Shawn Lazarus | Ben Mast | John Navarre
Dave Petruziello | B.J. Askew
Senior/Junior Defensive Lineman Shawn Lazarus
On preparing for Miami of Ohio
... "We know one thing about Miami of Ohio, and that's that they have great coaches, great tradition, and watching them in a clip against Ohio State last night, we know that they want to win. We know they're going to come into our stadium ready to play and to give us their best shot."
On the depth of the defensive line ... "We have a lot of competition and a lot of backups so no one should get tired in there. I think we have a lot of talent, and all we have to do is perform, and Miami's experienced offensive line should be a good test for us."
On controlling the line of scrimmage better this year ... "I think that every football player focuses on getting better each day. That means improving your techniques, improving your get-offs, improving your stance and your consistency. Dominating the line of scrimmage comes with experience."
On using last year as motivation for this year ... "Well, this is a whole new team. When we started camp we got a new defense and we just tried to come together and play as a team."
On how he has grown since his freshmen year ... "When I weighed in before the mile and a half here, I weighed 227 pounds, and I weigh 297 this year."
On assessing the offensive line ... "They're working very hard. I think the best thing the offensive line has going for them is that they are a tight group of guys and that they are hard-working, good athletes."
On preparing for Miami's option offense ... "We honestly don't know what we're going to see, but there are certain things I do as a defensive linemen that I do against every team. I am going to get the same keys, the same reads, and the same reactions, so we're going to just go out there react and play some football."
On preparing for two different quarterbacks ... "Well, Ryan Hawk is more mobile, and Ben Roethlisberger is a guy who likes to stay in the pocket and throw the ball. With their offensive line up front, it is going to be difficult to put some pressure on them, but we're going to do the best job we can."
On playing Ohio teams ... "When you play a team from the state you're from you want to perform your best and go home able to walk down the street with your head up. Miami is a team that sent me some letters but did not heavily recruit me."
Fifth-Year Senior Offensive Lineman Ben Mast
On the offensive line ... "I'm really proud of everyone that is playing right now, even the backup guys to the third-team guys, and the new guys coming in. One thing I have noticed about this offensive line is everybody doesn't know about our talent and there is a big question about it. So we are going to play with a lot of enthusiasm and get it going, and we will be all right."
On the talent of the offensive line ... "With the line that we lost last year, no one really knows about us yet because no one really has seen us since we have played behind all the great guys we had last year. But we will be ready to go."
On playing as a unit ... The last couple of years the same guys have been practicing together, even though we haven't played in a game as one unit. I have played alongside (Tony) Pape, (Demeterius) Solomon and Kurt (Anderson), and we are all comfotable with each other and are a close group. Everybody understands each other and knows what is going on."
On the motivation of being a question mark ... "We try not to focus on us as a question mark, but it is hard when everyone is talking about the offensive line. Everybody wants to put out a challenge and we want to take on the challenge and prove to everyone that we are going to be all right, no matter what."
On playing with this group of guys compared to the past ... "I feel really comfortable, as comfortable as I have with any other line that I have played with since I have been here."
On changing from offense to defense ... "The way I look at it, I want to do whatever I can to help this team win. I'm not a big spotlight player. I want to do whatever it takes to win. That is all I care about here. I'm willing to try any position, and if they asked me tomorrow to move to defense if they thought it would help the team win, I would move to defense."
On Miami's tradition of playing well in big games ... "I think it is because of their great tradition. I have watched a lot of film on them and have noticed that everybody goes 100 percent every single play. They have great athletes on the defensive line that I have seen so far, and a lot of them try really hard, which helps them."
Junior/Sophomore Quarterback John Navarre
On his confidence level gained from last year ... "My confidence is much higher than a year ago. As far as preparation and knowing what to expect, it is a totally different feeling this year as opposed to last year. Everything was new last year and doing everything for the first time. This year I had a whole off-season to prepare for one. I got to work towards that and develop the skills to be a leader. Confidence-wise and knowing what to expect has been a tremendous help from last year. I feel that will be one of my helpful assets that will work in my favor this year."
On the competition factor ... "Coming in here as a redshirt freshman and then last year, the competition level is a struggle all in itself. Not just at quarterback but at every position. I think that is a mark of a great quarterback, to compete and play well. Coming in here, competing was a different kind of thing. In high school, I did compete but not like at this level. I think it has made me a better quarterback."
