Denard Robinson and Vincent Smith
I'm so artsy.
Not to be a total buzzkill or anything, and this is totally the best way to open up a presser after a 63-13 blowout win, but can you talk about your pick six. What did you see there?
Denard: “Uh. Jeremy Jackson came open. I just threw it behind him. It was just a bad, bad throw. It was a good read, just a bad throw. I have to put my feet into it and follow through with the throw.”
On your ermahgerd touchdown, Joe Kerridge blocked for you. Did you notice that?
Denard: “Um… I mean, when you’re on the football field, everybody on the team has to be accountable. Even from the scouts and everybody. When Joey gets on the field I know he’s going to be accountable. He just told me about it. He said, ‘Man, I came in and chipped him,’ and he says [the other guy’s] mouthpiece came out, so it was pretty funny.”
With Notre Dame a week away, is this a game you needed to have?
Denard: “Yeah we needed to get a good win. Every day we need to come out and get better. When we came out today I felt like we got better but we still have some things we have to work on.”
(After the jump, more questions -- some fluffy, some confrontational, some misunderstood -- and maybe one or two interesting responses.)
Other than the interception, how do you feel you played today?
Denard: “I left a couple throws out on the field that I probably knew I should have made. I missed Gallon on one throw and I missed Devin on another, so those are the throws that I think I need to improve on and try to not leave them on the field.”
Vince, in what way did you guys get better today?
Smith: “We took a step forward getting off the ball in the running game and getting good push up front, but we still need work, and we’re just continuing to strive on all areas.”
Denard, you passed Tom Brady and Jim Harbaugh in passing yards today. Thoughts?
Denard: “To be honest with you, the only thing I think about is winning and going out there and being accountable for my team. When it comes to records, it’s just going out there and playing football with the team.”
Did the running backs give you the support you needed?
Denard: “Oh yeah. And they ran the ball well, and we have to keep going and getting better every time we go out on the football field.”
How comfortable are you with Elliott Mealer now?
Denard: “I’ve been comfortable with him since the first game. We’ve been working all summer and all winter and all spring, so I mean I feel really comfortable.”
How important was it to get out of this game uninjured?
Denard: “It’s always good to have healthy guys and it’s always good to have guys we count on. I mean, if somebody does go down, then somebody else will be ready to play. So we just have to stay healthy and any chance we can, improve.”
Did it feel good to get Roundtree involved in the game today?
Denard: “Once he gets open and I make the ride reads and give him the ball, he’s a phenomenal athlete and a receiver. I enjoy throwing the ball to him. When he gets open and I throw the ball to him, I know he’s going to make something happen.”
You spread the ball around to nine different receivers. Was that by design?
Denard: “I think whoever comes open, that’s who I’ll throw the ball to. I go through my reads and go through the progression and just look at the defense to see who comes open.”
Denard, can you talk about the fumble on the goal line, and did Taylor have anything to say about the touchdown?
Denard: “Actually he was kind of mad. Because If I would have kept going outside, he probably would have made the block on the guy that hit me. So he was like, ‘Man, you almost got me a minus on the play.’ So I have to make the right reads, and I have to hold onto the ball. That’s the first thing first. Always protect the ball. And he just told me, he was just like, ‘All right, at least we scored.’ That’s the main thing.”
Why did the running backs do better this week?
Smith: “We’ve been challenging ourselves in practice, working hard every day, and challenging everbody up front to do better. We’ve been working and working …”
You were still in the game when you were up 49-13. Was that by your request to stay in?
Denard: “That was for the team. Everybody on the team. We knew we had to play well, and Massachusetts was a good team and we needed to play well. We have to try to get better every time we step on the field, and that’s what coach wanted to do.”
Is there anything about Notre Dame that brings out the best in you?
Denard: “To be honest with you, it’s going out there and playing football. Whenever I get on the football field, I want to play my best and be accountable to my team. When I get a chance to run the ball or throw the ball, I want to do it to my best ability.”
What did you think of the way Russell Bellomy played?
Denard: “He played calm. I enjoyed watching him play calm. Even though he had a little pressure right on the edge, he kind of tried to step up in the pocket, and you could tell he had confidence and he was strong out there. I think he’s going to do pretty well.”
