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ROSE BOWL GAME: MICHIGAN STATE v STANFORD


December 27, 2013


Isaiah Lewis


PASADENA, CALIFORNIA

Q.  Ready for the game?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Ready to go.

Q.¬† It's funny because how Michigan State‑‑ Stanford was here last year.¬† More than‑‑
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Six years.

Q.  One thing I heard on the radio was that Stanford was (indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  What?

Q.  (Indiscernible).
ISAIAH LEWIS:¬† Well‑‑

Q.  What happened was they put (indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:¬† Whoa.¬† In the Stanford section.¬† It's going to be interesting.¬† It's going to be‑‑ yeah.¬† I can't wait.¬† I can't wait.
Is this on?  All right.  Had to check it.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Yeah.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Yeah.  Yeah.

Q.  (Question about it being a more traditional press conference)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Yeah, used to it.  I think so.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  That would be like being on practice, after practice, interviewing all these things.  Every practice, it's crazy.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:¬† Yeah.¬† Yeah.¬† But I don't think like when we were back at school practicing, back at school for the game, they wasn't ‑‑ I think our coach, Coach D, wouldn't let any of the I think ‑‑ well, he wasn't letting them come in.¬† He was just letting us practice right now, worrying about none of it.
So that's basically what we're doing.  It's going to be back to normal now because we got all this.  Get all the questions now.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:¬† Yeah.¬† Oh, okay.¬† Yeah.¬† Yeah.¬† It was crazy.¬† It's going to be‑‑ I'm ready to play this game.¬† This is exciting.¬† I'm ready to play.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Yeah, I know.  This is nice.  I like this city.  What's up?  Table and I ain't standing up.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Yeah.

Q.  You've been here a couple of days.  I know you've been building for this your whole career.  How has it been going?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  It's been going real good.  This is what we've been working for.  I mean, the last three years I've been here, this is how we've been working for for so long.
And we finally got it and to finally get here, to finally be in Pasadena, LA, whatever, it's (indiscernible) to be here.
I know the whole team is excited to be here.¬† And we're just taking it all in, taking it day‑by‑day, just having fun and enjoying it.

Q.¬† How has the balance‑‑ unusual day.¬† You guys practice and (indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Yeah.

Q.  Your goal, pretty cool.
ISAIAH LEWIS:  It's fun.  Going to practice, knowing you've got something to look forward to after practice, having a fun day ahead of you.  It's real fun to be here.  It's crazy.  Warm weather.  Not having to worry about snow and ice and all that.  It's just fun to be around here.

Q.  Coach talked about keeping the line (indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Yeah, keeping the line in the keg.  (Indiscernible) you are eager to get in the game, eager to go out there and play, but you gotta keep that in.  You can't be thinking about it too much, getting nervous too early.  Just go day by day, build up to the game time.
Just keep your intensity down a little bit, trying to enjoy the city, go out and have fun until game day.  Take it serious.

Q.  (Indiscernible) the number one defense.  You guys looking forward to it?
ISAIAH LEWIS:¬† That's perfect for the kind of defense we run.¬† We're a run‑stop defense.¬† If they want to run the ball at us all day, have at it, let's go.¬† We'll go head to head the whole game.¬† It's going to be a hard‑hitting game.¬† We're going to be going at it the whole game.¬† It's going to be fun.

Q.  Could you talk about what that means (indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  I ain't thought about it yet.  I'm going to let it come to me.  Ain't going to think about it too much.  Just going to let it come to me, take it all in as I go out there.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Yeah, yeah.  It's crazy.  It's crazy.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:¬† They tell us what to do.¬† Day by day, they don't really like give us what you're going to do this day and this day.¬† It's like, oh, we're going to do this now.¬† It's like‑‑ we got like a little schedule for like the activities we're going to do, like Disney World and that kind of stuff.
But as far as the media stuff, yesterday‑‑ as far as like this kind of stuff, media stuff, we don't know.¬† They just told us we were doing this yesterday, at night.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Yeah.  At night, though.  Last night.  They were like you're going to do go do this tomorrow morning.  They do it all the time.  Like we're used to it.  We're used to it.  I don't think he found out, he didn't find out until this morning.  He found out this morning.  Found out this morning and brought him in.  It's funny.

