Postgame Quotes: Michigan 38, Northwestern 31 (OT)

Nov. 10, 2012

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» Postgame Press Conference

• U-M coach quotes from Michigan Sports Network postgame show
• Player quotes from press conference

Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke

On the comeback win ... "Well the kids did a nice job staying into the game, staying together. I think the way they reacted on the sideline, the way they were pushing each other and encouraging each other really tells you something about your team."

On the Roy Roundtree catch that set up the game-tying field goal ... "We had to get ourselves into field goal range. We used the three timeouts in the right manner earlier. It was one of those things, we got some good field position because of the punt return, so that really helped us. It got us into a good area. Then, it kind of fell into Roy's hands."

On Roundtree making a big play ... "He did a tremendous job fighting for it, keeping his eye on the football, and he came down with a big one."

On the game-winning touchdown play call in overtime ... "I think there was an option there for Devin (Gardner) with Mike Kwiatkowski. It's one of those things where you want to try to pack the middle where there's a yard and a half or a half a yard. Give them a tight formation, and then someone with Devin's ability and his athleticism, it worked out well."

On quarterback Devin Gardner's performance ... "I think Devin was very consistent. I thought he stayed in the game and managed the offense. He had the one bad throw, probably two of them during the course of the game. He's just got to see the field a little better, but he moved our offense. I thought he did a nice job on third down; I think we were 7-of-10, which is pretty good."

On the defense stepping up in overtime ... "I think Kenny Demens made the hit on the last play, filling off the speed option. The speed option gave us problems. Venric Mark is a very good football player. He proved that returning kicks and in the backfield. Kain Colter, I have a lot of respect for. He's a tough kid. He does a great job with his athleticism and made us look foolish a couple times, making us miss some tackles."

On the defense on the final play of the game ... "I thought Greg (Mattison) made a nice call on it. We were going to play some man coverage, with some inside help, which we needed. We had the ends wide enough. Also, the two linebackers, with Jake (Ryan) in the middle, might have talked him into it but talked him into right play for us."

On his overall impression of the game ... "I don't think there's any doubt (that he has to be happy with the win). Give Northwestern and give those kids some credit. They play hard and they're very disciplined. I think athletically, their two playmakers on offense are very good football players. They executed when they had to. I didn't think we tackled well, from a defensive perspective. I didn't think we ran the ball well enough offensively. We have to improve on those things, before we play Iowa next week."

U-M Junior/Sophomore Quarterback Devin Gardner

On the long reception to Roundtree towards the end of regulation ... "The thing is we practiced that exact play in practice and it worked. Obviously, he (Roundtree) didn't tip the ball to himself. We practice things like that every week."

On his performance against Northwestern ... "It felt great. I just prepared all week and I had a good idea of what they were going to try to do to me. Of course, I didn't know exactly what they were going to try to do because I never played against them before. From what I saw on film, they gave us what we saw. I just tried to execute and do my best."

On if there was anything specifically he needed to get better from Minnesota to Northwestern ... "Trying not to get sacked as much and continue to lead the offense."

On if he should see snaps when Denard Robinson is healthy ... "This is Denard's team and it's always going to be Denard's team until he's gone. He's done way too much for two games to change that. I feel like I'll do what I have to do to help the team."

On if there is a different mentality playing the whole game at quarterback ... "Definitely. Watching a lot of football last year and seeing guys like Tom Brady and Russell Wilson, how calm they are and even how unshaken they are. When you make mistakes, you have to stay level. I feel like that's helped me a lot."

On the rushing TD in overtime ... "That was called by Coach (Al) Borges. When I saw how tight they were, I thought this is the best call possible. When I got around the edge I basically walked in the end zone. That was all Coach Borges."

U-M Senior Wide Receiver Roy Roundtree

On what gave him confidence in Devin Gardner today ... "Coach Hoke has confidence in him. Whether he starts Devin (Gardner), Russ (Bellomy) or Denard (Robinson), we have to believe in him and we just have to go out there and make plays. Being a wide receiver, I feel like all the receivers did a great job today and we just have to make plays." 

