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Northwestern-Duke press conference notes

Pat Fitzgerald and several players addressed the media after Northwestern’s loss to Duke

Caleb Friedman

Head coach Pat Fitzgerald, quarterback Clayton Thorson, wide receiver Flynn Nagel and defensive lineman Joe Gaziano spoke to the media after Northwestern’s 21-7 loss to Duke. Here are some highlights from what they had to say:

Pat Fitzgerald

  • On the game, generally: “[Duke] made the plays especially in the second quarter that they needed to make”
  • On where his team goes from here: “I know the character of the group in that locker room, I expect that they’ll respond ... and do the things that winners do and that’s come back to work on Monday, get ready to get coached, get ready to get these things fixed and get ready to get back at it next Saturday.”
  • On the wide receiver play: “I thought we had some chances on some 50/50 balls that we lost.”
  • On offensive struggles: “[Duke is] pretty darn good on defense. I felt that when they’ve been healthy they’ve been pretty good the last couple years.”
  • More on offensive miscues: “That was the theme kind of for our offense today. The next guy needed to step up and I don’t think that that happened.”
  • On younger players stepping in, particularly on the offensive line: “Typically when a young guy goes in, the first thing they do is revert back to the habits from practice. And if you’ve created great habits, you usually go out and keep things real simple... when you’re reverting back to bad habits and things start going fast, that’s what it looked like to me, guys come off the boundary with eyes wide and things are going faster than they can play.”
  • Fitz said he makes the calls on who to play at quarterback based on what the training staff tells him.
  • On the play of the offensive line: “It all starts up front and I’m not pinning the blame on the O-Line but it looked like we had guys that just didn’t perform well today.”
  • On Northwestern as a team: “We got a good football team, we just didn’t play very well today”
  • On the fourth and goal call to go for it when down 21-7: “We’re down two scores, we kick a field goal we’re still down two scores, so let’s go be aggressive... t was one of those 50/50 situations, we had been moving the ball well, defense had been playing well, let’s go be aggressive.”
  • On Greg Newsome II getting beat for a long touchdown: “This is college football, this happens to a lot of guys, you gotta learn quick and have a short memory.”

Clayton Thorson

  • On the game overall: “The defense did a great job we just gotta step up and score some points.”
  • On getting sacked for the first time this season: “Felt pretty normal like a normal play.”
  • Thorson said he doesn’t think that QB switches was a factor in offensive rhythm
  • On running back Jeremy Larkin: “We gotta get him the ball more and we gotta make some holes for him and kind of open up with the pass game so we can hand it off to him.”

Flynn Nagel

  • On the game as a whole: “We just gotta be better. We gotta finish drives I think.”
  • Nagel said this year’s loss to Duke doesn’t feel similar to last season’s because it’s a new season.
  • On Duke talking trash to him: “I don’t think them talking is getting me more motivated, I just gotta play my game.”

Joe Gaziano

  • On halftime adjustments: “Today we focused more on tweaking what we already had game plan wise and going into the game I think we had a sound gameplan in understanding what they were going to try to do to attack us. We had the right play calls, we had everything lined up, we just weren’t executing in the first half.”
  • On lack of recognition despite leading Big Ten in sacks last season: “It may be something that I strive to work harder for, for more recognition, but I think at the end of the day I’m just trying to be the best ball player I can and help this team win games.”