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ROSE BOWL GAME: MICHIGAN STATE v STANFORD


December 28, 2013


Bennie Fowler

Blake Treadwell


PASADENA, CALIFORNIA

Q.テつ Connor's confidence obviously hasn't changed over the course of the year.テつ He always seemed to us like a confident guy, but he's even grown more as he's gotten more comfortable.テつ What have you observed from that as a guy that's been around him?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ I think that every game Connor's confidence has gotten a lot better.テつ You can tell from game to game it gets better and better.テつ Starting with the Youngstown game where his confidence started to develop a lot and then Iowa, and then it kept rolling.
His confidence in the Big Ten Championship game was just like Kirk Cousins in the Championship game.テつ His improvement confidence‑wise has been great throughout the season.

Q.テつ Were you interested to see how he would respond in that type of setting, if he hadn't been in that setting, like how he would act in the Big Ten title game?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ I knew he was going to respond well, and I know that he kind of knew how to respond to adversity and play through the ups and downs because we've had some ups and downs through this season, starting at the beginning of the season.テつ His confidence has never wavered.テつ I knew he was going to perform well.テつ I was just proud of him, the way he played.

Q.テつ Was there a moment where you felt he was like Kirk?テつ That he said something or acted that way?テつ That's pretty high praise.
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Meeting on the sideline, like business‑like as usual.テつ He was coming up to the receivers and offensive line and running backs, and he was telling and pointing out things that he was saying out there and making adjustments, and he was making adjustments on the fly.テつ I mean, that was‑‑ that's just like how Kirk was.

Q.テつ You guys as a receiver group also seemed to gain confidence.テつ What was the turning point for you guys?テつ When did you feel like maybe you guys could take a step forward?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Youngstown is when we took a step forward, and we knew we‑‑ to get to a place like the Rose Bowl and to win the Big Ten Championship, we knew as a receiver group, we were going to have to make plays, and that's what we did.

Q.テつ Was there anyone that challenged the group or anything that you guys said or did to kind of take that step?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ We challenge each other every day.テつ It was more within.テつ And then meeting with Coach D, he just told us to go out and play.テつ We're a talented group of people.テつ The reason why we are here is because we can make the plays.テつ So just go out and make the plays.

Q.テつ Do you remember how much Connor worked with the one preseason versus during the season?テつ A lot of people told me he needed to get more comfortable in season working with the first team because he didn't have many reps.
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ With the QB competition early in the season, we were rotating quarterbacks pretty much every other day with the ones.テつ So we didn't get that rhythm that we wanted to.テつ But as the season went on, I mean, after about week three, Connor was with the ones all the time.テつ That's when you saw the rhythm get better.

Q.テつ Was it after Notre Dame that you had two weeks before Iowa that he was out there with you guys more than he would have?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ After the Notre Dame game, he was pretty much with us all the time.テつ That's when we took off, had one of our best passing games that next week at Iowa, yes, sir.

Q.テつ Stanford, obviously, you hear a lot about their linebackers.テつ What do you notice about the secondary and some of the guys that you obviously will be matched up with?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ They've got a disciplined group.テつ Their defense is good.テつ They're a bend don't break type defense.テつ They might let you get little plays here and there, but they don't give up a lot.テつ They're a good group.テつ Linebackers are tough.
Up front, they're very good, and on the back end they very good.テつ And they have a good defensive coordinator too as well.テつ So they're a very disciplined group and look forward to playing against them.

Q.テつ What are some of the keys to the way you guys have finished off games?テつ Especially in Big Ten play, you guys dominated and got some of those long runs.
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ We just pride ourselves on finishing.テつ Coach D talks about finishing every day.テつ That's something we harp on all the time.テつ We've capped off pretty much every Big Ten game we've played in with one of Jeremy's runs.テつ He's got that second gear.テつ Finishing is the most important thing.

Q.テつ Is it amazing to think where he came from?テつ Talking about when he was playing receiver, how he was lost.
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ He was playing behind some good backs in Le'Veon and Larry Caper and Edwin Baker.テつ We all knew he had talent.テつ We knew he could play like this.テつ It's just a matter of time and patience.テつ Now he's taken off.

Q.テつ Have you ever been out to L.A. before?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Yeah, I've been out to L.A. before.テつ My mom took me out here for a Lakers game when I was in high school.テつ I'm a big Lakers fan.

