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ROSE BOWL GAME: MICHIGAN STATE v STANFORD


December 28, 2013


Usua Amanam

Trent Murphy


PASADENA, CALIFORNIA

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
TRENT MURPHY:テつ They were mixing and matching and they were playing different quarterbacks and I think they found what works for them as a team.テつ They're doing that well now, taking shots down field, mixing in gadgets, just enough to keep you honest so they're playing good football.

Q.テつ Your veteran offensive line, they seem to want to run first and beat you with the play action.
TRENT MURPHY:テつ That's absolutely similar to us.テつ That's pretty much for the most part what this offense does.テつ This team relies on explosive plays and for instance, they have only been in a goal line situation 19 times this whole season and most teams are around 50 or 60 plays up to this point.テつ That kinda shows you that a lot of times they're scoring off explosive plays where there is nobody near them so shows you how fast and explosive they are and that's what we have to limit.

Q.テつ Why have they given up so many offensive sacks?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ They have a good offensive line, they play real well, the quarterback gets rid of the ball real well and make smart decisions.テつ It'll be a good match‑up for us.

Q.テつ Do me remind you of anything in the Pac 12?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Not necessarily, its not too similar to anyone we play in the PAC 12.テつ They reminded me of Wisconsin last year, really.

Q.テつ I want to ask you a question about Derek Mason.テつ You have been playing for him for a while.テつ What is his best skill as a player.テつ What makes him so good as a coach?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ I can speak about everything that he does, there is not necessarily one thing.テつ He works hard himself and he works us hard.テつ I think the best thing he does is he helps us stay motivated to show up every day for work.テつ He never lets us get complacent or let us get content.テつ Some of our best games are as far as scorewise, our win margin, some of the games he's furious, you would think we lost the game by the way he rips us apart after the game.
He's always hungry and keeps us hungry, calls great plays and puts us in a great position to be successful, so you can't ask for anything more from a coach.

Q.テつ You guys have a big inventory.テつ Does Derek recognize that he's coaching at Stanford and a lot of the guys on the team can have a big inventory and a lot of schemes and looks?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Absolutely.テつ I've obviously never played at another college so I can't speak for what they do but being at Stanford you get‑‑ you can put a little extra into the play book.テつ We probably run a similar defense to the 49ers, as far as what they're running so it's almost an advantage for us, especially guys that want to go on to the next level being treated like professional athletes that this is all you're doing even though it's not, we have to manage school as well and it's a hard academic load so I have a lot of respect for my teammates and what they are able to do because the coaches give us a handful in the play book.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)テつ Do you see the confusion in some of the fronts, the offensive line seeing into the quarterbacks eyes when you line up?テつ Are you able to see when you have a team on the ropes?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Yeah, definitely.テつ Especially well in a young offensive line or young quarterback they seem to struggle.テつ Veterans don't have as hard of a time.テつ We always have tried to disguise our look and sometimes it's more for the coaches than for the players on the field to be honest, the coaches in the box or on the field and trying to disguise what we're doing and make their play calling more challenging.

Q.テつ Your offensive coordinator yesterday talked about what they try to do on offense.テつ Is there a defensive mantra or something that they talk about?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ We have a few mantras, Coach Mason can speak more to those.テつ We say we "fight" or "keep choppin' wood" which speaks to what we do, defend every blade of grass, there is a ton of catch phrasing.

Q.テつ Deep water?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Drag 'em to deep water, yeah.テつ I can keep goin', but as far as our play we show up and try and defeat them.テつ Leave it all on the field one play at a time.テつ We say we don't have to win 90 plays but if we can win one play 90 times we're going to be in a good position.

Q.テつ How much of an advantage is it that you've been there and Don that on this stage?テつ When you look at how the team handled the fist one compared to this one.
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Absolutely, four years ago I was packing for the events and for Disneyland and things like that and this time I was packing for practice and making sure I had my vitamins, thinking about the stuff I needed to do, rolling out of ice tubs, how I was going to get that accomplished and it's definitely a maturing and been there done that.テつ You're going to be in a different environment but practicing normally for an entire week at the site so it gives you an upper hand and helps you be mature through the situation.テつ Hopefully they get distracted and having fun at Disneyland and those events and gives us the upper hand in preparation.

