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September 11, 2012

Andrew Maxwell

THE MODERATOR:  Andrew Maxwell is on the clock.

Q.  A lot of guys talk about improving week one to week two.  Obviously your numbers were better.  How do you feel you got better?  Where do you think you got better?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think I was more consistent.  I think offensively as a whole we were more consistent the whole game.  Felt like drive after drive, we were sustaining things.  We were having effective plays on first and second downs, not leaving a lot of third‑and‑longs.
When you do that, you're going to be able to open up the playbook a whole lot more, you're not going to be just concentrating on one portion, but you have kind of the whole repertoire at your hands.
If we can do that, be consistent every time we go out for a drive, converting first downs, we're going to be effective as an offense.

Q.  With King and Burbridge playing, they potentially have used up their redshirt, competition for receiver goes to eight.  Can you talk about what you're trying to do as a quarterback to make sure guys don't get frustrated?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  You want to get your play‑makers the ball.  As the season goes on, we're going to find out more and more who those guys are.
In practice as a quarterback, you have to do your best job to spread it out as best you can.  Staying within your reads, staying within the normal progression of a play, not locking in, saying, I'm going to throw it to this guy on this play, just going through your normal progression, leave it to the coaches who fits in the best spots.  Let them make a name for themselves, make a case for them being the guy as we go through the season.

Q.  (No microphone.)
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, I think as a receiver, if you've played receiver long enough, I think that's something you're kind of used to.  There's only one football.  If you're on a football team like this with a lot of play‑makers, you are going to have an understanding that you might not get the ball every play.
That's something that you want to have.  You want to have a lot of guys who truly believe they are the best play‑maker on the field and have guys that want the football.  When you have that, you know when they do get the football, they're going to do the best to make the most out of that opportunity.

Q.  You have good wide receivers.  Andre Sims was up second on the depth chart.  What is it about him that you like as a quarterback?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, it's no secret that he's a little undersized but he makes up for that in his physicality.  He's not afraid to go across the middle, go up and get hit, still hold onto the ball.  He runs great routes, has great speed.  He is able to make plays with the ball in space.  I think what he doesn't have in his size, he makes up for everything else he does in his game.

Q.  Your sideline perspective as an innocent bystander, you must have known the little giants play was called?  Did you think Coach D was nuts?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I did know it was called.  I didn't realize it at first because I was kind of talking to somebody else.  I kind of had one earphone on and one off to the side.  I hear, Little giants, little giants.  I'm like, Okay, this is going.
I remember watching them kind of practice it throughout the week.  It was originally designed to go to Le'Veon down the middle.  I have my eyes glued to him.  He's just blanketed, covered.  Then you see Bates bide some time, find Charlie.  The place erupts and goes crazy.
As far as memories go and exciting times at Michigan State, that's up near the top.

Q.  How do you feel like your apprenticeship in the first two games in the hot seat will get you ready for what that is going to be like Saturday night?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, I think already having one big night game under our belt as a team is going to help tremendously.  It kind of takes a little bit of the shock and the awe factor out of it because a night game is definitely a different kind of game.  It's a more special game.
When you're playing a team like Notre Dame, having it be a trophy game, a game with so much history, to already be in a huge environment already is going to help us going in.
Just like any other game, we got to prepare, prepare, prepare throughout the week.  We got to bring a little something special this game.

Q.  How much did you hear from Bates about little giants and his role in that?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  It's funny because I'm always telling people, Get over it, nobody cares anymore.  When he talks about it, I say, Nobody cares, nobody remembers that play.
But that's something you got to do when a guy makes one of the greatest plays in Michigan State history.  I think it's your job as a friend and roommate that you have to bring him back down.

