home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


September 3, 2007

Mark Dantonio

COACH DANTONIO: I guess opening statements. I want to know that our team played very well, pretty much flawless in the first half. The key to victory we thought coming into the game was to, first of all, have no enforced errors, feel like we didn't beat ourselves with penalties, and go and attack and if we faced any adversity that we would be fine.
Second thing was turnovers, so we had no turnovers, which I think is tremendous for the first day, first game out of the box.
And then the third thing was that we needed to have explosive plays, and I sort of felt like if we did those things, we would win. That's exactly what happened.
I thought that it was a team win. Certainly certain young men had outstanding performances; Jehuu Caulcrick had an outstanding game, I guess he's co-Big Ten Player of the Week offensively; and I thought Devin Thomas played very well and Hoyer was sharp. Our offensive line did an outstanding job. But everybody got involved. Javon Ringer had a big game, as well, and things were clicking.
Defensively I thought there was no one thing that I think we practiced that I think they showed. They had no-huddle offense, they were in four wide receiver sets. We had practiced a lot of two back, which is what Georgia had run, and various formations and plays, so it was a game of adjustments. I thought our coaches did a great job of doing that and our players responded, got the ones out of there after about 44 plays and played our twos and threes the remainder of the second half. So that was a positive thing, as well.
And then our special teams, I think that we've got to do a better job on kickoff. Boleski had been reaching the end zone pretty much throughout the entire spring and summer practices but had a slight knee sprain, I guess. And it was good to see Aaron Bates punt for the first time.
We didn't have many returns, but we got Mark Dell back there as a returner, and we also got Andre Anderson back there as a returner.
We played seven freshmen, and Michael Jordan -- I'm not sure how many red shirt freshmen we played, you probably know better than I do, but we played seven guys who had never been in that stadium about before, so it was a great thing, I think, for them to get experience and get their feet on the ground.
Outstanding representation by our students. They came out in force, and it was so loud I was extremely hoarse after the game, and just yelling to a guy at the numbers, which is nine yards away from me, they couldn't hear me. Just a great crowd, and we appreciate everything that the students did.
And they need to bring their game this week, as well, because Bowling Green is a very formidable opponent. I've just been watching them all morning, and they throw the ball around, a lot of empty sets, a lot of four wide sets, run it a little bit. Tyler Sheehan is a guy from Cincinnati LaSalle High School that's quarterback that I'm familiar with, and he's a sophomore, gets the ball off very quickly. Experienced offensive line, an array of receivers, Ransom, Partridge, I guess in a pear tree, but they've got about five, six wide receivers they go to. They're going to spread it around. I think our running backs are pretty good, too, but they're going to be a passing team.
Defensively they'll fly around. They're very well-coached, they play square, they're going to cover you down the field, they match up on you a little bit and play a four-man front, as well, with zone pressure some. Good football team, very well-coached, came off a four-and-eight season.
And I would say right now they've beaten Minnesota, who was up 21-0. The game was tied up and then actually Minnesota went ahead, BG took the ball right down the field and scored, was behind in overtime, scored again, and went for two and won the game.
They're not going to sit on the ball when they're. They're going to play. They come to play. We played them at Ohio State when I was there, and I think at the time we had won the National Championship, in maybe one of the three or four games at the end of the season, and they came in and played very, very well, and actually had a chance to get on onsides kick, and I think we won by seven points or maybe three, but I'm not sure, when you go back to 2003. But they'll represent, they will not be intimidated. They will come in here expecting to win, and we need to do the same. So we need to get ourselves ready.
I think that the demeanor of our players right now is a positive one, but it's the first game out of the blocks, and as I've said to them many times, I guess we want to be mentioned at the end of the season, not the beginning. So I'll take questions.

