Well I'm very disappointed in how we played today. I thought we looked like a very flat football team. I give Northwestern all the credit in the world. I thought they played well; they played better than we did. We never really could get anything going. Offensively, just couldn't get anything going consistently; defensively we missed a lot of tackles. We just didn't play very well.
What has the difference been the past two weeks in your running game, after it was so successful against Ohio State?
I don't know. We didn't get any movement on their defensive linemen today. If you can't get movement there is no place for the backs to run. Why that happens I don't know.
On Northwestern controlling the line on both sides of the ball:
They did. I thought their defensive line and linebackers played the run very well.
They had some good runs, they made some plays on us. I didn't think we tackled very well on defense. I thought we were off balance and never could find a rhythm on either side of the ball.
What did you see on the trick play?
What did I see? I saw a fumble or its called a bum-a-roosky or whatever you want to call it. We anticipated some tricks in the kicking game. We had our field team out there to play it. The guys lost the ball and ball's hidden, they lay it on the ground and get movement, somebody picks it up and runs—it's a trick play. You can't practice every play. Somebody has to recognize it.
No I didn't think that was the turning point. I never felt like we had momentum the entire game.
On field goal kicking:
Can I comment on it? Well, I'd like to be able to kick a field goal. Mike Allen didn't make the trip. He aggravated his groin.
It's frustrating when you move the ball down in a tough defensive game and you can't capitalize. It's very frustrating. It's frustrating for the guys on the field. It's very unsettling for the coaches as far as making the decision when you get back down there again: do you try it? Do you go for it? Do you roll the dice or do you just try to go on fourth down?
Did the emotional toll of the last two games play a role in this loss?
I don't like to make excuses; I don't make excuses. I know we put a lot into those games. Possibly, but you sure can't use that as an excuse.
On Mike Allen:
We found out Thursday he didn't feel comfortable kicking.
On inability to throw down field
They were playing soft. That is why we ran a lot out cuts and underneath things because they were bailing out of there playing soft coverage.
How much of the offensive struggles is play calling and how much is execution?
Well you only have so many plays you can call. We didn't execute very well, we didn't block them. We never did establish a running game. That is the one thing that I felt was important in this game, with a new quarterback I didn't want to put it all on Schabert's shoulders. I wanted to be able to establish a running game. And we didn't. It's not play calling. That is blocking and executing.
Does this week off come at an opportunistic time?
We need this. We need this to recharge. We need it to get some guys healthy. We are beat up. We are a battered football team. This week will come in handy for the stretch run.
I thought Matt did okay. I thought he managed the game. Had a pick just before half, but I thought he did some—he brought the ball down, had some decent runs. I thought he did OK.
On bouncing back with motivation of Big Ten title gone:
What do you play for now? We are Bowl eligible. You want to win some games to go to a better Bowl. They are still playing for a lot. These guys, they will bounce back, there is no question about that. We have a lot of young players on this team—they will keep fighting.