Rutgers' Nunzio Campanile Press Conference @ Penn State 11/30/19
COURTESY OF PENN STATE ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
A: I'm really proud of the kids and the way they played. They had a really tough week and they managed to stick together just like they did all season. We played really hard, we were able to move the ball, but not really come away with enough points. I thought we played excellent on defense, just gave up a couple of big plays that hurt us, things that have kind of plagued us all season, but I was really proud of them. You know as far as this season went, pretty tough circumstances for these kids. They were a little bit of collateral damage in the middle of a lot of media stuff that they have no control over. I'm really proud of them and the coaches in the way they conducted themselves the whole way. We stayed together and played hard – no one can question that. That's one of the best football teams in America, you know we went out there and played them tooth-and-nail the whole way. I'm really proud of that, I'm really proud that I had the opportunity to be the head coach at Rutgers for nine weeks, that was pretty awesome. If you're a guy like me, from New Jersey, that's a dream come true. It really was a great experience. I want to thank Chris Ash for putting me in this position as far as making me the coach of Rutgers. I want to thank Pat [Hobbs] for giving me this opportunity and trusting me to coach these kids. I want to thank the kids for their trust and belief, and the way they conducted themselves, and the coaches, really great great group of men, they really care about these kids.
Q: What was your final message to the kids in the locker room?
A: That I was proud of them, and that despite really difficult circumstances, they stayed together and believed in the things that we talked about all year. I told them football, just like life, is about investing in other people because in football it takes so many people to be successful. In a lot of ways, I know the results don't show it, but they drowned out a lot of noise and just kept playing. They played for each other, and that's what we asked them to do, so I'm really proud of all that.
Q: What about the inspirational performances of [Isaih] Pacheco and [Johnny] Langan?
A: Yeah, those guys are warriors. They're the type of guys you want on your team. They're the type of guys you can build a program around, they're just winners, they're hard workers, they're tough guys. A lot of guys out there today doing that, a lot of really good, young players that played really hard, so I look forward to seeing what those guys can do in the future.
Q: How do you think Johnny [Langan] did for when he got thrown into the job against Maryland to now, today, which is probably his best game?
A: I think he did awesome and I told him that. I told him before the game that I couldn't have been more proud of him, but the way he went out and played today against a team like that and against a defense like that, it really showed that he has a chance to be a really good player. I think that people are so quick to judge these guys, I mean he's 19 years old. You're out there thrown into it the first week of October, say 'Hey by the way, you got to go play this game against a Division 1 football team,' I think people think it's a lot easier than it is. There was a lot of change on our team especially on offense, and he got better every week. There was some up and down there, Ohio State there was some good stuff, Michigan State he was really not very good, and he turned around and today he was pretty darn good. I think he's got a lot of potential and I think there's great days ahead for him.
Q: You talked about how the team has handled these nine weeks, how have you personally handled them? What did you learn about yourself and what was the stress like for you personally?
A: The way I look at it is, I got up every morning and ran out of bed because I had an opportunity to have my dream job for two or three months. I loved every second of it. I know the wins and losses part I obviously wish that part was better. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to coach our guys, having an opportunity to get to know them. What did I learn about myself? I don't know, I think I'm the same person that my father raised me to be. I'm going to get up and go to work and work hard for the people that I'm responsible to and responsible for. Maybe the results weren't great, but we definitely gave them our best everything.
Q: What can a game like this do you think do for the program going forward? To hang with a team like that, going into the 4th quarter, everything?
A: Hopefully it gives them confidence that there's growth. There were a lot of moments like that over the course of the season. I think Ohio State they kept playing against a great team. I think we kind of took a step back on offense last week, but the defense played really well against Michigan State. To play like that again, even the goal-line stand at the end it just shows that those guys didn't flinch and they kept playing. Hopefully that's something that they can go into the off season feeling really good about, that it's not what people are saying it is. There's a lot of potential, a lot of young players, and they'll get better.
Q: Tomorrow what do you and [Stephen Hale] do?
A: We'll give them off tomorrow, and I guess we'll come in and get ready to see what happens. I really don't have a great answer for that. We'll be back Monday just to evaluate it all and we'll be ready to move forward in whatever role anybody has and that's kind of the nature of this business, I guess.