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ROSE BOWL GAME: MICHIGAN STATE v STANFORD


December 29, 2013


Kurtis Drummond


PASADENA, CALIFORNIA

Q.テつ We've got free safety Kurtis Drummond over here.テつ Kurtis, are you enjoying California?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Oh, yeah.テつ It's been a great town so far.

Q.テつ You used to this weather?テつ You want to get back to East Lansing where it's about 18 degrees?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ No.テつ I'm enjoying it out here.

Q.テつ Much has been said about Michigan State's defense, you guys are one of the top defenses in the country, in particular, the secondary.テつ Do you guys in the secondary have any particular nicknames you call yourself?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ We just go by the no‑fly zone, led by Darqueze Denard and Isaiah Lewis.テつ It's a name we came up with in spring ball, something we hold ourselves accountable for.

Q.テつ As you call yourselves the no‑fly zone, what is an acceptable pass completion against the no‑fly zone?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ We try to keep every pass to under 15 yards.テつ We're competitive guys.テつ Nobody wants to get balls caught on them.テつ I don't think guys think anything is acceptable.

Q.テつ You're looking at Stanford.テつ You've been watching them carefully over the last several weeks.テつ When you look at Stanford, what is the number one thing you have to do as a defense to get them stopped?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ We're going to have to be able to tackle them, out physical them.テつ That's what they pride themselves on is being a physical team.テつ They have a great running back, great line, but they also have play makers on the outside too, some deep ball threats, some guys that have been running past the secondaries that they played.
We just have to play a well all‑around game.

Q.テつ As I look at your defense, your safeties, you guys come downhill.テつ You like to get involved in run stopping, and you count on your guys outside to hold up [ no microphone ] that interior front.テつ How involved are you guys going to be involved in the safety position in run stopping?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ That's something we pride ourselves on defense all year is stopping the run.テつ Our safeties, we like to get involved in action too.テつ So if teams want to run with us, we'll be down in there too.

Q.テつ Have you been practicing against a bunch of different personnel groups?テつ I know they bring in extra offensive linemen and so forth to play at tight end positions.テつ Has that changed in terms of when you see those big guys they call their elephant package?テつ When they put them in there, are you guys changing your coverages up?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ We have a great game plan going into the game.テつ I don't want to give you too much.テつ Coach Narduzzi does a great job getting us prepared for every game, and we've got a bunch of smart guys that understand the game plan, which allows us to adjust things on the fly.テつ We've got some great things in for this game, and we're looking forward to playing against them.

Q.テつ Coach Dantonio, when he came to recruit you, did he tell you you were going to the Rose Bowl, or did you tell him you were going to the Rose Bowl?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ He told me. テつHe said, Coming to Michigan State, we're going to compete, we're going to play for championships, and we're going to get out to the Rose Bowl.テつ For it to come true, it's just crazy seeing all your hard work paying off.

Q.テつ We're sorry about the weather here in California, but you enjoy it anyway.
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Thank you.

Q.テつ What questions have they asked you so far?テつ Have you gotten any strange ones?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Just how your time is here, are you enjoying California?テつ Any strange questions?テつ No, not yet.テつ I guess they asked, is this weather better than back in Michigan?

Q.テつ It's raining.
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Yeah.

Q.テつ Tell me about the defense and how it accentuates [ no microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ As far as you're saying‑‑

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ It's cool.テつ It's a cool experience to have this much attention, to be able to be in this type of spotlight.テつ It's just an opportunity for a lot of guys to show what they can do.

Q.テつ Speaking of guys who are sitting here by themselves, how is that different than when you sit down over there to watch them?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I mean, it's a little different.テつ I wasn't expecting to be up here by myself, so for me to be up here now, it's pretty cool.

Q.テつ But you play safety.テつ You're used to being your own island.
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I'm used to being off by myself, but it would have been cool to have some more teammates up here with me.

Q.テつ What's your emotional reaction to being at the Rose Bowl?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Oh, man, it was crazy.テつ The feeling that went through you, seeing the smiles on everyone's face.テつ It's almost undescribable just seeing all your hard work pay off.テつ For it to be the 100th Rose Bowl is something even more special.テつ That's something everyone will talk about forever.テつ For us to be in the 100th Rose Bowl, it means a lot.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Oh, yeah.テつ It went nuts.テつ It went nuts.テつ There were people partying for days, couches burning.テつ People just going crazy.

