Question: You said on Saturday that you thought you played pretty well, but you didn’t know what was going on behind you. Did you get a chance to look at the film and assess what was going on behind you?
Ryan Van Bergen: “Yeah. Looking at the film, we just didn’t play gap sound football. Against the run, you have to be in the right gaps, everybody has to meet their gaps and you can’t have guys trying to make plays in gaps they shouldn’t be in and unfortunately, we had a little bit of that, which we haven’t had in practices and stuff. It was kind of disappointed that we made that mistake going into that game.”
Question: How hard is it to be patient just knowing that there are so many young people back there? This is literally there first year here and they’re trying to grasp it as they go.
Ryan Van Bergen: “It is difficult but at the same time you can kind of understand. It is kind of hard for them because they don’t have any senior guys really to look to like I had when I started playing. I had seniors in front of me that had been there for a while and brought me along. So I think they are doing a good job. I think they are going to continue to grow and I think as they grow, the defense is going to get better and better.”
Question: Can that growth happen during the year or does it have to happen in the offseason?
Ryan Van Bergen: “To be honest, I think it can happen week to week. I think there is going to be some kind of point where they turn over a new leaf and all of a sudden they get it. That’s how football is. Sometimes it clicks and sometimes it doesn’t. Once it clicks once for you, you’ll understand how to do it over and over again. Once we finally get that to happen for a couple of different guys, things will start definitely rolling our way.”
Question: What was coach’s message last night in the team meeting last night to the guys?
Ryan Van Bergen: “The coaches haven't’ really spoken to us yet as a group. We’ve kind of talked to them individually but our first team meeting is later this afternoon. In the locker room after the game, was just this one loss is not going deter us from the rest of the season. We have a long season ahead of us, especially with Iowa coming up this week, it is a big game. We just have to stay focused on wining more games.”
Question: Have you noticed guys that maybe you didn’t think, at least right now, so-called leader types going up to other guys and saying stuff and if so what has been said?
Ryan Van Bergen: “I just think the main goal right now that some of the upper classman as well as myself are trying to get across is that it is a loss, it is going to go into the loss column as one loss. We still have five in the win column and if we have six more games and if we can put more games in the win column, we’re going to be a good team. We still have a lot of opportunities to prove ourselves as a good team and that’s something to look forward to and to get excited about. We have a big test this weekend and so to mope around and stuff in the locker room or not go hard in practice because of something that happened this weekend that would be foolish. That would be a young and inexperienced mistake to make. We have to come back and prepare harder this week than we have before and continue to get better.”
Question: What gives you the most confidence that the second half of this year will not be like the last one? You got off to a fast start last year and this year, now with the loss, what tells you that this will be different?
Ryan Van Bergen: “Some key differences would be injuries. At the beginning of last year we lost center Dave Molk and then from there things started rolling downhill; he is a big leader on offense. We just started losing games and stuff, it just kind of snowballed. I think this team has a good leadership core between the upper classman and stuff and the underclassman understand that there is not going to be a letdown this season as far as one loss is not going to turn into two, three or four. We’re going to come back. We’re a resilient team. We’re going to come back and be stronger for it.”
Question: What is the biggest difference between playing D-end and D-tackle?
Ryan Van Bergen: “Defensive tackle, things happen a little bit quicker, because you are so close to the ball and you have to worry about who is outside you. As a defensive end, sometimes you are on the edge by yourself and you only have that one guy. One thing that is better at tackle is that you can get to the quarterback faster, it is not as indirect a path. But overall, defensive end is just a little bit more athletic position.”
Question: Who do you think are the strongest leaders of this team and how have they reacted to the loss?
Ryan Van Bergen: “I think some of the strongest leaders on this team on offense are probably Dave Molk and Steve Schilling on the offensive line. Roy Roundtree is a good leader as a young guy. Denard (Robinson) is turning into quite a leader on the offense. On my side of the ball, I think all three D-lineman do a pretty good a job. I think Jonas (Mouton), Obi (Ezeh) and Craig (Roh) try their best. I think JT Floyd and Jordan Kovacs are good leaders on the defense. That’s the thing. We have good leaders at all of the positions. I know they are going to circle the wagons and get stuff done this week that we need to get done.”
Question: Giving up more than 400 yards four times, 30 points three times; how confident are you guys in the game plan that you have put together specifically for each team every weekend?
Ryan Van Bergen: “I’m very confident in the game plan. Just thinking back over this past weekend, we had a game plan going in. We knew they were going to run those plays that they ran. Those two runs that they scored on us, were two of the plays we practiced the most against in practice. That’s why I said it was jut disappointing that something that we work on in practice so hard and the coaches are harping on, they are going to run this and they are going to run this. We do it so well in practice and stuff it up and then something happened in the game and it just didn’t trigger for us.”
Question: On those two long runs, those were just mental lapses?
Ryan Van Bergen: “Absolutely, we knew that play was coming. We were prepared for it all week and unfortunately we just didn’t get it done when it came time.”