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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 17, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Quarterback Nick Sheridan.
Q. Talk about the mood after Saturday's game.
NICK SHERIDAN: It was a little bit of a somber mood. It always is after a loss. I thought we had good focus. There's always a little excitement going into the Ohio State week whether you lose or win.
But I thought we had a good attitude. You know, players are usually pretty resilient. Probably more so than coaches are, but we'll be okay.
Q. First year you can remember the Ohio State-Michigan game?
NICK SHERIDAN: First year ever? Wow. I don't know. I've watched a lot of Ohio State-Michigan games. I don't know. I can't remember my first one.
I remember back in the days, I watched them. My dad was a GA here, and the offensive line coach, Andy Moore, was playing and catching touchdowns at Ohio State and all those sorts of things. So I've watched a lot of games.
But I can't remember the first one I remember as a kid actually sitting down and watching them.
Q. How many times have you been to Ohio Stadium?
NICK SHERIDAN: I think three times I've been to a game.
Q. Can you tell us what it's like?
NICK SHERIDAN: It's a great atmosphere for college football. They're fortunate to have a stadium like that. I think we have a special place here, too. It's a big house. But it's a great atmosphere for college football, like I said. Crowd gets into it, and they're very passionate about football. And, obviously, never are they more passionate than when we go play.
Q. When you watch the game you may have wanted to play this one day. Now it's a reality. What does it mean to lead Michigan into that stadium and play?
NICK SHERIDAN: I think it's very special, and I'm honored to be able to do that. Yeah, you know, I have a certain responsibility to Michigan to go out there and prepare as hard as I can, and play as hard as I can for Michigan.
So that's what I'm going to try to do, prepare as hard as I can this week. Try to give us the best shot we've got going into Saturday.
Q. What strikes you about Ohio State's defense?
NICK SHERIDAN: Well, I mean, every year Ohio State's defense is very, very good. They have good players and they play fast, and they're well coached, and they're big and physical.
So, you know, I've watched them throughout the years since I've been here. Just starting to watch them a little bit this week, they're very fast and physical. You know, very similar to most of the Ohio State defenses that have been around the last however many years. So they're very good. So we'll have our hands full for sure on Saturday.
Q. What does that mean? You have to play better than you have at any point?
NICK SHERIDAN: You try to focus more on yourself more than you do on your opponent. While we're definitely aware of what they're capable of, you just try to do what you're supposed to do on any given play.
I just try to go out there and execute as best you can. So that is the approach I want to take this week. That's kind of where we'll go.
Q. Not many people think you guys have a chance to win. Does that allow you to play a little more loose?
NICK SHERIDAN: You try to play as loose as you can all the time. But if your butterflies aren't gone a little bit before the Michigan-Ohio State game, maybe you don't care as much as you should. I'm sure our guys will be jacked up and ready to go.
It's special Michigan and Ohio State regardless of the records and what that game means as far as standings in the Big Ten. So we'll be ready to go.
You know, I'm anticipating a close game. A hard-fought game. That's how they always are. No matter what the records are and what the teams are. So that's kind of what I'm expecting.
Q. How much different do you think it will be the last game with Ohio State?
NICK SHERIDAN: I'm sure I'll try to make that the biggest memory. If you had a win over Ohio State, that's what you'd try to remember the most. To say that it will block out all the other bad memories that you have from this year, I don't think that's the case. I don't know that us as a team want to do that. I think we've learned a lot this year.
As painful as it maybe has been, I think we're better for it. It's something to learn from and grow from. So, yeah, it would be big for us to beat Ohio State. But that's how it is every year. Like I said, no matter what the record is or what the outcome of the game, it's a big game for us every year. The biggest game.
Q. What do you think is more important than this game? Making the big play or avoiding the big mistake?
NICK SHERIDAN: Oh, that's a great question. I don't know. I think you try to do both. Try to avoid the big mistake and make the big play at the same time. So, I guess, that doesn't really answer your question, but that's what we're going to try to do.
Q. Coach said next year there would be tons of competition in every position, obviously the quarterback as well as. But do you think next year what is going to happen?
NICK SHERIDAN: Not too much. But there's always competition at Michigan. That's never going to change.
To say there's more this upcoming off-season than there has been in the past, I think that's not true. I've learned that since I've been here that you're always competing. That's just the nature of Michigan. That's what makes it great here. Not only do you get to compete against other teams on Saturday, but you're competing constantly in practice with your teammates.
So that doesn't change. I'm not really concerned about, you know, facing competition in the off-season. So that's what I've done since I've been here. You know, so that doesn't change anything.
Q. Once you get down into the game, does the rivalry help you prepare or is it sort of a distraction?
NICK SHERIDAN: Oh, I think it maybe helps you prepare a little bit. You're maybe a little more focused on it. You know, it's farther away from you're playing the game, maybe you're not as focused on it. But Ohio State, you're always thinking about Ohio State. You're constantly reminded of it.
Q. You talk about players maybe being a little more resilient. What are your thoughts on seeing your coach go through this whole process?
NICK SHERIDAN: I think it's been tough on everybody. You know, there is a tremendous amount of pressure now on the players and the coaches to do well. I think I've learned that, you know, the coaching staff in general has a great work ethic. And you know, Coach Rod, they're trying to do everything they possibly can to put us in the best situations on Saturday.
I've learned that Coach Rod really cares about his players, and feels for us when we lose. No one is happier for us when we win. So I think that's what I've learned from Coach Rod and have grown to appreciate that.
Q. Is it possible that this game is an even bigger game since there is no bowl game?
NICK SHERIDAN: Well, it's a super bowl every year. It's no different this game than in years past. You know, it's Michigan-Ohio State. You say that whenever you want. Michigan-Ohio State any year it's always huge, and this year's no different.
