2006 FBL vs. Northwestern -- Postgame Quotes

Michigan Head Coach Lloyd Carr

On the game ... "I thought our defense was outstanding with the turnovers we caused and our pressure. Offensively, we dropped the ball and we had penalties. The weather was not helpful to either offenses, but I'm certainly very happy with our defense and disappointed with what we did offensively."

On the offensive performance ... "Two big turnovers helped us to 14 points. LaMarr (Woodley) made a great play early in the game to strip the ball, and we went down and scored. In the third quarter, Leon Hall intercepted the ball and then we had a good drive. But we've got a lot of guys out. We're a banged-up football team. That's particularly true offensively. We had some pressure on the quarterback. We had a couple big plays I think would be touchdowns, but Chad (Henne) got forced out of the pocket. We've got to get healthy this week, and obviously there are some things to improve on."

On depth behind Mike Hart ... "I think Mike Hart is fine. Jerome Jackson did a very good job in the opportunity he got at the end of the game. Brandon (Minor) fumbled the ball. Kevin Grady didnt fumble the ball, he was down. Today is an opportunity for some of us to look at these guys. Of course, Jerome did a great job for us a year ago. I told him to be ready several weeks ago and that he was going to get a chance. I was very pleased to see him go in there and do some good things. "

On the areas needing improvements ... "I think we've got to get healthy. We were able to hold out Reuben Riley today. He could have played today, but we've got to get healthier than we are. We ran for 200 yards today and ran the ball very effectively. We did not hold onto passes and we had penalties. We did not execute very well in the passing game. Some of that is the weather, but we certainly have to secure the football. We've got good young backs, but we didnt hang onto the ball very well today. We've got to improve our pass protection and catch the ball better."

U-M Senior Tailback Jerome Jackson

On today's rushing performance ... "I went out there and had fun. I love playing football and they called on me and I was ready. I thank my coaches for giving me the opportunity to play. It was a great win and I had fun doing it."

On the effect Mike Hart has on the rest of the tailbacks ... "Mike Hart keeps all of us on our toes and all of us have to be ready. If he goes down, it is our opportunity to step up. We have to uphold the tradition of running backs here and we all have to be ready when our name is called."

On his career at Michigan ... "I have no regrets. I love this place. I always wanted to come here and I have fun every time I step on the field. It is a blessing."

U-M Senior Inside Linebacker David Harris

On the possibility of a defensive domination ... "We go into every game thinking we can dominate. We did a good job today against the run, and it made them one dimensional. It forced them to throw the ball, so it worked in our favor."

On if it was tough to focus on Northwestern in practice after a tough stretch of games ... "No, because we know that every game counts. We practiced hard for Northwestern. We have to put this game behind us and look forward to Ball State next week."

On LaMarr Woodley ... "LaMarr has been playing great. Along with the other guys up front they put pressure on the quarterback. It makes our job so much easier playing behind those guys. It allows us to run free to the ball and make plays. I can't thank them enough."

On the defensive improved through this week ... "Stopping the screens. They hurt us a little bit in the first quarter. We saw all of their plays in the first couple drives and we knew what we had to do to get the job done and we did."

U-M Senior Cornerback Leon Hall

On whether the adverse weather conditions affected his play ... "You just didn't notice it. I was hiding it. I've never been through something like that. Especially being from California, we don't get stuff like that too often. It's something I had to adjust to. Once I was out there running for a while it wasn't too bad."

On his interception ... "We were in our disguise. Brandent Englemon and I were talking back and forth with the linebackers about holding the disguise longer and then dropping down into cover-two. I don't know if (the quarterback) was expecting it or not, but he threw it right to me. Luckily I caught since I dropped a couple earlier. I could have had three."

On how the defense is improving ... "You can definitely tell we're getting better every week just because we're getting better at our techniques week-in and week-out. We get so much practice at it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Whatever day of the week it is we keep working at it. If you keep doing that you're going to get better."

Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald

On the offensive effort ... "I think we just did not respond. I'll know a lot more tomorrow as soon as we get the injury report. Obviously, we cannot turn the ball over in the wind. The self-inflicted wounds hurt us today. You have got to respect the football. I thought we played well at times. We executed a passing game today that we could move the football with. At times we threw the ball very well and at times we caught it well. We need to make sure that we respect the ball more to give ourselves a chance to win."

On Northwestern's game plan ... "I think we had some time to throw the football today. I need to give Michigan a lot of credit because they are one of the best defenses in the country at stopping the run. They are doing very well right now. They are fast and make big plays. We moved the ball at times, we just did not finish the drives and give ourselves a chance, especially with the short field. The way our special teams played was maybe the best we have played all year. I thought Joel (Howells) kicked the ball really well. You want to keep the ball out of (Steve) Breaston's hands. If you had told me he would not touch the ball once today as a returner, I would have been ecstatic on Tuesday. I think we went out and accomplished that plan pretty well."

On how the weather impacted the game ... "This was beautiful Big Ten football weather wasn't it When the weather is like this it is actually easier to throw the ball. It is easier on the offense than people imagine. They know the snap count, and they know the routes. All defensive players think about is not slipping. When the weather is nasty, it is a big time advantage for the offense. We thought we could throw the ball and loosen them up a little bit and try to establish our running game. But obviously, we could not do the second part very well."

On Northwestern's defensive execution ... "I think we went out and tried to give ourselves a chance to win on defense today. We stopped the run at times, we had some big plays. I am very ecstatic at the way (Sherrick) McManis played. I do not think a ball was caught on him all day. I do not know how many were thrown at him, but he is a true freshman out there. To play the way he has been playing, not only as a cornerback but also on special teams, the future is really bright for him. The young man is just a playmaker."

On if Northwestern's rushing totals surprised him ... "Well, yeah. You need to run the football to win a Big Ten game and we did not do that today. We also tried to throw the football to loosen up the run. There were some times when we were third-and-six or third-and-seven, and we needed to throw the football and pick up a first down. I thought our plan was right on to try to spread them out and throw the football to try to loosen them up a little bit and then try to get the running game going after that. Obviously we did not accomplish that second goal."

Sophomore Kick Returner/Safety Brendan Smith

On the play of the defense overall ... "Well, we let up too many points, but we played well. We were getting the ball back to our offense in stopping them on critical situations when we were asked to go back on the field right away. If we had stopped that fourth-and-one, it could have been a big, game-changing play, but it didn't go our way. I feel like our defense played well. We stepped up to the challenge and tried to make them run the ball a lot more, and we were doing a good job."

On the offensive struggles despite the defense creating turnovers ... "I wouldn't say it's frustrating. We just have to go out there and keep on doing what we did today by forcing turnovers and giving the ball back to our offense like we did in the first half against Michigan State. If the weather was good today, they probably would have been able to put up some more points. So we just have to keep playing solid on defense and be consistent in doing our job."

On Michigan constantly rotating their running backs ... "We don't know what happened but they were rotating their running backs through. We felt like we did a good job pounding them and playing physical Northwestern football. The running backs might have been different, but the plays they were running were the same -- ultimately, that's what we have to stop."

Senior Punter Slade Larscheid

On the difficulty of punting in today's weather conditions ... "It's not the ideal weather for the kicking game. It's kind of like golfing -- the ball is going to be going every which way, so you just got to stick to your technique and pay attention to detail."

On the technique of the punt team today ... "We really tried to take the ball out of Steve Breaston's hands today. We wanted to get the ball on the ground -- get it out there and roll it. I think our technique was good and we executed well today. I just make sure we execute, get the ball off and make sure it doesn't get blocked. We had some problems last week and we responded this week. I just try and get the team in the best position I can."

On punting from the back of the end zone ... "I try to stay calm. I've been in that situation a couple times this year -- at Penn State and Wisconsin. It was kind of second nature. You just try to block things out and put your team in the best position possible C that's the key. I was just focusing on one thing -- kicking it up the left side, and that's where it went. We just had a great snap and great protection, so it was well-executed."

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