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ROSE BOWL GAME: MICHIGAN STATE v STANFORD


December 28, 2013


Bennie Fowler

Danny Langsdorf

Tony Lippett


PASADENA, CALIFORNIA

Q.テつ This is for Tony and Bennie.テつ I was wondering if you could talk about going up against Darqueze in practice every day, just what he's like as a competitor at that position.
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Darqueze has always been a competitor since he came here.テつ We always try to go against each other because he's one of the best corners in the nation.テつ We feel like we go against one of the best corners in the nation every day and that's practicing our technique and our game and our confidence at the same time.テつ We feel like we can get the ball on him, and he's leading the nation in people not catching the ball on him or something like that, or percentage, and we feel like we can catch the ball on anybody.テつ That's one thing we try to do, and that's an advantage we have every day in practice going against one of the top corners in the nation.
TONY LIPPETT:テつ Yeah, competing against Quez is something we look forward to every day.テつ His competitive spirit is the reason why he is the Jim Thorpe Award winner.テつ Going up against him, it helps us out a lot.テつ As you guys have seen, we've been able to get to the Rose Bowl this year, and that's probably because of the DBs and the defense we go against every day.

Q.テつ Bennie, Dave Warner just said one of the big emphasis points for this season was to catch 50/50 balls, the passes that were dropped last year were caught this season.テつ What did you guys have to do to make those catches on 50/50 balls that just didn't happen in 2012?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ We just had to play with confidence, and that's really where that comes from.テつ Last year we went through some struggles, but there's no substitute for experience.テつ Last year we had to go through those growing pains, and the dividends paid off in the summer, and we were able to get a rhythm this year, and now we're making those plays.

Q.テつ Bennie and Jeremy, I asked this to the teammates who were in here.テつ I'm curious if it was the same answer.テつ Could you point to a turning point in this season where this team not just turned it around because you were 4‑1 but felt like we've moved to the next level and we can do something special this year?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I think the turning point was the Notre Dame game.テつ That was a tough loss for us, and yet we realized that the season we had in front of us, it could be a special one.テつ So after that game it was just we competed more.テつ We went harder in practice.テつ We knew that we could have a good season in front of us.テつ After that game we changed it around.
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Yeah, definitely the Notre Dame game is where I think things changed for us right there because Notre Dame is a good defense, coming off of just going to the National Championship, we were able to move the ball against them, we just couldn't finish in the red zone like we wanted to.テつ But we moved the ball, and we saw things in the running game, we saw the offensive line protect well, and we caught the ball pretty good.テつ But we didn't finish right there, but that bye week after that week and then going into Iowa we had one of our best games.

Q.テつ Jeremy, when you saw Le'Veon go through his decision to leave, what went through your head when you realized that you were going to have a fantastic opportunity to be the man in this offense in the backfield?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ That was the opportunity that I was waiting for since I've been at Michigan State.テつ I was excited to know he was going to be successful in the NFL and I was excited I would have a chance to watch him and learn from the things he did at Michigan State to be successful.テつ I know once I had the opportunity, I had to make the best of it, and that's what I did, and that was to help the team out.テつ Getting the tough yards and knowing you're not going to score every play, you have to get the four yards and three yards here to be successful and help our offense out and put us in 2nd‑and‑short situations.

Q.テつ Jeremy, when did it kind of click for you?テつ Did something change for you, because the first couple weeks maybe there was a battle and then in spring ball we didn't know who it would be.テつ Now it's obvious, you look back it's kind of a joke that it was even a competition.テつ When did you take it to the next level and feel like you were moving to the next level?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I think it started beginning in camp.テつ It was a competition, make it better.テつ At Michigan State there's a lot of competition and we compete a lot, and I think that pushes you more throughout the season to work for my opportunities because I knew it wasn't going to be given to me.テつ I'm glad that situation happened.テつ It made me a better player.

Q.テつ For all three of you guys, obviously this is something you've thought about and dreamed about ever since you've been at Michigan State.テつ How does the reality of this week compare to what you thought it would be like when you dreamed about it long ago?
TONY LIPPETT:テつ It's been amazing, actually coming to Cali.テつ I've never been here and I know Jeremy has never been here, I don't know about Bennie.テつ He probably has.テつ I've never been here, and it's amazing, just driving around and seeing a lot of things that you see on TV and just actually knowing that you're on that block or on that street or so close to the Hollywood sign and things of that nature.テつ All them things has been amazing to me because I'm not used to seeing things like that.テつ Hopefully I'll be out here again sometime.
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ What Tony said, been the exact same way.テつ Just taking a lot of pictures and being able to see superstars, like yesterday we seen Stephen A. Smith.テつ It's just amazing, just a great experience.テつ Something I could get used to, a lot different from Michigan.テつ I know it's snowing there and it's sunny here.
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Yeah, just blessed to be a part of this.テつ It hasn't hit me yet that we are playing in the Rose Bowl.テつ I think it won't hit me until we're out there to warm up or do a walk‑through at the stadium, but just enjoying this LA weather.

