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Nov. 14, 2009
COACH Joe Paterno
Q: What contributed to the sloppy and poor play in the first half? Was there any sign of that in practice this week? A: No we practiced pretty well. I don't know, you tell me? It gets contagious. A couple of bad plays and everything starts pressing a little bit. Clark had a couple of bad throws early and then he starts aiming the ball and got himself back in the groove. It's an emotional game it's a game of poise. Sometimes you slip a little bit and pay the big consequences for it, we didn't end up playing well in the first half. With that said, don't taking anything away from Indiana. Indiana is a really good first-half football team, they wear down a little bit. They needed a few more people [in the second half]. All's well that ends well.
Q: You seemed like you shored up the coverage on those special teams plays, but today you guys had fumbles, how much have the fumbles held you back from your progress on special teams? A: I thought the special teams did well except for the two punts we mishandled. I thought we did pretty well. Again, that kid (Hagerup) did a good job. We had one good return that we fumbled the ball and gave it up. As I said last week, it was not a question of coaching and it wasn't a question of tactics. I think it was a question of not having the right combination of people in there and we made some switches. I thought we did a pretty good job.
Q: When you spoke about the special teams and fumbles, you said contagious, is that any area or just special teams? A: It's any area. You've seen it. You go and see some of the best football teams go out there and fumble the ball a couple times in one game and then they go eight weeks in a row without one. It's all part of the psychology of the game. We debated whether or not to take Zug off the punt return team and I told him at half time, 'if you have the moxie to go out there and forget about a couple of mistakes and catch the football,' and he caught it.
Q: Can you give an update on the injuries to Chaz Powell, Brandon Beachum and A.J. Wallace? A: I think Powell's okay, I just talked to the doctor quick and I think they're going to take Beachum to a good look at it and get some X-rays, it looks like he has a pretty serious knee injury. He is probably out. Powell will be week-by-week. A.J. Wallace I think is going to be alright.
Q: Despite everything that went wrong in the first half, you were still tied, when you got the touchdown late what does that do to really inspire the team? A: Well, I think getting a score there was, just like getting one early in the third quarter and late in the fourth quarter, we had to score. Obviously if we don't score we're going to get licked. I think there was determination on some people that say, 'hey we're better than the way we've been playing, let's go get one.'"
Q: That interception return for TD by Navorro Bowman, was that the turning point of the game or was it the touchdown at the end of the first half? A: I don't know. Turning points and that kind of stuff has never been my cup of tea. You play 60 minutes, and if you keep hustling and keep your poise and don't forget the things you should know and maybe something good will happen to you. Is that the turning point? You guys should know, you're writing the stories. Turning points have never been big things for me.
Q: Can you talk about how the defense played after the first quarter and comments on Bowman's interception return? A: I think we did play a pretty good defensive game. There again, Indiana had tough field position most of the game after the first drive and the field goal. I do think we played a solid defensive football game except for the slow start. Bowman's interception was obviously a big play. He's a good football player and he showed that he can run. It was a lift obviously, was it the turning point? I don't know.
Q: Curtis Drake, a true freshman, came in and gave you two big plays can you talk about his impact to the offense? A: When Powell got hurt we had to go to Drake and he did a good job, he's a good prospect. He's a good athlete, heck of a good high school player and he hasn't played as much as we would've liked to because he's playing behind a couple of guys who are pretty good. We have a pretty good freshman group and he's one of them.
Q: Near the end of the game when Daryll the pass to Zug that was incomplete, when he came to the sideline you had something to say to him, what was said? A: Yeah, I wasn't happy. He was told to run it. We wanted to waste a few more seconds, and if you go straight ahead, so we figured to get him outside and let him run around a bit and eat up some seconds and he got carried away, he saw a guy open and he threw it, which stopped the clock and kept us there for another how many more plays? Five, six more plays they had. Hopefully you learn from things like that.
Q: Did you think that [Navorro] Bowman's play helped turned the game around?
A: It had to. We kept waiting for it to happen. We kept hanging in there. We didn't get off to a good start today. I thought D'Anton [Lynn] had the pick. We didn't get it and they got the field goal. We just had to stay tough because they had their opportunities. It's 10-0 and they got good field position. The guys did a good job of hanging in there.
Q: It was [Navorro] Bowman's second big return this year. How did he look? He didn't seem to run out of gas this time.
