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October 23, 2012

Andrew Maxwell

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Andrew Maxwell.

Q.  Mark just said there were some opportunities for you to run in that last game and you should have taken advantage of them.  Those of us that have watched you since high school know that's a talent you have.  Do you think running has to become more of a threat for you?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, I certainly think it could help me in a couple situations.  I think you can look at the first third down in the game where I kind of scrambled out, tried to throw it down to Larry down the sideline.  There's definitely an opportunity to pick up some yards.
You can go back to last week in overtime against Iowa where on the third down before we kicked the field goal, I kind of put it high in the back of the end zone.  That's an opportunity where maybe I score, maybe I don't.  I get as close if I run.
Since I've been here, I've been so ingrained into being a drop‑back passer, make plays with my arm, it isn't second nature for me yet to see, okay, I'm going to go.
Looking from the film the last couple of weeks, I could definitely look at putting in a premium and putting emphasis on that in practice and carrying that into the game.

Q.  If Dion is 100% this week, talk about the advantage of having him and Burbridge in the roles they haven't been in.
ANDREW MAXWELL:  That would be great for our offense, having those two weapons.  Obviously Dion was hot at the beginning of the year, a big part of our offense.  Whether it would be run blocking, catching the short stuff, catching the stuff down the field, he was huge for us.
When he got hurt, Aaron stepped up.
If we could have both those weapons, have them on opposite sides of the field, that would be huge for our offense.

Q.  Dan Roushar has taken a lot of heat from the outside about play calling.  As a player, do you feel extra pressure to execute more?  Do you feel that kind of pressure when points aren't coming?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, that's the name of the game, is you have to execute.  The plays that are called, no matter what the play is, you got to execute.  Every play is drawn up to be successful.  When it's not, you don't have to look much farther than the players.  We have to put that on ourselves.  We have to approach every day in practice, take a war like approach in practice, so coaches can take a look and have a good idea what's going to work on Saturdays.
If we're not giving it the best look at practice, how can we execute in practice?  It starts in practice with execution, then that just carries over to the game.
We don't feel any extra pressure.  The pressure that we feel is the pressure that every offense feels, and that's to execute the plays that are called.

Q.  I didn't get to see you play in high school.  How comfortable are you running in the open field?  How would you rate your speed?  Can you talk about the pressure.  You're on the losing end of this series, and the quarterback takes most of the heat in defeat as well as credit in victories.
ANDREW MAXWELL:  As far as my running ability, I wouldn't say it's been a major asset for me, but I think I'm athletic enough to, when the situation comes, when there's nothing open downfield, I might not break it for 35 yards, but I feel like if it presents itself, I can get us seven or eight and get us a first down.
That comes with the job description.  The quarterback signs the checks for the offense and the team.  I've said it before, you're going to be the face of the team.  You have to answer in victory and in defeat.  Unfortunately, coming out on the losing end this weekend is something that we didn't hope for, we didn't want to happen.  But that's life and that's the reality of the situation.
Coach Dantonio said part of football and part of losing is becoming a man, having to own up and take accountability for that.  This is the position I'm in.  That's part of the job.

Q.  The perception is the offensive coordinator calls all the plays.  As I understand it, you check into certain plays quite often.  How often are you the one that makes the decision?  Would you put a percentage on how much you make the call?
ANDREW MAXWELL:¬† A lot of the times we'll have two plays called when we go to the line where it's a play‑‑ we have the play we want to run, then if we get a look where they get into a defense where we can't block it or have a certain protection, we have a built‑in check to get to another play that would work.
A lot of times it's just me communicating that to the guys in the huddle, going to the line, recognizing what the defense gives us, getting us into the best play depending on the look.
Not every play, but there are certain plays where it's a good play, except if we get a look.  Recognizing that we built in a check with it, then if we get that look, we go to the check.

Q.  You were redshirting in 2009, the last time Michigan State was in a situation like this.  With that experience and role as a captain, what do you tell the younger players?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think that's the most important thing is that we have to fight through, we have to move forward, because that's the only direction we can move at this point.
We have to realize that the season's not over.¬† We have four regular‑season games left.¬† We have an opportunity to really gain some momentum going into the last little bit of the season here.
I think what's important to communicate for the young players, is we need to do it for the seniors, the older guys, the guys who have been the nucleus of our back‑to‑back 11‑win seasons the last two years, the guys who helped us get here.
Battling back and fighting back builds as much character as going 12‑0 does.¬† There's a quote that says, There can be no sheer victory without sheer diversity.¬† If we can look at this season, look at our team right now, the adversity we are going with, grow together as a unit, as a family, get stronger and build from it, I think that's going to build more character than anything would.

