Media Day Comments from Michigan Players

Player Comments from
2007 Michigan Football Media Day

Offense: Mike Hart | Chad Henne | Adam Kraus | Jake Long | Mario Manningham
Defense: Jamar Adams | Shawn Crable | Terrance Taylor | Morgan Trent

Senior Running Back Mike Hart

On how close he was to declaring for the draft ... "I don't know. It was a decision I had to make. I wasn't 100 percent leaving, it was more seeing what senior quarterback Chad Henne and fifth-year senior Jake Long were going to do and what this offense was going to do if I came back."

On who of Long, Henne and Hart was the first to commit to coming back ... "Chad, and then it was kind of me. I was still waiting on Jake to make his decision."

On having the trio back ... "It's great when you have two guys coming back with you like Chad and Jake. You don't have to worry about them messing up. They're doing their job when they have to."

On what could stop this offense ... "We could stop ourselves. We don't know how good we are yet. We don't know what we are capable of doing. We just want to come out here and compete and see how good we can be."

On all the attention the offense is receiving ... "You can't listen to it. Two years ago, when we went 7-5, the offense was supposed to be great. There were a lot of experienced guys coming back and this and that, but we didn't do anything."

On his feeling regarding last season ... "We appreciate what we did but we didn't finish. You work that much harder because of those last two games, especially when it's Ohio State and Southern California in the Rose Bowl."

On the upcoming season ... "I'm excited. It's my last year. I haven't played football since January so I'm excited to get out there and get back after it. I'm feeling healthy and ready to go."

On the rest of the backfield ... "Kevin (Grady) is injured right now but when he gets back everybody knows how good he is. We have Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown who both are great players and will both go out there and compete every day. Then they push me because they have some intangibles I don't have, and I know they can get in there and get the job done, too."

Senior Quarterback Chad Henne

On what could stop or slow down the Michigan offense ... "If we're not on the same page, if we're not executing. Everybody has to know the game plan and understand why we're doing it. Even a defense could upset our thinking for what we're doing that game if they throw a couple wrinkles in there. It's about our ability to adjust and play our game."

On his growth from his freshman year to now ... "I'm definitely more comfortable and confident. I have so much experience underneath my belt that it's kind of old hat. You go out there and prepare the same way, you go be around the guys that support you and go play the game."

On if he sees the game differently now than when he was younger ... "I know what coverage every team can give you. Of course, there are always wrinkles in there that you see, but everything bases itself off of one thing. You go out there and read the coverages, anticipate throws and understand how to audible and get in and out of plays."

On the advantages in taking a shotgun snap vs. a direct snap ... "The shotgun definitely buys the quarterback a little bit more time. It gives offensive linemen a better pass set and makes them comfortable. If we can do it and we're good it definitely can be a big help for us."

On playing the first four games at home and eight overall at Michigan Stadium ... "We have eight games that are home this year and that's a big advantage. Playing in our stadium is not easy for the away team. It will make the younger guys feel comfortable being around the stadium and our fans."

On the emergence of a new receiving corps with Mario Manningham, Adrian Arrington and Greg Mathews ... "I try to get with them as much as I can just to stay on the same page and have our timing down. They weren't all here in spring ball, but obviously in summer camp we had them out here in seven on seven. It's about getting up to speed because Mario is definitely a different caliber and Adrian's just a possession big guy that can catch the ball all the time. We have young guys too, like Greg Mathews, LaTerryal Savoy and some incoming freshmen that will help us out."

On if he, Mike Hart and Jake Long are comfortable enough in the offense to be able to have fun as seniors ... "We have to be comfortable and confident to lead this team. We have to be the ones that express how to deal with adversity and how to deal with wins and keep the streak going. We're not going to be sitting back relaxing eating a bag of chips, but we're going to be confident and comfortable with what we're doing because we've been here and we've experienced it."

On his understanding of the Michigan playbook and new elements that can be added to it ... "I understand offenses. I understand defenses. I understand the whys of what goes together. Anticipation is a big key of being a quarterback -- anticipate what's going to be there and what's not. That understanding has come through experience because of how long I've been here."

Fifth-Year Senior Offensive Lineman Adam Kraus

On his role as a leader of the team ... "As you get older you get more used to how things are done. You definitely have more of a leadership role and a responsibility to show the young kids the ropes. I'm looking forward to it and am really excited about this oncoming year."

On the potential of the offense ... "It is exciting. We are just coming out here to reach our goals. We are going to come out this year and play smart, play hard and execute. Hopefully that will be enough to help us reach our goals -- which are high."

