[The Athletic Department made Ryan Van Bergen and Kevin Koger available for short interviews following the BCS bowl announcement. Brady Hoke was not available because he is currently in New York for the Football Hall of Fame Inductions. Hoke will be back for a Wednesday presser, and bowl practice will commence at the end of the week.]
How does it feel to be going to the Sugar Bowl and playing Virginia Tech?
“It’s huge for us to be in the Sugar Bowl. It’s a great opportunity for us to this season off strong. We felt like we earned a spot in the BCS with our performance this year. We’re really excited to get one more chance to play as a group. It’s been a special year for us and we get one last chance to make a statement.”
Were you keeping track of all the games yesterday and which teams to root for?
“No I actually stayed off twitter and everything, honestly. I was just sick of hearing the different things and the different scenarios how it all could play out. Just figure let the chips fall where they may. Like I said, we feel like we deserve this spot and we’re really excited about the opportunity to play a good team like Virginia Tech.”
What does this change or add to your legacy?
“It gives us another opportunity. It’s been since 2006 since we’ve been in a BCS game, and I just think it kind of reestablishes what this team has been able to do and how we’ve come, especially with the expectations we had coming into this season. It’s a tremendous opportunity to put a final stamp on this year.”
This is the first time Michigan’s ever played Virginia Tech. How familiar are you with them?
“I can’t lie. I’m not very familiar with them at all. Obviously I’ve only had about two minutes to watch their game film. From the clips on ESPN, they looked pretty good. We didn’t get a chance to watch them too much this season, but obviously we’ll take them very seriously. They’re a very good team, a very talented team. Unfortuantely they’re going to be motivated off their loss to clemson, but they’ve got plenty of athletes, I know that.”
Did you hear what Kirk Cousins said last night about you guys?
“I didn’t catch it. What did he say?”
In a nutshell, that Michigan got to stay home and watch the game on a couch and Michigan State shouldn’t be penalized.
“I mean, if he wants to be able to sit on the couch and watch us play in the Big Ten championship game, then he can do that. WE would have loved to trade places and have that chance and have that opportunity. All complaints aside, they had an opportunity to the Rose Bowl sitting right in front of them to grab, and they didn’t seize the opportunity. I think they’ll do well in the Outback Bowl, but best of luck, best wishes -- we’re going to the Sugar Bowl, and we’re excited about it.”
What does the January 3rd spotlight do for this program?
“It’s huge! It’s huge. It kind of establishes national relevance for Michigan as a program. It puts us back on the map, so to speak, as a national powerhouse. It will be great for recruiting, it will be great for the alumni and the fans, but the biggest thing for us: team 132 wants to play again. We’ve really grown close. We have great team chemistry, and the opportunity to play one more game on a stage as big as the Sugar Bowl is huge for us.”
Have you ever been to New Orleans?
“Never been to New Orleans, but I hear Bourbon Street’s pretty cool, so I’ll have to check it out.”
Hoke’s emphasizes winning the conference and rivalry games. Do you expect the same kind of emphasis for a bowl game?
“I know he’s going to emphasize the Big Ten conference and representing the Big Ten conference. It’s more than just about Michigan. It’s about representing the Big Ten conference on the biggest stage as possible. Obviously this is one of the biggest stages you can represent the Big Ten conference in, and we want the Big Ten conference to receive national attention as one of the best conferences in the country. We want to be able to beat out of conference opponents, and then kind of get respect nationally as a conference, and that’s something that we get an opportunity to do representing the Big Ten in the Sugar Bowl.”
How might this bowl game help erase your poor showing in the Gator Bowl last year?
“I think that that’s exactly what it is. It provides an opporunity for the guys who played last year and fell so short in that bowl game -- it provides us a chance to redeem ourselves and show that we can put forth a championship effort in a championship game, because that’s what this is. That’s why I think everyone’s going to be so well motivated and so excited for it.”
What was the reaction like in that room when the bowl game was announced?
“It was huge. It was something, like I said -- we all thought we were going to get it, but we weren’t sure if it was something that was going to happen, but we felt we deserved it. To have it finally and not on some kind of rumor or headline or something like that, having it on good authority that you’re going to that bowl game was huge for everybody I think on that team.”
How did you find out originally?