Can you gain anything by watching ND-MSU?
Denard: “Oh yeah. Watching football in general, when you watch the game, you don’t look at it like a regular person anymore. You look at it because you watch and break down film all the time. You watch the plays and you watch how they play, and so tomorrow we’ll watch the game and we’ll see what we can do.”
Thomas Gordon and Will Campbell
Man it is getting hot in here.
Coach Hoke just said he’s not happy with the production up front and stopping the ground game. How would you assess yourselves?
Campbell: “Uh, I mean like Coach Hoke said, we’re not where we need to be. We’re not playing like a Michigan defense. We need to step up every day. We need to play better with our hands and be a more physical knock-em back defense.”
Why have you guys not been able to do that. O_o
Campbell: “I didn’t … can you --”
Campbell: “Uh, since the first game we have been making improvements but we need to make bigger strides as a defensive front and a front seven. We’re working every day in practice to do that and trying to get our coaching points in.”
Is there anything in particular you keep falling back to when you struggle?
Campbell: “I can’t speak for the entire D line, but as far as myself thinking too much trying to look in the backfield too much, I need to play my keys and play knock-em back ball like the coaches want me to.”
Hoke said he wasn’t pleased with the lack of turnovers. What do you need to do to do that?
Gordon: “I just think it comes down to more people getting to the football. You have to play with intensity to create turnovers. Once you get more people to the football and get guys in the pile trying to get the ball out, you’re going to get more turnovers. Obviously we haven’t been able to do that so far because of lack of turnovers, but we’re going to get there.”
In the second quarter, UMass capitalized on a couple mistakes [Ed: Not sure what this is referring to. The offense went back out after the pick six, and the only other positive thing for UMass that happened in the second quarter was their field goal.] How important was it for you to make the quick recovery on defense?
Gordon: “When our offense or anybody makes a mistake, as a defense on the sideline, we preach about sudden change and the defense going out there and getting stop because that’s a big momentum change when you can stop their offense after a turnover or something like that. That’s big momentum for our defense, and that’s what we preach.”
In a 50 point win, what can you gain from this game?
Campbell: “Of course any win is a good win, and I mean every game, everybody’s not going to have a perfect game, so everybody’s going to have mistakes that we can capitalize on and correct for next week, because if we played like we played today, we won’t win next week. We need to play like a Michigan defense, and the offense needs to play like a Michigan offense.”
How good is it for morale to see a lot of younger guys get to play?
Gordon: “Definitely. When you see some of those young guys who are on the practice squad, on the scout teams, stuff like that, you get to see them in the Big House getting some plays, that should boost morale. Moments out there with some of my teammates back at Cass Tech like Terry and Delonte, both of them young guys getting out there producing for the defense, I’m happy for them because I was once in their position. I’m happy to see them out there.”
Why is it third down still somewhat of an issue for the defese?
Campbell: “I take that on the front four because if we get pressure on the quarterback, they won’t have to cover as long, so we need to get home for the defense to be successful on third down.”
Do you think part of the defensive struggle is that you’ve been playing such different offenses and skill levels?
Gordon: “You can attribute some of it from playing a physical like Alabama and then defending the triple offense against Air Force, but it really doesn’t matter what scheme we go up against. As a Michigan defense, we are held to the expectation to produce no matter what offense we were playing. But that played some part in it, too, but it’s still on us to produce.”
Do you feel like you’re getting better at your positions with each practice? How would you correlate that with the play on the field today?
Campbell: “As I said before, every day in practice we go against a new scheme, we go against a new offense. Of course there’s going to be some bumps and bruises within that scheme … but we’re going to make strides.”
Getting back to the younger guys, how fun is it to watch someone like Justice Hayes score a touchdown?
“It’s a lot fun because you see they put in the same work that we do during the spring and summer condition. I see those guys get out there and have their moments on the field just like we do, it’s a joy to everybody on the team. They get in the locker room and everybody is having fun, and that’s what you live for, playing as a team.”
Seems like a lot of guys talked to Mike Cox after the game. How was it to see him play against you?
Gordon: “I was just happy to see him out there playing. He was one of our brothers here at Michigan, and seeing him on the other team and getting a lot of action, I’m happy for him seeing him out there playing.”
