Opening statement ... "Thanks for coming. Number one, obviously we're very disappointed in the outcome and results of last week. We came in as a team yesterday, we looked at it. We were critical, constructively, with each other and with what we need to do. The opportunities that we had, because there were plenty of opportunities to make some plays on both sides, that's something that we worked on executing the consistency with it. We need to be better. There's always great emotion in a rivalry game. I think that always happens, and we're excited about the opportunity to have those rivalry games, but win or lose, you've got to move forward. I think that's an important part for us with Indiana coming here for homecoming. (Indiana RB) Tevin Coleman coming in who's leading rushing in the country. We have to play a lot better defensively against a run than we did the other day. One injury update: (linebacker) Desmond Morgan we are going to redshirt this year and then he'll be back as a fifth-year senior next year."
On consistency issues ... "One of the big things this week, which was a little different, is we had seven drops. We haven't done that. We've caught the ball decently. When you look at it, as coaches, we're pretty much consistent on what is a drop and what's not. But we had some opportunities to move the chains. We had the opportunity to keep the flow going better. We've also, if you execute those things, you have a chance to change the mindset a little bit of how a guy calls defenses against you. Those are the execution things that we've been pretty good at. Did we run the ball well enough? No. The offense line was good enough though if we execute in some other areas."
On the starting quarterback ... "Devin (Gardner) is going to be our starter. Devin had some good throws the other day, some we've got to come down with. On the shovel pass, Justice (Hayes) gets knocked off. It's a timing play and so it looks like he flips it to the linebacker which is actually what happened. But we get knocked off of the shovel so the timing of that, we've got to be better mechanically when we had the fumble. You get (good field position) and then you fumble it right back. It was an opportunity we had, but no he'll be the starter."
On the run defense ... "Let's go back to last week, not that I don't want to talk about Indiana, but we've got to do a better job at the point of attack. That was the disappointing thing. There's some double teams we've got to hold onto a little better so the linebackers can run the same point. We missed some tackles and opportunities there, and so from that standpoint I think we need to play a lot better. Same thing for Indiana -- block schemes are block schemes, and we've got to do a better job at playing those."
On what was said to the team about the stake incident and reaching out to Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio... "There won't be any disciplinary action. Mark and I have known each other for a long time, so me calling him and apologizing for something that really was overblown had nothing to do with Michigan State, it had to do with commitment for our football team."
On talking to the team about decisions like that in the future ... "Yeah, I mean you always do. Believe me, no one feels worse than Joe (Bolden), and that wasn't the intent."
On the sequence at the end of the game with QBs Devin Gardner and Shane Morris ... "We had talked about getting (Shane) ready to go in depending on the situation. We told him get ready, get warmed up. We get the turnover and Shane comes in. Depending on the situation, we were going to let Devin finish the game. Part of it was he got the turnover. So Shane goes in. We wanted Devin -- it's the last time he's going to play Michigan State, he's a Michigan kid, and it was important for him to finish."
On why an apology was needed for Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio ... "Well, I think number one, respect for Mark and his team as much as anything. Like I said, Mark and I go back a long, long way. That's pretty much it."
On if he was told to issue an apology ... "No. No. Mark and I have done this in the past. We've called when we've had some incidents in this game, and that's where we are because we have respect for each other."
On if the stake situation was overblown ... "I do think it was."
On LB Joe Bolden's emotion ... "I think we all take it seriously, and I think it was all last week our guys kept hearing 'You don't seem mad. You don't seem ready. You don't seem angry.' That's all they heard. My point is, I think emotionally our guys understand what this game is all about."
On DB Jabrill Peppers being taken off the depth chart ... "He's still battling some things and we'll see where he ends up. If he was out I would have lumped him up with Desmond (Morgan)."
On if there's a big pressure to beat Indiana and make a bowl or if it's just the next game ... "Well, that's a good question. We haven't talked about making a bowl or not making a bowl. We have talked about this being homecoming. We have talked about, as a team, staying together. The way they came in yesterday and the way we went through the day, I think there's a huge commitment on our football team, to each other and the accountability. For us, this is the next game and we've got to get ready for the next game."
