Transcript of Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo's comments
Emmett Merchant picked off Terrelle Pryor in the fourth quarter
Sept. 7, 2009
Bill Wagner (Annapolis Capital): You were yelling at the team there at the end, are you unhappy about something?
Niumatalolo: We lost. I am just trying to get our mentality right.
Wagner: I’m sure there have been an awful lot of people patting them on the back the last couple of days for what was ultimately a loss.
Niumatalolo: We didn’t go there to come up four points short. We know they are a great team, but we lost and there are a lot of things that we could have done better. Our standards are high and we aren’t going to lower them for anybody or any team.
Mike Fratto (Washington Times): Is it hard to get the team to turn the page after an emotional game like that?
Niumatalolo: Yes, but that’s why we are doing this. There isn’t going to be any patting on the back out here. We have to get ready for Louisiana Tech. They are a good football team that won a bowl game last year. If we start looking through the rearview mirror it’s going to be a long year.
Wagner: It seems odd to be asking about a possible letdown after a loss, but there was so much hype for this game that I’m sure you do have to get them refocused.
Niumatalolo: Last week is in the past. We have to correct the errors we made.
Wagner: What are your thoughts on Louisiana Tech? I know they played Auburn tough and a good comparison game is Northern Illinois, who you both beat last year.
Niumatalolo: They are a very good football team. They are big and fast and they have very good skill kids. Their kick returner scares me. They have a good running back and quarterback. We are both the same in that we lost our first game. I’m sure they are going to want to get a win just like we do.
Wagner: It looked like you had very few injuries on Saturday.
Niumatalolo: It wasn’t bad. Emmett Merchant is still a little sore, but he will probably be back tomorrow.
Wagner: What happened with him? It looked like he was hurt pretty bad on the opening kickoff, but he came back and played most of the game.
Niumatalolo: He has a bruised back. It is a little tight, but he will be OK. We have some guys that are banged up a little bit, but fortunately we didn’t get anybody hurt so we are fairly healthy.
Camille Powell (Washington Post): Do you get more out of an opener when you play Ohio State than you do against somebody like Towson?
Niumatalolo: Time will tell with that. It’s a good question. I don’t know. I think that opening game forced us to raise our standards in the offseason and I thought the kids worked really hard to get ready and we did a lot of great things, but we still lost.
Powell: You talked at the luncheon about how playing Ohio State helped you in recruiting this year, but with all the exposure you got after the game do you think that will help recruiting in the future as well?
Niumatalolo: No doubt it helps recruiting, but only if we go on and win some games. If we lose the next four games it won’t help us. We have to win this week and that is the way we are approaching it.
Wagner: What led you to choose Buckley as the kicker?
Niumatalolo: He did better than Teague the last couple of days. It was close.
Wagner: Would you use Teague to kick longer field goals?
Niumatalolo: Yeah and he knows that if Buckley doesn’t kick well he could get moved in there so he has to continue to perform. I thought Buckley did a good job on Saturday.