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Northwestern-Indiana post-game press conference notes

Pat Fitzgerald talked marrying his high school sweetheart and Kyle Queiro talked about his amazing interception.

Northwestern Athletics / YouTube

Pat Fitzgerald

  • Fitzgerald said seeing his teammates — the 1996 Big Ten champion team was honored at halftime — was “really something spectacular and something special.”
  • “I thought we started the game the right way... But obviously lost momentum in the second half and had to respond a bunch of times.”
  • Fitzgerald gave a “much improved” Indiana credit: “That was a physical battle.”
  • Fitzgerald said the biggest difference was “the way we prepared.” Given the injuries in training camp, the team had to adapt to his new coaching strategies and be more intense in practices, especially after the two losses. “We lost some alpha males and the new alpha male in the room is gonna be me, whether you like it or not.” He also credited his upperclassmen on stepping up.
  • Fitzgerald admitted he doesn’t do anything too fancy: “I’m not an exotic guy... I married my high school sweetheart. She’s a babe. I way out-kicked my coverage.”
  • Fitzgerald said the team wasn’t “playing to our standard” early in the season. “We had to force a change.”
  • On Kyle Queiro’s tweet: “I hope they all tweet it out next week.” A Northwestern defensive back has now predicted an interception three times this year (Godwin Igwebuike, Jared McGee and and now Queiro).
  • Fitzgerald on what happened after halftime. “No playcalling changes, absolutely not. Win the second half, win the game.”
  • “We’re not a mature team,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t know how many times I kept saying ‘keep the pedal down, keep the pedal down, keep the pedal down.’”
  • Fitzgerald said it’s been crucial to have Igwebuike and Anthony Walker Jr. playing their best football at this point in the season.
  • Fitzgerald emphasized that the team’s preparation these past few weeks has been significantly improved. He shared an anecdote about the defensive backs watching extra film on Thursday night as he was locking up.
  • Fitzgerald likened Carr and Thorson’s development to that of the two Rose Bowl teams. They put in extra work in the offseason on their own. “One of the cornerstones of our program is investment.”
  • Fitzgerald also emphasized making the most of your opportunities and that several young guys are getting opportunities. “The minute you step on campus, the sand is running out of the hourglass in your career.”
  • “I’d vote for [Austin Carr] for President. No debates.”
  • Fitzgerald on Ifeadi: “I love that dude.”
  • Fitzgerald called his field goal “illogical.” He did add, though, that the play was executed correctly, and there was a man open downfield (he’s right in all three respects).
  • Fitzgerald said it was a “special week” for himself, Kevin Wilson and Kevin Johns, all of whom coached under Randy Walker. “He was definitely looking down on us.” Walker’s wife, Tammy, has a birthday this week.

Anthony Walker, Godwin Igwebuike, Kyle Queiro

  • Queiro said “he felt [the interception] on Friday night. He admitted he actually made the wrong read initially. “I was overwhelmed. I was just grateful... I knew it was gonna happen.”
  • Godwin on stepping up during the injuries around him: “One thing I really wanted to stress was reaching out to some of the other older guys in there... There’s gonna be that guy, but it comes down to just a group of guys coming together.”
  • Godwin praised McShepard for his versatility. “It was tough for him going over to receiver and coming back to DB, coming back as a third string DB... There were times when you could tell he was down, you could tell he was kind of going through it.” Igwebuike and some other teammates met with him to make sure he stayed confident. “Really proud of him.”
  • Walker on the run defense: “Coach Fitz challenged us to stop the run. Our whole goal every week is to hold the team under 100 yards rushing... If we make teams one-dimensional, I think that just ends the game right there.”

Clayton Thorson, Austin Carr

  • Thorson said the second half featured “lots of missed opportunities.”
  • Carr added that Indiana “made some adjustments” defensively but the Wildcats could have run crisper routes, which got sloppy in the second half.
  • Carr on the mindset ahead of OSU: “We take it one week at a time. We’re not really satisfied with the way this week ended offensively.”
  • Thorson on OSU: “It doesn’t matter how many hundreds of thousands of people are there, all that matters is the 100 yards in front of us.”