q: Can you talk about making a statement on the road now like you made today?
A: We need to get a win on the road. Indiana's a good team. If we don't come ready to play, we could lose.
Q: Is the mental approach different as compared to the first two road trips?
A: I think there's a lot more confidence. When we come off of a tough loss on the road at Michigan, I think our confidence was down. Our confidence is going to be high after a win like this.
Q: Talk about the play of Maurice Evans.
A: He's a stud. He's a great player. Like I said, we always feed off the defensive line, when the defensive line plays well, the whole defense seems to play well. For him to come out- they were driving on us- and he took over the game at that point. He's a kid that worked real hard in the off-season and he's playing well because of it.
#22 Evan Royster
Q: How are you guys feeling right now?
A: Well we are feeling good because we worked hard all week in practice. It pays off, so we feel really good.
Q: With the distractions, is it possible to pull tighter together as a team?
A: Yes. Coach Paterno just told us to forget about it all and just come out and play our game. We worked hard all week, and we do what we earn.
Q: Is this what you guys needed to get rid of all the on the field or off the field issues?
A: Yes. Like I said, we put everything behind us, and we worked hard on ball security and everything like that. We are trying to forget about it and move on. We can be a really good team.
Q: Describe that 4th down touchdown you had that broke the game open?
A: Well to be honest, I saw it at first before the ball was even snapped. I saw a gap out there. The defensive line was very low so I could just tell that they were going to take down lineman so the linebackers could clean up. Then our offensive line did a good job and the guard pulled, set the linebacker inside, and I just ran outside.
#34 Matt Hahn
Q: Was it hard to put the couple losses behind, and realize that there was still a lot to play for?
A: The losses that we had were disappointing, because we felt we could have gone undefeated. We just had to move on and realize that we are a good team. We can't have two losses affect you like that. So we just pulled together.
Q: Do you guys realize how open the Big Ten is with Illinois losing to Iowa today?
A: Well I think that Ohio State is the only undefeated team in the conference. I think they won today. It is still an open race; it is tough to worry about. But we just have to keep winning one game at a time.
Q: Are you going to have to change your attitude when you go on the road??
A: We were disappointed in those two road losses. So you either pout about it when you not play well, or you suck it up, get closer as a team, and go out and play your hardest. And that is what we have been doing.
#22 Terrell Golden
Q: You guys seemed to pass a lot on first down.
A: Yea I don't know why. The coaches make all the right decisions and we just go out and try to execute.
Q: Did anyone push for early down passing?
A: It varies from week to week depending on what the coaches think we can do well against a certain team or a way that we might be able to exploit their defense. It varies from week to week.
Q: How does it affect Anthony when he gets back there on first down without too much pressure?
A: I think that it's good for Anthony. He loves to pass the ball; he lives to pass the ball. He's a great quarterback. Even more so, I believe that it's more pressure to throw the ball on first down because if you don't complete it, it's second and ten and you're in a hole.
Q: Has Anthony looked anymore relaxed or comfortable than he did today?
A: Today, he was just out there having a great time, throwing the ball around, having fun, competing. I think this was the most relaxed that I have seen him.
#22 Deon Butler
Q: How did you get so open on your touchdown?
A: It was actually a double move. We've seen that their corners like to drive hard. We were just confident that we could play well against their secondary. We took some shots down the field today and you saw the results of that.
Q: Considering the opponent, is the best you guys have played all year?
A: I mean considering the opponent and just how well we executed on offense, it didn't seem that Anthony was missing passes. I don't think they knew Terrell Golden was on our team at first because he was so open in the flat. I mean everything was working out so well. The offensive line played so great, and the running backs were running hard and finding the holes. So the way we executed so well on offense, this is just something we have to continue to build on and take with us next week.
Q: Is this the perfect way to respond to the things that have been going on off the field?
A: Yea definitely. Everything that has been going on off the field has brought us close together. We just realized that we needed to focus on football. Everything else will take care of itself and bring us closer together.
Q: How did it feel today to make news about football instead of other things?
A: Guys came here to play the game they love. This is what we want to come here and talk about. So it was just a good opportunity to come out and play football and have some fun. That is the main thing. We just had so much fun and we relieved ourselves with all the things that have been going on off the field.
Q: Did you get a sense today that the players were looking forward to getting back to playing football and put everything behind them?
