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"I though we made some improvements. Zoltan Mesko had his best day. A great punt on his first opportunity, and then put two balls down inside the 10-yard line. I thought (both) were great kicks and unfortunately one that was overturned by review. I'm hoping that we will change the college rule because the college rule, unlike the NFL rule is if the ball crosses the plain, the ball is a touchback. I think it would be an exciting play, or at least create a lot more exciting plays if that rule was change. So we'll see how that goes, probably won't change, but that's my suggestion.
"Offensively, I thought Mike Massey went in and -- Mike has done an outstanding job all season, but when Tyler Ecker was injured on the first play of the game, Mike went in and did an excellent job. He caught the ball, I thought he blocked well, and he's also very good special teams player.And Brian Thompson, who has played most of the fall as fullback, went in and played a lot as our second tight end. Brian, of course, is a guy who has been here, had a lot of injuries throughout his career, but what he did speaks to the kind of guy he is. He is always ready to play. He loves the game and I wanted to mention him. I thought Chad Henne was outstanding, and you had to be there to see some of the throws and appreciate some of the throws he made. I thought our offensive line played well. The biggest disappointment offensively was after we overcame a holding call. We had 20 yards for a first down, and Chad made a great throw, Mario made the best catch I've seen him make. He got knocked out of bounds inside the five, but he caught ball back -- I mean, you had to see what he did, because it was a special catch. We get the ball first-and-goal inside the five. We don't get it in and missed the field goal. So we passed up an opportunity there that we have to take advantage of.
"Defensively, I thought the stop at the goal line was a great stop. It was a great defensive effort because Minnesota had all the momentum, had great field position and LaMarr Woodley made a great play pressuring the quarterback on the last play. David Harris also was in on that same play, forced the quarterback. LaMarr beat the tackle, ran over the back, and that allowed David to come scot-free and force the quarterback to throw the ball as he was going away from the line of scrimmage, and that's an awfully difficult throw to make from accuracy standpoint. David made an absolutely great play on the tight end on the previous play, so I thought our defense did a great job there. But I'm disappointed that the first touchdown came, we let a guy get in behind us. The second touchdown they scored was called back because of a holding call, they ran a play-action pass off the fake reverse and we let them behind. So twice we let Minnesota have some plays on us because we left the ball behind us. And then their last touchdown we left the ball outside for a touchdown. So those are corrections we have to make, and now we get ready for Michigan State."
On Adrian Arrington:
"You shouldn't have been surprised. I think Adrian obviously has gotten better every week. His confidence has grown, and he's a talented guy. He can run. I think he's got great hands. He made a great catch on that series when we had first-and-goal from the two, I think on second down we threw the ball outside, Adrian made a great catch, but he was out of bounds. But he's done a great job."
On David Harris:
"I would say he's playing as well as any linebacker that I've seen this year anywhere."
On Steve Brown:
"He's done a great job on our kickoff team. He's on our kick-off return team. He's tough, he's smart, and he's really, as we go through this season, he gets better everyday in terms of eventually being a guy that I think will have a great career as a safety here. He's done a wonderful job on special teams."
On if Michigan State will change its game plan with Javon Ringer out:
"I think they've got two other guys. (Jehuu) Caulcrick is a great athlete and an outstanding football player. (A.J.) Jimmerson has great skill, great speed. I don't think they're going to change anything."
On Darnell Hood:
"Well, he's one of those guys that puts everything he has into every play. You couldn't put a value on what he's done for us. In many cases, he's being double teamed as gunner on our punt team. He's done a great job on the kick-off team, and he's a great role model for everybody on our team. He takes his academics very seriously. He's going to graduate here shortly. He has a wonderful attitude. He's quite the comedian. He can do all the coaches -- except me (laughter) -- so he's a fun guy to have around. I think a lot of him as a person, more than anything else."
On Chad Henne's play:
"He's made a lot of great throws since he's been here. I mean, go back and look at the film. I think that he's got some guys that all can catch the ball, they all can run. You've got tight ends that can catch the ball. I thought one of the big plays of the game, it was a third-down play, Chad looked down the field deep but came back to Mike Hart, and Mike caught the ball. He was covered by a linebacker and he made an outstanding play. Chad's got a lot of guys running to catch the ball, and we've done a great job protecting him. It's always a team game, but certainly he made some great throws in that game."
On the status of Morgan Trent, Tyler Ecker and Carson Butler:
"I think Morgan Trent could have played in that game. The only reason I took him was because he was cleared and he wanted to play, but he missed Tuesday and Wednesday, so we decided not to play him. I felt he missed so much practice, but he wanted to play. So I feel very good about him being ready to play this week. And Carson Butler will be ready."
On the missed field goal by Garrett Rivas:
"If you understand college or high school football, the hash marks are much closer than the NFL. I won't say much closer, but they're closer to the sidelines than in the NFL. So the closer you get to the goal line, the tougher that kick is because the angle is very sharp. It's by no means an easy kick. He just jerked it a little bit."
On Rivas' season:
"I think he's done an outstanding job."
On covering punts:
"There's always one guy that is trying to get behind the returner, because in most cases, and this is changing because of the FieldTurf, but in the old days you always told the punt returner never to handle the ball inside the 10-yard line. So now you teach the punt returner, if it's over his head, he wants to go away from the ball so that he can draw the coverage away so the ball can go in the end zone. But we always have one guy who's trying to get behind the punt returner to find the ball and catch the ball."
