Nov. 26, 2011
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U-M coach quotes from Michigan Sports Network postgame show
Michigan player quotes from press conference
Ohio State player quotes from the locker room
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
On the high-scoring game ... "They've got a talented football team, and I think their offense with [Dan] Herron and [DeVier] Posey and Braxton Miller and that offensive line -- I think they are really good. They did a nice job protecting and play-actions and throwing the ball past us a little bit, and we can't do that. We haven't given up big plays all year, and we gave up a couple big plays. But I thought the defense came back. We had a short field and had a really good sudden-change situation. Then our offense got in gear and did a nice job of moving the football, rushing the football. I thought Denard [Robinson] played an excellent football game."
On having two 100-yard rushers against Ohio State ... "Those offensive linemen did a nice job. David Molk, Mark Huyge, and [Kevin] Koger when he's in there, they did a tremendous job. I thought Denard ran the ball with authority and really made decisions and was decisive with it. He also did a nice job throwing the football for us."
On junior Denard Robinson being a complete quarterback today ... "Al [Borges] did a nice job with the game plan and did a nice job of getting him off to a good start with the X-Screen. But I've said it all year, he's our quarterback and I'm glad he's the quarterback at Michigan."
On giving up big plays ... "They were picking on a single coverage out there, and we need to do a better job of staying disciplined with our eyes. Part of that discipline is looking at that receiver and getting a nice break out of the pedal so you can run with him. All in all, I thought our guys did a nice job. I wasn't happy in the second quarter; I think they ran too well on us. I told the kids at halftime that they were knocking us off the football and challenged them. I thought Mike [Martin] and Ryan [Van Bergen] and Will Heininger really stepped up in the second half."
On controlling Ohio State running back Dan Herron ... "He had 37 yards on 15 carries, and if you would have told me that I probably wouldn't have believed it. But they did a nice job."
On his pregame talk with team ... "We never brought up the last seven years. That's not fair to those teams before, and that's not fair to this team -- Team 132. We just went out there and wanted to play 60 minutes of Michigan football as a Michigan team, and that's what we talked about."
On winning the rivalry game ... "It's an important game. Since day one you know I've said that. It's a great rivalry. But to see those kids, the joys, the tears, that's why you coach and that's why this is such a great game."
U-M Senior Center David Molk
On Denard Robinson's poise ... "He did great. It is apparent how he has matured throughout the season, how he has matured with me watching over him. He did great. As an offense we did great and drove down the field. We were always composed. We were always ready for another drive. There was absolutely nothing that was going to stop us today."
On emotions after beating Ohio State ... "Seven years doesn't really matter. It is just the fact that we won today. That is all that counts. This is the game that I played in; this is the game that we played in today. This means the world to us."
On battling back after the reversed touchdown call ... "Obviously we have been through this before. Go back to the Notre Dame game and games last year. This is something we are use to, and we never give up. It doesn't really matter what happens, we know how to fight through it."
On Denard Robinson's maturation ... "He has matured as a quarterback and has matured as a player. It is a natural progression when people get more games and more plays. He has done great."
On the meaning of an OSU victory ... "It couldn't feel any better. To go what we have gone through -- this is my third coach, third offensive coordinator, third offensive line coach and third strength coach. It has been a lot, and it has been a rollercoaster that for some reason seemed like it would never get good. But we kept fighting. It's just like the old saying goes, those who stay will be champions. We all stayed; we all stayed together. We all were one as a senior class, and we made sure our entire group, our team, stayed with us. That is why we are where we are now. It feels great."
U-M Junior Quarterback Denard Robinson
On overcoming the reversed touchdown call ... "We just said 'We have to do it again. We have to score again.' That's it."
On his overall effort in the game ... "I was out there playing for the seniors. I played my heart out, and the guys did too. That is what happened. I was just doing what I had to do. Playing for the seniors and playing for Michigan."
On what head coach Brady Hoke expects ... "I guess he wants everyone to be accountable for everything we do. That's what we do, every time, all the time."
On being a 1,000-yard rusher ... "I'm just glad to be on the offense. I'm glad to be playing with these guys. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, except with these guys. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I'm glad I stayed."
U-M Junior Safety Jordan Kovacs
On the defensive mentality throughout the game ... "We knew they were going to be a tough offense to stop. Braxton Miller is a great quarterback. He made some great plays, and is going to make some plays for them in the future. I think he got loose a couple times, made some big plays. Defensive backs-wise, we didn't do a good job of getting in front. We had guys like Kevin [Koger] on offense to bail us out, and made some big plays for us. We're excited about the win, and we'll take it. It wasn't the prettiest, but it'll do."