Q.テつ Where did that come from?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Being a Lakers fan?テつ I'm a Kobe Bryant fan.テつ Kobe is my favorite player.テつ I love being out here.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Yeah, that had something to do with it too.テつ Oh, no, Magic was the man.テつ He's the reason why the Lakers are what they are.テつ So and him being a Michigan State alum, that's why I'm a Laker fan as well.

Q.テつ When was that trip?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ It was probably my sophomore year in high school.テつ I'm a senior, yeah.

Q.テつ Do you remember who they were playing?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ They were playing maybe the Atlanta Hawks.テつ Got some nice‑‑ some decent seats.

Q.テつ Birthday present or what?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ My mom just surprised my brother and I for spring break, and she took us out to L.A. for a couple of days and went on Rodeo Drive and went to a Laker game.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Yeah, 30 points.テつ It was just quick, nice, quick, easy game for him.テつ One thing about Laker games that's different than other games, at least what I've been to, is people don't really, at least in the lower bowl, they don't really cheer all that loud.テつ It's just more of a‑‑ they just clap, yeah.

Q.テつ Where were you sitting?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ At the top.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Yeah, I mean, it's still a different experience.テつ Being out here and playing in the Rose Bowl, it still hasn't hit me yet, but the fact that we are playing in the best Bowl game is an incredible feeling.テつ So it's a different experience than when I was out here before.

Q.テつ The season always seems long.テつ As a player, does it feel like a long time ago that September was?テつ Did it fly by?テつ Obviously, you had a lot of journeys, but do you feel like September was eons ago?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ I feel like September didn't even happen.テつ That's how long it feels since than, and then at the same time, September wasn't really all that good for us offensively.テつ So I mean, we kind of forgot about September.
Now it's flying by.テつ The Big Ten season flew by.テつ That's kind of a surreal feeling.

Q.テつ Do you almost feel like a different team on the field since September, offensively on the field for you, since you guys are so different?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ I think we're a different team in all dimensions, offense, defense, special teams.テつ I think we're completely different from September.テつ You can tell in Big Ten play we took off in all categories.テつ The defensive team started off in September, but special teams‑wise, offensive‑wise, we took off in October and November.

Q.テつ When you think of the season where you first kind of took over for wideouts a year and a half ago, that this was kind of a goal and a journey.テつ Kind of put the journey for you in perspective from April of 2012 to now and getting here.
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ It's been a great journey.テつ It's incredible, the fact that we had some struggles last year and we learned a lot, and the fact that the same group of guys came back this year, and we made the plays that we fell short on last year.
It's a great feeling because the fact that we're doing something that hasn't been done here in 26 years, and to be a part of that is‑‑ I mean, no one could ever take that from us.

Q.テつ Does it feel like your last game, or are you leaning towards next year?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ I'm just going to play in the Rose Bowl and take it from there.テつ Me and Coach D will talk after that.

Q.テつ Your coach over there, Coach Warner, was just saying he felt the key to the offensive turnaround this year was that you and Tony started grabbing balls on what could be described as 50‑50 catches.テつ He thought that, once you two started doing that, that gave Connor confidence and it just sort of blossomed out from there.テつ Is that what you feel happened?テつ He said the two of you completely changed as to what balls you were going and getting?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ That might be the reason why the offense took off, but at the same time, you've got to think about our offensive line and where they came and them being healthy this year, along with Jeremy Langford and the dimension he adds in the running game makes it easier for receivers to get open.テつ And it's easier for Connor because of our play action game.
So I think it's more of a team effort rather than just Tony and I, but I'm glad he gave us some credit.

Q.テつ Do you remember, after Notre Dame maybe, going into‑‑ was it Iowa?テつ I can't remember.
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Yeah, going into Iowa, that's when we really took off.テつ Big Ten play.テつ We had a bye week right before Iowa.テつ We got our rhythm with Connor, and then went out there in a hostile environment.テつ That's when we knew like we can do great things because of that game.

Q.テつ Did you know going in‑‑ did you have a feeling going into that game, or did it take the game itself to sort of show you?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ No, we knew going into that game.テつ We had had a great week of practice, going against our defense.テつ If you can move the ball well against our defense, you've got a good chance against any team.

Q.テつ Something that you and Tony and Connor kind of had extra time because of the bye week, and you developed a rhythm a little bit more?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ With the QB competition, after that was settled, that's when the rhythm started to take place because Connor was getting all the reps with us.テつ After that, the rest is history.

Q.テつ Do you guys remember working after practice during that period, the three of you?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ We worked after practice, and then we would talk about more concepts and what he's seeing here and how he looks at the defense and where he wants us to be.テつ It just translates to the game.

