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November 13, 2012

Andrew Maxwell

Q.  Can you talk a little about Chris McDonald and what he's meant, first, on the field?  Whether you feel he's performed at an all‑conference level, and off the field, with as many changes as you've had on the line and as many ups and downs, what he's meant as a stabilizer and leader?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Yeah, certainly.  Chris has been one of our best linemen for a couple of years now.  Chris, a testament to Chris just how hard he's worked because when I came in as a true freshman and Chris was a red shirt freshman, he was on the scout team with me.  He didn't even crack the two deep as a red shirt freshman.  I know that was a disappointment to him, really hoping to crack to the deep that year.  But all the work that he's put in to be a two or three‑year starter for us, he's been one of our most consistent linemen.  I think he's been the only guy who started every game on the offensive line.  So just the hard work and durability he's shown for us has been a real constant for us.

Q.  Did you watch the Michigan and Northwestern game?  Was there anything about the defense that jumped out at you?  Did you watch for pleasure or were you watching from an X's and O's standpoint?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  To be honest, I only watched the first two series, and I went to the Midland High game, so I didn't see the ending or any of the game.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Yeah, I watched not specifically the Michigan game, but I have watched some film on Northwestern this year.  I see a disciplined football team.  I see a tough football team.  A team that's playing with great effort the whole game, and that's what you're going to get in this conference week‑in and week‑out.

Q.  You and Chris were two of the first big recruits that committed to Mark, and you and he over‑‑ obviously, you red shirted, so he's graduating this year.  But you two have built a very special relationship that goes beyond football.  It's more like even brothers.  Would you talk about that relationship that you have with Chris Norman and what he means to you personally?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Yeah, the relationship that I've built with Chris especially recently, I really cherish.  He's become one of my closest friends.  You would call it a brotherhood because of our roots in Christ.  We've gotten to know each other from AIA.  When he came back from Ultimate Training Camp last summer, he came back really changed.  He's challenged me in my walk with Christ, and we've grown together through that.
So when you can have a common bond in a faith and in a sport like this, that's really two of the biggest things in your life, and you can really grow together and become stronger and better friends and like brothers through that.  That's really meant a lot to me.

Q.  Going back to the Northwestern game.  They've lost a few games closely in the last quarter.  Is that something that's sort of familiar to you.  Do you feel for a team that does that?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Yeah, I think we have that in common.  That's just going to‑‑ if that's any indication of how we're feeling in our locker room, they're probably feeling the same way.  Just kind of having that so close feeling.  If they're working like we're working, they're going to be working hard.  Any time you have a close loss like that, that kind of keeps you going and you dig a little deeper and look a little harder to find those extra inches.

Q.  How is this a different football team than it was two weeks ago, and how has the bye week helped?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think obviously the bye week helps.  You get everybody who is a little dinged up, you get healthy, and you get to take a break and come back.  Coach D always talks about being fresh.  So it's having a week off to kind of take a step back and watch things play out and just kind of reevaluate where we are as a football team.  I think we're a more mature football team.  A team that's ready to approach this two‑game season, which is what it is, with the most tenacity and most focus we've had all year.

Q.  Kirk Cousins, preseason we asked you about your dialogue with him.  Have you had much dialogue with Kirk with your season or has he counselled you at all?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I talked to him a little bit, I guess a couple weeks ago it was.  Just kind of‑‑ nothing too formal or nothing too serious.  Just a couple of inside jokes here and there through text message.  But beyond that, I haven't talked to him that much.  Not for any particular reason, just because we both have busy schedules.

Q.  Talk about Norman for a second.  You said he came back changed.  Can you expand what you meant by that?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, Chris is a guy, and he can tell you this better than I can.  He's a guy that grew up in the church and kind of grew up around it, but didn't really understand what it meant to have a true personal relationship with Jesus.  He went to Athletes in Action Ultimate Training Camp, and he just kind of had his eyes open and just kind of saw things in a completely different perspective.  He'll tell you that's where he truly got saved.  He came back with a completely different outlook on life and living for a new purpose.  You can ask anybody in our locker room, and they'll tell you the same exact thing.

Q.  Can you talk about DeAnthony Arnett's development?  He's a guy that's a little off the radar now, but he's jumped up on the depth chart.  What's he done over the course of the past ten weeks to get himself in that position?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, he's getting better every week.  He's bringing more attention to detail.  He's bringing more focus to practice.  Because DeAnthony has been the guy with all the physical tools.  He's as quick a receiver as we have, and when he runs his routes, he's as shifty as there is.  So each and every week really learning the offense for him, being around it, and seeing the adjustments and the checks that he's really soaked in.  You can see it in practice that he's not thinking as much.  He's just going out there and playing and it's coming more naturally to him.  I think that's showing in his performance in practice.

Q.  You talk about it being a two‑game season left to go here.  How important is this bowl streak to you guys and putting a little extra emphasis on this game and not wanting to let it go to the last game to make sure you're bowl eligible?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  It's very important.  I think everybody that's been to a bowl game can tell you how good an experience it is not only for the team, but the whole program and for the University.  For everybody who gets to be a part of that trip, it's an awesome experience.  It's something that I've really enjoyed in my time, and for people who haven't experienced it, obviously, we want them to be able to.  Especially for the seniors, you don't want to end your senior year where you've been to four bowl games and your fifth year you don't go to one.
So obviously we'd like to get our sixth win this week, and not have to make next week essentially a playoff game for us.  But we're going to do whatever we can to get bowl eligible, because that's something that's important to us.

Q.  When you look back at the season opener here at home, how different do you feel compared to that night and comparing where you are right now as a person, mentally, emotionally, as a player, all of that?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think I've matured.  I think I'm a different player, a different person than August 31st.  I think everybody on the team, we can say that for ourselves as a team as a whole.  But this being the last game, it seems crazy how fast it goes.  It seems like just yesterday we were running out of that tunnel and it was Boise State.
But this is really important for us, and our seniors just to send them out on a high note and have them leaving with a good taste in their mouth, and good feelings about playing in Spartan Stadium.

Q.  You discussed your faith and conviction.  With all due respect to that though, is there anyway you could consider this season a success without going to a bowl game?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Absolutely.  Personally for me, I could consider it a success because the way I look at it, I'm lucky and blessed enough to still be playing this game at this level.  I used to‑‑ when I first started playing football, the field we played on Saturday mornings at 8:00 o'clock in the outfield of the middle school baseball field.
Now I look, and we go to these places and I'm stretching and I don't want to make it sound like I'm star struck.  But I have a perspective of I'm blessed to play this game.  I used to play in the baseball outfield, and now I'm playing in Spartan Stadium or up in Madison, all of these places I grew up watching on TV.
God put me in an awesome position here.  I can go to bed at night and put my head on the pillow at the end of the season knowing I gave it my all, and our team gave it all.  Chips fall where they may, bowl game, no bowl game, championship or no championship, I can be content because I have a scope and identity that's bigger than all of this.

Q.  Fans sometimes have a lot on their plate.  There have been some mid to late November games with big holes in the crowd.  What would you tell people who aren't sure they should come watch this game why they should be there Saturday?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  It's Michigan State football.  If you're a Michigan State football fan, I don't think the record of the opponent should really matter.  It's the team we're putting on the field.  We're a different team than we were two weeks ago, and we're a different team than we were at the beginning of the season.  It's our last chance to see us at home this year.  That's something we realize and we're taking to heart, and we'll put on a performance on Saturday that is hopefully going to be our most passionate and heartfelt performance yet.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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