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December 28, 2013

Connor Cook

Jeremy Langford


Q.テつ Somehow your trip going so far?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Good. Iテや冦 a long way away from Michigan.

Q.テつ Where are you from?

Q.テつ Have you ever been out here before?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ My first trip.

Q.テつ What had you heard about it and is it different than what you thought it would be?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ The weather is nice and you can do a lot of different stuff than in Michigan.

Q.テつ This is record heat this week.
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ A lot different than Michigan.

Q.テつ You guys are known as the grind it out old‑fashioned team.テつ When you went to Michigan State were you drawn to that?テつ Is that the kind of offense that you thought you would be playing in?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Yeah, when I went up there from high school, from there I watched them and the type of offense they played in high school was the same, the running back would get the ball, it was a tough team.

Q.テつ Who recruited you to Michigan State?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Martin.テつ I watched him more and more and I became interested.

Q.テつ Who else were you looking at out of high school?テつ Were there any other schools that you were considering?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Michigan, Colorado and then (Away from mic.)テつ That was it, Colorado and Michigan State.

Q.テつ At that time could you envision playing in the Rose Bowl game or was that just like an impossible to reach goal, Ohio State and Michigan, they were coming out here?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ My first year the coach was talking about going to the Rose Bowl.テつ It was in the back of my mind but I knew we had to take it one game at a time so I never looked too far ahead.

Q.テつ How did your career evolve?テつ Did you get to play a lot as a freshman?テつ How did each year go for you?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Basically my first year I played, and then as the years went on I played more and more.

Q.テつ Could you see it evolving that way?テつ Most guys get a little impatient, they want to be the guy as a freshman and if not as a freshman as a sophomore.テつ Could you see it unfolding the way it has?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I never looked too far ahead.テつ I knew that it would come my time.テつ I had to be patient.テつ Might be hard but you got to be patient.テつ When you get the chance you have to go for it and I knew what I got the opportunity I would make the best of it.

Q.テつ For people who haven't seen you much or if at all, how would you describe your learning style and the way you go about it?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I'm a work horse.テつ Might not be the biggest, but I play the whole game.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ (Away from mic.)

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ No, we are going there today.

Q.テつ Great.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I'm not sure.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ (Away from mic.)

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Getting to the Rose Bowl is taking that first step.テつ I'm pretty it at this sure next year after (Away from mic.)
Q.(No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I think we are at the point.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ (Away from mic.)

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Work a lot harder, work together as a team.

Q.テつ So when you say I watched them, in other words, you just knew what they did or‑‑
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I would watch how they play.

Q.テつ Okay, so what did you take from each guy?テつ Like there were specific things.
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ When I began playing running back, every play I wanted to get a touchdown.テつ I would get 4 yards here, 3 yards here and 5 yards here I knew I had to work for it.テつ Eventually you get a break.

Q.テつ What about setting up a block and patience.テつ I know that takes guys time.
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ That's something you got to be as well, you have to be patient in the backfield and setting up blocks.テつ Do your job.テつ That's also what I got from them and I'm getting better at it.

Q.テつ For someone who doesn't‑‑ like for a zone play for example, what were you looking for on that?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ We gotta read the defensive linemen and see how they block.テつ If he goes outside I cut inside and I want to connect to the line backers so basically set the line backers up to go over top.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Uh‑huh.テつ He ran hard, every play, he ran hard.テつ He used his speed.テつ You get the corner, try to get the corner, force it and he ran real hard.

Q.テつ Give me your daily in the off season.テつ You were working with Manning, right?

Q.テつ What about on your own, did you do extra stuff for you?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ See who was in the quarterback, catch the ball from them, just running offense more, learn the offense, what the receiver did, what the quarterback is looking at, the protection.テつ I studied the offense more.

Q.テつ Physically you gained?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ 10 pounds.

Q.テつ From spring till‑‑
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ From spring till fall.テつ I was healthy and I did what the running backs did, perfect my craft.

Q.テつ I know you were work in the weight room.テつ Was that increasing your calories, too?テつ Eating way more?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ We have a nutritionist at our school to talk to you about different ways to gain weight.テつ They began feeding us more and I worked hard and ate a lot and worked out.

Q.テつ When you were bouncing around did you consider looking somewhere else or do you think you weren't going to get your shot at running back here?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ No, I sat down with my parents and they told me, this is college football, not everybody gets a chance to play D 1 college football.テつ Once they told me that it stuck in my head and I knew I was here for a reason.

