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Michigan State gameweek press conference notes

It’s all about execution.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Northwestern Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

After another loss, Pat Fitzgerald was joined by some players at the weekly Monday press conference.

Pat Fitzgerald

-Highlighted JJ Jefferson as having a good week, as well as Joe Gaziano on defense as player of the week, Cam Ruiz on special teams. Fitz discussed how well MSU has played all year long and he emphasized the need for preparation this week. However, there was no offensive player of the week.

-On looking at O-line film: “Some fundamental breakdowns, some times when we were helping from the outside, didn’t take advantage of it, some times from the inside we didn’t take advantage of it. For good periods our guys competed, for a little over a quarter we lost that battle.”

-On the RBs: “They adjusted fine, we didn’t produce enough and now we’re playing the number 1 defense in the country, but they adjusted fine, Coach Ayeni and the squad from an overall adversity standpoint, they did well. [Vault] took some good steps, I’m really happy for him.”

-On recent success against MSU: “I don’t know if we’ve had a lot of success. but we won, last year was a really interesting game, two quarterbacks that got on fire in overtime. We can’t get down again. These games have always been hard fought battles.”

-On second half struggles: “[Michigan] didn’t do anything differently, we didn’t execute and when we weren’t executing you have to adjust again. We got things going, one breakdown here one there, they make a play, all we need is one more.”

-On blocking in high leverage situations: “It’s all [the offensive line’s] fault again? It’s everyone’s fault, we can’t put ourselves in those situations, it’s a credit to them, we have to do a better job of getting the ball out of our hands, we’ve gotta get some answers quicker.”

-On Blake Gallagher: “His work ethic, he’s a young man that’s absolutely relentless, he played on kick coverage, on punt coverage, Peoples-Jones made some great moves, they blocked us in the back every play, so it’s something that’s going to happen. But the motor he plays with, the physicality, he’s doing a great job.”

-On communication breakdown on the game winning TD: “Just a communication issue. Can’t have it happen.”

-On Thorson: “I was ecstatic to have him there the whole game, he made some big throws, he’d like to have a blocking checkdown back. He had some throws he would’ve liked to have had back, like he said. But head coaches and quarterbacks are all evaluated on wins and losses, we’ve lost 3 straight and we need to fix that.”

Cam Green

-On struggling in the running game: “They have a very strong defensive line, we tried to attack them, get on them, later on they were wearing us down a bit, we tried to keep our blocks strong, finishing those blocks. In most of the cases we didn’t finish blocks, we’re beating ourselves, we have to do a better job.”

-On recent success against MSU: “We have to play hard, play well, we have to play four quarters, maybe even more than that, of good football in all three phases.”

-On starting slow like last year: “We’re 1-1 in the Big Ten, there’s a lot of football to come, we just have to prepare week in week out. It’s time to bring it all together.”

Flynn Nagel

-On second half struggles: “I don’t really have an explanation, we just take our foot off the gas peddle a bit, we need to finish, finish stronger, because we do finish fast but there’s the whole second half.”

-On the passing attack repeating success against MSU: “I hope so, I guess we’ll see, all we can do is prepare in practice. We have to be prepared going in and then execute every play.”

-On connection with Thorson: “This will be our fourth year, I think we have a great connection, I just do my best to try and get open so he can find me, I’m going to keep trying to do that and hopefully he can continue to find me.”

Jordan Thompson

-On fatigue against UM: “You know, as a d-line, as a front 7 in general, it’s a fight out there, in the course of a fight you’ll get hit a couple times. It’s all about digging deep and coming up with one more stop.”

-On Brian Lewerke: “He’s a good quarterback, pressure helps, not letting him pitch off of a mound, not letting him extend plays.”

-On what can be learned from last year: “We have to find ways to put us in position to win, if it’s just listening, turning over stones until you have enough where at the end of the game you have more points than the other team. It takes everything, every play, it’s that one play that you exhale that hits. Thinking back to last year, the PSU game, guys looked at themselves and said, “Hey, if we’re going to do something, we need to step up and change.” I think it’s a feeling of coming together, deciding what is important, living in the moment type deal. Everyone in this locker room wants to win, that’s not something I doubt.”

JR Pace

-On Lewerke: “As a secondary, we have to follow our roles, if everyone is doing their job we can limit those explosive plays.”

-On a lack of INTs since Purdue: “Every day, every practice, coaches emphasize takeaways, they put us in a position, we have to go out there and make plays, we haven’t made plays that we should’ve.”

-On players trying to do too much: “I would say that as far as a personal standpoint, that’s a reflection of me, if I was doing my job in that Michigan game, we could’ve made some plays. You have to do it within the limits, the confines of our defense.”