|Follow PSU Football:||Follow @PennStateFball|
Oct. 18, 2008
Coach Joe Paterno Quotes
Q: Joe, where do you think your guys' heads were? Were they in the game early or not?
A: I don't know. I thought they were in the game. But, you know, they start off with the lousy snap from center. One thing happened and they get encouraged. You need a day like today when things don't go your way all the time. We went down at half time and came out in the second half, kept their poise, kept their heads, went back to work and ended up with a nice win.
Q: Joe, why do you need a win like that?
A: Because you have to have some adversity. You can't go out there and everything goes your way all the time. Everything we've done has been so easy for us. And then you guys go out there and say, "How good is your football team?" I say, "I'm not sure we're there yet. We'll find out this week, obviously." They practiced hard; we practiced well. I thought we were ready to really do real well. But we had the fumble. Daryll [Clark] was a little careless with that ball every once in a while. We had the fumble there, and we had a lousy snap. We were just a little out of character. But they had enough poise to come in and go to work.
Q: Joe, other than changing a couple of linebackers, what adjustments did the defense make after the first three series for Michigan?
A: Well, I was talking to Larry [Johnson] and we didn't realize that they were a little quicker than I realized. That and the pace was fast. We were quite ready for some things in the first half. In the second half, we adjusted better to the pace. We tackled better. We didn't wait for them. I try to tell everybody they've got some really good athletes. They're just killing themselves. And they killed themselves in the second half because they couldn't make it any easier for us. They gave up the ball, gave us good field position. Their special teams did a good job. That's all we did. We stunted a little more.
Q: Did you want to put more speed on the field on defense by putting Mauti and Gbadyu in?
A: Well, those kids have been practicing well. We wanted them to play.
Q: How relieved are you that the losing streak to Michigan is over? How bothered were you?
A: Well, it never really bothered me. I mean, I'm glad we won the game whether it was Michigan or someone else. An awful lot of things happened in a couple of games we lost to them. We played some pretty good football games. But most of them were good, tough football games whether we got a call here or a call there or didn't get the ball around here and there. Obviously, you hate to have somebody beat you every time you play. So I'm glad we won today.
Q: Joe, what was the mood at half-time? It was the first time you've guys trailed at halftime all year?
A: I was not there in the locker room. I tell ya it's too tough for me to get down there and get back up. I talked to the coaches. We had a microphone. I asked the coaches and they said, "They're okay. We're okay." They knew what we had to do. The big that I thought that I didn't want to see happen, because we had to kickoff to them, I tried to tell our defensive people whatever you do let's stop them. Let's not let them get another one. And we did it. I think it was a three-and-out to begin the second half.
Q: Joe, what's the status of Anthony Scirrotto and why he didn't play in the second half?
A: Why he didn't play?
A: He's got a bumped-up leg. I have to talk to the doctor about that. But, again, the hard part about going through a season like this is when you have a lot of good young kids like Mauti, Stupar played well when he was in there on the coverage teams, we didn't get a couple of wide outs in there, we'd like to get the big tight end from Delaware in there. You hate it like dickens. This is a squad that works very, very hard. And practice hard. Both the scout team and the kids that are third and second. You'd like to get them in the game, especially one like this one. Devlin played four, five minutes. Devlin's a real fine quarterback. But, you know, you'd hate to upset the rhythm you've established. I'm glad we got some more people in there. I'm not sure why Scirrotto didn't play the second half. I think he played. I just don't think he'd played as much as usual.
Q: Joe, was there any concern about your team looking ahead to next week's game against Ohio State?
A: No. I'm being as frank as I can, I thought we had a great week of practice. I thought when we were at Toftrees last night and we talked that they were very focused. I think we were looking to get this one. Obviously, we'll have a tough one this week.
Q: Joe, could you talk about the play Odrick made? How big of a play do you think Jared's sack was?
A: It's a big play. Not only because it got the crowd into it, but it got us two points and they kicked the ball to us. It was a big play.
Q: Joe, when things weren't so great here for a couple of years, you were always saying that you're closer than people think. I know this sounds a little off-beat but what did Derrick Williams' signing here mean to this program?