Q. Do you feel these guys are the best opponents of any you play year after year?
NICK SHERIDAN: Probably. Probably they do. I'm sure they know us more than any opponent they play. You're constantly reminded of them. It's a focus throughout the year for us, as I'm sure it is for them.
You know, it's the best rivalry in sports. So, you know, I'm sure we know them just as, probably a little more than you do your other opponents, and you keep track of them a little more throughout the year. Watch their games and on TV. But that's how it's always been.
Q. How frustrating is it be able to establish a rhythm and not being able to get there?
NICK SHERIDAN: I don't know if you can pinpoint Minnesota to Northwestern. Just a few plays from here to there can get you out of rhythm or stunt drives or keep things from getting going.
So it's just a matter of being consistent, trying to execute on every play getting plays off. Not that we do, but you can't have missed assignments and be not execute a play. Sometimes defenses have good calls, too. You have to live with that and make the best of that play. But you have to be more consistent and try to get things going.
Q. They've won four in a row. How badly do people care about this game?
NICK SHERIDAN: I think pretty badly. I don't think that changes any year, you know. As happy as Michigan football program is with the past victories against Ohio State, and our past successes.
But, you know, you're hungry every year to beat Ohio State. You're hungry every year to win a Big Ten Championship and win every single game you play. So that doesn't change. And it's not going to this year.
Maybe to the public or to the fans of Ann Arbor and Michigan, they want to beat Ohio State more badly or this year than they have in past years. But for us as a program and as a team, we want to beat them every year. Our focus is always towards them.
Whether it's said or not, I think guys go through hard workouts in the off-season. You think about Ohio State, run extra sprints thinking about Ohio State.
So our focus is always on them directly or indirectly. So I don't think as a team we're less hungry or more hungry than we have been in the past.
Q. What gives you hope that you can win this game?
GREG MATHEWS: It's a game. They have 11 players, we have 11. So any time we play on Saturday, anything can happen, no matter what the record is. That's why you play the game.
Q. What do you remember about going down there two years ago?
GREG MATHEWS: Just, it was my first actual game. So just like the passion, and the hate that we have for each other. You can sense it when you're on the field, in the pregame warm-ups and everything. Just the passion and the hate that we have for each other. It's definitely an experience.
Q. Was there something that you saw that showed that?
GREG MATHEWS: No, you could just feel it. In between plays and as a player, during plays, you could just see they're going a little bit more. We're going a little bit more as far as intensity and stuff. You just like sense it on the field.
Q. How does that grow? How does that pass time from generation to generation, that hate and passion that you mentioned?
GREG MATHEWS: Well, just, I mean when you go to a school like Michigan, Ohio State's our biggest rival. So I'm sure when kids go to Ohio State, they talk to hate Michigan, and Michigan's our biggest rival. So you feel that when you come here. So it's just passed down through tradition and just things are said?
Q. What was the typical rivalry?
GREG MATHEWS: My mom's from Columbus, actually, and my grandmother was a nurse at the University of Ohio State for 30 years. So for me with the rivalry I watched a couple of games growing up. My mom would always watch it, and sit me down and make me watch the games.
I kind of never paid attention until maybe about '95, I think, '96 when Tom indiscernible) was running back. I remember sitting on the couch and watching the game with my mom. He was just running up-and-down the field. That's when I said I like Michigan. That's when I learned most about the rivalry.
Q. What did that feel like?
GREG MATHEWS: I was in California living at the time. It was cold. It was something I never experienced. The way they played the game was something I really liked.
Q. Did they try to make you cheer for Ohio State?
GREG MATHEWS: No. I always kind of like to go against my parents, so that's how I got into Michigan, because they were Ohio State fans, so I don't know.
Q. It's so intense for fans and all the tradition of the pregame ceremony and everything else is tradition. What is the key to tuning all of that out when you're in a hostile environment like that?
GREG MATHEWS: You can't be focused on that. What the fans are doing before the game or what the fans are doing on the bus ride there. You just have to focus on your timing and focus on the things that you need to do to help your team win.
Q. You said your parents were Ohio State fans. When you said you were going to Michigan did they raise eyebrows there?
GREG MATHEWS: No, my parents supported me with anything I do. It was tough for my mom at first, but she's came a long ways, and she's the biggest Michigan fan I know now.
Q. What is your relationship with indiscernible)?
GREG MATHEWS: I don't talk to him at all. I talked to him a couple of times when I was being recruited and maybe my freshman year I talked to him. But I don't really talk to him much.
Q. Is it like your mom's or sister's or what?
GREG MATHEWS: Yeah, he's my cousin through marriage. My mom's sister, I think married his uncle. I'm not sure. I don't really get into all of that. I don't know.
Q. Has rich said anything this week or done anything to kind of hype up the rivalry?
GREG MATHEWS: No. Coach Rod, he hasn't said anything. He shouldn't have to. It's Michigan-Ohio State, that's enough right there to get the gloves going. It's one of the greatest rivalries in sports. So he hasn't said anything.
Q. Is there any change in emotion or attitude or how they address you guys?
GREG MATHEWS: They approach every game the same. With the same mentality. Every game is important, so they haven't shown me anything different to make me think they'd take this one a little more serious than any other game.
Q. How does it compare to maybe a Sunday team meeting, prior to an Ohio State game?
GREG MATHEWS: It's the same. Coach Tall takes every game just as important as Ohio State. So it's pretty much the same.
Q. What does Michigan have to do offensively to give themselves a chance to win the game?
GREG MATHEWS: You have to control the clock. They have the offense, so control the clock and stay out of 3rd and long and not turn the ball over.
