Head coach Tim Beckman met with the media at his weekly press conference on Monday. Selected quotes are below. For the full video of the press conference, please click the link above.
"Before I get started recapping the football game Saturday, I do want to give credit to a good football team that we played Saturday night. Louisiana Tech did an outstanding job, as we saw. I do want to give the credit where credit is due; they are a champion. The two teams we have been defeated by are pretty good football teams, there's no question about that. Now, for us, we evaluated the tape. Of course, you saw the football game. You can easily tell if you have six turnovers, regardless of whomever you play, you are going to have problems. When four of those are inside the 50-yard line, you just are not going to be successful, regardless of who you play. We cannot have those types of turnovers. We have to catch punts when punts need to be caught and we cannot give up big strikes on defense. We have got to play better in the back end (of the defense) and we have to create a little more help for our corners so they're not put in one-on-one situations, like they were put in in that football game at times. The players responded last night by coming back and watching that film, evaluating it. We critiqued it as a team and we know what we must do on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week to get ourselves prepared for a Penn State football team that's also 2-2 at this time. You know, we're excited about getting into Big Ten play."
What happened in the secondary?
"Well, I think it was a little bit of what LA Tech does. If you've watched any of their games against Houston and against Rice, they had big strikes. They're No. 3 (in the nation) in scoring. They force you at times to play man-to-man coverage outside. You have to get your safeties involved in the run (game) when there are three-back offenses. We've got to be able to utilize at least the back-side safety to help us with some of those middle posts that they hit us on."
What is the quarterback situation?
"If you were watching that game and paying attention to that game, the first hit that Nathan (Scheelhaase) took was a big hit in the first play of the game. He got high-lowed from both sides. I was a little concerned, you know, being a coach and being a guy that I hope is like a father. I want to make sure that everyone is 100 percent. He came back in, played a couple series and then we felt that it was in the best interest for the football team to put Reilly (O'Toole) in there at that time. (Nathan) will compete, he was healthy yesterday. Nathan Scheelhaase is our starting quarterback."
On Penn State:
"I think Coach (Bill) O'Brien has done a great job with that program. You can see how they have progressed each and every week, from the Ohio U game all the way to this last week against Temple. They're 2-2, their goals and their dreams are the same. They want to win a Big Ten championship and this is their first opportunity for a Big Ten game. We know that they'll be very physical up front offensively and defensively. I'm very impressed with how physical they play. (They have) A defense that is probably a little more veteran than the offense. Special teams that are very intact; they do a great job fundamentally. You can see how they've progressed through that system after two tough losses early."
Where does Penn State excel in the rushing game?
"The rushing game, again the offensive line. I look at their offensive center, I think he is a tremendous football player watching him and evaluating the film. Running back-wise, you have a young man out of Youngstown, Ohio, that is carrying the football quite a bit for them, that I know a lot about from when he was playing in his Cardinal Mooney days. I know they are very, very competitive and they've run the football better and better each week. They play with a lot of two tight-end sets. It's Big Ten football; it'll be a physical football game."
On the special teams play:
"Well, I'm proud of the way we have been punting the ball. Akeem Spence is kind of the captain of that group, he's the quarterback and he does a great job of getting us prepared and ready by putting us in calls. So I'm very proud of the way he's playing and I think Justin (DuVernois) has punted the ball well. We have to get better at our return games. We were there and then, of course, the fumble on the "Recon" (punt return unit); that ball hit on the ten-and-a-half yard line. We have to catch that football and I've talked about that for the last nine months I've been here. We have to catch punts when we're supposed to catch punts. It was just in that gray area, but that's the game of football. It's a game of inches. We have to be better on our return game. I think Taylor Zalewski has done a fabulous job and Zak Pedersen (too). I know those guys don't get the names out there but I think they've done a very, very good job progressing."
Would you have done anything differently about recruiting Penn State players?
"Again, I stated what we believed in, what the NCAA allowed us to do. We were contacted previously, prior to any of this stuff happening, by a young man. We pursued it; we did not go and chase him. We told them that we would be off-campus and if they'd like to, they could, and if they didn't like to, then we wouldn't pursue them any further."