Q.テつ What's your story?テつ Growing up, was the Rose Bowl important?テつ I don't know where you grew up.
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I grew up in Ohio, so, yeah, Big Ten country.テつ As a child watching the Rose Bowl, and to be able to be a part of it now, it's almost unreal.

Q.テつ Hey, Kurtis.テつ What's your impression when you look at Tyler Gaffney on film?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Oh, just his composure, the way he controls everything, the way he controls the huddle.テつ He's often making checks, audibles.

Q.テつ Oh, I mean the tailback.
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Oh, you want the tailback?テつ Just the way he runs the ball.テつ He's a hard‑nosed runner.テつ The way guys are blocking for him all game.テつ He's patient.テつ He waits for the hole, and he can make guys miss.テつ He can break through the tackles.テつ He gets some good yardage that they need.

Q.テつ Does he remind you of anybody you've played against?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ As far as this year?

Q.テつ In your career.
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I'd say it's hard to put a comparison on him.テつ I would just say he's a physical guy, doesn't back down from being hit.テつ I mean, the type of offense that they have, you can't have a running back like that.テつ So I'd say he does good for their system.

Q.テつ The way they stick to the ground and keep being satisfied with two, three‑yard gains and stick with it, is that something you've seen this year from another team?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I mean, like I said, it's kind of hard to compare them to a team.テつ They're a very patient team.テつ They do what they do.テつ They're okay with just pounding the ball at you and just trying to eat up the clock.

Q.テつ Occasionally, they'll throw the ball and make a big play sometimes.テつ The quarterback's got a little distance.テつ What's your impression of their pass game?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I think they have a great deep ball attack.テつ They have guys on the outside that can run past guys and making deep ball plays.
They had that great catch.テつ So they have receivers out there that have hands.テつ Their quarterback does a good job of throwing the deep ball to them and letting his guys run to the ball.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].テつ Can you talk about what that's been like?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I mean, Isaiah Lewis is a great player.テつ We just learn from the guys in front of us, Trent Robinson, Marcus, and just‑‑ it's just our style of defense.テつ We pride ourselves on stopping the run, and Coach Narduzzi does a great job of recruiting guys that aren't going to back down from tackling in the run game.
Just to be able to play with Isaiah Lewis, it's almost‑‑ it's definitely a lifetime memory, just how hard‑nosed he is, how tough he is.テつ I'm basically just trying to play like Isaiah, the way he hits people and his aggressiveness.テつ I'm just trying to play like him.

Q.テつ Does it help to have the corners for your matchups?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Oh, yeah, Darqueze Dennard and Trae Waynes are two smart players, two great players.テつ Very competitive type of guys who like their islands being nasty.テつ Having guys like that out there, it allows you to be more comfortable in what you're doing.テつ I have all the faith in the world they're going to lock their guys down.テつ So you're never worried about what they're doing.テつ Looking out, they're covering their guys.
So it allows you to just worry about yourself because you know those guys are going to handle their business.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ We have a lot of great players.テつ We'll keep doing what we've been doing all year.テつ We pride ourselves on stopping the run.テつ They like to run the ball a lot.テつ I think you'll see a lot of 27 and 9 down in there.

Q.テつ You've watched so much film.テつ It seems like the only way to stop the defense is to [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I mean, they do what they do.テつ If they want to make things up and switch things up, it just comes down to us handling our business and doing what we're supposed to do.テつ We have a great game plan, and we have some very smart guys who execute the game plan.
It just comes down to good eye control and good technique for whatever they do.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ No.テつ I mean, I got all the faith in the world in my group of guys.テつ As far as it being the biggest concern, I would just say it's us‑‑ I don't even know.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Yeah, yeah.テつ Basically, what we've been doing is just practicing in the morning, we're handling business first, and then giving us some time to enjoy the scenery and stuff in the afternoon.テつ So just basically handling business, being able to turn the switch on and off, knowing when it's time to go to work.
And everybody understands that we're on a business trip.テつ It just happens to be in a nice area.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Probably going to The Improv last night.テつ It was a great time.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I mean, regardless if they won or not, we still came out here to handle our business.テつ We can only control what we do.テつ So we'll try to do our best to be able to represent the Big Ten as well as we can.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I just think it will be a live atmosphere.テつ I think we'll have a lot of fans there supporting us, but at the end of the day, it comes down to how we perform on the field.テつ I think guys will be focused.テつ I think they'll take the extra attention as enticement and just another reason to come out and perform well.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ From this season?テつ Man, that's a tough question.テつ I mean, we‑‑ in the Big Ten, you've got a lot of teams that pride themselves on the run.テつ So I mean, I would say it has to be any team that runs a pro style offense, can just run downhill.テつ It's kind of hard to compare them to a team that we played already.テつ I guess it will be a new challenge for us.

