Weekly U-M Football Media Luncheon
Fifth-Year Senior Tight End Bill Seymour
On the watching film of the loss at Michigan State ... "It was a really tough loss but we made a lot of mistakes offensively and hopefully we'll learn from it. You can't just skip watching some plays and not others. We took it like champs. We're going to regroup from it and play hard this week."
Did Michigan State make changes to affect you during the second half or were you guys just out of sync ... "It was a little of both. We had some errors in there and offensively we didn't do what we needed to do in the second half. We didn't change the game plan. We ran the ball and it just didn't work."
On what went wrong in the second half ... "As a Michigan team, we didn't make the plays we needed to. We could have kept that situation from happening and it should not have come down to that last play. We need to put more points on the board. It wasn't in our cards to win the game."
On the timing at the end of the game ... "It's tough to say and it's a judgment call from the booth or what. There's nothing we can do about it now."
On the increased turnovers over the last three games ... "Turnovers are going to happen. We wanted to cut down the turnovers but we had some big ones in there and they are going to happen. We need to protect the ball better."
How quickly can you put the Michigan State game behind you ... "Once you watch the film and understand what you did wrong. I got home and watched Minnesota vs. Ohio State and started focusing on Minnesota. We still have three huge games left. Minnesota is a great team and we need to take care of the next three weeks. They are a young defense, but they get after it. It's going to be a challenge."
Fifth-Year Senior Center Kurt Anderson
On the last-second loss at Michigan State ... "We did it to ourselves, mistakes throughout the game and it just happened to be obvious at the end. There were things in our control that we didn't execute and that's why it ended the way it did. Honestly, it's time to move on. We looked at the mistakes we made and now it's Minnesota week and our focus is on the Little Brown Jug."
On the team's mood on Sunday ... "It was almost as motivating as a win would be. The bell's ringing and we've got to come out fighting."
How long does it take to set up, snap a ball and spike it to the ground ... "We have timing plays and we know that it takes a certain amount of time to spot the ball. We use those plays in practice for clock management purposes and whatever the pace of the game is, it should stay the same. Every referee is different but it should stay consistent throughout the game. The coaches know the set times and how it works."
On the timing at the end of the Michigan State game ... "We want to win the Big Ten championship and we didn't want to lose a game. No team wants to lose a game. Whether you felt that way or not, there were mistakes on every single play and that's what loses games for you. There were things that we did as far as plays are concerned that affect the last play of the game. It shouldn't have come down to one second as far as the players are concerned."
Was the film session yesterday longer than most Sundays ... "We keep a strict schedule and a routine and stick to no matter if we win or lose. We spent a lot of time on Minnesota."
What was the team's mood like yesterday ... "It's amazing because you can see it in everyone's eyes, that it's burning and that we want to get back out on that field. We want to redeem ourselves and I've never seen this team more fired up. It's apparent that we control our destiny, and that loss is going to linger but if you come away with a Big Ten championship, it will make it a lot easier to swallow. This team is ready to go and I don't think anyone on this team wants today off."
On what to expect from Minnesota ... "Just watching on film, they ran for 300-some yards against Michigan State and they played with Ohio State. Their running backs are running hard and their defense keeps them in games. Just from watching I've never seen them out of a game. They had one lapse early in the season but other than that, they've been playing good football."
Fifth-Year Senior Left Guard Jonathan Goodwin
On what has kept the offense from running the ball well ... "We've got to have more plays where everyone is doing their job. Guys are out there giving an effort, but we had a couple of mental mistakes."
On watching the final series that won the game for MSU ... "I really kind of stayed on the bench. I knew we came up one yard short on our final possession. It was tough to watch. Some of those things that happened late in the game honestly gave me a bad feeling. We ultimately ended up hurting ourselves."
On the players' mood on Sunday ... "Everyone came in and acted like last Sunday (after beating Iowa). No one's dwelling on it and everyone knows we have as lot that we can still achieve."
On having more turnovers during the last couple of games ... "It's been unusual because in the last couple of years we haven't turned the ball over. We need to take better care of the ball. I can't speak for those guys that carry the ball, but hopefully we can secure it better."