Q.テつ Always fascinating to look back and see where a season sort of pivoted.テつ It seems like that's where you all did.
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Right after that bye week, yeah.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].テつ 2004?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ That's when Kobe and Shaq were going through it.テつ I didn't like to see that.テつ Why do two great players have to fight over whose team it is?テつ Why can't they just share it?テつ They're both great players.テつ They're both averaging over 30 points a game.
I mean, he's my favorite player. テつSo it is what it is.テつ But at the same time, I would love to talk to him.テつ I would love to talk to him.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ The way he plays the game.テつ I love the way he plays the game, how he competes, and how he doesn't like to lose.テつ Him and Michael Jordan, those guys compete.テつ Winning means everything.テつ In this world, if you're not a winner, I mean, you're not satisfied with anything.テつ That's why I like Kobe Bryant, and having five rings is a nice little career.

Q.テつ What do you see from the Stanford defense that may be different than what you've faced in the Big Ten this year?テつ It seems like the scheme is a little different than what you've seen?テつ You guys don't see much three‑four anyway.
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Yeah, Stanford has an NFL‑type defense, the way their safeties play and their linebackers play.テつ They're a good team, and they're very disciplined.テつ They blitz some, but at the same time, they're going to line up and, say, try and run the ball and see if you can.テつ They're a tough defense.テつ They remind me of our defense.

Q.テつ In the way they play?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Yes.

Q.テつ When was the turning point for this year?テつ In other words, where did it start to click?テつ Was there a moment, a couple of games where you guys all start to kind of figure out that you weren't a liability to this team?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Probably‑‑ even though we lost the Notre Dame game, probably starting there.テつ We had done some good things offensively against Notre Dame, which is a good defense, and we didn't finish in the red zone that game, but then that next week we had a bye week, and then we played at Iowa.
That's where we took off.テつ We had one of our best passing games in a hostile environment like Iowa, and that's where we knew we could be great.

Q.テつ And Iowa turned out to be a pretty good football team?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Oh, yeah.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].テつ As a true freshman.テつ What was he like when he came in?テつ Every quarterback has a different manner.テつ What do you remember about Connor?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Connor's a fun‑loving guy.テつ He's actually really funny.テつ He's got some good jokes.テつ We go out to eat.テつ They have a restaurant called Culver's, and we go out and get burgers.
I remember sitting next to B.J. Cunningham Connor's freshman year, and we were in seven‑on‑seven, and he was throwing a couple of passes, and he threw a couple of fades.テつ And he said, that guy right there is the one who's going to lead us to a National Championship, but I remember that for sure.

Q.テつ He called it out?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ Oh, yeah.テつ We could tell by the way he was throwing the ball.テつ Once he learns the offense and gets it under him.テつ I remember us talking about that in the receiver room.

Q.テつ Just as far as personally, the disposition that he brings.テつ Everybody brings a little different mood to the huddle.テつ How does Connor control the huddle?テつ What's the mood that he sets for you guys?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ You can tell he's real serious.テつ He's got a serious demeanor.テつ He's trying to win.テつ He don't like making mistakes.テつ He's trying to be a perfect player, perfect game.

Q.テつ Does he get mad or stay even?
BENNIE FOWLER:テつ He stays even keel throughout the whole game.テつ You don't know if he's up and down, but you can tell his eye's on the prize.






テつテつテつテつテつテつ Q.テつ How have you seen Connor's confidence over time change?テつ Is he always a confidence guy?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ No, I remember back in the Buffalo Wings when I was blocking for him, he came in with a certain confidence about himself.テつ When I saw him, I think he scrambled for big yards or something to get first down, 20 yards or something.テつ 10 or 15 yards or something like that.テつ When we saw him make that play, it gives us confidence.
I'd say, if anything, seeing him run around in this building making plays really gives the team confidence and offense confidence.テつ Seeing him making plays makes you want to play so much better.テつ I think it goes like that, in my opinion.

Q.テつ What changed for him, do you think, between Notre Dame and Iowa?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ The Notre Dame game, yes, he started Youngstown State, but Notre Dame is his first true test.テつ I feel like, after him experiencing that, he knew he could be so much better than he was in that game, and he really took it upon himself to really study the game and really know what it takes to be the leader of the offense and move the ball, starting quarterback.

