“Congratulations to Penn State, I thought they played a good football game, no question about it. It was a war out there. I can say that this football team fought to the very end. I was proud of them after falling down 14-0 to battle back. I saw some great leadership from seniors, from juniors, from sophomores. You came into the locker room at halftime, [former Illinois tackle] Dave Diehl was with us before the game and gave us a good voice, but at halftime it was the players. The players were the ones that kept talking to one another about what needed to get accomplished and they’re the ones that need to be credited for giving us the opportunity to get back in the football game and have a chance to win it and they understand that there is four more games left and we’ve got to get ourselves prepared for Indiana.”
How did it feel seeing all the stops on defense this week?
“Well like I said I’m proud of the leadership on this team. You can make calls and you can do that kind of things but the bottom line is the players making the plays. Our defensive players made plays today. Our front line did a good job. I thought when we needed some plays at corner I think Darius Mosely played a good ballgame. I thought our linebackers were flying around to the football. You know it’s tough, it’s definitely a tough one but I know the resilience of this football team and I know that they’re going to be prepared tomorrow when we get back in and watch the tape and moving forward.”
Can you discuss the last play call on offense?
“Basically just trying to hit them with something that we had seen that they were doing and came back to it and it didn’t work.”
Can you talk about the decision to go for it on fourth down?
“We wanted to win. It was all my decision. We gathered up, we luckily had a timeout there. We talked about it as a team and we wanted to go for it. The final decision is my decision and my decision was to try to win a football game in the best way we thought possible and we were going to play with the intensity to do it and we came up short.”
Can you talk about Spencer [Harris] today?
“You hate to not see [Ryan Lankford] out there and you know how much the game of football means to him so somebody had to step up for him and I thought [Spencer Harris] did. I thought [Harris] made some great, great catches. You know [Steve Hull], who again got dinged up in the first series, then hops back and plays in the football game. I can’t be as proud because we had to have someone step up since [Lankford] was out for us for the rest of the year and I really thought those seniors really tried to make this team better.”
Do you feel overall this is more of the team you have here, this competitive squad?
“I love them. I know that two weeks ago we weren’t as competitive as we’d like to be but these players do what you ask them to do. They practice what you ask them to practice. It’s not anything special guys. It ain’t anything that’s a formula that Coach Beckman came up with. It’s a formula of what these players came up with and they fight. I do believe that this will be a learning experience and we’re going get that W, it’s going to come, and it’s going to come this year.”
How critical were the penalties today?
“Wow, I mean there was a couple, we had a lot of penalties, nine penalties, I counted them. Not sure how many they had but it was a physical football game out there. They were trying to win and we were trying to win and there were a couple of penalties, silly ones like jumping offsides and those types of things but you want to be aggressive and as long as it isn’t too bad of a penalty, I guess.”
When was the last time you’ve been in an environment this intense?
“You know the atmospheres in the Big Ten are unbelievable. I tell these kids that everyday. These atmospheres are great from ours to where we go. I’ve been here at Penn State before, this is my fourth time. I knew the atmosphere was a great atmosphere to play in and that’s what college football is all about. But you know I think the atmosphere at Nebraska was pretty neat and pretty hard too. That’s Big Ten football and you got to be prepared every place you go.”
How hard was it to defend talent like Allen Robinson and Bill Belton?
“Well Allen Robinson is a very, very good football player. There’s a reason why he’s been one of the top wide receivers in this conference and I thought he had a good football game. He was on the sidelines watching and I think I said I’ve got freshman out there take it easy on them, just kidding with him. But he’s a very, very good football player and he made us better competing against him today. I thought offensively they ran the football, and ran it hard so I think we rose up in the second and third [quarters] and then not really in the fourth to shut the run better than we had been.”
Do you think can give Darius Mosely confidence going forward?
“Everybody hates losing and there’s nothing good about losing but I do hope they have a sense of confidence in who they are and what they’ve done with this team. So from [Darius] Mosely to Nathan [Scheelhaase] to making some of the good throws he did today to Steve Hull to all of us in here, I mean I hope that they learn that they can be successful because that’s what we’re fighting right now.”
All quotes are from fightingillini.com.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyWidmer.