"Give Notre Dame credit. They did the things they needed to do to win.
We lost the football game, but I think we found a defense. I liked the way we
played from the standpoint of effort and aggressiveness. I thought we were very
physical. I thought we did some great things, and that's the kind of defense
that if we can maintain that kind of effort, we'll have a good football team.
Offensively we just made too many mistakes in the red zone. You can't get the
football down there and give it away like we did and expect to win a game like
this…so we've got a lot of work to do there."
On what made the defense play better this week:
"Well, I don't know what it was. I thought we took the fight to Notre
Dame. They came out and had a great drive. They did a good job. I thought it
was a great match up there because they are a very talented offensive football
team. We have to be pleased, particularly after last week and after the way
we played late last season. Notre Dame did the things they had to do. I don't
know why we played like we did (defensively). I just hope that we will play
like that the rest of the season because that's the way you want to play."
On the offense:
"I think in the first half we didn't protect very well. I want to say
this…we have no exuses here. We've never made excuses and we never will,
but have been a very unlucky football team from an injury standpoint right from
beginning of this fall training camp. So we had problems protecting the quarterback.
But when it got right down to it, we came back out, started the third quarter,
and had a great drive. We ran the football very very effectively. I thought
Grady ran with great power. I thought we had made some adjustments. I felt very
good. Of course we get down there and throw an interception. We just didn't
make the plays that you have to make. We had a big play that, in my judgment,
should maybe have been a long touchdown that we didn't make. We had a fourth
down play and we didn't make the play. That's what these kinds of games come
down to. A very physical football game."
On the play of the offensive line:
"When Lentz went out…we're thin enough. We lost Grant Debenedictis
for the season. That made us play a little bit differently at the end of the
half. We would have liked to have gone after it to get some points on the board
there, but we needed to regroup in the locker room. Fortunately Matt is a tough
competitive guy, and with that rest he was able to come back in there. But I'm
not going to evaluate the line until I see the film because I think that's the
only smart thing and the only fair thing."
On if he thought the replay calls were correct:
"I have no idea. I think as a coach I have to trust that those were accurate
calls. Certainly they took enough time and I hope there was no question about
the calls. That's the way it's supposed to work. But I didn't see any of the
On if he takes some positives from the defeat:
"There is no solace in losing…particularly in this program. But
you have you have to look at things from the standpoint what are the things
that we can do to get better. I feel very good about what we did defensively.
I think our special teams…we've got a lot things going on there. We've
got to improve in everything we're doing. But from that standpoint, our defense
gave us a chance to win. I feel good about that. Obviously you're always trying
to improve something. But from a losing standpoint, no, there is nothing good
about that. And yet, I like the men in that locker room. I like them! They're
fighters. There's no doubt in my mind that if we work hard and continue to do
the things, we've got a lot of things to play for. It's going to take some time
because we've got a lot of guys out. That means that your depth is affected
and guys are going to get to play that may not be right where you want them,
but that's what our challenge is and that's the way we'll try to deal with it."
On Chad Henne's performance:
"I think it wasn't his best performance."
On Kevin Grady's fumbles:
"Some turnovers are the result of carelessness. You throw the football
right to a guy…that's carelessness. If you're carrying the football in
the wrong arm…that's carelessness. If you're not protecting the ball the…
that's carelessness. On that particular fumble, that was caused because of great
effort. He was running hard, he was running aggressively, and he was picking
up extra yards. He fumbled a week ago was because of carelessness. He had the
ball in the wrong arm. His fumble a week ago was because of carelessness. He
had the ball in the wrong arm. You don't want to turn the ball over ever, but
when a guy is playing like that…playing aggressively, sometimes some of
those things are going to happen. But he is also going to make some big plays
as far as some important yardage when he is running like that. What are you
going to do? Tell him don't run hard? That's not part of the solution."
"Adrian Arrington is going to be out a while. A long while. Tim Massaquoi
is going to be week to week. Mike Kolodziej…I can't tell you right now.
Mike Hart…I don't know. It's not something that needs any surgery, but
it's something that could be a while."
On if Mike Hart was injured coming into the game:
"He was slowed a little bit. I think he was ok. I don't think it was anything
major. I don't know that he was 100%. Of course at this point there are very
few guys that are 100%."
On if the defense was surprised by Notre Dame coming out with a no-huddle
"No it didn't surprise us. We worked on it. We had an opportunity to make
a few plays there and we didn't. We lost leverage on a receiver on a touchdown
pass. We should have been inside and we got beat inside. I thought we knew exactly
where to line up. I think Notre Dame did a good job of executing on that drive.
I think we did a decent job there at least of adjusting to an attempt to change
the tempo of the game. That did not surprise us at all. We would have liked
to execute a couple of plays in there better, but give them credit."
More on why the defense played better:
"First of all, Northern Illinois, they don't get enough credit. Anything
that does anything good here against us doesn't get enough credit. Northern
Illinois offensively and that back…they're damn good. I think that's always
part of it. But I think the most important part of it is our guys knew. They
saw the film. They agreed. There was nobody that felt good about what happened
last week because even though they're a good football team, we didn't play within
our capability. So I feel good about that."
On Gabe Watson:
"Steve felt like he did some good things in there. Until I watch the film,
I'd rather not comment."
On Morgan Trent:
"Morgan Trent made a great play there on a big down. We got a stop and
at that time the clock was becoming a factor. Morgan gets better all of the
time. He's a hard worker and he can run. You play in a game like this, you gain
confidence and you feel good about yourself….and it, I think, motivated