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    Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt Postgame Quotes

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    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

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    Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt
    Ryan Field
    Sept. 8, 2012 Postgame Quotes

    Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald

    Opening Statement
    "It was a hard-fought battle that we expected to have. I want to give a lot of credit James and his staff, I thought they had a tremendous plan, and their young men are resilient. We've got a lot of respect for the Vanderbilt program and it was a hard-fought win. When you look at the performance of the defense today, I think it was indicative of how we played 45 minutes for a week ago. I thought we played well for the most part of that game, and when you look at that 15-play drive that they had a week ago, I think it caused us to struggle and sputter a little bit. Today, there were some things we needed to correct, but for the most part, we did a great job of playing team defense.

    "Offensively, we fought ourselves for a little while today. I'm not trying to discredit Vanderbilt, I thought they had a great plan. But we have to throw the ball better, we have to catch the ball better, and we have to execute better if we're going to win moving forward. That was probably my biggest disappointment going in to the half, was the plays we left out there that we didn't make. And that's what we talked about at halftime. Venric Mark is playing at a very high level right now, he's doing a lot of things very, very well, he's running with physicality. For our offensive line to slowly start to come together here, I think we've got something pretty good there. Great to get a win, I'm very appreciative of our students. The crowd tonight was great. To see the amount of students for us not being in class today is something special."

    On playing QB Trevor Siemian...
    "I thought he can move the ball. We've got two very good quarterbacks; both guys want to win, they want to help us in any way that they can, and I think we've got a really good situation there."

    On Venric Mark's early season success...
    "The credit goes to Venric. He's worked extremely hard over the summer and it's paying dividends. If you invest yourself properly, that gives you the opportunity to be prepared. And he's prepared now for what he's experienced the last two weeks. I'm very proud of him, I think he's grown exponentially. I think that he's really matured and the credit goes to Venric and (running backs coach) Matt McPherson. I'm just really proud of him."

    On DE Tyler Scott's big game...
    "We've seen a lot of pretty good games form him, but from a stat line (perspective) this is probably his best. He's been really consistent, he's one of our best workers in terms of the weight room, preparation, and conditioning. He went through a little sickness in the summer that sent him back a couple weeks. And he's finally getting himself back into the shape he was in June. I'm really proud of him, he's a tremendous young man."

    On the student-team relationship, having such a big student section...
    "I think it has a lot to do with our young men. I think we're very active on campus. We've got an unbelievably tight-knit family here as a University. I think everyone's involved in everyone's lives in terms of supporting each other. We've had great student support here for a number of years, and to see the number of students come out when we're not in school yet, it was spectacular and we're very thankful for it. It's a privilege for us to play for them."

    On WR Kyle Prater's return to Chicago...
    "A hometown Chicago guy getting a chance to play; his entire high school football team was here today. And to have the whole community come out to support him I think shows why it's so special for Chicagoans to stay home and play for Chicago's Big Ten Team. It was the same thing I experienced as a player."

    NU Player Quotes
    Defensive End Tyler Scott

    On his forced fumble in the fourth quarter...
    "As a defense we said we weren't done. We wanted to go out there and get some pressure on Jordan [Rodgers] and cause him to throw the ball away or do something. It turned out even better."

    On whether it was his best performance as a Wildcat...
    "It was exciting. It was nice to finish as a defense and put two games together like that. To finish like that on a two-minute drill as a defense was pretty cool."

    On whether the defense felt any vindication...
    "Coach [Fitzgerald] tells us to focus on yourselves, our brothers, our chemistry, our fundamentals and that's what we did. We didn't really listen to any of the criticism, but just focused on us and it seemed to work."

    On getting off the field on third down...
    "We focused on what we learned from last week. We weren't very good on third down and we went back and watched the film to see where we messed up and focused on our fundamentals and working those techniques to get us off the field."

    On the student support...
    "It was awesome. It was a great atmosphere under the lights and it really couldn't have been any better."

    Running Back Venric Mark
    On the performance of the defense...

    "I think the defense played outstanding. They kept getting stops and we struggled, but once again the defense stopped them. We finally got it clicking on all cylinders."

    On the team's performance through two weeks...
    . "The Wildcat Way is the way we play. Coach [Fitzgerald] always harps on playing with passion and because we represent the Big Ten, we don't take any opponent lightly. We're going to come every week ready to play the game."

    On his own work ethic over the summer...
    "I made sure that I stayed positive and that my attitude was in the right place. I made sure that I didn't listen to that little voice in your head when you get tired. Sometimes you might not feel like waking up early in the morning, but I stick with it everyday. My teammates have pushed me and helped me."

    On his role with offense...
    "I'm glad that I have a bigger role, but we haven't reached our destination yet. We're only two games in and we need to finish out."

    On whether he gets tired on the field...
    "Sometimes I do, but I have my own techniques to trick myself to get back into the groove of things. It's just my secret."

    On the student support...
    "I think we had a great crowd today and the fans really supported us. I think we were all really happy to see that."

    Vanderbilt Postgame Quotes

    James Franklin
    Head Coach

    "We lost to a good football team, a team that knows how to win. They did the same thing last week in the last game and they did it again this week. For us, we have to get back to what we did last year, which was fight, which is focus on the details, have a chip on our shoulder. And we've got to make plays. Defense played well enough to win. Offensively we didn't play well, we haven't played well for the last two weeks so we have to go back to the drawing board. We're going to stick to our plan like we always do, but we are going to go back to the drawing board and make sure we have everything the way we want it to be.