Q. You look at this game, how much will salvage what's gone wrong with the season and the other losses and stuff like that?
GREG MATHEWS: I think it -- I mean, if we win the game it will definitely send us off into spring ball with a lot of confidence. Ending the season on a good note. But I'm not sure it can salvage much as far as our season. Because things just haven't gone the way we want them to. It's just, I don't know, it's been disappointing, so...
Q. (Asking about Beanie Wells)?
OBI EZEH: I mean, he's a big guy. He's a big guy with a lot of speed. So I mean, that kind of makes him a little bit harder to stop just because he's not your average running back. Most guys that I'm tackling are smaller than me. He's if not the same size, maybe a little bit bigger. So that poses a little bit of a challenge.
But I mean, if you tackle and play the way that we want to play as a defense, I don't think it should pose that big of a deal. Just tackling numbers and finding the ball, so?
Q. Ohio will be a focal point. Is it something that can be exploited or is he at a different talent level?
OBI EZEH: We hope so. But probably being first and foremost offhand, and then contain Pryor would probably be second on our list of things to do.
Q. What has shown you from Pryor that is on film that you've watched so far?
OBI EZEH: I think he's most dangerous when he gets out of the pocket. Then that lets him go back to high school a little bit where he can just kind of run-and-gun a little bit. He's got awesome athleticism when he gets out of the pocket, so you have to contain him. When he's back there in the pocket, he's just another quarterback.
Q. Has anything happened in these games that you played in with Ohio State that stands out?
OBI EZEH: I think just being around everybody. Being in this atmosphere. It's just another level of intensity that the game is played at.
Last year was my first game against Ohio State. I could tell just from all the other games throughout the season. Like this game maybe it's the last game kind of before, you know, before the break. We're not going to go to the bowl game, but it's usually the last game before the bowl game. You're just giving it your last effort. Try to leave it all out on the field, so this is played at another intensity level.
Q. Are you going to do anything differently in practice yesterday sort of regarding Ohio State?
OBI EZEH: We watched a little film on them. But it's probably just normal practice. We watched the game, and we walked through. So we went over some mistakes that were made Saturday and kind of we were going to let the coaches figure out the game plan. Watch some film today, and then go in and practice tomorrow.
Q. Did you travel two years ago?
OBI EZEH: No, I was just like -- it was probably my third week of actual practice. When I got here I had shoulder surgery, so I wasn't practicing with the team for a while. I probably started practicing like Michigan State week. So I was probably just getting into practice.
Q. How would you say the defense has played overall?
OBI EZEH: I feel like we've played well enough to win. But I feel like our inconsistency sometimes isn't able to be just -- teams will find something that works, and they'll be able to work it.
In the second half I feel like we aren't able to make adjustments as well. You know, like teams are able to find something that works for them and just use it.
I mean, I guess we don't give up a ton of yards, but we give them up when it counts, I guess, so. I'm not entirely too sure. For the past, we've been working on getting off the field on third down, and our first down percentage. That's greatly improved over the past couple of weeks.
I mean, you might put it on the weather yesterday, had a lot to do with not being in good field position for the most part. But we had a couple of turnovers and we put our offense in position to score. So I felt we played a good enough game to win, but the ball just didn't roll our way, so...
Q. Is it a little tougher to get ready when somebody in the program has beaten them for four years?
OBI EZEH: With Michigan being such a tradition rich, traditionally rich program, I think you can go back to the other teams that have beaten Ohio State. There's always guys that are around that can tell you what it takes to beat Ohio State, so...
Q. What would it take?
OBI EZEH: A little bit more than what we're doing right now, I guess. Just playing as a team, just more cohesive. Just your best effort, you know. It takes all of that rolled into one. You've just got to come out and play a perfect game. Especially where we are right now as a team, we're going to have to come out and play a really good game, so.
Q. How much do you watch of Ohio State games?
OBI EZEH: I watched USC-Ohio State on TV. That was a while ago. I didn't sit down and watch it like I prepare for other teams. I'm going to head over to the building and do that right now.
But I just, I mean, you put a lot of pressure on them. You've got to stop the run first of all. USC didn't have to deal with Chris Wells, so, you know. He stopped the run first, and then you try to contain Pryor, I think. A lot of offensive threats and a lot of guys that can do good things when they get the ball. So you have to play as a defense, and be technically sound, so.
OBI EZEH: Just throughout the week we focus a lot more on the things we weren't doing well. So like third down situations, getting off the field on third down and trying to get the offense behind downs on first down. So we focus a lot on that during the week. I think it shows a little bit during the games.
Q. Do you like the fact that you can score here?
OBI EZEH: It gives us a little added incentive to play for it because we can ruin their season, I guess. Things aren't going the way we wanted, so I mean, we're just out to ruin their season, I guess. But Ohio State-Michigan is a big game, no matter what's at stake, so...
Q. What will it do for you long-term memory with what happens here?
OBI EZEH: It would really end our season on a good note, so that's what we want to do. But for the seniors, I guess, they would be the team that was able to bring it back and beat Ohio State no matter what happened throughout the season.
So I guess in a sense it might be able to, I wouldn't say salvage, but I mean, it would kind of leave -- kind of a better, lasting impression. Or a better taste in their mouths, so it seems, I guess.
Q. Give us the general mood as you prepare for this week? Any sort of injuries that a Michigan player has for an Ohio State player?
DAVID MOOSMAN: The only issue we have for them is on the field when we play for those 60 minutes. We really have that in mind when we're going out and practicing, and we have certain, just, a certain mindset that you have. The Tuesday and Wednesday practice that you're just thinking about Ohio State and that's it. When you're out on the field and you're suited up, it's game day on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Q. Do you find on the field there are fans for you?