A: A lot. It shows some people of that kind of caliber has some faith in the program. It showed we could still recruit some people. And the other kid from Western Pennsylvania who is one of the better corners wanted left last year. He graduated in three years. I felt we were close. We just didn't have one or two players we didn't make it different parts. I kept telling everybody I have so much confidence in this coaching staff. We were confident we were going to win. Or we were going to have a good shot to win because we had good teachers that trained them, were close to the kids and the kids responded to them. So I thought when we were down and everyone was panicking, if we just relaxed a little we'd be okay. And it's turned out all right.
Q: Coach, you've mentioned the staff. You talked about them a while. With you upstairs and maybe making adjustments, does that underscore some of the things you've been saying about the assistant coaches?
A: Well, sure it does. It does in practice too. I'm not in practices like I used to do. I've got a motor cart, and I run around. I know what's going on, and I yell at kids and things like that. But, up until I got this thing, I'd be in there and demonstrating once in a while. I miss that part. But the assistant coaches just picked up. And I'm tough on them. I get in a couple of their early practices, see their drills, and tell them some things I don't like and different things like that. They're mature professionals. They take it and try to be more productive with it. My being upstairs, it's funny. I'm not sure that's not the best place for a head coach. I mean you really get a better view of things. I have a better view of the game from up there then I ever do on the sidelines. I can see more than half the field. Coverage things. I know who is covering. Half the time you can't see who is covering and the whole bit. There are a lot of things you can't see. Adjustments: Move the linebackers to cover things. I get on Jay, yelling about a couple of plays, "Hey don't forget this." And I feel I'm better prepared to do that.
Q: Are you starting to like it up there?
A: Am I starting to like it up there? I'll never like it, but that doesn't mean the team will be better off with me up there. In fact, I think some of the kids are going to take a vote and say when we're home, can you stay on McKee Street?
Q: Joe, I know you don't like to get caught up in the polls. The BCS standings come out tomorrow. How do you - the players and yourself - avoid getting caught up in all of that?
A: Don't pay attention to them. We got a lot of games ahead of us. A lot of teams have a lot of games ahead of them. I think there's no need to get caught up in all that stuff. I mean, it's fine. It's good for the fans because it gives you guys some things to talk about, write about and everything else. But, honest to God, I don't even want to talk about that. I just try to steer them in on what we got to do to win the next game. I mean, I don't even look at those things. And it's not something I could do about it.
Q: Coach, next week you go against Terrell Pryor? He had a good game today. I was wondering what you thought about going up against him.
A: I didn't see him today. But I've seen some highlights and that. We know he's a good football player. He's got it all. He can run. He can throw. He's smooth as silk. We'll have our hands full with him. But really, honest to God, I haven't seen enough of him. Did they beat Michigan State today? Q: Yes. 45-7.
Q: You've had some problems in Columbus. 0-7 in the Big Ten. How hard is it to go there?
A: It's a tough place to play, but we've beaten them there. We've been out there, and we've won before. If you're a football player and you've been dreaming all your life about playing in games like that and you go out in front of 105, 106 thousand people. You got to look forward to it. You can't be nervous about it. You go out there and have a little bit of fun.
Q: How much are you looking forward to seeing how your players handle that type of situation?
A: Well, I thought we did well at Wisconsin and Purdue. Obviously, those two teams aren't as good as I thought what they would be because they've been having some troubles. Wisconsin's been having quarterback trouble. I think they handle it well. Wisconsin was a night game, and they hung around all day. They didn't have any problems out there and looked pretty good.
Q: Joe, talk about how those three receivers play off each other and work with each other.
A: The three of them are great. Norwood made a couple of great plays, as well as Butler. Williams was in there. Williams can do an awful lot of things. You saw that little reverse pass. Just a step quicker and that's a touchdown. He can throw the football. He's a kick return guy. He's a heck of a receiver once he catches the ball. I think they like each other. They're all palling around together. And there doesn't seem to be any "Hey. You've got six passes. I got two." I haven't had any of that. Those guys are fine. They're all playing a lot. My job right now is so that some of the younger guys don't get discouraged because they're working so hard. They're good kids, and some of those kids are going to be great football players, but they're not there yet. Like Marty and some of those guys, they're big time.