Q.テつ Everyone knows your sack numbers and you're a guy that has to be respected.テつ What's that like going in knowing that every offense has a plan for you?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ It's a growing process to be honest.テつ I had six sacks, and 10 or 14 this year, so it's something I've been improving on and just how to get better each year and moving forward.テつ I don't necessarily know when an offense recognizes it or when they are game playing me, I don't know that they do.テつ We have so much talent on the defense I don't think they can game plan for me because if they do you have Henry Anderson, David Parry, Josh Mauro, guys all over the place so I don't know which guy they pick to focus on but I love gettin' after the line and the quarterbacks, it's fun for me.

Q.テつ Is there a time when you decide you're going to blitz versus just playing?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Certain times I struggle with getting too locked in to looking at the guy in front of me or the ball or key in something that I don't almost hear anything in my ear.テつ Sometimes Shane will be yelling in our ears makin' checks and we're looking at the ball like a bunch of hungry dogs or something and we don't hear.テつ So there is a moment before the snap where it's calmness and I'm ready to go.テつ So I try to be good about taking in calls, too.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)テつ What's allowed this to happen, the elite, consistent program?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ It's really just consistency and hard work more than anything else.テつ I think every off‑season, about a week after the season ends the group takes a look at what they got and they're like, all right, this is it, we gotta work harder than anyone in the country and we have to be better than we were last year and that's the mentality.テつ I don't think a senior class or any group of guys looks at the off season all right this is not our year but maybe we get it in three years.テつ It's always this is our moment our time and we have to work hard to get that done.

Q.テつ What was your perception of Stanford football as a kid?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ To be honest before I was recruited I couldn't tell you what division Stanford was it.テつ I thought it was an Ivy League school and played Harvard in a smart school bowl every year.テつ My perception was skewed until Jim Harbaugh showed up at my door with a grin on his face and a hungry look in his eye and he said, here is what we want to do and we want you to be a part of it.テつ And I was like, okay.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Absolutely.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Yeah, the biggest thing is realizing that there is much more to the defense, to the team than any one person.テつ There is 11 guys on the field and a lot of times it's a different 11 at any point in the game.テつ I mean, if they've been playing a while I'm sure they have plenty of guys that can step up and there won't be too much of a drop‑off there.テつ That's the biggest thing.テつ The hardest part was we were so close to Ben, he's a senior and we love him to death and didn't want to see that happen to him.テつ As far as the injuries go we typically have lots of guys that can play.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
TRENT MURPHY:テつ I think in the "D" line it hit home the hardest, knowing that Ben wasn't going to be there anymore.テつ I never thought about it, I kept a cold‑blooded approach and kept moving forward and knew there was still games to be played and work to be done.
Then at the senior banquet he spoke and got everyone choked up a little bit and then it was like, oh man.テつ Other than that I kept moving forward.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Yeah, it's part of the sport, part of the job.テつ We accept that as players that injuries can happen.テつ You just got to keep moving forward.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Yeah, I mean, it's unbelievable how many good quarterbacks we have played this year and we're facing another really good quarterback.テつ He makes smart decisions in the pocket.テつ He likes to run the ball actually more than I had originally expected or thought that he did.テつ Sometimes he gets hot in games throwing the ball, so it's definitely going to be a challenge to get him uncomfortable and get him off the spot and out of his rhythm and what he does.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
TRENT MURPHY:テつ He's been able to run out of the pocket and get rid of the ball or complete passes down field pretty effectively.テつ So that will be a challenge for us keeping him contained and not allowing him to make throws on the run.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)テつ Do you think the time you have had to prepare will help?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Hopefully.テつ The tough thing with the first drive when we haven't been effective is when teams go away from all tendency that says they have done and I think what we are hoping is that it's the Rose Bowl and they got here doin' what works well for them so typically the smart teams stick to what works well for them and doesn't move away from that.
Hopefully they come out and play their style of football which is a hard‑nosed football and go for shots down the field is what I expect them to do so hopefully our first drive is effective.

Q.テつ You read screens well and can you talk about how when you read the screen and how you stop people?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ I pretty much try and get off on the football and make disruptive plays in the backfield and if I can get in the window between the quarterback and the receiver I'm so long and such a big target that he has a hard time throwing over me and a lot of times quarterbacks or coaches get spooked trying to make that play and you can get your hand on it or almost intercept or catch it, and they think it's a bad idea.テつ If I can get my hands on it early in the day they will usually go away from it, which is a benefit for us.