Q.テつ Jeremy, back to Le'Veon, how much dialogue have you had with him this year or since you've won that Big Ten Championship game?テつ Has he texted you, called you, or have you been in any correspondence with Le'Veon?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ After I won the starting job he texted me and told me congratulations, and I talked to him before the Big Ten Championship Game, just about our seasons, work hard, be patient.テつ I just talked to him probably two or three times throughout the season.

Q.テつ What was the team's mindset going into the Ohio State game?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ I'm going to say going into the Ohio State was finish what we started.テつ We didn't want to get to the Big Ten Championship and come up short, and we knew that Ohio State was a good team, and we knew offensively that we had to execute and that's what it's going to come down to, execution, because at the end of that season, we know what they're doing, we know what they're doing, so it just comes down to execution and finishing.
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ I guess it was more putting our future into our hands, wasn't just losing and still being able to make it to the Rose Bowl and feeling like we finished the season.テつ We wanted to feel like we finished the season with a win and come out to the Rose Bowl with momentum.
TONY LIPPETT:テつ Like they both said, we knew it was going to be a tough game.テつ We knew it was going to be about execution at the end of the day, and that's one thing always in the back of my head.テつ I actually wanted to not like sneak in the Rose Bowl or something like that.テつ I wanted to just win it all.テつ Every Big Ten team we played, we always knew it was a step, like them stopping us from getting to the Rose Bowl.テつ Darqueze always told us, this team is in our way, this team is in our way.テつ That's how we took it, every game was a team in our way trying to stop us from our dream, and it's something we've dreamed about for a long time.テつ So we just tried to take it, put it in our own hands, grab out of the air and not just let it fall to us.

Q.テつ What has this bowl practice been like and this bowl week compared to maybe some of the others that you've been involved with?テつ How much difference have you noticed in what preparing for the Rose Bowl actually means versus just the slogan?
JEREMY LANGFORD:テつ It's been pretty hot.テつ Practice has been a little bit more intense, like some people probably think you make it to the Rose Bowl, coaches will probably be laid back.テつ No.テつ The coaches haven't been laid back, they've been on our tails, trying to make sure that we just keep pushing forward and not getting lackadaisical and not getting comfortable with anything, just basically keep pushing forward, keep trying to execute this game plan, trying to get a great game plan in the process and everything.テつ That's one thing it's been.
TONY LIPPETT:テつ Competing out there, the scout teams play harder.テつ It's another goal of ours that we want to accomplish.テつ We wanted to come out to Cali and not be successful at the end of the day.テつ We're just working hard as a team overall, our defense, offense and special teams.
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Yeah, the attention to detail throughout practice this week and starting back in bowl practice in East Lansing has been at a high level, and we're going to continue to practice that way, because like Jeremy just said, we didn't come all the way out to California to just lay down.テつ We're going to go out there and we're going to be ready to play.

Q.テつ Bennie, when you got benched, demoted, when that happens to a senior a lot of times they hang their heads a little.テつ You've played better since then.テつ What did that do to you and what caused you to not mope but rise up and play better?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ I'm just not that type of person.テつ I haven't grown up like that.テつ I'm not just going to quit and mail it in, so to speak.テつ I knew that I had to be there for my team, me being a senior and me being on the Big Ten Championship team in 2010 and winning the Legends in 2011, and I know what it takes and I know with this great team and the weapons that we had on this offense that we could do great things.テつ I just had to settle down and just play with confidence like I know how to play, and I'm here for a reason, because I have talent.テつ So therefore I just have to come and play with the confidence I know how to play with.

Q.テつ Did that have any effect of you, watching a senior leader react like that?
TONY LIPPETT:テつ Yes, me and Bennie is real close, and we both seen some of our struggles and both experienced some of the same things.テつ We just knew the thing with us was basically confidence, and we have that athletic ability, you have the talent, and we just all had to put it together and go out there and just play for our teammates on Saturdays or whatever day we played on.テつ That's one thing I tried to do, I tried to go out there and just let go and just play, like it's practice.テつ That's one thing we tried to do.

Q.テつ I'm looking at the three of you and it dawns on me all three of you guys are metro Detroit guys.テつ Do you have a sense of representing when you're out here?
TONY LIPPETT:テつ No, I don't.テつ (Laughter.)
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ I played Tony in high school.テつ Ask him about that.
TONY LIPPETT:テつ They cheated us.テつ I'm pretty tight with these boys.テつ I didn't know Jeremy before I got here, but I knew him in the east and west game, and his uncle started up my high school football program, so I always heard of him like all the time, but I just never knew him.テつ With Bennie, like you said, I played against him in basketball and football in high school, and that's all I've got to say about that.
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ We're just a tight‑knit group all being from the same area.テつ We didn't know each other before we got here, but the bond that we have now is unbreakable, and that's the reason why we're successful is because of the relationships that we have.テつ Tony never beat me in high school, by the way.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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