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MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY MEDIA CONFERENCE


November 4, 2014


Jack Conklin

Kurtis Drummond

Travis Jackson

Jeremy Langford


THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Jack Conklin, Travis Jackson, Kurtis Drummond and Jeremy Langford.

Q.  Jack, when you look at Bosa on film, talk about him as a player and how often do you think you will see him Saturday night?
JACK CONKLIN:  Obviously he's a great player, see him this season and last season, he bounces around a lot so the whole line is going to have to be ready to play against him.  Obviously I'm excited to play such a great player.

Q.  How would you compare him to Shalik or Gregory?
JACK CONKLIN:  He's a bigger "D" end, he's technically sound and he will try to overpower you, compared to the speed rusher guys.

Q.  Jack, you told us he's part of the reason you lost weight because you wanted to be great, in fact you said to me "I want to play the best because that's where I want to be" so you know you're playing Bosa and NFL Scouts are watching, do you relish this?  Is this a personal thing to you?
JACK CONKLIN:  I mean, you come to Michigan State to plate the best teams, and obviously I'm excited to play against Bosa and the whole offensive line is excited to play one of the best "D" lines in the nation.

Q.¬† Travis, when he was a walk‑on, you bragged about Jack and talked about him as "one of our young guys coming up through the ranks."¬† What was it about Jack that you have seen where he's matured to where he's getting national attention as one of the top left tackle in his class?
TRAVIS JACKSON:  He's a spectacular player.  He's got great feet and you should see the size of his arms; they're so long.  He's been a special player not only to watch him grow but to play next to and a lot of times on game day he makes my job a lot easier.  He's a special guy, powerful, explosive, just a guy that being a left guard is a dream left tackle to have next to you.

Q.  Travis, and Curtis, a lot has been made this week about the amount of Ohio players that are on this team.  I'm wondering for you guys were you he either of you recruited by Ohio State and if not what does that mean for you for this game going forward?
UNIDENTIFIED ATHLETE:  What was your question?

Q.  Were either the of you guys recruited by Ohio State in high school?
UNIDENTIFIED ATHLETE:  No, I wasn't.
UNIDENTIFIED ATHLETE:  I was recruited a little bit but as soon as I came up here and talked to Coach Steve after my junior year.  There was no question I wanted to be a Spartan and nothing was going to change that.

Q.  Travis, can you talk about Ohio State's front 7 and how similar is it to the way your front 7 plays versus what Ohio State did last year?
TRAVIS JACKSON:  They're more into an overfront.  They got a special front seven.  They play a lot like ours and I believe their defensive coordinator was at Wisconsin in 2011 when we faced off against them twice.
You know, we've seen this kind of front before.¬† But, you know, what makes their front seven so special is the players in the front seven, and you got two guys on the side in Bennett and Washington who are guys that are so technically sound and playmakers and you don't see that a lot in defensive tacklers as playmakers, and they have Curtis Grant in the middle, who is a guy who has experience and a good ball player, and a new guy in Lee, who brings so much energy, makes big‑time plays and say a tough blitzer to block.

Q.¬† Travis, can you believe‑‑ seems like every we're week we're talking about a big game here.¬† Can you believe how many big games you've played in Michigan State and where does this one rank?
TRAVIS JACKSON:¬† It's been special to be part of this program the last five years and to be part of big games here.¬† This is definitely a really big game.¬† It's two teams at the to which of the division and whatever team wins this game, controls their own destiny and that's all you can ask for in the Big Ten Conference is to be able to control your own destiny.¬† So it's definitely a big game as far as the conference goes, and our division goes but, you know, each week we gotta take one at a time and go 1‑0 each week.
It's really special to have a night game here in Spartan Stadium against such a great team like Ohio State.

Q.  Kurtis, how does J.T. Barrett compare to Braxton Miller?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:  I think they both are similar, but J.T., you see the way he's grown over the weeks, you see his composure in the pocket, the way he's able to pro long plays, able to make plays with his feet and able to throw the ball down field.  When you have playmakers around you, it makes things a little easier but you see J.T. back there composed and making plays for his team.

Q.  Jeremy, if you could talk about the run game.  It looked like against Michigan you emphasized that we saw a lot of two back, and we saw Michigan State dictate the run.  Can you talk about what it was like to have that game plan and how much that helped you to get on track and have that career day?
JEREMY LANGFORD:  I know going to the games, Coach D emphasizes stop 'em in the run, and being able to run the football, so with us being able to run the football and guys in front of me we do a great job over the week.  That's what we want to do, we want to run the football and control the line of scrimmage, because Coach D says a lot of games are won up front, so that's the most important part of the game.

Q.  Kurtis, you said Ohio State didn't recruit you.  I know in years past Denicos was vocal about wanting to take it out on them.  You guys didn't want me.  Do you have that feeling?  You could have had me, this is what you're missing out on?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:¬† Growing up you definitely have a lot of people around you who watch the Buckeyes and when you don't have a chance to go down there, it sits with you a little bit, but coming here to Coach Dantonio and his staff was the best thing that could have happened to me.¬† So I definitely have self‑motivation, but I find self‑motivation for whoever we're playing.
I'm definitely excited to play this week and get out there.