A: He picks it off and is really good with the ball in his hands. He's a heck of an athlete. I hope we don't lose him to offense. He looked good this time. I was getting nervous that that guy was going to tackle him. He would have never lived that down if that happened. He did a good job. We had to make a big play and that was obviously a huge lift for us.
Q: Did you say anything to your seniors, specifically Sean Lee or Jerome Hayes, before the game?
A: I get a little misty eyed with those guys. Jerome [Hayes] and Sean [Lee] are guys I'm close with. I told them thanks for everything and I appreciate the effort, hard work and dedication to this football team. It means a lot to me. Two really fine people there. That's a tough moment for a lot of us. You hate to see them go.
Q: Looking ahead to next week, can you talk about playing at Michigan State?
A: It's a tough place to play. It's a great venue up there. It's always been a real physical and emotional game. It's a big game for them; it's their senior game too. They'll be wound up. We beat them last year and I'm sure they want to get back at us.
PENN STATE POSTGAME PLAYER QUOTES
#5 Jerome Hayes
Q: How do you want to be remembered?
A: I hope people focus less on my injuries and more on the fact that I was a part of that 2005 class that helped give the program a little bit of a resurgence. I just want to be remembered as a winner, most importantly. I came to Penn State University, a great football program with pride and tradition and I want to go out a winner.
Q: Five years you were here, what is your favorite memory?
A: Today ranks up there, hearing the crowd scream your name when you're coming out for Senior Day. The Orange Bowl, beating Ohio State at Ohio State and beating Michigan at Michigan are some of the top.
Q: Coach [Tom] Bradley said he had some words for the seniors, but especially you and Sean [Lee]. Talk about the relationship you guys have had with him.
A: It's a great relationship with Scrap [Tom Bradley]. He was the first one to come to my high school after my freshman football season to let me know that Penn State had me on their radar. I remember him coming in and showing me videos of Tim Shaw and Paul Posluszny running to the football and making plays. Scrap is like an uncle to me. He's always there for us when we need him. It was an emotional moment when he said goodbye.
Q: With all the emotion of today, did it crumble a little bit when you had that fumble [in the second half] that was ultimately recovered by Penn State?
A: It was horrible. I definitely have to do a better job of ball security. We've preached that all week. If the up-backs get the ball, we really have to hold it high and tight. I got a little ahead of myself trying to stiff-arm a defender to the left. The guy made a great play and knocked the ball out.
#61 Stefen Wisniewski
Q: Can you talk about the success with the ground game?
A: We struggled with the turnovers in the first half, but we really felt like we could run the ball on them. Our coaches are committed to calling the running game. We just stuck with it and I think it worked out really well.
Q: Does the offense have an identity this year [in terms of] similar characteristics as a group, as a unit? Who is the offense? Have you guys figured that out yet?
A: We are a talented group and when we execute, we can move the ball on anybody. I feel like our running game, when we're executing, is working great. We move the ball. And in the passing game, when we're protecting Daryll [Clark] and he's on, we're moving the ball well there. I feel like the times when we've been off, it's just been [due to] our own lack of execution.
Q: Was the touchdown before the half a big boost?
A: Yeah, that was huge. We really needed that, just for a morale booster and to get the crowd back into it. Just to let ourselves know that we were coming back. I don't think we ever really doubted, but it's nice to go into halftime after turning the ball over four times and still be tied. That's pretty encouraging.
#22 Evan Royster
Jr./Jr., Running Back
Q: As the game was moving, did you begin to notice that your defense was starting to recognize what they were doing on offense?
A: Yes, and they have been doing that all year. Our defense has been playing really well. A lot of times they have saved us. That is what we expect from our defense year in and year out.
Q: Did you get a sense of why some things weren't clicking earlier?
A: It's hard to say. We really didn't get a chance to do anything. I think we had a three and out the first drive and after that, we turned the ball over on punt returns, so we never really got into a groove.
Q: It's nice to score a lot of points, but what is it like to battle back and get into a groove?
A: It kind of just shows we are capable of coming back. It is something we will need to do in the next game against Michigan State and our bowl game.
Q: Can you take us through the screen pass for the score? A: Their outside linebacker was playing man and I was kind of nervous about it when the play started. But Lou Eliades picked him up and it paved the way for me to run up the sidelines and run into the end zone.
#17 Daryll Clark
Q: Can you talk about your last game at Beaver Stadium?