On where that catch ranks on his personal reception list ... "It's probably No. 1. But Notre Dame last year was good. Just coming in here, fighting and seeing our team finish strong. Thursday we ran the same play and he just put it up there for me. I told him all game, 'Just put the ball up there and I'm going to go get it for you.' And God forbid I tipped it to myself and come down with it and there was no review so I'm good. Just coming in here and fighting and seeing our team finish strong. This team stuck together and that play was for Michigan."

On if he thought his number was called today and how good it felt ... "Yeah it felt great. Seeing the younger guys come up to me saying, 'Yeah, you always stay positive and show leadership on this team being a senior.' My number was called and I just tried my best to make a big play."

On being in overtime games before ... "We prepared to score another touchdown. When Northwestern scored, our object was to score a touchdown. In overtime, we all just stayed poised and focused and did what we were supposed to do."

U-M Senior/Junior Safety Jordan Kovacs

On wearing No. 11 ... "Coach Hoke let me know earlier in the week that I would be wearing No. 11, and he asked me how I felt about it, and of course I felt it was a huge honor. I've worn 32 for quite some time and I think that I will always be 32, but I think it's a great opportunity to honor our legends and that's the approach that I had. I did a little research on the Wisterts and I had the opportunity to meet Albert yesterday, and he said that when he was first given 11, it was just so humbling and he was so excited and it was a huge honor for him, and he said that he prayed every game before he put it on that he would be worthy of wearing it, so that's kind of my approach. It's a huge honor, and I just hope that I am worthy enough to wear it."

On defensive mishaps ... "First, you have to tip your hat to Northwestern. They were a 7-2 ballclub coming in, they are a tough team, a very good offense, a great coach, and they executed well. Defensively we didn't get off blocks well enough and we gave them too many big plays, I'm sure those are thing that we will get corrected here, but you have to tip your hat to those guys. They are a very good football team."

On the strength of Northwestern's downfield blocking ... "They have some good receivers, and we knew that they were going to stalk block us. We knew how they were going to approach us, and from a defensive back standpoint we didn't do a good job getting off those blocks and helping the front seven by keeping it inside and in front."

On what the team takes from this game ... "I think Coach Hoke always emphasizes getting better each and every week, but I think that this is one of those games where, while we didn't play all that well, we showed a lot of character in this game. We overcame a lot of adversity in this game, both offensively and defensively, and I am prouder than hell of all of these guys."

U-M Senior/Junior Linebacker Kenny Demens

On his tackle to end the game ... "I just have my reach. The coaches, they give us bullets to come out with, and to make that play, I just felt so proud of myself, not for me, but for my teammates. We didn't play as well as we wanted to, and to come up and make a play and finish strong like we did, it means a lot."

On trying to defend two quarterbacks ... "You have to game plan for two different guys. No. 13 (Trevor Siemian), he's the passer, and No. 2 (Kain Coulter), he's the runner, but he made some plays in the air. It's kind of tough, but we just want to make plays and just rally to the ball as best as we can."

On Roy Roundtree's performance on the last drive of regulation ... "I'm not sure if any game can compare to the feeling and excitement of the Notre Dame game, but I have confidence in Roy Roundtree. If that ball is in the air and he is the guy they are throwing it to, there is no doubt in my mind that he is going to come down with it. But it was exciting, and he made a huge play and he picked the defense up, him and Devin Gardner and the rest of the offense."

U-M Senior/Junior Left Tackle Taylor Lewan

On playing an overtime game ... "That is something we work on all the time. You have to play to the whistle, you have to finish. That is what this program is based on, finishing. I think when we came out, offense up first, we knew what we had to do. We had to score. I knew our defense was going to come out with a stop, so I was really happy with them. I don't know if we ever practice an overtime scenario, but we run the two-minute drill, the four-minute drill, the money stuff. That is what you have to do if you want to be successful at the last part of the game."

On Devin Gardner being more comfortable this week ... "I don't think you can get Devin any more comfortable than he already is. He has done a great job. He keeps it light. I think that is one of the good things he does being a quarterback. He keeps his confidence in the huddle. I said that last week. I am proud of him for what he has done. You might not have seen it, but we have been seeing that for the last two years. It is nothing new to me."