Q.  You've been following this rivalry as a fan, now you're part of it.  Describe what the rivalry means to you.
ANDREW MAXWELL:  It's history.  It's one of the most historic games that we play.  I can remember games, going back and being a kid, in 2005 when (indiscernible) and Jason Teague ran the option.  I remember I was at Pizza Sam's in Midland watching TV.  2007 when they won.  2008 I was here when they won.
When they have two great teams, always seems to be a game that goes down to the wire.  To be part of that rivalry is something special and something I'm grateful for.

Q.  Looking at Notre Dame's defense, obviously they lost a cornerback who was supposed to start this year, maybe a little bit young, vulnerable in that secondary, but very physical up front.  Can you assess what you've seen from that defense.
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think the first thing that jumps out at you is their pass‑rushes, their front seven, defensive line, linebackers.  Obviously great size there, great power, great strength.  That's going to be a challenge for us on the offensive line, matching up with them.
Then in the secondary, maybe not as much experience, but they certainly have speed.  I think their corner, No. 2, was a track guy, did very well there.  So he's got a lot of speed.  They're a little inexperienced back there, but they certainly make up for it.  It will be a great challenge as an offense for us as a whole.

Q.  I was wondering if you as players in the last couple years have seen any difference from your coach in terms of the health issues he went through?  Do you notice him any different?  Different approaches?  Is he pretty much the same guy as far as you guys see?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, I think the health scare in 2010 gave him a little different perspective on things.  He always realized that football is a game and it isn't life.  That comes from him being grounded in his faith.
But when that happened, from time to time, again, you can really see he really‑‑ he doesn't let a day go by and take it for granted.  He realizes it's a privilege to be here as a player, as a coach.  We're the lucky ones to be in the position that we are.
I think he doesn't let a day go by where he forgets that or takes that for granted.

Q.  No.1 in the Big Ten in passing offense as the team, but the only team that doesn't have a sack.  Is that something you're conscious of or is that just happening?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think it's just happening.  I kind of take that upon myself to do my best to avoid the sacks that I can avoid.
Obviously, you watch games sometimes, and sometimes you can't avoid one.  As a quarterback, when you sit there too long, you get stuck on a receiver, you stay in the pocket, don't get the ball out, you take a sack, that's on you.  That's something that we stress as a quarterback group and something I put upon myself.

Q.  You said this game always requires bringing something a little special.  How have you seen these guys over the years you've been here respond this week leading up to the game?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think it starts with everybody realizing what it means, everybody recognizing the rivalry, recognizing what it takes to come out on top of this game.  Once that happens and everybody buys in, then everybody is a little more motivated coming to practice, everyone is a little more motivated to stay a little later in the film room, knowing these are special games.  Your opportunities to play in these types of games are numbered.  You have to take the most advantage of them while you can.

Q.  Having already played a night game, national televised game earlier in the season, how much better are you because you've done that?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, like I said earlier, it does take the shock and the show factor out of it.  It allows you not so much to focus on the lights and the fans and the buzz, everything that surrounds it, you can just focus on the game.  Makes it so much more about your preparation, about everything that's happening on the field instead of around it.

Q.  You said earlier the night game makes this even more special.  Do you find that the players prefer night games now because there's a little more of a buzz or can you tell?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, I think it's split.  There's always some give‑and‑take with the night games.  It's a cool atmosphere because they don't happen that much.  So Spartan Stadium is definitely different at night.  At the same time you do have to kind of sit around and wait all day, where there's a part of you that wants to wake up, you're ready to go, you want to play.
Having to sit around through meetings, walk‑throughs, resting in your hotel room, some guys don't like that aspect to it, but it definitely builds up and lives up to the hype.

Q.  What is your favorite Pearl Jam song or two?  What did you learn most from Kirk Cousins?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Favorite Pearl Jam song or two?  Corduroy and Whipping.  From Kirk, as far as the football side of it, was just his preparation, how he didn't leave any stone unturned during the week.  He wasn't afraid to put in the extra hours and sacrifice things to go back and watch more film, get with a receiver, talk about an adjustment during the play.
All that work he put in with preparation during the week translated to the results he had on Saturday.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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