DAVID MOOSMAN: This will be my first Ohio State game.
DAVID MOOSMAN: I have a little bit. They have -- they run a lot of the same stuff that Michigan State does. Because they've shared a while ago the same defensive coordinator, I feel because I remember. They're going to come down now, they're going to play hard. We've just got to stay sound. Stay technically sound and fight.
Q. You guys (Indiscernible) at all?
DAVID MOOSMAN: Some of the guys do. I don't really though.
Q. Does the defensive end look good to you?
DAVID MOOSMAN: They look good. We've seen a couple of good defensive lines. They're definitely up there. They play solid, they play hard. We've gassed some other defensive lines. We've done a lot of good things on the ground game, and we've stopped some of the best pass rushers in the pass game, so. We just need to do all the things that I've talked about before.
Q. What was your reaction to Terrell Pryor going to Ohio State?
DAVID MOOSMAN: Go on to the next question. I don't want to talk about that right now. All I really want to focus on is guys we have for us on on our sidelines, and we're playing against them, so. He's on their sideline.
DAVID MOOSMAN: A little bit. It takes playing together and just playing both to get a sense of the game, and really cement the playing style of the coaches, and the playing style of the offense.
With every snap we take, we get a little bit closer at perfecting it. So it's playing together, and playing.
Q. Do you think it's because you have more of a knowledge of the playbook and the plays now that you really know and understand what you're trying to do?
DAVID MOOSMAN: It's not really the playbook. The playbook we got down. It's the little intricacies, and minute details that don't -- that aren't written down in the playbooks that come up in the game. You know what to do, and then you see them in action, and that's when they get solidified.
So you can -- when you see them once, if you make the mistake, you'll make the right one. You'll make the right decision next time.
Q. You guys are big underdogs. What personal experiences do you use to draw on that confidence that you can beat them there in their house?
DAVID MOOSMAN: I personally like being the underdog. No one gives us a chance, and that's fine. I've got my own teammates, I've got my own guys behind me. We're all going to fight for this win.
We've got some experiences in loud stadiums. We've had a great start at Penn State, so we know we can do it. It's just doing it.
Q. When you look at Ohio State, what are the challenges of their offense?
TERRANCE TAYLOR: Just that they have a mobile quarterback and a good running back. Just two big factors that we need to control. Ohio State is good at running the ball. Once they get the mobile quarterback, it makes it harder because that's an extra dimension of something we have to watch out for.
We had trouble with running quarterbacks in the past. So, you know, just, you know, knowing and watching film and knowing what we need to do because he's a young guy. You know, he hasn't even played in this game. It's a totally different game, no matter what the record is. You can lose all your games but still you're going to play different in this game. That is one of the things we're really trying to explain to the young guys, the seniors.
This being my last game, going out there you know whatever happened early in the season in the last week, even though it still hurts, this is Ohio State. It's a different kind of feeling. This is the last game, so, you know, we've got a lot to fight for?
Q. What do you think of Pryor and experience in this game?
TERRANCE TAYLOR: Putting him into situation a young guy has never been in. In this game it's going to be loud, there's going to be a lot of hitting and talking. I really don't think this year you've seen anything like that, any defensive line like ours. We're going to put constant pressure, you know, which they may have to change a couple of things, and take him out of his comfort zone, some of the things you like to do.
So, you know, that just -- this game is played different from the early games. No matter who you are, especially if you're a young guy you're going to be kind of shocked. So just watch the film and just doing some things that other people couldn't do, because we have the personnel to do that.
Q. How much would it mean to you to beat Ohio State in the last game?
TERRANCE TAYLOR: It would mean a lot. This is one of the reasons I came back this year. You know, it would mean a lot. It wouldn't justify the season. But it would sure make it a little better.
Q. How much does it tick you off that you haven't beat them?
TERRANCE TAYLOR: It makes you pretty mad every time. Just a touchdown away or a couple yards away, a stop away. There's always that.
You know, it's never like we're never in a position to beat them. It's just that we've never finished. You know, that's one of the reasons I came back because I want to finish. The way I can finish is by going into that game and playing my heart out and beating them. So, you know, everybody's going to be pumped.
You know, a lot of people say underdogs, what we have to fight for. It's Ohio State. If we win, they don't go to the rose bowl. You know, plus it's Ohio State.
As seniors it's hard to look past last week because that was my last time in this stadium. We're an amazing group. But I had one more game left, and I wanted to make the best out of that game. A lot of games too, and pull the rest of the team along?
Q. What do you remember about going down there three years ago?
TERRANCE TAYLOR: The grass was terrible. They gave credit where it shouldn't have been. That's the only two things I remember. Other than that, we should have won that game. I have two wins right now, but it is what it is. You know, I get another chance. I'm really excited.
I know our defense is going to be ready. We're going to hit, we're going to run, and it's about finishing. I really do think if we put up four quarters like we did against Minnesota and play as hard as we did against Wisconsin, that it's going to be a totally different game. I'm really excited.
Q. You mentioned how tough it would be for Terrell as a freshman. What was your experience versus Ohio State game?
TERRANCE TAYLOR: I don't know. It was totally different. I didn't play Ohio State until my sophomore year. And it was down there. I don't know. I'm a different kind of person, you know. I was excited and I wanted to hit somebody.
I don't know what he felt like, but, you know, I'm pretty sure at the quarterback position there is a lot more pressure on you because you're the center of attention.
Me being on the line, everybody's watching the linebackers and d ps and trying to make a play, but as a quarterback, you've got a lot on your shoulders. There's going to be a lot on his shoulders this game. They have to win this game if they want to go to the rose bowl. So for a young guy, it's going to be a little difficult. We're going to put him into a difficult situation.
