Sept. 22, 2009
Weekly Football Press Conference Quotes - Sept. 22
Kill, Bryant, Lawson and Lewis discuss the upcoming game with Idaho
DEKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois head football coach Jerry Kill spoke at Tuesday's weekly press conference at the Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Center to review the Huskies' game with Purdue and preview Saturday's contest with Idaho. Joining Kill were safety David Bryant (St. Louis, Mo./Ladue Horton Watkins), defensive lineman Brian Lawson (Park Forest, Ill./Rich East) and wide receiver Marcus Lewis (Gurnee, Ill./Warren). Below are excerpts from the press conference.
NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill
"I think the big thing is that we are looking forward to this week. We have a huge game here at home against Idaho, a football team that is playing very well right now. They're very well coached. I know a couple of people who are coaching there. They play very hard and it should be a heck of a game. We have to have great preparation this week and make sure we are ready to play."
On a possible let down this week versus Idaho
"I think you always are and it's my job to make sure it doesn't happen. I am mentally prepared to go to practice, and I think I set the tone on Sunday because I wasn't happy in several phases of our game against Purdue even though we won the game. When you win, it's a great time to teach. There were some things that we didn't do as well as we would have liked to. We got after our football team pretty good and we're going to coach them hard today and get ready for the next one."
On the fake punt at Purdue
"If you come watch us practice everyday, we always have some things that we work on. We have worked on that maybe three weeks. It has to be a particular look. We try to take advantage of something that somebody's doing. It's no different on an offensive play. Earlier in the game, we anticipated possibly running it against Purdue but it just wasn't there, didn't get the look. We had some injuries and through those injuries, good coaching by coach Sawvel the back up players that went in and played on that team he continued to coach during the game too make sure they remembered what there particular job was on that particular team in case we did have that opportunity. "
"Purdue got a little momentum and scored. We were afraid to punt it back to them. We planned on punting. They challenged the call, and that gave us time to think about it. Coach Sawvel said, `Coach do you want to fake? I think we got it and I think they will give us the look. If not we'll check out of it." We talk about it throughout the week what we might and might not do, and so we made the decision in the funny manner."
"In retrospect, a couple coaches that thought we were going to punt the ball because we're not going to get the look. But we got the look and through that particular look we executed that everyday in practice and have done a good job.
"The great thing about the execution is two or three of those players were not first teamers. They were back up players. It was a great teaching for me to come on Sunday and say, `when you think you are not going to play, and if your not ready bad things are going to happen. We had three youngsters that were ready to play, Ron Newcomb being one. He threw a critical block in that play."
"Nobody is expecting it from where you are at. One time in my career we did it, when we played Northern Iowa, from our own 20, and we scored a touchdown. You've seen Bobby Bowden do it for years at different phase of time. Would we have called it if we did not have the challenge? I do not know. I can't tell you. The challenge gave us more time to talk about it and that's what we decided to do."
"If that does not work it's probably not very good coaching. It worked. In retrospect, after you do it and you talk about it, I think the defensive coaches were okay with it because in the situation, the worst part is we would have gone into overtime. If we had punted the ball and gotten it into the 50-yard line, we were not punting the ball really well. There's a huge momentum shift there. So when we faked the punt, I thought we deflated them."
"We thought we would get a first down and that is another story within a story but that did not work out. We ran off enough clock that they did not have enough clock to win. It worked out to be a good decision. Usually when you do stuff like that you want to do it at unexpected times. That's usually when it works. If you do it when everybody thinks your going to do it, it usually does not work. I am just glad that we prepare weekly for different opportunities. Sometimes we might have that fake and never use it all year. But in this particular time, it was perfectly executed and the kids have been doing it and it was a big play in a game."
"I do think the challenge helped us a little bit there because it gave us a little more time to think instead of 25 seconds. It gives you time to get organized and things like that. It worked. I have been on both sides of that when I've been criticized for maybe doing something different but it worked out and we won the game and we have to got to the next one."
Scouting report on Idaho
"They play very hard on special teams. I think they are better than Purdue on special teams. I think physically and the mentality, their coach is a defensive guy, and they play with that mentality. They're going to hit you. When I talk about special teams, not just their kicker or punter, their punter is averaging unbelievable now. It's more about the players they got on it. They are physical. From a defensive standpoint they are a 4-3 team. Some ways structural-wise they look like us on defense. They will walk all seven up in the box and on the line of scrimmage and they blitz you and come from all over the place. A little like Western Illinois, but doing it in a different way. They're not afraid to play zero coverage, they are aggressive, and that's just his style. On the offensive stature, they have a big-time quarterback. I think he is a big-time quarterback. With no disrespect, I think he is one of the better quarterbacks we've played to this point. He is 6-5, 220 and he throws the ball around a little bit. He's older. the Huskies played him a few years ago. They're off to a 2-1 start. When you start out 2-1, you start feeling good. It's a very good football team coming in here."
