Minnesota-UNH Game Quotes

Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!

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Minnesota (2-0) 44, New Hampshire (1-1) 7

Attendance: 47,022

Sept. 8, 2012

Minnesota Head Coach Jerry Kill 

On the Minnesota defense...

"I think the most impressive thing for me from the defensive side of the ball is, I think, our defensive line was really getting off the football." On the role of special teams in today's game: "I think the thing I'm most happy about is we caught punts today. (A.J.) Barker did a great job of catching punts and making great decisions in the punting game. And I'm very proud of Christian Eldred, the Australian. This is only his second game he's ever played in college football. He was the difference in the game with field position early in the game punting into the wind. Those two things alone we certainly got better at, and you can win games on field position. So I was pleased with that."

On the Gophers' cutting down on penalties from last week to today...

"That's three too many, too. The mistakes we made, the penalties were critical. We had 12 men on the field. There's no excuse for that. Yes, if we want to be good that's part of discipline. If I recall, we had two dropped snaps. We had a turnover. We had two penalties. If you want to be really, really good you can't do that and win games. Those things need to be corrected."

On the effects of New Hampshire's quarterback change on Minnesota's approach...

"We kind of went in the same way. We're going to be aggressive and try not to let the quarterback get comfortable, whether it's the first team or the second team. We're not going to change what we do."

On what led to the defensive line's improvement between last year and this year...

"Eric Klein, our strength coach, is a commitment by the administration. We've got Eric Klein. We have four tremendous coaches assisting him...Eric's been with me for 20-some-odd years. I hired him when he was 21 years old. He's the best strength coach in the country. I've said that all along."

New Hampshire Head Coach Sean McDonnell

On today’s game…

“I thought they did what they do very well, and I don’t think we executed the way we are capable of. We had miscues; they got to tee off on us. We were always off-schedule on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, we have to do some things better. We got to keep our eyes where they belong, and we did not do what we usually do. I was really disappointed.”

On Gray’s play as quarterback…

“He showed on tape last year and this year that he is a good football player. He made some plays. The 75-yard run after you score a touchdown, it cuts you at your knees. We were okay on him, but he is a good football player that makes (Minnesota’s) offense go.

On having to switch quarterbacks…

“The good news is these guys were in a heated competition for the position all last spring and fall camp. It does not change what we do. The difference is you have to be a little smarter because you are down to one backup on the road. Andy (Vailas) did some good things in there.”

Minnesota Tight End John Rabe

On if Gray seemed calmer than in the UNLV game…

“I feel like everyone was more calm. The first game of the season everyone is excited to get out there, we’re back at home, and everyone is excited but we had that first game under our belt to help us relax and just play.”

On the effect of the crowd…

“That was awesome. The first game of the season is always great, and our fans are great. The students were into it, and it was awesome. Like Coach Kill said it probably helped us on some third downs on defense. Enthusiasm builds on the bench and everyone gets excited so it’s great.”

Minnesota Defensive End D.L. Wilhite

On his strength work this offseason…

“Where it shows and where Coach Klein really shines is like last week when we had to go into triple overtime. Coach Klein really does a great job of making sure everyone is in great shape. There’s really no slow down… everyone needs to come out with that same kind of energy and we can do that because of Coach Klein.”

On adjusting to the backup quarterback…

“Honestly, even when we were watching film we thought that the other guy was a little bit more mobile. They were both really similar kind of quarterbacks, both of them were scrambling threats, both liked to get out of the pocket, so there wasn’t that much of an adjustment.”

Minnesota Running Back Donnell Kirkwood

On starting strong this season…

“For one thing, we’re not taking a step back. We look at the season as we earn what we’ve got. This offseason and camp has been a grind, so I don’t think that we’re taking a step back and looking at all. I think we knew we were going to do this, and we just need to keep improving every week.”

On how Gray handled himself…

“I just saw MarQueis. I’ve known him for three years now, and I just saw the goofy MarQueis come out and play football like he knows how.”

On his confidence…

“The confidence has grown. Sometimes last year or the year before that I found myself questioning myself, but this year the coaches have built confidence in me. I feel good running the ball. I feel like I know the plays, and I know where to go so I can play fast.”

Minnesota Quarterback MarQueis Gray

On if he took his play last week personally…

“Of course. I feel like last week if I would have made those throws we wouldn’t have gone into overtime. We won the game, that’s all that matters, but I knew that I was able to make those throws, and the defense did a really great job for us getting the ball back. I was down, but I picked myself up this week and continued to play throughout this game.”

On if running the ball well gets him going throwing the ball…

“Any way we can find a rhythm. It doesn’t matter if I’m running the ball or throwing the ball as long as we can find that rhythm that really helps out any quarterback.”

Minnesota Linebacker Mike Rallis

On the play of the defense…

“I thought we did some good things out there definitely. We played hard, which should be a given every week, but that’s the first thing you have got to look at. I was just looking at some of these stats, we did pretty good against the run, pretty good on third down, we had 4 sacks so the D-Line is putting pressure on them and that really disrupts things for an offense.”

On what it meant to wear 51…

Obviously, it was an incredible honor to wear 51. I didn’t want to take the jersey off, so that’s why I decided to take my shoulder pads off for the press conference but let me put that jersey back on. It’s really special to be able to represent Gary like this, and I just hope that I did him justice today.”

UNH Quarterback Andy Vailas

On coming in after Sean Goldrich was injured…

“Coach always says to be ready to go when your number is called and today my number was. I went in and unfortunately, some things did not go the way we wanted them to. That is football.”

On what he saw from Minnesota’s defense…

“I made a couple mental mistakes and had some missed throws. They had a good rush on me, which was making things a lot faster. (The rush) was coming from almost everywhere. (Minnesota) was doing stunts up the middle. I took a couple of shots from everywhere.”

UNH Defensive End Cody Muller

On what he saw on the field…

“Coaches prepared us. MarQueis Gray is a great quarterback. (Minnesota) is a Big Ten team. They have big offensive linemen and speed on the field. We had energy in the first quarter and we just have to keep building on it.”

On MarQueis Gray’s play…

“He is a big guy that can run with the football, and you saw that today. We had some missed tackles. We have to keep our heads up and keep flying around.”