He's very talented, but I really don't think his D-line is like ours. It's going to be pressure on the whole game. It's going to be a fun turnout. So I'm excited.
Q. What is the difficulties to you for today or the Monday before the game of your sophomore year?
TERRANCE TAYLOR: Say that again?
Q. What is the difference between today and the Monday before your sophomore year?
TERRANCE TAYLOR: What is the biggest difference? We're undefeated. What were we? No. 2 in the nation? That's a big difference from not winning and not going to a bowl game.
It's the same feeling. When it gets down to Ohio State you know you can go in there and come in here as you just, you get even though what happened last week or the week before that, you still get pumped up and you get excited because you get another chance to beat them and to play them. Which a lot of people were dying to play just one game, and I'm lucky enough to have four. So it's a big difference. I'm just excited. I've got a smile on my face.
Q. The last time you played them, you played for everything.
TERRANCE TAYLOR: It's a different team, different situations. Just things happen for a reason. You know, I think this team will be better for it in years to come. You know, just, you know, it is what it is.
We're going down there a different team. That team that we had, we had a lot of great seniors, lot of great leaders who I learned from. You know, just now, what we've put in, things haven't bounced -- the ball hasn't bounced our way. We're dealing with it. Teaching young guys to deal with it and keep pushing, so it's the same feeling. You're going to get the same feeling for Ohio State every year.
This year would be the nice closing of a chapter. Of my chapter, and the seniors chapter to go down there, underdogs, and pull out a win, so.
Q. (Asking about Chris Wells)?
TERRANCE TAYLOR: The last couple of years? I wouldn't say all that. Got a couple of runs. No, I'm joking. He's a good back. You know, just putting the hat on him, all 11 guys with the ball, hitting them the whole game. Because once you get opportunities to bounce the ball outside or if he gets a lane, he's going to take it. He's got the God-given ability to do that, you know.
So just again, this game's going to be big especially for me. So getting two mobile guys should be exciting.
Q. Have they given it to you guys pretty good during the game, a lot of talking?
TERRANCE TAYLOR: Yeah, yeah, especially like -- I don't know. I can't say all the things that people say on the field, you know. But there's a lot of talking. Especially when you get down and they score a touchdown, the talking increases. But, you know, it's all in the fun of sports.
It's one of the greatest sports rivalries ever. It just gives you a little extra. If you can't get pumped for this game, you don't have a pulse. I'm ready. I've had a smile on my face this whole week.
Q. What are some of the other things, not expletives, but the subjects?
TERRANCE TAYLOR: Say that again?
Q. What are some of the things that are said, some things are censored?
TERRANCE TAYLOR: You want to know what is said?
TERRANCE TAYLOR: I can't tell you that (laughing).
Q. Can you give us an update on your health?
BRANDON MINOR: It's day-to-day right now. I'm looking forward to practice tomorrow and get out there and see what I can do.
Q. How close do you feel you were playing last week?
BRANDON MINOR: Last week, it was real close, but just couldn't pull it out.
Q. Are you hoping to play?
BRANDON MINOR: I am playing, yeah.
Q. Is it because it's the last game of the season? Is that a big influence?
BRANDON MINOR: It's O-State. Nothing much said there. It's O-State. Got to play them.
Q. How can you bottle that up, learn from it? What were you doing there that can help ow Saturday?
BRANDON MINOR: Well, it's just like staying in tune. Don't worry about the crowd. You can hear it, but you've just got to stay focused especially during the week. We work on crowd noise all the time. I feel like to me it wasn't a big factor, but I don't think it's that.
Q. Given the season that you've had, what would a win in Columbus mean?
BRANDON MINOR: It would mean a lot. It would make us feel better. Give us a lot of motivation going into next season. We're going into spring ball and all of that, so we can show the benefit of a win.
Q. Have you thought about next year at all yet?
BRANDON MINOR: Nope. O-State. Got one more game.
Q. Have you thought about Coach Rodriguez and this game early in the season or maybe in spring ball?
BRANDON MINOR: Well, I mean, I know he like to compete. Everybody likes to compete. But there's a passion, so it was real great. I know that guy really loves to win. I can see it.
I mean, I know it's hurting him right now, I mean, the season he's having. We beat O-State like we haven't done in a while, so.
Q. When you're passionate about it, it's something you've kind of learned. What are you saying to describe him in the practice or locker room?
BRANDON MINOR: Well, I mean, he stays and watches the film. I mean, you can tell because he has a lot, but he'll yell at everybody. I mean, the guys on the scout team that really don't see the film most of the time. He yells at all of them because he wants the best out of everybody, so.
Q. Will you guys treat this game like a bowl game?
BRANDON MINOR: No. Treat it like an O-State game.
Treat it like a bowl game? Well, Ohio State's a rivalry. O-State it depends if you go to national or not or to the BCS bowl, it just ain't the same as Ohio State, you know.
Q. The rivalry's better, huh?
BRANDON MINOR: Yeah.
Q. Is it a better or more confident team with Ohio State? Are you prepared for your biggest rival?
BRANDON MINOR: Well, as far as I go, I'm going to say more confident. I wasn't confident in that team no matter what situation. That's just the way I think. You've got to stay positive all the time, so. Our confidence level is still the same. Trying to get that into a couple of guys. Hopefully like you see, they're just trying to finish off this season right now.
BRANDON MINOR: I think when I went down yeah, absolutely. More like Tuesday or Wednesday, I think.
Q. Can you talk about their on offense? And the way they've evolved and seem to be getting better now?
WILL JOHNSON: Yeah, Pryor, he's still a young guy. But they've developed. He's got the package, he can do this thing and be an athlete and get back in the pocket. And Beanie Wells is a great running back. We'll have to stop him. He's going to be a big threat on us. And they have a really good offense. Two good receivers, Hartline and Robiskie.
