Player Comments from
2001 Michigan Football Media Day

Ronald Bellamy | Eric Brackins | Julius Curry | Hayden Epstein
Larry Foote | Jake Frysinger | Jonathan Goodwin
Victor Hobson | John Navarre | Chris Perry | Dan Rumishek
Bill Seymour | Shawn Thompson | Marquise Walker

Junior Wide Receiver Ronald Bellamy

On the game he looks forward on the schedule ... "The biggest game on my mind is the Miami of Ohio game. It's our first game of the season and we are preparing right now for that game, and that game only. We have been working hard and will continue to do that right up to that Saturday, so we are ready when the ball is kicked off."

On the team's offense when it chooses to run with third and three instead of passing ... "It doesn't matter if I get catch one pass or 10. I am a team guy, so whatever is best for the team is best for me. As a receiver, you want the ball, but however we get the ball up field to score is fine with me. I would rather win each game than any personal stats I achieve."

On the difference between quarterbacks John Navarre and Spencer Brinton ... "One is left-handed (Brinton) and one is right-handed (Navarre), and that is about it. And that doesn't really affect me if the ball is coming on from the right or left. John throws the ball harder than any other quarterback since I have been here, including (Tom) Brady and (Drew) Henson, so it gets there quicker through the air. But I am confident in whoever takes the snap. We are very deep at that position."

On what has helped him develop as a player ... "I think the biggest help was when I played cornerback my freshman year. Playing that position I had to learn how to play the receiver and how to react and anticipate. Now as a receiver, I know what the cornerback is going to do, how he is going to play me. So I feel like I have an advantage because I have played both positions. Also, Michigan has had the best wide receivers every year. I have had the opportunity to learn from guys who were older and went through the Big Ten and competed on the road. Guys like David Terrell and Marquise Walker showed me how to play this position, and I have learned a lot from those two especially."

Senior Inside Linebacker Eric Brackins

On the season ... "I am very excited about the season and I know the rest of the guys are too. We are a pretty tight-knit group and we really want to see how good we can be."

On the schedule ... "We have a tough schedule and it starts with Miami. They do a lot of different things and are our main focus right now. We'll focus on one team at a time."

On the expectations of the defense ... "There are a lot of expectations on us and we are certainly ready to handle it. We have a lot of experience in the guys coming back and we are using these two-a-days to get focused and in sync."

On the camaraderie between linebackers ... "We all have different personalities but we seem to complement one another on the field just fine and we've been playing together for a while now."

On being a fifth-year senior ... "I think I have somewhat of an advantage having been through preseason four times already. I know what is expected and when, and I can lead other guys knowing things about drills, coaches, procedures, etc."

Junior Strong Safety Julius Curry

On his outlook for the defense this year ... "I think our defense is going to be real good this year. We have a lot of experience this year coming back, especially with Cato (June) coming back from an injury, Todd Howard, myself, Charles Drake. I think the main thing about this year is that we have a lot more experience than we did last year."

On the goals for the defense ... "One of our goals is to keep other teams from scoring as many points. We want to hold all teams to at least under 14 points, but if you don't do that but at least play hard enough to win the game, that's the main part, to come out with the victory rather than how many points scored. We want to get as many turnovers as possible, whether it's on special teams or on defense."

On the Northwestern game last year ... "That's always a motivation-type game when a game is like that, a high-scoring game. It looks like both defenses haven't been doing what they're supposed to do. Just like if we had won the game we would have been known as the great defense, but if you come out on the losing end all you're going to feel is that you didn't do good enough. A victory shows whether the defense is good or not. This year we're going to try to work a little bit harder on keeping the scores as low as possible and getting as many turnovers as we can."

On the Rose Bowl being the BCS Championship game this year ... "In 1997, there were a lot of doubts about the team, but you've just got to go out there and play. You can't say, 'Well, just because it's at the Rose Bowl, we're going to play that much harder.' It is a little bit more exciting, knowing that you're playing in the Rose Bowl, but wherever you play you have to have the same amount of intensity in each game."

