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PENN STATE UNIVERSITY MEDIA CONFERENCE


November 25, 2014


Mike Hull


Q.  Has it hit you yet that this is your last game at Beaver Stadium?  Have you thought about that throughout this week so far?
MIKE HULL:  I've thought about it a little bit.  But it hasn't really hit me.  I don't think it will until I'm out there with my families and with my teammates for the last time.  But it's going to be a special day on Saturday, and I just want to leave it all out on the field for my last game at Beaver Stadium.

Q.¬† Mike, have you guys thought about last year at all?¬† It's kind of a similar situation.¬† You guys are big underdogs.¬† You're playing the last game of the year with a senior class that's pretty tight‑knit.¬† Have you looked back on that and used that motivation and looked at how you got motivated for that game heading into this one?
MIKE HULL:  Yeah, definitely.  The last two years we were big underdogs.  Came out on top both times.  Just going to keep doing what we've been doing.  Working hard every week, focusing on our fundamentals.  Everything will take care of itself when we're out there on Saturday.

Q.  What does it mean to be playing a ranked opponent on national TV and that sort of thing in your last home game at Beaver Stadium?
MIKE HULL:  Yeah, it's definitely going to be a fun atmosphere.  It's going to be a great challenge.  That's what we like especially defensively.  Want to keep our team in this game and give us every chance of winning.  We're just going to have to step up and it's going to be a really fun time.

Q.  The last two seasons the home finales; is there something different about that now?  I mean, after the sanctions and you guys being together that you step up your game a little bit more, can we expect to see a different Penn State team as a result on Saturday?  What is the dynamic with all of that?
MIKE HULL:  Yeah, I think the season finale the last two years has been special just because we knew we didn't have another game after that.  So we wanted to go out on a high note.  This year's no different.  We want to prove something every time we're out there, and this is a really good Michigan State team.  We want to leave it all out there on Saturday.  I know I do and all the other seniors do.  So it's going to be a really fun time.

Q.  (No microphone)?
MIKE HULL:¬† Yeah, I think if we win Saturday we can prove that we're better than what our record shows, especially on defense.¬† If we hold this high‑powered offense in check that we can show and finally gain a little respect that we haven't gotten all year.

Q.  Do you remember the details of the first game you ever played here?
MIKE HULL:  Yeah, definitely, Indiana State.  Really excited.  I was out there on all four special teams and played most of the second half on defense.  So I know I was really tired after that one because there is so much adrenaline going through your body first time out on Beaver Stadium.

Q.  So has kind of the adrenaline and thrill of playing at Beaver Stadium has that changed?
MIKE HULL:  No, definitely not, especially in a big game on a Saturday night.  The adrenaline's always going to be there.  This is a special atmosphere.  We have the greatest fans in the nation, so it's always fun every Saturday that you're out there.

Q.  I know you've told us before your story about how you got in the car ready to go against Pitt and the sanctions came out and of course turned around.  Have you ever thought about what could have been if that would have materialized?
MIKE HULL:  No, I never thought about that.  I'm one of those people that just looks at the situation that they're in right now and doesn't really look back because you can't really change the past.  I'm just thankful for my time here at Penn State.  It's been a great journey, and I've been fortunate to get through it with some of my best friends.

Q.¬† What would be‑‑ because obviously there were so many, the craziest moment of your tenure here?
MIKE HULL:¬† Craziest moment, probably the four overtime win against Michigan.¬† That was‑‑ I don't think that I'll ever experience something quite that amazing again.¬† It was just such a great feeling after that for the team and for everyone who was a part of it.

Q.  Good thing you didn't have a GPS then, right?
MIKE HULL:  Yeah, I guess so.

Q.  The fellow senior, Sam Ficken has kind of seen it all.  How do you look at him as a respected team leader and the kind of career he's had?
MIKE HULL:  I knew the whole time Sam was here he's going to be fine, especially everything that happened at UVA the one year.  Every single day he approaches his job like he's got to be the guy to make the kick, and I respect him for his approach, his mental attitude and his hard work.  He's out there every single day because he wants to be the best.

Q.¬† Also, you mentioned about respect.¬† Do you think the defense‑‑ I think the defense has gotten a lot of respect nationally.¬† You guys don't feel that way?
MIKE HULL:  I really don't feel like we have.  We've got to prove it again this Saturday.  You hear people talking on ESPN, Kirk Herbstreit, and they're saying how Ohio State hasn't really faced a good defense or things like that, leading up to the Michigan State game when they played them.  So that kind of stuff just eats at us a little bit, so we've got to go prove it again this Saturday.

Q.  Talk about that Michigan State offense.  What have you seen on them from film a little bit so far and what stands out about the way they attack?
MIKE HULL:  Definitely a good offense, a good offensive line, running back can make you miss.  He has great feet.  He's always going to find the crease if someone's jumping out of their gap.  Their quarterback's really good off the play action, so there is no weakness on their team.  We just have to go play consistent defense and do our job every single play.

Q.  You just mentioned as a defense you feel like you got some disrespect nationally and you were left off some award lists this year.  Anything you want to do in your final game at Beaver Stadium?
MIKE HULL:  No, not really.  Just go out there, play a complete game and beat Michigan State.  That's all we can do at this point.  That's all I want to do.  I think if we play consistent defense and do our responsibilities, everything will take care of itself.

Q.  The number of seniors in your class, something we've talked about before and what it's down to now, does that make the bond you have with those guys more meaningful because there simply aren't that many of them?
MIKE HULL:  Yeah, definitely.  I think I'm a lot closer with the nine or so guys that I came in with that are still here.  We talk all the time.  Me, Zach Zwinak, C.J., they were my roommates, so we're always communicating.  I think we're always on the same page, so it has its benefits, and it has its challenges as far as leadership goes.

Q.  What will it mean to have Keiser out there Saturday?
MIKE HULL:¬† Yeah, it will be great to have him out there for the fans, for his family and for him.¬† He wanted to be out there with us every game, so I'm just‑‑ you know, everyone's happy for him that he's finally able to get back out there with us.

Q.  How do you guys come out of the last game mentally after carrying the team so much of the season?  It may look like you gave up touchdowns at the end of the halves or scoring drives at the end of both halves.  I'm just wondering if you felt guys were getting a little tired or how do you address that?
MIKE HULL:  Yeah, we just didn't execute in those situations.  We have to be better.  We just didn't get it done on Saturday.  The margin for error is small and we know that, so we have to be better.  I think we have seen the problems on film, and we know we have to take care of it this week, and we're going to do everything in our power to make sure that gets fixed.

Q.  If you had to look back to that guy who was in the Indiana State game, what didn't he realize?  What would you say to him given the incredible journey he's had since then until right now?
MIKE HULL:  I would just say never lose your passion for the game.  Just keep working hard no matter what happens.  All the ups and downs, everything's going to work out eventually.  If you're good to the game, the game's going to be good to you, so stay focused the whole time you're here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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