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Nov. 3, 2007
Q: Derrick Williams seemed to play with more authority when he got the ball. Could you talk about him and why the focus on him today?
A: It depends what they give you. I try to preach that sermon every week. They've been paying an awful lot of attention to Butler. Butler hasn't had a lot of shots and Derrick has stepped to the plate. I think he pressed a little bit earlier and now he seems a lot more comfortable out there. He has in practice as well as you saw him today. So, I think he needs to play and have a little success regardless of who you are. You get to the point where sometimes you start pressing and I think he might have been pressing a little bit. That and the fact that people did a good job on him.
Q: You had the ball fourth-and-1 at the 45 with seven minutes to go. What went into the decision to go for that? Did last week's fourth down play have anything to do with it?
A: No. It was a whole different ballgame. That was the football game if we make the first down there, I thought, because of the clock and everything else. No, today was a different game. Last week, before the half, we had turned it over there. We were going to get the ball in the second half. We had turned it over there and the way Ohio State was running the football and playing, we might have gone into halftime having to make three scores instead of two. I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to take that chance last week. This week, we were playing a little better defense. They didn't score a touchdown today from scrimmage. They got the kickoff return, which, we've got to do something about that. But everything else was field goals. So, it's a little different. The whole tempo of the game has a lot to do with it and my feeling today was even if we didn't make it there that we were in pretty good shape and I thought we'd be ok. I thought we could play good defense and if we did then we'd get the ball back again and I thought we could maybe score again if we had to.
Q: Lots of times when you come off a tough loss you rely on the leadership to pull the team together. Were you happy with the way that some of the guys responded today in that role?
A: I think the whole football team did. They practiced well this week, practiced hard. We didn't practice long but when we did, we did it with a lot of intensity and heart and I think Morelli is - I would hope somebody just once would say 'Morelli is getting to be a pretty darn good quarterback.' I mean, the poor kid has gotten all kinds of grief and he's really been pretty good. Some day we haven't been good enough. We haven't run the ball well enough where you could free up some people. We had Derrick Williams and those people were one-on-one a lot of times because we were running the ball pretty well. So, I was pleased with a lot of the kids. But, for a while there I was a little bit annoyed because I thought we got a little sloppy early but I think after that we were fine.
Q: Do you appraise senior classes as whole classes Do you ever look at it that way as a whole entity? Could you appraise this senior class in relation to where this program was in 2004 that kind of got the program back to where it is now?
A: Well I told them that last night. In fact, I told all of them. I said 'you know, everybody owes an awful lot to this senior class because they came in here when we had had two losing seasons in a row.' I said 'they came in here, trusted the program, believed in Penn State, believed in the coaching staff' and since they started to play - you know, we're having a good year, not a great year, but we had a great year two years ago and a good year last year and the two New Year's Day Bowls and I said 'we owe them a lot' and I do owe them a lot. I tried to make sure we did the best we could to win this one, their last home game. But I think they're a great bunch of kids. That's not the greatest class of athletes we've ever had but even the ones that didn't get to play - like there's three of four kids out there who are walk-ons that have made a contribution - Perretta, Weber, and a couple of other guys. But yea, you're right. I think they're a special group in a difference way than maybe you would think I would say because they were not the greatest group of athletes we have ever had. There's a couple of great ones there but not as a group.
Q: Can you talk about your decision to go back with Kinlaw? It seemed like Royster was really running well at that point.
A: Well, Kinlaw is a senior and he had - he just gets careless with the football. If he hadn't fumbled that football he would have had a heck of a day. But Rodney's one of those kids that every practice, he's out there ready to go to work and get better. You always feel a little bit obligated to guys like that. And Royster's going to be a good back in his day.
Q: What was happening on some of those plays where that play clock was winding down? Was it a look that they were showing?
A: I think we only had one, didn't we? One delay of game.
Q: You had to use a timeout here or there, didn't you?
A: Well, I know one. I'm not sure if there was more than one. I couldn't tell you about the other one. One of them was just a miscommunication as to what the signal was. There was confusion on it and they were moving. The one I'm talking about is when the wideouts starting to go from one side to the other side. And that's going to happen to you. You don't want it to happen but it's got to happen once in a while.