Yeah, good O-line, solid all around. It's going to be a good competition?
Q. When they come at running back, just given the combination of power and speed?
WILL JOHNSON: Yeah, he dances in the hall, but once he gets on open field, he can put on the jets and he's got a nasty stiff arm. So we'll have to gang tackle him.
Q. Is there anyone he compares to or is he different than anyone else?
WILL JOHNSON: This season? He's probably the only like huge, big guy like himself. But Jonathan Stewart from last year, he's a big guy like that. He's got that effort.
Q. Can you talk about Terrell and Beanie?
WILL JOHNSON: They're both great athletes. So we're going to have to see what happens. I mean, they're both big threats. Anyone can beat you. But, you know, we'll have to see. What the game plan is for both of them.
Q. He's thinking you guys can do some things with the defensive front that they haven't seen yet this year. Do you feel the same way? Do you see an opening there? An opportunity to do something that nobody else has been able to do against them?
WILL JOHNSON: Yeah, we have a great front seven. We'll do some things that we haven't seen this year. And we'll see how they adjust to it, and we'll get after them.
Q. Talk about what a win against Ohio State would mean?
WILL JOHNSON: I haven't beaten them yet. A win would be a great thing for the seniors. The season didn't go the way anybody wanted it to go. If we get a win here, it would be a great thing for the program to set them up for next season and get things going.
Q. How much is it that you have to beat them?
WILL JOHNSON: We've beaten everybody else. I mean, they're a good team every year. It's just going to be who wants it more. It will be a fist fight, so.
Q. How much criticism this year, anything you see initially that maybe you can take advantage of?
WILL JOHNSON: Something to take advantage of. I think they have a couple of good solid linemen. They have a young center, a young right guard. I think in past years they have a lot more experience, but they have a solid O-line to build on. But it's going to be good.
Q. Can you take advantage of that youth then of those guys?
WILL JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, some of the guys haven't played in this kind of game. So it might be a little bit different than past games, I don't know. We'll see on Saturday. I mean, we'll see what happens.
Q. Describe the atmosphere?
WILL JOHNSON: Great atmosphere. I mean, down there, it's a crazy atmosphere. Our fans are all riled up and flicking you off and calling you names and stuff. It's fun. I like playing away games especially down there where everybody's against you.
Q. What can you do when you get a young quarterback on the sack early in the game?
WILL JOHNSON: Just get him to make some mistakes, second guess things. Get him to hesitate. I mean, he's a good athlete. Can he get away from pressure and stuff. So we'll just have to corral him, keep him in the pocket and make him throw the ball.
Q. Do young guys here understand what it's all about until they've played it? Or do you have to teach them?
WILL JOHNSON: I think it's -- I think most of them realize. I mean, they've seen the film and stuff. I mean, when I first played in the game, I had no clue what was going on. Things were going a million miles an hour, you were just trying to adjust.
Last year I think I played pretty well. We didn't get the win, but moral victory. But we'll just have to come back and see what happens this week.
Q. Obi talked a little about coming out the third quarter and other teams have been able to adjust a little bit quicker, which is better than what you guys were doing. Do you feel that way and how do you counter that?
WILL JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, they've come out. They make good -- Northwestern made good halftime adjustments and couple of plays there. We just need to keep playing, and let the coaches know what's working and what's not working. So we'll see.
Q. Terrance used to be the guy that keeps everybody loose. Is that a role he plays how important is it to have a guy like that that keeps everybody a little more even keeled in weeks like this?
WILL JOHNSON: Yeah, he keeps it uplifted. He's a positive guy. Yeah, I like playing next to him. He's a great competitor. He's taught me a lot over the past years about how to play football, so...
Q. Is there anything you can say to the cameras?
WILL JOHNSON: He talks trash, but we all talk trash and stuff. But it's all fun in football. I mean, there is nothing personal. It's a competition.
Q. On that interception in the end zone, what happened? What was supposed to happen on that play between you?
MIKE MASSEY: What was supposed to happen, a reception for a touchdown, you know. You know, if everything worked out exactly as it was supposed to.
But, you know, the weather you can't expect a guy to throw a ball precisely. I got past the linebacker, and I think they might have had it. We had five verticals right there. So it put a lot of stress on their coverage. You know, I was one of the guys that ended up coming open.
But I don't know. There were a lot of thing that's happened in that game, like mistakes. Little mistakes here and there that could have changed the difference.
It was just one of our missed opportunities. You know, there's many other -- I think we counted it on film. We should have five touchdowns between Matt get not getting a guy cut off on the back side or not getting a block on the front side. Any one of those. We had ample opportunities to score, and we came up short, so...
Q. It looked like you were looking over your shoulder in the past. You went over a different one?
MIKE MASSEY: I think it was -- I'm supposed to stay right up the hash. Looking over your left shoulder, I was to the boundary, so. I think it was a little, you know, I don't know. I don't know whether it was overthrown or it came out, you know, because he's wearing a glove, and it came out and the ball was wet, it came out a little loose or what.
But, again, I think everything was -- we ran pretty good routes all day. We could have read coverage a little bit better, but it's one of the missed opportunities.
Q. How difficult has it been over the last few years for you to have to go home on holiday and endure the wrath of Ohio State fans?
MIKE MASSEY: I've seen a lot of my family. I don't really leave the house that much, especially the past four years. I've been here four years from Ohio from Cleveland. My brother was here for five years and he beat them once or twice, maybe. So he knows what it's all about going home and not beating Ohio State.
I've gone home four years in a row now or four years in a row not beating Ohio State. So, yeah, it's all in good fun. But they give me a hard time. I hear a lot about it, so. I usually stick close to the home front.