Q.  When did you guys get out here?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Got out here two days ago, Wednesday.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Yep.  Good Christmas present.

Q.  This is a non (indiscernible) quarterback.  The impact of this against you guys, beyond the fact that they're a really good team, the matchup between you guys or Nebraska or anybody who could get outside, Gardner or anything like that?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  It's going to be a good matchup.  I feel like a team having a mobile quarterback, he's going to have to make plays back there.  Our "D" line is going to get out there fast.  We're going to be out there making plays.  Defensive backs are go be covering guys well.  Linebackers are going to be blitzing, trying to stop the run, getting through fast, getting penetration.
So, yeah, not having a mobile quarterback, I feel that takes something out, takes a dimension out of the game, makes it a little bit easier for us we don't have to worry about something else.
But a quarterback can't run anyways.  He's not known as a mobile quarterback, he can still run if he wants to.  We can't lose sight of that and forget about that.  He can still run if he wants to.

Q.  What's the matchup you guys have to run in this?  If you looked at one thing to pinpoint, everybody talks about their offense, why, and what is it, the matchup you guys have?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  It's the whole team.  It's the whole offense.  You can't just pin one guy and say this guy's going to do this and this guy's the whole offense.  You can't say that.
They have athletes on the team.  They are in this game for a reason.  And without the whole team, they wouldn't have made it here.  But, yes, it's going to be basically stopping the whole offense, stopping the run.
They say one of their strengths is running the ball.  One of our strengths is stopping it.  So that's what we're going to do.

Q.  How have you dealt with the curve ball, you guys have a senior captain, (indiscernible) a voice to this crew.  What have you as the senior group dealt with that?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  It's tough.  But gotta move on to the next.  They've got to come in, come in and lead.  He has to do the job.  He has to do the job well.  It's going to be hard to replace him, but you have to do that and we're just going to go on to the next person who is going to keep playing.

Q.  Does it help that you guys are (indiscernible) defense, middle linebackers in the right places a lot but helping to recruit (indiscernible)?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Most definitely.  Because a lot of guys, like they know the checks and the calls and multiple guys that know stuff like that.  So I don't think it's going to be a problem with adjusting.  I feel like guys are still going to do a great job out there.

Q.  Tyler and Darien in that role, and what from a football perspective tangibly is different when they're in there?
ISAIAH LEWIS:¬† Darien brings a lot of athleticism, a lot of speed.¬† Fast.¬† He also knows‑‑ he also knows the plays real good.
Same for Tyler.  He's a stronger guy.  He also knows the defense.  Also he is a great linebacker.  He controls the defense as well.  So.
Like I said like, guys can adjust.¬† I'm not worried about it at all.¬† Guys are going to adjust and we're going to be just fine.¬† Still going to try to get‑‑ still going to win this game.

Q.¬† Doesn't shoot your confidence, waiting to see‑‑
ISAIAH LEWIS:  No, not at all.  We're confident.  Confident guys coming in.

Q.¬† In terms of legacy now that you're out here, winning this game (indiscernible) you guys made the Rose Bowl, you're a Rose Bowl team (indiscernible) you're out here, you're out‑‑ you're in your own mind does that change the legacy of this team a little bit, what this team (indiscernible) how you were‑‑
ISAIAH LEWIS:¬† Yeah, how I remember it, nobody wants to be thought of as losing the game, as a loser.¬† So you're only going to be ‑‑ no matter how good we did this season, you're only going to be remembered by your last game.¬† So people are going to be looking at how you played your last game.
So to finally share this legacy, we have to win this game.  No question about it.  We have to win this game.
We were going through the whole season thinking we weren't going to make it to this game.  Even the middle of the season.  We were doing great in the middle of the season, people still doubted us, maybe they're not going to finish this game.  People were doubting us in the Big Ten championship against Ohio State.
So to finally show what kind of caliber team we are and to share that legacy, we have to win this game.