Q: What about the big fumble that Lee forced at the goal line that was a big play for you guys. Could you discuss how the momentum changed for you after that?
A: Well, I think that was a big play. It reminded me of a couple of games we were in last year where we were going in and turned the ball over and got ourselves all out of whack. I think it was a very big play, a very big play. I think, from the Purdue side, it was unfortunate for Purdue and was fortunate for us.
Q: After you have a game like you had last week and you give up the opening kickoff, talk about how the guys responded after that?
A: I wasn't worried about how the guys responded. I was worried about how yours truly responded. I was ready to go out and punch somebody right in the mouth. You know, that shouldn't happen to you. But what can you do? You can either go in the shell or can come on back and I think the kids came back and I think that's the sign that maybe we're grown up a little bit more, you know a little bit more leadership and what have you.
Q: Following up on the Sean Lee question, can you discuss what kind of leader he has become? Has the coaching staff ever pulled him aside and told him to become a little bit more of a leader?
A: Well, you know I've challenged the whole group of them to come to the front and he's would be one of them. But some guys do a lot of things without talking about them. They do it in practice, they may do it in the locker room but they're not guys out there trying to impress the coaches by shouting and yelling and all that kind of stuff and Sean's one of those guys. Sean is a strong leader and obviously an excellent football player and he practices hard and I think he's a leader because of the fact that he shows by example. But I've never sat him down and said 'you have to be a leader.' I've challenged - every once in a while I'll go over the defense when I think they get a little sloppy and I'll challenge the whole defense and say 'hey, you guys better knock it off, some of you guys had better get a hold of your buddies and go get them to go to work' and that kind of thing But I really haven't done much the other way.
Q: Dan Connor has now broken the all-time tackle record. Can you talk about what he's meant to this program?
A: Well he's one of those kids that came in here when we were struggling. He was a big plus. He was a very, very much sought-after high school player. In fact, he might have been one of the outstanding high school players in the state. He might have gotten an award or something. He's just a good football player. He and I had our disagreements, let me say, early. He had a little bit of an attitude about some things and to his credit and his family's credit, when I decided to do some things they took it in stride and he kept working. Obviously, he's an outstanding football player, really outstanding.
Q: It wasn't just the touchdown but you also gave up a couple of big returns. How concerned are you with the kick coverage?
A: Very much. We've had two kickoff returns (for touchdowns). In fact, all I could think of was shades of Illinois. At Illinois, we took the ball, went down the field, had a great drive, kicked the field goal. We didn't get the touchdown, kicked off and the kid ran it back 90 yards. Here we are, we kick off and the guy runs it back the whole way. I'm very much concerned about that. We're going to take a look at the personnel and how we're kicking, the whole bit. I think we've got to take a look at it. I can't even remember having two kickoffs returned for touchdowns in a season. I couldn't remember having one returned in a season after Illinois until a couple of guys on the staff reminded me we had one.
Penn State Player Quotes
Tom Bradley Assistant Coach
Q: Talk about Sean Lee's play...
A: He made a lot of great plays today. He is a great football player, and he really does so much for our football team. I really don't think people realize how much he does for our football team. He does so much on the run and the pass. It is a great job by him. I would like to tell you that we work on stripping the ball at the goal line all week, but we don't. I think a lot of that is on his own.
Q: How do you think your guys bounced back after a tough game last week?
A: I thought they came out well today. They didn't have a defensive touchdown against us again this year. That is one heck of an offense to do that against. We knew they were going to get their yards. We always say that it takes three field goals to beat a touchdown, and we were able to do that today. We were giving the field goal, but when they got close, we just tightened up. We used the end zone as our ally back there.
Q: Talk bout the secondary the past couple weeks...
A: It is their coach who is dumb, not the kids. Justin King had a nice game today. We played a little bit different style in the secondary today. We gave Justin some chances to go up on people and jam them. That allowed him to be aggressive. I think it helped us today.