Q.テつ Talk a little bit about the no‑fly zone.テつ It's kind of come full circle.テつ What is the full‑‑ really talk about the no‑fly zone.
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ It's basically just a name that we gave ourselves back in winter conditioning.テつ We really thought of it, just something that we can keep ourselves accountable for.
We've got a bunch of competitive guys that don't want people catching passes on us.テつ So basically, no‑fly zone is not allowing passes to be completed.テつ Our defense has prided ourselves on stopping the run.テつ So we knew coming into this year that it would come down to us stopping the pass too.テつ So it's basically just a name for us to hold ourselves accountable.

Q.テつ What does this game mean to the program for Michigan State?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I would say this is the biggest game in our program's history, definitely the biggest game in our lives that we've played in.テつ So for us to be a part of it, it means a lot.
For us to go down in history as potentially one of the best teams, it's definitely a challenge that we're all ready to take on.

Q.テつ Any nerves?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I mean, you get nervous for every game.テつ This is just another game, just on a bigger stage.テつ I mean, we just approach it as another game for us, another time to go 1‑0.

Q.テつ Obviously, being at the Rose Bowl, you can get a little star struck.テつ What did Coach Dantonio and the rest of the staff tell you to stay motivated?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ We already knew coming out here we were going to try to have a good time.テつ We handle business in the morning, practice in the morning, and they give us the rest of the day to really enjoy California.
So it's basically just knowing when to handle business and when to have fun.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ No.テつ We're definitely not satisfied with just being here.テつ It's great that we got here, but now we've got another goal, and that's to win it.テつ So first to get here, we don't want just a participant award.テつ We came out here to handle business, and so just another time for us to go 1‑0.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I mean, it's‑‑ Coach D always says it's harder to handle success.テつ So basically, we just‑‑ you just need new goals.テつ So now that we've made it here, our goal is to win now.
We want to go down as one of the best teams, and for us to be able to do that, we feel that we need to win this game.テつ So guys are out here and ready to handle business.

Q.テつ Are you having fun?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Oh, yeah, it's a great time.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ No, we actually didn't have many events.テつ The closest we even got to them was at Disneyland, and that's a big amusement park.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Just the way they execute, their patience.テつ I mean, they're happy with getting two, three yards a carry, and just the way they just execute what they do.テつ They do what they do.テつ They run the ball at you.テつ They're going to try to out physical you, out tough you, and then they'll hit you with a play action.
I don't think they get enough credit for their pass game and for their receivers that they have out there.テつ They've got some play makers that are deep ball threat guys.テつ So I mean, I would just say that the thing that impresses me most is just the way they play physical.

Q.テつ All right.テつ You feel like a superstar up here?テつ You're up on the stage.
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ It's definitely a blessing.テつ I didn't know I was going to be up here.テつ It's definitely the coolest thing.

Q.テつ What are your thoughts on the whole week?テつ You've enjoyed a lot.テつ There's been a lot of entertainment.テつ I'm sure now it's going to dwindle a little bit and you're going to focus on the game.テつ Being able to experience L.A. is all part of the Rose Bowl experience, isn't it?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Yeah, it's been a great time.テつ This experience is something I've never experienced before in my life.テつ I've definitely been enjoying it.

Q.テつ And you knew that was the goal going in, but the real goal is, not just coming here, but winning this game.テつ This becomes the most difficult game of the year.テつ Give us your thoughts on prepping for Stanford, what you know about them, and how you're going to finish your goal for the end of the year.
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ They basically try to out physical you, try to beat you down all game, beat you down all game, and they have a good passing game that I don't think they get a lot of credit for.
They have deep ball threat guys and they have a quarterback that can get the ball to the guys.テつ They basically do what they do.テつ They're going to run the ball at you.テつ They're going to bring in eight, nine men at a time and see if you can stop them.