On the defense being the difference at the end ... "As a defensive player, you wouldn't want it any other way. You're playing Ohio in the Big House, and your defense has to make a stop. We needed to redeem ourselves, and Courtney [Avery] made a big play. I was actually waiting for the flag, figuring there had to be one coming out, but I ran into Courtney and celebrated. It was an exciting win. Not pretty, as I said, but we'll take it."
On if the win over Ohio State means Michigan is back ... "I hope so. We are excited about the 10-win season, and beating Ohio, but there is work left to do. We strive to win Big Ten championships, and while we didn't get that done, we're going to enjoy this one and enjoy the bowl game."
U-M Senior Tight End Kevin Koger
On his touchdown catch ... "My dream has always been to catch a touchdown in the Michigan/Ohio State game, and I finally did that. It means a lot to me and my family. It was a great play call. I was fortunate to slip inside the d-end, ran to the corner wide open, and Denard [Robinson] found me. He could have run it."
On the physicality of the game ... "It's a different game than we play all season. It was a physical game, the most physical game I've ever played in. I can't speak for everyone else, but it was definitely more physical. The mistakes we had earlier in the year, that wasn't going to cut it."
On what his reaction was after the game was over ... "First and foremost, I wanted to find a teammate to celebrate with. I found a lot of those guys running around, crazy, like they were chickens with their heads cut off. The Martell Webbs and John Ferraras of the world who didn't have a chance to beat Ohio State, hopefully they can play through us, because we definitely did it for them and the team."
U-M Fifth-year Senior Defensive End Ryan Van Bergen
On coming up big on the last drive ... "We were kind of as a defense, embarrassed we had given up that original touchdown. We mixed up two coverages, the exact same coverage twice. I feel like we let our offense down. Our offense performed spectacularly today. There's no other word to describe it. They were excellent. Defensively, we've been excellent all year, and we really wanted to be able to let the offense hand the ball off to us, so to speak, and let us take this game in for them. We let them down once, and we said as we came over to the bench, it's not happening again. Coach let us dial up a couple different things, let us run a couple stunts inside that were successful, and we came up with the big play. It was exciting."
On the seniors' emotions ... "An amazing amount of pride. That was one of the best team games we've played regardless of the score, regardless of the stats. The offense performed, underclassmen to seniors, the defense performed, underclassmen to seniors, when they were asked to step up. I think me and Mike [Martin] as seniors and kind of leaders of this team couldn't be more proud of all the guys, every single player."
On the feeling of getting it done as players in their final OSU game ... "I can probably speak for Mike that we've been hoping since we were kids that we'd get the opportunity to win a Michigan-Ohio game and it'd be on our backs. You couldn't ask for a more picturesque situation as far as coach saying, Ryan, Mike, Craig [Roh] and Jake [Ryan], you guys do what you want up front, we're going to play coverage behind you and hopefully you guys get there with four men. And then me and Mike had a pretty big play on second down I think. It's amazing. It's the greatest feeling in the world."
On the third-and-two play that shut Ohio State down ... "It's almost like it was a metaphor for our season. We'll give up some plays, we'll give up first downs, but you get us in a short yardage situation as a defense and make us feel like we've got our backs pinned up against it, we're successful. We emphasize that. We practice it all the time. It's been something that's been consistent throughout our season is the fact that, third-and-one, third-and-two, short yardage you're going to try to run the ball on us. We've been good at it. And Jibreel Black, give him credit because he made a tremendous play on that boot. That was probably one of the best plays I've seen him make, being very disciplined against a really good athlete."
On U-M's fourth-quarter touchdown that was called back ... "I swear we have the most touchdowns called back on review. I don't even like review anymore. Actually, looking back at it, yeah, I mean it was disheartening, but at the same time our defense had already made up its mind that we want this game to come down to being on us and the fact that that added a little pressure to us I think probably made us excel in that situation a little bit more. I think we probably would have been a bit more passive had we probably scored that touchdown. I think the aggression and the way we went out and came after their quarterback and jumped routes, I think we did a tremendous job with that."
U-M Senior Defensive Tackle Mike Martin
On Ohio State doing anything surprising today, particularly quarterback Braxton Miller ... "They're a good team, they did a good job of executing on their side of it and they were successful with a few things. Defensively, we wish we wouldn't have given up some things, but like I said, we made a few adjustments in the fourth quarter and up front with our line, running a few stunts and they were successful. For it to come down to us defensively was something we were going to put on our back and make sure that we came through for this team."
On the seniors' emotions ... "The mix of the excitement of winning and this is my last game with this guy and these seniors and this team in this stadium, it's bittersweet I guess you could say, but it's a special place to be."