Q: What does the tackle record mean for Dan Connor
A: It was interesting that they brought that record up the other day. You know, when Greg Buttle, who was a great football player did that it was 30 years ago. To have a guy break it and then Dan break it one year later. That is one of the great stats at Penn State. This is "Linebacker U". There have been so many great linebackers here. To hold that record, is a real credit to Dan. Not only Dan, but you have to give credit to the guys in front of him. Any linebacker will tell you that those guys really keep people off of you. It is a special moment for him with his brother here.
Q: Comment on Dan Connor
A: Dan's style of leadership is so much different. It is done so much with his play. Dan is a very aggressive football player. He does everything we ask him to do. He has played everything here. His first year, he was kind of the linebacker junky. He played everywhere. He was moving all over the place. I knew back then that we had ourselves a heck of a player. It is hard enough to play one of those positions, but he was doing three of them all at the same time. We played him at the outside the past couple years, and now he is back inside. He is another guy like Paul (Posluszny) that is able to do so much in different positions. We move Dan outside and he is an All-American where he was and he didn't say a word. I think the thing I admire most about him is if you watched him practice, you wouldn't be able to tell if it was practice No. 1 or No. 100. He goes at it everyday. Danny has been banged up. We try to protect him by putting a cross on him at practice and he takes it back to the trainers. Even without pads on, he just goes.
#1 Justin King Junior, Cornerback
Q: How did you guys bounce back today?
A: I think we bounced back well. We came out with a lot of energy. We played well and we got a good win.
Q: How do you feel you played today?
A: I played ok. I got some goofy penalties, but overall I played ok.
Q: How tough was to give up the kickoff return at the start of the game?
A: It deflates you a little bit. You come out ready to play and then that happens. We just had to stick together and go out and play.
Q: Comment on the defense today...
A: We played some real aggressive defense today. I think when it comes to the defensive play calling against them. it is just a lot more aggressive. We were able to sit on some routes and just play them. I am more comfortable when I am up close on a guy. When we got that freedom this week, we start licking our chops.
#40 Dan Connor Senior, Linebacker
Q: What was it like being senior day?
A: It was unbelievable. Going out of the tunnel for the last time was just unbelievable. Getting a chance to hear the crowd and take it in one last time was unbelievable.
Q: Comment on breaking the tackle record...
A: It is a burden off my back. I got a message from Paul on my phone right now, but I haven't checked it yet. I will probably give him a call and talk some trash. (Laughter)
Q: What was it like leaving the field for the last time?
A: I think after the game, everything just kind of sunk in. It is an unbelievable crowd and an unbelievable place to play. It is tough that, that is it.
Q: What was the crowd noise like today?
A: Defensively, we need that noise. It makes it hard for the offense to make some checks. It makes it hard for them to get going. When they were down on the goal line at the end of the game and they went three and out, it was the crowd noise that really helped us.
Q: How big was it to set the record on senior day?
A: Setting it on senior day was big. It is the last game, and it is a great way to go out. I wouldn't have minded going back home next week to Philadelphia, but I wanted to do it here during the last game. It is a great way to go out.
Q: What does the tackle record mean at Penn State?
A: It is definitely beat. "Linebacker U" - this is where you go if you want to play middle linebacker out of high school. To have this record, it is a great feeling. It is big burden off my back to not have to think about it or answer questions about it. It is a great feeling.
Jay Paterno Quarterbacks Coach
Q: What did you say to Derrick Williams as he was coming out of the tunnel after the game?
A: I told him he had a great day. He took the reverse inside the 12, and Galen Hall and I talked about that. When we decided to go with it, we knew he would get out there and we were hoping he would put it in the endzone. He did a great job. He made a good play on the other touchdown and had a couple good punt returns. It was good to see him smiling, laughing, and just having a good time.
Q: With the statistics Anthony Morelli will end up with, do you think he will be viewed better 5 or more years from now than how he is viewed today by the fans?
