Player Comments from Weekly Press Conference

Player Comments from
Weekly Football Media Luncheon

Junior Rush Linebacker James Hall

On this week's upcoming game against Wisconsin ...
"The Penn State victory was great but we need to focus on Wisconsin. We have the Badgers coming into the "Big House" with their great running back, Ron Dayne, and a big offensive line. It is going to take some preparation for the game against Wisconsin."

About Wisconsin's offense ...
"They are a good football team. Wisconsin has a great running game and likes to run it about 99 percent of the time. They have a huge offensive line and a big back in Ron Dayne."

Can you describe Ron Dayne
"He didn't play against us last year so it's hard to describe him. From what I have seen on film, he is a tough guy to tackle."

About the physical nature of the Michigan-Wisconsin game ...
"It needs to be physical and I expect it to be. Last year, the Wisconsin game was the most physical that we played. It will probably be the most physical that we'll play this year. Practice is going to have to be the very aggressive this week."

How do you prepare for a line that is 300 pounds-plus
"Technique is going to be the key. Staying low and using your hands is going to be another key. We need to get below their offensive linemen. We need to stay in our stance and use proper technique."

How do you feel about the team overall right now
"We proved to ourselves that we can play a complete game. We stepped it up in all three areas -- offense, defense and special teams -- against Penn State. Just because we played a great game against Penn State doesn't mean we are going to play a great game vs. Wisconsin. We need to go this week and have the same type of preparation that gave us the positive results against Penn State. Then it's just a matter of performing on Saturday."

On the process the defense went through to jell ...
"After the first two games that we lost, we made a commitment to improve game-by-game. We have made improvements weekly and our goal is to continue improving. We need to play with emotion and this week we must tackle well."

About it taking this Michigan team longer to jell than past squads ...
"It was important for us to continue fighting to get better. Winning those games was important and kept raising our confidence because we knew that these final three games were key to our season."

How did you become so good at blocking field goals
"Good coaching. We try to get good penetration up front from our defensive linemen, which then provides me a space to slip in there and get my hands up."

What about seeing the option again
"It is a part of Wisconsin's offense. It gave us some trouble last year when they ran it but I think we'll be prepared for it this upcoming weekend. The big thing about the option is making tackles. We need to play physical and tackle Ron Dayne well."

About tackling Ron Dayne ...
It is important for us to contain him. It also carries over to the emotion and enthusiasm that we play with on defense. If we have 11 guys getting to the ball, that's 11 guys having fun. With Ron Dayne carrying the ball it is going to be important to get 11 hats on him."

Is Wisconsin going to be the best team your all going to see this year
"I think so. They are going to be the most aggressive and toughest team we'll face this year."

Junior Linebacker Dhani Jones

About the Badgers ...
"We have a great opportunity to play a very good Wisconsin football team. We learned a great deal from last year's game against them. We expect a very physical game, much like they played against us last year. This is an opportunity for us to get better as a football team and have fun doing it."

About the physical game Wisconsin plays ...
"I think Michigan likes a challenge, any challenge that the opposition presents us with. This is a great conference and every game you play provides a different challenge."

About the Penn State game ...
"The effort level was much the same as last year. The difference on both sides of the ball was the same speed and physical ability that we played with for the entire game compared to last year. They really took it to us in the second half, which disappointed us about last year."

About this week's practices ...
They are going to be the most physical that we've had all season. We need to practice at a high level this week to prepare us for the intensity and physical nature of the Wisconsin game. They are the biggest offensive line that I have seen in my life and we need to put 200 percent effort toward practice and preparation."

What is the team's temperament
"I don't think we're in a comfort zone. We know we must continue to improve because it is very easy to get knocked out of stride. We need to continue taking each game one at a time and take each day as it comes. I think we continue to gain self-confidence with each win but we need to keep it in perspective."

About the rushing mentality of Wisconsin ...
"We need to get to the ball and aggressively pursue Ron Dayne. Our goal is to control the line of scrimmage and make tackles."

About the return of junior inside linebacker Ian Gold ...
"Ian Gold provides a special fire to the defense. Ian is tremendously fast, quick and strong and when you can combine those attributes with an athlete who is aggressive to the ball, that only pays dividends against a team like Wisconsin. He is a team leader and adds a special spark to the squad. He is a very intense player who goes hard at every aspect of his life."

About controlling your own destiny ...
"God has graced us with a second chance. It is up to us on how we are going to use that chance. We are going to be able to determine how we will use it beginning tomorrow in practice."

About facing the option again ...
"I think we will be prepared. We need to concentrate on tackling and remain focused on sticking to our assignments. Our goal is to improve in every aspect of our game."

Junior Wide Receiver DiAllo Johnson

About the offense against Penn State ...
"We came together as an offensive team. The defense provided us with good field position and we took advantage of it. Coach (Mike) DeBord called a great game on Saturday, really mixing it up on Penn State."

About the Wisconsin defense ...
"They are an extremely aggressive defense who likes to attack you. They're not going to sit back but come and get you. They try to force you into situations where you have to react to what they do."

About his Michigan career and the number of positions he has played ...
"I have played quarterback, defensive back and wide receiver. I think my first two years I wondered a little bit about my role on this team. I like playing football and enjoy having the ball in my hands. I am just glad to have the opportunity to play football."

About this week's offensive strategy ...
"Our goal is to mix it up and keep the opposition off balance."

Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423

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