Postgame Quotes: Nebraska 17, Michigan 13

Nov. 9, 2013

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Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
On the game ... "Yeah, you know frustration because we lost as a team. I mean, I think that's the frustration that we all have. I've got to do a better job coaching this football team. The guys were working, guys were fighting."

On keeping Devin Gardner's spirits up ... "His spirits will be up because he's a competitor. He's going to be sore, and that's part of it. And again, I've got to do a better job coaching."

On the play calling ... "I like the play calling. I think we thought we could do some things, and we didn't."

On adjustments after last week and halftime ... "Well, I think you always have a plan that you think is going to work, number one. You change your plan all the time every week. I think there are some things that we did pretty well, but there were a number of things that I've got to do a better job coaching the kids on."

On if Devin Gardner was 100 percent today ... "You know what, his legs and everything were fine. I don't know, he took a shot over there near their sideline; I think it was in the second quarter, but he was fine."

On what he liked today ... "Well, I think defensively after the first quarter, I think they settled in, did a good job. I think they were three of or 6-of-16 on third down, so most of the third downs. It wasn't all of them, but the critical ones we needed to execute a little better on."

On the home win streak ending ... "Well, home winning streak, away winning streak, any winning streak you're disappointed when it's not there."

On Taco Charlton seeing time on the inside today ... "Well, you know, he's been fortunate enough that he's been able to improve during the course of the year without having to take full time snaps in a lot of critical situations. We just liked how he's come along, and it's about the right time for him because of how he's come along to play."

On Charlton seeing more time inside or staying outside ... "No, you know, that was all in nickel packages, sub packages. He's still an outside end, but he's got the length and the size and as good a quickness as anybody. He's pretty good inside when you get into sub packages."

On the success of quick and screen passes ... "Last week, we had that different screen in we thought was going to be pretty good, and they sniffed that one out pretty good. This new one today was, they're hitters, but they're not consistent hitters. We tried to throw the rocket to (Jeremy) Gallon the one time, hit the windows route one time in there."

On if Devin Gardner is holding the ball too long ... "Well, I think any time you have negative plays either way, the negative plays are what kill you on third down, and we had first down negative plays. We snapped the ball again a little high. That was a 10 yard loss, so now you're second and 20. I think as you watch the tape, and we'll watch it, he may have held it too long once or twice. I think coverage wise you've got to give them a little credit, also. They did a pretty good job on some of the coverage things that they did with (Jeremy) Gallon and (Devin) Funchess."

On the young players ... "Again, I think you get a chance to look at it and grade it. I know Willie (Henry) made some more plays again, which is a good sign. I think Taco really forced the sack that Cam (Gordon) got; he did a nice job on the game, and also did a nice job on a run play over there. Until you really look at it, it's hard, I think, for you to make an evaluation that's fair."

On how to improve the backfield protection ... "That's something that I think we're trying to get fixed, to be honest with you. We'll continue to do that. Is it a concern? Yeah, it always is. Not tackling, not blocking, not covering, I mean, not throwing the ball, not running good routes, all that stuff is concerning."

On if it is too late to make necessary improvements ... "No, because we've got three opportunities left: two of them on the road, one here. Would we have liked to have played better? Yes. Would we like to have run the ball better? Yes. Would we like to have done a better job on third downs? Yes. We've just got to go to work and keep working at it."

On what he needs to improve on most coaching-wise ... "Right now it's this team being a team, and from a staff standpoint and from a team standpoint I can tell you they practice their tails off. Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday they give as good an effort as a team as I've been around -- the physicalness with which they attack each other and compete. And we've got to keep doing that."

U-M Senior/Junior Quarterback Devin Gardner
On the mood of the team and where he sees they could go the rest of the year ... "We can only go forward. We have to get back in here tomorrow, watch the film and practice and fix the things we need to fix. I feel like the team understands that and that's what we're going to do."