A: Yeah. We have a chance to win 10 games this year, and obviously we will take them one at a time. I don't care who you beat, who you lose to...if you win 10 games, that is a good year. Obviously, we all want to win every game we play. But I think people have been awfully critical of him. That throw he made on third down and six today on the touchdown drive was as a big time a throw with two guys bearing down on him and ready to blast him, and he stuck in there where only Derrick Williams could get it. I thought he had an amazing day. People will appreciate him more down the road a lot more than they do now probably. I think he has done some really good things for this program leadership wise. He has been loyal and never complains about anybody. He puts up with a lot of baloney and I'm happy to see him go out the way he did today.
Q: Do you think Derrick Williams has been pressing these past couple of games?
A: I do not think he is pressing. I just think he wants to make things happen. Sometimes things happen and sometimes things don't. He's a great competitor that wants to do great things.
Q: Talk about your relationship with Anthony Morelli.
A: It's funny. Everyone once in a while, when I sit down and write a book about recruiting, the story when we went to his house the last Saturday night before we could be in anyone's house pops into mind. It was like a scene out of the Godfather. It was me, Joe Paterno, Coach Bradley, Anthony, his dad, and his uncle. It was all men and we talked business. The women would come in a bring food and shut the door. You would have thought we were discussing plans to...I don't want to say what. When we finished dinner, we went into another room and they asked all the questions they wanted to ask and got everything out on the table. Then we went back in the other room and had cannolli and everyone could come in. It was quite an experience. We have had a lot of ups and downs. We were on the way back from Illinois, and I told him 'I have not lost faith in you, I will not lose faith in you, and you are our guy. You have to help us go out there and win the rest of our games.' The unfortunate thing last week is that he really played pretty well, but he did not have the ball enough to really do some things that we could have done. I'm going to miss him. He does some things that not many guys can do. He has been great, loyal, upbeat, and positive. I'm proud of him.
#14 Anthony Morelli Sr./Sr., Quarterback
Q: What did it mean to end like this hear today?
A: TO go out on top with a win meant a lot to us. We focused on that a lot all week; to come out and give it everything we have. At least we can remember that we won our last home game.
Q: Was this a morale booster?
A: Yeah, we were disappointed (after last week's loss). We did not play as well as we could have, and we bounced back last home game and we got it done.
Q: Did the game plan call for so much of Derrick Williams, or was that just the way the game went?
A: It was just the way it happened. He was in the slot a little bit more today and created some more match-ups. I got him the ball and he did his thing.
Q: Did you see something on the films against Purdue that they sidelines were usually open?
A: Yeah, they were blitzing heavily off the edge, and we thought that if we could just get it out there and create a one-on-one match-up and let Derrick run with the ball. He did a very good job.
Q: Are you guys still focused on the New Years day match-up?
A: Yes, we want to win the rest of our games and go to the best bowl game we can. We will go back to practice and start all over again.
#4 Terrell Golden Gr./Sr., Wide Receiver
Q: What was your best memory in Beaver Stadium?
A: Scoring my first touchdown. That was unreal. We were playing Purdue, #5. It is a well documented story. I scored and got up and had a little fun, and then got a penalty. I sat down and had a nice talk with Joe (Paterno).
Q: Talk about the offense during the second half.
A: I think we had a good opening drive. He did well moving the ball the whole game. When we get down to the red zone, we really need to punch it in there. That is something we are really going to work on these last couple of games as well as the bowl. Anthony played a spectacular game. I think he made a lot of good decisions and scrambled when he was given the opportunity. He was just a great playmaker for us today.
Q: Talk about Derrick Williams game.
A: This was one of Derrick's best games that I can remember. Just getting the ball in space and making people miss. He did it all today...running, catching, great blocks. He had a great game and I'm sure he will build on it throughout the next few weeks and next year.
Q: How tough is it to come out when you are in a hole?
A: It's tough. For opening kickoff, and they take it to the house. But that is a sign of a good offense. Resiliency and the ability to take a blow and mark back down field and get some points. I think that is very important and we did a good job at that.
#2 Derrick Williams Junior, Wide Receiver
Q: How did you become such a favorite target today?