Q. A little more motivation personally?
MIKE MASSEY: Yeah, I mean, you don't need any extra motivation, you know. I mean, this game is my last opportunity to beat them, bottom line. I think it's the same for all the seniors.
So from Ohio we have a couple of guys, Brandon Harrison's from Ohio. Got a couple of young freshmen from Ohio. Kevin Koger, I talked to him about it, he's from Ohio. So there comes a time when you've got to put something to an end. We've got to do everything we can to try to get a W this week.
Q. Will it do a lot?
MIKE MASSEY: It would do a lot for this team, and a lot for the season.
Q. Are you you going to follow Chuck Kyle? What do you think the chances are?
MIKE MASSEY: Thank you for asking that question. Yeah, I've been every Sunday, that is the first thing I do. You know, it's been kind of -- I've been looking for ways to read about W's this season.
They're awesome. They have a great team. They've got a bunch of guys that are going to be good college football players. I don't know if you know but Chuck Kyle is the best high school football coach in the country.
They just beat a real good team. They had one loss maybe and they beat them 37-0. So they're going to win the state championship, and I'm going to getting to home and have Thanksgiving Day practice with them.
That's one of the traditions. My sophomore year we won State and all the old former football players come back. Bunch of Ohio State players and all these guys that went off to different colleges come back and watch practice.
Yeah, I wish them all the success in the world, and I know they'll do well, so.
MIKE MASSEY: I don't know, yeah, maybe. I don't know. We have like a big tradition. If you go to the state championship teams, you're one of the only two teams in the state to be practicing over Thanksgiving.
So Thanksgiving morning of practice, and all the football players have played in the state championship team have come back. You just watch practice and it's like a reunion of sorts. So we haven't had one of those. The last time we won a state championship was my sophomore year. So that's what I'm really looking forward to.
Q. They've got a big game this week. They're a solid team. What gives you confidence for Ohio State this weekend?
MIKE MASSEY: Same thing that gives me confidence this past week. We had a great week at practice. And I know this week we're going to have -- I mean just yesterday's practice was even more intense. The coaches have a sense of focus that we need to have.
And, you know, you can't sit here and guarantee a win, but these guys all in all, we understand the full importance of this game. We know how much it could mean to our senior class with what we've gone through. I think all the young guys do, too, and how much it could mean for the season and for the coaches.
You know, we don't have a bowl game, so this is our last game of the season. This is the last opportunity for us to go out and have a great week of practice. This is the last of everything, you know, not having a bowl week.
We haven't had that before since I've been here. So I think it's heightened everything even more than it already is just playing Ohio State.
This is it for us. So I guess this is our last shot, and everybody's going to give everything they have. I'm very confident in the game.
Q. Do you know any of the people on Ohio State?
MIKE MASSEY: No, I don't think any of the walk-ons or anybody from Ignatius. There's a bunch of guys, Tony Gonzalez or Anthony Gonzalez whatever, he changed his name. He was on the state championship team. He was a senior and I was a junior. He was good friends of mine.
No my high school quarterback went to Michigan State, Brian Hoyer, he went there. So the last guy I knew there was John Kerr and Tony Gonzalez, and Brian went there. They all graduated, I think.
Q. What did you think this transition would be like? Did you think it was going to be a period of --
MIKE MASSEY: I went into it pretty optimistic. I knew it was going to be hard from the git-go just as you guys did. I didn't know what to expect. I knew what we had to do. I knew we all had to just completely buy in, and I think we had a great majority of the team buy in.
So I didn't really have any expectations of this or that. What I figured is if we all did what we needed to do and bought in and followed our coaching and played football that we're capable of, we'd let the season play out.
It obviously didn't go the way we wanted to. Now we're sitting here not going to a bowl game and doing all of this. But, you know, it is what it is. I know it's not from lack of effort, that's all I can tell you. These guys, including myself and the seniors and young guys, have done everything we can. We haven't given up yet, so, we've got one last opportunity.
Q. Would it change the perception of your season? Is?
MIKE MASSEY: Yeah, yeah it would. There is something to it. The Ohio State game in general, no matter what. If you look back -- you can look back two years ago, and we were undefeated going into this game and we lost. It was like pretty much that whole season was like everybody was cancelled out immediately.
We lost to Ohio State, you know. Even though went to the rose bowl and did all that. We didn't win a Big Ten championship, we're not going to win a Big Ten championship this year.
If we beat Ohio State, yeah, I'm not going to lie to you. It would make this season a lot more memorable, and it would be that one game. The five years that I beat Ohio State, and same thing for all the seniors. So I think it would mean a lot to this team for all we've gone through for the coaches and it would be a good win for us.
Q. How much have you looked at what Pryor has been able to do and how tough is it that a true freshman can come in and do that?
TIM JAMISON: Well, Pryor, he's an athletic kid. He came in with great motivation. This is his first Michigan-Ohio State rivalry game, and he should be Jacked up for this game?
Q. Do your responsibilities change at the defensive end, you know, when you go to the spread game?
TIM JAMISON: You know, when the team goes to the spread game, there is more responsibility. With Ohio State, they have the ability to run a power angle to the spread. So, just we've got to be alert to that. He's athletic. We have the ability to scramble out of the pocket, so containment will be a big key to this game, and responsibility.
Q. Are you looking forward to interesting conversation with those guys on Saturday?
TIM JAMISON: Yeah, there's always going to be some trash talking going on. The only thing that matters is what happens when you put your pads on.
Q. This is your last bowl game, and you come back from it?
TIM JAMISON: In the past, you would say the Michigan-Ohio State game is one season in itself. A one-game season. You can win all your games before the Ohio State game, but you always remember the last game what you did against Ohio State. So that's how you make your mark being here with Michigan.
