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ROSE BOWL GAME: MICHIGAN STATE v STANFORD


December 28, 2013


Trent Murphy

Shayne Skov

A.J. Tarpley


PASADENA, CALIFORNIA

Q.テつ Usua compared Michigan State to Oregon State.テつ Would you guys agree, and what have you seen from Michigan State from the tape so far?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ For Michigan State, to speak to kind of their style of play, I'm sure you've heard it already, but they play a physical run game especially, and then they kind of have to keep you honest with just enough explosive kind of gadget plays and shots down the field.テつ It's definitely a pretty solid combination as far as what they're doing offensively, so it'll be a challenge for us.
A.J. TARPLEY:テつ Yeah, they're a physical football team as he said.テつ They're going to want to run the ball right at us, and that's what we're going to try and stop.テつ They bring a well‑rounded attack to the table in terms of their backs, their wide receivers and their quarterback.
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I'm good.テつ I'll wait for the next question.

Q.テつ A.J.テつ what do you consider your biggest strength?
A.J. TARPLEY:テつ My quickness.テつ If I had to say one part about my game that's my biggest strength, I'd say it's my quickness.テつ That's kind of how I set up everything else is based off that attribute.

Q.テつ Shayne, your whole look with the mohawk kind of became a Halloween costume for some people.テつ Were you flattered or what did you think about that?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ It was definitely flattering.テつ I think that we all love playing this game, and so we enjoy it all and kind of having the camaraderie with the fans is obviously awesome.テつ To see kids kind of be impacted by what we do and kind of be an influence to them is an awesome feeling.テつ I was very grateful for it, and it brought a smile to my face.

Q.テつ Linebacker is one of those positions where you guys are probably, outside of offensive linemen, are the most like family.テつ How do you keep each other motivated and keep things light and enjoy your life as Stanford linebackers.
TRENT MURPHY:テつ We kind of joke about it all the time, but we kind of poke fun at each other more than any other unit in the country for that matter.テつ I think we can do that because of how close we are and how we are like a family.テつ I think you can only joke so much with guys that you're comfortable with and you know they've got your back, even though they're giving you a hard time.
I think football has to be a fun game.テつ You're supposed to enjoy it as much as we do it, but we keep it fun, keep it lighthearted and keep each other motivated by how hard we work, so I think it's a pretty solid combination.
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Yeah, no one is really safe in our meeting rooms.テつ Somebody catches you doing something goofy on the way to class, something in practice, film, we're going to watch it a couple times.テつ Yeah, I just think that in terms of the way we kind of express our brotherhood or a bond with one another, yeah, definitely I think we obviously are some of the hardest workers in the country, so that active, collective effort, and then also just joking with one another, it's a way brothers or guys kind of show affection for one another, that we really care about each other and we're a cohesive unit, and I think that's what makes us us.
A.J. TARPLEY:テつ And just to add to that, our competitive nature.テつ In the linebacking corps none of us are going to stand down to the other.テつ We all want to play better than the next at the same time while rooting for each other, so it's a fun atmosphere.

Q.テつ Shayne, as you talk about the lighthearted brotherhood, I think it was you after the Oregon game that passed out the Nerd Nation glasses that people were wearing to the press conference afterward.テつ How has that really taken off since then, and how does that play into the whole sort of lighthearted brotherhood deal?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I think that we've got a lot of smart guys and kind of witty guys, so I think they're left with the jokes and I think the commentary in our locker room is kind of unique, and it makes for a lot of entertainment.
In respect to the Nerd Nation thing, it's something we've always kind of done.テつ I remember when I first got here it was #revengeofthenerds because before anybody really knew who we were it was our way of fighting back.テつ It's really blown up since we have been here.テつ I think it started out as kind of a football and athletics thing, and to see it really carry on‑‑ we take tremendous pride in hopefully kind of being the prime example and the paradigm of what a student‑athlete can be in terms of what we do academically and athletically.テつ I think we take that very seriously, but at the same time we enjoy it and we want to embrace that kind of mantra and that attitude.

