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December 3, 2013

Shilique Calhoun

Q.  Could you talk about Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde.
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  They're two very versatile people.  As you know, Braxton Miller is a very agile quarterback.  He's like no other.  He makes plays with his feet and his hands, he can throw the ball and he can run it just as good.
Hyde, I guess you guys saw last night, he was the running back of the Big 10, and it's just due because he's a great running back.  He comes downhill, he comes hard because he's fast, he's a fast guy and a big guy at that.  Biggest thing is we're going into that game just like any other game.  You've got to stop those two guys.
Stopping the running back has always been one of our goals that we try to hit going into every game, so that's going to be a very big part of that game, and also trying to stop Braxton Miller from creating plays out of nothing.

Q.  Is this type of offense the most difficult to defend against from a D‑lineman's perspective with all the option and wanting to get on the outside and misdirection and all the things that they do and having to stay disciplined?  Is this the toughest type of system for a guy in your position to play against?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  You kind of just laid it out for me, so yeah, it's pretty rough.  Seeing that you have basically two running backs in the backfield, both of those guys are athletes, so the biggest thing is you have to be disciplined.  That's something that we go over every day.  We try to construct ourselves and so on.
We will definitely have to be disciplined against this team, but it's not going to take away from the way we play.  We're an aggressive, fast‑playing, hard‑hitting defense, and that's the way we're going to continue to play.

Q.  Lineman of the year and 11‑1, a Big 10 championship game and maybe a Rose Bowl.  You're only a sophomore, not all this good stuff is supposed to happen this quick.  How does this make you feel?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  It's great, man.  It's wonderful having this opportunity to be highlighted as someone who's been basically working hard.  I guess it's hard work that we've been doing throughout all season, through the season, is finally paying off for us.  I'm happy that not only myself but my team can get recognition.  It's good that people are starting to understand that we are working hard here at Michigan State.  We've been doing it for years, and it's good to finally know that they're seeing it now, they're understanding it, and they're giving us praise, saying, hey, listen, you guys did a good job.  But I try not to look at that right now, I just try to focus on the next game because it's another big opponent that we have to face coming into Saturday.
I thank them very much, but I have to stay focused on the task at hand.

Q.  How do you explain your big play ability?  Do you play with that in mind, to make not just a regular play but a big play, a sack, a touchdown, whatever?  Do you play angry in that regard?  How do you explain it, your big play ability?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  Well, basically we have like a hit chart on basically things we want to do each game.  We want to create turnovers, we want to make big plays, and we want to be relentless.  Those are some of the things on our hit chart.  When we go out there as individuals, I think we each go out there thinking, we want to make the big play, we want to make the next big play, we want to make the next big hit, and it just so happens that it works out in my favor.  I think the guys put me in the right place, my coaches put me in the right place to make those plays.
I have my brothers behind me who are filling the other gaps so there's no other choice but for me to make the play, and if I don't then they will.  I would say that it's just the luck of the draw for me, but obviously I definitely go out there, I play hard and obviously I try to play hard every snap so no opportunity is let up.  I don't want to have something pass me by and then wish that maybe I would have ran him down from the backside or I would have went a little faster off the ball or I would have saved a little energy on certain plays.
I try to make sure when I go out there I give it my all, and I'll come out and let the next guy go in because I know he's going to work just as hard.

Q.  When you guys go live like you're apparently doing this week, how live do you actually go on a Damion Terry or Gerald Holmes?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  We go live basically every week.  They don't want at any point to be like we should have did this in practice, we should have did that.  It's full go.  Those guys are getting hit, those guys are going down.  They're taking bruises, everything.  But they're also creating plays.  They're giving us the outside look that we don't have, like, okay, he has to play Braxton or he has to play Carlos Hyde.
We go as live as we can without trying to physically like hurt these people and make sure that they're able to still be able to play.  But obviously, I mean, it's a tough practice.  Our practices are always tough, though.  Having Coach Narduzzi as our defensive coordinator there's no time where you get to just relax and everything is a walk‑through because even on perfect Thursday we're still hitting.

Q.  I know you have some periods live, but Michigan week was more live, right, because of the Devin Gardner and I believe this week according to Narduzzi it's going to be more periods live?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  Yeah, it'll be a couple more periods that are live.  I would say for a D‑lineman everything is live.  We're in the trenches, so I don't know when we're live and when we're not live.  You might have to ask a couple DBs and wideouts about that one.  But I would say for us every period, every snap is live, and it's full go.  It's full go for us.  He may feel some different type of way, like I said, towards the DBs or maybe the linebackers, but we don't get no relief time in the trenches.  It's rough every second in there.