On the impact of Saturday's big win at Purdue
"I don't know, we'll see. It certainly gives you some confidence. It will give you confidence when you go on the road and do the things you will be asked to do over the years. How we react this week will be a huge part of it. I've told people all along, I'm not downplaying it, and it was a great win, great to the program and other things. We're going to get hit in the mouth somewhere down the line. How are we going to respond to it. We do have youth on our football team. When you do have youth, you are going to have some ups and downs. Right now we're up. It's my job to make sure we stay in that category. It's a huge challenge for coaches and our players. It all starts with today and how were going to work today."
On coaching style after Saturday's big win
"I think that's a fair analysis. I'm pretty much that way all the time. Win, lose, draw, I've been consistent at being a guy who is difficult during practice. I don't think it's really going to change a lot. I have to go back in and dissect the film. We could get so much better. We could be so much better. We left three touchdown passes on the field. We could be so much better."
"That's how I approach it. That's my job. Everybody looks at the big picture, but I have to coach them on a day-to-day basis. I've said along if we get better and play hard, the by-product is you will win. I'm more concerned about that. We can get a lot better. In that Purdue game, we had 80 some odd snaps to their 50, double possession. It was 28-21. It shouldn't have 28-21. There's room for improvement. That game should have been put away. We didn't put it away. There were a lot of things to improve on. If we want to get where we want to go, we have to learn to continue to get better. I think the kids understand that."
On Chad Spann
"He's a good kid. Chad's kind of a funny young man. The players enjoy being around Chad and I don't think he has a lot of bad days. He's a pretty loose kid. He's very smart and an excellent blocker. Runs low to the ground with tremendous strength. He's good along the goal line because of his low pad level and his feet never stop moving. He's gained some confidence because he's got in that end zone. He enjoys it. He's a walk-on player from Indiana, so it must have been special for him on Saturday. Hopefully, he'll continue to play well and improve."
On Saturday's challenge against Idaho
"They are very multiple on offense and we have to continue to play good defense. We can't give up the big play. We have to continue to play physical football. We played physical versus Purdue. We have to come out with that intensity. We challenged our kids last week and we have to challenge them to comeback and do the same thing this week. Their quarterback is a very accurate passer. The biggest thing I worry about, on the offensive side of the ball, is recognition to what they're doing to us defensively. We need to do a good job of recognizing what they're doing and when they're doing it."
David Bryant, Safety
On the preparation for Idaho
"We've been to Idaho before. The guys that made that trip realize they're a tough team. It was a tough victory we had to pull out. It took all 60 minutes. We're not going to overlook Idaho by any means. We have a 24-hour rule. We celebrate for those 24 hours, now that win's behind us. It's good for the season, but we have more games to come."
"It's going to be a little easier gameplan-wise for us because the way the offense plays is similar to the rest of our conference. It's something our defense is built towards. I think we're going to have advantages there. Defensively, we're going to have to get a lot of pressure on the quarterback. You don't want a guy, who's a three-year starter and a good quarterback to get settled in the pocket."
On Nate Erndale, Quarterback for Idaho
"He's one of the better quarterbacks we're going to play this year. He's the same quarterback from last time we played. He's a three-year starter, so he has a lot of experience. He has a lot moxy in the pocket. We know that he's going to be a good player to face. Playing in the secondary, we watch a lot of film. We see some of the good things he does. It's going to be a big week for us."
Marcus Lewis, Wide Receiver
On offense's progression
"I feel like our offense is really clicking right now. Chandler is doing a great job throwing the ball. Our offensive line is doing a great job moving up and down the field. I think we are just executing very well. Offensively, we're confident in what we can. The coaching staff puts us in position to make plays. In practice we do a great job executing those plays. I'm just looking forward to Idaho."
On Idaho's Defense
"They do like to fly around a lot on defense. I don't know too much about their secondary, but what I do know is that they're athletic. We need to execute our plays and stay poised if anything goes wrong."
Brian Lawson, Defensive Tackle
On the win at Purdue
"There was a big emphasis in pregame on getting a Big Ten win for the seniors. We're glad about the victory. We had a good weekend, we enjoyed ourselves, but now we are getting ready with our preparations for Idaho."