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    Northwestern vs. South Dakota Post Game Quotes

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Sept. 22, 2012

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    Northwestern vs. South Dakota
    Ryan Field
    Sept. 22, 2012
    Postgame Quotes

    Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald
    Opening statement...
    "Obviously, I want to start, first and foremost, by thanking our students. It's been three weeks in a row that we've had incredible support, especially the freshman class. I hope they enjoyed their first experience being a part of a Big Ten football game. We play for our student body and hopefully they enjoyed that first test. I know they have some classes starting up this week so the next test will be next Saturday. They passed this week with flying colors, so hopefully we'll see them next week, bright and early, to take on the Hoosiers.

    "To look at the game, we thought we needed to be able to control the line of scrimmage, to run the ball effectively and to stop the run. Really just control the game and get a lot of guys involved. I think we were able to accomplish that today. I think to have a young man go over 100 yards rushing and to be able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides are two very positive things. We did a great job in the kicking game. I thought, especially with the wind, we had a chance to have a little bit of a "Nightmare on Elm Street" with the kicking game, but I thought everything was executed well and pretty clean for the most part.

    "I'm happy for a lot of our young men that got the opportunity to go out and play today. They sacrifice everyday, whether they're on the scout teams or pushed down a little bit in the depths for this reason or that reason. To have them get an opportunity to play in front of their family and friends is great.

    "Everyone goes back to 0-0 as we start conference play. We're excited to have it be a home opener this year and, obviously, we're very thankful to have the kind of schedule that we've had. We've gotten a lot of momentum going with home football games. It's very different from a year ago where we felt like we were on the road forever. I thought we had a very professional-like approach and performance today. Now it's time to get back in it and prepare for a team that has had a week off to prepare for us."

    On RB Venric Mark...
    "Venric is playing at a very high level. I think whether he'd be able to run the ball between the tackles has been a question from some of the experts. He's proven, in the last four weeks, that he can. He has great speed and great vision and the way that he's gone about his business in these first four weeks has been outstanding. The heavy lifting starts now with the Big Ten play."

    On the team's maturity...
    "I thought it started with the way we approached practice on Monday. The guys started with a great look in their eye and we practiced really well this week. Now the challenge changes a little bit because the competition speaks for itself. After I see the week-to-week grind and challenges we face as we move forward, then I'll be able to evaluate our maturity. It's really about being able to put a game to bed, move on and get ready for the next one."

    Northwestern Player Quotes
    RB Venric Mark

    On offense's execution in the red zone...
    "We knew we struggled last game so that was the main focus going into this week's preparation."

    On his 47-yard rush down the field early in the game...
    "We just came in with a lot of energy. Coach [Matt] MacPherson is a great coach and he got us ready for the game. I was just really pumped up and the O-line did a heck of a job blocking."

    On confidence moving forward...
    "We don't want to get too high, but we also don't want to get too low. Coach Fitz(gerald) always talks to us about being confident in your abilities and in your teammates. We are 100 percent confident, but we aren't going to go into a game thinking that we're automatically going to win. We're going to take it just one game at a time."

    On 4-0 start to the season...
    "I feel great about it. We are 4-0, but we still have a long way to go. We haven't even reached the Big Ten play. We're going to do that this week so that's going to be the main focus going into this week."

    QB Kain Colter
    On offense's performance today...
    "We've been running the ball really well. The offensive line has done a great job in opening up some holes. The running backs have been running hard. If it's not broke, don't fix it, so we're just going to keep coming back to that [the run game]. In football if you can dominate the run game, you have a great chance of winning. Would I like to throw a whole bunch of touchdown passes? Would the receivers like to catch a whole bunch of touchdown passes? I mean, yeah. But right now, the running game is working for us so we are going to stick with that."

    On RB Venric Mark...
    "We wanted to make a statement this game with our running game. Venric's a great running back and some other guys stepped up today, too. The offensive line did a great job. I don't think enough good things could be said about them. Venric was making guys miss and running tough at the goal line. He's a smaller guy so a lot of people don't expect him to do that. But, he ran the game tough and gave us some good yards. "

    "He's a strong guy. He may be little, but in the offseason he works his butt off. He's fast and elusive-all those things help. It's funny because I handed the ball off to him, I didn't even see him because all these big guys were around him and he scored. All those characteristics of Venric make him successful. He's a great running back and a great player on our offense."

    On lessons the team has learned from the Navy SEALs in dealing with success...
    "I think a lot of it comes down to expectations. We expected to be 4-0. Every operation the Navy SEALs go into, they expect to be victorious. You can't get too high, you can't get too low; you have to stay even-keeled and just keep going and doing what you were doing. I think that was the biggest lesson that they taught us. Those guys are the best at what they do and if they complete a mission successfully, they are not going to jump for joy and give each other high-fives. That's what they expect out of themselves. These first four games we have had, we have expected to win and show the entire nation what Northwestern football is going to bring to the table this season. As we go into Big Ten play, we expect to win games and win the conference. We are not going to get too high when we have success. We are just going to keep doing what we've been doing."

    DL Quentin Williams
    On his ability to get into the pocket and bat down balls...
    "On those batted down balls, I was really lucky to be in the throwing lane there, when they want to get rid of the ball early or throw a screen or a quarterback draw. It was really just luck of the draw for me. Our defensive line played awesome; for me to be able to read that is just another thing we do every day. I was just happy enough to be there, but I should have caught one of them. I really wish I would have."

