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    Postgame Quotes: No. 17/16 Northwestern 38, Western Michigan 17

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Sept. 15, 2013

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    Northwestern vs. Western Michigan
    Ryan Field
    Sept. 14, 2013
    Postgame Quotes

    Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald Quotes
    Opening statement...
    "I'd like to say thanks to everyone for sticking around. It's obviously a late night and I appreciate everyone taking the time. Again, it never gets old to win and I thought that from a planning standpoint, I thought the plan was pretty well executed for the overall game but the way that we started with having the ball cross the 50-yard line with the first five drives and not come away with points is unacceptable. So there's a lot of things we have to fix, coaching-wise, but I have to give a lot of credit to Western Michigan.

    "As you move forward, you can't lose a turnover battle and expect to win a lot of games. You can't have a lot of drives across the 50-yard line [with no points] and expect to win a lot of games. So a lot of things that we can clean up and correct but all in all, again, I thought we were pretty opportunistic. Missed a fumble recovery there, but pretty solid overall effort from the entire squad so it's great to get the win. Again, I'd like to thank our fans for the terrific support. The students are coming, so we're excited that they're going to be here next week."

    On playing Warren Long...
    "Warren has been playing very well, he's at practice every day. He's a very dynamic player and showed some flashes of a certain skillset. We're looking at not just the running back position; we're looking at the football team. So we're looking at the overall speed of our team, not only for this week, but we're looking down the road."

    On what Treyvon Green brought to the game and his role in the future...
    "I think Trey's been really solid during the first three weeks of the season, I've been really impressed by him. It was a very difficult year last year coming off the injury in training camp. He's looking like the faster, stronger, more explosive Trey Green that played for us as a freshman. I'm incredibly happy for him. He's a young man that's worked very hard to overcome adversity and he's from a great family. You love seeing great guys have success. I'm really happy for him."

    On what changed in the second quarter...
    "I think we just executed to be honest with you. I thought the plan was solid, and I thought the guys practiced their tails off. I think in a lot of ways we improved tonight. Some nights you don't execute. I love it that 471 yards and 38 points is not acceptable. That's a good thing, that's a really positive thing. But the negative out of it is the first four or five drives that we didn't score points, and that's unacceptable. We have a lot of things to fix, but I think the defense played very well. With the passing yards, and you take away the one explosion play, they didn't really throw for all that much. They threw it 41 times. All in all we have to eliminate that explosion play."

    On if Northwestern played down to its opponent in the first quarter...
    "Absolutely not. Especially after watching our friends in Ann Arbor today. I don't think that our guys overlooked Western Michigan at all. They're on scholarship, too, Division 1, and very good football players. I just don't think we executed very well. Am I disappointed? No, we won. I'm incredibly encouraged. I'm encouraged by the fact that I walked out of our locker room and our guys weren't going absolutely crazy. I think there are very high standards here, high expectations, and it's about playing to the best of your abilities. I don't really care about stats, I care about wins. I care about our guys striving to be the best they can be, and I think at times today we just weren't that. We'll always start coaching-wise and see what we did this week -- what our thought process was early in the game, what can we and what will we do differently. We have to do a lot of adjusting and see what people are doing to us. I think our guys handled the adjustments very well."

    Northwestern Player Quotes
    Safety Ibraheim Campbell
    On his streak of five consecutive games with an interception...
    "I'm going to try to do it as long as possible, as long as keep throwing my way. I'm just doing my job. There's nothing special to it."

    On what was working for the secondary that limited Western Michigan's passing game...
    "I'd say the biggest thing is the defense as a whole was effective. Guys were getting pressure on the quarterback the whole game and that made the secondary's job a lot easier. Obviously there's things to fix and we're going to fix that this week, but I would say, just a team defensive performance."

    Quarterback Kain Colter
    On NU's lack of points in the first quarter...
    "We just didn't execute. The first drive was my fault, made a dumb decision. The second drive we had two big penalties that put us in bad down and distance situations and I went and talked to the line after those first few series and said we have to stop being so pretty and just start running inside zone, be a hard-nosed football team and start running the ball. That's what we did, so it worked out."

    On if he requested the shift to a running attack in the first quarter...
    "No, I think they all saw the same thing we saw. But, being down on the field, I went to the linemen and they felt the same way, 'We need to start running inside zone. We can dominate these guys up front and make good decisions and get the ball in me and Treyvon's hands.' So, we started doing that and it started working. We didn't come out the way we wanted, but we got a win and you'll always take that."

    On what running back Warren Long adds to the team...
    "Obviously, the more running backs you have, the better you'll be. It's a position where you need a lot of people in and somebody can go down like that. So, with me being out and with [redshirt freshman running back Stephen] Buckley messing up his wrist, we're getting a little thin in that area, so he stepped in and had a few nice runs and hopefully we can see some more of him."

