NIU Post Game Quotes

Here's a transcript of the post game press conference at Huskie Stadium after Marshall's 37-15 win over Northern Illinois on October 6, 2001. Word-for-word.

Marshall coach Bob Pruett: "I'm really proud of our football team. I think that, to come up here and win on the road in the MAC, is extremely tough. We left six starters at home. Five being on defense, I'm really proud of our defensive football team. To leave five starters at home and to come up and play as well as we did on defense today I think shows something about our program, about our football team. The only huge negative is we had too many penalties. Six holding penalties. We haven't had six holding penalties in a game since Moby Dick was a minnow. I wish they didn't hold, but they did and they got called on it. To come up here and have 17 penalties, and beat a good football team in this league on the road, I think that still says something about our football team. Everybody counted the Herd out. For some reason, we were picked to lose up here. Maybe we're better than what people think. Hopefully, we are."
Question: Talk about Byron Leftwich going six-for-six early in the first half, then going one-for-ten.
Bob Pruett: "He got hit in the head. I'm not making excuses for him. He got hit in the head, and he was groggy and foggy out there. We just didn't realize it until halftime. They put a good pop on him, and he was missing throws he usually hits, and he was missing checks. We just sputtered around out there. You have to hand it to Northern's defense, they played well today. We ran the ball pretty well, at times. We didn't execute offensively the way we need to execute. 17 penalties, whatever the case. As many missed passes and drops as we had."
Question: Coach, did you see your defense take a mentality about this game?
Bob Pruett: "I thought they came out, played hard, and they hit. There were some big licks out there today, and we're pleased with that. We've still got two more weeks of suspensions, where guys will be out. We're just trying to get by, guys. We're just trying to get by until we can get our whole football team back."
Question: You pretty much rushed their passer with your down linemen, without resorting to a lot of blitzes. Was that planned?
Bob Pruett: "Max Yates had three sacks, so we timed it up pretty good. We tried to pressure them with four. I'm really proud of our defensive coaches, because all year long we've had to pick and choose, and patch and band-aid here, and that kind of thing."
Question: Sam Goines played very well.
Bob Pruett: "Sam played very well, very well. I'm very pleased with him. I'm tickled to get up here. We were worried about today. We thought that this would be a tough game, and it was."
Question: What did you do in particular to shut the passing game down?
Bob Pruett: "We've just been working. We're pretty young in the secondary. Usually, when you can put pressure on them, it helps. The wind was a big factor today, in the throwing game. At least it was for us, I don't know about them. It was a big factor. We don't experience that kind of wind. It affects the ball, affects the kicking. I think it really affected the kicking."
Question: Did the wind figure into your play calling?
Bob Pruett: "It figured into our defensive calling, a lot. I think Byron can throw the ball into...you know what I'm saying? It played into our defensive calling, because we didn't think they'd throw it deep going into the wind, and they didn't.

Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich:
Question: We heard you were a little groggy there in the first half from coach Pruett, and it affected your throwing.
Leftwich: "He wasn't supposed to tell you all that. Yeah, I caught a good one in the first quarter. It was a little fuzzy there for a few minutes. For a few series I was out there a little fuzzy. I made some mistakes during those times. Those are mistakes that, even with my head spinning, I should have completed some passes. I missed some guys today. But that's the game of football. We won the game, thatís the most important part. This next week, I've just got to hit those guys."

Marshall tackle Orlando Washington:
Question: Tell us about your touchdown.
Washington: " It was a pretty good feeling. I haven't touched the end zone in oh, about four years. I didn't even know how to act when I got there. I scored a lot in high school, but nothing compares to what I did today."

Marshall linebacker Michael Owens:
Question: Same question.
Owens: "Man, I haven't even touched the ball, I haven't touched the end zone, since high school. It felt good. It was a big play. Everybody stepped up and did their job."
Question: This week, did you guys take a special pride in putting together a big game?
Owens: "The coaches were on us all week, telling us it was a big game. That Northern has improved, and that they're going to come out here fired up. We took it at that."
Question: How much easier does it make it when the guys up front get pressure on the quarterback?
Owens: "A lot easier. We were just chilling back there, waiting on Orlando to get his sack. We just came out and played ball for two halves."

Question: Byron, how tough was it throwing the ball in the wind?
Leftwich: "Going away from the scoreboard, it was very tough. Some times, I thought the wind was like 30 or 35 miles per hour. I put some passes up there, and they just stopped. That was the tough part. This is our first time ever playing in wind that high. In Huntington, the weather was great. And we come here and the wind is blowing 25-30 miles per hour."
Question: Byron, how big was it to turn around and see Orlando running into the endzone?
Leftwich: "It was great, man. It was almost funny. Orlando, getting in the end zone, he's thinking of something to do, but he couldn't think of nothing. Them guys have been taking a lot of heat. We're telling you all: We're a team. We're a team. The offense was slow in the first half, and the defense stepped up. When you hold a team to 142 yards passing, you ain't got no choice but to win, fellas. I think they silenced all the critics today. What's wrong with the Marshall defense? There's nothing wrong with the Marshall defense. Once we get our full deck of cards, we're going to be tough, fellas."
Question: Orlando, you were closes to Sam Goines' hit on the quarterback that led to your touchdown. Did you hear the hit?
Washington: "He took him out, big time. It was almost a knock out hit."
Question: Orlando, you said you thought you frustrated NIU on offense?
Washington: "I think they were. We kept them going three-and-out. They really didn't know what to do. We frustrated them. If we let up, you never know what can happen if you let up. So we just kept going hard, putting pressure on them."
Question: Franklin Wallace, talk about your 100-yard performance.
Franklin Wallace: "I thought offensively, we ran the ball pretty well. I had a hard time concentrating in the first couple of series. I had two fumbles. I really don't have any excuse for those. As I said, I had trouble concentrating. There's a lot of things I'm thinking about right now, outside of football. I'm just thankful that we came away with the victory today. I was very happy to see Kool-Aid and Orlando come away with two touchdowns. Overall, I think we played Herd football today, because we put the ball in the end zone on the offensive side and the defensive side."


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