NORTHWESTERN HEAD COACH PAT FITZGERALD
Great team win. We knew this was going to be a very difficult challenge. Time zone, playing at night, they had every advantage. They had every tape on us, we had to figure out how they were going to deploy their personnel. A lot of credit to Cal, they came out and battled but our guys found a way to win in the 4th quarter. We had a lot of guys step up, a few guys get dinged up. They stepped up and picked up the flag and that’s probably what I’m most proud of. I talked back home about our depth and we weren’t perfect today but we had a lot of guys step up who went into the game maybe thinking they weren’t going to play as much as they did. So I’m incredibly proud of them. We have a lot of things we got to fix. We have a long trip and we’ll do our injury check once we arrive, and try to get some rest and get ready for a difficult opener at home.
On Green and Mark:
Mark’s been dinged up as of late, and we were just trying to be really smart with him. We’ll see how things progress as we move forward, but as we sit here at the end of the game, he came out of it pretty well.
Let’s go back a year. Trey was coming off a pretty rough injury in training camp. That’s a huge testament to Trey. He fought through it and he’s had a terrific camp, he’s been outstanding. We expected to play all 5 tailbacks today and I think all 5 got reps.
On Colter leaving the game:
We had to make a few adjustments, but both guys take a lot of reps in practice. I think the staff does a terrific job of getting both guys prepared and a terrific job by Trevor (Siemian). He did some things he’d probably like to have back, but still, going into the game probably not expecting to be the starter and then being thrust into the starting role. I thought he handled it pretty well. I had no idea if Kain was coming back into the game. Siemian is ready to go. We’ve had starter 1A and 1B for a couple years. Although he didn’t go out there on the 1st play, he still operates like he’s the starter. He gets a ton of reps.
On Collin Ellis:
Collin’s been through a lot of adversity in his life. To see him crying on the field after the game is pretty tough for me to watch. I’m really happy for him. He’s a special young man and to see the way he played today was really special for him, for the team too. I’m sure his mom’s looking at him, his dad’s looking down on him from heaven.
On the BearRaid:
I’m glad we only have to play it once. A little bit of that is on our offense, we couldn’t get out of our way in the 3rd quarter. We’re far from a finished product and you always know that going into the opener. We gave up too many yards, we gave up too many explosion plays.
On accusations of faking injuries:
If anyone were to question the integrity of myself, our program, or our players, I question theirs. If our guys get dinged up, they’re instructed to go down. I have a hard time with that. They’re instructed to go down, not hobble off to the sideline.
On lack of tape:
Their defense had a huge advantage on us. We had to look at tape of Coach Buh from two or three years ago at Nevada, on how they were going to defend us. For our offense to put up 70 plays and 500 yards, I’ll take that effort from our offensive staff and our young men, every week. We’ll have more information as we move forward.
Trevor Siemian, QB
On having to play after starting QB Kain Colter got injured:
“I wasn’t expecting to go in that quickly. Coach McCall told me about the third series he was going to try to work me in, but Kain got dinged up and I had to run out there. When they said Kain was done, with the concussion thing, that’s when I knew the keys were mine so I took it from there.”
On how offense changed with Siemian instead of Colter at QB:
“It’s the same offense, but we just tweak it a little bit because I don’t run around as much as Kain. The option game is probably not as big a part of our offense, but it’s tailored to whoever is in there. The option isn’t as strong when I’m in there.”
On Treyvon Green’s performance:
“The guy played his tail off. He had a really good camp, so for him to come out here and play that way – I’m really happy for him to see it pay off.”
Collin Ellis, QB
On starting the season with a hot start:
“It’s always a good confidence booster when you go out and have a good day. I had a lot of fun today.
On whether he had been working a lot on picks:
“The coaches always preach, ‘Tips lead to picks.’ When they’re there, you’ve got to snag them and take a run.”
On if the players are tired after being on the field for 99 plays:
“Cal was giving us some quick looks, and a few times we were running around like, ‘What’s going on?” but that’s the way we practice. We were getting tired.”
“We go against that offense every day in practice. Our practice is very up-tempo, so we get gassed in practice too. Cal runs it as quick as anybody. It’s good for us because we see it all the time, but it’s tough no matter what.”
On if the Bear Raid offense was as expected:
“Yes, but the coaches came in with a great game plan and when we started executing it, that’s when we started making plays.”