Q.テつ At that point did you imagine you would be where you are now?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Once I knew I was going to have a chance to play running back, when I got my opportunity, I had to make the best of it.テつ I never looked in the future, but I knew when I had the opportunity I had to make the best of my opportunity.

Q.テつ Do you know Keyshawn very well?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ He went to my high school.

Q.テつ Did you guys ever talk about any of that stuff, going through tough times?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ No, we didn't talk about that as much as basically more I talked about that with my parents.テつ But I watched Keyshawn when he was in college, and never talked about that with him.

Q.テつ What is it about guys that get overlooked?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ We didn't have a lot of good players there, and Keyshawn got there, and then I had a chance as well.

Q.テつ He talked about he didn't go to camps and same thing with you?テつ Did you get to the camp circuit?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ No, my senior year I went to two camps, Michigan State and‑‑

Q.テつ Midwest?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I think it was Toledo.テつ I never went to camps, I didn't know about it when I was playing football.テつ It's something that I never was told about.

Q.テつ How did Colorado get on you?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I don't know.テつ One day my AD told me "Colorado is looking at you" and that was a big surprise to me.

Q.テつ And at that point you had been looked at by MAC schools?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Yeah, and Colorado.

Q.テつ Who were the MAC schools?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Eastern was one.

Q.テつ So you were looking at Colorado and that's before Michigan State came in.テつ When did they come in?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I don't know.テつ Senior year, after my visit to Colorado, something like that.テつ I know me and‑‑ had the same offers.テつ Colorado offered him and we both ended up at Michigan State.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)テつ How did you feel coming out of the spring?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I felt at the time the other running back was getting the job and I took it as a challenge.テつ I took it as a challenge to do what they wanted us to do.テつ I would get the 3 yards or 4 yards and that's what I did.

Q.テつ Were you running differently until you got to that challenge?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Yeah, I was trying to score every play, basically.テつ I wasn't reading the offensive line and making the correct cuts.テつ I was trying to score.テつ Once I watched Rodney, a little more power here and there, that's when I started reading.

Q.テつ That's when you started reading it?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Get the 4 yards that he wants and read it better.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Not the players, but the team.テつ Notre Dame‑‑ Stanford does a lot of different schemes.テつ It's a lot of different schemes we see as an offense.

Q.テつ Does it seem like they have a bigger package, number of plays, the way they line up and blitz.テつ Other teams talk about getting ready for their defense and you see so much on film and you're like oh my gosh.
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ A lot of different schemes.テつ They do a good job of trying to confuse and you that is something we have been working on in practice.
Seeing the different down fronts and noticing things more.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I think it's more confusing on the defensive side.テつ Might not be set directly, more confusing.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ On the defense?

Q.テつ Yeah, on Stanford's defense.
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ The line backers are pretty good.テつ They're real good and the "D" line is real good as well but the line backers stood out to me.テつ I'm not sure of their names but all three line backers or four line backers.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ You have to prepare for it and you have to be prepared.

Q.テつ Jeremy, seems like every game you have one of those runs where you shock the opponent.テつ Why do you think that's happened this year?テつ Do you go into a game thinking I want to finish a team off in the fourth quarter?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ No, I don't think that, but when we are up with 2 or 3 minutes left we want to hold the ball and keep our offense on the field and defense off the field and Coach calls my number back to back to back and that's just the way it works.

Q.テつ Do you see the defense getting tired and you think you will be able to "bust" one on 'em?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Yeah, we see that, that's something we thrive on, when they call us to hold the ball in the game and you see the defense gets tired, that's what we thrive on as offense.

Q.テつ Of all those runs is there a favorite?テつ You had one at Michigan and the Big Ten championship game, is there a favorite?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I think it had to be the Big Ten championship game, such a big stage.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Just getting the yards, being more of a powerback at times and not trying to score ever play.テつ I had the mind‑set for that but I know it's not possible.テつ You become a more overall back with pass blocking than running hard.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Yeah, that's when you have to take what's there and not try to work too hard to get something else.

Q.テつ Your journey has been interesting about I don't think anybody expected you to be in this spot that you are.テつ Can you put it into perspective and sum it up, when certain light bulbs went on?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Adversity, you have to go through adversity.テつ That's what helped me as a football player when the game is not going good, it's been a great journey, teaching me a lot.テつ Everything doesn't go your way.