“We found out upstairs, a couple of us, and then through interviews and stuff like this, we’ve been kind of just notified. It’s been very recent, though …”
Has your roommate David Molk been insufferable since winning Offensive Lineman of the Year?
“Oh you know Molk. He’s such a jabberjaw that he’s so hard to keep contained. That’s all he does is run around the house and talk about how he’s a better O-lineman than me, and I told him, ‘I don’t even play O-line.’ No, I mean, I couldn’t be more happy for Dave Molk and what he’s accomplished. He works so hard, and he’s a tremendous worker, and as far as national accolades go, the sky’s the limit for him. I know that there’s still the Rimington to be announced, and I think he’s the prime candidate for that because he is the best center in the country hands down. I wish him all the best, and I have confidence in the fact that he’s going to be reward for the work that he’s put in.”
Your reaction to Michigan going to the Sugar Bowl?
“I mean, it’s really exciting. It’s a testament to how hard the team worked this year. It’s really good for the senior class. We’ve been through a lot, so it’s good to end on a high note.”
What do you see when you look at Virginia Tech?
“I mean, I can’t say them I followed them a lot this year. They always have good athletes, and I know Marell Evans has a couple friends on their team.”
Van Bergen said he stayed away from everything yesterday to avoid overanalyzing the BCS scenarios. What did you do?
“Oh yeah, I was actually the opposite. I was with a couple of teammates. We were over at Kenny Demens’s house, a few of us. We watched probably every game we could possibly watch throughout the day, and we were going over scenarios and all that. It was a lot of fun, though.”
Who did you think was going to be your opponent?
“We really didn’t know. We kept hearing different stuff. I distinctly remember JB Fitzgerald was so negative the whole day, but I mean we were just going through every scenario possible, googling all the scenarios as each game went on. Like I said, it was a lot of fun.”
What kind of stuff did JB say?
“Just being so negative. He said, ‘Oop, we’re going to the Little Ceasar Bowl in Detroit.’ He was being really sarcastic, and he was basically cheering for every team he should have cheered for. Yesterday if you were following him on twitter you would see that.”
When, where, and how did you find out tonight?
“Actually before our meeting -- Justin Dickens told us earlier, but I wasn’t supposed to say anything, so I kind of had to act surprised. Yeah I found out probably about an hour and a half ago, 7:30.”
What are your plans the rest of the night? Is there a team meeting?
“Yeah we have a team meeting. I guess we’re going to go over all the logistics and all that for about a half hour, 45 minutes. And after that probably just bask in the ambience.”
Ever been to New Orleans?
“Never. Never, but my roommate JB, he has a lot of family down there, so he says it’s a good time.”
What kind of spotlight will the Sugar Bowl provide your team after the season you’ve had and the struggles you had before this season?
“It’ll be a great atmosphere. It’d be great for the team, but it’ll just show everybody Michigan’s back, and we’re serious.”
Did you see Kirk Cousins’s comments after the Michigan State?
“Nah. I didn’t see anything.”
He basically said that Michigan shouldn’t go to a BCS bowl because you guys sat home and watched the Big Ten championship game.
“Yeah. I mean, we did get to recover a little bit, but I’d rather play in the Big Ten championship game. I mean, the inaugural Big Ten championship -- that says a lot of about the teams that played in it. We’d be happy to trade places, but it is what it is.”
Will you make this more of a business trip as a senior and a captain? Do you want this to be very focused?
“Definitely. We went down to Jacksonville and didn’t put on our best performance. It was embarrassing to say the least. We can learn from our mistakes. I mean, we’ll definitely have a little bit of fun, but the main thing is to go down there and win the football game.”
Do you think the focus will be different this time with a different coaching staff?
“No I think the focus is always to win the football game, but I mean it was just disappointing to put all that work into a game and have the outcome we did last year.”
What do you make of the prestige of the BCS games?
“I mean, it’s definitely exciting. One thing that people don’t realize -- I think we’re going to be playing indoors, and a lot of people on the team haven’t played indoors. I have freshman year against Minnesota, but it’s a lot different playing indoors as opposed to playing in [Ed: It sounded like he said ‘Glee.’] It’ll be a different experience. The lights are a little bit different, but it’s going to be a great stage with a lot of people watching.”
If they would have lost to us they would have whined. They beat us and they still whine. There is no pleasing them.