Penn State Player and Coach Quotes
Q: What adjustments did you make?
A: We changed some of our packages. We went to changing where we set the (Steven) Threet technique and how we were going to move him around and what we thought we could do early in the game. We just decided to switch it up.
Q: Were the personnel changes big, though, because it looked like you guys firmed up?
A: We started tackling better. All the players did a great job of rallying to the ball, and we had to tackle better. We just weren't tackling early in the game, we were catching. Anytime you catch, it's going to be a long day for you.
Q: What does it feel like to finally have that Michigan monkey off your back?
A: That was a great feeling watching Stephfon (Green) take off down the sideline because you knew it was finally over. You started to wonder there early, the first snap goes over his (Clark's) head and you start the 'boy, here we go again' type attitude, but the players did a great job and made the appropriate adjustments. [Michigan] got us in a couple things early and then everybody kind of firmed up and started to do the things that we thought we'd be able to do.
#21 Stephfon Green
Q: How'd it feel to score your touchdown in the fourth quarter?
A: I didn't expect to get that. I didn't even expect to go all the way. I was just trying to pick up the first down to keep the clock moving. It was just a plus that we got the blocks set up and a plus that we got in the end zone.
Q: Even not being at Penn State that long, does this win mean a little more to you?
A: It means a lot. You play for the guys in front of you. The guys in 2005, when they took the big loss, and last year when we lost too, you just play for those guys who really wanted to win. So, I just kept that in the back of my head all game, played my role and then do what I had to do. It paid off with that touchdown at the end.
Q: What was the mood at halftime in the locker room? You guys came out kind of sluggish, what was said?
A: Hey, don't give up. That was the key thing. We didn't give up. We kept plugging and plugging away. We had poise. We had discipline. We didn't fall apart. We didn't panic. We just played Penn State football.
#23 Kevin Kelly
Q: Are you aware about being the Big Ten's all-time leading scorer and how do you feel about it?
A: I just heard about it through a few guys and saying congratulations. And then I finally found out about it when Brian Siegrist said that I had the points record for the Big Ten. It's an awesome feeling right now. I just have to thank all of my coaches and teammates. It's pretty cool. It hasn't really sunk in yet, but I'm sure it will in a couple days.
Q: Did the coaches say anything to you?
A: They just said congratulations. Just looking right now at it, there are so many good kickers in the Big Ten and so many programs to be on top of this is something that's pretty cool.
Q: Do you think you're the best kicker in Big Ten history?
A: I don't think so at all. I've had plenty of opportunities. That's what I really take away from it. My teammates and coaches have really given me all the opportunities I can get. I have made the most of my opportunities but I'm nowhere near the best kicker in the history.
#24 Jordan Norwood
Sr., Wide Receiver
Q: Can you talk about how you guys handled the adversity being down at halftime?
A: We definitely did face some adversity. Most of it was self-inflicted I think. That is something that we need. Fortunately it worked out and we came back and played well in the second half.
Q: You didn't really have any rhythm in the first half. How did you get it back in the second half?
A: I just kept doing what I've been doing. The bad plays in the first half were dropped passes, bobbled and passes. But just focusing more and making the plays I should make helped us.
Q: Did you feel like you guys would win that game after you scored that touchdown near the end of the half?
A: We felt like we were going to win the game the entire game. In terms of momentum, when we had Evan score we felt like that was some big momentum. It's a game of ups and downs. We came out in the second half looking to put more points on the board than we did in the first half.
#3 Deon Butler
Sr., Wide Receiver
Q: What does this win versus Michigan mean to you?
A: It means a lot for the seniors and the guys. This was our last go-around and you don't want to be a guy that goes through this program and does not beat Michigan. It was actually sweet to beat a team like this for our homecoming. It's big-time.
Q: Were problems that you guys had early just protecting the ball?
A: I think the things were just protecting the ball. We had the bad snap and then we had another mishandled snap later on. We had guys open, we had a dropped pass early and we didn't get the chains moving. There is definitely a lot of stuff we can work on going into next week.
Q: Next week had to have some intention in your mind, right? It just seems like you guys really didn't come out ready to play. Is that coincidence or what?