A: I don't know if it was that. I think last year they felt like Wisconsin kicked the crap out of them physically and they wanted to get into the game a little bit today. They knew that, we talked about it all week, being physical and stepping up to the challenge and all the things that we had to do to beat this football team because they're pretty good on offense.
Q: Can you talk about Maurice Evans' play today?
A: Maurice played a heck of a game. They play he made on the ramble was just a great play. He read that one perfectly and if he hadn't it would have been a big one against us.
Q: How important was it to get Tyler Donovan uncomfortable?
A: They're a hard team to get uncomfortable. In all fairness, you have to give the offense credit. They put the points up on the board. We took them out of their element. They started off in their power package so we brought in Jerome to play the extra linebacker position. We got them out of that, we got them out of a lot of things that they're comfortable with and put them into a zone, and they're not geared to do it that way. I thought the key to the game was getting ahead early and the offense putting the big points on the board and they great drives they put together, which enables us then to do the things that we do a little bit better.
Q: What do you think about the defensive line's play in general?
A: Like I said, I think a lot of the credit can go to the offense for getting the points on the board. We got the big turnover early, which really helped us. We punched it in to get seven up and then ten. So we're getting them a little bit different than their M.O. and now our guys up front can dig in, because that's really an excellent offensive line that we played against today. A lot of starters are back from last year and they're really big. They are big human beings so our kids did a good job up front.
#48 Maurice Evans
Q: Did you or the captains talk about this week's negativity as a motivating factor?
A: The whole theme for this week was just the team and how we have to turn things around. I wouldn't say it was a motivating factor. It was just something that we had to know about because we are a team. Once we found out about everything we had to just put it behind us because we had to focus on Wisconsin.
Q: How were you guys able to put so much pressure on Donavan all day?
A: It was just the rotation that put the pressure on him. When you get him, just take him.
Q: How do you stay so level-headed as a young player with such great numbers?
A: You just can't let the fame and the rankings get to you. At the end of the day, I'm still a kid; I just can't let that get to me. It feels pretty good know that I'm ranked nationally. But, I'm pretty easy going. It matters, but at the end of the day it doesn't. I still have to keep on performing; I still have a few games left.
Q: Do you get a sense pretty early in the game that you can do some things on defense?
A: Yes, I guess I get a feel for things the first couple drives. Then you just pick up on their tendencies during the game and capitalize on their mistakes.
#40 Dan Connor
Q: What did the defense do to really open up the line and get to the quarterback?
A: Coach Larry Johnson works those defensive line guys every practice. They just play with a motor; they're relentless. That's how they do it year in and year out, he produces some great defensive linemen, and this year's no exception
Q: Do you remember last year after the Wisconsin game you said you put the blame on the defense, how good did it feel today to get the win?
A: It was huge. It really was the offense who set it up for us and helped the defense by putting them on their heels and making them play and put the ball in the air and do some things they're not that comfortable with. So, the offense, they really did a great job today.
Q: How were you able to focus after this crazy week?
A: Yea, it's crazy, there's a lot of stuff going on. The coaches try to push the football aspect as much as the off-field stuff. The captains, the leaders, we had to keep everyone focused and keyed in on the game because you can't over look a Wisconsin. This is a great team on both sides of the ball. I think we were more focused this week almost more than any other week because we just did a great job of keeping our heads out of that. It brought us together as a team, it made us stronger.
Q: What were you able to do against them defensively? It looked like they were able to move the ball but it was like the old bend but don't break theory.
A: Yea, that's kind of how we played. We knew they were going to be able to get six or seven yards here or there because they have a great power running team. We knew as long as we didn't give up a big one we would be all right. So we went out there, we did a good job of stopping the run early and made them air it out for the rest of the game.
Q: How do you keep this momentum going on the road since you've struggled on the road so far this season?
A: This is going to be a week we really have to focus in on. We have struggled on the road and we're not going to be the type of team we want to be if we get knocked off every time we travel. We've got to get used to playing with crowd noise, and with the crowd against you and when you might not have the momentum that you have at a home game. So it's going to be a tough week of practice, we have to focus in.
Wisconsin Head Coach Bret Bielema
We started the game by turning the ball over on the opening possession and put our defense behind the stakes out of the gate. We had three critical turnovers in the first half that gave them points and led to an early momentum swing to their side. I thought our guys battled back. The incomplete pass that bounced out of David's (Gilreath) hands was a first down grab that went into their hands was a play that typified the day. It wasn't a good day to start off and it got worse as the day got on. Now we are in a situation that there is no one left on our schedule who is going to feel sorry for us. We have to move forward, stand up and account for ourselves as individuals in order to be able to have success as a program.