On losing the home undefeated streak ... "It hurts. It always hurts to lose, but when it's at home it puts a little more on top of it. We didn't finish and we lost a streak that we took a lot of pride in."

On where the problems occur in the run game ... "We're young up front and sometimes we don't target the right people. It's growing pains, you know? We have young guys and they're fighting as hard as they can. I can't really ask for much else but for them to give their all like I am and like the rest of our teammates are."

On the national criticism against Michigan this week ... "I don't feel like we finished well. Whoever questions our toughness, they can shove it. I look in those guys' eyes in the huddle and they're tough guys and they're going out and fighting for me, so I don't care what any of you or whoever said that says."

U-M Fifth-Year Senior Cameron Gordon
On the feel of the locker room ... "The season isn't over. There's things still out there to be won. I feel like we know we've still got to go out there tomorrow and prepare. We've got to prepare for the next game. So no, everyone knows what we have to do."

On the improvements needed ... "Well, from a defensive standpoint, we've got to finish. We've got to finish. That last one we didn't have to allow them to get that, and we've just got to come to work. We've got to come to work. If guys don't come to work, then we can only expect so much."

On defending the option ... "I feel like the difficulty is it's an option. You can have the quarterback keep it and then the running back can get it. I guess we could have played it better. Everyone kind of knows their responsibilities with it. Even I had one of those. But at the same time it's just a thing where we've got to just execute."

On Coach Hoke's message at the end of the game ... "Just come back and be ready to work tomorrow. We've got to -- I mean, things didn't go our way, but at the same time there's still football to be played. I think that's key for everyone to know."

U-M Senior Cornerback Courtney Avery
On the fourth-and-two ... "Where the receiver ran up the sideline? We've just got to get the guy down. Fourth and 2, we've got to make plays, like Cam said, we've just got to finish, and that was just us not finishing, not getting the guy down. Like Cam said, tomorrow we're going to go in, got to go ahead and put in this work and keep the guys' morale in the locker room up, us being the leaders. We've got to let that trickle down, and this thing isn't over; we've got a lot more football to play still."

On relying on the defense to win ... "We're just a team. Everybody sticks together. We're going to have games that maybe it's the offense that does great, the defense doesn't do well, or vice versa. It's a team sport. It's the greatest team sport there is, and we've just got to keep trying to complement each other. You don't want to look at it so much as offense and defense because that splits up the team. It's just everybody sticking together, and that's what we're going to do the rest of the season."

On slowing Nebraska RB Ameer Abullah as the game went on ... "Whoever is in the game, that's who we're playing against. Nebraska came, and they fought for four quarters. They came in here, and they're a good team. We've just got to go back to the drawing board and just keep improving and keep working."

Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini
Opening statement ... "That was a heck of a win and I'm proud of that group of kids in the locker room, we're a little shorthanded right now but the character on that football team showed, they just fought until the end. The way they played, they played with passion -- and how about that defense? They stood up time after time -- I think they had three short fields in the second half and one short field to end the first half -- a lot of situations that could have changed that football game. Guys rose to the occasion. And we talked all week about that, no matter the odds or where we were playing, we were going to play as a team and pick each other up. That's what happened -- poor Westy (Jordan Westerkamp), he dropped that ball and he was crushed. The defense picked him up and then the offense rallied behind. That's what a team is all about. That was a good football game. It's been a long time since Michigan lost in this place and there's a reason why, it's a hard place to come out with a win. I'm proud of this football team, I told them we'll enjoy this tonight and get back to work tomorrow."

On Tommy Armstrong's Jr.'s final drive of the game ... "(It was) really good -- he made some big-time throws and managed it well. You know what, you're seeing a kid who's growing and coming of age. He doesn't get rattled, he just stays the course. He makes some mistakes but we all make mistakes. We're not afraid to put the ball in his hands to win a football game. The future is bright. He's a leader, he's got that it factor that I love. He's a work in progress -- he'd be the first one to tell you that -- but I like his future."

