Postgame Quotes - Illinoi 44, Purdue 10


Oct. 30, 2010

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Postgame Quotes
Illinois 44, Purdue 10
Memorial Stadium // Oct. 30, 2010 // 50,371

Opening Statement:

"I told the team to enjoy the win. It was a great win. Now we have our work cut out for us next week and we have that to focus on. It's a long season, and we'll take it one game at a time. There are a lot of things that happened out there today that we're going to learn from and are going to help us next week when we play Michigan."

On Nathan Scheelhaase:
"I don't know if it was his best game, but I thought he played extremely well. He ran the ball well; he threw the ball well; he threw a bunch of touchdown passes. Nathan continues to get better. The coaches know him inside and out, and Nathan's going to do whatever he has to do to win the game. He's realizing he can go out there and be himself because he has enough weapons around him. I think that's a sign of coaching, but it's also a sign of the learning process that Nathan is going through."

On the team going forward:
"Other than improving and getting better, it's really just one game at a time. These guys understand that, and I'd be surprised if they said anything else. All we're worried about right now is one game at a time. I'm proud of what they've done, but they understand that each of us needs all of us. The coaches are doing a great job of preparing them, and the players are doing a great job of doing what we're telling them to do."

On Martez Wilson:
"I think Martez is going to continue to get better and better. I feel bad for the guy in some instances. Here's a guy, because he was such a highly recruited guy, that everyone expected to be Dick Butkus right away. I really think if he would have been fortunate enough to play last year, he would have been that much better this year. He's a talented guy."

On the defense:
"I made the comment last year when Martez got hurt that it was a serious blow. He was the leader of the defense, and now you can see why we thought so highly of him. Corey Liuget has stepped up and really done a great job, and Corey has brought Akeem Spence right along with him, both in the classroom and on the football field. Clay (Nurse) has continued to work extremely hard, and Whitney (Mercilus) is a guy we know we can win with."

On the Cannon:
"Somebody said `Where's the Cannon?' and I had no idea. I'd never seen the Cannon; this is the first time we've beaten Purdue since I've been here. Somebody said it's in my office. I saw Clay Nurse carrying it around. It's a heavy sucker. It's pretty cool to see it."

LB Martez Wilson
On giving up points:

"We just can't let down, we have to finish playing the game completely. We were real close to keeping them scoreless, we came up short but we're still happy we got a win. That's what counts. We were hoping for it. They're a good team, though. They were fighting real hard; they didn't give up at the end. Our effort was great today we came out with a `W.'"

On how the quarterback struggling to throw helped the defense:
"It just helped us because we knew they were a running team, they're an option team. So forcing them to pass and do things they're not comfortable with, that was an advantage for our defense."

DE Clay Nurse
On adjusting defensive play for today's game:

"Today was a day where (Coach Koenning) came up to us and he was like, `All you guys, the ends, bandits, you guys on the outside, you're all going to have to slow down today. You're going to have to play a little slower, react a little slower because you guys have a lot of stuff to read through and react to.' He made it as simple as possible, he worked with us all week , we did the drill with no ball for the option game and it worked out."

On the team's play the past two weeks:
"It's two games in a row. We're not going to look at it as two games in a row, we're just going to move on to the next one. We have a little bit of a roll going here - we've got some momentum going here - but we still have to prepare for next week. We've got a big team coming next week. I know everybody on the team, as soon as we walked off the field, everybody's minds went to Michigan. Everyone. So we're just going to get ready for them."

RB Mikel Leshoure
On having difficulty getting yards the past few weeks:

" I think the defenses are keying in on me more and daring us to beat them with other weapons on our team. On our option routes, they were stopping the dive guys and giving us the option. That's why the pulls were out there for Nathan and the other quarterbacks."

On defenses aiming to take him out and reduce his yards:
"It's definitely frustrating. When you've got the defense keying in on you, you can't really get going. I'm an unselfish guy and they open up other things for my other teammates. Like Nathan and Eddie with pulls and stuff like that. As long as we're executing, if it's not me, it's someone else. I'm fine with that."

QB Nathan Scheelhaase
On the offensive play:

"I feel like we competed throughout all four quarters and we were able to really move the ball well on offense. I think the thing we did today is we were able to execute. Our coaches kind of told us some stuff they were doing, especially with the blitz, and were able to communicate it with us on the sidelines. When we got out there and saw that we were just able to execute, and that's something we really like to see."

On personally "growing" during today's game:
"Yeah, I definitely felt that way. We knew that this defense, in general they were going to bring more to the table than Indiana did, we knew we had to come prepared. And I really took that upon myself this week. If I was able to get us into the right things, I was going to be a big help. Especially with Coach Petrino and Coach Long up there in the box. They did a good job of communicating to me what they saw, so I was able to get it to our guys on the field. We were really working in unison."

