Postgame Quotes

Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!
Aug. 28, 2014

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Aug. 28, 2014
TCF Bank Stadium
Eastern Illinois at Minnesota 
 
Jerry Kill, Minnesota Head Coach
 
On the game…
 
“We’ll learn a lot from it, but it’s always a lot easier to learn from a win than a loss. We had a lot of good things that happened out there. We had a few things that we certainly need to improve on, but this is the first game. We’ll break the film down tomorrow and move forward.”
 
“It’s always hard to prepare for ghosts, and we had to do that in this first ballgame. I think we made good adjustments at halftime.”
 
On Mitch Leidner…
 
“The bottom line on evaluating the quarterback is the scoreboard, and we won.”
 
On the team…
 
“Our whole football team will get better. It’s only the first game. We’ll keep moving forward.”
 
“There are a lot of things we’ve got to clean up, but if you don’t have anything to work on, you don’t have a job.”
 
On Berkley Edwards…
 
“Berkley Edwards is like lightning in a bottle. We’ve got to find a way to continue feeding him the ball.”
 
On coaching from the sidelines…
 
“To get through that tunnel, after what happened last year, and coach a game – it meant something. I had fun on the sidelines.”
 
“I felt comfortable. It was unusual going out, but I have a lot of faith right now.”

Mitch Leidner, Minnesota Quarterback
 
On early nerves…
 
“I had some nerves at the start of the game. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, plus this was a night game so I had a lot of nerves out there.”
 
On what helped to calm the nerves…
 
“I got a few runs in. I was able to get a little contact, which always gets me into the game. The touchdown also definitely got me going.”
 
On exploring pass game options early in the game…
 
“Eastern Illinois played a great defensive game. Every time we came out on the field they had a different defensive structure. That is tough as an offense to see them pick all the different options. We tried a lot of different things to switch up our game.”
 
Eric Murray, Minnesota Defensive Back
 
On the blocked punt…
 
“Eastern Illinois was giving us different looks up until that point, but Coach finally gave us the thumbs up to go and get the ball, so that’s what we did.”
 
On the team achieving what it needed tonight…
 
“A win is always good no matter what. The first game is always tricky because you have to make adjustments, but it’s easier to make those adjustments when you win.”
 
Antonio Johnson, Minnesota Defensive Back
 
On any early surprises from Eastern Illinois…
 
“We were ready for everything. We watched a lot of film and then came out tonight ready to play.”
 
On team chemistry…
 
“I think our team chemistry is coming together well. We had a team talent show during camp that really brought the team together. I think we’re really starting to mesh as a team.”
 
On stepping up on defense tonight…
 
“We looked at this game as an opportunity to showcase our talent on defense, while also maintaining the same approach as always.”
 
Berkley Edwards, Minnesota Running Back
 
On getting his first college touchdown…
 
“It felt great. I’ve been waiting a whole year to get out on the field and perform. It cleared a lot of nerves for me.”
 
On early nerves on offense…
 
“I had some nerves, and I think the offense was a little nervous at first. It was difficult because we were studying old tape for this game, and we weren’t sure what Eastern Illinois would come out with. As the game went on, we made good adjustments.” 
 
Kim Dameron, Eastern Illinois Head Coach
 
“First of all, I’m very proud of our kids. I thought they fought for 60 minutes and that shows in coming up with some points at the end. I thought we did some good things defensively, early especially, but we just shot ourselves in the foot way too much on offense and in the kicking game to be able to play with a good football team like Minnesota. We’ve got a lot to clean up, but we’ve got some positives to work on. I told the kids after the game, now that we have a little adversity, it’ll give us an opportunity to see who’s going to show some leadership and make sure they’re working on the things they need to get better at in all three phases of the game ”
 
On deciding to start Jalen Witlow at quarterback and whether or not his play will change that going into next week...
 
“We felt like he gave us our best chance to move the football and run our option game. He was able to make some first downs with his feet. There’s nothing he did to really change my mind.  When Andrew (Manley) came in, he did some good things also, but we just couldn’t string anything together…We know that both of them will play going forward, period. That’s just the way it is.” 
 
On trying to contain Berkley Edwards and the Gophers’ other running backs...
 
“It’s very difficult. We didn’t want them to big-boy us and run right at us and I felt like for most of the game we did that—we did a nice job stopping it up inside. There were a couple times where he did bounce outside and hit a crease and those are things we have to shore up, but any time you play an offensive line and backs like we did tonight, it’s a difficult thing because they’re good inside runners and when they do bounce to the outside, they both can have a little giddy-up, too.”
 
Adam Gristick, Redshirt Senior Linebacker
 
On the defense’s play in the first half…
 
I thought in the first half, we really played well on defense. One touchdown (drive) in the first half started on the 5-yard line and we almost stopped them there, so really in the first half we just had that seven points on us…We played especially well in the first half, but that didn’t translate into the second half.”
 
On the effect the blocked punt touchdown had…
 
“We knew what we were going to get. We knew they were going to go with two tight ends and two backs—run power—so we stopped Any special teams touchdown will take the wind out of you and we didn’t really bounce back too well. They had a little momentum after that and it was really downhill after that point.”