A: No I just think things didn't fall into place. Guys were amped up because it was homecoming and it was Michigan. Everyone was telling us how we haven't beaten them in a while. I think we were a little too jittery though. I think that is why you saw the high snap and the mishandled snap to start off the game. Guys were just really antsy because we've been hearing how we haven't beaten them and how we should beat them. I think we were a little antsy so we just needed to calm down.
59 Aaron Mabin
Q: Was Michigan a little quicker in the beginning of the game then you expected?
A: We knew that Michigan was going to come in here and they were going to play tough. They are a heck of a team. They have a great coach and a great team that played well and worked hard. Especially with the tradition of the rivalry we knew they were going to come in and give us all that they could. We did a good job coming in at half time and making some adjustments.
Q: What does it mean that the losing streak is over for you guys?
A: I would say that it is a great thing to come in and have the monkey off our back and be able to come in and perform well against a great quality team and a great quality coach. Now our focus is all on Ohio State.
Q: The rankings come out tomorrow. How much do you look at those or get caught up in that?
A: I don't look at it at all. If we win every game week after week then at the end of the season we will be where we need to be, but right now we are just focused on Ohio State.
Q: At half time did anyone come in and say anything or step up?
A: The whole defensive front and the offense for that matter are extremely accountable for themselves. We have such a focused team no one really needs to say anything, cause everyone already knows. We came in at half time, the coaches made their adjustments and then we all gathered up amongst ourselves just to calm each other down and decided we would come out the second half and take care of business.
22 Evan Royster
Q: They played a lot of three-man fronts. How much did that help you guys and your running game?
A: Well we prepared for that. We thought they would and we have seen it a lot in the past. Our offensive line did a great job blocking. You see that a lot form that type of defense and we just did a great job dominating so that we could get all of our assignments done.
Q: Did you get a pretty good idea of how much you would be a factor after seeing there three-man fronts?
A: No, I really had no idea to be honest with you. They really looked like a good run defense and they were. They allowed a couple big plays but there were a good run defense.
Q: Can you talk about that touchdown? It looked like it was going to be a one-yard gain, then you busted away.
A: Well I knew I made the wrong cut and I tried to get back to the hole that I saw and I didn't expect it to still be open but it was and I just started running.
57 A.Q. Shipley
Q: First snap of the game. What happened on that?
A: I was just a little too excited I guess. I don't know, it just sailed on me and I had to move on from there and I think the rest of my snaps were good.
Q: When that happened did you think there was a feeling in the stands of "oh no, here we go again"'? And what did you guys do to overcome that?
A: We have great leadership. That is what it comes down to. We have a lot of guys that stuck together and stayed poised. We had a tough first drive and we had to come back from there. We had a tough first half actually and they were bringing a lot of things that we didn't see a lot in practice this week. They do a lot of stuff off the edge and today they did a lot of stuff up the middle. We just stayed poised and everyone stuck together and eventually we got it done.
Q: How much do you guys think you needed something like this to happen? Coming back and heading into a big game next week?
A: It was big. Every time you face adversity and overcome it, that shows the character of your team and shows the character of the guys on this team. That front seven (Michigan), they are a good front seven. You can't misconstrue the fact that they are 2-4. Terrance Taylor is going to be a first day pick in the draft, Will Johnson, the middle linebacker is one of the top tacklers in the conference, and number 55 Graham. It was a good test for our offensive line and we stuck with it and were able to find some good yards out there.
91 Jared Odrick
Q: Can you take us through the safety?
A: Coach Johnson signaled a middle play for our D-line at the last second and we scooted right, we got pressure on the backside that pushed the quarterback towards me and I just happened to be there.
Q: Were you expecting a pass?
A: Yeah, actually. But, we were also told to watch out for running. In the stunts that we run the ends really look out for the runner. My job was to come up field and pressure the quarterback so I did.
Q: What was the dance you did at the end of the game changing play? Is there a special name for that? How did you feel?
A: No, that is just called being hype. There was no real dance, it is just called being in the moment.
#17 Daryll Clark
Q: How big was getting that touchdown pass at the end of the first half? Did you really feel like you guys were going to win the game after that?
