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November 20, 2012

Andrew Maxwell

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Andrew Maxwell.

Q.  Andrew, earlier Coach Dantonio was talking a little bit about the importance for the team to maybe approach things a little bit differently, maybe get back to the mindset you have to fight for everything.  I wondered if you thought maybe in retrospect there was a little bit of lofty goals or expectations for this season coming into the season?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, I think any time you have success, you find that success is found when you really focus on the process.  I know it's cliché, but taking it one step at a time.  If you worry about the outcome, you worry about the product, being a championship, being whatever, then you kind of set all your focus on that, then forget about all the things that are between PointA and PointB, you're going to find yourself having trouble to get there.
I don't think there's anything wrong with having goals, with setting lofty goals, as long as you realize those things are only going to be accomplished if you take care of all the little things along the way to get there.

Q.  (No microphone.)
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Well, we're not playing for a national championship this week.  We're not playing for a Big Ten championship.  Whether that's what put us in this predicament or not, I'm not sure.  I don't think it was.
I think in the future when we do set those kind of goals, because this season is not going to deter us from setting those kind of goals, we know what kind of things we're capable of.
I think we need to realize it doesn't just happen for you.  I don't think there's anybody in this country that's good enough to roll their helmets out there and say, Here we are, chalk it up as an automatic W.
Any time you set goals, you have to work for it and it's not going to be easy.

Q.  He also said that he's going to reevaluate not hitting the quarterback in the spring.  I think you're going to get hit next spring.
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Do you think so?

Q.  Do you think that would be a benefit to you?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I actually do.  One of the things that I had to get adjusted to this year was having that internal clock in my head, whereas in the springtime you had it, where you're about to get hit, they tag off on you.  You don't get a true sense of standing in there and making those quick decisions before you get hit.
I think that would help develop our young players like Connor or Tyler who haven't been in the game, so they can get the feel for it, making those decisions.
Obviously you have to put a cap on it so you're not getting people hurt, but it would give people a learning experience in the pocket.

Q.  (No microphone.
ANDREW MAXWELL:  That was not my decision, no (laughter).

Q.  He said, We need to change with the times.  Has there been any discussion on your part about changes, things this offense can do to transform?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I haven't been involved in any of those discussions.  But when it comes down to it, execution, game plans, it all kind of revolves around what Michigan State football is built on, which is toughness and effort.
I think whatever your plan, scheme, whatever you're trying to adapt your offense to, if you're not playing with toughness or effort, it's not going to do any good for you.  I think we need to keep that consistent, the enthusiasm we bring to practice, that we bring to work every day, that we put out on the field game day.

Q.  Knowing yourself and the leaders coming back like Max, do you feel like there will be less public discussion of those, putting your nose to the grindstone, letting your actions speak for themselves?
ANDREW MAXWELL:¬† We're not really in the position that we were last year to kind of proclaim those goals.¬† But I really do think we just kind of need to go back to work, go back to putting our nose to the grindstone, take that workmanlike attitude, obviously finishing this season out, hopefully getting the sixth win this Saturday, then taking it into the off‑season, winter conditioning, spring ball, realizing how hard it is.
Success doesn't come easy.  It mainly comes to those who truly want it and truly understand the challenges that are ahead of them.

Q.¬† The only upside of losing five Big Ten games by 13 points is you haven't let the wheels come off.¬† Do you worry about that with this group?¬† From a coaching standpoint, he called this a 'program game', the idea that a bowl game is important.¬† From a player's standpoint, a tough season, how motivated is this group by 6‑6 and another month and a bowl game?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think if the wheels were going to come off, they were going to come off a long time ago.  I think it shows the character and resiliency of this team.  Close loss, close win, whatever the outcome, we're not going to hang dog it at practice the next week, get too caught up in it.
We're going to approach every week like it's a new week, we're going to work and come to play every Saturday.  I think we've shown that every week.
Getting to a bowl game is truly important for everybody in this locker room.  For the guys that have been here, we realize how special of an experience it is.  For the people that get to go on the trip, not only the game, but the things that happen around it, you grow as a team.  You get to go on vacation, go to dinners, events.
The 15 extra practices are a great benefit for us, too.  The young players get a chance to get some reps of real Michigan State football and concepts instead of just running scout team cards like they've been doing all year.
Everything that comes along with a bowl win is very enticing and motivating for us to get our sixth win.

Q.  Coach said he would use the word 'win' about this Minnesota game.  What does that say to you that your coach has this much confidence?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  He would say what?

Q.¬† He would say when we're 6‑6, we'll win, go to a bowl game, that he would display that type of candor and confidence in front of the media.
ANDREW MAXWELL:  It means a lot that he has that kind of confidence in us.  We have that kind of confidence in ourselves.  We do realize it's the inches and the details that have put us in the position that we're in.
We're in a playoff right now.  It's win or go home.  I think now is the week we need to find the inches, find the details, truly pay attention to them.  I think everybody is buying in.
We talked on Sunday.  We made a promise to each other.  We said, This week, we are going to find the details over every single thing we do, whether that be going to a tutor, showing up to a lift on time, cleaning up your plate at the training table.  If you start finding those inches, and we find them all throughout the week, then I think we're going to like the results.

Q.  What do you feel like is the biggest reason you haven't been able to reach the goals and expectations that you set for yourselves?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  It's the same thing:  it's the inches, it's the details, because they are everywhere throughout a football game.  I think that's very clear and evident if you look at the tape of all our games this year.  Even just one or two plays, if they go a different way, then I think we're looking at a different outcome.
That's the game.  That's the way the game's always been.  That's what we need to realize and to expect.

Q.¬† I don't know how much you've seen of Minnesota so far, maybe just a little, but can you talk about some of the concepts of what their defense does scheme‑wise?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  Minnesota has always been a team that's going to play with a lot of toughness.  They're going to play very fast, very physical.  They've always had great athletes.
I think they do a tremendous job stopping the run.  They're going to pack those guys in there.  Their safeties are going to play well and give a lot of help in the run game.  They have athletes, players in the secondary to support that and back them up.
Make no mistake about it, we're going to have our work cut out for us and we need to approach it as such.

Q.  What do you think about Big Ten expansion?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think it shows the attractiveness of our conference.  The people who are looking for new conferences are attracted to the Big Ten.  I think that's good for the conference and the schools that are in it.

Q.  (No microphone.)
ANDREW MAXWELL:  It's been something I've gotten used to, grown into.  It's part of the job.  I've said it before, the quarterback is the face of the program as far as the players are concerned.  That was something I was expecting, I was prepared for.
Through the good times and the bad, I have to stand up here and answer for the team.  That's something that I'm prepared to do, something I've somewhat enjoyed doing it, I guess.
Would I like doing your job?  Just yours (laughter).

Q.  You were a true freshman here in 2009.  How much did you learn and grow in that time?  How important were those next two years?
ANDREW MAXWELL:  I think 2009 is a big reason we had the success we had in 2010 and 2011.  2007, 2008 were relatively successful seasons, Coach Dantonio's first years.  We kind of had those high expectations in 2009.  Similarly we lost a lot of close games, disappointing year, had some disappointing things happen to us.
I think that's when we turned the tide in 2010 when we realized it's not easy, it just doesn't happen for you.  You really saw the leadership emerge.  You really saw guys get determined and set their minds to some goals, take that workmanlike attitude, and you saw the fruits of that in 2010, 2011.
Thanks, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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