On having his younger brother Markus Curry on the team ... "It's real nice, knowing that I have someone who is always watching everything I do and that keeps me on my feet. I know I have a lot of teammates that look up to me and expect me to lead them in the right place and I try my best to do that, but knowing that my brother is here is a little bit more different. I treat him just like everybody else on the team. There are no special things for him that I do, maybe personal things, but when it's on the field, it's all business. I expect him to be out there playing. He had a pretty good spring and I think he's matured since he's been in high school."

Senior Kicker/Punter Hayden Epstein

On whether he has focused on punting or kicking more this off-season ... "It's all important -- punts, field goals, kickoffs -- they're all important. I need to work on all of those things. There is always room for improvement and it's to the point where I just try to get any edge I can and keep on maintaining."

On how a kicker develops a sense of consistency ... "Well, almost every kick is the same kick. Whether it's a 45-yard field goal or a PAT, I'm going to try to strike the ball the same way so it should basically be the same kick."

On how things are different for the offense this year with no real marquee players ... "Good teams aren't made out of individual players. It's always a team effort and that's what we're looking for. If individuals want to get a lot of the recognition that's not the reason that they're there. Everyone is going to put their heart in it, whether on the field or just on the practice field."

On if he has noticed any changes in his kicking over the past few years ... "I'm probably doing the best that I've done in all four years here. I'm kicking in the off-season more consistently. I've been getting more height and so forth."

On how he feels about being relied upon more as a result of an inexperienced offense this year ... "I haven't thought of it that way, but if I am I'm just going to go out there, do what I can and try to make every field goal. I think our offense is going to be good this year. I think we're going to be fine and I think we're all going to rely on each other."

Senior Inside Linebacker Larry Foote

On the importance of defense ... "Coach (Lloyd) Carr always tells us that you have to have a good defense to win a championships. Last year we learned that. We had some games we should have won because the offense was doing well and we let them get away. As a unit we met a lot over the summer to get ready for this year and when we get into games, we want to make sure we keep the lead."

On the preseason recognition for the linebackers ... "All of the accolades are great, but what I want is to win a championship. That is the one way to insure that people will remember you around here after you have left. Guys like Sam Sword left a good example for us coming in and we want to follow that example."

On how he improved over the offseason ... "I worked a lot on my speed and thought a lot on what I can do to help lead this team. Physically I think I'm faster then last year. I saw some games last year that there were plays I should have made. Hopefully this year I'll be able to make those plays, so I'm excited to get out there and find out. As for leading, I want to be more vocal. Talking only goes so far, but I won't be afraid to speak up when necessary."

On the offense ... "The defense knows that the offense is going to be young and might take a little while to get into a rhythm. But they are going to be good. The offense has a lot of young linemen that are really good that people just haven't seen play yet. Still, it might take them a while to get going and it is our job to help them out as much as possible. We need to make sure we can get them the ball on the 40- or 50-yard line and not on our own 20 every time. We need to help them out as much as possible because there are going to be some games where they will help us out as well.

Senior Defensive End Jake Frysinger

On his foot and health going into the season ... "This is the first time I have had pads on since Sept. 2. I have goose bumps right now. I am completely healthy and my foot feels fine. The trainers and doctors did a great job in getting me to this point, and now it's on me to take it from here."

On getting back on the field for a senior year ... "It's like dj vu. Last year I was sitting here answering almost the same questions about being a senior and I didn't get to finish the year out with my team. So now I am back for another senior year and I can't wait to get onto that field next to my teammates and help this team win games. I am looking forward to keeping these pads on and really enjoying my final year at Michigan."

On the difficulty of watching from the sidelines ... "Well, I traveled my freshman year to every game. So last year was the first time I wasn't with the team on the road, and that was hard to watch the game from TV, or on the sidelines not being able to contribute on the field. But that is out of my mind now, and I am not thinking about last year. All I am thinking about is [Miami] and feeling that first hit."

On last year's defense not being "rock solid" ... "If you look at some of our stats, like scoring defense, we were ranked in the top 10, but no one said anything about that. So we are always solid on defense. Last year we had a lot of injuries and young guys playing new positions. Now it's like a bunch of veterans playing, so we have big expectations on the defensive side."

