Weekly U-M Football Media Luncheon
Redshirt Freshman Cornerback Jeremy LeSueur
Comparing the 2000 season opener vs. Bowling Green with last year's vs. Notre Dame ... "It's a lot different. I knew I was going to play on defense this year, while last year I knew I would see action on special teams. It was a great feeling to step out onto the field against Notre Dame but this year was wonderful because I knew I was going to play on defense."
On the coaches having confidence to use many combinations in the secondary ... "I think it's a lot of fun. There are many teams that don't have a lot of depth at certain positions, and if someone goes down they don't have players to back them up. Last year we didn't have a lot of depth in the secondary, but this year we continued to improve as a group during two-a-days, creating depth."
Is the running game style of Rice hard for a defensive back to get excited for ... "I don't think it's hard to get up for. We don't have any cover cornerbacks. We all have to make tackles and plays. Our cornerbacks and safeties have to be a big part in the run defense. We need to come up and support the run just like linebackers and defensive linemen."
Since you're a taller cornerback do you like to lay hits on players ... "I just love the game of football. It doesn't matter if it's run or pass defense. Whatever I can do to help the defense I'll do."
Does a hit like the one linebacker Larry Foote made Saturday get the defensive players excited ... "Certainly ... any type of play that one of our teammates makes gets us fired up. We are out on the field to make plays. Whenever any one of your teammates makes a big play it's great for our defense."
Junior Rush Linebacker Evan Coleman
On moving over to the defensive side of the ball ... "It's not that I like playing defense more than offense. Defense, it's more freelance, it's tackle the man with the ball. You don't have to go block this guy or chop this guy ... defense is read your keys, follow your assignment and go get whoever has the ball. There is a lot of excitement about defense. The thinking process between the two positions is completely different. You have to recognize offensive sets but its just a different mentality than the other side of the football."
On fullback B.J. Askew ... "B.J. is a great fullback. He can catch the ball, run the ball and pass protection. He is just a little bit faster than I am. He had a great game on Saturday."
Is defense a little bit more reckless ... "It's a little bit more freelance but you have a little more freedom within the framework of the defense to make a play. You still need to read your keys and be in tune with the guy next to you, but you're still more freed up to make a play on the football."
On the decision to move to defense ... "It came more as a surprise to me. Coach (Jim) Herrmann asked me a few days before spring drills started what my thoughts would be about playing on defense. I told him that any way that I could help this football team I'd do it. The changeover to defense -- they threw a playbook at me that was bigger than the offensive book -- I was unsure of but as the spring progressed I learned it. I worked with James Hall during spring and summer and watched a lot of film. Coach (Mike) Elston has really helped me."
On practicing and working alongside Alain Kashama ... "He is from Canada and stayed with me for a few days this summer. I finally have learned to understand everything he is saying. Alain is a great guy. He is tall, fast and very athletic. He helps me with some things, and I help with some things. There are times when he won't understand what coach is trying to say, so I'll take him off to the side and break it down for him. It has been real fun."
Where does Rice fit in the scheme in Texas football with Texas and Texas A&M ... "They have a very good football team. Rice is an outstanding school and I have a few friends who attend school there. The football team has an excellent defense and an offense that is progressing."
Would the city of Houston be galvanized for the Rice-Houston game the other night ... "The Houston-Rice game is just like the Michigan-Michigan State game. The schools are maybe 25 miles apart and I know it was very hot for that game. My father said it was 114 degrees on Thursday when he left to come up here for the game. That is a great rivalry down there and I'll bet the crowd enjoyed it a lot."
On the challenge the defensive line faces this week ... "Every week is a challenge because you have different personnel and sets by each opponent. This week we need to focus on reading our keys and watch a lot of film and decide what the opponent is going to try and do at certain instances. We need to be prepared."
Does your offensive experience help you in any way with the position you now play ... "Playing offense and knowing the drills we practiced, I think that it helped me for the defensive side of the ball by giving me better foot coordination and athletic ability. You need to be an athletic guy to play rush linebacker."
Sophomore Fullback B.J. Askew
On his 58-yard catch and run vs. Bowling Green ... "It's one of the plays we like to run to the fullback. Since I'm pretty much still like a tailback, I knew I could make a big play out of that screen. That's just what happened and I received some great blocks from my teammates."
When you look at all the players you have a tailback are you glad you moved to fullback ... "I wish I could have stayed there and competed but I'm not sure how we'll work the tailback slot in terms of alternating players. We ran four or five tailbacks on Saturday but I'm sure we won't run that many players when the games begin to get tougher. I know I can play a lot more snaps at the fullback position than I could have at tailback."
On the nature of the change of the fullback position at Michigan ... "I think they are using the fullback in a lot of different situations nowadays. When you used to think about a fullback you'd think of a guy who just goes and does all the dirty work and blocks. Now, we get the fullback involved in the offense. We're involved in the passing game, running game and in pass protection."
On his speed ... "I think of myself as a tailback trapped in the fullback's position. I'm not the regular fullback you'd expect to see. I blocked every play that I was in there except for the three pass plays that I got. I'm still in there doing some dirty work."
On learning the blocking aspect of the fullback position ... "It was a little bit difficult at the start. There are certain reads you need to make and certain defenses you need to recognize. At first, they were talking about all these types of defenses and I was pretty confused. It started off complicated but as I got the knowledge of the position it got a lot easier."
On reading blitzes and his assignments ... "Anthony (Thomas) and I will be in pass protection a lot, and reading those blitzes by a defenses can be difficult. Every time I pass blocked no one came in on Saturday, but I know that is going to change in the future. We'll be ready for it."
Do you enjoy the blocking aspect of the game ... "Yes. I want to win and I'll do whatever it takes to help us win. If it means me sticking my nose in there against somebody for us to win, I'll do it. I want to protect the quarterback as much as I can."
What was John (Navarre) like in the huddle ... "John was extremely focused. He called the play and we just went up there and ran it. It was pretty much like that. He looked over to the sideline, they'd give him the play call and he'd come over and give us the play. He wasn't nervous at all. He was just ready to do his job."
On the offensive line ... "I expect a lot from our offensive line. This is a great group of players. They always get the job done and I always expect there to be some holes. They provide great run blocking and pass protection. I think we have one of the greatest offensive lines in the country."
Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423