Q.テつ How much is confidence part of being a running back?テつ I think the Notre Dame game you looked different than you did earlier.テつ You seemed to trust your abilities more.テつ Is that a big part of being successful?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Yeah, confidence is a big part of it.テつ When the Coach starts trusting you and the players trust you, that's a big thing and you gain more confidence.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)

Q.テつ Was who was your champion eater?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ Cam, our offensive lineman.

Q.テつ How many did he eat?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I don't know for sure.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ That's a lot.テつ

Q.テつ How important in this game is protection?テつ Obviously both teams have very good pass rushers but also a good offensive line.
CONNOR COOK:テつ I think for every single game it's happened.テつ This game is no different.テつ Our main goal is to know where our main back is at and he lines up in different spots and we got to keep our eye on him but they like to blitz their line backers so Jeremy has to step up with his blocking ability.テつ When you think about the play, you notice the play in football, in general, the main goal is protection block and this and that.テつ So this game will be no different, got to keep me protected but this line has done a great job all season doing that.

Q.テつ You mentioned that guys like Trent Murphy‑‑ and Stanford runs a different defense.テつ Are you guys going to be allowed to make more checks at the line.
CONNOR COOK:テつ Not really, they lineup in similar fronts as Ohio State did, so we're used to going up against an over front, they like to run 40, and that's like Notre Dame and Ohio State and luckily we were able to see a little bit of that from the Big Ten championship game so what was the rest of your question?

Q.テつ About getting to the line earlier.
CONNOR COOK:テつ We have a couple of checks in the game plan but really this is no different.テつ I think the only reason we will get to the line quicker is so we don't get delay of game.テつ I know you saw that in the Big Ten championship game and Nebraska was an issue.テつ I think we need more of a sense of urgency to get to the line so we don't have to rush through and if we have to move guys around, we can do that and get the playoffs.

Q.テつ Stanford likes jumping the snap count, I'm sure you probably saw that play against Arizona State.テつ Any plans for that?
CONNOR COOK:テつ Yeah, we saw that stuff on film and that's something we have, reading the defense.

Q.テつ What was your record your junior year?

Q.テつ Your senior year?

Q.テつ Remember the game where you threw it to a receiver who was trying to break the school record.テつ You were working to get the ball to him.テつ Do you remember that guy's name and can you talk about that extra effort?
CONNOR COOK:テつ That was the last game of the year my senior year and we knew we weren't making the playoffs so we all knew heading in for the senior class that this was the last game we were going to play in at Walsh, our high school and me and my best friend, Tyler Starkey, we went into the game saying why don't we try and break a record so we broke it by most receiving yards by a receiver in a game, it was it 187 or something like that and the record was 175.テつ We didn't throw the ball that much, and for a single‑game receiving yards, we wanted to have fun and set records.

Q.テつ Why was it important for you to make sure he got that record?テつ Did you recognize then that he probably wasn't going to go on to play D 1?
CONNOR COOK:テつ I wanted to do that for him.テつ I'm a team guy, all about my teammates and always have been.テつ He was going to Dayton and he had thoughts to play football and I think he ended up trying out and he got cut because he didn't run a solid 40.テつ I wanted to do it for him and make him happy and really just have fun.

Q.テつ The nature of this position I know you told me you like playing football your whole life.テつ Have you always been a quarterback?テつ How early did you recognize that part of your job was to sprinkle that happy dust to everyone else?
CONNOR COOK:テつ Quarterback is the only position I've ever played to be honest, besides flag football in third grade, I was a receiver, but since fourth grade I have been playing quarterback.テつ It's just things you realize and learn as the years go on.テつ You realize you have to be a leader and make the guys feel at ease when times are rough.テつ Off the field I'm the same way.

Q.テつ Playing that position so early in your life did the quarterback come before the person?テつ I almost wonder if your personality revolved around the quarterback from your youth.
CONNOR COOK:テつ I've always been generous and having to be that way with my teammates enhanced that attribute of mine as I got older.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
CONNOR COOK:テつ It's a blessing, you know?テつ It's hard to grasp.テつ Dating back to last year, the stuff we went through as a team, stuff that I went through myself.テつ My main goal back then was just to be the quarterback, you know?テつ And we went through spring ball competition and fall camp competition the most stressed out I've ever been in my entire life just trying to be the quarterback.テつ Once I got the nod and became the quarterback, the main goal was just to win the game every single week and everything else would take care of itself.テつ Before I was the quarterback I would talk to my parents and they would tell me, you're going to be the guy, you're going to lead your team to the Rose Bowl and I would always think‑‑ I was thinking, yeah, I want to be that guy and I believe I can be that guy but from what we went through as a team and how our offense was, it's hard to grasp and imagine.テつ To finally be here now at a press conference for the Rose Bowl knowing that I'm going to be starting in the 100th Rose Bowl I can't describe the feeling.
It's truly a blessing.