Q.テつ Michigan State grew in confidence every game, and as you became they have the top defense in the country.テつ Does it change the mindset at all, we've got to defend now what we've earned to this point?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Coach Narduzzi does a great job in making us forget what we did last week.テつ He always says it doesn't matter what you did last week, it's about this week.テつ I would say that's the biggest feeling how guys look at thing.テつ We don't focus on what we did last week.テつ We know that each week we've got to be the best defense if you want to be the best defense.

Q.テつ I don't care if you're playing golf or basketball or whatever, I know when you're playing with these people, they're playing with intensity.テつ What's it like playing with guys like that?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ It brings the competitiveness out.テつ Me personally, playing next to a guy like Isaiah Lewis, it's incredible.テつ The way he plays, his effort.テつ Guys like Darqueze Dennard and Trae Waynes, you don't want to be the guy making your team fall short.テつ Playing with those guys makes you escalate your game of play.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I mean, we got it clear that this is a business trip.テつ We've been having practice in the morning and enjoying the rest of the day.テつ So guys understand why we really came out here and that we're not just out here for the vacation.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I would say we set the bar.テつ We're just moving the program in the right direction.テつ It needs to continue to move in this direction.テつ It just takes a lot of hard work.

Q.テつ Five or six plays.
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I don't want to talk about a lot.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Probably just the physicalness.テつ We just got to get our offense going, play our style of football, and to play downhill like we usually do.

Q.テつ Big running back, big quarterback, basically they can pound the ball.テつ [ No microphone ].
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ This year?

Q.テつ Yeah.
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Maybe Wisconsin, Wisconsin type.テつ But there's some difference.テつ They'll bring eight linemen in and just pound it at you.テつ You know what they're going to do, and they're basically saying, Stop us.テつ I don't know if you can really compare them to a team.テつ The things that they do is their style of play.

Q.テつ I cover Stanford.テつ I just wanted to ask you a few questions.テつ Kurtis, so much is talked about about your secondary.テつ I just want to know from you, if you had to summarize the style in which the back four plays for your team, how would you summarize it?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ I would say we play hungry.テつ There's a bunch of guys back there, and we pride ourselves on a no‑fly zone.テつ In order to maintain that name, you've got to come in and compete each week, every day at practice, and it's just a bunch of competitive guys.
Coach Barnett does a great job getting us prepared for each week, allowing us to say humble and hungry and providing us with a new challenge each week.

Q.テつ Do you remember where the term no‑fly zone started?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Basically, back in winter conditioning, going into summer ball.テつ Darqueze Dennard basically quoted it to a lot of us, and it was something that stuck with us.テつ It was a way for us to challenge ourselves, push ourselves on the day.テつ For it to stick with us and to have that type of year, it's great.

Q.テつ Would you say this season has been like a transformative year for the secondary?テつ Has this been the year where you guys feel you've really arrived as a unit?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ We've had great players in the past.テつ I would say this is the year that we're actually getting the attention we maybe deserved in the past.テつ We've always had some great players.テつ As you see, Darqueze Dennard winning Thorpe, it just shows how hard that we've worked.
We've got great guys like R.J. Williamson, younger guys ready to step in next year and play as well.テつ It's just the type of atmosphere that Coach Barnett has created in that room.

Q.テつ One thing that really stands out to me on film is how aggressive this entire defense is, the defensive secondary.テつ Guys are flying in, when I watch it on TV, off the camera screen, I almost miss it.テつ I want to know if you guys enjoy playing in a system that allows you to unleash that physicality.
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Oh, yeah.テつ I think that's what makes the game even more fun.テつ They recruit the type of guys that fit in the system.テつ When you're playing like that, it makes it fun to watch, but to be part of it and play, it's a great feeling.

Q.テつ You're a free safety.テつ You've talked about the type of guy in the Michigan State system, in the secondary.テつ What is the exact type of guy that fits in the system?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ As far as what position?

Q.テつ The secondary.
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ The secondary, we're a bunch of laid back guys, try to have fun, but competitive.テつ Competing in whatever it is, whether it's trying to get turnovers at practice, who's better at 2K.テつ We compete at anything.テつ It's basically just a group of guys who are brothers trying to have fun and push each other.

Q.テつ I'm out here in California.テつ I don't know what the atmosphere is back there in Michigan.テつ How are people reacting to the Rose Bowl?テつ Are people very excited?
KURTIS DRUMMOND:テつ Oh, yeah, they're very excited.テつ Very excited.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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