Drew Dileo and Patrick Omameh
Me not working hard? Yeah right, picture that with a kodak.
How fun is it to see a guy like Justice Hayes score a touchdown?
Omameh: “Yeah. I mean, all the guys come in to practice. They practice hard and wait for the opportunity. When a guy like Justice gets in the end zone, it’s a good time for everybody.”
What was his reaction?
Omameh: “I mean, he was ecstatic, and we were all happy for him, too. We were excited that we -- as many dudes as we can get in the end zone, it’s always something that we just enjoy for everybody.”
Dileo: “I don’t think it’s necessary just Justice. It’s that whole second offense. I was excited when I thought Russell scored the play before that. It was the entire offense.”
Can you take us through Taylor Lewan’s touchdown?
Omameh: “Yes. It was exciting. Because any time you can get an offensive lineman to have a touchdown, it’s an exciting moment. Luckily it wasn’t, you know, outright, like he ran the ball to the endzone, because we might have celebrated a little bit and it might have gotten excessive. BUT. He fell on on it and he got the touchdown. Um. I don’t know I think there was a little debate about who actually fell on it first, but you know, the stats go to him, and we give him kudos.”
Dileo: “For the record, I’m pretty sure it was Elliott Mealer’s touchdown, not Taylor’s.”
Omameh: “… I didn’t say it.”
After the game, Hoke was sort of harsh how you played as an offensive line. What’s your assessment?
Omameh: “I think really it’s just something where every week we’re expected to get better. The more we play together, the better we’re going to get as an offensive line. We feel we performed better this week than we did last week. We’re still not at a point where we want to be or need to be, but we feel like with consistent improvement we can get there.”
Do you feel like you improved this week?
Omameh: “We do feel that. We got better movement and we opened up better holes. We thought we were able to move the ball better.”
Did you improve enough, you think?
Omameh: “We improved enough to win this football game, and we feel we can continue to improve as the season goes on.”
What does it say about Hoke that you put up almost 600 yards of offense and he’s still not happy?
Omameh: “I mean, it just shows the level of expectation that he has for us, that we have for ourselves. It’s expected of Michigan offensive line, a Michigan offense. It’s something that we all understand and something that we all have to strive to reach.”
Dileo: “And to add on that, it’s nice to have a coach that isn’t complacent, that wants to keep getting better each week.”
Can you talk about your breakaway reception. Did you think you were going to get in the endzone?
Dileo: “I did --”
Omameh: “I did, too.”
Dileo: “-- But I guess that’s why they call me the white receiver.”
Omameh: “… Nobody calls him that. Nobody calls you that.”
Fitz found more running room this week. What does that do for the offense?
Omameh: “I mean, the more threats we have in the offense, the dangerous we can be. You know, everybody knows that we have Denard Robinson. He’s a special kind of player. You know the more pressure we can take off him, the better we’ll be as an offense and as a team.”
Next week you’re on the road against Notre Dame. Can you talk about playing them?
Omameh: “I mean, yeah, that’s going to be a test. It always is going into South Bend. We plan to be well prepared for it, be excited for it. It’s been an exciting game the last few years, and we plan to go into South Bend and show how much we’ve improved over the course of this upcoming week.”
Is it important and have a good effort on the road for the team’s psyche?
Omameh: “Yeah, it’s absolutely important that we win on the road. This year we don’t have eight home games like we did last year. We have to be able to show that we can go on the road and be successful, and that’s going to start next week.”
Denard keeps breaking records -- What does it mean for you guys to be a part of this history in the making?
Dileo: “I think it’s pretty special. Pat will probably say the same, especially since Pat’s one of the guys that’s in there helping him break those records, blocking guys. Our receiving corps is downfield blocking and catching balls for Denard. However many years from now, looking back and people are still talking about Denard Robinson, it’s going to be pretty special to tell your kids and grandkids that you played with him.”
Prior to the season, there were some question marks about the receivers. Today eight different people caught passes. How nice is it to see the receivers get going today?
“It’s pretty nice. I think maybe y’all were the only ones who had questions before the season. We know the kind of the guys we have, and we know the quarterback that we have, and we know that we’ll make plays.”