Q.  What makes Darqueze so good?  What gives him the ability to just lock down the opposing team's No. 1 receiver?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  First off, he's probably one of the most athletic guys I've ever been around.  Second off, he's real smart.  And he studies the game.  He knows the game.  He knows what kind of route is going to come, what kind of receiver it is, what kind of routes he runs, how fast he is.
He knows those things.¬† It's crazy to think about that, to think that a guy would know that much about his opposing player.¬† But he definitely knows that kind of stuff about the team he's going against.¬† And that's what makes him‑‑ that's what makes him the great player he is.

Q.  At a certain point do quarterbacks stop throwing his way?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Sometimes I've seen that.  Because I'm the safety to his side, the safety to his side.  I don't even get balls thrown my way because of that.  They don't want to throw in that area at all.  They might want to go to his guy and they're like, man, it's locked down, can't go over there.
So basically most of our secondary, they do their job well, but, yeah, he's a great player.  He's the reason why we won the Thorpe Award.  Quarterbacks know that.
And things go wrong, they're like, man, we don't want to go to that guy.  And it builds confidence back there in the secondary for us.

Q.  Stanford possesses a little bit different challenge, sometimes the lineup, eight offensive linemen.  You won't see a wide receiver ten miles from the stadium.  How does that challenge you guys in the secondary?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  I feel like it's going to be a challenge.  Every game's going to be a challenge.  But, yeah, we're great at stopping the run, too.  We've got DBs that come down here, big guys.  Nobody has no fear.  Just going to come down there.  We're going to play hard.  We're going to grind it to the end of the game.
So teams know that.  They know that we're going to grind to the end of the game.  We're going to play hard.  Don't give up no matter what the score is.  We don't give up until the clock is over.

Q.  Offensively you guys had your struggles at the end of the season.  What's the turning point?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  I feel like it was we played the Iowa game, we won that game.  I've seen progress throughout the whole year, even coming into the season, but a lot of offenses, it does take them a little bit to start clicking at the beginning of the season.
That happens to a lot of teams.  Most teams.  But they finally found their niche and they're together and they're good.  So don't worry about them.

Q.  From the fans perspective, it gets easy to cast blame, the Notre Dame game, for example, how it's all on the offense, team defensive points.  How did you guys (indiscernible) your offense and counterparts?
ISAIAH LEWIS:¬† Just stay with them.¬† Keep them cheered up.¬† You never talk down on your teammates at all.¬† You never talk down on‑‑ you just build them up, because we already knew what kind of players we had.¬† We knew what they could do.
And at first last year they just wanted to get it done.¬† They were a young group of guys last year.¬† They ‑‑ first‑off starters last year.¬† But this year they found a niche and they're ready to go.

Q.  You get a little break from the weather?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Yeah, a little bit of break.

Q.  When your defense goes against your offense, do you guys come at them?
ISAIAH LEWIS:¬† Actually, head‑to‑head battle.¬† It's not one team, just one side of the ball just overpowering the other.¬† Like I said, we know what kind of offense we have.¬† We've seen it in practice every day.¬† We know what kind of offense we have.
If things are going right, if things are going great, we know what is expected.¬† And we know what they can do.¬† In my mind I feel like they have to be‑‑ I'm going to say they're like one of the best offenses, my teammates.¬† Great guys.¬† Great players out there.¬† Michigan State football.¬† There's a reason that we're at where we're at right now.¬† That's because of them, too, because of the whole team.¬† Because of them as well.
You have to put points on the board.  That's what the offense does.  That's where we're at right now.

Q.¬† Do you think it's going to be a low‑scoring game?
ISAIAH LEWIS:¬† I have no idea.¬† I know it's going to be a hard‑fought game.¬† Our teammates aren't going to give up.¬† We're going to play to the end of the whistle.¬† It will be a hard‑fought game.¬† High velocity, high‑contact game.¬† Both teams like to run the ball.
So it's going to be a great game to see.

Q.  Looking at Stanford, does it look like another Big Ten team to you?
ISAIAH LEWIS:  Most definitely.  You see a lot of things that they do, looks like an Iowa, Wisconsin.  What they're going to do, they're going to pound the ball at you.  Stack a bunch of guys on the line.  Throw the ball at you a couple times.  Play action, throw the ball deep.
So a lot of simple things.  Nothing real like complex.  It's simple things that they're going to do what they do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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