2003 FBL vs. Illinois -- Postgame Quotes
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Michigan Head Coach Lloyd Carr

Opening statement ... "I thought we did some things that we needed to do in terms of improving. Coming out of this game we wanted to feel good with an improved ability. We needed to come out and stop the run, run the ball well and tackle better; we did some of that today. Certainly we have a ways to go, especially with a good team like Purdue coming in a week from today."

On being a coach ... "It is a great job some days. The truth is that competition is a wonderful thing. Football has changed, but the kids still love to play. You are working with some fun people and have to deal with everything that comes in between and that is the real nature of football."

On the remainder of the season ... "We have five weeks left and there is a lot of good football that still remains to be played. There are still some very strong teams that have a chance to make stuff happen. Certainly we are still in the race, but we can't afford to make any mistakes. We have an opportunity to take care of business and that is all you can ask."

On Steve Breaston's punt return for a touchdown ... "Breaston made a great individual play. Alijah Bradley had a great block to free him at one point. It was not planned to be a return left, but he is a guy that can create great plays. He had some help. His teammates want to block for him."

"He is a guy that you love to coach. When he makes a mistake in practice, before I or any of the coaches go to tell him he already knows. And the players love him because he is not a big ego guy."

On Tim Bracken ... "A week ago he had three blocks on two kickoff returns. He has not been the same since he got hurt until the past few weeks. He has an innate ability to make people miss when he runs the ball. He has made great strides in the past few weeks to get himself back on the field."

On Troy Nienberg ... "I don't like to see anybody stick his head in there because that is how you get hurt. Troy has done a marvelous job with the kickoffs this year. By and large he has done a great job. A lot of times you get some guys who can kick the ball but are afraid to get into the fray."

Senior Running Back Chris Perry

On the first touchdown ... "It was a well-blocked play on both sides. I could go either way and I chose to go backside. Braylon (Edwards) had a great block that sealed the corner and I was able to score."

On being one yard shy of 1,000 for the season ... "I thought being at home they would give me one more yard, but that doesn't matter to me either way. As long as we win I am happy."

On running well at home ... "I can say a few things, but we block well and I run well at home. I like to run everywhere, but it is great to perform well in front of Michigan fans."

On how high he is able to jump at the goal line ... "I don't know. I always say that my vertical is 45 inches. I just hope that when I jump, I land safely."

Fifth-Year Senior Quarterback John Navarre

On the victory ... "We played well in all facets of the game. Our special teams gave us a lift and we worked off that. Our offense clicked and our defense played very well. A lot of people played well out there today. That stuff happens when everyone is playing well at the same time."

On the offense ... "We started fast and I don't think that we stalled at all today. Our special teams gave us a spark and we took that momentum and ran with it. That is something that we need to do to maintain our efforts in the Big Ten Conference race."

On Purdue ... "I am looking forward to next week. They are a good team and they always play us hard. It is going to be a good game, we just need to go there and play our game and good things will happen. Once we watch film we are going to move on to Purdue. When we watch the film tomorrow we will hopefully see a lot of good things and run with it."

On having the game slow down in front of him ... "That is one of the things that you talk about as a quarterback. You want to slow things down. You get a better feel for the defense when you are able to slow the game down. That is typical of the season, the more you are in film and see the action of the field you are able to make adjustments to your game and slow it down so you can make the plays when you need to."

Senior Inside Linebacker Carl Diggs

On the victory ... "It meant a lot. We wanted to come out and play better than we did last week. We wanted to correct the little things and get the job done. We wanted to get an early lead and choke them out for the rest of the game. That is one thing we wanted to do to prove to the coaching staff that we could get the job done."

On heading into next week with this performance ... "It is very important. From here on in we are playing very good competition and we need to be at our best to come out on top."

Sophomore Wide Receiver Steve Breaston

On his punt return for a touchdown ... "At first I didn't think that I was going to run it back. I waved everybody off because it looked like it was going out of bounds, but it bounced at me so I had to field it. Things happen like that in a football game."

On trying to score on every play ... "I just try to do what the coaches teach me to do in practice every week. I just try to go out there and make plays, but I have to play within myself. You can't be all out of whack and hurt the team."

On knowing when to field the ball and when not to ... "I look at how far the kick is and where the gunners are going, how they are coming down at me and how our blockers are setting up. Today he was kicking them kind of short and I was letting them go, but we have that turf and the ball was rolling. There were some when I could have fielded it, but it was hard to do."

On where his punt return ranks in his personal achievements ... "It is up there, especially doing it for a team like this at Michigan."


Illinois Head Coach Ron Turner

On quarterback Chris Pazan ... "Poise-wise he handled himself very well. He made some reads that were good, and he made some that weren't so good. He played at times like it was his first game, but his composure and his poise and the way he handled himself were very good. He just needs to get some experience and some reps, which will help his decision-making because I felt he rushed the ball a couple of times when he had something there."

On how they lost the game ... "We lost this game up front. Obviously we didn't stop them right off the bat because they went right down and scored. They have a very good football team and we didn't have a chance to get going offensively. We had 21 plays at halftime."

On the punt return for a touchdown ... "Matt (Minnes) did a good job all day kicking the ball. We tried to punt it down in the corner toward the sideline. The ball hit a couple of yards from the sideline and instead of going out it rolled and Steve Breaston picked it up and we had guys there. I have to see the film and see what happened, but from where I was standing, I was back where they punted watching protection, and it looked like we had the angles and guys there that should have made the play. He's a great athlete, a tremendous athlete. We said coming in that he's one of the best punt returners in the country and he made a great play."

On how they want to finish the season ... "We have to try to get better. We're playing all the young people we have except guys who are going to redshirt. We have to keep getting better. We have four (games) left. We have to go back and see what we can do to win next week at home."

Freshman Quarterback Chris Pazan

On game execution ... "Michigan came out and played well and we didn't execute as well as we would have liked to. My job was to take the ball and put it in the playmakers' hands. I don't think I did a good job of that today. I made some mistakes."

On being nervous in his first Big Ten start of the season ... "I wasn't nervous at all. I was ready to go. The coaches did a real good job of preparing all week and they did a really good job of that. We just tried to stick to our game plan, going in there and trying to get our offense going. I think it was a really good learning experience for me. It showed us some things that we could do differently and we can take a lot from this game. It was a good experience today."

On the future of the team ... "Well, obviously we're disappointed about today but we are going to keep fighting. We are going to keep working harder in practice and we are going to do whatever it takes to get better."

Freshman Running Back E.B. Halsey

On his injury in the game ..."Well, I came down awkward. Getting up I knew that it was hurting me pretty bad so I tried to hustle off the field. I got to the sideline as fast as I could to have the trainers look at it."

On Chris Pazan's first start ... "I think that he did a great job being mentally focused and getting ready all week. He came out here and really played his heart out. He has a huge heart and is a tremendous leader. He came out here and laid it on the line."

On team injuries playing a role in future games ..."The injuries are really hurting us right now. There are a lot of guys injured but we just got to continue to stick together. We've been having a lot of young guys in there playing so some of the other guys are going to have to come in and step up."


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