A: We needed that. Three points wouldn't have been enough. We were in scoring positions early in that game and we just didn't take care of it. That drive was really big for us going into halftime. Our coaches let us know that we're back in this game now so we have to come out and make some plays in the second half. We know we can win this game. We knew that Michigan was going to come in here and play hard. That's the type of team they are when it comes to playing Penn State and they hit us in the mouth early. We were able to roll with the punches in the second quarter and we took over in the second half.
Q: Is it good to have this test when you did knowing Ohio State is next?
A: Absolutely. Coach Joe said something about it early this week that we haven't faced big time university. We had it today and we were able to stand in there and stay poised and stay confident in what we were doing and we were able to get the job done. I'm proud of everybody.
Q: You had a big block on one of Evan's runs. I think it was the run when he went down to the one-yard line. Just talk about getting out there.
A: Well, it bounced out. Coach Jay Paterno always tells us to carry out our fakes. I get lazy with it sometimes. But for some reason I carried out my fake that play and he bounced outside and I saw the only guy who could have made a tackle on him so I tried to, I tried to kill him actually, but he turned and saw me at the last second so I got enough of him for Evan to get past him. That put us in scoring position and we were able to score. It went well for us, not at first, but when things happen like that you just have to block it out and continue to play your game. And we beat Michigan.
Q: Did you find guys coming to you and looking to you to calm them down when you were down 17-7?
A: Actually it was Deon and A.Q. Deon was saying that we just needed to start making plays and calm down a bit. In order to win we cannot give them the ball. And we fumbled early on in my first carry. It was unfortunate. I thought I had the ball covered, but he put his helmet right on the ball and it came out and I was a little down about it at first because it put those guys in another scoring position. But the defense did a great job once again. When we need them they come through for us.
Q: What happened with the high snap? Was that just A.Q. just got it up too high?
A: Sometime we get high snaps in practice and I'm able to get them, but that one was a bullet. It came back flying and I still should have been able to get it, but I was looking downfield cause I thought I was going to catch it and it ended up going through my hands. We went to the sideline and he told me, 'Man I'm sorry about that. That was all adrenaline there.' I said, 'yeah, I could tell.' But things happened today and things didn't happen our way, but we were able to continue to play and finish strong and that's something that Coach Joe told us at the end of the game. That we were sloppy at first, but we were able to stand and put some stake boards.
Q: What does it mean for you to take your team to your home state next week 8-0
A: It's everything that you dream for when you come to a Big Ten school and you're from Ohio. You're going against a coach that is from your hometown, Jim Tressel, really good guy. And you're going down into the horse shoe and that's one of the most hostile places to play in. With everything working and the weapons we have and the coaches and all the other players we have we are very confident that we can go in there and weather the storm and actually get a win.
#95 Abe Koroma
So., Defensive Tackle
Q: What happened early on defensively? Why were they able to be so successful?
A: I guess we were a little out of funk. Halftime, we just rallied together after the second quarter ended. We didn't want to lose at our home.
Q: Was the streak ever discussed? Losing nine times in a row to these guys [Michigan]?
A: It wasn't brought up, but we had to come in and do our job.
Q: Did you get a sense on how much this game meant to the fans as opposed to any other game simply because of the streak and what's been going on in the series?
A: Every game we do it for the fans, we do it for ourselves. Every game is for Penn State University. Every game we come out and play all for Penn State.
Q: After being out a few games how grateful are you to be back and to be a part of this?
A: I'm extremely grateful. That was a situation I'm happy is behind me now. It's good to be back.
Q: What did you learn from that?
A: Just stay out of trouble basically. Watch after our friends, watch out for our teammates and everything. Just make sure we stay together and watch out for each other.
Q: What was said in the locker room at halftime?
A: We didn't want to lose, that was the main thing. We rallied together cause we're home and we can't lose one, we don't want to lose especially with the good position we're in now. We don't want to lose one to a good Michigan team.
Q: Did anybody get up and say anything? Any of the players or the coaches?
A: No, we're always on the same page. We know what occurred and happened in the first half. We know what we had to fix so it was just, get it done.
Q: What does that say about the team that nobody said anything?
A: We're all on the same page. We know what we have to do and get done to get to the national championship cause every time we break a practice or anything we break on national champs on three and we know what it takes to be a national championship team so we're always on the same page. We knew what we had to get done.