    On having Treyvon Green pick up the slack with Venric Mark out...
    "It's been great and I think it just speaks for the whole team. We've got guys behind some of the starters that are eager to play and when the get an opportunity like Treyvon did with Venric being out, they want to make the most of it. And, I always believe competition makes the whole team a lot better. Both of them are going to be compeiting and it's going to make both of them better. When you've got guys behind you that can make plays in the running game, it makes my job a lot easier."

    Running Back Treyvon Green
    On his road from training camp in 2012 to this season...
    "It's been a little rocky, honestly, with the season I had last year and the issues I had in my family, kind of bouncing back from everything, and the coaches telling me `You've got to lose weight' which is for the better, they kind of sprung it on me. Handling that and handling my family issues, it was a tough road. But, my teammates are like my family so they always have my back."

    On what running back Warren Long looks like in practice...
    "He looks pretty good, just like any other freshman. He's coming along, trying to learn the plays, slowly but surely. He's one of those guys thrown into the fire, so we've got to make sure he knows what he's doing and being in the right place at the right time."

    On his efforts to become a full-time starter this season...
    "I'm just doing my job. The opportunity presented itself, so I'm just stepping up to a role when a guy is down. When Venric comes back, it's a coaches decision whether he'll start or I'll start. If my name is called, I'll be ready to go."

    Western Michigan Quotes
    Head Coach P.J. Fleck
    Opening Statement...
    "Well I thought we responded very well on defense tonight early, I think that shows what type of team this is with as many youngsters and inexperienced players as we have. I love that because that's the how, that's what this foundation is going to continue to be built on. Now there are no moral victories again, trust me. This team needs to start believing in themselves, and that's what we're instilling in them, believe in yourself. When other people aren't believing any more than yourself, things like this happen. But they're learning that, they're growing on a daily basis, we had our best week of practice that we've had since I've been here in the last 3 days, tremendous."

    On defending Northwestern's offense...
    "I thought our game plan was awesome, even with [Kain] Colter, we had a guy on him. But if I was in the National Football League still right now, I would make sure to pound the table to draft him for something, I would take him in the first round. He's a football player, you can't coach what he has. And they have a special, special player. And when you have a special player, he makes a lot of things right. We got "out-athleted" at times at that point. We had a spy in the right spot and [Colter] still made us pay. Can't fault the kids for that, they were giving everything they possibly had, and they never, never quit. We just got to be better. I mean, that's the most genius statement of the night, we've got to be better. But we will be. Tomorrow will be better than we were today, and we'll just continue to go forward.

    On Western Michigan's offense...
    "I thought offensively we got into a rhythm here and there, then we got out of it, then back in, but like I said, their defense is just as stingy as Michigan State. And I thought on film, I said that before, I thought they were just as good as Michigan State, and you saw our team come execute. We got to make sure we don't turn the ball over, throwing the ball away and those types of things, those little things will beat you, but with every game, you're going to learn more and more. And I truly believe we have one of the toughest non-conference schedules, the first four games, when you look at the three Big-Ten opponents. I think, I told those kids in there, it's getting you prepared, it's getting you prepared for something special. I don't know what it is yet, I won't promise you anything, but I can promise you a heck of a change.

    "Disappointed. I told them, I'm not mad at you, just disappointed. Because we've got to start to believe with how inexperienced you are, you need to start believing you'll win those games. And I think some of them believe, and some not quite. That's what we've got to get out of our players. And that's human nature, and we've got to break that human nature, and that's youth and inexperience, but those aren't excuses. We've got to break it. We need to continue to have a commitment without exception. Commitment without exception. Quit judging ourselves. Commit, all in, if it's good, bad, ugly, terrific, we're all in. And we're getting there. We just have to be better."

    On when it was 3-0 with eight minutes left in the first half...
    "I'm thinking, it's 3-0 with 8 minutes left, let's get the ball back, and let's make it 10-0, very simple. That's what I was thinking. I thought we had a lot of energy, a lot of momentum. We were playing very well, playing hard, we were getting in the right gaps on defense. Then you saw the second half, and we miss a gap, and a run comes spitting out. With a team that good and that experienced, you've got to be right. I can't say you have to play perfect, but they're smart, they're sound, athletic and talented, and they have a ton of experience. So like I said, we have to be better."

    Player Quotes
    QB Tyler Van Tubbergen

    On rolling out in the passing game...
    "It's something we worked on in practice this week. We were just trying to attack the defense in different ways. That was something we wanted to do against some of their coverages. We had just as good of opportunities in other stuff too."

    On Northwestern gaining momentum after Van Tubbergen's interception...
    "Anytime you throw an interception the defense is going to be pretty excited. It was a poor decision on my part."

    DB Justin Currie
    On Northwestern's second-quarter surge...
    "It wasn't anything they were changing. We just didn't stay in our gaps."

    On stopping the passing game of Northwestern...
    "We knew that No. 2 (Kain Colter) was going to run the ball. I wish we could have gotten our gaps and played that a little better. I'm pretty happy with the way we pass defended."