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    Post-Game Quotes



    Sept. 12, 2009

    Final Stats
    Post-Game Notes
    Recap

    QUOTING ILLINOIS HEAD COACH Ron Zook...

    On the game...
    "A win is a win, and obviously there were some things that we've got to correct and there were some things that we will get corrected. But there were a lot of things that I liked. First of all, we played with a lot more emotion, which is something we talked about at half-time."

    On Illinois State...
    "I said all week that they were going to do everything that they could do to win and throw caution to the wind and they did. And they did a nice job of it. I do think that there is a lot more positive to build on than negative."

    On tonight's performance:...
    "I thought we were a lot more ready to play last week than we were, and I would've liked to have played the full 60 minutes today. We didn't play 60 minutes, but once again, we did the things we had to do."

    On Juice Williams...
    "He strained his quad. He could've played, and I asked Dr. Kyrouac a couple different times, 'Is he at more risk?' and he said he probably was. I think that Eddie McGee is a good quarterback as well and we're very, very blessed and fortunate to have two good quarterbacks that can win for us. And Juice wanted to go, in fact he fought me a little at halftime, but I just felt like it was more important to get him healthy and ready to go for the next game."

    On Martez Wilson...
    "I really didn't think he would miss the game. He has a sprained neck, and obviously that's something we're not going to mess with, but I think you could tell we missed him out there. And I hope we can get him back here in two weeks."


    QUOTING ILLINOIS PLAYERS:

    Tight End Michael Hoomanawanui

    On Eddie McGee at Quarterback...
    "I like him back there. There's no hesitation from anyone. Juice and Eddie are both great players, great quarterbacks and great leaders. We shouldn't be worried about it if one guy goes down, who's going to step in. We just keep rolling. "

    On what he thinks about Eddie versus Juice...
    "Juice obviously has more experience, but Eddie's a great player and having either one of them back there is fine with me."


    DE Doug Pilcher

    On his long interception return...
    "It opened up for me but I couldn't get there. Dere Hicks threw some nice blocks for me, he was giving me a hard time afterwards in the locker room but at least we got the ball back for the offense."

    On the defense...
    "I thought we played pretty good in the first half. We have some things we need to work on, in the third quarter getting that energy back when we come out of the locker room with a lead like that. But these are all things we can work on. Luckily, we have two weeks before we go to Columbus and we're just going to try to work on those types of things and work on coverages and assignments and getting all that cleaned up."


    RB Jason Ford

    On the gameplan tonight...
    "Coach Schultz seemed more like a run and play-action type coach, so I think that opened up the pass. You have to worry about the run, then the pass opened up so you it's kind of like opening up both things. "

    On his first big game since Indiana...
    "I think the offensive line did a good job blocking and that opened up everything. It's more the offensive line and the blocking by the receivers."


    Quarterback Eddie McGee

    On replacing Juice...
    "Juice is still the guy. When he gets back and is healthy, it's going to be his team. I'm just always one play away."

    On what he could have done better:...
    "I think I came out a little flat. I came out a little nervous. But after that first series I got my stuff together and I have to just come out and just play with high intensity."

    On how playing will help him for the future:...
    "It gave me more confidence that I know I can help my team out when they need it and I also think it helps my team out knowing that I can step up."



    QUOTING ILLINOIS STATE HEAD COACH BROCK SPACK

    On the game...
    "Our energy level was much better tonight and our players, as far as their intensity and toughness goes, improved from last week. Our opponent was superior to us physically, but we still made some good plays. We left some plays on the field, but we took strides tonight and became a better football team."

    On quarterback Matt Brown's performance...
    "He handled it pretty well. It is a tough environment being in a Big Ten stadium for your first start. He missed a few guys that were open, but he took care of the football pretty well. It is a performance he can build on and there is a lot of room to improve. We have to throw him in situations like this so when his time comes and the game is on the line, he is ready to play."

    On things coming together in the third quarter...
    "A good football team will answer and that was really good to see from the team. There was no pouting or moaning or hanging their heads, so I was very encouraged from that standpoint. They bounced back, came back and competed in the next series and we got a touchdown."

    On Illinois...
    "They are very talented. They have a nice, tall range of guys. They run well and they are a very physical Big Ten football team. They have weapons offensively and they are a lot better up front on offense from the last time I played them. They are an impressive football team from a lot of angles."

    On the defense in the second half...
    "I thought we made strides and played pretty well in the second half. We ran out of gas and I was disappointed in the last drive. But, you take that last drive out of the half and I thought we competed pretty well defensively. We did a good job of wrapping up and it looked a lot better than it was last Thursday night at Eastern (Illinois). We made bigger strides on an emotional level and as far as enthusiasm and toughness go, I feel we showed more of that tonight. "


    QUOTING ILLINOIS STATE PLAYERS:

    Wide Receiver Eyad Salem

    On the teams overall performance...
    "I had a couple dropped balls; I had a big one that would have given us some momentum. I take the blame for that. We couldn't get anything going in the first half; it was just tough fighting for momentum. Coach said all we had to do was win the first quarter, to be there in the first quarter. We let it slip a couple plays here and there. We had to really buckle down, but we just let a few slip. We fought back in the second half and it really showed some character for our team. "

    On the difference in the second half...
    "We have had a different mentality this year than we have had in past years. We now continue to fight no matter what. We knew we had some plays out there. It's ridiculous to think how close we were on some drives. We really could have put some points on the board in some of those drives, but it just didn't happen. We could have taken advantage of some things in the first half, but we just didn't do it."

    On how the team stayed motivated
    "Being one of the leaders, I knew I had to keep everyone going. We had to get into the game, every single one of us. We had to make sure we got behind our defense, offense and special teams. The whole weekend in practice it was all about enthusiasm and getting behind our teammates when we are down. We really showed some fight there in the second half, and I'm really proud of our team for that."

    On quarterback Matt Brown
    "He really fought out there. It's tough to have your first college football game on a scale like this. I'm real proud of him for how he fought. He never quit. We just kept fighting. I told Matt that whatever happened out there to just make sure he didn't panic. He really stepped up and grew up tonight."


    QB Matt Brown

    On his performance...
    "We didn't win. No matter how many yards or touchdowns I threw for, we didn't win. I had two turnovers, which was big. I threw that one interception and the two fumbles I had in the first half. I have to do better than that. I need to do what I do in practice. I have to step up and make better plays."

    On how comfortable he felt in his first start...
    "Right when we walked out there, I felt comfortable. Before the game, I started to get a little buzz in my body. I was getting a little jittery, but once we got out there in warm-ups I felt like I was at home. I had a couple bad plays, but I pretty much felt comfortable the entire game. But I look forward to doing better next week."


    Safety Kelvyn Hemphill-

    On how the team's mentality changed from last weeks game...
    "We played with so much more heart than last week. We responded to adversity with all the turnovers. We were a lot more mentally tough today. We played Redbird football today like we were taught."

    On putting pressure on quarterback Eddie McGee...
    "We knew their backup quarterback, we respected him, but we were going to come after him. For the most part, everyone did their part of the blitzing and we put pressure on the quarterback. We know they run the spread offense and they have a lot of options with their quarterback. But when we come after the quarterback, it is all about bringing intensity. "


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