On filling the defensive openings left by last year's graduating class ... "It is something that coaches always talk about: the expectation is for the position. People need to step up and they do. It's Michigan and the bar is set high, we need people to step up every year and it always happens. I'm looking forward to the competition during camp. I think the young guys are going to show what they have and I think we will be just fine."

On who will be the next big name on the defense ... "Being on the offensive line, I'm always going against the defensive linemen. Brandon Graham definitely stands out as somebody who can be a playmaker this year. He's done a great job during the spring and summer workouts. I'm looking forward to competing with him and creating some competition during camp. It is going to be fun."

On having four games at home to open the season ... "The more home games the better. We have eight this year for the first time in Michigan Stadium history. I'm looking forward to that, and I think it's a great way to go out."

On the team's ultimate goal ... "I think every major Division I team wants to end up in the national championship and this year it happens to be in New Orleans, my hometown. I think it is every team's goal to end up there, and if we could do it, it would be tremendous."

On how the team can reach that goal ... "We need to play one game at a time. We've got a good team coming in here in Appalachian State. They are two-time reigning Division IA national champions. They are a good team. Every week we have somebody new on the schedule that's going to give us real good competition. We are looking forward to it."

Fifth-Year Senior Offensive Lineman Jake Long

On his decision to return for a fifth year ... "I'm glad I came back. I'm not second guessing myself at all."

On last season's finish ... "You can think about it during the summer and the off-season workouts, but once camp starts you can't think about that. We know what happened last year and we are going to work hard to make sure it doesn't happen again this year."

On the team's strengths and weaknesses ... "Our strengths are a lot of returning guys, a lot of good seniors coming back and guys with game experience. We've just got some young guys and some positions open, but I can't think of any weaknesses."

On if this is the best offense he has played in ... "I think we've got the potential to be good. Right now, I can't say that though. Once we get into camp and once we start playing, everything will fall in its place."

On who the defense will turn to this season ... "Tim Jamison and Brandon Graham are the best two candidates. They are both great defensive ends and I think they are going to have breakout years. It's tough; it is always tough to replace guys. To replace seniors especially, someone like Leon Hall. We just need to have guys step up, work hard, and fill in the spot."

Junior Wide Receiver Mario Manningham

On the high expectations for Michigan this season ... "Every year Michigan has high expectations. We know that every week people are going to come out against us and play their 'A' game. We know people are going to scheme and do what they have to do just like we do. We want it like that. That's what we're here for. We just come out, play hard and do what we have to do every week and we should be alright."

On the praise being heaped on the offense this fall ... "I love playing with Chad (Henne), Mike (Hart) and Jake (Long). They're probably my favorite people in the world because being in the huddle with them you know you have their back and they have yours, especially with Mike. Everybody knows how Mike is -- he doesn't take any crap because he wants to win harder than we all do. We just want to do what we have to do as an offense. If we execute everybody says we should be good."

On his excitement level in the offense ... "As a team we have high expectations, but you don't let all of that stuff get in your head. You just come out here, practice hard, and do what we have to do. We have a good team, a good offense. I'm not going to call us great because we haven't even started, but we have the potential to be great. We just have to do the little things first."

On his decision not to switch to jersey number one ... "A number is a number to me. I don't really get caught up in all that number one stuff. I like my 86. If I got it, I got it. If I don't, then I'm not going to lose sleep over it. It'd be nice, but it doesn't really matter. With it I would play hard, without it I would play hard."

On emerging as a leader ... "I don't really talk a lot out here, but I lead by example. Not being a senior has something to do with it. I don't rah, rah, rah and all that, but when we get out here everybody knows I'm going to get my yards and everybody knows that I'm going to play hard and do what I have to do so that we can get this 'W.'"

Senior Safety Jamar Adams

On whether he feels pressure as a leader of the defense ... "No pressure. I think it just comes with age. Last year I felt like I was a leader. It seems funny to say that when you had Dave Harris and LaMarr Woodley, but I think my position you have to be a leader at safety. You're giving calls and getting the defense lined up. I think this year definitely because I am a safety and one of the older guys on the defense (I am a leader). I am ready and excited for the season. I'm ready to go."

On the younger players ... "Those guys are talented. They are really fast. If there's one thing I can say about this recruiting class, it's that they recruited a very fast class. I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do in pads. I've seen what they can do without pads. They are really athletic and really exciting but football is played with pads on. Flag football is the game without the pads. I think they're great flag football players but we're going to see if they're real good football players."

