Weekly U-M Football Media Luncheon
Junior/Sophomore Quarterback John Navarre
On the bye week ... "The bye week was good. This weekend, you get some time to get extra sleep and it was nice to sit around and watch college football. I watched Wisconsin and Illinois, Northwestern and Penn State and then the Texas game."
Did Penn State's win against Northwestern help you ... "At this point in the road, you need teams to help you. Especially when you don't play Northwestern you need a team like Penn State to help you. You need all the help you can get even though we control our own destiny if we win out."
On Michigan taking care of its own business ... "It feels good in the fact that we can win out and win the Big Ten championship. If both teams are undefeated and you don't play each other, it's a different feeling then waiting for someone to lose. It's a great feeling to know if we win out, then we have the championship. We need to maintain our focus and take it one game at a time."
On playing in bad weather and trying to prepare for it ... "I think you have to, you have to take advantages of those situations when it's necessary. You don't go out there if it's pouring rain. But Wednesday and Thursday, when it's lightly raining, cold and muddy, you have to see how your team handles those situations. You have to do it with respect to what you can do with your offense, and Coach (Lloyd) Carr does a good job."
On Iowa's defense ... "They have a great defense and they are solid. They have some big hitters in the secondary and they're very solid at defensive line and linebacker. Overall, they are solid at every position and they don't give up big plays. They are very aggressive. They line up and say, 'Here's what we're going to run and see if you can beat us,' and it's been tough for teams to do that."
On having more time to work on Iowa because of the bye week ... "Every time you have a bye week you want to take advantage of it. When you have a bye week you have more time to prepare for them. You can put in your initial game plan the first week and then adjust it in the second week."
On the coaches preparing the team for games in unfamiliar territory (i.e., Kinnick Stadium) ... "We had our senior class there. You hear things by word of mouth. We don't try to prepare for a specific place, but it's a loud place and their fans are supportive. We're ready though and we just know what we hear, stuff from word of mouth from the seniors."
On trying to keep the momentum gained prior to the bye week ... "Anytime you run into a bye week with the momentum we had, it is tough to maintain your focus, but in order to be a championship team you need to overcome that challenge. We have to keep our focus and that's up to the coaches' and the players' attitudes. You have to move forward and we did last week. We're a better team. We watched a lot of film and game planning and we took a step forward."
What do trick plays add to a game other than excitement ... "They can change the momentum of a ball game. We proved that against Illinois. We were three and out in the first four series and Illinois thought they had us figured out. Then you throw in a trick play and you break their backs. They know that you can hurt them and it changes the momentum of the game. I think it's talked about because they are big plays and spectacular things have happened. They're different and untraditional."
On wanting to establish the run in every game ... "I think you have to. Purdue, we knew they we're going to try and stop the run. We pride ourselves on running the ball and to be a good team you have to run the ball first. Everyone in this conference is going to do that because they know we want to run the ball. The offensive line takes great pride in blocking the schemes right. If they try to stop the run and you do well, it really takes a lot out of them."
On the play of Michigan's offensive line this season ... "Nobody expected anything because they didn't know who they (the new linemen) were, but that doesn't mean they don't have talent. They are jelling and it's important they are one unit. There is good senior leadership who take over and the newer guys follow the leaders. Once they jell it's fun to watch them pulling and blocking and working hard. I think they have made great improvements."
On Marquise Walker's play despite being double-teamed by the opposition ... "He's a vital part of our offense and he's a go-to guy. He's like a security blanket because we can go to him. You don't have to throw a perfect ball because he'll catch it. We also use him as a decoy and open up other parts of our offense because they have to cover him and double-cover him."
On his comfort level playing on the road ... "I'm getting a lot more comfortable. Penn State was a big road game and it helped my confidence. An away game is a hostile environment but you still have to play football. Your game plan can't change. The only thing different is when you make a bad play everyone cheers."
Senior Wide Receiver Marquise Walker
On playing in contrasting weather conditions ... "You just adjust to it because any Saturday you don't know what the weather is going to be. It could snow or it could be hot. We prepare for it, though, during the week, practicing in whatever weather there is, so we'll be prepared."
On why he's been so successful this year ... "John Navarre is reading the defense and knows where I'm going to be, which helps. I run what the coaches call and if I'm open, John finds me. If I'm double-teamed, he goes to the next guy."