Q: Did you think you were going to get the safety?
A: It opened up. I did what I could do, but Jared came up with the safety and that's just as good as me getting the sack.
Q: Were you surprised that they were passing in that situation? A lot of times teams will just run it to give their punter a little more room.
A: Yeah, I just reacted to what I saw. I was kind of shocked that they were passing it, but we took advantage of it.
Q: Does a game like this make a team better? Just having to overcome so much?
A: I think this was a good game especially coming back from being down. I guess we broke the curse.
64 Rich Ohrnberger
Sr., Offensive Line
Q: Is it amazing to you when he [Evan Royster] sort of looks like he's down and pops out to run 40 yards down the field? A: He's one of those special backs who can run between tackles all game, and then all of the sudden he'll break off into this 50, 60, 70 yard run. It's incredible. Blocking for him is fun. He makes us look great. It amazes me every time he does it.
Q: He keeps saying you guys make him look good, so which is it? A: It's a lot easier to make him look good. Our job is easy, we just get in the way. He's doing all the work so he did a fantastic job, him and Stephfon and Daryll running the ball.
Q: Is this just win number eight or is it more because it was Michigan? A: This was the first time we beat Michigan since I've been here. And they came out and they weren't going to lay down. They may be struggling a little bit this season, but especially in the first half that was exactly what we expected. It was going to be a dogfight the whole way. I don't think their spirit ever broke. I think they played good football all the way through the game. I think things started working for us on offense, we started to get in a groove and took off from there. But they're a great team, they're a great team every year and it was especially exciting beating Michigan this year.
Q: Was it ever like here we go again, another team has our number? A: Never in my mind did I get discouraged and I don't think the rest of the offensive line did and those other guys I speak to throughout the game. It's one of those years where when one group struggles another group picks up the slack and it's special teams or a big play by the defense. We just keep rolling so never in my mind and I know at least the offense do we get discouraged.
Q: BCS rankings come out tomorrow. Will you pay any attention to that? A: I feel like I'm always the last to know. I have a computer, I hardly use it. Sundays and Mondays are to relax and recover. You hear it around campus, people talk about it and the papers. Wherever they put us our job every week is to go out and win games so it doesn't so much matter where they rank us.
Q: Did anybody get up and say anything at halftime? A: We knew what we had to do. The defense was in their meeting room and obviously a fire was lit over there. You heard a lot of yelling and screaming and they came out second half and just did a terrific job. But the coaches knew what it meant to us and we all understood what we had to do. So at halftime everyone was just gearing up for a half of fight and we came out and gave it our best shot.
Q: Are you tired of hearing about the Michigan streak? A: Honestly, I'm a fan of pressure. I like playing in games where it's all on the line every week. Hearing about that and knowing we've done some good things this year and there's a lot mounting, it was a perfect setup for tonight.
Q: Thirty-nine straight points. What does that feel like when you're on the field? That kind of decisive turn-around. A: You feel the confidence around you. It's not just you. It's your friends, your teammates the guys you love out there. It's hard to describe, I would say you feel comfortable. You're happy, you're smiling, you just know you're doing a good job and you come off to the sideline you have the whole defense coming out to shake your hand.
Q: Did you see it in your opponent at that point? A: One thing that happens is sometimes there's a let down. I didn't see it today. Michigan is one of those teams that's gonna play every down as hard as the first. It was a 0-0 game to them and they proved it every down. It was a long hard game and we just played our game and got comfortable and started scoring points.
Q: How did the offense feel after the safety? That seemed to really get the crowd into it. A: Those are important plays. You get a play like that and all of the sudden the crowd just comes alive. The punter on the safety punt put us in good field position and we just knew it was time for us to get out there and do what we needed to do. Every little thing, anything you can hold on to for a second just to let it fire for the team is important so the safety was a big aspect of that.
Michigan Head Coach Rich Rodriguez
Q: Was there something drastic that changed in your offense from the first half to the second half?
A: We executed for a while and then we didn't. That's what happened. We executed and moved the ball a bit and when we didn't, we didn't.
Q: How is Steven's (Threet) health?
A: It was his elbow again. I don't know when he hurt it again but it affected him, so he was out for a bit. Then he got the feeling back and came back in.
