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UMass gameweek press conference notes, injury news, depth chart

The Minutemen are coming!!!!

Pat Fitzgerald addressed the media on Monday afternoon along with Aidan Smith, Rashawn Slater and Alex Miller. Before the press conference, NU released a depth chart with some notable changes.

Here are the quotes:

Pat Fitzgerald

Opening statement: Kyric McGowan had an outstanding game. We can start to see what the future holds for him as a playmaker for this team...Really proud of the o-line. 250 yards rushing, no sacks. Thought we made some strides on defense this week forcing two turnovers as well.”

On Kyric McGowan: Out indefinitely.

On Gunnar Vogel: Out for the year.

On Special Teams: I don’t think special teams were the problem outside the kicking game. The holding call on that kick return after the safety was a bad call. In 1995, we put a helmet on that guy’s sticker for that block. Nothing we can do about it.

On Charlie Kuhbander: Charlie’s gotta make that kick. He’s gotta make the kick. That’s the bottom line. I don’t need to say it. He knows it.

On the pass interferences: I’m not gonna talk about penalties. I’m not gonna make excuses. We gotta quit holding and quit grabbing. We’ll make adjustments in practice.

On being a huge favorite this week: I just wanna win by one man. That’s the bottom line. We gotta get a win. Get some positive momentum. Around here, we’ve typically won close games. UMass will be hungry coming in here. I’m sure our tape will not intimidate them.

On playing: Maybe if we’re 8-0 in the Big Ten, but this year, not at all. We’ve got nothing but respect for them. They had a great trick play against Army. They’re playing their hearts out, but they’re just down a bunch of bodies.

On what went into the schedule: We thought that having a bye after that long trip to Stanford would be the way to go so we needed a game for late in the season.

On Ohio State’s dominance: I think Ryan’s done a great job. Their guys are playing at a very high level from the standpoint of consistency.

What jumped out to me on tape was the play on Dobbins. He was off-the-charts on tape. They’re playing really fast and they have great players on defense. Great players. I was talking to James Laurinaitis before our game last week and I said I hadn’t

On if Aidan Smith has cemented himself as the starter: He’s our starter. There were some things that were really positive but there were plays and opportunities out there that we missed and until we get to that consistent level. It was a positive step in the right direction.

On if Drake Anderson and Evan Hull are the only ballcarrying options: No, we’ll find some other guys

On the team’s energy against Purdue: I thought we came out ready to go and ready to play. I thought it was a lot better and I thought the guys were into it. I talked to some of the guys are out and I talked to them last week about staying engaged and I thought they were awesome for us in the sidelines.

On Smith starting down receivers: He did stare down the corner route that was doubled covered. You can’t do that. It comes with experience I think...A lot of time with younger quarterbacks, that’s their tendency. But we can’t do that because we give things away when we do that. There are a lot of other things we’re giving away also.

On other things the team is giving way: I’m not going to comment on that.

Aidan Smith

On his performance against Purdue: There are a few throws that I want back. Made a few beginner mistakes but the picture is starting to clear up. Definitely not completely HD at this point but I think the picture is starting to clear up.

On the ‘OR’ being removed from the depth chart: I never really look at the depth chart. I just go in when they tell me to play.

On the long completion to Holman on Saturday: I didn’t feel like any of the WRs were open. Playing high school ball again. Escape the pocket and make a play.

On his improvements: When i first started playing this season I’d get in the habit of not looking down the field and trying to make plays with my feet but that’s something I’m working on and I think has gotten better.

Rashawn Slater

On the team mindset: Back to the grind. We’ve gotta finish these last three games strong. Still a lot to play for. We’ve got to establish a winning culture.

On dealing with adversity after losses: You never get used to it. It sucks every week. but you learn that you have to shrug it off and get back to work. Just like when you win, you can’t stay focused on past successes.

On the offensive line’s growth this year: We’ve really been coming together this year. We’ve established identity, established some depth. We’ve still got a long ways to go though.

On what the team has left to play for: We’re not where we want to be. This game mirrors life. If we quit now, what would that say about us? We don’t back down. Things aren’t going the way we want right now but we still have our pride. Always about sending the seniors out on the right way. I’m not worried about motivation.

On the OL identity: We’re tough. We’re nasty. We finish blocks, we finish plays. We want to put this offense on our back. We trust each other and we love each other, we don’t change.

On a mysterious offensive line ‘creed’: We don’t talk about it much to other people.

Alex Miller

On the new guys on the line: As a team, just working with new guys, especially Tommy and Jason gold just working with them to make sure they know the gameplan and they know what to do.

On his final three games in an NU uniform: This means everything to us. It’s all that matters. We’re a good team and we need to play like we are.

On seeing his brother go down with an injury: it’s always rough. I live with him. it’s definitely not a good feeling but it makes me more motivated and want to play better for him because I know that he’d do everything possible if I went down.

On his relationship with broter Samdup:I don’t think our relationship has changed but we’ve always worked well together. We’ve continued that on throughout Northwestern. It’s definitely really special. We’re very fortunate that we’re both able to play at this level together.

On Gaz: He’s the man. He’s playing really well and has all four years he’s been here. I think he’s half a sack away now so that’s pretty cool.”

On what the line will do if Gaz breaks the record: Maybe we’ll go out and get some food. I don’t know.