On Michigan State's pass defense:
"Greg Cooper was here in Michigan. I know he's an outstanding football player and outstanding athlete. The two safeties I like a lot. I think when you look at what Michigan State's done against the rush, to me that's where I'm really impressed. From a defensive standpoint, people are always going to throw for yardage on you if you can't run against them. I think that up front, they're a very big, physical outfit. The linebackers are both back from a year ago. They've got some guys that can run. I think they're a much improved defense from a year ago."
On Drew Stanton:
"When you start with a quarterback position there, you know I was impressed very much with Brian Hoyer when he came into the game with the game on the line. I thought he made a couple great throws to give them a chance. But when you talk about the group, you're talking about a guy (Drew Stanton) that's a great athlete. He can beat you with his arm as well as his speed. When I look at the statistics, he's carrying the ball about the same. So he's made a lot of big plays running the football, if something breaks down. He's got a lot of guys that are returning receivers, so he's comfortable with the guys he's playing with. And the tight end can run and catch the ball, so that's an explosive offensive football team."
On Terrance Taylor:
"I think he has really matured, and it's easy to forget he's a sophomore. A year ago he was just finding out that college is different than high school. He was used to dominating, and he was used to playing all the time, so he had some things to learn. I think he's really much stronger. I think that's the biggest difference than a year ago, and I think he's in much better condition. He's really starting to show some athleticism. He's rushing the passer better than he did. Most guard positions, it's always the most difficult place to place as a pass-rusher. You've got almost all the time two guys blocking you at least initially before they separate. I think Terrance has improved dramatically. A week ago I think I mentioned this, he played over 50 snaps. You've got to have some stamina, some will to play over 50 snaps."
On the rivalry with Michigan State:
"I think it's tense. I think it's one of those weeks where everybody in the state chooses up sides, there's a lot of passion in this game, and there's always a lot of guys that are playing as hard as they can. That's what happens in a rivalry. It's the ultimate competition. And when you look back at the history of this series, there's so many great games, great players. There's always something happening in that game. You know it's going to be fun as a player. You know it's going to be fun as a coach."
On what people mean when they say Mike Hart has 'it':
"Hart has heart. I've said that before, haven't I. I can't say much more than I've already said and I've said that for three years now. He's a consummate player because he's smart, he's tough, and he's a great competitor. He wants to win. He's willing to do anything to help his team win. He's an emotional player and he brings a fire to practice, he brings a fire to the game, and he's the kind of guy you love having on your side because you know he's going to bring it. He's going to come."
On Hart's performance against Michigan State last year:
"I can remember, yeah, it was a very emotional week, as it always is. But he had been banged up and he was healthy, or the healthiest he probably was maybe during that entire season, and I think the next week he got hurt so he was revved up and ready to go."
On the Paul Bunyan Trophy:
"I always give him a big hug when I introduce him to the team. I love Paul Bunyan. I think we treat him a lot better here because when he comes back, he's always so excited to get back here. So we'll do our best to keep him here. I don't know what year that trophy was presented, but I think it's a symbol and, you know, there's a prize on it."
On Jake Long's move to left tackle:
"I think Jake Long would be a great tackle wherever he goes. I think he can play guard. But when you talk about the left tackle position and protecting the back side of a right-handed quarterback, he's got the same qualities. You could say the same thing about several guys on our team that I said about Mike Hart. I can say the same thing about Jake as well."
On if there are there any extra challenges getting the players up to play a 3-2 Michigan State team:
"Those people haven't watched the film I've watched. So when our players see the Notre Dame film, they know what team will show up."
On if the 2004 Michigan State game a breakout game for Chad Henne:
"Well, I think a young quarterback in his position that has the opportunity to start early and he had played in enough games, he was going to find himself in a position where his team is behind. And until you are in that position, you have something to prove. Chad Henne, certainly on that day, proved that he could bring a team back. Because in those situations, the clock is against you and you cannot make any mistakes. If you make one bad throw, the game is over. If you make one bad check, the game is over. If you don't execute with the very, very best of your abilities, you're not going to be able to be successful in bringing your team back. And he did it that day. And certainly there are other lessons that weren't as much fun, but he's now in a state where there aren't many things he hasn't seen. I think he's got the confidence that's been developed through his maturation. That makes him very comfortable, very confident."
On Rondell Biggs' comment that the defense may have gotten too complacent and did not finish off the Minnesota game well:
"No, I don't agree with that. I think our defensive played an outstanding football with the exception of the three plays I talked about. Those are the plays that led to points. It's about playing team defense and making sure that you do the things within the defensive. And when you don't, I don't care how talented you are, you're going to have breakdowns. And it's a competitive game. Nobody's going to go out there, and no defense is going to be invincible. That's not going to happen. Some people get upset when a team gets a first down or runs for a 20-yard gain, well, those are people who don't know."
On Chad Henne's leadership:
"I've always been impressed with his leadership skills. He's always been a good leader here, even as a freshman, and people who question that part of Chad Henne, they don't know him."
On if you have to push your team a little harder this week or does the opponent take care of that aspect:
"I will say this, there are certain games where you really have to push a team, and that's always the fun part of the job. By the same token, there are certain games that if you have to push the team, then they don't go."
On if this week is more emotional:
"Oh, I think it is. But, the other part of that, you want to be emotional. I think emotion can take you to a higher level, but I think emotion can also take you to a lower level. So it's about being able to play with great emotion and yet with control because if you allow it to gain complete control, then you've got other issues."
On the emotion he expects from Michigan State:
"All I know is that they are an extremely explosive football team. They have a sound kicking game. They have a defensive football team. You want to look at the Illinois film, they did a lot of good things there. They had the patience to use the quarterback and run the football out of the spread offense, which is a great challenge. I know what team will show up here."