"I am really proud of the way our football team played today. I thought they played from the very beginning with great intensity, and any time you fall behind, you really find out a lot about your team. We gave up that first touchdown. They got a big play executed extremely well. We helped them out with that penalty. And in their last touchdown, we helped them with a penalty. It was 4th down, it was a great effort, and someone grabbed the helmet, and that kept the drive alive and led to their second touchdown."
"I thought our defense was absolutely magnificent. The key to having a great defensive team, in my judgment, is stopping the run. We did that, and now you gotta’ throw the football. I think that we had a lot of good calls. I think that Jim Herrmann and those coaches had a good game plan. We had good pressure, and of course with 5 turnovers you are going to win unless you turn it over the same number of times."
"I thought our kicking game really came together in a lot of different ways today. The only disappointing thing there was that we missed the extra point. As he swung through to kick the ball, he kicked the turf before he got to the ball, which happens sometimes. That is one of those things that do happen. But offensively, I thought that we did a lot of good things. I thought that we got better. I think that Chad Henne got better today. I think we did some things with him that enabled him to have some success. And I think that he made some good throws early. I think Michael Hart took another step today. As much as I hate to see the ball turned over, he made a great run to get down there. He’ll learn from that. I thought the biggest play of the game offensively was the long touchdown pass. I don’t know how Braylon caught the ball. The ball was thrown perfectly, but I thought the defender had pretty good position. And some way, this guy found a way to catch it and score a touchdown."
"It was a team effort, a team victory. And anytime when you are going in the opener of a championship race, you have to win. If you don’t, you put your back up against a wall. We still have a long way to go to be the kind of team that we want and need to be. But we have the right to be satisfied today."
On Chad Henne’s progress up to this point:
“Early in the game, he took a four yard loss instead of throwing the football away. And then he came back later with a similar type situation, and threw the ball away. That is just the type of experience that helps him. But I thought that he hit Avant on some good passes. There are still a lot of things that he is going to improve with, but my goodness...a lot of the pressure is self-imposed, and the expectations... I just think that this kid has a lot of moxie, and he’s got toughness about him mentally that he doesn’t get rattled, and doesn’t get excited. I think that he is gaining confidence, and his team is gaining confidence in him.”
“This allows us to get a very strong and powerful line, but we have got to run the football to be effective. I think that David at center, he worked there all summer, that enables us to get a line-up in there that is very very physical and is going to get movement, and going to knock people off of the ball. If we can run the football, then we stay out of all of those 3rd down and long situation and all of the pressure is on the quarterback. And now he is going to get a lot of different blitzes, a lot of different coverages, and it is what you want to avoid with a young quarterback.”
On if he has ever had a defense force this many turnovers:
“No, and we have had some great defenses, but we have never had a defense that caused this many turnovers. I don’t go year to year with some of those stats, but I would be very very surprised if it wasn’t the most turnovers that we have had, at this stage. I think it begins up front. We have a lot of guys up there, and I don’t want to single anybody out until I see the film…but I do think that Lamar Woodley is starting to feel comfortable in knowing what he’s doing. I think Gabe Watson the same, and I think that Alex Ofili has really given us a boost in there. He’s a big, strong, powerful guy. And of course Pat Massey. We are alternating some guys. Alan Branch gets some work in there, as does Rondell Biggs. So we are rotating some guys and that helps us stay a little bit fresher. And it gives them experience as we go forward here.”
On Adam Finley’s punting:
“Well you know, if you look at the statistics, it’s not very good because of the one block that we’ve had and the return. But if you look at the punting average, Adam Finley is punting the football as well as any punter we’ve ever had in here. In this conference, you are going to run into a lot of good defensive football teams, and field position then becomes a critical issue. That is what we had today, and our kickoff team was unbelievable. They started almost every drive after a kickoff inside the 20yd line. But Adam Finley is as smart as any guy I ever coached. A lot smarter than I am. As a matter of fact, when I checked him in last night…this is typical… most guys would be nervous and worried about the game. But I walk in and Ross Mann, who was rooming with Finley, is reading a book. I asked him, ‘Ross, what are you reading?’ He said, ‘Common Sense by Thomas Payne.’ Those are the types of guys that we have here (laughing). Finley is a bright guy, and fun to be around. If he does hit a bad punt, he can tell you exactly why. He dropped the ball wrong, whatever it is, he can tell you.”
On if Mike Hart has done enough to be named the starter at RB:
“Well, if he didn’t he’s close. I thought that he was really good in there. I like him. We have to see, but he took a big step, and I think that he can handle it. There is no question about that. “
On getting behind Iowa early:
“You don’t like to start a game off at home being behind. A week ago we were behind at the end of the half. And then we start this game off. What we wanted to do is kick the ball deep. We did and we had good field position. They executed a great play action pass early to the tight end. Then we had a personal foul, a late hit, which really helped them on that drive. And so, here we are, behind. I mean, that is exactly what you don’t want to be at home because it takes the crowd out of the game. But we fought back, we got a field goal, and a big play on Braylon’s touchdown which really sparked us.”