Q.テつ Trent, I heard you have an insane wing span.テつ Can you elaborate, and what are the less obvious benefits?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ The less obvious benefits.テつ I mean, everyone in my family probably has like a three‑ or four‑inch longer wing span than your height, and I think your wing span is typically right around your same height.テつ I think the biggest benefit, you can talk to my teammates, but as far as pass rushing, they hate blocking me because a lot of times I'll just put my hands out on them and they are kind of waving their hands and can't reach me.テつ As far as football goes, it's a huge benefit, especially batting down balls that quarterbacks are throwing right overhead on the line of scrimmage.テつ They think they probably have a clear shot over me and I just bat it down.テつ That's probably the biggest benefit.テつ Nothing too weird.

Q.テつ What have you done to prepare for Michigan State?テつ What makes them different than anybody else?テつ You said they're kind of like Oregon State.
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I think that for us, I think the key point is that we always take pride in stopping the run.テつ I think that's one of the first things in our kind of objectives, and they've successfully run the ball this year, so I think that's the very first challenge for us.テつ At the same time they've done it in various personnel groups and I think they do a good job of moving all the pieces to keep you on your toes from a schematic standpoint?
Second, as Murph already said, they do a great job with explosive play‑action plays, gadget plays.テつ So I think between the two, if you're unable to effectively stop them running the ball, it makes it very difficult because you have to play more aggressively and then they beat you down the field.
I think for us we've just kind of been‑‑ in bowl games you have so much free time you can't really account for all the unknown variables and what they're going to do and not going to do.テつ I think we've been keying in on making sure we are focused and polished on what we do.テつ If the back‑side guy is on contain, don't pursue the ball too hard, the safeties stay in coverage, so we don't get beat on great play‑action or trick plays.テつ So I think it's that kind of mentality focusing on what we do and kind of polishes those rough edges has been really important for us.

Q.テつ If you guys are the defensive fort, what's the strongest part of the fort, back end, front end, coaching?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ The whole thing.テつ We're just strong everywhere.テつ I think that's our strongest asset.テつ Seriously, though, the front seven often times gets most of the credit for everything that's going on, but we would be nothing without our secondary and sometimes those guys get overlooked, but Jordan, Richards, Ed Reynolds, Usua Amanam, Alex Carter who's still a young guy but they're all phenomenal players that are kind of the glue that holds this defense together, playing top down and not letting those explosive plays happen and making the quarterback hold the ball, and that's a lot of times why we get home.テつ That's my answer.
A.J. TARPLEY:テつ Just to add to that, in terms of our entire fort, the whole defense.テつ Our defensive backs, people pick on them for pass yardage per game, but they are involved just as much in the run game as we are, because they have their run fits, so there's a safety coming down or a corner playing the flat.テつ But those guys, we feel that they've tackled as well as any unit in the country in terms of defensive backs, and they play physical football just like we do every front, and that's what's been able to hold us together.

Q.テつ Shayne, as the emotional and verbal leader on this football team, who do you think is the silent leader?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I think a lot of times I get too much credit for the leadership.テつ It's really a collective effort.テつ I talk a lot, so that's probably part of the reason why.テつ But I think Murph, nobody will ever question anything Murph says.テつ I think what he says carries tremendous weight when he speaks, and at the same time the way our team is built is we've got a lot of older guys and a lot of mature guys on this team, so I think that it's not about one or two guys, it's really about everybody kind of working together.テつ The fact that we kind of have an open locker room, we have an open defense, if somebody feels something is going the wrong way, everybody has the chance to speak, so I think that's the key to our success.

Q.テつ You guys got the Beef Bowl tonight, any sort of approach that's different this year?テつ You kind of know what you're getting yourself into?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I think we probably are going to not eat too much because I think we watched some guys last year after eating at the Beef Bowl practice and struggle the day after.テつ We will be anxiously watching Josh Barnett.テつ What did he have, six plates last year, six prime ribs?テつ We'll try to see if he can surpass his total from last year.テつ But I think more than anything as we've come back for a second year, we're going to enjoy ourselves, enjoy the food because it's great, but at the same time not overeat.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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