John Navarre | Maurice Williams | Larry Foote | Jake Frysinger
Sophomore/Freshman Quarterback John Navarre
Are you ready for this
... "From the time I was asked to step in there I was real excited. A little nervous at first, but more excited than anything. I just want to prepare right and am just real anxious to play. I have been watching all the preseason games on TV -- the Pigskin Classic and everything like that -- and it is just making me anxious to play."
How are you sleeping ... "I have probably been going to bed a little later than I should this last week. The first night was rough but I handled it and everything is all right now."
Before Drew Henson got hurt, how much did you see yourself playing this season ... "Coach [Lloyd] Carr said that I might get some playing time and experience in the beginning of the season during the first couple of games. So up to that point, those were my expectations -- to get some experience during the first few games as a backup role."
What was the first thing that popped into your head when Drew got injured "Honestly, the first thing when it became a reality was I have to put faith in myself and the team. Give the team faith in myself. As a quarterback, let them know that I can go out there and win games. I wanted to let the team know immediately out there on the practice field when it happened that I can do this and I can win football games. That was my main mentality."
Will experience last year help you for this season ... "Yes, I think it will. Coming in was very overwhelming, with the offense and just learning the college game itself with the speed of everything happening. I stayed around all year and this summer watching film with the other quarterbacks, Tom Brady, Drew, and with [Jason] Kapsner. And with Coach [Scot] Loeffler (former graduate assistant) I did a lot of film studies. I had a lot of quizzes and tests from Coach Loeffler on the offense. I feel that helped me a lot and I'm noticing now when I am on the field I'm picking up reads and doing things well enough, doing things the way I was taught."
How has your last week gone for you ... "I felt confident. I wanted to put faith in my team and myself like I said. And the team really rallied around me this week. I felt good and I felt that I had to come in there and didn't have to do much extra. I didn't have to do more than I was asked, just run the offense and play football. So I felt confident."
What will be the first thing on your mind when you come out of the tunnel on Saturday ... "I think the first thing will be that first quarterback-center exchange."
Senior Offensive Lineman Maurice Williams
As an offensive lineman, how did you feel when Drew Henson went down ... "Well, the goal for all the offensive line is to protect all our quarterbacks the best we can. When Drew got hurt the first thing I looked at was 'Where is the protection' It was just a freak accident."
Is the offensive line clicking well ... "I think the offensive guys have gotten better every day during camp with Drew [Henson] or [John] Navarre in there. That is just one position on the field. I think Navarre is going to do a great job leading the team. We are going to miss Drew in the first few games, but we really didn't lose a step when Navarre stepped in."
What have you told John Navarre to help him ... "The main thing is we try and encourage him, let him know that everything is going to be okay. Just do his job as a quarterback, and let him know that up front we are going to give him the best protection we possibly can. We have watched film on Bowling Green and their blitzing and how to pick them up to best protect John Navarre."
How is the offensive line ... "I think the offensive line has gotten much better this year and through camp. We are an older group so we didn't have to spend this camp learning plays. We are focusing on techniques and doing things the right way and getting to the linebackers to block."
Do you have to run the ball better this year ... "Definitely, our goal each year is to run the ball well. If you look at Michigan teams in the past, the tradition is that they come out and run the ball the best they can. That is what we want to do. We want to average over a hundred yards or more a game."
Is Bowling Green a good test for John Navarre ... "I think Bowling Green is a good test for everyone, not just Navarre. This will be a good game for us to see how well we did in this camp, how well we prepared mentally and physically. I think this will be a good game for Navarre to sit back in the pocket, hopefully with a little more time. Our goal as an offensive line is to come out and prepare for Bowling Green and play the best we can."
Junior Linebacker Larry Foote
Is this your time to lead the defense ... "Yes, I look at myself as a leader on defense, especially vocally. I am one of the big mouths on the defensive side. I feel I can rally the troops around behind me."
How aggressive is this defense ... "We are fast, maybe a little more quicker than last year's defense. The young guys up front, they are here to play. In the backfield the young guys are coming into their own."
How has the team come along during the camp ... "As far as Anthony Jordan, he definitely took a big leap. He had a great camp. Eric Brackins keeps getting better and better every time he steps out on the practice field. Victor Hobson is coming into his own. As a linebacker corps, I think we are going to be strong."
On playing with Alain Kashama ... "He's a funny guy. He can definitely play. When you watch practice film, he will outrun a linebacker or defensive back to get to the ball. He can run."
On losing several defensive starters to graduation ... "We have to prove something to ourselves. We know that in the Michigan family great players lead the program every year. And when they leave great players have to fill their shoes."
Are the doubts about the defensive line wrong ... "Yeah, that does not bother me, I think you will find that out on Saturday. We are in practice every day; we know that up front they can play."
Senior Defensive End Jake Frysinger
On the defensive line ... "Well, obviously we have a lot of young guys up front and lost a lot of good players. But there is a lot of ability and toughness in the defensive line and we are just going to have to show what we can do."
How much pressure do you have on yourself ... "Well, I think as a senior that is a pressure you have to deal with anyways. At Michigan, seniors are expected to lead this team. That is how it has always been and it's tradition. We accept that role, it's not easy, but that is how it should be."
On Alain Kashama ... "He has a tough time with the language barrier (Kashama's native language is French), but it's amazing how much he has picked up that last two weeks. I know that I would not be able to do that, especially since it is not normal English that we use. There is a lot of slang in defense, and he has picked up that really quickly. He's a real good guy and anxious to learn and play."
Any nervousness on Alain Kashama's part ... "It's not nervousness. He is just trying so hard to learn everything. And like I said, I am really impressed with the way he has picked up on everything in the last two and a half weeks. I know that Eric Wilson has helped him out a lot in that aspect of learning defenses. So he is going to be fine. He is one of the best athletes I have seen since I have been here, so he is going to be a good football player for us."
How would you characterize this defense ... "As a senior, I have seen a lot of good defenses. This defense I would describe as unselfish. All these guys out here are just having fun and no one really cares who is out there making plays. It is a real team."
What is the excitement you have during game week ... "It's kind of a weird feeling going from two-a-days to game week right now. Being a senior it's a whole new excitement because I only have six more times in the stadium. Since yesterday we had our first meetings for game week, and I had goose bumps. From January 2nd, right after the bowl game, everything just goes so fast. I can't wait for Saturday."
Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423