Q.テつ You are running full speed to the quarterback and you spring backward and really high in the air.テつ Is that a specific training exercise you have done to make that move?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Really it happens naturally, kind of in a game and then in practice and then after that I would pull aside David Olson and he would drill a bunch of bubbles to receivers that would stand there for me.テつ And after a while he would stop trying to throw through me and would throw around me and I think that was helpful and it might have been the same week that we played in the Seahawks stadium and I thought I gotta keep working on this.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Yeah, typically I will try and lineup against Pete, if we're going one‑on‑one's, but the reps get more limited as we don't go against the 1's as much.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
TRENT MURPHY:テつ He is the best thing that has happened to me at Stanford yet.テつ To have that competition every day and in training camp.テつ He's a smart ballplayer and he's obviously a physically gifted player so it's like a chess match between me and him.テつ We know each other pretty well, what we do and he will beat me and then I'll see what he's doing and I'll get him next time and we keep making changes and you see a lot of different styles of play with each other.テつ He can move well for as big as he is and I think that's probably his biggest asset.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Yeah, he can set really, really fast backwards which takes away the speed rush and the edge rush and kind of limits‑‑ he tries to limit your rush that way.テつ That's probably one of the best things he does for how big he is.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Yeah, I mean, DeCastro was a 320‑pound linebacker, with just his build and for how young he is as a player, I forget about that.テつ He probably has the biggest up side.

Q.テつ The younger line backers, this bowl practice has been important for them.テつ Do you view yourself as important in imparting knowledge on them during the stretch?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Definitely.テつ I think that's one of the important things, to have a consistent program is learning from the old guys that leave and kinda keep that moving forward otherwise you have to learn it all by yourself and you don't figure things out until the third or fourth year as opposed to if you can take the knowledge that the guy who left that's been there for five years has passed down and keep building off that, you can kinda keep building off all the hard work that's come before you and the foundation has been laid.テつ So I think it's definitely important to pass down that knowledge.

Q.テつ Who was the guy or couple guys who were important to you when you were a young player?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ There has been a bunch, Eric Lord started it and then Thomas Kaiser and Chase Thomas in that order probably was the most.テつ Chase mostly by watching what he does and his moves and learn that go way, and then actually I traveled my freshman year and red‑shirted but still traveled and roomed with Eric Lord and saw how he traveled and things he did that way.

Q.テつ Would you say that this program now is in a stable position because of the example setting by the seniors that probably wasn't there four or five years ago?テつ You've been through this now, is that solid now?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ Absolutely.テつ I would hope that it's solid and not going anywhere for a while but we will see what happens.テつ That was kind of the goal originally was laying down the foundation and for the young guys to keep building upon that.テつ I think it's been laid.

Q.テつ Did you watch the 2007 game?テつ Do you have any recollections of watching it or being aware of it?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ I think so, yeah.

Q.テつ If anything, what do you remember?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ It was a big upset game they weren't supposed to win!テつ Yeah, so that's‑‑ that's a cool moment, cool game and in Stanford history and in general.テつ I think typically when the underdog can win like that, they're either the overlooked by everyone, including the opponent and they can stand up, look themselves in the mirror, look the opponent in the mirror and say, no, we're takin' this one today, I think that's a cool part of football.

Q.テつ Was the effort on your radar back then?テつ You were what in high school?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ They were recruiting me when I was a junior and I think that was the little spark or glimpse of maybe what Stanford could be.テつ It was kind of like this is what is going to happen.テつ We're going to build off this with hard work and talent and we're going to be a winning program.テつ That definitely was an important win for Coach Harbaugh and what he was trying to do.

Q.テつ Anything to do with your decision to come?
TRENT MURPHY:テつ I mean, I said it didn't but I guess it kinda‑‑ maybe secretly it did.テつ I was pretty sure I was watch that go game with my dad and my family in the living room and it was like, still really early in the recruiting process but it was like, hey, Stanford just won, that was pretty cool, all right, I'll take a look at these guys.テつ So it probably did.
(Player change)


Q.テつ (No microphone.)
USUA AMANAM:テつ That's right, I remember that.

Q.テつ And you go out and prove me wrong.テつ That was not flight?
USUA AMANAM:テつ That was crazy, huh?

Q.テつ Same thing again this year.
USUA AMANAM:テつ Yeah.