Q: How frustrating is it that your team can't seem to play four full quarters?
A: It's frustrating when you don't execute. It's frustrating when you don't tackle. It's frustrating when it's third and 10 and you give up a screen pass for a touchdown. It's frustrating when you can't bring a kickoff back past the 20. It's frustrating when you can't cover the kick. There are a lot of frustrations. A lot of guys played their tails off and played hard. We got something there that we can build on; that's a good thing.
Q: Can you talk about the decision to start Brandon Minor over Sam McGuffie?
A: Brandon is playing pretty good. He has been considered a started since day one, but he hasn't been healthy. He has been banged up in the ribs. He has been taking every rep in practice and playing physically. He is a tough guy. I thought he ran pretty well today.
Q: Do you have any confidence in Nick (Sheridan) as a back-up?
A: Nick's alright. He didn't play well at times today but they had something to do with that too.
Q: Is there a snowball affect on defense when the offense isn't moving the ball?
A: I don't know. The defense has to go out there and stop people no matter what the situation is. They made some nice stops out there today. There were times, though, when we let them out of some situations.
Q: How good is this Penn State team?
A: They are really good. They are well coached. They've got an outstanding program. JoePa has had 43 years to build his program and he has done a good job. I have had nine months.
Q: Why do you think Threet was so successful against the Penn State defense early on?
A: Steve is a pretty solid player. He is a competitive guy. The guys did a good job up front with the pass rushers that they have.
Q: Was the winning streak against Penn State something that you brought up to the team before the game?
A: I have been at Michigan nine months. Nine months.
Q: It was an angry locker room after Illinois. It was quiet last week. How was it this week?
A: I am a little upset; that is probably obvious. I would expect everyone to be when you lose. I would hope everyone is upset when you lose. 24 hours, win or lose and then you move on to the next one.
Q: Can you talk about the atmosphere here is Beaver Stadium today? How much did it impact the play of your team?
A: It's a good atmosphere. I think we have a great one at our place too. I don't think we had any false start penalties. Our guys handled that. For the young guys, the redshirt freshman quarterback, I thought they handled the noise, the crowd, whatever, pretty well. We had the big holding penalty. Other than that, I don't think we had a lot of penalties.
Q: Did you go to Avery Horn later in the game on kickoff returns to try to get something going?
A: Yeah, it's really frustrating that we can't execute better on kickoff returns. We have tried a lot back there. We have to keep working on it. It seems like we are starting every drive up hill. We have to go 80 yards and they are starting every drive going down hill 50 yards. Obviously, that has been a huge factor in several of our games. We just got to get it right.
Michigan Player Quotes
#49 John Thompson
Q: First half to second half, what did [Penn State] do differently and what did you do differently on defense?
A: [In the] first half, we came out with a lot of intensity. We came out with intensity in the second half, but they countered our mistakes. We've got a game next week and we're going to try to do things better that Penn State beat us at. We just played better in the first half than we did in the second half.
Q: What is your emotion right now?
A: It's my senior year, my last time at Penn State. I had fun out there. Everybody had fun, but we lost today and we've got to get ready for next week. We still have five games left and we've just got to press on.
Q: Did it feel like they were pushing and that eventually they were going to get to those big plays they got in the second half?
A: We've got to see what happened on the films. Basically, in the second half we allowed big plays. If you want to win against a good team - Penn State is a great team, the best we've played so far - you can't let a team make big plays.
Q: What does Michigan State mean to you? Does this game change the way you look at that game?
A: Penn State is the past and we've got to look at it as the past right now. Michigan State is a rival game and I've never lost to Michigan State since I've been here. We're not going in there with a defeatist attitude that they are better than us. We're going to go in there and play. We're Michigan.
#4 Brandon Minor
Q: When did you find out that you were starting?
Q: What was it like for you tonight? Goosebumps? A shot of adrenaline?
A: I've been playing football for quite some time. I don't get goosebumps.
Q: What happened from the second half on? You guys just weren't moving the ball as well as you were in the beginning.
A: We just weren't connecting on all cylinders tonight. We just had letdowns in certain areas. We're just going to have to correct that as soon as possible.