Do you feel like this game just got away from you?
White: Well we had opportunities, and didn't capitalize on a critical opportunity. It was 28-23, you have the ball around midfield. You have the momentum in the football game. You need to be able to seize that opportunity and take advantage of it. And we didn't. Consequently, Penn State was able to regain the pendulum and regain the momentum of the football game. It's unfortunate. Our kids played hard, they competed, they played to the end, they played to the last play. We just didn't make plays at the opportune times, and that's what we needed to do.
You had some dropped passes today. Was that the difference perhaps, between winning and losing?
White: Well certainly that one, when it's 28-23, and we had two drops in a row. One was a little low and behind Darrin (Charles) but Jonathan (Orr's) was a play that, if he makes, it gives you a chance. He's done a great job and he's made a ton of plays for us, and it will be a learning experience for him. You have to make plays when you have an opportunity to.
At that point, Brooks Bollinger was in a rhythm, the momentum was there, you couldn't have been set up any better on that drive.
White: No, it was a perfect scenario right there. We had the momentum. We needed to maintain it and we didn't. And it's almost like the fourth quarter, the break took the momentum right away from us. Because we had things going where we wanted them to go. You need to get first downs, you need to score. If you're going to win the football game, you have to score at that time. And you have to keep them pressing and we didn't. We let them off the hook, bottom line.
How would you evaluate Brooks' game?
White: I thought he played an outstanding game. Tough, gutty…he made a lot of really hard throws, hung in there and competed as he usually does.
People are going to look at the number of sacks given up in this game and say, Northern Illinois again. Can the same equation be applied to that game?
White: I'll look at the film, before I can accurately answer that. But they had a nice front and played really well. You have to give (Penn State) a little credit too.
When you can't run the ball very effectively like today, does that put too big a burden on some of those young wide receivers?
White: Yes and no. Obviously we're set up to run the football, and play-action pass and keep the time of possession in our favor, and we didn't do that today. We had too many lost-yardage plays that take us out of rhythm that negatively impacted our consistency. I thought we did a better job on third downs. We were better, and we stayed on the field in a lot of situations, particularly in the second half. But not consistent enough. We had too many second and longs, and third and long longs. Those are…you can't have them.
How would you rate the protection Brooks had?
White: It's hard for me to make accurate assessments until I watch the film. I will say this. Their defensive line did a nice job. There were some situations where we weren't able to get rid of the football when we needed to. I can't make those judgments until I…you're up there watching it, you can't see everything. I know this, we can't have as many lost yardage plays as we did today.
You had yet another slow start today on offense. Is it just the same thing you've dealt with all year?
White: Well I think we only had one possession in the first quarter. But the second possession was an 80-yard drive. I felt pretty good about that…we had 23 plays (in the first half)…we may have only had four possessions. We need to take advantage of the possessions that we do have and be more opportunistic.
Did you think as a team, you played better today?
White: Yes. Our standards are very high here. We always expect to win football games and play at a level that can help us win a championship, and we didn't do that today.
The schedule seemed like it was set up perfect, with the bye week coming right before a home opener in the Big Ten. Do you feel you squandered an opportunity here?
White: Well we didn't win the game, so yes. Our expectations are always to win championships, and when you lose a football game in the Big Ten, you put yourself in a position where you don't want to be.
Q&A with Brian White
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