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September 14, 2011

Harrison Smith

Manti Te'o

Q. Harrison, you were here in 2007 -- going through a rough start, could you just think back to how ugly that was, how bad it was to be a part of that and how much you're trying to avoid going 0-3 as you prepare for this weekend?
HARRISON SMITH: I mean all, I'm looking at is Michigan State. I'm not worried what happened a couple of years ago, a week ago, yesterday. Focus on right now. Focus on Michigan State and that's where the team is at. That's all we can control and we are putting everything into preparing for Michigan State.

Q. Inaudible.
HARRISON SMITH: No, I play DB, so we have a short memory, so I don't remember anything.

Q. Most of the talk so far this week leading up has been about your team more so than Michigan State at this point. Has it been the same in the locker room where it's more about you guys than your opponent than on a normal week?
MANTI TE'O: It's the same talk every week. It's the same talk, whoever we have, we are going to prepare ourselves for them and we are going to do it the best way we know how. That's about it. It's nothing different.

Q. Can you talk about the Michigan State offense and what you see?
MANTI TE'O: Obviously it starts with their running backs. They have three running backs and they all do different things well and you know we just have to do our best to defend what they do, and they like to run, and Harrison knows their pass game well. So I will control the front side and Harry will control the rest.

Q. Can you talk about defending B.J. and Keshawn a little bit?
HARRISON SMITH: Their receivers as a whole are very like well rounded, solid group, and they have obviously made a lot of plays in the past and are very capable of that. And also, that starts with their quarterback. He does a great job running their offense and giving it to those playmakers and just letting them make plays.
So really they have got a really well rounded group for quarterbacks, receivers, tight end and even getting the running backs involved. There's a lot of players to defend.

Q. Harrison, being the captain on the team, kind of take me through what you feel like your role is this week, starting from getting on the bus at Ann Arbor, how did you try to set the tone for this week?
HARRISON SMITH: I mean this week is really -- we are not about talking. You know, there's -- talking doesn't mean anything. So for me and to the rest of the team, it's about what we do from this point on. There's no action.
So leading through my actions, Manti leading through his actions, just what we do day-to-day we are going to watch more film than we have. We are going to go harder in practice than we ever have, things like that. And just you know get the message across to the players through action instead of just talking about it.

Q. So you don't go up to somebody that might have had a rough game and say, hey, encourage them to put that aside?
HARRISON SMITH: We all know each other at this point. We have been through a lot. And everybody knows that we are all in with one another. It's not if one guy doesn't play good, we are going to get on him because we did it as a team. Everybody is all in, no matter what, win or lose.
And so to us, we all know that we have each other's back and that's pretty much all there is to it. It's just there's a level of trust and respect there and love that you don't need to go do things like that.

Q. For both of you, at this point, starting out 0-2, do you look ahead and try to figure out what's left for this team this year, what the ceiling could be, or is it just about this one week?
MANTI TE'O: What's left is Michigan State. Can't worry about anybody else. It's when you worry about other things that things start to fall about. All that matters is Michigan State, and they are coming in on Saturday. And they are the returning Big Ten champs, and it's going to be a good game. It's going to be a good atmosphere. It's going to be good to be back home, but that's all that matters, Game 3.

Q. Going back to that play, I believe you were one of the two guys, you got tangled up with Bell -- can you take me back to that real quick and what happened on that play from that perspective and what it was like to deal with that, and does it give you a little extra juice this year to try to get back at Michigan State for the way that ended?
HARRISON SMITH: I mean, like I said earlier, we're not thinking in the past. When that happened, we won't over that, last year, we are done with. That we have made changes. We have moved on. So right now it's about Wednesday practice for Michigan State, period.

Q. I was just wondering, with your linebacker group this week, how much more freedom will you guys have in pass coverage and other areas, as opposed to last week where you have to pay a certain amount of attention to Dennard as a runner?
MANTI TE'O: Ask him to restate the question.

Q. With your linebackers having to pay attention to Denard Robinson as a runner last week, how much more freedom will you guys have this week against a quarterback that obviously doesn't have that speed?
MANTI TE'O: I think we don't let our guard down for anybody. Of course, you know, Denard had his talents, his different abilities. But the Michigan State -- Kirk Cousins has his ability.
So we are never going to say that, oh, we are not going to -- we are going to defend him a little bit lightly than we did Denard. We are going to defend him the same way we did. We have to respect his abilities and we are going to respect his ability to get the ball down the field, and you know, he can scramble; he has some wheels on him.
We are going to approach him the same way. Definitely they are two different offenses taking into consideration that they run. Michigan State loves to run. They have three running backs that helps them do that job. So it's a different approach, but we have the same mentality, just stop their offense.

Q. Going off what was just asked, what are the different challenges of preparing for more of a pass first quarterback as opposed to more mobile quarterbacks like Daniels and Robinson were?
HARRISON SMITH: Defending a pass first quarterback is just following your rules, getting the receivers covered, having good eyes, not coming up on playaction run and getting beat over the top.
I mean, it's really just, you know, trusting the call that comes in, playing your role in the call, and keeping your eyes right and keeping your body in the right position.
And then after that, if a scramble situation occurs or something like that, then you've got to just keep your eyes on your man and just keep going with the play instead of trying to get in like relaxed and thinking the play is over.

Q. How about for a linebacker, what's the biggest challenges or differences?
MANTI TE'O: Like Harrison said, it's just the same thing. You just have to stay in coverage and know the call and know the responsibilities and not be too quick to come out of our coverage; just stay in our coverage and trust that the D-Linemen gets them. So it's pretty much the same, just stay in coverage and do our job.

Q. Just wanted to ask you real quick, obviously Michigan State is a completely different style of game, can you just talk about the challenge that you guys are going to have going from the spread offenses of the last two weeks to the more physical, downhill style of play that Michigan State brings?
MANTI TE'O: I don't think it's going to be a challenge at all. It's football. It's football at its finest. It's just downhill, run the ball and stop him. Then it's shot passes, deep passes. And I don't think it's going to be a challenge at all. It's going to be fun. It's definitely going to be fun for the linebackers and for the D-Line to have a lot of action up front.
And it's going to be fun for Harrison and them to always keep their eyes on their key, and just make sure that the ball doesn't get behind us. And then when it's time to come up and make a hit. I definitely think it's going to be fun.

Q. Is it something you guys enjoy, when teams bring that extra physicalness, taking your game in the front seven to another level?
MANTI TE'O: I don't think it's necessarily taking our front seven to another level. I think we are at that level. I think we just learn to adapt to different offenses that we face every week. That's our defense. We are willing to go against a spread offense and then later on in the schedule we are going up against an option offense and then we have a pro style offense like Michigan State and Stanford.
So it's definitely something that comes with the territory of playing these good teams. But I mean, we are excited for it and it's another game that we are looking forward to.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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