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November 12, 2013

Shilique Calhoun

Q.  Can you talk about the feeling you had a year ago on a Saturday night walking off that field and how it serves to motivate you against this same team this year, if at all?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  I think the biggest thing is that what we took from that game is that we didn't execute the way we wanted to.  We didn't play Spartan football like we usually do.  It was a lot of errors, and it kind of hurt us.  We had an opportunity that we could have beat the team, but we didn't play to our full potential.
Coming into this game, it kind of motivates us and pushes us to keep looking forward.¬† All of our goals are still ahead of us.¬† They're just another team that we have to beat, another great team that's going to be in the way, and we've got to take the proper‑‑ just the proper steps to win in that game and get through practice on Tuesday and Thursday and Wednesday, we've got to make sure we execute everything we need to do and have everything focused and down pat for Saturday.

Q.  As you grow into a player, are you developing more of an appreciation for the film room, and over the last two weeks what's stood out to you as you watched Nebraska?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  Of course.  I mean, when I came in here freshman year, film wasn't a big thing.  You just kind of want to go out there and play, you just want to have raw talent.  But as you realize, the more film you watch, you get a better understanding of how other people play and how you can maybe gain some of their tendencies and be able to beat them on certain plays.
Over the years I've learned that film is a big key to winning the football game.  Sometimes it just doesn't come down to just playing.  You have to understand what your opponent is doing and how maybe you can match their talent or overcome and overtake what they have going on.  Obviously it is big in this game, especially against this team who our staff hasn't beaten them since they've been here.  It's going to be key in understanding what they want to do against us and what we need to do against them.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about what Taylor Martinez did last year against you guys, and what this year is different with maybe knowing that he's out versus the other two guys that they've got?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:¬† Taylor Martinez is a playmaker, a guy‑‑ he can make a play with his hands, throwing the ball, and also running.¬† And I think that the big thing that he did against us was he was able to move his feet.¬† He didn't stay stationery.¬† He ran around, he made sure that it was hard for us to tackle him.¬† On one drive he was able to score, actually he took off and started running, so the biggest thing was not having him in the game, you just have to respect the quarterback that's in there, but you don't think that‑‑ he's not Taylor Martinez and he's not taking off like he is, he's a little more stationary, so that's the big key for the game, and that might help us out a lot, actually.

Q.  Some of the conversation today before you got in here involved the Nebraska crowd and how they kind of kill you with kindness.  I know you've been to other places that have been more hostile.  For a defensive player is that something Michigan State has fed off because I think Dantonio has referenced you guys have one of the better road records in the Big 10 and this is a team that's played with a chip on its shoulder.  How do you keep that chip when you're going to a friendly place with so much praise around you?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  I have not been to Nebraska yet, this is going to be my first time, but I've heard about it and heard how they're extremely kind and it kind of throws you off a little bit.  I think you have to go in with the mindset that you have something to do and it's a job.  Sometimes you don't always want to fire that nice guy but he has to be fired.  The biggest thing is you've got to be focused.  Keep your mindset straight and make sure that you get the task at hand done.

Q.¬† When you were 6‑1 and you beat Purdue 14‑0, still nobody seemed to believe in this team.¬† The last couple of weeks seem to have made believers out of everybody.¬† Is there any satisfaction in that for you?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  Right now we don't focus on the outsiders.  We basically focus on we need to believe in ourselves.  That's the biggest key because people are going to talk, people are going to say what they want, people are going to have their own opinions.  But as long as we believe in ourselves and we keep focusing and striving for success, there's nothing that can stop us.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about Abdullah and what kind of running back he is and what you guys have to do to slow him down?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  Abdullah, he's a very shifty guy.  He's really good with his feet.  He's really good at getting around people and running around people.  The biggest thing is to try and contain him, make sure he doesn't get outside the box, make sure he stays in the backfield.  That's the kind of aspect we go into every game, but this game is, like everyone knows, is the bigger game.  But that's going to be key, also, try and stop their game and make sure they don't get long yardage because that could be very devastating to our defense.

Q.  Coaches and players have not really shied away from the fact that this is a chance to win a championship for you guys.  What is the talk that you guys have internally amongst each other knowing that this is a game that can win a championship for you guys, or at least part of a championship to get to Indy?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  I would say we looked at last year and we understood that we had great opportunities, and we didn't take hold of them.  This year the biggest focus is on don't let that opportunity slip by you.  Coach D always says you will be the ones, so we're trying to make this year known as we're going to be the ones.  We're not going to be like, well, maybe next year.  This is an opportunity now and this is such a big game, we don't want to let any game go to waste.  These opportunities don't come all the time, a dime a dozen.  You have to definitely try and take hold of it and grasp it now and don't wait for someone else to do it.  It's big now and something that we've tried to focus on every day, that every game is our last and you never know when your time will be up, so try to make the most of it.

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