On running trick plays ... "I like running them because they bring excitement to the game. It's an advantage because it also keeps the defense guessing."
On his success catching the ball despite regularly being double-teamed ... "I think you have to watch film to see what kind of coverage and technique they are playing or it will hurt you. They have a lot of experienced guys and they know what they are doing out there, so we have to break down their defense."
On his goal this season ... "From day one, come out there and play it one game at a time. I think we've been doing a good job of that."
On the attention he is getting as one of the nation's top players ... "I'm not paying any attention to that. I'm focused on Iowa and winning the Big Ten race."
On his memories of the last trip to Iowa ... "It was cold. Every away game the crowd is hostile. Hopefully we won't have to fight back like the last time we were there."
Did you expect the offense to be statistically as good as last year's ... "Even though we lost a lot of good offensive linemen, every year Michigan is going to have a good line. Every year a star player leaves. I expected us to come out there and perform like we are. I think having David Terrell gone, I thought coming in I had to step up and be more of a leader. I envisioned doing this since I got here. I was lucky to play behind Marcus Knight and Tai Streets and it helped me more than it hurt me. You're going to be frustrated by not playing but I couldn't let that get me down. I never questioned that it would happen."
On the play of John Navarre ... "I'm not surprised. He got in there last year and started four games and did pretty good. In the offseason he learned the offense, and coming in to this season the more games he's played, the better he gets. The offensive line is the same. The more reps they get, the better they are going to be."
Senior/Junior Defensive End Dan Rumishek
On possibly losing momentum after a bye week ... "It's all about remaining focused -- going in there and watching film, being prepared, being ready. Iowa's a tough team. An off-week is a great thing for a football team in terms of being healthy again and refocusing on your goals. I think of it as a momentum builder. I really was able to look back and see how I've been doing so far this season and reevaluating my goals and getting after them again. That fire's back in me again. I enjoyed it."
On if he's satisfied with his play so far this season ... "So far. I think for myself I got off to a slow start and I wasn't making as many plays as I should have, and last three games I've been able to make those plays and it's really helped the team out. I think I'm okay with my goals right now. I've still got a long way to go and so does this team."
On if he gets frustrated after not making a play for long stretches during the game ... "On the defensive line you just have to keep pushing. You're not expected to have eight, nine tackles a game. You just have to keep hustling and things will come your way if you are hustling on every single play. That's what we preach on the defensive line and on the defense, period. Pursue and go to the ball and things will happen."
On how much time is spent on technique at this point of the season ... "Yes, it's a lot of technique now. When you're in the season you don't want to forget about your technique, but you have a tendency to start just playing on instincts and you want to get back and reestablish your good technique, your good form -- hand placement, your feet and things like that."
On how rating the play of defensive linemen can be hard to assess ... "The thing that a lot of people don't see is pressure on the quarterback. You might not have a sack or get to the quarterback or have a lot of tackles for a loss, but if that quarterback starts feeling you on every single down he might have those 'happy feet.' He might start scrambling a lot sooner than he'd like to. Knocking balls down and just being a presence out there is a good thing. If you can't make those tackles or you can't make those plays, you have to have a presence on the field, especially when it comes to pass rushing."
On the upcoming game at Iowa ... "They're going to keep coming after you. I know that. They want to run the ball, plain and simple. They're not going to give up on it at any point of the game. They're going to try to establish a running game and if they do then we're going to be in for a dogfight at Iowa."
On whether a running team like Iowa plays into the Michigan defense's hands ... "It does and it doesn't. Our job is to stop the run but if they're going to keep coming after the run it kind of keeps a defense off-balance because you can't just sit there and think they're passing here so I can just tee off and go (after the quarterback). You just want to establish the fact as a defense that you can't run the ball on us. If we can stop the run that's great, but we know that Iowa's not going to give up on it."
On the similarities of Iowa's offense to Michigan's ... "From what I've seen they're the mirror image of us. They play mistake-free football. They don't turn the ball over. They play the run tremendously on defense and they have a good offensive line -- they have good technique and they're coached well. They're going to keep coming after you. If you're going to beat them, you're going to beat them. They're not going to beat themselves."
Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423