    On the defense's success the past few games...
    "As a defensive line, it's always satisfying as the front seven to stop the run. I think we did a good job of that, but I think we can get better. Our defensive line played pretty well, but there are a lot of areas we can improve in. We need to get things patched up and it's always a work week for us, especially heading into Big Ten season."

    On the 4-0 start to the season...
    "It's obviously gratifying, but the mentality our team likes to take is that it's a clean slate for us now. While we did go 4-0 in nonconference, it doesn't mean much if we don't do well in conference. This is going to be a big week and we're going to take it one step at a time. We're in a great place right now, but we have a long way to go and we're going to work toward that."

    South Dakota Quotes
    Head Coach Joe Glenn

    Opening statement...
    "First of all, I give a lot of credit to Northwestern. They're a good football team and they did what they had to in the first half and put us away. [Venric] Mark had seven yards a carry. They all averaged five yards a carry. After I give them praise then, I want to tell you how sick I was, knowing that we didn't have to help them. We made way too many mistakes that just had nothing to do with Northwestern. They could have beaten us on their own. We had penalties, we hiked the ball wrong, we had guys that jumped offside, we dropped three balls in the first half. We just didn't play a clean first half and allowed them to get out 28-0 and we were dead in the water.

    "The only thing it did to them was put them to sleep at halftime. They didn't come out with the eye of the tiger when they were so far ahead and allowed us to play a cleaner game in the second half. When the game's on the line, we have to play better than that. If there is anything to take from the game, we did come out and compete in the second half and didn't make so many penalties and mistakes. I'm really concerned about that because if we don't get that changed, we won't do very well this year at all. You can't play like that. I understand getting beat by Northwestern, but I don't understand beating ourselves. We fought hard in the second half. We came out and had a touchdown drive and did some things where we looked like a football team. I thought we played the run better, but we have to start. We haven't really been a very good first-half team yet this year, so I am a little concerned about that. I felt like every game we were ready to play. Our emotion was good and the locker room felt good, but we're just not getting it done in the first half."

    On the several botched snaps...
    "We have a senior center, so I don't know. I asked him at halftime if we should put our quarterback under center and was he having trouble hearing and he said, 'No, I'll get it done.' That's our only starter back on the offensive line. He has to come through for us. He is a great kid and he's very concerned. He has to lead by example right now because we have a lot of guys behind him who are trying to follow his leadership. I think it all starts with the offensive center. He is the guy who points out the defense and sets the front and controls the line of scrimmage with his snapping. I believe he can do it. Three games into the season this isn't the first time it has happened. He's having trouble with it already and now I'm concerned about it. We don't have another guy right now at center. Tim has to come through for us. He's our senior guy and pivot man. It wasn't just him. We took ourselves out of the game."

    On making adjustments to the passing game...
    "That's what we do. Their strength is their pass rush. Their front four is the strength of their team. For us to drop back and throw it 60 to 75 times would have been horrible. It's not really us. We didn't do a very good job running against them either. The score could have even been worse had we dropped back and let them sack us. We just have to get ready for the teams that are in our league, which are a little bit more like us, and teams that have the same amount of scholarships that we do and maybe we'll have better success."

    On the first offensive series...
    "I can't hardly talk about it without getting sick. Just, what? We're ready to play. We go through our openers. Our kids know what plays we're going to run. We go through walkthroughs. That was a letdown by our offense. Our defense wasn't much better. We let them go down and score and then we lay an egg like that. I don't know why. You can say it's youth, but we are three games into the season. It was pathetic. That's the best thing I can tell you about it. We got over it and got better, but if we start like that we are going to lose a lot of games. It's just that pure and simple."

    On the positives to take away from the game...
    "We hit their rush a little bit better in the second half, but I know it's 28-0. I've been down like that and you don't have the same eye of the tiger. But you have to say, at least we stopped them better. I think they called the dogs off a little bit. They ran and ran and ran. Pretty soon you have to figure it out they are going to run it up the middle, so I have to thank their coach for that. The offensive coordinator is my buddy. Micky [McCall] helped me out there a little bit. We did get some things going on offense."

    South Dakota Player Quotes
    QB Josh Vander Maten

    On the start of the game...
    "It's important in the first series to not have any turnovers, and we came into the first series of the game and had two. There were a lot of plays we should have completed and you can't start a game out like that against a team like Northwestern."

    On success in the passing game...
    "The success from me evading the pocket came from me making the one-to-two read and reacting to the defense. If they crashed the pocket, I would go outside. Their D-line was very good."

    On the fumbled center-quarterback exchange...
    "I think the problems with the snap came from us having some butterflies, some jitters out there and that can't happen in games like this. It can't happen in any game and it did. We need to learn from that."

    On Northwestern's defensive pressure...
    "The struggle on longer routes didn't come from pass rush, they're passes I make every day in practice and I need to make them in games. It'll come."

    On preparing for the game...
    "We watched a lot of tape, especially from the Syracuse game and tried to take all we could from that. We did as much as we could."

    FB Quentin McMartin
    On what the team learned...
    "The thing we can take away the most from this game is that we can't shoot ourselves in the foot. We went backwards the whole first half way more often than we went forward. That won't work against anyone, in the Big Ten, Missouri Valley or anyone."

    On the second half...
    "We were moving the ball more in the second half and we didn't get as many penalties. [We were] just playing football."

    DB Charlie Goro
    On returning to Chicago...
    "It was fun being in my hometown. I had a lot of family and friends come in so it was a lot of fun to play in front of them."