Junior/Sophomore Defensive Tackle Grant Bowman
On the defensive line's improvement from last year ... "It definitely has to do with a combination of things. It has to do with at the end of the year getting bigger and stronger and faster. All the guys up front are at least 10 to 15 pounds heavier and that's a huge advantage in the pass rush game, and plus we looked to evaluate our last season and, as a team, we really didn't generate enough pressure. We had to bring blitzes too many times. So during the winter and during the summer we had a chance to work on things like pass rush moves and concentrated on stuff more than we had before and doing a lot of new things. This year we've talked a lot about our mentality when it's third and long, to know the down and distance and know the different personnel groups and say this time instead of coming off the ball and thinking run first, we think pass first. We come off the ball as hard as we can and attack the guy and try to generate a pass rush. We've had some great coaching from Coach (Brady) Hoke up front. He's added some new things to the game plan for us and also, before we were a lot more structured on our pass rush, but he's done some things that have allowed us to do more of our own thing. It's not as structured and we can really just go after the quarterback now as he's given us free reign out there."
On being able to generate so many sacks but giving up so many rushing yards at MSU ... "It really does because if you took all the pass plays of the game you'd probably say that we had our best performance as a defensive line and then you look at the running game and you'd probably say we had one of our worst performances. It goes into a lot of things. Michigan State did a great great job up front in the running with their schemes and the way they were attacking our defense. It's tough. They just found some things that worked against us and for the whole year we've been a great team against the run and to give that many yards is really tough. We tried to make some adjustments, but they didn't work. We're going to be thinking a lot about the things that we can change this week because Minnesota has a similar offense, runs a lot of the same type of plays and has a tremendous running back and a tremendous offensive line."
On the difficulty of controlling MSU running back T.J. Duckett ... "Well, T.J. Duckett is definitely a tremendous back. He's a big guy. He's definitely got tremendous ability and he got rolling early. They were able to do some things against our defense and expose some things that we weren't covering as well as we should. Once he got rolling he was hard to stop and it's hard for 200-pound safeties to go in there and stop a guy that's 250 pounds and running at full speed. They stuck their heads in there, but they weren't able to always stop him. A guy like that is going to fall forward at the end of a play and get a few extra yards on every play. Once a guy who's 250 or 260 pounds gets rolling he's tough to stop, and we probably didn't do our whole part as a defense and a front seven of stopping him before he got rolling."
On being successful gang-tackling running backs ... "Most of the backs during the season we've been able to stop before they got to the line of scrimmage. The first guy is, a lot of times, going to be hitting him maybe a yard or two deep or around the line of scrimmage where maybe this time we weren't hitting him until he was a yard or two over the line of scrimmage. You look at just saying that's only one or two yards, but that's a tremendous difference because he has those shoulders downfield and he's rolling along at a speed where he can really produce. It really makes a tremendous difference. Plus, you're not getting as many guys to the ball. You don't stretch him out as much, which can usually allow better pursuit of the ball carrier by other people."
On the challenges that are still ahead ... "Obviously it's such a difficult, emotional loss. It's something that's going to be difficult, but we need to look at it again that we have only lost one game in the Big Ten and we control our own destiny and anytime you're in the race for a Big Ten championship it's something special and it's something you want to finish out. We've got three tremendous teams to still play. Minnesota has a tremendous offensive line and they have a good quarterback and a great running back. We really want to solidify ourselves as one of the good defenses in the nation and come back and have a tremendous performance against them and show people that we can stop the run and that we can do the things that we know how to do. We have so many things to play for and so many great opportunities left in the season that I don't think motivation will be a problem. One thing you're never going to see from this team is guys who are slowing down or guys who are not playing hard. I think as a team from the first day of two-a-days, from the first day of spring even, every single practice, every single down we've really wanted to come out as a hard-working team and play hard everyday with consistency. I don't think you're going see any letdown in us emotionally or physically because that's just the type of team we are."
On the Minnesota running game and tailback Tellis Redman ... "Obviously he's a tremendous back and obviously it's going to be a tremendous challenge. They've got some great players on the offensive line. They have a lot of good schemes that are similar to Michigan State. It's going to be a very physical week of practice. We're going to do a lot of hitting. We're going to a lot everything that's physical in nature with the defense. We're going to sit in there and see how we respond to adversity because you don't learn a lot about yourself when things are going well. When things go bad and you've lost a game and they've attacked what should have been the strength of your defense that's true adversity. We're going to find out what we're made of now and see how we can come back and have a strong game back at Michigan Stadium."
Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423