On Fitzgerald Toussaint's game ... "I am happy to see him run. I have told him every time we start a game to start running and we will start blocking. I think today started to work out that way. I was happy with it. We (the offensive line) always need to fix things and work on things to continue to be successful."

Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald

Opening remarks ... "Obviously, it was a tough way to end up -- I thought our guys fought valiantly and we just ended up one play short, which is very disappointing. I thought that we had our opportunities there. You have to give credit to Michigan. They obviously did a terrific job -- huge play there at the end. We had a guy in position and they had a guy in position, and we didn't make the play. Then obviously in overtime -- we have to be better than that. It was disappointing obviously, but we will get right back to work when we get back home and find a way to win next week.

On the challenge their defense faced in defending Devin Gardner ... "When you go back, I think he was one of the most heavily recruited players in the country a couple of years ago, and he is a terrific football player. He made some great plays. We had guys in position, but because of his size and strength he was able to fight through some things. You have to commend him -- he is a very talented football player.

On if there is a way to describe this game ... "Yes -- it stinks. Our guys fought their tails off and we just ended up one play short. There were a lot of positives to pull from it and a lot of areas that we have to coach and teach. You have guys that go down or guys that have to step up and pick up the flack -- we have to make plays. For a lot of the game we did, then for part of the game we didn't. It was just one of those days -- it was a game of big plays and we ended up one short.

On what the offense was able to do to exploit the edges of the Michigan defense ... "I thought our perimeter guys for the most part blocked really well, and that gave us a chance to get out there on the perimeter. It looked like we executed quite a bit, but obviously they shored up there at the end -- you have to give them credit."

Northwestern Junior Linebacker Damien Proby

On the deep pass to Roy Roundtree at the end of regulation ... "It was just a good play by him -- nothing we can do. We asked our guys on defense from the get-go to make a play on the ball and that is what he did. It was a lucky bounce and there was nothing we could do to stop that."

On how the team prepared for both Michigan quarterbacks in practice ... "We had the film on both quarterbacks, going from the last game to the rest of their season. We prepared just as we would with any other team -- the bye week definitely gave an advantage with more time to prepare for such a dynamic group of players. We were just focused on playing the offense -- we knew who they were when one person's in and the other person's not in."

On what he saw from Gardner that was hard to prepare for ... "I wouldn't say that there was anything we couldn't prepare for -- we know their offense. He may have only started one game this season, but we had film on him in the past as well when he played quarterback, before he switched numbers. Credit to him for playing a very good game -- he is one heck of an athlete, that is for sure. But we were ready for it with every play they threw at us."

Northwestern Sophomore Quarterback Trevor Siemian

On if the drive at the end of the first half gave him confidence for later in the game ... "Yeah, I think we have been pretty good in two-minute [offense] all year. So I don't think it took any of us by surprise. The guys on the outside made some plays and stepped up when we asked them to -- credit to them. The offensive linemen played their tails off all day."

On if he was warmed up and ready to go when Kain Colter went down ... "I am always ready to play. The first half definitely helped my confidence, but I wasn't going to go out there with my tail between my legs if I hadn't played earlier in the game."

On if it was a plan to throw the ball a certain way on the long touchdown pass ... "Yeah, I tried to back-shoulder him and Cam [Dickerson] made a great play on the ball -- he made a heck of a play so credit to him."

On the feeling after a game like that ... "It is just a tough way to lose. I thought up until 18 seconds left in the game that we were going to win it. It is just a tough way to lose -- there is not much you can do about it with just a bounce away from winning the ballgame. Credit to them -- they are a good team."

Northwestern Sophomore Wide Receiver Tony Jones

On getting a big touchdown catch and playing in his home state ... "It is very disappointing any time you lose a ballgame. As far as being back home, it was very exciting coming in -- getting the opportunity to play against a lot of friends and in front of 40-50 family members and close friends as well. It was fun. Obviously, we were just a few plays away here and there from coming out victorious. We are just going to come back on Sunday and watch the film and get better."

On the feeling after the game ... "It is just disappointment. Being so close and then falling short -- it is very disappointing. But like I said, we have the 48-hour rule -- go watch the film and come Monday morning, it is on to Michigan State."


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