    "We didn't make the big plays that we've made in the past on defense. Offensively, we weren't running the offense. Again we've got a problem, we aren't running the offense. Special teams, I thought we did a good job of containing their returner, but we didn't do a good job making any plays. That's kind of where we are at. We are going to stick to our plan. I know what some people are going to say. And they've earned a right to say that, more than happy. But things are not changing. We are going to get this fixed, we are moving in the right direction; we didn't get better today. But we will get better tomorrow, and better everyday after that."

    About offense in preseason and spring vs. now...
    "No different than the problems we've had since we've been here. The problems haven't changed. It's one thing doing it in practice, it's another thing doing it when the lights come on. It's on me. All of this, let me make sure I'm clear on that, all of this is on me. All of it. When the good things happen, it's the players. When things don't go the way they are supposed to go, it's on me. Offense, defense, special teams, every bit of it. So we have some issues that we have to get corrected, some you can fix overnight, some you fix over years."

    About Northwestern's two-quarterback rotation...
    "They did a nice job just like they did last week but the offense didn't get the job done, the defense was on the field. I know Bob Shoop's going to say, and our defensive players are going to say, that if the offense scores three, their job is to hold it to zero. If the offense scores seven, they hold it to less than that. So they are going to say they didn't get the job done either, but they were on the field too long; we didn't make enough plays, we turned the ball over way too much. Our ball security is not what we coach. And that's on me because I allowed it happen. The fact they're swinging the ball all over the place, that's on me. That's on me.

    On if he was close to making a QB change...
    "We'll talk about that this week and see what happens; we'll evaluate the film. But everybody on our team. Nobody has earned the right to start. Nobody has earned the right to play. Every single day you have got to wake up and do your job. You've earned the right to go out and compete and do your job. And if you are not doing your job, then we'll have to make some tough decisions at every position. O-line, I didn't think we played well upfront as well. I think their [NU] D-line did a really good job of controlling the line of scrimmage. We haven't been able to run the ball the way we are used to running the ball. There's a lot of factors. So we will evaluate the film and go from there."

    On if he was surprised by the reviewed NU pass play in the fourth quarter being upheld...
    "I'm not allowed to talk about that."

    On if there was a difference between that play and Jordan Matthews' first-half catch ruled incomplete...
    "That's a great question. But it goes back to what I've said before. We've got to do our job on the field. Whether it was right or wrong, we've got to do our job and take those plays out of anyone else's hands and control our own fate and destiny. Then we wouldn't have to worry about those things."

    Vanderbilt Players
    Wide Receiver Chris Boyd

    On Vanderbilt's offense late in the game...
    "We game planned to move the ball more effectively. We just didn't get it done, honestly. We did some things good, but we're much better than that. We're going to get better, though. Now we know we have things to build on and next week we'll be better. We weren't executing on offense. We're a better team than that, but we'll get better. It wasn't anything they (Northwestern) were doing. We were beating ourselves. They're (Northwestern) a good team, but we beat ourselves tonight. We didn't get it done."

    On the team's penalties...
    "Every time you have penalties, you're shooting yourself in the foot. One of our goals was to try to not beat ourselves with penalties, but once you get penalties and in third and long situations, it makes it harder for you to make a third down conversion."

    On Vanderbilt playing with a chip on their shoulder...
    "I know we're a hungry team. We're really hungry for success. We're going to go back and practice, and we're going to be playing a lot more aggressively. We're going to perform a lot better and try and get it done next week."

    On quarterback play...
    "Jordan (Rodgers) played well. It's the whole offense. We have to execute better. We have to stop doing the errors on ourselves. It's just disappointing. We felt pretty good with our game plan, but it just didn't work out."

    LB Chase Garnham
    On Northwestern's ability to move the ball...
    "They just made plays and we didn't. We have to step up and make something happen and get the ball back to our offense. We just didn't get it done. They (Northwestern) have a tough offensive scheme to stop, and they did a good job tonight."

    On what it will take for Vanderbilt to improve...
    "We just have to work hard in practice. Nothing is given to you. There is no secret sauce for success. You just have to keep working. It's the only thing you can do."

    On the Northwestern quarterbacks...
    "(Kain) Colter is obviously the runner and 13 (Trevor Siemian) is the passer. We knew that going in. He did a better job than Colter, I thought. We knew they were going to try to throw the ball when he came in. We just had to do a better job stopping them. Colter was pretty quick. He's nothing we haven't seen before, but he was pretty shifty-pretty quick."

    OL Wesley Johnson
    On his overall thoughts on the game...
    "We played a really disciplined football team tonight. They beat us with their discipline. We thought we were ready to play. We didn't focus on the little things. We didn't play with that edge that we have and that edge we are kind of known for. Just like last week, we have a habit of shooting ourselves in the foot. I don't want to take credit away from them; they played a great game. We really didn't know how they were stopping us most of the time."

    On the team improving...
    "I can't wait to get back to Nashville and watch the tape. I'm pumped to get ready to go back to work. We have something we can build on. I'm not happy about tonight, but I'm still excited about what we got. "

    WR Jordan Matthews
    On the offense's struggles...
    "I always feel like we have a great chance to score with our offense. I have a lot of confidence in all our players."

    On Northwestern...
    "They're (Northwestern) a great team. They have a great defense and they have a good coach over there. I just feel like we didn't execute. I'm not going to take anything away from their defense. Their defense played great."