Q: Last year you held Penn State to 200 yards of offense. This year, it more than doubled that. What went wrong this year?
A: The big thing for us, defensively to this point, is that we have lost the edge of our defense too much. Morelli isn't necessarily a running threat, but they used him effectively in the bootleg game. They got him time away from the middle of the field and were able to get some receivers down the field. We had a few mental busts early on with our man coverage where our guys got their eyes off of their man and allowed them to run free.
Q: Where is the team's confidence level after this loss?
A: The confidence level is where they take this and learn from it. When you get back there, watch the film, and point some things out to the guys, it's how they handle Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday that will determine our confidence.
Q: After two consecutive losses, how are you going to react? Are you going to make changes?
A: I know this, as a head coach, you have to rely on what you know. There are reasons why we have had success in this program and we need to stick to the way that do things. By the same account, you can't put your head in the sand and be oblivious to the way things have happened, whether it is personnel or schemes or the way they handle themselves in getting ready for the game. You have to look at everything and leave no stone unturned.
Q: Tyler Donovan got some yards and made some plays with his legs but also threw two interceptions. Can you talk about the play of Tyler Donovan today?
A: He threw a good ball to David (Gilreath). It was a little high, but we should be able to come up with that. That turns into an interception. I thought on the other interception that the defensive player made a nice play in front of Travis (Beckum). We are going to have to take a look at those couple of plays. I know this, Tyler Donovan was a competitor down to the end where he was diving over people on third down. But the bottom line is, we have to have execution too.
#68 Gabe Carimi
Q: What was Penn State able to do today that you weren't ready for?
A: I don't know. I guess we have to play harder, that's the bottom line. We have to play harder.
Q: Do you feel it would help to keep in more then one running back to pick up blitzing?
A. All of our running backs know how to cross key and all of them can do a really good job if they messed up on our side. They hit the reps and they should know what to do, I don't think it makes any difference what running back is in there. They all know how to do it, they have been taught. They know how to do it, and they will definitely do it if they see it coming.
#9 Travis Beckum
Q. Did you sense the team was mad and upset, and ready to go out and play today?
A. I don't know, I don't know how bad we wanted it. I mean, I don't know, it's hard to say.
Q. Where is this team at right now, after two losses? Not something that you guys are used two when you look back on the past couple years.
A. We are looking at, hopefully going up field. And just keep moving forward, and try to get this one off our backs, again, and just go forward.
Q. What do you have to do to go forward, you think?
A. I think just put these losses in the past. We have to just look at what would happen if we work to our capability, just look at the things we can do in the future.
Q. How frustrating was it for you, that you just couldn't get it going today? With a turnover here, or a penalty or an incompletion, and that you just couldn't get the offense on track.
A. The offense strives on moving the ball, and we especially want to help the defense out, and we were not able to do that today.
#14 Kyle Jefferson
Q. How much has it helped you to be a bigger part of the offense on a week-by-week basis? Also, how has that helped your development?
A. It helps a lot, and it gives the offensive line and everyone else more confidence in me. Especially being a true freshman, just coming out of high school, so it gives me a big lift.
Q. Do you continue to feel more and more comfortable as the weeks go by now?
A. Yes, I feel a lot more comfortable now, the more I play the more developed and the more comfortable I feel with my teammates, and the more comfortable I feel going out and performing.
Q. Is it bitter sweet after having the best game of your career in a game where as a team you guys were dominated my Penn State?
A. It is unfortunate, I mean I had my best game but it doesn't feel like my best game because we lost, and by losing you don't feel as though you did what you needed to do to help your team win.
Q. After two straight loses, what do you guys have to do at this point? Do you go back to square one? Do you go back to the beginning?
A. We wont go back to square one, but when we get home, we all have to really sit down and evaluate oneself, evaluate yourself. And look in the mirror and ask yourself if you gave 110% today or yesterday. Then we can go from there.
Q. Kyle, where is the team's confidence at right now?
A. The team's confidence is still up high, but we have to fix-up some things that lead to our mistakes. We have to limit our mistakes; we have to limit our errors.
Q. Is it surprising at all thinking about how well you played up until two weeks ago, and how bad you played for the past two weeks?
A. To me I really don't pay attention. I try and let that stuff stay behind me. I mean, if I played good I did, and if I didn't I didn't. I mean, after today I forget about everything I did and look forward to next week.