On the type of defense he likes to play ... "You come to Michigan knowing that Michigan plays smash-mouth defense. Knock a guy down, and don't get knocked down, that's the fun part. I am looking forward to getting back at defensive line and playing smash-mouth football again."

Senior Offensive Lineman Jonathan Goodwin

On being a young offensive line ... "My personal belief is that a young line can be just as good as a veteran line. It's all about putting in the work, paying attention in meetings and learning."

On what he took from Steve Hutchinson, Jeff Backus and Maurice Williams ... "The main thing is the way they worked. Whether it be in the weight room, the meeting room or watching film, they always put 110 percent into everything they did."

On being the leader of the offensive line ... "I going to try and step up and be a leader, but I can't do on my own. We've got other guys like Ben Mast and Kurt Anderson who have been out here for a while and they know what is expected of the offensive line."

On the expectations of young line ... "I personally expect the line to be a single unit by the first game. We have a great offensive line coach in Coach (Terry) Malone, and a lot of us have at least one year of experience, so we know the plays and know what is expected of us. These next two weeks we'll be able to work together and mesh pretty well."

On what he's said to the younger players ... "The main thing I have told them is to work hard and do what they're supposed to do and good things should work out for them. That was what I was told when I got here from guys like Jon Jansen and Steve Hutchinson."

On the recent health scares ... "I think the main thing is, you have to know your body, and take care of it. Sometimes you wonder what people will say about you if you come out because you have a problem, but you need to be smart. If something is seriously wrong you have to let someone know. If I ever have a problem like that I would inform someone right away."

On what position he wants to play ... "I'm willing to play anything, be it guard, tackle or center. I just want to play. I doesn't matter where they put me, I just want to play."

Junior Outside Linebacker Victor Hobson

On his reaction to the thought of the linebackers being the strength of Michigan's defense ... "I don't think there's so much pressure on us. We just go out there and try to be the strength of the team on defense and take care of business. Each individual is going to take care of their assignments, and as long as we do that everything will fall into place."

On how he and fellow linebacker Larry Foote feed off one another ... "I think anytime you spend that much time with somebody you're going to develop some kind of bond. Foote and I are friends on and off the field and that just makes it that much more fun. I know how he's going to react to certain plays and he knows how I'm going to react and that just makes it feel that much more comfortable."

On whether he is relied upon as a senior to call plays or relay plays to the defense ... "Our linebackers are in charge of the huddle, but that doesn't mean we're overseeing everything. The first responsibility is the middle linebacker, Eric Brackins. He gets the signals and gets our defense set while trying to get himself set."

On how he has changed as a football player in the last year ... "I think just experience overall. Your main goal is to keep getting better, keep getting better, keep getting better. It doesn't do anybody any justice if you just stay the same and it definitely doesn't do your team any justice. So I just want to take care of the little things -- technique, getting off blocks."

On if he relishes the pressure that is being put on the defense this year ... "I relish it, yes, but I don't really look at it as pressure at all. I think that's why college football is special, because new guys lead. Last year the offense had a lot of players leave and this year we have a lot of real good young players to follow in their footsteps. I have confidence in every player after playing with them in the spring and, looking to the fall, I'm looking for them to do their job and take care of business."

Sophomore Quarterback John Navarre

On the competition with Spencer Brinton ... "Well, as you know competition is expected at Michigan and the philosophy here is the best guy is going to play. The best guy on the practice field is going to be on the field Saturday."

On earning the number one quarterback spot ... "Nothing is given to you. We'll see how it goes in camp. I just have to work hard and play the best that I can."

On reading the team for the season ... "The season comes so quickly, that's why we take the time out in the summer and we come together as a team here. That was one of my main goals this summer, to be a leader and to put my etch in the team as a leader."

On inviting Spencer Brinton to a barbeque ... "I figured this was going to be new to him. He didn't know anyone and he had been out of football for two years, so I wanted it to be comfortable for him. Here at Michigan the quarterback crew is always close and it's family. He said he had some bad experiences in San Diego, so I brought him in right away, and invited him over for a cookout. I wanted to get him comfortable right off the bat."