Q.テつ A lot of good stuff.テつ Is there a specific play or specific game plan on how you do that?
USUA AMANAM:テつ I think for us, you know, Coach Mason has formulated a great game plan, him and all our defensive coaches.テつ I think for us it's kind of react to go what they do.テつ I guess we're just going to go by the ebb and flow of the game but in terms of what personnel groups will be in, depending on what they do, that's what is going to determine when we're in.テつ They have a great running game, great "O" line and we have a great front 7, it's going to be hard not to have those guys on the field doing what they do and that's stopping the run.
Coach Mason is going to call a great game, best coordinator in the country, I'm biased, because I play for him, but he will be fine whatever route we go.

Q.テつ He hasn't called many blitz for you, is that a point of contention between you and Coach Mason?
USUA AMANAM:テつ I think he has, I just haven't been able to get to the quarterback.

Q.テつ Okay.
USUA AMANAM:テつ As well as I was last year.

Q.テつ Do you think it's been long enough since they have seen you doing things on tape teams may be lured into a false sense of security?
USUA AMANAM:テつ Let's hope so.

Q.テつ You're a senior, a lot of movement behind you.テつ We're seeing a lot of different guys.テつ Can you talk about what the guys behind you are doing?
USUA AMANAM:テつ Yeah, first you have to give some credit to Ronnie Harris.テつ He was a great nickel back and at times I would look at him and I definitely take a lot of stuff from him, because he has great feet, great feel for the game but because of his attributes and because of his God‑given abilities we moved him up to corner and he's done great, really out there last couple of games, I'm happy for him and proud of him.テつ Joe brings more size to the nickel back position.テつ When we go against bigger teams and we need a player that can‑‑ a big enough player that's a hybrid guy, he could come in and run a little better than I can and he's also agile enough to cover.テつ He's done a great job there.テつ He had an interception against Utah and he's done great all year.テつ He's moved around all parts of the defense and has done a great job.テつ Zach is going to be a great player.テつ You guys are going to enjoy watching him play in the future.テつ He played safety last couple of years, played as a freshman, played significantly at safety and at nickel.テつ Another guy like Ronnie, he's a ball‑hawk and I think he's perfect for the nickel position and Coach Mason sees and finds that talent and puts people in the right places.テつ That's what makes him so effective as a coach.
I think those guys are going to be in great position going forward.

Q.テつ Seems like similar offense so it might be one great play that changes the game.テつ Last year you won the Rose Bowl with a great defensive play.テつ Is there anything about ball‑hawking in this game or trying to make a big play that will make the difference?
USUA AMANAM:テつ I think when you get into that, that's when you can find yourself in trouble, when you try to do too much.
For us, the way we have been coached and the way we have been taught to play football, our entire lives is to play within the scheme of the defense and good things will come to you if you continue to do your job.テつ That's our mentality.
In terms of their big plays, they have great big playability.テつ They have three great receivers, actually four great receivers, they have a great tight end, a great running back.テつ They can strike at any time.
They have only had, I want to say‑‑ they have less than 20 plays in the red zone this year, but they have put up quite a few points.テつ What does that mean?テつ Means they're scoring from outside of the red zone, scoring on big plays.テつ I think for us, playing our defense and playing top down and trying to keep them in check.テつ They're a great offense but we will see what happens on January1st.

Q.テつ Not to revisit something that probably wasn't a great lesson for you guys but I wanted to ask you to go through the first down sequence against USC because you guys had done a good job on Marqise and they explained how that play unfolded.テつ From your perspective, can you take me through that?
USUA AMANAM:テつ The 4th and 2?

Q.テつ Yeah, time‑out on the sideline.
USUA AMANAM:テつ Yeah.テつ One of the biggest plays the year, we know that, they know that.テつ I think Marqise had gone out early in the drive.テつ Came back in, the guy is a great player and he's going to be great to watch on Sundays.テつ They lined him up in slot and I think throughout the game they were trying to find our Achilles heel and I think they found a match‑up they liked against me and they lined up Marqise in the slot and we were in a "man" defense.
I pushed him to my help, which is inside, but, unfortunately, the quarterback placed it in an appropriate position and if you get it in the general position of Marqise Lee he's going to come down with the ball.テつ I thought I played already coverage, I was right there but they have a great quarterback, great wide receiver, it's tough.

Q.テつ They talked about how early in the game they ran something similar and I don't know if you played him to the outside or inside and they talked about how at some point in the game we're going to come back to that maybe he's going to bump and you gotta go in.テつ Is that a blur to you?テつ Do you have any rec of that?
USUA AMANAM:テつ I'm sure it is if I sat here and thought about it I could definitely formulate what really happened.