Q.テつ He was pretty down about not being in there at the end against Notre Dame.テつ How was he in the days that followed the game?テつ Obviously, it seemed like he got over that, but what did you see?テつ [ No microphone ].
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ If anything, it hurt him, but it should hurt anybody who's in that position when it's taken away from you like that.テつ I think, if anything, he made a commitment to himself that I'm going to be the guy and I'm never going to let this situation happen.
So you can see he really took it upon himself to make sure, you know, showing what leadership it is to be a quarterback and making his mobility plays and stuff like that has really helped.テつ I've seen him grow from there.

Q.テつ Were you at all curious how he would respond in the Big Ten title game?テつ He really hadn't been in a game like that and having to be against Ohio State.
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ I was not curious at all.テつ I knew he was going to ball out.テつ When you're with him every day in practice and stuff, he's a big competitor, and I knew his best was going to come out against Ohio State.テつ Of all the games we've played, he continues to get better and better.
So I knew in the championship game that he was going to bring his A‑game, which he did.

Q.テつ All you hear about Stanford is they're the nation's most physical football team.テつ [ No microphone ].
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Oh, without a doubt.テつ We try to pride ourselves on being physical, the offensive line, offense.テつ If we're against a great defense, I'm really looking forward to it, especially being my last college game of my career.テつ To go against a team like Stanford, you can't ask for better.テつ So I'm extremely excited for this game.

Q.テつ Football, it's always a curiosity when you go out of your range, out of the Big Ten.テつ Kind of have a curiosity about does it feel different?テつ Does it look different?テつ Or is it just football is always football?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Oh, for me, football is always football.テつ It's just, you know, in two‑a‑days and stuff, you're hitting the same guys all the time.テつ I especially look forward to games where you can go face somebody different.テつ Every game you face a different team.テつ Football is football, but I just love the game, the physicality and everything.

Q.テつ Talking to different players from other conferences, they've sort of admitted [ No microphone ].テつ Do you think about it kind of differently?テつ Like, wow, how good are these guys?テつ Do you think about that?テつ Do you look at the helmet and think about the units and compare the offenses and defenses?テつ Do you guys have a regional pride?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ For me, no.テつ I'm kind of more old school.テつ Some guys might do that.テつ For me, not as much.テつ When you see certain teams on film and stuff, see certain players, you're like this guy's a ballplayer, this guy's a ballplayer, like Stanford is.
It really excites me because you want to play your best football and you want to play the best teams you play.テつ For this matchup, I'm very looking forward to it.

Q.テつ Do you have Big Ten pride, though?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Oh, no, we want to represent the Big Ten very well in this game for sure.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].テつ When do you know what kind of game it's going to be?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Mostly the main thing, you know, you prepare, prepare, and prepare, but really in my opinion, after that first play, once that first game‑‑ that first play is over, the butterflies are down, is when you really start to get the feel for me personally.テつ Actually, that first play, when all that anticipation stuff is over, that first play is over, and you really settle down a bit more, and you're like, okay, now it's time to play football.

Q.テつ There's almost a revolution in the game now with spreads and all the fast tempo.テつ [ No microphone ].テつ Do you already sense that you guys are playing more of old time football?テつ It's more of a traditional game in a lot of ways with this matchup.
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ I would definitely say that.テつ A team like Stanford and us has some similar styles, playing tough‑nosed defense, want to control the ball, and sometimes you don't really see that nowadays as much.テつ Everybody is slinging the ball here and there.
I would definitely say this is more of a kind of older tradition of football.テつ I wouldn't say it's old school, but I'd definitely say it's more of who's more tougher and who's going to control the ball more.

Q.テつ Do you like that style of football?テつ Did you watch football then?テつ [ No microphone ].
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ When I was younger, I was more into the flash and stuff, but becoming an offensive lineman and stuff and appreciating how tough it is for five guys to be on the same page.テつ I'm always watching interior guys to see their battles, not so much the quarterbacks or running backs.
So I'm more of seeing a defensive end against that tackle or a guard against a linebacker.テつ I'm more intrigued in those battles now than I am in throwing the football.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Yeah.

Q.テつ So I was watching the Big Ten Championship game again a few days ago, and it seemed like every single time Connor didn't have guys in front of him, he had a perfect throw.テつ But when guys leak through, it really changes the offense.テつ How much is keeping him clean key to your offense?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Oh, it's the number one goal.テつ It's one of the goals for us.テつ After every game, before we watch our film, we meet in the offense.テつ Coach Warner goes over our goals.テつ One of our goals is this, keep the quarterback as clean as possible.
Since day one, we didn't know who the starter was really going to be, we knew as an offensive line, we're going to have to really prepare and make the quarterback feel as most comfortable as he can throwing the football.