Opening Statement:

"Well, we played a game with all we had. We were hoping it would be a little better but it's just the ways things are going right now. We need to body up and just go out there. We gained a lot of experience; we have young, talented players. We had some tough breaks, we can't come game day not ready to play. It makes it quite challenging."

Sean Robinson is playing his first game with a lot of significant playing time?
"I think he played like a freshman in a lot of ways and that's no surprise because he is a freshman. Going back when we started camp, if we knew we were going to be in this position a couple months ago, we would have known this and practiced him more then. We could have been anticipating this act so I think he did play this position like a freshman and as I said it's OK because he is a freshman. It's a tough environment. I thought toward the end of the game when things started settling down a little bit he stepped up and produced a little better."

When did you know that Rob Henry wouldn't be able to throw effectively today?
"After the kickoff. For the pregame, we were under the assumption that he would have a chance being a passer today even though we would have limited the number of passes that we would have attempted with Rob Henry and we thought he could throw a little bit and he could go out there and be a significant runner in the game but that's just not how it worked out. I appreciate his courage, it was a bad cut, and I appreciate his courage. We didn't hit him during the week and he got some rest during the week, but no one touched him. We were hoping he wouldn't have this pain or discomfort that he had at the beginning of the game so we minimized playing him. But I appreciate his courage; a lot of people wouldn't have even dressed out. I appreciate him wanting to go out there and try to win us a football game but that really caught us off guard because we had a heck of a game plan and we thought we could manage enough points to score, enough offense to stay on the field, utilize Rob Henry, and Sean Robinson both at the quarterback position. We had to abort the game plan early when O.J. Ross went down and then Jared Crank went down and then Cortez Smith got nicked up here for a little bit. We were really scrambling from a personnel standpoint. We tried to get guys in the game that have a clue of what to do and some guys were lined up at new spots they haven't practiced very much and that was very tough."

How are you going to make this turn around?
"Well, we're going to have to go back and take the healthy players that we have and try to find a way to realign them. Find which one of these quarterbacks is going to be healthy enough to play and start over again over the last couple Sundays. It's a task, but it is what it is. It's a personality issue; we got a lot of great kids that really try hard and a lot of young guys that are really giving it a great effort. The offense production is just poor because we don't have many offensive players to produce with and that's a challenge. We keep taking the redshirts off of guys and just playing them. We took the redshirt off of Ryan Issac. We have a lot of young players out there offensively and it's a shame we lost O.J. Ross with his significant injury, I don't think he will be back this season as a result of it and that makes us even thinner. The bottom line is that there are some other guys on the football team that have been yearning for their opportunity and it is now so we'll see what they do and how they embrace their opportunities."

QB Sean Robinson
On game plan going into today:

"I don't think it was difficult going into the week. Our coach developed a great plan. It came out to us not executing it in times when we needed to execute. I can't use the excuse that I am a freshman going out there and things are a little fast. I am put in a position where I have to go out there and produce, and that didn't happen today. We just have to look at this week and what we did wrong, and go from there."

On the role you were expected to play with Rob Henry being questionable:
"It was a little bit difficult. We prepared for both sides of what was going to happen. Like I said, the coaches did a great job this week in practice; I thought we had a great week of practice. But it just didn't carry over to the field."

DT Kawann Short
What happened in the second half?

"They adjusted real well and started double-teaming in the middle and started double-teaming on the end. It should have opened it up for the other two players, but they were so good. That offensive line was pretty good. As a defense, we don't really worry about the offense. It is our job to stop them from getting points. We figure if we stop them, then it gives the offense a chance to get down the field. As a defense, we felt that we didn't even come up the first half playing like we should have been playing."

DE Ryan Kerrigan
Is Illinois' offensive line good?

"No doubt. Jeff Allen is one of the better tackles I have played against this season. He is a very fine pass blocker and that showed today because he was able to block me pretty well. I have to take it upon myself to get better and find more ways to get to the quarterback."

On the mood of the team after two tough losses:
"It is tough to gauge right now. Obviously, we are down and a little upset but we are not discouraged. We will all bounce back. We will have a good practice tomorrow and get back to things. We have a big game against Wisconsin this week, so we don't have time to dwell on these past two losses. We have a lot to work on and we have to do it quickly."

RB Dan Dierking
Was it hard to put together a game plan?

"It was, and it was not just the quarterback, we have had all the positions shuffling around this week. It is tough. I don't think that is why we lost, but it is tough to be shuffling guys around like that."

On the offense not getting going today:
"I think it was a lack of execution. I think there were some good plays called. A couple times we just shot ourselves in the foot and you cannot do that in a game like this."