Q. Is Chris Wells a problem for you?
TIM JAMISON: You've got to wrap him up. He's a tough runner. He will not go down on tackles. You've got to get to him on numbers and wrap up.
Q. Talk about this downward spiral since that 2006 in the country. No. 2 in the country, undefeated. Everything's going right. This is your last game, no bowl game. Just talk about that and as you take this last chance?
TIM JAMISON: We know we're not going to a bowl game. This is the last chance for all the seniors to leave their mark here in Michigan this season, and go as we wanted it to. All of this behind us, we're getting ready for a big week this week. This is what we focus on. This is it. We're going to give it all we've got.
Q. What do you think coach's appreciation for this rivalry is being new?
TIM JAMISON: All the coaches are jacked up. It's the first time coaching in a game like this. Lot of people first time playing in this game. They're jacked up. I look for them to have a great week of preparation for it.
Q. Can you describe the atmosphere of a couple of guys that do that?
TIM JAMISON: The atmosphere? It's loud. It's one of the loudest in the conference. It's a fun place to play in. But, you know, you go out there and you do your job. The crowd will silent up real quick.
Q. Do you feel like you're experiencing Penn State, that being one of the other rivals played? How does that help you going into this game?
TIM JAMISON: I think it helps a lot. Especially with the young talent we've got at the quarterback position. They face adversity both at Notre Dame and Penn State. So they're kind of used to the atmosphere. So I look for them to be more confident.
Q. Talking about the Ohio State offensive line, what do you gain (Indiscernible)?
TIM JAMISON: Well, they've got one freshman starter at center. The rest of them are pretty much veterans. But we've just got to do our assignments, you know. Get our work done. From the beginning of the whistle to the end. We're going to harp on just get the tackle.
Q. Was there ever a game that you wanted to win more?
BRANDON HARRISON: Oh, no. You know, Ohio State is a great college rivalry.
Q. How much of a void is it not --
BRANDON HARRISON: It's a great void. Having beaten them, we're the underdogs coming in. Nobody's giving us a chance.
Q. Can you talk about Pryor and what you've seen from him?
BRANDON HARRISON: He's a great athlete. He makes plays we've just got to contain him. If we contain him, he's just another quarterback, you know.
BRANDON HARRISON: Linebacker to strong safety. In the second position.
Q. Is it different on campus, the enthusiasm for the game?
BRANDON HARRISON: Oh yeah, yeah. The enthusiasm is the same as if it we were undefeated going into this game. This is just a great game. One of the biggest rivalries in college football and in sports history, yeah.
Q. (Have you seen a lot of excitement)?
BRANDON HARRISON: Yeah, everybody's going to turn up. They want us to win.
Q. Can you remember going down there two years ago?
BRANDON HARRISON: Two years ago? Oh, it was wild. It was a good game. All I remember is that one bad call on Graybill when he was like helmet to helmet contact. That was a bogus call, but, you know.
Q. Have you ever had Pryor's game going from passing? (Indiscernible)?
BRANDON HARRISON: Going from the passing? Was it late? Yeah, it was late. It was very late (laughing).
BRANDON HARRISON: No, not at all.
Q. Is there a distraction to the team? Is it a matter of the offense has put a lot of pressure on you guys or you've not played as well as you could play?
BRANDON HARRISON: Just being on the field for a while you know things got blown. You can get up for any reason. I don't think it's on the offense or anything like that.
Q. You said that you moved from linebacker to strong safety?
BRANDON HARRISON: Yeah.
BRANDON HARRISON: We'll rotate back down on Saturday, so...
Q. Do you think it's spread out?
BRANDON HARRISON: Yeah, yeah. So we'll have both packages in.
Q. What do you think of Ohio State?
BRANDON HARRISON: It's a homecoming. I'm from Ohio, so I getting to back home, you know.
Q. Have you gone to Ohio State since you've from Ohio?
BRANDON HARRISON: That's a funny story. I was committed to Notre Dame at first. But they showed a lot of interest, but after that, it was too late.
Q. To build on what you talk about, this is the last game, and Terrance wants to enjoy every bit of it. Can that approach help you as you prepare for this game this week?
BRANDON HARRISON: Oh, yeah. It's the last time I'm going to be playing college football. I'm going to go all out. Jumping over people, scratching to get to the ball, you know. Just this whole week of preparation, everything.
Q. Is Ohio State better offensively, the run spread or what do you think is better?
BRANDON HARRISON: Probably their run game. They rely on Beanie Wells a lot. He's a great athlete. Pryor's a great athlete. Basically they'll go in there and contain Pryor and stop the run game.
Q. Is it important the fact that you can kind of spoil their season a little bit?
BRANDON HARRISON: Yeah, you know. We go down there and beat them, they have no chance to go to the rose bowl. That's what we're playing for. We're playing for pride because this is one of the greatest rivalries in college football. Just spoil their hopes, you know.
Q. You got friends on the team?
BRANDON HARRISON: Yeah, I've got a couple friends on that team. Marcus Freeman, Kurt Coleman, Jamario O'Neal. There are a couple of guys there I know. I haven't talked to in a while.
Q. When you go home, how much do you hear from people?
BRANDON HARRISON: That's all I hear. Can't wait to go down this weekend and prove them wrong. So when I go back home after the game I'll be like, you know what, call me.
Q. They haven't really passed too much in the past few games. Does that change your philosophy or approach to this game?
BRANDON HARRISON: No, we're going to come out with the same mindset, because most of Pryor's plays, he comes out the pocket, and we'll contain him. He's just another quarterback, so, yeah.
End of FastScripts