Nov. 9, 2013
Nov. 9, 2013
TCF Bank Stadium
Penn State at Minnesota
Tracy Claeys, Acting Minnesota Head Coach
On winning four games in a row
"We never threw in the towel, even after we lost our first two conference games. We were disappointed at the time but we could still see ourselves getting better. I believe people who work hard eventually get rewarded, especially if they keep fighting. We got one win and then we believed in ourselves then we won on the road and then we defeated a brand name like Nebraska. The players have worked hard every week and continued to develop. I still think we have a ways to go as we continue this success."
On defending the pass
"We did a good job defending their receivers. The one series where I wasn't sure what they were going to do was when they were in their own territory and still needed two scores to tie. When the crossed midfield we switched up our defense and book in nickel backs and we doubled Robinson. We tried to increase our pressure on the quarterback because he's a great quarterback, but he's young. If you put a young quarterback under pressure and force him to make decisions without his first options, then we'll have a good chance of winning."
Jerry Kill, Minnesota Head Coach
On positive aspects of the game
"We played as hard as we could today and at the end of the day, that is what really matters. I thought we had great defensive stands at critical times. Our punter did a remarkable job today, as well as our kicker. We had a goal of getting better on kickoffs and getting better field position. Everybody is doing their part for the team; we have an unselfish group of players. We're playing with a lot of young kids on this team too, Bush had his first start today and played well."
On winning field position battle
"It's great for our football team when we can take the ball and march down the field. It was critical for us when we were able to take the ball 95 yards and get a score. Field position was key certainly because it was a windy day today."
On David Cobb's development as a runner
"We've had great offensive line play these past few weeks. Our players continue to get better on offense, and our downfield field blocking has improved. David also has a good feel for what's happening on the field, and he sees the open space in the field to run. He doesn't get discouraged and plays just as hard at the end of the game as he does in the beginning. I think he got stronger today as the game progressed, and probably had his two strongest runs at the very end of the game."
On Philip Nelson playing the whole game
"Philip certainly played great. Both quarterbacks are unselfish, but we wanted to keep Mitch healthy since his hip has been troubling him and we didn't want to risk anything with the cold. This is a team victory regardless of the quarterback, but there's no question that Philip has played well. He has thrown the ball well and converted big plays when we needed them. I'm very proud of Philip and his performance."
On Penn State fumble at the goal line
"We preach every day that we have to defend every inch. We have to have a short memory and play every play as hard as we can. We're playing hard, and it's allowing good things to happen. We played aggressive even though we got called on some interference penalties I'm proud of the way our secondary played."
On looking forward to Wisconsin game
"I'm going to enjoy every single moment of this victory. All of us coaches are the same in that we'll go home and sit in front of the TV and start to think about the next game. The good news is we have a couple weeks to prepare and we need this bye week. We need to get guys healed up so we can go strong for these last few games because we have something to play for in November."
Philip Nelson, Minnesota QB
On the wide receivers and running backs and the work they did in the offseason
“Everybody really got together and Maxx (Williams) was there every single day and worked really hard in the offseason. This season hasn’t been a surprise to any of us. We knew that Maxx has really good hands and can run routes so it’s really not a surprise to us. (Derrick) Engel, even last year, showed a lot of potential. It was just a matter of getting everyone on the same page.”
On preparing for Wisconsin
“It’s the most important game because it’s the next game. It’s a big rivalry and we are really looking forward to it. But right now we have the bye week and we need to get healthy. That’s what is on our mind right now.”
On the Gophers’ success on fourth down
"I think it has a lot to do with play calling. Our coaches putting us into really good positions on fourth down and it is situations like this that we work on in fall camp. We’ve seen a lot of different situations and our coaches have done a great job of making the right play call at the right time.”
On the hard hits
"They are a physical team and I give them a lot of credit for that. The game adrenaline helps you get through it. The Bell and the victory, you just have to keep moving forward.”
On the emergence of Donovahn Jones
"He is another great asset to this team. You know if you get the ball to him in space, he can make some great cuts and get up field. He has that weird quickness to him that not a lot of people have. We just want to keep giving him the ball and letting him make plays.”
Brock Vereen, Minnesota DB
On holding PSU to 10 points
"To go in against the high profile offense and to hold them to 10 points is huge. The best defense is a good offense and that second quarter stretch, really the first half all together, the whole offense was out there. Whenever a good offense is on the field, you have a good chance to win. I credit that to our good offense.”
David Cobb, Minnesota RB
On the success of the last four games
“We’re having fun now. Before it was more of a job coming to work and you didn’t know if you were going to win or not, but now we expect to win. We’re having fun during practice. We’re having fun during the games. The coaches believe in us. We trust each other as players. I trust the man next to me, he trusts me. We’re just out there having fun and getting the job done.”
On nearing 1,000 yards this season
“I think it’s easy to look at the running back’s production, but again our O-line, tight ends, receivers… they want to see me get it just as bad as I want to, and when you have a team like that, that cares about you and want to see you do good, it just pushes your confidence to an all-time high.”
Maxx Williams, Minnesota TE
On clicking as a team
“We knew how good we were and it just took us a little time to start clicking together, the team becoming closer together. I think once we got that down we knew how good we could be and how good we can be, knowing our potential. Just building off of each of these wins, it helps us each week knowing we can do it this week.”
Peter Mortell, Minnesota P
On Coach Jerry Kill
“Coach Kill means so much to us and he’s that guy that we can go to off the field when we have issues and everything. And to see him come back and you know how much he loves the game, he rallies behind us just as we rally behind him.”
On punting into the wind
“After it leaves my foot, I just hope for the best and fortunately today it was.”
Bill O’Brien, Penn State Head Coach
On Penn State’s special teams play
“I thought Alex (Butterworth) kicked well, I thought Sam (Ficken) kicked into the wind well, and I thought we covered pretty well. We had Dad Poquie make a play, I think Jordan Smith made a play—we had a bunch of guys making plays on the kickoff team. I thought it was okay.”
On Penn State’s running backs
“I didn’t take Bill (Belton) out because of the fumble. It’s never good to fumble on the first play of the game, but I do think that Zach (Zwinak) was running well today. There are differences in their skill sets, but it’s not like one guy is light years ahead of the other guy. We just play the guys that are gaining yards.”
On Minnesota’s success on third and fourth downs in the first half
“Give Minnesota a lot of credit. They do a great job—they deserve to be 8-2. It seemed like when we had a call, they had the right call for it. We didn’t stop them on third down in the first half, but we did a better job in the second half.”
On wide receiver Allen Robinson breaking PSU’s single-season receiving yards record
“Records are great, but we could care less about records. We played hard today and we weren’t able to get him the ball enough today—it’s disappointing. We’ve got three games left and we’ve got to continue to find ways to get him the ball.”
On how the wind affected the decision to call running plays versus passing plays
“I just decided to run the ball a lot more. Minnesota’s a good team, no question about it. It was more about the wind. We threw the ball decently in the fourth quarter, but we felt like we could run it. When it got to where it was 24-10 at the end, we felt like we had to throw it, and that’s what we tried to do.”
Gophers in the NFL: Week 12
Week 12 came and went with a plethora of former Gophers in action with their respective NFL teams.
Ten Gophers Awarded by Big Ten Conference
Ten student-athletes from the Minnesota football program on defense and special teams were recognized by the Big Ten.
O'Brien Joins Coaching Staff
Tracy Claeys announced today the hiring of Dan O'Brien to fill an open coaching position on the defensive side of the ball.