Q.テつ I think that these two teams are so closely matched, probably third and short, their goal line plays, red zone conversions, it's probably going to be little things that make the difference.テつ You guys lost to Notre Dame and lost in the red zone.テつ Have you guys spent a lot of time working on the red zone in this break?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Oh, yeah, red zone is always a big emphasis in games.テつ You always prepare for first and ten, third and long.
But we really, throughout the year‑‑ at the beginning of the year, we had trouble in the red zone.テつ Throughout the year, we've had big emphasis on finishing the drives.テつ Before, we'd have long drives, but we couldn't quite get there.テつ We realized how important it is to score points.
So just like we've been doing all year, we really have a big emphasis on the red zone.

Q.テつ You probably didn't watch much Stanford offense, but first team All‑American left guard in David Yankey, I don't know if you've seen him play at all.テつ If you do, anything that impresses you as a left guard and what he does?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ I didn't really watch much of their offense.テつ I remember watching the Oregon game and saw how physical Stanford's O‑line is.テつ Our defense, you know, we don't give many people compliments, but I would definitely give the Stanford left guard a lot of compliments.テつ He has my respect right there.
I saw him a little bit.テつ He's a big guy, physical presence.テつ I didn't watch much of him, but I've heard a great deal.

Q.テつ Back to the Beef Bowl [ No microphone ].
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ I didn't really eat that much.

Q.テつ Did coach tell you you shouldn't?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ No, they told us to eat.テつ More of our young offensive linemen really went to town and ate a lot of meat.テつ There are rumors, guys ate this and that.テつ I don't know which of those rumors are true.テつ We'll talk about it at practice as an offensive line.
I heard the young offensive linemen ate four or five pieces of prime rib.テつ That's a lot.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].テつ How important was it for this program to get here before this team leaves?テつ Does that make any sense?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ I thought it was very important.テつ As well, you know, us seniors, after Buffalo Wild Wings and stuff, we gathered around and were saying, you know, for our last year, we do not want to go 7‑6.
It's important for Spartan nation and stuff, but it's very important for us seniors as far as how we deserve to go out and should go out and playing a big time bowl such as the Rose Bowl.テつ So it's a mix‑up of what you said before, as well as our seniors, knowing it's our last year, you want to play your best football.

Q.テつ Does it feel like a long season?テつ Does December feel like the same season?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ During the season, it's kind of a roller coaster.テつ Sometimes you feel fatigued.テつ Sometimes you feel great.テつ I think, if anything, this year I really focused on having it being your last year, and you're going to play 13 games or whatnot.テつ I really tried to stay in my mindset of, you know, you're not going to have this next year.
This experience you're experiencing, it's going to be the last time you ever experience it.テつ So you need to get the most as you can.テつ Going through that approach itself knowing that this is it really helped me appreciate the season and really helped me feel refreshed.

Q.テつ Coming into the season an experienced guy with a new quarterback, what was that like for you guys?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Well, you know, last year Connor played some snaps, and in the Bowl game he did well.テつ We knew, if anything, what our quarterback was going to be.テつ We knew he would help lead us to where we need to be.
One thing I noticed about Connor, especially in the Bowl game where he played a little bit, is just his confidence and his mobility.テつ When a guy can make plays when things are not open, it really gives the team confidence.テつ Us offensive linemen, we want to play as best we can.
If anything, when we have the young guys come in and what not, we knew they were mobile.テつ It's a matter if they can get the concepts and stuff.テつ Connor really took it upon himself to make that mobility a big part of his game as well as the throwing aspects as well.

Q.テつ You're an experienced group.テつ You guys have played a lot of snaps.テつ What did you see in him as far as leadership?テつ Was it difficult for him to ingratiate himself with you guys?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ No.テつ Us offensive linemen, we're a special group, you know what I mean.テつ We like to have fun and stuff.テつ We try to make the quarterback, when Connor is coming in and stuff, feel as comfortable as possible.
We don't want to put a lot of stress on him like some teams might.テつ We're very relaxed.テつ Hey, man, we got you.テつ If you make a mistake, we got your back.テつ Don't worry about it.テつ If anything, as an offensive line, we try to make sure our quarterback, such as Connor, or whoever the young guy was at that time, really feel comfortable playing the game.