On the game-winning touchdown play ... "It was a great call by coach (Tim) Beck. I thought Tommy (Armstrong, Jr.) should've pitched it quicker. I think the guy spooked him a little bit because he kind of got up the field a little bit. But it was pretty good how he did, how he ducked back in and gave him the football. Once again, he didn't panic and he kept his wits about him and got the ball out to Amer (Abdullah). That was a big-time call by coach Beck, he saw it, we put him at the line of scrimmage and he liked the look and we executed."

On the play of Nebraska's defensive line ... "We did a lot of good things, we moved a lot and blitzed a lot. We brought a lot of different pressures. I thought we had a pretty good mix today and to do that you have to execute. Our guys are growing, I think they are becoming more comfortable and more confident by the game. I've said all along, I know I'll watch the film and see a lot of mistakes, but we're coming along on that side of the football and I think in time it will be a formidable group."

On going for a first down instead of kicking a field goal on the game-winning drive ... "I thought about (kicking) but the wind was just tricky enough. I felt good, I talked to (offensive coordinator) Tim (Beck) right away and all of our coaches were pretty much in agreement that we should go for it and go win this football game. To be honest with you, the wind was so tricky that I don't know if I would've been putting Patrick Smith in a position to have success, it was just a little bit iffy. I'd rather take my chances and go for it in that situation."

Nebraska Sophomore/Freshman Quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Jr.
On getting a win at Michigan... "It feels great. The defense got us some stops, and the offense started to capitalize at the right moment."

On if he thought coach Bo Pelini would go for it on fourth down ... "Yeah, I thought we were going to go for it. Honestly, I wasn't even aware that it was fourth down because we were just driving down the field so quickly, and all of the momentum was on our side. They have trust in us, and I have trust in my receivers, and we converted."

On the confidence that he can take from the drive to put them ahead ... "Honestly, it was a team effort. We all came out, and there was a mistake, but we told him, 'Hey, don't worry about it.' Our defense got a good stop like they did last week and held them to three points. We told them we were going to go down there and win the game, and that's what we did. We drove down with six minutes, and we scored and went up by four."

On junior back Ameer Abdullah ... "Ameer is going to get his yards; he's a heck of a player. At the same time, we just have a bunch of young guys who are ready, and this game was a tough game. We had a couple guys who stepped up. (Offensive lineman Zach) Sterup came in, and he made a statement. He was ready and coach called his number, so he came out, blocked and made the right plays and reads."

On being the first opposing quarterback to win at Michigan in three years ... "That's a great feeling, but we have to move on to next week. This was a great win. It was a tough win; it was a team win, and our defense got us a bunch of stops, and they played the best ball they've ever played. They went out and told us to keep scoring, and they'll keep getting stops."

Nebraska Junior I-Back Ameer Abdullah
On his perspective on the last touchdown ... "Really it was just Tommy (Armstrong) doing a great job staying poised. We ran the option a fair amount, and they were starting to catch on. (Running back) Coach (Ron) Brown always said stay with the offense, stay with the pitch, and it paid off. That's why you practice that. So it was a great job, but the most important thing was Alonzo Moore. It's going to go unnoticed, but he had a heck of a block. He stayed on that guy for like six seconds. That's a long stock block, so I tip my hat to Alonzo Moore."

On quarterback Tommy Armstrong coming of age... "Every week he's getting better. He has a long way to go, obviously, but I'm liking what I'm seeing from Tommy. He's a natural leader, and you guys will see that with more games to come. Both him and Ron (Kellogg), they handle themselves really well, especially at a venue like this, it's really reassuring."

On how this win feels considering his comments about Michigan on Monday ... "It was really taken out of context; I don't not like Michigan, but we have some gritty games. Those guys play hard, and I feel like we're the underdog any time we play them. So of course we're not going to like Michigan or any other team in the conference when we're playing them. The fans create a great atmosphere, and they're rowdy. They really want to make it tough on away teams, and we did a good job staying poised today."

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