A: I have no clue. We've just been practicing hard; the coaches were calling good plays. The only thing I was trying to do was help the team out the best I could.
Q: Was it important to send the seniors out with a win on senior night?
A: Oh yea, after as much as those guys did for this program. Those were the guys that came here not knowing what direction this program was going to go. They've been doing a good job, they've been showing leadership, and there's no better way to lead them out than with a win.
Q: How do you guys as a team approach these last two games on the road?
A: We approach them ready to win. We're going to do everything in practice. We do have two tough teams to play, but all we can do is try to practice hard and hopefully practice carries over to game day.
Q: Is it difficult to play in a system like this, where you kind of have to wait your turn with so many talented guys?
A: No. It's not difficult because that's what I came here for. Not just football, I came here for loyalty. I came here to play my role and try to make this team the best that we can.
#22 Evan Royster So./Fr. Tailback
Q: How much did the guys talk about sending the seniors out with a win today?
A: It's the thing we've been talking about all week. It's the main point.
Q: It must mean something a little extra special to have a part in the win for the seniors.
A: Yea, I'm glad we got them the win today. Hopefully it's not their last, we'll keep going, win the next two games, and win a bowl game.
Q: What would you say the mentality of the team is right now?
A: We were kind of down this past week because of the loss to Ohio State, but I think we're back up to where we were with high spirits and everything.
#48 Maurice Evans Sophomore, Defensive End
Q: Evaluate your performance today.
A: I think I played pretty well. It was a good rebound game after the Ohio State game, so everything went fine.
Q: Was it frustrating trying to rush Curtis Painter?
How did you finally get after him?
A: We knew we just had to get faster. It does get pretty frustrating; three steps and the ball's out quick. We just had to rush hard. There was nothing to do but just get on the ball faster.
Q: How big was that sequence of plays when you got the turnover on the one yard line?
A: That was key. That was a big goal line stand. That was amazing. I didn't get to see the play. But, I saw the fumble and someone pick it up.
Q: What did you think of their quarterback?
A: He's a good quarterback. He has good pocket presence. He knows how to maneuver around, in and out of the pocket. I think he's a pretty good quarterback.
Q: After last week's loss, how important was today's win?
A: We couldn't let that get to us. We had to rebound and come back stronger than we did when we played Ohio State.
#20 Rodney Kinlaw Senior, Tailback
Q: Can you describe the emotion of playing your last game here and what this season has meant to you?
A: I would say it's been good for me, considering where I started off. The last game is always a tough one, especially it being my last game at Beaver Stadium, so I'm going to miss it a lot.
Q: Do you think you stepped out of bounds on that fumble?
A: I'm not even sure. I knew I should have held onto the ball though. I didn't even see the guy coming
Q: How emotional was it going out on the field for the last time in front of these fans.
A: I just tried not to think about it. I tried to go out there and stay in my zone and just have a good game. It still hasn't sunk in that it was my last game. Maybe tomorrow morning it will sink in.
Q: Did it mean a lot more, the fact that you had to put this away in the fourth quarter?
A: Yea, it was a tough game. We stayed in there and fought hard and came out with the win, so that's always good.
# 78 John Shaw Sr./Sr., Tackle
Q: How did it feel playing in Beaver Stadium for the final time?
A: It was very exciting knowing that it was going to be my last game in Beaver Stadium. And we won, so that was a great way to end my career.
Q: Was it emotional for you in any way?
A: Yea, I was fired up since earlier this morning. I woke up a lot earlier than my roommate and I was just fired up all day, waiting for my last game.
Q: Joe talked a lot about how he credits the senior class for really helping turn this program around - sticking with it when times were tough. How do you feel about that as a member of that class?
A: When my class first came in in 2003, we only won three games and four the following year. After that we went to two bowl games. We stuck together and we know what it's like to have a losing season and we didn't want to get back to that. It's great to have a bunch of wins.
Q: John, do you have one memory that you will always take with you from playing in Beaver Stadium?