On the legacy the seniors leave probably getting a BCS berth ... "We're just really caught up in this right now. That's something that we worked so hard to get to this point and to make sure we were successful. How much we've harped on this game, this is a big game for us and for this program. For us to take this step as a team is huge and it's something we're never going to forget, these fans, and this fan base is never going to forget. Whatever happens happens for the bowl game and we'll take that and look at that when the time comes."
On their relationship with Coach Hoke as defensive linemen ... "I've grown so close to coach Hoke and coach [Greg] Mattison as well. Coach Hoke, he coaches the nose guards a lot, so we sit in his office and we spend time with each other. The guy really cares about this program and these guys. He's the most genuine coach I've ever had the pleasure to work with and be coached by. And I know Ryan [Van Bergen] and the rest of the guys on this team will say the same things. He's a guy that truly bleeds Maize and Blue and really cares about these guys. So to get it for him and this program, and my fellow seniors, that's what it's all about."
U-M Junior/sophomore Running Back Fitzgerald Toussaint
On his performance ... "It means that the guys up front were working hard. The credit goes to them. They worked hard and prepared for this game, putting all the emphasis on this game."
On the importance of the game ... "It's a big game. Coach put the emphasis on this game. Like I said before, we prepared hard in the summer and the fall for big games like this."
On Denard Robinson's performance ... "I thought he played well. I think we all played well as a unit. It isn't an individual game. We prepared hard, played together. We liked to form unity, as Coach Hoke first put the emphasis on in January."
U-M Fifth-year Senior Wide Receiver Junior Hemingway
On what he felt after the win ... "I was speechless. I just thought back to all the hard work that Team 132 went through this summer and spring. To see us go out there, play team ball, and come out with a W is something good."
On what the win means ... "If I could put it into words, I would. You come out and have that mindset, especially with your team, like, 'Let's go out and play Michigan football. Let's go do what we do.' Again, it goes back to what we did in the spring and summer, for the times I didn't want to get up in the morning, but I did. I didn't want to leave my seniors nor underclassmen hanging. It's about making plays that help the offense go, and that helps the defense even more when we stay on the field."
On what he was doing after the game-ending interception ... "To be honest with you, I was numb. I didn't know what to do. Our offense went out there and put the ball down. Coach did say that's the best play in football, the victory formation, and today it was."
On Fitzgerald Toussaint ... "He added that downhill, come-at-you running style. He has some shift, too. He can make the move he needs to, but it goes back to the hard work and the competition between all the running backs -- Fitz, Vincent [Smith], Stephen [Hopkins] and [Michael] Shaw -- and just play that on the field shows all the hard work they put in."
Ohio State Head Coach Luke Fickell
Opening statement ... "It was a tough situation for us. This game isn't about talent, it's about the heart and the will, and obviously the guys didn't get the job done today. You can't walk away from those seniors and those guys, and I told them that I was sorry about how it went. We'll all handle this the right way, and this will make all of us better. You get knocked down, you have to get back up. I learned a lot from it, and we'll get back up, make sure the young guys know that they'll be back here two years, and don't forget those feelings. If you need more emotion than was here today to play, then you're in the wrong place."
On the Buckeyes' offense ... "We asked them to believe, and that's what it comes down to. You have to believe that no matter the situation, you have to get it done, and that's what you saw from that unit. That's what you want, and we could tell that they had hope and we were connecting with them."
On OSU quarterback Braxton Miller ... "Your juices get flowing when you take shots like that [on his deep passes]. It comes down to making the plays, whether the ball is under or overthrown, but again, those shots can loosen the defense up. It is all part of the game, but when it comes down to it, the game is about big plays, and whoever makes the big plays is going to win the game."
On Ohio State's coaching situation ... "Out of respect for the rivalry, we're not going to talk about that. We've tried to focus on the things that we can control. I told them I wouldn't worry about it, and if we spent our energy worrying about that then we would have problems. I haven't thought about it and I'm not going to talk about it."
Ohio State Senior Wide Receiver Devier Posey
On the pass overthrown late in the game ... "Honestly, I thought it was over, but I just missed the ball by a couple yards. I thought we had it and we went for it, but I think the silver lining out of that play was that Braxton (Miller) wasn't afraid to throw it. That was a call that he made and I feel like that was a grown-man call. We just missed it."
On the emotion in the locker room after the game ... "It's always tough after a loss. It's hard and there were some tears. It was a weird feeling. We're not really used to it, but this group has become closer."
On the coaching situation at Ohio State ... "If I was on the Board of Trustees, I could give you an answer, but I don't know. I love Coach Fickell. He's a great guy, a great coach, and a great leader. I can't make that call, but all I know is I love playing for the man."
On the play of Braxton Miller ... "Five is a competitor. He is going to play until the wire and that is one thing about that kid I admire so much. At such a young age, he's such a fighter and no matter what it is, he's going to make some plays. He's a hell of a player."