On the transition between Michigan State's style of play and Indiana's ... "The hard part to figure out is they have had a week off, they have obviously, unfortunately, (Indiana QB) Nate Sudfeld getting hurt, then (Indiana QB Chris) Covington getting hurt, some quarterback things, you know (Indiana head coach) Kevin (Wilson) is a good coach and a good offensive coach, is figuring out. When you are getting ready defensively, how are they going to play the game? Not from a schematic standpoint a lot of those sort of things. Who are their playmakers and what will they feel comfortable with (for) the young quarterback in the football game?"
On if he knew the players were going to bring the stake onto the field ... "Well, it was in our locker room as something that had been done Friday night. Did I know? Yeah, late I knew. I'll take the accountability for it, too. That is my responsibility."
On the team goals at this point in the season ... "Beat Indiana. That sounds like a good one. Let's take one of them at a time, and that is what we have talked about."
On if there has been any assurance regarding the head coaching position ... "To be honest with you, any time we have ever talked, I think those things will be talked about at the end of the season. Have I talked to anybody about those things? No. I don't worry myself about those things. I am confident about what we are doing. I know what we are doing for 115 kids. Every day I know that. That is as important as anything to me. I feel bad and I do get angry -- we had this discussion the other night -- because they work so hard. We have got to get over the hump and execute and have consistency as a team. The work ethic these guys have put in, I couldn't ask for more."
On how hard it is to shield the team from talk about coaching changes ... "We educate them on about what is important and what is not. I think because of how accountable they have been to each other and how they feel, I am not inside their minds totally, but I think they have handled everything very well."
On if it has been hard on him ... "No. Look, I have 115 (players) and we look at it, and it will be criticized as corny, but they are sons."
On stopping big plays against Indiana ... "(Wide receiver Shane) Wynn is a very good playmaker and he has proven that over the years. He is a guy that returns kicks, he also reverses. We know him pretty well because he is a Glennville (High School) guy. He is a guy who is very athletic. (Indiana RB) Tevin Coleman, all you have to do is watch him. You watch one game and it doesn't matter what game. He breaks tackles and has breakaway finishing speed. I don't know if that would be the right way to put it. I think I would put it, we always stress (stopping big plays). We worked on pursuit, we worked on leverage, we worked on getting off blocks and all those things. When you don't do those things, that is when bad things happen, tackling being a part of it. There is always an emphasis on not giving up big plays."
On if it is difficult to keep the team in the moment ... "By the way they handled themselves, reacted, came in, worked out, all those things yesterday, I would say no. At the same time, even if you are undefeated there are distractions that come about that could screw you up. We have one-third of the season left. We know that and we know the first one of that third is this week and it is homecoming and it is special."
On if any structural changes will be made during practice ... "I have thought about that. We may do a couple of things different."
On dealing with dropped passes ... "I think it is like anything else. If your focus, intensity and concentration on what you are doing isn't where it needs to be, I think that is a big part of it. Were they all easy? Maybe not. It's like playing a double team. I will relate it to a defensive lineman. If you are not focused and intensity on blocks and leverage and eyes and where placement hand is, you are not going to play the double team very well. Well, we didn't do that very well either."
On Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio's response ... "I'm not going to tell you what he and I talked about. The one thing I can tell you is we have a lot of respect for each other."
On the stake situation before the game ... "As I am leaving the locker room, I don't know if any of you notice, but I always come out at the end, because I want the seniors and the kids (in front). So that is when I found out. I don't run as well as I used to, so there is not any way that I would have caught them. The one thing I can tell you is Joe (Bolden) feels as bad as anyone. That wasn't the intent. There was no disrespect intended for anybody. It was a thing for our team."
On LB Desmond Morgan missing the rest of the season ... "He had a hand problem."