A: One memory would be in 2005, the Ohio State game. I didn't play in that game, but just the way we ended it and the excitement - the way Tamba Hali had that sack at the very end. It was just a great experience. I was fired up.
#57 A.Q. Shipley Sr./Jr., Center
Q: What did you show today, do you think?
A: Resilience. We came out and we were down. We had some adversity early on and we were still down going into the second quarter. We put up 13 points, I think, in the second quarter. So we knew we had to get it going, and we got it going, and continued it through the second half.
Q: You were down in the second half too. Was there anybody that spoke up in the second half?
A: Yea, it was everybody. The offense, when we all looked to each other, and everybody was saying, "We need to get a drive here. We need to get a drive." And we got a drive. So that's one way to look at the character of our team.
Q: It never seemed easy at all for you guys, did it?
A: No. Purdue is a good team. They were 7-2 coming in. Both teams they lost to before this were both teams that we lost to. They've got a lot of good athletes. They've got a senior at quarterback, and they do a lot of good things on offense and defense. Coach Paterno told us all week that it was going to be a dogfight, and he was right.
# 45 Sean Lee Jr./Jr., Linebacker
Q: [Referring to the fumble at the goal line in the second quarter] From us it looked like he was trying to reach it out.
A: I think it was an iso. I reached out when he was reaching out and I just saw the ball. I felt it in my grip and I just pulled it out.
Q: Why would a guy do that with traffic?
A: A lot of running backs do that when they feel they are close. That's when a lot of fumbles happen, and it ended up working out to my favor.
Q: Justin said he thought that the guy thought he was closer than he really was.
A: I don't know. They were on the half yard line, but I don't know exactly where he was. It was close. That's the game. Little inches win.
Q: What a boost that gave the team, I imagine.
A: Yea. It was huge. Especially after the momentum they had after returning the kickoff. Their offense did a good job of taking the ball down the field, but they didn't score. They drove right down the field on us a few times, so that was big.
Q: You were looking to make the tackle there, so you're not looking at the ball. When did you notice he was holding the ball like the statue of liberty?
A: I could feel it. He was reaching out and I just felt the ball. Whenever you feel it, you're ripping. You're doing whatever it takes to get the ball. I just felt the ball just like later in the game when I almost had a strip. You just feel it on you and it's almost like second nature because coaches program you to get that ball out.
Q: They were moving the ball well on you in the middle of the game, and early in the fourth quarter you had those two drives that you stopped. What was the difference?
A: Pressure. We got some pressure on him. We did a good job breaking up some balls. Our secondary did a good job covering their routes. Once they came out in the beginning of the game and moved the ball on us, and we were able to see what they were doing, we stopped them. The second half they came out, moved the ball on us, we were able to see what they were doing, and we stopped them. The most important thing was that we were able to keep them out of the endzone and make them kick field goals. That was huge for us.
# 7 Anthony Scirrotto Jr./Jr., Safety
Q: What does Dan Connor mean to the team? Comment on it being his senior year and him as a captain and a leader.
A: Like you said, he is the leader of the defense like Poz was last year. We rely on him to make the big play and get everything going and spark us out there. He is a great player and he is doing a great job. He is a big time player who makes big time plays. As soon as the season is over, we'll miss him.
Purdue Head Coach Joe Tiller
Q: Your defense got the one big turnover in the red zone but it gave up a lot of yards. Can you assess the play of your defense?
A: I thought we played well again. Anytime you keep them out of the end zone, you are doing well. If you hold them to field goals, that's good. That's what Penn State was able to do to us. Overall, I thought, defensively, we help up well on the road in a great environment.
Q: Can you talk about the play of the offensive line?
A: Penn State is a pretty good defensive front. Evans is tied for the league lead in sacks and about fourth in the country. You watch them on tape and the one thing that they have been able to do is rush the passer. We tried to keep a back in but sometimes we got caught in mismatches with backs on linemen. But that's going to happen from time to time. In that case, you have to get the ball out quickly. I thought he (Curtis Painter) did a better job of that in the second half than in the first.
Q: Did Penn State do something differently in the fourth quarter, defensive-wise?
Did they blitz more?