RVB could not have answered that question any better.
They always pick him to be a speaker, even over the actual captains often times.
Hoke should give Ryan an honorary "C" at the Bust.
Love that kid; he really deserves that kind of recognition.
Players reflect the personality of their coach. Koger and Van Bergan answered questions like mature adults, while Cousins answered questions like a petulant child. Michigan's way is better.
Hoke: never complains about outcome
Dantonio: accusing punter of "flopping"
"Players reflect the personality of their coach. Koger and Van Bergan answered questions like mature adults, while Cousins answered questions like a petulant child."
Which is why I cant stand state fans!!!
I actually saw this video on another site and ran over here to comment on it...of couse MGoBlog two steps ahead.
But all that aside, how AWESOME was that comment?! I mean he KILLED IT!
So happy to have guys like RVB on the team and not bitter losers like Cousins.
please check out Bourbon St. for the first time to celebrate your victory!
about Cousins were perfect. I love this team.
That's the main thing I took out of this as well.
Heiko tries to get these guys to bite on the Cousins question and neither one does, love where Brady has their heads. Total opposite of the Lions.
Haha. Don't worry. It wasn't me.
the "compare to the last coaching staff" questions like:
Do you think the focus will be different this time with a different coaching staff?
Seems like there is one or two of these asked every time a player gets up in front of the press. Is is one reporter or news outlet (i.e., Freep), a set group, or a general theme?
Seriously, do they expect the previous coaching staff didn't want the team to focus on the bowl preparations? Perhaps a question like: "How much easier it is for you to focus on bowl preparations without all the uncertainty surrounding the program and coaching staff this year?" Or better yet, leave it be ...
I would like to know this also.
In fact, I'd love to know who asks every question in these pressers. While most questions are fairly inane, there's definitely a range from moderately tolerable to painfully obtuse, and I'd be curious to know which beat reporters fall where.
both of their responses to Cousins are awesome, & I think it's very telling about the character of their guys & our guys when you compare them. Cousins insta-whines about the system the moment his team stumbles, & our team advocates embracing challenges head on as an honor & another opportunity for glorious combat. it's the difference between little children & men. we rock.
Man I really wanna road trip to this game. Don't know if I can stand being in a car 17 hours both ways.
...Is worth it. Seriously, if you haven't been. 17 hours is nothing.
was probably 'Glick,' better known on this blog as Newsterbaan. i.e. the only place most of these players would have "played" indoors.
I believe you're correct. Thanks.
Koger. Lets see this again.
I would have rather had them answer Cousins' bitching with a "cause we're Michigan and you're not" but they're both obviously much more mature than me.
That would've been the Dantonio / RCMB response to that question. Nice to see that we showed we're bigger than that. I have to say, I can't decide which schadenfruede tastes better, Buckeye tears or MSU whining. They're both pretty satisfying.
[Correction] RCMB would've thrown in, "Michigan can eat a bag a dicks" on top of that, so my original observation is a little inaccurate.
Is a serious jackass. His whining is almost as worse as his comment about MSU being his "kids." Kid is totally delusional and a bit creepy to boot.
"Oh, well, he's a douche, what do you expect? Next question."
RVB is, at this point, my favorite non-Hart Wolverine.
worships Cousins because he's articulate and leads his team...but when it comes down to it, he's a pretty whiny bitch. Remember the Rose Bowl incident last year?
I love the way they answered the questions about kirk cousins bitch ass question, especially RVB
Kirk Cousins was seen burning his couch in East Lansing. Sources say it was because Michigan were sitting on the couch while the Spartans got pommelled by Wisconsin.
Kirk Cousins declined to comment on the incident but was heard muttering about 'revenge on the couch'
Cousins is rumored to be a first round draft pick in the pro team - East Lansing W(h)einers
I don't see why the Cousin statement is such a big deal. The main complaint he has is that the system is broken which is completely true. If the tables had been reversed, I know most everyone would be rather upset and I would expect the players to be upset as well. The truth is that no Big 10 Championship game probably keeps us out of a BCS bowl with MSU likely making a BCS bowl. As long as the system remains how it is, I have no problem with people complaining about the set up or voicing their displeasure, even if it is a Spartan. Michigan got into a BCS bowl due to the flaws in the current system (with 3/4 possible other at-large teams ranked ahead in the standings), so lets just be happy and content and realize quite a few teams got screwed.