Q.テつ And so many of the guys up on these podiums have talked about talking about this from the time they got there.テつ Did it seem realistic?テつ The goal is out there but did you ever really believe you were going to end up here?テつ As you were going through the process did it seem like a plausible dream?
CONNOR COOK:テつ It will always seemed possible just because the defense that we have is unreal and you know people say offense wins games, defense wins championships.テつ But the defense has put us in a great situation.テつ Every time we needed it, the offense has stepped up tremendously.

Q.テつ What about getting over the hump and getting here?
CONNOR COOK:テつ Yeah, it always seemed possible and our defense has done a great job.テつ Coach D. Talking about it and the emblem of the Rose Bowl and now that we have achieved that, you want to win you don't want to walk away a loser, but for how much they harp on it and how much the coaches harp on it and the stuff that we talk about week after week and in the weight room we have stuff that says "play for the Rose Bowl" out at practice "play for the Rose Bowl" so to be here playing in the Rose Bowl is amazing.

Q.テつ You talked about being stressed out.テつ When did that shift and you get more comfortable?
CONNOR COOK:テつ After I got the starting job and got the nod and started a couple of games the stress went away and it turned to focus, me being focused and knowing they're not going to use other quarterbacks in the game and not stress too much that go if I make a bad play I'm going to be pulled.テつ When I got the nod that's when the stress went out the window and it allowed me to do my preparation as a quarterback and just focus.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
CONNOR COOK:テつ Yeah, that for sure made a difference.テつ Going into a game when you know, what if I do bad, I'm only going to get a series, it takes a couple of series to get a rhythm.テつ So when we were splitting it up, I get one and Max has one and Tyler's whole rotation‑‑

Q.テつ The first two games must have been incredibly difficult.
CONNOR COOK:テつ Yeah, you don't know how many series you're going to get and when I would go in, it would be right after Max would come off and they wouldn't say when they thought they were going to do it, they just put Maxwell in and then they call on you and it's stressful not knowing when you're going to go in.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
CONNOR COOK:テつ Yeah, we're going with you and we believe in you so forget about this, put this behind you and let's focus on the now and that was it.

Q.テつ After the game I remember in a very innocent way you said "I have no idea why I got taken out" and then I talked about this the other day and you had a meeting about the conversation about what happened after the game.テつ How upset were you and how big was that talk with Coach D. About you saying you had no idea why you got taken out?テつ How big that was meeting after that game?
CONNOR COOK:テつ The meeting was huge.テつ Going back to the first part of your question, getting pulled, obviously that was heart break to go me because you figure when you're a kid playing at Notre Dame, 2 minutes to go and to not get the opportunity to take the clock down and get the win hurt.テつ The meeting was really, really big.テつ He knew I didn't mean anything from it, I was answering a simple question.テつ But the meeting was big and we put everything behind us.

Q.テつ In your mind, you probably always believed that you would have been able to win that football game.
CONNOR COOK:テつ Right.テつ I have full confidence in myself no matter what the circumstances are and I believe if coach would have given me the opportunity I would have led my team to victory.

Q.テつ Last year, last drive, was that because you weren't able to get the offense to that stage in your quarterback career?
CONNOR COOK:テつ I think it was seizing the moment.テつ It was about being out there, prime time, under the lights, in Arizona, the game is on the line, it was sheer focus.テつ I knew the game plan like the back of my hand but when you're out there, first time, really, because there were other times, but your adrenaline is going and you're so locked in and when you're locked in and focused, players are going to make plays.

Q.テつ Was it part of your mind set that it was your chance to show yourself so you could start the next season?
CONNOR COOK:テつ Not really, I just focused on leading my team to victory.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
CONNOR COOK:テつ You know, ever since I've been here as a freshman, we have had great athletes on the defensive side and going up against guys like Max Bowland and others helps me out and helps out our receivers, so we're very fortunate as an offense to go up against our defense because they honestly help us for Saturdays.テつ Going up against them, they gave us a great look, the number one defense in the nation.テつ It's an honor to go up against them because it may not seem like it, but they prepare us for what goes on on Saturday.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
CONNOR COOK:テつ Straight up.テつ Great cover guy, he can tackle, the main thing that he does that stands out is he's either going to intercept it or get a pass break up front.テつ Going up against them in practice is an honor, helps out our series and helps me a lot.