Q.  Damion Terry tweeted, we're going live this week, please pray for me.
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  (Laughing.)  He's a funny guy.  He's going to make things happen.  I'm pretty sure he'll make plays out there, too.  He's not going to make it easy on us, I know that for sure.  And I thank him for that because we don't need anything easy.  We want it to be as hard and as challenging as it could be, so it can be more like a game situation.

Q.  I was just looking at your recruiting profile.  You were the 344th ranked player in the country, a three‑star guy.  Seems to be a theme with this team, obviously Darqueze another guy.  What was that like during recruiting and what was the connection to Michigan State?  How much of a motivator is that still that a lot of you guys were overlooked greatly by a lot of programs?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  First I just want to say that the coaching staff did a wonderful job of recruiting guys.  It wasn't always about how many stars you had.  I think it was more about toughness and heart.  I feel like they recruited the right guys that would click together, guys that would create a bond.
What brought me here to Michigan State was family.  It was more like a brother atmosphere, a family atmosphere, everyone was connected, everyone was together.  Still to this day people ask me, you still like it here, you still‑‑ I love it.  I love being here, and I feel like I hope my kids come here.  When I graduate and I have kids, I hope my kids are able to come here and feel the same way I do.
But obviously it's definitely that family bond that we have on the field and off the field, just seeing the guys when I walk around, I'm just walking around town, and I see them, and I give the wave.  It's just a connection you feel between each other, and it's like no other.

Q.  Is there an extra energy when you know you're playing against four‑ and five‑star players of the year from states‑‑ Ohio State is supposed to beat you.  On paper this is a game you're supposed to lose.
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  I mean, that's what it says.  We don't go into games thinking that we're supposed to lose.  We go into every game feeling that we should win and we're going to give it our all and make it so that we can win.
Going against four‑ and five‑star guys, I don't really look at the stat sheet.  That's not something I look up.  I just look at how they play.  I want to beat this person, not his ranking or who he used to be, who he maybe used to be, like he's a four‑star guy.  That's not it at all.  It's like how can I complete my assignments to the best of my ability.  It's not really about where they're ranked or how many stars they have because my dad always told me it doesn't really matter, hard work beats talent.  That's what I focus on going into practice and that's what I focus on throughout the years I've been playing football.

Q.  Why do you think you were not higher ranked, and what do you think Dantonio or the coaching staff saw in you?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  I think the guys that were ranking me didn't like me.  I don't know.
No, I'm just joking.  Honestly, I don't know.  I'm not sure exactly.  I was in that kind of town.  There wasn't too many athletes that came out of where I'm from.  I was just blessed to have the opportunity to come out.  I'm not sure exactly why I wasn't ranked higher.  I couldn't tell you what was going through their minds.
But I think Coach Dantonio saw something in me, and he heard from word of mouth from his other coaches that I was a pretty good player, and I think that he ran with it.  He understood that his coaching, the coaching staff that's under him wasn't going to lie to him and they were going to find certain players, and I feel like he understood that they saw something in me, so he was willing to take a chance, and I guess he saw something in me, also.

Q.  Besides Michigan State, who else was in the running that you were looking at?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  Pittsburgh, Nebraska, a couple Big 10 teams.  Not too many.  But this was my primary place that I wanted to be.  I mean, I liked it here, like I said, went for my first visit, and ever since I came here every other school was compared to here.  This was top‑notch.  This was the level.  I would say that it was a lot of‑‑ there was a couple other schools recruiting me, but this was my primary focus.  I knew where I wanted to be.

Q.  That hard work beats talent, can that be the motto for this program?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  Of course, I think so.  I mean, you can see from our practices, you can see from our D‑coordinator that we're going to work hard.  I would definitely say those could be words that describe this program, definitely.  Offensively and defensively we're going to go out there and work hard and give it our all.  Coach Dantonio says win, lose or draw, as long as you give it your all, I'm happy with that; I accept that; there's nothing wrong with that, because I know that you gave it your all on every play and there was no letdown.  You played your hardest and you played your heart out.
And it just so happened that this year we gave that extra work and we were working really hard, and it's paying off for us.  I think for the guys to come, they'll understand that's our motto and they'll understand that they have to live up to that, too.

Q.  There is a chance you guys could get to the Rose Bowl win or lose.  That scenario is out there.  What do you think of that scenario?  Can you even‑‑ do you almost wish it didn't even exist, or how do you view that?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:  We don't expect to lose.  I mean, we don't go into any game looking forward to losing.  When I hear that, I just kind of let it go.  I don't focus on that at all.  We go into this game wanting to win.  We want to beat every team that's ahead of us, and Ohio State is just another team that's standing in our way from reaching our goal, no matter if we win or lose.  We want to win the Big 10 championship.  For that aspect, I'm not really focused on that because they're still in our way.  If we lose that game, we still lost the Big 10 championship, and we don't want to do that.  That's something that we're not‑‑ we're focused on winning.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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