Q.  Where is your frustration level right now?
ANDREW MAXWELL:¬† Well, I think if you let your frustrations get to you, that takes away from battling back, that takes away from growing.¬† The reality of the situation is what it is.¬† We're a 4‑4 football team.¬† We have an opportunity to end the year on a great note.¬† We have a great test coming up this weekend.¬† We get to go to play in a place that's a hard place to win.
All eyes have to be looking forward at the task at hand.

Q.  You said you don't want to be the reason for Michigan State not succeeding.  Do you sometimes overthink that and play a little too cautious?  Is that a fair assessment?  Do you think maybe you could throw more caution to the wind in your decision making or not?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think there's a fine line between taking, we call them calculated risks and being foolish.  I think a lot of times if you look at film, there are some plays this year, there are some situations where I could have been taking a few more calculated risks.  Maybe that is something to consider as we go forward.
But there's that fine line.  The quarterback has to be careful because if you start trying to play more aggressive, that crosses over into being foolish, making bad decisions, putting your team in bad situations.  You've made the situation worse.

Q.  First drive of the second half Saturday may have been the best possession of the year.  Why did that possession in particular work?  Was it more scripted?  What worked on that?  Have you not been able to take from that and be more consistent?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  We got into the flow of the offense, the flow of the game.  I thought the play calling on that drive was great.  We were in the same formation.  We were calling different plays.  We were giving the defense different looks from the same sets.  We had guys making plays.
The good thing about that drive is we didn't have a huge play.  It was kind of chunks at that time.  It was eight yards, 13 yards, 10 yards.  That just shows what kind of offense we can be when we are executing, we have the confidence, get the ball rolling.

Q.  Mark talked about the team not being divided.  As an offense, are there times when you see them give up 12 points, you don't win, that there's a sense of guilt on your part?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  The bottom line is we win as a team, we lose as a team.  There's no room in this team or locker room for finger pointing.  Obviously you want to score more than 10 points to give yourself an opportunity to win.  You want to turn field goals into touchdowns.  The bottom line is when we have the football, we possess it, we want to score points, whatever way that can be.
We can't start pointing fingers, play the blame game.  We win as a team, lose as a team.  Stick together that way.

Q.¬† Talk about Sims.¬† Early in the season he was a go‑to guy for you.
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think just looking at the game, you can see how it changes us as far as personnel groupings and formations.  A lot of our base concepts we got away from because Dion was a big part of that.
But with the guys stepping in, with all the different personnel groupings, with the different formations, I thought we did a great job responding and kept the offense moving forward.
Getting him back, we can incorporate more of the stuff we were doing at the beginning of the year as well as build on the stuff we've been doing in the recent weeks.

Q.¬† Kirk Cousins was a three‑time captain here at Michigan State.¬† He said his most difficult year was his sophomore year because he was trying to lead upperclassmen, and he was trying to establish himself as the starting quarterback for the team.¬† Are you finding similar struggles as you're establishing yourself as quarterback and being voted team captain?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think at this point that's not one of the struggles, one of the problems that I'm facing.  I think going into week nine, having been the starting quarterback here for 10, almost 11 months now, that's something I haven't struggled with.
I'm falling into trying to establish myself, just as a team leader in general, as a guy who is going to try to get our season back on track and keep our season moving forward.  I'm focusing more on that instead of just focusing as establishing myself as starting quarterback.

Q.  You talked a lot about the personnel.  You've played behind six offensive lines in eight weeks.  Can you talk about the personal difficulties at quarterback in that kind of difference in personnel.  Can you talk about what that means and how that affects the running game.
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, I think the fact that we have had those six different offensive lines, we've still been able to be productive with those offensive lines.  Give credit to those guys, their competitive nature stepping in there.  Guys who are ready to play whatever position.  Not only are we putting new guys in, we're shuffling guys from position to position within the line.
When you have a group of guys who are as versatile, they can play different positions, it may look like you have six offensive lines in eight weeks, you may be a little uneasy at quarterback.
But I see that as we have guys who can do those things, and when asked, they can produce and be effective doing that.  That hasn't affected my confidence, made me feel uncomfortable.
As far as the running game, that's probably a better question for Coach Roushar, Le'Veon, or Larry, the guys that carry the ball, see how that affects them.

Q.  How would you say you played against Michigan and how much of the blame would you put on your own shoulders?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I thought I played well.  I thought I did a good job of managing the game.  I thought I made good decisions for the majority of the game.  The interception I threw, I don't credit that to a decision I made.  I credit that to I didn't have my feet set and the ball sailed on me and got intercepted.
The bottom line is we didn't win, didn't score enough points to win.  As I said before, the quarterback signs the checks for how we play on the field.
There's definitely opportunities I look at where I could have put us in better situations, a couple more first downs, possessed the ball a little more and put us in a better position to win.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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