Postgame Quotes: Northwestern 21, Minnesota 13

Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!

Oct. 13, 2012

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Minnesota Head Coach Jerry Kill

On mistakes made during the game…

“I have said all along, we have no margin for error, we’re a young team, all those kind of things. You put it all in perspective but when you play this game and you have teams that are similar, the team that makes the less mistakes at the end of the day wins. We out-gained them, we did a lot of good things, but we had bad snaps at critical times. You can’t blame the weather; they had the same weather. We had bad things happen at critical times and then we just couldn’t make a play. You’ve got to make a play at the end of the day sometimes and we couldn’t make a play. We were never able to overcome those two turnovers because the scored on both of them.”

On the impact of having to switch quarterbacks multiple times…

“It wasn’t purposefully. Max started the game, started to play, and he gets dinged on the head. He comes out and MarQueis goes in and he looked good, moved around good, felt good, and then he gets hurt and Max comes back in. I think that the big thing is the continuity. Olsen went out, Lenkiewicz, we’ve got to get some continuity. I think that hurts us offensively, certainly in situations that are critical. But that’s part of it, you can’t worry about things you can’t control. You play the kids that are in there and work hard. We had our chances, again, we just didn’t make a play.”

On MarQueis Gray’s injury…

“I think it’s a low ankle sprain. That’s what I’m told. You’re in the heat of the battle and you’ve got a trainer that just said he’s out, so we’re trying to hustle around. If something happens to Max, you’ve got to know what the next protocol is and so forth. It was challenging times to say the least, but that’s part of the game.”

Minnesota running back Donnell Kirkwood

Was it tough not being able to get in a rhythm?
“A little bit, but I’ve learned as a player that you just have to go to the next play. You have to flush the play before it if it wasn’t what you expected. Just keep playing.”

Some of your good runs got taken away
“That’s how the game goes sometimes, you can’t dwell on it. Sometimes it’s not what you want. Sometimes it’s a good call sometimes it’s a bad call, but you have to keep playing.”

Did you expect Rodrick Williams to get carries?
“Oh yeah we expected him to get carries, that was in the game plan. He’s a different kind of back, he’s a big kid. He’s fast for his size, he’s athletic, very athletic, he’s physical.”

Did you have to get a new helmet?
“They just gave me a new decal.”

Was that hit as hard as it looked?
“I couldn’t tell the difference. I didn’t want to take hits this week, I wanted to deliver the blow. Coach Kill challenged me on that.”

Does it feel like old times with you and MaQueis Gray, splitting the run game?
“I wasn’t even paying attention to it. I know he made the right decision.”

Were you surprised that he was back so soon after the injury?
“I wasn’t surprised at all. He practiced this week. It’s still probably bothering him but he doesn’t show it. I wasn’t surprised at all.”

Did you see his demeanor at all after the game?
“Same old 'Queis. He isn’t going to change on you at all. That’s why you love him.”

After a good start, now two losses, how do you gather yourselves and make sure it doesn’t snowball?
“Positive attitude, go out and practice harder than you did the week before. We have to delete the mental mistakes and costly mistakes that hurt us in the game.”

Minnesota linebacker Keanon Cooper

On how to turn momentum around after two losses:
“We just need to keep working and eliminate the mistakes we are making. We had a good game plan. It comes down to a couple of plays, and unfortunately they did not go in our favor.“

On lack of turnovers in the last two games:
“They will come, and we also need to go take them. It is more so a couple of plays throughout the games that did not go in our favor. Even without the turnovers we could have won the last two games.” 

Minnesota quarterback Max Shortell

On what happen when he had to come out of the game:
“I kind of got dinged up. MarQueis (Gray) came in, I just need a couple of plays to get back together mentally. MarQueis did a great job of coming in and keeping the ball rolling.”

On the last pass of the game:
“I have to give him a chance. I cannot over throw it like that. (Andre MacDonald) is a special athlete, and the ball went a lot further than I would have liked it to.”

On offense in the second half:
“The last couple weeks we have been moving the ball, just not consistently. We will miss a throw or miss a block. Especially this week, we have to learn to put drives together. We can not miss plays that will give us touchdowns.”

Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald

Opening statement:
“Obviously a great team win. We knew it would be tough coming up here on the road, facing another opponent with two weeks to prepare for us. The unknown of who was going to play at quarterback (for Minnesota). I thought our defense, really, maybe after the first couple series, settled in. They really settled in well. We tackled better. And then to have the turnover battle won the way we did, 3-0—to win a game on the road, to win the turnover battle that way is critically important for us to be successful. I thought from a defensive standpoint, the success we had on third down and fourth down was critically important. They were 5-of-17, if you included third and fourth down. Absolutely critical.”

On some areas for improvement:
“Obviously, on the other side of the ball, we’ve got to be able to take advantage of some things. They put nine guys in the box, and we’ve got to throw to guys that are open. Then we’ve got to take some shots. The one good thing that I feel from both of our quarterbacks is we took care of the ball. So that’s a positive to take from today. But we’ve got to be better than 1-for-10 on third and fourth down combined, and we’ve got to be able to throw the ball more efficiently and more effectively.”

On the reason the defense played so well, especially in the second half:
“I thought we settled down, we fit better, and we tackled better. When I say fit, meaning if we were supposed to be inside of a block or outside of a block, we had everybody on the same page.”

On MarQueis Gray:
“Gray’s a great player. He’s one of the best athletes in this league. You can see his toughness, the way he battled back to go out there and play, that kid’s a war daddy. He’s a big man and they were able to get some things going a little bit.”

Northwestern DT Brian Arnfelt

On winning in his home state:
“It was just a great experience out there. …You had big plays from Quentin Williams and Tyler Scott. Just finishing the game out, I think this was big for us.”

On if he agreed with coach Pat Fitzgerald that this was the defensive line’s best game of the year:
“I think so. I think the scary thing is, I think there’s a lot more plays to be made. I think we played real solid, inside and outside. I think throughout the game that consistency definitely paid dividends.”

On how tough it was to stop the quarterback draw with MarQueis Gray:
“Their offensive line did a great job getting the double teams on us. He’s big, so you’ve got to bring the pads when you tackle him. I think we learned, if anything, today, arm tackles aren’t going to work in the Big Ten.”

Northwestern RB Venric Mark

On his first carry for a touchdown:
“I just saw a big hole. The O-line did a great job. The game plan was to run the ball down their throat. Treyvon Green couldn’t be here. He had a tragedy in his family. So you knew the running game was going to be important. We knew we were going to play for him.”

On Treyvon Green as an inspiration:
“Treyvon is just an amazing guy. He’s a great guy to be around. We feed off his energy during practice.”

On how he is feeling after getting so many carries recently:
“I actually do feel pretty healthy. My body feels great. I get dinged up every now and then, but that just goes with playing running back.”