A: It's a feeling I will never forget. I wish I would have never played that bad in the first quarter. We still won though. The emotions hit me when we got on the busses over at Lasch (Football Complex). The bus was going a little slower than usual. All of it started to hit me, the whole season, last season, the whole Penn State career. It really caught me a little bit. I was lucky to hold it together.
Q: When did it hit you?
A: It hit me when we got on the bus to come over here. We were driving over here and the bus was driving really slow. I saw all the fans cheering when I was sitting in the bus. I definitely got a lot more emotional then.
Q: It seemed like in the first half, everything that could've gone wrong, did go wrong. Can you talk about that?
A: Well first we had to eliminate all the stupid mistakes that I did at the beginning of the game. There were a lot of things that I was able to do the entire football game, I just had a lot of mistakes. It messed us up a little bit. We were able to run, we were able to throw on whatever play was called. We just needed to execute it. We needed to buckle down and stay focused so we could finish this game the right way.
Q: Did the first quarter have anything to do with nerves?
A: No. The first thing is I was trying to get guys like Andrew (Quarless) and Mickey (Shuler) a catch on senior day. I guess the first play kind of took me off the focus. I didn't even go to the first read, which was Moye on the bench route. He was open. Instead I went to Quarless in the flat. Little did I know the safety was coming in late, and he got a hand on it and it was intercepted. The second interception was a poorly thrown ball. We had a wheel route down the field open. If I would've put more on it, (Graham) Zug would've had a catch. I would not say it was nerve or anything. I just think it was stupidity by me.
#45 Sean Lee
Q: How do you feel about today?
A: I feel great. It was a tough one at first. But we knew Indiana was going to be tough. Their record doesn't really reflect how good of a team they are. It was great though. The fan support was great. It was an ideal game.
Q: A lot of seniors were emotional in the tunnel. You looked like you were laughing and having a good time. Can you talk about that?
A: Well I was just excited. We all wanted to go out on a great note. It was just so fun to play at this stadium, this University, with these fans, and just thinking of past memories made things so fun for me.
Q: Was it odd to see Tom Bradley emotional, he never seems like an emotional guy?
A: A little bit. But he has a little bit of an emotional side, but he recruited both of us. He helped us fight through injuries and stuff like that. I think that playing on senior day for him was special for us.
Q: Can you talk about how you guys maintained your composure?
A: A lot of the older guys are used to playing games like this. Paul Posluszny's senior game three years ago, Michigan State jumped on us. They were up and we turned the ball over a bunch of times. We are the type of team that when there is a game with a mistake we make, we always make sure it never happens again.
#5 Graham Zug
Q: Was it frustrating for you guys with your slow start?
A: Yes, it was definitely frustrating in the first half, but you can't let that affect you. There are still two more quarters after the first half and we had to come together as a team.
Q: Coming off the Ohio State loss, were you surprised with how you guys came out in the beginning of this game?
A: Yes, I was a little surprised. We had a good week of practice and we worked hard. We came together as a team and just had a rough first half.
Q: Once you got things going, what was going right for you offensively?
A: I just think we started clicking as an offense. We executed plays called and we didn't have dumb errors or dumb penalties against us and we didn't turn the ball over.
Q: How frustrating were special teams for you guys?
A: It was a frustrating first half for us, especially on special teams. We didn't execute how we wanted to. We just had guys out there trying to make plays happen and it cost us a little bit.
#73 Dennis Landolt
Q: How do you think the offensive line played today?
A: I think we played pretty well, not perfect or anything. Towards the second half we started blocking pretty well.
Q: How do you think [DeOntae] Pannell did?
A: I thought he did a great job for his first game at guard. It is not an easy spot because there is a lot to learn and to keep up on. I thought he did a good job.
Q: How was it running out of the tunnel for the last time?
A: It is great, but it hasn't hit me yet I don't think. It is emotional because it is the last time I will play here and I have been here for five years.
Q: You guys had a pretty slow first half, how did you turn it around in the second half?
A: I think we were moving the ball in the first half but turnovers hurt us. We were doing stuff and had plays open we just stopped shooting ourselves in the foot the second half. We started taking care of the ball and getting things done.
#43 Josh Hull
Q: What do you think your legacy is here at Penn State?
A: When I leave here I just want people to remember how hard I worked and the kind of dedication that I have and the resiliency that I showed. With the many things I battled through, I am really proud of where I am.
Q: What is your top memory from your time here?