Q. How much did you guys recruit Sheehan and how much have you seen him develop since then?
COACH DANTONIO: At Cincinnati? You know, we sort of had taken a guy much like him the year before, so we were sort of in that we had taken two freshmen, so we did not recruit him because we had young players there sort of in the mix. But Tyler was a very good player and took his team into the playoffs, deep into the playoffs. So he's a good player and comes from a good, solid football program, LaSalle High School, all boys' school, Catholic school.

Q. Did BG grab your attention and maybe the attention of the other players because of what they did against Minnesota?
COACH DANTONIO: I think absolutely they do. When you play in the Big Ten, I think that when the Mac comes in, you're going to get their best shot. The minute a conference school comes in, you'll get their best shot.
Bowling Green has a deep tradition. They've been very successful in the past. They've had players come out of there and go on and play in the league, NFL, great program going all the way back. And they're from Ohio, so I recognize that very well, played against them. Coach Narduzzi was at Miami obviously, so he's played against them, as well. Coach Treadwell was at Miami at one time, and certainly he knows them, as well. So there is a sense of at least knowing who they are as a football team, and there is respect there.
We've got a lot of players from Ohio, a lot of players from Michigan, and I'm sure that they understand that program, as well. Hopefully they do, and we'll continue to work at that.

Q. You had no punt returns on Saturday. Was that by design or was that --
COACH DANTONIO: Well, again, they came out as a punt team, and we worked a particular punt formation, which they had showed at Georgia, and they came out and were empty, five three guys over here, three here, three in the back, so they showed about five different alignments as a punt team, and so we were in safe because we had not prepared for that so we were in safe until we adjusted to it.
Then we tried to line up returns. We had Nehemiah Warrick back there for the first time because we didn't want to put a true freshman back there. Once Mark Dell got sort of in the flow of the game, we put him back there. We just wanted to see our guys catch punts. We did let one roll; other than that I think we caught them all. There wasn't that much room to run the way they were punting it a couple times, so we had a ten-yard rule, which we would go back inside the ten to catch them.
It is what it is in that situation. We really were caught sort of off guard there, but it's tough when you have a new staff that you're playing against, and you really don't know what they're doing. There was no history on that.

Q. What does Saturday's game in Ann Arbor mean to a coach as far as getting his players' attention and knowing that any Saturday anything can happen in college football?
COACH DANTONIO: Well, I think first of all, I haven't watched that game so I'm really not qualified to talk about it. That would be my approach there.
But just as far as an upset, I think there is a lot of parity in college football. Even if you look at the 1 AA level, and I was at Youngstown State for five years, and we were a pretty good football team. We had some guys who had come from Tennessee and South Carolina and such, so we had some pretty good players on that football team.
You know, emotion plays a big part of it. As soon as you start believing you can do something, sooner or later you're going to keep fighting, and I think you'll have a chance, and probably that's what happened. They got a little bit of success early and they started believing that they truly could do it, and of course when you're the heavy favorites, I'm sure that you start tightening up a little bit when things start to happen.
You know, I'm quite sure that Michigan will bounce back. I think that Coach Carr is an excellent football coach and an excellent leader, and he'll rally his troops.

Q. Does it make your job any easier, getting your players' attention?
COACH DANTONIO: I would hope so. I would hope that just the win over Minnesota would open everybody's eyes, as well, and when they see the film they'll know why. There was precision passing and good protection, and they ran a hitch on defense. So it'll be a challenge, and things will get progressively more challenging as we go.

Q. What's the update on John Masters' status? He mentioned getting another start. Is Masters okay?
COACH DANTONIO: John could have played in emergency duty, but we wanted to try and hold him if we could. But yeah, he's right side this morning and he's ready to go, but we'll list Nitchman there until he practices and performs well in practice and we make sure he's 100 percent. We're going to play the best player at that position. It's pretty close in terms of their ability, and the experience is the big thing, and certainly John has that. As long as he's able to play and play well, then I'm sure he'll be in there and getting snaps. But other than that, we came out of there pretty good.