Q. テつUltimately it's putting that ball in the window, the quarterback making that throw?
USUA AMANAM:テつ Yeah, football is a game of man versus man you're trying to impose your will on another guy.テつ Marqise, the SC Trojans got me on that play but it was a great learning experience and I learned from it a lot in terms of how I play.テつ My feet, using my hands, and being able to step up.テつ When the game is on the line, realizing that every play matters and one misstep from you or missed cue from you could cost your team a game.テつ It was a great learning experience for me and I think it's going to carry‑‑ it's carried on throughout the last couple games of our year and I think it's going to carry over into this game because it's going to be a close game and I'm glad that we have been in games and situations like that because all situations like those build character.

Q.テつ The receiving core, how does it compare to what you guys have seen in the Pac 12?
USUA AMANAM:テつ I play in the Pac 12 so I'm biased and I think all receivers and offense we go against are the best of the best but watching these guys, they do a lot of good things.テつ They have big‑playability, like I said.テつ They have height, they have size.テつ As a smaller guy that's something you have to be cognizant of and I'm ready for the challenge.テつ I think these guys are great wide receivers so we have to be on our toes.テつ They have a great quarterback and tight end so for us, in the back end, we need to make sure that we execute our game plan, that Coach Mason formulated and if we do that, he's going to put us in the right positions and in a place for us to make plays and I think we will be fine.

Q.テつ Statistically I looked at the receivers, and‑‑
USUA AMANAM:テつ Exactly, about 35, 500 yards.

Q.テつ Insane average.
USUA AMANAM:テつ I know.

Q.テつ I assume you look at film to see the strengths and weaknesses of each one to determine match‑ups but does it make it harder not knowing which one they prefer?
USUA AMANAM:テつ I think that's a testament to the quarterback, he doesn't zero in on one guy, he finds the open guy.
He let us them make plays and they all can make plays and they're all fast, strong, big, and that's what you want to see out of wide receivers.テつ For us, you know, it's not necessarily, I guess, getting a feel for what, I guess, they do on a general basis but key in on which each individual guy likes to do.テつ I've watched No. 3, he plays 11 slot, they put Lippett in the slot as well.テつ Like you said they're similar but they're different as well.テつ My film study has shown me what I need to look out for and hopefully I can go out and execute what I need to do and what we need to do.

Q.テつ And I assume it all becomes easier, especially the front 7 talked about if they can stop the run how much easier does it get for you if the run isn't working for Michigan State?
USUA AMANAM:テつ It gets a little easier, when you make an offense one‑dimensional, it gets easier on the back end.テつ We pride ourselves in being able to come up and tackle, fill holes and if it gets to the second level they're not going to get out of it and make the big plays.テつ When we know there is a pass coming and they don't have an afinity toward the run anymore, it makes our job easier.テつ A lot of what I do is take my pass, run, read, drop or fill based on what they're doing, whether they're running or passing.
Knowing that our front 7 is able to stop the run and they're going to pass more makes it easier for me.

Q.テつ Have you seen‑‑ you talked about Connor Cook being able to distribute the ball among those guys.テつ He's only been sacked 13 times.テつ Is that a testament to how quickly he releases the ball or what does he do well there?
USUA AMANAM:テつ I think it's a mix of things.テつ First of all, Michigan State offensive coordinator does a great job of calling plays and figuring out what the defense is doing.テつ They have a great "O" line, those Big Ten "O" lines!テつ And Langford can get out and catch the ball, he's a safety net for the quarterback.テつ Cook does a great job of staying in the pocket and moving his feet and getting the ball out.テつ Just like any other good quarterback that's why he won the job over at Michigan State.
That is something that we definitely have to key in on in terms of trying to get to him before he gets the ball out.テつ He has a great feel for the game and for what defenses are trying to do to him.
I think that's a testament to his own film study and being able to not get taken down to the ground as much as a lot of other quarterbacks.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
USUA AMANAM:テつ You have to look at it‑‑ if you start getting caught up in what happened last year and the "package" like you said, I think you bring in too much extraneous stuff and that's when you can get hurt on the football field.テつ For us, we're approaching it like we approach every game and let's try and win the day and trying and 1‑0.テつ Michigan State is a great team, so we will prepare the way we have in the past, like we do in our conference games and like we do in our out of conference games and I think we will be all right.