A: It has got to be today. I was sitting in the locker room, like just sitting there because I didn't want to leave. It is the last time I am going to be in there. It is today, it is definitely today.
Q: Can you talk about the support from your community and your hometown?
A: It has been great. I can't really express how much it means to me. I go home and the signs are hanging and people are just coming from everywhere asking for autographs and shaking my hand and congratulating me. It really means a lot to me to have the support that I do.
Q: How about Navarro (Bowman)'s interception for touchdown return?
A: He is a playmaker and he is always around the ball and that is what happens when you are always around the ball.
Q: What was the difference for you guys defensively coming out of the first half?
A: I don't even know. I can't put my finger on it. We just came out really slow and struggled to stop the run early. We came in at half time and regrouped and we got things back on track in the second half.
INDIANA HEAD COACH BILL LYNCH
Opening Statement It was a good hard-nosed football game. We had some opportunities in the first half and I really thought our kids played hard, created some turnovers and we just didn't take advantage of enough of them. Their score late in the first half certainly gave them a little momentum. We had a good drive in the third quarter that was one of those plays, the ball bounced off our receiver and they took it back for a score. When you are playing from behind against the defense, it makes it tough. Give [Penn State] a lot of credit. That is an outstanding defensive football team that they have. I am really proud of our guys and how they played and they way they came and competed.
Q: How disappointing is it to get the turnovers and not be able to convert on them? A: It's disappointing. For the most part, it's going against some really, really good defenses. You have to give the defense credit that they have been able to rise up and stop us. That is what Penn State did and they have the ability to do that. You go back and there are certain times in the game, like letting them score at the end of the first half certainly didn't help us and then the turnover that we had for a score when we were driving in the third quarter, that was a big play. Eventually, they are good enough offensively that they are going to wear you down a little bit and that's what they did late in the game.
Q: What was going through your mind when you went up 10-0? A: Just play the next play. You have heard me say that all year long. I think we have done a really good job of that. Whether we have been up or down, we've kept playing and competing and we did that today.
Q: How do you handle your frustrations from not being able to see the reward for your solid play? A: As a coach, you're disappointed for the kids because you know how hard they work. Everybody works hard; the Penn State kids work hard and practice hard and all of that. Playing hard and competing the way that we are, that needs to be the norm and the expectation. We've got to make the plays within [the expectations] because it's still a game. It's a game of who executes the best in critical situations. There were some chances that we had and we just didn't do it. Am I disappointed for the kids? Absolutely because they are a great group and they're resilient and they come back every week ready to go and I know they will again next week.
Q: Evan Royster and Stephfon Green both had big days on the ground for Penn State, can you talk about their performances? A: They're great football players. [Penn State] has a good offensive line and they have balance. Coming into the game, we knew about Penn State's has great balance running and passing. They're No. 2 in the Big Ten in total offense coming in because of their balance. They stretch you both ways. You've got to do a great job against the run and [Daryll] Clark can really exploit you with the pass, so that's why they are difficult [to defend]. That's what good football teams do when they get you down late, they can rely on the running game. That's certainly why Penn State is a great football team and has been a great program for a long time.
Q: Talk about the touchdown that Penn State scored on that five and a half minute drive? A: They mixed the run and the pass and they executed. They're well coached with good players and they executed. I think somewhere in there we had some missed tackles, but some of that is time of possession. They were on the field a lot longer and we are a little banged up on defense. We had some guys out there that I have a lot of respect for. They showed a lot of courage out there with some bum elbows and shoulders and kept playing. I never saw anyone back down.
Q: You guys built a lot of momentum on that last drive. Will it carry over to the Purdue game? A: I think the biggest thing is that we were going to compete to win until the game was over. There was a point there where probably people thought, 'you're not going to win, why don't you just get it over with?' That's not the way we are doing things. We are going to battle until they end and we are going to use every timeout we have because crazier things have happened. With that being said, we do a pretty good job in that spread attack, particularly when they weren't going to give us the big play. We kind of nickel and dimed it down the field and we got the one penalty that kept the drive alive. Ben [Chappell] and our receivers are pretty efficient. Our offensive line deserves some credit. That's a really good defensive front and we threw the ball a lot of times and only gave up one sack.
Q: You're no longer able to be bowl-eligible. Is it disappointing? A: Sure it's disappointing but you know what's good? We have another game next week. It's obviously a big football game and a fun football game to be a part of it. We're going to get ready to go next week.