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September 29, 2009

Blair White

Q. I was just wondering about your health. Are you banged up? It looked like you got a little banged up the other day?
BLAIR WHITE: No, I'm fine. I've just got a few little nicks and bruises here and there, knee, wrist, but nothing that's going to affect my performance.

Q. One time last year all four rivalry trophies were sitting inside the (indiscernible) and now there's only two. How important is it for you guys to make sure that Paul Bunyan trophy stays inside that building?
BLAIR WHITE: I think needless to say this is the biggest game of the year for us, whether we're 0-and-whatever or undefeated. Michigan is always huge for us, and that definitely determines bragging rights more than any other game. Like Coach said, it just defines more than football, it just defines everyday life. We're just looking to keep it.

Q. Last year after the game obviously your teammates had brought you out, Javon and Brian, and you talked about this being so big to you. Have you been able to relate to your younger teammates the depth and the breadth of this game?
BLAIR WHITE: A little bit. I think there's more to come with that this week. But I think a lot of the guys understand how important this rivalry is. Like Keith was saying, you're either here or there, and that's how I grew up.
There was more Michigan fans where I was from than Michigan State, so it was just a battle every day. My mom graduated from here, so I've always been a Spartan. You might not think that it's that important who wins or not, but it really -- to this football team and to my family, it is. Hopefully we can get a win Saturday.

Q. Has there been any point, or do you anticipate doing this for a lot of guys on the offense or maybe the entire team goes to Kirk and Keith just to tell them, hey, we're cool with both of you guys, we know this is a difficult situation, we know your patience is tested but we're behind you both? Do you have to re-emphasize that with both those guys or do you do it in an important week like this?
BLAIR WHITE: They know that we're confident with both of them. The coaches do a good job of reiterating that. They're two different players, and like any two people in the world, they're competing for a spot. Sometimes it's tough, obviously, but they've done a good job handling it.
I think as a receiving corps we've let them know we're comfortable with whoever is back there. I think that's been an advantage for us.

Q. Kind of piggybacking when you were talking about how big a deal this was in your family with your mom, can you just recall some of the things that she would say, especially having gone here and having been involved here, some of the things she would say to push Michigan State, convince you about Michigan State?
BLAIR WHITE: Mostly on game day when I was younger watching the games, and my uncle was a real big Michigan fan, and even a couple of my brothers were Michigan fans unfortunately, until I went here. There was always that bitter rivalry there, and they'd talk a lot and all those things.
Usually when I was growing up, Michigan would win the game, so it was even more bitter for us. We're just trying to get that respect back. Last year we started that, and we're just going to try to keep that going this year.

Q. What was it like for you to run off the field with that trophy last year?
BLAIR WHITE: It was just a good feeling to know that I was able to make some plays and have the team get a trophy back that we haven't had for a while. And like you were saying earlier, it's been 40 years since we won back to back or something. So it's going to be a huge game this weekend, and we're going to try to keep the trophy.

Q. I kind of had the same question, but contrasting the pain of two years ago when you lost a gut-wrenching game to the thrill of last year and guys that are my age now who played in this only remember their last game, and this is your last one, so how much do you want to feel more like last year than two years ago, if you catch my drift?
BLAIR WHITE: I think it's going to be probably one of the most intense games I've ever played in, and like you said, I'll probably remember this, even if we lose, more than winning last year. It's going to be important for us, and the best part about it is we're playing at home in front of all our people, so it should be a different atmosphere and a lot of fun.

Q. How would you explain Kirk's leadership style, and what do you think he can bring to the huddle in a week like this where emotions are going to run particularly high?
BLAIR WHITE: Well, he's just going to do the same thing he does every week. He brings that character and that poise that not a lot of other people have. You know, it's Kirk's strong point. He's so meticulous in what he does, and people see that. It's been good for us.

Q. Everybody knows your story and the walk-on and everything like that, and you have confidence in yourself. But when you see stats and you're at the top of the Big Ten in like every single receiving stat, just talk about that. Does that mean anything to you?
BLAIR WHITE: Not at all. Not at all, because last week I had one catch for eight yards, and all the rest of our receivers did phenomenal. We didn't get a win, but we're producing at the receiving spots. So as long as we can do what we need to do and win games, it doesn't matter what the stats are.

Q. You mentioned growing up and most years Michigan won the game. Obviously you're very familiar with the way the rivalry has gone. Momentum has been on your side lately. Do you feel like this game is critical even more than the season just to sort of, I guess, reestablish something?
BLAIR WHITE: Yeah, I mean, I think it's important all the time, like I said, regardless if we have one win this season or if we have 12 or whatever it is. Yeah, it's definitely important in establishing kind of, you know, who's boss I guess you could say.
But there's always going to be the talk, and I heard they're doing a little bit of talking over there already. We're just going to stick to our game plan and we'll be ready for them.

Q. Kind of a similar question, but given the fact that this program has experienced 14-game losing streaks, 10-game losing streak, eight, six, everything in between, hasn't won back-to-back meetings with Michigan in 42 years, do you ever see a day, even if it takes 50 years, where the series could even out record-wise with Michigan?
BLAIR WHITE: I hope so. I think Coach D has kind of started that I'd like to say. He's got some of those things that some other coaches don't have, I think. We're just working it one step at a time and turning that around. Like you said, if we do, it's going to be a long process. As seniors we're trying to establish that.

Q. What kind of things do you think he has that other coaches don't?
BLAIR WHITE: Just discipline and fairness, the things you see every day and the things that other players talk about him. Trust. You can't say that about every other coach, and he's unique in that way.

Q. As absurd as it sounds, do you think because this rivalry touches so many people personally do you think maybe it's under stated a little bit?
BLAIR WHITE: I don't think it's understated. I don't know. I just know that it's a big part of my life and a lot of people's lives who live here in Michigan, and it always has been. It's just a big rivalry and the biggest one in the state of Michigan.

Q. Is this game at the perfect time for you guys being that you've lost a couple in a row now and that this could be a jump start for the rest of the year?
BLAIR WHITE: Yeah, we obviously won't have a problem getting motivated for this game, and Coach D even said, if we get a win here, it kind of heals us a little bit more than being a Northwestern or someone like that. Getting a win here could be a big turnaround for us.

Q. Are you going to U of M next year?
BLAIR WHITE: I don't think so, but I won't rule that possibility out.

Q. With the game you had last year, obviously everyone still talks about it, do you feel any personal pressure at all to kind of keep growing the legend of Blair White, the Wolverine killer or something like that?
BLAIR WHITE: No, no. I'd like to think of myself like that, but, like I said, we have a squad of receivers who can do the things better than I can do. And you saw Keshawn in the game last week, and Chris Rucker had a nice catch and those guys. If I go down they're just going to step right in. Our quarterbacks are confident with all of us, so we're ready to go.

End of FastScripts

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