On last season as a whole ... "I wasn't prepared as being number one. Here at Michigan, you have to prepare to be number one no matter what. All summer coming in, I knew I had to prepare to be number one because anything can happen. I felt that when it did happen I wasn't nervous but excited, because I feel prepared and ready to come in to run this offense. That is what I told my family and friends when they asked how I felt -- excited and confident."
On what was difficult last season ... "Everything is new for the first time. I think the big surprises were dealing with adversity and changes, defenses doing different things that you haven't seen before. The big thing about being quarterback is you have to rise above that. If you make a bad play or throw an interception, you have to rise above that and not let it bother you the next time you are on the field."
On taking over the team ... "At quarterback you have to do that. That is what I worked on over the summer. Not saying this is my team, but step up as a leader because the offense is looking to you for answers. You are running the show and you have to have all the answers. That's the big thing to be confident and what I have worked on all summer. Be confident and a leader."
On who taught him how to be a leader ... "All the guys that have been here and all the coaches. Tom Brady, Drew (Henson) and (Jason) Kapsner led the way. All the coaches like Stan Parrish and Coach (Lloyd) Carr. All the people that are responsible for the quarterback position and running an offense have shown the way. You have to have some moxie and be confident."
On knowing that he is the number one quarterback heading into game week ... "It helps me tremendously. Competition brings out the best in all of us. Coach Carr said something about how you can't name a quarterback for the whole season without having someone right there pushing him and competing against him. You can't have a guy come in here knowing he is number one, because he will never get better first of all and he won't strive to beat someone out. It's not about beating someone out every year, but it is competition and that is what Michigan is all about. There is competition at every position every day."
Senior/Junior Offensive Lineman Dave Petruziello
On playing offense after starting his collegiate career on defense ... "I've been getting comfortable with running certain plays and getting used to certain defensive looks. Now I'm able to use things that I learned on defense and not just worrying about the play. The biggest adjustment has been technique. On defense it's more of a 'go get them' attitude and you play lower, and you're more after them. On offense, not to say you sit back, you have to take a different outlook and let things come to you.
On if offense suits his style ... "I'm pretty aggressive. The biggest thing is technique. Once I learned technique I've been able to be more aggressive and that is what camp has allowed me to do over the past couple of weeks. They're too different. Everyone asks me which one I like better. Obviously defense is a great time, it's really exciting. Offense takes more patience, things have to develop more, but it is very gratifying, exciting to help score a touchdown at Michigan so I'm excited about that."
On the excitement before the first game ... "I think it's a little harder for the younger guys who haven't played yet; they're real excited. They're at a stage they want to get out there and play. They've been waiting for two or three years and now it's a week away. As a senior you tell them there are things to work on, things to take care of before we get out there."
On if he misses playing defense ... "Big question last year was our defense. I went through those struggles with them last year. Now to see that everyone is excited to watch them this year. I'm as excited as anyone. A lot of those guys are my friends so I'm excited for them because I went through it with them. I think they are going to be a great defense."
On Miami ... "Last night we just watched the Ohio State game vs. Miami last year. First few series OSU pushed them around and had a few big plays. The third quarter rolls around and they are still fighting. No one wants to play a team that doesn't fight because you won't get any better. Miami goes in there to fight, and I'm not saying that just to say it because you can see it on the film."
Junior Fullback/Tailback B.J. Askew
On playing tailback vs. fullback ... "I love running the football. Some people have a love for what they do, and that is where my heart is, so I would love to get more carries. I can't play both at the same time. But I'll be playing both, and certain situations it depends on what's what."
On getting credit ... "A lot of people talk about credit, like our [offensive] line. The fullback, wow, I actually realized he's got it hard. He goes hard every play. Give credit to offensive line and the yards the running back gets, so it's different to be at fullback."
On opportunities ... "I got a chance last year to show some of my talents and my diversity helped me out a lot too. Watching Anthony Thomas, he was a guy who could do it all. When you can do it all it helps the team tremendously. You don't have to sub because they know if this guy's in they're going to pass because he can't run. Diversity helps the offense."
Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423