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NIU-Iowa Postgame Quotes

NIU Head Coach Dave Doeren

On executing against Iowa…

“Playing against a team like Iowa, you have to execute to have a chance.  And I know there were a couple plays offensively if we could have back over again, it probably would have gone a different direction.  When we snapped the ball over the quarterback’s head the one time, that really hurt our field position.”

On how they’ll move on…

“It’s tough when you put that much on the table, when you invest that much, when you play that hard. To come away with a loss – it hurts.  These guys are resilient; they’re tough kids, well-coached, fun to be around.  They’ll bounce back tomorrow and get on track.”

On what they can take from this game…

“I think every time you win or lose, you have an opportunity to grow.  That’s what we use it for.  It’ll be a chance for us to watch the tape.  We’ll critique ourselves.  We’ll take pride in taking the mistakes off the tape.  Defense has to play, whether it’s 150 snaps to 60 snaps, they have to play as well as they can the whole game.  Offense has to play the way they can; they had their opportunities.  This is a great opportunity for us to get a lot of information off the tape.”

On playing on the short field defensively…

“I’ll need to see the drive charts, but it felt like we were on a short field a lot.  We needed a turnover; that’s one thing with the defense — we needed to create a takeaway in the second half.  We needed to snap the ball, like I mentioned, and they had the downed punt.  It’s just hard to get going when you’re always playing on the short field defensively.”

Iowa Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz

On the game in general…

“We expected this to be a very tough game. Northern Illinois is an excellent football team, and they were a year ago (as well). It seemed like once Dave [Doeren] and his staff got settled in after the first three, four, five games they just took off and did a really great job. We played a team that was really well-coached. We certainly knew this was going to be a challenge, and it certainly proved to be.  I’m really proud of our effort and the way the guys really hung in there.  There were things that were disappointing at times and those are things that are correctable with time, hopefully.

On how Iowa’s play on special teams impacted the game…

“Overall, we were pretty good.  Mike [Meyer] missed that one field goal, and I know he was disappointed in that, but then he bounced back, did a good job on his kickoffs, and certainly hit that 50-yarder.  I don’t know how he pulled that one off actually — he was slipping a little bit.  That was a huge play.  Overall, a lot of good things; there were a lot of positives.”

On difficulties moving the ball through the air on NIU’s defense…

“We had a tough time.  We had a tough time protecting at times, and we certainly had a tough time getting open.  It just didn’t seem like we were in great sync throughout the game.  I give them an awful lot of credit.  They had a good game-plan. The mixed the pressure up with coverage, and did a good job.  They made it very tough on us.”

On the play call on Damon Bullock’s game winning touchdown run….

“It was a play we talked about at halftime based off of something that happened in the second quarter.  Greg [Davis] pulled it out of his pocket at an opportune moment, obviously.  It was a huge play because clearly up until that point our biggest issue was getting into the end zone.  We didn’t have much success doing that.  I think the other big issue to me was that it seemed like we kept getting into a lot of second and really longs.  Not getting yardage on first down, that makes it tough because the next thing you know it’s third and long.

On the challenge of stopping Jordan Lynch on the ground…

“Obviously we didn’t do a great job of that for a while.  They had a great play on a third and seven or third and eight there on the touchdown run in the second half.  We expected him to be a really tough competitor.  He’s a guy that did a really great job here at Mount Carmel [High School], and the guy’s a winner.  We knew that was going to be a challenge for us, and they did a nice job with a game-plan for him spreading us out and running him.  We’re going to see more of that down the road, so it’s something we’re going to have to keep getting better at.  I do think we got better defensively in that second half; it’s encouraging.

On Damon Bullock’s production running the football…

“I didn’t know what to expect.  He’s a very young player, a second year guy on campus.  I don’t think he had many yards last season, period.  First of all, for him to play almost the entire game, for him to carry the load out there — it was muggy and I was worried about that.  There are a lot of things he’ll do better in time I think, but I think he did a lot of good things, too.  He did miss a couple reads on some runs, a couple protections, and you know, part of that’s experience and keeping his eyes up, being more patient, but it’s going to come.  I thought he made some really tough runs too, and did some good things.  I’m certainly pleased with this being a first step for him, but as much as anything, him playing the entire game the way he did.

On sticking with Bullock instead of playing three backs as he said he would….

“Our plan was to play all three guys, and at some point we will.  It won’t be a big surprise.  You know, Greg [Garmon] looked a little young out there, but it was good for him to get on the field.  Mike [Malloy] will be next.  Certainly, Damon did a lot of good things there, and I mentioned the touchdown run.  You know, he did a nice job there getting us the first down at the end of the game, too.  Those are tough, hard yards.  Those are things he hasn’t done probably since he was a junior in high school, so that’s a positive step there.”

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