Q. Can you talk about the injury?
COACH DANTONIO: Yeah, it was actually sort of a nerve that was hit. It sort of has just taken a while to bounce back. But he's running and stuff like that.

Q. Just following up on that, how did Nitchman play after watching the film?
COACH DANTONIO: I thought our entire offensive line played very, very well. If you watch the film, it was as dominating a performance as I guess you would bet on with the score. But Caulcrick ran very well, Javon did, I thought A.J. Jimmerson did some things, you saw Andre Anderson out there, as well. Brett Kahn got in the mix at the end of the game, and really all of them performed very well.

Q. T.J. Williams this week, any role? Are you going to involve him a bit more?
COACH DANTONIO: He'll have a role.

Q. What kind of role?
COACH DANTONIO: That's internal.

Q. How much can you play a player and still red shirt them?
COACH DANTONIO: Well, you can red shirt a player if he gets hurt I think it's after three games, based on a 12-game rule. But he's got to get hurt. You can't just stick them in and then -- we couldn't play a guy -- for example, Andre Anderson went in and played as a true freshman. If he got hurt, we could red shirt him. But if he didn't get hurt and we just didn't play him, then after the third game we could not red shirt him. It has to be a medical.

Q. Minnesota had 265 yards rushing. Do you kind of feel good seeing that Bowling Green has trouble stopping the run?
COACH DANTONIO: Well, I know that we need to be balanced, and you need to do the things that allow you to win, just like yesterday or Saturday. We had no turnovers and we protected the quarterback very well, and when those type of things happen and you don't have a lot of penalties where you don't have a lot of yardage situations, you're going to be successful. But certainly our MO is going to be to do both, so we've got to be able to run the football, as well.

Q. Is there one part of your team's performance that maybe surprised you?
COACH DANTONIO: Well, to be honest, I think that in any program, to have really one inadvertent face mask in the first half I think was an outstanding job by them just in terms of no penalties and no turnovers. And the first game out of the gate, I don't know if you see that that often because it is a different deal in this stadium.
But you've got to give them a lot of credit. We've emphasized it. We've talked a lot about it, we've coached it, but they have to do it, and they did the job. That as much as anything is key -- I think key to winning because that should carry us. That's a confidence builder; it can be done. So I'm sure we're going to have some problems at some point, but we'll continue to coach and correct it.

Q. Do you expect to use Kellen Davis the same way that you used him in the first game, both ways?
COACH DANTONIO: Good question. You noticed that, huh? Kellen will play in and out of the different situations, depending on really the situation of the game. We've worked him a little bit on defense, and he's a great athlete and he can get off the balls, he can rush the passer. He's played the run, as well. So he's functional at that defensive end position.
Obviously we don't want to tire him and we need him on offense. But he is functional there, and he can provide a spark at pass rush. And we're a little thin at defensive end, so that gives us another guy at least to have in the fold as a defensive end in a backup role and sort of a secondary role, but he can be a big-play guy. He can run, and at 265 pounds he can run and has excellent quickness.
The thing that's amazing about it, he knows, because he's seen so many different pressures and fronts as an offensive player, signaling the offensive linemen all the time, that he understands how to execute that. So that was a positive thing, I thought.

Q. Talk about your honorary captain this week.
COACH DANTONIO: We're always going to have, as we said, an honorary captain. Coach Bullough did a great job last week. This week Josh Thornhill will be our honorary captain, and Josh played here when I was here before. As I was riding over with Mike Vollmar, we talked about all the pictures that seem to be up in the Duffy, the Florida game, the Michigan game in '99 or the Ohio State game in '98, or just the Notre Dame game. He seems to always be around the ball and always be making a play, and he was on outstanding leader for us.
I think our players -- I like to bring people in initially that our players can relate to. Josh is not too far removed from the program, and he'll do an outstanding job.
We also had Mateen Cleaves come as a speaker Friday night, and he did an outstanding job, as well, just being the team and excitable and full of passion, and he was outstanding.

End of FastScripts
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297