Q.テつ Connor's got a style [ No microphone ].
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Yeah, I believe, Youngstown State game, he showed promise.テつ It was against Youngstown State, but when we saw him throw the ball and stuff, my mind was saying he could do this in bigger games.
After that Iowa game where he really showed his first big breakout game, I knew this was the guy that was going to lead us to where we needed to be.

Q.テつ All the guys here at the Bowl game are talking about how they wanted to play the Rose Bowl.テつ It had been so long since Michigan State had been here, did it seem like a realistic dream, goal that you guys would finally get here?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Without a doubt.テつ A couple of years ago, we were in the Big Ten Championship game, and we lost to Wisconsin.テつ I think that's the closest we ever felt going to the Rose Bowl.テつ I think we were a couple plays away.
So experiencing that, we knew we were right there.テつ Coach D really preached we've got to find that extra inch.テつ If we could find that extra inch, it would be able to propel us and go to where we need to be.
I thought, if anything, this year‑‑ because last year was a little bit of disappointment for the year we had‑‑ that we were just inches away.テつ This year, as Coach said, we found those inches.

Q.テつ What gave you the inch?テつ What was the difference for you being that close and getting to come together as a team?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ I think our team chemistry and our experience.テつ We had a lot of guys that came back from last year, two years ago, that are seniors now.テつ I think, if anything, us experiencing those moments really helped us prepare for this year, when it's time to get close, we're going to take the extra step or that finishing block here or there to make sure we could keep going where we wanted to be.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Back home, I think we had the ice storm and stuff.テつ So it was freezing cold.テつ I could barely walk without falling from all the ice and stuff.テつ I think, if anything, once I walked off the plane and felt the warm weather, I thought, oh, wow.
As well, I really started feeling it's the Rose Bowl is when we went to the Beef Bowl.テつ During the presentation, our speaker showed us a film of the history of the Rose Bowl and watching that history of how it started, whatever year it was, I'm not sure, and how it's grown today, makes me say, wow, we're actually here, the 100th Rose Bowl.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ You know, Coach D addressed us when we got down here, but, you know, it's kind of old news now.テつ We're just going to move forward and what happens happens, but that won't stop us.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ No, we gathered around a little bit as a team.テつ We talked.テつ Plus as well, we have so many seniors and so much leadership as well as, you know, we know what the responsibility is and continuing for the program to move forward.

Q.テつ Personally, do you feel like you have to have more of a leadership role and step up?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Yeah, I think everybody has to step up.テつ I don't think just the captain or the seniors.テつ I think everybody knows what their job is and it just got a little bit bigger now.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Yeah, I mean, it's tough, but this team has been around adversity.テつ We've been through so much stuff over the years.テつ As a senior and stuff, I've been through so many experiences.テつ We know that we're a team.テつ We're always going to be a team together.テつ And as a team, we'll move forward, and we'll conquer any adversity.

Q.テつ Did your dad come?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Actually, he came the 26th.テつ He came late last night.テつ He's enjoying the weather himself compared to being stuck at home in Michigan with all the snow and ice.

Q.テつ I know that your family, this has been ingrained that you have a rivalry with Michigan State.テつ What's it like for him now?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Well, you know, if anything, he's a lot more relaxed.テつ He's not stressing so much about football, football.テつ So I think, if anything, it's our family and stuff.テつ We're always going to be strong and growing together.
This is definitely, I'd say, a different experience since he's not involved in the football program.テつ So if anything, he's a little bit more relaxed this time and can actually enjoy the good weather and walking on the beach instead of always in the film room and this or that could happen.

Q.テつ Is everybody here?
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ The whole family's here.テつ They came the day after I did, and they're probably on the beach or something right now, doing some sort of activity.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ This is Darqueze you're talking about?テつ Okay, I know who you're talking about.テつ I got to know Darqueze a lot better at the Big Ten Media Day.テつ I mean, I always knew him, but we roomed together.テつ I really got to know who he is.テつ I always knew who he was, but I kind of got to know a deeper feeling of who he is.
He's a very humble guy.テつ He is who he is.テつ There's no smoke or anything.テつ If anything, he's a really humble guy, and I really appreciate getting to know him these years and what he's done for this program.
So if anything, he's the most deserving of all the accolades he's gotten.テつ He's truly deserving of them.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
BLAKE TREADWELL:テつ Oh, just his calmness, his coolness.テつ And there's a little bit of fire to him that some people don't realize, especially when he talks to us before games and stuff.テつ He has a little fire to him that some people may not realize about him.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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