On throwing deep:
“I think as we go forward here, the thing that I’m sure we are going to see…and we got some of it today… is they are going to double cover Braylon. But Jason Avant is an excellent ball player, as are Steve Breaston and Jermaine Gonzales. I think Adrian Arrington has really shown some special things in practice for a true freshman, so we’ve got some guys that we can get the football to if they are going to double cover Braylon. But the one thing that we made up our minds on was that we wanted to do is throw the ball deep and take some chances because Chad does have an excellent arm. If there is one guy back there, even if they’re playing a three deep zone where a guy has got the deep third, that ball is up there and Braylon can take the ball away because he’s got such great size and can jump up. He’s going to fight you for the ball. So you can make a poor throw and still come up with a play. He is a weapon that really impacts the way you are going to defense us. Now if we can run the football, it makes it difficult to double cover him. So that is why it is important to be able to run the football.”
On Scott McClintok coming back from injury:
“Well, they told me that he broke the record. Scott McClintock, of course, is a senior. He’s a guy that got to play a lot last year and has earned the opportunity to be a starter, and he was hurt. Paul Schmidt told me Monday night that McClintock would not play, and so we prepared as though he wouldn’t. But they came in there and said, with the exception of being in classes, he was in the training room all week long. He willed himself to play. He didn’t come in on Monday or Tuesday, we had a light practice on Thursday, and he did a little bit. And Paul Schmidt came in this morning and said, this guy… I don’t know how he did it, but he feels pretty good. So we played him in there, and hopefully he will be ready to go next week.”
On if he used the past two losses to Iowa to motivate his team:
“The only important thing is this year. You have to learn from the past, and certainly there are some things that we’ve tried to learn, but the thing that motivates a team is the fact that we are trying to win a championship here. A lot of the guys that were on that team are not here. And some of the guys that are on this team weren’t on that team. So we’ve got new leaders, we’ve got a new team, a new group. I’ll never believe that you can spend a lot of time talking revenge and all of that. We just want to win this year. We want to win a championship. So if we stay motivated, we will see what we can do.”
On replay being used in the game:
“I thought there were about 4 calls that I would have replayed if I had been the guy in the booth, but I would assume they were all right. And they were all bang-bang plays. I’ve got the headset on, so I’m dealing with coaches saying, ‘THAT WASN’T A FUMBLE! HE WAS DOWN!’, so of course I’m telling the official that he was down and that he should replay it. That is the hard part about having the headset on because you are reacting to what you hear and what you see. But I am not criticizing the replay. We will have to go a season and see how it goes.
On if he thought the replay took too long:
“No, I don’t know how long it took because I am trying to think about if the call stands we have got to get the defense out on the field. If not, and it is overturned, then it is 3rd down and we have to have a play ready, so no I don’t know how much time it took. But that is a big play in that game, so if they made a bad call, I think if it takes some time, then it is worth it.”
On the progress of Gabe Watson and Larry Harrison:
“Larry Harrison is a guy that had all of the physical tools except the using of his hands on the blocker. He wanted to run through the blocker without using his hands, and once a blocker gets on you, if you don’t use your hands, you can’t get off. You can’t separate, and you can’t make the tackle. Now I think he is one of the most improved players on the team. He is a big guy in there. He is a 300-pounder, and he’s going to cause some damage. And I think that he gets better every week.”
“I’ve got to see the film and I hate commenting, but I could feel Gabe out there today. I think he is so big and so strong. There was one time when I got on him there because he didn’t come around and contain on a pass. But I think that he was a presence today.”
On how big of a step his team has taken:
“I think it is too soon to tell. I think that we played our best football game at the right time today. When you are starting a freshman quarterback and tailback, you have a lot of things to into consideration. They have not done this before. This was their first Big Ten game. The Big Ten games, I think, are all of an intensity that is a little bit different, with the rivalries, and all of that. So I don’t know where we are. I know that we are better today than we were a week ago, and if we can continue to work hard and have a great attitude, we will do like we did today. We played with great intensity, from the first whistle to the last whistle. And when you play that hard, then you can make things happen, and we did some of those things today.”
On if Braylon Edwards drops too many easy passes and catches the difficult ones:
"Well, he made some unbelievable catches today. I mean, he’s running
one way, the ball is thrown behind him, and he turns his body to makes incredible
catches. You have to understand that he wants to score every time he gets the
ball. That is the type of guy you want. But he gets ahead of himself sometimes.
Most of his catches are because he starts to run just before it gets there.
And you can see on the film that he takes his eyes off of the ball and catches
it anyway. But if you do that all of the time, once in a while, you are going
to drop the ball. Then everyone wants to be critical. I’m just thankful
for the ones that he does catch. I will take a few drops. Nobody said that this
was a game of perfect.”