Postgame Quotes - Missouri 37, Illinois 9


Sept. 5, 2009

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Missouri 37, Illinois 9
Sept. 5, 2009
Postgame Quotes

Illinois head coach Ron Zook
Opening Statement
"I wouldn't have thought we'd play like that. That's not the kind of off-season we've had, the kind of camp we've had, the preparation this last week we've had. I'm embarrassed with it, but I'm not ready to throw in the towel. I know our guys will come back and fix it. We didn't play the way we are capable of playing. I think that everyone who follows us knows that, and more importantly, the guys in the locker room know that. We'll be back and get the things fixed that need to be fixed."

On Missouri:
"We knew Mizzou was going to be a good football team and they are going to be a good football team. They played extremely well. They talk about all these new starters, but these new starters have a lot of experience and a lot of playing time. We didn't question that they'd be a good football team, we knew they'd be a good football team."

On the rest of the season:
"In the game of football, you're going to have adversity. It's how you handle it that will determine the type of success you'll have. We're going to take one game at a time."

On Troy Pollard:
"Troy Pollard is at 100 percent now. He has a little giddy-up and can be a good back for us. He not only ran the ball well, he caught the ball well."

On responding to the loss:
"We have some work to do. After the first game, if things don't go right, we're going to have to explain to them they aren't as good as they think they are. We don't have to worry about that - they know they aren't as good as they think they are."

On special teams:
"I was shocked on the missed extra point. I thought Anthony (Santella) punted well. We covered extremely well. I think punting is going to be an extra plus for us. We covered the kickoff well, we didn't kick it well, but that is something we can get fixed."

On the defense:
"We tackled 100 percent better than last year. We made progress there, we just didn't play to win the game."

Illinois Players
Quarterback Juice Williams

On the game:
"Any time you expect one thing to happen and it doesn't, it's very frustrating. On the good side, it gives us the opportunity to see the things we need to work on and build on. It's the game of college football, you take the good with the bad."

On Missouri's defense:
"They played sound. They did things a little bit different than last year, but we still have to have an answer for it. We just have to be able to execute all the way down the field. We can't beat ourselves."

On the rest of the season:
"I haven't lost any of my confidence in this team or the season. We can bounce back next week, learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward."

Wide Receiver Jarred Fayson
On the injuries suffered during the game:
"We definitely took a hit losing those guys, but we have depth, so other guys had to step up."

On how the hype leading up to the game affected the team's mentality:
"I can't speak for the whole team, but obviously there was something wrong, so we just have to figure it out next week and move on."

On team's ability to move on from the loss:
"It's a stunning a loss, but I'd rather have it right now than in the middle of the season or when we get to Big Ten play."

Defensive Tackle Josh Brent
On Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert:
"He was great. I think their coaches did a very good job making sure he didn't have to make too many reads and didn't throw too many deep balls, a lot of short passes. It's hard to cover those types of routes and be effective."

On whether team was shaken by loss:
"No, sir. We have a lot of veteran guys that were here when they were 2-10, I wasn't here then, but I was here last year and also for the Rose Bowl season. So we have a lot of guys that are here and know what it's like to lose and know what we need to do to bounce back and have a successful season. When we went to the Rose Bowl in 2007, we lost to these guys and ended up 9-4 at the end of the season."

On losing wide receiver Arrelious Benn to injury:
"We can't worry about that. Those guys will go to the training room and get those injuries fixed. We have to worry about the guys who are going to be on the field and how we can be successful with those guys."

Running Back Mikel LeShoure
On whether the offense still has something to prove:
"We have something to prove not only to the fans and the people watching, but we have something to prove to ourselves. I feel like we beat ourselves. We were down in the red zone three or four times and didn't come out with any points."

On his play and whether he deserves more playing time:
"I felt like I played better than I did the first year. Some people went down so I just had to come in and step up and play my role. I'm not necessarily begging for more playing time. The coaches will decide that. All I can do is go out there and play my hardest."

Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel
Opening Statement:
"I am very proud of our football team for how they competed. It gave us a little bit of an edge because we've lost so many players in the past couple of years. The team understands that they've established a tradition at Mizzou, and with that comes responsibility. I am really proud of the leadership of our team."

On quarterback Blaine Gabbert:
"Gabbert had an outstanding performance. I was more nervous about the guys around him than him, and with that being said, he was very focused, locked in. He can run, which puts a lot of pressure on the defense. Gabbert played a great first game. I'm very proud of him for how he prepared and how he competed."

On the defense:
"The defense really rallied with the ball, played hard, ran well. We did a lot of good things. We had some playmakers making plays, got some turnovers when we needed them. I think good defenses do that. I think we were very physical on Juice. He made a lot of plays but we forced him out of the pocket and forced him to run a lot. I thought we played really good team defense."

On Missouri's team speed:
"This is the fastest team we've ever had, you can tell by pure numbers. Even though we lost a lot of players, we had a lot of good athletes come back who run well. We all know the best teams run well. Then, they've got to become good football players. That's fundamentals, working hard and taking coaching."

Missouri Players
Cornerback Carl Gettis

On the first game of the season:
"Everybody was excited out there [today] and we played against a great offense. We were going up against a lot of playmakers. We were excited about how well our defense handled it."

On the interception:
"It was definitely a big booster for us. It was an opportunity for Illinois to gain momentum, and we stopped them. It was pretty much a momentum-killer. We had a chance to stop them and then we had the opportunity to drive the field and score."

Wide Receiver Wes Kemp
On quarterback Blaine Gabbert:
"I expected only the best for all of us this season. People didn't know what to expect from him, and he ended up playing a great game ... He is just a great athlete. He is becoming more of a leader every day. He stepped up a lot today. Going into the second half he helped a lot of us get going. He is a great person on and off the field."

Quarterback Blaine Gabbert
On Missouri's defense:
"Our offense played well, but our defense played even better. They gave up three points after three quarters. There really isn't more you can ask out of our defense."

On his pregame thoughts:
"I was feeling some jitters. Once the first play and completion happened I calmed down. I was glad with my team's overall performance. It helped me calm down."

On the win:
"Coming out with a win is all you can play for, and ask for. That's all we work for. Individual stats are just images, and you just have to win the game.

Defensive Tackle Jaron Baston
On the win:
"It was a team win. We all went out there and played our best. We have to keep our heads up and keep proving to the fans and everyone who we are."

On his performance:
"I did a lot of great things out there, but our team played even better. [Illinois] ran a lot outside and we were able to stop them. We all did a great job and are looking forward to next week."