On quarterback competitions ... "The one thing I've learned from watching other quarterback competitions is that you have to be perfect, and that one guy will make the other guy better. It can't be a personal battle. Your first goal is making the team better."

On improving from last year ... "The main thing I need to improve on was my field presence and leadership and just getting comfortable on the field with the team."

Sophomore Running Back Chris Perry

On his expectations coming to Michigan ... "My expectations weren't that high but I superceded all of them."

On his summer training ... "Conditioning. That's what I focused on. I try to condition most of the summer so I can get my level up and gain endurance so I can stay in the game longer."

On a typical summer day ... "I get up, we work out, I go lift -- that would be the day. It would be two hours of hard work."

On the quarterback change ... "It's really not going to be that big of a deal. John (Navarre) handed the ball off to me last year so this year it doesn't make that big of a difference. Every quarterback can hand off the ball."

On the rebuilt offensive line ... "They're just as talented as [last year's] team, just not as experienced. So as long as they get on the field and do these two-a-days, we start meshing and coming together, we'll be just fine."

On his pass-catching ability ... "I came in pretty much with a handle on it. You need something to separate you from the rest and I hope my pass catching ability would do that. So that's really something I've worked on."

On the reaction to losing so many key offensive players ... "Tony Pape, Demeterius Solomon, Jonathan Goodwin, Ben Mast -- we have a lot of talented linemen. John Navarre -- he's a great quarterback. We have (receivers) Marquise Walker, Ron Bellamy, Calvin Bell. And we have running backs -- myself, B.J. (Askew), Walter (Cross). We're all going to contribute this year, so I think people are really underestimating us."

On this year's added responsibilities ... "If they give me the starting position, of course, I think I have to take on a lot more [responsibility]. It's a lot more riding on you. You're going to have to perform every week. You can't have a good week and then have a bad week. You have to stay consistent throughout the season."

On the advantage of not having big names on the team ... "I don't think it's an advantage or a disadvantage. It's just something we have to handle. A lot of people -- just because we don't have a big name -- they think we're going to be sorry."

On comparisons to Anthony Thomas, U-M's career rushing leader ... "There's not much really that's different than Anthony. Anthony has everything -- he's got vision, he blocks, he can catch. I think I might be a little bit faster than Anthony -- that's about the only thing I can think of. Everything else I learned from Anthony."

On getting involved as a freshman ... "It's very intimidating. You step in there, you've been to freshman two-a-days, you can tell it's just a different type of speed. Then you move up to the varsity team and they're moving so fast you can't even gather everything. It's really intimidating when you first step onto the field, but once you get acclimated to the speed of the game it's just fine."

Junior Defensive Lineman Dan Rumishek

On goals for the defense ... "We talked about it throughout the entire year, we talked about it last year, what we have to do, and this year, all through the summer and through spring, understood that the defense -- not to say that our offense is going to be a weakness -- but our defense is going to be our strength. We have to carry our weight, especially this year. We talked about that yesterday, some of our team goals. That's a big emphasis we have to improve on -- our tackling. Our Michigan defense is known as a pursuit team and a gang-tackling team and we have to get back to that."

On the defense last year ... "We understand that we're the veterans now. We have to put our work in, especially in the weight room, conditioning and everything like that. We were young last year but that's not an excuse this year anymore. We went through some really rough growing pains on defense but we learned."

On what the defense feels like when they cannot stop the opponent's offense ... "Miserable. It's the most miserable feeling in the world because you feel like, as the defense, you're letting the offense down. Last year you knew those guys were going to put points on the board for us and we always felt that we were letting them down. At times we helped win games, like Wisconsin, but at Purdue and Northwestern, it was very, very tough."

On his own play last year ... "I think I did pretty well being that it was my first year playing, especially as a starter. But there's a lot of improvement that needs to be made for this year. I was there to make the plays; I just need to make more of them now."

On who is expected to stick out among a "no-name" unit ... "If you want someone specific, you have to look at Larry Foote, you have to look at Todd Howard, guys that can change the outcome of the game in one play if it comes down to it -- a big tackle, an interception, or something like that. But preferably, I'd rather have a no-name defense because I would rather have it where they're worried about everybody than just one person. I think we have enough athletes on this defense that we can match up pretty well with everybody."

