Oct. 29, 2006
On the importance of special teams in the game:
"I think early on there were some things that happened in special teams that gave us the ability to get some points on the board and put us in great field position. It's an area that all year long we've emphasized, and our guys have been able to come up with plays to help keep us in games or make it work in games. That one area has been as significant as any of the areas, offense or defense, that has helped us get to where we're at right now."
On dealing with the tough elements on the road:
"Wasn't it great? I thought they (the players) were super on that end of it. They just did a great job. They're a confident football team. If you're going to win on the road, when you get on the bus to leave home, you have to have the belief that you're going to get it done. They believe in themselves. I think that's a real key to winning on the road. Then you just have to make sure you find ways to make some plays and not beat yourself. I thought for a period of time that we were going to do that a little bit because it seemed to be one flag after another that got thrown that hurt us in trying to put some points on the board. Overall, I thought they did a great job. Now, with the wins we've had on the road, I feel good about this team, and at least their vision of what they can accomplish if they can continue to play this way on the road."
On the defense's performance in the red zone:
"I think that's huge because they (Kent State) has the ability to beat you in different ways. Of course, (Julian) Edelman is just a great quarterback and had a great game today. When you get down close, with him being a guy that can carry the ball for them in their running game and then scrambling and making some plays with either his arm or his legs, you've got your hands full trying to keep them off the scoreboard. Our guys did a good job. They had the one really long drive that was something we didn't want to have happen of course, but other than that I think our guys contained him fairly well, not allowing him to build long drives where points got put on the board at the end of them."
On blitzing Kent State quarterback Julian Edelman:
"I don't' think you can do just one thing against him and not have him take advantage of you. We tried to mix things up quite a bit. The thing about blitzing is it all looks good on paper, but once he breaks containment or slips inside of somebody and is off and running, there's nobody in sight with an Ohio on their helmet for about 30 yards. There's a little bit of risk when you have a guy like Edelman, but you have to take that risk because if you just let him do the things he's capable of doing and not change it up on him, it's not what you want."
On winning its fourth in a row and sixth of the season, becoming bowl eligible and assuring the first non-losing season since 2000:
"We've been addressing those things as we've gone through the year, not to try and look too far down the road because every time we step on the football field we have a battle on our hands. Yet, there were some things that looked like could be attainable for us, and so we wanted to identify those things and work very hard at moving toward those things. I think our team has done a great job of responding in that direction. They want this to be a year that kind of breaks them out a little bit of being a losing football team. They're doing a great job of getting that done."
On attempting the fake field goal in the fourth quarter:
"That would've been the ball game right then and there. From what they were doing on the other extra points and our one field goal kick that went through, they were coming hard off the edge. It was obvious that we were going to be able to get containment broken there and we thought we'd have a great shot of slipping in behind them, which we did. We just didn't complete it. It made sense to do it at that time. You need to throw the ball a little bit and take some chances a little bit. We didn't complete many, but I don't think they completed many. It was that kind of a day. You can't just line up and run between the tackles all day long, or you're not going to get it done. You have to take some chances. Even with the wind the way it was, the option game was a little bit of a chance because you get that ball and at times the wind would gust and if the back didn't really focus on it, the pitch may not be there. You could get yourself reduced to only doing a few things, and if you do that against a good football team like Kent, you won't win."
On the swirling winds during the game:
"I don't think we had the wind at all in this game. Maybe I'm wrong, but it sure seems like it was blowing in our face for four quarters. It even switched sometimes during the quarter so it was really tough in terms of the throwing game. You didn't necessarily the wind at your back at times you thought you had it in your face, but it was a crosswind. It was really tough to get a lot of things done when that ball was in the air."
On Austen Everson's rushing performance:
"We got plenty of guys that can run the ball. We really still want to keep working on the throwing game. Today was not a great day for it. Austen has shown improvement before the start of the season as he came off summer when he was throwing. He's had a good season. He's made clutch plays when we've need them. The one, basically, was faking a running play when he rolled out. He was scrambling and hit Tom Christy coming across. It was a great play. He's been able to come up with big plays whether in the throwing game or the running game. He's had an excellent year, and he's really a great leader for us."
On the personal satisfaction he's taken from this season:
"It means a great deal to me. These six wins have been special. I've gotten as much enjoyment out of this season as I have any season, and it's because of the way the players have responded and done what they've had to do to make it work. Sometimes we're kind of doing it with smoke and mirrors, but they've gotten it done. I don't think there's any more enjoyment out of the game than that. You can line up and win them all, and I'd be jumping up and down if we did that, but I'm jumping up and down right now just because they're winning football games, they're feeling good about themselves, and they ought to for how they've played so far this season."
On the team controlling its own destiny for the MAC East championship:
"That's not going to be easy. We go on the road again to Eastern Michigan, then we have a little time off before we play Akron, then we go to Miami. In my mind, you look at Akron, you look at Miami and that's two really good programs. Akron was one of the favorites to be in the running this year. Miami, of course, is a great program that has struggled a little bit this year, but they're a good football team and capable of beating anybody. Eastern Michigan, those scores have all been close. They've not allowed people to score a lot of points. We're going to have to earn them all."