On coach Vance Bedford ... "I love playing for Coach Bedford. He has a mindset that 'players play football.' He believes that you teach a player technique but the players go out and win the game. I think that's the mindset we have to have as a defensive backfield in particular. Not everything is going to happen by the book. It's a game out there that you've played since you were a little kid so you just have to go out there and have fun."

Fifth-Year Senior Outside Linebacker Shawn Crable

On what the team needs to focus on ... "I think for the whole team, it's the way we finish. The focus toward the end of last season -- the last couple games -- was on how are we going to finish. That is the biggest thing we have to work on. Two years ago we were 7-5, and people were upset about that. We came back last year and improved. This year we've got to take it all the way, take another new stride."

On the talent of the returning secondary ... "We had a lot of guys that got overshadowed by Leon Hall. We had a lot of guys rotating on the opposite side from him or when he was tired, they may have been overshadowed. But we have those people this year and that's what we're going with."

On the national focus on U-M's offense ... "We expect it to be explosive. We knew last year that everybody was worried about (playing us because) we had an explosive offense. We're expecting them to be explosive again this year and play well together. They have a chance to do big things. Not everybody is focused on the defense, so we have a chance to prove ourselves as well."

On what the team needs to do to compete for a national championship ... "I think it is to finish all 12 (games). We were three points away last year from going to the national championship and having a chance to compete. We need to make every play count and work hard every chance you get."

On the 2007 schedule ... "We've got a nice start with Oregon and Notre Dame, then open the Big Ten (season) with Penn State. Then we've got a rocket finish with Minnesota, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State. It's a nice schedule with a lot of people who want to beat us."

On if the coaches put emphasis on team building ... "Our whole coaching staff has stressed for us to come together and be a team. Besides the coaches setting up barbeques and things like that, they want us to do it. Get to know each other, hang out with each other, become brothers and really understand each other."

Junior Defensive Tackle Terrance Taylor

On this year's defensive line ... "It's a new year, a new team. We're just going to go about it the same as last year. Last year the offense was under the radar, this year the defense is under the radar. We've lost some guys. We're not going to compare ourselves to last year's team because we can't. We haven't done anything yet."

On the defensive philosophy ... "Play hard, run to the ball, give it your all. Don't be afraid to get tired."

On coach Ron English in his second year as defensive coordinator ... "He hasn't changed. He still has that excitement, that energy. He makes you excited about the season. It makes you feel good that your coach is excited -- truly excited. Sometimes you get that fake hype, but Coach E is always excited in whatever he does."

On being a leader ... "I feel confident. I have people to help me out -- Tim Jamison and Will Johnson -- they're older guys that if I have any questions I can talk to them. They help us out. We need to work as a team. It's not just going to be me out there, it's going to be us working as a team."

On being in sync with the rest of the defensive line ... "I feel like we're in sync. I have to get back in the mix because I didn't play spring ball. With us four playing together at the same time hasn't happened yet but I'm excited to get into it."

On the younger guys stepping up ... "Spring ball I had an opportunity to watch everybody; as they got into it, they got better. As they watched film, they got better. If I noticed anything, I would help them out. I would tell them and they just kept getting better. I was surprised. I can't pick one guy of the bunch that didn't improve during spring ball."

Senior Cornerback Morgan Trent

On the tone of the team ... "Last year's kind of set a standard of where we should be and the younger guys were around to see that. Some of the guys that went to the NFL, the younger guys saw how hard they worked day in and day out. That's something we did all summer. That's something us older guys just have to keep drawing on."

On if the attention on the offense puts more pressure on the defense ... "In a way, I think it's great. It's great that we have an offense out there that will put points up on the board. That makes our job easier as well. We're just going to try to do what we can. All the focus is on them so we're sliding under the radar. We're just going to work hard and try to be like the defense we were last year."

On feeling pressure as a leader with the loss of Leon Hall ... "Yes but no. It's great pressure. It's my turn to lead. We always had that one defensive back -- Leon was here, Marlin Jackson was here -- so I see it as my turn to step up and be here and lead. I will be an example on the field and off the field."

On whether it's helpful to go against this offense in practice ... "Going against the receivers we're going against is great. It's not many times in a game that we're going to find a receiver better than ours. We're going against the best every single day so it's very helpful."

On which receiver he typically matches up against ... "It depends on the day and who is talking the most trash. I can go against anybody -- Mario (Manningham), Adrian (Arrington) -- whoever it's going to be, it's going to be great competition."

On coach Vance Bedford ... "He is a great coach. He was just here for the spring, but he's a really laid back coach, really smart coach. He is teaching us the game of football, not just the playbook. He is teaching us to be smart players."

Media Contact: David Ablauf (734) 763-4423

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