A: They brought a lot of pressure late in the game. I am sure their thought was to make him throw the ball quicker, so we couldn't get the ball up the field.
Q: What was your view on that first down on the last drive in which they eventually scored?
Do you think it deserved a measurement?
A: I am shocked that it wasn't measured. That's S.O.P. It has been since I have been around football. I was yelling 'measure, measure,' but they kept on going, so doesn't really matter. The point is moot.
Q: You love effort and got a lot of it. But the emotion of the personal fouls, did that bother you and did you address them, because they hurt you?
A: I did. That's why I said to the team, we are playing hard, but we are not playing smart. And that is the difference. You cannot commit those major penalties and expect to be successful. We certainly contributed to our own demise, that way.
Q: Can you talk about your special teams and kicking game today?
A: The kicking game was the best part of our game today. I have to look at the tape, but I didn't see any falloff in any area of the kicking game, whether it was punting, covering kicks, or kickoffs. These guys took one to the house last week versus Ohio State last week. I was really nervous kicking off to them today. They are the most talented team we have faced this season in terms of kickoff return ability.
Q: This is the most Derrick Williams has been involved in the offense, did you anticipate that?
A: No, but you never know. When you have a talented player, on any given Saturday, he can show up and have a bigger role. I think they have a lot of playmakers, particularly in the receiving corps. They have a lot of guys who can make a lot of plays, so, at any time, anyone can bust loose on you. When you have talent and good foot speed, positive things are going to happen.
Purdue Player Quotes
#11 Jared Armstrong Senior, Punter
Q: What made you kick the ball so well today?
A: It was partially the environment because the crowd gets me pumped up. I like when people are yelling my name on the sidelines and try to taunt and heckle me. Mainly it's just focusing on the game -- that is what it has been about all season.
Q: Is it mental?
A: Honestly, kicking is 80 percent mental. And then there is ten percent technique and then like five percent luck, which is like whether you get a bad snap or whatever.
Q: Joe said last week you were kind of acting like a kicker. What do you think?
A: I mean I will talk to myself a lot of the time. Or I will pick my head up a lot of the time. But I don't know what he meant by that.
Brock Spack Defensive Coordinator
Q: What did they do better in the second half?
A: Yeah, they blocked and ran the ball harder. On the third down run we felt like we had to come after them and make something happen. We were playing on our heels during the fourth quarter so they came after us and split us and scored. It's just what you had to do in that situation. You have no other choice. We got to make that play. We're not going to sit there on our heels and let them make a first down every time. They executed and we didn't.
Q: Just to clarify, were you pleased with your defense's effort?
A: Oh, I think the effort was good. We just didn't play very smart. In the second half we settled down, we were much more poised. But in the first half it was uncharacteristic of our guys and our guys played smart all year and we just did some un-smart things. We just made mistakes. It was the fundamentals of defensive football that we didn't execute in the first half. So it was disappointing. We didn't tackle well. I thought we had an opportunity for a fumble recovery. We were a little late with some of the calls. We have been really good with that all year. And then obviously the fouls. We lost our poise. When you dig yourself a hole like that, it comes back to haunt you. So that's what happened in my opinion.
#28 Dustin Keller Senior, Tight End
Q: Evaluate your performance today. A: In my eyes anyways, it comes down to whether you win or lose. I mean you can play a really bad game, but come away with a victory. And that is what all really matters in the end. Of course we played better today, but we lost. So that is what matters.
Q: Overall how do you think the offense did?
You had spurts near the endzone. How do you evaluate it?
A: It is like always. When we are on, we are on. When we are off, things are really bad. I mean, it's something we have to improve and be more consistent on.
Q: How would you rate their defense today?
A: They were a good defense. But I mean the plays were there to be made, and we weren't making them. So it's on us.
Q: Do you guys feel that you came out in the first quarter with a good rhythm on offense?
A: Yea, the energy was high. We took an opening kickoff back for a touchdown. That got our momentum going. But we kind of let that slip away. We just pretty much handed it back over to them. So we are just going to have to come out and win the next game.