On what to expect from the defense this year ... "No more excuses for one. Much better pass rush and a much better unit. Last year we had a lot of injuries. This year we're pretty deep and you're going to see, we're just going to come in waves at you and come after you."

Senior Tight End Bill Seymour

On his own skills ... "I hope to catch a few more balls this season. I spent all summer working on my hands and catching as many balls as possible. I caught some passes last season and a couple touchdowns and I hope to build on that."

On the offense coming together ... "We have really been using the two-a-days to get ready, but we have put the expectation on ourselves that we have to be good right away."

On relationship with quarterback John Navarre ... "He's cool. We played a lot of golf this summer. I've been trying to be a big brother by letting him know that we are all behind him. He's ready though. He has a ton of potential and has matured a lot from last season. He knows what to expect."

On Navarre's skills ... "John has a great arm and he makes good decisions. Nobody thinks he can run with the ball, but he is deceiving. Trust me, he can run with the ball."

Senior Tight End Shawn Thompson

On the team as a whole ... "I think it'd be hard to mention one guy, we have so much talent on this team so it'd be hard to mention one person I like a lot. It's impossible since there are so many great guys on this team, so many guys who have so much talent. I enjoy everyday to watch the guys I play with. We support each other, and to watch guys get better is a good feeling."

On his health following last year's knee injury ... "It's been a long time since I put on the pads -- since last year. I can't tell you how good my doctors have been and my trainers. I'm just excited to be out there again with my buddies and teammates and go out on the battlefield."

On the hardest part of rehab ... "Specifically I don't know if I could mention just one thing. It's a slow process. That's one thing I definitely learned. I've had a lot of support. My teammates have been behind me. My doctors, my trainers -- they've been great and they've only helped the process."

On watching the tape of his injury ... "Yeah, I have. I just don't like to think about it now. That was last year, and I want to put last year in last year, and I'm trying to focus on this year."

On the changing faces of the offense around him ... "That's what college football is all about. Guys come and guys eventually have to go. When you come here the young guys wait their turn and there's a time when the older guys leave and you have to step it up. There's a lot of talent on our offense and those guys are going to step it up and I'm looking forward to playing with this offense."

On what he looks forward to this year ... "Just to be out there with my teammates and we're looking forward to the first game. That's our attitude -- we take one game at a time, so right now the team that's on our mind is Miami of Ohio."

On what it's like living in Ann Arbor ... "It's great being in Ann Arbor. I knew coming here the [good] state of this program and it's a great feeling. There are so many good people that are associated with the university. It's just good to meet those people and be a part of them."

On being a student-athlete ... "I think the people on this campus and the people who are a part of this program are good people and I'm just happy to be a part of it."

On teaching the incoming freshmen ... "I remember growing up, kind of being on the wings of Jerame Tuman, Mark Campbell, Aaron Shea, and I looked up to them, followed their leadership. Being the fifth-year guy, you hope you can do the same for those young guys coming in."

Senior Wide Receiver Marquise Walker

On getting into a rhythm with a new quarterback ... "The receivers aren't worried at all about who will be starting. All of them have looked good and Michigan has a great tradition of producing quarterbacks. Whoever is at the position will get the job done."

On being a team leader in his senior year ... "I led in some ways last year but we also had a great senior class so there wasn't as much of a need for me to speak up. This year, since I'm a senior, I feel I need to take more responsibility because I'm older and should know what is going on with the team."

On the pressure to replace David Terrell ... "This year the receivers will need to step up even more to help replace Terrell and make things easier on a new quarterback. Still, I don't worry about the spotlight because I'm just like a little kid. I just enjoy playing football and as long as we are winning, I will be happy. Even if that just means I'm blocking or playing special teams, as long as we are winning that is what counts."

On fellow wide receiver Ronald Bellamy ... "I expect Ron to step up and be a big part of this offense. He's starting this year so he has to step up. He's a good receiver, he runs good routes, he's fast, and he catches the ball, so I think the fans will see a lot out of him this season."

Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423

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