Q.  Following up, Jeremy, on the last year's Big Ten Championship game looking at the stats you guys didn't do much through the first three quarters running the football but in the fourth quarter you got loose.  What changed in that football game that enabled you to break some runs?
JEREMY LANGFORD:  Being up on the scoreboard and trying to run the ball to the clock, and how to run the offense, I think that's what we did real good last year a lot is controlling the game and running the football when needed to and keep the clock going and keep our defense on the sidelines.  That's the most important part when you are trying to run the scoreboard is running the ball.

Q.  Jack, according to the stats you had 15 knock downs against Michigan, 10 against Indiana.  What does it feel like when you get in a knock down?
JACK CONKLIN:  As an offensive lineman there is no better feeling.  The best thing you can do is put your guy on the ground, but our whole offensive line I think we had 40 knock downs on the Michigan game alone.
That was our focus, overpower the other team.  If we're physical like that we will break Jeremy loose, and I think you saw that in the game, we take care of the front seven, he's going to make the next guy miss.

Q.  Travis and Kurtis, Coach Dantonio makes a big deal about playing with an edge and motivation.  How do you keep that edge when you have won so many games and you're the favorite on Saturday?
UNIDENTIFIED ATHLETE:  I think that comes from the type of people we have in the program.  We don't have guys who sit around and pat themselves on the back and sit there and let complacency come in.  That starts with the coaching staff, all the way down to the leaders on this team.  They do a great job of coming in each week and understanding that last week means nothing and going out every week with something to prove.
UNIDENTIFIED ATHLETE:¬† I think in college football each week is so important, no matter who you're playing.¬† So it's taking it week‑by‑week and focusing that you need to go 1‑0 that week to be able to be successful in your season.
You know, then being able to play in a game like this is obviously a really cool experience, a night game at home in front of Spartan Nation against a great team like Ohio State.  It's definitely a game that is fun to get up for and it kind of why playing in the Big Ten is so cool.

Q.¬† Jack or Travis, you guys are an offense who scores 40 or 50 points a game, runs reverses and throws the ball deep, and not so much the 3 yards in a cloud‑of‑dust‑type of Big Ten offense you might have been a few years ago.¬† Is it harder or do you have to work to keep the gritty attitude?¬† How do you maintain the blue collar mentality to keep it in the game?
UNIDENTIFIED ATHLETE:  Our main goal is to be the blue collar team that's going to get those 3 or 4 yards when we need it.  I think that's what opens up the rest of the reverses and the deep passes, is teams have to be preparing for us for those 3 or 4 yards and we're able to get those, so the teams are packing the box and that opens upper plays and different possibilities.

Q.¬† Jeremy, last year in Indianapolis, I think before your big touchdown run you got into it with Shazier a little bit.¬† I think you got a penalty.¬† How much do you have to contain your emotion in a trash‑talking game like this and contain yourself and try to stand up against some of the things that are said?
JEREMY LANGFORD:¬† It's definitely hard, especially with the emotion going into the hype of the game.¬† Anybody talking‑‑ everybody is talking, but at the same time you have to be a leader and be in control, because I'm part of the team that has to make plays to help us win games so I have to control that as a senior, and as a star running back, it's hard but it's something you got to keep in the back of your mind, you've got to be a playmaker they want you to be, and not end up out of the game.

Q.  Travis, how would you describe Jeremy as a runner?  What makes him unique?
TRAVIS JACKSON:¬† Jeremy is a special player where he can power it up in there and then his break‑away speed can get the long touchdown, too, and what makes it so special blocking for a guy like Jeremy is that he's willing to get that extra yard, extra half yard and when you see him working like that, you just want to block as best as you can for him and like Jack Conklin said, if we get our assignments, he's going to make that one guy miss in the backfield and that's what makes Jeremy so special.

Q.  Jeremy, you get stronger and actually gets better as the game goes on.  Earlier in the year you didn't get as many carries, they were trying to balance it out and give it to other people.  Last week they saw what happens when you primarily get them.  Is it hard when you get in there and get in a groove or do you refer it like last week, just give me the rock, let me carry it.
JEREMY LANGFORD:  To me, I know when I come out of the game and Nick goes in or Devon goes in, they'll get the 4 yards we need, so to have running backs like that behind you, that know offense and know what to do and maturity over time is not bad for me come out the game, I can go out of the game and get some hype, see that long run and be able to stay comfortable with them in the game.

Q.  You were almost a touchdown favorite in Indianapolis, now all your players are talking about how they can't wait to come play, they're excited about it.  Is there a different dynamic when you know that you're already up top and they're the ones trying to knock you off because of what happened last year?
JEREMY LANGFORD:¬† I wouldn't say it's a different dynamic just because‑‑ we still chasin' after something, too, everybody is chasing after Indianapolis and we are a hungry team and we have dreams and goals for ourselves and we don't feel like we've defended anything, we feel like we're still chasing stuff.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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