2 years is a long time to be a Sparty troll.
The thing is he sees the B10 title game as a disadvantage. A true competitor and sportsman would say "Well we had the opportunity to win the B10 Title Game and go to the Rose Bowl, and unfortunately we didn't." You don't bitches about other teams "sitting on a couch." Like RVB said, he would've killed for that opportunity...a true competitor.
I think Kirk wants a second place trophy. Maybe if they win their bowl game this year he can finally have it. Enjoy that Outback Bowl! Don't get Alabama'd this year Sparty!
... should not be negged. It's the truth. Cousins comments were bush league -- just see our guys responses, but the fact he was frustrated is fair. Also, keep in mind, he only said one comment in an emotional moment (as far as I know). We've replayed it and talked it up 100X, which makes it sound whinier. He said it once.
Let's just be happy our kids didn't take the bait, and that we'll be in New Orleans -- the greatest city (at least to visit) in America.
I wonder why he didn't mention Alabama sitting home on Saturday and still going to the national championship.
Probably because he's completely blocked Alabama from his mind. I would do after the beating he took last year
This. I don't understand why the comment was flagged. We're dangerously close to abandoning reason in favor of homerism on this place--let's not forget what separates us from RCMB and the like.
The truth is, MSU beat us and had a better season than we did. I'm extremely happy to be in the Sugar Bowl and the Cousins comments weren't necessary, but it is unfair to MSU that the system is based purely on money--they deserved better than the Outback bowl for their year.
They were ineligible for BCS, we split with them in AP/Coaches, and they were well below us on the computers. I think Vegas odds on a game with us at a neutral (and wind free) site would be even.
Bottom line is we wouldn't bemoan another team's fortunes if we didn't get it done and we have every right to be critical of Cousins for trying to rain on our well deserved parade
I think they were a bit screwed by the voters for dropping so low, and even though they were inellibible for the BCS, they at least deserved the Citrus over Nebraska. Obviosuly, the system doens't run by merit, and Kirk should know that--I'm just saying that their body of work should have earned them the Big 10's second best bowl bid, so I think it's at least reasonable to be a bit frustrated by that. If we were in that situation and ended up in the Outback, I think you'd see plenty of whining on this board. The system certainly isn't fair.
Let it go. I think Cousins is ok.
But Dantonio, that's another matter.
Fans complaining and players being disappointed is different than players publicly complaining. Do you think Hoke would have let his players say the same thing that Cousins said? Do you think any of them would have said anything except what Hoke would say, "We were in control of our destiny and we didn't live up to our own expectations. Of course we're disappointed."
Cousins, and likely his teammates and coaches, feels entitled to a BCS bowl. Apparently he suffers from the delusion that life is fair, which may speak to the education he's received to date. Furthermore, he represents his university when he whines publicly. I'd be pissed if Denard acted like that in the same situation ... thankfully, i know that Hoke would be even more pissed.
If the tables were reversed, there would be disappointment sure, but we would've accepted the results like men. Cousins didn't.
Cousins could have voiced his displeasure over the BCS w/o using the UM on the couch rhetoric...so quit defending him.
I don't have a problem with him saying "we have done enough with a close loss to deserve a BCS bid." But when it completely relates to only Michigan (and he didn't say "Nebraska shouldn't get the Cap 1 ahead of us"), that we're even on his mind as his team just had a crushing defeat, that's pathetic. We didn't bitch in 2006 because it was Florida leapfrogging us. We would have done it if it was anybody. (And we didn't even have to lose a game to get leaped).
I look at it more this way... would they be bitching like this if Nebraska had beaten us, and thus been the team to claim the second BCS bowl bid? I don't think they would. They probably would sit back and realize that in most cases, if you lose your conference championship game, you fall out of BCS bowl contention. There are exceptions, obviously, but that is often the case. All the bitching and moaning isn't about the system screwing them, it's about the system working specifically in our favor and they can't handle it.
I read a Detnews headline (fear not, I've boycotted the freep) and thought RVB said something inflammatory. Then I read this transcript and realized our guys answered the questions professionally. I'm sure it was hard not to answer those by saying F#%* you Cousins, but they did the right thing. All they had to say was: This is Michigan fergodsakes!