Q.テつ They go after 1% as far as recruiting.テつ When you talk to coaches that have been at Stanford years ago, and this group seems to be able to do it consistently, the program, and how does heightened intellect benefit the program?
USUA AMANAM:テつ I think one of the reasons why a lot of Stanford players have gone on in the NFL and have success, you saw Michael Thomas play for Miami, he memorized his play book on the plane and did really well first game, and then Andrew Luck and his success, the way we formulate the play book and the environment is pro‑like, and our coaches expect a lot out of us.テつ Seeing us as young men and trying to push us to do the right thing and understanding that the onus is on us if we want to be where we want to be and Coach Shaw, Coach Mason, all those guys did a great job of instilling that.テつ They're all NFL guys so they do a great job of instilling that in us and the only way you are able to do that is if you have mature individuals that can handle a playbook and the responsibilities of being a young man.
You have guys that are coming in 17, 18, 19, so you have to grow up quick but because we're getting that 1% and getting guys that can do it all and aren't afraid to challenge themselves, it's been easy.

Q.テつ The program was getting the 1% for a long time?
USUA AMANAM:テつ Right.

Q.テつ What has allowed the success in football?
USUA AMANAM:テつ I think it's just buying into the system.テつ I think what you have seen over the last couple of years is guys that come in and buy into what the coaches are feeding them and that's if you train hard, work hard, do the right thing, good things will come.テつ For the most part, that's what is motivating me over the last couple of years and I honestly think it's that simple.テつ That's why we have had success in the past.テつ It's not like we're getting better players or different type of players.

Q.テつ It's not a noticeable difference in the freshmen class?
USUA AMANAM:テつ It's the overall cohesiveness I have seen that's grown over the last four or five years in our locker room and in our football program.テつ I have had plenty of friends that have played all over the country at Oregon and USC and I tell them about my experiences and I hear theirs and they're just a little different.

Q.テつ The Michigan State offense is different than others you have seen.テつ Have you watched them from Septemberand are you amazed they're in the Rose Bowl?
USUA AMANAM:テつ No, I think teams improve and Michigan State is no different, we are a different team than we were in Septemberand even Octoberand November.テつ They found a quarterback and for us I think we focused on the last couple of games because that's where you get a real feel for what they have done and are doing and try to do.テつ For the most part we focus on the latter part of the season and we have picked up a couple of their tendencies and I'm excited to see what they do and I'm sure they're going to have wrinkles for us but nothing that our defensive coordinator, Coach Mason can't handle.

Q.テつ What's your perception of MSU football and how it's changed?テつ Three years ago if somebody said Michigan State football was going to be here and how it's changed over time.
USUA AMANAM:テつ You know, I grew up loving to watch college football.テつ I would get up every morning and watch College Game Day at 6 a.m., one thing you notice about the Big Ten and Michigan State is how potent‑‑ how big their guys are, how well they are able to run the ball.テつ I think what's struck me this year is how good their defense is.テつ You always hear about how balanced the Big Ten offenses are, how disciplined they are but you never hear about does the Big Ten have any dominating defenses, defenses that lead the country in rush defense and yardage against and points against and all the other categories out there in the Top 5!テつ So for me that's what struck me the most and it's a testament to how they prepare and them buying into their system as well.テつ It's not like from last year to this year they have had a lot of changes on that side of the ball.テつ I see similarities between them and us, Pac 12 teams aren't known for great defenses, more so offense, and I guess we have been able to build our identity and our defense is buying into what Coach Mason has coached us to do and taught us on the football field.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
USUA AMANAM:テつ Realize that everyone is struggling to keep their head above water even though it might not seem like it.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
USUA AMANAM:テつ Definitely, definitely.テつ Seth did a good job making sure all the student athletes and all the students form a good bond.テつ I know that the incoming freshman‑‑ there is no football dorm or athletic dorm and I was a bit reluctant to believe that was a good thing coming in but it's been great.テつ I have formed so many friendships outside of my student athlete realm, in the student body in general.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
USUA AMANAM:テつ I'll choose my words wisely.テつ I think they have become so‑‑ they're such a great offense, they have a great team and I think they have become so accustomed to winning games by such a big margin, I think when they play us it's going to be a tough game so I think they're gearing up for a tough battle.テつ One of the most prolific offenses in college history and able to put up points in three quarters I think it gets you ‑‑ we weren't focusing on their sideline but I feel like on the field you could feel that they started to realize, hey, this defense is for real.

Q.テつ When they went for the field goal, that's when I thought‑‑
USUA AMANAM:テつ They did that last year, too.テつ But that's a great offensive move, right?テつ Nebraska in the 90s, West Virginia in the 2000s, they were able to put up big points.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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