Weekly U-M Football Media Luncheon
Eric Wilson | Jeff Backus | Ian Gold
Senior Rush Linebacker James Hall
On the Wisconsin game ... "This one's for the Big Ten Championship, the Rose Bowl. This is what it's all about right here."
On having faced Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne last season ... "We got a feel for him, what kind of back he is, his size, his power. It is somewhat of an advantage, but not that much of an advantage."
On Ron Dayne ... "As far as getting him in the backfield, he's about the same as everybody else. Once he gets his legs going though, he's probably the toughest person to try and bring down. That's why it's going to be key for us to try to get him before he gets started."
Senior Wideout Marcus Knight
On sharing punt returning duties with DiAllo Johnson ... "DiAllo's always in the hunt and so am I. We're both competitiors, so we work on it each week in practice. Both of us take reps and it's really a decision the coaches make on Saturday. I feel comfortable back there and if my number's called I plan to be there."
On Wisconsin's defensive backs ... "Jamar Fletcher and (Mike) Echols, they're both great corners. Fletcher's a preseason All-American. I expect it to be a good game. I'm looking forward to this matchup and I know that me and my fellow teammates, wide receivers, are going to go out and practice hard and get ready for this game.
Junior Safety DeWayne Patmon
On Michigan's cornerbacks ... "(James) Whitley and (Todd) Howard, they played as well as I expected them to play every game. We always expect them to play great because they're great corners."
On the defense ... "What we need to do is eliminate the big plays. We've got to just read our keys. We're giving up big plays because we're not doing what we need to do. We have to just do our assignments."
On whether the defense feels pressure when the offense doesn't score ... "No, we don't feel any added pressure because we know if ... we have to shut out an opponent then that's what we have to do. If they score 20 points and we have to keep them under 19, then that's what we have to do. We don't feel any added pressure because some games they will lift us up as we lifted them up. It's a team effort. They're here for us and we're here for them."
Junior Defensive Lineman Eric Wilson
On Wisconsin ... "With Wisconsin, they always have a big offensive line. Again this year they come back. They have an All-American (Chris) McIntosh over on the left tackle. Everybody's back except for the big guy (Aaron) Gibson, who's replaced by another guy who's over 300 pounds.
On Wisconsin's running game ... "We like the challenge of them wanting to run the ball down our throat. We'll take the challenge and we'll see what the front seven can do."
On Wisconsin's loss to Cincinnati ... "It's the Big Ten opener and that's something we have to take into consideration. Just like Syracuse, they weren't ranked but they were a good football team. It doesn't matter where Wisconsin is (ranked) because they're always a powerhouse."
Junior Offensive Lineman Jeff Backus
On the start of the Big Ten season ... "This non-conference schedule meant a lot towards the Big Ten championship. We had goals this non-conference schedule and we accomplished those goals. And now we have new sets of goals for the Big Ten season. You can't look at the games any differently, but at the same time they mean a little more."
On Michigan rotating running backs ... "That's actually one of the things I don't notice. I don't notice what running back is in. I expect Anthony (Thomas) to be in there the majority of the time, which he has been. But like last weekend, we ran a draw and the running back scooted in there and got some yards and it was Walter (Cross). And I was like, Dang, I didn't even know he was in the game."
Senior Linebacker Ian Gold
On the close games ... "We expect that. As a Michigan defense we want that. We want the game to end with us on the field. We want the games to be dependent upon us. That's what Michigan defense is all about. We want us to have to run on the field and have to make a big stop at the end of the game. I love that -- biting my nails, having the fans on the edge of their seats."
On Michigan's schedule ... "That's why I came here. Because I knew the entire schedule is challenging. Every team we play is definitely a challenge and we don't want anything less than that here at Michigan."
On Wisconsin ... "Wisconsin, they're going to be a formidable opponent. We have to go in like this is the national championship game. They're going to be looking at us like, 'This is Michigan. We can't take these guys lightly.' Regardless of who Wisconsin has played in the past, they are definitely going to be ready to play us."
On Ron Dayne ... "What we need to do in order to be successful against Ron Dayne -- his first three steps that he gets toward the line. If he gains that momentum he's really hard to stop, as you can tell. Once he get in the secondary, DBs really have a hard time tackling him. The thing about our defensive backs, they'll hit you. I know that 11 men on this Michigan defense will get to the ball. It's going to be a knockout game. We're going to have to come up and hit him before he can gain that momentum downhill."
On the Michigan defense ... "This Michigan defense of '99, we've definitely got that attitude that we're not going to allow our opponents to just run through us and to make the big plays. Last year we allowed here and there. There is a sense of urgency. We're a senior-dominated defense, so we've got a lot of older guys out there. The young guys are following us."
Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423