Q.テつ What's he like as a guy?
CONNOR COOK:テつ Great dude, very kind, you can talk to him about anything.テつ Sets a good example off the field.テつ I think a lot of under classmen look up to him because he's such a great guy, good example for the under classmen.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
CONNOR COOK:テつ I think it's just ingrained in me.テつ As a quarterback you have to be tapped in and believe in yourself because if you don't then you're not going to do anything.テつ So you just‑‑ you've got to believe in yourself no matter what the circumstances are.テつ It's just something I've always had.テつ I've never doubted myself and if there is a pass that's in front of me, I know I can achieve it.テつ If anything it's just ingrained in me.

Q.テつ How much did you talk about this with your family?
CONNOR COOK:テつ You know, a little bit with my dad, that's who I talk to the most about sports.テつ He's been a great role model for me.テつ I talk to him about anything but he helps me in my preparation, just clearing everything away no matter what's going on off the field, you have your blinders on and 100% focused on the game and what's going on out there.
My dad gets me ready for games.

Q.テつ Talk about your work with Tony.
CONNOR COOK:テつ The bye week after Notre Dame?

Q.テつ Yeah, talk about the extra work you put in that week and the work with the receivers.
CONNOR COOK:テつ We came off a bad performance as an offense, mainly me against Notre Dame and I knew that I needed to do fix some things so after that we took the week, it wasn't a week off but we stayed after practices and put our time in and it paid dividends.テつ You saw the hard work pay off against Iowa and since then we got the rock rolling.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
CONNOR COOK:テつ Yeah.テつ I think really we just knew what was on the line and what was at stake and we had that sickening feeling after losing to Notre Dame and it was all our state of mind.テつ Guys need to do make plays and we realized we didn't want to lose anymore, losing stinks and with how good our defense is if we score 21 points a game we're going to come away with a victory is how we look at it.テつ As an offensive unit guys found themselves mental and physically adjusting and stepping up and making plays.

Q.テつ There was a particular throw or catch in that Iowa game that you recall where everyone was start to go get it?
CONNOR COOK:テつ A fade route to the left, man coverages under threw it a little bit, he reached over the guy and picked it off his back.テつ I think after that, that got the offense going and me goin', it was a "sick" catch, got Tony goin' and he was fired up and after that, guys thought, you know what, we can do that and guys' confidence went through the roof and we were making plays all over the place.

Q.テつ Did you guys talk about it in the huddle?
CONNOR COOK:テつ I think we were congratulating him, saying nice catch but when you're out there playing you're not talking about stuff like that, you're just trying to make plays.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
CONNOR COOK:テつ I think it was third down, 15 yards.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
CONNOR COOK:テつ What do you mean?

Q.テつ If you would have beat Notre Dame, everybody looks at Notre Dame as the turning point for this team.テつ What if you would have won that game, would you be 13‑0 right now?
CONNOR COOK:テつ I don't know, that's a good question.テつ I couldn't tell you.テつ I don't know.テつ We probably would be 13‑0 but I think our defense put us in great situations every single week and our offense has grown ever since then but I don't know how to answer that question.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
CONNOR COOK:テつ Right, after us losing, that really just‑‑ when you lose a game, I can't describe anything else that's worse than that.テつ Especially as a quarterback, you feel like you let your team down especially since the performance I had against Notre Dame was not very good.テつ Maybe if we would have won maybe we would not have been as close as an offensive unit.

Q.テつ The Rose Bowl, a focal point.テつ When you go to next year you talk about anything different?テつ The next step up?
CONNOR COOK:テつ No, I was talking about it with my dad when I was back home over break but with us making it into the Rose Bowl, the standards are so high and for what we achieved inspect 2011 we won two Big Ten championships in the past three years and the standards are high.テつ You make it to the Rose Bowl, you're doing well and we have the guys that can do that, after this is over and Don, we are going to start talking about Big Ten championship and national championships.テつ Once we achieve this there is nothing less that you want to achieve.

Q.テつ Have you guys talked about that?
CONNOR COOK:テつ Not really.テつ We're focusing on the "now" and not looking ahead but once the season is done we will probably talk about that.

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