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September 9, 2014

Mike Hull

Q.  Coach said he and a lot of the guys found out on social media the sanctions had been reduced.  Were you one of those guys and what was your reaction?
MIKE HULL:  Yeah, we were eating lunch, actually, at Chick‑Fil‑A whenever we found it out on Twitter, and literally 30 seconds later, coaches sent out a text message to come in for a team meeting.

Q.  What was your reaction and I guess the rest of the team when you saw all the students going crazy last night?
MIKE HULL:  Yeah, we think it's great that they are celebrating the sanctions being lifted.  But at the same time, we are glad that it was a peaceful riot or rally and no one got hurt and nothing got broken.

Q.  If I was in that Chick‑Fil‑A when you guys saw that initial Twitter, what were you guys‑‑ who were you with and did you leave right away?  How did it all play out?
MIKE HULL:  We were getting finished up.  It was me, Brad Bars, just basically roommates Della Valle and Dieffenbach, and we got the text message, just came right in.  We were pretty excited that we had the opportunity to possibly play in a Bowl game.

Q.  Can you talk a little about the emotional roller coaster you've been through during your Penn State career of having to live through the Sandusky scandal, the sanctions and now coming out and having a chance to play in the post‑season?
MIKE HULL:  Yeah, the whole thing has been kind of a roller coaster ride like you said, a lot of ups and downs.
Whenever it first initially happened, it was kind of tough initially.  But yesterday kind of brought the whole thing back around full circle, so really excited for the opportunity, but we've still got to take it one game at a time so that can be reached at the end of the season.

Q.  What do you know about Rutgers and what do they bring?
MIKE HULL:  I think Rutgers has a really good offense, great quarterback with experience, running back is a really solid player.  I think he had like 800‑some yards last year before he got injured.  So we're going to have to bring our AGame on Saturday.

Q.  This day with the sanctions being lifted, it had been talked about, but for someone who has been here for so long, did you ever expect that this day would come?
MIKE HULL:  Honestly I wasn't really expecting it to happen.  As soon as the sanctions were put on us, I was expecting to ride it out just how it was.  Just play for each other, play for the Penn State community, and fortunately, they were reduced and I think a lot of the guys, especially the seniors, are really excited about that.

Q.  Two years ago, you were one of the guys that almost left and you decided to come back.  Does this maybe just put a cherry on top for you personally being how close you were to actually leaving?
MIKE HULL:  Yeah, definitely.  It's great to have the possibility to maybe play in a Bowl game for my senior year but we're focused on one game at a time, Rutgers right now and everything will take care of itself how it's supposed to.

Q.  It sounds like the team meeting yesterday was obviously a little bit of a different dynamic than usual.  At what point did it change from this is where we're at, this is the news, building excitement, talking about the people who stayed.  At what point did it change over to:  We still have a game this week, it's Rutgers.
MIKE HULL:  Almost immediately, actually, Coach Franklin made it really clear that it's great that we are not really handcuffed any more as far as post‑season Bowls and everything.  But at the same time, we have to take care of business every Saturday and it starts with Rutgers this week.  We can't take them lightly and they are a good opponent.

Q.  Can you talk about why you did decide to stay?
MIKE HULL:  The senior class, they all just decided to stay.  I was close with some of those guys, Mike Mauti included.  I just love Penn State, love the school, love everything about it and I'm just a Penn State guy at heart.

Q.  You have a couple teammates from Jersey, are they pumped to go back and play this game in that atmosphere?
MIKE HULL:  Yeah, like Bill Belton, and even Donovan Smith from New York and those guys, everyone who is close to New Jersey is excited.  But it's another game for us.  We are going to treat it like that and we are just going to go in there with the same mentality as we had the first two weeks.

Q.  You mentioned being tight with guys like Mike and some of the seniors.  How much do you guys who are the veterans now feel you have to carry the banner for them so to speak with the potential to get to a Bowl knowing that they were kind of deprived of that?
MIKE HULL:  I don't think we think of it that way.  I think we have a really strong senior class right now.  A lot of good leaders and we just go out every week and try to do whatever it takes to win, and I think that's the mind‑set and mentality we are going to have for the rest of the season and I think everything will take care of itself if we just do that.

Q.  Coach said the defense, you were flying around and just having fun playing well with each other.  Can you just explain that and what it's been like, the fun part of it?
MIKE HULL:  Definitely.  Coach Shoop does a really good job preparing us for the week so whenever Saturday comes, we don't have to think.  We can just go out there and fly around and make plays.  I think his scheme is a fun scheme to play in.  It's blitzing a lot, tackling downhill.  I think a lot of guys are excited about it and he's always putting us in position to make plays.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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